New England FFA State Officers Gather in Vermont

Pictured: Maine FFA State Vice President and State President enjoy Lake Champlain Boat Tour during regional FFA training in Vermont.

On June 26-30, 2022, twenty-two student State Officers of the FFA—formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”—from the states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont gathered in Middlebury, Vermont to learn about workshop development and presentation techniques, as well as communication skills to implement during their upcoming year of service for their nearly 5,000 FFA members grades 7 to 12. Among these Officers were Nickie Deschaine, Maine FFA State President and Lane McCrum, Maine FFA State Vice President.

FFA members are students enrolled in classes/programs related to agriculture and natural resources at schools with registered FFA chapters. This training was supported by the sponsorship of the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Farm Credit East, and the National FFA Organization. As the largest student-led organization in the country, with over 735,000 members, FFA relies on its State Officers to implement programs for local FFA members, raise FFA member awareness to opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and the FFA and represent their members at various in-state, regional and national events.

The Vermont training took place at the North Campus of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury and was facilitated by past National FFA Officers David Lopez (California) and Paxton Dahmer (Missouri), with additional motivational sessions conducted by current National FFA Southern Region Vice President Erik Robinson (Georgia).

Guest presenters Ben Leduc, Loan Officer, and Courtney Bronson, Tax Associate, spoke on the work of Farm Credit East and potential job opportunities for students. FFA Officers participated in a number of highly engaging sessions, enjoyed some outings to local restaurants and locations of interest (such as Crown Point State Historic Site in New York).

Officers commenting on the workshop noted that the main highlight was the chance to return to an in-person opportunity to get to know their peers from other New England states. They left the training indicating significant gains in both their confidence levels and technical abilities associated with developing and implementing workshops. Officers praised the training efforts of both facilitators and the National FFA Officer. Accompanying students were 9 adults from the New England FFA community, including the State Advisors from each of the five participating state programs.

Registration for Statewide Early Childhood Education Conference is Now Open

This year’s annual statewide Early Childhood Education Conference, Connecting Early Childhood Education; Birth through Eight Across the State has been organized through a collaboration of early learning partners, including the Maine Department of Education (DOE). The conference will be held on October 28th and 29th at the Cross Center in Bangor.

Breakout sessions for Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade educators will include a wide range of topics that focus on trauma informed practices as well as practical tools for supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to foster communities. Other sessions will offer support on social-emotional learning through literacy and language, mindful leadership, building bridges with child care programs to ease the transition to Kindergarten, the power of play, early intervention for dyslexia, math for all learners and engaging with families. Speakers and presenters will focus on best practices in early learning for all those working with children from birth through early elementary years.

Information about sponsorship and/or exhibitor opportunities can be accessed here.

Come for one day or come for both!  Cost of attendance is $100.00 per person per day and will include a continental breakfast, lunch, a keynote address each day, over 50 breakout sessions from which to choose, an exhibitor hall, networking opportunities and chances to connect with peers.

How to register:

  1. Please visit the conference website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/maine-early-childhood-education-conference-tickets-347892053497
  2. Click on the green button that says Tickets and a pop-up window will open.
  3. This registration process will secure you a ticket to one or two days of the 2022 Statewide ECE Conference. Participants will select breakout sessions for the conference at a later date.

Please contact the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children with any questions or concerns related to registration by emailing info@maineaeyc.org  or by calling 207-747-2490.

For other questions, contact Maine DOE’s Early Childhood Specialist, Nicole Madore at nicole.madore@maine.gov.

EXTENDED DEADLINE – Job Opening for Continuous School Improvement Leader

The deadline for applying for this job has been extended to July 15, 2022.

The Maine Department of Education’s ESEA Federal Programs Team is seeking an energetic and experienced individual to serve in the role as a Continuous School Improvement Leader. As a member of the ESEA Federal Programs Team, the selected candidate will provide support, research- and evidence-based guidance to a team of leadership coaches serving principals of identified schools; support the formation of school leadership teams with necessary stakeholder representation; support the review and update of the consolidated needs assessment (CNA); guide the utilization of the updated CNA to create a strategic plan to inform areas of focus, support and additional funding; and utilize the continuous improvement cycle to conduct data analysis for intentional decision making in order to provide on-going support . This is a professional service position that directs and coordinates Maine’s Model of School Support as required within Title I under the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 2015 (ESSA). The position is responsible for the administration, management, and evaluation of  Maine’s Model of School Support as approved under federal Title I statutory regulations. This work will include policy review, input and development as related to Maine’s Model of School Support under federal statutory requirements and adherence to. This is a contracted position.

