Maine DOE Adult Education Team Hosts Showcase of First ‘Teaching the Skills That Matter’ Training Program

(Pictured: Vanessa Richards, Ellsworth Adult Education)

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) Adult Education team recently brought together 23 educators from adult education programs across Maine at the UMA-Lewiston campus to celebrate their capstone presentations for Teaching Skills that Matter in Adult Education (TSTM). The event was the culmination of a 7-month TSTM training provided by Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team.

Teaching Skills that Matter in Adult Education (TSTM) is a federal initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) that was developed by the American Institutes for Research. The goal of the initiative is to train teachers to integrate the skills that adults need for success in career and life using evidence-based approaches that work across topics that are also important to adults (civics education, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and workforce preparation).

In 2020, the Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team applied to be part of a cohort of states to be trained in using the TSTM materials. A team of four Maine adult educators, Michael Emery from Augusta Adult and Community Education, Melanie North from MSAD 52 Adult and Community Education, Irina Petranek from Lewiston Adult Education, and Lyn Warne from Eastern Aroostook Adult Education, and Amy Poland, Maine DOE Adult Education PD Coordinator participated in an intensive yearlong training which resulted in a plan to bring the TSTM training to Maine’s adult education programs.

As a result of this effort, Maine’s first cohort of TSTM training kicked off in September 2021 at a 2-day, in-person event that was followed by virtual meetings to support their on-going efforts to teach TSTM in diverse teaching contexts, making math and science connections to TSTM lessons, and integrating TSTM into the existing curriculum. Participants also worked with a coach and coaching group on an ongoing basis from September 2021 through April 2022 meeting regularly to discuss using TSTM in the classroom. They also had two classroom observations, giving them a chance to reflect on their work.

The recently held event served as the wrap up event for Maine’s first TSTM cohort featuring 5 minute presentations from each adult education educator that participated in the training including: Washington County Adult and Community Education, RSU 24 Adult Ed, Mount Desert Island Adult Education, Ellsworth Adult Education, MSAD1 Adult and Community Education, Riverside Adult Education (RSU 22, 26, 34), Franklin County Adult Education, Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education, Augusta Adult and Community Education, MSAD52 Adult & Community Education, RSU 16 Adult Ed, Lewiston Adult Education, Merrymeeting Adult Education, Portland Adult Education, Windham Raymond Adult Ed, and Marshwood Adult Education.

During each presentation, participants shared their experiences teaching using TSTM lessons in practice, how they adapted the lessons to fit what their learners needs, their lessons learned, and many other useful pieces of information relevant to their peers and the Maine DOE for future success with the TSTM program.

With culture as a common theme, many shared their experiences working both remotely and in-person to teach lessons that were both relevant and accessible to adult learners enrolled in their respective programs and regions.

There were also many shared experiences in working with adult learners which resulted in everything from sharing tips and tricks to turning common frustrations into something positive.

“The tech will get you every time,” said Valerie from Washington County Adult Education program. While her comment got a chuckle and a knowing head nod from most around the room, she turned it into an important lesson for educators about modeling working through a problem (such as a technology issue) in front of students, to show them how to problem-solve in real time – a handy skill for everyone to develop.

Also included in the training was a TSTM toolkit packed with high-quality lessons that are easily adapted for Maine’s varied adult education population (multilingual, adult basic education, high school completion, workforce training, college transitions, etc.). Also integrated into the toolkit are many of the employability skills (soft skills) already taught in Maine which are integrated into academic lessons that highlight relevant topics for adult learners, such as budgeting, reading workplace safety signs, and first amendment rights.

“TSTM pushed me to learn a variety of remote learning tools,” shared Rochelle from Portland Adult Education Program. Rochelle wasn’t the only one to talk about a journey with learning remote learning tools and refreshing their toolbox of digital tools that can help with in-person learning as well. Many of the educators in the room really benefited from their experience using the toolkit provided by TSTM, especially in the wake of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic which changed the way most educators teach.

A booklet created by Maine Snap-Ed ( An example of a community resource used in Maine Adult Education programs

Another common theme among participants was how much more enriching and sustainable their lessons and curriculum became as a result of partnering with local agencies. For many, these connections were critical for things like food stamps and/or education materials, and to supplement their curriculum without having to reinvent something that community partners could come in and present or provide information and/or tools for.

