Lewiston Adult Education Computer Training Prepares Students For Future Careers

Computer Support Specialist student Santo Panzo took a moment during November mock interviews for a photo outside the Adult Learning Center at the Longley Multipurpose Center.
Computer Support Specialist student Santo Panzo took a moment during November mock interviews for a photo outside the Adult Learning Center at the Longley Multipurpose Center.

Lewiston Adult Education students have completed the first part of Computer Support Specialist training for technology sector jobs. The combination of in-person and distance learning lessons in the fall focused on digital literacy, English skills and work readiness. Successful completion of the program results in a level one Computer Specialist microbadge that can be accepted for college credit and is recognized by employers around the state.

“The students were very motivated and showed a great work ethic. All of them work full time yet were able to participate in and successfully complete this intense program,” English teacher Irina Petranek said.

Student Santo Panzo thanked computer teacher Greg Yates in an email.

“We are more than proud of the opportunity Lewiston Adult Education provided to us,” Panzo said.

On Nov. 20, Panzo and his classmates participated in mock interviews with staff and community members as another preparation for the workforce. Local partners in the interviews included Carbonite, Bates College and RoundTable Technology. Some of the interviews were remote while others were in person with social distancing and mask-wearing.

Computer Support Specialist student Ester Bassa sat for an outdoor photo during November mock interviews at the Adult Learning Center at the Longley Multipurpose Center.
Computer Support Specialist student Ester Bassa sat for an outdoor photo during November mock interviews at the Adult Learning Center at the Longley Multipurpose Center.

“Lewiston Adult Education is proud to have pioneered in this innovative work. The opportunity to invest in training that results in badges that are recognized for college credit and by local employers is of tremendous benefit to our adult learners,” Lewiston Adult Education Assistant Director Jen Tiner said. “We admire the initiative and persistence that our students demonstrated throughout this program.”

The students’ next step will be taking the National Retail Federation Customer Service and Sales program in collaboration with RSU 16 Adult Education. It will include English classes with a focus on technical writing and speaking skills.

“This class of students reminds us all of the importance of embracing the new ‘global language’ – Information Technology.  A diverse set of students in age, background and origin, they were eager to master the skills of today’s explosion in computer technology,” Yates said.

The Computer Support Specialist Program is funded by the Lumina Foundation and developed in partnership with the University of Maine System, the Maine Department of Labor and the Maine Department of Education.

This story was provided by Lewiston Adult Education Center 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.

Everyone Has a Story: Lewiston Mom Finds a New Passion and Career Through Local Adult Education Program

A podcast called “We All Have a Story” features standup comedian Dawn Hartill, who got her start by taking a Lewiston Adult Education class called “Standup Comedy Workshop.” Check out her story and how she got stated on We All Have a Story – A podcast about people @WAHASpodcast. Here is a link to where you can listen to her story (She mentions adult education at 4:13 during her interview).

Now teaching the standup class at Lewiston Adult Education, Dawn’s story exemplifies how important education can be at any age, and how trying something new through a wonderful local resource can change your life in so many positive ways.

To learn more about the Lewiston Adult Education Program, check out their website, or you can contact your local school system to learn more about the Adult Education classes available near you.

Maine Career Development Association Hosts Art & Poetry Contest for Maine Students

In celebration of National Career Development Month in November, the Maine Career Development Association is sponsoring a statewide Poetry & Art contest, that is open to students and adults state-wide.

The Contest is held annually on a national level in celebration of the importance of life-long career development and the personal empowerment of all people. Events and activities in celebration of National Career Month help examine lives, careers, and the alternatives available to increase everyone’s personal success and happiness.

Contest Eligibility

Adults and students enrolled in public, private schools in Maine, and students who are homeschooled in Maine are eligible to participate.

Contest division areas include:

  • Primary Grades: K – 2
  • Intermediate Grades 3 – 5
  • Middle Grades 6 – 8
  • Senior Grades 9 – 12
  • Adult Student 18 and older enrolled in school
  • Open Adult 18 and older (teachers, parents, professionals, etc.)

Each entry should celebrate and inspire career development with a positive tone while emphasizing the national theme.

For further information on how to participate in the contest including eligibility requirements for both poetry and art submissions and how make submissions, please view the Maine Career Development Association’s Art & Poetry Contest Flyer and Entry Form.

Winners in each category will be posted to the MCDA website (https://www.mainecda.org/) as well as included in the MCDA newsletter! Winners will then be sent on to the NCDA to be judged nationally. National winning entries will be recognized on the NCDA website, as well as on display at the annual conference in Atlanta in 2021. The school coordinator of each state winner will receive a free year’s membership to the Maine Career Development Association!

