WEBINAR: Annual Foster Care Training for Point of Contacts – Jan 31st

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015,  amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). ESSA contains provisions related to protections for children in foster care and requires the Maine Department of Education ( DOE) and Maine school administrative units (SAUs) to collaborate with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to ensure educational stability for children in foster care. 

Join the Maine DOE’s Office of School and Student Supports Director Julie Smyth and Associate Director of Child Welfare Services Bobbi Johnson on Tuesday, January 31st via Zoom for a 4:00 pm Annual Foster Care Training for Point Of Contacts (POCs). Participants receive a certificate upon successful completion of a post-session quiz.

The goal of ESSA is for children in foster care to experience minimal disruption in their education because of being placed in foster care and that they are given the same opportunities to develop the necessary skills to be successful as children who are not in foster care. 

Under ESSA the Maine DOE and OCFS must work together to ensure: 

  • A child in foster care will enroll or remain enrolled in the child’s school of origin unless a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to attend that school. 
  • If a determination is made that is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, the child will immediately be enrolled in a new school, even if the child and/or his or her guardians are unable to produce records normally required for enrollment; and 
  • The child’s new school must immediately contact the school of origin to obtain relevant records. 

Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing further information about joining the meeting. 

For questions, please contact Julie Smyth, Director of the Office of School, and Student Supports – at 207.592.0949 or julie.a.smyth@maine.gov . 

Maine CDC Seeking Participants for Maine Young Adult Survey

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with Public Consulting Group LLC (PCG) to administer a web-based anonymous health survey to enhance the data available on the young adult (18–30-year-old) population living in Maine. The Maine Young Adult Survey is a product of the Maine State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW). The survey will be a representative sample from across the state, reaching at least 2,500 young adults with increased recruitment of key subpopulations. Participants will receive a $10 Amazon gift card via email.

Why? There is little community-level data on the health habits of young adults in Maine. This survey attempts to fill the data gaps and will be used to guide and target strategic planning of prevention interventions and programs around substance abuse.

What can you do? Maine CDC is seeking your support in recruiting 18–30-year-old Mainers to complete the survey.

There are multiple ways you can support this effort:

  • Share the survey link via email lists with young adults in Maine and encourage participation! Maine Young Adult Survey
  • “Like”, “follow”, and “repost” the Maine YAS social media pages and posts!
  • Promote the survey with these flyers – print them out in your spaces or post it on your social media or website!

When? Now! The Maine Young Adult Survey is live and will be open for respondents for approximately 8-10 weeks.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email MEYoungAdultSurvey@pcgus.com or visit www.maineseow.com/yas.


Maine DOE Staff & Maine Educators Honored in 2022 Fenway Bowl Honor Roll

(Pictured: Maine DOE Staff Amelia Lyons Rukema at Fenway with friends and family at the 2022 Fenway Bowl Honor Roll.)

The Wasabi Fenway Bowl, in partnership with Moderna, Amica Insurance, CVS Health, Samuel Adams, Extra Yard for Teachers, and Boston Globe Media, recently honored 30 people working in the education workforce in New England, 6 of the people recognized are from Maine’s education field.

The Wasabi Fenway Bowl Honor Roll is a charitable program focused on recognizing and thanking educators who have gone above and beyond to support their students and respective communities.

2022 Honor Roll Honorees from Maine:

Amelia Lyons Rukema – Finalist
McKinney-Vento Specialist
Maine Department of Education

Amelia has worked tirelessly to promote resources for students experiencing homelessness. During the pandemic, she worked with schools and teachers across the state of Maine to link them to support for students and their families.

Susan Capwell
Technology Integrator
Searsport District Middle & High School

“Susan is a passionate educator who goes the extra mile. She has supported students by creating a safe, accessible class culture and engaging students through creative STEM activities. ‘As the head of the tech lab and robotics team, she serves as an inspiration for girls to get involved with tech’ her nominator writes.”

Allison Leavitt
Nutrition Director
Lisbon School Department

“Allison ensures her students have access to fresh and nutritious by partnering with local farms and businesses in the Lisbon community. As the Present Elect and Education Committee Chair of the Maine School Nutrition Association, she also creates training opportunities for school nutrition staff across Maine.”

Emily Poland
School Nurse Consultant
Maine Department of Education

“She has been a pillar of strength throughout the pandemic, tirelessly advocating for school nurse,” her nominator writes. “Using her vision, creativity, and persistence, Emily Poland, MPH, RN, NCSN built a team to honor the needs and time of school nurses, assisting in deciphering the changing guidelines and mitigation strategies.”

