Media Release: Maine Department of Education Partners with Live + Work in Maine to Bolster Education Workforce Recruitment Efforts, Promote Education in Maine

The Maine Department of Education announced a new partnership with Live + Work in Maine to bolster efforts to recruit and sustain a vibrant educator workforce and to promote the work of Maine schools to support, engage, and prepare all students to thrive. Through this new partnership, all school administrative units (SAUs) now have free access to Live + Work’s online job board, and will benefit from the extensive marketing activities Live + Work facilitates in order to attract educators and school staff to join Maine’s education workforce.

With Live + Work in Maine’s singular focus of celebrating and promoting the unique advantages and opportunities of living and working in Maine, the partnership allows schools to expand recruitment efforts on a platform with a strong Maine brand while creating a central resource for all education-related job openings in the state. The partnership will also highlight the creative and innovative teaching and learning happening in Maine schools.

“We are thrilled to partner with Live + Work in Maine to showcase the amazing teaching and learning happening in our state and provide schools with a resource to attract people to come teach and work in our schools. This partnership provides a big megaphone to let educators and prospective educators in Maine and across the country know that we are committed to creating and supporting a culture of innovation and creativity for educators, and that we want you to come live and teach here in Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

“Maine’s world-class public education system has long stood out as a key competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talented people to live and work in Maine. With opportunities in every corner of our state, there’s never been a better time to attract talented folks to a career in education in Maine. We’re pleased to partner with the Maine Department of Education, and eager to help make a positive difference for Maine schools and children,” said Live + Work in Maine Executive Director Nate Wildes. 

As an employer-driven, 501c3 non-profit organization, Live + Work in Maine is uniquely positioned to provide the perspective, focus and speed that this urgent opportunity presents. Live + Work has broad reach both within and outside of Maine, with tens of thousands of job seekers visiting Live + work’s website every month, dozens of unique events and programs throughout the year, and partnerships with private employers and communities alike to grow and strengthen the Maine talent economy.

The partnership with Live + Work in Maine aligns with the Maine Department of Education’s comprehensive Teach Maine plan released earlier this year to develop, support, and sustain a robust educator workforce. The Teach Maine Plan is organized around four key themes: incentivize recruitment and retention efforts; expand and diversify educator workforce efforts; support educator development, growth, and leadership; and elevate educators and the education profession. This partnership was made possible through American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding.

Maine’s school administrative units (SAUs) can sign up for the job board here.

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About Live and Work in Maine
Live and Work in Maine’s mission is to market Maine as a career destination. Through our marketing efforts, we show the world that when it comes to quality of life and career opportunities, you can have the best of both by choosing to live and work in Maine. LiveandWorkinMaine.com is a robust resource for potential and current Mainers, which enables searching for employers and jobs based on lifestyle and/or geographic region within Maine. The site also includes “success story” testimonials from professionals who have relocated to Maine, details on internships and first career options for college students and new graduates, and information on the lifestyle offered by each of Maine’s eight geographic regions.

Media Release: 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year State Finalists Announced 

Four Maine teachers were announced today as the State Finalists for the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year program. Eighth grade social studies and English Language Arts teacher Heather Anderson from Aroostook County, ninth grade humanities and social studies teacher Matthew Bernstein from Cumberland County, fourth grade math, writing, and science teacher Ashley Bryant from Oxford County, and high school social studies teacher Emily Albee from Penobscot County were all selected to move forward in the Teacher of the Year process and were chosen from the 2022 Maine County Teachers of the Year.

“I am in awe of the work of all of Maine’s educators and their commitment to their students and Maine schools. Maine’s teachers make possible the daily miracle that is public education,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “I couldn’t be prouder of these four Teacher of the Year State Finalists for representing the best qualities of Maine’s amazing educators. They exude optimism for public education, a commitment to their profession and to building relationships across their communities, and the energy and drive to make education wonderful for all their students, and for all students in Maine. Congratulations to each of you for this very well-deserved honor.”

One of the four State Finalists will be named the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded each year to one teacher in Maine. The announcement will be in October after the final stages of the selection process are complete. Maine’s Teacher of the Year serves as an advocate for the teaching profession, Maine schools and students, and represents Maine in the National Teacher of the Year program.

Each educator was nominated by a member of their community for their exemplary service in education and dedication to their students. They were selected by a distinguished panel of teachers, principals, and business community members from a pool of hundreds of other nominated teachers in their communities. The Maine Department of Education, Educate Maine, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association made the announcement about the finalists.

