York Adult Education Hosts Annual Celebration of Learning

York Adult Education held its annual celebration of learning on June 3, 2021 to honor all of their students’ accomplishments.  The students recognized were receiving diplomas, CNA certification, and Comptia A+ Academy certificates.  Also celebrating their success were students of English as a Second Language classes. Each student has worked hard for at least the past year, and some for as long as 5 years, attaining their goals. All of them had to juggle their efforts with jobs and families.

The students created a special video presentation, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

The Perseverance Award was given to Xue Zheng for logging over 400 hours of classes. This amazingly intelligent and hardworking woman earned her high school diploma in English, while learning the language, starting a restaurant, and raising a family.

In addition to the in-person attendees, some students were virtually present and for others the event was recorded (ceremony starts at 10:20). Family and friends, as well school staff members, York Schools’ Superintendent, and the director of Special Education attended to support the students.

Director of Adult Education, Lisa Robertson, bragged on all the students had overcome. “Let’s look at what it took for these learners to get here today. First of all, I’ll give a brief nod to COVID and how that changed the delivery of education.  For some, that was quite a deterrent to learning.  They needed an alternative.  Our instructors continued teaching classes live over video streaming, until in person classes could resume.  I am very proud of the quality of education that our teachers brought to each class.  COVID also brought other barriers to our learners – anxiety, loss of income, and to some, illness.  But they all persevered:

  • One built a motor powered bike to take her to work.
  • One served her community with 78 hours toward her Girl Scout Gold award, the highest award the Girl Scouts give
  • One started the foundations of an artist entrepreneurial enterprise with mini sculptures
  • One started a restaurant business, and kept it thriving through COVID closures
  • Two students had personal or family illness which disrupted their education in the 9th grade.  They both have amazing academic ability and are graduating today on time or before their peers.
  • Three got their driver’s license.
  • Three took college classes for high school credit, totaling over 100 credits combined.
  • All were working jobs this year.

Let’s give them all a round of applause.”  Director Robertson then shared about being “Opportunity Ready”. She encouraged volunteering, studying and networking to help one get what they want or need in life. Dave Herbein, of our York School Committee invented the five P’s of graduating: Plan, Persevere,Persistence, Purpose, Pride.  He talked about how all five were demonstrated by the graduates.

All of the “Pomp and Circumstance” was observed, from music, to caps and gowns, to flipping the tassels.  It was a fitting and lovely ceremony in York High’s Auditorium.

If you, or someone you know, would like to complete their high school diploma, gain skills to go on to college, or earn an industry recognized credential, check out York Adult Education Program offerings at our website, www.yorkadulteducation.org, or  give them a call at 363-7922.

To learn more about Adult Education Programming across Maine visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/adulted

Information for this article was provided by York Adult Education Program 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.

Maine DOE Joins MCLA in Honoring Top Curriculum Leaders

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) joins the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association (MCLA) in honoring Beth Clifford, Curriculum Director of Maine Indian Education, as the 2021 Curriculum Leader of The Year, and Susan O’Brien, Instructional Coach in RSU 22, as the 2021 Instructional Coach Of The Year.

Beth Clifford Maine Indian Education
Beth Clifford

Beth Clifford
Curriculum Director of Maine Indian Education
2021 Curriculum Leader of The Year

Throughout her sixteen years with MIE, Beth has put learner equity and access at the center of her work with the MIE learning communities.  She is a dedicated professional who selflessly works to ensure that every person has access to exceptional education, young learners and adult learners alike.  Beth has served on the MLCA Board longer than any other board member, and is a cherished holder of historical MLCA knowledge.  She has also given her energy and expertise to AXIOM Education and Training Center, the Cohort For Customized Learning, and to professional learning initiatives across Washington County.

