Mainers take on the Read to ME Challenge

After First Lady Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge with second graders at Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta on February 1, it didn’t take long for others across the state to join in the campaign to promote awareness of the importance of reading regularly to and with children.  The Saco School Department hosted Maine children’s author, Chris Van Dusen, who accepted the challenge and read to students at Fairfield Elementary School that same day.  Van Dusen quickly challenged the Saco School Department’s superintendent and Fairfield Elementary School’s principal and their efforts have even reached Maine State Senator Chenette.

A bit further north, Lewiston Public Schools’ superintendent, Bill Webster, posted the challenge encouraging educators, parents, and community members read to children throughout the month. Very quickly, students at Lewiston’s McMahon School stepped up to get busy reading followed by students at Montello Elementary.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) promotes the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.  Since the kick-off, parents, educators and community members have been stepping up to accept the challenge and issue challenges of their own.  With more than 60 partner organizations helping to support the effort, many minutes of reading have been logged across the state.

Some of the partners in the campaign have included institutions of higher education and community literacy teams.  In northern Maine, a number of staff and administration from the University of Maine at Fort Kent have read to students in three St. John Valley elementary schools – Fort Kent Elementary, Madawaska Elementary, and Dr. Levesque Elementary in Frenchville.  They targeted 1st and 2nd grade classrooms and read Mahalia Mouse Goes to College by John Lithgow to emphasize the importance of literary with the dual purpose of promoting college and post-secondary aspirations.

At the University of Maine at Farmington, Beaver Pride is strong for the challenge.  UMF has partnered with Mallett Elementary School.  UMF students have signed up to read to kindergarten and first grade students.  UMF students can also be Super Beaver Readers by signing up to read to second graders every week for 4 weeks.

Southern Maine Community College President Cantor read to 4th and 5th grade students at Skillin Elementary School in South Portland.

In Houlton, the Rotary Club’s community literacy team has plans to sponsor Read to ME Challenge events every Saturday in February.  They have combined reading with other fun activities at a variety of locations around Houlton.  Additionally, they invited First Lady LePage to read to students at Houlton Elementary School and to speak with their Rotary Club about the importance of reading to children.

Maine Department of Education employees are also taking on the challenge by visiting schools and day care centers to read to children.  During the February vacation week, the Maine DOE will be hosting a “read-in” during which employees can bring their children in listen to stories throughout the day.

For more information about the Read to ME Challenge, contact leeann.larsen@maine.gov.

Opportunity to develop, pilot and implement an evidence-based preschool curriculum for Maine

The Maine Department of Education has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to adapt and develop an evidence-based preschool curriculum in collaboration with Boston Public Schools (BPS).  Participating districts will work with the Maine DOE and a curriculum consultant from BPS to make this highly successful curriculum relevant to Maine’s students.

Selecting and purchasing a curriculum, as well as providing the training and coaching needed for implementation fidelity, has been a challenge for many school districts with prek programs.  This funding will allow 10 districts (or fewer depending on the number of prek classrooms/district) to participate in adapting a highly successful, evidence-based curriculum that aligns with Maine’s Early Learning & Development Standards and is designed for Maine’s prek programs.

In addition to participating in writing, the curriculum teachers and coaches, and/or curriculum coordinators will receive materials, supplies, training and coaching to pilot and implement the curriculum during the 18-19 school year.

For further information and to apply, download the Q&A and Application or contact Sue Reed at Susan.D.Reed@maine.gov.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE and First Lady, Ann LePage kick off February ‘Read to ME Challenge’

Augusta – Maine’s First Lady, Ann LePage launched the Read to ME Challenge today at the Sylvio Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta. Reading to second grade students at the Gilbert School, the First Lady shared two books, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs and Baxter in the Blaine House, with her captive audience.

“When children are read to on a regular basis it not only helps learn to read on their own, but it also stimulates their imaginations, and helps them discover how to use words when they communicate,” said First Lady, Ann LePage.

Each year the Maine Department of Education (DOE) in collaboration with First Lady Anne LePage launches the challenge as an opportunity to help communities throughout Maine contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashags #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME) with a challenge to others to do the same.

ReadToMEChallange_GilbertSchool
First Lady, Ann LePage reads to second graders at the Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta.

“Reading aloud to children is one of the most effective and highly beneficial methods of building a child’s literacy, said Suzan Beaudoin, Deputy Commissioner for the Maine DOE. “The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day, every day adds up to hundreds of hours of language exposure that can set a child up for high literacy achievement in their educational experiences and throughout life,” she added.

Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine.

See a full list of community partners for the 2018 Read to ME Challenge.

A Facebook Live recording of the event can be found on the Maine DOE’s official Facebook page.

The Read to ME Challenge runs through the month of February leading up Read Across America Day which takes place on March 2.

