Maine Department of Education

The Maine Department of Education provides leadership and support to educators and families in preparing all Maine students for success in college, careers and civic life.

The Maine DOE Newsroom highlights the work of Maine schools and the Department of Education.

Maine DOE Thanks Maine Educators Serving on Multi-State Alternate Assessment Item Review Committee

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) wishes to thank the ten Maine educators who recently participated in the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) Item Review Committee in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

MSAA is Maine’s alternate assessment is based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS) in ELA/literacy and mathematics, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who have been found eligible by the IEP Team.  As a partner in the MSAA Consortium, Maine engages actively in the ongoing development cycle of this assessment throughout the year. As a result of this collaboration, Maine’s students with the most significant cognitive disabilities participate in state assessment that has been designed with input from the same dedicated and expert Maine educators who serve this population every day.

During the Item Review Committee, Maine educators served on panels to review proposed items for the Spring 2023 MSAA.  Items were reviewed for both alignment to content and potential bias and sensitivity issues. Panelists also provided critical feedback on the accessibility of items across diverse student populations.  During this experience, Maine participants collaborated with educators from across the MSAA Partner Entities: TN, AZ, MT, DC, the Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense Schools, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The expertise of Maine educators is critical to the development of the state’s alternate assessments. Their engagement ensures that Maine continues to strive towards high standards and achievement for all Maine students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

Many thanks to the following panelists for sharing their time and expertise during this review!

 

School Renovation Funding Available

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is accepting applications to receive funding for school renovation projects through the School Revolving Renovation Fund (SRRF). The application deadline is October 31, 2022.

The Maine DOE will be able to approve approximately $10 million in SRRF loans. A portion of each loan will be considered a grant and will be forgiven. The remaining portion will be paid back over either five or ten years with no interest. The maximum loan amount is limited to $1 million per school building per priority in any five-year period.

Applications for Priority One projects will be accepted.  Priority One projects include indoor air quality improvement, structural roof repair, hazardous material abatement or removal, ADA compliance upgrades, and other health, safety and compliance renovations.

The SRRF application and additional information are available on the Maine DOE’s SRRF website. For more information or technical assistance, contact Ann Pinnette at 207-215-3809 or email ann.pinnette@maine.gov.

 

U.S. Department of Education Special Event: Reimagining Our Investments for Strengthening Educator Effectiveness

Many teachers in the U.S. are feeling stretched beyond their limits. In fact, one in four American teachers reported considering leaving their jobs by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Overall staffing levels in schools are down across the nation, often forcing remaining teachers to “do double duty” to address student well-being and overcome the impact of lost instructional time. School systems are finding new and innovative ways to encourage, invest in, and lift up teachers across America by pursuing strategies to increase teacher collaboration, reduce teacher workload, attend to dimensions of teacher wellness, and enact inclusive practices to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Effective Educator Development (EED) Division is hosting a special Powered by Teach to Lead event. This event will convene P-12 school districts focused on strengthening educator effectiveness through projects aligned with

  • increasing teacher collaboration through innovative scheduling,
  • supporting educator wellness using targeted practices, and
  • investing in a talented and diverse teacher pipeline.

What is Powered by Teach to Lead?

Powered by Teach to Lead events provide teams with collaboration time, skills development, and professional consultation to develop and refine innovative projects that can make a positive impact for educators and students in their schools, communities, districts, and states.

What are the benefits for teams attending this event?

  • Collaboration time to develop and refine a theory of action that addresses a challenge within a district, region, or state
  • Obtain the support of a dedicated “critical friend” to facilitate thinking and advance the project work
  • Build relationships with the U.S. Department of Education, other education partners, and innovative peers in the field
  • Participate in learning experiences related to implementation planning
  • Register at no cost and receive free on-site lodging

Who should apply?

