Governor Mills Announces $25 Million Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Program to Offer Paid Work Experiences to Maine Students

Governor Janet Mills today announced the Maine Career Exploration program, a $25 million, two-year initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to connect 6,000 young people in Maine to future career opportunities by funding paid work experiences with employers across the state.

Through offering paid work experiences for Maine young people aged 16-24, the Maine Career Exploration program will enable thousands of students to enter the labor force in fields of their interest through work opportunities with Maine employers. In addition to work experience, students may also earn education credits through the program.

The Maine Career Exploration program is a recommendation of Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy (PDF), unveiled by Governor Mills in 2019, to support Maine’s goal of adding 75,000 workers to Maine’s workforce by 2030. The program is led by the Department of Economic and Community Development in partnership with the Department of Education, Department of Labor, and the Governor’s Children Cabinet.

The Governor announced the Maine Career Exploration program today at Morse High School in Bath. Bath, Brunswick, and Topsham schools have used Jobs Plan funds to create a Regional Internship Program, in partnership with the Midcoast Chamber of Commerce, to provide students with work-based learning experiences at local businesses.

“Through the Maine Career Exploration program, high school students will gain meaningful, hands-on work experiences at local businesses that will prepare them to succeed in careers right here in Maine, strengthening our workforce over the long-term,” said Governor Janet Mills. “My Administration will continue to address Maine’s longstanding workforce shortage by making sure our students have the skills, and our businesses have the workers, that they need to succeed.”

“Our state needs to add 75,000 new workers by the end of the decade to keep our economy strong. Preparing Maine students for success in the workforce is a key part of achieving that goal,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic & Community Development. “Maine Career Exploration will introduce thousands of Maine students to future employment options, giving them real world work experience and supporting our business community at the same time.”

“By expanding real-world, engaging learning opportunities with Maine employers, the Career Exploration program will help students explore career options, develop critical work and life skills, and plan for their futures,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Department of Education. “These opportunities are also important for strengthening Maine’s workforce and building connections between schools and local businesses.”

“The mission of JMG is to identify students who face barriers to education, and to guide each one on to a successful path toward continued education, a meaningful career, and productive adulthood,” said Craig Larrabee, JMG President and CEO. “Our commitment is to equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With this funding, JMG will support more than 4,000 high school juniors and seniors, throughout all sixteen counties of the state, in engaging with Maine’s employers to gain meaningful workforce experience.”

“This funding will significantly enhance the quality of our Mt. Ararat High School Community Pathways program. Most importantly, we will be positioned to provide many more meaningful and engaging learning experiences to support students in pursuing their dreams, interests, passions, and aspirations,” said Douglas Ware, Community Learning Coordinator at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

“Governor Mills and her administration saw the workforce need, heard from the businesses and the schools, and made the incredible choice to invest in some of Maine’s best problem solvers – our teachers, administrators and business leaders,” said Cory King, Executive Director of the Midcoast Chamber of Commerce. “The investment into this program through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan is helping make this concept of paid, meaningful work for students a possibility.”

The Career Exploration program has three primary components:

Awards to Schools and School Districts

The Maine Department of Education has awarded over $5.6 million to 26 school districts, schools, adult education programs, and higher education institutions to create or expand extended learning opportunities for students, which include paid work experiences.

Examples of these efforts include:

  • The Aroostook County Action Program and Eastern Maine Development Corporation will provide paid work experiences to youth in northern and eastern Maine. Career Exploration funds will be used to strengthen and expand existing workforce & training programs through new employer partnerships, reaching students who do not qualify for existing programs, and offering support services to address transportation and technology needs.
  • In RSU 13 in Rockland, students will explore different career paths and learn basic job-seeking skills and financial literacy. Following these classes, students will participate in 10-week internships with local businesses.
  • Telstar Middle High School in Bethel will develop workforce opportunities for students in grades 9-12. These include job shadowing, career immersions with employers, credit-earning experiences, career camps during school breaks, and local internship programs.

Jobs for Maine Graduates

  • Funding from the Career Exploration Program will support expansion of extended learning opportunities, paid work experiences, and coaching now offered by Jobs for Maine Graduates for rising juniors and seniors at 90 high schools in Maine.

Community-Based Organizations

  • Through the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, five community-based organizations in Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Penobscot, and Aroostook counties will help disadvantaged young people access meaningful paid work opportunities and valuable employment experience.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.

In the last year since the Jobs Plan took effect, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects around the state to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs estimated to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.

Read a full report of the Jobs Plan’s investments in the past year here. For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.

