Nominations Open for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The National Science Foundation is currently accepting nominations and applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program. PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for k-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. Awardees serve as models to their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of STEM education.

The 2020–2021 nomination and application cycle for 7–12th grade STEM teachers has officially opened. Anyone–principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public–may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website. To submit a nomination, you will need the teacher’s name, email address, and school contact information. If you know more than one teacher deserving of this award, you may submit more than one nomination. Teachers may also apply directly at www.paemst.org. The deadline to nominate is March 1, 2021.

Presidential awardees receive a signed certificate and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Awardees may also be invited to Washington, D.C. for a series of recognition events, which may include a tour of the White House, and professional development opportunities. They also become a member in a network of award-winning teachers from across the country. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on the behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Should you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact the Department’s Mathematics Specialist, Michele Mailhot at Michele.R.Mailhot@maine.gov or the Department’s Science Specialist, Shari Templeton at shari.templeton@maine.gov.

Computer Science in Maine: Updates and News

Resilient even amidst a pandemic, the computer science education community is continuing to grow and expand computer science opportunities throughout Maine.  Many partners including the Maine Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), Maine Department of Education, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA), Educate Maine, and others are working together to make sure that computer science education is available to Maine students throughout the state. Check out these upcoming computer science learning opportunities for students and educators below!

Virtual Family Code Nights

Date/Time: Various Dates, November 2nd through December 9th

In the past three years, more than 100 Maine schools and community organizations have hosted Family Code Nights. These events have brought together nearly 3,000 children and parents to learn how to code side-by-side. Now, the makers of Family Code Night have started a program called CS is Elementary.

It’s simple and free for Maine elementary schools to get involved. Visit Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance’s Family Code Night Host site to learn more – https://mmsa.org/familycodenight/

CS Connected

Date/Time: Wednesdays, 12pm

A weekly virtual series for college students, produced by Project>Login & UMaine’s School of Computing and Information Sciences. Check out CS Connected on Eventbrite to register for upcoming sessions.

CS Educator Happy Hour

Date/Time: Thursdays, 5pm

Are you teaching computer science or interested in doing so in the future? Join a virtual Zoom gathering of the Maine Computer Science educator community to engage in themed informal interactions. Email angela@educatemaine.org for the link to join!

CodeHS

Date/Time: November 12th, 4:30pm

Join a one-hour workshop for middle school teachers on JavaScript using Intro to Programming with Karel the Dog.

Click here to sign up for this event, hosted by Maine CSTA President, Sean Wasson.

Would you like to see your computer science events and news listed in a computer science release? Are you doing something new and exciting with computer science that you want to share with the rest of the community? Reach out to Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science Specialist at the Maine Department of Education. emma-marie.banks@maine.gov

 

PRIORITY NOTICE: Public Comment Period for Science and Alternative Science Waiver from Public Reporting Now Open

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking thirty (30) days of public comment from October 16 – November 14, 2020, on a waiver application (waiver from §8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015) to the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The request seeks a waiver from publicly reporting student general and alternate science test data from the Spring 2021 assessment administration.

The U.S. Department of Education requires state educational agencies, when seeking waivers from statutory or regulatory requirements, solicit public comment on the application, respond to public comments, and provide evidence of the available comment period. A copy of the letter seeking waiver from §8401(b) of the ESEA as amended by ESSA can be downloaded with key elements of the request included below:

Federal program affected by the requested waiver

Section 1111(h) of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, requires State and LEA report cards to include information on student achievement on the academic assessments in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science described in section 1111(b)(2) at each level of achievement (as determined by the State under section 1111(b)(1)) for all students.

Maine is seeking a waiver from public reporting for the general and alternate science assessments. Maine’s 2021-2022 ESEA Data Dashboard (Report card) will continue to publicly report alternate assessment results for mathematics and English language arts.  Maine will continue to report the math and ELA/Literacy assessment results to parents through individualized student reports .

Maine will continue to meet all other reporting requirements. Maine specifically requests a waiver from the public reporting of both the general and alternate science assessments performance only.

Sections impacted include:

  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(iv)
  • Section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) (disaggregation of alt. science data by subgroup)
  • Section 1111(h)(1)(A)
  • Section 1111(h)(2)(iii)

Impact to Student Achievement

There will be no impact to assessing student achievement as all eligible students will continue to participate in the general science and science alternate assessment where applicable. The waiver will permit Maine to not publicly release student general and alternate science assessment achievement data. The Maine Department of Education will only report participation rates related to the administration of the general and alternate assessment in grades 5, 8, and the third-year high school during the 2021 spring administration. During the 2022 spring assessment administration, Maine will participate in the science alternate assessment on-line operational alternate assessment.  Standard setting and post equating in the summer of 2022 would allow for reportable student achievement levels and scores that fall.

Monitoring

Assessment administration will follow all assessment administration policies and protocols. Schools will be provided science data within the confidential reporting platform. Individual Student Reports (ISRs) will be available for bulk download in order to share applicable math and ELA/Literacy student performance with parents/guardians or caretakers.