“Maine is fortunate to have so many outstanding educators working to ensure the social, emotional and academic well-being of our students,” said Dr. Jason Judd, Executive Director, Educate Maine. “These State Finalists are exemplary models of the vibrant teaching that goes on in Maine classrooms. Congratulations to them and to their districts.  We look forward to working with them as they continue their journey as teacher leaders and ambassadors for the profession.”

“The quality of Maine schools is propelled by the strength of our teaching workforce and these state finalists embody all that we look for in the profession – talent, hard work, dedication, and strong beliefs that all Maine students deserve a high quality and supportive education,” said Maine State Board of Education Chair Desjardins. “Congratulations to all!”

“Maine educators exemplify professionalism, compassion, and commitment to their students, families, and communities,” said Heather Whitaker, 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year and Co-President, Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA). “Our finalists, who represent teachers from across the state, are leaders in the field.  We are eager to learn from their expertise as we work together in our shared commitment to Maine public education.”

More information on the State Finalists and the Maine Teacher of the Year program:

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Heather Anderson
Caribou Community School, Caribou
2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year

“I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity to collaborate with other amazing educators, to reflect on my own teaching practices, and to shine a light on the incredible educators in Aroostook County and in the great state of Maine.” 

Heather Anderson teaches 8th grade social studies and English Language Arts at Caribou Community School, part of RSU 39, where she believes that strong relationships are the building blocks of positive school experiences and success for students. By fostering mutual respect, actively listening, sharing interests, and providing guided choices, Anderson works hard to celebrate her students’ strengths and pinpoint students’ needs both individually and collectively. Recently, in response to mental health needs she witnessed during the 2021-2022 school year, Anderson worked collaboratively with her co-teacher and strived to build engaging units that focused on overcoming difficulties through resiliency. She is currently working with her humanities team to bring awareness to social issues through a middle-school-read project and the implementation of a new Civil Rights Team in her district. Anderson partnered with her community to bring in programs from her local mental health agency to supplement her curriculum and provide students with educational opportunities and coping strategies. Anderson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in psychology, from the University of Maine and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New England as well as two endorsements, for Teaching Principal and Early Elementary. She is the 2022 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year and, as a lifelong learner, is always looking for new opportunities to grow as an educator.

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Matthew Bernstein
Casco Bay High School, Portland
2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year  

“I’m extremely humbled and grateful for this recognition and, even more so, for the opportunity to work with inspiring colleagues, families, and students and for the guidance I’ve received throughout my career from so many in my community. The recognition I am receiving currently is only possible because of how much others have done, and continue to do, to support me and because I have the gift of working with incredible students.” 

Matt Bernstein is a 9th grade humanities social studies teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine. Bernstein has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a European History concentration from Bowdoin College where he was also a Bowdoin Teacher Scholar. He is the 2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. Bernstein’s pedagogy is centered around student voices and student activism. He believes that the purpose of education is to help students find their way of contributing to a more equitable world. Bernstein is also passionate about creating opportunities for students to experience joy and belonging at school on a daily basis and, to that end, he believes in cultivating meaningful relationships with students, often through his work as a 9th grade crew advisor, that are grounded in deep listening and holistic support. Bernstein has served as a team leader, crew team leader, and is currently a professional learning community coach where he facilitates ongoing professional learning with his colleagues. He is also a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, collaborating with teachers across the district and local experts to develop Wabanaki Studies curriculum. Bernstein also embraces opportunities to deepen his knowledge and practice. He was recently named a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, participating in a seminar entitled “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” While not teaching, Bernstein is playing or coaching soccer and basketball, reading a book, or trying to determine where to find Portland’s best slice of pizza.

Ashley Bryant
Sacopee Valley Middle School, Hiram
2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year  

“Being recognized as a finalist for Maine Teacher of the Year is an honor. As a member of the Sacopee Valley School district, of which I was a student myself and am now lucky enough to teach in as a professional, I am endlessly proud and thankful for the supportive and collaborative nature of this community.” 

Ashley Bryant teaches fourth grade math, writing, and science at Sacopee Valley Middle School, part of Maine School Administrative District #55 located in Hiram, Maine. Bryant, a Maine native, graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English and from the University of Southern Maine with a Masters of Science Degree in Education. Bryant spends each summer teaching -pre-kindergarten, preparing and engaging with the youngest of public school learners. She is the 2022 Oxford County Teacher of the Year. As a lifelong learner, Bryant continuously seizes professional development opportunities to best serve her students and community. In 2013, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescence English Language Arts; she cites the experience as one of the most beneficial opportunities of her career to build on her strengths and identify and improve on areas for growth. Bryant believes all students should feel welcomed, safe, and represented at school which is why she co-advises the school’s Civil Rights Team and supports the inclusion of Social Emotional Learning. Personally connecting with and caring about each individual student has a significant impact on readiness to learn so she makes building positive relationships a top priority. Professional development about Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and fair and equitable grading also influence Bryant’s craft. If she’s not at school or collaborating with other educators, she’s reading, exercising, or at a beach with her husband and their daughter.

