Class in a Canoe: Early College at Bryant Pond

A student shows the class how to locate their position on the map
A student shows the class how to locate their position on the map

This article was written by Maine DOE Intern Emmeline Willey in collaboration with instructors from the 4H program at Bryant Pond and the UMaine Early College program.

It’s the type of overcast morning that settles in a dewy film over lakeside Maine, where the air hangs thick and heavy and silent canoes prickle with fishing rods. At the end of a dirt road sprawls the University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond. The rustic campus was built in 1956 and became part of UMaine Cooperative Extension in 2008. Today, it is home to the Outdoor Leadership Early College Program and the students who are pioneering it. 

Students retrieve compasses to be used in orienteering.
Students retrieve compasses to be used in orienteering.

Upon my arrival, I catch a man as he’s sprinting out of the woods. He invites me to follow him back to the rest of the group after he retrieves a black case from a barn. I’m led up a steep hill on a rough draft of a path that opens on a dozen teenagers crouching over contour maps. Statewide Director Ryder Scott greets me in this clearing and explains that the students are finding their exact location using points of reference and geographic landmarks. Their knees are rooted in the ground and their sneakers are dirty; they tolerate the bugs with the nonchalance of camp kids on their second week of wilderness. 

 Scott in discussion with a student.
Scott in discussion with a student.

Minutes later, the group breaks, and the contents of the mysterious black case are revealed: compasses. The students retrieve them in pairs and trail off into the woods. 

This is the sport of orienteering, one of many activities offered through the Outdoor Leadership Early College Program. In this competitive game, players are armed with a map and compass and sent into the wilderness to navigate their ways to checkpoints. Like many races, the goal is to finish in the shortest amount of time. 

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Tara Pocock, UMaine staff member with a background in outdoor education.

“Ryder! I have a question about trees!” yells a student, sprinting back out of the woods with a leaf in hand. They circle around the Ash leaf to take photos like scientists in an outdoor, worldwide laboratory. Shortly after, the rest of the class comes bounding out to regroup before they head to the lake. 

“They’re learning to appreciate the natural world, to be a part of nature and recognize their impact on the environment,” says Tara Pocock, a UMaine staff member and instructor at the 4-H Center, explaining that this understanding of the outdoors is important to help teenagers grow into responsible world citizens. 

Ryder Scott, UMaine staff member with backgrounds in outdoor education.
Ryder Scott, UMaine staff member with backgrounds in outdoor education.

The three-week college course is offered to Maine high school students through the UMaine Early College Program. By the end of the course, students will earn three credits in Outdoor and Adventure Activities (KPE 265). Scott expressed UMaine’s goal to grow this program into a 12 credit outdoor leadership pathway that could lead to a four-year degree from the University of Maine, and support workforce development throughout the state of Maine. 

“It’s experience with real-world consequences,” Ryder Scott tells me, describing the three-day canoe trip the students will be taking next week. “If they misread the compass, if they burn the oatmeal, it’s going to be a bad time.” 

As the students make their way down to the water, discussion can be heard over the importance of wearing synthetic materials during aquatic activities. At the lakeside, the class gathers and student Laura Howe volunteers to give a lesson on proper paddling technique. 

Laura Howe demonstrates proper paddle technique to the class
Laura Howe demonstrates proper paddle technique to the class
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The class reviews the three points of contact necessary to canoe.

Halfway through the lesson, Scott interrupts to point out that the students are all holding their paddles correctly by balancing them on the tops of their shoes. Outdoor environments are conducive to this kind of rapid habit-building and learning via osmosis, as failure to remember instructions will have direct consequences on either expeditions or, in this case, expensive equipment. 

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Liz Dunn (right) says she met Ryder Scott through Oxford Hills’ science program, and became interested in outdoor career paths after participating in a Junior Maine Guide program. She hopes that Bryant Pond and similar programs will help her narrow down her career choices in the future.

