2021-2022 Social Studies Learning Cohorts – A Partnership Between National Organizations and Maine Social Studies Teacher Leaders

Joe Schmidt (Social Studies Specialist) is happy to announce that for the 2021-2022 school year he has partnered with national organizations to develop professional development learning cohorts. Each cohort will combine training from the organizations, as well interactive workshops led by Maine educators, where participants will work to implement what they have learned in their classrooms.

Registration is now open for the next two cohorts featuring the National Archives and the OER Project. Learn more about each cohort and register below. Keep your eye open for registration for the next round of cohorts later this year, which will feature Echoes & Reflections and the Bill of Rights Institute.

The National Archives

Teachers! Ever want to have a say in your Professional Development? The National Archives Foundation, in partnership with the National Archives, the Maine Department of Education, and some expert teachers from around the state are pairing up to create some curriculum about how to teach students to analyze documents (including photos, paintings, newspaper articles, speeches and more) at all grade levels with a connection to Civil Rights. It will start with a presentation from the National Archives called Civil Rights -The Impact of Racial Discrimination on Black American Lives in the Jim Crow Era (Summary: Students analyze documents from the holdings of the National Archives to assess the impact of legalized racial segregation on the lives of Black Americans from 1944 – 1960.) Then you will help guide the professional development to meet your needs, with support from Maine teachers and staff at the National Archives. If interested, please complete this form. We are so excited to start working with you!

The OER Project from The Gates Foundation

Using resources from the OER Project’s teacher track talks, Maine Social Studies Teacher Leaders Melanie Brown and Derek Carroll will be creating bi-monthly web sessions centered around the topics of designing inquiry, designing arguments with evidence, young citizens, and assessing historical thinking. These sessions will begin in November, and continue through the end of the school year. Prior to each session participants will watch 3 track talks sourced from OER’s existing library on the topic for that month. During each session, participants will have the opportunity to debrief with other educators about the topic for that month, share any thoughts and questions that they may have on the topic, and most importantly leave with a classroom activity/strategy that they can immediately implement with little hassle or stress. If interested, please complete this form.

For questions, please contact Joe Schmidt at joe.schmidt@maine.gov.

Free PD: Mapping A Continuity of Learning Plan- Let DOE be a Guide!

On Wednesday, October 20th from 3:15-4:30, the Maine Department of Education and the Region 1 Comprehensive Center will host a live webinar to share the Continuity of Learning MAP that was recently developed by the MLTI Ambassadors with support from the MOOSE Team Leaders (all distinguished educators and teachers during the 2020-21 school year).

The session will feature a tour of the MAP and further exploration of some of the ready-to-use resources developed and curated by the DOE to support continuity of learning for students when they cannot attend classes in person.

There will also be some time for breakout sessions where folks can ask questions and provide feedback on the MAP so that DOE staff can enhance and improve the resource.

This session is for all educators and educational leaders who wish to learn more about the continuity of learning resources that the DOE has developed and curated and can offer.

Wednesday, October 20th 3:15-4:30pm

Please register for the session here:  https://air-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAvd–opjItGdP6ys28cp5ykFImdOQItV10

If you’d like more information about the MAP, you can check out the Priority Notice and linked material, here.

Estimated Pre-K Enrollment Counts for New or Expanding Programs in 2022-2023

If your School Administrative Unit (SAU) is opening or expanding a Pre-K program in the 2022-2023 school year, you are eligible to receive funding on your FY23 ED279 for children you enroll in these new or expanded Pre-K programs in 2022. This means you will receive the funding for enrollment in the same year that you enroll the Pre-K children, without a year delay.

If your SAU is applying for one-year grant funding through the recently released Request for Applications (RFA) #202107114 then you DO NOT need to complete this form because you will include the estimate in your application. More information regarding the RFA can be found here. These applications are due no later than November 4, 2021.

If you are planning to start and/or expand public Pre-K in the 2022-23 school year and do not plan to apply to take advantage of the one-year grant funding but would like to receive an FY23 estimate Pre-K allocation, please notify the Maine DOE by completing the FY23 Estimate Pre-K Count Data Form before November 5, 2021. There are 3 questions to be answered on the funding survey:

  1. Choose your SAU from a list
  2. Do you have an existing Pre-K program (FY22)? – Yes/No
  3. Provide your SAU’s Pre-K Estimated Increase Count (new slots available in new or expanding program)

SAUs completing the form must also complete the Pre-K Program Application with DOE’s Early Childhood Team by April 30, 2022 and obtain program approval.

