Awesome Things Happening at James F. Doughty School in Bangor

Submitted by Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Bangor School Department

Mrs. Kennedy Selected to Study World War I in Europe

Mrs. Kathryn Kennedy of James F. Doughty School (JFDS) is one of eighteen educators from across America to have been selected to participate in Memorializing the Fallen — a teacher professional development program from National History Day®. Sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the program takes educators on the journey of a lifetime to rediscover the history of World War I and invigorate its teaching in America’s classrooms.

Throughout the program, teachers attend virtual lectures, participate in discussions, and research a service member who never returned home. The academic portion of the program will be led by Dr. Christopher Hamner, an associate professor at George Mason University, and Dr. Kate Clarke Lemay, a historian with Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

In June 2019, the educators will venture to Europe where they will walk in the footsteps of history, making stops at Somme American Cemetery, St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Suresnes American Cemetery, Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, and battle sites and monuments at Belleau Wood, Verdun, and Meuse Argonne. On the final day of the program, teachers will attend the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles at the Palace of Versailles. This highly competitive program pays for travel to these locations as well as lodging, meals, books, and more.

All of these activities support the development of the final products the teachers create: a lesson plan and a Silent Hero® profile. The teachers are developing in-depth lesson plans to focus on the legacy of the conflict. Both the lesson plan and the fallen hero profile will be released during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The goal for the Memorializing the Fallen program is to reinvigorate the teaching and learning of World War I in classrooms as we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

18 teachers were chosen from 334 applicants for this competitive program.

JFDS Celebrates Maine BioScience Day

On Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 JFDS celebrated Maine BioScience Day 2018 by inviting five local scientists to speak with all of our grade 7 and grade 8 students during their science classes. Maine BioScience Day is a statewide event happening in middle schools in Maine and is organized by the BioScience Association of Maine. The BioScience Association makes all the initial contacts to professionals specializing in science fields that are willing to volunteer to go into local middle school classrooms to talk with students about their research, what they do from day to day and the opportunities that are available for a career in science, in Maine.

We would like to thank the following scientist that shared some activities and discussed their research with our students.

  • Kristen Brown, University of Maine, Genetics
  • Melissa Mcginnis, University of Maine, Virology
  • Ek Han Tan, University of Maine, Genetics
  • George Bernhart, University of Maine, Physics
  • Patrick Breeding, University of Maine, Bioengineering

13th Annual Invasive Crab Research Trip

The accelerated physical and life science students at the James F. Doughty School completed their 13th year of invasive crab research at Moose Point State Park.

There were 233 crabs collected and measured. The species were recorded along with the genders. All of the crabs collected were green crabs (Carcinus maenas), which are highly aggressive invasive crabs that were introduced to Maine over 100 years ago.

 

7th Up Biz Tour Field Trip

Dream it. See it. Be it.

The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce through the Community Council Building Bridges program, in partnership with the Bangor School Department and Superintendent Dr. Betsy Webb, transported 7th grade students from William S. Cohen School and James F. Doughty School on a day-long tour of Chamber member businesses. The goal of the trip was to inform and excite students about their future and the many career opportunities available in our community.

The day kicked off at the Cross Insurance Center with a keynote address from Ben Sprague, Mayor of Bangor, and remarks from James Doughty, Director of Marking from Bangor Savings Bank, the presenting sponsor of the event.  The event was also made possible by the generous support of the University of Maine, Husson University, Emera, Darlings Auto, Bangor International Airport, GE, Cross Insurance Center, Cyr Bus, and nearly 100 hundred volunteers representing the business community.

The students divided into five teams to visit businesses and meet employees from Bangor Savings Bank, Bangor Police Department, Cross Insurance Agency, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Darlings, Specialty Sweets, Berry Dunn, Sutherland Weston, Eaton Peabody at the Penobscot Judicial Center, PCHC, Wayfair, Bangor International Airport, C&L Aviation Group, Hannaford, Maine Air Guard, and GE.

Mr. Walton’s science class was studying Newton’s Laws, drag, thrust and stability building water rockets: New Innovation Record -460 feet
Mr. Walton’s science class was studying Newton’s Laws, drag, thrust and stability building water rockets: New Innovation Record -460 feet
Students in Mrs. Boehmer's ELA classes learned to analyze photos by making inferences about the characters, action, and setting. From their inferences, they wrote narratives and shared them with their classmates.
Students in Mrs. Boehmer’s ELA classes learned to analyze photos by making inferences about the characters, action, and setting. From their inferences, they wrote narratives and shared them with their classmates.

MEDIA RELEASE: Certification Processing Reduced to Three Weeks

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that its certification office has reached its operational goal of a three-week turnaround time for processing educator certification applications that are complete. This is an enormous improvement from the significant processing times educators have been experiencing.

