Celebrating the growth and success of Career & Technical Education

When the U.S. Smith-Hughes Act was signed in 1917, establishing technical (or “vocational”) education in agriculture, few would have suspected the evolution of a much broader based Career and Technical Education (CTE) system across the country, including 12.5 million high school and college students in such subjects as agriculture, automotive technology, biotechnology, culinary arts, health occupations, and many others.  Today’s CTE programs reflect the increasingly complex technologies and advanced skills required of 21st century workers.

February is “CTE Month” in the United States, with a 2018 theme “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow.”  During this time, CTE programs across the country celebrate the many talents and accomplishments of their students, teachers, administrators and schools.  With rigorous technical program standards that also incorporate connections to required academics, CTE students are provided an education intended to prepare them for both entry-level positions toward high wage professions, as well as further post-secondary studies and training.  Connections to American industry are included in CTE programs in order to ensure that students are proficient in the latest practices and technologies, as well as links to future employers.  CTE not only provides students with the skills and understanding to be successful in their careers, but also establishes practical connections through which they may better understand and apply their academic education.  Students in CTE programs tend to be excited by what they are learning and eager to apply their education to the real world. To learn more about this opportunity for all students see the links below:

In  Maine the CTE system is a robust, relevant pathway for all students.

CTE education allows students to obtain industry credentials that are important to Maine businesses and companies. The required program advisory industry participation ensures this.  http://www.maine.gov/doe/cte/schools/standards/assessments.html http://www.maine.gov/doe/cte/resources/cluster.html

Recent legislation allows CTE as a pathway for students to earn a proficiency based diploma – students can now use their participation in an approved CTE program to meet the requirements of graduation. This will allow more students access to the rigorous programming in our CTE schools and gain more formal recognition for their learning and achievement in CTE. https://mainedoenews.net/?s=CTE+pathway

CTE uses research and labor statistics to approve their programs – this allows programs to remain relevant and incorporates labor needs into the programs offered to students. http://www.maine.gov/doe/cte/schools/documents/guide.pdf

CTE has revamped its programs in the last five years by hard work and commitment. We have:

  • implemented national industry standards,
  • developed an assessment system and the process to allow students to obtain an industry recognized credential
  • documented intersections between academic and CTE standards
  • developed secondary / post-secondary articulation systems including dual enrollments and state wide credits
  • Providing million-dollar equipment grants for CTE each year
  • developed and funded the bridge year program
  • increased trainings on safety and labor requirements

changed certification requirements to allow more industry experts to serve as CTE teachers who share their knowledge with our students

The CTE programs allow the students of Maine to prosper in their careers here in Maine and nationally.

For more information on Maine CTE, contact: Margaret.harvey@maine.gov

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE awards second round of EMBRACE grants for regional efforts

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today announced that 11 new EMBRACE grants have been awarded to school districts and other education agencies. Made available as part of the statewide regionalization initiative, the round-two EMBRACE grants prioritize Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional and Coordinated approaches to Education. The awardees are partnering on a regional level to improve educational opportunities for students.

A total of 19 applications were received by the Department for the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES) grant, which was made available to districts last fall. Of those 19 applications, 11 have been conditionally awarded funding. Based on the funding requests, totaling $4.6 million, the 11 awardees are projected to save over $10 million in a 5-year period.

In the first round of EMBRACE grants in 2017, 10 grantees were awarded a total of $4.5 million in funds for regionalization efforts, and in 2019 an additional $5 million in competitive grant opportunities will be available as part of the EMBRACE initiative.

Round two EMBRACE (FEDES) grant project descriptions:

Creating a Strong and Sustainable Regional Collaborative for Professional Development in Washington County

This project will re-establish the Washington County Consortium by creating a sustainable infrastructure for offering professional development in Washington county. This regional effort is intended to provide students with excellent school leaders and teachers.


