Seeking Schools to Participate in “Youth Mindfulness” Opportunity

The Maine DOE has teamed up with OmKids and Radiant Beginnings to offer a 2-hour, in-person training on a video-based mindfulness and stress relief curriculum to support students’ and teachers’ emotional health.  This opportunity is available to a small number of Maine schools that include PreK through grade 5 and are available to implement youth mindfulness during the spring of 2018-19 school year.  Youth mindfulness has been shown to improve attention stability, compassion, and emotional balance when practiced regularly.

In a southern Maine pilot, OmKids and Radiant Beginnings found that implementing program activities for as little as 5 minutes a day for 8 weeks led to:

  • Overall stress reduction (decreased for 94% of students)
  • Emotional distress reduction (decreased for 44% of students)
  • Fewer behavioral difficulties (decreased for 31% of students)
  • Fewer hyperactivity and concentration difficulties (decreased for 63% of students)
  • Fewer difficulties getting along with other children (decreased for 63% of students)

If your school is interested in an opportunity to bring youth mindfulness to your teachers and students, please complete this interest survey for the Maine DOE to review.  The survey will close on March 1.  You will be notified if your school has been chosen to implement youth mindfulness by March 8.

For more information, please contact Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator, at sarah.adkins@maine.gov or 624-6685.

 

EPS High-Cost Out-of-District Report (EF-S-214) Open for Reporting on March 1, 2019; Deadline is April 15, 2019

The EF-S-214, also known as the EPS High-Cost Out-of-District Report will be open for data entry to Maine public schools on March 1 in the Maine DOE’s NEO Portal.

The report can be located by logging into NEO at: https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/NEO/Accounts/Account/Login then Navigate to→ Special Education → Forms → EFS-214.

School districts should sign into the report as early as possible to allow time for data entry as well as the two-step submission process. The deadline to complete the report is April 15. The Department must approve the report by April 15 to allow time to make possible EPS adjustments.

This report is required for all publicly funded school districts, including districts that do not meet the High-Cost Out-of-District tuition threshold of $16,214 (see further details below).

Below are a few important things to note about the EF-S-214 report:

  • School districts will need to project the tuition cost for the full fiscal year.
  • Fiscal Year 2019 tuition/board cost that total above $16,214 for each student should be included in the report. 
  • Adjustments to the Special Education High-Cost Out-of-District allocation will be based on costs above $16,214 for placements in Regional Special Education Programs, $24,321 for placements in other school administrative units, and $32,428 for placements in private schools.

 

Questions about the report should be direct to Stephanie Clark (Fiscal Compliance Specialist) for the Maine Department of Education at 207-624-6807 or (Stephanie.clark@maine.gov).

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Participates in National Cybersecurity Opportunity for Young Women in High School

To help educate more young women about the opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, Governor Janet Mills, the Maine Office of Information Technology, and the Maine Department of Education are promoting ‘GirlsGoCyberStart’, an exciting national program that uses online games of discovery to introduce high school girls to the field.

“Cybersecurity is a growing and critical field. It is more important than ever before to train skilled experts in Maine and across the nation to defend our national and financial security,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This program will help young women pursue the education and training they need for lifelong careers and leadership positions in cybersecurity.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Maine students to showcase the incredible skills and talent they have acquired from the many computer science initiatives, programs, and curricula happening in schools throughout Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner A. Pender Makin.

CyberStart was created by the SANS Institute and was first piloted to youth in the summer of 2017. The program enabled 3,500 students nation-wide to discover and demonstrate their aptitude for cybersecurity, yet only five percent of the students who participated were young women.  The results of the pilot sparked the GirlsGoCyberStart program, specifically designed to interest young women in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

This will be Maine’s second year participating in the GirlsGoCyberStart.  Last year, nearly two hundred students from all over Maine participated in the event and placed in the top 100 of all participating state teams.

“We are excited to join this wonderful opportunity to expand our talent pipeline by engaging young people interested in learning more about cybersecurity and directing them to the appropriate training and career coaching,” said Ande Smith, acting Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information Technology.

Maine students who participate in GirlsGoCyberStart will be doing so alongside students from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience.  All that is required is a computer and an internet connection. Young women in high school who excel in the GirlsGoCyberStart game will have the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes.  The website for registration opens on February 18, 2019. More information about the program and eligibility can be found at CyberStartUS.

For more information about Maine’s participation in the program, contact Dr. Kelly Samson-Rickert, Director of Workforce Innovations for the Maine Office of Information Technology at Kelly.Rickert@maine.gov or 207-624-9965.

