PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE Announces 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Opportunities

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from interested parties to implement comprehensive 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programming in 2021-2022.  It is anticipated that roughly $1.25M will be available to issue grant awards later this year.

Authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Act of 2015, the 21st CCLC program provides competitive grant funding to support before school, after school, and summer learning programs that focus on improving the academic performance of students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.

The primary purpose of Maine’s 21st CCLC program is to provide funding for school and community partnerships to establish or expand community learning center programs.  These programs provide students in high-need, economically-disadvantaged communities with academic tutoring and enrichment opportunities designed to complement their school-day academic program.  In addition, these programs can provide a broad array of additional support services related to overall student health and well-being.

Local 21st CCLC programs – which can be located in elementary schools, secondary schools or similarly accessible community facilities – provide high quality support services to students during non-school hours.  As such, these programs also support working parents and families by providing safe, supportive learning environments for students at times when school is not in session.

The request for proposal (RFP), which includes information regarding eligibility, program requirements, and more, is available here. An informational webinar for this RFP will be posted to the Department’s application website on January 19, 2021.  It is strongly recommended that interested parties view this presentation, in its entirety, prior to submitting a proposal for 21st CCLC program funding.

Below is the anticipated timeline for the Department’s current 21st CCLC grant competition:

Date Task
January 6, 2021 RFP Released to Public
January 19, 2021 Informational Webinar Posted Online
February 16, 2021 Deadline for Submission of Questions in Response to RFP
March 2, 2021 Interested Parties Submit Letter of Intent to Apply
April 6, 2021 Proposal Deadline
April 2020 Formal Peer Review of Proposals
May 2020 Grant Award Notifications
July 1, 2020 Grant Award Start Date

Please be advised that the dates above are subject to change.  Therefore, interested parties must consult the RFP document for the most accurate dates and deadlines regarding this opportunity.

For more information on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program, contact State Coordinator, Travis Doughty, at travis.w.doughty@maine.gov.

Joint Statement of Commitment and Support for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Maine Schools

The Maine Department of Education, Maine School Boards Association, Maine School Superintendents Association, Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities, Maine Education Association, Maine Principals Association, and Maine Curriculum Leaders Association enthusiastically affirm the right of every student to an equitable education.  We proudly and steadfastly support the educators and districts in Maine who are taking on the work of understanding and dismantling racism and inequity in our schools and communities. We urge all Maine schools and educators to accept their role and responsibilities in examining and addressing the inequities that have long existed in our society and institutions.

We define educational equity as providing each student a legitimate opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in school and beyond.

Equity depends on a deliberate and systematic abolition of the inequities that have been sewn into the fabric of American society. These persistent inequities have long disadvantaged students on the basis of race, sex, gender, gender expression, language, physical and intellectual ability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, indigenous origin, religion, and all aspects of human identity that have been subjugated within our society. We recognize that education is one of many systems that have had a role in perpetuating racial inequities, and that through close examination of our system, we can and must strive to attain diversity, equity, and inclusion of all voices and experiences. We believe this work is central to living up to our promises of providing an outstanding education for every Maine learner and continuing to be a public education system of excellence.

We recognize and commit to our role and duty as Maine public education leaders to actively partner with all schools in constructing a new educational paradigm, founded on the certainty that every student can and will be successful when:

  • School is a welcoming, safe place for all school community members to bring their whole identities with them
  •  Social emotional and behavioral supports are understood as critical prerequisites to academic learning
  • Students’ primary and home languages are recognized as assets, cultivated, and leveraged
  • Every educator in every role shares the responsibility for ensuring equity for every student and participates in equity education, both in teacher and administrator preparation programs and ongoing throughout their careers
  •  Families are meaningfully engaged as partners in their children’s education and welcomed into our schools
  • All academic and non-academic programming is culturally responsive and co-constructed with community members

Examining racism and inequity is difficult work. As each student of Maine is a future citizen of our global society, we believe this is work that needs to be engaged in respectfully and civilly by all the schools and communities in our state.  Understanding and addressing racism and inequity will take many different forms, all of which are valid and needed. Already many educators, school districts, and organizations are exploring this work in some of the following ways:

  • Defining with school and community members what makes a safe and welcoming place for all and committing to the vision
  • Reviewing your SAU’s Controversial Issues policy and best practices for engaging in discussions responsively and responsibly.
  • Engaging community members in discussions and actions to ensure that schools are a safe and welcoming place for all students
  • Engaging in equity audits to examine a variety of practices and programs
  • Expecting all school personnel to engage in professional learning about anti-racism and culturally responsive practices
  • Reviewing and revising curricula and materials to ensure they are well-rounded, decolonized, and representing all experiences
  • Adopting anti-racism instructional practices, programs, and policies
  • Establishing Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committees of stakeholders
  • Establishing expectations that every student will achieve and is challenged with rigorous curricula
  • Creating, supporting or amplifying student Civil Rights Teams within each school

We believe in the power and responsibilities that are bestowed on our educational institutions to provide a safe and equitable place in which all students can thrive, and where students are encouraged to examine their world, their beliefs and their role in society through multiple perspectives. We believe all students, all families, and all human beings deserve to be celebrated, included, and heard, and we are committed to supporting our schools and educators in taking on the challenge of examining and changing our practices.