  • Lead SAU – Calais Public Schools
  • Cherryfield Public Schools
  • Maine Indian Education
  • RSU 37/MSAD 37 (Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Milbridge)
  • AOS 77 (Alexander, Baring Plantation, Charlotte, Crawford, Dennysville, Eastport, Pembroke, Perry, Robbinston, RSU 85/MSAD 19 (Lubec))
  • AOS 90 (Baileyville, Carroll Plantation, Cooper, Drew Plantation, East Range CSD (Codyville Plantation, Topsfield), Grand Lake Stream Plantation, Lakeville, Lee, Macwahoc Plantation, Meddybemps, Princeton, Reed Plantation, RSU 30/MSAD 30 (Lee, Springfield, Webster Plantation, Winn)
  • AOS 96 (Cutler, East Machias, Jonesboro, Machias, Machiasport, Marshfield, Northfield, Roque Bluffs, Wesley, Whiting, Whitneyville)
  • Washington Academy
  • UM Machias
  • Washington County Consortium
  • Washington County Leadership Team

 Great Falls Regional Support for Preschoolers with Disabilities 

This project will support the transition of special education services for 3- to 5-year olds into the Lewiston School Department with full implementation by August 2020 to ensure a successful early integration of students into district schools.


  • Lead SAU – Lewiston Public Schools
  • Auburn Public Schools
  • RSU 16 (Mechanic Falls, Minot, Poland)
  • RSU 52/MSAD 52 (Green, Leeds, Turner)

Greater Biddeford CDS Regionalization Project 

This project will support the transition of special education services for 3- to 5-year olds into the Biddeford School Department with full implementation by school-year 2021 to ensure a successful early integration of students into district schools.


  • Lead SAU – Biddeford Public Schools
  • Dayton Public Schools

Kennebec Valley Expanded STEAM Outreach Project

This project will build on clear evidence of improved student outcomes to support the expansion of the current STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program, which was funded through the round-one EBRACE grant. STEM-related arts will be added to the curriculum and student access will be increased. The STEAM program will introduce middle school students to STEAM educational experiences and career pathways.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • RSU 83/MSAD 13 (Bingham, Moscow)
  • RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)

Kennebec Valley Whatever It Takes School

This project will support a middle school alternative education program that aims to reduce dropout and truancy rates by providing new and improved opportunities for at- risk students with multiple pathways for achievement.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)
  • RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • RSU 83/MSAD 13 (Bingham, Moscow)

 Northern Penobscot Regional Partnership

This project will support the development of a flexible regional service center that initially focuses on increasing program opportunities for students by creating an alternative education program, a shared world language program, and providing access to regional student support services.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 67 (Chester, Lincoln, Mattawamkeag)
  • East Millinocket Public Schools
  • Medway Public Schools
  • Millinocket Public Schools
  • RSU 30/MSAD 30 (Lee, Springfield, Webster Plantation, Winn)

PBIS Regional Professional Development Cohort

This project will create a sustainable, regional professional development program with a multi-tiered Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework using evidence-based behavioral practices shown to improve academic achievement and social-emotional growth among students as well as improving overall school climate.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 3/MSAD 3 (Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity, Waldo)
  • Brewer Community School
  • Indian Island School
  • RSU 20 (Searsport, Stockton Springs)
  • Wiscasset Elementary School
  • University of Maine

Southern Aroostook Area Regional Alternative Center

This project will create a high school alternative education program that will provide students with learning opportunities in career and technical education with the aim of increasing individual achievement levels and graduation rates in a personalized learning environment.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 29/MSAD 29 (Hammond, Houlton, Littleton, Monticello)
  • RSU 50 (Crystal, Dyer Brook, Hersey, Island Falls, Merrill, Moro Plantation, Mount Chase, Oakfield, Patten, Sherman, Smyrna, Staceyville)
  • RSU 70/MSAD 70 (Amity, Haynesville, Hodgdon, Linneus, Ludlow, New Limerick)
  • RSU 84/MSAD 14 (Danforth, Weston)

Unified Valley Cooperative Project

This project will support the development of a regional service center that will share central administration services and resources. This increased efficiency will allow resources to be reallocated to student programming including career education, world language classes, skill certification, and an innovation lab.


