Code of Maine Rules

Current through 2023-52, December 27, 2023

This Section establishes minimum requirements in areas required under 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5).

5.01 Instructional Time, Including a Minimum School Day and Week

A. A school week is the five days Monday through Friday. Exceptions occur when schools are closed because of holidays, inclement weather, or other extenuating circumstances.

B. A "school day" means a day in which school is in operation as either an instructional day as defined in this Section, or a non-instructional day that may be used for in-service education of teachers, administrative meetings, parent-teacher conferences, records' days or similar activities.

C. "Instructional day" means a school day during which both students and teachers are present, either in a school or in another setting, and engaged in instructional time.

D. "Instructional time" means that portion of a school day devoted to the teaching-learning process, but not including extra-curricular activities, lunchtime, or recess. Time spent on organized field trips related to school studies may be considered instructional time, but the instructional time counted for extended field trips shall not exceed a normal school day for each day of the field trip. Alternative education programs, multiple pathways, extended learning opportunities, and other innovative programs may allow students to attend outside of the regular instructional day, as outlined in the SAU Comprehensive Education Plan.

E. An instructional day for grades K-12 must be a minimum of three hours in length, and for grades 1-12 must average five hours in length over any consecutive two week period. Plans to use school days of varying length must be reflected in the Comprehensive Education Plan submitted by the school administrative unit pursuant to 20-A M.R.S. §4502(1). The instructional day may be extended for students who need more than the minimum day to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results.

F. Instructional days that are canceled must be rescheduled to meet the minimum school year requirements contained in 20-A M.R.S. §4801.

G. School administrative units may not schedule make-up instructional time on days identified in 20-A M.R.S. §4802. Acceptable methods of rescheduling cancelled instructional days include:
1. Rescheduling or shortening scheduled vacation periods;

2. Postponing the scheduled closing date of school;

3. Providing up to 25 one hour extensions of the instructional day to equal a maximum of five 5-hour make-up instructional days in a school year in accordance with a plan approved by the commissioner;

4. Conducting classes on the weekend; and/or

5. Developing other ways to make up school days missed due to weather or emergency closures not included above, which will be incorporated into a plan approved by the Commissioner.

H. If an instructional day must be shortened due to circumstances that involve student health or safety, the day is considered a full day if school has been in session for at least 2.5 hours.

20-A M.R.S. §§4502(5)(A), 4801.

5.02 Staffing: Ratios and Qualifications of Personnel

A. The school board of the school administrative unit shall determine the number and allocation of personnel for the unit. 20-A M.R.S. §1001(8).

B. Student teacher ratios. The school board of each school administrative unit shall permit maximum student teacher ratios of 25:1 schoolwide for kindergarten to grade 8; and maximum student teacher ratios of 30:1 schoolwide for grades 9 to 12. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(B). Except that:
1. Band and chorus instruction may exceed the student-teacher ratio identified above.

2. The number of students enrolled in a laboratory course shall not exceed the number for which the laboratory was designed and is equipped to serve safely.

3. A higher ratio may be allowed for long term non-traditional scheduling or large group instruction in grades 1-12 with approval of the Commissioner.

4. A higher ratio may be allowed without Commissioner approval for occasional short-term instruction at the option of the school board. In cases of enrollments that are unexpectedly large, the maximum ratio for schools and classes may be exceeded for up to 45 calendar days at the discretion of the school board. If the enrollment problem remains unresolved, the superintendent shall submit a written request to the Commissioner for a student-teacher ratio waiver prior to the end of the 45-day period. The Commissioner may grant a waiver of ratios when undue hardship exists due to limited financial, physical, or human resources. Such a waiver shall include stipulated conditions deemed necessary to the health, safety, or education of affected students.

C. Superintendent. The school board of each school administrative unit shall employ a superintendent of schools certified in the State of Maine, whether or not the unit operates a school. 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 101.

