Caribou Community School 8th Graders Hold Mock Legislature Day

This article was written and submitted by Caribou Community School 8th graders, Elizabeth Robbins and Kaydence Hafford with the help of their teacher Heather Anderson.

(Pictured: Students Katelynn Thibodeau, Liz Robbins, and Sadielee Violette pose with Senator Susan Collins)

What could eighth-grade students from Caribou Community School learn during a Mock Legislator Day? On Monday, May 22nd, there were many things that these students learned about the legislative process and about Susan Collins.

At around 8:30 on Monday morning, eighth-grade students started their Mock Legislature Day. They began with a public hearing over their specific bill, either LD 156 or LD 1002, in their designated classrooms where mentors with experience in Maine’s legislative process guided them through the hearing. Mentors included David McCrea, former Representative from Fort Fairfield; Cary Olson-Cartwright from UNUM, and Dr. Holly Blair from the Maine Principals Association. Students wrote testimonies for, against, or neither for nor against and then read those testimonies aloud. Afterward, the students, assigned roles as Senators and Representatives, worked in committee during a work session, where they spoke about the bill. These select students voted on the bill and all of the eighth-grade students moved on to one of the biggest parts of the day, the House session.

During the House session, students traveled into the cafeteria where they debated the two different bills that they were assigned, LD 156 and LD 1002. Bill LD 156 was an act to require outdoor recess time for students from Grade 6 to Grade 8 for at least 20 minutes for no less than 3 days a week. LD 1002 was an act to require a lunch period of at least 30 minutes for
students and reduce food waste.

“The students were so engaged and had so much to say,” Heather Anderson said about the students during the House Session. “They realized how much of a voice they can have and how they can make the world a better place.” This is one of many things that these eighth-grade students learned during their Mock Legislature Day. Students learned even more
from Susan Collins’ speech later in the day.

At 1:30 in the afternoon, Susan Collins arrived in the cafeteria to speak to the entirety of the eighth graders. Susan Collins spoke about many things. She spoke about her time in Caribou, and what she would spend her time doing. She also spoke about her career and how she was elected to the U.S. Senate. Seth Dubay, one of the eighth-grade students who saw Susan Collins, stated, “ It takes a lot of dedication to do what Senator Collins does.” Susan Collins was also asked a few questions by a select group of students, one of these questions being what advice she would give someone going into the Legislature, which she answered in great depth by stating “I’m counting on your generation to help us get back to the way politics used to be. When people worked together for a common cause.”

Students learned an exponential amount from Senator Susan Collins, and not just about the legislative process. “I learned to respect people’s opinions,” says Xander Jamieson, another student from Caribou, “even if you don’t agree with them.”

Media Release: Maine DOE Announces Inaugural Class of Teacher Leader Fellows

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) launched Maine’s Teacher Leader Fellows today with an inaugural class of five extraordinary educators from across the state. Waterville Senior High School social studies teacher Jessica Graham, Fryeburg Academy national-board certified teacher James St. Pierre, Nokomis Regional Middle School Integrated Technology teacher Keith Kelley, Mattanawcook Academy mathematics teacher Sarah Krause, and national-board certified music teacher Dorie Tripp will work with Maine DOE staff to support Maine’s educators in cross-cutting, interdisciplinary concepts of civics, STEAM, and humanities.

The Teacher Leader Fellows will provide educators across Maine with weekly updates on resources and materials, host monthly professional learning opportunities, and maintain webpages with rich and informative content. To receive weekly communications and monthly professional learning around civics, STEAM, and/or humanities concepts, click here.

“Taking on this new position offers so many opportunities to engage with exactly what I love about teaching—meeting other educators, making connections with community partners, and celebrating community centered student learning. I truly believe that building strong communities and educating engaged citizens is the core mission of schools, and that civic learning happens in every grade and every content area. I am so excited to help connect, celebrate, and create with educators and learners around Maine,” said Waterville Senior High School social studies teacher Jessica Graham.

