Category Archives: Press Releases

Press releases from before January 1, 2010, are in the archive.

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.

MEDIA ADVISORY – Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education Celebration at 2:00 PM on April 25th

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

What: The Maine Department of Education (DOE), First Lady Ann LePage, and the Maine Arts Commission are hosting an event to celebrate Maine arts education and honor students whose artwork has been selected to be displayed in and around the Maine State Capital as part of a state-wide student exhibit. Event speakers include First Lady Ann LePage, Commissioner of Education Robert Hasson, and Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard. Other highlights include student theatrical and musical performance, and student artists receiving certificates for their artwork.

When: Tuesday, April 25th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Hall of Flags, Maine State Capital

Who: Students whose artwork is on display and their guests, First Lady Ann LePage, members of the State Board of Education, state legislators, Maine Arts Commission and Maine Department of Education.

For more information about the event contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747. For more information about Maine Visual and Performing Arts visit: http://www.maine.gov/doe/arts/ or contact Beth Lambert at beth.lambert@maine.gov or 207-624-6642.

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Maine DOE Celebrates April as “The Month of the Military Child”

The Maine Department of Education along with the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), and Governor Paul R. LePage have declared April “The Month of the Military Child” as a month-long awareness and celebration of military children and the important role they play in the community.

The declaration is part of a national movement celebrating The Month of the Military Child in April as a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

“We are aware of the struggles and sacrifices children make when they move in and out of different schools as part of the life-style of a military family,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. “Great efforts are taken by MIC3 and local school officials to ensure that military children receive a quality, and comprehensive education throughout the school year, no matter where they live,” he added.

On April 20th the Maine DOE, and the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) will be holding a proclamation and welcome event at the Maine State Library to honor children raised in military families. Present at the event will be a group of 12-15 children ages 8-18 who have been raised in military families and will be honorary guests at the Maine State Capitol as part of a day of actives to honor them.

April 20th will also be a day to wear the color purple in honor and support of military children. Local school districts are encouraged to join in the following week when they return from April vacation week and pick a day to wear purple.

For more information contact Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747 or Tyler Backus at tyler.backus@maine.gov or (207) 624-6727.

10 Maine school districts awarded instruments as part of Maine Kids Rock! pilot program

The Maine Department of Education (DOE), in partnership with Little Kids Rock, today announced the selection of 10 Maine school districts who will be awarded instruments and resources necessary to run modern band programs in their schools.

This project, Maine Kids Rock!, is a pilot program developed between the Maine DOE and Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that is dedicated to building a world where kids can live rich, purposeful lives by ensuring that all public school children have the opportunity to unlock their inner music makers.

The selected schools are:

  • Central Community Elementary School, RSU 64
  • Crescent Park and Woodstock Elementary Schools, RSU 44
  • East End Community School, Portland Public Schools
  • Houlton Middle/High School, RSU 29
  • Katahdin Elementary, Middle and High Schools, RSU 50
  • Medway Middle School, Medway School Department
  • Meroby and Rumford Elementary Schools, RSU 10
  • Penobscot Valley High School, RSU31
  • Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71
  • Waterville Senior High School, AOS 92

Schools were chosen by review teams who scored applications based on need, sustainability, and quality of proposed programing. In order to be eligible for the pilot, school districts must serve 50% or more free or reduced lunch to eligible students, and agree to offer modern band during the 2017-2018 school year, taught by a certified music teachers.

 

Maine teacher certification moving to new online system

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is in the process of building an online portal for a new web-based credentialing system. The new system, being put in place by Hupp Technologies, will be fully operational by the July 1st teacher, educational specialist and administrator renewal expiration date.

The online system will completely replace the Maine DOE’s current paper application system. Highlights include effortlessness in account creation, electronic notifications about actionable items for both teachers and administrators, and the ability to pay fees online.

Once the new system is in place, all teachers will need to create an account. The Maine DOE’s Certification team will be sending out individual notices to the email addresses that are on file in the NEO staff system.

Training will be made available soon for Superintendents and Support System Chairs. In addition, webinars will be available for educators to assist with account creation, and the renewal process.

It is important to note, allowances will be made if the system goes up later than expected. Current Maine State rules state that if a certificate is held up for any reason beyond the teachers’ control, then the previously held certificate is still valid. This addresses the concern some may have about not being eligible to sign teacher contracts.

For more information contact Ángel Martínez Loredo at 207-624-6603 or email cert.doe@maine.gov.

Maine DOE Announces 11 New Appointees for the Maine Commission for Community Service

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that the following individuals have been appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage and Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. to serve as commissioners for the Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS). Founded in 1994, MCCS seeks to foster community service and volunteerism to meet human and environmental needs in the State of Maine.

