Virtual Meeting Schedule for Monday, March 30

Virtual office hour schedule for Monday, March 30, 2020

The Maine Department of Education continues to schedule virtual office hours with Department Specialist to support educators and administrators during extended remote learning. During these meetings, our specialists will be available to provide support and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports, as well as to facilitate networking and resource sharing between educators.

Thank you to the educators in Maine, nationally, and internationally who have joined these popular sessions. We are pleased to be able to offer a platform where educators can connect. We do ask that, with space limitations, priority be given to Maine educators first as these support sessions are intended for them.

Please note that Office Hour Schedules will be regularly updated on this web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/covid-19/contentmeetings and the Department will continue scheduling content specific office hours as needed.

Virtual Office Hours:

(Please note: some meetings have a 100 person max capacity.)

FOCUS AREA SPECIALIST TIME Join Zoom Meeting CONTACT INFO
Brain Centered Emotional Support Kellie Bailey 8:30 https://zoom.us/j/689251005 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
Health Education and Physical Education Susan Berry and Jean Zimmerman 9:00 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/791991091 susan.berry@maine.gov
School Finance & Compliance for Business Managers Tyler Backus 10:00am By Registration (contact Tyler to Join) tyler.backus@maine.gov
Special Services: Accessibility/Engagement Anne-Marie Adamson 10:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/352701969 roberta.lucas@maine.gov
Social Studies PK-12 Joe Schmidt 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/502218808 – Contact Joe Schmidt for Password joe.schmidt@maine.gov
Pre K For ME Curriculum Overview Nicole Madore 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/675438268 nicole.madore@maine.gov
Career and Education Development  Networking Diana Doiron 12:00 PM https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/185093262 diana.doiron@maine.gov 
Pre K Open Office Hours Nicole Madore 12:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/658578013 nicole.madore@maine.gov
Engaging Adult Learners Online Amy Poland 1:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/8097107454 amy.poland@maine.gov
SEL – Open Office Hours Kellie Bailey 3:00PM https://zoom.us/j/5080785422 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
Teaching Using iCivics Joe Schmidt w/ Emma Humphries of iCivics 3:00pm https://zoom.us/j/381366098 – Contact Joe Schmidt for password joe.schmidt@maine.gov
World Language OH (Focus on: Google Classroom) Lavinia Rogers w/ Kelly Frey Maranacook Community High School 3:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/286144988 lavinia.m.rogers@maine.gov
Brain Centered Emotional Support Bear Shea 3:30 https://zoom.us/j/689251005 bear.shea@maine.gov
PK-5 Science Resources/Troubleshooting/Networking Shari Templeton 5:00 https://zoom.us/j/907003708 shari.templeton@maine.gov

Maine DOE Stays Connected with Educators Through Daily Virtual Office Hours

In an otherwise isolating time, Maine Department of Education (DOE) staff have never felt more connected to Maine’s education field. Through daily virtual office hours, Maine DOE staff have been hosting content specific and mindfulness online meetings with school staff in an effort to answer questions, connect teachers and other school staff with one another, and offer resources and advice about how to provide remote learning and school support while school buildings are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The meetings have been a gift of time with Maine educators,” said Maine DOE Career and Education Development Specialist Diana Doiron. “We connect at a very human level, collectively sharing our questions, our insights, our worries, what is working well, and what resources are worth recommending to others.”

In daily email blasts to educators, school and district administrators, and other school personnel, DOE staff are sharing links to join various sessions held using online conferencing platforms. This allows anyone interested to join meetings remotely, see the faces and hear the voices of other education professionals from Maine who are experiencing, and in some cases overcoming, challenges like never before.

While school buildings are closed around the state, educators and other support staff are tasked with the unprecedented challenge of continuing to support and connect with their students, all while experiencing an unanticipated isolation, having to distance themselves from other people while COVID-19 creeps its way into communities across the globe.

“Every session has been exemplary and so helpful at this unusually confusing and difficult time,” said Woodside Elementary School Counselor Helene McGlauflin, who has been regularly attending sessions on social emotional learning and school mental health supports.

“I participated in two of his [Maine DOE Social Studies Specialist Joe Schmidt’s] office hours on Tuesday, and they were great, primarily in that they weren’t scripted,” said one of the participants. “He wanted teachers to set the agenda with their questions and concerns.”

