MEDIA RELEASE: Student Nutrition Continues Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of children in Maine during the school year. With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need when school is out.

“The National School Lunch Program is an important element of the Maine public school system’s dedication to providing a healthy learning environment for students, and we are equally dedicated to ensuring that healthy environment can be extended to them even when school is not in session through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“This program seeks to address a clear health need during the summer months wherever it may be evident in Maine, and while it has been successful in doing so in the past, the Department expects that increased participation this summer will further foster this success and, as a result, the continued health of Maine students.”

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

In 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow. The 2018 program begins statewide today, Monday, June 18. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211. Information is available mid-June.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Welcomes 9 Student Interns for 2018 Summer Season

Augusta, Maine – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced today the 9 student interns who will be working for the summer at the Maine DOE headquarters in Augusta.

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Adam Barre

Barre is a sophomore at Loyola University, Maryland. He has lived in Maine his whole life and has a love for politics, business, and the state of Maine itself. Barre has volunteered in Baltimore and worked with local politicians and motivated citizens, which has been a tremendous inspiration to him. He takes great pride in being able to not only accomplish his own goals, but ensuring he can help others do the same in the process.  Barre will be working with the Department of Education’s data team, focusing on geo-mapping and working to catalogue all the major data collections for the Department.

Trevor Burns

Burns is a recent graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a major in Actuarial Science and Applied Mathematics. Burns will be assisting with the end-of-year collection process for 2017/18 student data and trying to find anomalies in that data before school ends for the summer. He will then work on a student data standards document which the DOE plans to make available to the public before school begins again next year.

Matt Bourque

Originally from South China, Maine, Bourque is an upcoming senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is double majoring in Political Science and Education. Outside of his academic life, Bourque is training for a marathon and loves the outdoors. During his internship with the DOE, Bourque will be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Lauren Porter

Porter is a third-year Social Work and Political Science student at the University of Southern Maine, where she is highly involved in her philanthropic sorority, the Service-Learning and Volunteering department, and Model United Nations. Her interests and career goals include social justice policy efforts – particularly advocacy for access to affordable healthcare. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, juggling, volunteering, and writing. During her internship with the DOE, Porter will also be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Adam Bovie

Bovie is a senior at the University of New Hampshire, but has lived in Vassalboro, Maine, his whole life. He is dual majoring in Communication and International Affairs at UNH, and spent the first semester of his junior year studying abroad at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. Bovie enjoys all aspects of the Communication field, but has recently been developing his skills in media production. He’ll be putting these skills to use in his role as the intern for the Commissioner of Education’s office, where he’ll be assisting in the creation of a new website for the Department as well as other multimedia communication projects.

Tyler Rollins

Rollins is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono in the New Media program. He currently lives in his home town of China, Maine, and in his spare time he enjoys playing the guitar and recording local bands. Rollins will be creating content to make Maine’s school funding formula more understandable for the legislature and general public.

Erica Hathaway

Hathaway is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono and will be graduating in December. She is studying Economics with minors in Mathematics and Business. Hathaway is originally from Vermont, but is planning to stay in Maine after graduating, at which point she would like to attend graduate school for Economics.  Hathaway is working on Maine’s contribution to a Kansas-led project that looks at school funding in all 50 states, including a state-by-state historical survey of school funding. She will also be assisting the DOE in reviewing the new Career & Technical Education funding model.

Morgan Rush

One of the Learning Through Technology interns, Rush is a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington. She studies Business Psychology with a minor in Community Health. Rush grew up in Farmingdale, Maine, and is excited to learn more about the use of technology in education.  Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.

Renée Roundy

Another Learning Through Technology intern, Roundy grew up in Lewiston, Maine, and is entering her senior year at Colgate University with a major in Educational Studies and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. This summer she is excited to learn more about various software and how technology can be utilized by teachers, especially in Special Education. Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.

 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: MLTI Student Conference to be held on May 24th at UMaine

What:
The 15th annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Student Conference is once again bringing Maine students together for hands-on learning with technology.

Who:
Over 1000 Maine middle school and high school students, and their teachers

Where/When:
Thursday, May 24, 2018
University of Maine, Orono Campus
8:40 am –  Opening/Student Keynote (Collins Center for the Arts )
1:10 pm – Closing “Uber” session (Collins Center for the Arts )
Breakout sessions all day (throughout the Campus – Sessions by Location Quick Guide)

Schedule Highlights: 
Between 8 am and 8:45 am, school busses unload hundreds of excited students and adults who grab conference T-shirts and file into the Hutchins Concert Hall, where the Ballroom Thieves and the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra provide a musical welcome.

8:45 am – After Brief Welcome by DOE, UMaine and Apple representatives,
Student Keynote Speaker Nicole Pendleton, an 8th-grader from Camden-Rockport Middle School, takes the stage, followed by a professional reflection by Andrew Johnson, VP of Business Development at Ai2.

2 Blocks of Hands-on Learning Sessions: Visit classrooms where students are demonstrating and learning how to create in a variety of ways – through coding, audio, video, images, text and more.

1:10 pm – “Uber” session in the Hutchins Concert Hall at the Collins Center for the Arts – Over 1000 students and adults participate in a group music project using their laptops and tablets, guided by the Ballroom Thieves and the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

For more information visit:

Members of the media are welcome to attend. For further questions contact, Maine DOE Director of Communications Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine Farm to School Cook-off final is today at KVCC

What:
2018 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off final. Read more about the Maine Department of Education’s annual Maine Farm to school Cook-off.

Who:
School food service staff and students creating breakfast and lunch meal. The winning teams from the two regional cook-off’s held in April will compete in the final cook-off.
Judges for the regional cook-offs include a student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef.

Where/When: 
Monday, May 14
Kennebec Valley Community College
Harold Alfond Campus, Averill Building, Hinckley, ME (campus map)
1:00pm start time (cooking begins promptly at 1:30pm)
Teams are representing RSU 54 and Yarmouth Public Schools

How:
Each volunteer team, consisting of one school food service staff and one student, will 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. Locally caught pollock and yogurt will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition for further questions contact, Director of Communications Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

MEDIA RELEASE: Former superintendent, Fern Desjardins to serve on Maine State Board of Education

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has announced that Dr. Fern Desjardins of Aroostook County will serve on the Maine State Board of Education. Desjardins was sworn into office at the Department of the Secretary of State in Augusta on May 1, 2018. She is a life-long resident of St. Agatha, and will serve as a representative of Congressional District 2 on the State Board.

Desjardins is a former Superintendent of Schools in MSAD #33 and has spent a 43-year career in the school system. She taught graduate level courses for UMaine as an adjunct faculty member in their outreach programs in Aroostook County for almost a decade.  She holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Language Arts from UMaine, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from USM, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UMFK.

Since her retirement in June 2017, Desjardins continues to be active in education by serving as a facilitator for the regionalization efforts of five northern Penobscot County school systems, a member of the English Learners Advisory Council at the Maine DOE, and is involved in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs and other initiatives of the Maine DOE.

“My work in education has always been, and continues to be, my real passion in life. Being a member of the State Board of Education is truly an honor, and it is in perfect harmony with what I most enjoy doing – providing the students of all our communities with the best education that taxpayers can afford.  I am blessed to be given the opportunity to be a voice for the students and citizens of Maine by serving on the State Board.”

Desjardins has accepted appointments to work on the Construction Committee and the Maine Charter School Commission as a member of the State Board. “I believe that my educational background and varied experiences will enable me to positively contribute to discussions and decision-making processes of the State Board and the committees to which I am appointed.”

Desjardins replaces former State Board of Education member, the Honorable Nichi Farnham of Bangor.

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