U.S. Department of Education Special Event: Reimagining Our Investments for Strengthening Educator Effectiveness

Many teachers in the U.S. are feeling stretched beyond their limits. In fact, one in four American teachers reported considering leaving their jobs by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Overall staffing levels in schools are down across the nation, often forcing remaining teachers to “do double duty” to address student well-being and overcome the impact of lost instructional time. School systems are finding new and innovative ways to encourage, invest in, and lift up teachers across America by pursuing strategies to increase teacher collaboration, reduce teacher workload, attend to dimensions of teacher wellness, and enact inclusive practices to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Effective Educator Development (EED) Division is hosting a special Powered by Teach to Lead event. This event will convene P-12 school districts focused on strengthening educator effectiveness through projects aligned with

  • increasing teacher collaboration through innovative scheduling,
  • supporting educator wellness using targeted practices, and
  • investing in a talented and diverse teacher pipeline.

What is Powered by Teach to Lead?

Powered by Teach to Lead events provide teams with collaboration time, skills development, and professional consultation to develop and refine innovative projects that can make a positive impact for educators and students in their schools, communities, districts, and states.

What are the benefits for teams attending this event?

  • Collaboration time to develop and refine a theory of action that addresses a challenge within a district, region, or state
  • Obtain the support of a dedicated “critical friend” to facilitate thinking and advance the project work
  • Build relationships with the U.S. Department of Education, other education partners, and innovative peers in the field
  • Participate in learning experiences related to implementation planning
  • Register at no cost and receive free on-site lodging

Who should apply?

  • Any team that has been engaged in innovative work for at least one school year is encouraged to apply HERE by 11:59 pm ET on July 15, 2022. Accepted teams will be notified by the end of July.
  • Teams must have 4-6 members, consisting of at least one teacher, and should represent the expertise, authority, and perspective required to do the work effectively (e.g., superintendent, principal, collective bargaining representative, curriculum specialist, teacher, board of education member, and other individuals with diverse perspectives).
  • The focus of the work may be at the school, district, or regional level, and must focus on one of these key areas:
    • increasing teacher collaboration time using innovative scheduling practices – for example, four-day school week, extended school day, professional learning communities, embedded professional learning, common planning time, and alternative approaches to the traditional teacher workload
    • supporting educator (teacher and principal) well-being using innovative approaches – for example, targeted efforts focused on dimensions of educator wellness (e.g., emotional, environmental, or social wellness) or inclusive practices
    • investing in a talented and diverse teacher pipeline – for example, diversifying the educator workforce, implementing grow-your-own programs and teacher residency programs, supporting teachers in earning additional certification in high-demand areas, and creating opportunities for teacher advancement and leadership

Event Logistics

  • Accepted teams will convene virtually in advance of the event for approximately 60 minutes.
  • The event begins at 1:00PM ET on Friday, September 16, and ends at 5:00PM ET on Saturday, September 17.
  • There is no registration cost for this event, and participants will receive free on-site lodging.

For more information, visit https://eed.communities.ed.gov/#program/2022-powered-by-ttl-special-event and please contact the EED Technical Assistance Center EED-TA@aemcorp.com. Submissions can be submitted HERE.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Releases Teach Maine Plan to Develop, Support, and Sustain a Robust Education Workforce

The Maine Department of Education released the Teach Maine Plan, a comprehensive roadmap to develop, support, and sustain a robust educator workforce in the state. Unveiled during Teacher Appreciation Week, the Teach Maine Plan and new website provide a set of strategies and actions to inspire a talented and diverse future educator workforce, and to support and develop Maine’s current educator workforce.

The Teach Maine Plan is organized around four key themes: incentivize recruitment and retention efforts; expand and diversify educator workforce efforts; support educator development, growth, and leadership; and elevate educators and the education profession. While the Teach Maine Plan has multiple themes, strategies, and actions, they are interdependent and not designed to be implemented in isolation.