  • Aaron Dombroski
    A major in the U.S. Army Reserves, Dombroski has taught military science at MIT, worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Veterans Benefits Administration. He is currently a veterans’ service officer for the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services serving Cumberland County and is active in the State of Maine’s plan to end veterans’ homelessness.
  • Beth Lambert
    Serving as the Commissioner of Education’s designee to the Commission, Lambert is the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist and Aroostook County Regional Representative for the Maine Department of Education. She brings 10 years of education experience at the middle and high school levels and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts, English, and Education from Lawrence University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Harvard University.
  • Brianna Tibbetts
    A 17 year-old homeschool high school student from North Waterboro, Tibbetts is currently dual enrolled at York County Community College. She is a volunteer camp counselor at Camp Good News in Livermore, Maine and has worked as a Jr. Ski School instructor at Shawnee Peak. Interested in civic engagement, Tibbetts is also participating in TeenPACT, a Christian program that brings teenagers to Augusta to understand the political process and how to engage in it.
  • Cary Olson-Cartwright
    Olson-Cartwright is Assistant Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Unum, and serves on several boards that are focused on supporting Maine’s youth and education including Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Thomas College. She is a graduate of UMaine and the Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
  • Coleman LaPointe
    A 2011 Maine Maritime Academy Graduate, LaPointe is the Director of Strategic Alliances at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. He previously worked as a special assistant and personal aide to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and served as a personal aide to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush during his 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Honorable David C. Burns
    Senator David C. Burns formerly served in the Maine State Senate, serving the people of Washington County, as well as Gouldsboro, Sullivan, Winter Harbor, and a portion of the East Hancock Unorganized Territory. He has also served for the Maine House of Representatives, as the Chair of the Government Oversight Committee, was a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, and a member of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Burns is a retired Maine State Trooper who specialized in investigating major crimes.
  • Diane Dickerson
    Dickerson has been serving as the CEO of Bangor YMCA since 2014, she has dedicated her life to community involvement, serving in previous roles as the chairman of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the University Medical Center Foundation, and chairman of The Children’s Miracle Network among others, she has also served as the CEO of her own successful companies throughout her professional career.
  • Jacinda Goodwin
    Jacinda Goodwin currently works for the National Center for Homeless Education. Prior to that she served as the Maine State Homeless Education Coordinator for the Maine Department of Education and also oversaw Maine truancy, dropout and alternative education programs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Maine at Farmington and a Master’s degree in clinical/behavioral psychology from UMass-Dartmouth.
  • Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
    Currently the president of Unity College, Dr. Khoury’s has also held positions at Paul Smith’s College, Culver Stockton College, Upper Iowa University, and Unity College. Prior to joining the world of academia, Dr. Khoury was an international business executive, serving as Director of Euro-Gambian Trading (E.G.T.). He received a Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maine, and his Baccalaureate from University of Maine Fort Kent.
  • Hon. Nick Isgro
    Nick Isgro is the mayor of the City of Waterville, where he is a lifelong resident and lives with his wife and 5 children in the home that his grandfather built in 1960. Nick is also Controller at Skowhegan Savings Bank and is a board member and financial advisor for St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Oakland.
  • Sean Ingram
    An Alabama native, Sean Ingram currently works for the Governor of Maine as a legislative policy coordinator. He formerly served Governor LePage in the office of Boards and Commission, an office responsible for recruiting and placing thousands of volunteer board and commission members for gubernatorial appointment.

PRESS RELEASE: Maine student artwork selected for screensaver challenge

Twenty Maine student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall.

More than 200 students submitted images to be considered for the Maine Department of Education (DOE), Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Screensaver Challenge.

An annual tradition of the Maine DOE, students in grades K-12 can submit artwork at the beginning of the year to be selected for display. The images are scored and selected by an independent panel of three judges.

The winning student artists will have their work showcased on MLTI devices for the 2017-18 school year. In addition, the student artists will have their registration fees waived for the 2017 MLTI Student Conference, and their winning pieces will be printed and displayed at the Department of Education’s Augusta offices from June 1 – August 31, 2017.

The selected students are listed below. Their artwork is available for viewing on the Maine DOE Website.

