RISE Award Nominations Open. Nominate an Extraordinary Classified School Employee Today!

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) invites students, friends, families, community members, educational organizations or associations, co-workers, and supervisors to nominate school employees for the RISE Award.  Anyone can nominate!

In collaboration with Maine Governor Janet T. Mills and the U.S. Department of Education, Maine DOE is now accepting nominations for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. This federal award, passed by Congress and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, is intended to honor and promote classified school employees who provide exemplary service. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in: Work performance; School and community involvement; Leadership and commitment; Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); and Enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and in schools.

A classified school employee is defined as an employee who works in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional (ed tech), clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades (pre-kindergarten through high school).

The Maine Department of Education will put forth up to two finalists to the U.S. Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education will select one finalist from across the United States to inspire excellence among classified school employees around the nation.

The deadline to submit a nomination is October 20, 2023. Nominate today by clicking here.

Healthy Acadia ELO Coordinator Creating Opportunities for Rural Washington County Students

As an Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator, Healthy Acadia’s Corrie Hunkler has led a pilot to expand the organization’s youth employment and career exploration programs while creating ELO opportunities for students in the coastal Washington County region. The project aims to create and promote ELO opportunities by developing new and existing partnerships with community-based organizations and local high schools.

As part of this initiative, Hunkler has worked with several high schools to support and develop their ELO programs and offerings. At Narraguagus High School, Hunkler assisted with the creation of a Learning Korean and Photography ELO for alternative education students. She collaborated with students at Jonesport-Beals High School and community mentors to create Sports Management and Dental Hygienist ELOs. Students at Jonesport-Beals are also offered several formal ELO courses including Career Exploration, Cultural Explorations, Community Service Learning, and Fishing Industry Exploration and Innovations.

Through Community Service Learning at Jonesport-Beals, high school juniors and seniors got the opportunity to mentor students at a local elementary school. This experience allowed the student mentors to build relationships with the younger students while also learning about goal setting and community service.

Under Hunkler’s leadership, this pilot has expanded and brought awareness to local ELO programs and opportunities. “I love working with kids, helping them develop deeper, more meaningful ways to expand their education,” said Hunkler. “I love that ELOs help connect schools to communities and use these connections to enrich and expand the learning opportunities for small, rural schools.”

Hunkler would like to thank the students and school leaders she has partnered with throughout this project.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands-on, credit-bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom, emphasizing community-based career exploration. These opportunities are personalized for students and help them explore options for their professional lives. They help students engage in learning through instruction, assignments, and experiential learning. The Maine Department of Education (DOE), along with state-wide partner Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG), have made a concerted effort to provide working models, support, and funding opportunities for Maine schools to set up ELO programs within their school communities. To learn more about Maine’s initiatives with extended learning opportunities, visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/index.php/learning/elo or reach out to Maine DOE ELO Coordinator Rick Wilson at rick.wilson@maine.gov.

Maine DOE MLTI Ambassador Program Welcomes Five New Distinguished Educators

The Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Ambassador program is expanding to include five additional distinguished educators.

MLTI Ambassadors are distinguished educators, on loan from their school for two years, to bring their expertise and experience as a resource and partner with MLTI.

The Ambassador program is a signature program of MLTI 2.0. The full team of ten Ambassadors will deliver professional learning experiences and provide instructional coaching to MLTI-participating schools.

Chris Beckwith
Chris Beckwith

Chris Beckwith

Chris Beckwith comes to the MLTI Team from Reeds Brook Middle School, where he served as a technology integrator. A 30-year veteran with a Masters in Instructional Technology, Chris has taught technology, computer science, science, mathematics and health. Prior to his time in RSU22, Chris worked at the James Doughty School and Ellsworth Middle/High School. He has also run summer camp classes at the Maine School of Mathematics and Science (MSSM) for ten years. He is currently part of the DOE’s CSI program and has participated in both CS Ed Showcases. Chris is passionate about robotics, 3D design, drones, and AR/VR and has shared these topics and others at state and regional conferences. Chris is an avid Star Wars fan and lives in Hampden.

Jeff Ireland
Jeff Ireland

Jeff Ireland

Jeff Ireland comes to the MLTI Team from Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus, where he served as a 5th/6th grade STEM teacher.  A 27-year veteran with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, Jeff worked for 10 years as a late elementary level teacher followed by 10 years as a building assistant principal and principal before returning the classroom to teach fifth grade. He has spent his entire career in the same school system, RSU4 (formerly School Union 44). Jeff is also a Registered Maine Guide and Professional Fly Casting Instructor. He is married to an elementary school teacher, is the proud grandfather of two, and lives in Wayne.