Susan O'Brien
Susan O’Brien

Susan O’Brien
Instructional Coach in RSU 22
2021 Instructional Coach Of The Year

After a distinguished career as a classroom teacher, Susan moved into Instructional Coaching in 2017.  Since then she has inspired and nurtured the professional learning of many teachers and coaches within RSU 22 and across Maine.  Susan’s coaching is rooted in relationships and respect, and supports people at all stages of their professional learning, from new teachers, to teachers working towards National Board Certification, to teachers ready to become coaches themselves.  All of her work centers around students, and how we create the most optimal learning experiences for them.  We look forward to having Susan O’Brien join us on the MCLA Board.

For more information about the awards for the MLCA, please visit their website: https://www.mainecla.org/.

Merrymeeting Adult Education Awards 52 Diplomas on May 25th

Merrymeeting Adult Education awarded 52 diplomas on May 25 in a very special hybrid ceremony held both on Zoom and in person under a tent at Mt. Ararat Middle School. These adult learners completed either the High School Equivalency Tests (HiSET, formerly GED) or traditional high school diploma during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years.

Director Allen Lampert led the celebration, followed by opening remarks from Bob Lucy, interim superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 75.

Faculty members Jan Crosson, Kathy Ingmundson, Bob Goddard, and RSU 1 site coordinator Dawn Wheeler welcomed Elizabeth Begin, Diego Howard, and Alyanalyn Saenz to the National Adult Education Honor Society. College Transitions student Benedita Kakahuba achieved this distinction, as well.

Commencement speeches by Sharrod Mosley, David Namwira, and Alyanalyn Saenz were followed by the inaugural presentation of Merrymeeting scholarships.

In memory of the longtime office administrator who passed away unexpectedly Feb. 2, 2020, the Carolee Tupper Memorial Scholarship was awarded to her daughter Kiley Tupper, a senior at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Two additional scholarships were presented to David Namwira, who attends Husson University in Bangor, and Benedita Kakahuba, who attends Southern Maine Community College.

Diplomas were presented by Lampert and Wheeler to the following graduates who attended in person. Class of 2020: Joseph Bellevue, Bethany Cole, Jeff Joy, Jr., Sharrod Mosley, and Spinoza Leboundoza (RSU 1). Class of 2021: Richard Evens, Diego Howard, David Namwira (RSU 1), Alyanalyn Saenz, Duane Wilcox, and Margery Whelchel.

Douce Namwira, Class of 2020, and Nevaeh Pinkham (RSU 1), Serenity Ross and Grady Suhr, Class of 2021, attended the ceremony on a Zoom webinar hosted by Paul Elisha, academic counselor, and his wife – and HiSET proctor – Elsbeth. Forty guests joined them.

Additional diplomas were awarded to Class of 2020 graduates Heather Adams, Zachary Blair, Sarah Blake, Noelle Brown, Taylor Chubbuck, Jonas Cloukey, Robert Creamer, Alexis Deguio, Antonia DiPietro, Laelin Fischer, Elizabeth Felkey, Richard Griffin, Narcisse Isafamba, Will Kinney, Spencer Letourneau, Emily Mitchell, Robert Mitchell, William Panzino, Pirx Rhodes, Marina Tuefel, Quinn Underwood (RSU 1), Trevor Wallace, Sean Webster, and Syan Wheeler (RSU 1).

Additional Class of 2021 diplomas included Elizabeth Begin, Amanda Bisson, Devon Blodgett, Cody Caron, Alexandra Cook, Matthew Plutchak, Jr., Mark Proctor, Alyssia Russell, Miranda Vining, and Michael Pinkham (RSU 1).

Merrymeeting Adult Education provides opportunities for adult learners to complete a traditional high school diploma, earn a HiSET, prepare for college, train for careers, and develop skills and interests in a variety of personal enrichment classes, everything from canoe paddle making to private pilot ground school.

For more information about Merrymeeting’s academic and enrichment classes, visit merrymeeting.org or call 729-7323.

Information for this article was provided by Merrymeeting Adult Education Program 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.

Lyseth Spanish Teacher Wins ‘Teacher of the Year’ Award

José Iván Sabau Torrelo, fifth-grade teacher in Lyseth Elementary School’s Spanish Immersion program, has been selected as Teacher of the Year 2021 by the Ministry of Education, Embassy of Spain. In recognizing Sabau Torrelo, the Ministry of Education cited an “outstanding” mystery-solving gaming project involving multicultural cooperation that he created for his students.

