MLTI Launches Cyber Performance Grants!

The Maine Department of Education’s Maine Learning through Technology Initiative (MLTI) will release Cyber Performance Grants to help districts bolster network security and safety as defined by CISA’s 2023 recommendations to K12 schools.

Districts can apply for support and assistance with cybersecurity needs to better align themselves with CISA recommendations.   A few examples include:

  • Upgrading Firewalls, Switching, and Access Points
  • Multifactor Authentication Implementation
  • Student Data Privacy Actions
  • Incident Response Plans (Creating/Enhancing)
  • Transitioning to Cloud Services
  • Vulnerability Scanning and or Assessments
  • Cybersecurity Planning and Professional Development
  • Patch Management
  • Phishing/Malware/Ransomware Training
  • Awareness Campaigns
  • Minimizing Public Facing Exposures
  • Data backup upgrades
  • Alignment with CISA’s Cross-Sector Cyber Security Performance Goals (CPG)

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) report, Protecting Our FuturePartnering to Safeguard K-12 Organizations from Cybersecurity Threats is a required component of the federal Cybersecurity Act of 2022.  The report findings and recommendations to schools can be found within the report and toolkit for schools.

The report begins, “Malicious cyber actors are targeting K–12 education organizations across the country, with potentially catastrophic impacts on students, their families, teachers, and administrators. A new report from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) helps schools reduce the risks of a cyber catastrophe.”

CISA’s recommendations include investing in the most impactful security measures and building toward a mature cybersecurity plan, recognizing, and actively addressing resource constraints, and focusing on collaboration and information sharing.

Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received, and awards will be made based on impact, presented needs, and alignment with CISA recommendations.

Important Dates:

Informational sessions:

  • Wednesday, May 24th at 12:30 pm
  • Friday, May 26th at 12:30 pm
  • Tuesday, May 30th at 9:00 am
  • Tuesday, May 30th at 12:30 pm

Applications are due Friday, June 23rd

For more information about MLTI initiatives, go to

Have questions? Want more information? Contact James Chasse, Infrastructure Specialist:

Shields Up Maine! Ten Maine School Units Participate in a Cybersecurity Cohort for Maine Schools

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI) 2.0 program recently engaged ten Maine school administrative units (SAUs) in a cohort to explore relevant cybersecurity topics. The cohort was comprised of both small and large school SAUs from the northern tip of Maine to the southern coast.  Participating were technology directors and network administrators; the group met biweekly for four months and will culminate with a panel discussion at this year’s annual ACTEM Spring Leadership Conference at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland on May 1st.

“This program has been extremely helpful as we all try and find our way in the new responsibilities that we find necessary to protect our school districts. Most of us are learning as we go in the world of cybersecurity and protecting our school district’s data and networks.” –  Shields Up Maine! participant

Graphic Source: CISA’s K12 Report to Education
Graphic Source: CISA’s K12 Report to Education (see this graphic larger)

The Shields Up Maine! cohort focused on CISA recommendations for education (see graphic) and covered topics that include the National Cybersecurity Review (NCRS), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security K12 Best Practices (CISA’s CSA), Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS -ISAC), the Center for Internet Security (CIS) services, CISA’s- Protecting Our Future Report, Maine School Library Network/Network

Maine (MSLN/NWM) Internet Service Provider (ISP) history and NWM Umbrella Services, Legalities of Information Technology, Maine Government CISO Best Practices, and Incident Response Plan (IRP) Training.

The group vetted various federal resources and services, studying the practicality, affordability, and potential implementation methods of evolving services.

Participating schools in the 2023 cohort include Searsport, Yarmouth, Mount Desert Island, Glenburn, Boothbay Harbor, Fayette, Madawaska, Blue Hill, Standish, and Medomak Valley.

“Shields Up Maine! is a great example of how the DOE has listened to Technology Directors…to connect them with security professionals to better protect Maine schools from cyber-attacks.” Shields Up Maine! participant

For more information about Shields Up Maine! and other infrastructure initiatives, please check out our website. Have questions? Want to learn more? Reach out to MLTI’s Infrastructure Specialist,

Jim Chasses at

MLTI Announces the Student Winner of the 2023 T-Shirt Design Competition

Hope Handley
“Very recently, I started testing out digital art and I find it a new approach to projects I have been doing all my life. It’s very trying at times, but trial and error makes it worth the final product. Overall, I love any form of art and hope you can try it out and be creative!”

Introducing Hope Handley, a 9th grader at Grey-New Gloucester High School, whose design was selected as the winner of this year’s MLTI Student Conference T-Shirt Competition.

Hope’s colorized version of this year’s MLTI Student Conference logo
Hope’s colorized version of this year’s MLTI Student Conference logo

This year’s design focused on the water-focused theme of #DiveRightIn (Dive Right In), so Hope’s lighthouse and sea serpent were particularly eye-catching. This competition was open to all K-12 students in Maine. Hope’s design will be printed on turquoise blue t-shirts for thousands of Maine students and educators participating in the MLTI Student Conference, which will be both virtual (May 18th) and in-person (May 25th).

“Hope viewed photos of people laying out to catch a frisbee and transformed it into our mascot, Pat the Patriot and included ‘Spirit of the Game,’ which is a set of guidelines for Ultimate players.”
“Hope viewed photos of people laying out to catch a frisbee and transformed it into our mascot, Pat the Patriot and included ‘Spirit of the Game,’ which is a set of guidelines for Ultimate players.”