“The Department has been working diligently to reduce processing times to ensure that qualified educators can receive a Maine teaching credential as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Pender Makin. “We know how critical the certification process is, especially during a time when many of our schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers and substitutes.”

In 2017, the Maine Department of Education launched a new online certification system called the Maine Educator Credentialing System (MEIS). It is a web-based educator credentialing system which replaced an outdated paper application certification system. At this point in the rollout of MEIS, Maine educators and administrators are able to manage their certification renewals completely online. The next phase of the rollout will allow initial educator applications to be submitted completely online by educators, this will be followed by the rollout of the public certification portal.

Professional Learning Opportunity: Leveraging Free Technology to Create More Inclusive Classrooms

The Maine Department of Education and Microsoft are collaborating to offer educators the opportunity to participate in a program from March 2019 to June 2019. The program will focus on leveraging free technology tools available to Maine educators to create more inclusive classrooms. A Microsoft Learning Consultant will lead these sessions.

Technology can create opportunities for students to have more independence and agency over their learning.  Leveraging technology to remove barriers to learning can result in and also lead to improved student achievement. During these sessions, educators will learn to integrate several free technology tools to better serve students. These sessions are free for Maine educators.

Program Details:

Educators will receive on-going professional learning support related to the following tools that are designed to support the development of inclusive classrooms: Learning Tools, Accessibility Tools, Sway, Office Lens, One Note, Microsoft Teams, Translator, and Microsoft Inking. They will:

  • Attend two in-person workshops
  • Participate in a facilitated online Professional Learning Community in Microsoft Teams
  • Participate in two webinars (in April and early May) – dates to be determined.

Educators who participate in all parts of the program can earn up to 16 Contact Hours.

Workshop Agendas

Note that registration for each location will be limited to 50 participants. 

Inclusive Classrooms Part 1

March 27th, 2019 – Augusta

March 28th, 2019 – Gorham

March 29th, 2019 – Bangor

 

8:30am Light Refreshments
9:00am Welcome and Introductions
9:15am Microsoft Teams
10:15am Break
10:30am Supporting English Language Learners
11:30am Lunch
12:15pm Accessibility Tools
2:45pm Closing
3:00pm End

 

 

Inclusive Classrooms Part 2

May 29th, 2019 – Augusta

May 30th, 2019 – Bangor

May 31st, 2019 – Gorham

 

8:30am Light Refreshments
9:00am Welcome and Introductions
9:15am Connections: Sharing what you’ve done with the tools
10:15am Break
10:30am Authoring Accessible Content
11:30am Lunch
12:15pm More tools to create inclusive classrooms
2:00pm Planning for greater impact in your school/district
2:45pm Closing
3:00pm End

Who should register?

All educators are invited to register, though space is limited in each session. If districts want to focus their participation on certain educators, the tools can be very helpful the work of: Special Education Directors and Teachers, Teachers of English Language Learners, School Leaders, Curriculum Coordinators, Technology Integrators, and Library Media Specialists.

Registration:

Inclusive Classrooms Part 1

Register by 3/8 if you want Microsoft to bring a device for you to use, otherwise, register by 3/20 and plan to bring a device with Microsoft OneNote, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

March 27th, 2019 – Augusta (Registration Form)

March 28th, 2019 – Gorham (Registration Form)

March 29th, 2019 – Bangor (Registration Form)

Inclusive Classrooms Part 2

Register by 5/10 if you want Microsoft to bring a device for you to use, otherwise, register by 5/20 and plan to bring a device with Microsoft OneNote, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

May 29th, 2019 – Augusta (Registration Form)

May 30th, 2019 – Bangor (Registration Form)

May 31st, 2019 – Gorham (Registration Form)

 

Note: Please communicate with your technology director to be sure that you and your students will be able to access Office 365 tools (free to schools) on your devices and network.

 

For additional information or answers to questions, please contact:

 

Amanda Nguyen

Digital Learning Specialist

Maine Department of Education

Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov

Oceanside High School, Setting Students up for Success

Submitted by Jesse Bartke, Interim Principal at Oceanside High School and written by Jenny Goode, GT Teacher and  Hannah Faesey, Social Worker

At Oceanside High School in Rockland, a system has been established that supports students to build a foundation of success as they enter High School and then encourages them to challenge themselves and focus their education on individual passions. This team has been working together supporting the 9th and 10th grade students in the building for the past 3 years. Oceanside’s Freshman Academy consists of the 9th grade level core subject teachers, the social worker, the student support coordinator, administration, and guidance.  Over the course of a few weeks, they discuss every single freshman student, tracking their grades, peer interactions, attendance, behavior referrals, and social-emotional strengths and challenges on a comprehensive spreadsheet.  This not only allows everyone to be on the same page about kids, but it builds close relationships between teachers and all of their students. They are able to see “the whole student” through the picture painted at the Freshman Academy level.  “No students fall through the cracks,” observed an Oceanside High School administrator.