“The Maine Department of Education is committed to developing, supporting, and sustaining a vibrant and diverse education workforce, and honoring the expertise and leadership of Maine’s education professionals,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Maine’s educators give it their all each and every day to teach, inspire, and nurture their students, and the Teach Maine Plan provides the resources and supports they need to keep doing what they do best while also attracting more amazing educators into our schools. I want to thank the many educators and stakeholders who contributed to this effort and we look forward to collaborating on moving this plan into action.”

The report is the result of contributions by education stakeholders throughout Maine, who provided feedback via multiple channels, including regional Think Tanks, focus groups, surveys, organizational meetings, and informal conversations. Additionally, the Department of Education convened an Educator Talent Committee, a core group of internal and external stakeholders, to share their experiences, look at research and trends, and to make recommendations on how to address Maine’s educator shortage.

“Teach Maine provides a blueprint that will help to develop, attract, and retain quality educators that the children in Maine deserve. The future of Maine’s economy is grounded in providing our students with a diverse and rigorous educational experience. Teach Maine will provide the foundation to ensure that Maine students graduate with the passion, knowledge, and skills to be productive members of the world they will lead,” said Maine School Superintendents Association Executive Director Eileen King.

“The themes of the Teach Maine Plan hit upon key issues to ensure that our system of public education in Maine will continue to be strong. Recognizing, respecting, and rewarding our educators for the vital work they do every day is critical to providing the education our students deserve,” said Maine Education Association President Grace Leavitt.

“We are very excited to see the impact that Teach Maine will have on our profession. By having a stronger emphasis on recruitment, and then providing mentoring and ongoing support that educators and educational leaders need, will only help keep high quality professionals in education. This is what our students deserve,” said Maine Principals’ Association Executive Director Dr. Holly Blair.  

“Teachers are the most important element in ensuring Maine has a well-educated citizenry that is essential for our future workforce and democracy. These strategies will help strengthen the teaching profession in Maine,” said Educator Talent Committee member and University of Southern Maine Chair and Associate Professor of Teacher Education Dr. Flynn Ross. 

The first theme of the Teach Maine Plan, incentivize recruitment and retention efforts, focuses on compensating educators competitively; providing financial incentives for high-needs subjects and locations; providing financial incentives for teacher expertise and teacher leadership; encouraging alternative compensation strategies, including housing, transportation, childcare, creative use of time, and sabbaticals; increasing scholarship and loan forgiveness programs; expanding service loan forgiveness and tax incentive programs; and increasing awareness of funding sources.

Research shows that low salary scales continue to negatively impact the educator pipeline, as well as the retention of practicing teachers. Compared to college-educated professionals in other fields, beginning teachers earn about 20 percent less, with the gap widening to 30 percent by mid-career. While the Mills administration made a significant step in addressing overall teacher compensation to guarantee a minimum salary of $40,000, more must be done to make working in education a financially sustainable career.

The second theme, diversify and expand educator workforce efforts, includes strategies to recruit, prepare, and hire racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educators; retain diverse educators by addressing the policies and practices of structural racism; increase educator recruitment efforts; reduce costs; increase marketing for active recruitment of educators; increase high retention pathways into teaching such as teacher residencies, grow your own, and education career pathways starting in high school; promote teacher residencies for high-need School Administrative Units (SAUs) and content areas; promote additional dual certification programs for high-needs content areas; grow your own education technician and community college partnerships; and education career pathways in high school/CTE schools.

Building an educator workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the student population has been shown to have positive impacts on student achievement. Research has shown that matching teacher racial identity with student identity can improve academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates. And all students who have had teachers of diverse races or cultural backgrounds are better prepared for success in a global world.

The report finds that to make progress towards recruitment and retention initiatives, Maine needs a comprehensive and transparent data collection and management system. The strategy to expand data systems includes actions to characterize the current educator population in greater detail; determine educator needs geographically in Maine; create a statewide job board; and collect SAU-level data such as exit interviews and surveys.

