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.

Presque Isle Regional CTE Provides Enhanced Dual Enrollment Pathway to Students

At the Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) we strive to provide our students with marketable skills which will translate to a career or educational path. Dual enrollment opportunities are a very powerful tool in this regard.

One example is the PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering program. Two unique and highly effective dual enrollment opportunities are available to the Drafting & Engineering Technology students.

As a result of a collaborative effort between The University of Maine College of Engineering, Bridge Year Educational Services, Inc. and the Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) Students enrolled in the PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering Technology program are able to earn college credit for the Maine College of Engineering course MEE-120 (Engineering Graphics & Computer Aided Design) and CIE-101 (Engineering Graphics for Civil engineers). During the current 2019-2020 school year, 14 students have taken advantage this unique opportunity.

Since 2014, eighteen graduates of the PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering Technology program have been accepted into the Maine College of Engineering, majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. Additional graduates of the PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering program are pursuing degrees in Marine engineering, Industrial Design, and Precision Machine at various post-secondary institutions.

These opportunities are the first such agreement between the University of Maine, College of Engineering and a high school level program and provide an enhanced pathway for those PIRCTC students desiring to pursue an engineering degree through the Maine College of Engineering.

The PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering Program is a two year program providing area high school students with computer aided design (CAD) and solid modeling skills using state-of-the art software and technology as well as introducing fundamentals of engineering and architecture, education and career paths, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and CNC technology through classroom, lab and applied learning opportunities.

This story was submitted by Timothy R. Prescott, PIRCTC Director and Terry Harper, PIRCTC Drafting & Engineering Technology Instructor in collaboration with Dwight A. Littlefield, Maine DOE Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE) as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign and in celebration of CTE this month. To submit stories or ideas email them to Rachel Palling at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Calling all High School Senior STEM Students! Exciting FREE Opportunity!

Each year two seniors are selected from each state to attend the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC). NYSC is a residential STEM program, designed to honor and challenge some of the nation’s rising STEM leaders. At the NYSCamp, STEM professionals present lectures and lead small-group directed studies on a broad array of STEM topics; some delegates are able to conduct research at the nearby Green Bank Observatory. The NYSCamp experience also features excursions into the Monongahela National Forest including backpacking, rock-climbing, caving, mountain biking, and kayaking.

Delegates are required to participate in the NYSCamp program for its entirety; the fast-paced activities and remote location simply make travel to and from the NYSCamp very difficult. The NYSCamp is offered to selected participants at NO COST, so that talented students may attend regardless of their financial ability – transportation included. This all-expense paid experience is open to students graduating between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Additionally, students must:

  • have documented superior academic proficiency, including recognition in mathematics or the sciences.
  • have documented leadership abilities and social maturity through involvement in school or community activities.
  • have documented skills and achievements outside the realm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and outside the realm of academia.
  • demonstrate a curiosity and an eagerness to explore many and varied topics.
  • intend to pursue higher education and a career in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics-related field.
  • be willing and able to participate in the entire NYSCamp program.  The 2020 NYSCamp dates are June 22 – July 15, 2020.

Students will apply online by completing the application found at http://apply.nyscamp.org. The deadline to submit applications is 6:00 PM EST on February 28, 2020.

For more information visit http://www.nyscamp.org/ or contact Shari Templeton, Maine DOE Science and Technology Specialist, at shari.templeton@maine.gov

Aquaculture me! Hosts Conference to Connect Research, Education, and Industry

Aquaculture me!, an initiative created by Yarmouth educator, 2016 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, and Miliken recipient Morgan Cuthbert, to get classroom teachers connected to the science and industry of aquaculture, held a professional development conference at the University of Maine’s Darling Center near Damariscotta last week.

Maine Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta attended the event on behalf of the Department to give brief remarks and to extend a heartfelt appreciation to Aquaculture me! and educators throughout Maine who work hard to provide Maine students with meaningful educational lessons that incorporate scientific practice about the complex systems that affect our communities and environment through aquaculture education.

The workshop gave participants the opportunity to hear from Maine aquaculture researchers, learn about connecting with the community and the industry, in addition to hearing from Maine educators from Cape Elizabeth, Brunswick, and Yarmouth Schools about successful ways to connect Aquaculture to the classroom.

The conference also gave participants the chance to network with one another and have a round-table discussion about Aquaculture education in Maine.

For more information about Aquaculture me! visit their website.

The conference also gave participants the chance to network with one another and have a round-table discussion about Aquaculture education in Maine.

For more information about Aquaculture me! visit their website.