The project, titled Operación Museo, connected Lyseth fifth-graders with students in Spain at Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Compostela, and Colegio Montserrat Fuhem in Madrid. Sabau Torrelo “implemented gamification methodology to develop a mystery-solving story where students became detectives,” the Ministry of Education said. “Using a dynamic, cross-curricular and student-centered approach, students used their artistic and language skills and explored information about Spanish painters, like Miró and others, as well as geography, mathematics, physical education, and culture to solve the case.”

Sabau Torrelo explained that the two-month gaming project began with a message from a “police officer” asking students for help in dismantling a worldwide organization that was stealing famous paintings from museums. “First, they needed to go to the detective academy to get their licenses,” Sabau Torrelo said. “They needed to overcome many different challenges to do that. Once they graduated, they needed to crack codes, learn about painters and use logical thinking and skills to solve six different cases.”

The Ministry of Education praised the video Sabau Torrelo made about the project and also the project’s other aspects. “The visual and technical quality of Operación Museo’s materials is very high and demonstrates the great potential of numerous, valuable educational tools,” the Ministry of Education said. “The project’s elements combined to create a fun, creative, and engaging plot – full of humor and surprises to fuel students’ interest and attention. Mr. Sabau Torrelo’s students will remember Operación Museo forever and the Spanish teaching community will love the opportunity to learn more about this enriching project.”

“I feel honored,” Sabau Torrelo said, regarding the recognition.

Last year, Lyseth Elementary School won the Ministry of Education, Embassy of Spain’s School of the Year 2020 Award in the elementary school category. Lyseth, home of the only public Spanish immersion program in Maine, won for its “outstanding immersion program” and the school’s “enthusiasm and dedication to the Spanish language and culture.”

The immersion program was begun at Lyseth in 2014 with one kindergarten cohort. A new class was added each year. There is now an immersion classroom at each grade level from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Superintendent Xavier Botana said, “The Portland Public Schools is very proud of Iván for winning the Teacher of the Year 2021 award. His innovative Operación Museo project exemplifies his dedication to student learning.  Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the United States and biliteracy in Spanish and English makes students attractive to colleges and future employers. We are very grateful to Iván and other staff at Lyseth for making the Spanish Immersion program there such a success.”

Lyseth Principal Lenore Williams said, “Iván has been steadfast in his commitment to ensure learning for his students is both engaging and interactive and connected to real-life experiences. His students are immersed in the target language and culture and they have content taught to them through an integrated teaching approach that unifies the arts, math, science, writing, and geography. “Operacion Museo” embodies Iván’s approach and beliefs about what and how students should experience learning.”

Carlos Gomez, the district’s Director of Language Development, said, “Engaging students is ‘profesor’ Sabau’s superpower!  His creativity and energy help students to learn language while they learn content and culture, making for a rich, memorable and life-changing experience for his students and colleagues at Lyseth.”

Information for this article was provided by Portland Public Schools 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.

Two Maine Educators Receive Recognition for Innovative Strategies in Teaching History

Mr. Logan Landry of Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland and Mr. Benjamin Hale of John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor were named “Teacher of the Year” by National History Day (NHD) in Maine and nominated for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year award in the junior and senior divisions, respectively, of the National History Day National Contest. This award is sponsored by Patricia Behring in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students.

To be nominated for this award, Mr. Landry and Mr. Hale have demonstrated commitment to engaging their students in historical learning through innovative uses of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in National History Day. Mr. Landry and Mr. Hale are leading examples for their peers and an invaluable resource for their students.

One national winner in each division will be selected by a committee of experienced teachers and historians, and announced on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at the NHD National Contest Awards Ceremony to be held virtually due to COVID-19. All nominees will receive $500 as a result of their nominations, and the two national winners will receive $10,000.

Mr. Landry and Mr. Hale clearly demonstrate creative teaching methods to engage their students with history, and help them make exciting discoveries about the past.