Category Archives: Multimedia

School academies provide customized learning in Belfast

Students share feedback on Troy Howard Middle School's standards-based system with Commissioner Bowen.

Troy Howard students engage in conversation with Commissioner Bowen about the school’s standards-based academy system.
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When I visited Troy Howard Middle School on Thursday as part of the tail end of my Promising Practices Tour, I was impressed by the school’s two-year academy system that puts students first by placing them in one of three academies based on their learning styles.

Under Principal Kim Buckheit’s leadership, the Belfast school implemented the standards-based academy system to give seventh and eighth graders more control over their learning. The Innovation Academy offers a hands-on approach to those who benefit from project-based learning, the International Academy brings a global perspective to students trying to see the bigger picture, and the Ecology Academy combines experiential learning with the practice of ecological sustainability.

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Auto technology students win state championship, head for nationals

Students pose with their instructor, holding their first-place trophies for Maine’s Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition.

Alex Grover (left) and Noah Ufkin (right) celebrate with their instructor, John Carmichael, after their first-place victory in Maine’s Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition.

Thanks to Portland Public Schools for sharing this release with the Maine DOE for publication.

A team of automotive technology students from Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) received first place in Maine’s Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition on May 11.

Twenty students representing 10 high schools across Maine put their automotive skills to the test by fixing mechanical problems on their assigned Ford cars. The team that fixed all of the problems on its car first won the competition.

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Maine FFA Association hosts 83rd state convention

Maine FFA State President Isaac Wortman (left) presents honorary state FFA degrees to Commissioners Bowen and Whitcomb.

Maine FFA State President Isaac Wortman (left) presents honorary state FFA degrees to Commissioners Bowen and Whitcomb.

The Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) held its 83rd annual state convention May 9-10 at the University of Maine.

Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb spoke at the FFA award banquet, as did visiting National FFA President Clay Sapp. Gabrielle Cyr of Ashland High School was named Outstanding Student Chapter Officer, and Kevin Marquis of Easton was named FFA Chapter Advisor of the Year. Maine FFA specially recognized Thomas Hale, Caribou Regional Technology Center agriculture teacher, who is retiring after 38 years of teaching and numerous accomplishments.

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Former Maine teacher releases book on senior capstone

Image of book cover - Unleashed to Learn: Empowering Students to Learn at Full Capacity

Linda C. Aronson developed the senior capstone at Hall-Dale High School and recently published this book out of her experience.

Linda Aronson, who taught for six years at Hall-Dale High School initiating and developing the senior capstone, has crafted the book Unleashed to Learn: Empowering Students to Learn at Full Capacity out of her experience. Part case study and part advocacy, Aronson describes her work at Hall-Dale and argues passionately for more learner-led education and performance assessment in schools.

Performance assessment–in which students pursue genuine interests, in real world settings, and in ways that suit their learning styles–is one of the keystones of Maine’s vision of proficiency-based/learner-centered education.  Continue reading

Maine FFA officers celebrate Maine Agriculture Day at the Legislature

Maine FFA State Officers at their display in the State House Hall of Flags.

Maine FFA State Officers at their display in the State House Hall of Flags.

Student state officers from the Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) celebrated Maine Agriculture Day at the Legislature March 27. State officers were presented to both chambers of the Maine State Legislature, staffed a display in the Hall of Flags, and attended the culminating luncheon at the State Grange, with food served courtesy of the Grange and the Maine Aquaculture Association.

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Governor’s Conference on Education leads to positive discussions about student-focused reform

Headshot of Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennet.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett gave the keynote address at the first Governor’s Conference on Education.

The following is a news release from the Governor’s Office.

Everyone agrees putting students first is most important

AUGUSTA – Invited to Maine by Gov. Paul R. LePage, education policy leaders from around the country shared practices, models and innovative reforms with more than 200 legislators, business leaders, educators and others at Cony High School Friday at the Governor’s Conference on Education: Putting Students First.

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Weatherbee School gets community involved in Maine Day

Fourth grade student Colin Trudelle uses a microscope to study fiber investigation.

Weatherbee School fourth grade student Colin Trudelle focuses on fiber investigation during a Maine Day paper making workshop (hosted by the Maine Discovery Museum).

George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden recently celebrated its second annual “Maine Day,” a tribute to Maine Statehood Day, by offering dozens of state-themed workshops to its third through fifth grade students on Monday, March 18.

This year’s event featured over 40 presenters, half of whom were outside visitors from the community. Presenters taught workshops that focused on Maine’s slogan: The Way Life Should Be.  Teachers assigned third grade students to workshops, but fourth and fifth graders could sign-up for the workshops that most appealed to them. Workshops included: “A Wicked Good Guide to Maine Language,” in which kids listened to a true Mainer speak and translated to people from afar; “Mission of the Maine Warden Services,” which explained game wardens’ role in protecting fish and wildlife; “Whoopie Pies,” in which students heard about the official state treat; and “Aroostook County,” a brief overview of the area and potato harvesting.

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Boothbay-Tasmania water project on tap

Boothbay Region High School science and environmental science teacher Lauren Graham, second from right, prepares with other teachers from around the country for the water quality pilot project with Tasmania, Australia this month.

Boothbay Region High School science and environmental science teacher Lauren Graham, second from right, prepares with other teachers from around the country for the water quality pilot project with Tasmania, Australia this month.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Simon Costanzo

Thanks to the Boothbay Register for sharing this article, by staff writer Lisa Kristoff, with the Maine DOE for publication.

“I am so beyond excited,” Lauren Graham said last week.

What’s she so jazzed about? How about the fact that Boothbay Region High School juniors and seniors in her ecology and oceanography classes will be participating in an international pilot water quality project: the USAUS-H20 (U.S.-Australia Virtual Environmental Partnership).

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Waynflete School wins first Maine LifeSmarts state championship

Waynflete School students accept trophy for winning the state competition for LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge.

Waynflete School students won the state competition for LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge.

Thanks to Mary Dyer of the Maine Jump$tart Coalition for sharing this press release with the Maine DOE for publication.

Portland – Four Maine high schools came together to compete in LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge, at the Unum Corporate Campus in Portland on Friday, March 1. Hosted by the Maine Jump$tart Coalition, this competition-based educational program develops the consumer and marketplace skills of teens. Sanford High School in Sanford, Waynflete School in Portland, Woodland High School in Woodland, and United Technologies Center in Bangor all competed in the state competition.

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Best practices, spirits improve at Deer Isle-Stonington HS

DISHS principal Todd West shows Commissioner Bowen a technical trades area of the school.

DISHS principal Todd West shows Commissioner Bowen a technical trades area of the school.
Click to view more photos from this event.

“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.”

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