Maine Compass Career Collaborative Offers Comprehensive On-Demand College and Career Resources

The Maine Compass Career Collaborative virtual experience will open to all of Maine’s middle and high school students, free of charge, on April 26, 2021.

GEAR UP Maine and JMG are partnering to create the Maine Compass Career Collaborative, an on-demand career and post-secondary resource for Maine’s students in grades 7 through 12. The site will be universally accessible to all middle school and high school students in Maine.

“This is not a one-time event. The site will always be ‘open’ with on-demand resources to help students develop real-world skills and explore all of the post-secondary and career pathway opportunities that exist in Maine,” explains Debbie Gilmer, President of Syntiro, the non-profit organization that leads Maine’s GEAR UP grant. GEAR UP Maine is a statewide initiative, in collaboration with the University of Maine at Farmington, to support students on pathways to high school graduation and post-secondary education.

The site will include information about Maine’s public university and community college systems, private colleges such as Thomas College, and other programs that support post-secondary education such as the Bridge Academy and the Alfond Scholarship Foundation. It will also provide an on-going resource for students to learn the wide variety and increasing number of post-secondary credentials offered directly by Maine’s employers such as the E.J. Prescott UP training program.

“We wanted to include the word “Collaborative” in the title of the Maine Compass Career Collaborative because we are actively seeking partners to join us in this effort. It will launch as soon as students return from spring break, but we will continue to add content in the coming months and it will be free to students,” says Craig Larrabee, CEO and President of JMG. “In addition to being informational, it’s also going to be a lot of fun for students. We look forward to welcoming more partners as we continue to build this platform.”

The Maine Compass Career Collaborative will include a post-secondary exploration hall, an employer engagement experience, financial literacy education, information about how to write a resume and apply for college and jobs, digital literacy resources, including how students can be their own brand ambassadors, and additional support such as public speaking and professional dress guides.

Registration for the platform will open on April 26, 2021 and links to the Maine Career Compass Collaborative will be posted on the JMG web site (www.jmg.org) and the GEAR UP Maine web site (www.gearupme.org). The site is free of charge to all middle and high school students in Maine, and any educators who are supporting them.

Bath Middle School 8th Graders Find Their Passion

Eighth graders at Bath Middle School (BMS) are preparing for high school with “Journey to Success,” a cross-disciplinary learning initiative (called an “expedition”) with a presentation component. Students were recently asked to identify something they are passionate about and present the topic in front of their classmates.

Pictured above: Sawyer Wright demonstrates his model airplane before his presentation on the aerodynamics of flight.

“Middle school is the transition between ‘everything is possible’ and narrowing your field,” said science teacher Monica Wright, describing the importance of helping students identify their passions so that they can pursue them in high school and beyond. “Before winter break, we helped students make their own ‘interest bracket.’ On one side they put things that they think about often; things that jazz them up. On the other side they put things that make them mad. Going through the bracket helped them articulate things they are passionate about.”

Projects spanned a broad range of topics, and every eight-grade teacher played a role in each student’s success: social studies teacher Tiffany Alexander helped them perform interviews with local experts, tech ed teacher Steve Richard supported hands-on building projects (like setting up wave tanks, house models, and engineering cars), art teacher Jackie Johnson helped them create their displays, and ed techs, like Roman Quinn, offered ongoing support.

Presentations took place on February 25 and 26 in the BMS cafeteria – it was the first time that some students had spent class time together since the pandemic started. Topics included everything from suicide prevention to traditional chip boat design to the aerodynamics of flight. Shealyn Brochu filmed herself dissecting a pig’s heart and demonstrated the inner workings of the organ in her presentation, “How can the heart be cured?” Gaffney McDonough, who had been helping his father with the restoration of a Ford Model A, documented his repair of the car’s signature “ahooga” horn. Belle Watson wrote and recorded a heartfelt song about discrimination.

Despite the breadth of topics, there was one common thread: the students’ enthusiasm and pride in their work.

“Every student put themselves out there,” said Wright. “There were so many moments where they had to let themselves be vulnerable. In the end, their perception about the project went from, ‘This is something I have to do,’ to ‘This is something I’m really passionate about doing.’ Every kid did that, and that’s what’s so important to me.”

Wright said the passion projects could not have been done without the one-on-one support of ed tech Roman Quinn, who joined BMS this year. Quinn discovered a 3D printer in the school’s library and taught himself how to use it so he could help students create unique props for their presentations. For example, when student Brady Wallace wanted to make a presentation on turbochargers vs. superchargers, Quinn helped him locate a design and print a model turbocharger to show his class. Quinn even lent his own car to the passion process when student Jackson Murray wanted to learn how to change a tire.

“I filmed Jackson changing the tire at BMS,” Quinn said. “It turns out that he was born to be in front of the camera – he was so personable. So determined. The whole experience was awesome.”

Quinn, who worked in finance before switching careers, said projects like this make him wish he had become a teacher “right out of the gate.”

