Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“It is well documented that students learn best when they are not hungry. In fact, a nutritious, well-balanced diet is an important attribute of a great education,” says Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Robert Hasson. “Our nutrition programs in Maine serve our students well. With federal assistance, Maine needs partners for the Summer Food Service Program.”

In 2016, 119 sponsors participated in the program, serving an average of 12,182 lunches per day to children at over 400 sites. Although almost 700 more meals were served per day in 2016 than 2015, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Department of Education, Civil Rights Officer, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333 or call 207-624-6875. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

Nominations sought for 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year

AUGUSTA – Nominations are now open for the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Members of the public are encouraged to nominate educators who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and nurturing the achievement of all students at http://www.mainetoy.org through Feb. 6. To be considered, a teacher must hold at least a four-year degree and be employed by a Maine public school – including a public charter school or publicly supported secondary school.

The eventual winner of the state’s highest teaching honor, which is awarded by the Maine Department of Education through a program administered by Educate Maine, serves as an advocate for teachers, students and the efforts underway in Maine’s public schools to prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Maine’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Tammy Ranger, is a middle school reading interventionist at Skowhegan Area Middle School and was selected from over 300 entries and included recognition at the county level.  In addition to Ranger, other 2016 state finalists included Rebecca Tapley, math and writing teacher at Brooklin Elementary School and 2016 Hancock County Teacher of the Year, and Cherrie MacInnis, third grade teacher at Brewer Community School and 2016 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

The 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year will be selected from the 16 county honorees, who will be whittled down to eight semi-finalists and then three state finalists before the ultimate winner is announced by Maine’s Education Commissioner at a surprise school assembly in the fall.

Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Maine DOE that since 2013 has been administered by Educate Maine, a business-led organization whose mission is to champion college, career readiness and increased education attainment. Funding is provided by Bangor Savings Bank, Geiger, Hannaford and Dead River with support from the State Board of Education and the Maine State Teacher of the Year Association.

The Teacher of the Year program has no cost to taxpayers. Bangor Savings Bank reimburses the winning educator’s school district for the cost of substitutes while the Teacher of the Year is out of the classroom on their official duties, which includes travel throughout the state, a week at NASA Space Camp and a visit to the White House.

For more information about the Maine Teacher of the Year program, visit www.maine.gov/doe/toy/. For more information about Educate Maine, visit www.educatemaine.org.
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Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

Department releases application for innovative, regional school construction pilot

AUGUSTA – Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson today announced that the Maine Department of Education, in concert with the State Board of Education, has released an application for innovative, regional school construction and is encouraging school districts to work together to apply for the 2017-2018 rating cycle. The “Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 School Construction 2017-2018 Rating Cycle Application” is now available on the Department website.

The Department hopes to identify a pilot project that results in the construction of a new, regional high school that integrates career and technical education (CTE), collaboration with Maine’s higher education institutions, and expands programming and services to students throughout the region.

“This is an exciting step forward to create new opportunities for Maine students,” said Dr. Hasson. “We hope that communities around the state have heard the clarion call that the Department of Education will stand behind voluntary efforts to collaborate and deliver education in new, innovative ways.”

The application for school administrative units and their partner organizations consists of two parts. Part 1, in which school administrative units must identify partner organizations and their envisioned partnership, will be due to the Department on May 1, 2017.

“The application process is intended to be straightforward and to follow existing statute and rules,” said Scott Brown, Director of School Construction Programs. “This new pathway for regional collaboration provides new opportunities for collaboration while following best practices from the State’s traditional construction programs.”

Following the scoring of Part 1, the Department will determine whether there are applicants that qualify to move forward to Part 2. The Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.

“We have designed a process and a timeline that is equally aggressive and measured,” said Dr. Hasson.  “Based on the number of grassroots efforts around the state looking for support for a project of this kind, we are hopeful that there will be several strong proposals resulting in a pilot project that leads the way for future efforts.”

