Seeking Nominations for Alternative Educator of the Year

The Alternative Education Association (AEA) of Maine is looking for nominations for the AEA of Maine Educator of the Year award.

The purpose of this award is to recognize an Alternative Educator who has provided exceptional opportunities and advancements for Maine’s at risk students. This is a GREAT way to recognize those in Alternative Education who are doing outstanding work and brings attention to the amazing work that is being done around our State.

Click Here for the Alternative Educator of the Year Guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact Lenny Holmes at lholmes@bonnyeagle.org.

Boothbay Region High School Expands STEAM Education Thanks to Generous Donation

Boothbay Region High School will receive $84,000 in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) equipment thanks to a generous donation from Paul Coulombe through Boothbay Region Education Foundation.

“What is exciting about STEAM education that is allows multiple pathways and cross disciplinary opportunities for students to engage and enjoy learning, while building on their individual strengths and learning styles,” said Boothbay Region High School Principal Tricia Campbell.

The Boothbay Register recently did an article about the donation where additional details about the donation and STEAM program can be found.

“Thanks to the incredibly generous gift from Paul and Giselaine Coulombe our students will have access to cutting-edge equipment and tools! A STEAM educational program will help to ensure the development of competencies for today’s global workplace. We hope to build and expand programs to include community-based projects and a professional/educational collaborative in the Boothbay Region,” added Campbell.

Information for this article was provided by Boothbay Region High School as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: WAVES Initiative Begins to Build Connections

Latest initiative of the #ConnectKidsNow! Campaign focused on building networks of safe social connection opportunities for Maine students

AUGUSTA–  Today Governor Janet Mills and her administration announced the launch of a new initiative to support the mental health and wellbeing of Maine youth. Wilderness Activities and Virtual Engagement for Students- WAVES is the latest project in the #ConnectKidsNow! campaign and will build a statewide network of online and outdoor opportunities, provided by multiple state agencies and community organizations, for Maine students to interact safely.

The new initiative, directed by the Maine Department of Education (DOE), will deliver on the vision, “Every week every Maine teen safely engages socially with a community of peers,” and is the latest effort to ensure Maine youth have the connections needed for their academic and social-emotional growth.

Using the hashtag #WAVESMaine, the campaign will engage youth through a series of social media challenges and other virtual and outdoor opportunities to connect with peers.  A website of resources and activities, as well as a WAVES Instagram account and Facebook page, will go live on February 1, 2021, providing all youth throughout Maine with diverse opportunities to safely build their social network. Resources and activities will include: access to safe online communities, regular meetings around shared interests, and a searchable and dynamic database of the State of Maine where teens can find current outdoor engagement opportunities in their region or community, such as ice fishing derbies or hiking clubs, for example.

“The Department of Education has provided additional resources and supports for school staff, students and their families since March, and has been focused on ensuring that the nutritional, educational and social-emotional needs of every student are being met,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “WAVES is an innovative take on the deep connections and collaborative spirit that makes Maine both a united and diverse community. Keeping Maine students socially connected to one another, and to the resources and opportunities found in our great state, has both immediate and long-term benefits.”

In response to the inequitable access to the human and internet connectivity that some students have faced with the onset of COVID-19, and through the use of federal emergency relief funds, WAVES joins the other projects of the administration’s #ConnectKidsNow! Campaign, which has included the provision of hotspots for students to connect to online learning, the expansion of broadband, and the development of MOOSE!, a free, online and project-based learning platform.

Maine DOE’s 2020-2021 Student Cabinet, during their most recent meeting held on December 8, 2020, raised the issue of social isolation as one of their primary concerns for Maine students. These concerns, similarly raised by educators, school leaders, and community members throughout the State, have accelerated the development of the new project, for which Washington County educator Sarah Woog will serve as Project Director. During a subsequent meeting with Sarah and other DOE staff, Student Cabinet members provided additional ideas and insight for WAVES.