  • Griffin Vulture, Anna Labbe, Grade 10, Freeport High School
  • Abstract Ocean Life, Elizabeth Young, Grade 9, Freeport High School
  • Duck at Dawn, Bennett Hight, Grade 12, Freeport High School
  • Fallen Leaves, Zoe Fox, Grade 12, Freeport High School
  • Lights of the City, Griffin Agnese, Grade 11, Freeport High School
  • House Barn, Julian Lindholm Fiske, Grade 12, George Stevens Academy
  • Beneath the Surface, Corinne Ahearn, Grade 9, Greely High School
  • Eel Life, Maddie Hall, Grade 8, Greely Middle School
  • Knot a View, Alexis Merchant, Grade 10, Jonesport-Beals High School
  • Seeing Through, Emily Segal, Grade 7, Lincoln Middle School
  • Dandelion, Ana Rogers, Grade 9, Mount Desert Island HS
  • Scraffito, Erin Corcoran, Grade 8, Oceanside Middle School
  • Dream, Zabina Zimmerman, Grade 1, Pond Cove Elementary School
  • Bikes, Megan Gordon, Grade 11, Camden Hills Regional High School
  • Children’s Space, Corilie Green, Grade 10, Freeport High School
  • Wolf, Grace Neal, Grade 11, George Stevens Academy
  • Hummingbird, Toni MacDonald, Grade 12, Houlton Middle/High School
  • Moose, Blair Tweed, Grade 11, Wells High School
  • Lost and Forgotten, Samuel Livingston, Grade 12, Wells High School
  • Umbrella, Lauren Dow, Grade 10, Wells High School

For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative Screen Saver challenge visit: http://maine.gov/doe/mlti/student/artchallenge/index.html

Maine DOE Awards Grant Funds to 7 Regional Education Opportunity and Efficiency Initiatives

April 4, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rachel Paling (207) 624-6747 rachel.paling@maine.gov

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today announced 7 grant awards for collaborative initiatives undertaken by schools and educational agencies as part of a statewide regional opportunity and efficiency initiative called EMBRACE.

The EMBRACE initiative, “Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional And Coordinated approaches to Education,” 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. The application was released 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, including transportation facilities, professional development and special education services. The grant proposal resulted in 21 applications with an array of cost saving plans to benefit Maine students.

While only one third of the applications will be funded at this time, if the Department determines that additional funding is available, more awards may be granted. The final award amount for each grant will be negotiated between the grant recipient and the Department of Education, which may result in the availability of more funds for additional grants.

In addition, Governor LePage has requested $5 million per year in the biennial budget proposal, which would enable additional rounds of applications for grants in future years.

Today’s awards involve nearly 50 sites throughout Maine, including neighboring school districts, Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers, colleges and universities. Below is a listing of the regional efficiency projects that will receive funding (although grant amounts are yet to be finalized):

Regional Efficiency Projects

Western Maine Regional Program for Children with Exceptionalities

The participants will share a space and resources to provide services to students in grades 6-12 with autism and/or emotional disabilities and other behaviorally challenged students who would otherwise be placed in special service private schools outside the participating districts. The plan will allow students to stay closer to home while also providing necessary technical and experiential learning opportunities.

Proposed cost (not necessarily size of award): $314,500
Estimated 5-year savings:
$2,050,000

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – MSAD 17 (Harrison, Hebron, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Waterford, West Paris)
  • RSU 44 (Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, Woodstock)
  • RSU 72 (Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Lovell, Stoneham, Stow, Sweden)
  • Maine Regional Vocational Center 11 (Oxford Hills Technical School)

Rightsizing Education in the Upper St. John Valley

This plan aims to improve the quality and efficiency of three St. John Valley School Districts by regionalizing grades 9-12 into a regional combined high school/CTE center, while at the same time retain each community’s individual identity by maintaining Early Childhood to grade 8 within the sending communities. The plan will align curriculum, assessment, professional development, policies and resources across the three SAU’s, it will also introduce CTE learning styles to 8th graders, provide Chemical Health Education to students and enhance visual and performing arts programs.

Proposed cost (not necessarily size of award): $508,200
Estimated 5-year savings:
$901,509

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – MSAD 27 (Eagle Lake, Fort Kent, New Canada, Saint Francis, Saint john Plt., Wallagrass)
  • MSAD 33 (Frenchville, Saint Agatha)
  • Madawaska School Department
  • St. John Valley Technology Center
  • University of Maine at Fort Kent

Service Bundling

The project will bundle special education, psychological services, transportation, technology and facilities services that are currently being operated independently.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $162,500
Estimated 5-year savings:
$537,500

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – MSAD 01/RSU 79 (Castle Hill, Chapman, Mapleton, Presque Isle, Westfield)
  • MSAD 45 (Washburn, Perham, Wade)

Southern Aroostook Area Regional Transportation Facility

The plan will provide participating communities with a centrally located facility to serve as a bus garage for maintenance of the combined fleet of buses, vans and service vehicles of the participating partners. The project will save money, increase reliability and improve maintenance services which will is expected to lengthen the life of buses and other service vehicles.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $415,000
Estimated 5-year savings:
$929,917.45

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 29 (Houlton, Hammond, Littleton, Monticello)
  • RSU 70 (Hodgdon, Amity, Haynesville, Linneus, Ludlow, New Limerick)
  • RSU 50 (Southern Aroostook and Katahdin)
  • MSAD 14/RSU 84 (East Grand)
  • Region Two School of Applied Technology

