Seeking Maine Schools for Social Emotional Learning Pilot Program

The Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program with the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (MECDC), in partnership with the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE), is seeking interest from Maine schools who would like to pilot the social emotional learning (SEL) program, Second Step, funded by a grant through MECDC.

The grant’s larger goal is to provide primary prevention for substance use and is part of Maine’s State Opioid Response plan. The Second Step Curriculum is research-based and available for grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. Many of the skills within the Maine Learning Results for Health Education in elementary school align with goals of Second Step, to nurture skill building and prevent problematic developmental behaviors that are part of the trajectory toward later substance use.

If you are interested in adding Second Step to your school’s curriculum, are already implementing Second Step, or are implementing a SEL curriculum other than Second Step, the MECDC and Maine DOE would like your feedback about your interest and experience.

This brief survey will take approximately 5 minutes.  Your input will be used to assess what programs are currently being implemented, where there are opportunities to pilot Second Step in Maine, and what districts are specifically interested in piloting Second Step.

Maine CDC and DOE will select pilot sites based on best fit and evaluate the program’s success, with the goal of expanding the program to more sites in coming years. Thank you in advance for your interest and feedback.

For more information, contact Hannah.Ruhl@maine.gov at Maine CDC.

Resource to Help Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse childhood experiences—commonly known as ACEs—affect children and families across all communities. ACEs can impact kids’ health and well-being, and they can have long-term effects on adults’ health and wellness. They can even have consequences that impact entire families, communities, and our whole society. Thankfully, ACEs are preventable.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Cervices, Center for Disease Control has provided an new online training tool, Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences.

This training will help you understand, recognize, and prevent ACEs. You’ll learn about risk and protective factors, outcomes associated with ACEs, and evidence-based strategies you can use to reduce or eliminate the impact of ACEs and stop them from occurring in the first place.

Get the knowledge and insights you need to help create healthier, happier childhoods for kids today, and bright futures for adults tomorrow.

Training topics include:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences, Brain Development, and Toxic Stress
  • The ACE Study
  • Prevalence and Consequences of ACEs
  • Risk and Protective Factors for ACEs
  • Essentials for Childhood: Assuring Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments

For further information, contact Emily Poland, School Nurse Consultant for the Maine Department of Education at emily.poland@maine.gov.

October is National Farm to School Month

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) join thousands of schools, farms, communities, and organizations across the country in celebrating National Farm to School Month. Maine is home to more than 8000 farmers and 185,000 students, making the partnership between schools and farmers an important part of the state’s agricultural landscape.

Over the last decade, more Maine schools have prioritized adding local foods to student menus. Many have developed school gardens and other education programs. In 2015, the USDA found that 79% of Maine school districts surveyed take part in farm to school activities. In that survey, school districts spent an average of 16% of their food budgets on local products, totaling $3.8 million statewide.

The Maine Department of Education supports Farm to School efforts by promoting local products during the annual Maine Harvest Lunch Week and Farm to School Cook-off, among other initiatives. According to Stephanie Stambach, the department’s Child Nutrition Consultant, “Students look forward to seeing local foods on the menu. When they know it is coming from a farm in their community they get excited, and it’s an educational opportunity. Students and parents seem increasingly aware of where their food comes from, and schools play an important role in supporting this awareness.”

Renee Page is the Maine Farm to School Network Coordinator. “Farm to School’s three-pronged approach includes agricultural-based education, experiential learning through gardens and greenhouses, and more Maine-grown food in school meals. These strategies help connect kids to their food and to farmers. They become savvier consumers and have better health and learning outcomes. These efforts also support the local food economy,” according to Page.

For farmers, schools can be important local customers. Martha Putnam, owner of Wealden Farm, is such a farmer. “Schools are a very good market. Working with them makes a difference and is a boost to farmers. It’s good for student awareness; they get to see the diversity of foods that Maine produces,” according to Putnam. Maine farmers and producers have provided local products to many schools across Maine, and have helped with annual programs such as Maine Harvest Lunch Week.

Schools across Maine provide local foods and nutrition education to their students, and many are eager to grow these efforts. In School Year 2019, students at more than 150 Maine schools will receive a variety of fruits and vegetables at no cost during the school day as part of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). Food service directors at schools participating in the FFVP program can be excellent partners for farmers, especially those who are new to selling to schools.

For more information, contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Consultant Stephanie Stambach at 207-624-6732 or stephanie.stambach@maine.gov, Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Marketing Director Leigh Hallett at 207-287-3494 or leigh.hallett@maine.gov, or Renee Page from Healthy Communities of the Capital Area at 207-588-5347 or r.page@hccame.org.

Camden Hills School Nurse Janis Hogan Named 2018-2019 School Nurse of the Year

Janis LoganThe Maine School Nurse Association (MASN) recently announce that Janis Hogan from Camden Hills Regional High School is the School Nurse of the Year, 2018-2019. This award acknowledges a member of the Maine School Nurse Association who demonstrates excellence in school nursing practice and leadership in school nursing.

In her role at Camden Hills, Janis’ presence and influence can be noted everywhere. The librarian/technology director who nominated her stated that “Janis is well-informed on issues that affect our students’ health, and is aware of local, state, and national health trends for youth; she uses this to inform her decisions about student care, programming, advocacy, and outreach efforts, and she also shares this information with teachers and administrators at the building and district level.” The pervasiveness of her influence can be grouped into the initiatives that she embraces and leads.

For more information visit the Maine Association of School Nurses Website. Learn more about how to nominate your school nurse.

 

Reminder of 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS)

This notice is a reminder that the sixth cycle for the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) will be administered in February, 2019.

In 2017 over 62,000 students from 350 schools participated in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS), providing insight into childhood and adolescent health. MIYHS data is used daily at the school, county, public-health district, state and even national level to make informed health decisions.

Find MIYHS data below:

Online school registration for the 2019 MIYHS cycle is available for the first time. Our survey partner, Pan Atlantic will contact schools in early September with registration information and other survey details.

For further questions contact Jean Zimmerman at jean.zimmerman@maine.gov.