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.
Saco – Maine Department of Education Acting Commissioner A. Pender Makin along with students, educators, and administrators from Young School in Saco officially kicked off the Read to ME Challenge on Monday, February 4, 2019.
In its 4th year running, the Maine Department of Education launches the Read to ME Challenge as way to encourage communities throughout Maine to contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is to capture the moment via a photo or video and then post it on social media with the hashtag #ReadtoME and then challenge others to do the same.
At the kick-off event yesterday, Acting Commissioner Makin read Maine author Chris Van Dusen’s, Camping Spree with Mr. McGee to children in kindergarten through 2nd grade at Young School and then challenged the following groups of people to participate in the Read to ME Challenge:
All the big kids in the room
Community Literacy Teams
School Administrators, School Board Members, and Volunteers
Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine. See a full list of community partners for the 2019 Read to ME Challenge.
Year 4 of the Read to MEChallenge is scheduled to begin on February 4, 2019. Maine Department of Education Acting Commissioner Pender Makin will launch the campaign by reading to children at Young School in Saco. She will follow up her reading by issuing a challenge to participate in the 2019 campaign. This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same. The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2019. The Department will be live streaming this event on their official Facebook Page.
If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information: Read to ME Challenge Partner 2019. Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements in a variety of languages, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge are available on the Read to ME webpage.
Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities. The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement. Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.
Schools and organizations are invited to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same. The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine. Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.
Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity, and don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org (624-6702) with any questions.