Green Ribbon Schools

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that Maine is joining the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools initiative to inspire and promote effective school sustainability and collaboration. The award highlights sustainability practices undertaken at the school, district, or post-secondary institution level that are cost-saving and health promoting.
The U.S. Department of Education developed three Pillars of a green school:

  1. Reducing environmental impacts, e.g. waste, energy, transportation, etc.
  2. Improving health and wellness of schools, students and staff through consideration of school food, air quality, physical activity, etc.
  3. Offering environmental and sustainability education that is authentic, civically engaging and green career preparing.

More information regarding Green Ribbon Schools can be found on the USDOE website, and Maine’s Green Ribbon Schools application should be submitted to shari.templeton@maine.gov.

MLTI T-shirt Design Competition Accepting Entries Until February 24th, 2020!

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) is hosting a T-shirt Design Competition again this year. The theme for the T-shirt design is “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.

A panel of judges will narrow the submissions down to three designs, and then we will ask Maine students and educators to vote for their top choice as they register for the MLTI Student Conference. The winning T-shirt will be printed for the 1000+ attendees of the 17th Annual MLTI Student Conference, which will be held on Thursday, May 21st, 2020 at the University of Maine in Orono. The three students whose designs become the finalists will be given a free registration to the conference.

Eligibility:

  • Any student who attends an elementary, middle, or high school in Maine during the 2019-2020 school year is eligible to enter the competition may enter the competition.
  • Any student or teacher/chaperone who is registering for the MLTI Student Conference may vote on the final design.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions must only have ONE ink color and ONE background color. The inclusion of shading or gradients of colors will lead to disqualification.
  • All submissions must be an original artwork. Any use of any photo, drawing, images or elements created by any other person (other than the MLTI logo) is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification.
    • Please adhere to the guidelines for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards regarding copyright and plagiarism: Even if you have permission to use a work or if the work is in the public domain, the work that you submit to this competition must represent a new, original work. Additionally, changing the medium of an original work is not considered transformative. For example, a painting or drawing of a photograph taken from the Internet or a magazine is not considered original and should not be submitted.
  • Each student may only submit one entry AND the entry must be created by ONE student only.
  • The artwork should be sized to 81/2” x 11”.
  • Students may hand-draw or digitally design their artwork.
  • Digitally designed artwork should be 300 dpi, RGB color, and the fonts must be embedded.
  • Submitted artwork must incorporate the phrase “MLTI Student Conference” and the year “2020” or “’20”.
  • Students must incorporate the MLTI logo into their design: downloadable filesor by copying and pasting this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI_logos.
  • The design should reflect this year’s conference theme and should include some reference to “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.
  • Students are asked to submit an artist statement (less than 200 words) with their design to help bring clarity to their adherence to the theme.
  • Acceptable file types: PDF or JPEG high resolution.
  • Color: T-shirts are one solid color with one color ink, and the student can suggest the color for each.
  • The t-shirt design must fit on the front of the t-shirt.
  • Signed Release: Each student must sign this release and include it in their submission. If the link above doesn’t work, please copy and paste this link: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/ltt/conference/tshirt/release

Judging Criteria

  • Guidelines: Work clearly adheres to the submission guidelines (color, size, file type, etc.)
  • Theme: “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.
  • Principles of Design:Work incorporated the following elements of art: balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, and unity.

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 4th, 2019 – Competition begins
  • Monday, February 24th, 2020 – T-shirt designs due
  • Monday, March 2nd, 2020 – T-shirt voting begins (with registration)
  • Friday, April 10th, 2020 – T-shirt winner announced

Ready to enter the competition? Submit your entry with this form or copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI-2020-tshirt-entry

For more information or answers to questions, please contact MLTI.Project@maine.gov

MLTI Bridge Year

The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), has been providing 7th and 8th grade students and teachers access to, and support for, educational technology since 2002. While the goal has remained constant – provide State support for access to technology-enhanced education experiences for all students – the program has changed in many ways and will continue to grow and evolve in the future. The Department remains committed to this goal.  

As many school administrative units (SAUs) are aware, the final contracts for the existing MLTI program are set to expire on June 30, 2020. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Department has designed a “bridge year,” to provide support for devices, infrastructure, and professional learning while we continue to work with stakeholders to design what is the next phase of the MLTI program. With the support of the 129th legislature, the Department has designed the bridge year to mitigate and minimize disruption to SAUs. The details of the bridge year are the following: 

  • The Department will purchase all of the MLTI devices at the end of the lease. 
  • The Department will transfer ownership to SAUs in cohort 4 (lease begun in 2016) for 7th & 8th grade and staff devices in July 2020. JAMF licenses on these devices will continue at no charge to SAUs through June 30, 2021. Systems Engineering will continue to support the WiFi infrastructure of 7th and 8th grade classrooms during the bridge year. 
  • SAUs who are currently leasing additional devices (elementary or high school student and staff devices) from the Department will have the option to buy out their devices from the Department at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop in July 2020. JAMF licenses will be available on these devices for the cost of $6/ iOS device and $12/MacOS.
  • No new grants will be awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year. 
  • The Department will provide statewide and regional professional learning,  
  • The Department will host the MLTI student conference in May 2021.  

