Caribou Middle School Innovation Center Highlighted in Local News

Submitted by Timothy Doak, Superintendent of Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit #39. Article is from The County newspaper, written by Chris Bouchard.

Caribou Middle School in RSU 39 was recently highlighted for their Innovation Center, an initiative led by Maureen Connell, Innovation Center Director. Below is a news article from The County newspaper.

CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou Middle School students are now learning about math, coding, technology, and creative design as part of the school’s new Innovation Center, located in the former shop area in the heart of the building.

In its current incarnation, the innovation center is somewhat of a prototype of what will be offered in Caribou’s new PreK-8 school, scheduled for completion in mid-2020. The building is set to have its own space dedicated to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities, and RSU 39 has already hired Maureen Connell as their Innovation Center director.

At first, Connell said she wasn’t asked to start doing classes and activities with students, but soon found herself working with teachers and middle schoolers integrating technology such as 3D printing, LEGO robotics, and programmable mobile spheres into their curriculum.

She said the experience so far has been immensely positive.

“It’s been awesome to be able to learn new things myself,” she said, “and to see kids having a lot of fun with technology and apply their skills in different ways.”

The Innovation Center is not a separate class period like gym or library time, but a resource that all educators can use to augment their classes. For example, CMS fifth graders are learning about the westward expansion in this country, and at the end of the unit they will build their own wagons and create supplies that pioneers would typically bring along for the arduous journey.

Read the full story

 

National Indian Education Study (NIES) WebEx Event: Wednesday, June 5 from 2 – 3 pm EDT.

The National Center for Education Statistics released a follow-up report on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 to the 2015 National Indian Education Study (NIES). A post-release webinar will be held on Wednesday, June 5th from 2 to 3 pm, EDT. Sharing highlights from the new report will be:

  • Dr. Peggy G. Carr, Associate Commissioner, Assessments Division, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Dr. Susan C. Faircloth, NIES Technical Review Panel Chair and Professor and Director of Colorado State University’s School of Education

This WebEX event with Dr. Carr and Dr. Faircloth is a terrific opportunity to hear from the experts, and is open to those with an interest in Indian Education, education research, equity or to simply learn more.

To RSVP for the webinar, please contact Emily Martin at emartin@hagersharp.com.

The new NIES report can be accessed via:  https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019048

For a perspective on this report and the importance of the study as a whole, please see:  National Indian Education Study 2015:  Setting the Context, or https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oas/nies-setting-the-context.pdf.  

This document was written by members of the NIES Technical Review Panel.  This panel is made up of individuals with expertise in matters related to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students.  For more information, please contact Maine Department of Education Coordinator of NAEP and International Assessments, Regina Lewis at regina.lewis@maine.gov or (207) 624-6715.

Maine School Garden Day Brings Educators Around the State to Trenton Elementary School

(Whitney Ciancetta of Trenton Elementary School, describes their school’s greenhouse and gardens.)

The Maine School Garden Network recently convened 65 teachers from around the state at its annual “Maine School Garden Day” at Trenton Elementary School.  The purpose of the event was to provide preK-12 teachers currently or potentially involved with school gardens a day of workshops and networking.

The day included presentations, workshops, a lunch of local produce, and a tour of Trenton Elementary School’s greenhouse, gardens and outdoor education center and nature trails.  Guest presenters included Erika Verrier, Program Director of Maine School Garden Network, Willie Sayer Grenier of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC), 2019 MAITC Teacher of the Year, Lynn Snow, Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) State President Graham Berry, and many others.  Presentations also included information on establishing school orchards by ReTreeUS, seed saving techcniques, information on bees, and on native plants, as well as other subjects.  Afternoon workshops covered an array of topics of interest to teachers with school gardens.

The day provided participating teachers with valuable information and resources related to ensuring the success of their school gardens.  Erik Verrier of Maine School Garden Network (MSGN) urged all teachers to complete the MSGN online School Garden Survey so that they could continue to network with each other and additional interested teachers, and so that MSGN would be know how to best serve their needs.

IMG_8404_Photo_2_Lynn_Snow_MAITC_Teacher_of_Year
Lynn Snow, 2019 MAITC Teacher of the Year, discusses in her keynote address the range of academics that may be achieved through school gardens.

MAITC 2019 Teacher of the Year, Lynn Snow, a 5th grade Science and English teacher at Thomaston Grammar School, described ways in which their school garden helped students acquire skills across numerous academic areas, as well as areas related to important life skills such as taking initiative and perseverance.

Graham Berry, Maine FFA State President, let teachers know that Maine FFA represented many other areas beyond farming relevant to the field of agriculture and natural resources.  He informed the group that any of them with students grades 7-12 would qualify to have an FFA chapter at their school, helping students to access numerous opportunities encompassing competitions, leadership skills, travel, scholarships, and an overall greater appreciation of agriculture and natural resources.

IMG_8420_Photo_1_Graham_Berry_ME_FFA_State_President
Graham Berry, Maine FFA State President, describes the advantages associated with FFA chapter membership for students grades 7-12.

For more information on Maine School Garden Network, please contact Erika Verrier, Program Director:  msgncoordinator@gmail.com  (207) 612-8911 or email  info@msgn.org

For more information on starting an FFA chapter for students grades 7-12, please contact:  Doug Robertson, Maine FFA State Advisor, Maine Department of Education, doug.robertson@maine.gov  (207) 624-6744

Accountability Certification Validation Due Date and Details

The Accountability Assessment Detail Report is currently available in NEO to allow districts to validate the detail student enrollment and demographic data that will provide the foundation for future Assessment and Accountability reporting for the 18-19 school year. The report lists student details which will be used to produce student groups for school support determinations and ESEA Dashboards.  The report also identifies which assessments the students should have taken, full academic year enrollment for all students, and whether or not a student will be included for accountability measures or only for assessment reporting.

The Accountability Certification will need to be validated by each school/district and certified and submitted by each Superintendent by June 14, 2019.

Once validated, the data will be used for ESEA Data Dashboards and other assessment and accountability reporting on the 18-19 academic year.  The due date is important, as the Department cannot release assessment data in the Maine Assessment and Accountability Reporting System (MAARS) until these student demographic data are certified to be matched up with the assessment results.

The Data Team will be hosting a May 29th 1:00 PM webinar about the Accountability Report.  Please use the following link, here, to register for the webinar https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7759757532334082317

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If something is not right, who do we contact?

Please first validate that the information is correct in Synergy. If the data is correct in Synergy, or if it is not located in Synergy, please report your question to the Helpdesk – MEDMS.Helpdesk@maine.gov 207-624-6896.

ASSESSMENTS – What were the asterisks vs the blanks for on the Student Detail?

Asterisks indicate the assessment(s) that the student should have taken. A blank indicates that the student did not need to take any of the assessments.

TITLE 1 – Can you explain the Title 1 information?

Title 1 numbers have two sources:

If the school has a Schoolwide Title 1 program, then all of the students are flagged with Title1 ELA and Title1 Math.

If the school does not have a school wide Title 1 program, but rather a targeted assistance program, then the flags come from data entered into Synergy.

What is a school wide program?

School wide program is a type of Title 1 program. For further information, please contact Jackie Godbout at Jackie.Godbout@maine.gov or 624-6712.

SPPS – Are Special Purpose Private Schools responsible for entering and checking this data for their students or is this a requirement for the public schools only?

SPPS should review the data (if the report has been fixed so you can see it) to validate that student grade levels and enrollments are entered correctly.

Full Academic Year – We have a student that was enrolled the entire year, but is showing N in both District and School Full Year columns.

Students are considered to be school full year if they are enrolled on October 1 and May 3 at the same school.

Students are considered to be district full year if the same district is responsible for the student on October 1 and May 3.

October EPS enrollment data is utilized to determine the October 1 status, if enrollments were entered after October EPS was closed (even if they cover the October 1 date), then the student isn’t counted as Full Academic Year.

AOS – Our schools are each their own district because we are an AOS. I have some kids who are marked N for full year district and a Y for full year school?

Please review the enrollment data in Synergy. It is possible for a student to attend one of your schools for the full year, but whose resident district has changed, so the district full academic year would not be Y, but the school full academic year would be Y

EL Assessment – What does the E mean in the ELA Assessment column?

The “E” indicates Exempt.

EL students who arrived at a US school between April 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019 and who took the ACCESS for ELLs assessment are exempt from having to take the ELA assessment

EL students who arrive at a US school, or have an EL start date, between March 1, 2019 and May 3, 2019 are exempt from having to take the ELA assessment

WAIVERS – We have students with “waivers” who shouldn’t be on the list

The only “waivers” that the Department recognizes are

  • the EL exemption
  • special considerations – these students will have an S in the column for the assessment(s) for which the special consideration was granted

Students whose parents requested that the student not test will be counted as Non-Participants – there is no waiver for these students.

Building School Capacity Through Community Collaboration

On June 12, the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) is joining the Maine Resilience Building Network (MRBN) to provide a free, full-day opportunity for school and community prevention partners to learn and think about ways to collaborate to address challenging topics such as mental health, substance use, and student health.

Participants will learn about resources and funding that is available to develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive activities and programs that are focused on supporting safe and healthy students.

All school personnel who are familiar with their school district’s Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) and are knowledgeable of their school’s goals to provide students with access to a well-rounded education and to improve school conditions for student learning are encouraged to participate.

All community prevention partners who have the tools and resources to address safe, healthy, supportive and drug-free environments and are wanting to work with schools to address problems that relate to mental health and substance use are encouraged to participate.

In addition, pediatrician Dr. Ken Ginsburg, via Zoom from Philadelphia, will engage with participants to discuss strength based approaches to reaching teens through school and community engagement efforts.

The day’s agenda will also include: school and community prevention partners’ success stories; a panel presentation with representation from Maine DOE, programs within Maine DHHS, MRBN, and the CAN (Child Abuse and Neglect) Council; an overview of Dr. Ginsburg’s Building Blocks of Resilience (the 7Cs); and facilitated discussion.

This learning opportunity will be held in the Bangor Savings Bank in Augusta on June 12, 2019, beginning at 8:30am and ending by 4:00pm.  Lunch will be provided.

Registration and an agenda for the day can be found here.  Registration closes June 4, 2019

For more information or to ask questions, please contact Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator at the Maine DOE at sarah.adkins@maine.gov, 624-6685, or Kini-Ana Tinkham, Interim Executive Director, Maine Resilience Building Network at kini.tinkham@gmail.com.