Category Archives: News & Views

Maine’s academic achievement noted by Education Week

Maine continues to have its strengths and challenges according to a recently published ‘Quality Counts’ report released by the Education Week Research Center.

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February is Career and Technical Education month

AUGUSTA — Maine’s career and technical education schools and educators of applied technology and workforce development are being recognized during the month of February.

“From industry-recognized training and dual enrollments in colleges, to professional licensures and industry-recognized certificates, approximately 8,500 of Maine high school students enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) programs are demonstrating industry and college proficiencies, ranging from robotics to coding, from culinary arts to welding, building trades to health services, and marketing to auto technology. CTE programs adhere to rigorous industry-recognized standards and offer students hand-on learning at its best,” says Maine DOE’s Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley.

In Maine, CTE is provided at 27 regional schools in all counties across the state, each affiliated with a group of nearby sending high schools. There are 60 different programs; an ever increasing number leading to industry-recognized credentials while credits are earned towards high school graduation and post-secondary attainment. Most programs have articulation agreements or lead to an industry pathway.

Maine DOE’s Career and Technical Education Director Margaret Harvey says she hears a variety of comments from students about their CTE experience. “Students are engaged and excited to be in CTE, and we routinely hear students say, ‘CTE is the reason I am still in school; CTE makes learning relevant.’  School review teams also hear students describe that they are treated like they would be in a professional workplace, and students have said, ‘The instructors are mentors and role models.’”

Studies reported by the National Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) note that the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. More than 75 percent of secondary CTE students pursue postsecondary education shortly after high school.

At the postsecondary level, students with a CTE-related associate degree or credential earn an average of $4,000-$19,000 more than students with a humanities associate degree. Twenty-seven percent of those CTE students having less than an associate degree but holding licenses and certificates are earning more than the average bachelor degree recipient.

“CTE and related skill development courses are an essential component of Maine’s K-12 public schools. Students thrive on this high school level CTE experience that provides critical thinking and deeper learning, offering students not only a continued interest in their education, but a tangible skill, trade and training that takes them into the future.” says Beardsley.

To learn more about career and technical education in Maine visit www.mainecte.org or www.maine.gov/doe/cte. For more information about regional CTE schools, contact Maine DOE’s Director of Career and Technical Education Margaret Harvey at margaret.harvey@maine.gov or Director of Communications Anne Gabbianelli at anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov or 624-6747.

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Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year.

To extend this program, the Child Nutrition Service, a division of the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE), is now seeking out organizations who would like to participate in this federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a program that provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“We all realize that children learn better when they have nutritious meals during the school day,” says Maine DOE Acting Commissioner William Beardsley. “Our long standing public school breakfast and lunch programs have served Maine children well. With federal assistance, Maine needs partners for the Summer Food Service Program.”

Last summer, 118 sponsors participated in the program, serving an average of 11,400 lunches a day to children at almost 400 sites reaching about 20 percent of eligible children. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program or where census track data supports the need.

Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in mid-February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful SFSP. Potential sponsors are required to take training courses. Current workshops are planned April 14 for new sponsors and March 16 for experienced sponsors. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact gail.lombardi@maine.gov, call 624-6842, or visit http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and, where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form online or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

Commissioner’s Update – February 4, 2016

From the Maine Department of Education

Maine’s First Lady launched the Read to ME Challenge this week reflecting on how she and her kids would pack their bags to go to the local library for the afternoon. “It was a routine we all looked forward to. With demands of daily life, it was sometimes difficult to find time to sit and read, but we always made it a priority.”

In speaking with military families at the Blaine House, Mrs LePage said, “As a mother, I always believed in the importance of early childhood literacy as it pertained to my children’s success in life.”

Acting Education Commissioner Bill Beardsley got a chuckle from the children when he said, “I remember my dad falling asleep reading to me in the evening.” He went on, “I grew to love reading, I love reading to my kids and grandkids, reading is a wonderful gift.”

In following the spirit of the Read to ME Challenge, The First Lady issued the challenge to the Barbara Bush Foundation and Maine’s Adjutant General, Colonel Douglas Farnum. Additionally, Governor Paul LePage extended challenges, via a letter, to Acting Education Commissioner Beardsley, Maine Public Broadcasting Network and the Maine State Library.

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Notices and Reporting Items

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News & Views

Registration open for postsecondary transition conference

Special education administrators, special education high school teachers, transition coordinators and specialists, vocational rehabilitation case managers, and parents of children/students with disabilities are invited to attend a daylong conference on postsecondary transition planning. | More

Celebrate school counselors Feb. 1–5

The first week of February is National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). | More

Student sought to serve on State Board of Education

The Maine State Board of Education is seeking a student from the second congressional district in Maine to serve as a participating, non-voting member. | More

Transitions suicide prevention training Feb. 25

Maine DOE in collaboration with Suicide Prevention Training contractor NAMI Maine, will be offering the Transitions Lessons Teacher Training on February 25. | More

National School Choice Week brings charter school students to Augusta

Maine Charter Schools Day was recognized last month in the State House Hall of Flags. | More

Secretary of State Congressional Medal of Honor Project

Teachers, administrators and community leaders are encouraged to get involved in the Maine Secretary of State Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH) Project. | More

Maine DOE supports Family Violence Project through volunteer effort

The Family Violence Project is the recipient this year of the Maine DOE’s seasonal fundraiser. | More

Preliminary FY 2017 State subsidy printouts available

The following Priority Notice was sent to all Maine school districts on Friday, Jan. 29. | More

A grateful teacher tells her story

2015 Knox County Teacher of the Year was once a homeless child and she tells her story while expressing her gratitude. | More (links to Bangor Daily News)

More Dispatches | Press Releases | Priority Notices


LATEST DOE Career/Project Opportunities

You have been challenged…the ‘Read to ME Challenge’ has launched

Maine’s First Lady launched the Read to ME Challenge this week reflecting on how she and her kids would pack their bags to go to the local library for the afternoon. “It was a routine we all looked forward to. With demands of daily life, it was sometimes difficult to find time to sit and read, but we always made it a priority.”

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Maine DOE supports Family Violence Project through volunteer effort

The Family Violence Project is the recipient this year of the Maine DOE’s seasonal fundraiser. Last week, Maine DOE presented a $1,100 check to the Augusta-based non-profit organization.

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National School Choice Week brings charter school students to Augusta

Maine Charter Schools Day was recognized last month in the State House Hall of Flags. The day was full of various activities, among them students speaking before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

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Transitions suicide prevention training Feb. 25

In an effort to continue our support of Maine’s youth, Maine DOE in collaboration with Suicide Prevention Training contractor NAMI Maine, will be offering the Transitions Lessons Teacher Training on February 25. In order to attend, participants must have previously completed Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Training.

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Congressional Medal of Honor Project

Teachers, administrators and community leaders are encouraged to get involved in the Maine Secretary of State Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH) Project in recognizing Maine’s Medal of Honor recipients.

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Student sought to serve on State Board of Education — applications due Feb. 22

The Maine State Board of Education is seeking a student from the second congressional district in Maine to serve as a participating, non-voting member. Student members have all the responsibilities and privileges of regular members. The responsibilities include: being knowledgeable of current education issues, carefully preparing for regular monthly meetings and participating actively in the discussions of the Board.

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