REPRESENTATIVE TASKS:

  • Approve school strategic plan applications submitted for review/feedback in utilizing awarded funds in a necessary, reasonable, and allowable way;
  • Approve all school leadership coach timecards and travel reimbursement requests;
  • Determine on-going support and resources for School Leadership Coaches, building principals, and School Leadership Teams, based on policy and guidance for Title I School Improvement;
  • Identify agenda items and facilitate monthly meetings with school leadership coaches to develop resources and trainings to support identified schools;
  • Identify specific insight to guide the collaborations in decision making regarding the administration of the Maine’s Model of School Support for identified schools;
  • Determine specific data collection and analysis to identify on-going program refinement and continued improvement;
  • Determine specific policies and procedures directly aligned to Continuous School Improvement research- and evidence-based practices and suggest changes to these policies and/or procedures based on date-driven decision making;
  • Communicate directly and frequently with principals, district staff, and Maine DOE school improvement coaches, as needed, on issues related to the school and the district level support being providing by Maine DOE;
  • Monitor school improvement budget to include review and approval of school improvement project requests and invoices;
  • Review and analyze student achievement data, and use the results to assist principals, leadership teams, and school improvement coaches to improve and develop comprehensive school improvement plans as needed or requested by school leaders and coaches;
  • Provide support, conduct performance reviews, and provide self evaluations for Maine DOE school leadership coaches;
  • Visit identified comprehensive schools to provide technical assistance, collect data regarding program effectiveness, attend leadership team meetings with coach, and meet one-on-one with school leaders, as determined necessary.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED: These are among the requirements to successfully perform the work assigned

  • Knowledge of current research- and evidence-based best practices and exemplary educational practice in the education of the disadvantaged and the ability to interpret and apply information to current programs;
  • Knowledge of current and emerging federal laws, policies, rules and regulations regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in particular School Improvement under Title I, including funding, compliance issues and evaluation issues;
  • Knowledge of the State’s assessment and accountability system including Maine’s Model of School Support;
  • Knowledge of continuous quality improvement and systems change concepts, practices, and tools;
  • Ability to assist in managing complex program and federal program budgets;
  • Ability to provide leadership to school leadership coaches and the Tier III identified schools they serve;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both in written and oral form;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships;
  • Ability to analyze, interpret, articulate, and present technical information, concepts, policies, procedures, and practices;
  • Ability to communicate complex information effectively, orally and in writing, to technical and non-technical audiences.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  To qualify, candidates must have a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership or a field related to the position and experience in educational leadership. Preferred candidates will have experience in successfully supporting the administration of federal programs and budgets aligning to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

APPLICATION:  Please submit a letter of interestresume, and three current letters of recommendation to Cheryl Lang at cheryl.lang@maine.gov on or before July 15, 2022.

Maine DOE Thanks Maine Educators Serving on Multi-State Alternate Assessment Item Review Committee

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) wishes to thank the ten Maine educators who recently participated in the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) Item Review Committee in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

MSAA is Maine’s alternate assessment is based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS) in ELA/literacy and mathematics, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who have been found eligible by the IEP Team.  As a partner in the MSAA Consortium, Maine engages actively in the ongoing development cycle of this assessment throughout the year. As a result of this collaboration, Maine’s students with the most significant cognitive disabilities participate in state assessment that has been designed with input from the same dedicated and expert Maine educators who serve this population every day.

During the Item Review Committee, Maine educators served on panels to review proposed items for the Spring 2023 MSAA.  Items were reviewed for both alignment to content and potential bias and sensitivity issues. Panelists also provided critical feedback on the accessibility of items across diverse student populations.  During this experience, Maine participants collaborated with educators from across the MSAA Partner Entities: TN, AZ, MT, DC, the Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense Schools, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The expertise of Maine educators is critical to the development of the state’s alternate assessments. Their engagement ensures that Maine continues to strive towards high standards and achievement for all Maine students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

Many thanks to the following panelists for sharing their time and expertise during this review!

 

School Renovation Funding Available

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is accepting applications to receive funding for school renovation projects through the School Revolving Renovation Fund (SRRF). The application deadline is October 31, 2022.

The Maine DOE will be able to approve approximately $10 million in SRRF loans. A portion of each loan will be considered a grant and will be forgiven. The remaining portion will be paid back over either five or ten years with no interest. The maximum loan amount is limited to $1 million per school building per priority in any five-year period.

Applications for Priority One projects will be accepted.  Priority One projects include indoor air quality improvement, structural roof repair, hazardous material abatement or removal, ADA compliance upgrades, and other health, safety and compliance renovations.

The SRRF application and additional information are available on the Maine DOE’s SRRF website. For more information or technical assistance, contact Ann Pinnette at 207-215-3809 or email ann.pinnette@maine.gov.