We are grateful to our school districts who are addressing the need for public preschool programming in their communities, and we are committed to fostering partnerships and increasing early intervention and educational opportunities for our youngest learners. As you are likely aware, all public preschool programs are required to complete the Public Preschool Annual Report. We have shortened the report for ease of use, and the Department of Education will refer to the data collected throughout the year to help inform policy, determine professional development needs, and provide follow up information or support.
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received a grant from the US Department of Education to support public preschool teachers, special educators, principals and special education directors in providing high quality classroom environments and inclusion practices for 4-year-olds.
The program is being offered through 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), that includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance around inclusionary practices.
MRTQ PDN will contract with Maine DOE and partner with Child Development Services to provide online training and technical assistance to 3 classrooms of 6 participants each. Teams must include the preschool teacher, ed tech, principal, special education director, elementary special education teacher, and a 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. All team members will receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.
This project will serve as a pilot to help Maine DOE gather information on what schools need to best support all preschool age children, including those with special needs and disabilities.
Upon completion of training and technical assistance, each public preschool classroom teacher who has participated will receive $1500 in mini-grants for materials and supplies to support high quality preschool inclusionary environments.
Teachers from 15 of Maine’s counties were honored today in Maine’s State Capitol at an annual event in the Hall of Flags announcing the 2019 Maine County Teachers of the Year.
The group is the county finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine.
Commissioner of Education Pender Makin notes, “The MTOY program offers all of us the opportunity to celebrate the phenomenal work that is being accomplished every day in Maine’s public schools. Each of the County Teachers of the Year exemplifies a deep commitment to Maine’s students and a belief in the power of education to create positive and lasting change. They bring their compassion, creativity, and innovation to the art and science of teaching, amplifying the dreams and futures of their students. In highlighting the accomplishments of these 15 educators, we are also honoring all of Maine’s teachers, and the outstanding talents and dedication they bring to their classrooms and communities.”
The educators were each 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.
2019 County Teachers of the Year:
Androscoggin County: Shawn Rice, Edward Little High School, Auburn
Aroostook County: Kim Barnes, Caribou Middle School
Cumberland County: Heather Whitaker, Gorham Middle School
Franklin County: Robert Taylor, Spruce Mountain Middle/High School, Jay
Hancock County: Nell Herrmann, Blue Hill Consolidated School
Sagadahoc County: Charles Bingham, Morse High School, Bath
Somerset County: Katherine Bertini, Madison Junior High School
Waldo County: Ashley Reynolds, Captain Albert Stevens School, Belfast
Washington County: Jeanna Carver, Jonesport Elementary School
York County: Ethel Atkinson, Bonny Eagle Middle School, Buxton
*Lincoln County did not have a nominee who both met the criteria and completed the application process.
As ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education in Maine, these teachers will continue to participate in the intensive State Teacher of the Year selection process, including the submission of a video showcasing their classroom instructional practices.
The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists who will begin working on their professional portfolio, a component of the National Teacher of the Year process. After the portfolio review and presentations to a select panel, the field is narrowed to three finalists. In October, the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected after a school site visit and final interview.
The Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education. It is with gratitude from the Maine DOE that the program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization working to ensure Maine’s students and workers are the best educated and highly skilled in the world.
Summer vacation is a welcome break from the daily school routine for children and parents alike, but the summer months can be detrimental to students’ learning if young minds do not remain active. Summer learning loss is a well-documented phenomenon, particularly with respect to reading achievement. Students can lose up to three months of reading progress during the summer if they don’t keep reading. When combined across a child’s PK-8 school career, this can result in 1-2 years of lost reading progress.
Fortunately, the summer slide can be prevented or greatly reduced when students continue to read on a regular basis. By encouraging children to read for enjoyment from a variety of resources and to explore topics of interest, they continue to practice applying the skills they have learned, build their vocabulary, and widen their knowledge of the world. For students who are not yet reading independently, or just beginning to read, reading to and with parents is equally beneficial.
Once again this year, the Maine Department of Education is collaborating with the Freemasons of Maine to sponsor the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge for students in grades PK-8. The Maine Freemasons have generously donated 48 bikes with helmets as prizes for the Read to Ride Summer Reading Challenge. During the first three years of this initiative, thousands of Maine children completed the challenge of reading 500 minutes during the summer vacation. Maine DOE hopes to see this number grow even higher during the summer of 2019.
Any school with students in the PK-8 grade span may register to participate. Participating schools will collect documentation from students who have completed the challenge. They will hold school level drawings to select two students (one boy and one girl) whose names will be entered into the state level drawing to be held on September 25, 2019. Schools are encouraged to participate in this challenge, to coordinate it with any other summer reading challenges/programs they offer, and to consider soliciting their own local level prizes for students who complete the challenge. Find details and the link to register your school at the Read to Ride Challenge website.