  • Lead SAU – MSAD 27 (Fort Kent, New Canada, St. Francis, St. John Plantation, Wallagrass)
  • Madawaska Public Schools
  • RSU 33/MSAD 33 (Frenchville, St. Agatha)

 Westbrook-Gorham Adult CTE Program

This project will support the creation of a regional adult education program that will provide adult learners access to career and technical education that will prepare them for high-skill, high-demand occupations that have defined pathways for advancement.


  • Lead SAU – Westbrook Public Schools
  • Gorham Public Schools

Western Maine Standard Analysis

This project will support an audit of the programming and graduation standards across the regional members. The analysis will lead to greater uniformity of standards across districts to support seamless transfer of student achievement from school to school and collaborative staff development.


  • Lead SAU – RSU 73 (Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls)
  • RSU 9 (Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld, Wilton)
  • RSU 10 (Buckfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford, Sumner)
  • RSU 44/MSAD 44 (Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, Woodstock)
  • RSU 56 (Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Peru)
  • RSU 58 (Avon, Kingfield, Phillips, Strong)
  • RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)
  • RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • Western Maine Education Collaborative



PRIORITY NOTICE: 2018/19 subsidy printouts (ED279s) available with detailed explanation of funding changes

The fiscal year 2018-2019 ED 279 subsidy printouts are now available: http://www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

The subsidy printouts are provided based on $1.1 billion in funding allocated to education in the 2018/19 Biennial Budget that was enacted by the Maine State Legislature. See the trend in education funding from 2011 – 2019.

As a reminder, a number of EPS funding formula changes were also enacted as part of the budget. Many of these changes were made to both increase funds to education and to target more funds toward classroom expenditures. Provided below is a detailed list of the changes along with other important factors that impact EPS funding formula calculations.

Funding changes enacted in the budget:

  • Essential Programs and Services (EPS) Operating Transition Percentage – What is recognized as essential programs and services has increased from 97% to 100% due to a repeal of the EPS transition percentage. This means that the formula now recognizes 100% total cost allocation as calculated by the formula for each district. The 3% increase has resulted in over $42 million increased funding for education.
  • Funds for Special Education – There were several changes enacted that resulted in more funding to special education students. These changes have resulted in an increase of $30 million in funding for special education:
    • The weight for special education students increased from 1.27 per student to 1.50 per student. This change provides more funding to districts with higher number of special education students.
    • The Special Education Adjustment made for minimum receivers has increased from 33% to 40%.
    • Incentives are provided to public schools that place special education students in regional special purpose schools closer to home versus placing students in private schools further away.
    • The Special Education Budgetary Hardship Fund is now available for districts to apply for additional special education funding when they receive high cost special education student/s during the current school year, rather than wait for the coming year to receive extra funding.
  • Career & Technical Education (CTE) – Allocation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) is now based on a program-driven cost model, which bases the calculation of state subsidy on the following components: direct instruction, central administration, supplies, operation and maintenance of plant, other student and staff support, and student enrollment. As part of this model, State subsidy payments will be made directly to Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions and replaces both state and local share for the costs included in the model. Going forward, assessments will only be necessary for costs outside/above the model, such as new equipment or costs not covered by the model. FY19 CTE Centers & Regions Summary Estimate Funding Levels.
  • Additional Public Preschool funding – An additional $10 million in funding has been specifically allocated toward new and expanded public preschool programs.
  • Town valuation – Each town’s valuation is provided by the Maine Revenue Service each year and is part of the calculation that determines the town’s ability to pay local share. Previously the amounts used were determined based on the average valuation of the previous 3 years for each town. This coming fiscal year they will be based on an average of the previous 2 years. This change has created an increased “ability to pay” for some towns resulting in a higher required local share.
  • Student-to-Teacher ratio for New Early Childhood programs –  The student to teacher ratio for programs for 4-year-old through kindergarten has changed from 17 – 1 to 15 – 1. This change has resulted in an $8 million increase in funding.
  • Funding for System Administration – Allocation for system administration has gone from a rate of $135 per pupil in FY18 to $92 per pupil in FY19. Districts pursuing a Regional Service Center as part of Chapter 123 were allotted an additional $46 per pupil, pending approval of round II applications.
  • Basic pupil count – The pupil count used in EPS calculations is based on an average of the previous two year’s October pupil counts (reported by each district). Previously, it was based on the average of the most recent October and April counts.
  • State share percentage has grown – The average State share percentage has grown to 53.02%. The previous year was 52.02%.