Hope and other MLTI students from RSU15 will be among the hundreds of students from more than thirty Maine schools to attend this year’s Student Conference at UMaine. Instructional Technology Integrator Michael Lamoureux had previously had Hope design a logo for the school’s Ultimate Frisbee team. These experiences with art are valuable ones for students as Hope and Mr. Lamoureux worked with the MLTI Team to adjust the design to meet printing requirements.

The MLTI Team will continue to seek out and utilize student artwork. If you are interested in this opportunity in the future, please look at this year’s call for student submissions for more information on eligibility and guidelines. Information about past winners from South Aroostook Community School, Auburn Middle School and Waterville Junior High School is also available.


The MLTI SLAM Showcase Comes to Two Central Maine Elementary Schools in March

(Pictured: These SLAM Showcase events could not happen without Kern Kelley’s talented students from Nokomis.)

Benton Elementary School’s Lynn Hamlin providing support for students at this year’s third SLAM Showcase.
Benton Elementary School’s Lynn Hamlin providing support for students at this year’s third SLAM Showcase.

SLAM (Student Leadership Ambassadors of Maine) ran two successful SLAM Showcase events at two schools, Benton Elementary School (MSAD 49) on March 2nd and Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School (MSAD 11) on March 31st.  The event in Benton, the third SLAM Showcase this school year, was a long time coming.  The event was postponed due to weather in February, but luckily the weather was on this day was manageable. This event happening was particularly exciting for MLTI SLAM Coordinator Kern Kelley and teacher Tonya Therrien, who had planned a similar event in the fall of 2019, but weather and the pandemic delayed a reschedule.  The event in Pittston came through coordination with Patsy Adams, who attended a training at Nokomis this past summer.  When Ms. Adams realized the SLAM Showcase had the capacity for more students, she reached out to nearby River View Community School and invited their students to join in the learning.  Over two hundred students across these three elementary schools were able to participate in the two events.

SLAM Show host Mia interviews MSAD11 students about their favorite parts of the day.
SLAM Show host Mia interviews MSAD11 students about their favorite parts of the day.

Kern Kelley and his SLAM students from Nokomis along with MLTI Ambassadors spent the day presenting to elementary students and teachers on topics such as 3D design, coding, virtual reality (VR) and graphic design. The students were divided into four groups with each group rotating through the four sessions. All the students who attended were engaged and enthusiastic throughout each 55-minute session. At the end of each session, they were given 5-10 minutes to submit examples of their work, which they were eager to share. Both days concluded with a recording of the SLAM Show with interviews, games, and prizes. Participating students received VR headsets, so they could show their creations from CoSpaces with their families and friends. The school also received a drone following a group photo from the drone.

These two events, following similar events at Central Middle School and Hartford/Sumner Elementary School, proceeds two more scheduled events at Lubec Consolidated School and Van Buren Community School.

Students are interviewed for the SLAM Show that will air on the MLTI Youtube channel the following week
Students are interviewed for the SLAM Show that will air on the MLTI Youtube channel the following week

The SLAM show empowers MLTI students to use their devices and technology tools by providing a platform where students can give back and share their innovative work in their schools. The live, in-person SLAM Showcase events have been designed to directly align with MLTI’s vision that all Maine students engage in authentic, relevant, technology-rich, learning experiences that prepare them for a fulfilling future. “It was so much fun to see the students engaged; they were being challenged and being exposed to different technologies, many of them new to the students,” said Benton technology teacher Lynn Hamlin.

Historically, MLTI has been targeted to seventh and eighth grade students, but this year, districts had the option to expand up into nineth grade or down to sixth grade. MSAD49 opted to add sixth graders and became one of several districts who added multiple K-6 elementary schools to the MLTI program. These SLAM Showcase events are an ideal environment for older students, like those from Nokomis, to share their knowledge with younger elementary students.

MLTI Ambassador Joshua Schmidt commented, “I’ve been involved in the MLTI SLAM Showcase events at my own school, and also as a part of MLTI, and the positive energy among teachers and students is my favorite part. Everyone is so excited to learn! I would highly recommend creating a SLAM club at your own school and seeing how this type of event can be an energizing experience for your school and community as well.”

MLTI 2.0 Launches ‘Teaching with Tech’ Podcast

The MLTI 2.0 team has a new podcast called Teaching with Tech. Twice a month, the MLTI Ambassadors create episodes around a specific theme impacting education. Current episodes include gamification in the classroom, STEAM-based learning, and digital citizenship. Not only do the Ambassadors discuss how they view the topics, but they also bring authentic voices from the field to describe their own experiences. The team believes these personal discussions in the podcast make the content accessible for all educators across Maine as well as provide an additional format for educators looking for professional development opportunities.  

In addition to the regularly scheduled episodes around a specific theme, Teaching with Tech offers short Community Corner episodes which contain a variety of topics. These topics could include a relevant or current issue educators face, additional voices from the field, or highlighting educator events that have happened across the state. So far these Community Corner episodes have spotlighted the Educate Maine Symposium and a game-based learning activity in elementary physical education class.  

Plus, don’t miss out on the monthly giveaways which are available to any Maine educator to bring new resources to their classroom or school. This month’s drawing is for a free BreakoutEDU kit! 

The Teaching with Tech podcast is now streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Youtube Music. If you would be interested in joining the conversation, reach out to the MLTI 2.0 Team at with feedback, suggestions for future episodes, or questions on the topics outlined in an episode.