Theme three, support educator development, growth, and leadership, includes strategies to expand induction and mentoring for new educators; strengthen state and SAU supports for mentoring and induction; scaffolded induction with time to learn, including not just orientation and access to mentors but also access to coaches, common planning time with mentors, and resource allocation to support success; establish a network of new educators for peer support; strengthen ongoing professional support through professional learning opportunities at the school, SAU, regional, and state level; develop and support high-quality teacher leadership; and develop and support well-qualified school and SAU leaders.

The support that new educators are given throughout their pre-service career and first few years of teaching has a direct impact on their retention as career educators. Key elements of high-quality induction strongly associated with reduced rates of teacher turnover include assigning mentors from the same field, common planning time and opportunities to collaborate with teachers in the same subject area, and being part of an external network of teachers.

Theme four, elevate educators and the education profession, includes strategies and actions to promote the positive public perception of public education and the education workforce, and expand and diversify educator recognition programs. To recruit and retain a vibrant educator workforce and make teaching an attractive profession also requires strengthening public perception and confidence in Maine schools and demonstrating appreciation for educators not just during teacher appreciation week, but every week of the year.

Opportunity for Aspiring Mentors: Mentor Trainings Offered this Spring and Summer

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is committed to supporting the growth and development of educators aspiring to be mentors.  Over the past four years, the Maine DOE has collaborated with teacher leaders, administrators, and higher education partners to customize Maine’s mentor resources. These resources are available to School Administrative Units (SAUs) that wish to provide local support and training to new mentors.  We extend our sincere thanks to educators who continue to offer mentor training throughout the state.

Mentors serve a critical role within their schools, and we are appreciative of their ongoing dedication to supporting and growing the profession.  Current mentors have been crucial to the educational environment—each individual mentor has made an impact.  We are encouraged by and thankful for those educators who are enthusiastically stepping up to become mentors.

This spring and summer, the Maine DOE will be offering virtual mentor trainings. These interactive sessions will serve as a foundation for aspiring mentors and a refresher for current mentors.  Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the principles of mentoring, reflect deeply on the role of mentors, apply practices into real-world situations, and engage in lively discussion with peers from across the state.

Details: Educators are welcome to select the session below that works best with their schedule. The sessions will take place via Zoom and a link will be sent to participants following registration. Sessions are offered at no cost and all materials will be available electronically.

Choose from three sessions:

May 5, 2022
8:30am – 3:30pm (with a built-in lunch break)
Registration Form

June 30, 2022
8:30am – 3:30pm (with a built-in lunch break)
Registration Form

July 19, 2022
8:30am – 3:30pm (with a built-in lunch break)
Registration Form

Contact Hours: Educators will receive contact hours for participation

Educators are encouraged to discuss the opportunity, along with local training requirements, with their mentor chairperson prior to registering.

Support for new educators through mentoring and induction is a key strategy outlined in the Teach Maine Plan to develop, support, and sustain Maine’s education workforce.  This plan will be released in early May.  Interested in learning about future offerings, discussing customizable resources, or sharing promising practices?  Please reach out to Emily Doughty at Emily.doughty@maine.gov or at 207-592-0314.

Calling all Maine School Principals: Join Maine’s Transformational Leaders’ Network 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) invites school principals to apply for an inspiring professional learning opportunity. The Transformational Leaders’ Network (TLN) offers Maine principals an opportunity to deepen their leadership skills while they are leading transformational efforts in their schools. This “learner-centered” program has a ten-year history of success and is open to ALL Maine principals at no cost. The primary requirement for joining the TLN is the ambition to improve your leadership and your school! 

Who can apply? 

  • Maine School Principals (PreK-12)

What is the commitment? 

  • The program consists of three types of sessions throughout the year:  in-person full days, two-hour Network sessions, and 1.5-hour Learning Leader Team sessions.  The three full-day in-person sessions (aligned to CDC safety guidelines) will be in October, February, and mid-May at a site(s) to be determined based on participation.  The majority of your time will be in Zoom-based Learning Leader Teams(LLTs) of 5-8 principals, facilitated by experienced educators. Alternating with LLT sessions will be larger group Zoom-based Network sessions designed to assist your understanding of leadership and your own strengths and challenges. 

