MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine DOE to Host 2019 Farm to School Cook-Off

What: The Farm to School Cook-off showcases the culinary skills of school food service staff and students, while promoting locally grown products in school meals. Each volunteer team, consisting of one school food service staff and one student, will prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. Local apples and dried black beans will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition.

Who: School food service staff and students, representatives from Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Program.

Where/When:

Thursday, March 21
Lake Region Vocational Center, Naples, ME
10:00am start time (cooking begins promptly at 10:30am)
Teams are representing Auburn, South Portland, Falmouth

Friday, March 22
Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, Bath, ME
10:00am start time (cooking begins promptly at 10:30am)
Teams are representing RSU 38, Yarmouth and RSU 12

Tuesday, March 26
Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor, ME
1:00pm start time (cooking begins promptly at 1:30pm)
Teams are representing RSU 54, RSU 22 and Cherryfield

A final cook-off will be held at Kennebec Valley Community College- Alfond Campus on April 23.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition. For further questions, please contact Maine Department of Education by contacting Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

Press Release: Nominations Now Open for Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor Awards

Volunteers are the heartbeat of Maine and it is volunteer recognition season.  Nominations are currently being accepted for the Governor’s Service Awards, Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor and Young Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor.

Since 1987, the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism have celebrated and recognized the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities.  At the same time, the awards seek to inspire others to be active in civic life and follow in the footsteps of those recognized.

Teachers and coaches are encouraged to submit nominations for student groups if each member of the group meets the 50-hour minimum requirement. Please note that any hours of volunteer time completed for graduation can also be counted towards the minimum obligation for this award program.

Awardees will be honored at the statewide Roll of Honor Recognition Ceremony that will be held at the Messalonskee High School in the J. Duke Albanese Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Nomination submissions must be sent electronically by or before the deadline date of Friday, March 15, 2019.  For information on how to submit nominations, visit the Volunteer Maine website.

This program is administered by the Maine Commission for Community Service, which strives to build capacity and sustainability in Maine’s volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy. For more information about the Maine Commission for Community Service, visit their website.

The Maine Association of School Nurses (MASN) is Seeking Nominations for School Nurse of the Year 2019

The purpose of this award is to recognize the contributions of Maine School Nurses by honoring one school nurse who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in the practice of school nursing. This title recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated excellence and leadership in the following: care provision, program management, health education, professional development, community involvement, and research.

Please consider honoring the excellence of your school nurse. Nomination packets are due April 1. Instructions for nominations and more information can be found on the MASN website, or you may contact Deb Braxton, the coordinator for School Nurse of the Year for MASN: dbraxton@capeelizabethschools.org

Employee of the Week: Sarah Adkins

Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator, is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Sarah through this brief question and answer:

What are your roles with DOE?

I help schools and families in understanding Maine’s anti-bullying law; provide guidance to schools in regards to Student Behavior data collection – bullying, violent and harmful behavior, and restraint & seclusion; assist schools and parents in understanding Chapter 33 (Restraint and Seclusion); and support Maine’s school counselors in their role of providing academic interventions, social/emotional learning, and college and career readiness to students PreK-12th grade.

What do you like best about your job?

Interacting with parents, school leaders, and school counselors in finding ways to best support, help, and understand Maine’s students so that school is a safe, welcoming, and encouraging learning environment.

How or why did you decide on this career?

School is essential in providing not only relevant and meaningful academics but also experiential activities that develop well-rounded and happy children and adolescents.  I chose to have a career path in the field of education in which hard work and patience in needed in order to make sure all Maine kids are learning, that they are happy, and are provided opportunities to show and demonstrate their talents.  Maine kids are great and I am dedicated to the work in education that brings out the best in every Maine kid and those adults who work with them every single day.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

Skiing, kayaking, shopping at Goodwill, going on family adventures, camping, completing house projects, and attending sporting events for all four of my children

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.