Falmouth Elementary Students Practice Math and Service Learning Through World of Change Activity

Third, fourth, and fifth graders from Falmouth Elementary school got to practice their math skills and give back to the community all at once during a worldly event that took place earlier this month outside the school.

Parent, World of Change Founder, and Chief Change Maker, Matt Hoidal brought a change truck to the Falmouth Elementary School so that students could come out and donate couch change to some local causes of their choosing. The truck, designed locally, was equipped with six slots entitled, Education, Animals and Nature, Health, Play, Housing, and Food where loose coins and dollar bills could be deposited by students and then weighed for an estimated amount. The activity provided them with a chance to give back to the community with a service learning activity, in addition to providing an opportunity to practice using monetary amounts and measurements.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our children to come together and our community to come together,” said Falmouth Elementary School Principal, Gloria Noyes.

100% of all funds collected will be disbursed according to student choice. Below is a breakdown by focus area (according to how the students decided), and the amount donated:

  • Play: $227.94 (to fund swim lessons for four kids)
  • Housing: $332.41 (to fund three-four beds for kids who are sleeping on the floor)
  • Food: $477.09 (to fund 1,908 meals for kids in need)
  • Education: $273.21 (to fund 12 backpacks filled with books for kids in need)
  • Animals & Nature: $454.79 (to fund pet therapy programs and summer camperships for kids in need)
  • Health: $492.74 (to fund groceries and fuel assistance for families of kids with cancer)

“With nearly 20,000 coins collected, this is true testament to the power of change,” said Matt Hoidal.

Below is a video of the event, done by Bull Dog Media of Maine, which features comments from Falmouth Elementary School Principal,Gloria Noyes.

Below are some images from the coin drop:

Maine School of Science and Mathematics Ranked #2 Best High School in the Nation by U.S. News and World Report

Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) has been ranked #2 Best High School in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. MSSM received a 99.99% overall score out of a possible 100 points. Ranking factors included #1 in College Readiness Index Rank, #1 in Math and Reading Proficiency Rank, #1 in Math and Reading Performance Rank. MSSM was also ranked #1 in Maine and #2 Magnet School in the nation. This is the highest rank MSSM has received from U.S. News and World Report and has been ranked 8 times in the past 12 years. In recent years, MSSM has recorded rankings in the top 20.

Executive Director, David Pearson, said, “The MSSM family is rightly thrilled about the marvelous U.S. News and World Report educational rankings that places the school top in Maine, second in the United States, and nationally second as a magnet high school.  But as in all things, there is no singular responsibility for such impressive results. These rankings are consequent upon what is, and always will be, a team effort at the school.  As such, we are deeply grateful for the tireless efforts of our staff who teach, coach, advise, and nurture our extraordinary students; but also to the continuous support of their parents, and the many school districts throughout the State who educated them through their formative elementary and middle school years. We also owe very special gratitude to the Maine Legislature for providing the financial support for our academic and extracurricular programming. Quite simply, this is not just an MSSM success story, but one for our entire great State of Maine.”

Dean of Enrollment Management, Alan Whittemore, said, “Although we have received such prestigious recognition from the likes of U.S. News & World Report in the past, it is truly rewarding to reach #2 in the nation. We are happy for all involved here at Limestone, the students, staff, and faculty all of whom are working together to provide an education second only to one!”

MSSM’s College Counselor, Erica Jortberg, enjoys the privilege of working with some of the most motivated students in the state. She noted, “They are what makes MSSM what it is. When they choose to come to MSSM, it is because they are seeking a challenge and the opportunity to push themselves academically. It is exciting to work with them through the college process and see them off on their post-secondary endeavors.”

To produce the 2019 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News teamed up with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm. RTI implemented the U.S. News comprehensive rankings methodology which reflects how well high schools serve all of their students, not just those who are planning to go to college. According to the U.S. News Best High Schools methodology, schools were rated on the following six measures and the weights used for each indicator are in parentheses. College readiness (30% of the ranking), College curriculum breadth (10%), Reading and math proficiency (20%), Reading and math performance (20%), Underserved student performance (10%), Graduation rate (10%).