DEADLINE: All submissions must include the official entry form, be postmarked by November 23rd, and mailed to Tara Kierstead, MCDA K-12 Representative, at the address on the entry form.

Please email Tara Kierstead at tkierstead@kidsrsu.org with any questions.


RSU 16 Gets Creative to Offer In-Person Adult Ed Graduation

Maine Adult Education programs are working hard through the COVID-19 Pandemic to help students meet their goals. That’s why RSU 16 planned an end of summer graduation ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of their Adult Education students. In a short, in-person, socially distanced graduation on August 6th the program was able to honor 8 out of 13 of their graduates.

While a group picture is not necessarily easy to accomplish, the staff at RSU 16 made a picture collage to memorialize the event for years to come.

This story was submitted by Jenny Rose, RSU 16 Adult Education Director and McKinney Vento Homeless Liaison as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea please email Rachel rachel.paling@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE:  Unified Guidance Regarding Executive Orders and School Personnel:  All School Services and Employees are Essential

As our state and nation face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, it is more critical than ever that Maine schools and school employees work together to provide the deeply needed services of continuity of education, communications, connectivity, payroll, other administrative activities, custodial services, transportation/deliveries,  and student nutrition. The Governor has directed SAUs to pay hourly employees for their previously contracted hours throughout the remainder of this school year, and this decision was predicated on the understanding that all school employees would continue to have important roles in limited, alternative, ongoing operations. The Department of Education has also stated that all school employees are essential.  The Priority Notice from the Dept of Education on 3/27/20 says: “All school employees are considered to be ‘essential’ under the Governor’s Executive Order #19 and should be expected to complete all duties and tasks assigned to them.”

On March 31st, Governor Mills instituted Executive Order 28 further restricting public contact and movement, schools, vehicle travel and retail business operations.  In addition, cities and towns are also putting new provisions in place, which restrict operations of non-essential businesses, new questions have arisen about the definition and what it means for public-school employees to be essential.

Although school employees are essential, their physical presence at school is not always necessary during this emergency, as there are many tasks and trainings that could be completed remotely.  In light of the Governor’s “Stay Healthy At Home” order at this critical juncture to flatten the curve, physical presence in schools should be restricted to a bare minimum in order to provide essential functions – such as providing educational and nutritional services to students, payroll, certain cleaning and maintenance staff, certain administrative assistant staff where communications cannot occur remotely, IT staff to support remote learning functions, transportation staff  – and only as long as social distancing and other CDC recommendations (including hand washing protocols) are being implemented. The fewest numbers of employees possible should be on premises, and only during the necessary time frame required for conducting such services. All functions that do not require in-person staff in schools should be done remotely.

It is possible that some hourly staff members will not have enough immediately purposeful work to do (either on site or remotely) to fill the contracted hours for which they are paid. In that case, these employees should be considered to be “on standby”, ready to assist as work does become available for them. Administrators and supervisors should determine when/if certain positions are needed to perform tasks.  While on standby, employees will continue to receive hourly wages as contracted prior to the COVID emergency.

Given the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, the Department of Education (DOE), Maine School Board Association/Maine School Superintendents Association (MSBA/MSSA), Maine Principals Association (MPA), Maine Education Association (MEA), Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) and Maine Curriculum Leaders Association (MCLA), would like to clarify the roles and responsibilities of public-school employees during this time.

  • Employees who are able and assigned by supervisors to work remotely should continue to do so, and raise any concerns they may have with their local district leadership.  Administrators and staff are encouraged to collaborate and problem-solve to foster telework options during this crisis.

  •  School employees should continue to go to work if they  must be there to perform essential functions. CDC guidelines should be strictly followed including social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people.  School employees working onsite should be kept to the bare minimum necessary to execute the functions that require their physical presence.

  • Employees  whose services are not immediately needed, as determined by supervisors, or whose work cannot be done remotely, should continue to receive their regular wages and should remain ready to perform tasks as they become necessary and assigned by supervisors.    Employees on standby leave should be ready to help schools meet their basic needs, and may be assigned to participate in a rotation of duties during this time.

  • Any  school employees who are sick, in a high risk group, or feel unsafe for any reason, should have access to their own sick leave, the new federal leave program, a district sick leave bank, if applicable, or any other paid leave that a district may be providing.

We can all take common sense steps to ensure that only staff whose physical presence is required  to provide services and who are engaged in immediately necessary services are in our schools, and that those who are in our schools are being protected by following the most current CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, hand washing, and ventilation.

We so appreciate all the work being done to help students during these challenging times.  We know our public schools are wonderful places filled with amazing, hard-working and dedicated staff.  Please be sure to take care of each other during this crisis.