Over the past several months, the Department has hosted Think Tank conversations regionally around the state to reflect on the past 17 years of the MLTI program and envision innovative ideas about the possibilities for the next 20 years of the program. We will continue to use the additional time afforded by the “bridge year” to meet with stakeholders throughout the state. Discussions will include topics such as portable computer devices, device management and deployment, software, wireless networking, technical support, and professional development, as well as financial models to support these efforts. The Department will also convene a workgroup to synthesize this information and help to create a plan for the state. 

Below is the estimated timeline for MLTI through 2021. 

  • June 2019 – August 2020: The Department holds meetings with stakeholders regarding the future of MLTI (post SY 2020-2021) and convenes a workgroup to develop a State plan 
  • July 2020 – June 30, 2021: Bridge Year 
  • October 2020: The Department announces plan for MLTI post SY 2020-2021 (including the release of any necessary RFPs) 
  • July 2021: launch of MLTI 2.0 

For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642. 

MSSM STEM Summer Camp Success Story

Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

The STEM Summer Camp at Maine School of Science & Mathematics ended the 2019 season on August 3rd. Over 550 middle school campers came to the small town of Limestone in beautiful Aroostook County to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. The campers had three hands-on classes daily and then a non-STEM class called “Instructor’s Passion”. After that, they participated in traditional summer camp activities such as rock climbing, creating tie dye shirts, baking, capture the flag, swimming, and of course our special 100-foot mega slip-n-slide.

The camp started in 1997 as a camp for girls to get them interested in the STEM fields, but expanded to six weeks total with three for boys and three for girls. In 2018, the camp changed to five weeks with a co-ed week in the middle. We have found the new model to be very effective and plan to continue.

The classes are designed to keep kids academically stimulated through the summer and have no homework nor prerequisites. The only requirement is curiosity for how things work. Some of the classes this year and past years have included Real Life CSI, Model Rocketry, 3D Printing, You Can Do the Cube (Rubik’s Cube), The Science of Clay, Intro to Programming, LEGO Robotics, Catapults and Trebuchets, and many more. This year brought a new idea, Instructor’s Passion for the 4th class. It was a shorter class where each instructor taught a hobby or interest such as origami, Japanese language, drawing, creating your own game, appreciating Beethoven’s music, team building, etc.

The MSSM STEM Summer Camp brings educators, staff, and campers from all 16 counties, a few other states, and even a few foreign countries. Each year we strive to improve the camp based on feedback from the campers. We don’t make anyone an expert in each week of camp, but we do love when campers learn something and say, “Wow! This exists.”

For more information about the MSSM STEM Summer Camp and Maine School of Science and Mathematics, go to:  www.mssm.org.

Innovative New “Experiential” Educator Training Takes Center Stage

Course Instructor Keith Kelley and EMMC President Lisa Larson looking through a STEAMRoller cart included with the course.
Course Instructor Keith Kelley and EMMC President Lisa Larson looking through a STEAMRoller cart that is included with the course.

In a four-day educator training that took place last month at the United Technology Center (UTC) in Bangor, 14 educators from across Maine gathered for a unique professional development opportunity offered through a partnership between two educators from RSU 19, Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), and UTC that aims to help educators integrate advanced technology and experiential learning into every lesson plan, and to help fill the workforce gap in Maine.

Utilizing a $50,000 grant that EMCC President Lisa Larson obtained through the Maine Community College System, the 3 credit Introduction to Experiential Teaching through Technology course was offered as an opportunity for educators to “learn practical learning experiences to integrate traditional and newly advanced technologies into project biased lesions,” similar to the teaching methods found in career and technical education (CTE) settings throughout the state. The idea is to bring the experiential teaching philosophy to classrooms long before the high school CTE experience. The earlier integration of experiential learning gives students a taste for possible career paths but just as importantly, learning experiences that allow them to utilize and understand the advanced technological tools of their future and to utilize and exercise their own problem-solving and management skills.

The course was led by RSU 19 educators, Keith Kelley and Kern Kelley who are brothers, partners, and advocates for integrated experiential student learning. It provides classroom teachers, at any grade level and of any subject matter expertise, with not only the tools but also the mindset and methods to teach project based and integrated lessons to their students. This type of learning environment provides students with real-world, problem solving experiences with technology, bringing full circle the content areas that make up the very well-known acronym STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).

