The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is encouraged by the volume of educator credentials the Certification Team has processed this year through pandemic working conditions for Maine’s education workforce and Maine DOE Employees.
On top of the thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls the Certification Team responds to per week, they are also evaluating applications, multiple times in many cases as additional information is submitted, all while implementing new and updated certification regulations. Since the start of 2021, Maine DOE’s Certification Team has processed more than 21,500 initial and 10,500 renewal certifications and records checks for administrators, education specialists, education technicians, and teachers.
The team continues to expand online resources on the Maine DOE’s Certification website, be flexible in meeting the needs of the field, and invest in staff training to improve systems and advance workflow.
For more information or assistance with Maine education credentialing, contact our Certification Office at (207) 624-6603 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all Maine state offices, including the Maine Department of Education’s Certification Office, will be closed on Friday December 24th and Friday, December 30th in observance of the upcoming holidays.
Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), in partnership with the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE), held a “Badguation” ceremony on June 23rd for the first class of Learning Facilitator Program completers, or “Badguates.”
In a response to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7, which enabled the Maine DOE, MCCS, and EMCC to collaborate on a high quality, fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen, and support our excellent educator workforce.
“This is emergency response at its finest, but this is also innovation at its finest where a real problem, a critical issue was presented, and everybody came to the fore to make it happen,” said Commissioner Makin during her remarks at the ceremony.
The Badguation ceremony honored the Learning Facilitators, many of whom were present during the virtual event, and featured a video message from Governor Janet Mills and remarks from EMCC faculty, EMCC President Dr. Lisa Larson, MCCS President David Daigler, Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and DOE Representatives.
“You participated in a new model, a new way of thinking, and learning, and leading together,” said EMCC President Lisa Larson during her opening remarks. “You’ve earned credits and credentials, and along the way you also gained some new friends and colleagues.”
“You’re not only the first, you’re also a part of building the future of our economy and you’re core to families being able to find new successes as opportunities unveil themselves through this new, ever-changing economy,” MCCS President David Daigler said to the graduates in his remarks.
“While many people were reeling and pulling inward and saying, ‘I’m just going to try to stay safe and ride this out,’ you ran into the fire like first responders. You said, ‘yep, sign me up! I’m going to go take those courses, I am going to get into this credentialing program, and I’m going to help our schools,’” added Commissioner Makin in her remarks.
The event also featured a short video showcasing written messages from program participants who shared sentiments on how they changed in positive ways throughout the program. Here are a few:
“I am happy to say I learned that if I put my mind to it then I will do it. I really wanted to learn how to write a lesson plan for my students and I did. It took a few tries before I got there, but I did.”
“I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it to the areas of my teaching. I can observe a student and know what I am looking for, I can be a better co-teacher.”
“I don’t think you will ever be able to measure the success of this program as it will continue to have a positive impact for many, many years to come.”
Offered at no cost to the participants, the Learning Facilitator Program is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty. Upon completion of a 3-credit “boot camp” course in phase one of the program, participants have the foundational skills necessary to fill short-and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. In phase two, participants engage in a combination of online work and professional learning community meetings, as well as a 315-hour structured teaching apprenticeship. When they complete the program, participants are eligible for an emergency Education Technician authorization which allows them to be employed as an Education Technician III.
For more information related to the program, please visit the EMCC website, here.
Watch the 34 minute virtual ceremony on EMCC’s YouTube Channel:
The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and UMaineOnline will begin offering a new graduate certificate in Special Education Leadership this fall.
The Maine Department of Education lists Teacher of Students with Disabilities among the state’s teacher shortage areas. The new graduate certificate is designed to address an accompanying shortage of special education administrators. There are currently 242 special education directors in the state of Maine — one for every 127 students with a disability. The 12-credit graduate certificate in special education leadership can lead to Maine DOE certification as an assistant administrator of special education.
“This certificate is a response to feedback from PreK–12 professionals in Maine and beyond about the immediate need to support the growing number of students with disabilities and who are at risk,” says Sarah Howorth, assistant professor and coordinator of the graduate program in special education in the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. “Assistant administrators serve an important function in local districts, helping directors provide legally mandated access to a free and appropriate education for all students.”
Assistant administrators contribute to overseeing all facets of a school district’s special education department, including programs, services, personnel and budget.
The four courses in the graduate certificate are Law and Policy Affecting Individuals with Disabilities, School Law for Administrators, Organizational Behavior in Education, and an Internship in Special Education Administration. The program objectives are based on guidelines from the Council for Special Education Administrators (CASE). Students can pursue the certificate as a stand-alone program, or as part of coursework toward an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree.
Applications for the Special Education Leadership: Assistant Special Education Director graduate certificate are being accepted through Aug. 15 for students interested in starting the program in the fall 2021 semester. For students interested in starting in summer 2022, the application deadline is April 15, 2022. More information is available on the UMaineOnline website.
The Maine Department of Education’s Certification team is excited to report that they have held a 2-3 week processing time for more than a year, despite the heavy volume of inquiries and responses they attend to on a daily basis to manage the initial applications and renewal of educator and administrator credentials across Maine.
The transition from a hard copy paper filing and processing system to the Maine Educator Information System (MEIS) in 2018 has allowed the team to work more efficiently at assisting educators to manage their credentials completely online.
Since the start of 2021, Maine DOE’s Certification Team has received 11,000 applications for certification and issued roughly 9,000 credentials. In that same time frame they have sent 1,500 – 2,000 emails a week, assisted educators on more than 100 phone calls a day, and their support staff have been preparing roughly 1,500 documents a week for evaluators to process.
Beyond their the work of processing educator credentials, the team has also continued their 8:00am support staff training twice a week, and created a website committee that has and continues to streamline the information and ease of use on the Maine DOE’s Certification website.
In order to be responsive to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7. Based on the Executive Order, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with Maine Community College System and Eastern Maine Community College, has developed the Learning Facilitator Program, a fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen and support a high quality educator workforce.
The program, which is offered at no cost to the participants, is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty.
A week-long 3-credit course “boot camp” with foundational elements of classroom management and school culture. Additionally, the core boot camp curriculum includes training in COVID readiness, bloodborne pathogens, suicide awareness and prevention, mandated reporter training, and fingerprint clearance in order to address both substitute teacher and long-term support staff preparedness.
The second phase of the program consists of a combination of online work, professional learning community meetings, and a structured teaching apprenticeship (315 hours).
Upon completion of the 3-credit course “boot camp,” participants will have the foundational skills necessary to fill short- and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. They can support instruction and provide guidance to learners in the classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher or teaching team. Mentor teachers or teaching teams may be working remotely or in-person. Special coding for Learning Facilitators has been created within NEO for schools, so that subsidy will not be impacted.
Educators who complete all elements of the Learning Facilitator Program, as outlined above, will qualify for an Educational Technician III certification.
For more information related to the program, please visit the EMMC website, here.