MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Convenes 2020/2021 Student Cabinet

Today the Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced that it has selected its newest members for the 2020/2021 Student Cabinet and has convened the group for its first virtual meeting to discuss education topics important to students.

The Maine DOE Student Cabinet is a group of students that meet regularly with Commissioner Makin and other leaders at the Maine DOE to discuss educational opportunities, improvements, and policy. The purpose of the Student Cabinet is to provide a forum for Maine students’ voices to be heard.

The Maine DOE, along with the Maine State Board of Education’s two student members, launched its first Student Cabinet in 2019. The inaugural year provided the opportunity students to identify and set an intentional focus on improving mental health supports in schools. The group also provided input on the Department’s Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Instruction, and has collectively identified the need for efforts to combat racism in Maine schools.

The 2020/2021 Student Cabinet is comprised of 16 students that were randomly selected to carry over from the 2019/2020 Student Cabinet, who are being joined by 17 new student members who were chosen by a selection panel through an application process. The 17 new members will serve a two-year term before their seats open for new students to apply. The overlapping application process ensures that students can apply to serve on the Maine DOE Student Cabinet every year.

The Cabinet met virtually for the first time on December 8th for an introductory meeting and the opportunity to brainstorm topics that the students felt were both relevant and important to them. The Cabinet will meet virtually each month to provide regular input to Maine DOE regarding on-going initiatives and decision making, and to work on student-led improvements to Maine’s education system.

Students that serve on the Maine DOE’s Student Cabinet are selected as representatives from each county in Maine, with consideration for grade level, learning style, and diverse experiences, interests, cultures, and backgrounds of students throughout Maine.

To learn more about the Maine DOE Student Cabinet and see a list of students on the 2020/2021 Student Cabinet, visit: The Student Cabinet Webpage.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Department of Education Opens Applications for 2020/2021 Student Cabinet 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today announced that it is opening applications for the 2020/2021 Student Cabinet, a group of students that meet regularly with Commissioner Makin and other leaders at the Maine DOE to discuss educational opportunities, improvements, and policy. The purpose of the Student Cabinet is to provide a forum for Maine students’ voices to be heard. 

The Maine DOE launched its first Student Cabinet in 2019 along with the Maine State Board of Education’s student members. The inaugural year provided the opportunity for 34 students to be selected from a pool of nearly 500 applicants to serve on the 2019/2020 Student Cabinet.  

Initially set to meet quarterly with the Commissioner, the Cabinet ended up meeting many more times virtually, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Maine and changed everything about the way schools could provide education. Not only did the group set an intentional focus on improving mental health supports in schools, which has led to a set of recommendations to schools, they have also provided input on the Department’s Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Instruction, and have begun a student led effort to combat racism in Maine schools. 

The 2020/2021 Student Cabinet will be comprised of 16 members who were randomly selected from the 2019/2020 Cabinet as well as the State Board of Education’s two student representatives, and an additional 16-20 students who will have the opportunity to apply and be selected during this round of applications. The application is open to students in grades 4 – 12 and first year of college. The newly selected members will serve for a term of two years starting on November 1, 2020.  

Student Cabinet members are selected based on representation of Maine’s geography, with a goal of at least two students serving on the Cabinet from each county in Maine each year. Students are also selected with an emphasis on inclusivity of the diverse experiences, interests, cultures, and backgrounds of students throughout Maine. 

Selected students will be expected to attend scheduled meetings, prepare for each meeting as needed, work in a collaborative manner with one another and with Department staff as needed; and express views and opinions openly, constructively, and respectfully. 

Instructions for applying:
Students interested in serving on the Maine DOE Student Cabinet will need to submit the electronic application, with consent from a parent or guardian, by Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 5 pm. Applications can be submitted electronically here. 

For more information contact Rachel Paling, Communications & Outreach Manager, Maine Department of Education at rachel.paling@maine.gov. 

Student Cabinet Meets with Commissioner Makin to Discuss Education in Maine

Students from across Maine met with Maine Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Pender Makin in Augusta for an all-day summit on December 20th. The students were each selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants to be part of the Maine Department of Education’s first Student Cabinet. The 12/20 meeting was the first of four meetings to take place this school year.

The Maine DOE and the Maine State Board of Education, with special help from the Board’s two student representatives, Jaylee Rice and Casey Maddock put together the Student Cabinet as a way to include student voice in decision making at the state level. The Cabinet is made up of students from all 16 counties in Maine in grades 4th through 1st year of college, who were selected based on their thoughtful responses on the application distributed to the public by the Maine DOE this past fall.

During the day-long meeting, students had the opportunity to connect with one another through team-building activities, along with values-based activities to help them identify the importance of their own values and that of others, including the populations they represent. The bulk of the work was done in the second half of the day, as students worked in like-age groups to categorize important topics in education for the Commissioner to be aware of, topics for discussion, and topics to act on.

The day ended with a round table discussion about the topics discussed within each of the groups. From the master list of topics, the students each got the opportunity to vote on the topics they felt were the most important to explore further as a group. Addressing issues of mental health and trauma for students, ensuring inclusive and welcoming schools for all, and ensuring equitable opportunities for all Maine students were goals the group identified as most important.

Three additional follow up meetings are being planned for the winter and spring, in addition to an online discussion board where student cabinet members will have the opportunity to engage with one another and invite other students from their region to join in county level discussions.

Maine DOE Student Cabinet Members: 

Name  County 
Klara Androscoggin
Cadence Androscoggin
Nicholas Aroostook
Damon Aroostook
Fiona Cumberland
Leela Cumberland
Katelyn Cumberland
Josh Cumberland
Monica Franklin
Mackenzie Franklin
Sarah Hancock
Avahnnah Hancock
Rhayna Kennebec
Cecilia Kennebec
Emmett Knox
Isaiah Knox
Emma Lincoln
Zaid Lincoln
Alexi Oxford
Connor Oxford
Maya Penobscot
Sam Penobscot
Brooke Piscataquis
Isabel Sagadahoc
Madison Sagadahoc
Savea Somerset
Annabelle Somerset
Gaby Waldo
Stephanie Waldo
Matthew Washington
Sarah York
William York