Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), in partnership with the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE), held a “Badguation” ceremony on June 23rd for the first class of Learning Facilitator Program completers, or “Badguates.”
In a response to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7, which enabled the Maine DOE, MCCS, and EMCC to collaborate on a high quality, fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen, and support our excellent educator workforce.
“This is emergency response at its finest, but this is also innovation at its finest where a real problem, a critical issue was presented, and everybody came to the fore to make it happen,” said Commissioner Makin during her remarks at the ceremony.
The Badguation ceremony honored the Learning Facilitators, many of whom were present during the virtual event, and featured a video message from Governor Janet Mills and remarks from EMCC faculty, EMCC President Dr. Lisa Larson, MCCS President David Daigler, Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and DOE Representatives.
“You participated in a new model, a new way of thinking, and learning, and leading together,” said EMCC President Lisa Larson during her opening remarks. “You’ve earned credits and credentials, and along the way you also gained some new friends and colleagues.”
“You’re not only the first, you’re also a part of building the future of our economy and you’re core to families being able to find new successes as opportunities unveil themselves through this new, ever-changing economy,” MCCS President David Daigler said to the graduates in his remarks.
“While many people were reeling and pulling inward and saying, ‘I’m just going to try to stay safe and ride this out,’ you ran into the fire like first responders. You said, ‘yep, sign me up! I’m going to go take those courses, I am going to get into this credentialing program, and I’m going to help our schools,’” added Commissioner Makin in her remarks.
The event also featured a short video showcasing written messages from program participants who shared sentiments on how they changed in positive ways throughout the program. Here are a few:
“I am happy to say I learned that if I put my mind to it then I will do it. I really wanted to learn how to write a lesson plan for my students and I did. It took a few tries before I got there, but I did.”
“I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it to the areas of my teaching. I can observe a student and know what I am looking for, I can be a better co-teacher.”
“I don’t think you will ever be able to measure the success of this program as it will continue to have a positive impact for many, many years to come.”
Offered at no cost to the participants, the Learning Facilitator Program is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty. Upon completion of a 3-credit “boot camp” course in phase one of the program, participants have the foundational skills necessary to fill short-and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. In phase two, participants engage in a combination of online work and professional learning community meetings, as well as a 315-hour structured teaching apprenticeship. When they complete the program, participants are eligible for an emergency Education Technician authorization which allows them to be employed as an Education Technician III.
For more information related to the program, please visit the EMCC website, here.
Watch the 34 minute virtual ceremony on EMCC’s YouTube Channel: