Maine DOE Certification Team Supporting Educator Workforce

The Maine Department of Education’s Certification team is excited to report that they have held a 2-3 week processing time for more than a year, despite the heavy volume of inquiries and responses they attend to on a daily basis to manage the initial applications and renewal of educator and administrator credentials across Maine.

The transition from a hard copy paper filing and processing system to the Maine Educator Information System (MEIS) in 2018 has allowed the team to work more efficiently at assisting educators to manage their credentials completely online.

Since the start of 2021, Maine DOE’s Certification Team has received 11,000 applications for certification and issued roughly 9,000 credentials. In that same time frame they have sent 1,500 – 2,000 emails a week, assisted educators on more than 100 phone calls a day, and their support staff have been preparing roughly 1,500 documents a week for evaluators to process.

Beyond their the work of processing educator credentials, the team has also continued their 8:00am support staff training twice a week, and created a website committee that has and continues to streamline the information and ease of use on the Maine DOE’s Certification website.

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Sarah Ferguson

Maine DOE team member Sarah Ferguson is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Sarah in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am an Education Specialist III in the Office of Special Services.  I work on the State Agency team. We work with all aspects of the state agency client program – for students placed both in state and out of state, support districts and private schools, and coordinate educational surrogate parents, who support children without parents for their IEPs.

What do you like best about your job?

Knowing that, although I am not longer working directly with students, I am in the background supporting those who are.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher since junior high. I loved being a baby sitter, church school teacher, and camp counselor. In college, I thought I would work regular ed.  Then I volunteered at Spurwink School, where my cousin was a student, and special education stole my heart. My first teaching job was at Spurwink. After having a home daycare affiliated with HeadStart and a stint as a parent educator for Maine Parent Federation,  I then moved to special education in public schools.  And now working at DOE with special educators throughout Maine.  It is very fulfilling to support students as they jump their hurdles and realize that they can (fill in the blank).

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

Outside of work, when it is warm out, I love to be outside in nature – walking, beekeeping, gardening, finding waterfalls in Maine and other states.  When it is colder, I knit and catch up on TV shows, movies, and books.  All year, I still subscribe to the printed KJ so I can work the puzzles.  Of course visiting with family and friends is always a priority – and in person visits are on the horizon!

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month – Free Materials for Schools

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has partnered with more than 35 agencies and organizations throughout Maine to promote the awareness of Lyme Disease and educate as many people as possible about prevention efforts. The 2021 Lyme Disease Awareness Month theme is “Stop. Check. Prevent.”  This reminds us to stop and practice tick prevention measures frequently. The easiest way to avoid tickborne diseases is preventing tick bites. Please remember to:

  1. Use caution in areas where ticks may be found.
  2. Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.
  3. Use an EPA approved repellent such as: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  4. Perform tick checks on yourself, family members, and pets daily and after any outdoor activity. Take a shower after exposure to a tick habitat to wash off any crawling ticks.

In Maine, adults over the age of 65 years and children between the ages of 5 and 15 years are at highest risk of Lyme disease. People that work or play outside are also at high risk of encountering infected ticks. It is also important to be aware that Lyme disease is not the only disease that deer ticks in Maine can carry. Read Complete Announcement from MeCDC here…

Maine CDC has free downloadable curriculum resources available on their website. These Vectorborne School Curricula Materials include modules and resources for grades 3 – 8 with updated resources for remote learning (one focuses on mosquitoes and another on ticks). There are also materials that schools may order for use with students, both at school as well as home, including Tick ID Posters, Lyme Disease Brochures and much more on the Maine CDC Infectious Disease website.

This year the Maine DOE, in partnership with the Maine CDC and Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, are making available free education kits for Tick, Mosquito, and other pests. These kits are great for schools and include tick removal spoons, identification cards and fact sheets to the first 150 who request one. To request yours, complete this form.

For more information on Lyme Disease Awareness Month go to this Maine CDC website. For more information on the Tick, Mosquito, and Other Pest educational kits contact cristina.stade@maine.gov.

 

Six Annual Count ME In Student Contest Promoting School Attendance, Learning and Community

Count ME In is seeking students to create a poster, sculpture, song, poem, or video to promote learning, school attendance, and school community for the 2021 Attendance Awareness Month in September 2021 and yearlong celebration.

Through their chosen media, students will share what learning and being part of a school community means to them. The winning submissions will be reproduced, including the artist’s name and school, and distributed throughout Maine.

Students, age 6 through high school, compete in one of two age groups: ages 6-11 and age 12 through high school. The winning artists will receive gift cards.

Guidelines & registration information: https://countmeinmaine.org/newsite/student-poster-contest/

For more information, visit the Count ME In website or contact Count ME In by emailing slieberman@countmeinmaine.org.

Please share with students you think might be interested in submitting work!  The deadline is Friday, July 11, 2021!

Job Corps To Host Virtual Info Sessions in May

Have you ever wondered what Job Corps was all about? Well, here’s your chance to find out!

Information sessions hosted by Maine’s Job Corps office will be held on May 17th at 1pm or May 26th at 2:30PM on Zoom. Registration is required, at which time link and log on information for the session will be sent via email.

Job Corps is a free Career Technical Training program that is federally funded through the Department of Labor for 16-24 year-olds (the upper age limit may be waived for a student with a verifiable disability).  Some of the Career Technical Trainings available are welding, carpentry, culinary arts, CNA, and many more.  Eligible students can also earn their HS diploma and stay on center, free of charge, while they work towards completion of their trade.  The two centers in Maine are in Bangor (Penobscot Job Corps) and Limestone (Loring Job Corps).

For questions or to register email Ross Chicoine at Chicoine.Ross@jobcorps.org.