Maine DOE’s Adult Education Team Professional Development Coordinator Amy Poland says, “We are currently planning next year, but we anticipate holding another statewide training similar to this year’s.” She adds that the team is also working on a community of practice which will feature a series of workshops around effective teaching practices using the TSTM Toolkit lessons, and convening a cohort of teachers who will create and curate new materials, and more for their fellow adult education educators across the State.

To learn more about TSTM visit their national website. To learn more about Maine’s Adult Education efforts, join the Adult Education listserv or email Amy Poland at

Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application

Are you interested in computer science professional development opportunities for your school? Maine’s 130th legislature, through a bill sponsored by Senator Pouliot, created a pilot grant program to provide funding for high-quality, teacher-developed or teacher-led professional development for PK-12 computer science pedagogy and content. 

Priority will be given to applicants that: 

  • Are located in one (or more) of the following counties where no awards have been made in previous application rounds: Sagadahoc, York, Aroostook, Somerset, Washington, Oxford, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Franklin, and Kennebec. 
  • Do not currently offer computer science learning opportunities; 
  • Serve socioeconomically disadvantaged school districts; 
  • Prioritize student populations traditionally underrepresented in computer science; 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing high-quality educator professional development that emphasizes integration of computer science into other course work and curricula or establishes or expands access to courses that offer college credit and other certificates of value, or both; and 
  • Collaborate or partner with other entities, including but not limited to other local education agencies, the business community, nonprofit organizations and private entities. 

The application window opens Monday, May 9th, 2022 and closes Friday, May 20th, 2022. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received. All applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of the application deadline.  

There is no limit to the grant amount awarded per applicant; however, funds will be dispersed equitably across all applications based on county and throughout PK-12. 

Have questions? Want to learn more? Interested in applying? Check out our website to learn more and submit an application. 

Need assistance applying? Contact the Computer Science Specialist, Emma-Marie Banks,

Register Today for the Maine School Safety Summit June 21-23

Please join the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Maine School Safety Center for the first annual Maine School Safety Summit.  Along with state-level partners from across Maine, the Maine School Safety Center and Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) are proud to invite you to this high level, diverse training opportunity catered specifically for school and district administrators, school resources officers, juvenile community corrections officers, and law enforcement that work directly with schools, in addition to school support staff such as school counselors, social workers, school nurses, and emergency planning and facilities school/district staff members.
Windham High School
406 Gray Road Windham, ME
June 21-23, 2022
9:00 AM – 3:00 PMHighlights include:

  • Day one and two there will be a two-day course specifically designed for school/district administrators such as principals and superintendents as well as law enforcement administrators on how to work best together as a team for more effective interactions with youth.  This specialized training presented by Strategies for Youth will be the first of its kind here in Maine.
  • Simultaneously, on days one and two, over 16 different presentations will be available for assistant principals, social workers, school counselors, facilities directors, school safety personnel, SROs, JCCOs, law enforcement who respond to schools, school office staff, educational technicians, and any other school staff who work to make their schools a safer place.
  • Day three will have two tracks. Track one will provide a special session for Transportation Directors and Bus inspectors. Track two will bring all other attendees together to discuss an exciting new way of dealing with youth in crisis entitled, Juvenile Justice Jeopardy, and in the afternoon will be a session entitled Communication in a Diverse World.

Our goal is to create safer schools by offering wraparound total services for Maine students.

For further questions, contact Wendy Robichaud, School Safety Training Coordinator, Maine School Safety Center (MSSC) at
School Safety Summit Save the date

Lessons from the Field – AmeriCorps + High Impact Tutoring = Student Success

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a webinar series to address hot topics that are on the top of educators’ minds. After sharing federal updates, the series features lessons learned and best practices from faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, and other places of educational instruction. It also shares a variety of useful resources.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) invites you to join the next Lessons from the Field webinar.

AmeriCorps + High Impact Tutoring = Student Success
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
3:00-4:30pm ET/2:00-3:30pm CT/1:00-2:30pm MT/12:00-1:30pm PT.