D. Principal. A principal certified in the State of Maine shall supervise the operation and management of each school and school property, unless it is determined to be unnecessary by the superintendent under policies established by the school board. A superintendent may, on an annual basis, request an exception to the employment of a principal to lead a school and the Commissioner may approve the request, which may be based on hardship due to the small size of a school, a school's geographic location, or other extenuating circumstances. 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 504.

E. Professional Personnel. Professional personnel, including but not limited to teachers, counselors, library-media specialists, other education specialists, assistant superintendents, curriculum directors, special education directors, assistant principals, and other administrators, shall hold certification appropriate to their assignments and any state licenses required by statute and Maine Department of Education Regulation 115. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(4), Chapter 501 and 502.

F. Support Personnel. Support personnel, including but not limited to educational technicians, secretaries, cooks, custodians, and bus drivers, shall meet all applicable state requirements for authorization or approval, as specified in Maine Department of Education Regulation 115. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(4), Chapter 502.

G. Attendance Coordinator. Each school board shall appoint an attendance coordinator in accordance with 20-A M.R.S. §5052-A.

H. School Medical Personnel. Each school board shall appoint, annually, a school physician to advise the school board on school health issues, policies, and practices. The school physician may examine and diagnose but not treat students or employees unless it is necessary to protect the health of the students in the school administrative unit. Each school board shall appoint a certified school nurse to supervise and coordinate health services for the unit. The school board may contract for the services of qualified school medical personnel. 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 223.

5.03 Physical Facilities

A. Adequacy of Facilities. School facilities shall have adequate space with respect to student enrollment, the instructional program, and necessary administrative and supporting services. 20-A M.R.S. §§1001(2), 4001, 4502(5)(C).
1. Each classroom or laboratory shall be adequate to safely serve the specific purpose for which it is intended and shall have sufficient area to accommodate each student.

2. Each school shall maintain a designated area that affords access to library-media resources, as appropriate to the age of students in the school.

3. Storage space shall be provided so that materials and equipment may be securely stored in a space other than in student instructional areas. Storage of hazardous materials shall be in accordance with OSHA requirements.

4. Areas used for the provision of student services and health services shall be adequate to provide for the privacy and confidentiality of such services.

5.04 Requirements for Equipment and Libraries

A. Each school shall maintain a library-media program that includes books, written materials, online Internet resource materials, multimedia materials, and information technology that supports the curriculum. Resources shall be appropriate to the ages of the children served by the school. A certified library-media specialist shall oversee the library-media program in a school administrative unit. However, this shall not be interpreted to mean that each school within a school administrative unit must have a certified library-media specialist.

B. The library-media resources, including access to the Internet, shall be accessible to all enrolled students and personnel during school hours. The school administrative unit shall have a policy governing access to library resources by students in approved equivalent instruction programs in accordance with state law.

C. The Comprehensive Education Plan shall address updating and maintaining library-media resources.

20-A M.R.S. §§1001(10-A), 1055(4), 4002, 4502(5)(D), Chapter 801.

5.05 Minimum School Size

Where a school administrative unit operates a secondary school of fewer than 100 students or an elementary school of fewer than 10 students, it shall annually evaluate, as part of the Comprehensive Education Plan adopted by the school board, whether it is necessary or profitable to maintain the school building, and whether the enrollment of the school is sufficient for students to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results. The procedures set forth in 20-A M.R.S. §4102 shall be followed when closing any school. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(E).

5.06 Grade and Program Organization

The grade and program organization of schools in a school administrative unit that operates one or more schools shall provide a developmental continuum that gives students the opportunity to meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results. The school organization shall facilitate achievement of the goals in the unit's Comprehensive Education Plan. If there is more than one school in the unit serving a grade level, the school board shall determine which students attend each school. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(F).

