Students Learn What it is Like to be an Educator at Thomas College Teacher Academy

With a steep teacher shortage facing many communities in Maine, Thomas College and the Maine Department of Education teamed up to offer a daylong experimental teaching environment to further engage Maine students who are interested in teaching as a profession.

Students from all over Maine spent the day at Thomas College to learn more about what it’s like to be a teacher. The aspiring educators were able to participate in college level education courses offered by Thomas College professors Richard Biffle, Katie Rybakova, and by Lawrence High School teacher, Eric Brown.

The courses covered lessons in social emotional learning, inclusion, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics education, and an overview of lesson planning and implementation – what to expect (or not expect), how to think on your feet, and how make the content relevant to students. The event aimed to give students a better understanding of education as a career path, by providing hands-on experiences that can help solidify their career aspirations, and at the same time give them a taste of post-secondary education.

The unique event drew coverage from WABI and Central Maine among others who were eager to report on a collaborative effort that aims to tackle the workforce shortage of teachers in the state of Maine.

 

Maine Forest Collaborative Brings Together Rural Students for Resource-Based Educational Opportunity

Maine students from rural communities came to the Maine State Capitol last week as part of a unique learning opportunity offered by The Maine Forest Collaborative. The collaborative, created and administered by the Rural Aspirations Project, is a cooperative of rural schools embedded in forest industry communities in rural Maine, which aims to give students in rural communities the opportunity to develop deeper connections to their community through participating and contributing in ways that make it stronger.

In its first cohort, with around 30 students participating last week, there were students from Buckfield, Forest Hills, Jackman, and Greenville, and more on deck to start in the next semester. The learning opportunity provides students with a three-unit curriculum: Identifying Challenges, Rapid Prototyping Solutions, and Investigating Solutions. Grounded on the question, “How can we use natural resources to positively impact local communities,” the lesson invites students to work together to identify challenges that their community is facing, and then find solutions to those challenges by using resources available within the community.

The second unit, Rapid Prototyping Solutions, is what students were working on last week at the Maine State Capitol’s Fall of Flags. The location was chosen as a way to raise awareness about the project, but also to show participating students the impact they have on decision making at the State level, as they work among lawmakers and politicians who grapple with many of the same challenges and problem solving, whether they are rural and community-based or State level.

Students started the day by presenting the story of their community, with posters they made ahead of time. Their presentations included information about the geography of their community, the natural resources present, who they are, what is amazing about their community, their hopes and dreams, and questions they still have. After the presentations, they began working in groups to identify challenges, pick a challenge to work on, and brainstorm a solution to that challenge. Maine forest industry professionals were also present to help facilitate the group work and lend a helping-hand.  lending their years of work experience in Maine’s forest industry with Maine’s many natural resources.

Students left the State House last week with a deep appreciation for not only their own community, but for their rural neighbors was well. They also got to participate in an interdisciplinary, project-based learning experience that strengthens their connection to their own community and the State as a whole, and aims to tackle a community challenge that they care deeply about.

Following last week’s lesson, students will embark on unit three, which will identify the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the solution they came up with, and they will also make a plan to communicate the solution to the public.

For more information about the Maine Forest Collaborative, the curriculum, or how to participate in this unique learning opportunity, please contact the Rural Aspirations Project.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Live Broadcast Link Available for Public Hearing on Proposed Revisions to Rule Chapter 132 (Career and Education Development, English Language Arts, and Mathematics Standards) on November 13, 2019

As a reminder, the Maine Department of Education has scheduled a public hearing on November 13th, 2019 as part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results. The Department is seeking public comments regarding the proposed revisions to Rule Chapter 132, revised career and education development, English language arts, and mathematics standards until 5 pm on November 27th, 2019.

The public hearing will take place in room 103A of the Burton Cross Building in Augusta from 1-4 pm. Anyone present may speak at the public hearing. People that wish to speak will be asked to sign in and, preferably, provide two written copies of comments, as well as an electronic copy. The live broadcast is for viewing the hearing only. You will not be able to provide public comment via the live broadcast.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on November 27th, 2019. Written comments may be emailed to sis.doe@maine.gov with the subject “Career and Education Development Standards Review,” or “English Language Arts Standards Review,” or “Mathematics Standards Review” or mailed to Maine Department of Education, attn: Beth Lambert, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Below is a list of relevant links, as well as the hearing information including a link for the live broadcast:

For further information about the standards review process contact Beth Lambert at Beth.Lambert@maine.gov.