Gwyneth Maguire
Gwyneth Maguire

Gwyneth Maguire

Gwyneth Maguire comes to the MLTI Team from Old Orchard Beach High School, where she served as a library/media specialist and technology integrator.  She holds a Master of Education in Educational Technology from Boston College and a Library Media Endorsement from Central Washington University.  A 25-year veteran, Gwyneth has taught in both public schools, including Cape Elizabeth and MSAD60, as well as Department of Defense Schools. She was previously the ACTEM Conference Co-Chair and continues to serve on the Conference Committee. Gwyneth was called the district’s “MVP” by her superintendent for her ability to connect staff to appropriate tech, produce useful tutorials, and help with systematic organization of tech during COVID. She has worked with adults of all skill levels and backgrounds through positions at the Department of Defense, The Cape Courier, and the Portland Dioceses, as well as EdTech professional learning contractors. Gwyneth lives in Cape Elizabeth.

Donna Netzer
Donna Netzer

Donna Netzer

Donna Netzer comes to the MLTI Team from Princeton Elementary School, where she served as the math teacher for grades 6-8. A 15-year veteran, Donna holds a Masters of Education with focus on Special Populations (Trauma-informed). In her small school, Donna has worn many hats – math instructional coach, trauma coach, local teacher’s association president and running a PK-8 tech club. Princeton Elementary was the school she attended and it is where she has worked for her entire career and she is particularly proud of the national Pegasus Award for Princeton’s work on positive school culture. Donna is well respected in her school and in the Washington county region as someone who makes technology happen through writing grants, organizing training and building carts. She recently participated in the DOE’s CSI program. She lives in Princeton.

AJ Rog
AJ Rog

Aaron “AJ” Rog

Aaron “AJ” Rog comes to the MLTI Team from the Lyman Moore School in Portland, where he serves as Computer Science teacher and technology instructional coach. A 27-year veteran with a Masters of Education in Technology, AJ has spent most of his career working in Portland Schools. In addition to computer science and technology integration, AJ spearheaded an iPad initiative at elementary level.  Prior to teaching in Maine, AJ taught in Las Vegas for 12 years, working in grades 3-5 and later grades 6-8. He has done a lot of computer science training of other educators through CSTA Maine and Project>Login. Outside of school, AJ is a longtime swimming coach and is currently the Head Coach of Seacoast Swim Club in Cumberland. AJ lives in Cumberland with his wife Alexis.

The Maine DOE’s Learning Through Technology Team works hand-in-hand with the MLTI Ambassadors to support the MLTI professional learning plan in addition to the many other components of MLTI. For more information about MLTI 2.0, please contact Project Manager Bethany Billinger (bethany.billinger@maine.gov).  To work with the MLTI Ambassadors, please contact MLTI Ambassador Program Facilitator Jonathan R. Werner (jonathan.werner@maine.gov).


Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL) to Host New Library Staff Affinity Session on 10/5

School librarians are leaving the profession, nationwide and in Maine. Yet we know the impact of school librarians on student learning and growth, particularly during the pandemic — and how a certified school librarian prepares students for their post-secondary success.

The Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL) is a professional community for all school library staff whose members access free, ongoing professional development, scholarship opportunities for continued learning, members-only resources, mentoring, and support. With a modest annual membership fee of $25, MASL connects, uplifts, and supports school library staff across our state.

MASL is hosting a “Newbie” Affinity Session on October 5th at 7:00 pm via Zoom, suitable for new hires in libraries, new school librarians or library ed techs, anyone who has transitioned from the classroom to a library, or a staff member who is juggling multiple roles (including a library assignment), or just anyone who still feels “new” at their job in a Maine school library!

“Send all the new school library folks our way,” says Iris Eichenlaub, chair of MASL’s Mentoring Committee, “as the lonely-onlies in our buildings (or district), connecting with the Maine school librarian professional community is how we keep more librarians in Maine schools.”

Register here for the “Newbie” Affinity Session on October 5th.

For more information or further questions, reach out to maslibraries@gmail.com.

Applications Open for Comprehensive Electronic Health Record Pilot Grant Program – Request for Applications (RFA #202305111)

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is accepting applications from school administrative units (SAUs), publicly supported secondary schools, and Education in the Unorganized Territory (EUT) that meet eligibility requirements stated in RFA# 202305111 as an ongoing open application period.

Using American Rescue Plan, and state reservation funds, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) will cover the costs of implementing a comprehensive electronic health record of up to $6000 which includes a nominal stipend for an SAU designated EHR champion. This widespread pilot aims to show that maintaining an electronic health record is beneficial to both local schools and the State of Maine as it will increase the efficiency of services provided, decrease the burden of reporting health data, allow for data-informed decisions and policy, and increase revenue possibilities with MaineCare.

Proposals submitted that meet the requirements will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis until funds are no longer available or by May 31, 2024.

Eligible school administrative units that are interested in the Comprehensive Electronic Health Record Pilot Grant Program opportunity may access the application and the previously released question/answer document through the Grant RFPs and RFAs webpage.

All questions about the Comprehensive Electronic Health Record Pilot RFA should be submitted to the Grant Coordinator: Emily Poland, Office of School and Student Supports, Emily.Poland@Maine.gov