Education Innovators Speaker Series: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Education

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is hosting the next set of speakers for the Education Innovators Speaker Series. This month’s conversation is focused on entrepreneurship and innovation in education. They are pleased to welcome the following guests on April 15th from 3:00-4:00pm:

  • Gary Schoeniger, CEO of Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
  • Michelle Anderson, President of Junior Achievement of Maine 
  • Dan Ryder, Classroom Teacher of Overman Academy

Anyone interested can register and learn more about this free event here.

Special thank you to the supporters of these events which include the Education Action Forum of Maine, the Center for Innovation in Education at Thomas College, Educate Maine, and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation. We hope to see you on the 15th!

MEDIA RELEASE: Nine Additional Maine Educators Join Maine Kids Rock Initiative for 2021-2022 School Year

The Maine Kids Rock Initiative, a statewide program that offers professional training to teachers as well as grants for instruments and equipment to schools with identified needs, enters its fifth year (2021-2022) with the addition of the following educators to its roster:

  • Lanissa Nadeau (Brewer Community School)
  • Neil James (Geiger Elementary/Lewiston Middle School)
  • Bridget Kazukiewicz (King Middle School, Portland)
  • Joshua Lund (Benton Elementary School)
  • Michelle Biddlecom (Winthrop Grade School)
  • Brittany Elwell (Carmel Elementary/Suzanne Smith Elementary/Caravel Middle Schools)
  • Thomas Stott (Beech Hill School, Otis)
  • Oren Robinson (Palermo Consolidated, Windsor Elementary Schools)
  • Nadine Baker (Rose M. Gaffney/Machias Memorial High School)

These teachers join the ranks of nearly 70 additional teachers across Maine who utilize the Modern Band approach to music education with nearly 1,500 students at all grade levels.

“My administrators and I are very excited to bring music into the 21st century for our students,” said Joshua Lund, general music educator. “At Benton Elementary, we are planning to integrate MKR into the general music class experience as well as starting new co-curricular ensembles. The training, resources, and equipment provided through Maine Kids Rock are sure to help transform what music can be for the students in my school!”

The Maine Kids Rock initiative continues as a partnership between the Maine Department of Education and the national non-profit organization Little Kids Rock.

“We’re thrilled to continue to grow Maine Kids Rock, bring more music education to Maine, and reach even more kids by using the music they know and love,” said Miranda Altman, Senior Director of Program Operations for Little Kids Rock. “We are incredibly grateful to the teachers of this initiative as we enter our fifth year. Welcome to the nine teachers that are newly joining this program!”

Throughout the year these teachers will receive free professional development opportunities, and their schools will receive a set of classroom “rock band”-style instruments for students to use as they explore music education through a modern music lens.  Learning opportunities for students go beyond just learning to play a guitar or drums; they also explore songwriting, the development of interpersonal skills, and boost self-confidence as performers.

For more information about the Maine Kids Rock Initiative through the Maine Department of Education, please contact Visual and Performing Arts Content Specialist Jason Anderson.

Registration is Now Open for the 18th Annual MLTI Student Conference

The Maine Department of Education is excited to share that registration for the 18th Annual MLTI student conference is open!

The conference will be held on May 20th, in virtual format, and it is FREE to Maine students in grades 4-12! The virtual student conference will be online on Thursday, May 20th from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The morning will be filled with interactive workshop sessions where students will be able to explore, engage, and create with exciting educational technology. The afternoon UBER session will be a collaborative design experience.

Since this is during a school day student registration must be coordinated by a teacher. Teachers are encouraged to organize student groups to attend the conference. Registration forms must include a teacher’s contact information, school, and student names.
For more information or to register please visit:

Registrations completed by Friday, May 7th will receive an early registration conference gift.

For questions please reach out Jordan Dean,

MEDIA RELEASE: Governor Mills Proclaims April 2021 as National Poetry Month

Governor Janet T. Mills has proclaimed April 2021 National Poetry Month in the State of Maine, marking the importance of poetry in education and the everyday lives of our citizens.

“National Poetry Month brings us together as readers and writers, whether at home, in classrooms, bookstores, or libraries throughout our nation,” said Governor Janet T. Mills as part of the official proclamation. “Poetry illuminates hope in our darkest hours, gives voice to our struggles, brings inspiration to our triumphs, and is a gift of expression that transcends our personal experience to unite us in words.”

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) joins Governor Mills and our partners throughout the state this month by promoting and participating in activities that support schools in using poetry as a tool and a topic for instruction.

“Poetry is often taught as a stand-alone unit of study, yet the power of poetry is in its versatility by virtue of form and precision, and could be included in every unit of study all year long,” said Morgan Dunton, Maine DOE English Language Arts Specialist. “Regular engagement with poems, long or short, contemporary or historical, provides an opportunity to better understand complex texts.”

With a theme of “Normalize Poetry in Your Classroom” the Maine DOE has collaborated on poetry themed events and opportunities in April including:

How We Do It: Inspiring Students to Write and Publish 
The Telling Room hosted a conversation with educators about their experience supporting and encouraging educators to write stories and poems. They discussed their recent collection of youth poems called, “A New Land” and share resources you can use in your classroom.  Download the collection here. Learn more and access their educator toolkit.

Spend an evening with Maine Poet Gary Lawless 
Hosted by the Maine Council of English Language Arts. Lawless is a poet who has authored 21 collections of poems. He is also the co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books, a book editor, and publisher. Thursday, April 8th, 7pm: Click here to register.

Normalize Poetry: Teach Poetry in Every Unit 
Many of us teach a poetry unit each year, but that is just not enough. Poetry is a fabulous tool for teaching the fine art of language use in every instructional unit. Maine DOE ELA Specialist Morgan Dunton will demonstrate methods of teaching grammar, usage, mechanics, and appreciation of the poetic form to enhance reading, speaking, and writing skills. Thursday, April 15th, 3:30 pm. Click here to register.

In concluding the official proclamation, Governor Mills writes, “I urge all Maine citizens to celebrate the creativity of poets and the indelible marks their words leave upon the pages of our shared humanity by reading and writing poetry.”

Find additional information, events, and resources to celebrate and appreciate the beauty of poetry all month on the Maine DOE Website. For further questions about poetry in curriculum or the Department’s efforts for poetry month, please contact Maine DOE English Language Arts (ELA) Specialist Morgan Dunton at

PRIORITY NOTICE: Still Time to Register for Mental Health Forum on April 1

There is still time to register for the Maine Department of Education’s FREE virtual forum taking place on Thursday, April 1st from 9:00am – 3:00pm.

Supporting Maine Educators: A Forum to Bolster Mental Health in Our Schools.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM EST – 3:00 PM EST
Format: Zoom Webinar

The focus of this forum is to acknowledge the struggles of this past year, celebrate our successes and build resources to support mental health for our school communities. We hope to bring a greater awareness to the importance of mental health, destigmatize mental illness, increase mental health literacy for staff, administrators and community-based agencies, as well as provide practical supports to bolster the mental wellness of students and staff.

This forum will be a six hour event and consist of keynote speakers, with each followed by a related panel discussion comprised of experts from the field, State agencies and community partners, as well as staff and students from Maine schools. This will be a live event and each session will be recorded and available on the DOE website.  This is a FREE event!

For More Information and to Register