Report on Bilingual Education in Maine Now Available

Bilingual education, including language immersion programs, offer exciting and impactful interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students. Research shows that developing proficiency in two or more languages has cognitive, educational, economic, and sociocultural benefits.

In response to interest in developing bilingual programs from a variety of schools across the state, the Maine Department of Education launched the Multilingual Education Task Force (METF) in May of 2022. Over 100 educators and community members came together to learn about bilingual education and to provide the Department with recommendations to inform its plan for promoting bilingual programs and supporting interested schools. The Department would like to express its sincere appreciation to METF participants for their contributions to this important work.

The Multilingual Education Task Force Report compiles participants’ recommendations and offers a road map of action steps for the Department. Educators and community members who would like to pursue the development of a bilingual program in their school are encouraged to contact April Perkins, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) & Bilingual Programs Specialist, at april.perkins@maine.gov.

New Seal of Biliteracy Awarding Process 

The Maine Seal of Biliteracy is an award that recognizes student achievement in language learning. This award highlights the value of multilingualism and gives students an edge for their post-secondary studies and/or future careers. Starting this school year, schools will be able to award the Seal of Biliteracy to students directly, without submitting an application to the Maine Department of Education.  

Each participating school will designate a local Seal of Biliteracy Coordinator, who will have several key responsibilities. Full details about the process and requirements are included in the new Maine Seal of Biliteracy Coordinator Guide. We are hopeful that these changes will increase accessibility to the Seal of Biliteracy and make the process easier and more streamlined for students and their teachers.  

If you are a student who would like to earn the Seal of Biliteracy, but your school is not yet participating in this award, or if you have any other questions about the Seal, contact April Perkins, ESOL & Bilingual Programs Specialist/ Maine Seal of Biliteracy Coordinator at april.perkins@maine.gov  

Professional Learning Opportunity: Teacher Leaders – Planning with the WIDA English Language Development Standards

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, coordinators/directors, Ed Techs, tutors, and instructional coaches are invited to join the Maine Department of Education and WIDA for a hybrid workshop on planning with the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards!

This hybrid workshop is designed to support ESOL educators in providing local professional development and support for using the WIDA ELD Standards Framework (2020 edition) to plan instruction at the unit level. This workshop is for you if you can answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  • Have you been asked to provide professional development about the WIDA ELD Standards Framework (2020 edition) to educators in your school or district?
  • Do you engage in co-planning with content/classroom educators on a regular basis?
  • Do you have experience evaluating and/or designing content lessons and units?
  • Do you have a strong background in the WIDA Standards system and in working with multilingual learners?

Participants who complete the workshop will receive an invitation to join a consortium-wide pilot community of practice with quarterly activities and collaborative online discussions.

There will be a live virtual session on 11/30/22 from 3-4pm, followed by an in-person workshop on 12/6/22 from 9am-3pm in Augusta. Register here.

If you have any questions about this professional learning opportunity, contact April Perkins, ESOL & Bilingual Programs Specialist, at april.perkins@maine.gov or (207)441-9043.

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) Virtual Professional Development Sessions

The Maine Department of Education and SupportEd are partnering up to provide K-12 Maine educators with four free virtual professional development sessions focusing on Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE).

  • Zoom – Conveniently join all virtual PD sessions online via Zoom.
  • Maine Educators – Virtual PD sessions are intended for all Maine teachers grades K-12.
  • 2-hour Sessions – Sessions will last two hours with time to apply strategies included.

SupportEd’s vision is to reimagine the landscape of education for Multilingual Learners (MLs). Specializing in Multilingual Learners (MLs), SupportEd meticulously crafts personalized solutions to fit every partners’ strengths and goals. SupportEd provides educators and administrators with the expertise and resources to help champion the success of MLs within and beyond the classroom. The SupportEd team is comprised of nationally recognized Multilingual Learner experts, best-selling authors, and accomplished researchers — all with extensive experience working in the classroom and/or district.

Download a flyer

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Social Emotional Learning for SLIFE


Thursday, September 22 | 3:00 pm

During this two-hour session, participants will develop an understanding of culturally responsive teaching and social emotional learning for SLIFE. SupportEd will lead participants in defining SLIFE and their characteristics and exploring strategies and tools for creating a culturally responsive school climate that includes social emotional learning practices for SLIFE. Time will also be provided to apply the tools and strategies to their class and school communities.

Effective Instruction of SLIFE  


Thursday, October 20 | 3:00 pm

During this two-hour session, participants will develop an understanding of effective instruction for SLIFE. SupportEd will lead participants in exploring a framework for effective instruction of SLIFE and discussing strategies for supporting SLIFE engagement with and understanding of content learning. Time will also be provided to set goals for supporting the academic needs of SLIFE in all classrooms and schools.

Supporting SLIFE Family and Community Engagement 


Thursday, November 17 | 3:00 pm

During this two-hour session, participants will develop an understanding of how to support SLIFE family and community engagement. SupportEd will lead participants in defining the importance of engaging SLIFE families and community in learning and exploring strategies for partnering with SLIFE families and expanding community collaboration in support of students. Time will also be provided to plan for partnering with SLIFE families and expanding community collaboration.

Supporting Graduation and Post-Secondary Success of SLIFE  


Thursday, December 15 | 3:00 pm

During this two-hour session, participants will develop an understanding of how to support the graduation and post-secondary success of SLIFE. SupportEd will lead participants in discussing barriers and solutions related to graduation and post-secondary success for SLIFE and explore strategies for supporting graduation and post-secondary success of SLIFE. Time will also be provided to apply strategies to plan for implementing strategies for supporting graduation and post-secondary success of SLIFE.

New Guidance on Multilingual Learners with Disabilities

A new guidance manual is now available on Identifying and Serving Multilingual Learners with Disabilities. The appropriate and accurate identification of students who are multilingual learners (MLs) with disabilities is a complex process requiring a team approach. Under- and overidentification of MLs for special education and related services is a persistent challenge nationwide.

The manual was developed through the collaboration of Maine Department of Education Special Services and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) staff members. We are hopeful that this guidance will provide educators with the information and resources they need to make the most appropriate determinations for students.

Please join us for an overview on September 19th at 3:00pm to learn how this guide can support your work with students who are MLs. Register here.

For a deeper dive into different sections of the manual, we are also offering the following series of trainings, and we encourage both ESOL and Special Education staff to attend.

For those who cannot attend, all sessions will be recorded and archived on the Maine DOE YouTube channel for viewing at your convenience. If you have any questions, contact April Perkins, ESOL & Bilingual Programs Specialist, at april.perkins@maine.gov.