MEDIA RELEASE: Three Maine Schools Receive National Blue Ribbon School Honors

United States Department of Education (DOE) has recognized three Maine schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The following Maine schools were recognized:

Easton Elementary School, Easton School Department

Mary Snow Elementary School, Bangor School Department

Pond Cove Elementary School, Cape Elizabeth School Department

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 9,000 schools.

U.S. DOE recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13 and they will each receive their plaques and flags via mail.

Photographs and brief descriptions of all 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at https://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.

Five Portland Public Schools Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Five high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools have been named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students now have the opportunity to compete for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.

The five Semifinalists are Portland High School seniors Liam Foley and Andrew Leonard; Deering High School students Aidan Blum Levine and Matthew Keast; and Casco Bay High School student Oscar McNally.

“Congratulations to these exemplary students!” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “This is the highest number of National Merit Semifinalists from the Portland Public Schools in more than five years. The credit goes to not only these hardworking students but to their teachers and other supporters, including their parents. I wish them the best as they continue on in this competition.”

These students are among 68 Maine seniors named as Semifinalists in the 2021 contest. There are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists were selected from a pool of more than 1.5 million high school juniors that entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Of the 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. To become Finalists, Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be involved in school and community activities, show leadership abilities, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their  earlier performance on the qualifying test. Of those Finalists, about half will win a National Merit Scholarship and become National Merit Scholars.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021. The National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and ending in July. These scholarship recipients will join approximately 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

This story was submitted by Tess Nacelewicz Communications Coordinator for Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Now is the Time to Recognize the Amazing People in Maine’s Schools: Seeking Nominations to Honor School Staff and Educators

Now, more than ever, as our schools embark on the most extraordinary school year the world has ever experienced, it is important to take the time to recognize the outstanding people who are going above and beyond to serve our schools, the students, and their community as hardworking employees and educators. With that in mind, the Maine Department of Education invites community members, co-workers, fellow educators, parents, friends, families, and students to nominate school employees and educators for the following honors that are now seeking nominations.

RISE Award – for Classified School Employees

The Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor and the U.S. Department of Education, are accepting nominations for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. This federal award, passed by Congress and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, is intended to honor and promote classified school employees who provide exemplary service. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in: Work performance; School and community involvement; Leadership and commitment; Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); and Enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.

A classified school employee is defined as an employee who works in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades (pre-kindergarten through high school).

The Maine Department of Education will recognize each nominee and put forth two finalists to the U.S Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education will share the story of one of Maine’s finalists to inspire excellence among classified school employees around the nation.

The deadline to submit a nomination is October 13,2020.  Nominate today by clicking here.

Maine DOE Educator Talent Pool

A great way to ensure a robust educator workforce is to develop and engage a network of outstanding educators as exemplars and leaders for our state.  By promoting the excellence that exists in classrooms and schools across Maine, we hope to increase the trust and respect given to educators, and encourage and support others in an outstanding career working with Maine’s students.

We are seeking recommendations for our Maine Department of Education Talent Pool.  This opportunity is for the unsung heroes who are making a difference for students, and likely will continue to expand that impact far beyond their classrooms or schools. The Department of Education hopes to connect these current educational luminaries to one another, to decision making at the department, and to other practitioners in the field. By tapping into their professional expertise and insights, and encouraging educator to educator collaboration and sharing, Maine’s learners will continue to thrive!  Those who are recommended can determine their capacity and interest in engagement, there is no expectation beyond being an outstanding educator.

Please help us in the expansion of our Talent Pool, and with our continued efforts to support and celebrate the amazing work being done in classrooms across Maine every day!

Important News: We will now be accepting recommendations on a rolling basis! Submit your recommendation no later than September 30, 2020 to have an educator considered for the 2020 pool!

For more information and to nominate, please check out the Maine Talent Pool Recommendation Form.

For more information about the RISE award visit the RISE informational webpage. For more information about the Educator Talent Pool visit the Educator Talent Pool informational webpage. Further questions about either opportunity can be directed toward Emily Doughty at Emily.doughty@maine.gov or (207)624-6748.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year

Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE) has opened nominations for the annual Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year Award. This is an annual award that recognize teachers who are providing outstanding career and technical education programs for youth and/or adults in their respective fields and communities. Recipients of this award must be nominated by their CTE Director.

Eligibility: Individual members who are currently employed as full-time classroom/laboratory teachers in a career and technical education program in Maine are eligible recipients for this award. Nominees must be classroom/laboratory teachers at the time of selection. Contributions and achievements on which the nomination is based should have been made within the past ten years. The nominee’s Center needs to be an active member of the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education, MACTE at the time of application.

How to Nominate: Submit a completed nomination form (word doc) and supporting nomination materials electronically via e-mail to rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org by September 18, 2020. Please note that this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, MACTE is unable to complete the nomination process at their summer meetings.

All nominations will be reviewed by the MACTE Executive Committee and a winner will be chosen from nominations submitted. The announcement of the winner will be made at the virtual MACTE conference on October 8, 2020.

For more information about how to nominate, including what the supporting nomination materials are, see the nomination (word doc). Further questions can be directed to MACTE President Rob Callahan at rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org.

 

 

 

Nominations Open for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year

Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE) has opened nominations for the annual Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year Award. This is an annual award that recognize teachers who are providing outstanding career and technical education programs for youth and/or adults in their respective fields and communities. Recipients of this award must be nominated by their CTE Director.

