Webinar: NEO Home Instruction Module – May 16, 2023

The NEO Home Instruction portal opened as of April 1, 2023 for 2023-2024 forms submission to superintendents. As central offices prepare to manage a new school year of home instruction forms and rosters, we invite superintendents and/or LEA Home Instruction Points of Contact to join the Maine Department of Education Home Instruction Specialist and the Data Team’s Data Quality Trainer for a Home Instruction Webinar on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 10am. This webinar is designed to cover new functionality available with the home instruction portal in NEO, so we will cover the basics briefly, and allow ample time for Q&A. Please see the Webinars and Training section of this newsletter for information about how to join us. Please send this information along to your district’s Home Instruction Point of Contact.

Registration for this webinar is not required. The Join live link below will be active at the date and time of this webinar.

Home Instruction Webinar:

For questions about data reporting webinars please contact Alexandra.Cookson@maine.gov

For questions about the NEO Home Instruction Module please contact Pamela.Ford-Taylor@maine.gov

2023 Summer Symposium on Inclusive Practices for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Join the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) groups face-to-face at UMaine Orono or join via Zoom on July 21st from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm for a full day of inclusion-building topics in education centered around two strands of learning- 1) access to the curriculum and 2) quality of life. There are multiple ways of joining and learning. Get more information and register HERE now!

Contact hours are available. For more information please reach out to Anica Miller Rushing anica.miller.rushing@maine.edu.

Webinar McKinney-Vento Program 101 – May 30th 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Join MAIER and Maine’s Department of Education’s Amelia Lyons for a webinar on the McKinney-Vento program. This session will provide an overview of the act that allows each state to provide a program to assist students with their rights when they are experiencing unstable housing situations.  Participants will learn about student rights including the rights to immediate school enrollment even when records not present, remaining in the school of origin, if in the student’s best interest, receiving transportation to and from the school of origin, and receiving support for academic success. Amelia Lyons will go over the McKinney-Vento Act, common misconceptions of the program requirements and ways educators and family members can help youth receive these services so that every student can have an opportunity for academic success. Registration is free but required.

When/Where: Online Zoom meeting (link provided once you register). Tuesday, May 30th, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Come to the webinar (register here) and get your questions asked, but if you miss it, this webinar will be recorded and made available on the MAIER website within a few weeks after the event.

Contact hours are available. For more information please reach out to Anica Miller Rushing anica.miller.rushing@maine.edu.

Maine DOE Announces Funding Opportunity for Maine Public Schools to Become BARR Schools

Applications are now open to all willing and qualified public schools who would like to become a BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) school. Click here to apply. Using American Rescue Plan, state reservation funds, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) will cover all costs of implementing the program for schools new to BARR, and all costs of continued implementation support to existing BARR schools. Additionally, the DOE will provide travel reimbursement and educator stipends associated with participation in the program.  Applications are due by May 26, 2023. 

BARR was developed over 20 years ago by a high school counselor who felt ineffective because more than 40 percent of her 9th grade students were failing at least one core course and were at risk for not graduating on time. She learned from her school’s principal that this was not just her high school’s problem, but it reflected a troubling national trend. Using strategies from the fields of business and medicine, Executive Director Angela Jerabek created the BARR model and implemented it in the fall of 1998. By spring 1999, 9th grade student failure rate had decreased from 44% the previous year to 20%. Teachers worked together and knew each student – not just from an academic perspective, but from a personal perspective – their interests, strengths, hopes, and dreams. 

Careful implementation and evaluation continued for over 20 years, all with the same findings – students passed more classes, pursued more advanced courses, and graduated on time. The focus of BARR is not just for some students, but all students. Teachers reported increased collaboration, satisfaction, and their ability to use data effectively. School culture and climate was improved. Today, BARR operates in over 250 schools throughout the nation and works in all grade levels, K-12, including in dozens of schools here in Maine.   

“There is no question that BARR has had a positive impact on the students and staff at Sacopee Valley Middle School. We are intervening with students earlier, our meetings are more efficient, and most importantly, our relationships are stronger. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine our school without BARR. It is not a flavor of the month intervention — it is now part of our fabric and is here to stay,” said Amy Vacchiano, counselor and BARR Coordinator at Sacopee Valley Middle School. 

The BARR system uses eight interlocking strategies that build intentional relationships (staff to staff, staff to student, and student to student) and utilizes real-time data to enable schools to achieve concrete academic, social, and emotional outcomes for each and every student. To learn more about BARR visit: https://barrcenter.org/about-barr/barr-model/. 

To be eligible, a school must meet one of the following: 

Sign up for an informational session on: 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 4:00 ET | REGISTER 


Thursday, May 18, 2023 | 4:00 ET | REGISTER 

Join Beth Lambert, Acting Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning at the Maine DOE to learn more about this opportunity to implement the BARR system in your school(s). We’ll also be joined by Rob Metz and Jennifer Fox from the BARR Center who will provide an overview of BARR and other Maine educators who are excited to share their experiences and the impact it has had on their schools: 

  • Jennifer Mull-Brooks, Principal, Congin Elementary School 
  • Greg Henderson, School Counselor and BARR Coordinator, Mt. Blue High School 
  • Shelly Lajoie, Counselor and BARR Coordinator, Noble High School 
  • Josh Tripp, Principal, Bucksport High School 

Learn more about BARR at http://www.barrcenter.org. 

Using Genealogy to Teach Inclusive History Pilot Program

The Maine DOE is accepting applications for a pilot program with the American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Help students think like a historian and learn how to trace families back in time. Receive inquiry-based lessons that incorporate authentic methodologies used by professional genealogists. Lessons guide students through conducting family history research, and students will hone their research skills using primary sources and case studies from local Native American and African American history. Go beyond family trees and help students make real-world, personal connections to history.   

Lesson Plans that Support Students to: 

  • Plan and carry out research 
  • Analyze and evaluate genealogical sources 
  • Draw conclusions and support claims with evidence 
  • Provide guided practice with primary sources (census records, vital records, photographs, etc.) 

Case Studies 

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Figures and events from Maine Indigenous and African American history 

Inclusive Teaching Strategies 

  • Make genealogy accessible to all students 
  • Navigate sensitive topics with students 
  • Address common misconceptions about genealogy 

This year-long pilot begins with an in-person workshop in June.  During the 2023-2024 school year, the American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society will provide two virtual sessions to support teachers using these resources in their classrooms.  Additionally, the DOE will conduct a monthly virtual PLC to provide a space for teachers to collaborate. 

Application Deadline: June 1 , 2023, Click to Apply 

For Teachers of Grades: 4-8 Cost: Free 

In-person workshop  Virtual Follow-Up Sessions 

Virtual PLC 

Date: Monday, June 26, 2023 

Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM 

Location: Maine DOE 

                  Augusta, ME 

Date: October & March 

Time: TBD 

Location: Zoom 



Date: Once a month beginning in November 

Time: TBD 

Location: Zoom 



For more information about this program, please contact Jaime Beal, aine DOE Interdisciplinary Instruction Specialist.