Student Career & Degree Exploration Event at Thomas College on 9/30 and 10/28  

Thomas College, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Teacher of the Year Association, is hosting two hands-on, experiential career exploration days led by professional faculty and college students.

These career and degree exploration events are open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will have the opportunity to select a track and work with Thomas College professors and students to tackle real-world challenges.

The day also includes campus tours, lunch, and Thomas College swag.  Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!

Choose one day to attend:

September 30th
9am – 1:30pm
Thomas College
October 28th
9am – 1:30pm
Thomas College

Students attending can choose from the following tracks:

  • Future Teachers
  • Future Business Leaders
  • Future Tech Innovators
  • Future Crime Scene Analysts

Note: Thomas College does have some limited funding available to help support transportation to and from campus. Please reach out if you/your school would need this! For more information, please contact or 207-859-1101.

Register now!

New Maine Initiative to Build Ag Literacy Through Immersive CTE Culinary Arts Programs

A new University of Maine initiative to build agricultural literacy through an immersive culinary experience for career and technical education (CTE) culinary arts instructors is one of 21 projects funded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIFA has invested $6.2 million in the Professional Development and Secondary School Teacher grants to increase the number of K–14 teachers and educational professionals trained in the food and agricultural sciences. The grants to prepare more educators in food and ag science, and support best teaching practices that enhance student learning outcomes, are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

UMaine’s Building Agriculture Literacy Through an Immersive Culinary Experience project, which received a $300,000, four-year grant, is led by Kathy Savoie, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor; Willie Grenier, executive director of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom; and Rob Dumas, UMaine food science pilot plant manager. CTE culinary arts instructors will receive professional development experiences to increase their agricultural literacy, and enhance the connectedness between agriculture and food service in their culinary arts curricula.

A goal of the project is to help create a skilled, educated workforce that will increase the use of Maine grown, processed and produced foods in their programs and careers by changing the way students — tomorrow’s food professionals — think about the importance and value of local food, according to the researchers.

“Providing professional development experiences for CTE instructors will help to shift culinary arts programs toward local food system education with the end goal to create a workforce that is proficient in Maine agriculture, and that will be poised to meet today’s consumer needs and ultimately boost our state agriculture” says Savoie, the principal investigator on the initiative.

The project provides a holistic approach to uniting community partners to identify the best practices for agriculture literacy education at CTE culinary arts programs in Maine. UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Agriculture in the Classroom will collaborate to provide experiential learning opportunities for CTE culinary arts instructors through a week-long Immersive Culinary Arts Summer Institute. Project activities will include hands-on experience in local food procurement practices, demonstrations of food system lessons, educational field trips, financial support for experiential activities through their existing school restaurants, participation in a UMaine Local Foods Competition and coaching during the school year.

The CTE instructors also will experience the educational power of job shadowing, flipped classrooms and working relationships with employers that could help students make career connections. Participating instructors will be eligible to receive mini-grants to support nontraditional learning experiences — on-site learning opportunities with farmers, food processors and butchers, for example, and at food hubs, food incubator labs, aquaculture facilities, food pantries and restaurants — to increase students’ understanding of local food systems. In addition, the UMaine Food Pilot Plant will host local food competitions for CTE culinary arts students, challenging them to use Maine foods in creative and innovative ways to meet the demands of today’s consumers.

Early College Online: UMF Course Gives Mt. Blue Senior the Chance to Research and Share Family History

Early College student Sylvie Haslam, a senior at Mt Blue High School recently published the first part of a three part story on University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Professor and Author Luann Yetter’s website as part of an Early College course she took this past summer at UMF.

“Sylvie was just one of many high school students, statewide, really, who took advantage of the opportunity to take classes last summer, when the pandemic hit and UMF moved their summer classes online,” said Clarissa Thompson, Early College Campus Coordinator and Associate Professor of Secondary and Middle Education at UMF.

Early college courses are available to Maine high school students at University of Maine System Schools and Maine’s Community Colleges as well through Maine’s Aspirations Program, which is administered by the Maine Department of Education. Students may now apply for early college opportunities at all of Maine’s colleges and universities using one common application portal, this new tool is a significant usability upgrade for students and families navigating early college options in Maine.

The UMF course that Sylvie took is called, Local Stories/Your Stories. Along with classmates from across Maine, she dove into her own local town and family history as material for creative nonfiction, engaging in personal interviews, genealogies, and looking through old newspapers (among other things) to create a vivid story of her personal history.

“This is a great example of the types of expanded opportunities our high school students have as part of the Aspirations program,” said Amy Hubbard, Executive Director of Early College at University of Maine System.

As an introduction to Sylvie’s story, Professor Yetter writes:

Last summer when I taught my class on writing local and family history I got to read some wonderful work. One of the projects I know will be of interest to my readers is this one by Mt. Blue High School senior Sylvie Haslam. Sylvie’s family history in Weld is interwoven with the Cushman family, prominent in the 1800s, and with artist Seavern Hilton who made his mark in the mid twentieth century. Join us as Sylvie explores Weld history, family history and the folk art that traveled far beyond the village of Weld. I have divided her fascinating account into three parts. In Part I, below, we are introduced to the Michael Graham farm and the Cushman family, whose ties to the land go back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. I’m sure you will agree that Sylvie is a talented writer. This high school student has a great future ahead of her!”