  • Any team that has been engaged in innovative work for at least one school year is encouraged to apply HERE by 11:59 pm ET on July 15, 2022. Accepted teams will be notified by the end of July.
  • Teams must have 4-6 members, consisting of at least one teacher, and should represent the expertise, authority, and perspective required to do the work effectively (e.g., superintendent, principal, collective bargaining representative, curriculum specialist, teacher, board of education member, and other individuals with diverse perspectives).
  • The focus of the work may be at the school, district, or regional level, and must focus on one of these key areas:
    • increasing teacher collaboration time using innovative scheduling practices – for example, four-day school week, extended school day, professional learning communities, embedded professional learning, common planning time, and alternative approaches to the traditional teacher workload
    • supporting educator (teacher and principal) well-being using innovative approaches – for example, targeted efforts focused on dimensions of educator wellness (e.g., emotional, environmental, or social wellness) or inclusive practices
    • investing in a talented and diverse teacher pipeline – for example, diversifying the educator workforce, implementing grow-your-own programs and teacher residency programs, supporting teachers in earning additional certification in high-demand areas, and creating opportunities for teacher advancement and leadership

Event Logistics

  • Accepted teams will convene virtually in advance of the event for approximately 60 minutes.
  • The event begins at 1:00PM ET on Friday, September 16, and ends at 5:00PM ET on Saturday, September 17.
  • There is no registration cost for this event, and participants will receive free on-site lodging.

For more information, visit https://eed.communities.ed.gov/#program/2022-powered-by-ttl-special-event and please contact the EED Technical Assistance Center EED-TA@aemcorp.com. Submissions can be submitted HERE.

Job Openings for First4 AmeriCorps Program – Info Session 7/8

Child Development Services (CDS) in collaboration with Kennebec Valley Community Action (KVCAP)/Educare Central Maine are recruiting for the First4 AmeriCorps program.  If you know someone interested in working with young children please share the AmeriCorps information found at https://www.flipsnack.com/…/americorps…/full-view.html.

An information session will be held on July 8th at 8:30am – Interested people may register here. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please plan to attend the information session to learn more, meet current members, hear what they do in classrooms, and ask questions.

For further information please reach out to agiallombardo@kvcap.org.

Media Release: Governor Mills Announces Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to Provide Maine Students Hands On, Outdoor Coastal Learning Experiences this Summer

Delivering on a promise from her State of the State Address, Governor Janet Mills announced today the launch of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to provide Maine students with hands-on, outdoor learning experiences this summer.

 

The Initiative, developed by the Maine Department of Education using Federal funding, will give middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in marine and coastal ecology learning programs, including marine research and exploration, boat building, sailing, career exploration with marine businesses, island immersion programs, and more.

 

For example, The Ecology School will take students on field trips to sand beaches, tidepools, and salt marshes to learn about Maine’s coastal ecosystems. The Herring Gut Coastal Science Center will expose students to sea run fish streams, oyster farms, mudflats, hatcheries, and laboratories, while also touring marine businesses across the Midcoast to let students see firsthand potential careers in Maine’s maritime industries. Sailing Ships Maine will offer students the chance to sail aboard a commercial training ship as an active member of the crew.

 

This outdoor learning Initiative will benefit at least 1,000 students from across Maine, with a focus on students from low-income families from regions of Maine where they do not typically have access to such experiences. 


“The Maine outdoors is one of our greatest treasures. At a time when devices and screens too often grab the attention of our kids, getting them outside and connected to our state has never been more important,” said Governor Janet Mills. “In my State of the State Address, I promised that we would partner with outdoor organizations to create new learning opportunities and help young people who may have lost ground in school during the pandemic. Today I’m delivering on that promise. Our Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative will help our students learn, grow, develop new skills, and build an appreciation for the outdoors that will lead to new, lifelong interests.”


“The Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative offers hands on, highly engaging programs that allow Maine’s young people to explore and learn from our state’s amazing bounty of natural resources,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. “Being outside connecting with nature and each other is so important in helping students recover from the pandemic. These outdoor learning experiences will build teamwork and leadership skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop new skills in our vast outdoor classroom which will translate to success inside the classroom as well. We thank all of the organizations that stepped up to be a part of this exciting initiative.”

 

This kind of experiential learning is highly engaging and allows students to problem solve and learn new skills in real world settings, build teamwork and leadership skills, increase self-confidence, and develop an appreciation of nature.

 

Spending time outdoors has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety and to equip students with skills and knowledge that can help them succeed inside the classroom. Being able to interact with nature while building connections with peers is also beneficial students’ recovery following the disruptions and difficulties caused by the pandemic.    

