MEDIA RELEASE: Student Nutrition Continues Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program

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 children in Maine during the school year. With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need when school is out.

“The National School Lunch Program is an important element of the Maine public school system’s dedication to providing a healthy learning environment for students, and we are equally dedicated to ensuring that healthy environment can be extended to them even when school is not in session through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“This program seeks to address a clear health need during the summer months wherever it may be evident in Maine, and while it has been successful in doing so in the past, the Department expects that increased participation this summer will further foster this success and, as a result, the continued health of Maine students.”

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. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

In 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow. The 2018 program begins statewide today, Monday, June 18. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at:, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211. Information is available mid-June.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact, call 624-6726 or visit


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:

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 Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Civil Rights Training: Addressing Bullying Behavior, School Culture & Bias

This training is provided through the US DOE, Office for Civil Rights.

Those who should attend: principals, assistant principals, Title IX coordinators, school counselors, and other school staff who are invested in fostering safe and welcoming schools in Maine. 5.5 contact hours given.

Date: June 26, 2018
Time: 8:00am – 2:30pm
Location: Bangor High School, Peakes Auditorium
Cost: FREE

The training will include 3 sessions:

  • Beyond Bullying
    As schools work to successfully prevent and intervene in acts of bullying, they are often challenged by bullying behaviors that cross the line into civil, civil rights, or criminal law violations.  Guidance from the US DOE and US DOJ will be viewed and discussed. Participants will examine federal statutes that prohibit bullying and harassment based on protected classes, and receive information relative to possible criminal law implications when bullying behaviors cause mental or physical injury to targeted students. This session will examine the legal ramifications of “deliberate indifference” with regard to failure to address bullying in their schools. 
  •  Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators
    Culture plays a role in everything we do – it is an essential part of how we learn. It plays a role not only in communicating and receiving information but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. Culturally responsive teaching acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures and offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures. As culturally responsive educators, we recognize the importance of including students’ cultural identities in all aspects of learning, thereby enriching classroom experiences and keeping students engaged.  Participants will be provided with opportunities to examine culture – their own culture and the cultures of the students they serve. 
  •  How to Speak Up at School
    Have you ever found yourself in the uncomfortable circumstance where someone, such as a student, parent or colleague, uses biased language or stereotypes in school? Based on Teaching Tolerance’s publication, How to Speak Up at School, this session is designed for educators who want to develop the skills to speak up themselves and who want to help their students find the courage to speak up, too. When someone makes a biased statement, we must act quickly! Using video scenarios, participants will learn to use four techniques (interrupt, question, educate, and echo) to respond to biased language in the moment, from any source, in any situation.


8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Beyond Bullying
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch – on your own
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Advancing as Culturally Responsive Educators (continued from morning session)
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  How to Speak Up at School

Register here.

If you have questions, please contact April Perkins, Director of ESOL/Bilingual Programs at or (207)624-6627.

IBPA Bullying Prevention Through SEL and Kindness Summit – August 17 in Augusta

The International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) is partnering with the Maine Department of Education to provide a one-day summit to address bullying prevention through social and emotional learning and kindness.

Location: Cony High School
Date:  August 17, 2018
Time:  8:00am – 3:45pm.

Cost: $50 (includes breakfast, lunch, a signed certificate of attendance for contact hours)

The summit will have 5 keynote presentations and participants from Maine, and potentially across the U.S., will hear national presenters and be able to network with local professionals.

Topics of the day will cover bullying prevention best practices, including building healthy and positive relationships amongst school staff, talking with youth to address specific bullying behavior, and addressing bias-based interactions. Participants will walk away with tools and strategies that will be useful and meaningful when implementing bullying prevention efforts for the new school year.

Get more information and register for the Summit.

During the Summit, Maine middle and high schools are invited to participate in the inspirED Youth Leadership Conference facilitated by Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, beginning at 10:00am and ending at 2:30pm with a presentation to the Summit attendees.  This opportunity is being offered at no cost to schools and is for a team of 4 students along with 1 or 2 adult allies.  Transportation would need to be provided by the district.  The inspirED program provides social and emotional (SEL) resources, tools, inspiration and support to empower students and educators to work together to create positive change in their schools and communities.

Please click here for more information and to register for the Youth Leadership Conference.  Based on capacity, only 15 schools will be able to participate in the Youth Leadership Conference.  Register soon!

In addition to the Summit, there will also be showing of The Fat Boy Chronicles with the author Michael Buchanan on Thursday night, August 16 at 7:00pm in the Viles Auditorium at Cony High School.  This event is free and open to the public.

For additional information and questions on the IBPA Summit, the inspirED Youth Leadership Conference or the showing of The Fat Boy Chronicles, contact Sarah Ricker, Maine DOE Student Assistance Coordinator at

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Welcomes 9 Student Interns for 2018 Summer Season

Augusta, Maine – The Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced today the 9 student interns who will be working for the summer at the Maine DOE headquarters in Augusta.