The class piles into canoes two at a time. They joke around with one another and hover nearby, waiting for their classmates. Students at experiential outdoors learning centers like this benefit from being a part of Maine and immersed in its enchanting wilderness. High school students can learn and adapt to the environment of the natural world, without missing out on the curriculum of the classroom. The UMaine Early College Program allows students to enjoy an outdoor summer, while still making critical progress toward their future careers and education. 

This fall, UMaine Bryant Pond will be offering another course (KPE 209-Wilderness First Responder) as part of the Early College Outdoor Leadership program. For more information, contact Ryder Scott, Statewide Director of UMaine 4-H Centers at ryder.scott@maine.edu or 207-665-2935. 

The University of Maine will be offering over 40 online courses in a wide range of academic disciplines to high school students this fall. Students across the state will benefit from the flexibility and variety of Academe online college courses. Through a partnership between the Maine Department of Education and the University of Maine, tuition is waived for students of Maine public and home schools for up to six college credits per semester and 12 college credits per year. Fall classes start Sept. 3. Registration is open at umaine.edu/earlycollege. 

Interested students and parents are encouraged to contact Allison Small, Early College Programs Coordinator, 581.8004; um.earlycollege@maine.edu. 

 

Regional Think Tanks – Maine Department of Education Wants to Brainstorm With YOU!

Ready for the end of the year? Can’t wait for summer? Before you shift to the summer season, help us to reflect on the 2018/2019 School Year and keep the momentum of discussion for education in Maine.

The Department of Education is hosting several opportunities to collaborate and share experiences in different regions during the 2019 Summer Think Tank series. Join us for half a day to discuss your preferred topic or stay for the day and participate in two sessions.  Lunch will be provided in between the morning and afternoon sessions.

All interested members of your school community are invited to attend, however, an RSVP is required in advance. Please be sure to select the activity/activities (including lunch) so we can be best prepared to host you.

TOPICS INCLUDE:

ME Defines School Success: As part of a statewide conversation, this session will focus on how we define the success of our public schools. Participants will contribute to the identification of common values across the state, tell us what makes your schools successful, and propose ideas as to how we can expand the conversation and how we can use the outcomes of the conversation to promote our public schools.

MLTI: Come and join a conversation about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). Participants will engage in facilitated activities where they will share experiences, ideas, and feedback on the past 18 years of MLTI and discuss hopes for the future of the MLTI program.  Considerations may include devices, device distribution and management, infrastructure, professional development, and funding.

Special Education: Join us for a discussion of what’s working well with special education and what we can improve upon. Share your input on how we can better serve our students with disabilities and provide supports for schools and school administrative units.

Educator Excellence: To ensure that all students receive an excellent education that prepares them to succeed in today’s world, we must systematically increase the quantity and quality of our teaching workforce. This session is looking for feedback on issues related to increasing the recruitment and retention of talented classroom teachers. Topics include high retention pathways into the teaching profession, teacher professional development, and teacher leadership (career lattices that allow teachers to assume leadership roles without leaving the classroom). We are looking for school and district administrators as well as educators to participate in small group discussions to explore these topics. These conversations will assist the Department in enhancing policies and programs to attract and retain outstanding educators for Maine students.

Educator Readiness (7/8 PM Only): This session is an opportunity to provide feedback on a number of areas that impact educator readiness including diversity and equity, talent needs, professional development for educators, student teaching, the changing candidate profile, among others. We are looking for school and district administrators as well as educators to participate in small group discussions with representatives from Maine’s educator preparation programs to explore these topics. This conversation will assist the Department in enhancing policies and programs to support the changing needs of our schools, educators, and students.