Schools shall implement developmentally appropriate educational practices for kindergarten to grade 2 that:

A. Address all domains of development, including cognitive, social/emotional, and physical well-being, across established developmental trajectories;

B. Provide experiential learning across disciplines through both teacher-directed instruction and student-directed engagement with concrete materials;

C. Are culturally relevant to the lives of children in this age/grade span; and

D. Are guided by formative assessment practices, including teacher observation.

5.07 Assessment and Evaluation of Student Performance for School Improvement

School administrative units shall demonstrate how school and student assessment data are used to evaluate, develop, and improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(G), Chapter 222; Maine DOE Rule Chapter 127.

5.08 Student Support Services

Each school administrative unit shall have a Comprehensive School Counseling Program. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(H).

5.09 Records, Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements

Records, record keeping and reporting requirements shall be maintained according to 20-A M.R.S. Chapter 221, § 1055, and Schedule 18, School Records. A roster of resident, tuition, and transfer students will be maintained as outlined in this Section.

A. The superintendent of each school administrative unit shall maintain a roster of all resident and tuition students attending schools operated by the unit.

B. The superintendent of each school administrative unit shall maintain a roster of all students eligible to attend school within the unit who are receiving equivalent instruction in an approved or non-approved private school, or in an approved equivalent instruction program.

C. The superintendent of each school administrative unit shall maintain a roster of all students who have been expelled by school board action, who have dropped out of the unit, who have withdrawn from the unit, or who are truant.

D. The superintendent of each school administrative unit shall maintain a roster of all students who have been approved for transfer into the unit or to another unit.

5.10 Health, Sanitation and Safety Requirements

A. Health and Safety Requirements. Health and safety requirements shall include water and sanitation requirements per Maine Department of Health and Human Services Regulations. All school facilities, which shall include buildings, grounds, and equipment necessary for the provision of instructional programs, shall be operated and maintained in safe, healthful, and sanitary condition.

B. Water. Drinking water from sanitary fountains shall be available in each school.

C. Sanitary Facilities. Each school building shall be provided with an adequate number of toilets that are clean, private, well supervised, of the flush water type and connected to a sewage disposal system approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. Toilet rooms with a single toilet cannot be designated as "female" or "male." Toilet rooms shall include wash sinks that are connected to an adequate, pressurized water supply. The sanitary conditions of each school shall be inspected regularly.

D. Air Quality. Each room used for instructional purposes shall have sufficient air changes to produce healthful conditions and to avoid odors or concentrations of toxic substances or dust particles. Temperatures shall be kept at a level that provides a comfortable environment for employees and students. If the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are mechanically driven, they shall be maintained and in compliance with HVAC regulations and rules. The school administrative unit will utilize the best-available practice national standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for inspection, maintenance, ventilation and filtration.

D. School Inspections. Fire and safety inspections shall be conducted in the school, in compliance with State code, at least once every five years. The school board shall cause any deficiencies to be corrected in the timeframes specified.

20-A M.R.S. §§6302, 6501.

5.11 Training and Development of All Personnel

Each school board shall establish a system for training and development of all personnel that is aligned with the system of Learning Results as established in 20-A M.R.S. §6209. School boards shall establish a system of professional training and development that fosters continuous improvement and is differentiated to be relevant to all personnel. 20-A M.R.S. §§1001(13), 4502(5) (L-1), 13015-A.

5.12 Restraint and Seclusion

School boards and school personnel shall recognize the proper use of physical restraint and seclusion as an emergency intervention when the behavior of a student presents a risk of injury or harm to the student or others. Restraint and seclusion shall be administered in accordance with requirements adopted by the department. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(M); Maine DOE Rule Chapter 33.

5.13 Medication Administration

School administrative units shall have a written local policy and implement training for all unlicensed personnel who administer medication in accordance with the requirements under 20-A M.R.S. §254(5). 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(N); Maine DOE Rule Chapter 40.

5.14 Reintegration Planning Training

School administrative units shall have a written local policy and implement training for all school counselors and school personnel who administer reintegration planning, who participate on a reintegration team, and who have access to confidential criminal justice information regarding juveniles. 20-A M.R.S. §§4502(5)(O), 1055(12).

