Maine CITE Program Welcomes New Director

Jessi Wright, MBA, ATP has been named the new Director for the Maine CITE Program, the Assistive Technology (AT) program for the state of Maine. Jessi began her duties on February 1, 2021.

Jessi was previously the Director of the West Virginia State Assistive Technology Program located at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities.

Jessi has worked in the disability field for over 15 years, ten years of which were with state assistive technology programs. She has extensive experience in disability services program management and is recognized as a national leader in the assistive technology field with knowledge of AT services, training, data management, funding, and grant writing.

An outdoor enthusiast, Jessi is looking forward to exploring all the adventure Maine has to offer. She is excited to join the Maine CITE team, the disability community in the state of Maine, and participating in the efforts to increase independence and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

The Maine CITE Program, located at the University of Maine Augusta, is the statewide AT program, administered by the Maine Department of Education and funded by the federal Administration for Community Living. Maine CITE provides information, training, and services about AT, manages the statewide device demo, loan, and reuse programs, and provides technical assistance to organizations and individuals. Maine CITE’s online searchable AT inventory, AT4Maine, has more than 1000 devices available for demo and loan that can be accessed at the website, AT4Maine.org.

Maine CITE also administers the Maine Accessible Educational Materials Program (Maine AEM) which provides information, training, and technical assistance to educators to ensure educational content and communications are accessible to all.

For more information about AT or AEM resources in Maine, please contact Maine CITE at 207-621-3195 or by visiting their websites:

MaineCITE.org
AT4Maine.org
Maine-AEM.org

Photo caption: Jessi D. Wright, MBA, ATP, Program Director, Maine CITE Program.

MEDIA RELEASE: A Special Thank You Message to Maine’s Education Field

We are thrilled to share a very special and heartfelt message with our colleagues in the field.  The Department of Education joins Governor Mills and Dr. Shah in thanking every member of Maine’s school communities for everything you are doing to keep our schools safe and open for learning!  

This special message kicks off a month of gratitude for Maine’s educator workforce, which will include Valentine’s messages from students and families.   

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Celebrates School Counselor Week by Announcing 2021 Maine School Counselor of the Year

The Maine Department of Education joins the Maine School Counselor Association (MESCA) in celebrating National School Counseling Week Feb. 1-5, 2021. National School Counseling Week honors and celebrate the contributions of school counselors and highlights the tremendous impact they have in helping students achieve school success.

Kim Raymond
Kim Raymond

In a timely announcement by MESCA, the 2021 Maine School Counselor of the Year was recently named at a surprise virtual ceremony.  Kim Raymond, the School Counselor at Leroy H. Smith School in RSU 22 was honored as the 2021 Maine School Counselor of the Year. The Maine School Counselor of the Year Award is a program of MESCA that honors school counselors who are running a top-notch, comprehensive school counseling program at either the elementary, middle or high school level.

“My goal is and always has been to help all students know how much they matter every day.” said Mrs. Raymond.  “School counselors make a difference in the lives of students. I’m thankful that I have a career that I love that impacts students in a positive way.”

Mrs. Raymond graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2004 from the University of Maine and obtained her master’s degree in counselor education in 2006. She has been working as a school counselor for the last ten years, six of which have been in a Pre-K through 8th grade school in Etna before she started working for RSU 22 in 2012.

With a strong passion for working with children and helping others, Mrs. Raymond is also the advisor of Smith School’s Civil Rights team, works as a cheerleading official, and sits on the Maine School Counselor’s Association’s Board of Directors. When she not at school, she enjoys spending time outside, reading and writing stories and poetry, and spending time with her husband and two young daughters.

“What makes her an outstanding candidate for this award is her infectious enthusiasm,” said Mrs. Patterson, a Kindergarten Teacher and colleague of Mrs. Raymond.  “Mrs. Raymond doesn’t hesitate to throw on a school mascot costume to engage students in an assembly or lead the school in a cheer.”