“Being a teacher leader means connecting and helping others connect. It means gathering the ideas and experiences of the teachers in the state and sharing them in manageable, practical, and efficient ways. We have such a great array of professionals whose knowledge can elevate all students, so to be one of the leaders bringing them together is a privilege,” said Fryeburg Academy national-board certified teacher James St. Pierre.

“To be a teacher you need to know the material and your students. A great teacher never stops learning and the best learning is done by teaching others. I hope, with the other Teacher Leader Fellows, to help educate others and myself until STEAM pours out of all of our classrooms,” said Nokomis Regional Middle School Integrated Technology teacher Keith Kelley.

“As a STEAM Teacher Leader Fellow, I hope to help spread important information and opportunities to the other STEAM educators in Maine. I plan to regularly provide teachers with some meaningful STEAM lessons and activities that can be incorporated into their classrooms. Additionally, as a teacher of mathematics and a fan of the arts, I would like to help others see the beauty in the world of STEAM,” said Mattanawcook Academy mathematics teacher Sarah Krause.

“I’m delighted to be working with the DOE to support Maine teachers! I look forward to working with other educators to learn, collaborate, and to create unique learning opportunities for our students,” said national-board certified music teacher Dorie Tripp.

Meet Maine’s Teacher Leader Fellows

Jessica Graham
Jessica Graham

Jessica Graham is a high school social studies teacher at Waterville Senior High School. She serves as the National Honor Society advisor and Trivia Club advisor and on the district curriculum committee. After working in museum education around the state of Maine for a decade, Jessica transitioned to classroom teaching six years ago and relishes the opportunity to build lasting relationships with students. She is passionate about civics education conceived broadly: helping students practice community in the classroom and in the wider world through conversation, action, and applied knowledge of decision-making processes. Her background in museum work leads her to approach content in an interdisciplinary and experiential way. Her greatest honor as a teacher was receiving Waterville’s annual staff Renaissance Award, a recognition bestowed by the student body.

In her free time Jessica is pursuing a PhD in history from the University of Maine, volunteers as a Girl Scout leader, and enjoys slowly converting her suburban yard into a garden retreat full of native plants and pollinator habitat.

James St. Pierre
James St. Pierre

James St. Pierre is a national board-certified teacher with thirty years of teaching experience at Fryeburg Academy where he has taught courses in English and biology and served as English department chair. In addition to his work at the secondary level, he also holds the position of Lecturer at both Granite State College and White Mountains Community College, where he has taught as an adjunct for two decades. He holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Middlebury College and has presented at state and regional conferences regarding the medium of comics. He is married with two sons and enjoys making comics in his free time.

Keith Kelley
Keith Kelley

A Maine educator for more than 33 years, Keith Kelley is currently teaching Integrated Technology. Having taught Language Arts, Social Studies and serving as the School Librarian, he is now teaching IT at Nokomis Regional Middle School. His students make Robots, Skateboards, 3D print, and build Guitars. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education at UMaine. He has coached soccer, track, and various tech camps. In his free time, he enjoys riding around in his classic mustang with his wife and dogs.

Sarah Krause
Sarah Krause

Sarah Krause is a graduate from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Secondary Education, a B.A. in Mathematics & Statistics, and a Minor in Zoology.

Currently, she is in her twelfth year of classroom experience with AP Calculus, Precalculus, and AP Computer Science Principles as the bulk of her teaching schedule over the years. Other teaching experiences include: Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Math Problem Solving, Linear Algebra, Advanced Topics in Mathematics (and elective that explored advanced precalculus topics). Next year she will be adding Intro to Digital Art & Design into her course load.

Sarah is currently teaching at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, Maine, where she also juggles a handful of other roles in the building. Some of those other positions include Math Team Coach, National Honor Society Advisor, Senior Class Advisor, Mentor Teacher, Mathematics Department Head, Technology Team Member, and Cohort/PLC Leader.

Sarah, is in the beginning stages of being part of the #MaineTeachesCS program as a Computer Science Integration (CSI) Educator, and back in 2019, she was a member of the Maine DOE: Mathematics Standards Writing Team.

