Maine FFA Helps Good Shepherd Food Bank to Address Hunger Issues in Maine

Group photo of Region 4’s afternoon class students and Narraguagus students with Maine FFA student State Officers in Hampden.

On January 16-17, 2019, high school student State FFA Officers of FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”), worked with nearly 30 FFA student volunteers and their teachers from Sanford Regional Technical Center, Region 4 United Technologies Center (Bangor) and Narraguagus High School to assist at Good Shepherd Food Bank facilities in Auburn and Hampden.

Good Shepherd, the largest distributor of food assistance in the state, addresses food insecurity in Maine, which affects 1 in 5 children.  FFA has traditionally been involved in food, landscaping and agricultural literacy community service activities at the local and state levels, and Good Shepherd Food Bank depends on the assistance of volunteers such as those from the FFA.  Membership in the FFA consists of middle and high school students who are enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Sanford Regional Technical Center FFA students are enrolled in environmental landscaping and horticulture programs taught by Katie Hoagland.  At Region 4, Bangor-area FFA student members are enrolled in the horticulture program with teacher Jeff Beswick, while Narraguagus High School FFA students, accompanied by teacher David Rinkle, come from both the marine trades “Skippers” program, as well as those working with the Food Justice League.

Group photo of Region 4’s morning class students and Narraguagus students with Maine FFA student State Officers in Hampden.

The Maine FFA Association is supported by the Career & Technical Education division of the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, as well as by additional sponsors, and travel and other costs associated with assisting Good Shepherd were supported by a “State Day of Service” grant from the National FFA Organization.  Through this grant, an additional supported event included conducting a service/leadership workshop in Presque Isle for nearly 100 Aroostook County FFA members.  The National FFA grant is also supporting the donation of two industrial grade scales and ramps for the Hampden and Auburn Good Shepherd facilities that will facilitate processing food donations and shipments transported by tractor trailers,

At the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, Sanford FFA students were involved in inspecting, sorting and boxing over 7,000 pounds of fresh produce and nearly 6,000 pounds of packaged foods.  One Sanford student said “I can’t believe we made so many meals in such a short amount of time!”  Student State FFA President, Graham Berry, noted “It’s great to be able to volunteer at Good Shepherd Food Bank.  Anything that we can do to help feed those who go without makes the world that much better of a place than it was before.”

Narraguagus High School teacher David Rinkle (left) and Region 4 Horticulture teacher Jeff Beswick (right) help their students to inspect, sort and box donated food at Good Shepherd in Hampden.

In Hampden, FFA students from Region 4 and from Narraguagus helped Good Shepherd move into their newly renovated 40,000 square foot Hampden warehouse, now nearing completion.  Students finished the day by helping to inspect, sort, and box donated food items.  Maine FFA Vice President James Hotham commented that the Region 4 and Narraguagus helpers were a “really great group of students.”  Narraguagus teacher David Rinkle noted that his students were not only happy to help out, but also found the information on Good Shepherd and food needs in Maine very educational.  He commented “The food bank was enlightening for everyone and they really had a good time.”

According to Auburn Volunteer Coordinator, Bethany Tatro, Good Shepherd Food Bank “distributes 28 million pounds of food a year, or 25 million meals, to Mainers in need.”  Despite the size of the Hampd

en and Auburn facilities,  Good Shepherd Food Bank relies heavily on volunteer labor, such as that by the FFA group, to process food donations, and depends on private food donations and those by food retailers throughout the state.

Maine FFA State President, Graham Berry (second from right), Vice President James Hotham (left) with Sanford FFA teacher Katie Hoagland (right) and her FFA landscaping/horticulture classes.

The FFA Organization is one of the largest student leadership organizations in the United States, providing recognition, awards, travel opportunities, competitions and scholarships for over 650,000 high school and middle school students enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Schools with green houses and school gardens for students grades 7-12 are among those eligible for membership.  Not all FFA members are “farmers,” though many do come from agricultural families who recognize the many benefits and connections FFA membership bestows.  In addition to providing organizational and leadership skills valuable to any profession, active involvement in FFA is often one of the first things looked for by agricultural organizations across the country when hiring new employees.

For more information, please contact State FFA Advisor, Doug Robertson, doug.robertson@maine.gov

 

Northern Maine FFA Service/Leadership Workshop Addresses Hunger, Community Service & Leadership Skills

Group Photo of FFA Workshop Trainees and Trainers

On Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Northeastland Hotel, student State Officers of FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) and their assistants conducted a workshop on topics of community service and leadership for Aroostook County FFA chapters.  The one-day workshop, featuring topic overviews and hands-on activities, was held for nearly 100 high school and middle school students from Ashland, Easton, Hodgdon, Mars Hill, and Presque Isle.  Implementing the theme of community service, student FFA member participants brought food items to be donated to the Aroostook County Action Program, with Ashland High School winning the award for the greatest number of donated goods.

In addition to Community Service, FFA members learned about areas of leadership related to goal setting, values, taking initiative, and teamwork.  Students commented that the workshop was “fun” and helped them think more about leadership.  Many indicated hoping to implement community service activities at their local FFA chapters.  In the past, such community service activities have included teaching elementary school students about agriculture, conducting landscaping for public areas, holding food drives, and many other endeavors.