“Kim is the kind of School Counselor that all schools need,” said Melissa Davis, a parent and community member. “She makes our school a place where children feel safe, loved, and supported.”

“She is more than a school counselor, she is a change agent,” said Smith School Principal Mrs. Moore.

In the year ahead, Mrs. Raymond will have several speaking engagements, event appearances, and will be invited to a formal Gala in Washington, DC in Winter, 2022 as well as honored at the American School Counseling Conference in Austin, Texas in Summer, 2022.

National School Counseling Week is always celebrated annually the first full week in February. This year The Maine School Counselor Association has events planned From February 1 through February 5 to celebrate National School Counseling week. For more information view Maine School Counselor Week Events on their website.

MEDIA RELEASE: Application Process Open for Student Position on Maine State Board of Education

Student voice is critically important to the Maine State Board of Education, and they are seeking applications for the newest student member to join the Board. Applications are being accepted February 1, 2021 – March 1, 2021.

The Maine State Board of Education has two nonvoting student members who join the Board as high school juniors and serve for two years, one enrolled in a school in Maine’s First Congressional District; the other enrolled in a school in the Second Congressional District. At all times, the State Board has one high school junior and one senior as members, with staggered appointment.

Applications are currently being accepted from students who attend school in the First Congressional District (includes Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and York counties, and part of Kennebec County) and are currently a high school sophomore.  Application materials are available on the State Board of Education web page. The Board has also emailed and mailed application materials to all first congressional district high school principals and school counselors. Completed applications should be mailed to:

Mary Becker, Maine State Board of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

After applications close on March 1, 2021, they will be reviewed according to the process described in Maine Education and School Statutes, Title 20-A, Chapter 5, State Board of Education. Semifinalists will be interviewed in March 2021, after which three finalists will be chosen. The names and application materials of the finalists will be sent to the Governor’s office for final selection. The selected student will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine State Senate.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Maine students to practice civic engagement while serving as both a representative of Maine students and an active education leader in our state.

For further information please visit the Maine State Board of Education web page or contact Mary Becker, Board Assistant at 624-6616 or email at Mary.Becker@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Launches 2021 Read to ME Challenge with the Help of Maine Students

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce the kickoff of the 6th annual Read to ME Challenge today, Monday, February 1, 2021. This year, to help kick off the challenge in a virtual and COVID friendly way, students from across Maine have been invited to share video recordings of themselves reading their favorite book to encourage the love of reading across the state.

The Read to ME Challenge is a month-long public awareness campaign held in February to promote childhood literacy in Maine. The challenge is an opportunity to promote children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is capturing the moment via a photo or video and then posting it on social media (with the hashtag #ReadtoME and tag the Maine DOE at @mdoenews on Twitter and @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 on Facebook!)

Reading aloud to children is one of the most cost effective and highly beneficial methods of building children’s literate abilities. The simple act of reading aloud to a child 15 minutes a day for five years results in 27,375 minutes of language exposure which can put children on the path to high literacy achievement. Reading aloud exposes children to the world around them, helps them see reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity and often strengthens bonds with trusted adults.

Some of the first set of videos are brought to you from members of the Maine DOE Student Cabinet along with other students from across Maine. The kick-off starts a video by Savea Lafaialii, one of the Student Cabinet’s Somerset County representatives with a reading of, “Strictly No Elephants” by Lisa Mantchev along with an another reading done by Gerald E. Talbot Community School 5th grade student Hamdi Abdullahi (pictured above) reading, “Creepy Carrots” by Aaron Reynolds.

The remaining student video readings will be released in the Maine DOE Newsroom an on the official Maine DOE Facebook and Twitter pages each day this week.

The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month of February, leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2021. Learn more about the Read to ME Challenge on the Maine DOE Website, which includes a heat map of participants and an opportunity to submit your Read to ME story for the heat map!

If you would like to request the videos be sent to you directly, please complete this form. If you would like to submit a video or for more information, contact Dee Saucier, Elementary Literacy Specialist for the Maine DOE.