No Cost Mandated Reporter Training Available to School Personnel

In 2015, Maine revised its mandated reporting law, requiring state-approved training for certain professions every four years. Specifically, it includes school personnel described as the following: teachers, guidance counselors, school officials, school bus drivers and school bus attendants.

Maine’s Network of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils is working to ensure that local school districts are aware of the changes and have the necessary resources to maintain compliance with Maine Statute. The local councils are able to provide in-person training at no-cost to the school districts.

As schools know, child abuse and neglect are serious issues, and school personnel often witness the challenges faced by Maine’s children.  In fact, according to the Office of Child and Family Services’ recent child welfare data, school personnel were responsible for over 20% of the total reported cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.  This demonstrates the importance of providing school personnel the most current, state-approved information for recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.  It is important that school personnel feel comfortable, confident, and fully understand their role as a mandated reporter. For information on how to access this free training, contact your local Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council or visit the Maine Children’s Trust website. Click here to read the full law. If you have any additional questions please email Denise Trafton at the Maine Children’s Trust, deniset@mechildrenstrust.org.

Free Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience Building Training for Childcare and PreK Teachers

The Preschool Development Grant (PDG), B-5, a collaboration between the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, will be providing free trainings on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and resilience building. The PDG is a one-year planning grant to study and improve the birth-5 early care, education and service system in our state, and has 5 goals:

  1. Conduct a statewide needs assessment plan
  2. Develop statewide Birth to 5 Strategic Plan
  3. Maximize parental knowledge and choice
  4. Share best practices
  5. Improve overall quality of programming for children birth-age five.

To address goal 4, the PDG is providing funds to team up with Maine Resilience Building Network (MRBN) and offer a free training around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and resilience building. Strong Kids, Strong Families, Strong Communities: The Impact of ACES and Resilience Building will cover Adverse Childhood Experiences research, early brain development science, and protective factors such as positive relationships. Strategies to promote resilience building in classrooms and to support families and their children, birth-5, will be offered.

This training is intended for child care and preschool/prek staff, and will be offered in 12 sites throughout the state from 6:00-8:30 PM on the following days:

Tuesday, 9/24/19, Brunswick

Tuesday, 10/1/19, Caribou

Wednesday, 10/2/19, Houlton

Tuesday, 10/8/19, Owls Head

Tuesday, 10/15/19, Mexico

Wednesday, 10/16/19, Westbrook

Thursday, 10/17/19, Belfast

Monday, 10/21/19, Bangor

Wednesday, 10/23/19, Auburn

Tuesday, 10/29/19, Calais

Monday, 11/4/19, Augusta

Tuesday, 11/5/19, York

To find out more and to register, visit the “Upcoming MRBN Events” at  https://maineresilience.org/ or contact Karen.J.Bergeron@maine.gov

 

 

Funding Available for New or Expanding Pre-K Programs in 2020-2021!

Are you opening a new PreK program or expanding an existing program in FY21? – Maine Department of Education will provide funding for FY21 for new or expanded PreK programs!

If your SAU is opening or expanding a PreK program in the 2020-2021 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY21 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanding PreK programs in 2020. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the PreK children, without a year delay.

Beginning in FY19, the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding formula added an allocation for PreK programs’ estimate student count. The PreK program estimate count allocation is intended to provide funding for PreK programming in advance of actual student enrollment, helping to offset the upfront costs associated with expanding or starting PreK programs. This PreK program allocation was first authorized into law on July 1, 2018 to begin in FY19 and continue indefinitely.

If you are expanding and would like to receive an FY21 estimate PreK allocation, please notify the Maine DOE by completing the FY21 Estimate PreK Count Data Form before October 15, 2019. There are 3 questions to be answered:

  1. Choose your SAU from a list
  2. Do you have an existing PreK program (FY20) – Yes/No
  3. Provide your SAU’s PreK Estimated Increase Count (new slots available in new or expanding program)

SAUs completing the form must also complete the PreK Program Application with DOE’s Early Childhood Team by April 30, 2020 and obtain program approval.