Continuity of Services to Students

Public Comment

Maine has solicited public comment regarding a request for a waiver from public reporting. This public comment was announced through the Departments Newsroom, social media accounts and through relevant Listservs. Public comment was solicited between October 16th and November 14th, 2020 for a period of 30 days. A summary of comments and the Department’s response is attached with the waiver request. All comments, in support of or against the waiver request should be submitted to Janette Kirk at Janette.Kirk@maine.gov.

 

 

 

Announcing Maine’s 2019 Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching: John Congelosi and Robyn Graziano 

The Maine Department of Education is excited to share the announcement from the White House of the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (PAEMST). 

On August 3, 2020, President Donald J. Trump announced the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  

Awardees are selected from schools in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States territories which includes American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation. 

Presidential award for K-12 teachers 

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award given by the U.S. Government to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science. 

A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists, and educators at the State and National levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to OSTP.  Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 

The announcement was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Maine Awardees and state finalists will be recognized by the Maine Department oEducation at a later date in thpresence of PAEMST alumni and distinguished guests in a semi-formal event. 

We are pleased to announce Maine’s 2019 PAEMST awardees: 

Science (grades 7-12): John Congelosi 

John Cangelosi, Bangor High School

Mathematics (grades 7-12)Robyn Graziano 

Robyn Graziano, Maranacook Community High School

Please join us in congratulating John and Robyn! 

For more information about the PAEMST program, please contact Shari Templeton, shari.templeton@maine.gov, PAEMST Science Coordinator, or Michele Mailhot, michele.mailhot@maine.govPAEMST Mathematics Coordinator. 

Maine Educators Jenn Heidrich and Erin Towns to Embark on Polar Research Experiences

Two Maine high school teachers have received the opportunity of a lifetime. Jenn Heidrich and Erin Towns, both high school social studies teachers at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine, work across the hall from each other. Both entered separately into a competitive application process that resulted in them receiving the opportunity of a lifetime: Traveling to the Yukon’s Boreal Forest and the Greenland Ice Sheet to study with internationally-renowned climate scientists.

This opportunity will allow them to travel to the Arctic region in order to help create classroom experiences and resources which will combine social studies and environmental science in Maine classrooms.

Jenn Heidrich will be traveling to the Yukon for five weeks to study carbon sequestration in the alpine region of the Yukon, as well as biodiversity in various arctic ecosystems. She will be doing this with Dr. Jennie McLaren of University of Texas El Paso. Jennifer has a background in archaeology, geography, and science and as such, is thrilled to be working with a biologist who is examining trophic cascades in the sub-arctic. She hopes to bridge the gap between social studies and science in Maine classrooms, with a specific focus on how changes in remote ecosystems will impact cultures around the world.

Erin Towns is traveling to Ilulissat Greenland for two weeks to study how increases in surface runoff influences ice flow and subsequent loss of water mass from the Greenland ice sheet to the oceans . She will be working with Dr. Sarah Das, a glaciologist and climate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Erin’s background includes extensive work in the areas of global education, geography, and teacher professional development and she will use the experience to build social studies and science inquiry based strategies and classroom activities related to the Gulf of Maine and climate change adaptation efforts.

Beginning in June for Jenn and August for Erin, each teacher will participate as a full research team member in an authentic scientific expedition in the Arctic, joining the ranks of educators who will be working in research locations from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, as part of a program that allows educators to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct scientific research in some of the most remote locations on earth.
Erin and Jenn are two of eleven educators selected through a nationwide search to participate in PolarTREC, an educational research experience in which classroom teachers and informal educators participate in polar research, working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education. Through PolarTREC, selected educators will have the rare opportunity to spend several weeks working with a research team in the Arctic or Antarctic.

While on field expeditions, educators and researchers will share their experiences with scientists, educators, communities, and students of all ages through the use of Internet tools such as online teacher and researcher journals, message boards, photo albums, podcasts, PolarConnect real-time presentations from the field, and online learning resources. After the field experience, teachers and researchers will continue to share their experiences with the public and create instructional activities to transfer scientific data, methodologies, and technology to classrooms.

The first expedition departs in spring 2020 with an educator deploying to the Arctic community of Utqiaġvik (Barrow) Alaska. Additional expeditions will take place throughout the Arctic field season in the summer of 2020. The Antarctic field season will be in full swing by November and continue through the winter of 2020-21. This year’s expeditions will range from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole and study a large scope of topics from marine biology to landscape ecology.

PolarTREC is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and funded by the National Science Foundation and additional partnerships. For more information and to participate, see the PolarTREC website at: http://www.polartrec.com or contact the ARCUS Project Managers, Janet Warburton and Judy Fahnestock at info@polartrec.com or call 907-474-1600.

Follow Erin Towns on Instagram @Esctowns and Jenn Heidrich @MrsJHikes to keep up with their travels, stories, and scientific work.

The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) is based in Fairbanks, Alaska and was formed in 1988 to provide leadership in advancing knowledge and understanding of the Arctic. ARCUS is a member consortium of educational and scientific institutions. Further information is available at: http://www.arcus.org.

This story was submitted by Shelly Mogul, Curriculum Director for Auburn School Department as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.