PRIORITY NOTICE: Proposed Revisions to Rule Ch. 132 (Career & Education Development, ELA, and Mathematics Standards); Public Hearing on Nov. 13, 2019

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding proposed revisions to the Career and Education Development, English Language Arts, and Mathematics Standards found in Rule Chapter 132 Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction. Please note that the Department of Education is only seeking comments on the Career and Education Development, English Language Arts, and Mathematics Standards sections of Rule Chapter 132 at this time.

The standards review process for the Career and Education Development, English Language Arts, and Mathematics Standards began in 2018 with a public comment period and a public hearing on the current Career and Education Development, English Language Arts, and Mathematics Standards. After the public comment period, steering committees were convened who were charged with reviewing all submitted comments and with developing blueprints for the revision of the state standards in their assigned content area. Once the blueprints were created, writing teams, consisting of pk-12 teachers who represent Maine’s cultural and geographical diversity, assembled to draft the standards revisions. Now, as part of this review process, the Maine Department of Education has submitted the revisions as part of a proposed rule change to Chapter 132.
Find the details for proposed changes for Rule Chapter 132 on the Maine DOE Proposed Rule & Rule Changes webpage (proposed rules are listed in order by rule number).

Public Hearing Information for Rule Chapter 132:
November 13th from 1-4pm, room 103 at the Cross Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta.
Anyone may speak at the public hearing which will be live-streamed (A link to the livestream will be available prior to the public hearing). People wishing to speak will be the asked to sign in and, preferably, provide two written copies of comments, as well as an electronic copy. Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments.

Comment Period Deadline: 5 pm on November 27th, 2019
Written comments may be sent to Standards Review at sis.doe@maine.gov, or mailed to Beth Lambert, 23 SHS Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

MACTE Conference Draws 400+ Educators Statewide, Honors CTE Teacher of the Year

Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE) held its annual conference last week at Lewiston Regional Technical Center (LRTC). The official organization for Maine’s network of 27 career and technical education (CTE) schools, MACTE plans the conference as a place for CTE educators to convene and share ideas, hear from industry professionals, and honor hard-working colleagues.

IMG_2343During the opening presentation of the conference, participants were welcomed by MACTE President and host Rob Callahan, who is also the Director of LRTC. Dr. Donald Cannan, Executive Director of MACTE also addressed the crowd remarking on the utmost importance of CTE educators in the training of Maine’s current and future workforce. Following the welcoming, Maine Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta presented the CTE Teacher of the Year award to Greg Cushman, an electrical instructor and SkillsUSA advisor at LRTC.

An alumnus and former educator of Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, Greg has a successful 25-year career in electrical trade under his belt. He has since returned to his roots in Career and Technical Education in a different capacity, to serve as an educator to the students in his community. Known for his outstanding student outcomes and many accomplishments, both in his professional career and in education, his nominators, LRTC Director Rob Callahan along with students and colleagues from LRTC, had this to say about Greg:

“Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Greg’s nomination for this award is the quality of his character. He is a highly approachable, thoughtful and genuine person who always looks for the good in any situation. He approaches his responsibilities as an educator, electrician and community member with utmost importance. He sets an example for those around him which is based on hard work, integrity and service to others.”

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After being named CTE Teacher of the year, Greg took the stage, while the excited crowd stood in applause and his family joined him to congratulate him for this well-deserved recognition. The CTE Teacher of the Year award is administered by MACTE as a way to recognize teachers who are providing outstanding career and technical education programs for youth and/or adults in their respective fields and communities.

After hearing from keynote speaker Shawn Moody, who spoke about the Blue Collar CTE scholarship opportunity, participants attended a morning filled with a variety of breakout sessions. In addition to sessions lead by Maine DOE Leaders who provided information about State level updates, data, and funding, there were also sessions led by CTE leaders and industry professionals about various topics including understanding and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals, early college opportunities through the Maine Bridge Academy program and the Community College System, as well as workforce and industry updates from Cianbro, Apple, Inc, and Maine Army National Guard to name a few.

Conference participants also had the opportunity to attend sessions led by Maine education colleagues such as Foster Tech’s Chris MeMarco and Jake Bogar who led a session about how to fit science into any CTE class, and Ruthanne Harrison, an Engineering Teacher from Bath Regional CTE, who led a session about design thinking and 3D Printing.

