Southern Maine 21st Century Learning Center Experience the Outdoors Through Community Connections

From the trails to the sea, the youth participating in the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine, one of Maine’s 21st Century Learning Centers, have been busy exploring outdoor destinations in the Portland area this summer thanks to their strong community connections.

Starting with the Portland Trails, a nonprofit urban land trust that aims to transform the Greater Portland area into a healthier and better-connected community, the center has utilized this amazing community resource to get kids outdoors to go on walks and explore part of the 70+ mile trail network that Portland Trails has to offer. (pictured above)

The kids have also been out to sea this summer thanks to SailMaine, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable access to the water through community sailing and education. Thanks to this community connection, every Tuesday for the next several weeks, the Center’s middle schoolers will be learning about sailing on Casco Bay.

Portland Maine Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department has also been a generous partner this summer by letting the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine utilize the outdoor pool. Thanks to this community partnership, the kids have been enjoying swimming three afternoons a week!

Funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, Maine currently has 35 CCLC grants and 61 CCLC sites across Maine that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly for students who face economic and/or academic challenges. With strong community partnerships at the core of every one of its programs, Maine’s 21st Century Learning Centers help students meet academic goals and offer a broad array of enrichment activities, in addition to other educational and engagement opportunities for communities and families. Learn more about Maine’s CCLC grant opportunities at https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/esea or reach out to Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

Students Learn About Camping and the Outdoors at LearningWorks’ 21st Century Program in Saco

This summer, LearningWorks’ 21st Century Learning Center in Saco is hosting students entering grades K-2 for a summer program focused on camping and the outdoors.

Students practice math, literacy, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) skills while learning practical skills for spending time outside. Students learned to pitch tents, made a solar oven for cooking without fire, and collected leaves and sticks for art projects.

Each student is keeping a nature journal to document their observations and findings. In the next few weeks, students will learn to identify leaf shapes, recognize animal tracks, and use a compass. The program is also planning on visiting a fire station to learn about outdoor fire safety and taking a nature walk to apply some of the skills they have learned in a real-world situation.

“Students have loved spending time outdoors and have been able to put into practice what they are learning when going outside with their families this summer,” said Colby Senior, Saco and Biddeford Site Director for LearningWorks Afterschool and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, Maine currently has 35 CCLC grants and 61 CCLC sites across Maine that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly for students who face economic and/or academic challenges. With strong community partnerships at the core of every one of its programs, Maine’s 21st Century Learning Centers help students meet academic goals and offer a broad array of enrichment activities, in addition to other educational and engagement opportunities for communities and families. Learn more about Maine’s CCLC grant opportunities at https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/esea or reach out to Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

 

Paid Professional Learning Opportunity Provided by Maine DOE

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is accepting applications from individuals interested in learning more about the competitive grant process. Selected applicants will be trained to serve as peer reviewers who assist the DOE in reviewing, assessing, and scoring competitive grant proposals for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program. The 21st CCLC program is a federally funded education program that helps schools and communities develop before-school, after-school, and summer educational programs that support students and their families.

This year’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 21st CCLC program was released to the public on January 5, 2022 and is available online at https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/rfps. The DOE anticipates receiving proposals from local education agencies, community-based organizations, and other eligible entities seeking awards under this RFP.

Qualifications:
Peer Review applicants will be selected based on their experience in providing effective academic support, enrichment, youth development, and related support services for children and youth. The most qualified candidates will be individuals who have experience in the administration of high-quality youth development programs within schools and communities. Examples of the experienced individuals sought include, but are not limited to:

  • 21st CCLC program directors and site coordinators
  • Teachers and principals
  • College and university staff
  • Youth development workers
  • Community resource providers

Required Tasks:
Selected applicants must be able to participate in an online training and review grant proposals through a web-based system. Applicants will work individually to read each assigned proposal and create detailed, objective, constructive, and well-written comments on approximately 10 proposals based on the criteria established in the RFP.  These comments will be submitted to the DOE prior to participating in the scheduled consensus scoring sessions. It is anticipated that peer reviewers will have a three week window in which to complete their individual review of assigned proposals. Following the individual review of proposals, each successful applicant will be required to participate in a series of two online/virtual consensus scoring sessions hosted by the DOE. It is during these consensus scoring sessions that the peer review team will score each application.

Selected applicants must complete the following tasks during the following date(s):

Task Date(s) Time(s)
Participate in an online training webinar March 31, 2022 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Review grant applications through a web-based system and provide individual, written comments on each application (which must be submitted to the DOE) April 18, 2022 – May 6, 2022 Any Time
Participate in online/virtual consensus scoring sessions with other members of the peer review team (applicants MUST be available on all four scoring days, but will only be selected to participate for two days) May 10, 2022 – May 11, 2022; or
May 12, 2022 – May 13, 2022
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Compensation for Services:
Selected reviewers who complete the required tasks will be provided an honorarium of $85 per assigned application.

Previous participants have also found that serving as a member of the peer review team is an excellent opportunity for professional development and growth. It is likely that, if selected, applicants will be exposed to new program models, strategies, and practices. These new concepts may provide ideas and support for ongoing work as well as future grant writing efforts. Most importantly, the time given to this effort will help ensure the funding of quality education programs for the children and families of Maine.

How to Apply:
Interested parties should contact Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov to obtain a copy of the 2022 peer reviewer application and then return the completed application along with a current resume or CV.

Pursuant to Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, peer reviewers may not include any applicant, or representative of an applicant, who has or will submit a proposal in response to the current grant competition.

Deadline:
The Maine Department of Education will continue accepting peer reviewer applications through March 17, 2022, or until the needed positions are filled. Interested parties are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Contact:
For more information, contact State Coordinator Travis Doughty at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov or 624-6709.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Proposals for Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from interested parties to implement comprehensive 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programming in 2022-2023.  It is anticipated that roughly $2M will be available to issue grant awards later this year.

Authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Act of 2015, the 21st CCLC program provides competitive grant funding to support before school, after school, and summer learning programs that focus on improving the academic performance of students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.

The primary purpose of Maine’s 21st CCLC program is to provide funding for school and community partnerships to establish or expand community learning center programs.  These programs provide students in high-need, economically-disadvantaged communities with academic tutoring and enrichment opportunities designed to complement their school-day academic program.  In addition, these programs can provide a broad array of additional support services related to overall student health and well-being.

Local 21st CCLC programs – which can be located in elementary schools, secondary schools or similarly accessible community facilities – provide high quality support services to students during non-school hours.  As such, these programs also support working parents and families by providing safe, supportive learning environments for students at times when school is not in session.

The request for proposal (RFP), which includes information regarding eligibility, program requirements, and more, is available here. An informational webinar for this RFP will be posted to the Department’s application website on January 25, 2022.  It is strongly recommended that interested parties view this presentation, in its entirety, prior to submitting a proposal for 21st CCLC program funding.

Below is the anticipated timeline for the Department’s current 21st CCLC grant competition:

Date Task
January 5, 2022 RFP Released to Public
January 25, 2022 Informational Webinar Posted Online
February 15, 2022 Deadline for Submission of Questions in Response to RFP
March 1, 2022 Interested Parties Submit Letter of Intent to Apply
April 14, 2022 Proposal Deadline
April 2022 Formal Peer Review of Proposals
May 2022 Grant Award Notifications
July 1, 2022 Grant Award Start Date

Please be advised that the dates above are subject to change.  Interested parties must consult the RFP document for the most accurate dates and deadlines regarding this opportunity.

For more information on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, contact State Coordinator, Travis Doughty, at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.