Adam Barre

Barre is a sophomore at Loyola University, Maryland. He has lived in Maine his whole life and has a love for politics, business, and the state of Maine itself. Barre has volunteered in Baltimore and worked with local politicians and motivated citizens, which has been a tremendous inspiration to him. He takes great pride in being able to not only accomplish his own goals, but ensuring he can help others do the same in the process.  Barre will be working with the Department of Education’s data team, focusing on geo-mapping and working to catalogue all the major data collections for the Department.

Trevor Burns

Burns is a recent graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a major in Actuarial Science and Applied Mathematics. Burns will be assisting with the end-of-year collection process for 2017/18 student data and trying to find anomalies in that data before school ends for the summer. He will then work on a student data standards document which the DOE plans to make available to the public before school begins again next year.

Matt Bourque

Originally from South China, Maine, Bourque is an upcoming senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is double majoring in Political Science and Education. Outside of his academic life, Bourque is training for a marathon and loves the outdoors. During his internship with the DOE, Bourque will be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Lauren Porter

Porter is a third-year Social Work and Political Science student at the University of Southern Maine, where she is highly involved in her philanthropic sorority, the Service-Learning and Volunteering department, and Model United Nations. Her interests and career goals include social justice policy efforts – particularly advocacy for access to affordable healthcare. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, juggling, volunteering, and writing. During her internship with the DOE, Porter will also be acting as a support content specialist to prepare for summer professional development programs.

Adam Bovie

Bovie is a senior at the University of New Hampshire, but has lived in Vassalboro, Maine, his whole life. He is dual majoring in Communication and International Affairs at UNH, and spent the first semester of his junior year studying abroad at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. Bovie enjoys all aspects of the Communication field, but has recently been developing his skills in media production. He’ll be putting these skills to use in his role as the intern for the Commissioner of Education’s office, where he’ll be assisting in the creation of a new website for the Department as well as other multimedia communication projects.

Tyler Rollins

Rollins is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono in the New Media program. He currently lives in his home town of China, Maine, and in his spare time he enjoys playing the guitar and recording local bands. Rollins will be creating content to make Maine’s school funding formula more understandable for the legislature and general public.

Erica Hathaway

Hathaway is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono and will be graduating in December. She is studying Economics with minors in Mathematics and Business. Hathaway is originally from Vermont, but is planning to stay in Maine after graduating, at which point she would like to attend graduate school for Economics.  Hathaway is working on Maine’s contribution to a Kansas-led project that looks at school funding in all 50 states, including a state-by-state historical survey of school funding. She will also be assisting the DOE in reviewing the new Career & Technical Education funding model.

Morgan Rush

One of the Learning Through Technology interns, Rush is a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington. She studies Business Psychology with a minor in Community Health. Rush grew up in Farmingdale, Maine, and is excited to learn more about the use of technology in education.  Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.

Renée Roundy

Another Learning Through Technology intern, Roundy grew up in Lewiston, Maine, and is entering her senior year at Colgate University with a major in Educational Studies and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. This summer she is excited to learn more about various software and how technology can be utilized by teachers, especially in Special Education. Rush will be assisting with website design, event planning, and the development of resources related to MLTI and Learning Through Technology professional learning opportunities.



Maine DOE Releases Chronic Absenteeism Data in an Effort to Support Student Success

The Maine Department of Education (Department) has collected chronic absenteeism for the 2016/17 school year as a non-academic indicator of school success. Absenteeism for any reason, excused or unexcused, has potential negative consequences on student learning and it is important for schools, districts, and the Department to have this broader measure of student attendance so that we can measure student success. Previously, the Department collected Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and truancy data. ADA measures the average number of students who attend school on any given day. Truancy is a measure of unexcused absences.

Research shows a statistically strong link between school attendance, the development of academic skills, and the likelihood of high school graduation. Research also shows that when a large percentage of students are chronically absent, even the progress their peers, who have better attendance, may suffer.

Below are some additional facts to help answer questions about the shift in chronic absenteeism data collection:

Why is this important?

Chronic absenteeism is a new indicator in Maine’s Accountability system which was designed as part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Current research shows chronic absenteeism has a clear relationship to negative consequences for students, including lower achievement, disengagement from school, course failure, and increased risk of dropping out.

How is chronic absenteeism defined?

Chronic absenteeism is a measure of how many students miss a defined number of school days for any reason. In Maine, this equates to missing 10% of school days or 18 days (based upon 175 school days). As part of Maine’s accountability system, student information will be compiled into an overall school measure indicating the percentage of students at the school who have missed 10% or more of school days. For further information about how chronic absenteeism data is collected visit

Where can I find the data?

The 2016/17 chronic absenteeism data is available here. The percentage of Maine students missing 10% or more school days is higher than anticipated as this is the first year school districts have reported this data to the State.

What can schools and districts expect now?

The Department is already working to develop a system of supports available to newly identified Tier II and Tier III schools, with resources to address challenges of attendance. These supports are part of the differentiated tiered model of support under the new ESSA Accountability model with identifications being made in January 2019.

Chronic absenteeism data will be collected annually through the Maine Department of Education’s Synergy Student Information System at the end of the academic year going forward.

The Department will continue collecting truancy data, as required by Maine statute.

For further information about the Department’s ESSA Accountability Model and needed supports, contact Janette Kirk at or (207) 624-6707.