MEDIA RELEASE: Seven Maine Seniors Named U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalists

U.S. Department of Education has named seven Maine students as semifinalists in the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The national program recognizes seniors across the country as being among our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.

“I am incredibly proud of the continued academic accomplishments of Maine students through the inevitable disruptions over the past year,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “I applaud these talented students on their well-deserved recognition and wish them the very best as they transition into the next exciting chapter of their lives.”

The semifinalist scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas including academic and artistic success, career and technical fields, leadership, and involvement in school and the community.  They represent excellence in education and are among the most accomplished youth in our country.

From nearly 3.6 million graduating high school seniors from across the country, over 6,500 students were identified as candidates in this program. 625 semifinalists were selected, 7 of whom are from Maine.

Maine U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalists:

Harshini K. Chaganti
Scarborough High School

Devon Michael Hunter
John Bapst Memorial High School

Pedro Santiago Little-Siebold
Ellsworth High School

**Culiandra Rose Nero
Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School

Swetha Palaniappan
Cape Elizabeth High School

Wade F. Wahlig
Falmouth High School

Aislynn K Worden
Sanford High School

** Semifinalist for U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education

The semifinalists form the pool from which the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be chosen in May. Visit http://www.ed.gov/psp for the complete list of semifinalists across the country.

Opportunity for Child Care Subsidy Assistance for Families

Please share this information from DHHS Office of Child and Family Services’ (OCFS) with your school communities.

Are you a family in need of support for the cost of child care?  The Office of Child and Family Services’ (OCFS), based in Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), administers the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) which helps eligible families to pay for child care so they can work, go to school or participate in a job training program.

Eligible families must meet the income guidelines and at least one of the following activities: work, school, and/or job training program. The CCSP is available for children ages 6 weeks to 13 years, as well as for children with identified special needs or under court supervision up to age 19. For more information on CCSP please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/ec/occhs/step.htm

Through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSA) Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), CCSP will be waiving copayments from 03/27/21 through 03/25/22 or until funding is no longer available.  CCSP will be reimbursing providers for the full amount of care based on individual award letters. For more information on OCFS’s CRRSA strategies please read the following: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/documents/covid-19/CRRSA%20Funding%20Strategies.pdf

For more information, please contact your county specialist at: Financial Resources Specialist

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Available for Eligible Families

The Maine Department of Education asks that our school and district partners please share this important information with families that may need housing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MaineHousing and Maine’s Community Action Agencies are accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program helps pay rent and utility costs for eligible renters affected by COVID-19. Maine’s Community Action Agencies are running this program in communities across Maine.

Program information and the application link can be found here: mainehousing.org/covidrent

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For further information or questions, please reach out to MaineHousing at (800) 452-4668 or (207) 626-4600.

MYAN to Host Virtual Youth Leadership Conference April 15th and 16th

MYAN (Maine Youth Action Network) is hosting its very first virtual youth leadership conference on April 15th and 16th.

The virtual conference is designed by and for middle school and high school aged young people, as well as recent graduates and college-aged youth. Unlike the in-person conferences from years past, this event is free to attend!

Happening across two days – April 15th and 16th – the virtual conference flows between community spaces, interactive workshops, and featured keynotes from storied youth leaders here in the state of Maine. Main conference events last from 10:00am to 2:30pm each day.

The interactive workshops and keynote speakers will connect you to other young leaders and to topics that support your passions, advocacy, leadership skills and interests!

View full Workshop Descriptions on MYAN’s blog, or download the conference agenda and workshop descriptions using these links:

The conference is also a place for young people to meet like-minded youth and start important conversations. Some community focused workshops will focus on building skills or connections to work already happening that might support young people in their lives such as:

Storytelling through music and art, community driven research, spoken word & poetry, self-care strategies, facilitation skills, public speaking, outdoor adventure, Maine youth organizing efforts and much more!

How to register

To register for the conference, click the button below and fill out the registration form! Registration will close on April 6, 2021. MYAN will send you details for how to log in to the conference after you register. The first 50 registrants will be mailed a free conference tee shirt!

Register here

Virtual conference platform

Whova will be used to host the conference virtually! It’s a secure virtual conference platform you’ll use to access workshops and keynotes. More info about how to access the platform will be emailed to all registrants. You can either access Whova from an internet browser or download the app on Apple and Android devices. From there you’ll be able to sign up for specific workshops, make your own profile, access the schedule, and start connecting with other participants!

For further information or questions, contact MYAN: https://www.myan.org/contact-us/

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Available to Eligible Families in April

The FCC recently adopted a Report and Order that established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

Benefits of the program include:

  • Up to $50/month discount for broadband services;
  • Up to $75/month discount for broadband services for households on Tribal lands; and
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
  • The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household.

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program, including those who are on Medicaid or receive SNAP benefits;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019- 2020 school year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
The FCC expects the Emergency Broadband Benefit program to be open to eligible households before the end of April, 2021. Please check the FCC’s website, www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, regularly for the latest information. Once up and running, eligible households will be able to enroll through participating broadband providers or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

Many types of broadband providers can qualify to provide service in this program. The FCC is currently setting up the systems needed for providers to participate. Contact information for the providers participating in the program will be posted on USAC’s website: https://www.usac.org/.

For more information, the Report and Order along with the rules governing this program can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-report-and-order-emergency-broadband-benefit-program-0.