Erskine Academy Wins School Spirit Challenge Tournament of Champions by Raising a Record-breaking 196,969 Pounds of Food

Submitted by Michael J. McQuarrie, Headmaster of Erskine Academy 

Beginning in September, Erskine Academy committed to a challenging mission, once again, to collect food and funds to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine (GSFB) by participating in WGME13/Fox23’s School Spirit Challenge Tournament of Champions. The School Spirit Challenge (SSC) is a friendly competition between schools to show school pride and spirit, all while helping the community.

The program is designed to promote the school community and good stewardship with students of high schools in central and southern Maine through an eight-week food drive to benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank and local food pantries.

This was the second time Erskine participated in the School Spirit Challenge, the first being two years ago, an event which was won handily over the other participating schools thanks to the efforts of many students, parents, alumni, businesses, and friends. In 2016, Erskine was the School Spirit Champion for having raised nearly 85,000 pounds of food, an amount exceeding the total raised by the second and third finishers combined.

Always up for a challenge and a worthy cause, the campaign was kicked off during the school’s homecoming in September. In attendance were WGME 13 anchor Jeff Peterson and representatives from the GSFB and the sponsors of this year’s SSC. The morning kicked off with students arriving at 5:30 a.m. for a tailgate breakfast served in exchange for their food donations.

The campaign continued until November 2 and was a more significant success than the Academy ever imagined. The Erskine community pulled together to collect food and monetary donations and to support the many activities of the Challenge.  Events included “Fill the Bus” with returnables,  the Fly Like an Eagle 5K Run/Walk, Trivia Night,  Trunk or Treat,  Open Mic Night, and a dodgeball tournament. Off-campus activities included an EA Parents Food Drive Challenge.  An online appeal went out on social media, and many generous donors gave through the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s virtual food drive.

Though initiated by Erskine’s students and faculty, the school led what was a broader community campaign supported substantially by many area businesses and organizations. Student council representatives will soon visit key contributors as part of their “Gratitude Tour.”

Erskine Academy won the competition by far exceeding its goal of 100,000 pounds. Erskine raised a record-breaking 196,969.25 pounds of food for The Good Shepherd Food Bank, which is over twice the amount that any of the 60-plus competing schools has raised in the five years and ten seasons of this competition.

About this accomplishment, Headmaster McQuarrie says, “The School Spirit Challenge was for a great cause, and through it, our community engaged in collective problem-solving and activism as we made a significant difference in the fight against hunger in Maine.  We demonstrated, and others witnessed, the dynamism of EA’s values—stewardship, leadership, and relationships—at work.  The work ethic, inspiration, and idealism of our young people, in particular, are humbling and heartening.”

Rural Maine Attendance Summit to be held April 11

Rural Maine Attendance is hosting small school districts from across the state for a day-long summit held at gather at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer on April 11th, 2019 with experts from across the state to talk about ways to improve chronic absenteeism in rural schools.

This summit will help generate more tools, and allow for the exchanging of ideas regarding the growing issues that are keeping kids from accessing school. Any and all rural Maine school districts with less than 1,000 (or so) students are invited to this conference.

Groups of people (two or more) from districts are welcome to attend and/or staff that deal with attendance issues such as Social Workers, Guidance, Principals, Lead Teachers, etc.

For more information visit the Rural Maine Attendance website.

MLTI T-shirt Design Competition Accepting Entries Until April 12, 2019!

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) has hosted a design challenge for years. Students were asked to submit original works of digital art that could be used as screensavers. Twenty winners were chosen, and those images were used as screensavers on thousands of student laptops across the state each year. This was a way to celebrate the varied ways students could create with the MLTI technology and share with others across the state.

This year, the MLTI still wants to encourage students to create digital art and share it widely, however instead of a screensaver challenge, we will be hosting a T-shirt Design Competition. A panel of judges will narrow the submissions down to five designs, and then we will ask Maine students and educators to vote for their top choice. The winning T-shirt will be printed for the 1000+ attendees of the 16th Annual MLTI Student Conference, which will be held on Thursday, May 23rd at the University of Maine in Orono. Additionally, based on design submissions, up to 20 students will be selected to receive free registration to the conference.

Eligibility:

  • Any student who attends an elementary, middle, or high school in Maine during the 2018-2019 school year is eligible to enter the competition.
  • Students may work in teams, but the design must be an original piece of artwork created only by eligible students.

