Register Now: Maine Collaborative Child Abuse Prevention Online Conference February 2-4

Register now for a 3-day free online conference for Social Workers, Law Enforcement, Educators, & Prosecutors.

This event is co-sponsored by Cumberland County Children’s Advocacy Center, Maine Department of Education’s Office of School and Student Supports, Trauma-informed Prosecutor Project (TiPP), and Portland Pump Company.

Trainings are designed to provide cross disciplinary education, advocacy for systemic legal change, guidance for survivor support and leadership on emerging technologies, education and training around how to recognize and address the intersecting forms of child maltreatment in connection with child sexual abuse is the focus of all.

FEBRUARY 2-4, 2022 – 8:30AM TO 4PM

Day 1:

  • Essentials of Trauma-Informed Care
  • Essentials of Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Empowering Survivors To Understand The Impact of Childhood Trauma… Getting Through, Not Over
  • Vicarious Trauma & Self-Care Strategies

Day 2:

  • Understanding the Impact Of Trauma On Boys
  • Strategies, Tips, & Activities for The Classroom: Building Connections & Developing Empathy
  • Personal Safety Building Blocks: Consent, & Empathy for Parents
  • Personal Safety Building Blocks: Consent, & Empathy for Professionals

Day 3:

  • Trauma-Informed Approaches to Victims of Technology-Facilitated
  • Abuse No Perfect Victim: Combating Issues & Overcoming Jury Bias in Cases with Difficult Kids
  • Smoke & Fire: Trauma, ACEs, How They Impact Child Abuse Investigation & Prosecution
  • Creating Trauma-Informed Spaces for Victims & Families Throughout the Justice System


Help promote this event – Download the flyer.

Input Sought Related to Bus Routing Software Needs

The Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) is in the process of drafting an RFP to seek proposals to provide interested SAUs with comprehensive school bus routing and transportation management systems, including system implementation, software licensing, hosting, maintenance, support, and training.

Maine DOE is seeking SAU input on features and functionality that are needed in this system to make it most usable and productive for SAUs. Thank you for providing us with input, through this brief survey. Responses requested by January 30, 2022.

For questions regarding this survey, please contact Charlotte Ellis

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Honors 11 Inspirational School Employees Through RISE Award

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today announced the state finalists for the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award.

In two special outdoor gatherings held today at East End Community School (Portland Public Schools) and Marcia Buker Elementary School (RSU 2), Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin presented Maine’s two State-level Honorees each with certificates and flowers and thanked them for their service. Award nominators and members of their school community were also present to show their gratitude and share inspirational messages about how these individuals have impacted their community.

Created by Congress in 2019 and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, the RISE Award honors classified employees in the education workforce who provide exemplary service.  The Maine DOE in coordination with the Office of Governor Janet T. Mills has selected 11 finalists from a pool of over eighty exceptional nominees submitted from across Maine by local educational agencies, school administrators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents/caregivers, students, and community members.

“As the daughter of a longtime public school teacher, I know how hard our teachers work every day to provide a quality education. These last few years have brought even greater challenges, and I am grateful to teachers across Maine who have risen to the occasion to educate our children and keep them safe,” said Governor Mills. “On behalf of all Maine people, I sincerely congratulate our RISE award winners on this well-deserved honor, and I thank them for all they do for our state.”

“Today I have been privileged to honor and recognize two of the thousands of heroes who are ensuring that Maine children have access to safe and successful schools,” said Commissioner of Education Pender Makin.  “These dedicated staff members support teachers and families, and ensure that the health, safety, nutritional and academic needs of students are met day after day. Without their dedication and hard work, our schools, our communities, would falter. I urge all Maine people to join me in recognizing these two individuals, and in thanking our entire education workforce, who continues to rise above and deliver on behalf of their students.”

RISE nominees demonstrate excellence in the following areas: (A) Work performance; (B) School and community involvement; (C) Leadership and commitment; (D) Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); (E) Enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.

Of the 11 finalists, two state-level honorees have been selected and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education to represent Maine for consideration in the national RISE Award. The U.S. Department of Education will announce one national honoree and present the individual with an award in the spring. Each of Maine’s finalists will be honored with a letter from the Commissioner of Education and receive spotlights on the Maine Department of Education website.

Maine’s RISE State-Level Honorees:

Deb Bodge
Administrative Assistant/Secretary
Marcia Buker Elementary School, RSU 2

“Mrs. Bodge has been a foundation for Marcia Buker School for many years. Not only has she been resilient during the COVID crisis, but she continues, each day to know about each child and how their worlds work. She also does it all with a smile. She is a rock for our little school and is completely deserving of such an honor,” said one of her nominators, Julie York.

