Category Archives: Safety

Simple strategies for safer, more effective schools

Next week, I have the honor of speaking about school security at the Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference. I am excited to share all the advancements we’ve made here in recent years to strengthen the safety and security of our schools, especially since the shootings at Sandy Hook.

Most notably, thanks to two security reports commissioned by the Legislature and our Department and produced by Safe Havens International and PDT Architects, Maine schools now better understand their vulnerabilities and opportunities to better ensure student and staff safety.

Knowing how important this work is can often make it daunting for districts and schools boards to figure out where to best begin. That’s why as a follow-up to those assessments and in partnership with Safe Havens International, we are pleased to provide a free school security guide entitled 20 Simple Strategies to Safer and More Effective Schools.

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School Facility Management System to go offline June 30

In an effort to reduce the burden of unfunded education mandates, the Legislature recently accepted the Department’s recommendation to repeal the requirement that the Maine DOE provide a facilities maintenance template and capital planning software to school units. Therefore, the School Facility Management System (SFMS) will no longer be available after June 30, the end date of the current contract with VFA, Inc., the software provider.
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Educators invited to emergency preparedness conference

The 6th Annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference will be held April 22-23 at the Augusta Civic Center, and include a strong focus on school security. More than 40 workshops and demonstrations are scheduled during the free two-day event with statewide, national and international preparedness partners.

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Security reports suggest improvements to keep schools, students safe

Maine schools have positive climates and State agencies are proactive in providing them meaningful safety-related resources, but there are extensive opportunities to better ensure safety.

Those are the high-level findings of two school security reports the Maine DOE overviewed to the Legislature’s Education Committee this week. Continue reading

Expanded suicide prevention training helps us better support students

All of us share a commitment to ensuring our schools are physically and emotionally safe and supportive places for students to learn and thrive.

That’s why I was so troubled to read in the findings of our latest Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey that 16.8 percent of our middle school students and 14.6 percent of high school students have seriously considered attempting suicide.

As a parent and grandparent, the reality that youth with such incredible potential feel so overwhelmed and helpless deeply saddens me. And as your Commissioner of Education, I want you to know our Department is collaborating with others to take serious steps to help students before they harm themselves. Continue reading

Governor LePage proclaims February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Members of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Family Violence Project and other violence awareness advocates joined the Governor as he signed the proclamation earlier this month.

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has proclaimed the month of February to be Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. He recently joined domestic violence awareness advocates in his office to sign the proclamation and praised them for their work. Continue reading

Updates on student, school health surveys

Principals whose school participated in the 2013 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) should have already received login information including passwords to the MIYHS website. If you are a principal of a participating school who did not receive a password, please contact Stephen Corral at stephen.corral@maine.gov or 287-2964. Please note passwords are required to access your school’s data. Continue reading

Youth health survey reveals gender differences

Last week the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released the results of the 2013 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS). The survey is administered by the two State agencies every other year at public schools to students in grades five through 12, with more than 63,000 respondents in 2013. Continue reading

Maine youth report healthier habits, struggles with depression

The biannual survey of the state’s grade 5-12 students is an effort of the Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and informs prevention and program planning

AUGUSTA – Maine youth are making healthier choices, including smoking and drinking less, but are increasingly struggling with their emotional wellbeing.

Those findings and other insights directly from tens of thousands of Maine students about their health and habits are detailed in the newly released results of the 2013 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS). Continue reading

Free trainings on school integrated pest management

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is offering six free Comprehensive School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Training workshops in early 2014.   Continue reading