Exploring the role evidence-based, high impact tutoring can play in addressing learning loss experienced by students during the COVID pandemic and beyond. National, state, and local strategies will be shared, including direct examples from field practitioners via AmeriCorps partnerships.

This event will be recorded and posted to the event page a day after the event. All other materials can be found on the event page as well.

  • Event page
  • RegistrationNCSSLE does not offer certificates or CEUs, but if you email after the event, they will be able to confirm your participation.

Thomas College Hosts First-ever ‘Educators Rising’ Conference in Maine; Two Students Named Preservice Teachers of the Year

Eighty-three students enrolled in teacher preparation courses in 14 colleges, high schools, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools across Maine gathered at Thomas College last month for Maine’s first-ever Educators Rising Conference!

The conference was planned primarily by Thomas students who are part of Maine’s first Educators Rising Chapter. A national, community-based movement, Educators Rising is an organization with a presence in all 50 states that seeks to cultivate a new generation of highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path from high school to college and into their teaching careers. Educators Rising provides “Grow Your Own” programming through Educators Rising curriculum, standards, micro-credentials, chapters, conferences and other activities.

The Thomas Educators Rising Chapter Chair, Abby Bolvin, opened the conference by welcoming her fellow pre-service peers to the conference, and reviewed logistical details, including room locations, photo tips, and conference hashtag #EdRising22.

Dr. Monte Selby, principal at Vinalhaven School and a talented musician, engaged the aspiring educators with an entertaining musical keynote address that stressed the importance of building strong relationships with students, and some tips on how to forge authentic, trusting connections. After the keynote, students chose from a wide variety of breakout sessions to attend. The session topics were selected by the Educators Rising Chapter students.

Bolvin explained that having the option to be part of the conference planning was a significant learning experience for her and her fellow Educator Rising Chapter members. They initially came up with a list of 50 session topics that they wanted to learn more about, and eventually narrowed it down to the topics on the program, which included classroom management, talking about controversial topics, what to expect in your first year of teaching, assessments, innovative math practices, and more.

During a delicious lunch catered by Thomas College, the students heard from Pamela Thompson, Professor and Chair of Thomas’ Education Department, and the 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova. Thompson stressed the importance and impact of teachers, and Stoyanova shared, “we are not just teaching how to read to understand and write to show understanding, we are engaging learners to be global citizens—to offer them a glimpse of what it looks like to own their education, their futures, their voice, and do something with it.”

Tammy Ranger, 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year and the Director of Workforce Development and Innovative Pathways at the Maine Department of Education presented Maine’s first “Preservice Teacher of the Year” awards. Earlier this year, all Maine preservice teachers were were invited to apply  for the award. The top three preservice teachers were selected from a pool of over 20 applications from students in teacher preparation programs throughout Maine. “The future of the education profession in Maine certainly looks bright” said Ranger, commenting on the passion, creativity and commitment demonstrated in the preservice teachers’ application packets.

Students Mohamed Kilani (Bowdoin ’21) and Ivy Robinson (University of Maine Machias ‘22) were named Preservice Teachers of the Year, and Chelsea Whiting-Puckett (Bowdoin ’22) was named a runner up.  The selection committee, made up of Maine State and County Teachers of the Year, said the following about these promising teachers:

“Kilani’s work with anti-racism, bridging intercultural relationships, and restorative practices is remarkable. All students (and colleagues) will benefit from the classroom culture he creates.” 

 Ivy is a voracious learner—soaking up wisdom and practices from every teacher she works with. Her willingness to learn and improve her practice will only make her a better teacher year after year.

Chelsey’s robust and honest English and social studies classes reflect her commitment to inclusion, representation, and equitable learning environments for all students.

As part of being named Preservice Teacher of the Year, both Kilani and Robinson were awarded $1,000 each to help jumpstart setting up their classroom, and runner up Whiting-Puckett was awarded $200.

Special thanks to the Peter and Paula Lunder School of Education at Thomas College, the Maine Association for Middle Level Educators (MAMLE), Educate Maine, UNUM, and representatives from the Maine Department of Education for making this event possible.

To learn more about Educators Rising, visit the national website or reach out to Tamara Ranger ( at the Maine Department of Education.