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.

Get to Know the Maine DOE: Meet Pender Makin

Maine DOE Team member Pender Makin is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Pender in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE? 

It’s my honor to be serving in the role of Commissioner of Education. My duties span all of the statutory requirements in Title 20-A, and our team members at DOE all contribute to this work.

What do you like best about your job?

What I like most is knowing that my efforts are on behalf of something so deeply important. I believe that public education is the most critical underpinning of democracy and that all students deserve equitable opportunities and access to high quality learning environments and educational programs.  This past year has been extremely difficult – but, even on my most discouraging day, when I’m feeling exhausted and depleted, I feel extremely blessed to be spending my energy, efforts, and time engaged in such meaningful work.

How or why did you decide on this career?

It was more of a 3-decade journey than a decision … When I was an Ed Tech III, I aspired to become a teacher so that I could really make a difference for students. Once I became a teacher, I wanted to make bigger changes and continued my education so that someday I could be a building principal. As a principal, I had the opportunity to better understand how certain practices, systems, and policies impact the experience of students in the classroom, and I did my best to influence these in a positive direction. Later, when I became a district leader, I worked within that scope of influence, and when this opportunity was presented to me, I saw it as a chance to really make a difference for Maine students and for public education in general.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

I love to play piano and/or ukulele and sing out loud with friends (I sure miss that in this pandemic!) I also love: to be at the beach during all seasons, in all weather; snuggling with my dogs; playing cribbage with my husband; and helping my parents with their gardening and other chores.

Maine DOE Update – April 16, 2021


From the Maine Department of Education


Reporting Items

Approved Non-public School Data Needed by May 14 for Equitable Service Calculations

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking overall school enrollment and economically disadvantaged student count data from all approved non-public schools across the state. The Department needs this important data to calculate equitable service levels for non-public schools under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Approved non-public schools are encouraged to provide this data as soon as possible, but no later than May 14, 2021. Any approved non-public school that does not provide the Department with this requested data by the May 14, 2021, deadline will not be eligible for equitable services during in the 2021-2022 school year. | More

| Visit the DC&R Reporting Calendar |


News & Updates

Considerations for Schools Supporting Observances During School Year- Ramadan Begins

Other than the Christian observance of Christmas, Maine school calendars do not currently include days off from school for religious holidays. As a result, those of other faiths must navigate their observances around the expectations of schools – including expectations regarding attendance and participation – which may conflict with the traditions of the observance. To assist schools in understanding the timing, traditions, and possible impacts of some religious holidays, the Maine Department of Education has shared a calendar and considerations for major religious observances that may occur during the school year. | More

How Are you Planning to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week?

The Maine Department of Education is generating a list of creative ways to thank educators this year ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7th)! We are inviting school and district administrators, parents/families, individuals, community members, businesses, and organizations to share ways in which they plan to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (or great ideas used in the past)! We will feature many of these creative ideas as a resource to people across Maine leading up to Teacher Appreciation Week! | More

Nominations Open for Governor’s Volunteerism Awards

There are many different types of positions that help our schools operate day to day, serving as a vital part of Maine’s communities, including our beloved school volunteers! Now is the time to recognize these wonderful human beings for all of the selfless things they do for their community. In addition, there are many youth across our state that take community service learning to a whole different level by taking an active role volunteering in their community and making a real difference. | More

Celebrating the 2021 Week of the Young Child

The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Week of the Young Child is turning 50! This weeklong celebration highlights the importance of high-quality learning opportunities for young children and their families through a variety of awareness building activities. This year, the Week of the Young Child will be celebrated April 10-April 16, 2021. | More

Maine Celebrates 21 New and 5 Renewed National Board Certified Teachers in Virtual Ceremony

Maine recognized 21 teachers newly certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) during an April 8 virtual ceremony. These exemplary educators join more than 400 teachers across the state who have gone through this highly reflective and transformative professional development, including five of their colleagues who renewed their National Board Certification this year. | More

Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) 2.0 Seeks Distinguished

The Maine Department of Education is hiring five distinguished educators to join our team in supporting MLTI 2.0 professional learning. These are full-time, two-year, contracted, remote positions. The MLTI 2.0 distinguished educators will provide instructional technology coaching directly to MLTI 2.0 participating educators and work closely with the MLTI 2.0 team to implement the MLTI 2.0 program. | More