The Department will hold public information sessions around the state where members of the public and interested parties (including superintendents, school leaders and school board members) may ask questions. Those questions and answers will be posted on the Department’s website in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

The information sessions will take place in the evening, as follows:

  • #1: Wednesday, February 1 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle
    • Location: Campus Center, 181 Main Street, Presque Isle, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • # 2: Monday, February 6 at the University of New England in Biddeford
    • Location: Harold Alfond Forum,  11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
  • #3: Monday, February 27 Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor
    • Location: Rangeley Hall,  Room 107,  354 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME
    • Time: 6pm – 8pm
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Additional guidance is provided, below:
2017 Application Cycle to Identify an
Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility Pilot Project
Under the provisions of 20-A MRS §15905 and Chapter 61 State Board of Education Rules for Major Capital School Construction Projects Section 15 the Commissioner and the State Board have initiated an application process which will identify an Integrated, Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility pilot project.  The intent of Section 15 is to create a new regional high school integrated with a career and technical school, the University of Maine System, and the Maine Community College System and that supports industry training programs leading to recognized licensure and certification.  The preferred pilot project will combine three or more high schools (additional grades would be considered) and will create a new governing school board.  Schools units are encouraged to work with neighboring school districts on this new process.The Integrated Consolidated 9 – 16 Educational Facility application consists of two parts.  Part 1 includes an initial letter of intent, responses to four prompts, and evidence of interest from potential partners.  Upon receipt, review, and rating of all Part 1 applications the Commissioner will establish a points threshold to determine those applicants approved to proceed to Part 2.  Only those applicants who receive formal written authorization will proceed to Part 2.  The Department may provide support to assist in completion of Part 2 of the application.

The Part 2 application requires an overview of the proposed model, responses to a number of prompts, an overview of the technical and financial supports needed from the Department in order to fully develop and implement the model, and evidence of approval votes by the various partners.  Upon receipt, review and rating of all Part 2 applications, Part 1 scores will be combined with Part 2 scores for a final total.  Using the final total scores, the Facilities Team will develop a priority list for the Commissioner to recommend to the State Board of Education.  The Department reserves the right to recommend more than one final project or to reject all applications.

Once the successful pilot project is identified and selected the Department of Education intends to provide funds for required planning work associated with the development of the project (facilitation, legal, start up, referendum, etc.). Decisions about renovation, expansion or building a new facility will be made during this planning phase.

The Part 1 application is due on May 1, 2017 and the Part 2 application is due 6 months after receipt of formal written authorization to proceed from Part 1.  Both applications can be downloaded from http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/Part 1 and 2 9 – 16 Application 1.19.17.docx.

Information about this project can be found at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/construction/index.html.   Integrated, consolidated school construction regional meetings regarding this application have been set up and times and locations can be found online.  All questions should be asked at one of the upcoming regional meetings. Those questions and answers will be posted online in an effort to provide all schools with the same information.

School Administrative Units seeking funding for major school construction, renovation, and consolidation projects within their school unit should use the Major Capital School Construction Program to address those needs. That application is available at http://www.maine.gov/doe/facilities/documents/application2017-18.docx.  Those applications are due on April 14, 2017.

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ESSA web page launched

The following Priority Notice was sent on July 7, 2016

The Maine Department of Education has launched its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) web page that will continue to develop as the State builds its framework in implementing the law signed by President Obama in December.

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to create a long-term, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages innovation, while at the same time holding states accountable for results.

You can visit here to learn more about the six areas of interest being developed. In addition, Maine DOE recognizes the value of local stakeholder engagement, and the Department asks for feedback via a survey. Survey results will be collected now through August 31.

 

 

The Maine State Board of Education has renewed leadership and new members

For Immediate Release  Monday, April 4

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has reappointed Martha Harris to the State Board of Education for a second five-year term.  She has served on the Board since 2010, including one year as vice chair and as chair of the Board since July of 2015.

Harris is an accomplished lawyer practicing in Bangor since 1977 with a wealth of expertise in family law and mediation which are closely related to the work she does with the State Board of Education. Her involvement in education spans from her 20 plus years of service on the RSU 22 School Board to her involvement in the National Association of State Boards of Education.

