Apply Today for the 2024 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative. Applications Due By January 12

Apply Now! Schools and community-based organizations can now apply for the 2024 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grants through the Maine Department of Education (DOE). These grants support hands-on, engaging, interdisciplinary outdoor learning and career exploration opportunities that connect students with Maine’s amazing natural environments and landscapes.

Created by Governor Mills, the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative has included thousands of students throughout the state in its Coastal Ecology and Inland Forestry Programs over the last two years. Read about past programs here: Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative: Past Programs | Department of Education.

The Maine DOE is excited to build on these successes to reach more students in this expanded program. The 2024 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative Request for Applications (RFA, also known as grants) is available here: Grant RFPs and RFAs | Division of Procurement Services (  See RFA 202311223. 

Schools, private and nonprofit organizations, municipal Parks and Recreation Departments that are current members of the Maine Recreation and Park Association, and public libraries can apply.  In this sense, “schools” include school administrative Units (SAUs), Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers or Regions, Education in Unorganized Territories (EUTs), charter schools, and approved private schools located in Maine.  See the RFA for explicit information and definitions on eligibility and allowable uses of funding. 

Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $999,999 with a total of $2,000,000 available. The 2024 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grant requires a marketing and outreach plan for reaching students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as an emphasis on Maine DOE’s Whole Student Framework 

This funding can potentially be used to facilitate outdoor learning programs before, during, or after school; on weekends; during school breaks and/or over the summer. Applications will also be considered for schools and organizations who wish to use the funding to enhance or expand existing outdoor programming. Grants are expected to be awarded in the early spring. All programing must be completed by September 1, 2024. 

This 2024 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative opportunity is funded in its entirety by the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) fund. Learn more about the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative 

Resources for Educators for Talking with Students About the Conflict Between Israel and Hamas 

School leaders, teachers, and staff are often tasked with helping our students and their families grapple with what’s happening in the news. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has compiled the following list of resources to assist educators in helping students process the violence, terror, and news coming from the Middle East. 

Discussing the History 

While the current war is between Israel and Hamas, it is important for students to have background on the long history of conflict, attempted peace processes, and the people living in the region.  

Talking with Students 

In the Classroom 

Additional Resources 

Trauma-Informed Resources for School Systems 

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources that can be filtered by topic, keyword, and audience with a focus on how adults can identify traumatic responses in young people and how to support them.   

For All Ages 

  • If you are an educator in need of additional support, The FrontLine WarmLine is also available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week by calling 207-221-8196 or texting 898-211.  
  • For additional support, please reach out to your school-based mental health professionals such as the school counselor or social worker if needed. Parents and students can also call 211 for additional community resources.  If you are a parent and believe your or your child’s mental well-being is in jeopardy, call or text 1-888-568-1112 or emergency responders. 

These resources are neither meant to be exhaustive nor is their inclusion an endorsement of a particular viewpoint. 

Maine DOE Announces No Cost Program to Support Educator Wellbeing and Create Calm and Supporting Learning Environments

600 Educators Can Attend Train-the-Trainer Events Across Maine to Bring Tools and Strategies Back to Their School Communities

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has partnered with The Regulated Classroom on a program to support educator wellbeing and student engagement at no cost to Maine educators. Six hundred educators can sign up to be trained as trainers in the framework at events across the state and will be able to bring new tools and resources back to their schools.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a tremendous toll on educator and student wellbeing, with educators reporting increased numbers of dysregulated students, stress, and classroom disruptions. Many educators feel overwhelmed by these pandemic-induced behavioral issues. The Regulated Classroom utilizes a neuroscience-based approach to help educators create calm, engaged, and supportive learning environments by cultivating conditions for felt safety. Felt safety references a regulated state in the body’s stress response system.

The program helps educators recognize and manage their own stress levels. It also helps educators manage increased levels of stress in students, which can be displayed as aggression, poor impulse control, limited attention span, and lack of motivation. Educators will have access to a collection of practices and sensory tools to embed into daily routines and activities to promote a more regulated and stable environment for learning. This program supports student achievement and increased job satisfaction for educators.

“The Maine Department of Education is committed to supporting educator and student wellbeing and we’re thrilled to partner with The Regulated Classroom to offer this program at no cost to Maine educators. The Regulated Classroom provides tools and strategies based on brain science that any educator in Maine can infuse into their teaching and daily routines to support themselves and their students in creating calm, safe, joyful, and engaging learning environments,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

“When our nervous system is in a regulated state, the rational part of our brain is online, enabling us to teach and to learn. But when we are in a dysregulated state, the rational thinking part of our brain goes offline and we can’t gather our thoughts and act as we would choose. Environments that feel supportive and safe foster engagement and creative thinking,” said The Regulated Classroom founder Emily Read Daniels, M.Ed., MBA, NCC, SEP™.

Daniels, a New Hampshire school counselor, created The Regulated Classroom in 2020. Since then, it has been implemented in schools and organizations throughout New Hampshire, across the nation, and around the globe.

Ten in-person train-the-trainer certificate events will be held in various regions of the state.

Educators can register for an event at Maine educators can complete their registration at no cost to them with the code MAINEFREE.

The Maine DOE utilized federal emergency relief funding to offer this program to Maine educators.