Originally offered as a way to provide resources for remote learning for traditional education subject areas like math, social studies, and the arts, the popular sessions quickly expanded into other areas like special education, social emotional supports, and school finance, among many others topics. The virtual office hours have been widely attended by Maine school staff drawing anywhere from 50 to upwards of 300 people in some of the sessions. With an average of 30 sessions held per day since March 16th, the virtual meetings have drawn educators from other states and even some international participants.

“I’ve had tremendous response to these sessions,” said Maine DOE School Nurse Consultant Emily Poland. “I started providing sessions once per week, but now I do them twice weekly. Today there were 178 people on!”

An outside-the-box session with an element of well-being for school staff has recently been added to the mix. Fifteen-minute Brain Centered Emotional Support sessions are being offered at the beginning and end of each weekday to bolster resilience and provide a chance to connect and share space with school professionals around the state. The sessions are hosted by Maine DOE Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialist Kellie D. Bailey and Mental Health/School Counselor Specialist Bear Shea and have provided a space for educators and school staff to take a deep breath and be mindful of their own well-being before they try to address the needs of others.

“LOVED this today,” said MSAD 40 Assistant Superintendent Cristina Wotton after one of the first Brain Centered Emotional Support sessions. “I felt like jelly after, why do we resist taking care of ourselves? Thank you!”

“As a Special Services Department, we at MSAD 20 have greatly appreciated the timely and impactful support that we’ve received through the Brain Based Emotional Support sessions provided each day,” said MSAD 20 Director of Programs for Exceptional Children Eric McGough. “In our staff meetings, these are consistently brought up as being of great value not only to helping us design supportive experiences and resources for our students, but also in helping us carry on with our work during these difficult times.”

The Department has vowed to continue offering the virtual office hours for as long as needed in addition to continuing to provide a listing of resources for remote learning and support, as well as regular updates and other essential resources for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is in the process of working with educators and school staff to provide more focused support sessions and virtual professional development options in addition to transitioning to more consistent virtual meeting schedule.

RSU 16 Teacher Creates YouTube Channel to Connect with Families #RSU16Learns

RSU 16 Teacher Valerie Young has created a YouTube channel to connect with all families in Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls.  She crafts challenges and ideas for home learning from using the Maine Gazetteer, to the sales flyer from the newspaper, to creating a haiku. Here is an example of one of her videos.

Young is helping #RSU16Learns while having fun!  Here is a link to see all of the videos in her YouTube Channel. She encourages everyone to join her!

Submitted by Amy Hediger, Assistant Superintendent at RSU 16 as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit stories or ideas, email them to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Virtual Meeting Schedule – Tuesday 3/24

Updated Schedule for Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The Maine Department of Education continues to schedule virtual office hours with Department Specialist to support educators and administrators during extended remote learning. During these meetings, our specialists will be available to provide support and guidance regarding distance learning and school supports, as well as to facilitate networking and resource sharing between educators.

Thank you to the educators in Maine, nationally, and internationally who have joined these popular sessions. We are pleased to be able to offer a platform where educators can connect. We do ask that, with space limitations, priority be given to Maine educators first as these support sessions are intended for them.

Please note that Office Hour Schedules will be regularly updated on this web page: https://www.maine.gov/doe/covid-19/contentmeetings and the Department will continue scheduling content specific office hours as needed.

Virtual Office Hours:

(Please note: each of these meetings as a 100 person max capacity.)

