MEDIA RELEASE: Certification Processing Reduced to Three Weeks

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that its certification office has reached its operational goal of a three-week turnaround time for processing educator certification applications that are complete. This is an enormous improvement from the significant processing times educators have been experiencing.

“The Department has been working diligently to reduce processing times to ensure that qualified educators can receive a Maine teaching credential as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Pender Makin. “We know how critical the certification process is, especially during a time when many of our schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers and substitutes.”

In 2017, the Maine Department of Education launched a new online certification system called the Maine Educator Credentialing System (MEIS). It is a web-based educator credentialing system which replaced an outdated paper application certification system. At this point in the rollout of MEIS, Maine educators and administrators are able to manage their certification renewals completely online. The next phase of the rollout will allow initial educator applications to be submitted completely online by educators, this will be followed by the rollout of the public certification portal.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Participates in National Cybersecurity Opportunity for Young Women in High School

To help educate more young women about the opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, Governor Janet Mills, the Maine Office of Information Technology, and the Maine Department of Education are promoting ‘GirlsGoCyberStart’, an exciting national program that uses online games of discovery to introduce high school girls to the field.

“Cybersecurity is a growing and critical field. It is more important than ever before to train skilled experts in Maine and across the nation to defend our national and financial security,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This program will help young women pursue the education and training they need for lifelong careers and leadership positions in cybersecurity.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Maine students to showcase the incredible skills and talent they have acquired from the many computer science initiatives, programs, and curricula happening in schools throughout Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner A. Pender Makin.

CyberStart was created by the SANS Institute and was first piloted to youth in the summer of 2017. The program enabled 3,500 students nation-wide to discover and demonstrate their aptitude for cybersecurity, yet only five percent of the students who participated were young women.  The results of the pilot sparked the GirlsGoCyberStart program, specifically designed to interest young women in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

This will be Maine’s second year participating in the GirlsGoCyberStart.  Last year, nearly two hundred students from all over Maine participated in the event and placed in the top 100 of all participating state teams.

“We are excited to join this wonderful opportunity to expand our talent pipeline by engaging young people interested in learning more about cybersecurity and directing them to the appropriate training and career coaching,” said Ande Smith, acting Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information Technology.

Maine students who participate in GirlsGoCyberStart will be doing so alongside students from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience.  All that is required is a computer and an internet connection. Young women in high school who excel in the GirlsGoCyberStart game will have the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes.  The website for registration opens on February 18, 2019. More information about the program and eligibility can be found at CyberStartUS.

For more information about Maine’s participation in the program, contact Dr. Kelly Samson-Rickert, Director of Workforce Innovations for the Maine Office of Information Technology at Kelly.Rickert@maine.gov or 207-624-9965.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Kicks off February ‘Read to ME Challenge’ at Young School in Saco

Saco – Maine Department of Education Acting Commissioner A. Pender Makin along with students, educators, and administrators from Young School in Saco officially kicked off the Read to ME Challenge on Monday, February 4, 2019.

In its 4th year running, the Maine Department of Education launches the Read to ME Challenge as way to encourage communities throughout Maine to contribute to children’s literacy growth by reading aloud to one or more children for at least 15 minutes. Part of the challenge is to capture the moment via a photo or video and then post it on social media with the hashtag #ReadtoME and then challenge others to do the same.

At the kick-off event yesterday, Acting Commissioner Makin read Maine author Chris Van Dusen’s, Camping Spree with Mr. McGee to children in kindergarten through 2nd grade at Young School and then challenged the following groups of people to participate in the Read to ME Challenge:

  • All the big kids in the room
  • Maine Educators
  • Community Literacy Teams
  • School Administrators, School Board Members, and Volunteers
  • Maine Librarians
  • Maine Author, Chris Van Dusen
  • State Legislators
  • Local Legislators
  • U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King
  • Governor Janet Mills

See a live stream of the event on the Maine DOE’s Facebook Page.

Schools and organizations throughout the state have joined the challenge so that they too can encourage their community members to read to children and to be part of the collective voice expressing the vital importance that reading to children plays in the social and economic well-being of Maine. See a full list of community partners for the 2019 Read to ME Challenge.

The Read to ME Challenge runs through the month of February leading up Read Across America Day which takes place on March 2. Learn more about being a Read to ME Challenge Partner. For further information about the challenge, contact Danielle Saucier, Early Literacy Specialist, Maine Department of Education at danielle.m.saucier@maine.gov and (207) 624-6702.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine DOE to Kick-off Read to ME Challenge on February 4th at Young School in Saco

WHAT: To kick off the 4th annual Read to ME Challenge, Maine Department of Education’s Acting Commissioner A. Pender Makin will read to students at the Young School in Saco.  She will follow up her reading by issuing a challenge to others to participate in the 2019 Read to ME Challenge campaign. This simple but powerful campaign challenges adults to read to children for 15 minutes, and to capture that moment via a photo or a video and then post it on social media and challenge others to do the same. The Read to ME Challenge will run for the month of February leading up to Read Across America Day on March 2, 2019.

WHEN: Monday, February 4, 2019 at 9:00 am

WHERE:
Young School
75 Tasker St., Saco, Maine 04072
Media are asked to check in at the main office upon arrival to sign in, get a badge, and directions to the event.

WHO: Students in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade (ages 5 – 8 years old), their teachers, school and district administrators, and Acting Commissioner A. Pender Makin.

For more information please contact Maine Department of Education’s Director of Communications Rachel Paling at Rachel.paling@maine.gov or (207) 624-6747.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Seeks Community Partners to Help Feed Hungry Children This Summer

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 income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation. More than 46% of Maine’s public school students qualify for free and reduced price meals,” said Maine Department of Education Acting Commissioner A. Pender Makin. “The Maine DOE is pleased to once again partner with community organizations to provide meals for kids this summer.”

In 2018, 123 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 450 sites throughout the state. Although the number of sponsors continues to grow in Maine, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

SFSP 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. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and tribal populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/nutrition/resources/calendar. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

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

###

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.

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, ancestry or national origin.

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.