Maine FFA Aroostook Chapter Students Collaborate on Leadership

On November 15, 2019, 160 enthusiastic Aroostook County FFA student members (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) participated in a one-day workshop at the University of Maine at Presque Isle devoted to leadership skills of positive influence, prioritizing, time management, and teamwork.  The University’s Sustainable Agriculture program sponsored the event.

Student State FFA Officers Graham Berry (President), Camryn Curtis (Vice President) and Ava Cameron (Secretary-Treasurer) developed, organized and conducted the workshop, with assistance from Haillee Cunningham and Alli Kenney of Ashland High School and from Emma Burby, Brandon Dubie, Izzy Higgins, Rheanna Ortman, and Amanda Winslow of Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center.  Logistics were assisted by Doug Robertson, State FFA Advisor, Maine Department of Education.

All current FFA chapters of Aroostook County fielded students to the event:  Ashland High School, Ashland Middle School, Caribou Technology Center, Central Aroostook High School, Central Aroostook Junior High School, Easton Junior/Senior High School, Hodgdon High School, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center, Presque Isle Middle School, Washburn High School.

Considering Positive Influence in Leadership (left to right at table in foreground, five students facing camera): Hunter Cunningham, Ashland Middle School - Nick Margeson, Caribou Technology Center – Madelyn Buzza, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) - Creed Chasse, Ashland High School – Maggie Currie & Clay Gregg, PIRCTC
Considering Positive Influence in Leadership (left to right at table in foreground, five students facing camera): Hunter Cunningham, Ashland Middle School – Nick Margeson, Caribou Technology Center – Madelyn Buzza, Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center (PIRCTC) – Creed Chasse, Ashland High School – Maggie Currie & Clay Gregg, PIRCTC

Maine FFA is a statewide organization whose nearly 500 members come from grades 7-12 classes devoted to areas of agriculture and natural resources (including science curricula infused with agriculture and natural resources topics).  Workshop content included discussion of topics, brainstorming, and hands-on illustrative activities.  In additional to leadership skills, students had the chance to meet and work together with peers from other schools.  Some students at the workshop had also recently returned from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, an event attended by nearly 70,000 students from across the country.  In addition to workshops and conventions, students in FFA are often involved in local community service and may benefit from numerous awards and scholarships.

Schools interested in starting new FFA chapters should contact:  Doug Robertson, Maine FFA Advisor, Maine Department of Education, doug.robertson@maine.gov  (207) 624-6744.

Green Ribbon Schools

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that Maine is joining the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools initiative to inspire and promote effective school sustainability and collaboration. The award highlights sustainability practices undertaken at the school, district, or post-secondary institution level that are cost-saving and health promoting.
The U.S. Department of Education developed three Pillars of a green school:

  1. Reducing environmental impacts, e.g. waste, energy, transportation, etc.
  2. Improving health and wellness of schools, students and staff through consideration of school food, air quality, physical activity, etc.
  3. Offering environmental and sustainability education that is authentic, civically engaging and green career preparing.

More information regarding Green Ribbon Schools can be found on the USDOE website, and Maine’s Green Ribbon Schools application should be submitted to shari.templeton@maine.gov.

Students Learn What it is Like to be an Educator at Thomas College Teacher Academy

With a steep teacher shortage facing many communities in Maine, Thomas College and the Maine Department of Education teamed up to offer a daylong experimental teaching environment to further engage Maine students who are interested in teaching as a profession.

Students from all over Maine spent the day at Thomas College to learn more about what it’s like to be a teacher. The aspiring educators were able to participate in college level education courses offered by Thomas College professors Richard Biffle, Katie Rybakova, and by Lawrence High School teacher, Eric Brown.

The courses covered lessons in social emotional learning, inclusion, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics education, and an overview of lesson planning and implementation – what to expect (or not expect), how to think on your feet, and how make the content relevant to students. The event aimed to give students a better understanding of education as a career path, by providing hands-on experiences that can help solidify their career aspirations, and at the same time give them a taste of post-secondary education.

