MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE announces $5 million available for regional grant opportunities

The State of Maine has announced a competitive grant opportunity for the Fund for Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES) to assist in financing the cost of local and regional initiatives to improve educational opportunity and student achievement through more efficient delivery of education programs and services.

The FEDES grant opportunity is part of the Maine DOE’s ongoing EMBRACE initiative which provides new opportunities for regionalization.

“Our goal is to provide more opportunities to students and increase their chances for achievement and success. We hope this funding opportunity will give districts the chance to get creative in thinking about new possibilities for students in their area,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

$5 million in funding is available in 2017. An additional $5 million will be available in 2018– at this time a separate application will be available.

Important information about FEDES:

  • RFP # 201708145 – Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services can be downloaded from the Division of Purchases website.
  • An online/telephone Information Session will be held on September 26, 2017 at 3:00pm – connection details are listed in the RFP.

In addition to the FEDES grant, the Maine DOE is also offering other supports for districts who want to form a regional service center. Through a regional service center, districts can share a set of services and get direct funding from the State for the center.

For more information about FEDES and regional service centers visit: http://www.maine.gov/doe/embrace/Funding.html

For further questions contact Maine DOE Regionalization Project Manager, Jennifer Pooler Jennifer.G.Pooler@maine.gov.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Maine’s Every Student Succeeds Act approved by U.S. Dept. of Education

In a letter from the United States Department of Education last week, the Maine Department of Education was notified of the approval of Maine’s consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Signed by President Obama in 2015, ESSA is a bipartisan measure that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. Maine’s ESSA plan provides alternative measures for many of the regulations put into place by No Child Left Behind.

“Maine’s ESSA plan is moving away from compliance and regulation toward a model that supports and assists schools and educators, especially in areas where students are at a disadvantage,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner, Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

Highlights of Maine’s Plan:

  • Creates a three-tiered system of support for schools based on performance, with the highest level of support offering coaching and mentoring to teach effective strategies for school turnaround, in addition to increased funding for staff professional development.
  • Plans to reduce the number of non-proficient students in half by 2030.
  • Leverages requirements across Federal programs and state statute to implement a single comprehensive needs assessment/SAU Consolidated Plan template to assist and support local school districts in the blending and braiding local, state and federal funds to increase the achievement and growth of students.
  • Provides a collaborative cross Department approach to promote and encourage the integration and alignment between state and local initiatives to support local school districts.

The approval letter, other correspondence, and the final consolidated plan can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Finalists identified for Maine DOE regional, integrated high school facility pilot

Out of seven applications, three finalists have been selected to complete the final application, which is due at the end of the year.

Augusta, Maine – Commissioner Robert G. Hasson today announced that the Maine Department of Education (DOE) has authorized three applicants – consisting of partnerships between school districts and their CTE, higher education, and business partners – to move forward to complete part 2 of the application for an Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot project.

The 3 projects that have been identified to complete part 2 are as follows:

  • Fort Kent Community High School and Valley Rivers Middle School (MSAD 27), Wisdom Middle/High School (MSAD 33), Madawaska Middle/High School, and St. John Valley Technology Center. The application seeks to combine the three high schools and create one high school and CTE center.
  • Dexter Regional High School (MSAD 46), Piscataquis Community Secondary School (MSAD 4/RSU 80), Forest Hills High School (RSU 82/MSAD 12), Greenville Consolidated School, and Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC). The application seeks to combine the two high schools and create a new high school and CTE center.
  • Houlton Middle/High School (RSU 29), Southern Aroostook High School (RSU 50), Katahdin High School (RSU 50), Hodgdon Junior/High School (RSU 70), East Grand School (RSU 84), and Region 2 School of Applied Technology. The application includes five schools, spanning three counties, and seeks to combine with Region 2 School of Applied Technology.

“As we have traveled the state to discuss this unique and innovative opportunity for regional collaboration and construction, we have seen communities embrace the opportunity to imagine new possibilities for higher student achievement,” said Commissioner Hasson. “It is my hope that the pilot project that is eventually selected will set a new standard for regional approaches to high school, for expanding access to career and technical education, and for higher education and industry partnerships.”

In January, Commissioner Hasson and the State Board of Education announced the opportunity for partnering districts to submit plans intended to create and/or upgrade education facilities integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System, and the Maine Community College System. Prior to the application deadline, Commissioner Hasson and representatives from the Maine Department of Education’s school facilities team and the Office of the Governor held four statewide information sessions for interested school districts in Presque Isle, Biddeford, Bangor and Augusta.