A priority of WAVES is to elevate, celebrate, support, and increase access to the opportunities for safe social engagement that Maine’s communities and organizations are already providing to our youth. The target audience is Maine students in middle school and high school. These students, in addition to all programs and event providers who work with and to serve this demographic, are welcome and encouraged to contact Project Director Sarah Woog (sarah.woog@maine.gov) to share current work, programming, activities and ideas aligned with the stated vision.

“I am eager to work collaboratively across State agencies and to elevate and support the individuals and organizations already delivering opportunities for safe social engagement,” said Project Director Sarah Woog. “Through these collaborative efforts, and by accessing, listening, and responding to youth voices from every corner and community of our great State, we will deliver on our promise: ‘Every week every Maine teen safely engages socially with a community of peers.’ I am honored to lead this innovative and important project.”

TODAY, ALL Maine teens are encouraged to enjoy the winter weather and enter the first WAVES challenge.

Here’s the challenge:

Using the hashtag “#WAVESMaine” post to Instagram a picture of the Maine outdoors that gives you peace and a sense of gratitude. The winner of the challenge and the first 20 Maine teens who post for the challenge will be awarded a prize, inspired by a group of Maine hikers, a onesie of their choice! The winner of the photo contest will be announced February 1, and will have the opportunity to meet virtually with Senator Angus King.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Janette Kirk

Maine DOE team member Janette Kirk is being highlighted as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Janette in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Chief of Learning Systems at the Department. This role coordinates the work of Office of Learning Systems which comprises of five teams – Assessment, Career & Technical Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Standards & Instructional Support team (Early Learning and Secondary teams).

What do you like best about your job?

A good number of us who choose education as a career do so to make a difference – this is the most important aspect of my work, to feel that I am one of many, contributing to make a difference in the lives of Maine students. The wonderful and knowledgeable folks I get to work with within the Office of Learning Systems and those in the Department in general is another important element. The fact that no two days look the same also keeps the role interesting.

How or why did you decide on this career?

Working at a Department of Education was not necessarily a career aspiration but at the age of 12, my 6th grade elementary school teacher, Mr. McClellan, inspired me to become a teacher. He made learning fun, incorporated music, performance and brought history and social studies to life in a practical, interactive and fun way. He made a huge difference in my life and as a result motivated me to want to do the same for others. From that point on I wanted to be a teacher. After initially teaching in an elementary school in Liverpool, UK, I moved to the U.S. and worked with marginalized populations at The Salvation Army coordinating afterschool programming across Northeast Ohio. More recently my husbands work brought us to Maine where I started working at the Department. Education and working with and supporting children and students has always been an area in which I’ve wanted to work from an early age.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

My 12 and 14 year old boys, Nathan and Owen and their hockey schedules take up most of my time but any free time I have I enjoy spending with them and my husband of 17 years, Jon. Outside of family time, I enjoy watching movies and more recently exercising.

New! Online Child Development Associate Training Available for Foreign Trained Professionals

Portland Adult Education and Opportunity Alliance have announced the launch of their new ELL Child Development Associate (CDA) Training. The training is a partnership between Opportunity Alliance, Portland Adult Education and the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative.

The CDA Credential is recognized nationally as the quality standard for training of professional early childhood teachers. CDA training helps teachers work effectively with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families in either a center-based or family child care setting.

This six-month training program is co-taught by a Certified CDA Instructor from the CDA Development Center and supported by an instructor from Portland Adult Education. Students will receive 120 hours of CDA instruction as well as support in English language, portfolio development, test-taking skills, and digital skills.

There are two informational sessions on Zoom: January 13th at 11:30 am and January 20th at 11:30 am (click on the date for the link).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Target Population: Foreign trained professionals who have a background and interest in working in a child care setting
  • English skills equivalent to ESOL level 5 or above
  • Work Authorization is preferred
  • Meet income or other eligibility requirements to receive possible scholarships
  • 18 years and older

More information is available in the Application form, Application Packet, and Flyer. For further questions, contact: Bridget Kahn Kahnb@portlandschools.org