MEDIA RELEASE: Student Nutrition Continues Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of children in Maine during the school year. With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need when school is out.

“The National School Lunch Program is an important element of the Maine public school system’s dedication to providing a healthy learning environment for students, and we are equally dedicated to ensuring that healthy environment can be extended to them even when school is not in session through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“This program seeks to address a clear health need during the summer months wherever it may be evident in Maine, and while it has been successful in doing so in the past, the Department expects that increased participation this summer will further foster this success and, as a result, the continued health of Maine students.”

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

In 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow. The 2018 program begins statewide today, Monday, June 18. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211. Information is available mid-June.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Update on Educator Portal of New Online Certification System

The Maine Department of Education launched the educator portal of the new online certification system yesterday, June 14, 2018. Following the release of the educator portal , the Department is sharing the results of yesterday’s release, including some helpful times for those who have yet to log-in and renew:

Results:

  • 2,564 educators created their accounts
  • 1,605 applications were submitted through the new online system. From those applications, 1,498 endorsements were auto issued immediately.

Items to know:

  • The renewal process is customized to each individual educator’s file and steps in the process will be skipped depending on what is needed from the educator.
  • If educators are renewing a professional or a provisional certificate and no fingerprint checks are required, the certificate will be auto renewed immediately.
    • For all other certificates or if anything needs to be checked, the renewal will be placed in a queue for evaluators to analyze.
  • If educators have been recommended by their certification chair, there is no need to upload documentation and those steps will be skipped in the process.

Reminder from yesterday’s initial launch communication:

  • Download Instructions on How to Create an Account.
  • Once your account is created, you may log-in and complete the steps necessary to renew your credential. Please download the step by step instructions on How to Submit a Renewal Application.
  • If you are currently working in a Maine public school district and have not been recommended by your certification committee, please confer with your certification chair and/or superintendent.

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the DOE newsroom.

Schools Selected for 2019 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Schools selected to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for School Year 2019 have been released.

For a list of awarded schools please visit the Child Nutrition website here. A total of 156 schools were selected to participate. School Year 2019 funding for the program will begin on October 1, 2018.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all children in participating schools with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost during the school day. The FFVP introduces children to a variety of produce that they might otherwise not have the chance to try. Eligible schools wishing to participate must submit an annual application to the Child Nutrition office.

For more information on FFVP please contact Stephanie Stambach, Child Nutrition Consultant at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov or 624-6732.

 

PRIORITY NOTICE: New Certification System Educator Portal is Now Open for Educator Renewals

The Maine Department of Education has released the long-awaited educator portal for the new online credentialing system, Maine Educator Information System (MEIS). Educators can now log-in to the new online certification system and renew their certifications completely online.

The phased rollout of the new online certification system began with the launch of the district portal which has been open to district administrators since the beginning of May to allow district staff time to become familiar with functions and complete recommendations for educators in their district, prior to the release of the educator portal.

The Department has processed over 10,000 applications internally using the new online certification system since mid-November of 2017 with a record decrease in processing times.

While the Department is currently still accepting paper applications for initial applications, all renewals must be processed through the online system. After the bulk of renewal applications have been submitted, educators will also be able to submit initial applications through the online system.

Instructions for Educators and Administrators Who Need to Renew:

  • Download Instructions on How to Create an Account.
  • Once your account is created, you may log-in and complete the steps necessary to renew your credential. Please download the step by step instructions on How to Submit a Renewal Application.
  • If you are prepared with any PDF documents that are required, the entire renewal process should take less than 15 minutes.
  • If you are currently working in a Maine public school district and have not been recommended by your certification committee, please confer with your certification chair and/or superintendent.
  • If you run into any difficulty, after reviewing the step by step instructions, call or email the Department’s certification office.

Once the educator portal has been fully released, the Department will release the public portal, which will allow members of the public to search for educators by name and see their current certification credentials.

The Department would like to thank the education field for their patience and time throughout the process of launching the online certification system. Rolling out a new system is a tremendously challenging, frustrating, rewarding, and exhilarating process. We are confident that the transition from an outdated paper filing system to a completely online certification system will serve and benefit the thousands of educators in Maine by making the credentialing process a much more efficient and cost effective experience for educators seeking and managing certification in our State.

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the Maine DOE Newsroom.

Civil Rights Training: Addressing Bullying Behavior, School Culture & Bias

This training is provided through the US DOE, Office for Civil Rights.

Those who should attend: principals, assistant principals, Title IX coordinators, school counselors, and other school staff who are invested in fostering safe and welcoming schools in Maine. 5.5 contact hours given.

Date: June 26, 2018
Time: 8:00am – 2:30pm
Location: Bangor High School, Peakes Auditorium
Cost: FREE

The training will include 3 sessions:

  • Beyond Bullying
    As schools work to successfully prevent and intervene in acts of bullying, they are often challenged by bullying behaviors that cross the line into civil, civil rights, or criminal law violations.  Guidance from the US DOE and US DOJ will be viewed and discussed. Participants will examine federal statutes that prohibit bullying and harassment based on protected classes, and receive information relative to possible criminal law implications when bullying behaviors cause mental or physical injury to targeted students. This session will examine the legal ramifications of “deliberate indifference” with regard to failure to address bullying in their schools. 
  •  Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators
    Culture plays a role in everything we do – it is an essential part of how we learn. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. Culturally responsive teaching acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures and offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures. As culturally responsive educators, we recognize the importance of including students’ cultural identities in all aspects of learning, thereby enriching classroom experiences and keeping students engaged.  Participants will be provided with opportunities to examine culture – their own culture and the cultures of the students they serve. 
  •  How to Speak Up at School
    Have you ever found yourself in the uncomfortable circumstance where someone, such as a student, parent or colleague, uses biased language or stereotypes in school? Based on Teaching Tolerance’s publication, How to Speak Up at School, this session is designed for educators who want to develop the skills to speak up themselves and who want to help their students find the courage to speak up, too. When someone makes a biased statement, we must act quickly! Using video scenarios, participants will learn to use four techniques (interrupt, question, educate, and echo) to respond to biased language in the moment, from any source, in any situation.

Agenda

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Beyond Bullying
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch – on your own
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators (continued from morning session)
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  How to Speak Up at School

Register here.

If you have questions, please contact April Perkins, Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs at april.perkins@maine.gov or (207)624-6627.