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.

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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.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Awards Third Round of EMBRACE Grants for Regional Efforts

Augusta – The Maine Department of Education today announced that four new EMBRACE grants have been conditionally awarded to school districts and other education agencies. Made available as part of the statewide regionalization initiative, the round-three EMBRACE grants prioritize Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional and Coordinated approaches to Education. The awardees are partnering on a regional level to improve educational opportunities for students.

A total of 17 applications were received by the Department for the second competitive grant opportunity funded through the Fund for the Efficient Delivery of Educational Services (FEDES), which was made available to districts last summer. Of those 17 applications, four have been conditionally awarded. Based on the funding requests, totaling $4.2 million, the four awardees have projected savings of over $7 million in a 5-year period.

The first two rounds of EMBRACE grant funding in 2017 and the spring of 2018, had 19 grantees being awarded over $7.5 million in funds for regionalization efforts.

Round three EMBRACE (FEDES) grant project descriptions:

Down East Maine Career and Technical Education (CTE) Collaborative

This project will support the expansion of career and technical education programming opportunities to western Washington County. The project aims to increase student enrollment in CTE programs at the high school level and provide introductory and exploratory sessions for middle school students.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 37/MSAD 37 (Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Milbridge)
  • Cherryfield Public Schools
  • Machias Public Schools
  • Moosabec CSD #17/School Union 103 (Beals Public Schools, Jonesport Public Schools)
  • Washington Academy

Kennebec Valley Multiple Pathways Academy II

This project will support a high school alternative education program that aims to reduce dropout and truancy rates by providing new and improved opportunities for at-risk students with multiple pathways for achievement.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 83/MSAD 13 (Bingham, Moscow)
  • RSU 59/MSAD 59 (Madison)
  • RSU 74/MSAD 74 (Anson, Embden, New Portland, Solon)

Maine Center for Leadership and Innovation (MCLI)

This project will support the creation of a Leadership Academy that aims to provide a high-quality, research-based system of professional learning experiences and support for school- and district-level leaders.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – RSU 6/MSAD 6 (Buxton, Frye Island, Hollis, Limington, Standish)
  • Brunswick Public Schools
  • Cape Elizabeth Public Schools
  • Gorham Public Schools
  • Portland Public Schools
  • RSU 14 (Raymond, Windham)
  • RSU 15/MSAD 15 (Gray, New Gloucester)
  • Scarborough Public Schools
  • South Portland Public Schools
  • Westbrook Public Schools

Valley Unified Learning Transformed

This project will support three components for the Valley Unified Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Educational Facility: the merger of software systems that feed into the common student information and payroll/accounting systems; a comprehensive enrollment study, educational visioning, concept approval, and site approval; and develop programming options that link regional workforce needs to the regional education goals.

Participants:

  • Lead SAU – Madawaska Public Schools
  • MSAD 27 (Ft. Kent, New Canada, Saint Francis, Saint John Plantation, Wallagrass)
  • RSU 33/MSAD 33 (Frenchville, Saint Agatha)

Media Release: Nominations Sought for 2020 Teacher of the Year

AUGUSTA – As part of the Maine Department of Education’s ongoing efforts to highlight Maine’s outstanding teachers, nominations are now open for the 2019 County Teachers of the Year and 2020 Teacher of the Year. Members of the public are encouraged to nominate educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students.

Nominations can be made through the Maine Teacher of the Year Website starting today, January 4, 2019 and will be open through Feb. 4, 2019.

To be considered, a teacher must:

  • hold the appropriate professional certification for the position,
  • be employed by a Maine public school – including a public charter school or publicly-supported secondary school,
  • be actively teaching students at least 50% of full-time at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition, and
  • have a minimum of five years teaching, three of which are in Maine.

The eventual winner serves as an advocate for teachers, students, and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Maine’s recently named 2019 Teacher of the Year, Joseph Hennessey, an English teacher at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford, was selected from over 300 entries and included recognition as the 2018 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year. In addition to Hennessey, the other 2019 state finalists include Connie Russell, a teacher at Mabel I. Wilson School and 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, and Shana Goodall, a teacher at Orono High School and the 2018 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

The 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 county honorees. The field will be narrowed to eight semi-finalists and then three state finalists before the ultimate winner is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a surprise school assembly in the fall.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness, and increased education attainment. Funding is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Dead River Co., Geiger, Hannaford, the Maine Lottery, and Pratt & Whitney with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

The Teacher of the Year program is no cost to taxpayers. Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the winning educator’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes travel throughout the state, a week at NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit the Maine Department of Education website.

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Media Contact: Rachel Paling, Maine DOE Director of Communications, rachel.paling@maine.gov