Reminder: National Board Certified Teacher Salary Supplement and Scholarship Requests Due October 15, 2022 

National Board Salary Supplement  

Do you have National Board Certified Teachers on your staff? Awesome! We are sending along a reminder to those fortunate superintendents, or directors of a publicly-supported secondary school, Education Service Center (ESC) as authorized under Chapter 123, or Career and Technical Education (CTE) region, with eligible staff who have attained National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification prior to July 1, 2022. Please let us know so we can provide you with their legislatively allocated salary supplement! 

In order to qualify for the salary supplement, eligible staff must be currently employed by a Maine public school, ESC, or by a publicly-supported secondary school or CTE region in Maine. Eligible position titles include classroom teacher, special education teacher, literacy specialist, math specialist, long-term substitute teacher, library media specialist, school counselor, and teaching principals who have attained certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization. 

The amount of the salary supplement for fiscal year 2022-23 is $5000 for teachers employed in a school in which 50% + students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, and $3000 for teachers employed in a school in which fewer than 50% of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, unless proration is necessary. 

The submission form and further information is available on our National Board Certification Salary Supplement page. 

Scholarship Applications 

National Board Scholarship Applications Due October 15, 2022 

Are you a Maine public school, or a publicly-supported secondary school, or CTE school teacher who is interested in becoming National Board Certified? Are you a district who is eager to offer this exceptional professional learning opportunity to your teachers?  State law, 20-A MRSA Section 13013-A subsection 5 & 6; as amended by PL 2012 c. 702, established the National Board Certification Scholarship Fund to encourage teachers to apply to, and enroll in, the certification program offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization. 

A school administrative unit, or a publicly supported secondary school or CTE region, may request scholarship funds on behalf of its teachers who meet the requirements. 

This fiscal year, the Maine DOE will allocate $75,000 to the scholarship fund, and shall award an amount equal to the cost of the certification program, less any other funds received by the applicant to not more than 30 teachers accepted into the program annually. Priority will be given to teachers who have already begun the process and teachers employed in high needs schools. 

For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit our National Board Certification Scholarship page.  

If you have questions about the National Board Salary Supplement Program or the National Board Scholarship Program, please contact Emily Doughty at emily.doughty@maine.gov. 

Media Release: 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year State Finalists Announced 

Four Maine teachers were announced today as the State Finalists for the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year program. Eighth grade social studies and English Language Arts teacher Heather Anderson from Aroostook County, ninth grade humanities and social studies teacher Matthew Bernstein from Cumberland County, fourth grade math, writing, and science teacher Ashley Bryant from Oxford County, and high school social studies teacher Emily Albee from Penobscot County were all selected to move forward in the Teacher of the Year process and were chosen from the 2022 Maine County Teachers of the Year.

“I am in awe of the work of all of Maine’s educators and their commitment to their students and Maine schools. Maine’s teachers make possible the daily miracle that is public education,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “I couldn’t be prouder of these four Teacher of the Year State Finalists for representing the best qualities of Maine’s amazing educators. They exude optimism for public education, a commitment to their profession and to building relationships across their communities, and the energy and drive to make education wonderful for all their students, and for all students in Maine. Congratulations to each of you for this very well-deserved honor.”

One of the four State Finalists will be named the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. The announcement will be in October after the final stages of the selection process are complete. Maine’s Teacher of the Year serves as an advocate for the teaching profession, Maine schools and students, and represents Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Each educator was nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals, and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities. The Maine Department of Education, Educate Maine, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association made the announcement about the finalists.

“Maine is fortunate to have so many outstanding educators working to ensure the social, emotional and academic well-being of our students,” said Dr. Jason Judd, Executive Director, Educate Maine. “These State Finalists are exemplary models of the vibrant teaching that goes on in Maine classrooms. Congratulations to them and to their districts.  We look forward to working with them as they continue their journey as teacher leaders and ambassadors for the profession.”

“The quality of Maine schools is propelled by the strength of our teaching workforce and these state finalists embody all that we look for in the profession – talent, hard work, dedication, and strong beliefs that all Maine students deserve a high quality and supportive education,” said Maine State Board of Education Chair Desjardins. “Congratulations to all!”

“Maine educators exemplify professionalism, compassion, and commitment to their students, families, and communities,” said Heather Whitaker, 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year and Co-President, Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA). “Our finalists, who represent teachers from across the state, are leaders in the field.  We are eager to learn from their expertise as we work together in our shared commitment to Maine public education.”

More information on the State Finalists and the Maine Teacher of the Year program:

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Heather Anderson
Caribou Community School, Caribou
2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year

“I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity to collaborate with other amazing educators, to reflect on my own teaching practices, and to shine a light on the incredible educators in Aroostook County and in the great state of Maine.” 