How is the program designed? 

  • The TLN experience revolves around each principal’s efforts to improve their school’s success with students. In Network sessions, principals examine the leadership challenges inherent in making progress on improvement goals.  In a small group led by a facilitator, each principal will design an action plan and an accompanying “learning plan.” 
  •  Colleagues and resources from facilitators provide on-going consultation and advice focused on the principal’s, “continuous improvement” as a leader for the, “continuous improvement” of the school.  In this fashion, each principal’s learning goal(s) drives the curriculum of the Network. 
  • Successful completion of the TLN will result in contact hours for re-certification purposes. 

I’m interested… what next? 

  • Applying now for this exciting opportunity is encouraged by the Maine DOE. 
  • An online application can be found here. 
  • Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is full or August 24,2021, whichever comes first. Please note, applications require the approval of the superintendent before submittal. 

Where can I find more information? 

  • For answers to questions or more details about TLN, please contact Fran Farr, TLN Facilitator, at franfarr522@gmail.com or (207) 439-9659 or (207) 752-2439. 
  • A June webinar featuring the TLN and Maine’s Leadership Development Program can be viewed here 
  • To access more information, hear from past participants, and download application materials please visit:  https://www.maine.gov/doe/educators/leader/tln 

What other opportunities are available to current or aspiring leaders? 

 

EMCC, MCCS, and Maine DOE Celebrate 88 “Badguates” in Inaugural Cohort of Learning Facilitator Program

Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), in partnership with the Maine Community College System (MCCS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE), held a “Badguation” ceremony on June 23rd for the first class of Learning Facilitator Program completers, or “Badguates.”

In a response to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7, which enabled the Maine DOE, MCCS, and EMCC to collaborate on a high quality, fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen, and support our excellent educator workforce.

“This is emergency response at its finest, but this is also innovation at its finest where a real problem, a critical issue was presented, and everybody came to the fore to make it happen,” said Commissioner Makin during her remarks at the ceremony.

The Badguation ceremony honored the Learning Facilitators, many of whom were present during the virtual event, and featured a video message from Governor Janet Mills and remarks from EMCC faculty, EMCC President Dr. Lisa Larson, MCCS President David Daigler, Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and DOE Representatives.

“You participated in a new model, a new way of thinking, and learning, and leading together,” said EMCC President Lisa Larson during her opening remarks. “You’ve earned credits and credentials, and along the way you also gained some new friends and colleagues.”

“You’re not only the first, you’re also a part of building the future of our economy and you’re core to families being able to find new successes as opportunities unveil themselves through this new, ever-changing economy,” MCCS President David Daigler said to the graduates in his remarks.

“While many people were reeling and pulling inward and saying, ‘I’m just going to try to stay safe and ride this out,’ you ran into the fire like first responders. You said, ‘yep, sign me up! I’m going to go take those courses, I am going to get into this credentialing program, and I’m going to help our schools,’” added Commissioner Makin in her remarks.

The event also featured a short video showcasing written messages from program participants who shared sentiments on how they changed in positive ways throughout the program. Here are a few:

“I am happy to say I learned that if I put my mind to it then I will do it. I really wanted to learn how to write a lesson plan for my students and I did. It took a few tries before I got there, but I did.”

“I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it to the areas of my teaching. I can observe a student and know what I am looking for, I can be a better co-teacher.”

“I don’t think you will ever be able to measure the success of this program as it will continue to have a positive impact for many, many years to come.”

Offered at no cost to the participants, the Learning Facilitator Program is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty. Upon completion of a 3-credit “boot camp” course in phase one of the program, participants have the foundational skills necessary to fill short-and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. In phase two, participants engage in a combination of online work and professional learning community meetings, as well as a 315-hour structured teaching apprenticeship. When they complete the program, participants are eligible for an emergency Education Technician authorization which allows them to be employed as an Education Technician III.

For more information related to the program, please visit the EMCC website, here.

Watch the 34 minute virtual ceremony on EMCC’s YouTube Channel: