The Maine Department of Education invites you to attend, Supporting Maine Educators: A Forum to Bolster Mental Health in Our Schools on Thursday April 1st from 9:00am – 3:00pm.
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.
Please join us for this very important event. For further information or questions, contact Staci Warren at Staci.H.Warren@maine.gov.
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:
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is committed to providing cutting edge resources so that the many benefits of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), for both students and adults, can be accessed by all Maine schools. SEL speaks to our Maine values, where schools and communities support all children in the development of a healthy sense of self, in learning lifelong skills to regulate and manage emotions, and the development of empathy while building healthy and positive relationships. On behalf of Commissioner Makin, we are proud to announce our very own Social Emotional Learning curriculum and resource, SEL4ME.
It is our hope that by offering this statewide, free, and readily available comprehensive SEL PreK-12th grade curriculum, that we will eliminate the financial burden for any Maine school district who wishes to embed SEL into their everyday instruction and school culture. The curriculum accommodates both in person and remote learning. Additionally, our DOE team will continue to develop this curriculum to include free training and professional learning for staff, as well as new modules that will support the use of SEL as a Trauma Informed, Primary Prevention within our schools. Through our statewide instruction, this curriculum can be a significant resource for all Maine students, regardless of age, race, gender, socio-economic status or religion, to recognize self-worth and feel connected and safe within a responsive and caring school community.
The Maine DOE has created a unique opportunity in partnering with Evolution Labs who, with input from Maine experts, has developed our best practice-aligned SEL library of more than 450 modules. These modules are not subject to ongoing license fees but are owned by the State, in perpetuity, ensuring this resource as a reliable foundation for SEL development for generations to come. While this scaffolded curriculum can enable a consistent content approach, within each lesson are built-in supports that include read aloud capabilities and translation into nearly 100 different languages- as well as educator guides and instructions.
We know that research into the use of SEL has long shown that schools who embed SEL into everyday instruction and school culture have a positive impact in the following areas:
Increased school safety
Reduction in bullying and violent behavior
Reduction in negative coping and disruptive classroom behavior
Increase in academic achievement
Student appreciation of self-worth
Healthy connections to others
Development of confidence, optimism
Development of self-compassion in the face of doubt and social challenges
Persistence and resiliency in the face of adversity
Responsivity to challenges and change
Embracing all cultures and the individuality of all humans
Solving conflicts and problem solving in a cooperative manner
Demonstrating genuine concern about the welfare of others
Maine has a proud history of promoting Social Emotional Learning in our schools. With some of our educators having used practices in classrooms for decades and districts investing in SEL trainings and programming, many Maine schools have experienced the benefits of providing SEL supports to students. In 2015, the Maine DOE adopted SEL for PreK education, and aligned Health and PE standards with a Social Emotional Learning framework. Now, In 2020, when the need for Social Emotional Supports are more significant than ever, the Maine DOE is excited to offer the SEL4ME curriculum as a way to share the benefits of SEL to all our students, and strengthen its impact as part of our academic success. This curriculum is not a requirement of Maine schools, but a means to supplement and support existing programs, as well as provide new programs with the resources to flourish.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to every educator and school support staff who dedicate their lives to the betterment of all Maine students. Thank you for always teaching from the heart and supporting our students.
When COVID 19 swept across our state, abruptly closing our schools, You DID NOT Blink. Instead, you rolled up your sleeves, dug deep and got the job done. Collectively, districts across our great state made sure our children were fed, had access to online learning and knew that they were missed and loved by everyone in their school buildings. To say Thank You to the thousands of teachers, office staff, ed techs, bus drivers, kitchen and custodial crews can never be enough.
For the first time in the history of Maine DOE, we were able to offer the field, daily brain-based emotional supports with Mindfulness practices. We wanted you to know that we cared and that you were not alone.
Hundreds of you participated and the feedback we received was overwhelming. We’d like to continue to offer this support as you march forward, teaching courageously amidst the most unprecedented school re-opening Maine has ever seen.
Please consider re-Joining Maine DOE specialist Kellie D. Bailey each Tuesday and Thursday from 4-4:30 PM for guided mindful, grounding and brain regulating practices.
It has been such a pleasure to collaborate with you over the past few months. You are Educational Warriors. Your passion, strength, ingenuity and resilience overwhelms me. I’m beyond grateful to work for Commissioner Makin who clearly supports and honors the emotional wellbeing of our Maine educators and support staffs. When I accepted this position as the first SEL specialist for the Maine DOE in January 2020, I could never have foreseen that in just 10 short weeks, Maine educators would be faced with such sadness, grief and concern for their students and the world.
Our morning mindful practices and the work that hundreds of you have put in over the past three months to learn and grow in all things social/emotional is greatly appreciated. For many of you the school year is over, but the work has not stopped. Preparations for school re-entry and how this will look is on everyone’s mind. Please remember to take small moments to be present in your life. Listen to the birds, feel the sun warm your face, smell the freshly cut grass and BREATHE ON PURPOSE.
Breathing is our first life gift and our birthright. Breathe for yourselves and for one another. Give yourself permission to step outside of the automaticity of an unaware existence and spend a few moments in gratitude and hope. We will get through this together and we will begin the important work of building a new reality in education with a solid foundation of love, compassion, equity and understanding. Our children deserve for us to be at our emotional and physical best so we can continue the work of teaching courageously and compassionately and growing good humans.