Moving forward, Sarah is excited to be part of the Maine DOE in this new role as a Teacher Leadership STEAM Fellow with her other teammates in the Office of Innovation.

Dorie Tripp
Dorie Tripp

Dorie Tripp is a national board-certified music teacher with 14 years’ experience teaching elementary music in Maine public schools. Over the years, it has been her mission to promote music instruction that is developmentally appropriate, inclusive, diverse, and engaging. In her quest to do this, she has taken on many roles as a learner and leader. Dorie spent two terms as Vice President of the Maine Music Educators Association, contributed to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as a Design Team member, was an active member of the Maine Learning Results writing team for the Visual and Performing Arts, and co-hosted a series of PD sessions for educators during the Covid 19 pandemic. In 2021, she was awarded the MMEA Music Educator of the Year Award. In this next step of her journey, Dorie is looking forward to working with the Maine DOE. She’s excited to practice, share, and support unique learning opportunities for Maine students and educators!

To receive weekly communications and monthly professional learning around civics, STEAM, and/or humanities concepts, click here.

For more information about this or other innovative programs at the Maine Department of Education, contact, Beth Lambert, Acting Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning, at

Webinar: How to Utilize Local Historical Societies for Your Project or Place-based Learning Units

Are you planning a project or place-based unit and looking for primary sources?  Historical societies throughout the state are available to help you find and utilize these primary sources.  To learn more about this, join Kathleen Flynn Neumann from the Maine Historical Society for a webinar that focuses on finding primary sources and how you can partner with historical societies to create authentic learning experiences for students.  

Who: Appropriate for PK-12 grade educators 

When: April 5th 3:30-4:30pm 

Where: Zoom Registration Link 

For more information, please contact Jaime Beal at 

Maine DOE Seeks Public Comment for Social Studies and Science and Engineering Standards

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding the current social studies standards and science and engineering standards. These comments will inform the work of the standards revision teams.

The standards review process opens with a public comment and public hearing prior to the convening of teams that will review and revise the social studies and science and engineering standards. The public hearing will occur on March 21st, Burton Cross Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Room 103, from 3-5pm and is intended to give anyone the opportunity to weigh-in on the direction of future social studies and science and engineering standards in Maine. Anyone may speak at the public hearing. People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of their comments.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on April 6th, 2023. Written comments may be emailed to with the subject “Social Studies Standards Review” or “Science and Engineering Standards Review” or mailed to Maine Department of Education, attn: Beth Lambert, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

For further information about the standards review process contact Beth Lambert at


Free Virtual Summer Workshop on Navigating Historical Themes

The Maine Department of Education’s partnership with Network Maine is excited to share a free virtual summer professional development workshop for teachers, offered by the Presidential Libraries and the Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP).   Presidential Character and Decision Making is a three-day online workshop from July 12-14, 2022, focused on presenting teachers with tools and primary sources to help them navigate historical themes in their curriculum.

This workshop is hosted by the Internet2 Community Anchor Program and is available to Maine’s K-12 teachers thanks to the University of Maine’s membership in Internet2. (Internet2 is the United States’ Research and Education Network much like Network Maine is Maine’s.)


Workshop: Presidential Character and Decision Making
Location: Online via Zoom, hosted by the Internet2 Community Anchor Program
Schedule: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT, July 12-14, 2022
Cost: FREE as a thank you to teachers for getting through this school year!

The 2022 workshop offers teachers the opportunity to learn and interact with presenters from the Hoover Library, FDR Library, Truman Library, Johnson Library, Nixon Library, Carter Library, Reagan Library, George W. Bush Library, George H.W. Bush Library, and Clinton Library. Numerous teaching activities, lesson plans, and interactive resources will be shared throughout the week by each presenting institution.

For more information, read Internet2 CAP’s latest blog post or visit the workshop homepage. For any questions regarding the workshop, please contact Therese Perlowski,, CAP’s Program Manager.