New Webinar: April Enrollment Count Report

To assist those who are responsible for the important task of reporting student data to the Maine Department of Education, the DOE Data Team will be holding a webinar on Tuesday April 7th, from 1pm to 2pm.

As we are all aware, these are unprecedented times with unique challenges, however the Maine Department of Education is asking schools to submit and have their superintendents certify their April Enrollment Count Report. While many Maine state reporting requirements have been suspended, there is need for these data for purposes of calculating public school tuition rates.

Please note that for the April 1 count, “enrollment and attending” are referring to the school that is responsible for educating the student for April 1, 2020.  We are not asking schools to take attendance on April 1, just to certify the students for which they are responsible on this date.

The April Enrollment Count Report will be available for districts to submit and certify, beginning on April 1st with a certify by date of May 30th. The April Enrollment Count Reports will be used for calculating tuition rates in accordance with Title 20-A, 5805, subsection 1.B. This count will not be used for the Essential Services and Programs (EPS) School funding formula but is still necessary for calculating the tuition rates. Please note that students who are attending outside placements at regional programs or special purpose private schools, are not included attending counts in the primary enrollment district.

To register for the webinar, please click the following registration link and fill out the appropriate fields.

If you have trouble logging into NEO, have other technical issues or have questions about the April Enrollment Count Report please contact the data systems help desk at 207-624-6896 or MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov .

Virtual Meeting Schedule for Monday, March 30

Virtual office hour schedule for Monday, March 30, 2020

The Maine Department of Education continues to schedule virtual office hours with Department Specialist to support educators and administrators during extended remote learning. During these meetings, our specialists will be available to provide support and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports, as well as to facilitate networking and resource sharing between educators.

Thank you to the educators in Maine, nationally, and internationally who have joined these popular sessions. We are pleased to be able to offer a platform where educators can connect. We do ask that, with space limitations, priority be given to Maine educators first as these support sessions are intended for them.

Please note that Office Hour Schedules will be regularly updated on this web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/covid-19/contentmeetings and the Department will continue scheduling content specific office hours as needed.

Virtual Office Hours:

(Please note: some meetings have a 100 person max capacity.)

FOCUS AREA SPECIALIST TIME Join Zoom Meeting CONTACT INFO
Brain Centered Emotional Support Kellie Bailey 8:30 https://zoom.us/j/689251005 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
Health Education and Physical Education Susan Berry and Jean Zimmerman 9:00 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/791991091 susan.berry@maine.gov
School Finance & Compliance for Business Managers Tyler Backus 10:00am By Registration (contact Tyler to Join) tyler.backus@maine.gov
Special Services: Accessibility/Engagement Anne-Marie Adamson 10:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/352701969 roberta.lucas@maine.gov
Social Studies PK-12 Joe Schmidt 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/502218808 – Contact Joe Schmidt for Password joe.schmidt@maine.gov
Pre K For ME Curriculum Overview Nicole Madore 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/675438268 nicole.madore@maine.gov
Career and Education Development  Networking Diana Doiron 12:00 PM https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/185093262 diana.doiron@maine.gov 
Pre K Open Office Hours Nicole Madore 12:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/658578013 nicole.madore@maine.gov
Engaging Adult Learners Online Amy Poland 1:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/8097107454 amy.poland@maine.gov
SEL – Open Office Hours Kellie Bailey 3:00PM https://zoom.us/j/5080785422 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
Teaching Using iCivics Joe Schmidt w/ Emma Humphries of iCivics 3:00pm https://zoom.us/j/381366098 – Contact Joe Schmidt for password joe.schmidt@maine.gov
World Language OH (Focus on: Google Classroom) Lavinia Rogers w/ Kelly Frey Maranacook Community High School 3:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/286144988 lavinia.m.rogers@maine.gov
Brain Centered Emotional Support Bear Shea 3:30 https://zoom.us/j/689251005 bear.shea@maine.gov
PK-5 Science Resources/Troubleshooting/Networking Shari Templeton 5:00 https://zoom.us/j/907003708 shari.templeton@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: Update from Commissioner Makin 3-27-20

Thank you for all you’re doing to support your students and staff!! The pressures on school and district leaders are immense under normal circumstances, and this is magnified to the extreme during a historic, prolonged, emergency situation. Your visionary and steadfast leadership is deeply appreciated, as we recognize that there are daunting obstacles to providing remote instruction and that the inequities are huge.

Because the provision of public education is a covenant between the schools and the communities they serve here in Maine, we’ve asked that you obtain school board approval for your plans for offering continuity of education. Each SAU must have a plan for providing for remote learning, and should be scalable in the event of a longer cessation of classroom instruction.

We are waiving the practice of obtaining DOE approval of these plans as a condition of the minimum school days waiver, and are only asking that you send us the minutes from the meetings where your plans are approved by the local school boards.

Frequently asked questions and recent updates:

Does each district have to separately request a waiver of the minimum number of school days?

We are planning to universally waive the minimum number of school days for all SAUs who receive local school board approval for continuity of education plans. The expectation is that 100% of SAUs are making every attempt to provide continuing educational services for all students. No separate application for the waiver is necessary; simply upload the minutes of the school board meeting where your plans are approved here.

(All who have previously emailed your school board approval minutes are all set!!  We simply added this link for convenience and consistency).

If our SAU lacks resources, connectivity, etc., how can we offer remote learning?