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Marcy Whitcomb

Maine DOE team member Marcy Whitcomb is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Marcy in the question and answer | More


Maine Schools Sharing Success Stories

| Submit your Maine School Success Story |


Professional Development & Training Opportunities

Popular Multi-Tiered Systems of Support MicroPD Session Offered for Second Round

Beginning April 29th, the 6-week MicroPD LIVE MTSS training will be repeated. This professional learning session focuses on strategies for strengthening tier 1 supports for all students by exploring a 4-step problem solving process as it is applied at the tier 1 level. | More

| Visit the Professional Development Calendar |


Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities View current Maine Department of Education employment opportunities here


Troy Howard Middle School Expands Food Pantry with Community Caring Cart

Like many school districts across Maine, RSU 71 provides a school food pantry program to ensure there are free food options for families to take home with them as an added service to those in need.

“The District has been feeding families in need since, well, forever,” said Carrie Robinson, Front Desk Secretary at Troy Howard Middle School (THMS) in Belfast.

While there is no data point in Maine that details just how many schools offer this type of service, it is abundantly clear that there are a wide range of efforts on all levels throughout Maine and often times they can be found at the local school.

“When our school buildings were closed last spring at the onset of the pandemic, our school nurses partnered with food services and transportation to send home weekly boxed meals and produce,” said Shannon Robbins, School Nurse at A Ames – Gladys Weymouth Elementary Schools in RSU 71. “In fact, we sent home over 22,000 pounds! Families shared with us how much it meant to have these necessities delivered to their homes when it felt too scary to shop in town.”

It’s worth noting that school food pantries and backpack programs are a volunteer effort at most schools and go above and beyond the complimentary school meals that students receive while learning at school and remotely. With the help of several USDA waivers during the pandemic, school nutrition programs have been allowed to be flexible and adaptive in the way school meals are served and most have been able to offer these services at no charge to families.

Suffice it to say, pantry and backpack programs are becoming an important addition to many school communities across Maine and at Troy Howard Middle School they have recently undergone an expansion to reach more families.

Although the district’s nurses, administrators, and guidance staff usually have a good idea of who needs help, they have found that it is still difficult to know if they’ve provided the service equitably.

“We really just never know who is in need,” explained Robyn Mailloux, THMS Nurse.

That is when they came up with the idea to offer the Community Caring Cart as a service to anyone who wants or needs something – they can just come pick it up. Instead of handing a backpack full of food and supplies to a specific student or families, now the cart is available in public areas at school that are easy for parents and students to just take what they need.

“Over the course of the year, I’ve been surprised at what has disappeared from the hallway shelf and who has been taking it,” said Mailloux. “You just don’t know what people’s stories are.”

In addition, there are bags available for people to donate items if they wish and the team is also working on some grab and go bags that are quick and easy to take.

“Anything taco related flies off the shelves, as does of course easy to make staples, mac and cheese and canned soups and fruits,” said Robinson. “Since we are at a middle school level many of our students have some basic cooking skills so they will grab things they can make for themselves. Any time we have fresh produce it goes well, the kids actually like fresh stuff!!!!”

“Lightweight, prepacked goods such as cereal, pasta or rice mixes, soups are very popular. We have also offered fresh produce from Maine farmers including potatoes, apples, carrots- families loved these,” adds Robbins.”

Knowing that food programs are a service provided in many community and schools throughout Maine, we asked the RSU 71 team if they have any advice for schools that are thinking about starting or expanding food pantry programs at their schools.

“I would remind any schools that are trying to do anything like this that you never really know who needs the help so get the word out every way you can,” offers Robinson.

“Partner with your community resources – we couldn’t do this without GBAM (Greater Belfast Area Ministerium Food Cupboard), GSFB (Good Shepard Food Bank), and our area boosters, such as Bell the Cat (a local restaurant) and individual donors,” said Robbins adding that when RSU 71 School Food Pantry began in 2019, they received a generous grant from the Sadie and Harry Davis Foundation that has enabled them to expand their support during the pandemic.

The Maine Department of Education would like to take a moment to thank the dedicated team at RSU 71 as well as the countless school staff members, volunteers, and community partners across Maine working tirelessly to provide services to the families in their communities through food programs and other similar efforts, especially throughout the past year. Your dedication and selflessness does not go unnoticed by the Department or the grateful people that benefit from your work.

