School Safety and Security Bulletin: Family Reunification

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  – January 2019

Further questions and inquiries can be send to Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator at

Online Bullying Reporting Program Available to Maine Schools Through Optania

Optania has created an online bullying reporting program that is aligned with Maine DOE’s model bullying policy and procedures.

This online program allows students, parents, and others to report allegations of bullying 24/7, with the allegation report (JICK-E1) being sent to pre-determined school staff (ie. principal, assistant principal, school guidance counselor, social worker, superintendent) who will then initiate the investigation procedure using an electronic form (JICK-E2).  The program also includes the remediation form (JICK-E3).  In addition, using artificial intelligence, students can create their own Safety Plan in the moments after reporting an allegation of bullying so they don’t have to wait until the next school day when they can meet with a school staff member.

To learn more about Optania:

Sessions are 30 minutes in length and will give an in-depth overview of Optania and allow time for questions and comments. Click on the calendar link on a day and time that works for your schedule.

Further questions or information about future webinars and trainings can be sent to Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator or by calling her at 207-624-6685


Priority Notice: School Nutrition Benefits for Families Impacted by Federal Shutdown

With the federal shutdown impacting numerous Mainers, the Maine Department of Education wants to remind school districts that applications for free and reduced-price meals may be submitted at any time throughout the school year, even during a federal shutdown. If federal employees impacted by the shutdown would like to apply for school meal benefits for their children, they may so do through their local school district.

To apply – A special application can be downloaded from the Maine Department of Education’s website (linked below) and submitted to your local school’s food service program.

Download printable meal benefit application (PDF)

School administrators should be aware that this is a federal application so it may look unfamiliar but please accept and process it as you would your current meal benefit applications. Please also be aware that Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition office is also releasing information to remind food service staff that parents can apply for meal benefits for their children at any time.

For more information, contact Walter Beesley, Child Nutrition Director, Maine Department of Education at or 624-6875.

Maine Celebrates School Counselors of the Year with Local and National Ceremonies

The Maine School Counselor Association (MESCA) is pleased to announce that Kelly O’Brien Weaver from Weatherbee Elementary School is the 2018 Maine School Counselor of the Year and will represent Maine at the 2019 School Counselor of the Year celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in February. Kelly’s focus has been on promoting comprehensive school counseling programs in the State of Maine through the RAMP process (Recognized ASCA Model Program).  Kelly has also worked to promote National Board Certification (NBCT) for School Counselors in Maine. Kelly’s passion includes use of experiential social learning through educational break-out boxes and escape games.

In addition, Tara Kierstead from Hall-Dale Middle & High School, has been announced as Maine’s 2019 School Counselor of the Year.  Tara was recognized at MESCA’s annual conference on November 30, 2018 in Portland, Maine. Tara’s focus has been to support all students, especially those who identify as LGBTQ to ensure they are successful in high school and beyond.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year program (#SCOY19) honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students, helping them achieve success in school and in life.  State school counselor of the year honorees were selected based on several criteria, including: school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership and advocacy skills and contributions to student advancement.

“The ASCA School Counselor of the Year award is an esteemed recognition for our profession,” said Richard Wong, Ed.D., ASCA executive director.  “School counselors make significant contributions to the overall well-being of students and their success. Their unique qualifications and training allow them to support students’ academic achievement, career development and social/emotional needs. This award highlights their commitment, dedication and excellence.”

On February 7, 2019, from 2:00-4:00, MESCA and the Maine DOE will recognize Kelly, Tara, and all of Maine’s School Counselors in the Hall of Flags to celebrate National School Counselor Week.  All are welcome!

For more information or questions about the role of the School Counselor, contact Sarah Adkins at or 207-624-6685.

Integrated Pest Management School Workshop

Registration is now open for the Comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Workshop to be held February 20th at Gardiner Area High School. This workshop is offered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

View the full workshop schedule (click on Training and Events). All School IPM Coordinators are required to attend this training one time but everyone is welcome to attend. It is an opportunity to network with other Coordinators, see what other schools are doing to prevent and manage pests.

Register for Comprehensive IPM Workshop at Gardiner High School HERE

Save the Date: October 29-30, 2019 for our first Rodent Academy! This 2-day workshop, featuring internationally recognized rodent expert, Dr. Robert Corrigan is not to be missed! You’ll learn very practical information about how to recognize and eliminate rodent activity in your schools (and at home too!).

Questions/Comments? Contact Phone: 207-287-7616