We are hearing from many teachers and school leaders from less advantaged communities who are providing some really exciting educational experiences and opportunities for students and who have expressed a desire to share their approaches and plans with others.  Daily office hours with our content specialists offer ongoing opportunities for educators to share their innovative approaches, challenges, and successes with one another. If you would like to connect with and learn from others, please reach out to our Chief Innovation Officer Page Nichols at page.nichols@maine.gov.  who can help to find the right partnerships for guidance or resources.

Which school staff members are essential and should continue to be paid?

All school employees are considered to be “essential” under the Governor’s more recent Executive Order #19, and should be expected to complete all duties and tasks assigned to them. The Governor’s Executive Order #15 requires SAUs to continue to pay all school employees who held contracts prior to the COVID-related disruption, including hourly workers. Further guidance can be found here.  Long term substitutes who held a contract that provided reasonable assurance of employment prior to this emergency situation would also qualify for ongoing payment and should be available to provide services as assigned. School employees will not qualify for unemployment under the recent expansion, and should not apply for these benefits.  If they have received these benefits, they will be required to repay this to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

How do we get answers to our questions?

We are deeply committed to providing resources, guidance and updated information to our colleagues in education, and will continue to do so through our webpage and emails. But as you are holding regional or organizational meetings, we welcome the opportunity to hear and respond to the questions and concerns of your group. Please reach out to our Director of Communications Kelli Deveaux at kelli.deveaux@maine.gov, and she will coordinate to have a member of the Commissioner’s Office join your meeting. We cannot answer the questions we don’t hear, and we truly want to support your work, so please know this is a genuine request and offer. We are here to help!

Finally – some really good news!  The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act). The 3rd relief package will provide LEAs with a large amount of funding with significant flexibility in the use of these funds. This relief package passed unanimously in the Senate, and we expect a House vote and president signature sometime today. The turn-around time between now and when you’d likely receive the funding should be 8 weeks (30 days for us to update applications and 30 days for US ED to approve applications and send funding).

Thanks as always for all you do. Remember that our phenomenal team of specialists at DOE are here to assist you and your building leaders, educators, and staff!

Grateful for all you do to support your students, staff, and communities during this difficult time,

Pender

Tri-County Tech Center Instructor Makes 3D Printed Masks for Health Care Professionals

Scott Wilhite, a CAD/STEM Engineering Instructor at the Tri-County Technical Center has been busy making 3D printed masks that could potentially be used to by healthcare professionals to protect them against COVID-19.

The Career and Technical Center (CTE) instructor’s wife heard about the critical shortages of protective equipment for hospitals on the news and challenged him to see if he could make one.

“Knowing that 3D printing is a large part of my program she challenged me to ask myself if I could help in a similar manner,” said Wilhite. “I researched the article and downloaded the source file into AutoCAD software and streamlined the design. I then uploaded it to a slicer known as Cura and printed the first prototype.”

With full support from his administration, he has since reached out to his local hospital to see if they can use the masks and has even been in touch with the Mayo hospital to offer the prototype as a resource on a larger scale.

Wilhite’s work background includes working for Maine companies such as Bath Iron Works and Cainbro and he has also owned an independent full-service automotive company. After 16 years of working in the trades, he returned to school not only as a student working towards a second master’s degree and a doctoral degree but to teach CADD and STEM Engineering classes for Tri County Tech Center in Dexter.

“I love CTE and I have designed my program to develop students not to just be users of technology, but innovators of it. In my classes, we build a great deal of our equipment. Especially 3D printers. When a student takes a box full of open source parts and builds something that works, in this case a 3D printer, they develop an intimate understanding of how it works. I have found that this also helps my students to get a better grasp on seeing things in the X, Y, Z context, making them a stronger CADD student. CTE is not just project-based learning, it is also problem solving, critical and analytical thinking education. We in the CTE world are not so much teaching our students “what” to think, but more importantly “how” to think. I guess that is what I love about this type of education model.”

March 27th is International SEL Day

Urban Assembly and SEL4US encourage educators around the World to recognize the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) on this International SEL Day.

Kellie D. Bailey MA CCC-SLP, MMT/SELI began her work here at the Maine DOE on Feburary 6, 2020 to support Commissioner Makin’s educational platform for putting the social emotional learning needs first for all Maine students. Commissioner Makin knows first hand that when we teach from the heart we are truly seeing each child and paying attention on purpose to the unique being that he or she is.

SEL is the most effective way of building strong and meaningful connections which ultimately leads to optimal learning.  Until the outbreak of COVID 19, Kellie worked in the field providing SEL supports across the State of Maine. Today she continues to do so remotely providing Brain Based SEL supports with her colleague Bear Shea first thing in the morning and the last thing in the afternoon. “SEL is for all human beings.  Our educators and school support staff are facing unprecedented times and they are feeling the effects of not being able to connect with their students and colleagues. There is an overwhelming sense of urgency for the well being of our students, staff and community. Now more than ever it is critically important to check in with ourselves and ask the question, How Am I Doing Right This Minute? Staying tuned into our own anxiety and taking the important steps to center and ground ourselves is the most effective way to stay resilient for our students who are counting on us to send the message that they are safe.

Kellie reminds everyone involved with education to take moments to self reflect and check in with the self. Recognition of how one feels and where that feeling lives in the body, heart and mind is the first step in development of our own social intelligence. Kellie adds that “Moving away from the automaticity of our lives and becoming present for small moments will make a tremendous difference in how we cope with the stressors related to COVID 19 and life in general. Practicing being present and noticing basic needs and taking care to provide ourselves with those needs allows us to continue to be present for others with a deeper connection. On this first International SEL Day, may we each feel safe, connected, safe and loved and take a few small moments to Breathe on Purpose.”