Read Part One of Sylvie’s story here: The Shop Land, Part I

UMF and the other University of Maine System campuses, as well as Maine’s Community College System campuses offer a wide range of classes that Maine high school students have continued to participate in online.

“Students have really jumped at the opportunity to take them,” adds Thompson. While participation had been growing steadily before the pandemic, early college programming helped provide additional options for students as high schools adjusted to online and hybrid schedules. Students who participate in early college are more likely to attend college, have higher grades in college, and are more likely to graduate on time.

For more information about early college options at UMF specifically, contact Clarissa Thompson at

Information for this article was provided by the University of Maine System and the University of Maine at Farmington as part of the Maine DOE Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. The Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign is an avenue for Maine schools to celebrate successes and share innovative ideas, practices, and models that can be adapted and easily implemented by other Maine schools. Stories are not an endorsement of specific materials, services, or practices and are not intended to promote learning programs that are of cost to students, families, or schools. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at

Maine Community College Students Named to All-Maine Academic Team

Twenty-one Maine community college students have been named to the All-Maine Academic Team in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and service.

They were honored last night in a virtual ceremony. For a recording of the presentation go to:

The students receiving the award and a $500 scholarship from the MCCS Board of Trustees, are:

  • Nicholas Bennett, Gray, Central Maine Community College in Auburn
  • Emma Gay, Winthrop, Central Maine Community College;
  • Coleen Heiser, Canton, Central Maine Community College;
  • Jeffrey Palmer, Tamworth, NH, Central Maine Community College;
  • Britney Eberhardt, Prospect, Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor;
  • Jennifer Hodgins, Brewer, Eastern Maine Community College;
  • Joy Sharrow, Bowerbank, Eastern Maine Community College;
  • Adrian Hoyt, Benton, Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield/Hinckley;
  • Felecia Paradis, Fairfield, Kennebec Valley Community College;
  • Natacha Valley, Winslow, Kennebec Valley Community College;
  • Kristin Wallaker, New Portland, Kennebec Valley Community College;
  • Valerie Bilogue Minkala, Presque Isle, Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle;
  • Leeann Kaiser, Easton, Northern Maine Community College;
  • John McNally, Patten, Northern Maine Community College;
  • Savannah Green, South Portland, Southern Maine Community College in South Portland/Brunswick;
  • Cortney Luce, Poland, Southern Maine Community College;
  • Rachel Ackley, Cooper, Washington County Community College in Calais;
  • Donna Mutty, Calais,  Washington County Community College;
  • Jessica Stevens, East Machias,  Washington County Community College;
  • Dana Comeau,  Kennebunkport,  York County Community College in Wells and
  • Travis Richards, Moody, York County Community College.

In addition, Jennifer Hodgins (EMCC) and Kristin Wallaker (KVCC) have been named Maine New Century Scholars for earning the highest scores in the state on their All-USA Academic Team applications.

Hodgins has been named the 2021 Maine New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and will receive a $2,250 scholarship.

Wallaker is the 2021 Maine New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

KVCC’s Adrian Hoyt was one of only 50 students nationwide name a Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

The New Century Pathway Scholarship program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa. Only one New Century Transfer and Workforce Scholar is selected from each state.

The All-Maine Academic Team is a program of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges. Students are nominated and selected for the team by their college.

Information for this article was provided by Maine Community College System as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. The Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign is an avenue for Maine schools to celebrate successes and share innovative ideas, practices, and models that can be adapted and easily implemented by other Maine schools. Stories are not an endorsement of specific materials, services, or practices and are not intended to promote learning programs that are of cost to students, families, or schools. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at 

Learning Facilitator Program- Great Resource for Schools, Free for Trainees!

In order to be responsive to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7. Based on the Executive Order, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with Maine Community College System and Eastern Maine Community College, has developed the Learning Facilitator Program, a fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen and support a high quality educator workforce.

The program, which is offered at no cost to the participants, is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty.

  • A week-long 3-credit course “boot camp” with foundational elements of classroom management and school culture. Additionally, the core boot camp curriculum includes training in COVID readiness, bloodborne pathogens, suicide awareness and prevention, mandated reporter training, and fingerprint clearance in order to address both substitute teacher and long-term support staff preparedness.
  • The second phase of the program consists of a combination of online work, professional learning community meetings, and a structured teaching apprenticeship (315 hours).

Upon completion of the 3-credit course “boot camp,” participants will have the foundational skills necessary to fill short- and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. They can support instruction and provide guidance to learners in the classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher or teaching team. Mentor teachers or teaching teams may be working remotely or in-person. Special coding for Learning Facilitators has been created within NEO for schools, so that subsidy will not be impacted.

Educators who complete all elements of the Learning Facilitator Program, as outlined above, will qualify for an Educational Technician III certification.

For more information related to the program, please visit the EMMC website, here.