Submission Guidelines:

  • All submissions must be an original artwork. Any use of any photo, drawing, images or elements created by any other person (other than the MLTI logo) is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification.
    • Please adhere to the guidelines for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards regarding copyright and plagiarism: Even if you have permission to use a work or if the work is in the public domain, the work that you submit to this competition must represent a new, original work. Additionally, changing the medium of an original work is not considered transformative. For example, a painting or drawing of a photograph taken from the Internet or a magazine is not considered original and should not be submitted.
  • Each student or team may only submit one entry.
  • The artwork should be sized to 81/2” x 11”.
  • Students may hand-draw or digitally design their artwork.
  • Digitally designed artwork should be 300 dpi, RGB color, and the fonts must be embedded.
  • Submitted artwork must incorporate the phrase “MLTI Student Conference” and the year “2019” or “’19”.
  • Students must incorporate the MLTI logo into their design: downloadable files or by copying and pasting this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI_logos.
  • The design should reflect this year’s conference theme and include the text: “#Create4ME.” We are celebrating the power of students to create innovative solutions to challenges in Maine or the spirit of entrepreneurism that is found in many Maine communities. Technology often plays a role in that creation, but doesn’t need to be depicted explicitly.
    • Optional: Students may submit an artist statement (less than 200 words) with their design to help bring clarity to their adherence to the theme.
  • Acceptable file types: PDF or JPEG high resolution.
  • Color: T-shirts are one solid color with one color ink, and the student can suggest the color for each.
  • The t-shirt design must fit on the front of the t-shirt.
  • Signed Release: Each student must sign this release and include it in their submission. If the link above doesn’t work, please copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI2019T-shirtDesignCompetitionRelease

Judging Criteria

  • Guidelines: Work clearly adheres to the submission guidelines.
  • Theme: Work has represented the theme “Create for ME” or “Create4ME”.
  • Principles of Design: Work incorporated the following elements of art: balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, and unity.

Timeline:

  • Competition opens: February 5th, 2019
  • T-shirt designs due: April 12th, 2019 (no late entries will be accepted)
  • Finalists selected and notified: April 18th, 2019
  • Voting opens: April 19th, 2019
  • Voting closes: April 30th, 2019
  • Winner Announced: May 1st, 2019

Ready to enter the competition?

Submit your entry with this form or copy and paste this link:

http://bit.ly/MLTITshirtCompetitionSubmission2019

For more information or answers to questions, please contact Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov

New Webinar Recording Available for Administrators on the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Model Policy

The Children’s Safety Partnership is pleased to announce that the Maine’s Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Model Policy Overview Webinar is now available online.

You can click here to access the webinar or find the link on  www.childrenssafetypartnership.org website under the Trainings button.

This webinar focuses on how to implement the new child sexual abuse prevention law, including the policy, personnel trainings and curriculum lessons.  The intended audience includes school administrators and other school personnel overseeing the implementation of the policy. Please feel free to share widely!

If you have any questions, contact Susan Berry at susan.berry@maine.gov or Katie MacDonald at  kathryn@mecasa.org.

2019 Winter Wellness Workshop Day: PUTTING WELLNESS CENTER STAGE!

The Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program, a program of the Maine Department of Education is offering this professional development opportunity, 2019 Winter Wellness Workshop Day: PUTTING WELLNESS CENTER STAGE!, to support health promotion and wellness for staff and positively impacting school and student health.

This event is Friday, March 1 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Senator Inn in Augusta (Directions) for $30 (lunch included) per person.

This workshop will provide a forum for school personnel and supporters of school employee wellness programs to:

  • learn keys to successful schoolsite health promotion and wellness programs;
  • gather and share new and true resources, strategies, and ideas to support and promote wellness programs; and
  • network and share successes with like-minded people regarding school employee wellness programs.

Presentations at this year’s workshop offer insights from school and wellness leaders, key components for successful programs, resources, tools, and engaging opportunities to learn. Past participants have told us the day is… Motivational, Informational, Inspiring and Energizing!

Click here to register now!
(Please note the Maine Dept. of Education now requires credit card payment for all workshops.)  Groups can register together. Contact Hours Available. Attendees are requested to bring an electronic device if available.

If you have questions, email susan.berry@maine.gov.