PRIORITY NOTICE: Graduation Reporting Process Simplified for SAUs

The Maine Department of Education Data Team is constantly striving to streamline and simplify required data collections.  Recent work has been done to simplify 2019-2020 graduation reporting and processing.  These efforts came swiftly and in response to data quality concerns and feedback received from our School Administrative Units (SAUs).
While the change may seem ill timed given the current demands on SAUs, we feel the improvements outweigh the interruption to the current reporting and processing cycle.  Currently graduation reporting and processing is in Phase Two, which includes confirmation of graduating students who completed requirements over the summer, finalizing submission of 4, 5, and 6-year cohorts, and finalizing transfers-in, transfers-out, and completers.  The Phase Two module will be modified, and this phase will now only ask for you to put in completion status for your summer graduates.
At a date later this calendar year, a report will be made available for you to certify your graduates for all 3 cohort years.  Going forward, there will be no need for Graduation Phase One module, Graduation Phase Two module, and final submission.  The goal is to have you simply validate and certify the students in the adjusted cohort, and whether they graduated the past year or not.
The reports will be more streamlined; there will be no need to validate transfers-in, and the work regarding transfers-out will be significantly diminished with validation and attention to correct usage of exit codes.
Please be on the lookout for a future webinar regarding these new processes.  Dates for the new process will be forthcoming as well, as soon as we can schedule the work with our IT partners.  The goal is for the new process to be in production prior to the end of this calendar year. We look forward to making this process easier for everyone.  If you have questions about these changes, please contact Charlotte Ellis charlotte.ellis@maine.gov 207.624.6696

Five Portland Public Schools Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Five high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools have been named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students now have the opportunity to compete for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.

The five Semifinalists are Portland High School seniors Liam Foley and Andrew Leonard; Deering High School students Aidan Blum Levine and Matthew Keast; and Casco Bay High School student Oscar McNally.

“Congratulations to these exemplary students!” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “This is the highest number of National Merit Semifinalists from the Portland Public Schools in more than five years. The credit goes to not only these hardworking students but to their teachers and other supporters, including their parents. I wish them the best as they continue on in this competition.”

These students are among 68 Maine seniors named as Semifinalists in the 2021 contest. There are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists were selected from a pool of more than 1.5 million high school juniors that entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Of the 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. To become Finalists, Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be involved in school and community activities, show leadership abilities, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their  earlier performance on the qualifying test. Of those Finalists, about half will win a National Merit Scholarship and become National Merit Scholars.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021. The National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and ending in July. These scholarship recipients will join approximately 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

This story was submitted by Tess Nacelewicz Communications Coordinator for Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

UMFK and Region Two School of Applied Technology Partnering to Provide Students with First Year of a Nursing Degree

Imagine being a high school student enrolled in the Health Sciences Program at the Region Two School of Applied Technology knowing you can graduate from high school with the first year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Maine at Fort Kent complete.  A new collaboration between the UMFK’s Nursing Program, Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton, and UMFK’s Rural U Early College and Concurrent Enrollment Program now makes that opportunity possible for these high school students.

The new program, called Rural U Nursing: Health Sciences Alliance Program brings together the strengths of the programs mentioned above and provides students the opportunity to earn 24 or more university credits, one full academic year of credits that serve as the first year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at UMFK.  Students completing the program can come into UMFK’s Nursing program as 2nd year students.  UMFK’s Nursing program is also available at the University of Maine at Presque Isle adding yet another option after high school for these students.

“We are so pleased to partner with Region Two to bring freshman level college courses to high school students who are interested in pursuing a nursing degree,” states Dr. Erin Soucy, UMFK’s Dean of Undergraduate Nursing.  Dave Keaton, Director of the Region II School of Applied Technology adds, “What a tremendous opportunity for our Intro to Medical Professions students and for the workforce in Aroostook County!”

Credits earned in this program will include articulated credit UMFK grants for Maine CNA Certification earned at Region Two, credits from a concurrent enrollment NUR 200 Introduction to Professional Nursing to be taught at Region Two by Health Sciences Instructor Amber Sloat, credits for Anatomy and Physiology I and II classes taught at the Houlton Higher Education Center, and early college and concurrent enrollment classes earned through UMFK’s Rural U program.  While this program provides an accelerated pathway to a nursing degree, students will not be charged tuition for any of these credits; thus also providing a more affordable pathway to a BSN degree. Scott Voisine, UMFK’s Dean of Community Education adds, “All early college programs like Rural U give students a chance to experience college learning and earn credits more affordably, but this new collaboration takes it one step further provides a direct onboarding of students into a rigorous and rewarding career pathway at UMFK.”

Rural U Nursing is a direct response to the need to increase the number of nurses in Aroostook County, in Maine, and in the Region.  Students will be able to begin the program immediately this fall.

This story was submitted by Dave Keaton, Director of the Region Two School of Applied Technology as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Now is the Time to Recognize the Amazing People in Maine’s Schools: Seeking Nominations to Honor School Staff and Educators

Now, more than ever, as our schools embark on the most extraordinary school year the world has ever experienced, it is important to take the time to recognize the outstanding people who are going above and beyond to serve our schools, the students, and their community as hardworking employees and educators. With that in mind, the Maine Department of Education invites community members, co-workers, fellow educators, parents, friends, families, and students to nominate school employees and educators for the following honors that are now seeking nominations.