Information for this article was provided by RSU 71 as part of the Maine DOE Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. The Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign is an avenue for Maine schools to celebrate successes and share innovative ideas, practices, and models that can be adapted and easily implemented by other Maine schools. Stories are not an endorsement of specific materials, services, or practices and are not intended to promote learning programs that are of cost to students, families, or schools. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

 

 

 

MSSM Participates in Spring 2021 YMCA Youth and Government Program

The Spring 2021 YMCA Maine Youth and Government program wrapped up this past weekend  (April 9, 10, 11). This year’s session, historically unique, occurred via videoconference, as pandemic restrictions prevented Maine high schoolers from gathering at the Maine State Capitol in Augusta for the model state program. Instead, students found themselves logging in from their respective locales across Maine to engage with one another on the pressing public policy matters of the day. Students  worked to convince their peers of the merits of their own individually written bills, and the political  process was front and center, as students found their voice, engaged in campaigning, learned the art of  compromise, and identified ways to improve the communities around them.

MSSM’s 2021 delegation, totaling fourteen students, was especially active in the weekend’s events. And given that the majority of the MSSM delegation was on campus, students spread out across multiple rooms on two floors in the academic building to simulate separate committee rooms and legislative chambers, thereby ensuring opportunities for MSSMers to work collaboratively in person  while also following covid protocols. Seeing students moving up and down the hallways over the  weekend and engaging in debate and collaboration with their peers provided much enthusiasm and  excitement for all.

Of particular note from this past weekend, MSSM’s own Marcello Santomenna will serve as the 79th YMCA Youth Governor of the State of Maine following his election to serve as head of next year’s program. In his campaign speech on Saturday night, Santomenna stressed the importance of compromise, compassionate leadership, and adept policy making as foundational priorities for his  administration. As youth governor, Santomenna will attend the YMCA Youth Governor’s Conference,  representing the Maine YMCA, and will serve as Governor for this fall’s Youth and Government program where he will be responsible for putting forth a legislative agenda for participants to consider.  Additional responsibilities will include working with the Maine YMCA program director in planning the  fall 2021 program and aiding in outreach for the Maine YMCA on related civic-engagement  opportunities. Congratulations, Governor Santomenna! 


Also, on Sunday, outgoing Governor and MSSMer Martin Brozman completed his record length term-in-office following his election in the fall of 2019 prior to the pandemic delaying the start of what  would have been the fall 2020 program. Governor Brozman, in weekend remarks, spoke about the  human spirit and the power of resilience, as students have faced new and unusual challenges in the past  year. Brozman noted that students have shown perseverance and adaptation in the face of  extraordinary challenges while remaining positive and committed to doing good work. Brozman vetoed  eight bills to close out the weekend while also advancing his own legislative priorities, which included  the passage of a “right to repair” law, a school start time law, and a law to promote voting accessibility.

To close out the weekend, MSSM’s Peter Butera received the Maine YMCA Youth and  Government’s “Best Bill Award.” Butera’s bill, “A New Comprehensive Plan for Combating Addiction in  Maine,” revised the penalties for some drug offenses to be treated as civil rather than criminal matters.

This article was provided by Maine School of Science and Mathematics as part of the Maine DOE Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. The Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign is an avenue for Maine schools to celebrate successes and share innovative ideas, practices, and models that can be adapted and easily implemented by other Maine schools. Stories are not an endorsement of specific materials, services, or practices and are not intended to promote learning programs that are of cost to students, families, or schools. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Nominations Open for Governor’s Volunteerism Awards

There are many different types of positions that help our schools operate day to day, serving as a vital part of Maine’s communities, including our beloved school volunteers! Now is the time to recognize these wonderful human beings for all of the selfless things they do for their community. In addition, there are many youth across our state that take community service learning to a whole different level by taking an active role volunteering in their community and making a real difference.The Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism have celebrated and recognized the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities since 1987.  The awards seek to inspire others to be active in civic life and follow in the footsteps of those recognized.Use one of the links below to access nomination instructions and additional information for each form of recognition. All nominations are due April 30 by 5 p.m.

Adult Roll of Honor

Youth Roll of Honor

Competitive awards: Individuals, teams and organizations 

Volunteers make the hearts of Maine communities beat!