Part 1 of the application focused primarily on identifying the partners in each project, it was due May 1, 2017, and was evaluated by a team at the Department of Education.

Each of the applicants advancing on to Part 2 will have six months to complete additional requirements including a more comprehensive proposal for each project, an overview of the proposed model, an overview of the technical and financial supports needed from the Department in order to fully develop and implement the model, and evidence of approval votes by the various partners involved.

Upon receipt, review, and rating of all Part 2 applications by the Maine Department of Education, final scores will be established by combining Part 1 & Part 2 scores, and will be used to present a recommendation to the State Board of Education. The Department reserves the right to recommend more than one final project or to reject all applications.

Once the successful pilot project is identified and selected, the Department of Education intends to provide funds for required planning work associated with the development of the project (facilitation, legal, start up, referendum, etc.). Decisions about renovation, and/or expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

“The recently passed budget makes a firm commitment to unlocking regional possibilities,” said Commissioner Hasson. “Based on the creativity and energy we have seen around this new program, I believe local communities will rise to the occasion and set a new standard for what they can achieve working together.”

The 3 projects will move forward with the next round of the application process, which involves work sessions with the Maine DOE and a December 29, 2017 due date.

More information about the pilot can be found on the Maine DOE’s Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot web page.

For more information contact: Rachel Paling at (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

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PRESS RELEASE: Maine DOE and MDOL launch bus driver hiring initiative for veterans

For Immediate Release For more information contact:
Rachel Paling at 207-624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov or
Julie Rabinowitz at (207) 621-5009 or Julie.Rabinowitz@maine.gov

Augusta, Maine – Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is collaborating with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) for the 2017 Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign to offer free training for veterans interested in becoming a school bus driver.

The initiative, which is being offered to help fill an anticipated shortage of school bus drivers in Maine and nationally, offers free training available at local school districts statewide with varying schedules.

According to a 2015 jointly released report of the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Labor, school bus drivers and special needs bus drivers hold the second highest number of job openings in the nation. The report also identifies the need for bus mechanics and diesel engine specialists.

Since there is already a high percentage of Maine school bus drivers who are veterans, it is hoped that the initiative will attract the attention of more veterans who may be transitioning from serving their country or perhaps enjoying the later years of their lives. A flexible schedule may be especially accommodating for veterans who are looking for a part-time job.  76% of Maine’s veterans are over age 50.

In Maine, there is expected to be about 50 school bus driver job openings available for the coming school year. There is also a need for school bus mechanics.

While the initiative is specifically geared towards veterans, the free training is available to anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver.

The pay range for school bus drivers in Maine is anywhere from $11–$25 per hour for licensed school bus drivers, including part-time schedules and benefits based on location. Some positions include pay while learning to drive and/or a hiring bonus.

Those interested should contact Maine DOE Transportation and Facilities Administrator, Pat Hinckley at (207)-624-6886 or pat.hinckley@maine.gov or visit http://maine.gov/doe/transportation/.

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Maine DOE awards 3 additional EMBRACE grants for regional efficiency initiatives

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today announced 3 additional grant awards for collaborative initiatives undertaken by schools and educational agencies as part of a statewide regional opportunity and efficiency initiative called EMBRACE.

Group
Left to right: Tonya Arnold, Principal at Maine Academy of Natural Sciences; Travis Works, Executive Director/Principal at Cornville; Lyford Beverage, Superintendent of RSU 74; and Ken Coville, President/Director of Development at Good Will-Hinkley. .

In April, 7 grants totaling nearly $3 million in funds were originally announced kicking off the EMBRACE initiative: Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional And Coordinated approaches to Education. The effort is part of a growing focus on improving education services while saving local costs by encouraging regional partnering.

The chance to apply for the Educational Efficiencies and Opportunities Grant was offered by the Maine DOE earlier this year in response to Executive Order 2017-001 issued by Governor LePage promoting Regional Efforts to Achieve Efficiencies in Delivering Educational Services.

To apply, school districts and neighboring educational units proposed plans that would help save cost by working together on initiatives that could create new opportunities for students while reducing cost. The grant proposal resulted in 21 applications with an array of cost saving plans to benefit Maine students.

Today 3 more regional efficiency projects will be awarded close to $1.5 million in additional funding. The new projects involve several new sites, bringing the total to 10 grants awards, with more than 60 sites throughout Maine involved in the EMBRACE initiative.