Heather Anderson teaches 8th grade social studies and English Language Arts at Caribou Community School, part of RSU 39, where she believes that strong relationships are the building blocks of positive school experiences and success for students. By fostering mutual respect, actively listening, sharing interests, and providing guided choices, Anderson works hard to celebrate her students’ strengths and pinpoint students’ needs both individually and collectively. Recently, in response to mental health needs she witnessed during the 2021-2022 school year, Anderson worked collaboratively with her co-teacher and strived to build engaging units that focused on overcoming difficulties through resiliency. She is currently working with her humanities team to bring awareness to social issues through a middle-school-read project and the implementation of a new Civil Rights Team in her district. Anderson partnered with her community to bring in programs from her local mental health agency to supplement her curriculum and provide students with educational opportunities and coping strategies. Anderson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in psychology, from the University of Maine and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New England as well as two endorsements, for Teaching Principal and Early Elementary. She is the 2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year and, as a lifelong learner, is always looking for new opportunities to grow as an educator.

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Matthew Bernstein
Casco Bay High School, Portland
2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year  

“I’m extremely humbled and grateful for this recognition and, even more so, for the opportunity to work with inspiring colleagues, families, and students and for the guidance I’ve received throughout my career from so many in my community. The recognition I am receiving currently is only possible because of how much others have done, and continue to do, to support me and because I have the gift of working with incredible students.” 

Matt Bernstein is a 9th grade humanities social studies teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine. Bernstein has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a European History concentration from Bowdoin College where he was also a Bowdoin Teacher Scholar. He is the 2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. Bernstein’s pedagogy is centered around student voices and student activism. He believes that the purpose of education is to help students find their way of contributing to a more equitable world. Bernstein is also passionate about creating opportunities for students to experience joy and belonging at school on a daily basis and, to that end, he believes in cultivating meaningful relationships with students, often through his work as a 9th grade crew advisor, that are grounded in deep listening and holistic support. Bernstein has served as a team leader, crew team leader, and is currently a professional learning community coach where he facilitates ongoing professional learning with his colleagues. He is also a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, collaborating with teachers across the district and local experts to develop Wabanaki Studies curriculum. Bernstein also embraces opportunities to deepen his knowledge and practice. He was recently named a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, participating in a seminar entitled “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” While not teaching, Bernstein is playing or coaching soccer and basketball, reading a book, or trying to determine where to find Portland’s best slice of pizza.

Ashley Bryant
Sacopee Valley Middle School, Hiram
2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year  

“Being recognized as a finalist for Maine Teacher of the Year is an honor. As a member of the Sacopee Valley School district, of which I was a student myself and am now lucky enough to teach in as a professional, I am endlessly proud and thankful for the supportive and collaborative nature of this community.” 

Ashley Bryant teaches fourth grade math, writing, and science at Sacopee Valley Middle School, part of Maine School Administrative District #55 located in Hiram, Maine. Bryant, a Maine native, graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English and from the University of Southern Maine with a Masters of Science Degree in Education. Bryant spends each summer teaching -pre-kindergarten, preparing and engaging with the youngest of public school learners. She is the 2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year. As a lifelong learner, Bryant continuously seizes professional development opportunities to best serve her students and community. In 2013, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescence English Language Arts; she cites the experience as one of the most beneficial opportunities of her career to build on her strengths and identify and improve on areas for growth. Bryant believes all students should feel welcomed, safe, and represented at school which is why she co-advises the school’s Civil Rights Team and supports the inclusion of Social Emotional Learning. Personally connecting with and caring about each individual student has a significant impact on readiness to learn so she makes building positive relationships a top priority. Professional development about Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and fair and equitable grading also influence Bryant’s craft. If she’s not at school or collaborating with other educators, she’s reading, exercising, or at a beach with her husband and their daughter.

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Emily Albee
Hampden Academy, Hampden
2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year  

“I continue to be honored and grateful to serve as the 2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year, working with a tremendous and talented cohort of 15 other county teachers. To be included as 1 of the 4 finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year energizes me to continue to advocate for students, teachers, and education in Maine.” 

