Nominations Open for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The National Science Foundation is currently accepting nominations and applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program. PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for k-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. Awardees serve as models to their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of STEM education.

The 2020–2021 nomination and application cycle for 7–12th grade STEM teachers has officially opened. Anyone–principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public–may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website. To submit a nomination, you will need the teacher’s name, email address, and school contact information. If you know more than one teacher deserving of this award, you may submit more than one nomination. Teachers may also apply directly at www.paemst.org. The deadline to nominate is March 1, 2021.

Presidential awardees receive a signed certificate and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Awardees may also be invited to Washington, D.C. for a series of recognition events, which may include a tour of the White House, and professional development opportunities. They also become a member in a network of award-winning teachers from across the country. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on the behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Should you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact the Department’s Mathematics Specialist, Michele Mailhot at Michele.R.Mailhot@maine.gov or the Department’s Science Specialist, Shari Templeton at shari.templeton@maine.gov.

Learning Facilitator Program- Great Resource for Schools, Free for Trainees!

In order to be responsive 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. Based on the Executive Order, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with Maine Community College System and Eastern Maine Community College, has developed the Learning Facilitator Program, a fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen and support a high quality educator workforce.

The program, which is offered at no cost to the participants, is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty.

  • A week-long 3-credit course “boot camp” with foundational elements of classroom management and school culture. Additionally, the core boot camp curriculum includes training in COVID readiness, bloodborne pathogens, suicide awareness and prevention, mandated reporter training, and fingerprint clearance in order to address both substitute teacher and long-term support staff preparedness.
  • The second phase of the program consists of a combination of online work, professional learning community meetings, and a structured teaching apprenticeship (315 hours).

Upon completion of the 3-credit course “boot camp,” participants will have the foundational skills necessary to fill short- and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. They can support instruction and provide guidance to learners in the classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher or teaching team. Mentor teachers or teaching teams may be working remotely or in-person. Special coding for Learning Facilitators has been created within NEO for schools, so that subsidy will not be impacted.

Educators who complete all elements of the Learning Facilitator Program, as outlined above, will qualify for an Educational Technician III certification.

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

Free Inclusive Practices Training & Technical Assistance for Public Preschool Programs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce a professional development opportunity designed specifically for Public Preschool Programs. This initiative will support a third cohort of public preschool educators and administrators in providing inclusive practices within high quality preschool environments for 4-year-olds.

This offering is available to any district in Maine with a Public Preschool Program. The 2020-21 cohort will consist of 3 classrooms of 6 participants each. Teams must include the preschool teacher, ed tech, principal, special ed director, elementary special ed teacher and a regional CDS consultant or teacher. The purpose of team participation is to ensure consistent understanding and application of the course content so that high quality inclusive practices will be supported and sustained.

The DOE Inclusive Initiative is a collaboration with Child Development Services (CDS) and Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN), a University of Maine System partnership between University of Southern Maine (USM) and University of Maine (UMaine).  The partnership includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance around inclusion, equity and access.

The project faculty will deliver a continuum of learning and support activities through a blended learning model that equips teams to learn about, reflect on, practice and apply the information and strategies to build and strengthen instructional practices that promote high quality preschool environments. Each team will participate in and have access to:

  • Online training covering a range of topics with the objective of helping early educators develop a deeper understanding of how to promote inclusion in the classroom.
  • Consultation to expand on the training content and use the materials to personalize learning within your own setting.
  • A facilitated professional learning community (PLC) with other peers as “thinking partners” to share and explore topics and application strategies.
  • A suite of resources and tools to support this work.

Benefits of Participation for Maine Schools

Opportunities for administrators, teachers, educational technicians and CDS staff to:

  • Devote dedicated time as a team to focus on preschool pedagogy.
  • Develop a shared understanding of the components of high quality inclusive preschool classrooms.
  • Identify, plan and work toward a common goal to continue to support equity and excellence.
  • Receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.
  • Gain access to other early care and education professional development opportunities.
  • Enhance teacher recruitment, retention and quality.

Please visit here to hear from past participants about their experiences in this initiative.

Districts are asked to apply by November 30, 2020 to take advantage of this exciting professional development opportunity.  The tentative timeline is outlined in the table below.

