Maine Adult Education Programs Featured on PBS News Hour

Maine and its Adult Education programs, including Spruce Mountain Adult Education, Portland Adult Education, and Turner Adult Education have been featured on PBS News Hour for a story about adult education programming and why it is so important.

Click the link or image below to view the 8 minute story.

Why 36 million American adults can’t read enough to work — and how to help them

PBS News Hour Screen Shot

School Safety Bulletin-June: Preparation and Response for Bomb Threats

Throughout the 2018- 2019 school year, the Maine Department of Education, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Maine State Police, Maine Sheriffs Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency will provide tips and resource information to Maine schools to help provide some guidance for identifying signs and preventing school violence.

Further questions and inquiries can be send to Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator at 207-624-6886 or pat.hinckley@maine.gov. 

Saco’s Young School Loves to Walk

Submitted by Peter Harrison, Principal at Young School, Saco Schools. Text Written by Ken Studtmann, Wokka Wokka Coordinator. Photos by Dr. Peter Harrison and Ken Studtmann.

For several years the Young School students have participated in a much beloved walking program during their Wednesday’s lunch time recess. The students fondly named it “Walking Wednesday”.

Appalachian Trail Comparison Map
Appalachian Trail Comparison

During Walking Wednesday, the students walk, skip, hop or move in creative movements 1/8-mile laps around the school while parent and adult volunteers track and tally the number of laps each student completes. The number of laps completed are recorded for individual students and collectively tallied for  classroom, and the entire school. For every 2.5 miles the student walks they receive an incentivizing award of a “toe token”. At the end of the year, the classroom from each grade level with the highest number of laps receives an extra recess.

Geography Lesson

For the past two years, a lesson in geography has been integrated into the program. Last year, the laps walked by the students represented a unit of distance along the Appalachian Trail. The students successfully completed 1,378 miles of the Appalachian Trail; Maine to Virginia. The student’s progress was tracked on a large map displayed in the school’s front entry hallway for students, teachers and staff, and visitors to watch the progress. This year the laps represented the number of times the students crossed the Penobscot bridge; 3,541 times and growing.

Language

As a means to further enhance the program, a language component was introduced in the beginning of this current school year with the reading of “HOW DO YOU WOKKA-WOKKA”, c 2009 by Elizabeth Bluemle, art by Randy Cecil. The book was a great inspiration to the students, staff, and adult volunteers of the program. The book’s premise of finding your own walking style was embraced by the students with lots of styles emerging. The students even changed the program’s name into “Wokka Wokka Wednesday”. The Wokka Wokka Wednesday is a much-loved program at Young School.

Fun Fact #1: The Appalachian Trail is among the longest continuously marked trails through 14 states; Maine to Georgia. The trail is marked with approximately 165,000 white blazes along the trail guiding hikers all 2,186 miles.

Penobscot bridge
Penobscot bridge

Fun Fact #2: The Penobscot bridge spans 2,120 feet from the east shore to the west shore of the Penobscot river. The design of the bridge’s two towers was inspired by the Washington Monument.

Fun Fact #3: Young School Students love to Walk! Last year, the Young School students collectively walked fictitiously from Maine to Virginia on the Appalachian Trail and this year they walked 3,541 times across the Penobscot the bridge.

For additional information to learn how to implement a walking program at your school, please contact Dr. Peter Harrison, Young School Principal.

Certification Update- Are YOU Due July 1, 2019?

Maine Department of Education is proud to share that our certification team continues to process a number of new certificates for those joining the education profession or who are seeking new endorsements. In addition, they have processed and issued renewed certificates to 48% of those whose certification is set to expire July 1, 2019.  While their turnaround time is currently, and amazingly, around three weeks, we are concerned that there are still 2,869 certificate holders who have not yet submitted the required documentation and payment, and whose certification will lapse July 1!  Please note that anyone renewing certification MUST fill out an online form and provide payment.  Information on how to create an account or for instructions on how to submit the renewal application is provided here for your convenience.

FMI or for any questions, please contact our Certification Team at cert.doe@maine.gov.

 

 

 

 

Julie Meltzer Named 2019 Curriculum Leader of the Year

Submitted by Heidi McGinley, Executive Director, Maine Curriculum Leaders’ Association.

Julie Meltzer, Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (AOS #91) is Maine’s 2019 Curriculum Leader of the Year. “I’m truly honored to join the group of curriculum leaders recognized in Maine. I’m honored to have them as my colleagues. I don’t know another group of people so focused on teaching and learning practices,” Julie said.

Julie is a passionate advocate for the learning and development of all students, leading the development of common standards the staff will “go to the mat” for across the district. She has developed community partnerships, found necessary resources, and introduced evidence-based instructional practices. But she credits widespread staff engagement in decision making for what superintendent Marc Gousse calls “marked improvement in learning and achievement and increased student success” across the district.

When she joined the district six years ago, Julie wanted all staff to have a voice in decision making and be engaged in professional learning opportunities so they would have the tools they needed to “do the best job they can for kids”. She wanted to maintain the strengths and uniqueness of each school and honor the professional autonomy of teachers while increasing student learning. The innovative professional learning and decision making structures she created made a difference.

“I’m proud of how everyone is starting to play a similar rhythm,” Julie says, “although the melodies are different, as they should be.” This year, 110 teachers and education technicians voluntarily served on a “collaboratory” – a temporary task force formed around a problem of practice, working to identify solutions, make decisions, and develop all the learning, strategies and tools needed to implement those solutions. In the process, staff and administrators became partners in professional development both in and outside the district. 100 teachers, education technicians and administrators led internal professional development sessions and 30 presented their work at state or national conferences. “Good things are happening for kids,” she said. “We’re getting to the ground of student learning and walking the talk in more ways.”

Julie’s journey to Mt. Desert began when her work at the Regional Laboratory led to a three-year content literacy consulting project in Washington County. She fell in love with Maine and with Acadia, eventually buying an old farmhouse in the area, which she and her husband started renovating on weekends. Her consulting work took her all over the country, so she ended up with two homes — a Portland rental to be closer to the jetport and a close-to-Acadia farmhouse. Her daughter started high school at Mount Desert and encouraged her to apply when the curriculum position opened. “I was lucky to be hired,” Julie said, “and I’ve been honored to have this position. I’ve learned much more in the last six years than I did earning my doctorate.”