Future Teachers Academy: Free Event for High School Students Interested in Exploring the Field of Education

Future Teachers Academy, an event for students who are interested in exploring the field of education, is being hosted by Thomas College and will be held on November 8th from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm on their campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

During the event students will be able to participate in a daylong, hands-on and experimental teaching environment, led by professional faculty from the Thomas College School of Education, as well as partners from the Maine Department of Education and Maine Teachers of the Year.

Future Teachers Academy

When: November 8, 2019, 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
Thomas College
Open to Maine high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Register here

For further information please call (207) 859-1111.


Hampden Academy Recognized for their Dedication to Creating a Climate of Inclusion

Submitted by Cindy Carlisle, Student Data Specialist for Regional School Unit  22.

Hampden Academy in RSU 22 was named on ESPN Honor Roll for 2019 — a list of top 34 schools from across the country — as part of its Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.

A “Unified Champion School” is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence developed by a panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.

The aim of Unified Champion Schools is to incorporate Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower the youth to be the agents of change in their communities. shifting the focus from the events to that of a whole school movement for inclusion. Special education and general education students — along with educators and administrators — are encouraged to work together to create supportive classrooms, schoolwide activities and opportunities for growth and success for all.

See the full list here

Maine High School Students Can Still Apply for Early College Courses 

The University of Maine System released the following message yesterday regarding applications for early college courses:

Maine students and their families still have one week to explore and apply for Early College courses at all of Maine’s Public Universities using the ExploreEC Portal.  The portal is new for the fall semester and classes start September 3rd.  UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy welcomed students and their families to Orono today for an Early College Orientation and urged everyone to share the news that students throughout the state still have to apply now for fall Early College courses.

Apply Now with New ExploreEC Portal:  The University of Maine System launched the ExploreEC portal to allow high school students to explore and apply for Early College courses at all seven campuses with one streamlined application.  Students from 120 Maine high schools and homeschooled students have already used the ExploreEC portal to register for classes this fall and over 300 school counselors have received training and access to support students with the online application process.  Students still have a week to explore and apply at: ExploreEC.maine.edu

Earn $3,000 in Free College Credits with Early College Career Exploration Certificates:  High school students can now explore and begin preparing for careers with immediate opportunities in the Maine workforce.  The Early College Career Exploration Certificates guide high school students as they learn about majors and career options.  Upon completion, students earn a designation on their university transcript. The college credits they earn can save their families approximately $3,000 in tuition costs.  Visit  https://academics.maine.edu/early-college/pathways/ to learn more about the Early College Career Exploration Certificates being offered.

Read the entire media release from the University of Maine System here or visit: http://www.maine.edu/thousands-heading-back-school-early-college/

Maine Reaches Federal Milestone in Special Education

Maine is proud to be one of 20 other states in the nation to meet federal requirements for serving the needs of children with disabilities. This rigorous effort was led by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) Office of Special Services.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states are required to report each year to the US Department of Education regarding their progress in meeting “measurable and rigorous targets” to serve students with disabilities. This determination is based on how well schools address the needs of children with disabilities. As part of the review process, Maine and other states were evaluated based on several factors, including student performance and fulfilling IDEA’s procedural requirements.

Members of the Special Services Team at the DOE have been hard at work to partner with and support schools to ensure the quality of education for disabled students in Maine continues to improve. Their strategy has been to identify areas where the state has struggled and use targeted professional development and collaboration with district administrators and teachers to improve those areas. Child Development Services has also been utilized to enhance support for children with disabilities from birth to the age of five. As part of a broader Department-wide effort, this strategy has helped to further emphasize student support and achievement.

One, among many other, contributing factors for the 2019 review, was the increased amount of Maine students with disabilities who participated in standardized testing compared to the previous year. The state receives full points from the federal government if at least 90% of students with disabilities participate in standardized testing.

“We’ve been working really hard to make sure the Department is providing the support needed to help schools improve their practices with children with disabilities,” said Jan Breton, Acting Director of the Office of Special Services. “It takes a strong team of people, both here at the Department and in the field, to make sure that our State is meeting these requirements,” she added.

The commitment and collaboration of students, families, educators, and the Maine DOE has enabled Maine to meet requirements by several percentage points. Additionally, the support and guidance that enables students with disabilities to make smooth transitions from secondary school to post-graduation living has also improved, and the dropout rate for students with disabilities has decreased. With more Maine students receiving their diplomas, these young people can expect improved employability and a wider spread of higher education options after high school.

This milestone gives the Department the opportunity to refocus efforts on collaborative and student-focused growth, as well as areas in which Maine has not yet scored full points as part of the requirements. One example is around the team’s efforts to improve the state’s federal ratings for math scores through the Math4ME program. This program is grounded in hands-on activities and interactive professional learning experiences that allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of core concepts of mathematics and strategies. The program focuses on students with disabilities in grades 3-8.

