The Learning Space a Huge Success – Maine DOE Thanks Teacher Contributors!

At the end of March, in the midst of transitioning their own classrooms to emergency distance learning, Maine teachers went above and beyond the call of duty to develop over forty original video lessons (aligned with Maine’s Learning Results) to provide exceptional learning opportunities for Maine students in grades 3-5, which aired on Maine Public Television’s new program, The Learning Space, a project of Educate Maine, the Maine Department of Education, Maine Public, and additional partners (MSMA, MCLA, MSTOYA, NBCTs of Maine, MEA, MPA, MADSEC, Dead River Company, Finance Authority of Maine, John T. Gorman Foundation, Kennebunk Savings, Maine Community Foundation, University of Maine at Augusta, Machias Savings Bank).

HeatherTLSEach weekday at noon, students throughout Maine tuned in to Channel 10, where Heather Whitaker, Maine’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, greeted them with a warm smile and a heartfelt welcome!

Over the next two months, teachers throughout Maine piqued students’ curiosity and challenged them to think deeply, to wonder, to reflect, and to discover through lessons such as: nature notebooking, mini-comics, found poetry, positivity beats, penny science, using maps to ignite storytelling, reading photographs like a historian, understanding plate tectonics, what density is, how the water cycle works via a can crush experiment, math mysteries, fun with equivalent fractions and trail mix, fraction splat, and the cool ways to collect and graph data via a scavenger hunt!

Students listened carefully to Vivaldi’s “Spring,” traveled to Kenya on a special field mission, learned how to create sculptures in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, using materials found in nature, such as twigs, sticks, and pine cones. Students learned how to plant a garden, how to make music with their bodies, and how to make Agua Fresca en español (a refreshing fruity drink) via an introductory Spanish lesson. Check out an archive of episodes! 

Maine authors Lynn Plourde and Tamra Wight shared writing tips with students, and throughout the series, students met these notable Mainers: Margaret Chase Smith, Samantha Smith, and Louie the lobster—who taught the students how a bill becomes a law! In thinking about self-assessment, students learned how they can demonstrate and/or reflect on their learning using simple building blocks or other found objects in their homes. Many lessons included mindful moments and breathing exercises to help students center themselves and manage their emotions—helpful all the time, but especially during this time of emergency distance learning.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the following teachers for not only designing such a wide range of creative and engaging lessons, but also for adapting their lessons for a television audience. For many, this included learning new technology skills, filming multiple “takes” of their lessons to produce high quality video segments, and perhaps, most importantly, a willingness to be vulnerable in putting themselves and their work out on such a public platform. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO!

Ingrid Bergstrom teaches specially-designed instruction at the Harrison Lyseth Elementary School in Portland.

Paula Bourque, National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), is an instructional literacy coach in the Augusta Public Schools.

Heidi Bullen, NBCT, teaches third grade at the Crescent Park School in RSU 44/MSAD 44.

Tracy Deschaine, NBCT, teaches math and science at Orono Middle School in RSU 26 and is the 2019 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Cassandra Dunphy teaches at Readfield Elementary in RSU 38.

Marielle Edgecomb teaches math at The Peninsula School in RSU 24 and is the 2017 Hancock County Teacher of the Year. In the fall, Marielle will be teaching math at Sumner Memorial High School.

Talya Edlund is an instructional math coach in RSU 5, and the 2015 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, as well as the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Nesrene Griffin teaches at the Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston.  Nesrene is the 2017 Androscoggin County Teacher of the Year.

Elizabeth Heidemann, NBCT, is a veteran Maine public school Teacher, and co-founder of Go2Science.  Elizabeth is a Presidential Award-Winning Teacher, and the 2016 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

Hillary Hoyt, NBCT, teaches science at the Leroy H. Smith School in RSU 22.

Carrie Lamothe is an instructional math coach in the Saco Public Schools.

Cherrie MacInnes teaches at Greely Middle School in RSU 51/MSAD 51 and is the 2016 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Betsy Mayo teaches at the Songo Locks School in RSU 61/MSAD 61 and is the 2003 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Stacey McCluskey, NBCT, teaches at the Carrabec Community School in RSU 74/MSAD 74.

Angela McLaughlin, NBCT, teaches at the Asa C Adams School in RSU 26 and is the 2015 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Argy Nestor is a veteran Maine public school teacher, and is currently the Director of the Sweetland School. Argy was also the previous Director of the Maine Arts Commission, the 2014 recipient of the National Art Education Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Additional recognitions include: Maine Middle Level Outstanding Middle Level Educator of the Year (2005), Maine Art Education Advocate of the Year (2013), and the Maine Teacher of the Year (1995).

Samantha Person teaches physical and health education at the Waterboro Elementary School in RSU 57/MSAD 57.

Connie Russell, NBCT, teaches at the Mabel I Wilson school in RSU 51/MSAD 51 and is the 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Daniel Ryder is the director of the Success and Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in RSU 9. Dan holds multiple recognitions, including: 2016 WCSH Inspiring Educator Award, 2017 Apple Distinguished Educator Award, and a 2019 NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.

