PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE seeks public comment for social studies standards

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding the current social studies standards.

The social studies standards include four content areas (Civics and Government, Economics, Geography, History) and a strand about the application of social studies processes, knowledge, and skills. Each strand breaks down the standard into performance indicators and descriptors by grade bands (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-Diploma). The standards also include an introduction and a section of key ideas in the social studies standards.

The standards review process opens with public comments and public hearings prior to the convening of writing teams that will review and revise the social studies standards.  Public hearings will occur on the dates and locations listed below and are intended to give anyone the opportunity to weigh-in on the direction of future social studies standards in Maine. Anyone may speak at the public hearings which will be live-streamed.  People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of their comments.

  • February 27, 2018 – Cross Office Building, room 103, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, 6:00 – 8:00pm
  • February 28, 2018 – Houlton High School Library, 7 bird Street, Houlton, 6:00 – 8:00pm
  • March 1, 2018 – Westbrook Middle School Cafeteria, 471 Stroudwater St, Westbrook, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on March 16th, 2018. Written comments may be emailed to with the subject “Social Studies Standards Review” or mailed to Maine Department of Education, attn: Paul Hambleton, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Please note that the Department will soon be making a similar announcement for the science standards review. Public hearing dates will coincide with the dates announced in his notice (with different times so that attendees can plan accordingly). Further details will be forthcoming. This notice has been edited to include Science standards review notice.

For further information about the standards review process contact Beth Lambert at

February is African American History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society as part of African American History Month.

African American History month is a wonderful celebration of the contributions that African Americans have made to American history and culture. Below are some resources to help educators integrate African American history into the curriculum not only in the month of February but on a regular basis. Check out thoughts by UNC School of Education and Teaching Tolerance.

Other resources related to African American History Month:

For more information contact Joe Schmidt, Social Studies Specialist, Maine Department of Education at (207) 624-6828 or


Nominations Now Open for Maine History Teacher of the Year

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is seeking nominations for the Maine History Teacher of the Year.

State History Teachers of the Year receive $1,000, an archive of materials for their school’s library, and an invitation to attend a 2019 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar.

The deadline for 2018 nominations is March 31, 2018.

Check out the informational flyer or the Gilder Lehrman website for more information.

Winter holidays in the classroom

The following information has been put together with the support of the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (CS4) to help educators who are planning to include seasonal holiday activities in their classrooms and at their schools.

Before planning, think about the following questions compiled from,, the First Amendment Center, and Teaching Tolerance:

  • Is this activity designed in any way to promote or inhibit religion?
  • How does this activity serve the academic goals of the course, or the educational mission of the school?
  • Will any student or parent be made to feel like an outsider, not a full member of your classroom community, by this activity?
  • If in December, are there plans to teach about religious holidays at other times of the year or do we only teach about holidays in December?
  • Are your planned activities centered around only one winter holiday?
  • Are you prepared to teach about the religious meaning and significance of this holiday in a way that enriches all of your students’ understanding about history and culture?
  • Is the activity you planned show tolerance for all religions or is it focusing on one main religion?
  • Is a celebration a Christmas party or a winter party? The latter is okay.
  • Are you displaying holiday decorations with a religious theme?

Additional resources for teaching about holidays:

For more information contact Joe Schmidt, Maine DOE Social Studies Specialist at (207) 624-6828 or

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application Deadline is Oct. 6

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application Deadline is Oct. 6

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), established in 1962, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students. Each year, two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity spend a week in Washington, D.C., experiencing their national government in action. Student delegates hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies. Delegates also participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, each delegate will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses are provided by the Hearst Foundations.

Maine delegates are nominated by their principal and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Students are permanent residents of the U.S., and one of their parents or guardians is a legal resident of Maine.
  2. Students are juniors or seniors in a Maine school.
  3. Students must have been elected or appointed to one of the following posts for the current school year:
    • Member or officer of student council, student senate or equivalent student government organization
    • Class officer – president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
    • Student representative on a district-, regional- or state-level civic and/or educational organization

Informational packets and specific instructions were mailed to high school principals and headmasters in August. Each principal may nominate one eligible student for consideration.

Oct. 6 is the deadline for completed applications to be sent via postal mail to: Joe Schmidt, USSYP Coordinator; Maine Department of Education; 23 State House Station; Augusta, Maine 04333.

On Oct. 20 up to 10 finalists will be notified of advancement to the final round, then in November the 10 finalists will convene at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan for interviews with a selection committee. The two finalists and two alternates will be announced in December.

Find Application materials and more information about the USSYP.

Educational programing on Constitution Day

On September 17, the nation celebrates Constitution Day. Per Constitution and Citizenship Day legislation passed by the United States Congress in 2005, “Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.”

This year, September 17 falls on a Sunday, so the Constitutional programming should take place on Monday, September 18, as it is the “adjacent weekday”.

For more information about the history of Constitution and Citizenship Day check visit the Library of Congress website. For additional resources visit the Maine DOE – Social Studies resources page or contact Joe Schmidt, Social Studies Specialist for the Maine Department of Education at (207) 624-6828 or


Secretary of State hosting ‘Voter Reg Rumble’ competition to encourage youth registration

This general election season, Maine’s Secretary of State is hosting a voter registration competition encouraging students to get involved in the electoral process.

Continue reading “Secretary of State hosting ‘Voter Reg Rumble’ competition to encourage youth registration”