In an effort to increase high quality CTE programs, Maine needs your input. The Maine Department of Education-Career and Technical Education Team has posted the proposed performance indicators for public comment as part of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act(Perkins V). The performance indicators, referenced as Perkins V Accountability Measures, can be found on the DOE-CTE web site as well as a survey to allow for feedback. These will be posted for 60 days to allow for public comment, after which recommendations will be reviewed by the CTE Team. For more information, contact Dwight Littlefield at email@example.com.
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.
In her opening remarks to the York and Downeast convenings of Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2), Maine Education Association (MEA) president Grace Leavitt told those assembled, “teaching is not a profession you leave at the door when the bell rings, it is always on your mind.” For the teachers packed into the Pratt & Whitney Building at York County Community College on August 7, and the Science Building at the University of Maine at Machias on August 15, summertime professional learning was certainly alive and well!
This summer marked the fifth anniversary of ECET2 in Maine and the first summer of regional Maine ECET2 convenings. Karen MacDonald and Jennifer Dorman (2014 & 2015 Maine Teachers of the Year) hosted the first ECET2 for 150 teachers at Colby College in August of 2015.
MacDonald and Dorman wrote grants, sought sponsors, and spent countless hours (!!) handling the numerous logistics involved in planning and hosting a free, overnight conference for 150 Maine teachers. Why? They wanted to share the professional learning, leadership, and respect they experienced during their national Teacher of the Year travels with teachers here in Maine. They also wanted to highlight the role teacher leaders can play in our state. Dorman and MacDonald’s efforts were enthusiastically embraced by Maine teachers not only during that first summer, but in each subsequent year. As rave reviews of ECET2 spread, more teachers joined the planning process, including Diana Allen (Sanford Schools) as another co-chair, and the conference became so popular there was not only a waitlist for attendees, but the number of presentation proposals exceeded the available session slots! These factors led to ECET2 branching out to the regional convenings that took place this summer.
Why is ECET2 so popular? Let’s start with the title—this conference is all about celebrating effective teaching and teachers—and it is, from start to finish, put on by teachers for teachers. It was born out of a desire to provide a forum for exceptional teachers to learn from one another and to celebrate the teaching profession, and seeks to realize a teacher’s potential by ensuring each convening includes these six elements:
- Nurtures trust among teachers
- Focuses on each teacher’s potential for growth
- Inspires both the intellect and the passion that drives teachers in their work
- Provides time for collaboration and learning
- Puts teachers in the lead
- Recognizes teachers as talented professionals
Inspired from their own experiences at ECET2, Pamela Starkey (Marshwood Great Works School, 2016 Oxford County Teacher of the Year), and Devan Weber (Eliot Elementary School) co-chaired ECET2 York, and Marielle Edgecomb (Peninsula School, 2017 Hancock County Teacher of the Year) chaired ECET2 Downeast. Both convenings featured breakout sessions on best teaching practices in content areas, as well as sessions on social-emotional learning and mindfulness in the classroom. Teacher leadership and innovation were embedded throughout the gatherings. Keeping in mind the importance of collaboration, inspiration, and celebration, the convenings also included these components:
Cultivating the Calling:
These inspirational talks are given by teachers on why they chose to teach, or what inspires them to continue teaching. In York, Katie Toothaker, 2018 Androscoggin Teacher of the Year, told the audience, “each school year is a new beginning for you and your students.” Toothaker shared how her teachers demonstrated the ability of public educators to nurture self-worth in their students and the difference that made for her and how she pays that forward with her own students. Teresa Gaetjens, National Board Certified Teacher, shared the importance of growth mindset, contextualizing her topic around the passing of her young daughter. This heart-wrenching story underscored the importance of perseverance both in and out of the classroom. At ECET2 Downeast, Marielle Edgecomb shared the importance of professional learning –teacher to teacher—being brave enough to open our classroom doors and teaching practices for others to see, learn from, and celebrate. Marielle challenged educators to see their students and colleagues through “eyes of appreciation.”