Benjamin Segee teaches science and G/T at Leonard Middle School in RSU 34.

Julie Speno teaches Spanish at Camden-Rockport Elementary in RSU 28/MSAD 28.

Heather Sumner teaches music at Ocean Avenue School in Portland Public Schools.

Rebecca Tapley teaches math and science at Brooklin School, Brooklin Public School District, and is the 2016 Hancock County Teacher of the Year.  In the fall, Becky will be a math STEM Education Specialist at Maine Math and Science Alliance.

Brooke Teller is an instructional coach for the Portland Public Schools and is the 2017 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Heather Whitaker is an alternative education teacher at Gorham Middle School, Gorham Public Schools.  Heather is the 2019 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year and the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Kaitlin Young teaches music at the SeDoMoCha Elementary School and the SeDoMoCha Middle School in RSU 68/MSAD 68.  Kaitlin holds a Professional Music Teaching Certificate and is a Teacher Member Support at Se Do Mo Cha Schools.  In 2017, Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis Teacher of the Year and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Upcoming and Ongoing Virtual Sessions and Recordings Offered by the Maine DOE

Check out the Maine Department of Education’s Professional Development Calendar for upcoming professional development offerings. The Department continues to offer office hours for School Based Mental Health Supports and School Counselors each week. Now is the time to register for two of our upcoming series, one on Reading Differentiation using Jan Richardson’s Practices and our Pre K for ME Curriculum Training 

Be sure to browse our webinar library for recorded sessions, we have recordings on a range of topics, everything from ESEA Office hours to World Languages! We have newly uploaded sessions on Physical Education, Health Education and coming soon will be playlists for Business Managers in addition to a series of recorded sessions about ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds).

Find the Professional Calendar here.

Find the Webinar Library here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Adult Education Programs to provide laptops to remote learners with help from Maine Community Foundation grant


Contact Maine CF:  Carl Little
Contact Maine DOE:  Kelli Deveaux

AUGUSTA—Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF) is partnering with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) to ensure that adult learners have the technology they need to continue their studies. A grant of $75,000 from MaineCF will fund laptops for 56 adult education programs to allow students to remotely complete their high school equivalency or workforce training programs.

The partnership is based on the mutual belief of MaineCF and Maine DOE that better access to educational opportunities will help improve the quality of life for Maine people. While much attention has been given to Pre-K to 12 schools in Maine, adult education programs are a key support for Maine’s most at-risk students and workforce development to strengthen Maine’s economy.

The shift to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility and fragmentation of technology access in Maine. The progress of many adult education students has been stalled by their inability to participate in online classes. MaineCF hopes that closing the technology gap will help adult education students complete their programs and continue their path to lifelong learning.

“Adult Education students already are facing significant barriers in their pursuit of education,” noted Cherie Galyean, MaineCF director of strategic learning and staff member behind the foundation’s Access to Education strategic goal area. “MaineCF does not want technology to be one of those barriers. Our hope is that this grant will help address the problem of digital inequity and help adult learners continue on their path to success.”

MaineCF worked with Maine DOE’s Adult Education team to survey the adult education programs in Maine and found technology access was a barrier that needed to be addressed.

“Though adult education programs quickly transitioned to remote learning, students without computer devices were unable to continue,” said Dr. Gail Senese, Maine DOE director of adult education. “As a result, hundreds of students enrolled in high school equivalency and workforce training programs were unable to earn their credentials, college transition learners were cut off from classes preparing them for postsecondary admission, and English language students were left isolated,” she noted. “The advocacy of Maine Community Foundation for adult learners is demonstrated in a generous donation, resulting in the acquisition of 375 devices, including laptops and Chromebooks, that local programs will be able to provide to the most in-need students.”

School and daycare center closings also have impacted adult learners who need flexible learning schedules as they care for their children. Adult education programs have expanded their capacity to provide remote instruction to ensure that learning can continue, regardless of schedule or location. But access to technology remains critical for these students.

“Many of our students do not have the necessary technology at home to access online learning classes, and we know that with access comes opportunity,” said Biddeford Adult Education Director Paulette Bonneau. “These computers take away one more barrier to our students’ success, allowing them to continue their learning without interruption and to learn anytime, from anywhere.”

The Department of Education is expected to deliver the laptops to adult education providers regionally by the end of the month to be distributed as soon as possible to students with the greatest need.

“Adult education programs are vitally important and are successful because they provide adult learners with a more flexible schedule to fulfill their education needs anytime during the year,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “The need for these devices to help them continue this important work is critical and the DOE is extremely grateful to MaineCF for its generosity in providing this much-needed funding to Maine’s adult education programs.”


