Registration is Open for the Computer Science Summer of Fun Professional Learning Week! 

Join computer science educators and leaders in a week of (virtual) computer science professional learning, Project>Login is coordinating a computer science professional development week Aug. 9-13th.  

These sessions will be fun and informative and cover various topics and grade-levels. Maine Department of Education (DOE) Computer Science and Digital Learning Specialists are facilitating sessions on computer science integration at 1pm, Tuesday through Thursday. Other session topics include cyber security, coding, robotics, and more!  

Sessions are facilitated by Maine teachers and computer science leaders!

To preview the 5 day line-up, read descriptions of sessions, and register for the event, visit: https://www.projectlogin.com/news/post/registration-now-open-for-cs-summer-of-fun-pd-week-happening-aug-9-13 

If you have any questions, please contact Emma-Marie Banks, emma-marie.banks@maine.gov or Jonathan Graham, jonathan.m.graham@maine.gov 

CTE Summer Camps Offer Safe, Hands-on Learning to Middle Schoolers

Middle School Career and Technical Education (MS-CTE) summer camps are keeping it cool this summer! There are currently nine Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools across Maine that are hosting summer camps specifically for middle school aged students this year as part of an on-going effort to bring career and technical education opportunities to students at the middle school level.

Students participating in these excellent summer programs are exploring careers, participating in hands on experiences in culinary arts, media technology, automotive, engineering, welding and carpentry, just to name a few. The MS-CTE camp experiences are offered either for one or two weeks for two to five days per week. Maine’s CTE instructors are enjoying the opportunity to share many career options available in Maine to middle school aged students, a younger audience than the traditional high school age of students that attend CTE schools throughout the school year.

Students, too, are excited about the opportunity to spend a few weeks of the summer learning about career options and engaging in hands-on learning opportunities. “I am the happiest girl in the world right now,” said one of the students currently participating in a MS-CTE summer camp.

There are 21 CTE schools across Maine that are piloting MS-CTE programs which have allowed students to experience career options through hands on activities. The pilots have ranged from in-school programming, online career exploration, mentorships as well as the camp experiences currently taking place this summer. All programs offer a hands on component and a career exploration element as required by the standards.  

Check out this recent Portland Press Herald news article highlighting this excellent work: Summer camps build on effort to extend vocational programs to middle schoolers.

For more information about Maine’s MS-CTE programs, visit the MS-CTE website at or contact the Middle School CTE Specialist Margaret Harvey at Margaret.Harvey@maine.gov    

Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education Celebrates Graduates

Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education awarded five diplomas in a ceremony on Monday, June 7th. While the heat caused a venue change, it didn’t dampen the spirit of the celebration and the students receiving their hard-earned High School Equivalency Diplomas (HiSET, formerly GED). A total of eight students earned either a HiSET or Adult High School Diploma during the 2020-2021 school year.

Director Stephanie Haskins and Program Coordinator Theresa Boynton, and Adult Education Faculty, Maureen Mitchell, Sheila Myhaver and Laurie Wells recognized each graduate in five individual ceremonies. Graduates invited special guests to the ceremony and each received a personalized cake to continue their celebration at home.

Diplomas were presented by Haskins and Boynton to the following graduates who attended the ceremony: Joseph Amend, Eunice Burns, Dayla Davis, Kassandra Mercer, and Leila Nelson. The following students earned diplomas during the 2020-2021 school year and were awarded diplomas in prior ceremonies: Lucas Rogers, Makayla Smart, Zachary St.Clair, and Adam Tarsetti. Students who earned their diplomas during the 2019-2020 school year, and were recognized in individual events were: Crystal Jordan, Devin Julian, Aric Lutz, Jessica Roberts, Hunter Russell.

Kassandra Mercer was recognized as an outstanding adult education graduate, and received the Courage to Grow award from Central Maine Community College. The award provides a scholarship to the recipient for three credit hours of tuition for the upcoming fall semester.

Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education provides individualized programming in a friendly environment to help adult learners achieve their academic, career and personal goals. Programming includes high school diploma and high school equivalency preparation classes, college and career advising, college preparation, career training, as well as personal enrichment classes.

