Seeking Five Distinguished Educators for MLTI Ambassador Positions

Are you passionate about professional growth and technology? Do you want to make a difference in Maine schools? Are you currently teaching in a Maine public school? This might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for! 

The Maine Department of Education is hiring five distinguished educators to join our team in supporting MLTI 2.0 professional learning. These are full-time, two-year, contracted, remote positions. The MLTI distinguished educators will provide instructional technology coaching directly to MLTI participating schools and work closely with the MLTI team to implement the MLTI 2.0 program. Ideal candidates will be excited about instructional coaching and innovative technology practices in education, eager to work with other teachers, have outstanding communication skills, and experience with upper elementary, middle, and/or high school pedagogy. 

Distinguished educator positions are set up as an exchange agreement between the Department of Education and your local school district. Through the agreement, the Department pays your local school for the duration of your contract as a distinguished educator, allowing your school to temporarily fill your vacant position and continue to pay you your current rate while you work as a distinguished educator. Once the two-year contract is complete, you will be able to return to your position within that district. 

Still have questions? Contact the Digital Learning Specialists at the Maine Department of Education to learn more: Jonathan Graham, Elementary Digital Learning Specialist at jonathan.m.graham@maine.gov or Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science and Secondary Digital Learning Specialist at emma-marie.banks@maine.gov.

 

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.

Thomas College Hosts First-ever ‘Educators Rising’ Conference in Maine; Two Students Named Preservice Teachers of the Year

Eighty-three students enrolled in teacher preparation courses in 14 colleges, high schools, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools across Maine gathered at Thomas College last month for Maine’s first-ever Educators Rising Conference!

The conference was planned primarily by Thomas students who are part of Maine’s first Educators Rising Chapter. A national, community-based movement, Educators Rising is an organization with a presence in all 50 states that seeks to cultivate a new generation of highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path from high school to college and into their teaching careers. Educators Rising provides “Grow Your Own” programming through Educators Rising curriculum, standards, micro-credentials, chapters, conferences and other activities.

The Thomas Educators Rising Chapter Chair, Abby Bolvin, opened the conference by welcoming her fellow pre-service peers to the conference, and reviewed logistical details, including room locations, photo tips, and conference hashtag #EdRising22.

Dr. Monte Selby, principal at Vinalhaven School and a talented musician, engaged the aspiring educators with an entertaining musical keynote address that stressed the importance of building strong relationships with students, and some tips on how to forge authentic, trusting connections. After the keynote, students chose from a wide variety of breakout sessions to attend. The session topics were selected by the Educators Rising Chapter students.

Bolvin explained that having the option to be part of the conference planning was a significant learning experience for her and her fellow Educator Rising Chapter members. They initially came up with a list of 50 session topics that they wanted to learn more about, and eventually narrowed it down to the topics on the program, which included classroom management, talking about controversial topics, what to expect in your first year of teaching, assessments, innovative math practices, and more.

During a delicious lunch catered by Thomas College, the students heard from Pamela Thompson, Professor and Chair of Thomas’ Education Department, and the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova. Thompson stressed the importance and impact of teachers, and Stoyanova shared, “we are not just teaching how to read to understand and write to show understanding, we are engaging learners to be global citizens—to offer them a glimpse of what it looks like to own their education, their futures, their voice, and do something with it.”

Tammy Ranger, 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year and the Director of Workforce Development and Innovative Pathways at the Maine Department of Education presented Maine’s first “Preservice Teacher of the Year” awards. Earlier this year, all Maine preservice teachers were were invited to apply  for the award. The top three preservice teachers were selected from a pool of over 20 applications from students in teacher preparation programs throughout Maine. “The future of the education profession in Maine certainly looks bright” said Ranger, commenting on the passion, creativity and commitment demonstrated in the preservice teachers’ application packets.

Students Mohamed Kilani (Bowdoin ’21) and Ivy Robinson (University of Maine Machias ‘22) were named Preservice Teachers of the Year, and Chelsea Whiting-Puckett (Bowdoin ’22) was named a runner up.  The selection committee, made up of Maine State and County Teachers of the Year, said the following about these promising teachers:

“Kilani’s work with anti-racism, bridging intercultural relationships, and restorative practices is remarkable. All students (and colleagues) will benefit from the classroom culture he creates.” 

 Ivy is a voracious learner—soaking up wisdom and practices from every teacher she works with. Her willingness to learn and improve her practice will only make her a better teacher year after year.

Chelsey’s robust and honest English and social studies classes reflect her commitment to inclusion, representation, and equitable learning environments for all students.

As part of being named Preservice Teacher of the Year, both Kilani and Robinson were awarded $1,000 each to help jumpstart setting up their classroom, and runner up Whiting-Puckett was awarded $200.

Special thanks to the Peter and Paula Lunder School of Education at Thomas College, the Maine Association for Middle Level Educators (MAMLE), Educate Maine, UNUM, and representatives from the Maine Department of Education for making this event possible.

To learn more about Educators Rising, visit the national website or reach out to Tamara Ranger (tamara.ranger@maine.gov) at the Maine Department of Education.

 

 

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.

Supporting Interdisciplinary Instruction in Maine Schools  

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is committed to a whole student approach to teaching and learning that develops healthy, safe, engaged, supported, challenged, and prepared students. Meaningful learning that is project-based, integrated, and has application to the real world is essential to the whole student approach, and the Department is enhancing our support to the field around interdisciplinary instructional practices and an educator-leader model.  A dynamic team of Interdisciplinary Instruction Specialists – formerly DOE content specialists – has been brought together at the Department to lead this exciting, transformational work that builds on their deep content knowledge.   

The Department’s Interdisciplinary Instruction team will support the field in exploring interdisciplinary and project-based approaches to teaching and learning.  By offering professional learning opportunities that support the quality teaching and learning already present in Maine’s schools, these specialists will support Maine schools’ targeted efforts to expand varied and innovative learning experiences and environments for all students, and to remove barriers. These opportunities, combined with targeted resources, will support schools across the state in exploring new and exciting ways of engaging the whole student and preparing each for success in their lives.   

Interdisciplinary instruction relies on multiple content areas working together to develop student knowledge, problem-solving skills, self-confidence, self-efficacy and a passion for learning, while supporting students’ various learning styles, diverse backgrounds, interests, talents, and values. By focusing on providing interdisciplinary and project-based learning opportunities, student engagement in learning increases, student-centered learning becomes the norm, and students build critical thinking skills and problem-solving strategies. 

The Department wants to honor and elevate the expertise in the field, and will be inviting educators and education organizations to share their expertise with one another to expand opportunities and collaborate statewide. To support this effort, the Department has a new suite of webpages with information and resources, and the Interdisciplinary Instruction Specialists have started hosting a series of office hours to collaborate and discuss how the Department can best support innovative teaching and learning practices.   

Check the Department’s Professional Development Calendar for the schedule of those office hours. Soon, the Specialists will begin offering professional learning opportunities related to interdisciplinary and project-based learning, and these offerings will be both synchronous and asynchronous. 

For more information, please contact Jason Anderson, Interdisciplinary Instruction Team Coordinator, at jason.anderson@maine.gov.