“I know what it’s like to watch the clock at work. Now, every day I leave work, I’m still energized. I have just as much fun as the kids, if not more,” he said.

The final step in the eight grade’s “Journey to Success” expedition will come at the end of the year when students present evidence to a panel of judges that they are ready to start high school; a process guided by English language arts teacher Adelle Carter. But these have students already accomplished something that they can carry forever: finding and sharing their passion.

This article was provided by Bath Middle School as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

School Registration Now Open: ME Virtual Career Fair for High School Students

The Maine Community Coordinators Collaborative (Maine C3) in partnership with ACTEM and Educate Maine are excited to offer all Maine students in grades 9-12, a statewide virtual career fair from May 17-21, 2021.The primary focus of the virtual career fair is to introduce students in grades 9-12 to Maine businesses and organizations from a variety of industry clusters across Maine. The intent of the virtual career fair is to expand access to more students and to continue the tradition of in person career fairs that have become signature events for many Maine high schools.

During the ME Virtual Career Fair,numerous thirty-minute sessions will be offered on the secure, online conference platform Hopin. Each session will be moderated by a school-based education professional and feature a live speaker followed by a question and answer period. Students will not be on video during the sessions and can ask questions via a monitored live chat. Sessions will run during the school day and into the evening.

The registration deadline is April 30, 2021. Schools are encouraged to register early and registration codes for accessing the ME Virtual Career Fair will be sent to the school contact once payment is received. Purchase orders will be accepted as confirmations and payments can be made by check or credit card. School staff can decide how they would like their students to participate (e.g., whole student body, select grade levels, select classes, or individual students). Tickets are $1 per registrant/student and are only available in bundles of 50. One registration gives access to any and all sessions held throughout the event. Interested schools that provide instruction to Maine students in grades 9-12, will need to complete the school interest form. Upon receipt of a completed registration, an invoice requesting payment will be emailed to the school contact. If a school requires financial assistance to participate, please indicate when registering and fill out the Financial Assistance Form for scholarship options through event partners.

For more information about the virtual career fair or to contact a Maine C3 Planning Team member, go to the  ME Virtual Career Fair website.

Career exploration and fostering student aspirations are key cornerstones in the Maine Learning Results Life and Career Ready standards.  

For more information about the Life and Career Ready standards, contact Diana Doiron, Maine Department of Education, Life and Career Ready Content Specialist at diana.doiron@maine.gov or 207-592-2128.

 

 

Regional School Calendars Due June 1, 2021

This notification is a reminder that Regional School Calendars are due by June 1, 2021 for school administrative units and private schools, approved for tuition purposes, in coordination with their local secondary career and technical education (CTE) school. This requirement is part of Public Law 2011, Chapter 686 to promote collaboration among local school administrative units that may benefit from inter-administrative unit collaboration beyond CTE.

For school year 2021-22, 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 (DOE) no later than June 1, 2021 for a decision on approval by July 12, 2021. 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 SAUs 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.

Middle School Career and Technical Education: New Grant Information and Resources

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Team recently released information regarding Pilot C for implementing Middle School CTE programs. Middle School CTE provides an opportunity for Maine middle school students to experience hands on learning, workplace skills, and career exploration. CTE empowers students to explore interests and discover activities that are inspiring, experience potential career pathways, and gives them an awareness of the many options that are available.

In June of 2017, the legislature enacted law to expand CTE opportunities by requiring Maine schools to provide access to developmentally appropriate CTE for middle school students (grades 6-8). Along with this legislation, there was an opportunity for CTE schools to apply for grant funding to pilot a Middle School CTE program. In the fall of 2019, Maine Department of Education (DOE) opened the first round (Pilot A) of grants and 14 CTE schools applied and received funding. The second round (Pilot B) application had 14 grantees as well, and now Pilot C is available.

The MS-CTE Pilot C Grant applications are available and must be submitted to the MDOE by December 15, 2020. The grant must be expended or encumbered by June 30, 2021. Funds may be used in school year 20-21 and/or during school year 21-22 with proper obligation. (Obligation means amount representing orders placed, contracts awarded, services received, and similar transactions during an accounting period that will require payment during the same, or a future, period.) Through the current pilots, middle school students are discovering the many opportunities that are available to them in CTE. These pilots have included CTE camps, in school MS-CTE experiences, professional development opportunities for teachers at both the middle school and CTE school, hands on CTE tours, as well as after school CTE programming.

The Middle School CTE programs thrive with collaboration between the CTE schools and the middle schools. The middle schools and CTE schools work together to design a program that will meet the needs of the students and provide an engaging learning experience. Alignment with the middle school CTE standards is required for all programs. These standards are in draft form and are being reviewed through the implementation of the current pilot programs. The current draft standards can be found here.

For additional information please visit the Middle School CTE web site at https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/cte/schools/middleschool or contact Margaret Harvey at margaret.harvey@maine.gov