Maine Schools Join Others Around the Nation to Recognize 2021 National School Bus Safety Week October 18-22

3 color drawings of school buses showing safety measures for drivers2021 National School Bus Safety Week Theme Be Safe – Know The Danger Zone is derived from the Poster Contest the year before. The 2020 winning poster artwork, depicted above, was drawn by Huyen Pham, a Northbrook Middle School student from Atlanta, Georgia.

Nationally, each year from September to November, public service announcements are aired to help protect 26 million students that ride on nearly 500,000 school buses over 4 billion miles in an average year.  Broadcast and digital media and social networking industries disseminate public service announcements that are produced to safeguard children, encourage the driving public to engage in safer driving behavior near school buses where students board and disembark from school buses, and recognize school bus operators and professionals.

Statewide, nearly 130 thousand students ride on about 3,000 school buses over 30 million miles of rural and urban roads in an average year. School Bus Safety Week offers the people of Maine an opportunity to recognize and thank transportation and public safety professionals, who have the invaluable task of keeping their precious cargo, our students, safe.

School buses are protected by law. Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach. Maine school bus safety laws support good driving behavior. These laws include:

  • Passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing is a criminal violation punishable by a $250 minimum fine for the first offense and a mandatory 30-day license suspension for the second offense occurring within three years of the first offense.
  • A vehicle may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the bus operator that it is okay to proceed.
  • 2021 model year and newer school buses are required to have a crossing arm on the front bumper.
  • A school bus operator who observes someone illegally passing a stopped school bus can report violations to a law enforcement officer.
  • School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings.
  • Unless otherwise posted, the school zone speed limit is 15 miles per hour during school opening or closing hours, as well as recess.

Additional school bus safety resources are available online:

For information about school transportation programs and policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

If you have an interest in joining this critically important profession, please reach out to your area schools to learn more, and please thank and support these heroes on the road!

The National School Bus Safety Week public education program is hosted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), and National School Transportation Association (NSTA).

‘It’s Hardest to Learn Where They’re Least Vaccinated’ by Aley, Anna, and Bill

It is with special permission from renowned artists the Indigo Girls themselves that we present this beautiful nod to their song, “Least Complicated” by Mainers Bill, a music teacher, Aley, a school counselor, and Anna, a parent of a child in school.

This recently recorded, heartfelt song urges communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to keep children safe in schools and schools operational.

Check out their music video here:

;

Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application

The Maine Department of Education is thrilled to announce the release of the Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application! 

Maine’s 130th legislature, through a bill sponsored by Senator Pouliot, created a pilot grant program to provide funding for high-quality, teacher-developed or teacher-led professional development for PK-12 computer science pedagogy and content.  

Priority will be given to applicants that: 

  • Do not currently offer computer science learning opportunities; 
  • Serve socioeconomically disadvantaged school districts; 
  • Prioritize student populations traditionally underrepresented in computer science; 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing high-quality educator professional development that emphasizes integration of computer science into other course work and curricula or establishes or expands access to courses that offer college credit and other certificates of value, or both; and 
  • Collaborate or partner with other entities, including but not limited to other local education agencies, the business community, nonprofit organizations and private entities. 

The Fall application window opens Friday October 8th, 2021 and closes November 5th, 2021. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received. All applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of the application deadline.  

There is no limit to the grant amount awarded per applicant; however, funds will be dispersed equitably across all applications based on county and throughout PK-12. There is a total of $25,000 available for this grant in the Fall. 

A Spring application window will become available in January 2022. A minimum of $25,000 will be available in the Spring. 

Have questions? Want to learn more? We are hosting three informational sessions, October18th, October 25th, and November 1st. 

Interested in applying? Check out our website to register for an informational session, learn more about the grant, and submit an application.  

Need assistance applying? contact Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science Specialist & Secondary Digital Learning Specialist emma-marie.banks@maine.gov 

WEBINAR: Bullying Awareness and Prevention Resources and Strategies

Please join the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse on October 26 at 3:00 PM EDT for an informational webinar on bullying awareness and prevention resources, tactics, and strategies to create safer school environments. This session will provide information and resources to the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) school community.

The session will feature guest speaker and bullying prevention expert Melissa Mercado Crespo, Ph.D., MSc, MA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention. She will provide an overview of what bullying is and how to identify it, key strategies and actions schools and school personnel can implement to prevent and address it, and the tools and resources available from the government to support schools in these efforts. She will also describe the different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), their impact on school violence, and the relationship between bullying, suicide, and the well-being of school-age youth.

The discussion will also feature additional school safety-related resources on topics like school climate and mental health access and support and a Q&A session for participants to engage directly with Dr. Mercado Crespo.

  • When: October 26, 2021, 3:00 to 4:00 PM EDT
  • Where: Adobe Connect (access link to be provided one day in advance of the event)
  • For: K-12 School Superintendents and Principals; Counselors and Mental Health Practitioners; School and District Administrators; Teachers and School Staff; School Resource Officers; Parents and Guardians; Students
  • Registration: https://schoolsafetybullyingpreventionwebinar.eventbrite.com

We hope you can join us for this special event during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Homeland Security’s School Safety team at SchoolSafety@hq.dhs.gov.

National Board Salary Supplement and Scholarship Information FY22

National Board Certified Teacher Salary Supplement Request Due October 15, 2021

Do you have National Board Certified Teachers on your staff? Awesome! We are sending along a reminder to those fortunate superintendents, or directors of a publicly-supported secondary school or Career and Technical Education (CTE) region, with eligible staff who have attained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification prior to July 1, 2021. Please let us know so we can provide you with their legislatively allocated salary supplement!

In order to qualify for the salary supplement, eligible staff must be currently employed by a Maine public school, or by a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region in Maine. Eligible position titles include classroom teacher, special education teacher, literacy specialist, math specialist, long-term substitute teacher, library media specialist, school counselor, and teaching principals who have attained certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

The amount of the salary supplement for fiscal year 2021-22 is $5000 for teachers employed in a school in which 50% + students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, and $3000 for teachers employed in a school in which fewer than 50% of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, unless proration is necessary.

The submission form and further information is available on our National Board Certification Salary Supplement page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/cert/nationalstandards/salary

National Board Scholarship Applications Due October 31, 2021

Are you a Maine public school, or a publicly-supported secondary school, or CTE school teacher who is interested in becoming National Board Certified? Are you a district who is eager to offer this exceptional professional learning opportunity to your teachers?  State law, 20-A MRSA Section 13013-A subsection 5 & 6; as amended by PL 2012 c. 702, established the National Board Certification Scholarship Fund to encourage teachers to apply to, and enroll in, the certification program offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization.

A school administrative unit, or a publicly supported secondary school or CTE region, may request scholarship funds on behalf of its teachers who meet the requirements.

In fiscal year 2021-22, Maine DOE will allocate $75,000 to the scholarship fund, and shall award an amount equal to the cost of the certification program, less any other funds received by the applicant to not more than 30 teachers accepted into the program annually. Priority will be given to teachers who have already begun the process and teachers employed in high needs schools. For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit our National Board Certification Scholarship page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/nationalstandards/scholarship

If you have questions about the National Board Salary Supplement Program or the National Board Scholarship Program, please contact Tamara Ranger at Tamara.Ranger@maine.gov.