Maine’s special education professionals are passionate and dedicated in their daily work to improve the lives and outcomes of children with disabilities. With our strong team of professionals here at the Maine DOE and our valuable partnerships with educators, administrators, families, and stakeholders statewide, we hope to continue our important work toward ongoing growth, improvement, and alignment in special education in our state.

A Hopeful Path Forward at Maine’s Opiate Crisis Summit

In her opening remarks at the Opiate Response Summit, Governor Janet Mills expressed her appreciation for Gordon Smith. One of the Governor’s first actions, post-inauguration, was to found the Opiate Response and Prevention Taskforce directed by Smith. Mills’ founding of this taskforce underscores what a large priority the Opiate Epidemic represents for Mainers. Turning the Tide: Maine’s Path Forward in the Opiate Crisis, a summit which packed the Augusta Civic Center with over 1,000 people on the 15th, represented an overwhelmingly hopeful attitude towards harm reduction and prevention. Several days prior to the event, Smith commented that the need to cap registration at 1,050 people was a good problem to have. Many are invested in solving this Crisis.

The Governor opened the event with a grave message stressing the urgent need for awareness, and what is at stake for Maine families. In the past five years, 1,700 Mainers have died of drug overdose. If 1,700 baby seals washed up dead on the beach, said Mills, there would be a massive public response. “These are not ‘druggies’,” said Mills, “they are neighbors.” The Governor stressed in her speech that people affected by substance use disorders are family members: they are sons and daughters and parents, employees and employers, neighbors and friends.

Commissioners from many government Departments such as Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and Law Enforcement were present. Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin was also in attendance. Following the Governor’s remarks, attendees heard from Sam Quiones, author of Dreamland, a book which outlines the evolution of an American Opioid Crisis.

Afterward, the nine morning breakout sessions began. These were hosted by a variety of experts. The diverse topics from both morning and afternoon sessions included the following critical subjects:

· Addressing Stigma: Using Researched-Based Evidence

· Building Public Health Infrastructure

· Needle Exchanges and Naloxone Distributions

· Challenges in Recovery Centers and Housing

· Community Prevention Services at Work

· Data to Action: Harnessing Information to Tackle the Opioid Crisis

· Emerging Threats: Current and Predictive Trends

· Harm Reduction with Neonatal Focus

· How to Best Navigate Jobs and Transportation During Recovery

· Improving Access to Medications for OUD: Considerations for Special Populations

· Improving Access to Medications for OUD: Engaging More Clinicians to Offer Treatment

· Law Enforcement and its Role of Bringing Hope to Recovery

· MaineWorks: Offering Dignity, Trust, and a Path Forward

· OD Mapping and Overdose Response Through Community Partnerships

· Responsible Prescribing and Pain Control Debate: Has the Pendulum Swung Too Far?

· State Prevention Services: Opioid Task Force Update

· The Importance of Law Enforcement in Community Based Recovery

· The Power of Community Coalitions

· Voices of Recovery: Panel of Individuals in Recovery

Peter Michaud, Debate Moderator addressed the audience at the Responsible Prescribing and Pain Control Debate breakout session.

At lunch, the parents of two young men who lost their lives to substance abuse disorders spoke and shared their story before the assembled audience. Former White House Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, then spoke on the importance of community support in the recovery process. Speaking on his own experience with the disorder, he highlighted the stigma which only perpetuates the issue. “Epidemics don’t happen in a vacuum,” he said. Botticelli stressed the ways in which the epidemic is exacerbated by poor data, over-prescription, and lack of information and resources. He closed his remarks by pointing out the number of options that Maine should employ moving forward, saying “We cannot dictate other people’s paths to recovery.”

The panel of speakers who following the afternoon breakout session demonstrated a deluge of support from state government bodies all over New England and the North East. The Senior Advisor to the Governor of Rhode Island Tom Coderre, Senior Advisor to the Governor of New Hampshire David Mara, and the Commissioner of Health in Vermont Dr. Mark Levine sat on the panel, as well as the President of the American Medical Association Dr. Patrice Harris. Coderre succinctly represented the mentality of support shared by those in attendance when he encouraged Maine to “flatter Rhode Island by mimicking any of their ideas.” The goal of the Summit was to build on existing positive information so New England can better tackle this unprecedented Crisis.

Turning the Tide: Maine’s Path Forward in the Opiate Crisis served as a lightning rod for activists who wish to generate a reason for hope. And there are reasons to be hopeful. The Summit alone demonstrates an effort by the administration and the public to address an Opiate

Crisis sweeping Maine and America. Those in the recovery process are being given a larger voice at the table. Maine Law Enforcement is now prepared to administer Naloxone to those experiencing an overdose. In fact, 2017 was Maine’s high water mark for overdoses. We are turning the tide, and this Summit was among the first steps of many more to come.