Media Release: Maine DOE and Educate Maine Partner to Develop the Teach Maine Center to Support and Grow Maine’s Educator Workforce

The Teach Maine Center will engage, empower, and unite educators across the state to incubate and develop strategies, supports, and professional learning connected to the Teach Maine plan.

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Educate Maine have partnered to develop the Teach Maine Center to support and advance a vibrant educator workforce in Maine that enables all students to thrive.

The Teach Maine Center will engage, empower, and unite educators across the state to incubate and develop strategies, supports, and professional learning connected to the Teach Maine plan. Developed in partnership with educators and stakeholders and released last year, Teach Maine focuses on four key themes to develop, support, and sustain Maine’s educator workforce: incentivize recruitment and retention efforts; expand and diversify educator workforce efforts; support educator development, growth, and leadership; and elevate educators and the education profession.

“Maine is a place that values and respects our educators and we are turbocharging that with the Teach Maine Center. The vision is to create a hub by teachers and for teachers that allows them to collaborate, innovate, and lead our profession and public education forward in Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

“We are excited to announce this groundbreaking partnership with the Maine Department of Education to create the Teach Maine Center.  This partnership represents our shared commitment to strengthen, grow and diversify Maine’s educator workforce.  We look forward to this important work and the positive impact it will have on students, teachers, the teaching profession, and the future of education in Maine,” said Educate Maine Executive Director Jason Judd. 

Maine, like most states, continues to experience an educator shortage that was exacerbated by COVID-19. At the same time, educators and schools are faced with increased student and community needs. Increasing collaboration among educators and with businesses and communities will increase educator wellbeing and support them in their teaching.

The initial incubation phase of the Teach Maine Center will focus on increasing stakeholder engagement and collaboration across the business and education sectors; expanding data collection and reporting related to Maine’s educator workforce; advancing and successfully implementing short and long-term teacher recruitment/retention strategies identified in Teach Maine; strengthening professional support for educators through Teach Maine Center programming; and achieving long-term sustainability for the Teach Maine Center, which will be administered by Educate Maine.

Through December 2024, partners will identify and meet with stakeholders around teacher workforce issues, conduct 16 in-person and virtual county-level forums with educators to get input on teacher recruitment and retention, complete a landscape analysis of the educator workforce, solicit statewide educator input on ongoing professional development needs, and launch a marketing campaign focused on encouraging people to join Maine’s educator workforce. In collaboration with key education organizations and the Maine DOE, Educate Maine will assemble an advisory committee to provide input throughout the initial phases of the Center.

The Maine DOE used federal emergency funds to invest in the first phase of the Teach Maine Center.

Read more about the Maine DOE’s efforts to build a vibrant educator workforce.

Maine Department of Education Releases Climate Education Professional Development Grant to Promote Climate Education in Maine Schools

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is excited to launch a new climate education professional development pilot grant opportunity to support the growth of climate education throughout the state and most especially in underserved communities. This grant initiative was designed out of LD 1902 which passed in the spring of 2022. This grant initiative is designed first and foremost to support teachers and schools. Climate change content and pedagogy can be challenging to approach for many different reasons. It can be a new area for teachers, a subject matter that is challenging to navigate in a school’s community, and an area of education where teachers and schools just don’t know where to get started.  

This initiative asks that schools partner with a non-profit community-based organization because these organizations are integral to communities throughout Maine. They have created, sustained, and grown an incredible framework of outdoor and environmental education opportunities and programs that are tailored to their local regions traits and needs. This initiative will expand on their work to form new connections and expand partnerships between community organizations and schools. These partnerships will support teachers and schools to bring climate education to more of Maine’s students. 

The RFA can be found here, and applications are due on November 3, 2023.

The RFA grant will be phase 1 of 2 initial phases the Maine DOE plans for this effort. Phase 1 will have an application window from early September to October 20th. Phase 1 professional development programs will be awarded for a term from mid-November through the end of August 2024. Phase 2 will build on the successes and learnings of phase one. Phase 2 will have an application window in the winter of 2024 and be designed for programs leading up to and during the school year of 2024-2025. These phases are designed for a wide variety of applicants and programs that might vary in style, content, age, duration, and breadth or depth. 

Applicants should take the time to review the application and ask questions by September 29th (full instructions in the RFA). Just like the program itself, the application can be collaborative with community partners and other local education providers if desired. Applicants that hit priorities one and/or two and cannot connect with a partner or do not know where to start are still encouraged to apply. If the timeline for phase 1 is too tight for applying or the award window does not make sense for this year, phase 2 is a great option with additional time to plan and connect with a partner. 

This program is overseen by Teddy Lyman, the Maine DOE’s new Climate Education Specialist. Teddy will coordinate this program including the application, awards, and deliverables. During the RFA application window, Teddy cannot communicate directly with anyone that might benefit from direct communication that is not publicly available.  

Questions about the RFA should be emailed to Teddy at: by 11:59 pm on September 29th, 2023. Questions and answers will be posted publicly at the link below.  The Climate Education Specialist will also set and execute a wider range of climate education initiatives throughout the state. This will include working with grant recipients, stakeholders, and youth to design, encourage, and build the future of climate education around Maine. 

For more information and updates, check out the DOE climate education webpage.  

A copy of the RFA, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to the RFA, can be obtained at: