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.
IN CELEBRATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF CAT STEVENS’S ICONIC SONG “PEACE TRAIN,” HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS WILL PUBLISH STEVENS’S PICTURE BOOK OF THE SAME NAME
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.
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.”
Carmon Parker, a special education teacher at Harriet Beecher Stowe (HBS) Elementary School in Brunswick has always wanted families to feel connected and supported through her Social Emotional Behavioral program. Whenclassroom-based learning was paused in March of 2019 at the onset of COVID-19, shereally felt these values intensify.
Pre-pandemic photos from the HBS Social Emotional Behavioral program:
Not being able to see her students gave her a sense of helplessness becauseit meant that it would be that much harder to able to maintain those critically important connections with her students. Like many teachers and school administrators, Ms. Parker quickly shifted gears to helptake the pressure of “keeping up” off her students’ plates and the fear of regression off theirfamily’sminds. She focused on staying connected in creative ways since they couldn’t physically be together.
She did this at first by scheduling zoom meetings where she worked with students on mindfulness practices, emotional regulation, and social skills. “These meetings were also a time for students and families to ask questions, to help ease anxieties, and constantly reassure and remind students that one day we would all be together again,” said Ms. Parker.
Along with classroom zoom meetings, they also made scheduled times to include other school community members that students had meaningful relationships with including teachers, administrators, and staff members that students saw on a regular basis around school. She even helped organize a birthday car parade for one of the students.“I believe this helped us all feel that we were still together, even when apart,” recalls Ms. Parker.
As zooms became the norm and hybrid class schedules started to take shape in schools across Maine, Ms. Parker continued to adapt to the situation too, by making in-person time as productive and positive as possible while also taking advantage of time outside of the classroom to maintain relationships and add an extra layer of learning with her students.
Thinking ahead during the initial building closures in the spring, Ms. Parkerwrote and received a Brunswick Community Education Foundation Grant that allowed her to order calming sensory items for her classrooms (humidifiers, essential oils, sound machines, etc.) which she hasused to improve in-class experiences for students in her program.
In addition, with the support and help from the families of her students, she wasable to create safe outdoor learning experiences that helped bolster relationship building, among so many other positive learning and experiential opportunities for her students (and her). Ms. Parker spent many weekends connecting with her students and their families around activities that they could all enjoy together like surfing and skiing. “Her commitment and care for her students during an exceptionally challenging time has helped them to be resilient. They feel safe and supported and Ms. Parker has gone above and beyond to make sure they feel the love,” a parent said.
Kevin Fisher building a tiny town for Godzilla to crush (SEB special education teacher)
Cross country skiing for the Outdoor Excursion Program for the Brunswick Rec. Department
In reflecting back on the many changes that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Parker writes that, “the silver linings that have come from this are having more time to connect and build relationships with families, further strengthening relationships with students, and channeling my energies into what and who brings me joy.”
“Being apart from my students and team (my best friends) was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. It forced me to explore other passions such outdoor activities and photography. Our first day back at school, after 186 days of being apart, I shared pictures with my students of all the adventures I had. With the main message being, they would always be my greatest one.”
Family Engagement Activity – Capture Your Beauty:
Information for this article was provided by Carmon Parker and a parent of one of her students as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. The Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign is an avenue for Maine schools to celebrate successes and share innovative ideas, practices, and models that can be adapted and easily implemented by other Maine schools. Stories are not an endorsement of specific materials, services, or practices and are not intended to promote learning programs that are of cost to students, families, or schools. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maine DOE is seeking comments from the public on its annual application for federal funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers services to children with disabilities, ages 3-22.
The application, which covers Maine fiscal year 2022 (starting July 1, 2021) is posted on the Maine DOE’s webpage at https://www.maine.gov/doe/learning/specialed/director. The Part B budget is estimated/projected on the basis of Maine’s award for the State’s current award, pending the State’s receipt of the finalized federal award for the coming year. Both documents will be posted from March 21, 2021 through May 18, 2021.
Written comments will be accepted from, March 21, 2021 until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Please send comments to Erin Frazier at email@example.com or 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME. 04333.
The EF-S-05 Part II Special Education Staff Certification report must be verified and certified by the Special Education Director in the Maine Department Of Education’s NEO System. The report is used to verify the full-time equivalency (FTE) and qualification status of special education teachers, paraprofessionals (educational technicians), and related services personnel who were employed or contracted to provide special education services to students with disabilities ages 3 through 20 as of December 1, 2020.
Please note that this will be final year that the EF-S-05 Part II will allow for adjustments of numbers. The 2021-2022 collection will come directly from NEO staff and the EF-S-05 Part II will only be a certification of those numbers. The timeline of the certification will also change to align with the NEO staff certification timeline. More information will be provided in summer and fall of 2021.
The Maine Association of School Psychologists (MASP) recently announced that Lisa Backman from Windham Raymond School District is the 2020 Maine School Psychologist of the Year. This award acknowledges a member of MASP who demonstrates excellence in school psychology practice, and leadership in the profession.
“Beyond the role of evaluators, school psychologists fill a crucial role in school communities providing consultation and collaboration in intervention systems and supporting school staff through professional development and technical assistance,” Erin Frazier, Maine Department of Education Director of Special Services. “These individuals are critical to SAUs efforts to provide a continuum of services to all children.”
Mrs. Backman has been providing psychological services to the Windham-Raymond School District, RSU #14 for the past 20 years, and as an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College. She is a trusted professional within her school community among students, staff, and families. Lisa’s building principal stated that he believes they are “fortunate to have her calm demeanor, as well as her extensive knowledge of research-based practices and Special Education law to help make the IEP process one that aligns with our mission.” In fact, he shared that he “often encourages teachers to talk with Lisa when struggling to meet the unique needs of learners. Teachers appreciate this support and report being able to implement effective practices from her feedback.”
Elizabeth (Lisa) Howe of Gorham Public Schools received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her devotion through years of service to her local school district as well as to the profession at the state level. On top of her superb work at the district level, Lisa has volunteered many hours of her time over the years in numerous positions with MASP. These have included participation at the committee level as well as serving as Secretary for MASP. Lisa has been a very diligent and collaborative contributor.
Jill Adams, Executive Director of the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) received an Outstanding Advocate for School Psychologists 2020 honor for her her tireless work for the students of Maine.
Erin Frazier, Maine DOE Director of Special Services also received an Outstanding Advocate for School Psychologists 2020 awarded for her ongoing championing for the field of School Psychology while navigating the challenges brought throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Maine Department of Education recognizes there is a critical shortage of school psychologists in the state that is long standing,” noted Frazier. “These positions are critical to fulfill child find responsibilities and support effective programming for students.”
Windham/Raymond School District
2020 Maine School
Psychologist of the Year
Gorham Public Schools
Lifetime Achievement Award
Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC)
2020 Outstanding Advocate
for School Psychologists
Director of Special Services
Maine Department of Education
2020 Outstanding Advocate
for School Psychologists