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

Virtual Professional Learning Community to Support Educators in Engaging Multilingual Newcomers

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to invite educators to participate in a virtual Professional Learning Community (PLC) which will develop participants’ understanding about the needs of multilingual newcomers, creating a collegial community of support, as well as practices for engaging newcomers for success in the classroom.

This PLC is based on the WIDA eLearning course “Engaging Multilingual Newcomers,” available through the WIDA Secure Portal.  All Maine public school teachers are eligible for a free Secure Portal account by contacting WIDA Client Services. Each PLC session will address one module of the course, which participants will complete before each PLC session.

See the list of PLC sessions below for dates and topics of focus. Sessions will be held from 3:00-4:00pm on Mondays on the dates listed below. Participants should plan to attend all sessions in the series, to the extent possible. Contact hours will be available for participation in the sessions.

The workshops will be facilitated by Rebecca Carey, Maine DOE ESOL Consultant. If you have any questions, contact Rebecca at

Register HERE to receive the Zoom link.

Date Topics
Session 1 Monday, September 26, 2022 Engaging Multilingual Newcomers: The Social and Emotional Needs of Newcomers


Session 2 Monday, October 3, 2022 Engaging Multilingual Newcomers: Building Collegial Relationships
Session 3 Monday, October 17, 2022 Engaging Multilingual Newcomers: Exploring Instructional Strategies for Multilingual Newcomers



Free Micro-Credentials and UCLA Graduate Credits on Teaching Multilingual Learners: Information Session on 9.14.22

The Maine Department of Education invites educators of multilingual learners (MLs) to participate in an exciting new professional learning program called ExcEL Leadership Academy, which offers free micro-credentials on many ML-related topics. Whether you’re a classroom teacher who is new to teaching MLs, an experienced ESOL teacher, an administrator, or other educator, you can enhance your practice with one or more targeted micro-credentials.

Join ExcEL Director Laureen Avery and April Perkins, Maine DOE ESOL & Bilingual Programs Specialist, for an information session on 9.14.22 at 3pm. Register here.

Funded through the US Department of Education, ExcEL Leadership Academy is not only totally free to participants, but they also receive a $250 stipend for each micro-credential they complete and can even earn free graduate credit through UCLA!

ExcEL makes professional learning accessible wherever you are located and meets your individualized needs. Here are some key facts about the program:

  • Micro-credentials are competency-based.
  • You can choose to participate in just one, a few, or all of the offerings!
  • You work at your own pace and in your own classroom.
  • You learn about (and implement) best practices with your existing students. Implementation is integrated into what you are already doing.
  • Participants join a peer network with members from across New England, creating opportunities to learn with and from other teachers.
  • The program is self-paced and flexible – with lots of support and options.

To learn more about participants experiences with ExcEL Leadership Academy, check out this video (13:05) featuring the voices of ExcEL teachers in Rhode Island (or this shorter version [1:24]).

For more information or to participate please reach out by email to


Professional Learning Series: Learn about the WIDA English Language Development Standards for Multilingual Learners 

Are you a classroom or content area teacher with multilingual learners (MLs) in your classroom? If you’re looking to enhance your practice, the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards are a great place to start. The ELD Standards are the essential foundation for providing effective instruction for MLs. 

Join April Perkins, ESOL & Bilingual Programs Specialist, for a statewide virtual professional learning community (PLC) to support you in integrating this standards framework into your practice. See dates and topics below. All PLC sessions will be from 3:30-4:30pm. To receive the Zoom link for each session, click on the links in the Module/Topic column. 

The PLC will be centered around the WIDA self-paced eWorkshop WIDA ELD Standards Framework: A Collaborative Approach. Participants will complete each module in advance of the session. In order to access the eWorkshop, you will need a free WIDA Secure Portal account, which you can obtain by contacting WIDA Client Services at 1-866-276-7735.  

If you have any questions, contact April Perkins at 

Date  Module/Topic 
9.20.22  Module 1: Connect Current Knowledge and Practices to the WIDA ELD Standards Framework 
10.18.22  Module 2: Integrate Student Assets into Content Learning 
11.8.22  Module 3: Focus on Key Language Uses 
12.13.22  Module 4: Identify Language Expectations Within a Unit 
1.17.23  Module 5: Put Language Expectations into Action 
2.28.23  Module 6: Plan for Language Growth Over Time 

NMRC/PAE Education Academy Program Accepting Applications

A new Education Academy offered at Portland Adult Education is now accepting applications. The Education Academy prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be teachers or educational technicians here in Maine.

The Portland Public Schools launched the Education Academy as part of the Teach Portland initiative in January 2022 to build and diversify its educator workforce. This new intensive program, targeted specifically at foreign-trained teachers, will be offered by the New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) at Portland Adult Education starting Jan. 7. It is designed to build on the skills and experience that these teachers bring with them from their home countries.

The Education Academy will combine coursework with intensive English and a student classroom experience.  It will prepare students in the program to work as educational technicians and substitute teachers. It will also provide the guidance and support they need to ultimately apply for and pursue teacher certification.  Students may be eligible for scholarships and other supportive services that will help them with the costs of any college courses they may need for teacher certification.

Education Academy which is now accepting applications for classes that start this September.

  • This program prepares people who were teachers in their home country to be Teachers or Educational Technicians here in Maine
  • It is also a good program for people with other backgrounds and degrees who are interested in entering the teaching profession
  • It provides an overview of education in the US including: classroom management, teaching methods, becoming a Maine educator, and teaching exceptional students
  • The program includes a practicum, or practical experience in a classroom, and also advice and assistance applying for teacher certification and jobs

Here is a link to more information about the program and its requirements:  Education Academy Slideshow.

Here is a link to the Education Academy Application.

For more information about the Education Academy, go to the New Mainers Resource Center website at: or call Portland Adult Education at: 207-874-8155