Model Concussion Policy Revision

Pursuant to Title 20-A MRSA§254(17) , all public schools, and private schools enrolling more than 60% of its students at public expense, are required to adopt and implement a policy on the management of concussive and other head injuries in school activities and athletics that is consistent with the model policy developed by the commissioner.

Since the creation of the mandate for the model concussion policy in 2012, schools across Maine have been instrumental in increasing concussion awareness among students, parents, and staff. The concussion policy is in place for more than just awareness; it should improve the management and care a student receives following an injury. Additionally, injuries can happen during any activity during the school day or outside of school. The location of the injury should not affect the attention and accommodation a student receives. The Department and its partners have revised the model policy to reflect current best practices in concussion management in schools. Over the years there has been a shift in the focus of how a concussion affects a student, specifically with the recognition that children are students first. Therefore, the model policy outlines a graduated school re-entry plan that is individualized and flexible, with input from medical providers, parents, and the school multidisciplinary team.

In order to fully comply with the requirements of the chaptered law, Title 20-A MRSA§254(17) as a result of L.D. 1873, An Act to Direct  the Commissioner of Education to Adopt a Model Policy Regarding Management of Head Injuries in School Activities and Athletics, in the 125th Maine Legislature,  all  additional resources have also been updated. Components that are required by this law are:  model policy, training, student and parental acknowledgment, protocols and forms, immediate removal and evaluation, and medical clearance. The additional requirements,  not part of the model policy, can be accessed through the Department of Education website. Here is a sample of some of the materials:

For more information about this model policy or the additional resources, please contact the School Nurse Consultant Emily Poland at Emily.Poland@maine.gov or (207) 592-0387.

Professional Development Opportunity: Maine Learning Results for Social Studies – Emphasis on Maine Native Americans

On April 3, 2020, Maine educators are invited to join the Western Maine Education Collaborative and the Department of Education at Winthrop High School for another session of the Social Studies standards roll out and training related to teaching about Maine Native Americans. This full day workshop will feature a variety of state leaders with expertise in teaching about Maine Native Americans, as well as resources that support the implementation of the revised standards with a focus on Maine Native Americans.

Joe Schmidt, DOE Social Studies Specialist, will discuss the revised standards, and time will be provided for participants to work with presenters, explore resources, and plan for classroom and district implementation. Check out their informational flyer for more information or click here to register. The training costs $30 for non-WMEC members, and includes lunch.

Clarification on Proposal of MaineCare Benefits Manual Section 106, School-Based Services 

On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, MaineCare filed the proposed Section 106, School-Based Services rule (Chapters II and III) with the Secretary of State’s office. At that time, a version of the proposed rule was shared publicly, although the rulemaking documents will not be available online until January 29, 2020, as per the standard Administrative Procedure Act (APA) process. 

Since that time, the public hearing has been rescheduled to Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at the Augusta Civic Center. This change, and other formatting changes to the proposed rule, will be posted online on January 29, 2020. At that time, MaineCare Services will send out a e-message notice and email to its Interested Parties, with a link to the proposed rule. 

In the meantime, MaineCare requests that any interested parties who would like to submit public comments, please wait until the public comment period has opened on February 18, 2020.  We apologize for any confusion this has caused.  If you have any questions about this notice, please contact Trista Collins, State Medicaid Educational Liaison.

Read to ME Challenge to Kick-off February 3rd at Lincoln School in Augusta

Year five of the Read to ME Challenge is scheduled to begin on February 3, 2020.  Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin will launch the campaign by reading to children at the Lincoln School in Augusta.  She will follow up her reading by issuing a challenge to participate in the 2020 campaign.  The Department will be live streaming this event, and will provide those details soon. This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, to capture that reading episode via a photo or short video and then post it on social media to challenge others to do the same.  The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month leading up to Read Across America Day on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Schools and organizations are invited to join the challenge and to encourage community members to do the same. The collective voice of many key partners, leaders and those in respected positions will send a clear message about the vital importance reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine. Maine DOE also encourages partners to be creative and to use this opportunity to enhance ongoing literacy education outreach efforts.

If your organization is willing and able to promote the Read to ME Challenge, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information. Read to ME Challenge resources, including a guidance document, public service announcements in a variety of languages, fliers and a list of engaging ways to incorporate the challenge are available on the Read to ME webpage.

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities. The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement.  Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

Thanks for your consideration of this opportunity, and don’t hesitate to contact danielle.m.saucier@maine.gov (624-6734) with any questions.

Organizations Needed to Feed Hungry Children this Summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“Schools do not just offer a safe place for learning, for too many Maine families, they are also the only consistent and reliable source for food. The Summer Food Service Program is an invaluable resource to our students and their families during the summer months, when they might otherwise find themselves food insecure,” said Maine Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin.

“The needs of the whole child must be addressed, and the school and community partnerships that ensure our children are fed are vital to helping combat the stress and hunger that can negatively impact student health and learning.”

In 2019, 122 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 467 sites throughout the state. Although there are sponsors operating in every county in Maine, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

SFSP may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need.  Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and tribal populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/nutrition/resources/calendar. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/nutrition/programs/sfsp.

 

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Federal

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)     mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)      fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)      email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

State

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, ancestry or national origin.

Complaints of discrimination must be filed at the office of the Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051.

If you wish to file a discrimination complaint electronically, visit the Human Rights Commission website at https://www.maine.gov/mhrc/file/instructions and complete an intake questionnaire. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.