We stand united in our commitment to this work and our support of the educators who are courageously stepping up and stepping into the learning, growing and changing that is needed. Our organizations will continue to provide resources, support and technical assistance as we all expand our own knowledge and capacity to engage in this critically important work on behalf of our students and our collective future.

Priority Notice: Public Comment Welcomed on Additional Title IV, Part A Waiver Opportunities

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) intends to apply for several new waiver options related to Title IV, Part A funds awarded to school districts for the 2020-2021 school year.

Recognizing that many schools and communities continue to face unprecedented challenges this year, the federal government has provided states with additional waiver opportunities related to Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Pursuant to the authority granted under section 8401(b) of the ESEA, the U.S. Department of Education has invited states apply for waivers for one or more of the following Title IV, Part A program requirements:

  • Section 4106(d) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, related to LEA needs assessments for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • Section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D), and (E) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to content-area spending requirements for Title IV, Part A funds awarded in the 2020-2021 school year; and/or
  • Section 4109(b) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to the fifteen percent (15%) spending limitation for technology infrastructure for Title IV, Part A funds awarded during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Maine DOE intends to apply for a waiver to each of the statutory requirements outlined above as part of our continued efforts to provide schools with as much flexibility as possible.  Please note, however, that all other Title IV, Part A statutory requirements not subject to these waivers would remain in effect.

Earlier this year, Maine requested and received a waiver of these provisions for funds awarded to school districts during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.  This was accomplished through the waiver authority of section 3511 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Unfortunately, the CARES Act did not provide any authority to extend these waivers beyond the 2019-2020 school year. Accordingly, the federal government has now made this separate opportunity available for states to further waive these requirements for Title IV, Part A funds that were awarded to school districts for the 2020-2021 school year.

As part of the statutory requirements for seeking this waiver, the Maine DOE must solicit and respond to public comment on its waiver request as well as provide evidence of the available comment period.  This 15-day public comment period shall begin on December 9, 2020 and conclude on December 23, 2020.

Comments may be submitted to: travis.w.doughty@maine.gov

Learning Facilitator Program- Great Resource for Schools, Free for Trainees!

In order to be responsive to critical staff shortages in Maine schools as a result of the pandemic, Governor Mills created additional flexibilities and opportunities for educators in Executive Order #7. Based on the Executive Order, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with Maine Community College System and Eastern Maine Community College, has developed the Learning Facilitator Program, a fast-track training program for paraprofessional level educators to expand, strengthen and support a high quality educator workforce.

The program, which is offered at no cost to the participants, is completed in two phases in one academic year with the ongoing support of Eastern Maine Community College faculty.

  • A week-long 3-credit course “boot camp” with foundational elements of classroom management and school culture. Additionally, the core boot camp curriculum includes training in COVID readiness, bloodborne pathogens, suicide awareness and prevention, mandated reporter training, and fingerprint clearance in order to address both substitute teacher and long-term support staff preparedness.
  • The second phase of the program consists of a combination of online work, professional learning community meetings, and a structured teaching apprenticeship (315 hours).

Upon completion of the 3-credit course “boot camp,” participants will have the foundational skills necessary to fill short- and long-term substitute educator roles, as well as all paraprofessional positions. They can support instruction and provide guidance to learners in the classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher or teaching team. Mentor teachers or teaching teams may be working remotely or in-person. Special coding for Learning Facilitators has been created within NEO for schools, so that subsidy will not be impacted.

Educators who complete all elements of the Learning Facilitator Program, as outlined above, will qualify for an Educational Technician III certification.

For more information related to the program, please visit the EMMC website, here.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Maine DOE Launches Social Emotional Learning Curriculum

The Maine Department of Education is excited to announce the release of Maine’s first, state owned and free, PreK-12th grade Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum.

SEL4ME has been constructed by professionals with 50+ years of experience in education, student/parent engagement and staff/administrator professional development. Lessons are aligned with industry established best practices, are leveraged through an equity lens and include over 450 modules that cover PreK-12 scaffolded by grade.

Following research and findings from the Maine’s Opioid Prevention Task Force and Task Force on Childhood Trauma, incorporating SEL into education is evidenced to be a primary prevention and trauma informed practice and the DOE is dedicated to meeting the social emotional and mental health needs of our educators and students. The SEL4ME curriculum honors Maine’s strong history of social emotional learning and is flexible by design so that it can be used as an additional support for existing SEL, health or counseling programs, while also being a reliable and foundational way to enable schools to create brand new SEL programs across our State.

What we have here is only the beginning! The SEL4ME Team, consisting of diverse Maine experts and stakeholders, will continue to edit, add and develop new SEL content, ensuring that our State’s unique SEL needs are met. Moving forward, expect the curriculum to expand from classroom supports to include school and district wide resources in the structured, best practice use of SEL throughout school culture. While this curriculum is not a requirement, research shows that the benefits of incorporating social emotional learning into our schools are significant and the SEL Team will be providing free training and support to educators looking to use the SEL4ME curriculum.

We hope that every Maine educator will take advantage of this free, readily available and low barrier, SEL curriculum to supplement everyday classroom instruction or to assist with remote learning. We will continue to grow SEL4ME with your feedback and support!

Thank you for your dedication to Maine youth.

Please use these links below to access the new SEL4ME curriculum, trainings and support:

For further questions, please contact Kellie Bailey, Maine DOE Social Emotional Learning Specialist at Kellie.Bailey@maine.gov.