Hour of Code campaign comes to Maine

Sixteen Maine schools have already pledged to participate, and Project>Login will host an Hour-of-Code Dojo at the Augusta Civic Center on Dec. 14

More than 5,000 Maine students from 16 schools will join a national campaign to demystify computer science during the Hour of Code campaign in December – and additional schools may register through Nov. 15. The event is scheduled to coincide with Computer Science Week from Dec. 9-15, during which Project>Login will also host Maine’s first statewide Hour of Code Dojo.

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Navigating the Data Warehouse

Screen shot of Data Warehouse home page
The Maine Department of Education’s Data Warehouse puts data about Maine’s schools in one place where it’s easy to find and easy to understand.

When the Maine DOE released the state’s School Performance Grading System last month, the agency also unveiled the Data Warehouse, a powerful tool that can help educators improve student achievement and the public learn more about Maine’s schools. In addition to hosting the state’s school report cards, the warehouse offers accessible, understandable data on test scores, school spending, student and staff populations, and much more. The Department wants to make using the Data Warehouse as easy as possible for educators, administrators, students, parents and the public.

When you enter the warehouse, you will be prompted to choose one of the following pathways: Snapshots, Data Tables or Growth Model. Continue reading “Navigating the Data Warehouse”

Bowen praises improvement efforts at Indian Township and Caravel Middle Schools

CARMEL – Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen commended regional sharing of resources as well as professional development efforts at Indian Township School in Princeton and Caravel Middle School (RSU 87/MSAD 23) in Carmel, which he visited Thursday and Friday as part of his Promising Practices Tour.

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Weatherbee School gets community involved in Maine Day

Fourth grade student Colin Trudelle uses a microscope to study fiber investigation.
Weatherbee School fourth grade student Colin Trudelle focuses on fiber investigation during a Maine Day paper making workshop (hosted by the Maine Discovery Museum).

George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden recently celebrated its second annual “Maine Day,” a tribute to Maine Statehood Day, by offering dozens of state-themed workshops to its third through fifth grade students on Monday, March 18.

This year’s event featured over 40 presenters, half of whom were outside visitors from the community. Presenters taught workshops that focused on Maine’s slogan: The Way Life Should Be.  Teachers assigned third grade students to workshops, but fourth and fifth graders could sign-up for the workshops that most appealed to them. Workshops included: “A Wicked Good Guide to Maine Language,” in which kids listened to a true Mainer speak and translated to people from afar; “Mission of the Maine Warden Services,” which explained game wardens’ role in protecting fish and wildlife; “Whoopie Pies,” in which students heard about the official state treat; and “Aroostook County,” a brief overview of the area and potato harvesting.

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Lewiston to launch College Scholars program this fall

Lewiston High School’s school board has recently approved a plan to expand and formalize the work of College for ME by implementing a College Scholars program, set to begin this fall in collaboration with the University of Southern Maine.

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Best practices, spirits improve at Deer Isle-Stonington HS

DISHS principal Todd West shows Commissioner Bowen a technical trades area of the school.
DISHS principal Todd West shows Commissioner Bowen a technical trades area of the school.
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“What can we all do to help you?”

Three years ago, the state labeled Deer Isle-Stonington High School as one of 10 “persistently low-achieving” schools in Maine. Now DISHS is drawing nothing but acclaim as a result of the dedication of principal Todd West and his faculty to school-wide improvement, from the ground up.

Being labeled one of the lowest-achieving schools impacted not only the reputation of DISHS, but also the students’ opinions of their education. “The damage that that did to the psyche of the school was incredible,” said Leslie Billings, special education/math teacher. “There’s got to be a better way. For many students, their thought process was, ‘If you’re going to be at the bottom, then what’s the point?’ For some of the students, there is no pride in the school because of that.”

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Bridge Year program poised for growth

Bridge Year student Taylor Smith gives a tour of the United Technologies Center in Bangor.
Bridge Year student Taylor Smith gives a tour of the United Technologies Center in Bangor. Smith is enrolled in the business management program at UTC and hopes to become a nurse.

In the spring of 2014, 14 Hermon High School students will graduate with a high school diploma, a year’s worth of college credits and the incentive to continue their education thanks to Hermon’s Bridge Year program, launched during the 2012-13 school year. Now the program’s steering committee is seeking funding to replicate this progressive program all over the state—and Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen recently announced to committee members and area legislators Gov. Paul R. LePage’s plan to do just that by including money for Bridge Year in his proposed budget. Continue reading “Bridge Year program poised for growth”

Finalists for U.S. Senate program present on government issues

This year's 10 finalists for the United States Senate Youth Program.
Students from across Maine applied to attend the 2013 United States Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. Two candidates from this pool of 10 finalists will be announced the winners in early December.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the U.S. today?

This is the question a panel of five judges posed to 10 Maine high school students vying for a prestigious honor on Thursday. Each student’s four-minute response homed in on one current governmental issue, such as foreign policy, renewable energy, the erosion of civil liberties or the general state of the economy. The most popular response, however, was the lack of bipartisan effort in U.S. Congress.

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Students praise learner-centered instruction at RTI conference

Hall-Dale High School seniors Anais Truman, Spencer Shagoury, Harry Cheung and Kurt Thiele present at the statewide RTI Conference.
Hall-Dale High School seniors (from left) Anais Truman, Spencer Shagoury, Harry Cheung and Kurt Thiele present at the statewide RTI Conference.
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Teachers, administrators and superintendents eager to incorporate response to intervention (RTI) and student-centered learning practices into their curricula flooded the Augusta Civic Center for breakout training sessions at the Experts Down the Hall conference on Monday. But it was seven RSU 2 students who stole the show during the student panel on learner-centered instruction.

This year’s Hall-Dale High School seniors will be the first graduating class to have spent all four secondary education years in a student-centered learning environment—and they raved about their experience.

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