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Emily Albee
Hampden Academy, Hampden
2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year  

“I continue to be honored and grateful to serve as the 2022 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year, working with a tremendous and talented cohort of 15 other county teachers. To be included as 1 of the 4 finalists for Maine Teacher of the Year energizes me to continue to advocate for students, teachers, and education in Maine.” 

Emily Albee is a social studies teacher working with grades 9-12 at Hampden Academy, part of Regional School Unit 22, in Hampden, Maine. Albee earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a second Major in History, a Master’s Degree in Education focusing on Middle Level Social Studies, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Technology and Social Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Innovation Engineering all from the University of Maine. Albee considers it the honor of her lifetime to work with young people. She enjoys helping students discover their curiosity for learning and ways to meaningfully engage with the world around them. She works hard to present diverse social studies content through an equity lens while helping students build an understanding of the impact of the past on the present. Albee enjoys learning from her students and has never experienced the same day twice in her classroom. She continues to commit to her lifelong learning journey by engaging with various leadership experiences in her district. Her experiences range from coaching middle school track, to securing funding to purchase bees for the HA Beekeeping Club, promoting restorative practices, and participating in a ride along with the Penobscot County Sheriff Department as research for her Law & Ethics students. Albee is an active union member and serves as the Co-Chair for the Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Committee of the Maine Education Association. Albee enjoys spending time with her family and traveling the world.

The Maine Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year program is administered through a unique partnership with Educate Maine, the Maine County and State Teacher of the Year Association (MCSTOYA) and the Maine State Board of Education. Funding for the program is generously provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River, Geiger, Hannaford, Maine Lottery, the Silvernail Family, and Unum.

For more information about the Maine County Teacher of the Year Program and to see a list of County Teachers of the Year, and Maine Teachers of the Year, visit http://www.mainetoy.org.

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Media Release: Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin Joins US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, New England State Education Chiefs for Regional Education Summit in Rhode Island

Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin joined U.S. Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona and Commissioners of Education from every New England state for the Reimagining Education & New England’s Workforce (RENEW) Summit 2022 hosted by education officials in Rhode Island. Makin also participated in a panel discussion with Secretary Cardona to discuss the ways that Maine is accelerating learning through interdisciplinary, project-based instruction.

“This Summit brings together the unique and diverse perspectives of education and business leaders from across New England to learn from one another as we collectively identify strategies to strengthen public schools. It was an honor to serve alongside Secretary Cardona as a panelist today to share the innovative educational approaches we are supporting in Maine schools. Multiple pathways, including Extended Learning Opportunities, CTE programs, the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, and other interdisciplinary, project-based, applied learning activities, effectively engage students in higher order thinking and real-world problem solving,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “These approaches not only efficiently accelerate learning across multiple content areas, they also prepare students for success in post-secondary education, jobs, and careers.”

The Summit convened education and workforce leaders from across New England for a robust discussion on building strong college and career pathways and accelerating learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As Secretary of Education, I hope to maintain intentional partnership with this group of New England chiefs as they continue to move opportunity forward in our country,” said U.S Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona. “I want to share my gratitude towards this group for working to make sure education is equitable for students. We are working to reimagine education, everyone here should be proud of what they’ve accomplished. The worst thing we can do now is become complacent.”

“I’m excited about the potential that exists in the room today, the value that each of our New England states brings to our collective effort to expand career-connected education,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education Dr. Amy Loyd. “I’m grateful to these public and private sector leaders whose work will help young people build rewarding futures.”

Held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, the inaugural RENEW Summit featured panel discussions and cross-sector, cross-state breakout groups, allowing participants to highlight successes, analyze challenges and establish strategies to break down barriers and bolster student achievement. New England School Chiefs traditionally hold an annual meeting to promote collaboration and share best practices to address pressing issues in education; last year, they convened in Massachusetts.