Below is a list of the 3 additional projects that will receive grant funds.

Kennebec Valley STEM Collaborative Outreach

Towns/Schools: Lead – MSAD 74/RSU 74 (Anson, Solon, Embden, New Portland). Partners – MSAD 13/RSU 83 (Bingham, Moscow) MSAD #59/RSU #59 (Madison), Somerset Career and Technical Center (Skowhegan)

Description: The three districts plan to introduce, enhance, and expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the middle level by creating a STEM outreach project/program that targets the needs of all students from at-risk to gifted and talented. This outreach project will align the STEM curriculum with the progression of local PK-12 standards. The project will employ a STEM Coach to work with teachers to promote goals such as – emphasizing STEM higher level thinking, explore STEM career pathways, promote student engagement, and to increase enrollment in science, math, and technology courses in high school.

Grant Amount: 130,000
Projected Savings: $1,176,000

Western Maine Regional Education Program

Towns/Schools: Lead – RSU 10 (Buckfield, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Peru, Roxbury, Rumford,  and Sumner) Partners – RSU 9 (Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienne, Weld, Wilton), MSAD 44 (Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, Woodstock), RSU 56 (Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, and Peru), RSU 58 (Phillips, Avon, Kingfield, and Strong), RSU 73 (Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls), RSU 78 (Dallas Plantation, Magalloway Plantation, Rangeley, Rangeley Plantation and Sandy River Plantation).

Description: This project will support the development of a regional education program that will serve students (K-12) who are in need of a therapeutic educational setting. The program treatment model will include family work and community collaboration in order to support students achieving meaningful outcomes in the least restrictive educational environment. While students are attending the program, academic and treatment goals focus on reintegration and participation with nondisabled peers.

Grant Amount: 798,000
Projected Savings: $3,168,890

Shared Services Model

Towns/Schools: Lead – Maine Academy for Natural Sciences (Fairfield) Partners – Cornville Regional Charter School (Cornville), Snow Pond Arts Academy (Sidney) and Snow Pond Center for the Arts (non-profit), and Good Will Hinckley (non-profit).

Description:

  • Share budgeting, financial reporting, federal grant management, payroll and human resource functions.
  • Hire a shared Collaboration Coordinator to work with participating schools to assess needs, identify service options, and implement services to meet those needs.
  • Collaborate on communication technology plans and tools.
  • Share student transportation services.
  • Share special education administration and evaluation services.
  • Create a shared sustainable residential and learning space for international and out-of-state students using a model similar currently used by private and public schools in Maine.

Tentative Grant Amount: $549,794.50
Projected Savings: $2,942,782

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Media Release: Maine DOE to Host Virtual Reality Expo for Educators

Augusta, Maine – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine State Library are teaming up to host a Virtual Reality Immersive Expo for educators on June 19th from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the Maine State Library.

Attendees are asked to register for the expo in advance at no cost.

The event is being held to help facilitate an awareness about new and emerging education tools, and to see and hear from some of the Maine schools, and higher education institutions who are currently using virtual reality in their classrooms.

Among the schools presenting is York School Department who has run over 50 Google Expeditions through the 16-17 school year. Using the tool, teachers are able to take students on virtual field trips to locations all over the world and beyond. They report that students rave about the trips, and the new perspectives they gain from the experience.

Other presenters include software companies such as Apple Inc., HP Inc., zSpace and more that offer virtual reality education tools which provide students with a more immersive learning experience, access to new places and resources, and a deeper learning of complex concepts.

There will be booths located in the atrium of the Maine State Library in addition to 30 minute presentations throughout the day. Educators are encouraged to attend at any time from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Find a list of presenters below, along with a link to the presentation schedule. The presentations will also be live streamed on the Maine DOE Facebook page.

Register for the expo here »

Presentation Schedule »

More information »

Visiting presenters:

  • zSpace
  • York School Department
  • Bates College
  • University of New England (UNE)
  • Nearpod
  • HP Inc.
  • UMaine
  • Thomas College
  • Maine Math and Science Alliance
  • Mount Desert Island High School
  • ThingLink
  • Apple Inc.
  • HistoryView
  • USM – CI2LAB

For more information contact: Rachel Paling at 207-624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

Maine kids in need of education “surrogate” parents

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is seeking volunteers to serve as an education “surrogate” parent to a child or children with disabilities who have no available natural parents and/or guardians, including children in the custody of the state.