For further information about the challenge contact Lee Anne Larsen, Early Learning Team Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education at leeann.larsen@maine.gov

 

Free Training, Technical Assistance, Equipment and Materials for Public Preschool Programs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received a grant from the US Education Department to support public preschool teachers, special educators, principals and special education directors on providing high quality classroom environments and inclusion practices for 4 year-olds.

Thr program is being offered through Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) a University of Maine System partnership between University of Southern Maine (USM) and University of Maine (UMaine) that includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance on inclusionary practices.

Maine Roads to Quality and Maine’s Early Childhood Professional Development Network will contract with Maine DOE to provide online training and technical assistance to 3 cohorts of 15 participants each, representing both rural and urban regions of the state.

This project will serve as a pilot to help Maine DOE gather information on what schools need to best support all preschool age children including those with special needs and disabilities.

Upon completion of training and technical assistance, each public preschool classroom teacher who has participated will receive $3000 in mini-grants for materials and supplies to support high quality preschool inclusionary environments.

Schools or districts must participate in teams that include a public preschool teacher(s) and administrators.  The purpose  of team participation is to ensure consistent understanding and application of the course content so that high quality inclusive practices will be supported and sustained.  Both teachers and administrators will receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.

For more information view the application document or contact Sue Reed at Susan.D.Reed@maine.gov.

Preschool Application for the 2018-2019 School Year

The application for all public preschool new and/or expanding programs is now available on our website http://www.maine.gov/doe/publicpreschool/establishing/index.html

The deadline for completion is April 30, 2018. To view the application in its entirety before filling it out can be done by accessing the PDF copy, also available on the website. Please note, this version appears much longer as it shows every question offered to applicants. Depending on your individual answers, you may or may not be redirected.

For clarification, those that completed the fall survey regarding their desire to open or expand a preschool program must complete this application for approval. No program will be approved without this and the supporting documentation requested.

Chapter 124: Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs is also available for review at the above link.

Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Nicole Madore at 624-6677 or Nicole.madore@maine.gov

Fostering Artful Early Childhood Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education invites you to be part of an exciting professional development opportunity, “Fostering Artful Early Childhood Classrooms”. Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert are looking for teachers who want to energize their teaching and learning through focusing on art in the public preschool classroom.  Applicants must apply in teams of two: one Public Preschool teacher and one Visual Art teacher from the same district. The Visual Arts teacher must currently teach at the elementary level.

Under the expertise of Early Childhood facilitator, Terri Petnov, and Early Childhood Arts facilitator, Judy Fricke, teams will work on building a collaborative partnership to ensure that preschool students receive an artful learning experience. Public preschool teachers will learn the research as to why art is important in a preschool classroom and how it encompasses Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards and how to include art into their daily routines. Visual Art teachers will learn developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching art to our youngest learners. As a culmination of their work, participants will create a presentation to share with their school community.

The training is free and each team selected will receive $500 worth of equipment and supplies for their classroom. These training will be offer in three regions of the state on the following dates:

  • Northern cohort at the University of Maine, Presque Isle campus (Nov. 17th, Feb. 15th, April 12th)
  • Central cohort at Educare in Waterville (Nov. 7th, Feb. 6th, April 3rd)
  • Southern cohort at Southern Maine Community College ( 3rd, February 9th, April 6th)

If you are interested in participating fill out an application using the links listed above. Only one application is necessary per team. If you have any questions contact Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert or Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed.

Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education invites you to be part of a brand new professional development opportunity, “Fostering Music and Movement in Early Childhood Classrooms”. Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed, and Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert, are looking for teachers who want to energize their teaching and learning through focusing on music and movement in the public preschool classroom.  Applicants must apply in teams of two: one Public Preschool teacher and one music or performing arts teacher from the same district. The music/performing arts teacher must currently teach at the elementary level.

Under the expertise of Early Childhood facilitator, Ellie Libby, and Early Childhood Arts facilitator, Judy Fricke, teams will work on building a collaborative partnership to ensure that preschool students receive a musical and movement filled learning experience. Public preschool teachers will learn the research as to why music and movement is important in a preschool classroom and how it encompasses Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards and how to include music and movement into their daily routines. Music and performing arts teachers will learn developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching music and movement to our youngest learners. Teams will be expected to practice new pedagogy in between sessions and document their experience. As a culmination of their work, participants will create a presentation to share with their school community.

The training is free and each team selected will receive $650 worth of equipment and supplies for their classroom. The cohort will meet at Educare in Waterville on October 17th, January 10th, March 6th, and May 15th 8:30-3pm.

If you are interested in participating fill out an application. Only one application is necessary per team. If you have any questions contact Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Beth Lambert at beth.lambert@maine.gov or Early Childhood Specialist, Sue Reed at susan.d.reed@maine.gov.