Governor Mills Proclaims September 18-24 Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

While adult education provides so much more than just the high school equivalency, it is certainly a milestone for adult learners who have have grit and determination. They are fighting for a better future for themselves and their families!  The Maine Department of Education joins Governor Mills to celebrate their hard work as well as the work of adult education professionals who show up everyday to empower their learners.

Governor Janet T. Mills has proclaimed September 18 – 24 as Adult Education and Family Literacy Week in the State of Maine – view the proclamation here.

Maine Adult Education programs offer classes and tutoring sessions to help adults acquire and improve their skills in reading, writing, mathematics, English language proficiency, and problem solving to become self-sufficient and to participate effectively as workers, family members and citizens.

For more information on the local adult education program near you, please contact Amy Poland, or view our Maine Adult Education Directory or visit The Maine Adult Education Association’s Website.

NMRC/PAE Education Academy Program Accepting Applications

A new Education Academy offered at Portland Adult Education is now accepting applications. The Education Academy prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be teachers or educational technicians here in Maine.

The Portland Public Schools launched the Education Academy as part of the Teach Portland initiative in January 2022 to build and diversify its educator workforce. This new intensive program, targeted specifically at foreign-trained teachers, will be offered by the New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) at Portland Adult Education starting Jan. 7. It is designed to build on the skills and experience that these teachers bring with them from their home countries.

The Education Academy will combine coursework with intensive English and a student classroom experience.  It will prepare students in the program to work as educational technicians and substitute teachers. It will also provide the guidance and support they need to ultimately apply for and pursue teacher certification.  Students may be eligible for scholarships and other supportive services that will help them with the costs of any college courses they may need for teacher certification.

Education Academy which is now accepting applications for classes that start this September.

  • This program prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be Teachers or Educational Technicians here in Maine
  • It is also a good program for people with other backgrounds and degrees who are interested in entering the teaching profession
  • It provides an overview of education in the US including: classroom management, teaching methods, becoming a Maine educator, and teaching exceptional students
  • The program includes a practicum, or practical experience in a classroom, and also advice and assistance applying for teacher certification and jobs

Here is a link to more information about the program and its requirements:  Education Academy Slideshow.

Here is a link to the Education Academy Application.

For more information about the Education Academy, go to the New Mainers Resource Center website at: or call Portland Adult Education at: 207-874-8155

Maine DOE Hosts First ‘Teachers of Adult Multilingual Summer Institute’ Drawing in Rural Districts Eager to Support New Learners

As the housing crisis felt across Maine has driven some of Maine’s newest multilingual residents out of urban areas and into rural parts of our State, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Maine’s adult education multilingual learning programs are right there to provide the support they need. 

The first-ever, “Teachers of Adult Multilingual Summer Institute” was held in Sugarloaf and virtually recently. Hosted by Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team and endearingly referred to as, “Camp Sugarloaf,” the gathering featured nationally renowned educator and speaker Jayme Adelson-Goldstein who led a workshop, which took place over the course of the three-day institute, on implementing high-leverage practices and differentiation in virtual and  in-person multilingual classrooms with interactive activities that enabled participants to get to know each other and dig into valuable content and best practices for educating adult learners who are multilingual. 

In addition to Adelson-Goldstein’s full group sessions, the institute also offered various breakout sessions led by educators working in some of Maine’s more urban adult education programs.  

While Rochelle Yanike Hale from Portland Adult Education led a session on “How to Increase Student Writing in a Remote Class,” Virginie Akimana from Portland Adult Education hosted a session on, “Considerations for Working with Adult Multilingual Learners,” and Tekia Cox from Augusta Adult & Community Education hosted participants for a Roundtable Discussion on Orientation for Multilingual Learners. Also offering sessions were Kelli Park from University of Southern Maine (USM)/Merrymeeting Adult Education, Elizabeth Cuccinello DiLalla from RSU 13 Adult & Community Education, Moira Taylor from Portland Adult Education, Lisa Parisio from Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Amy Hatch from Lewiston Adult Education, and Anya Enright from EnGen. 

Members of Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team also hosted various other sessions on everything from CASAS (assessments) to community resources, and the Teaching the Skills That Matter (TSTM) Toolkit. In addition, the institute also provided participants with ample opportunities for networking, relaxing, and communicating and collaborating with each other across the three-day event.    

Meet the Adult Education Team: 

Back row: Kelley Heath- Adult Ed Data/High School Education Coordinator, Amy Hatch-Adult Ed MaineStars Data Entry, Christy Le-Adult Ed Micro-credential Assistant, Tammy Ranger- Director, Workforce Development & Innovative Pathways 

Front row: Megan Dichter- Adult Ed Workforce Development/ESL Coordinator, Amy Poland- Adult Ed Prof Dev/ME College Transition Coordinator, Monique Roy-Director Adult Education 

While this is the first official Summer Institute hosted for Maine’s adult educators, the Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team hopes to plan a summer institute annually each year going forward. 

Retired Bowdoin College Professor Brings Music to Lewiston Adult Education

At Lewiston Adult Education, music is an exciting new aspect of learning. The sounds of bows on strings fill the halls as Mary Hunter, a retired Bowdoin College music professor teaches beginners how to play violin. The program began in March and, after a ten-week course, most of the students can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” an impressive accomplishment after such a short amount of time.

This course may have been the first like it, however, Hunter plans to continue the program through next year. Her course is the first regularly scheduled musical program at Lewiston Adult Education, and she hopes students continue to enroll as she continues to advertise. Hunter believes that music is an important element of education, especially for adults. “For people who have never had the opportunity to take music lessons,” she says, “just giving it a try for a few weeks might offer a somewhat new angle on their identity.” She also shared that the concentration that comes with practicing provides a cathartic release and a bit of mindfulness. The sense of achievement that comes with learning a repertoire is important, too, she says, as it opens to the door to collaboration with others.