SPRCPCE Innovative School

The project will create a regional, alternative education school beginning with 7th and 8th graders, with plans to expand to grade 10. The school is designed for hands-on, experiential learning to motivate and prepare at-risk youth for successful integration into further learning opportunities at local CTE centers and in early college programs. The funds will support the creation of the school for its first year.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $538,235
Estimated 5-year savings:
$3,308,825

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Bangor School Department
  • AOS47 (Dedham, Orrington)
  • AOS 81 (Holden, Eddington, Clifton, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond, Osborn)
  • Brewer School Department
  • Glenburn School Department
  • Hermon School Department
  • Maine Indian Education
  • Milford School Department
  • RSU22 (Hampden, Newburgh, Winterport and Frankfort)
  • RSU 26 (Orono)
  • RSU 34 (Alton, Bradley, Old Town)
  • RSU 64 (Bradford, Corinth, Hudson, Kenduskeag, and Stetson)
  • RSU 87 (Carmel, Levant)
  • Veazie School Department
  • United Technology Center
  • Eastern Maine Community College

Sheepscot Regional Education Program

The project will provide a single site for special education services for students in grades 6-12, through age 20, who need behavioral support. The day-treatment option will be a research based intervention option for students to participate in prior to potential further out of district placement. The partnership will provide cost savings on infrastructure, staff, and administrative and financial oversight.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $518,000
Estimated 5-year savings:
$8,086,664

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Wiscassett School Department
  • RSU 01 (Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg, Woolwich)
  • AOS 98 (Boothbay Harbor)
  • AOS 93 (Damariscotta)
  • RSU 12 (Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor)
  • Bath Regional Career and Technical Center

Western Maine Mathematics 9-12/CTE Leadership Network

The project is designed to support the development of a high school mathematics coaching model to better meet the needs of 9-12 mathematics teachers and CTE teachers in western Maine. The project will use the proven success of the Maine Mathematics Coaching Project (MMCP) to provide high quality mathematics professional development with will increase interest, engagement, and self-efficiency in mathematics for high school students and teachers.

Proposed Cost(not necessarily size of award): $231,082
Estimated 5-year savings:
$403,798

Participants:

  • RSU 04 (Wales, Litchfield, Sabattus)
  • RSU 09 (Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Starks, Temple, Vienna, Weld, Wilton)
  • RSU 10 (Buckfield, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Peru, Roxbury, Rumford, Sumner)
  • RSU 58 (Avon, Kingfield, Phillips, Strong)
  • RSU 73 (Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls)
  • RSU 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)
  • Winthrop Public Schools
  • Foster Career and Technical Education Center
  • University of Maine Farmington
  • Western Maine Education Collaborative

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Maine DOE to Announce $3M in Regionalization and Efficiency Grant Awards

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

Maine DOE to Announce $3M in Regionalization and Efficiency Grant Awards

What: The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will be holding an event to announce the award recipients of $3 million in grant funds available to School Administrative Units (SAUs) and neighboring partners pursing regionalization and efficiency efforts. SAUs had the opportunity to apply for the funds through a competitive application process earlier this year.

When: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Where: Maine State Library 2nd Floor (Note: Upon entering the main entrance of the library proceed down the stairs or elevator to the 2nd level.)

Who: Maine Commissioner of Education Robert G. Hasson, Jr., representatives from the Maine Department of Education, and members of the RFP committee.

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

Robert G. Hasson, Jr. Confirmed as Maine Commissioner of Education

During a 10:00 AM vote of the Maine State Senate on Thursday, March 30th, Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D. was confirmed as Maine Commissioner of Education. The vote was the final step in Hasson’s confirmation following his nomination by Governor Paul R. LePage, an interview by the State Board of Education, and a vote of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

A long-time resident of South Portland, Dr. Hasson has spent the majority of his career working in education. He is a former principal, special ed. director and elementary school teacher, in addition to his 20 plus years of experience as a superintendent at MSAD 51, Cumberland/N. Yarmouth.

In a letter to Department staff shortly after confirmation, he wrote, “I intend to use my time as Commissioner to improve the experience of students, bridge the gap between teachers and administration, and provide support in as many ways possible to schools and districts throughout the state.”

Hasson has been Acting Commissioner for the Department since November of 2016 following his role as Director of Certification within the Department. Prior to that, he served in leadership roles at both the Maine School Management Association and the Maine School Superintendents Association.

In presenting Dr. Hasson for confirmation before the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor LePage, Aaron Chadbourne said, “Bob Hasson is fervent about acting in the best interest of Maine students, which is the charge that Governor LePage believes is appropriate for all of us engaged in public education. Governor LePage has given Bob license not only to think outside the box but to disregard the box entirely in pursuit of supporting Maine students and teachers, serving their best interests.”

During the hearing, shortly before the committee voted to confirm Hasson in a 12-0 vote he said, “I am truly honored and humbled to have been given this opportunity.”