An educational surrogate parent is appointed to act independently on behalf of a student with disabilities and to safeguard the student’s rights in the special education process. Examples include permission for evaluation and placement, meetings to discuss the child’s programming, release of information, and request for educational hearing.

“Being a surrogate parent to children from many different backgrounds is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. These children, and too many more like them, need to know that someone cares about them and is watching over their educational needs and progress,” said Peter Quimby, Education Surrogate from Thorndike.

As part of the State’s Education Surrogate Parent program, Maine DOE matches children up with a volunteer surrogate parent who acts to ensure the child is provided with equal educational opportunities.

“The time commitment is as much or as minimal as the volunteer wants it to be. Some are only able to attend the annual IEP (educational programing) meeting either in person or by phone, and others are very involved by not only attending meetings, but also visiting the student and staying in regular contact,” said Commissioner Robert Hasson. “It’s a really great program, but we always need more volunteers.”

The voluntary position may sometimes require travel, but travel expenses are reimbursed by the State of Maine.

Find out more on the Maine DOE Surrogate Parent Program webpage or contact Staci Fowler at (207) 624-6670 or Stacia.Fowler@maine.gov for more information.

2017 County Teachers of the Year honored

Teachers from each of Maine’s 16 counties were today honored in Augusta’s State Capitol at an annual event in the Hall of Flags announcing the 2017 Maine County Teachers of the Year. The group is the county finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine.

The educators were each nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education, and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities.

CTOY2

2017 County Teachers of the Year:

  • Androscoggin: Nesrene Griffin, Governor James Longley School
  • Aroostook: Leslie Marquis, Fort Kent Community School
  • Cumberland: Brooke Teller, Casco Bay High School
  • Franklin: Allison Warman, Rangeley Lakes School
  • Hancock: Marielle Edgecomb, The Peninsula School
  • Kennebec: Lisette Bordes, Messalonskee High School
  • Knox: Iris Eichenlaub, Camden Hills Regional High School
  • Lincoln: Christopher Coleman, Great Salt Bay Community School
  • Oxford: Janet Harriman, Sacopee Valley High School
  • Penobscot: Kasie Giallombardo, Nokomis High School
  • Piscataquis: Kaitlin Young, SeDoMoCha Elementary School
  • Sagadahoc: John Dever, Mt. Ararat High School
  • Somerset: Eric Brown, Lawrence High School
  • Waldo: Christi Goosman, Searsport District High School
  • Washington: Rhonda Stevens, Beatrice Rafferty School
  • York: Jen England, Noble High School

Ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education in Maine, these teachers will continue to participate in the intensive State Teacher of the Year selection process, including the submission of a video showcasing their classroom instructional practices.

The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists who will begin working on their professional portfolio, a component of the National Teacher of the Year process. After the portfolio review and presentations to a select panel, the field is narrowed to three finalists. In October, the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected after a school site visit and final interview.

The Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine Department of Education, administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization working to ensure Maine’s students and workers are the best educated and highly skilled in the world.

For more information, visit www.maine.gov/doe/toy/.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: 2017 Maine County Teachers of the Year to be announced 5/11 at 2pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

What: 16 Maine teachers will be announced and honored as part of the Maine Department of Education’s annual Maine County Teachers of the Year awards. The teachers were nominated by a member of their community and chosen by a panel of teachers, principals and business community members.

The educators serve as ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education and are available to make presentations to local and regional organizations. Into the summer, they will continue to participate in an intensive State Teacher of the Year selection process.

Who: 16 Maine teachers (one from each county), Department of Education Commissioner, Robert Hasson, Executive Director of Educate Maine, Ed Cervone, State Board of Education, Martha Harris, and 2017 Teacher of the Year, Tammy Ranger.

Where: Hall of Flags, Maine State Capital

When: Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm

For more information contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: 2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off FINALS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov

What: 2017 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off is a Maine Department of Education event that is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools. During the event local school food service teams prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. As an added twist Maine wild blueberries and Maine potatoes will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition. This is the final event of the 2017 Farm to School Cook-Off.

Who: School food service teams from RSU 52 (Turner) and Yarmouth will be competing. Judges include a Freeport High School student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef.

Where/When:
Wednesday, April 26th
Freeport High School
1:00pm start time (cooking begins at 1:30pm)

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition but are asked to notify Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747 ahead of time. These competitions are NOT open to the public.