Emily Albee is a social studies teacher working with grades 9-12 at Hampden Academy, part of Regional School Unit 22, in Hampden, Maine. Albee earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a second Major in History, a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on Middle Level Social Studies, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Technology and Social Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Innovation Engineering all from the University of Maine. Albee considers it the honor of her lifetime to work with young people. She enjoys helping students discover their curiosity for learning and ways to meaningfully engage with the world around them. She works hard to present diverse social studies content through an equity lens while helping students build an understanding of the impact of the past on the present. Albee enjoys learning from her students and has never experienced the same day twice in her classroom. She continues to commit to her lifelong learning journey by engaging with various leadership experiences in her district. Her experiences range from coaching middle school track, to securing funding to purchase bees for the HA Beekeeping Club, promoting restorative practices, and participating in a ride along with the Penobscot County Sheriff Department as research for her Law & Ethics students. Albee is an active union member and serves as the Co-Chair for the Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Committee of the Maine Education Association. Albee enjoys spending time with her family and traveling the world.

The Maine Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year program is administered through a unique partnership with Educate Maine, the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA) and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, the Silvernail Family, and Unum.

For more information about the Maine County Teacher of the Year Program and to see a list of County Teachers of the Year, and Maine Teachers of the Year, visit http://www.mainetoy.org.

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Applications Open for MOOSE Instructional Designers

Do you want the space to create innovative curriculum? Are you looking for a community of educators who are passionate about meaningful, interdisciplinary education? Do you want to expand your impact outside your classroom/school? If this sounds like you, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is currently looking for dynamic, creative, and collaborative educators to join the MOOSE Team!

Now in its third year, Maine’s Online Opportunities for Sustained Education (MOOSE) platform continues to grow. Last year, we added PreK-12 Learning Progressions to our already robust bank of MOOSE modules – created by Maine teachers for Maine students. These modules center on interdisciplinary, project-based learning experiences that are accessible, inclusive, and available for free online.

This year, MOOSE continues with new Learning Progression topics as well as an Iteration & Improvement Team that will cycle back through existing content, augmenting existing functionality and ensuring even greater accessibility.

Learning Progression Teams will be set up in a single creation session with two phases (Designers are committing to the year-long process due to the connected nature of the phases).

  • Phase 1 (Sept 19 – Jan 13): Training and orientation begins the week of September 19th with full learning progressions created by January 13th.
  • Phase 2 (Jan 17 – May 19): Creation of teacher materials begins the week of January 17th and completes by May 19th. During this time, Designers will create teacher materials for the modules they just created AND for two additional existing modules from the MOOSE library.

The Iteration & Improvement Team will similarly have two stipend phases but these Designers will work from an individual matrix with a set of modules they must successfully address within each phase (Sept-Jan and Jan-May).

We are looking for Maine educators including, but not limited to, teachers, curriculum leaders, and representatives from Maine educational community organizations (e.g., museums, libraries, educational centers, etc.) interested in creating content for learning progressions in Applied Ethics, Data Science, and Cyber Security. Additional learning progressions will support topics outlined in LD 1664: African-American History & Culture and Wabanaki History & Culture. These learning progressions will be developed in conjunction with members of each of those communities and will require educators to be committed to a deeply collaborative process. The final team will be made up of individuals who are willing to work on the Iteration & Improvement of existing MOOSE modules (must have prior experience working on a MOOSE team in Year 1 or 2).

You do not need to have expertise in the topic area you are interested in or a strong background in technology, just a commitment to learning. Our work benefits from having a diverse range of perspectives and experiences (e.g., grades, disciplines, training, etc.) represented on each team. We value your years of experience as Maine educators and your willingness to embrace creativity and innovation. Each topic will be supported by a full-time Team Leader and dedicated Module Coach to help Designers through the process. You can learn more about MOOSE and our plans for Year 3 on the MOOSE website.

When you are ready to apply you can access the application here. Applications close August 26th.

If you are interested in applying but still have questions, the MOOSE team will be holding a Q&A session via Zoom on Thursday, August 18th from 3-4pm.

For more information about MOOSE please contact Project Manager Jenn Page, jennifer.page@maine.gov.

Reminder: Live and Work in Maine Community Event for Educators July 19th at the Roux Institute

Live and Work in Maine is hosting a series of community events around the state, and the Maine Department of Education is a partner for their July 19th event for educators.

Please RSVP below.

Details:

Welcome Home event – Portland

July 19th, 2022

Location: Roux Institute, 100 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101

Time: 5-7pm

About: Recently moved to Maine? Are you a Boomerang who decided to move back? Or maybe you’re a community member looking to make new connections. We all call Maine home, so come out to meet others in the community.

RSVP herewww.liveandworkinmaine.com/welcomehome (select Portland/Roux option)

Live and Work in Maine is a nonprofit with the mission of attracting and retaining Maine’s workforce. They are a career network and serve as the leading resource for those looking to relocate, keep, or start their careers in Maine. Learn more at: LiveWorkMaine.com