MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Celebrates Educational Support Professionals Day

In celebration of Educational Support Professionals Day, the Maine Department of Education would like to thank and congratulate the tens of thousands of educational support professionals working in Maine’s public schools.

Educational Support Professionals Day is held the Wednesday during American Education Week each year in November. The day celebrates and honors the significant contributions that school support staff make in public schools every day.

Education support professionals include education technicians, bus drivers, security guards, school nurses, facilities staff, office assistants and more. They drive students to school, clean classrooms and hallways, bandage scraped knees, and prepare and cook meals, among many other things. They are often the first to arrive at school and the last to leave.

We hope that schools state-wide will share in thanking and congratulating education support professionals for everything that they do to support students, schools, and communities throughout Maine.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Releases 2017/2018 Education Assessment Results

The Maine Department of Education has released the 2017-2018 Maine Education Assessment (MEA) results in the content areas of mathematics, English language arts/literacy, and science.

The Department would like to thank schools, districts, and community members for their continued patience while an additional validation was completed after the initial delay in releasing the 2017/2018 results.

“This year the Department has three years of data from the same assessments which will allow for measurement across multiple years,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. “The new trend lines will assist the Department in determining where support is needed to help increase student achievement across the state.”

The public results can be viewed by school or district and by student group, including grade level groups, in the Maine Assessment and Accountability Reporting System (MAARS).

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE to Recognize Bilingual Students Upon Graduation

Maine Department of Education makes Seal of Biliteracy available to all qualifying students

During a special announcement at the Maine State House on October 29, 2018, Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr of the Maine Department of Education announced a new opportunity called the Seal of Biliteracy that will be available to qualifying students upon graduation, starting in June of 2019.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given at graduation in recognition of students who have studied and attained a high degree of skill in English and at least one other language by high school graduation.  For the first time, Maine will be offering all students an opportunity to graduate with the Seal in June 2019. The Seal seeks to encourage students to pursue biliteracy, recognizes the positive cognitive and academic benefits of being bilingual, and can serve as evidence of academic and workplace readiness.

There are two pathways to earn the Seal of Biliteracy. To qualify, all students must maintain a high degree of skill in their first language.  Students, whose first language is English, can earn the Seal by attaining a high degree of skill in another language.  Students whose first language is not English, can earn the Seal by attaining a high degree of skill in English.

In previous years, the Seal of Biliteracy has been offered to students in Portland Public Schools thanks to the work of Carlos Gomez, Director of Language Development. This Department of Education initiative will provide the opportunity to every student in Maine.  The Seal of Biliteracy started in California in 2008 and is now offered by 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Earning the Seal of Biliteracy comes with tangible academic and workplace benefits for students. Those students who choose to pursue post-secondary education can show the Seal of Biliteracy designation to select universities to earn college credit.  For those students who choose to enter the workforce after graduation, the Seal brings potential employers attention to the additional work ready skills they possess.

For more information please visit the Maine Department of Education website.

 

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MEDIA RELEASE: Piscataquis Community High School Teacher Named Maine 2019 Teacher of the Year

Guilford, Maine – In an all-school assembly today at Piscataquis Community High School, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr. named English teacher Joseph Hennessey Maine’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Hennessey was selected earlier this year as the 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year. He began his teaching career in 2012 and has held teaching positions as both an English teacher and a teacher for at-risk youth ever since. He specializes in English literature and composition and has taught speech and debate as well. In his current position at Piscataquis Community High School, Hennessey has implemented a college prep, literature based interdisciplinary course that focuses on students’ interests and aims to prepare them for life after graduation.

“Mr. Hennessey is a unique and highly effective teacher. His formal manner and personality combined with a dry sense of humor and setting high standards for his students, make him an icon of our school,” said Piscataquis Community High School Principal John Keane in a written statement nominating Hennessey for 2019 Teacher of the Year. “With only four years with us, he has become legendary amongst his students and their families. Watching him in class is truly watching a person who has honed his craft to perfection,” he added.

Hennessey was selected from more than 300 teachers who were nominated by a member of their community earlier this year. The Teacher of the Year Program is a year-long process that involves educator portfolio and resume submissions, interviews, oral presentations, and classroom visits made by a selection panel comprised of State Board of Education members, school administrators, Maine Department of Education staff, former Teachers of the Year, and other Maine business partners.

“Joe sees every student as a learner and an intellectual, and he truly strives to ensure that every student sees themselves that way too,” said Emily Gribben, Maine Department of Education Educator Effectiveness Coordinator and member of the 2019 Teacher of the Year Selection Panel. “I think it is also of note that not one student has failed his class and it is obviously not for lack of rigor,” she added.

As the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year, Hennessey will travel throughout the state and country collaborating with other educators to support the efforts underway to prepare all students for college, work, and civic life. He is Maine’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program which includes a national forum with other State Teachers of the Year, a week at a NASA Space Camp, and a visit to the White House.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led advocacy organization, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, and Pratt and Whitney.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.mainetoy.org.

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PRESS RELEASE: Maine DOE Awarded $5.5M Grant to Support Student Mental Health Initiative

The Maine Department of Education has been awarded a 5-year grant (1.1 million per year) from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding will go towards an initiative called Maine-AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) aimed at helping Maine develop a comprehensive framework and infrastructure to support student mental health through effective state and local collaboration between education and health providers.

The project is grounded in a belief that strong implementation of evidence based universal positive behavior and social emotional learning supports coupled with universal behavioral health screening can help schools and communities focus intensive resources on students and families with the greatest need. The project also aims at developing coordinated support services at the school level so that school clinical capacity is maximized and well-articulated with the community’s therapeutic resources.

The framework for building a statewide comprehensive approach to student mental health will be gained through the experiences of an initial implementation with three school administrative units (SAU) which will serve as pilot sites for the initiative: Calais School Department, RSU 10, and RSU 40. They were selected prior to the application submission and are representative of the challenges faced by Maine’s school districts. Factors considered in the selection were geographic location, rate of uninsured children, data from the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (mental health and substance use), local employment of a licensed clinical social worker, and existing relationships with community mental health agencies.

The primary goals of Maine-AWARE are to:

1. Tier I: Ensure that all students have access to evidence-based social emotional learning (SEL) strategies, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and screening for behavioral health needs.

2. Tier II: Provide students and families identified as at increased risk of negative academic and behavioral outcomes with team-based school and community supports, targeted interventions, and indicated mental health screening.

3. Tier III: Provide targeted, evidence-based clinical interventions to youth and families experiencing serious mental or behavioral health disorders.

4. Systems Building: Implement a comprehensive workforce and infrastructure development plan to provide technical assistance on evidence-based behavioral and mental health interventions and an effective statewide implementation strategy.

The Maine Department of Education will be working in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services on the Maine-AWARE Initiative.