Marble Track Goal Setting Activity

One of the student trainers, Jack Reuthier of Ashland, noted that defining goals well was an “important step to accomplishing any activity.”  Another, James Hotham, State Vice President, addressed the topic of “taking initiative,” and congratulated some veteran FFA members for all of the accomplishments they have already attained through the FFA.  State President, Graham Berry, encouraged FFA members to pursue other upcoming FFA opportunities, including the State Convention in May and positions as State FFA Officers.  Guest speaker, Kaley Norsworthy of Fort Fairfield, past State FFA President, addressed her experience with post-secondary transitions, “made so much easier by FFA,” and likewise strongly encouraged members to consider State Office.

FFA Members Brainstorm Leadership Concepts

The Maine FFA Association is supported by the Career & Technical Education division of the Maine Department of Education and by the Maine Department of Agriculture, as well as by additional sponsors, and costs for the workshop were supported by a “State Day of Service” grant from the National FFA Organization.  Through this grant, additional events will also be conducted in Maine locations of Auburn and Hampden.  The FFA Organization is one of the largest student leadership organizations in the United States, providing recognition, awards, travel opportunities, competitions and scholarships for over 650,000 high school and middle school students enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Not all FFA members are “farmers,” though many do come from agricultural families who recognize the many benefits and connections FFA membership bestows.  In addition to providing organizational and leadership skills valuable to any profession, active involvement in FFA is often one of the first things looked for by agricultural organizations across the country when hiring new employees.

For more information, please contact State FFA Advisor, Doug Robertson, doug.robertson@maine.gov

 

Regional School Calendars Due May 3, 2019

School administrative units and private schools approved for tuition purposes are expected to establish regional school calendars, in coordination with their local secondary career and technical education school, by May 3, 2019.

The Legislature enacted that requirement as part of Public Law 2011, Chapter 686, which expands access to career and technical education in Maine and ensures that students completing career and technical education (CTE) coursework have greater access to post-secondary opportunities. Specifically, the law addresses scheduling conflicts that pose barriers to students by requiring that those school districts and private schools approved for tuition purposes that share a CTE school adopt a regional school calendar with no more than five dissimilar days. Furthermore, implementation of the law is intended to promote collaboration among local school administrative units that may benefit other forms of inter-administrative unit collaboration beyond CTE.  The law became effective Aug. 30, 2012, and establishing the regional calendar is a condition for eligibility for state subsidy.

For school year 2019-20, both regional school calendars and individual calendars for each school administrative unit must be submitted by the director of the local CTE Center/Region to the Department of Education no later than May 3, 2019 for a decision on approval by June 7, 2019. Guidance and templates can be accessed electronically at www.maine.gov/doe/regionalcalendar/.

Given the coordination required for fulfillment of this law, the Maine DOE recommends that school districts initiate discussions as soon as possible, including representatives from all affected secondary schools and their associated career and technical education center or region.

For more information including guidance, instructions, templates, a waiver process, and a link to the complete law, please visit www.maine.gov/doe/regionalcalendar/.  Further questions should be directed to Doug Robertson doug.robertson@maine.gov / 624-6744 or Dwight Littlefield dwight.a.littlefield@maine.gov / 624-6721.

Live Broadcast Available for Nov. 7th Public Hearings for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Career and Education Development Standards Review

As a reminder, the Maine Department of Education has scheduled public hearings this week as part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results. The Department is seeking public comments regarding the current English language arts, mathematics, and career and education development standards.

Public hearings for each standard have been scheduled back to back in room 103 of the Burton Cross Building in Augusta. Anyone may speak at the public hearings which will be live-streamed. People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of comments.

Below is a list of relevant links, as well as hearing times including live broadcast links for each event:

Career and Education Development Standards:

Mathematics Standards:

English Language Arts Standards:

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5pm on December 1, 2018. Written comments may be emailed to sis.doe@maine.gov with the subject “CED Standards Review,” “Mathematics Standards Review,” or “English Language Arts Standards Review,” or mailed to Maine Department of Education, attn: Beth Lambert, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

For further information about the standards review process contact Beth Lambert at Beth.Lambert@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Career and Education Development Education Standards

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding the current English language arts, mathematics, and career and education development standards. Find links to each of the current standards below along with details for submitting comments.

Current Standards:

The standards review process opens with a public comment period and a public hearing prior to the convening of steering committees who are 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 are created, writing teams, consisting of pk-12 teachers who represent Maine’s cultural and geographical diversity, will assemble to draft the standards revisions.

Anyone may speak at the public hearings which will be live-streamed. People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of comments.

Public hearings will occur on November 7th in room 103 at the Cross Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, at the following times:

  • 2-4pm: Career and Education Development
  • 4-6pm: Mathematics
  • 6-8pm: English Language Arts

A link to the live-streamed hearings will be available prior to the public hearings.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on December 1st, 2018. Written comments may be sent to Standards Review at sis.doe@maine.gov, or mailed to Beth Lambert, 23 SHS Station, Augusta, ME 04333.