JOIN US AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING EVENTS:

June 11th – Lewiston

Ramada Lewiston and Conference Center
490 Pleasant Street
Lewiston, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doespringthinktanklewiston


June 12th – Saco

Ferry Beach Retreat & Conference Center
5 Morris Ave
Saco, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktanksaco


June 13thBangor

Bangor Banquet & Conference Center
701 Hogan Rd.
Bangor, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankbangor


June 19th – Winter Harbor

Schoodic Institute
9 Atterbury Circle
Winter Harbor, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Registerhttp://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankwinterharbor


June 20th – Presque Isle

Presque Isle Inn & Convention Center
116 Main Street
Presque Isle, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education
  • Educator Excellence

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm
?name=doesummerthinktankpresqueisle


July 8th – Augusta

Senator Inn & Spa
284 Western Ave
Augusta, ME

AM/PM Topics will include:

  • Redefining School Success
  • MLTI
  • ME Special Education

PM Only:

  • Educator Readiness

To Register: http://events.egov.com/eventreg/ME/event.htm?name=doesummerthinktankaugustawrapup

MEDIA RELEASE: 2019 County Teachers of the Year Honored 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kelli Deveaux (207) 624-6747 or kelli.deveaux@maine.gov

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 
    • Kennebec County: Emily Bowen, Hall-Dale Middle/High School, Farmingdale
    • Knox County: Thomas Gray, Camden Hills Regional High School 
    • Oxford County: Linda Andrews, Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, Hartford -Sumner Elementary 
    • Penobscot County: Tracy Deschaine, Orono Middle School 
    • Piscataquis County: Bobbi Tardif, SeDoMoCha School, Dover-Foxcroft
    • 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. 

    For more information, visit www.maine.gov/doe/toy/ or Director of Communications, Kelli Deveaux at (207) 624-6747 or kelli.deveaux@maine.gov. 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Welcomes 9 Student Interns for 2018 Summer Season

Augusta, Maine – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced today the 9 student interns who will be working for the summer at the Maine DOE headquarters in Augusta.

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Adam Barre

Barre is a sophomore at Loyola University, Maryland. He has lived in Maine his whole life and has a love for politics, business, and the state of Maine itself. Barre has volunteered in Baltimore and worked with local politicians and motivated citizens, which has been a tremendous inspiration to him. He takes great pride in being able to not only accomplish his own goals, but ensuring he can help others do the same in the process.  Barre will be working with the Department of Education’s data team, focusing on geo-mapping and working to catalogue all the major data collections for the Department.

Trevor Burns

Burns is a recent graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a major in Actuarial Science and Applied Mathematics. Burns will be assisting with the end-of-year collection process for 2017/18 student data and trying to find anomalies in that data before school ends for the summer. He will then work on a student data standards document which the DOE plans to make available to the public before school begins again next year.

Matt Bourque

Originally from South China, Maine, Bourque is an upcoming senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is double majoring in Political Science and Education. Outside of his academic life, Bourque is training for a marathon and loves the outdoors. During his internship with the DOE, Bourque will be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Lauren Porter

Porter is a third-year Social Work and Political Science student at the University of Southern Maine, where she is highly involved in her philanthropic sorority, the Service-Learning and Volunteering department, and Model United Nations. Her interests and career goals include social justice policy efforts – particularly advocacy for access to affordable healthcare. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, juggling, volunteering, and writing. During her internship with the DOE, Porter will also be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Adam Bovie

Bovie is a senior at the University of New Hampshire, but has lived in Vassalboro, Maine, his whole life. He is dual majoring in Communication and International Affairs at UNH, and spent the first semester of his junior year studying abroad at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. Bovie enjoys all aspects of the Communication field, but has recently been developing his skills in media production. He’ll be putting these skills to use in his role as the intern for the Commissioner of Education’s office, where he’ll be assisting in the creation of a new website for the Department as well as other multimedia communication projects.

Tyler Rollins

Rollins is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono in the New Media program. He currently lives in his home town of China, Maine, and in his spare time he enjoys playing the guitar and recording local bands. Rollins will be creating content to make Maine’s school funding formula more understandable for the legislature and general public.

Erica Hathaway

Hathaway is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono and will be graduating in December. She is studying Economics with minors in Mathematics and Business. Hathaway is originally from Vermont, but is planning to stay in Maine after graduating, at which point she would like to attend graduate school for Economics.  Hathaway is working on Maine’s contribution to a Kansas-led project that looks at school funding in all 50 states, including a state-by-state historical survey of school funding. She will also be assisting the DOE in reviewing the new Career & Technical Education funding model.