Eligibility:

Individual members who are currently employed as full-time classroom/laboratory teachers in a career and technical education program in Maine are eligible recipients for this award. Nominees must be classroom/laboratory teachers at the time of selection. Contributions and achievements on which the nomination is based should have been made within the past ten years.

The nominee’s Center needs to be an active member of the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education, MACTE at the time of application.

How to Nominate:

Submit a completed nomination form (word doc) and supporting nomination materials electronically via e-mail to rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org by September 18, 2020. Please note that this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, MACTE is unable to complete the nomination process at their summer meetings.

All nominations will be reviewed by the MACTE Executive Committee and a winner will be chosen from nominations submitted. The announcement of the winner will be made at the virtual MACTE conference on October 8, 2020.

For more information about how to nominate, including what the supporting nomination materials are, see the nomination (word doc). Further questions can be directed to MACTE President Rob Callahan at rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: State Finalists Announced for 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year 

Three Maine teachers have been announced as State finalists for the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year program. The finalists were chosen from the 2020 Maine County Teachers of the Year honored earlier this year during a special virtual ceremony which was viewed over 7,000 times.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program honors outstanding teachers who represent the thousands of excellent educators in Maine. Maine’s Teacher of the Year serves as an advocate for the teaching profession, education and students, and represents Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Each educator was nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals, and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities.

The Maine Department of Education, Educate Maine, Maine State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association are pleased to announce that Cindy Soule (Cumberland), Alison Babb-Brott (Knox) and Heather Webster (Lincoln) are moving on as 2021 State Finalists.

Please join us in congratulating the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists.

Cindy Soule

Gerald A. Talbot Community School, Portland 
2020 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year 

Cindy Soule creates a learning community that disrupts the opportunity gap. For twenty of her twenty-one years of teaching, she has been committed to one of Maine’s most diverse schools, the Gerald E. Talbot Community School, in Portland, Maine. Soule fosters a dynamic learning environment that inspires curiosity and citizenship in her fourth-grade students.

A lifelong resident of Maine, Soule developed an appreciation for the natural world. This passion is evident in her teaching. She grounds learning in real world contexts and encourages students to construct scientific understanding through observation, questioning, and collaborative thinking.  Through inquiry and discourse, Soule empowers students to see themselves as meaningful contributors to their community. This work is recognized by her Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching candidacy.

Soule contributes to a positive culture of collective efficacy where students thrive. To enrich student learning, she partners with community organizations to include Side X Side, the Maine Audubon, and the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. She serves as a representative on the Portland Schools Literacy Committee, Talbot Leadership Team, Building Steering Committee, RTI Team, and Science Teams. On behalf of students, Soule is a recipient of Portland Education Foundation, TD Banknorth and DonorsChoose grants.

Soule holds a Master of Science in Special Education from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from the University of Maine at Orono. A 2020 Funds for Teachers Fellow, she looks forward to continued professional discovery and learning.

Alison Babb-Brott

St. George School, St. George
2020 Knox County Teacher of the Year 

Alison Babb-Brott is the second grade teacher at St. George School in St. George, Maine, where she has taught since 2016. Babb-Brott is inspired by the power and potential of young students and sets the bar for high expectations, as evidenced by her students’ engagement and achievement. She believes that by teaching students to be the leaders of their classroom and academic careers, they will in turn become leaders of their communities and their world.

Babb-Brott teaches learning expeditions that connect students with authentic, local experiences – like her “Plants and Pollinators” expedition, in which students study local flora and fauna and plant pollinator gardens – and also expose students to global perspectives – like her “Schools and Community” expedition, in which students explore schools around the world to find similarities that connect them and differences that challenge them.

Underlying Babb-Brott’s content delivery is a fierce commitment to the development of her students’ character. Every interaction is designed to teach and support integrous care for student dialogue, classroom culture, and academic achievement.

Babb-Brott graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She later received her Master of Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2015.

She returned to teach in Maine as the ocean and her family called her home. On a boat in Penobscot Bay or in the stands at her younger sister’s soccer games, she is happiest surrounded by friends and family.

Heather Webster

Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro 
2020 Lincoln County Teacher of the Year 

Heather Webster is an English teacher at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Maine, where she has just completed her 19th year. Webster is an active teacher-leader who is always focused on improving the school experience for all students; she has served on many and varied committees and particularly enjoys developing student-centered curriculum. She is the co-founder of the school’s student-staffed writing center. She also started Storybook Theater, a community service drama program where high school students bring a book to life for elementary students.

Webster recognizes the importance of relationships and works to establish positive ones both in and out of the classroom. Her classroom motto, from the Apollo 13 mission, is “Failure is not an option,” and she works to provide students with choices and multiple opportunities to demonstrate knowledge, often seeking out or creating, project-based activities to employ in her classroom.

Webster graduated from the University of Maine in 1991, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English. She later completed the coursework for teaching certification and is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Literacy with a concentration in Writing and the Teaching of Writing at the University of Maine. Family, both nuclear and extended, are of utmost importance to Webster. Her husband, Phil, supports her endeavors, and parenting her 16-year-old son Russell has definitely contributed to making her a better teacher. She loves reading, writing, and scrapbooking, and can often be found on horseback navigating woods trails or circling a show ring.

One of these three teachers will be named the 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. The announcement will be in October after the final stages of the selection process are complete.

Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education, administered by Educate Maine. For more information, visit http://www.mainetoy.org.