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.

U.S. Department of Education Acts on School Safety Report Recommendation to Improve Understanding of Student Privacy Law

The U.S. Department of Education released a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on schools’ and districts’ responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the context of school safety.

The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) released an in-depth report last December, which observed that “substantial misunderstanding remains at the local level among officials and educators concerning (FERPA), and in particular its application to school-based threats.”

This FAQ document, titled, School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), consolidates previously issued guidance and technical assistance into a single resource to help raise schools’ and districts’ awareness of these provisions.

The document consists of 37 commonly asked questions about schools’ and school districts’ responsibilities under FERPA relating to disclosures of student information to school resource officers (SROs), law enforcement units and others, and seeks to explain and clarify how FERPA protects student privacy while ensuring the health and safety of students and others in the school community.

The FAQ document includes answers to common FERPA questions involving school safety, such as:

  • Can law enforcement unit officials who are off-duty police officers or SROs be considered school officials under FERPA and, therefore, have access to students’ education records?
  • Does FERPA permit schools and districts to disclose education records, without consent, to outside law-enforcement officials who serve on a school’s threat assessment team?
  • When is it permissible for schools or districts to disclose student education records under FERPA’s health or safety emergency exception?
  • Does FERPA permit school officials to release information that they personally observed or of which they have personal knowledge?

The full FAQ document can be found here.

For additional information on the meetings, field visits, listening sessions, roundtables and other resources used to produce the FCSS report, please visit the U.S. DOE’s school safety website.

Bullying Prevention: Online Professional Development

Through a collaborative effort with Safe Schools, an industry leader in K-12 school safety, the Maine DOE is providing all schools free, equitable access to professional development that addresses Maine’s anti-bullying law.  The professional development course, Bullying: Recognition & Response, specifically highlights An Act to Prohibit Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools and addresses the proper use of Maine DOE’s model bullying policy and procedures, which can be found here.

Bullying: Recognition & Response is an online video that is 67 minutes in length and is divided into 7 sections, with a quiz at the end.  The video can be shown to a large group, small groups, or viewed individually.  Delivery of the video should be done in a way that best meets the staff’s professional development needs and is responsive to the school district’s efforts to address bullying.

To access this professional development, district or school leadership should contact Justin Moore, justin.moore@vectorsolutions.com, or Allison Byndas, allison.byndas@vectorsolutions.com at Safe Schools.

For more information related to bullying prevention efforts in Maine schools, please contact Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator, at sarah.adkins@maine.gov or 624-6685.

School Safety and Security Bulletin: Planning for those with Access and Functional Needs

Throughout the 2018- 2019 school year, the Maine Department of Education, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Maine State Police, Maine Sheriffs Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency will provide tips and resource information to Maine schools to help provide some guidance for identifying signs and preventing school violence.

School Safety and Security Bulletin  – February 2019

Further questions and inquiries can be send to Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

Rural Maine Attendance Summit to be held April 11

Rural Maine Attendance is hosting small school districts from across the state for a day-long summit held at gather at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer on April 11th, 2019 with experts from across the state to talk about ways to improve chronic absenteeism in rural schools.

This summit will help generate more tools, and allow for the exchanging of ideas regarding the growing issues that are keeping kids from accessing school. Any and all rural Maine school districts with less than 1,000 (or so) students are invited to this conference.

Groups of people (two or more) from districts are welcome to attend and/or staff that deal with attendance issues such as Social Workers, Guidance, Principals, Lead Teachers, etc.

For more information visit the Rural Maine Attendance website.