Morgan Rush

One of the Learning Through Technology interns, Rush is a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington. She studies Business Psychology with a minor in Community Health. Rush grew up in Farmingdale, Maine, and is excited to learn more about the use of technology in education.  Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.

Renée Roundy

Another Learning Through Technology intern, Roundy grew up in Lewiston, Maine, and is entering her senior year at Colgate University with a major in Educational Studies and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. This summer she is excited to learn more about various software and how technology can be utilized by teachers, especially in Special Education. Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.

 

 

Reminder: Register now for 2018 Commissioner’s Conference – session highlights available

The 2018 Commissioner’s Conference will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, June 27th and Thursday, June 28, 2018. The Maine DOE has been working closely with Maine School Management Association (MSMA) to ensure that this year’s sessions meet the needs of attendees – see conference highlights below.

Find additional resources and information including pricing, a draft agenda, lodging options, further details about registration, including guest registration, and more on the Maine DOE Commissioner’s Conference webpage.

Register now »

Conference Highlights

Fulfilling the Dream of a Prosperous Maine
Duke Albanese, Commissioner’s Conference Keynote

Fulfilling the Dream of a Prosperous Maine: Getting There Requires a Focus on Education and Effective Leadership for Learning, Citizenship, and Opportunities for All Maine Students”

Finding widespread prosperity has been difficult for our state. Although Maine presents abundant opportunities to thrive and prosper as individuals and communities, pockets of vibrancy have often been limited even during the best of times. To turn the tide and make our state a great place to live and prosper, high quality education is the key. We have the scale and wherewithal to build a world-class early childhood through higher education system focused on equity and enriching learning opportunities for all students. What we need to achieve this is strong, effective, creative, and resourceful leadership. Can Maine do it? Yes. Who will lead?

Duke Albanese will serve as Commissioner Keynote, in addition to conducting a break-out session.

Cracker-Barrel Session
Commissioner Hasson and Maine DOE staff

Come to this informal session and get a chance to talk one-on-one with Commissioner Hasson and Maine DOE staff, including Department leadership. The Department will also have available some insider updates for superintendents.

Certification: What You Need to Know
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide participants with a review of important changes resulting from recent revisions to certification laws; clarification on common misconceptions about certification requirements and processes; an opportunity to discuss communication strategies for certification; and a question and answer segment on the new online system.

Legislative Update
Maine DOE Staff

The Maine Legislature adjourned its Second Regular Session sine die on May 2, 2018. While education bills remain, including LD 1869 –”An Act To Establish the Total Cost of Education and the State and Local Contributions to Education for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and To Provide That Employees of School Management and Leadership Centers Are Eligible To Participate in the Maine Public Employees Retirement System”—which are preserved to be carried over to any special session of the 128th Legislature, others were passed and became law are either in effect now as emergency legislation, or will become law on Wednesday, August 1. This session will include a summary of enacted educated-related legislation, the status of bills preserved by the joint order, and a progress report on the status of rulemaking.

Open Forum: Addressing the Teacher Shortage
Open Forum lead by DOE staff

What can Maine do to address the teacher shortage while strengthening our educator workforce? In this open forum session, we will discuss barriers to teacher retention and recruitment and what is being done across the state to overcome these obstacles. Together we will collaborate on ways that all stakeholders can work together to build our educator workforce and promote the teaching profession.

Put your Collaborative Project on the Regionalization Map
Maine DOE staff

During this session, participants will learn about the EMBRACE II initiatives, including lessons learned; be introduced to the process of forming a regional service center; learn about the upcoming grant opportunity offered by the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES); brainstorm possible regionalized services and programs; and have an opportunity for questions and answers.

We Have Formed a Regional Service Center: Now What?
Maine DOE staff

During this session, participants will provide input for the Department as to what regional service centers and executive directors need for support; gain an understanding of the monitoring and reporting requirements for a regional service center; receive legislative updates that directly impact regional service centers and their funding; and have an opportunity for questions and answers.