The FY21 Estimate PreK Count Data Collection form is meant to capture the FY21 estimate for new and expanding PreK program enrollment. The estimate student count data, in addition to the current (FY20) enrollment in an existing PreK program, will be used to provide funding on the FY21 ED279. SAUs’ PreK total enrollment number, as reported and verified October 1, 2020, should match the combined existing and estimated increase total that was used to calculate funds in the ED279. After October 1, 2020 an audit adjustment, based on actual enrollment reported in NEO on October 1, 2020, will be made to the PreK allocation assigned on the FY21 ED279. Please note that this may increase or decrease funding.

For more information about establishing or expanding a Pre-K program, please check out our webpage on the topic, or please contact Deb Lajoie at 624-6613 or deborah.j.lajoie@maine.gov.

 

 

 

Pre-K for ME: Open-Source Curriculum

Maine DOE is proud to announce the release of Prek for ME, an open-source curriculum for preschoolers.  Developed in response to public prek teachers looking for an evidence-based, whole child, content integrated curriculum that is low cost, Prek for ME builds on the Boston Public Schools preschool curriculum and contains a comprehensive program, including outdoor learning and technology activities appropriate for young children.

This is only one of many curriculum options from which school districts can choose as Maine DOE does not dictate curriculum.

Prek for ME can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/earlychildhood/PreK4ME.  Educators should read the guidance documents included with the curriculum materials to support successful implementation of the curriculum.

For more information contact Nicole Madore at nicole.madore@maine.gov.

Regional Conversations Regarding Serving Children with Disabilities from Birth to 5 Years of Age

As most of you are aware, L.D. 1715, “An Act to Reorganize the Provision of Services for Children with Disabilities from Birth to 5 Years of Age” has been carried over to the next Legislative session. This bill proposes the transition of responsibility for special education services for preschool-age children from Child Development Services to the public schools.

The Department recognizes that there are many questions and issues involved with the proposed transition, and that they may vary significantly by region. Because of this, and in preparation for the Committee for Education and Cultural Affairs’ continued consideration of L.D. 1715, the Department of Education feels that it is critical to receive input from regional stakeholders. We have established regional stakeholder meetings, based on the established Superintendent Regions.

Each of these regional stakeholder meetings will include all Superintendents and Directors of Special Education who are available to attend, and the department will be inviting representatives who meet the following criteria:

  • A designee of the Commissioner of Education
  • A representative of a Special Purpose Preschool who is contracted with CDS to provide services
  • An individual who, as a sole proprietor, is contacted with CDS to provide services
  • A representative of a Head Start agency or program
  • An early childhood teacher from a public 4-year old program that includes eligible children
  • A principal of a public elementary school that includes eligible children in its public 4-year-old program
  • A representative of a statewide association of speech, language and hearing therapists
  • A representative of a statewide association of occupational therapists
  • A representative of a statewide association of physical therapists
  • A parent of a child with a disability between 3 and 5 years of age who is currently receiving services from CDS
  • A representative of a childcare program

Due to the limited space available, additional representatives from the above list may be accommodated depending on the response received from Superintendents and Directors of Special Education.

Regional Stakeholder meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations. All meetings will be from 10:00 to 3:00:

Midcoast
September 16th at the Senator Inn, Augusta

Western
September 16th at the Senator Inn, Augusta

Kennebec
September 17th at the Senator Inn, Augusta

Washington and Hancock
September 17th at the Black Bear Lodge, Orono

Penquis
September 18th at Jeff’s Catering, Brewer

Aroostook
September 18th at Caribou Inn and Convention Center, Caribou

Cumberland and York
September 19th at the Westbrook Armory, Westbrook

Please respond to Jonathan.Madden@maine.gov with your availability to attend as soon as possible.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing your valuable input.