PRIORITY NOTICE: 2019/20 Subsidy Printouts (ED279s) Now Available with Explanation of Funding Changes

The fiscal year 2019-2020 ED 279 subsidy printouts are now available at: https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/NEO/eps/public/ed279.aspx

The subsidy printouts are provided based on the $1.1 Billion in General Purpose Aid funding recommended for FY 2019-2020 by Governor Janet Mills in her FY 2020-2021 biennial budget. This amount is an additional $41.3 million from last year, and reflects the Governor’s commitment to increase the state’s share of education funding.

Below is a list of changes to the funding formula, enacted during the second session of the 128th Legislature:

  • The Minimum Special Education Adjustment has increased from 40% to 45%.
  • Each town’s valuation is provided by the Maine Revenue Service annually and utilized as the calculation of fiscal capacity to determine the town’s ability to pay its required local share. Previously the amounts used were determined based on the average valuation of the 2 most recent years prior to the year of funding for each town. For FY 2019-2020, the calculation of fiscal capacity will be based on the average of the 3 most recent years, prior to the year of funding or, the most recent year, whichever is less.
  • The allocation for system administration is $47 per pupil.
  • The additional allocation for members of regional service centers, as formed under M.R.S. 20-A, Chapter 123, is $94 per pupil, indexed to the member unit’s state share percentage on the ED 279, with a member unit receiving no less than a 30% state share and no greater than a 70% state share.
  • We are pleased to announce that the increased state share in funding this year has resulted in a change to the mill expectation. The mill expectation determines a unit’s required local share when multiplied times its fiscal capacity. This year it is 8.28 mills, down from 8.48 in FY 2019.
  • Remember, an increase or decrease in student enrollment, disadvantaged student population, special education costs, and other key factors in the formula have a major impact on funding for each district as the EPS model is a student-centered funding model.
  • School units that have either paid off or have begun to pay principal or interest payments for State approved new school construction will realize changes in funding if either a payment no longer needs to be made or if a new payment has begun.

The ED 279 Subsidy Printouts are calculated using the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) Funding Formula. The Department is proud to be offering one of the most equitable school funding formulas in the nation. It is based on years of research and information, designed to respond to student needs, and to direct resources to the communities with the most need. That said, the Department understands that the formula is not responsive to every need a school administrative unit may have, especially given the different priorities in schools and communities throughout the state.

Should you have questions regarding subsidy printouts, please contact the School Finance Team: Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov; Paula Gravelle at paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov; or Ida Batista at ida.batista@maine.gov.

Professional Development Opportunity: Fostering Musical Early Childhood Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education invites educators to be part of its upcoming professional development opportunity, Fostering Musical Early Childhood Classrooms.

Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed, and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Nate Menifield, are looking for teachers who want to energize their teaching and learning through focusing on music in the public preschool classroom.

Applicants must apply in teams of two: one public preschool teacher and one music teacher from the same district. The music teacher must currently teach at the elementary level.

Under the guidance of early childhood music experts, Catherine Newell and Danielle Collins, teams will work to build a collaborative partnership to ensure that preschool students receive a musical learning experience. Public preschool teachers will become familiar with research regarding why music is important in the preschool classroom; understand how it encompasses multiple early learning standards; and learn how to include music into their daily routines. Music teachers will learn developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching music to our youngest learners. Teams will be expected to practice new pedagogy in between sessions and document their experiences. As a culmination of their work, participants will deliver a brief presentation to an audience of their choice.

Participating Teacher Responsibilities:

  • Attend three day-long, face-to-face professional development trainings. All trainings will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Educare, 56 Drummond Ave., Waterville, ME 04901. Dates for trainings are: March 15th, May 23rd, and May 24th.
  • Attend one online check-in support meeting between face-to-face meetings. These meetings will occur between individual teams and the trainers at a mutually convenient time.
  • Develop individual goals for music implementation in your classroom and collaboration with a music teacher.
  • Commit to incorporating music into the preschool schedule on a regular basis.
  • Develop a plan for communicating the importance of music to preschool families.
  • Present a brief presentation on the work to an audience of each team’s choice, and submit a copy of the presentation to the Department of Education.

Compensation:

Each team will receive up to $300 in music supplies (determined by individual need).

To Apply:

Interested parties should fill out and submit an application here by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 28th (only one application is required per team). Applications will be reviewed immediately, and those accepted for participation will be notified by the afternoon of Monday, March 4th.

Please forward all questions to Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Nate Menifield, at nathaniel.j.menifield@maine.gov.