A delicious lunch was served at LRTC’s well-known Culinary Arts School, The Green Ladle followed by a final session that provided tech updates for CTE educators.

The annual conference came to a close with a positive response from participants, especially for the variety of breakout sessions that provided instructors with information about common best practices. MACTE Executive Director Donald Cannan says they “plan to continue this very successful practice” as they look toward planning future MACTE conferences and events.

Accomplished Bangor High School Alum Provides Interdiciplinary Art Lesson to Students

Submitted by Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Assistant Superintendent of Schools at Bangor School Department.

Bangor High School Teachers Emilie Throckmorton and Eva Wagner recently collaborated on a unit to connect students with nature. Both visual art and creative writing share a long history of artists being inspired by nature.  Wagner and Throckmorton are nature enthusiasts and have a connection with artist eco-artist Mariah Reading, a Bangor High School and Bowdoin College graduate. Their unit culminated with an adventure to Schoodic Point where Reading is the Artist in Residence. Wagner brought her Sculpture class and Throckmorton brought her Creative Writing class.

When Wagner and Throckmorton realized that Reading was chosen to be an artist in residence in Maine, they both thought about what a wonderful opportunity it would be for their students to learn from her.  Mariah is positive and energetic and her mere presence would be good for students to absorb. With help from grant writer, Cathleen Neslusan and the Friends of Acadia, the trip became possible.

Students looking at rocks on the beach

The day started with a talk with the artist who discussed the reason behind her eco-centered art making. Reading finds trash found in national parks and other protected places and paints bold, colorful realistic landscapes onto them.  She then photographs them in front of the landscape so they blend in seamlessly with the environment. Reading has always been inspired by nature but she realized when she was in college that her work was often creating more waste which led to more degradation of the environment.  She decided to do something about it and then collected trash and used it as a substrate for her work. Her artwork was so striking and unique that it commanded more and more attention as she shared it on social media. Eventually with 7000 plus followers the art world started paying attention and Mariah got sponsorships.

After Reading’s inspiring and informative talk, the students headed out with their paints, and writing prompts in hand and found a beach to create on.  Some students painted, some wrote and others collaborated on an Andy Goldsworthy inspired sculpture. The students seemed awestruck by the thunderous waves and rocky shores.  Many had never been to Schoodic Point and some students had never visited the ocean before.

The students responded to the environment, worked together and learned from a contemporary artist that art can make a difference. What was especially important for these students was that Reading had also been a student at Bangor High School, it made her successes seem that much more attainable.  A great day was had by all and Throckmorton and Wagner are convinced that students will remember this day for a long time.

paintings on the rocks at the beach

School Construction List Receives Approval 

Three schools in critical need of renovation or replacement got the go-ahead to build new facilities or renovate existing ones last week from the State Board of Education, which approved a proposal from Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.  The three projects were considered because their total estimated costs, when added to existing debt, will be within the current debt service limit of $126,000,000. 

The Board approved the Maine Department of Education’s “Approved Projects List,” a key step in a school construction process that includes: evaluating needs, determining solutions, designing, and building.  The schools were at the top of the Final Priority List of 74 schools that applied for renovation or replacement, which was approved by the State Board in August of 2018. 

The three schools on the approved list are:  Fairfield Primary School (RSU 49/MSAD 49);  Skowhegan’s North Elementary School (RSU 54/MSAD 54);  and Rumford Elementary School (RSU 10). 

The Department would like to stress that the decision to begin work on the first three projects does not preclude additional projects from being approved later.  As the nature and anticipated costs of the first three projects becomes clearer over the ensuing months, the Department intends to then assess when, and if, additional projects on the Final Priority List can be approved to move forward. 

Information about the Department’s school construction program can be found at: http//www.maine.gov/doe/schools/facilities/mcscp. 

Webinar to Assist with Annual Dropout Data Submission

To assist those who are responsible for the important task of reporting annual dropout data to the Department of Education, the DOE Data Team will be holding a webinar on Wednesday October 23rd from 10am to 11am.

This webinar will focus on how to complete, validate and certify the Annual Dropout Report. If you are tasked with editing, validating or certifying the annual Dropout Report for your district or school, you are encouraged to attend. If you have any questions, comments or concerns in regards to this webinar, please do not hesitate to contact us at the MEDMS helpdesk at MEDMS.Helpdesk@Maine.gov  or (207) 624-6896.

Please use the Registration URL and the Webinar ID:  785-724-819.