This is a dedicated time for teachers to collaborate on “problems of practice” and generate possible solutions. Topics this year included: teacher shortages, school improvement, mental and physical wellness, school safety, diversity, and culturally responsive teaching. In York, teachers recorded goals or action steps on a post card and gave them to the ECET2 organizers, with the understanding that they will receive them in the mail sometime this fall as a reminder/check-in on their summer work and goals.
Educator Shark Tank—a fabulous idea that was shared from another state’s ECET2!
Just like on TV—except the prize money, $1000 generously donated by the Maine Education Association, was awarded to two innovative education projects that will positively impact student learning. Educators at ECET2 Downeast submitted many compelling proposals to the Sharks, four of which made the final round. The four finalists had three minutes each to present their best “pitch” to the Sharks. After a lively round of presentations and lots of laugher, followed by clarifying questions from the Sharks, the two $500 cash awards went to the Rose Gaffney School for their proposal to use technology to increase community and collaboration, and the Brooklin School for their work on diversity and literacy. Congratulations to all who submitted proposals—the Sharks had a tough task choosing just two!
The verdict is in on the first summer of regional ECET2 convenings: resounding success! As with their central Maine ECET2 predecessors, the regional convenings provided a platform for optimistic and personal professional learning—and a true celebration of teachers and the teaching profession! As teachers were preparing to leave, many of their comments echoed Paula Bourque’s (Instructional Coach, NBCT, Augusta Schools) reflection of her ECET2 experience:
“Each of us left the conference feeling inspired, empowered, and connected. We are charged with going out and sharing what we experienced and learned with our colleagues and cultivating the calling of teacher leadership. We left with a stronger network to lean on and collaborate with as we navigate the challenges of teaching. We are dedicated to promoting teacher leadership, positive school culture, and the advocacy for what is best for our students.”
ECET2: A perfect way for educators to recharge in preparation for a new school year!
ECET2 origin and resources: https://www.teacher2teacher.education/ecet2/
The Maine Forest Products Council, through the State of Maine, has issued a proclamation celebrating Maine Forest Products Week Oct. 20-26 (in conjunction with National Forest Products Week).
Schools and educators are encouraged to consider teaching a lesson or creating a display, event or other activities to highlight one of Maine’s oldest industries. Perhaps you might partner with local forest-related businesses or organizations, such as your historical society.
The goals of this celebration are to showcase Maine’s rebounding forest products industry — with about $700 million in investments over the past few years — and to showcase forest-related businesses and jobs (more than 30,000) in every county in the state.
Sarah Medina of Seven Islands, which manages forest land for the Pingree family whose holdings date back to 1820, has written a column that explains more about Maine Forest Products Week and about activities that occur in other states with active forest products industries. The Maine Forest Products Council is also planning to set up a web page with a calendar of Maine events, be on the lookout for that.
Here are some reports that might be helpful:
- Maine’s Forest Economy 2016
- Secondary Wood Manufacturing in Maine 2017
- Understanding public access to private working forests in Maine 2018
- Maine Forest Gamechangers
For more information, resources, or help, please contact Roberta Scruggs, Communications Director, Maine Forest Products Council.
Maine DOE is proud to announce the release of Prek for ME, an open-source curriculum for preschoolers. Developed in response to public prek teachers looking for an evidence-based, whole child, content integrated curriculum that is low cost, Prek for ME builds on the Boston Public Schools preschool curriculum and contains a comprehensive program, including outdoor learning and technology activities appropriate for young children.
This is only one of many curriculum options from which school districts can choose as Maine DOE does not dictate curriculum.
Prek for ME can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/earlychildhood/PreK4ME. Educators should read the guidance documents included with the curriculum materials to support successful implementation of the curriculum.
For more information contact Nicole Madore at firstname.lastname@example.org.