Maine Forum on Outdoor Learning

December 2nd, 2020, 3:00 – 4:15pm: Join the Nature Based Education Consortium and other Maine co-hosts to hear from Maine schools about their experience of Outdoor Learning this fall and beyond, and share about your own challenges and solutions. Learn from the Maine Department of Education about the new $17 million ‘Rethinking Remote Education Ventures’ (RREV) grant program. Connect with other schools and organizations who are building support for life-changing outdoor learning opportunities in Maine. Build your network, gain new resources, and be inspired!

Participation is free and registration required.

Co-hosted by Maine Science Teachers Association, Maine Environmental Education Association, University of Maine at Farmington, Maine Department of Education, Inside/Outside Network – Antioch University, Cathance River Education Alliance, Center for an Ecology Based Economy, Chewonki, Environmental Living and Learning for Maine Students, Juniper Hill School, Kennebunkport Climate Initiative, Maine Audubon, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Maine Outdoor Coalition, Maine Outdoor School, Teens to Trails, The Ecology School, The Nature Conservancy, White Pine Programs, WinterKids

 

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.

Priority Notice: Maine DOE seeks public comment on waiving requirement that 21st CCLC programs operate only during non-school hours

In response to the unprecedented obstacles schools, teachers, students, and their families are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has offered an additional waiver to state education agencies, pursuant to section 4201(b)(1)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Under Title IV, Part B of the ESEA, section 4201(b)(1)(A) requiring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs operate only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.  If granted, this waiver would allow 21st CCLC program providers in Maine to temporarily operate with greater flexibilities to better meet the needs to students and families during the 2020-2021 school year.

This waiver would grant the Maine Department of Education (DOE) temporary authority to permit its 21st CCLC programs to provide supplemental services when school is in session, but students are not receiving in-person instruction.  For example, it would be permitted that a teacher provides additional 21st CCLC-funded academic supports for a group of students during a remote learning day when those students are not otherwise engaged in facilitated instruction with their classroom teacher.

The Maine DOE continues to work diligently to support Maine’s schools and educational communities as the 2020-2021 school year begins.  Given the hybrid instructional approaches many schools have adopted this year, students may benefit from dedicated staff and enhanced resources to help with remote lessons, independent work, and other enrichment opportunities during the portion of the week when remote lessons learning is occurring.  It is for reasons such as these that the Maine DOE has chosen to pursue this waiver.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on September 29, 2020 and conclude on October 14, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

MEDIA RELEASE: College Board Releases Free Parent Resources for Upcoming AP Exams

The College Board has released the new AP® Exam (Advanced Placement) schedule, which includes optional free, online AP classes and take-at-home AP Exams to support the challenges that students and families are facing because of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the Collage Board is also offering the opportunity for families to apply for help securing an internet connection and a device in order to take the exams.

Advanced Placement (AP), a program implemented by the College Board, allows high schoolers to take high school courses that can earn them college credit and/or qualify them for more advanced classes when they begin college. Many of Maine’s high schoolers were amid AP classes when they transitioned to remote learning. In a response to this drastic change in learning, the College Board has released additional resources for families and educators.

It is recommended by the College Board that parents and teachers whose students are planning on taking any of the AP exams take the weeks of April 13 and April 20th to help students work through the remaining course content and/or encourage them to participate in the live online classes and review sessions. Find them here: FREE AP Online Classes and Review Sessions

In addition, the College Board has also asked parents to let students know about the technology they’ll need to take the AP tests and to contact the College Board by April 24 if they need devices or connectivity. Here is where you can find information about getting internet connection and devices for AP exams: Information about getting Internet or a Device for AP Classes and Exams

You can find more information about the AP exams and the College Board’s response to the coronavirus on their website. In addition to the parent resources, College Board is also offering a listing of webinars among other resources for AP educators to help answer questions about the upcoming tests.

Keep Kids Moving, Keep Kids Learning!

During these cold winter days of cabin fever in the classroom, we want to support educators with resources to keep kids moving and engaged.  Evidence suggests a positive impact of physical activity on academic achievement and in reducing behavioral challenges. Active recess time, physical education classes, and utilizing action-based learning strategies in the classroom can all be part of the regular school day.

We share the following as a resource.

Programs to explore

Healthy Kids Healthy Futures:  Staff can learn about the benefits and best practices of physical activity in child care and early education (including pre-school) settings. Physical activity habits learned in early childhood can last a lifetime.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program:  This guide is for schools and school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive physical activity programs. School-age youth should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and schools have a significant role to play in helping students achieve this recommendation. This guide will help schools identify how to establish more active school environments.

Let’s Go: Let’s Go! is a childhood obesity prevention program found across Maine and in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire. These programs use evidence-based strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity among children from birth to 18. The foundation for change is the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits message, developed in Maine and recognized nationally.

Explore Physical Activity:  School staff can learn about the five components of a comprehensive school physical activity program and how this new national model can support a culture of physical activity at your school.

I Can Do It (ICDI):  The “I Can Do It” program is a strategic physical activity program for students with disabilities in the K-12 school setting designed to provide access, equity, and facilitate and encourage opportunities for students with disabilities to be physically active for 60 minutes a day.

Specific Class Motor Break Ideas

Classroom Exercise Breaks for Elementary Students:  Classroom exercise break suggestions for elementary school classrooms.

Reading:  Literacy and movement suggestions to engage middle school students in acquiring knowledge. The suggestions require minimal materials and teacher preparation.

Scholastic Teachers:  Suggestions for combining both exercise and movement in early childhood classrooms across the content areas.

Math: quick physical activity games:  Movement suggestions to engage students while improving number sense.

Physical Activity Math Games:  A list of possibilities for supporting kinesthetic learners during mathematics instruction.

Classrooms in Motion :  A review resource hub for teachers committed to infusing movement into their instructional plans.

For more information or to share ideas, contact Jean Zimmerman, Health and Physical Ed. Consultant, at  Jean.zimmerman@maine.gov or 207-624-6687.