At RENEW, the six New England School Chiefs, including Frank Edelblut (NH), Daniel French (VT), Infante-Green (RI), Pender Makin (ME), Jeffrey Riley (MA), and Charlene Russell-Tucker (CT), signed a resolution in support of regional collaboration to accelerate student learning and build college and career pathways. Within the resolution, the school chiefs pledged to actively engage workforce, higher education, state and local government officials, and community leaders to collaboratively marshal strategies and resources necessary to meet collective goals.

The RENEW Summit will be held in Vermont next year.

New England School Chiefs expressed excitement for the partnership and added the following:

“New England’s School Chiefs meet regularly to share information, collaborate, and work together to strengthen public education across our region. The RENEW Summit is the culmination of strong relationships, communication, and one common goal: help students leap ahead in academic achievement while preparing them for the global economy,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “Together, we are establishing a bold vision that we hope inspires regional collaboration around the country. We are grateful to have hosted the inaugural annual RENEW Summit and look forward to strengthening these partnerships in the years ahead.”

“Throughout the pandemic, as the education leaders from each of the New England states, we met weekly to collaborate and make sure we were bringing forth the best options to support our students,” said New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “This spirit of collaboration has continued as we work with and support each other in recovery efforts and to make sure we create pathways to bright futures for all of our students.”

“It’s a pleasure to be part of this summit and collaborate on ways to make learning more engaging and relevant for students, both in terms of their time in the classroom and by connecting them with opportunities related to college and a career,” said Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “As we in Massachusetts work on initiatives like Early College, Innovation Pathways, and Deeper Learning, it’s helpful to hear how our neighboring states are preparing their students and find areas where we can learn from each other.”

“Working with my colleagues around New England, discussing shared challenges and learning about new and novel solutions was immensely valuable to Vermont’s pandemic response,” said Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French. “Now we are moving toward education recovery and building an education system for the 21st Century, focused on quality and equity. I am looking forward to continued partnership with our neighbors to discuss our shared goals and shared challenges, and build a better future for New England’s students.”

“This collaborative effort will help us develop important new connections so that together, as a region, we can build a career pathways coalition which will not only benefit all New England students and businesses, but serve as a national model,” said Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker. “I am pleased to be joined by Connecticut’s Higher Education, Business and Workforce Development leaders at this summit to share best practices and successes, while continuing to grow our partnership with our New England counterparts.”

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Media Release: Computer Science Education Showcase Highlights Maine’s Interdisciplinary, Project-Based Approach to Computer Science

Students and educators from across Maine showed off their computer science skills at the Maine Department of Education’s Computer Science Education Showcase at the Roux Institute. The showcase highlighted innovative computer science education programs in schools across Maine, with hands on, interactive exhibits featuring robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D design and printing, coding, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), data science, cybersecurity, and more.

Maine has long been a leader in integrating technology and learning, and that holds true with computer science education. Instead of computer science being a separate course only some students take or an “add on”, Maine provides the support and resources to encourage all schools to provide interdisciplinary, project-based computer science learning experiences that incorporate computational and critical thinking, innovation and design processes, and applied learning at all grade levels and across all subject areas.

The Computer Science Education Showcase illustrated the state’s approach, with VR headsets transporting users to Maine State Parks which a student developed over the course of last summer, 3D printing demonstrations, a full-size arcade game developed by students, 6th graders demonstrating their block coding skills, a wide array of apps and websites around difference content areas created by students, and a robotics room with world champion level robotics teams. All Pre-K through 12 grade levels were represented, with educators highlighting how they were incorporating computer science education at younger grade levels, including having 5th grade students partner with kindergarten students to teach them basic coding skills and a new mobile makerspace that will rotate between elementary schools offering computer science education for Pre-K through fifth grade students.

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, 2022 Presidential Scholar Sirohi Kumar, Bethel second grade teacher Alice Lee, Jackson Labs Vice President for Education Charlie Wray, and the Roux Institute’s Chief Administrative Officer Chris Mallett participated in a panel discussion on how Maine is paving the way for students and teachers to be successful in the world of computer science. The discussion focused on reaching more students, making computer science more accessible to all, taking an interdisciplinary approach to computer science education, and how the critical and computational thinking, collaboration, and creative design skills developed through computer science education are critical to success in nearly every career and 21st century life.

“Computer science is about approaching a problem with optimism, logic, critical thinking, design thinking, creativity and vision. We need to make computer science accessible for every educator and every student and continue this tradition that we’ve started in Maine of interdisciplinary, project-based computer science education across all grades that is really contextualized in a way that is meaningful for kids,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

“There is this perception of computer science that it’s for an elite group, and in reality that’s not the case–it can be used for everything including art, science, and music. I think computer science education should be framed for everyone at a very young age that computer science can solve whatever problem or scenario you have regardless of what field it is,” said Sirohi Kumar a 2022 Presidential Scholar from Mount Desert Island.