FOCUS AREA SPECIALIST TIME LINK CONTACT INFO
Mindful Moment -Self Care Connection Kellie Bailey 8:45-9:00 https://zoom.us/j/5080785422 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
Adult Education Megan Dichter 8:30 https://zoom.us/j/892602805 megan.dichter@maine.gov
MTSS – Tier 2 and Tier 3 Open Forum Andrea Logan 9:00 https://zoom.us/j/4525406402 andrea.logan@maine.gov
MUSIC, Grades K-8 Office Hour Jason Anderson 9:00 https://zoom.us/j/361857839 jason.anderson@maine.gov
VISUAL ART, Grades K-8 Office Hour Jason Anderson 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/443847850 jason.anderson@maine.gov
Teaching Civics & Gov’t Office Hours Joe Schmidt 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/953166454 joe.schmidt@maine.gov
Health Education Susan Berry and Jean Zimmerman 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/728690779 susan.berry@maine.gov
School Counseling Bear Shea 10:00 https://zoom.us/j/598318140 w.bear.shea@maine.gov
Special Services Grades K-12 Colette Sullivan and Leora Byras 10:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/214197980 roberta.lucas@maine.gov
Math K-5 Office Hour: Networking Jen & Michele 11:00 https://zoom.us/j/375656501 jennifer.r.robitaille@maine.gov
THEATRE, Grades K-12 Office Hour Jason Anderson 11:00 https://zoom.us/j/813802216 jason.anderson@maine.gov
Physical Education Jean Zimmerman and Susan Berry 11:00 https://zoom.us/j/728690779 jean.zimmerman@maine.gov
Alternative Education Heather Whitaker (2020 Teacher of the Year) 11:00 https://zoom.us/j/246436223 heather.whitaker@gorhamschools.org
School Nursing Emily Poland 11:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/615139238 Emily.poland@maine.gov
PBIS and Behavior Supports Courtney Angelosante (University of Maine) 11:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/254950432 tracy.w.whitlock@maine.gov
Social Studies PK-12 Joe Schmidt 12:00 https://zoom.us/j/811951940 joe.schmidt@maine.gov
DANCE, Grades K-12 Office Hour Jason Anderson 12:00 https://zoom.us/j/697060098 jason.anderson@maine.gov
Office Hours: Networking 6-12 Math Michele & Jen 1:00  https://zoom.us/j/887817496 michele.mailhot@maine.gov
SEL For All Educators Kellie Bailey 1:00 https://zoom.us/j/5080785422 kellie.bailey@maine.gov
World Language – French & Latin Lavinia Rogers 1:00 https://zoom.us/j/838540717 lavinia.m.rogers@maine.gov
Public Pre-K Nicole Madore 2:00 https://zoom.us/j/443013966 nicole.madore@maine.gov
Career and Education Development Diana Doiron 2:00 https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/909564983 diana.doiron@maine.gov 
World Language (6-8) Lavinia Rogers 3:30 https://zoom.us/j/255736385 lavinia.m.rogers@maine.gov
Bring the World into Your Elementary Classroom (Social Studies) Joe Schmidt w/ Teacher Leaders 3:30 https://zoom.us/j/594340297 joe.schmidt@maine.gov

PRIORITY NOTICE: Urging States to Continue Educating Students with Disabilities, Secretary DeVos Publishes New Resource on Accessibility and Distance Learning Options

New Fact Sheet Provides Additional Information on How Distance Learning Can be Used to Meet Students’ Needs During COVID-19 National Emergency

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today the Department has released new information clarifying that federal law should not be used to prevent schools from offering distance learning opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities. This new resource from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) explains that as a school district takes necessary steps to address the health, safety, and well-being of all its students and staff, educators can use distance learning opportunities to serve all students.

“It was extremely disappointing to hear that some school districts were using information from the Department of Education as an excuse not to educate kids,” said Secretary DeVos. “This is a time for creativity and an opportunity to pursue as much flexibility as possible so that learning continues. It is a time for all of us to pull together to do what’s right for our nation’s students.”

“Nothing issued by this Department should in any way prevent any school from offering educational programs through distance instruction,” she continued. “We need schools to educate all students out of principle, rather than educate no students out of fear. These are challenging times, but we expect schools to rise to the occasion, and the Department stands ready to assist you in your efforts.”

As the fact sheet states, schools “… should not opt to close or decline to provide distance instruction, at the expense of students, to address matters pertaining to services for students with disabilities. Rather, school systems must make local decisions that take into consideration the health, safety, and well-being of all their students and staff. To be clear: ensuring compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act should not prevent any school from offering educational programs through distance instruction.”

To help schools provide distance learning in compliance with federal law, this fact sheet explains:

  • The Department recognizes that exceptional circumstances may affect how special education and related services and supports are provided to students with disabilities, and the Department will offer flexibility.
  • School districts must provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities, and the provision of FAPE may include, as appropriate, special education and related services that can be provided via computer, internet, or phone.
  • Although online learning must be accessible to students with disabilities, federal law does not mandate the specific methodologies by which distance education must be provided.
  • In instances where technology is not accessible or where educational materials are not available in an accessible format, educators may still meet their legal obligations by providing equally effective alternate access to the curriculum or services provided to other students.

The Department will continue to work with state and local leaders to identify any additional areas where it can provide resources to support educators in their important work, and both OCR and OSERS are available to provide technical assistance during these uncertain times. The Department continues to update www.ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators, and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following website: www.coronavirus.gov.

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