RISE Award – for Classified School Employees

The Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor and the U.S. Department of Education, are 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 schools.

A classified school employee is defined as an employee who works in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, 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 recognize each nominee and put forth two finalists to the U.S Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education will share the story of one of Maine’s finalists to inspire excellence among classified school employees around the nation.

The deadline to submit a nomination is October 13,2020.  Nominate today by clicking here.

Maine DOE Educator Talent Pool

A great way to ensure a robust educator workforce is to develop and engage a network of outstanding educators as exemplars and leaders for our state.  By promoting the excellence that exists in classrooms and schools across Maine, we hope to increase the trust and respect given to educators, and encourage and support others in an outstanding career working with Maine’s students.

We are seeking recommendations for our Maine Department of Education Talent Pool.  This opportunity is for the unsung heroes who are making a difference for students, and likely will continue to expand that impact far beyond their classrooms or schools. The Department of Education hopes to connect these current educational luminaries to one another, to decision making at the department, and to other practitioners in the field. By tapping into their professional expertise and insights, and encouraging educator to educator collaboration and sharing, Maine’s learners will continue to thrive!  Those who are recommended can determine their capacity and interest in engagement, there is no expectation beyond being an outstanding educator.

Please help us in the expansion of our Talent Pool, and with our continued efforts to support and celebrate the amazing work being done in classrooms across Maine every day!

Important News: We will now be accepting recommendations on a rolling basis! Submit your recommendation no later than September 30, 2020 to have an educator considered for the 2020 pool!

For more information and to nominate, please check out the Maine Talent Pool Recommendation Form.

For more information about the RISE award visit the RISE informational webpage. For more information about the Educator Talent Pool visit the Educator Talent Pool informational webpage. Further questions about either opportunity can be directed toward Emily Doughty at Emily.doughty@maine.gov or (207)624-6748.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year

Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE) has opened nominations for the annual Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year Award. This is an annual award that recognize teachers who are providing outstanding career and technical education programs for youth and/or adults in their respective fields and communities. Recipients of this award must be nominated by their CTE Director.

Eligibility: Individual members who are currently employed as full-time classroom/laboratory teachers in a career and technical education program in Maine are eligible recipients for this award. Nominees must be classroom/laboratory teachers at the time of selection. Contributions and achievements on which the nomination is based should have been made within the past ten years. The nominee’s Center needs to be an active member of the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education, MACTE at the time of application.

How to Nominate: Submit a completed nomination form (word doc) and supporting nomination materials electronically via e-mail to rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org by September 18, 2020. Please note that this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, MACTE is unable to complete the nomination process at their summer meetings.

All nominations will be reviewed by the MACTE Executive Committee and a winner will be chosen from nominations submitted. The announcement of the winner will be made at the virtual MACTE conference on October 8, 2020.

For more information about how to nominate, including what the supporting nomination materials are, see the nomination (word doc). Further questions can be directed to MACTE President Rob Callahan at rcallahan@lewistonpublicschools.org.

 

 

 

Maine Kids Rock Initiative Welcomes New Educators for 2020/21 School Year

The Maine Kids Rock Initiative, a statewide program that offers professional training to teachers as well as grants for instruments and equipment to schools with identified needs, enters its fourth year with the addition of the following educators to its roster:

  • Kate Smith (Central School, RSU 35)
  • Janice Marro (Great Works School, RSU 35)
  • Michelle Snow (South Portland High School)
  • Mike Hutchinson (Houlton Southside School, RSU 29)
  • Sharyn Walker (Mill Pond Elementary/Hodgdon Junior/Senior High School, SAD 70)
  • Scott Walker (Hodgdon Junior/Senior High School, SAD 70)

These teachers join the ranks of nearly 60 additional teachers across Maine who utilize the Modern Band approach to music education with nearly 1,000 students at all grade levels.

The Maine Kids Rock initiative continues as a partnership between the Maine Department of Education and the national non-profit organization Little Kids Rock.

Throughout the year these teachers will receive free professional development opportunities, and their schools will receive a set of classroom instruments for students to use as they explore music education through a modern music lens.  Learning opportunities for students go beyond just learning to play a guitar or drums; they also explore songwriting, the development of interpersonal skills, and boost self confidence as performers.

“The Maine Kids Rock program has helped give more kids opportunities to be a part of a music program that would not normally be in the department,” says Kevin Mania, music educator in RSU 29 in Houlton and a member of the first cohort of Maine Kids Rock educators four years ago.  “In fact, there are many kids that take this class that are looking for a place to fit in, and be a part of a collaborative learning environment. Jazz band is still very important in our school music programs, modern band is fulfilling the need for kids to play current music that inspires them today.  It breaks barriers by letting kids start out late in the game and develops lifelong learners.”

Kate Smith, a member of the newest cohort, says “Participating in the Maine Little Kids Rock Initiative is very important to me because I know it’s a critical step in ensuring my curriculum content is relevant and culturally inclusive. The training I received at the Modern Band Summit in July not only helped me understand how to teach traditional modern band instruments, it also offered workshops that helped me understand the modern band’s role in cultural expression and tradition.”

For more information about the Maine Kids Rock Initiative through the Maine Department of Education, please contact Visual and Performing Arts Content Specialist Jason Anderson at jason.anderson@maine.gov.