The project requirements include: Projected timeline:
Completing the On-demand training: Inclusive Environments in Public Pre-K. By December 11, 2020.
Participating in a half-day virtual orientation session. Mid December 2020
Completing an 18 hour online training: Creating Inclusive Preschool Settings Classrooms. January  – March 2021
Participating in 2 PLC’s scheduled as follow-up support during the online training (is there a better way to say this?) January  – March 2021
Participating in consultation

  • 2 (1-2 hour) classroom based consultations (onsite or technology-based).
  •  2 (1-2 hour) administrative consultation (onsite or technology based)
February  – April 2021
Participating in wrap up meeting hosted by the DOE to evaluate the project and short district team presentations to showcase their learning. May 2021

The application is available at this link. For more information, view the FAQ  or contact Nicole Madore at Nicole.madore@maine.gov  .

Early Childhood Text Studies: Free Professional Development for Educators

Specialists from the Maine Department of Education’s Early Learning Team are excited to offer a web-based professional development opportunity for early childhood educators in the Pre-K and Kg grade span. Participants in this opportunity will get the chance to explore strategies for managing student trauma and mental health behaviors through a text study of both Responding to Student Trauma by Stephanie Filio, M.Ed. and A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator by Myles Cooley, Ph.D.

The text studies will take place virtually in hour-long sessions on a weekly basis between November 30, 2020 and April 2, 2021:

  • Responding to Student Trauma by Stephanie Filio, M.Ed is tentatively set to run Nov. 30-January 8, 2021 (with a scheduled holiday break).
  • A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator by Myles Cooley, Ph.D. is tentatively set to run January 11, 2021 through April 2, 2021.

The learning groups will be limited to 48 participants each. Goals of this professional learning opportunity are to improve participant awareness and understanding of what causes student trauma and to acquire strategies for how to better educate our students exhibiting behaviors related to trauma, mental health, and learning disorders.

Those interested are welcomed to register for one or both studies. Participants will receive a copy of the book(s). Contact hours will be provided at the end of each text study.

Registration is free and can be completed here. Registration closes November 13th at 5pm. Participants will be notified on a first come, first served basis.

For further information, please contact Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist at Nicole.madore@maine.gov.

U.S. DOE Seeks Maine Educators for National School Ambassador Fellowship

The U.S. Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship application window for the 2021-2022 cohort is now open.

Applications are being accepted through Monday, January 11, 2021.

This opportunity is for school-based educators. The Fellowship is designed to improve educational outcomes for students by leveraging the expertise of school-based practitioners in the creation, dissemination, and evaluation of national education policy. Founded on the principles of partnership, collaboration and cooperation with school-based educators, the Fellowship seeks to:

  • Create a community of teachers, administrators, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and other school staff members who share their expertise with one another and collaborate with Department of Education leaders on issues important to students and educators nationwide.
  • Involve practicing educators in developing policies that holistically affect learning environments.
  • Highlight practitioners’ voices and expand educators’ critical leadership at the local, state, and national levels.
  • The School Ambassador Fellowship offers two separate year-long tracks: full-time and part-time. The full-time appointment is based at the Department of Education Headquarters in Washington, DC; and the part-time fellowship enables educators to collaborate with the Department while maintaining their regular school responsibilities in their home communities.
    To be eligible for the School Ambassador Fellowship program, participants must:
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
  • Currently be a teacher, administrator, counselor, social worker, or other school staff member (and anticipate being employed in this role during the 2021 – 2022 school year).
  • Be employed by a traditional public, charter, private, virtual, military (DoDEA), or tribal (BIE) school that serves any grade, preschool through twelfth.
  • Have at least five years of experience in his/her role, up to and including the current school year.
  • Have daily interaction with students and/or educators in his/her school/district role.

Ideal candidates for this program are educators from public, charter, independent, magnet, parochial schools, etc. who have made significant contributions to student learning and culture, can effectively communicate to a variety of internal and external education stakeholders, and can promote excellence in education through their collaboration and leadership capabilities.

The deadline to apply for the 2021 – 2022 School Ambassador Fellowship is Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Program and application submission information can be found at the School Ambassador Fellowship Website.

Have Questions About the School Ambassador Fellowship? Contact the School Ambassador Fellowship program office at SAF@ed.gov.