Join the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of School and Student Supports (O3S) as they read and reflect on Finding Your Blind Spots: 8 Guiding Principles for Overcoming Implicit Bias in Teaching, by Hedreich Nichols. Members of the Maine DOE not only introduced this book study to participants at the Educator’s Summit in early August, but they also introduced participants to the author! Hedreich Nichols is an educator, writer, and passionate advocate who is sharing her lived experiences with readers and participants of this book study so that we can be reflective practitioners and can truly understand bias. You can also find her work at #Smallbites. The O3S first heard Nichols’ work on Jennifer Gonzalez’s podcast: Uncovering Your Implicit Biases: An Exercise for Teachers | Cult of Pedagogy.
This opportunity is open to all Maine educational personnel. Sessions are being held on Thursdays – either at 3:30 in the afternoon or 7:00 in the evening. Participants are welcome to join for both! October 6th is our first offering, and we will be reflecting on chapters 1-3.
Check out the authors website to learn more about the book. For any questions about this opportunity, please direct those to O3S Director Julie Smyth at email@example.com.
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is inviting all families to participate in our “Family and Community Needs Analysis Survey” by October 14th, 2022.
The survey responses are confidential, and names of respondents will be anonymous. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary. This survey will ask family members questions about how COVID-19 has impacted the learning and development of their children and youth. The survey is designed to be completed within 15 minutes.
The survey responses will be used to identify additional projects and initiatives that the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds may be used to support. The ESSER funding can support activities and interventions that respond to students’ academic, emotional, aspirational, and social needs while addressing the impact of COVID-19.
Please take some time to complete the anonymous survey at https://mainedoe.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cwnhqqMzAxFvEmW.
If you have questions about the survey, please contact Shelly Chasse-Johndro at (207) 458-3180 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much for your time and support.
From the Maine Department of Education
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News & Updates
Governor Janet Mills today announced the launch of a new Maine Department of Education (DOE) initiative that will provide every Maine public school with a free mobile computer science lab. The effort, funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, will enable all Maine students to access high-quality learning experiences that provide real-word training in robotics, programming, augmented and virtual reality, coding, and hardware. | More
The application is now available to claim your school’s free mobile computer science lab! To claim your school’s lab, complete the brief application by Friday, September 30th, at 8 PM. Read more about the initiative and the equipment…. | More
Literacy, as defined by the Maine Department of Education, is the ability to construct and convey meaning for a variety of purposes through an array of contextual forms and symbols, including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. | More
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce that four Maine schools have been awarded $50,000 grants to support their ‘community schools’ work. Community Schools is a local engagement strategy that creates and coordinates opportunities with its public school to accelerate student success. It is an effective, evidence-based, and equity-driven strategy for school improvement included under section 4625 of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. | More
Maine DOE Team member Courtney Belolan is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Campaign. Learn a little more about Courtney in the question. | More
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Professional Development & Training Opportunities
The September Health Education and Physical Education Inclusive Teaching Practices and Learning Workshop dates are being postponed. The first sessions will now be held in December. | More
Join other educators and advocates to learn about the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and review federally recognized innovations & data-driven solutions. Then, join with local multidisciplinary teams to collaborate on opportunities specific to your region and make a commitment to eliminating disparities. | More
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Latest DOE Career/Project Opportunities:
View current Maine Department of Education employment opportunities here
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce that four Maine schools have been awarded $50,000 grants to support their ‘community schools’ work. Community Schools is a local engagement strategy that creates and coordinates opportunities with its public school to accelerate student success. It is an effective, evidence-based, and equity-driven strategy for school improvement included under section 4625 of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The grant awardees and the projects supported by the funding are as follows:
- Biddeford Schools/Biddeford Primary – Increase mental health supports; provide access to legal services; create community garden; host vacation-week camps
- Portland Public Schools/Talbot Elementary School – Add positions (i.e. stipends) for After-School Coordinator, Homework Diner Coordinator & Interpreters, and Walking School Bus Coordinator; increase materials to support these enrichment opportunities
- RSU 9/Cape Cod Elementary – Hire Community School Coordinator; provide Social Worker and Nurse stipends; increase after-school academic and enrichment support; support adding a service animal; increase dental care access
- RSU 34/ Old Town Elementary School – Add after-school enrichment; continue food security/insecurity support; add Homework Diner
Supported by the Maine DOE’s Office of School and Student Supports, last spring a Community Schools Request for Applications (RFA) process resulted in these four schools receiving $50,000 each in grant funding to support their work. So far two of the awardees have implemented a Community School Coordinators position to create a community of practice (COP) including Jennifer Goodwin, RSU #34/Old Town Elementary School; and Kristin Hanna, Portland Public Schools/Talbot Elementary School. It is anticipated that Biddeford and RSU 9 will be able to use grant funding to add such coordination throughout the school year.
“To be able to fund four districts at the time we did is a great start heading into what we hope is a post-pandemic school year,” said Director of the Office of School and Student Supports Julie Smyth. “Community School models are receiving so much attention nationally – the Biden administration is committed to adding 25,000 new community schools, which will impact over 300,000 students,” added Smyth, who is committed to working with state partners to grow Maine’s understanding and support for Community Schools.
Smyth and her team have already begun convening a community of practice (COP) group among the grant recipients this week. The purpose of the COP is to build community to support each other, to learn together, and to leverage existing knowledge to support more schools in moving forward with Community Schools work.
Although the next Community Schools RFA will not be available until SY 2024-2025, it will have the potential to provide up to 10 additional school administrative units with start-up funding. In accordance with Title 20-A, §9923: Designation of community schools (maine.gov), the Maine DOE hopes to biannually designate 10 additional community schools.
For more information on Community School Coordinators and Community Schools visit any of the following websites:
For further information and questions, reach out to Julie Smyth, Director of the Maine DOE Office of School and Student Supports at email@example.com.
Thanks to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), every September, with the excitement of a new school year just beginning, the Learning Commons Team at Mt. Ararat Middle School (MAMS) prepares, organizes, and deploy 600+ laptops for student to use as critical tools for their learning throughout the school year. It is a group effort by Karen Silverman, Candy Wright, and Kat Campbell to get every kid their laptop. MAMS asks for all hands on deck, so they also are lucky to have the help of the IT team, Ryan Palmer, Corrie Calderwood, and Kate Greely.
The groundwork for laptop deployment starts in the summer. Each machine is cleaned, charged, and fitted with a student name sticker. These stickers are placed not only on the machine but also on the charger and case so that if anything is lost throughout the school year it can be returned.
There were many brand-new devices this year and Karen shared student reactions.
“Students were excited when I…showed them that all our laptops flip into tablet mode. They loved that! And then I would do my best Vanna White and tell them ‘but wait there’s more!’ MAMS students all have touchscreen laptops this year.”
MAMS was able to choose a Chromebook model from CTL for their students, one of the six choices available through the new and reimagined MLTI 2.0. Karen, who served on the 2020 MLTI Advisory Board, is now able to work with a program that is not just devices, but also offers the opportunity for teachers to develop their craft around technology. The program’s long-term goal is to provide the equitable integration of technology for engaging and effective educational experiences.
Students at MAMS are excited for the opportunities and most students have begun using their devices, and many students will be taking them home this week if their parents opted them in. Throughout the year, the Learning Commons Team will support students in troubleshooting problems, or if a student has lost their laptop, they will help locate it. This will keep the team busy until June when the same type of organization goes into collecting the devices and preparing them for the following year, until then the devices will help students at Mt. Ararat Middle School be engaged in learning.