“The more we can engage with computer science at the Pre-K through 12 level, the more ready everyone is for whatever comes afterward. These students here tonight are getting a head start with these skills. It’s going to matter for your futures,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

“Building those skills of computer science at the youngest level—problem solving, debugging, innovating, and creativity. These basic skills are really what our young learners need to take off academically,” said second grade teacher Alice Lee from Bethel.

“We now live in a world that is immersed in big data and the amount of data being generated is so tremendous that this next generation has this great opportunity to enter so many career fields where computer science has a touchpoint. It’s not just being a software engineer or computer scientist, but all of us can learn and solve problems with big data and the amount of careers that can come out of good computer science education is endless,” said Jackson Labs Vice President for Education Charlie Wray.

“This concept of computer science for everyone is important. These competencies and literacies are no longer siloed; they work across the spectrum. The logic and reasoning that comes from computer science paired with the creativity of a liberal arts education, it’s the intersection of these skills that all of us have the potential to develop that is going to propel the Maine economy and the Maine workforce of the future,” said the Roux Institute’s Chief Administrative Officer Chris Mallett.

The Maine Department of Education and the Mills administration continue to support and bolster computer science education in Maine:

  • The DOE works continually with educators, business leaders, and others to update and adapt Maine’s statewide computer science education plan and the Department’s work is guided by seven key principles;
  • Governor Mills signed onto Governor Hutchison’s computer science compact;
  • The DOE hired a computer science specialist to work with schools and has committed additional resources to support educators and schools in integrating authentic, project-based Pre-K through 12 computer science education;
  • Governor Mills signed a bill providing $50,000 in professional learning support for educators on computer science, with an emphasis on educators in rural areas and serving marginalized communities, and another $50,000 will be awarded this coming school year;
  • Next month’s Educator Summit will feature several professional learning opportunities for educators on computer science education;
  • The DOE developed its first Pre-K through 12 online computer science learning progression last year focused on computational thinking and a new progression will soon be launched; and
  • The DOE is doubling the number of Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Ambassadors that work in schools to support the integration of technology and learning, including computer science education.

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Media Release: Governor Mills Announces Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to Provide Maine Students Hands On, Outdoor Coastal Learning Experiences this Summer

Delivering on a promise from her State of the State Address, Governor Janet Mills announced today the launch of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to provide Maine students with hands-on, outdoor learning experiences this summer.

 

The Initiative, developed by the Maine Department of Education using Federal funding, will give middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in marine and coastal ecology learning programs, including marine research and exploration, boat building, sailing, career exploration with marine businesses, island immersion programs, and more.

 

For example, The Ecology School will take students on field trips to sand beaches, tidepools, and salt marshes to learn about Maine’s coastal ecosystems. The Herring Gut Coastal Science Center will expose students to sea run fish streams, oyster farms, mudflats, hatcheries, and laboratories, while also touring marine businesses across the Midcoast to let students see firsthand potential careers in Maine’s maritime industries. Sailing Ships Maine will offer students the chance to sail aboard a commercial training ship as an active member of the crew.

 

This outdoor learning Initiative will benefit at least 1,000 students from across Maine, with a focus on students from low-income families from regions of Maine where they do not typically have access to such experiences. 


“The Maine outdoors is one of our greatest treasures. At a time when devices and screens too often grab the attention of our kids, getting them outside and connected to our state has never been more important,” said Governor Janet Mills. “In my State of the State Address, I promised that we would partner with outdoor organizations to create new learning opportunities and help young people who may have lost ground in school during the pandemic. Today I’m delivering on that promise. Our Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative will help our students learn, grow, develop new skills, and build an appreciation for the outdoors that will lead to new, lifelong interests.”


“The Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative offers hands on, highly engaging programs that allow Maine’s young people to explore and learn from our state’s amazing bounty of natural resources,” said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. “Being outside connecting with nature and each other is so important in helping students recover from the pandemic. These outdoor learning experiences will build teamwork and leadership skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop new skills in our vast outdoor classroom which will translate to success inside the classroom as well. We thank all of the organizations that stepped up to be a part of this exciting initiative.”

 

This kind of experiential learning is highly engaging and allows students to problem solve and learn new skills in real world settings, build teamwork and leadership skills, increase self-confidence, and develop an appreciation of nature.