“I have observed there are few people in Maine who have a busier schedule than Martha Harris,” said Governor LePage. “Despite her packed schedule of mediations, court appearances and professional obligation, Martha always makes time for the important work of the State Board of Education, and I appreciate her dedicated service.”

Joining the Board are John Bird of Rockland and Wilson Hess of Freedom for five-year terms, as well as student representative Elise McKendry of Jackman for a two-year term.

Bird spent 29 years as an educator and administrator. He has been an education consultant to 268 schools and organizations in 41 states and five other nations or territories as through the President Educators’ Collaborative.

In addition to his long career in the field of education, Bird currently serves on the boards of the Strand Theater, the Penobscot Bay YMCA and the Island Institute, and he is a member of the Maine Charter Schools Commission.

Bird is a graduate of Rockland High School class of 1955. He holds BA in political science from Bowdoin and a Masters in School Administration from George Washington University.

Former President of the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Wilson Hess joined the Board. During his tenure at UMFK, Hess was an advocate for expanding access to college courses for high school students throughout the state, perhaps best known for his success in expanding early college access through the Bridge Year program and AP4ALL.

Hess was also once a history professor at Unity College; he also served as registrar and an assistant dean before being named President 13 years later, a position he held for over a decade.

Outside of the educational arena, Hess has coached and refereed lacrosse, served on boards such as the Maine Conservation School in Bryant Pond, the Maine Children’s Alliance, the Maine Charitable Foundation’s Waldo County Fund, the Town of Freedom’s Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee, the Northern Maine Development Council Aroostook Partnership for Progress and the Mitchell Institute.

Student Elise McKendry is a sophomore at Forest Hills Consolidated School and student representative to the community’s School Board, which has allowed her to embrace and demonstrate her true leadership qualities.

McKendry is a member of one of the first classes that will graduate through a proficiency-based system at Forest Hills Consolidated School, giving her a valuable perspective on proficiency that she can bring to the State Board of Education. She is involved in a number of extracurricular activities including Speech and Debate, Math Team, Book Club, Jackman Youth Leadership, golf among many others.

While the State Board receives some staff support from the Maine Department of Education, it is an independent body. For more information, visit the State Board of Education.

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Student sought to serve on State Board of Education — applications due Feb. 22

The Maine State Board of Education is seeking a student from the second congressional district in Maine to serve as a participating, non-voting member. Student members have all the responsibilities and privileges of regular members. The responsibilities include: being knowledgeable of current education issues, carefully preparing for regular monthly meetings and participating actively in the discussions of the Board.

Continue reading “Student sought to serve on State Board of Education — applications due Feb. 22”

State Board of Education elects new leadership

AUGUSTA – The Maine State Board of Education has new leadership, having elected Martha J. Harris as chair and Alan R. Burton as vice-chair. Come September, Ms. Harris will have served on the board for five years having been appointed by Governor Baldacci and one year for Mr. Burton, appointed by Governor Paul R. LePage.

Continue reading “State Board of Education elects new leadership”

Department, State Board reopens rule related to exams for educator credentialing

The Maine DOE and the State Board of Education have reopened for further public comments the rules regarding the qualifying examinations for credentialing purposes for teachers, educational specialists and administrators.

Continue reading “Department, State Board reopens rule related to exams for educator credentialing”

State Education Board welcomes new leadership

AUGUSTA – The Maine State Board of Education has new leadership, having elected Peter E. Geiger as chair and Martha J. Harris as vice-chair.

Geiger, of Lewiston, had previously served as vice-chair and replaces outgoing chair Nancy Perkins, who will remain on the board. He is the Executive Vice President of Geiger, the largest family-owned promotional products company in the country headquartered in Lewiston and is additionally editor and publisher of the Farmers’ Almanac.

Continue reading “State Education Board welcomes new leadership”

Certification changes to become effective May 14

The Maine State Board of Education has finally adopted the revised Rule for Certification, Authorization and Approval of Education Personnel. The two part (Rule Chapter 115, Part I and Part II) revised rule becomes effective May 14.

Continue reading “Certification changes to become effective May 14”