The meetings are fast paced and focused. When administration and guidance attends, they are able to give updates on students, to offer support to teachers on specific kids, and to close the communication loop between classroom and main office.  “Everyone at the table knows what is happening with each of their students,” said a Social Studies teacher. “We are all aware of the challenges and successes of the students, which helps us prepare for what any given kid will need that day.  We can wrap supports and interventions around a kid based on the information shared.”

With this close tracking, the team is able to intervene early with their students. Rather than waiting until the end of a quarter when a student is on a failure list, the close monitoring of the Freshman Academy allows timely and direct responses to smaller changes in grades, behavior, or social-emotional health.  “I have nothing bad to say about Oceanside,” said a 10th grade parent.  “The staff there is always willing to be creative and communicative with my student’s needs, and [my student] is not an easy case!  I don’t know another school district that would’ve responded so quickly.”

The Freshman Academy teachers have their hands full. Besides teaching curriculum content, academic readiness, and social-emotional skills, each teacher has an advisory of about 18 students, and is responsible for being the “point person” for those students’ families to contact the school.  At least once a quarter, teachers reach out to families to share successes, challenges, and updates with families, as well as invite them in to meetings with their student and teachers. While all of these meetings and additional communication are certainly more work, all of those on the Freshman Academy team wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  One first year teacher shared that he “feels supported by his team and administration” in the work he’s doing. “I am learning so much from the others at the table.”

At some point, teachers can only provide so many interventions at the classroom level. Freshman Academy identifies students for that have reached the Risk Review Team level. Risk Review is comprised of administration, the student support coordinator, the social worker, guidance, case managers, and the interventionist.  They meet every month to discuss freshman who’s needs surpass what support teachers can give. Additionally, they might connect to outside resources because the needs of some students are greater than the school can provide. “This structure allows me to breathe a sigh of relief.  We’re not letting any student fall through the cracks, and I trust that the Risk Review Team will support students when I can’t. I’m not alone in this,” said a 9th grade English teacher.

Adults at Oceanside are not the only ones to notice a difference. One 10th grade student, reflecting on his time in the Freshman Academy, said that he felt like he mattered in 9th grade, a feeling he hadn’t felt at school in a long time.  “I knew all of my teachers cared about me. And they still do!  I go to [my 9th grade English teacher] to calm down and I go to my [9th grade science teacher] for advice.”  A current 9th grader said, “You all seem to know what’s going on!  It’s helping me show up more than I did last year.”

In the 2017-2018 school year, freshman had the lowest truancy rate of any other grades at Oceanside, with 20.7% (compared to a school rate of 29%). At Oceanside, students need 6 credits to continue onto 10th grade.  67.2% of the class of 2018, who did not have Freshman Academy, received all 6 credits, but the class of 2021 with the Freshman Academy had 90.7% of the class complete these credits.  Finally, as 8th graders, 13.25% of the class of 2021 passed all core classes by standards and grades.  As 9th graders, the same class had 86% pass all of their core classes.

Given this success, Oceanside has expanded their Academy structure to the 10th grade in the 2018-2019 school year. Four core teachers, the social worker, and administration follow a streamlined structure for a pilot group of 10th graders.  The Sophomore Academy is focused on the team of teachers, frequent parent communication, and monitoring student progress.  The Risk Review Team continues to play an important role on the Sophomore Academy too, allowing the teachers to elevate students who need additional supports beyond those feasible in the classroom.  “I can’t imagine not being part of a team like this, now that I’ve been on one,” said a Sophomore Academy teacher.  “I wish all school staff could feel as supported and validated as I do.”

As the Freshmen and Sophomore Academies work to support students develop the skills that are necessary for them to be successful in high school, they are encouraged to pursue a pathway starting in their sophomore year. These pathways are the STEM and Liberal Arts Academies which are academic and experiential pathways intended to increase student understanding of the possibilities of further study and careers in fields connected to those concentrations. The STEM Academy was developed in 2015 with the first class graduating with the endorsement in 2016. The success of this Academy led to the development of the Liberal Arts Academy in 2016 with subsequent endorsement being available in 2017. At present, there are over forty students pursuing one of the Academy endorsements.