FREE Virtual Professional Development for School Transportation Teams July 30-31

Provided by Transfinder, sponsored by Maine Deptartment of Education. Held Thursday, July 30 – Friday, July 31, 2020


Thursday, July 30
Register for Day 1: 


Glimpse Into the Transfinder Future
9:00 am – 10:00 am

This session will build your excitement for the new technology being developed at Transfinder. See the next generation of Wayfinder Navigation allowing drivers to benefit from turn-by-turn voice guidance. Learn about Tripfinder for managing field trip requests and secure access for district personnel to submit requests and track approvals. Stopfinder, the All-in-One parent engagement app, brings enhanced communication with parents and district administration through push notifications, 2-way messaging and GeoAlerts. And Routefinder PLUS – the next generation of Routefinder Pro. This easy-to-us, full-featured browser-based transportation solution is revolutionizing school transportation with Faster, Safer and Smarter routing.

Routefinder Pro 101
10:15 am – 12:15 pm

Welcome to Routefinder Pro! Routefinder Pro is a powerful, easy-to-use school bus routing, scheduling and planning solution. By attending this session, you will learn the basics of navigating through Routefinder Pro by learning the tools available in the toolbar, how to look up data, and using your maps to begin creating trips. You will walk away with knowing how to set trip criteria, stop creation, driving paths and timing. In addition, you will know how to create trip reports once your routes are complete.

Field Trips with Infofinder Le: Part 1
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Infofinder le is a web-based solution that leverages your investment in Routefinder Pro by providing an unlimited number of designated district personnel access to your student and trip information. In this session you will get an overview of the entire Infofinder le program, learn how to create user accounts for district personnel, and begin learning how to configure the fields of the Field Trip Request Form. You will know how to use the security module in Routefinder Pro to set access rights for the user accounts of district personnel, so they can access Student and Trip data, run reports and request and approve Field Trip requests electronically.

Field Trips with Infofinder Le: Part 2
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

In Part 2 of this session you will learn how to adjust the Infofinder le system settings and create a message for the Infofinder le homepage. You will also walk through the steps of how to request and approve a Field Tip request, assign resources to a Field Trip, and complete a Field Trip Request Form. In addition to the above, at the end of the session you will know how to run and print driver sheets and invoices, populate dropdown lists for users and set up easy billing.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Wayfinder is Transfinder’s All-In-One In-Vehicle App. Enhance your fleet by using Wayfinder to Build Routes and Navigate all from your mobile device. In this session you will learn how Wayfinder can help you prepare for the upcoming school year and use the navigation feature which will safely and clearly guide your drivers along the planned trip as well as tracking student attendance as you arrive at each stop. At the end of the session you will know how to add routes to Routefinder Pro using a tablet or smartphone
and create stops with the click of a button


Friday, July 31, 2020
Register for Day 2:


8:30 am – 9:30 am

With Viewfinder you can monitor the day-to-day operations of your transportation department from any computer. Quickly access updates on students, trips, field trips, vehicles, and staff to ensure your operation is running smoothly. In this session you will learn how to use Viewfinder to gain powerful insights into your operation. At the end
of the session you will walk away knowing how to use the dashboards and automated reporting function so you can monitor the Transportation Department from outside Routefinder Pro.

Servicefinder – Part 1
10:00 am – 11:00 am

Servicefinder simplifies fleet maintenance to help reduce costs, reduce vehicle downtime, extend vehicle life, increase technician productivity, maintain lower inventory levels and extend better control of personnel and vendors. In this session you will learn the tools and functions available in the Dashboard, Driver Portal and more. You will walk away with a greater understanding of how to use these tools to help you tackle the complex administrative tasks associated with keeping your fleet running smoothly.

Servicefinder – Part 2
11:30 am – 12:30 pm

In Part 2 you will learn how to import data for buses and parts, and use the Quick-Add method to enter and maintain the system. You will explore the Control Panel configuration, and learn how to make the most of customizable options and settings.
By the end of the session you will know the process for receiving inventory and how to generate work orders.




A Message from Maine Education Commissioner Regarding Fall 2020 Survey

Contact: Kelli Deveaux

The Maine Department of Education has released a special video message from Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin and other key leaders from the Department to encourage and remind the people of Maine to provide input for ensuring a safe return to classroom instruction. Video can be viewed, here.

Maine DOE continues to work with educators and health experts from across the State to develop health markers and corresponding plans to ensure the safe return to classroom instruction.  As this work develops, the Department is seeking input from additional stakeholders from across the State through a series of surveys that were released on July 6.

The surveys, available for families, educators, student support providers, and school and district leaders, are available through July 12. The data and feedback will be compiled by a research group and considered by the team who will continue to revise the Department’s Draft Framework for Returning to Classroom Instruction over the next month.

Your participation in these surveys is greatly appreciated in preparation for the next school year.  Our fervent hope is that our continued trends in the battle against COVID-19 here in Maine will allow our schools to resume classroom instruction for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, as our schools serve as a stabilizing force for our communities, students, families and the economy. All of our energy and efforts are going into helping to provide support and guidance to schools and families who are making extraordinarily difficult decisions.