The unique event drew coverage from WABI and Central Maine among others who were eager to report on a collaborative effort that aims to tackle the workforce shortage of teachers in the state of Maine.

 

Maine Students Join Nearly 70,000 FFA Members in Indianapolis

Maine school representatives and student State Officers participated in the 92nd National FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) Convention on October 30-November 2, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Twelve FFA students from Ashland High School, Easton High School, and Presque Isle Regional Career & Technical Center competed in events including Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Employment Skills, Environment & Natural Resources, and Horse Evaluation. 

State FFA Officers Graham Berry (President), Camryn Curtis (Vice President) and Ava Cameron (Secretary-Treasurer) participated alongside their fellow Maine competitors, teachers and chaperones, with Graham and Camryn serving as delegates to committees on Competitions and Member Experiences.  State FFA Advisor Doug Robertson from the Maine Department of Education oversaw student State FFA Officers and participated in educational sessions with fellow staff from other states.

Maine FFA State Secretary-Treasurer Ava Cameron presents the Maine Flag at the Opening Session.
Maine FFA State Secretary-Treasurer Ava Cameron presents the Maine Flag at the Opening Session.

FFA is the largest student leadership organization in the United States, with over 700,000 members grades 7-12 enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Of these members, nearly 70,000 attended the National Convention.  Maine’s delegates helped develop recommendations for changes to the National FFA to benefit members.

The National FFA Convention provided competitions, motivational sessions, leadership workshops, awards and scholarships for student members, as well as the chance to meet peers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In addition to competitions and motivational sessions, Maine participants had the opportunity to discover Indianapolis and many local attractions including the Indiana State Museum, the rodeo and the zoo, as well as enjoying a concert featuring Brett Young.

Maine FFA State Secretary-Treasurer Ava Cameron presents the Maine Flag at the Opening Session.
Maine FFA State Secretary-Treasurer Ava Cameron presents the Maine Flag at the Opening Session.

In Maine, secondary schools with technical programs in agriculture and natural resources as well as all schools for students grades 7-12 with relevant agriculture/natural resources courses, including science curriculum infused with agriculture and natural resource topics are eligible to charter FFA chapters.

For more information, please contact:  Doug Robertson, State Advisor, Maine Department of Education, (207) 624-6744, doug.robertson@maine.gov

MLTI Student Conference 2020 Musical Performance Applications Due February 24th, 2020

The MLTI Student Conference has included live musical performances over the past several years, and this year, we would like to feature students from our PK-12 schools or local universities. There are several potential opportunities which could be filled by students from one school or from a two schools. A tentative schedule is below.

  • 8am – 9:40am – Musical performances as schools arrive, National Anthem, and performances as schools depart for sessions.
  • 12:45pm – 3:00pm – Musical performances as schools return from lunch, at some point during the UBER session, and as schools depart.

We are looking for musical performances that fit this year’s conference theme: “Celebrating 200 Years in Maine” or “Maine’s Bicentennial” and will judge applications based on how well the musical selections fit the theme, as well as how creative ideas are for the performance itself.

Ready to apply? View the application or copy and paste this link into your browser: http://bit.ly/MLTI-music-entry2020

Timeline:

  • Application Due: Monday, February 24th, 2020
  • Selection Process: February 24th – March 13th, 2020

Please note that we only have limited funding available to help reduce the cost of attendance or of travel. Because of this, invitations to perform will happen over the course of three weeks. Thank you for understanding!

Additionally, the school is responsible for ensuring students and families are okay with the students performing at an event where they will be recorded (video and photograph). These videos and photos may be shared on the local news and on social media. Families will also be asked to sign a media release form for the Department of Education and to understand that we are unable to prevent their student from being photographed or video recorded during the event if they are performing on stage. 

For answers to questions or for more information, please contact MLTI.Project@maine.gov