The FY23 Estimate Pre-K Count Data Collection form is meant to capture the FY23 estimate for new and expanding Pre-K program enrollment. The estimate student count data, in addition to the current (FY22) enrollment in an existing Pre-K program, will be used to provide funding on the FY23 ED279. An SAU’s Pre-K total enrollment number, as reported and verified October 1, 2022, should match the combined existing and estimated increase total that was used to calculate funds in the ED279. After October 1, 2022, an audit adjustment, based on actual enrollment reported in NEO on October 1, 2022, will be made to the Pre-K allocation assigned on the FY23 ED279. Please note that this may increase or decrease funding.

For more information about establishing or expanding a Pre-K program, please check out our webpage on the topic, or contact Nicole Madore at nicole.madore@maine.gov.  For questions specific FY23 ED279 estimates, please contact Paula Gravelle at 624-6792 or Paula.B.Gravelle@maine.gov.

Maine Schools Join Others Around the Nation to Recognize 2021 National School Bus Safety Week October 18-22

3 color drawings of school buses showing safety measures for drivers2021 National School Bus Safety Week Theme Be Safe – Know The Danger Zone is derived from the Poster Contest the year before. The 2020 winning poster artwork, depicted above, was drawn by Huyen Pham, a Northbrook Middle School student from Atlanta, Georgia.

Nationally, each year from September to November, public service announcements are aired to help protect 26 million students that ride on nearly 500,000 school buses over 4 billion miles in an average year.  Broadcast and digital media and social networking industries disseminate public service announcements that are produced to safeguard children, encourage the driving public to engage in safer driving behavior near school buses where students board and disembark from school buses, and recognize school bus operators and professionals.

Statewide, nearly 130 thousand students ride on about 3,000 school buses over 30 million miles of rural and urban roads in an average year. School Bus Safety Week offers the people of Maine an opportunity to recognize and thank transportation and public safety professionals, who have the invaluable task of keeping their precious cargo, our students, safe.

School buses are protected by law. Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach. Maine school bus safety laws support good driving behavior. These laws include:

  • Passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing is a criminal violation punishable by a $250 minimum fine for the first offense and a mandatory 30-day license suspension for the second offense occurring within three years of the first offense.
  • A vehicle may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the bus operator that it is okay to proceed.
  • 2021 model year and newer school buses are required to have a crossing arm on the front bumper.
  • A school bus operator who observes someone illegally passing a stopped school bus can report violations to a law enforcement officer.
  • School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings.
  • Unless otherwise posted, the school zone speed limit is 15 miles per hour during school opening or closing hours, as well as recess.

Additional school bus safety resources are available online:

For information about school transportation programs and policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

If you have an interest in joining this critically important profession, please reach out to your area schools to learn more, and please thank and support these heroes on the road!

The National School Bus Safety Week public education program is hosted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), and National School Transportation Association (NSTA).

Maine Middle and High Schools Eligible to Win $1,000 in the Life Happens Outside® Challenge


Teens to Trails, with the support of the Maine Department of Education’s WAVES Program, partners with Arcadia to encourage students to spend more time outdoors

Teens to Trails is introducing the Life Happens Outside® Challenge for Maine middle and high schools to foster an appreciation for the outdoors and its many wellness benefits. The weeklong challenge takes place Saturday, October 23 through Friday, October 29.

Over 70 Maine Middle and High Schools are operating Outdoor Clubs as a co-curricular experience for students to build meaningful relationships while sharing outdoor experiences. Most of these clubs have started, increased capacity, or been revitalized through support from the Maine Department of Education’s WAVES program, which works to connect teens and adolescents with each other and the great outdoors.

Arcadia, a green energy tech company, is providing a $1,000 reward to the three Maine middle and high schools with the highest amount of outdoor time proportional to their school size.

To participate in the Challenge week, students will track and submit their activity online. All outdoor activities — at home or at school — count towards earning points, from exploring a local trail with friends to biking to doing homework outside. Winners are selected by total hours divided by school population, so large and small schools have equal chances to win. The three schools with the most hours — one from northern Maine, one from central Maine, and one from southern Maine — will be awarded $1,000 to further outdoor access for their students.

To participate in the Life Happens Outside® Challenge, visit https://teenstotrails.org/events/life-happens-outside-challenge to register and receive promotional materials. Each student must track and submit their hours via a provided Google form by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 29. Winners will be announced on Thursday, November 4.

Teens To Trails is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit dedicated to connecting teenage students to life-changing outdoor experiences with a vision that all teens have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors together.

Arcadia gives customers a simple and affordable way to choose renewable energy, connecting their homes and communities to the highest standards of clean energy through its platform technology. Founded in 2014, Arcadia connects with utilities in every state, manages 4.5 terawatt-hours of residential energy demand, and is the largest manager of residential community solar subscribers in the US. Join us in achieving our vision of a 100% renewable energy future at www.arcadia.com.

For additional information, please contact Jennifer Hazard, Communications Manager at Teens to Trails. Phone: 207-749-0249 or email: jen@teenstotrails.org