Bonnie Robbins
Athletic Director/Community Outreach Coordinator
Brunswick Junior High School

“Bonnie provides amazing support for students’ mental health and well-being, not only at her school, but also by volunteering her time to collaborate with the Department of Education to provide weekly meetings with other school-based mental health professionals across the state.”

Juana Rodriguez
Executive Director
Mano en Mano

“Juana plays an integral role in the work of the Blueberry Harvest School, where the goal is to meet the needs of each student through culturally responsive learning. Juana is a member of the Board of Directors of Healthy Acadia, The Women’s Health Resource Library, and Friends of the Milbridge Public Library. She is also a Commissioner on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations of Maine.”

Over 200 teachers, administrators, and staff were nominated for the Fenway Bowl Honor Roll this year. See the full list of 30 honorees from across New England.

Honorees and their friends, families, and supporters were invited to Fenway in December to be recognized at a nationally televised college football game being hosted there. Maine DOE’s Amelia Lyons Rukema, a finalist in the Fenway Bowl Honor Roll, was present along with Maine educator Bonnie Robbins and many other honorees, and their fans from across New England.

To learn more about the Wasabi Fenway Bowl and its commitment to equitable and quality education across New England, visit FenwayBowl.com.








Afghan Refugee School Success Events in Portland and Lewiston

The Office of Maine Refugee Services is hosting events in both Portland and Lewiston for teachers, school administrators, and school districts that are serving Maine’s newly arrived Afghan students and their families. The workshop will be focused on cultural advisement, student success, and whole-family engagement. There will also be culturally and linguistically appropriate training for Afghan parents and guardians on parenting, school, and school engagement in the US.

The workshops with be held in Portland (March 6th) and Lewiston (March 7th). The morning workshop (10 am-12:30 pm) will be geared towards teachers and schools and will cover cultural advisement and particular challenges schools have identified in serving new populations, offering practical strategies to support refugee and immigrant students in school. The afternoon session (1-4 pm) will be the culturally and linguistically-appropriate workshop for Afghan parents and guardians on parenting, school, and school engagement in the US. Any teachers and school staff are welcome to attend the parent workshop as well. A free lunch will be provided. While these workshops are geared toward Afghan student success, the workshops will be applicable for teachers and schools working with students and families from any refugee background.

Where: Portland Jewish Community Alliance
When: March 6, 10 am-4 pm
Register here

Where: Lewiston Public Library
When: March 7, 10:30 am-4:30 pm
Register here

About the facilitator: Freshta Taeb is an Afghan-American cultural advisor, facilitator and behavioral health specialist who has worked with large and small schools and school districts across the country, non profits, and government entities including as a lead cultural advisor for DHS. She has worked as an interpreter, domestic violence interventionist and is a former teacher.

Flyer (English)
Flyer (Dari)
Flyer (Pashto)

Special Topic Series on Inclusivity and Multi-tiered Systems of Support

The Maine Department of Education’s Office of Special Services & Inclusive Education is hosting a Special Topic Series around inclusivity and multi-tiered systems of support through the winter and spring months.

Sessions will be held virtually once a month. Participants will receive 1 contact hour for each session. For more information about the series, contact Anne-Marie Adamson at anne-marie.adamson@maine.gov

Featured Presentation: Leveraging Student Strengths: Neurodiversity and Mathematics – Dr. Rachel Lambert
Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 3:30-4:30 PM

In this session, we will explore neurodiversity in relationship to mathematics teaching and learning. Dr. Lambert will discuss her research on dyslexia and mathematics, conducted with dyslexic mathematicians, as a springboard to discuss strategies to leverage the strengths of neurodiverse students in math class.

Download a flyer
Register here

Upcoming Presentation: Word-Level Reading Problems: Implications for Instruction and Intervention – Dr. David Kilpatrick
Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 3:30-4:30 PM

This presentation from David A. Kilpatrick, PhD will focus on how children learn to read words and why some children struggle. Including:

  • The nature of word-level reading development and how word-level reading problems can guide instruction and intervention.
  • Understanding how reading works and why some students struggle, illustrating other approaches to intervention that can yield very large reading gains for such students.
  • Examples of studies that consistently show that the most used intervention approaches provide limited benefits for at-risk and struggling readers.
  • Establishing a knowledge base for educators to choose the most effective instructional and intervention practices.

Download a Flyer
Register here