Two Maine Students Named 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the 55th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields. Maine’s two scholars are Rohan Ben Freedman, from Cape Elizabeth High School, and Emma Hargreaves, from Old Town High School.

“I want to congratulate this year’s class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s leaders are among this year’s class of Scholars.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,200 candidates qualified for the 2019 awards, determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 Scholars in the Arts, and 20 Scholars in Career and Technical Education.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,500 of the nation’s top-performing students with an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The 2019 ceremony will be held June 23, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

A complete list of 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars is available at http://www.ed.gov/psp.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program in Maine, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642.

Updates for Major Capital Construction Program and Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Facilities Pilot

Major Capital School Construction Program

The scoring process for the Major Capital School Construction Program is complete for the 74 schools visited during the Fall of 2017.  The proposed priority list was presented to the State Board of Education at its June 13, 2018 meeting and accepted. This initiates a 30 day period in which schools on the list have the chance to appeal the scoring process.

To view the Major Capital School Construction Program priority list visit the Maine DOE’s Facilities website.

Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project

The re-scoring process for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project is complete for the three applicants selected to move forward to complete part 2 of the application process. As part of the Department’s EMBRACE Regionalization initiative, the applicants consist of partnerships between school districts and their CTE, higher education, and business partners.

The priority list for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project was presented to the State Board of Education at its June 13, 2018 meeting and accepted. This initiates a 30 day period in which the three part 2 applicants on the list have the chance to appeal the scoring process.

To view the priority list for the Integrated, Consolidated 9-16 Education Facility Pilot Project visit the Maine DOE’s Facilities website. Learn more about the pilot project here.

For further information, contact Maine DOE Director of School Construction Scott Brown at (207) 624-6883.

MEDIA RELEASE: Former superintendent, Fern Desjardins to serve on Maine State Board of Education

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has announced that Dr. Fern Desjardins of Aroostook County will serve on the Maine State Board of Education. Desjardins was sworn into office at the Department of the Secretary of State in Augusta on May 1, 2018. She is a life-long resident of St. Agatha, and will serve as a representative of Congressional District 2 on the State Board.

Desjardins is a former Superintendent of Schools in MSAD #33 and has spent a 43-year career in the school system. She taught graduate level courses for UMaine as an adjunct faculty member in their outreach programs in Aroostook County for almost a decade.  She holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Language Arts from UMaine, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from USM, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UMFK.

Since her retirement in June 2017, Desjardins continues to be active in education by serving as a facilitator for the regionalization efforts of five northern Penobscot County school systems, a member of the English Learners Advisory Council at the Maine DOE, and is involved in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs and other initiatives of the Maine DOE.

“My work in education has always been, and continues to be, my real passion in life. Being a member of the State Board of Education is truly an honor, and it is in perfect harmony with what I most enjoy doing – providing the students of all our communities with the best education that taxpayers can afford.  I am blessed to be given the opportunity to be a voice for the students and citizens of Maine by serving on the State Board.”

Desjardins has accepted appointments to work on the Construction Committee and the Maine Charter School Commission as a member of the State Board. “I believe that my educational background and varied experiences will enable me to positively contribute to discussions and decision-making processes of the State Board and the committees to which I am appointed.”

Desjardins replaces former State Board of Education member, the Honorable Nichi Farnham of Bangor.

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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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