Northern Maine FFA Service/Leadership Workshop Addresses Hunger, Community Service & Leadership Skills

Group Photo of FFA Workshop Trainees and Trainers

On Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Northeastland Hotel, student State Officers of FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) and their assistants conducted a workshop on topics of community service and leadership for Aroostook County FFA chapters.  The one-day workshop, featuring topic overviews and hands-on activities, was held for nearly 100 high school and middle school students from Ashland, Easton, Hodgdon, Mars Hill, and Presque Isle.  Implementing the theme of community service, student FFA member participants brought food items to be donated to the Aroostook County Action Program, with Ashland High School winning the award for the greatest number of donated goods.

In addition to Community Service, FFA members learned about areas of leadership related to goal setting, values, taking initiative, and teamwork.  Students commented that the workshop was “fun” and helped them think more about leadership.  Many indicated hoping to implement community service activities at their local FFA chapters.  In the past, such community service activities have included teaching elementary school students about agriculture, conducting landscaping for public areas, holding food drives, and many other endeavors.

Marble Track Goal Setting Activity

One of the student trainers, Jack Reuthier of Ashland, noted that defining goals well was an “important step to accomplishing any activity.”  Another, James Hotham, State Vice President, addressed the topic of “taking initiative,” and congratulated some veteran FFA members for all of the accomplishments they have already attained through the FFA.  State President, Graham Berry, encouraged FFA members to pursue other upcoming FFA opportunities, including the State Convention in May and positions as State FFA Officers.  Guest speaker, Kaley Norsworthy of Fort Fairfield, past State FFA President, addressed her experience with post-secondary transitions, “made so much easier by FFA,” and likewise strongly encouraged members to consider State Office.

FFA Members Brainstorm Leadership Concepts

The Maine FFA Association is supported by the Career & Technical Education division of the Maine Department of Education and by the Maine Department of Agriculture, as well as by additional sponsors, and costs for the workshop were supported by a “State Day of Service” grant from the National FFA Organization.  Through this grant, additional events will also be conducted in Maine locations of Auburn and Hampden.  The FFA Organization is one of the largest student leadership organizations in the United States, providing recognition, awards, travel opportunities, competitions and scholarships for over 650,000 high school and middle school students enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Not all FFA members are “farmers,” though many do come from agricultural families who recognize the many benefits and connections FFA membership bestows.  In addition to providing organizational and leadership skills valuable to any profession, active involvement in FFA is often one of the first things looked for by agricultural organizations across the country when hiring new employees.

For more information, please contact State FFA Advisor, Doug Robertson,


School Safety and Security Bulletin: Family Reunification

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.

School Safety and Security Bulletin  – January 2019

Further questions and inquiries can be send to Pat Hinckley, Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator at

Enrollment Data Deadlines for Spring 2019 MEA Registration

The Maine Department of Education would like to remind district personnel that are tasked with maintaining enrollment data that eMPowerME, SAT, and MEA Science reports need to be reviewed for accuracy and completeness. These reports will be used to electronically complete student registration for the spring 2019 administration of the Maine Education Assessments. Accuracy in these reports will minimize the amount of manual registrations that need to be done by the district during test administration.

The reports can be found in NEO under Student Data/Student Reports. Please update your Student Information Systems and push to Synergy State Edition by or before the following deadlines.

Below are the dates that state-wide enrollment will be captured and uploaded into the respective assessments for spring 2019 administration. It is critical that your enrollments are current and complete in Synergy by these dates. Please note: it is extremely important to unenroll your students as soon as they transfer so that the receiving school can enroll them in a timely manner.

  • eMPowerME 1/18/19
    This is the first upload of student enrollment data into the portal via Synergy/NEO reports. This is the only assessment that has daily change file updates, which will occur daily after 12pm beginning on 2/11/19 and running through 4/12/19. Please have your grade 3-8 students updated in your SIS prior to 1/18/19, and pushed to Synergy State Edition. Daily school/district enrollment updates are highly recommended. Data must be uploaded or manually entered in to Synergy by 12pm in order to be loaded in to the assessment portal for that day.
  • MEA Science 1/28/19
    This is the upload of student enrollment data for test pre-ID labels via Synergy/NEO reports. Please have your students updated in your SIS prior to 1/28/19 and pushed to Synergy State Edition. Any students who move into your district/school after 1/28/19 will not receive pre-ID labels and will need to pencil/bubble in their information on the answer sheet cover pages.
  • SAT 1/31/19
    This is the bulk registration enrollment data for test pre-ID labels via Synergy/NEO reports. Please have your high school students updated in your SIS prior to 1/28/19 and pushed to Synergy State Edition. Any students who move into your district/school after 1/31/19 will not receive pre-ID labels and will need to complete a paper registration by penciling in their information on the answer sheet cover pages.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns in regards to accessing the NEO eMPowerME, SAT, and MEA Science reports please contact the Helpdesk at or (207) 624-6896.

Online Bullying Reporting Program Available to Maine Schools Through Optania

Optania has created an online bullying reporting program that is aligned with Maine DOE’s model bullying policy and procedures.

This online program allows students, parents, and others to report allegations of bullying 24/7, with the allegation report (JICK-E1) being sent to pre-determined school staff (ie. principal, assistant principal, school guidance counselor, social worker, superintendent) who will then initiate the investigation procedure using an electronic form (JICK-E2).  The program also includes the remediation form (JICK-E3).  In addition, using artificial intelligence, students can create their own Safety Plan in the moments after reporting an allegation of bullying so they don’t have to wait until the next school day when they can meet with a school staff member.

To learn more about Optania:

Sessions are 30 minutes in length and will give an in-depth overview of Optania and allow time for questions and comments. Click on the calendar link on a day and time that works for your schedule.

Further questions or information about future webinars and trainings can be sent to Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator or by calling her at 207-624-6685


Server Outage Delays 1% Support Webinar

The 1% Support Webinar for Districts over the 1% identification of students participating in alternate assessments was canceled yesterday, January 9, 2019, due to a server outage in the video conferencing tool, Zoom, that is used by the Department.

This webinar has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 16th at 2:00pm.  All districts are welcome to join.  The “Join ZOOM” meeting information to participate in the meeting remains the same:

Jan 16, 2019 2:00 PM – Join Zoom Meeting

Further questions can be sent to Sue Nay, Alternate Assessment & WIDA ACCESS Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education at (207-624-6774)