The six indicators were first normalized using standardized scores and then weighted. Those weighed scores are then summed and transformed so that each eligible school receives an overall percentile score between zero and 100 at two decimal places, with the top performer scoring 100. The overall score as a percentile score indicates the percentile position a school is in out of the 17,245 ranked schools. A school with a score of 90 means that 10% of the schools are ranked higher and 90% of the schools are ranked lower. Finally, high schools are ranked against their peers in descending order of their overall scores. High schools placing in the top 75% display their individual rank on usnews.com.

Bonny Eagle Students Participate in Educator Workshop about Assessment for Learning

IMG_0119On Monday, May 6, ten students from the Bonny Eagle School District made a trip to the University of Southern Maine to participate in a session at the 4th Annual Assessment for Learning & Leading Conference.

The session, “Assessment for Learning: Student Involvement and Voice” provided participants with explanations and examples of high-impact instructional strategies, and an opportunity to talk with instructional coaches and students about their experiences related to the research-based practices.

Kirsten Gould and Kate Dumont, Assessment for Learning Coaches from MSAD 6

The session, led by Kirsten Gould and Kate Dumont, Assessment for Learning Coaches from MSAD 6, focused on student perspectives related to the new practices and encouraged participants to think about how teacher clarity and formative assessment can support students’ academic and emotional growth.

During the panel portion of the session, teachers mingled with students to have conversations and ask questions about student experiences and perspectives with the practice. The students, ranging from first through twelfth grade, shared concrete examples that illustrate how their teachers clarify the learning expectations and help students build self-efficacy through tracking progress, self-assessment, and goal-setting.


Employee of the Week: Mary Becker

Mary Becker, Secretary Associate for the Maine State Board of Education is being highlighted this week as the Maine DOE’s Employee of the Week! Learn a little more about Mary in this brief question and answer:

What are your roles?

I provide administrative and executive support to the eleven-member State Board of Education. On any given day my duties can range from providing liaison with the Commissioner’s Office, the Legislature’s Education & Cultural Affairs Committee, and the National Association of State Boards of Education, to handling inquiries from the public, managing accounts, processing appeals, updating the Board’s strategic plan, and generally keeping the business of the State Board’s twenty-three mandated duties and responsibilities moving forward in a timely and efficient manner.

What do you like best about your job?

I like the day to day challenges of various responsibilities.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I came to the Department of Education, Commissioner’s Office, as temporary staff filling in for an individual out on medical leave.  After two years here, enjoying working with such a wonderful group of people at the DOE, I took a position with the State Board of Education.  I have such a love for children of all ages and this position gives me the opportunity to see up front what wonderful things the State Board Members and the DOE staff do every day for the kids throughout the State of Maine.

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

I enjoy reading, walking, listening to music, attending concerts, any theater production, travel, and I am always up for a good road trip!  Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren!

Maine School of Science and Mathematics Sends Two Robotics Teams to World Championship Competition in Louisville, Kentucky

Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) is pleased to announce two teams have qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation in Louisville, Ky., April 24 – April 27. The teams, 4393Z led by Ethan Kelley (a junior from Yarmouth) and 4393S led by Madison McCarthy (a sophomore from Cape Elizabeth), secured spots at the world’s largest robotics competition through their success at the VEX Robotics Maine State Championship, where they received the Robot Skills Challenge Champion award (4393Z) and the Robot Design Award (4394S).

The State Championship, held in South Portland, attracted 50 teams with students from middle and high schools competing. The VEX Robotics World Championships 2019 will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky and 584 teams from around the world will attend.

MSSM’s VEX Robotics’ School Team Number is 4393 and each team chooses a letter. Team 4393S consists of Madison McCarthy; Wesley Chalmers, a sophomore from Scarborough; and Chandler Pike, a freshman from Jay. Team 4393Z is composed of Ethan Kelley; James Lau, a junior from Buxton; Ryan Oh, a junior from the Republic of Korea; Harrison Ma, a senior from the People’s Republic of China; Alex Nikanov, a junior from Ukraine; and Federico Galbiati, a junior from Italy.

When asked about being a VEX team captain, Madison McCarty said it, “allows me to learn what it’s like to apply robotics in the real world. Building the robot is only a small part of the larger design process. I have to keep track of what all of the team members are doing in a detailed engineer notebook and I’m also responsible for making sure they stay on track with our goals and deadlines for the robot. Being a captain is not an easy job and I have learned a lot of leadership skills as well as patience and organization skills.”