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

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

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

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 or call 624-6747.

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

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

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.

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

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 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.


MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine County Teachers of the Year to be announced 5/10 at 2pm

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.

Maine county teachers of the year serve as ambassadors for teachers, students, and quality education state-wide. The Maine County Teachers of the Year 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.

16 Maine teachers (one from each county), Department of Education Deputy Suzan Beaudoin; Executive Director of Educate Maine, Ed Cervone; State Board of Education, Martha Harris; and 2018 Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young.

Hall of Flags, Maine State Capitol

Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm

For more information contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at or call 624-6747.

MEDIA RELEASE: Students to perform at 5/8 launch of “Maine Kids Rock!” initiative to expand music education in Maine

Governor Paul R. LePage will join students from 10 Maine schools for a May 8th concert as they celebrate a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment in music education in Maine schools.

On May 8, 2018, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Governor Paul R. LePage are holding a kickoff concert to celebrate the official launch of, “Maine Kids Rock!”, a multi-year initiative supported by national nonprofit, Little Kids Rock. The partnership will help ensure that schools across Maine have access to high quality, culturally responsive music education as well as musical instruments and cutting edge curriculum.

The pilot phase of Maine Kids Rock started in August 2017 with support through free music instruments for 10 Maine public schools, and free professional development for over 30 Maine schools. The success of the pilot program has generated the interest of other schools, and prompted Maine DOE and Little Kids Rock to expand the program.

The concert will celebrate an initial investment of approximately $450,000 worth of instruments, training and curriculum which will expand music education in 30 Maine school districts. Funding for Maine Kids Rock is being provided by the Maine Department of Education and Little Kids Rock.

“The goals of Maine Kids Rock are quite ambitious,” says Dave Wish, CEO and Founder of Little Kids Rock. “ Our ultimate goal is to supply over $2,000,000 worth of support that will benefit up to four hundred Maine public schools. The Maine DOE and Little Kids Rock are working together to identify other partners to help us reach hundreds more schools across the state.”

WHAT: The Concert at the Capitol is a free concert that is open to the public and features student performances by Little Kids Rock bands from 10 the Maine Public Schools that have been participating in the Maine Kids Rock pilot program thus far. During the concert, Governor LePage will be presented with a student-signed guitar as a thank you for his commitment to music education.

WHO: Governor Paul R. LePage, Maine DOE staff, parents and supporters, in addition to students, teachers and administrators from the 10 Maine Kids Rock pilot schools:

  • Central Community Elementary School, RSU 64
  • Crescent Park and Woodstock Elementary Schools, RSU 44
  • East End Community School, Portland Public Schools
  • Hitchborn Middle School and Penobscot Valley High School, RSU31
  • 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
  • Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71
  • Waterville Senior High School, AOS 92

WHERE: Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State Street, Augusta, ME 04330

WHEN: Tuesday, May 8th from 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Media are encouraged to attend. Interview and photo opportunities will be available at the event. For further information, please contact Maine DOE Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at or (207) 624-6747.