Maine DOE Office of Special Services Awarded a State Personnel Development Grant

Maine Department of Education (DOE) Office of Special Services has been awarded a State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). State Personnel Development Grants are awarded to state run agencies with the aim of improving and increasing professional development for “individuals providing early intervention, educational, and transition services to improve results for children with disabilities.”*

The Maine DOE has been awarded $3.39 million over five years for special educator, educational technician and administrator professional development.  The funds will be directed to two key areas of special education work- math interventions (Math4ME) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

“The grant provides the resources to support the development of intensive remote math professional development for special educators in rural areas in Maine,” said Maine DOE Special Projects Coordinator Tracy Whitlock. “The funds will also be used to build state-wide capacity for PBIS training, coaching and the development of external coaches training. This grant will help the Office of Special Services continue to meet the diverse needs of Maine students.”

*U.S. Department of Education


Special Education Maine Policies & Procedures Workshop for School Administrative Units

The Maine Department of Education Office of Special Services is pleased to host a two-day virtual workshop presented by Brustein & Manasevit.

School Administrative Unit (SAU) Policies and Procedures

Day One: covers the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements (Uniform Grants Guidance)

Day Two: direct support for school administrative units on developing compliant policies and procedures.

Free EDGAR shipped to first 200 attendees to register! (If you do not require an EDGAR – do not complete the address portion of the registration.)

Registration link for Day One August 18th – Day One

Day Two Zoom link for August 19th Workshop (held via Zoom)  


The two-day training covers all federal requirements for establishing strong SAU policies and procedures.  Attendees begin the workshop with a customizable template that is customized over the two-days to be district specific.

Day One: Training

Federal Financial Management

  • Overview of grants accounting system and fiscal controls
  • Cash management procedures, including period of availability and carryover
  • Budget development, amendment and reconciliation
  • Allowability procedures (FAQs, Food, Travel, etc.)


  • Conflict of Interest policy
  • Methods of procurement, related procedures
  • Documentation
  • Noncompetitive procurements (sole source justification form)

Property Management

  • Definitions (Equipment, supplies, computing devices, capital equipment, inventoried supplies, etc.)
  • Inventory procedures
  • Lost or stolen items
  • Disposition procedures

Time and Effort

  • Payroll/ HR procedures (cross-reference)
  • Time and effort documentation requirements
  • Reconciliation of time and effort
  • Sample forms

Day Two: Workshop

Concurrent breakout session by topic – working sessions for Q&A

For further questions, contact the Maine DOE Office of Special Services at (207) 624-6713.

Down Syndrome Does Not Hold Back Portland Photographer Caleb Dunlap

Caleb Dunlap was born with down syndrome, but he did not let it get in the way of pursuing his passion for photography. Caleb was enrolled in the Maine Department of Education (DOE) led Child Development Services (CDS) when he was six days old. CDS along with the support of his family and friends enabled Caleb to follow his dreams. Caleb was gifted a camera after his high school graduation which began his passion for taking photos.

One day, a professional photographer looked at Caleb’s photos and remarked that he had a good eye- he could see things other people could not and turn it into a beautiful picture from then on, what began as a hobby turned into a business for Caleb.

Caleb now runs “Good Eye Photography” out of Portland where he hopes to inspire people with his photos. “When I take pictures of a cloud, I feel like a cloud,” Caleb stated in a presentation. He hopes other people can feel the transformative properties of art through his work. Caleb is inspired by the city of Portland and the nature surrounding the city. He aspires to have his work displayed in magazines and museums in the future.

Watch Caleb’s presentation below and view his photography on his website.

This article was written by Maine DOE Intern Clio Bersani as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea email it to Rachel at

New UMaine Special Education Leadership Certificate Available this Fall 

The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and UMaineOnline will begin offering a new graduate certificate in Special Education Leadership this fall.

The Maine Department of Education lists Teacher of Students with Disabilities among the state’s teacher shortage areas. The new graduate certificate is designed to address an accompanying shortage of special education administrators. There are currently 242 special education directors in the state of Maine — one for every 127 students with a disability. The 12-credit graduate certificate in special education leadership can lead to Maine DOE certification as an assistant administrator of special education.

“This certificate is a response to feedback from PreK–12 professionals in Maine and beyond about the immediate need to support the growing number of students with disabilities and who are at risk,” says Sarah Howorth, assistant professor and coordinator of the graduate program in special education in the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. “Assistant administrators serve an important function in local districts, helping directors provide legally mandated access to a free and appropriate education for all students.”

Assistant administrators contribute to overseeing all facets of a school district’s special education department, including programs, services, personnel and budget.

The four courses in the graduate certificate are Law and Policy Affecting Individuals with Disabilities, School Law for Administrators, Organizational Behavior in Education, and an Internship in Special Education Administration. The program objectives are based on guidelines from the Council for Special Education Administrators (CASE). Students can pursue the certificate as a stand-alone program, or as part of coursework toward an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree.

Applications for the Special Education Leadership: Assistant Special Education Director graduate certificate are being accepted through Aug. 15 for students interested in starting the program in the fall 2021 semester. For students interested in starting in summer 2022, the application deadline is April 15, 2022. More information is available on the UMaineOnline website.

For more information, contact Howorth at

Maine DOE Special Services Team to Host NY Times Best Seller Peter H. Reynolds for SPPS Meeting

An upcoming Special Purpose Private Schools Director’s Meeting provided by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) Special Services Team with special guest Peter H. Reynolds, New York Times bestselling illustrator, who has created many acclaimed books for children, including The Dot, Ish, The North Star, and So Few of Me, to share his new book, Peace Train, written by Cat Stevens, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

The public is invited to this virtual meeting which will be held on Zoom on May 26, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EDT. Register in advance for this meeting: (After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)


New York, NY (January 12, 2021) – Cat Stevens, ’70s troubadour, singer-songwriter, inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and known to millions for his hits including “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” “Wild World,” “Father and Son,” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” has partnered with New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds to produce PEACE TRAIN, a children’s book celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic song’s original release on his multiplatinum album Teaser and the Firecat.

"Out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train. Peace train take this country, come take me home again." PEACE TRAIN, Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens - with Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam- Worldwide

Featuring joyful illustrations and the timeless lyrics of the much-loved peace anthem released in 1971, this hopeful picture book continues Stevens’s commitment to children’s education and shared love for people of all cultures and identities. Stevens invites readers to hop on the Peace Train and join its growing group of passengers who are all ready to travel together to a better world of peace and human understanding.

I wrote these lyrics more than fifty years ago, and I know the words still boom as true and loud today as they did in the 1970s,” says Stevens. “It’s incredible to see how Peter Reynolds has made the words jump into life in brilliant style for a new generation with his joysome illustrations.”

To see Cat Stevens’ interview about The Peace Train on the Today Show May 11, 2021, click here: