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.

School Safety and Security Bulletin: Door Locks and Code Compliance

Throughout the 2018- 2019 school year, the Maine Department of Education, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Maine State Police, Maine Sheriffs Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency will provide tips and resource information to Maine schools to help provide some guidance for identifying signs and preventing school violence.

School Safety and Security Bulletin  – November 2018

Further questions and inquiries can be send to Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

2018-2019 Maine School Immunization Report Due December 31, 2018

Maine law (20A M.R.S.A. 6358, Chapters 126 & 216) requires students enrolled in grades K-12 to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and varicella (chicken pox). Additionally, all students enrolled in grades 7-12 must be immunized against meningococcal meningitis. Under this law, students are required to have either vaccine administration records, a physician note or laboratory evidence to prove immunity, a physician note indicating the student is medically exempt, or a religious or philosophical objection note from a parent/guardian for each of the required vaccines listed above.

In accordance with this law, each year, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Maine Immunization Program, in conjunction with the Maine Department of Education, sends out the Maine School Age Immunization Assessment Survey to collect immunization information on all students enrolled in Maine public and private schools. The data from this survey is used to measure compliance with this law and also to assess the level of immunization coverage throughout the State of Maine. The survey can be completed online using Survey Monkey through the following web link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/school2018me

Who must report and what is reported:

  • All schools with students enrolled in these grades (K, 7th, 12th) MUST report. If you fail to report by the deadline the superintendent of your school will be notified.
      • Kindergarten – reporting on all required school age immunizations (DTaP, Polio, MMR, Varicella)
      • Seventh grade– Tdap and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) ONLY – 1 dose of each is required
      • Twelfth grade – MCV4 ONLY – 1 or 2 doses required based on age the first dose was given

Missing immunizations will require follow up. All students must either have an immunization record or exemption on file for each required vaccine. Superintendents will be notified of any non-compliance.

To complete the survey, you will need the number of students enrolled (full or part-time) for grades K, 7th, and 12th. For each required vaccine, you will need the number of students vaccinated, the number of students with either medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions, and the number of students missing records (non-compliant). A pdf copy of the survey is available here:

Complete the survey online
The deadline for completing the survey is December 31, 2018, after which the survey will be closed. This is extended from the usual December 15 deadline.

For additional information or assistance, contact Jessica Shiminski from DHHS at 207-287-3746 or 1-800-867-4775 or email: jessica.shiminski@maine.gov.

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.