 

The organizations that will receive funding through the Initiative welcomed the announcement:

 

“Governor Mills’ new Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative is such a breath of fresh air for Maine kids and for innovative education throughout the state. Through the support of the Maine Department of Education, Maine kids in middle school and high school will have access to experiential education experiences that get kids outside this summer to explore Maine’s amazing diversity of coastal ecosystems,” said Drew Dumsch, Ecology School Executive Director. “As part of the Initiative, The Ecology School is proud to be offering three sessions of the new Governor’s Academy for Coastal Ecology this July and will be offering up to 180 camperships for Maine students entering grades 6-9 to attend a free week of camp at our River Bend Farm campus in Saco.” 


“Schoodic Institute is thrilled to work with the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to create hands-on coastal education opportunities here in Downeast Maine for under-resourced schools and low-income families,” said Nicholas Fisichelli, President and CEO of Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. “Furthermore, the early-career internship positions created through this initiative will be springboards for bright careers in outdoor education in Maine.”


“Downeast Institute is delighted to have received support from the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative,” said Dianne Tilton, Executive Director of the Downeast Institute. “We have been helping students for years to enjoy science and math using outdoor marine science activities, and are excited to expand our program this summer.”


“All of us at Herring Gut Coastal Science Center are excited to bring the wonders and possibilities of marine science and aquaculture careers to Midcoast youth,” said Tom Mullin, Executive Director, Herring Gut Coastal Science Center.  The middle school and high school students will have a chance to have some fantastic hands on experiences made possible by these grants.”


“We are thrilled to have been awarded the
Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grant from the State of Maine,” said Adam Shepard Executive Director of Rippleffect. “The programs at Rippleffect, focused on connecting participants to themselves, each other, and the natural world around them, are more important now than ever. This grant will help us continue to grow these opportunities for all children in Maine.”


“Thanks to the support of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, Sailing Ships Maine will be able to connect more Maine students who need step-up experiences, the chance to disconnect from social media, and the opportunity to engage human-to-human in problem solving challenges that build connection and confidence,” said Alex Agnew, Executive Director of Sailing Ships Maine. “By taking a leap and going to sea for a multi-night tall ship sailing experience, students’ minds can be broadened about the potential of their lives at the same time they are gathering valuable skills in leadership, teamwork, science, technology, engineering and math in a fascinating and engaging hands-on learning environment. We are thrilled to be a partner in this initiative for Maine students!”


“Maine Maritime Academy is excited to have been selected as a grant recipient through the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative in support of Summer Coastal Ecology Programs. With the expansion of the Discovery Voyage program, MMA will be able to introduce students from around Maine to the coastal estuaries and marine environments that are vital to the economic sustainability of the coastal ecosystems of our state,” said Kimberly Reilly, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing for Maine Maritime Academy. “Maine Maritime Academy’s location on Castine Harbor allows students to go beyond the classroom and affords them the opportunity to be on the water for an up-close exploration of coastal environments.”

 

“Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership is honored to receive DOE funding to support new and expanded experiential science education initiatives in partnership with The Game Loft, The University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, The Apprenticeshop, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, along with teachers and leaders at partner schools across the state,” said Tara Elliott, Grants Coordinator for Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. “This support from the DOE will bring  new students to Hurricane Island’s sustainable campus for hands-on learning and will expand our education initiatives into the school year, bolstering support for teachers and schools implementing place-based learning while also getting students more time doing science outside. We hear firsthand from students and teachers about the uniquely impactful experience of learning on Hurricane Island, and we are grateful to be able to offer these experiences to a greater number of Maine youth.”

 

Organizations participating in the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative include: Herring Gut Coastal Science Center in Port Clyde, Hurricane Island + Bryant Pond in Bryant Pond, Hurricane Island + Game Loft, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Sailing Ships Maine in Portland, the Ecology School in Saco, Boothbay Sea and Science Center in Boothbay, Casco Bay High School and Rippleffect in Portland, Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Science and Education in Beals, Hurricane Island Foundation in Rockland, Laudholm Trust in Wells, Rippleffect in Portland, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, and the University of Maine System Cooperative Extension summer camps at Blueberry Cove and Tanglewood.

 

The Initiative is funded by nearly $900,000 in Federal funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds. Full program descriptions can be found here.