MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE and MCCS Partner to Offer Free College Courses for Adult Education Students

MCCS_FMCC_logo_legMaine adults seeking to pursue college have a new option to jumpstart their education, with support from their local Maine adult education program. A new partnership between the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) will offer tuition-free college courses to Maine’s adult education students.

Maine adult education programs have supported adult students in their transition to college and career through the Maine College and Career Access program for almost twenty years. This new opportunity expands upon that idea by allowing adult education students to take a college course with the full support of their adult education program mentors so they can develop the habits, skills, and confidence to succeed in college.

“Maine’s adult education programs have assisted thousands of Maine adults in making a successful transition to college,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “This new partnership with the Maine community college system takes it to the next level by giving students the chance to try a college course with the support they need. We are excited to see the impact it makes for our adult education students.”

Adult education programs will work with adult students to select a course at the community college that is appropriate for their college and career goals, and then support the student as they complete the course. The goal is that they will continue their education once the course is completed.

“This is an opportunity for us to encourage and connect with adult students throughout Maine,” said MCCS President Dave Daigler. “The hope is that students can choose courses that align with their individual career goals and that we can help provide that motivation and support to continue on once they complete their adult education program.”

Tuition and fees for the courses are being generously provided by the Maine Community College System while the Maine Department of Education’s Office of Adult Education will provide textbooks and course materials for students.

Adult students interested in this program will need to be enrolled in a Maine Adult Education program to take advantage of the opportunity. Adults (with or without a high school diploma) who would like help achieving their educational and career goals can contact their local adult education program for next steps.

Maine School Nutrition Teams Invited to Register for Farm to School Cook-off by Jan 14

Photo Caption: Student Sam Messana from the Kaler Kooks, South Portland team.

Registration is open for the annual Maine Department of Education (DOE), Child Nutrition Farm to School Cook-off!

Held in the Spring of 2022, the cook-off is a statewide culinary competition for teams of school nutrition professionals and students to promote local foods in school meals. This voluntary competition is made available to all school districts in Maine.

The cook-off involves three regional competitions that take place in locations across the state (including Career and Technical Education [CTE] culinary arts centers), and a finals competition in the Maine DOE Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom located in its Augusta offices. All necessary precautions will be taken due to COVID-19, including face coverings and social distancing of teams.

2021 Cook-off Champions- Whitefield Wildcats Kiara Luce & Vicki Dill
2021 Cook-off Champions- Whitefield Wildcats Kiara Luce & Vicki Dill

Each team will prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least three ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Lunch Program (NSLP) meal requirements, as well as one US Department of Agriculture (USDA) food. Local buckwheat flour and local beets will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition this year. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm to school cookbook to be used in future school meals programs.


  • January 14, 2022 – Team Registration Due (click here for registration link)
  • February 18, 2022 – Recipes Due to Child Nutrition State Office
  • March 23, 29 & 31, 2022- Regional Competitions take place!
    • March 23: Westbrook Regional Vocational Center
    • March 29: Lake Region Vocational Center
    • March 31: Augusta (location to be announced in early March)
  • April 8, 2022 – Finalists Announced
  • April 26, 2022 – Cook-Off Finals at the Child Nutrition DOE Culinary Classroom!

New to the Farm-to-School Cook-off in 2022 is a sample student reflection option to support students making connections that may inform their individual career development.

Interested school districts can find more information and the link to register on the Maine Child Nutrition website. The registration deadline is January 14, 2022. For more information on Maine’s Farm and Sea to School program, visit

For questions about the Maine Learning Results Life and Career Ready standards or Extended Learning Opportunities, contact Maine DOE Life and Career Ready Education Specialist, Diana Doiron, at or Rick Wilson, Maine DOE Extended Learning Specialist,  at

For questions about the Farm-to-School Cook-off Competition, contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Consultant, Stephanie Stambach at

Information Regarding Federal Requirements for Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)

The following information from Maine’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) may be useful information for Maine school transportation teams, Career and Technical Education Sites/Centers, and Adult Education Programs.

The Federal Requirement for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicants to complete Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) before taking a road or skills exam takes effect on February 7, 2022.