 

Spending time outdoors has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety and to equip students with skills and knowledge that can help them succeed inside the classroom. Being able to interact with nature while building connections with peers is also beneficial students’ recovery following the disruptions and difficulties caused by the pandemic.    

 

The organizations that will receive funding through the Initiative welcomed the announcement:

 

“Governor Mills’ new Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative is such a breath of fresh air for Maine kids and for innovative education throughout the state. Through the support of the Maine Department of Education, Maine kids in middle school and high school will have access to experiential education experiences that get kids outside this summer to explore Maine’s amazing diversity of coastal ecosystems,” said Drew Dumsch, Ecology School Executive Director. “As part of the Initiative, The Ecology School is proud to be offering three sessions of the new Governor’s Academy for Coastal Ecology this July and will be offering up to 180 camperships for Maine students entering grades 6-9 to attend a free week of camp at our River Bend Farm campus in Saco.” 


“Schoodic Institute is thrilled to work with the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to create hands-on coastal education opportunities here in Downeast Maine for under-resourced schools and low-income families,” said Nicholas Fisichelli, President and CEO of Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. “Furthermore, the early-career internship positions created through this initiative will be springboards for bright careers in outdoor education in Maine.”


“Downeast Institute is delighted to have received support from the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative,” said Dianne Tilton, Executive Director of the Downeast Institute. “We have been helping students for years to enjoy science and math using outdoor marine science activities, and are excited to expand our program this summer.”


“All of us at Herring Gut Coastal Science Center are excited to bring the wonders and possibilities of marine science and aquaculture careers to Midcoast youth,” said Tom Mullin, Executive Director, Herring Gut Coastal Science Center.  The middle school and high school students will have a chance to have some fantastic hands on experiences made possible by these grants.”


“We are thrilled to have been awarded the
Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grant from the State of Maine,” said Adam Shepard Executive Director of Rippleffect. “The programs at Rippleffect, focused on connecting participants to themselves, each other, and the natural world around them, are more important now than ever. This grant will help us continue to grow these opportunities for all children in Maine.”


“Thanks to the support of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative, Sailing Ships Maine will be able to connect more Maine students who need step-up experiences, the chance to disconnect from social media, and the opportunity to engage human-to-human in problem solving challenges that build connection and confidence,” said Alex Agnew, Executive Director of Sailing Ships Maine. “By taking a leap and going to sea for a multi-night tall ship sailing experience, students’ minds can be broadened about the potential of their lives at the same time they are gathering valuable skills in leadership, teamwork, science, technology, engineering and math in a fascinating and engaging hands-on learning environment. We are thrilled to be a partner in this initiative for Maine students!”


“Maine Maritime Academy is excited to have been selected as a grant recipient through the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative in support of Summer Coastal Ecology Programs. With the expansion of the Discovery Voyage program, MMA will be able to introduce students from around Maine to the coastal estuaries and marine environments that are vital to the economic sustainability of the coastal ecosystems of our state,” said Kimberly Reilly, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing for Maine Maritime Academy. “Maine Maritime Academy’s location on Castine Harbor allows students to go beyond the classroom and affords them the opportunity to be on the water for an up-close exploration of coastal environments.”

 

“Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership is honored to receive DOE funding to support new and expanded experiential science education initiatives in partnership with The Game Loft, The University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, The Apprenticeshop, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, along with teachers and leaders at partner schools across the state,” said Tara Elliott, Grants Coordinator for Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. “This support from the DOE will bring  new students to Hurricane Island’s sustainable campus for hands-on learning and will expand our education initiatives into the school year, bolstering support for teachers and schools implementing place-based learning while also getting students more time doing science outside. We hear firsthand from students and teachers about the uniquely impactful experience of learning on Hurricane Island, and we are grateful to be able to offer these experiences to a greater number of Maine youth.”

 

Organizations participating in the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative include: Herring Gut Coastal Science Center in Port Clyde, Hurricane Island + Bryant Pond in Bryant Pond, Hurricane Island + Game Loft, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Sailing Ships Maine in Portland, the Ecology School in Saco, Boothbay Sea and Science Center in Boothbay, Casco Bay High School and Rippleffect in Portland, Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Science and Education in Beals, Hurricane Island Foundation in Rockland, Laudholm Trust in Wells, Rippleffect in Portland, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, and the University of Maine System Cooperative Extension summer camps at Blueberry Cove and Tanglewood.

 

The Initiative is funded by nearly $900,000 in Federal funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds. Full program descriptions can be found here.