USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon and Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will present the award at a school assembly Friday
NORTHEAST HARBOR – The Mount Desert Elementary School will become the first in Maine honored with a Gold Medal of Distinction from the HealthierUS School Challenge.
“What can we all do to help you?”
Three years ago, the state labeled Deer Isle-Stonington High School as one of 10 “persistently low-achieving” schools in Maine. Now DISHS is drawing nothing but acclaim as a result of the dedication of principal Todd West and his faculty to school-wide improvement, from the ground up.
Being labeled one of the lowest-achieving schools impacted not only the reputation of DISHS, but also the students’ opinions of their education. “The damage that that did to the psyche of the school was incredible,” said Leslie Billings, special education/math teacher. “There’s got to be a better way. For many students, their thought process was, ‘If you’re going to be at the bottom, then what’s the point?’ For some of the students, there is no pride in the school because of that.”
AUGUSTA – The four-year graduation rate for Maine high schools rose for a third year in a row, to 85.34 percent for 2012. It’s a rise of more than 1½ percentage points from the previous year and nearly 5 percentage points since 2009.
A little over a year ago, I outlined a vision for education in Maine, our strategic plan, Education Evolving, at Capital Area Technical Center. A few weeks later, Governor LePage and I laid out the education agenda at the Somerset Career and Technical Education Center in Skowhegan. We at Maine DOE, in collaboration with schools and school districts, have made great progress in changing policies and focus toward a system that supports students in achieving proficiency in rigorous standards that will prepare them to be ready for college and careers.
College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor is offering K-12 teachers one- and two-week field-based courses in multiple disciplines for graduate and continuing education credit. Attendees will learn on the shores and trails of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Partial scholarships are available, and applications should be received by March 17, 2013.
The Department is working with career and technical instructors to help them incorporate teaching of literacy skills to their students in a way that is aligned to the new, more rigorous and appropriate Common Core State Standards.
Mount Desert Elementary students Ivanna Dmitrieff (left) and Faith Reece press apples for cider during Harvest Lunch Week.
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At Mount Desert Elementary School, students and staff took Maine’s annual Harvest Lunch Week very seriously by incorporating local ingredients into their lunch menu five days in a row, with some produce from as nearby as the school’s own backyard.
For this year’s Harvest Lunch Week, held September 24 through 28, Mount Desert celebrated a harvest-related theme each day.
Students in grades K-8 worked in the kitchen with school cook Linda Mailhot to learn more about Maine-made produce and the importance of using local ingredients. “It’s like the whole school’s in and out of here all the time,” Mailhot said. “Everybody gets into the meals—even the teachers.”
Brooklin students in grades 4 through 8 are on a rotating schedule to help cook Lori Boyce in the kitchen. Last Thursday, Colby Schneider (left) served broccoli to students, and Lucas Torrey dished up corn.
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During Harvest Lunch Week, schools statewide are encouraged to incorporate Maine-made ingredients into their lunch menus. But at the Brooklin School in Hancock County, Harvest Lunch Week is nothing out of the ordinary – cook Lori Boyce serves local food every day of the year.
Instead of consuming instant mashed potatoes or from-the-box desserts, Brooklin students eat potatoes they dug up in the school’s garden and pumpkin bars baked with gourds they grew themselves.
Boyce makes nearly all her food from scratch, which is difficult yet feasible at a K-8 elementary with a 46-student enrollment for 2012-13.
Chelsea Brown wears a sandwich board at a recent Deer Isle-Stonington High School basketball game.
The schools in Deer Isle and Stonington want input from the community so the school system can craft a long-term strategic plan. Turns out, a sandwich board is part of the solution.
During two recent basketball games, Deer Isle-Stonington High School students Chelsea Brown, Kasi Billings and Morgan Shepherd wore a sandwich board with four questions. Residents were encouraged to write their ideas on the board or submit them on paper.