Betsy Paz-Gyimesi
Spanish Family and Community Engagement Specialist
Multilingual and Multicultural Center, Portland Public Schools (PPS)

“Betsy bridges the home/school divide for our families, is a fierce advocate in ensuring that students access programs and services that would nurture and advance their academic performance and social/emotional well-being,” said nominator Maureen Clancy, PPS Language Access Coordinator.

Maine’s RISE Finalists:

Kelly Brown
School Nurse
Kennebunk Elementary School, RSU 21

Vicki Dill
Head Cook, Food Services
Whitefield Elementary School, RSU 12

Jessie Eastman
School Nurse
Lincoln Elementary School, Augusta School District

Leland Gamache
Bus Driver/Custodial Staff
Libson Community School, Lisbon School Department

Ellen Kimball
Food Service Staff
T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School, RSU 56

Brittany Layman
Health and Wellness Coordinator/School Nurse
Earl C. McGraw Elementary School, RSU 22

Martha Thompson
Education Technician- Carpentry
Portland Arts and Technology High School
Melinda Williams
Special Education-Education Technician
Sanford School Department

Paula Quirk
Main Office Clerk
Waldo T. Skillin Elementary School, South Portland Public Schools

For a full description and picture of each of the nominees and finalists, visit the Maine Department of Education’s RISE webpages.

For more information about the RISE award including a description of a classified employee, visit the U.S. Department of Education Website. To learn more about Maine’s process including criteria and frequently asked questions, visit the Maine Department of Education Website.

MLTI Virtual Student Conference Slated for May 26th

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) team is excited to announce that the 19th annual MLTI Student Conference will take place virtually on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Though this is our third year holding the MLTI Student Conference virtually, we are dedicated to making this year an innovative virtual conference experience like never before! The conference will be open to all MLTI 7th and 8th grade students and their teachers and will include interactive and hands on workshops where participants will be engaging and creating both digitally and in-person with provided materials.

This year the MLTI team is partnering with the University of Maine System and their Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science (MCECIS). By the time today’s middle schoolers are ready to enter college, they will have access through the University of Maine system to expanded educational opportunities and state of the art classrooms and labs for engineering, computing, and information science.

Please save the date for the 2022 MLTI Student Conference and check our website for more announcements coming soon, including a call for proposals, t-shirt design contest, a surprise guest announcement, presenters, and session information.

We look forward to seeing all of you on Thursday, May 26, 2022 and sharing an exciting and innovative day with you and MLTI students!

Download the Flyer

For more information reach out to Brandi Cota, Maine DOE MLTI Project Manager at Brandi.M.Cota@Maine.Gov

Maine DOE Child Nutrition’s First VISTA Member Paves the Way for Future Work

Caroline Bennett, a Volunteer In Service to America (VISTA) member of AmeriCorps joined the Maine Department of Education (DOE) Child Nutrition team in January 2021 to build capacity and resources related to alleviating food insecurity among Maine students, with a focus on school meal programs.

As Caroline’s one-year stay with the Maine DOE comes to a conclusion this month, we are celebrating the impact she has made as one of the first VISTA members to join our team. She is the first of a cohort that is focused on ending hunger in Maine by 2030.

Caroline’s projects supported the overall goal of improving access to healthy food, through the federal school meals programs. Her projects focused on three main areas:

  1. Determining barriers and best practices of increasing student participation in federal school meal programs by surveying both food service directors and parents. As a result of her work, a toolkit of information, tips, and social media templates has been created for school nutrition programs across the State to use. The toolkit can be found on the Maine DOE Student Eligibility & Applications webpage under the “Free and Reduced Applications” tab, then Resource Materials.
  2. Developing a foundation of resources to move towards all meals at no charge for Maine students. As a result of LD 1679, “An Act to Address Student Hunger through Expanding Access to Free School Meals,” she assisted with the cost analysis of the bill and collaborating with other partners such as Full Plates Full Potential.
  3. Creating a positive media campaign for completing the student meal benefit application. A toolkit was created to educate families on the importance of completing the confidential meal benefit application, including translated materials to help reach all Maine communities. Find the toolkit here.

Other focus areas included promoting the meal benefit application for families who are eligible for pandemic EBT benefits, and building resources for cultural diversity in school menus that can be used by school nutrition professionals. As a result of her work, 218 school districts that participate in the school meals programs have access to these resources, and 91,413 new pandemic EBT issuances were made.

Caroline’s work laid a great foundation for the Department’s future work to continue providing meals at no charge for public schools in School Year 2023. School districts are urged to educate families on the importance of completing the confidential meal benefit application as it informs key funding for schools, as well as connects families to important resources and benefits.

This important work will continue in future years as Child Nutrition looks to host another VISTA member in SY 2023.

Caroline’s future plans include attending the University of New England Master of Science in Applied Nutrition. We wish her the best in her future endeavors!

For further information contact the Maine DOE Child Nutrition Team.