Other important factors that impact EPS calculations:

  • Mil Rate – The Mil Rate, which is used as part of the calculation that determines each towns ability to pay required local share is 8.51. Previously the Mil Rate was 8.19.
  • Student enrollment – A dramatic increase or decrease in student enrollment has a major impact on funding because the EPS funding formula’s major driver is student population.
  • Changes in debt service payments – Districts that have either paid off or begun to pay principal or interest payments for equipment (new school, new bus, etc.), that the State has allocated funds to pay those payments could see dramatic changes in calculations if either payments no longer need to be made or if payments have begun.

Further information about FY 19 EPS can be found on the Maine DOE website.

Districts that have questions regarding subsidy printouts can contact the School Finance Team: Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov; Paula Gravelle at paula.b.gravelle@maine.gov; or Ida Batista at ida.batista@maine.gov.

Media that have questions about school funding should contact Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207)624-6747

PRIORITY NOTICE: Guidance for Changes to Career and Technical Education Funding

Beginning with fiscal year (FY) 2018/2019 state funding for education, the State allocation for Career and Technical Education (CTE) will be based on a program-driven cost model, which bases the calculation of state subsidy on the following components: direct instruction, central administration, supplies, operation and maintenance of plant, other student and staff support, and student enrollment.

State subsidy payments will be made directly to Career and Technical Education Centers and Regions. In this model, State subsidy will replace both state and local share for the costs included in the model, which should provide relief to assessment payments that sending schools would have previously received. Going forward, local assessments will only be necessary for costs outside/above the model, such as new equipment or costs not covered by the model.

When the FY 2018/2019 ED279 subsidy printouts are released, SAUs and school board members should consider these changes as they review their state allocation and move toward setting a 2018/2019 budget.

As a reminder, the ED279s are on track for release by the February 1 statutory deadline.

Further details about the new model can be found in the CTE Model Executive Summary. Further questions about funding can be directed to Tyler Backus at Tyler.Backus@maine.gov and questions about CTE operations can be directed to Paul Hambleton at Paul.Hambleton@maine.gov.

Reach Higher Maine Webinar: The New CTE Pathway to Maine’s Proficiency Diploma

Reach Higher Maine has developed a series of free webinars designed to provide school counselors & those working with student’s tools to use in their college and career readiness programs.

Live Webinar Date:  January 31st 2018, 1:30 PM

The webinar will be recorded and available on the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom

Description: Presenters will dispel the myths surrounding the CTE Pathway by showcasing the talent, ambition and resilience of CTE students. Through video, we will share the stories of students who have walked the CTE pathway and turned struggle and uncertainty in to self-confidence and future promise.  We will take the time to clarify the new CTE diploma pathway and discuss how CTE schools statewide can act as a resource and academic partner for students working toward achieving proficiency in an evidence based system

The webinar is free and will provide a certificate of completion upon request as well as access to the Discussion Board where you can ask questions of the presenters or the rest of the attendees.  We are hoping this will encourage attendees to share best practices.

Register for this course 


  • Danielle Despins, MOA/CSR Coordinator – Special Populations and Gender Equity Coordinator from the Maine Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education team
  • Dave Boardman, Ed.D. Mass Media Communications instructor at the Mid-Maine Technical Center

Handouts include:

  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Pathway Requirements
  • Maine Proficiency Diploma Requirements


  • Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom A Google email (@Gmail.com) account is needed to access to the Google Classroom

  • To access this webinar after January 31st or to access past webinars, log into the Reach Higher Maine Google Classroom. Once you are logged into your email, click the + in the upper right hand corner to “Create or join your first class!,” then select “Join class.” The class code is 1bs991n.
  • Welcome and Orientation to Education SeriesShort video to help you access and navigate the Google Classroom so that you can get the most out of this experience 


For more information please contact Reach Higher Maine at ReachHigherMaine@gmail.com

Reach Higher Maine is a coalition of Maine education & workforce professionals with the goal of helping to expose Maine students to education and career opportunities by helping to support school counselors in their work.