Panel: Preparing Kids for Maine’s Workforce
Maine DOE staff and panel of industry representatives

What are employers looking for? What are students prepared to offer? What can Career and Technical Education (CTE) provide for industry and students? In this session, a panel of industry representatives will share what they look for in an employee. We will discuss and seek ideas for how Maine’s CTE programs can help create more opportunities for students and meet workforce needs.

PreK with Staying Power!
Maine DOE staff

High quality prek has great potential; but research shows that to truly lessen the achievement gap, certain program elements must be present before kindergarten or the gains will “fade out” in the early elementary grades. What are the goals for a prek program in your district? Are you seeing these goals realized in child outcomes over time? Come hear about the prek programs that include the research-based elements and the end-of-prek outcome data that predicts 5th grade reading, writing, and math scores.

Improving K-3 Literacy Achievement by Building Teacher Knowledge
Maine DOE MoMEntum staff and educators from pilot schools

The Department is implementing an early literacy/technology learning pilot project, MoMEntum K-3 Literacy, in schools located regionally across Maine. This initiative provides high-quality professional learning to build teacher knowledge and skills to impact student learning. This session will provide an overview of the initiative; details about the professional learning, including intentional instruction, opportunities for student practice, technology integration, and assessment that informs ongoing instruction; preliminary findings related to student achievement; and lessons learned so far. During this panel discussion, participants will have the chance to hear from and ask questions of those leading the program as well as participating educators and school leaders.

Closing the Achievement Gap with Early Math Education
Maine DOE staff

Two years of assessing current state data shows an increasing gap in the percent of grade 3-5 students statewide who meet or achieve state expectations in mathematics as compared to ELA/literacy. The Maine Department of Education is embarking on a new initiative called the Numeracy4ME K-4 Mathematics Pilot program, in schools located regionally across Maine. This initiative provides high-quality professional learning to build teacher knowledge and skills to impact student learning of mathematics. This session will provide an overview of the initiative, including details about structure of the professional learning, the focus on numeracy concepts, and implications for PK-4 learning and assessment applicable to all schools.

Work Session: 2018/19 School Approval Requirements & Process
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide guidance on the 2018-19 school/district approval requirements and the new more streamlined process in the Department’s NEO system. Superintendents will have the opportunity to begin completing the approval process at this session – bring your laptops.

Open Forum: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth
Maine DOE staff

This session will provide district leaders an opportunity to share their PEPG triumphs and tribulations. Do you have a strategy that is working well in your district that you would like to share with others? Do you have a need for greater support in certain areas such as observations and feedback? Is your school or district interested in improving the quality of the Student Learning Objectives? Participation, creative strategies, and a willingness to share is encouraged in this session!

Raising the Bar for Technology in Maine Schools
Jim Moulton, Apple Inc.

How do we help our students learn today and prepare them for a rapidly changing world? A driving force behind this change is technology. It affects the way we communicate, the way we work, the way we live day-to-day. It also empowers every individual—and every learner—to create amazing things and make a difference in the world. But first, we need to raise the bar for what’s expected, and what’s possible, for learning with technology.

Substance Abuse Resources
Maine Center for Disease Control

The presentation will provide an overview of Maine Prevention services, specifically substance and tobacco use prevention including electronic nicotine delivery systems/vaping to school leaders. The information provided will be useful for school administrators as they consider policies, practices and education necessary to protect and optimize the health and safety of students. Materials, resources and a list of community prevention providers who can support school prevention efforts will be available at this presentation.

Elevating Concussion Education: How to Address Everyone
Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI), Colby College

As schools prepare for the start of each year, it’s the perfect time to update concussion education. To ensure that head injury is addressed with each population in the district, MCMI has tailored plans to educate all stakeholders. Everyone in your district will benefit from tailored and current concussion information. Attend this session to learn more about how to get involved.

Other possible sessions:

  • Steve Levesque, and Glenn Cummings – Educating the Workforce Panel
  • Adult Education
  • Budget Methodology of State/Local Funds for ESEA
  • ESSA: School Improvement for All
  • Early Math Education
  • Post-secondary enrollment and credentialing options
  • Truancy
  • Trauma