The good news is drivers who have successfully completed a written exam and hold a CDL permit before February 7, 2022 are exempted from having to complete ELDT prior to a skills or road test.

Maine BMV wants to help!

BMV schedules written exams two weeks in advance, to ensure enough time to provide applicants written scheduling notification via the mail.

To increase the likelihood of scheduling a CDL or endorsement written exam before February 7, submit your completed application with payment to BMV no later than Jan 10, 2022

For questions, call Maine BMV’s CDL Examination Section at (207) 624-9000 ext. 52122

For more info on ELDT, go to:

Real Estate Internship Trending Hot With Portland High School Students

The Portland High School internship program is going strong, and a real estate internship has become its most popular offering this year. PHS students are partnering with an experienced realtor to learn about the local real estate market and why it’s burgeoning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One student in the internship said, “The real estate agent internship is a great way for me to learn about a new and fascinating career choice. I like learning about everything that goes into being an agent and the process of buying houses.”

Despite the ongoing challenges in keeping schools open due to the pandemic, the PHS internship is thriving. Dozens of students each year participate in the program, which was founded more than a decade ago. The program is open to all students and serves all types of students, as evidenced by demographic data on class rank, GPA, race, special education status and multilingual status.

Each year, one career pathway emerges as the most popular among students. Past popular internships have included veterinary medicine, nursing, and photography.

This year, many students are interested in real estate. Seven PHS students meet weekly with Heidi Nottonson, a seasoned realtor with Keller Williams Realty. Students learn about buying and selling homes, covering topics such as property disclosures, financing, inspections, and finding the right property. Nottonson has also arranged for field trips to properties to give students a hands-on feel of what it is like to work in real estate.

Nottonson offered this internship last year to one student and enjoyed it so much, she is now offering it to a group. Given the students’ interest, Nottonson hopes to expand her offering again next year. She wants to help students understand a way to create income for themselves.

Nottonson says, “The dedication of each student to learn at a fast and intense pace is astounding.  They inspire me to teach them!”

Other current student internship sites include the Portland Jetport, Baird Financial, Avesta Housing, Boys and Girls Club, Food Fuels Learning, Portland Public Library art gallery, Mechanics Hall library, Rwanda Bean, Taylor Stitch, the Portland Chamber of Commerce, Tandem Bakery, The Cedars, and the University of Southern Maine engineering department.

To learn more about internships and extended learning opportunities, contact Maine Department of Education’s Extended Learning Coordinator Rick Wilson at

For more information about Portland’s Program and to connect with Portland students, contact Andrea Levinsky, PHS Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator, at

Madison Memorial High School STEM Geometry, STEM Lab & Sustainable Agriculture Project Recognized by Samsung

Madison Memorial High School (MSAD/RSU 59) STEM Geometry, STEM Lab & Sustainable Agriculture project has been named Samsung’s Solve For Tomorrow 2021-22 Maine State Winner.

As part of Maine’s state-wide career exploration program, Madison High School’s project helped kick off the Franklin and Somerset Counties’ STEM Pilot Project which aims to fund vocational and innovative programs in science, technology, engineering, and math. The project also helps connect students in Franklin and Somerset Counties with career exploration programming, paid internships and scholarships for Maine Community Colleges serving students from these counties.

The Madison Memorial High School STEM Geometry, STEM Lab & Sustainable Agriculture Project was highlighted by Samsung for their hard work to develop a STEM solution to an issue that impacts their local community.

“The innovative practices of fostering the Engineering Design mindset, using 3D technology as well as sustaining and regenerating natural systems will help address local food insecurity and contribute to the overall reduction of Madison’s global footprint,” said Kathy Bertini, MASD/RSU 59 Curriculum Coordinator, STEAM Person, and 2019 Somerset County Teacher of the Year.

“In order to give MSAD 59 students the best opportunities moving forward, it is critical that we connect innovation with technology,” said Madison High School Principal Chris LeBlanc. “Our students will have a skillset that allows them to use the area’s natural resources in a way that ensures sustainability while enhancing the local community.”