Maine DOE health education spring conference

The Maine Department of Education hosted the 18th annual Comprehensive School Health Education Spring Conference: Health Education Curriculum Training Options on March 31 at The Green Ladle.

The conference had a twist this year, instead of a traditional conference agenda, the day offered three different curriculum-based trainings simultaneously. The trainings were, 1) Youth Mental Health First Aid delivered by Heather Carter and Aashley Malsbury from NAMI Maine; 2) Middle School Lessons and Lifelines Combined Suicide Prevention Curriculum Lessons Training facilitated by Greg Marley of NAMI Maine and Susan Berry from the Maine DOE; and Partners in Prevention: Sexuality Education for Students with Special Needs led by Sara Camolli-Braband representing New Beginnings .

Participants included health education teachers, school counselors, school nurses, special education teachers, students from the University of Maine at Farmington who are enrolled in a health education program, and more. Networking time was built into the schedule in the morning, prior to a brief update from the Maine Department of Education and during lunch.

The Health Education Program at Maine DOE appreciates being able to host professional development events at The Green Ladle. The facility is staffed and operated by the Culinary Arts program of the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.  The students prepare and serve all of the food for the event.

Quotes from participant evaluations on the trainings included, “Great to interact with the presenter and see others during the start and lunch time.” “I thought breaking it up into three primary groups was smart. I enjoyed being a part of the various hands-on activities.” “I liked that the entire day was spent focusing, in depth, on one targeted topic.”

We asked participants how they planned to share their learnings, and many already had.  Responses included, “I’m going to implement this into my curriculum next year!” “I will probably hold a mini in-service with the staff of the program in which I work and propose that we work to provide effective support for the special needs students in our program to present and work on prevention.” “I have already discussed the workshop & shared the materials with the other special education teacher. We plan on incorporating the curricula into next year’s health curricula.”  “I already told my principal that all teachers should attend this conference.”

For more information about this annual conference and health education services, visit here or contact Health Education and Health Promotion Coordinator Susan Berry at