The STEAMRoller Cart includes: Seville Classics UltraHD 2-Door Rolling Cabinet and a 6-drawer Rolling Storage Cabinet, Vise, Portable Vise Table, Power Strips, Cordless Orbital Hand Sander, Corded Orbital Hand Sander, Power Drill, Impact Power Drill, Rotary Dremel Tool, Irwin Clamps, Kobalt 100-Piece Household Tool Set with Hard Case, Hand Tool Bag, Hammer, Locking Pliers, Tape Measure, Speed Square, Spade Bits, Flash Forge 3D Printer, 3D Printer Tool Set, Frog Tape, Duct Tape, Rocketbook, FriXion Pens, iPod Touch & Case, Tripod, Raspberry Pi, Soldering Iron, Scrappy Circuits, Safety Goggles, Disposable Gloves, Breakout of the Box DRAWER, and a Breakout EDU Kit.
The STEAMRoller Cart includes: Seville Classics UltraHD 2-Door Rolling Cabinet and a 6-drawer Rolling Storage Cabinet, Vise, Portable Vise Table, Power Strips, Cordless Orbital Hand Sander, Corded Orbital Hand Sander, Power Drill, Impact Power Drill, Rotary Dremel Tool, Irwin Clamps, Kobalt 100-Piece Household Tool Set with Hard Case, Hand Tool Bag, Hammer, Locking Pliers, Tape Measure, Speed Square, Spade Bits, Flash Forge 3D Printer, 3D Printer Tool Set, Frog Tape, Duct Tape, Rocketbook, FriXion Pens, iPod Touch & Case, Tripod, Raspberry Pi, Soldering Iron, Scrappy Circuits, Safety Goggles, Disposable Gloves, Breakout of the Box DRAWER, and a Breakout EDU Kit.

Each educator’s school paid $381 total for the four-day hybrid course that includes the four in-person sessions, bi-weekly reading and reflection assignments and online discussions and provides educators with contact hours plus 3 college credits, in addition to a “STEAMRoller” cart of hardware and equipment valued at over $2,000 each. They will also each have the opportunity to host a STEAMRoller bus for a day at their school, which includes an experiential student conference provided by course instructors and their partners. At the student conference, educators and students will be able to participate in a day filled with breakout sessions on various topics such as 3D printing, drones, and virtual reality to name a few.

Hermon High School Principal Brian Walsh is excited that one of his 9th grade science teachers is attending the course this summer so that he can share his knowledge and the tool kit with the other 9th grade science teacher so that they can integrate hands-on project-biased learning experiences, not just to 9th graders but throughout the high school as well. Walsh has felt a void where they were unable to fill an industrial arts position in prior years and hopes this will help bring new STEAM learning experiences, career pathways, and experiential opportunities to the students at Hermon High School.

educators looking at a computer screen togetherTonya Therrien, Benton Elementary 5th Grade teacher decided to take the course with the hopes of bringing back to her classroom, “a way to utilize technology more with the kiddos, beyond just using it for research.” She wants her students to know how to use technology as a tool. When asked what she thought of the training so far, she said, “this is probably the most worthwhile class I’ve ever taken, and I’ve taken a lot of classes.” She then added that she has two master’s degrees which both required a fair amount of coursework.

Aaron Pody, a high school Life Sciences teacher from RSU 18 came to the class to learn about ways to teach the content with more relevance to his students. He has been pleased to find that there are ways to bring technology into the classroom that are not cost prohibitive.

educator wearing VR gogglesRSU 26 educator Karen Frye from Orono was excited to bring back what she has learned at the course to provide her gifted and talented students with the rare opportunity to do some hands-on problem solving, which will further enrich their learning experience and give them some problem-solving skills.

The 3-credit course and the STEAMRoller bus events are intended to give participating educators and schools a taste of experiential learning methods, along with emerging technologies, tools and resources. The course is expected to be followed up by an Experiential Education certificate program that EMCC is expected to launch in January of 2020. The new program aims to provide the state with educators that can help fill the growing workforce gap in technologically skilled workers.

The launch of the experiential training was deemed a success by organizers and participants alike. The innovative approach to an obvious need has the potential to further help Maine schools lead their students toward successful career choices, experience with problem-solving, and the ability to successfully navigate the technology of our future.

Educators standing with STEAMRoller Carts

This article was written by Rachel Paling in collaboration with course instructors Keith and Kern Kelley, and staff at both UTC and EMMC. If you have story ideas for Maine DOE’s Maine School’s Sharing Success campaign, please contact Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov.