The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today awarded $1.6 million in Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) funding to support education innovation in twelve school administrative units (SAUs) across Maine. These federal funds will be used to invest in strategies to engage students through outdoor learning, alternative education, online learning pathways, and more.
Awardees for this fourth round of RREV funding include RSU 35 Marshwood Great Works School, RSU 34 Old Town Middle/High School, RSU 73 Spruce Mountain Elementary School, Gorham High School, MSAD 61 Lake Region Middle School, MSAD 11 Gardiner High School, Limestone Community School, Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Wayfinder Schools, RSU 13 Oceanside High School, MSAD 49 Lawrence High School, and MSAD 59 Madison Elementary School. The first round of RREV investments were made last fall, a second round in March, a third round in June, and total RREV investments now near $8 million with 39 awardees.
“RREV investments help fuel the innovation and creativity of Maine educators so that all Maine students are engaged, prepared, and can thrive,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re excited to invest in these educator-led efforts to deepen student engagement through outdoor education initiatives that provide students with hands-on, project-based learning opportunities as well as initiatives that create multiple education pathways that fit the needs of all of Maine’s students.”
Schools will use this funding in a variety of innovative ways, including:
- Spruce Mountain Elementary will create a greenhouse classroom for all students to use.
- Gorham High School will create outdoor learning spaces, fund field trips for students, and offer students and teachers learning experiences to extend their capacity toward outdoor learning.
- Lake Region Middle School will build both a large greenhouse and an outdoor learning pavilion to increase their capacity for outdoor education and ensure that these spaces are ADA accessible.
- Gardiner Area High School will ensure that every freshman spends 75 percent of their Earth Science class outdoors to provide a real-world context for their learning.
- Oceanside High School will bring together cohorts of eight to ten high school students, with a specific focus on students who are at risk of dropping out, to meet weekly to work on both social emotional learning and supplementing their academic requirements and standards with hands-on outdoor training and projects.
- Lawrence High School is developing an intensive alternative education program for some of their most struggling students called the Lawrence Education Alternative Program (L.E.A.P).
- Madison Elementary School will make their current trail ADA accessible and install a dock system onto their wetlands to be used as an outdoor classroom space.
- Old Town Middle/High School will create a remote/hybrid program called Coyote Online Opportunity (Co-Op) as a pathway for students to receive a quality education in a setting that best works for them.
- Limestone Community School will pilot an outdoor education program that is accessible to all middle level students as part of their regular school day.
- Wayfinder Schools is focused on their Passages Responsive Education Project (PREP) pilot to meet the needs Maine youth who have struggled in traditional school settings and are off-track to graduate.
- The Maine Academy of Natural Sciences will construct a Makerspace Barn to engage students in experiential outdoor projects while providing the resources and space to offer a blacksmithing course on campus to all interested students.
- Marshwood Great Works School’s Great Works Ventures Outdoors will expand outdoor learning opportunities as a way to provide essential growth opportunities for every student.
The Maine DOE was awarded $16.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rethink K-12 Education Models Funding. As one of 11 States to receive funding, Maine created RREV to support the work of visionary educators to develop innovative pilot programs around remote and outside of the classroom learning, including professional development and pilot design classes. Courses in innovative design process are available through several of Maine’s public and private universities at no cost to Maine educators who wish to participate. In addition to the innovative pilot development classes, the Department is also offering asynchronous, innovative principles webinars which are available to all educators in self-paced, independent modules.
For more information on how to get involved in RREV and to learn more about the pilots, visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/rrev.
Interviews are available with RREV grant recipients upon request as well as the recording of the announcement featuring RREV grant recipients discussing their projects.