5.15 Family Outreach and Support Programs

School administrative units shall provide family outreach and support programs designed to improve parent engagement and parent-school relations consistent with 20-A M.R.S. §4252(8). Programs shall have written policies and procedures that demonstrate intentional, strength-based practices designed to foster strong reciprocal relationships with families. These practices include, but are not limited to: open houses, parent conferences, parent education opportunities, newsletters, family events, and program evaluations. Policies and procedures are to be translated in languages understandable to parents. 20-A M.R.S. §4502(5)(P).

5.16 Promotion, Retention, Acceleration and Graduation of Students

School administrative units shall have policies to guide promotion, retention, and graduation of students. 20-A M.R.S. §§ 4502(1), 4722; Maine DOE Rule Chapter 127.

5.17 Lockdown Drills and Emergency Evacuation Drills

Schools are required to conduct lockdown drills as well as emergency evacuation drills. Written procedures for emergency evacuation drills shall be posted in all buildings. Written procedures for lockdown drills shall not be posted. Schools at all levels K-12 are required to hold two drills during the first two weeks of school. Schools enrolling grades K-4 shall hold an additional eight drills during the year; schools enrolling grades 5-8, an additional six drills; and schools enrolling grades 9-12, an additional four drills. Schools enrolling any combinations of these grade levels shall hold the additional number of drills required of the lowest grade level within the span, except that the local fire chief may increase the number of drills required. Results shall be recorded and deficiencies noted and corrected using local code compliance forms. School personnel shall receive an annual orientation in drill requirements. SAUs must develop and maintain Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans that require school board approval pursuant to 20-A MRS §100116. 20-A M.R.S. §1001(16); 1 M.R.S. §402(3)(L).

5.18 Multi-tiered System of Support

All school administrative units are required to develop and implement a multi-tiered system of support, kindergarten to grade 12, that provides each child with differentiated learning experiences and/or assistance to achieve social and emotional development, meet the content standards of the system of Learning Results, and graduation requirements. These supports must be specific, timely, and based upon ongoing formative assessments that continuously monitor student progress. Public Law 2019, Chapter 219.

A multi-tiered system of support has three distinct levels of intervention available to general education students:

Tier I - Universal Supports. This tier begins with the implementation of core, curriculum, including strategies to assist student development and learning. Typically, these supports are differentiated based on student need and provided to all students within the classroom. Tier I supports continue when Tier II or Tier III interventions are added.

Tier II - Targeted Supports. Supplemental instruction or supports provided to students in addition to Tier 1. These may be provided by qualified staff, including, but not limited to, the classroom teacher, an intervention specialist, or an authorized Educational Technician. Targeted support may involve more intensive practice and/or monitoring of regular classroom activities.

Tier III - Intensive Supports. Intensive instruction or supports provided to students through small group or one-to-one interventions, within the classroom or through an individualized environment, with an increased focus on teaching specific skills.

While there may be variations in how school administrative units develop and implement a multi-tiered system of support, the systems must include:

* Assurance that every child is provided with evidence-based core (Tier 1) academic instruction and positive behavioral and social/emotional supports;

* A collection of evidence-based, academic, behavioral, and social/emotional Tier II and III interventions that are available for students who need them;

* A team-based process to review children's progress and evaluate whether students who are struggling in any academic, behavioral, or social/emotional area may need more intensive Tier II or III support;

* A consistent process of valid, reliable, and age appropriate screening and progress monitoring to evaluate student progress at all tiers;

* A method to determine whether a child's assessed challenges are likely the result of trauma, linguistic, and/or cultural experiences;

* A mechanism for including parents in decision-making about a child's potential participation in Tier II or III activities; and

* Provisions for supports to continue during any subsequent special education referral.

The parent may request that a full and individual evaluation for possible special education eligibility determination be conducted at any time during the multi-tiered system of support review process.

Disclaimer: These regulations may not be the most recent version. Maine may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.