Students Learn What it is Like to be an Educator at Thomas College Teacher Academy

With a steep teacher shortage facing many communities in Maine, Thomas College and the Maine Department of Education teamed up to offer a daylong experimental teaching environment to further engage Maine students who are interested in teaching as a profession.

Students from all over Maine spent the day at Thomas College to learn more about what it’s like to be a teacher. The aspiring educators were able to participate in college level education courses offered by Thomas College professors Richard Biffle, Katie Rybakova, and by Lawrence High School teacher, Eric Brown.

The courses covered lessons in social emotional learning, inclusion, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics education, and an overview of lesson planning and implementation – what to expect (or not expect), how to think on your feet, and how make the content relevant to students. The event aimed to give students a better understanding of education as a career path, by providing hands-on experiences that can help solidify their career aspirations, and at the same time give them a taste of post-secondary education.

The unique event drew coverage from WABI and Central Maine among others who were eager to report on a collaborative effort that aims to tackle the workforce shortage of teachers in the state of Maine.

 

Enrollment up at Maine’s Community Colleges

The Maine Community College System announced last week that preliminary enrollment figures show a 6.3 percent increase in enrolled students this fall compared to the same time last year.

The increase is in sharp contrast to a nationwide trend of declining enrollments at two-year public colleges over the last several years. The strong showing is due in part to a number of new initiatives at the colleges aimed at attracting and retaining more students. The system also did not raise tuition for this academic year, maintaining the lowest tuition and fees in New England.

As of September 23, the system-wide headcount is up 6.3 percent (an additional 966 students) from the same date a year ago. All seven colleges report increases, the largest of which are at Eastern Maine Community College, up 10.4 percent with 2,141 students enrolled compared to 1,939 last year at this time, and at Southern Maine Community College up 8.2 percent, with 6,078 students enrolled compared to 5,618 a year ago.

At the same time, the system is also seeing a surge of participation in its short-term job training programs which are not included in the fall headcount enrollment numbers.

In the last year, the number of trainees who completed short-term training programs funded by the MCCS Maine Quality Centers (MQC) program has almost doubled to 1,602, up from 897 in the previous year. MQC works with Maine employers to provide customized training that is free to trainees and is focused on strengthening the skills of the Maine workforce.

“We’re seeing significant growth both in our programs that lead to one-year certificates and two-year degrees and in short-term training,” MCCS President David Daigler told the system’s Board of Trustees at a meeting Wednesday in Bangor. “Demand from both employers and individuals looking to gain the skills needed to compete in this new economy is exploding and stretching our ability to respond.”

The high demand for both degree programs and short-term training at Maine’s community colleges is particularly noteworthy given the state’s record low unemployment, aging demographics and widespread workforce shortages. Community college enrollment has historically been tied to the economy, going up during periods of high unemployment and declining when jobs are plentiful.

Fall enrollment increases have been driven in part by initiatives at campuses across the state. Among the new efforts are: doubling the number of visits to some high schools, replacing group orientations with one-on-one orientation sessions; reaching prospective students through texting instead of email; adding new high-demand programs including plumbing, HVAC and esports; and giving students new online tools to communicate with others to increase peer-to-peer connections.

Enrollment numbers for fall 2019 will be finalized in mid-October.

See the full release with graphics on the MCCS website.

Future Teachers Academy: Free Event for High School Students Interested in Exploring the Field of Education

Future Teachers Academy, an event for students who are interested in exploring the field of education, is being hosted by Thomas College and will be held on November 8th from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm on their campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

During the event students will be able to participate in a daylong, hands-on and experimental teaching environment, led by professional faculty from the Thomas College School of Education, as well as partners from the Maine Department of Education and Maine Teachers of the Year.

Future Teachers Academy

When: November 8, 2019, 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
Where:
Thomas College
Who:
Open to Maine high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Register here

For further information please call (207) 859-1111.

 

Meet the First Cohort of Maine’s Leadership Development Program 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently launched a new leadership program called Maine’s Leadership Development Program (Maine LDP). The initiative aims to build and strengthen instructional leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders at schools, districts, and across the state.  

A group of 18 education leaders in Maine, including superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum and instructional leaders, regional education leaders, Maine DOE staff, and other school and district level staff are among the first cohort of candidates on track to become certified trainers and facilitators of future cohorts. The names, pictures, and biographies of the group of Fellows in the 1st cohort of the Maine LPD can be found here. 

The Maine LDP is a partnership among the Maine DOE and its successful Transformation Leaders’ Network, along with the National Institute for School Leaders (NISL) and their nationally recognized Executive Development Program (EDP). NISL experts are delivering the Maine LDP curriculum and will provide additional training for Maine LDP facilitators. The cohort has already begun its trainings with a session about strategic thinking within systems, and high quality aligned instructional systems in classrooms, schools, and at the state level. The program is a full year commitment. 

LDP Fellow Al Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Vassalboro School Department, had this to say about the training so far, “ Some of the richest, most robust and rewarding professional learning that I have experienced in recent memory. Powerful readings, case studies reinforced with video snapshots, and engaging conversations have left me eager for the next session and future sessions over the coming year.” 

Paul Knowles, an educational leadership lecturer at the University of Maine and the UMaine Liaison to the Maine DOE for this initiative added that, “The University of Maine and the Educational Leadership Department are pleased to partner with the Department of Education for this important work. Personally, I am impressed with the caliber, diversity, passion, and commitment of the leaders participating in Maine’s Leadership Development Program.” 

Maine’s LDP is delivered through a blended learning model and includes study, inquiry, and hands-on activities with practical applications that meet the rigorous expectations for today’s educational leaders. Some graduates from this cohort will deliver the Maine LDP curriculum to future cohorts regionally.  The Department will be releasing an application for those interested in applying to be in the 2nd cohort of the LDP in March of 2020.

Maine High School Students Can Still Apply for Early College Courses 

The University of Maine System released the following message yesterday regarding applications for early college courses:

Maine students and their families still have one week to explore and apply for Early College courses at all of Maine’s Public Universities using the ExploreEC Portal.  The portal is new for the fall semester and classes start September 3rd.  UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy welcomed students and their families to Orono today for an Early College Orientation and urged everyone to share the news that students throughout the state still have to apply now for fall Early College courses.

Apply Now with New ExploreEC Portal:  The University of Maine System launched the ExploreEC portal to allow high school students to explore and apply for Early College courses at all seven campuses with one streamlined application.  Students from 120 Maine high schools and homeschooled students have already used the ExploreEC portal to register for classes this fall and over 300 school counselors have received training and access to support students with the online application process.  Students still have a week to explore and apply at: ExploreEC.maine.edu

Earn $3,000 in Free College Credits with Early College Career Exploration Certificates:  High school students can now explore and begin preparing for careers with immediate opportunities in the Maine workforce.  The Early College Career Exploration Certificates guide high school students as they learn about majors and career options.  Upon completion, students earn a designation on their university transcript. The college credits they earn can save their families approximately $3,000 in tuition costs.  Visit  https://academics.maine.edu/early-college/pathways/ to learn more about the Early College Career Exploration Certificates being offered.

Read the entire media release from the University of Maine System here or visit: http://www.maine.edu/thousands-heading-back-school-early-college/