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.
For more information, contact Howorth at email@example.com.
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.
Are you interested in teaching in one of the most healthy, healthful, beautiful, and interesting states in the nation? One that values autonomy, innovation, and creativity in teaching? One that values equity and diversity? Then this is the session for you! Our team is excited to share information with you regarding Maine’s certification process, tips for successful searches for current openings, avenues for completing coursework, supports in place for newly-hired educators, and the benefits of teaching in Maine! #TeachMaine #LiveAndWorkInMaine
Date: August 11, 1:00 PM (EST)
Host: Maine Department of Education: Office of Higher Education and Educator Support Services (Session will be recorded and available on the MDOE web site)
Contact: For more information contact Emily Doughty at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-592-0314
Register now for this webinar
Dear Champions of Education,
Yesterday, Governor Mills issued a “stay at home” order, offering specific guidance around curtailing non-essential activities, gatherings, and travel. She also ordered schools to refrain from in-person, classroom instruction practices until after May 1st (or until further orders are issued).
As we close in on the third week of remote instruction, please know that your resilient leadership and ongoing efforts are making a huge difference for Maine students and families. While everything is so suddenly chaotic and unfamiliar to everyone, our schools continue to shine like a beacon of hope. I have received countless emails and messages from legislators, parents, community members, and students sharing their gratitude for the steady support, the nutritional services, and the deeply human connections that are provided by educators, counselors, and school administrators. I’ve heard anecdotes from teachers who have noticed increased participation and engagement from students who had previously been among the most disconnected and apathetic. The lesson in this phenomenon is an important one… they’re counting on you even when their outward behaviors disguise this fact.
Updates and information:
- Essential employees: PreK-12 educational and. Child nutrition staff are all considered essential during this crisis. We are currently working with our educational organizations’ leadership to develop clarified and unified guidance in light of the Governor’s most recent Executive Order.
- Nutrition programs and April vacation: Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition team continues to seek flexibilities and waivers for our SAUs and communities. We are thrilled to share that there have been waivers granted for schools with fewer than 50% free/reduced meal students and bulk service provisions. Read more here. We have applied for a waiver that will allow meal programs to be Reimbursed For the meals served during April vacation- currently not reimbursable. We will provide an update as soon as we hear from USDA.
- The CARES Act federal relief package will provide schools/SAU’s with funding to mitigate some of the financial impacts of the COVID-related disruption. Much more on this coming very soon!
- Remote Learning Plans/Sharing: Although we’re not requiring districts to share their remote learning plans, some have shared theirs with us and offered them as a resource to others that are still developing their plans! We will be happy to collect and share in a protected way with colleagues. Thank you to all who have shared their well-developed plans! If you’d like to offer your districts plan as a guide for others, please email Chief Innovation Officer, Page Nichols at email@example.com.
- Home Instruction: The Department recognizes that disruption due to COVID-19 may impact a home instruction family’s ability to maintain the required number of instructional days, and is therefore including home instruction in the statewide waiver granted for the minimum of 175 days of instruction for 2019-2020 school year. Demonstration of satisfactory academic progress is still required to be submitted to superintendents by September 1st.
- School Budget, voting, etc: We have been working with MSMA, the AG’s office, and the Governor’s office to develop an executive order that will provide the various flexibilities that have been requested. Please stay tuned – solutions are imminent. (The Legislature did vote our GPA budget IN and intact, so your ED279 printouts provide an accurate basis for what you’ll receive in state subsidy).
- DOE is open for business – including CERTIFICATION office! The system is up and running, the phones are being monitored by our knowledgeable and helpful team of experts, and we are eager to get your completed applications for renewal or initial certification processed as soon as possible! We have had some state level issues with phone system overload, so don’t hesitate to use email also! As mentioned in an earlier notice, we do intend to provide extensions for those who have had education, testing, fingerprinting, or practicum/internship disruptions due to the COVID emergency – but for those of you who have completed the necessary steps, please submit necessary documentation and move ahead with your renewal application!
- It’s possible that we’re demonstrating capacity for never having to make up “snow days” in the future!
- We have a perfect opportunity to redesign our state assessment system!
- Every time we do something kind or selfless to benefit someone else, we get a bump of serotonin … It even works when we simply observe someone being kind to someone else!
- Amid the fear and loss and physical disconnection, watch empathy, compassion, and humanity shining like the North Star – far above the fray.
- We will emerge from this better than we’ve ever been.
Thank you for all you are doing on behalf of your students, staff, and communities.