For more information about Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education’s programming visit gngadulted.org or call 657-9612.

This article was submitted by Gray-New Gloucester Adult & Community Education Program as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit an article or a story idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Lessons from the Field Webinar Series – Returning to School: Strategies for Supporting Staff

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a webinar series to support educational settings in safely sustaining or returning to in-person instruction. The series features lessons learned and best practices from faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, early childhood education providers, and other places of educational instruction describing approaches to operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) invites you to join the next webinar, Returning to School: Strategies for Supporting Staff on Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 from 3:00pm to 4:15pm EST.

Please join us as we explore information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Education on supporting staff health and wellness as educators return to school this Fall. Following the federal agency updates, field-based practitioners will share strategies they have found effective to support staff wellness.

The speakers and panelists will include Christian Rhodes, Chief of Staff, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Jessica Cardichon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Federal Policy, U.S. Department of Education; Jyotsna Blackwell, Public Health Advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Sangeeta Parikshak, Behavioral Health Lead, Office of Head Start, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Kathy McHugh, panelist, Delran, NJ.

This event will reference the following resources, which we encourage you to access in advance of the webinar to inform participation:

National Association of School Psychologists: From the Return to School Special Series

American School Counselor Association (staff wellness is included in these documents)

National Association of State Boards of Education

National Education Association

Other resources from CDC

For your reference, slides for this presentation will be posted on the event webpage on the day of the event. This event will be recorded and posted to the event webpage a day after the webinar.

You must register to participate in this presentation.

Please contact NCSSLE if you have any questions. NCSSLE looks forward to sharing this information with you and hearing from you about the important work you are doing in your schools, communities, and states to meet the needs of your students and staff as they return to in-person learning.

New Maine Initiative to Build Ag Literacy Through Immersive CTE Culinary Arts Programs

A new University of Maine initiative to build agricultural literacy through an immersive culinary experience for career and technical education (CTE) culinary arts instructors is one of 21 projects funded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIFA has invested $6.2 million in the Professional Development and Secondary School Teacher grants to increase the number of K–14 teachers and educational professionals trained in the food and agricultural sciences. The grants to prepare more educators in food and ag science, and support best teaching practices that enhance student learning outcomes, are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

UMaine’s Building Agriculture Literacy Through an Immersive Culinary Experience project, which received a $300,000, four-year grant, is led by Kathy Savoie, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor; Willie Grenier, executive director of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom; and Rob Dumas, UMaine food science pilot plant manager. CTE culinary arts instructors will receive professional development experiences to increase their agricultural literacy, and enhance the connectedness between agriculture and food service in their culinary arts curricula.

A goal of the project is to help create a skilled, educated workforce that will increase the use of Maine grown, processed and produced foods in their programs and careers by changing the way students — tomorrow’s food professionals — think about the importance and value of local food, according to the researchers.

“Providing professional development experiences for CTE instructors will help to shift culinary arts programs toward local food system education with the end goal to create a workforce that is proficient in Maine agriculture, and that will be poised to meet today’s consumer needs and ultimately boost our state agriculture” says Savoie, the principal investigator on the initiative.

The project provides a holistic approach to uniting community partners to identify the best practices for agriculture literacy education at CTE culinary arts programs in Maine. UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Agriculture in the Classroom will collaborate to provide experiential learning opportunities for CTE culinary arts instructors through a week-long Immersive Culinary Arts Summer Institute. Project activities will include hands-on experience in local food procurement practices, demonstrations of food system lessons, educational field trips, financial support for experiential activities through their existing school restaurants, participation in a UMaine Local Foods Competition and coaching during the school year.

The CTE instructors also will experience the educational power of job shadowing, flipped classrooms and working relationships with employers that could help students make career connections. Participating instructors will be eligible to receive mini-grants to support nontraditional learning experiences — on-site learning opportunities with farmers, food processors and butchers, for example, and at food hubs, food incubator labs, aquaculture facilities, food pantries and restaurants — to increase students’ understanding of local food systems. In addition, the UMaine Food Pilot Plant will host local food competitions for CTE culinary arts students, challenging them to use Maine foods in creative and innovative ways to meet the demands of today’s consumers.