A big difference between adults and children, Hunter says, is that adults choose to learn. Oftentimes, adults are persistent and determined to succeed because of this choice. A few undaunted students who took her class this spring look to continue learning and will be joining a new group of students who will take Hunter’s course this summer, which will run from mid-June to mid-August. Another diligent student of Hunter’s, who took prior lessons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is working up to a big performance. They have been working one-on-one together to create a program to perform at the school’s graduation on June 14th. There, they will be playing three songs together to show off their hard work and honor this year’s graduates.

Further, while adults grasp concepts quicker than children, Hunter says they are also physically less adaptable. This presents a bit of a struggle, especially because they need to be treated like grownups, and the material they are presented with needs to be geared towards adults. However, even with these challenges, Hunter looks forward to her students, and the program, progressing past these beginning stages to grow and overcome these obstacles in the future.

Maine DOE Adult Education Team Hosts Showcase of First ‘Teaching the Skills That Matter’ Training Program

(Pictured: Vanessa Richards, Ellsworth Adult Education)

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) Adult Education team recently brought together 23 educators from adult education programs across Maine at the UMA-Lewiston campus to celebrate their capstone presentations for Teaching Skills that Matter in Adult Education (TSTM). The event was the culmination of a 7-month TSTM training provided by Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team.

Teaching Skills that Matter in Adult Education (TSTM) is a federal initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) that was developed by the American Institutes for Research. The goal of the initiative is to train teachers to integrate the skills that adults need for success in career and life using evidence-based approaches that work across topics that are also important to adults (civics education, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and workforce preparation).

In 2020, the Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team applied to be part of a cohort of states to be trained in using the TSTM materials. A team of four Maine adult educators, Michael Emery from Augusta Adult and Community Education, Melanie North from MSAD 52 Adult and Community Education, Irina Petranek from Lewiston Adult Education, and Lyn Warne from Eastern Aroostook Adult Education, and Amy Poland, Maine DOE Adult Education PD Coordinator participated in an intensive yearlong training which resulted in a plan to bring the TSTM training to Maine’s adult education programs.

As a result of this effort, Maine’s first cohort of TSTM training kicked off in September 2021 at a 2-day, in-person event that was followed by virtual meetings to support their on-going efforts to teach TSTM in diverse teaching contexts, making math and science connections to TSTM lessons, and integrating TSTM into the existing curriculum. Participants also worked with a coach and coaching group on an ongoing basis from September 2021 through April 2022 meeting regularly to discuss using TSTM in the classroom. They also had two classroom observations, giving them a chance to reflect on their work.

The recently held event served as the wrap up event for Maine’s first TSTM cohort featuring 5 minute presentations from each adult education educator that participated in the training including: Washington County Adult and Community Education, RSU 24 Adult Ed, Mount Desert Island Adult Education, Ellsworth Adult Education, MSAD1 Adult and Community Education, Riverside Adult Education (RSU 22, 26, 34), Franklin County Adult Education, Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education, Augusta Adult and Community Education, MSAD52 Adult & Community Education, RSU 16 Adult Ed, Lewiston Adult Education, Merrymeeting Adult Education, Portland Adult Education, Windham Raymond Adult Ed, and Marshwood Adult Education.

During each presentation, participants shared their experiences teaching using TSTM lessons in practice, how they adapted the lessons to fit what their learners needs, their lessons learned, and many other useful pieces of information relevant to their peers and the Maine DOE for future success with the TSTM program.

With culture as a common theme, many shared their experiences working both remotely and in-person to teach lessons that were both relevant and accessible to adult learners enrolled in their respective programs and regions.

There were also many shared experiences in working with adult learners which resulted in everything from sharing tips and tricks to turning common frustrations into something positive.

“The tech will get you every time,” said Valerie from Washington County Adult Education program. While her comment got a chuckle and a knowing head nod from most around the room, she turned it into an important lesson for educators about modeling working through a problem (such as a technology issue) in front of students, to show them how to problem-solve in real time – a handy skill for everyone to develop.

Also included in the training was a TSTM toolkit packed with high-quality lessons that are easily adapted for Maine’s varied adult education population (multilingual, adult basic education, high school completion, workforce training, college transitions, etc.). Also integrated into the toolkit are many of the employability skills (soft skills) already taught in Maine which are integrated into academic lessons that highlight relevant topics for adult learners, such as budgeting, reading workplace safety signs, and first amendment rights.

“TSTM pushed me to learn a variety of remote learning tools,” shared Rochelle from Portland Adult Education Program. Rochelle wasn’t the only one to talk about a journey with learning remote learning tools and refreshing their toolbox of digital tools that can help with in-person learning as well. Many of the educators in the room really benefited from their experience using the toolkit provided by TSTM, especially in the wake of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic which changed the way most educators teach.

A booklet created by Maine Snap-Ed ( An example of a community resource used in Maine Adult Education programs

Another common theme among participants was how much more enriching and sustainable their lessons and curriculum became as a result of partnering with local agencies. For many, these connections were critical for things like food stamps and/or education materials, and to supplement their curriculum without having to reinvent something that community partners could come in and present or provide information and/or tools for.

Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team Professional Development Coordinator Amy Poland says, “We are currently planning next year, but we anticipate holding another statewide training similar to this year’s.” She adds that the team is also working on a community of practice which will feature a series of workshops around effective teaching practices using the TSTM Toolkit lessons, and convening a cohort of teachers who will create and curate new materials, and more for their fellow adult education educators across the State.

To learn more about TSTM visit their national website. To learn more about Maine’s Adult Education efforts, join the Adult Education listserv or email Amy Poland at