Open Invitation for Maine School Staff: Brain Centered Emotional Support Sessions Available Twice Daily

All Maine school staff (admins, educators, bus drivers, nutrition staff, nurses, ed techs, and support staff) invited to join Maine Department of Education Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialist Kellie D. Bailey and Mental Health/School Counselor Specialist Bear Shea for virtual mental wellness sessions bookending the beginning and end of each day.

The sessions will be 15 minutes each providing a time to bolster resilience and a chance to connect and share space with school professionals around the state in response to the care and wellbeing of YOU during the COVID-19 crisis.

One session will be available at the beginning of the day and one at the end of the day, occurring Monday through Friday for as long as needed. Each session will hold a maximum of 500 people and be available at the same zoom link each time:

Brain Centered Emotional Support Sessions:

  • 8:30am, M-F, Kellie Bailey, SEL Specialist
  • 3:30pm, M-F, Bear Shea, Mental Health Specialist

Department also continues to offer daily, content specific virtual sessions for Maine Educators during the COVID-19 emergency. The sessions provide support and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports and help facilitate networking and resource sharing between Maine educators. An updated schedule of virtual sessions is available here.

Suicide Prevention Trainings Posted for School Staff this Spring

The Maine Suicide Prevention Program (MSSP) and NAMI Maine are offering a series of training opportunities for the school community over the next two months. If you have not developed or revised your suicide prevention and management protocols for your district, this may be the last chance to train a team from your school district before the deadline of June 2020. These trainings are all funded through the MSSP and offered at no or little costs.

The trainings offered during March and April include:

Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training: Multiple Dates and Locations

This day-long training prepares school personnel for their role as a suicide prevention resource for their school community. Though a non-clinical training, it provides the basic information and resources to identify risk and engage in an intervention to connect a student to appropriate help. Each district is required to maintain a minimum number of Gatekeepers based on the size of their student body. The requirement is at least 2 Gatekeepers, and for districts with more than 1,000 students, an additional person for every 500 students. It is recommended to have a Gatekeeper in each school building.

Advanced Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training for School Personnel: Multiple Dates and Locations

The Suicide Prevention Gatekeepers must renew their training at least every 5 years. Those who were trained in the foundational Gatekeeper Training 5+ years ago are due for renewal. This session offers an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and skills in suicide prevention for school personnel renewing their training.

Suicide Prevention Protocol Development Training: Multiple Dates and Locations

The process of developing a school or district protocol managing suicide prevention, intervention and postvention requires several conversations with personnel across a district. This 5-hour workshop offers an opportunity for a small team from the district to get started on the process. Training includes templates, model forms and added resources to support your efforts.

Non-Suicidal Self Injury management in a school setting: March 10, 2020

Non-suicidal self-injury is the direct, deliberate destruction of body tissue in the absence of suicidal intent. It has been on the rise over the past decade There is significant connection between self-injury and suicide risk that must be understood and addressed. This training will review demographics, risk factors and warning signs of self-injury as well as recommendations for assessment, intervention and management of self-injury in a school setting.

Collaborative Safety Planning in a school setting: March 24, 2020

Best practice recommendations for addressing and managing suicide risk include use of a good assessment tool for determining risk and guiding intervention. A vital next step is the collaborative development and use of a Safety Plan to help an individual to manage themselves during and following periods of crisis. A Safety Plan is a tool and a process for working with a student and family to identify and increase the use of coping skills, social and family support and professional resources. It is an excellent tool for use with anyone at risk for escalating crisis. This session will provide the tools and process for implementing safety planning for supporting students at risk in Maine schools

Suicide Prevention Training of Trainers (to learn to present the required suicide prevention staff training):

All school staff across the district are required to attend a 1-2 hour Suicide Prevention Awareness Session. The TOT session is for school staff who are Gatekeepers and offers them the support and access to the materials to support their delivery of the staff awareness sessions for their school or district. Plan to send at least 2 staff!

The full range of training dates and registration links are available through the suicide prevention Training Calendar at NAMI Maine.

Maine Students Encouraged to Participate in 2020 School Bus Safety Poster Contest

Pictured: 2019 National Association for Pupil Transportation Poster Contest Overall Winner, Bryan Torres-Tavarez, Stars Academy, Paterson, NJ. Source: NAPT Facebook Page.

The national 2020 School Bus Safety Poster Contest is underway and Maine is encouraging students to participate again this year.  The theme is Be Safe – Know the Danger Zone! Please share the contest information below with transportation staff and educators state-wide that are interested in helping students participate in this exciting opportunity to show off their visual arts skills and their knowledge of school bus safety!

National School Bus Safety Poster Contest Rules Please note: It is very important that the posters meet the established rules in regards to size, theme, materials, and placement of student information to be considered at the national level. The last page of the rules provides for a student information sheet to be attached to the back of each poster.

Collect posters throughout the school year and send them to Terry Balduff at the contact information below and/or bring them to the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) Safety Conference in July.

Terry Balduff
(207) 676-2856
C/O MSAD No. 60
150 Noble Way
North Berwick, Maine 03906

Posters will be displayed at the MAPT Safety Conference in July and voted on by those in attendance at the conference. The winners from each category will be submitted to the NAPT for the National Competition representing Maine in October 2020.

Categories that artists may be entered into (Maine will host all categories except for CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) drawings.

  • Division #1- Grades K-2
  • Division #2- Grades 3-5
  • Division #3- Grades 6-8
  • Division #4- Special Education (Grades K-12)

2020 AWARDS: (State Level)

  • First Place Winners: $75.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation
  • Second Place Winners: $50.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation
  • Third Place Winners: $25.00 each plus Trophy and Certificate of Appreciation

Savings Bonds in lieu of cash may be awarded. 

MSAD1 School Nurses Among 1st to Complete Vision Certification Course

The Prevent Blindness Children’s Vision Screening Certification Course provides participants with a 3-year, nationally recognized certificate based on current national guidelines and best practices on evidence-based vision screening tools and procedures for school- and preschool-aged children.

The MSAD 1 school nurses are among the first cohort in the State of Maine to participate. The Maine Department of Education is providing access to this course for 125 nurses in 2019-20 school year and will do the same in 2020-21 with the goal of ensuring high quality vision screening for our children in Maine.


Save the Date: Training Opportunity on Serving Highly Mobile Students (Homeless, Foster, Migrant, Military)

Join us for an interactive session on the educational provisions designed to promote the educational stability of highly mobile students. Please complete this survey to register and share with us what you would like to get out of the training. Thank you!

Intended Audience: McKinney Vento Homeless Liaisons and Foster Care Points of Contact (Please be sure your information is updated in NEO if you are the SAU contact).

Hosted by Maine Department of Education’s  Office of School and Student Support Team members, Gayle Erdheim and Amelia Lyons

Portland: March 9, 2020, at the Italian Heritage Center

Bangor: March 10, 2020, at United Technologies Center

Houlton: March 13, 2020, location TBD