No Cost Mandated Reporter Training Available to School Personnel

In 2015, Maine revised its mandated reporting law, requiring state-approved training for certain professions every four years. Specifically, it includes school personnel described as the following: teachers, guidance counselors, school officials, school bus drivers and school bus attendants.

Maine’s Network of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils is working to ensure that local school districts are aware of the changes and have the necessary resources to maintain compliance with Maine Statute. The local councils are able to provide in-person training at no-cost to the school districts.

As schools know, child abuse and neglect are serious issues, and school personnel often witness the challenges faced by Maine’s children.  In fact, according to the Office of Child and Family Services’ recent child welfare data, school personnel were responsible for over 20% of the total reported cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.  This demonstrates the importance of providing school personnel the most current, state-approved information for recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.  It is important that school personnel feel comfortable, confident, and fully understand their role as a mandated reporter. For information on how to access this free training, contact your local Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council or visit the Maine Children’s Trust website. Click here to read the full law. If you have any additional questions please email Denise Trafton at the Maine Children’s Trust, deniset@mechildrenstrust.org.

MLTI T-shirt Design Competition Accepting Entries Until February 24th, 2020!

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) is hosting a T-shirt Design Competition again this year. The theme for the T-shirt design is “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.

A panel of judges will narrow the submissions down to three designs, and then we will ask Maine students and educators to vote for their top choice as they register for the MLTI Student Conference. The winning T-shirt will be printed for the 1000+ attendees of the 17th Annual MLTI Student Conference, which will be held on Thursday, May 21st, 2020 at the University of Maine in Orono. The three students whose designs become the finalists will be given a free registration to the conference.

Eligibility:

  • Any student who attends an elementary, middle, or high school in Maine during the 2019-2020 school year is eligible to enter the competition may enter the competition.
  • Any student or teacher/chaperone who is registering for the MLTI Student Conference may vote on the final design.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions must only have ONE ink color and ONE background color. The inclusion of shading or gradients of colors will lead to disqualification.
  • All submissions must be an original artwork. Any use of any photo, drawing, images or elements created by any other person (other than the MLTI logo) is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification.
    • Please adhere to the guidelines for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards regarding copyright and plagiarism: Even if you have permission to use a work or if the work is in the public domain, the work that you submit to this competition must represent a new, original work. Additionally, changing the medium of an original work is not considered transformative. For example, a painting or drawing of a photograph taken from the Internet or a magazine is not considered original and should not be submitted.
  • Each student may only submit one entry AND the entry must be created by ONE student only.
  • The artwork should be sized to 81/2” x 11”.
  • Students may hand-draw or digitally design their artwork.
  • Digitally designed artwork should be 300 dpi, RGB color, and the fonts must be embedded.
  • Submitted artwork must incorporate the phrase “MLTI Student Conference” and the year “2020” or “’20”.
  • Students must incorporate the MLTI logo into their design: downloadable filesor by copying and pasting this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI_logos.
  • The design should reflect this year’s conference theme and should include some reference to “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.
  • Students are asked to submit an artist statement (less than 200 words) with their design to help bring clarity to their adherence to the theme.
  • Acceptable file types: PDF or JPEG high resolution.
  • Color: T-shirts are one solid color with one color ink, and the student can suggest the color for each.
  • The t-shirt design must fit on the front of the t-shirt.
  • Signed Release: Each student must sign this release and include it in their submission. If the link above doesn’t work, please copy and paste this link: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/ltt/conference/tshirt/release

Judging Criteria

  • Guidelines: Work clearly adheres to the submission guidelines (color, size, file type, etc.)
  • Theme: “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial”.
  • Principles of Design:Work incorporated the following elements of art: balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, and unity.

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 4th, 2019 – Competition begins
  • Monday, February 24th, 2020 – T-shirt designs due
  • Monday, March 2nd, 2020 – T-shirt voting begins (with registration)
  • Friday, April 10th, 2020 – T-shirt winner announced

Ready to enter the competition? Submit your entry with this form or copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI-2020-tshirt-entry

For more information or answers to questions, please contact MLTI.Project@maine.gov