Portland High School Seniors Create Online Historical Journal to Publish Student Research Papers

Three Portland High School seniors who excel in doing original historical research have created a digital journal so that they and other high school students can have a place to publish their historical scholarship.


“Our idea and our current mission is to create an outlet for students wishing to share their hard work and research in a published historical journal, one made specifically for high school students by high school students,” say the three co-founders and editors of The Nor’Easter High School Historical Journal, Lucy Howe, Hannah Prue, and Zoe Bertsch.


They have sent out a call for papers to high school principals in Cumberland County, encouraging them to have their students submit research-based history papers to the journal by the deadline of Feb. 28, 2021. The journal, which also serves as the three students’ senior capstone project, will issue its first edition in the spring.


Since they were sophomores, Lucy, Hannah and Zoe have been working closely with PHS history teacher Gavin Glider to do historical research and write papers based on their scholarship.


“In our sophomore year, we had the honor and opportunity to present research done in our AP U.S. History class at the Maine Bicentennial History Conference, held at the University of Maine,” the students explained in their call for papers. “Over the summer, a similar opportunity arose at the New England Historical Association’s bi-annual conference at Roger Williams University. At both conferences, we attended seminars, spoke to graduate students and professors, and learned about the history of Maine, New England, and beyond.”


At the first conference, Lucy presented an essay titled “A History of Female Power;” Zoe presented a paper on “Feminism and Female Combat in the American Revolution;” and Hannah’s presentation was on “The Salem Witch Trials and Modern Day Witch Hunts.”


At the second conference, Hannah presented a paper titled “Dorothea Dix and Prison Reform in the 1800s;” Zoe’s presentation was on “Harriet Tubman’s Unifying Effects on Abolitionism and Feminism;” and Lucy presented a paper titled “Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage and Beyond.”


The three said they were the only high school students at the conferences. While there, “several attendees at both conferences asked us where our work was published, as they wanted to learn more. To this inquiry, we had to sadly report that it was not yet published anywhere.”


That inspired the three to create the online journal, Glider explained. “Due to the lack of opportunities for high school students to publish research, they decided to create their own journal as a capstone project,” he said. “The goal is to expand this project over the next couple of years to encompass all of New England. All three plan to continue as editors of the journal during their college careers.”


The three journal co-founders and editors plan to include 30 papers in the journal, which may cover any topic in any discipline of history. “Whether they see this as an experience to learn, to boost their college applications, or to further immerse themselves in historical research, we hope that students will participate in this truly unique project,” the editors say.

For more information, contact PHS history teacher Gavin Glider at glideg@portlandschools.org

This story is submitted by Portland Public Schools 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.


Two Maine Educators Honored with 2020-2021 Financial Educator of the Year Award

The Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy has awarded two Maine educators for their outstanding work in financial education. The Maine Jump$tart Financial Educator of the Year Award, established in 2012, was created to recognize an individual who has distinguished themselves through their efforts to improve the financial capability of the students and families they serve. The Maine Jump$tart Coalition is pleased to honor Sheree Inman and Joe Schmidt as the 2020-2021 recipients of the Financial Educator of the Year Award for their leadership and accomplishments in personal finance education.

Sheree Inman is a teacher at South Portland High School, where she wears many hats as the Career Prep Teacher, School to Work Coordinator, and Career Fair Coordinator. Sheree is a leader in her school, and consistently pursues professional development opportunities in personal finance education.

Sheree has played an active role in trainings and events held by Maine Jump$tart, as well as participated in weekly conversations with other Maine personal finance teachers during the transition to distance learning this past spring.

Joe Schmidt is the Social Studies Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, where he provides technical support and professional development to Maine teachers. Joe also led the review of the social studies standards, which includes personal finance and economics, within the Maine Learning Results.

Prior to his role at the Maine DOE, Joe spent nine years as a high school social studies teacher in Wisconsin and three years as a teacher leader for social studies curriculum and instruction for the Madison, Wisconsin public school district. Joe currently serves on the national advisory boards for iCivics and Teaching Tolerance, chairs the National Council for the Social Studies Government and Public Relations committee, and has completed multiple fellowships and leadership opportunities.

Joe’s support, knowledge, and expertise has been an invaluable resource to Maine social studies teachers, particularly this past spring. Mary Dyer, president of the Maine Jump$tart Coalition, says, “Joe’s work in support of Maine educators, particularly during the transition to distance learning as a result of COVID-19, was simply extraordinary. Joe has served as an important voice for personal finance and economics educators in Maine and we are truly blessed to have him in our ranks.”

As recipients of the Financial Educator of the Year Award, Ms. Inman and Mr. Schmidt will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Jump$tart Educator Conference in 2021, where they will network with financial educators from across the country. Ms. Inman and Mr. Schmidt will also be formally honored at the 2021 Fostering Financial Education in Maine Schools Conference.

Resources for Celebrating Indigenous People in Schools

In recognition of Indigenous People and the upcoming Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is sharing resources and information that educators and schools can use to integrate Native American history and culture into classrooms and school activities to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to teach and honor our native culture year round.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, this year the holiday will be celebrated on October 12th.

The Maine DOE has continued to expand a collection of Maine Native American Resources that are available on its website including robust historical and cultural information that honor Native Americans, as well as resources that will help guide discussions about Indigenous Peoples and Native American Culture, including how to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in and outside of the classroom.

iCivics STUDENT Webinar to Discuss the 2020 Election (For Students/Classrooms Grades 3-12)

On Friday, October 2 at 10am join Joe Schmidt (Social Studies Specialist MDOE) as he hosts an iCivics panel to discuss Getting from “Can’t Vote. Don’t Care” to “Count Me In”: Youth Engagement in a Presidential Election.

This 30-minute session is intended for your students to watch on YouTube live and submit questions as iCivics will talk about the importance of voting (even for students who are not old enough to vote) and how students can be involved. The iCivics panel will then answer questions submitted by your students. You and your students can join in and watch here – https://youtu.be/Kx-85ZlJqPg. The comments section will be turned off so questions will be collected ahead of the webinar.

This form can be shared with your students or collect your student questions and submit on their behalf. This session will be recorded and available for asynchronous viewing at a later time.

Contact Joe Schmidt (joe.schmidt@maine.gov) with any of your questions.

Applications Open for United State Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is pleased to announce that the state departments of education nationwide have begun their annual selection processes. Two Maine students will be selected to attend the online Washington Week program March 14-18, 2021 and each will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. This year the application process will be completely online with each high school principal able to nominate one student from their high school to be considered.

Students must submit their application and signed nomination via email no later than 11:59pm on December 4, 2020. All form, requirements, and additional information can be found at on the Maine Social Studies DOE Website. More about the program can be found on the National USSYP website.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 as stated in supporting Senate testimony from that year, “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationship of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”

Each year, this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of America’s brightest high school juniors and seniors from every state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and its leaders. The state departments of education throughout the country select the students through a rigorous nomination and selection process. Each of the 104 student delegates will also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship, with encouragement to continue coursework in history, government and public affairs. The Hearst Foundations have fully funded and administered the program since inception; as stipulated in S. Res. 324, no government funds are utilized.