A Liberal Arts Academy endorsement can be achieved through three different pathways: visual and performing arts, culture, or humanities. STEM Academy students can choose either a science or math concentration. Academy participants benefit from taking challenging courses at the Honors or Advanced Placement levels, in addition to one-on-one mentoring from a teacher mentor and the Academy advisor.  Career exploration includes participating in extended learning opportunities, job shadowing, and a capstone experience consisting of an internship or research project. As part of the Academy approval process, seniors must complete a portfolio reflecting their Academy journey by January of their graduation year.  Seniors also give presentations of their experiences at the annual OHS Career Day and to the district’s eighth grade class. Successful completion of the endorsement is recognized on the Oceanside High School Diploma, the student’s official transcripts, and a white cord that is worn during the graduation ceremony to denote high academic achievement in STEM or Liberal Arts.

Students express that the most valuable part of the Academy experience is the two job shadows and twenty-hour internship experiences. The business community’s partnership is invaluable in giving our students the chance to explore careers. Testimonial from Academy graduates have noted how valuable the experience was in giving them a clearer direction regarding their college major and future aspirations.  One student describes the internship as an experience that “really had a big impact on me. I didn’t just walk out of that hospital with a completed STEM endorsement and some experience under my belt. I walked out of there knowing my passion was to pursue a future in the medical field.”  Another student described her involvement in Academy as “a cornerstone in my high school career. This program has given me the necessary tools to explore my career interests and who I am as a person.”

As our present seniors are finishing up their Academy portfolios, they are getting the chance to reflect on the work that they have done these past 3.5 years. One student noted that with the help of the Academy program “many more opportunities in the community and state were possible because of having a whole program behind me.”  Another recognized that Academy “ had provided me with ambition. I have worked to achieve its endorsement and have learned to use the striving force I possess to succeed in school and beyond.”  Sometimes the Academy experience guide students to the career of their dreams as happened to one senior who job shadowed at the hospital, and from that experience did an internship in the hospital pharmacy, which led him to realize that was the career for him.  Sometimes Academy experiences redirect a student from what they thought they wanted to something more suited to their strengths, as it did for a young man who was convinced he wanted to be a naval architect, but after his STEM career explorations realized he wanted to pursue a career that incorporates engineering and business skills.

The students who fulfill the STEM and Liberal Arts Academy requirements have improved important abilities in personal responsibility and interpersonal skills, have challenged themselves academically, and have had the opportunity to get real-life career experiences that are invaluable. More information is available about the Oceanside High School STEM and Liberal Arts Academies on our website: Oceanside HS Academy.

River View Community School Takes the Kindness Challenge

Submitted by Vicki Duguay, Principal, River View Community School in MSAD 11

River View Community School in South Gardiner, part of MSAD #11, has taken a concerted effort to increase the kindness factor within our school. We believe that the promotion of kindness among our students and school community is vitally important to the atmosphere within our school. Kindness encourages a positive mindset, which, in turn, nurtures our students while they are learning and participating in their educational endeavors and outside interests and activities.

Research has shown that focusing and teaching the skills and attitudes to have a positive mindset can improve school and community atmosphere and strengthen relationships between students, staff, and the community. Armed with that knowledge, River View staff signed up for the Kindness Challenge at www.kindnesschallenge.com and purposefully implemented Second Step (www.secondstep.org ) in our classrooms.

Our focus has been on intensifying and encouraging a positive and supportive school community where students and staff are kind, supportive, helpful, and caring toward each other. Teachers and staff teach lessons that give students a better understanding of how kindness can directly affect the atmosphere of the school, the mood of others, and have a positive impact on personal self-esteem. The lessons give the students an opportunity to practice being kind and supportive and also time to reflect on how this impacts their daily lives.

Due to the effectiveness and impact of the lessons, our school community evolved from not only staff recognizing students for being kind, but students recognizing each other as being kind and staff going out of their way to recognize their colleagues for their kindness and support as well.

There is a train of kindness ‘shout-outs’ that line our hallways that staff and students have written recognizing acts of kindness that they experienced themselves or observed happening to others. Students and staff are encouraged daily to continue to recognize acts of kindness and add to the ongoing chain.

Students also participated in spreading the ‘kindness germ’ on National JoyGerm Day on January 8th where students made cards that had statements of encouragement and happiness that were distributed throughout our community.

Students are recognizing the importance of practicing kindness for the act itself, not for the recognition or reward that might be given. Each day one can spot little actions that show our focus on kindness is working. One can spot students are saying thank you, asking how a friend feels, holding doors, picking up papers and items on the floor, and helping fellow classmates within the classroom.

Does Kindness Matter? We at River View Community School say yes! We have proven through our efforts and focused activities that being kind and spreading kindness can and does have a beneficial and uplifting impact at our school. We have seen our discipline referrals decrease by 50% since our purposeful focus on Kindness began. Our motto is, “In a world  where you can be anything, Be Kind.”