School Bus Driver Expands Winter Clothing Drive, “Keeping Kids Warm ♥️ Hudson”

Lewiston school bus driver Ivy Corliss is expanding her local winter clothing drive in hopes of gathering and providing warm winter gear to give to kids across the Maine who need it. She says she hopes to help kids “stay warm so they can focus on learning and enjoying time with friends at recess.”

I love being a bus driver but sometimes we have heavy hearts when we see kids who don’t have basic winter gear to keep warm. There was a young child in tears on my bus whose hands and face were beat red because they had no winter hat, mittens or boots. So I was able to find them what was needed at home and now they are nice and warm. This is just one of the many children and young adults that don’t have warm winter gear. 

By teaming up with schools nurses, local businesses, and many “big hearted” people across Maine, Ivy has created a clothing drive through her Facebook Group, Keeping Kids Warm ♥️ Hudson. She hopes to expand those efforts to more schools to help ensure that kids around the state have access to winter gear.

Any schools that are interested, can contact Ivy Corliss directly. She hopes to communicate with schools directly when winter gear is needed so that she can get the word out to potential donors.

If you would like to get in contact with Ivy Corliss she can be reached at (207) 320-9507 or

MSAD 13/RSU 83 Valley Junior High School Students Perform The Prince and the Pauper

Submitted by Sandra J MacArthur, Superintendent of Schools MSAD 13/RSU 83.

Valley Junior High School presented The Prince and the Pauper on Nov 22nd.  Approximately 50 Valley Junior High School students practiced Nov 18th – Nov 21st under the direction of Children’s Stage Adventures.

It was amazing to watch the students’ progress throughout the week. The students’ self-esteem, pride in their accomplishments, and confidence increased on a daily basis.  Their week of hard work ended with them presenting their production twice on Nov 22nd to the students, staff, parents, and community members.

The Windham Eagle Lifestyles: Manchester school students celebrate National Farm to School Movement

This article was written by Maine student Joe McNerney.

Hands were washed and chef hats were on as fourth and fifth grade students entered the cafeteria. In the middle of many tables, freshly grown carrots were set and ready to be used. This is what the scene looked like on Monday, November 4 at Manchester School. In a recent press release, it was announced that the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry and the Maine Department of Education teamed up with the Manchester School to promote the growing farm-to-school movement in Maine.

“The students participated in a day of activities to celebrate growing, harvesting and eating local food. The event was designed to raise awareness about the importance of local food, school gardens and the relationship schools are developing with local farms to provide fresh, quality fruits, vegetables and produce to Maine schools,” stated the press release.

Stacey Sanborn, fourth grade teacher, explained how the food is grown by the students. “We tend to the hoop house all school year,” she said. “Students help maintain and pick vegetables and sometimes we are able to send the food home that has been produced by the student for students in need.”

Briefly, a hoop house is a form of greenhouse that consist of a series of large hoops or bows—made of metal, plastic pipe or wood covered by heavy plastic. It is heated by the sun and cooled by the wind. Although winter is coming, and some students may be less than thrilled to trudge through snow, they will none the less keep up on the hoop house.

Ryan Roderick, head chef and nutrition coordinator for and Jeanne Reilly, director of school nutrition,
led the educational sessions with the students. During the class, students from fourth and fifth grades made fresh curried carrot soup and carrot muffins.

Students had the opportunity to wash, peel, chop carrots and onions as well as sauté the vegetables. For the muffins, students grated carrots, measured and mixed the ingredients and portioned them into muffin cups. At the end of the class, students and teachers all were able to try the soup and muffins made with carrots from their school garden and fully experience what the farm-to-school experience is all about.

“It was refreshing to see young faces so excited about cooking,” stated Pam Lanz who had worked with the school for 21 years as a guidance counselor prior to taking up her post as garden leader. “Many of the students are hesitant to try most of the vegetables. However, when peers try, they are more likely to give it a chance.”

Once the ingredients were ready, some students prepared muffins while the others prepared the carrot curry soup. Which was garnished with Greek yogurt and chives.

Students all agreed and said with pride after eating the food they had prepared, “The food tasted better because we cooked it.”
Teaching kids at a young age that there is value to growing and making your own food is outstanding. It teaches the art of horticulture and self-sustainability. “Many of our students tale home what they learn,” Sanborn said. “They share it with parents and hopefully they in turn will start gardening more.”

Lanz quickly agreed, “We want to make backyard farmers out of them all.”
The Manchester School is one of the more than 400 Maine schools that participate in a farm-to-school program. The event was designed to raise awareness about the importance of local food, school gardens and the relationship schools are developing with local farms to provide fresh, quality fruits, vegetables and produce to Maine schools.

Portland High School Partner Spotlight: Tyler Karu

Submitted by Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator, Portland High School. Each month we will feature a community partner. We are excited to open this series with Tyler Karu!

Tyler Karu of Tyler Karu Design and Interiors has been an incredible partner of Portland High’s Extended Learning Opportunities since November of 2016. She has participated in every possible opportunity including hosting students for job shadow day and internships in addition to serving on career panels and doing mock interviews for 9th graders.

Tyler was inspired to start working with Portland High because she wanted to set an example of a strong woman in business. She says, “I wanted to be example of someone who can make a mark in my own little community…[I wanted to show that] women have a seat at the table and can do anything we want.” 

She has continued to work with Portland High School over the years because she is inspired by the students. She finds that the student body is interested and engaged. She says, “There aren’t a lot of high schools that prepare students for real life. I think Portland High just does such a good job with that and it makes kids more interested in job and professional life and learning about careers and future directions. I think Portland High is preparing the students for life skills.”

To other businesses that want to get involved, she says that, “It is our responsibility as business owners and professional people to reach back out into the community and offer help and support. What better group to reach out to than high schoolers who are thinking about the next step in their lives?”

Through Extended Learning Opportunities, Tyler is able to “make a difference on a fundamental and pragmatic level,” she says. “there’s nothing more valuable.”

Business partners make a profound impact in students as well. In her internship with Tyler, Gloria Sanchez was able to solidify her passion for her chosen career path of interior design. She gained experience in creating designs and working with clients. Gloria was even hired by the company for a summer job following her internship!

We are so grateful for Tyler’s continued partnership and her leadership in supporting our students. If you are interested in getting involved with Portland High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities program through job shadows, mock interviews, internships, or career panels. Please contact Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator at

Reaching for the Stars Starts with a Strong Ground Crew

Jessica Meir declared in first grade that she wanted to be an astronaut – and she meant it. Meir made history with the first all-female space walk from the International Space Station nearly 25 years after graduating from Caribou High School. While it may seem to have been a certainty in the rear view, getting to the ISS wasn’t always a sure thing. Meir was denied acceptance to the space program on her first application. Perseverance paid off and Meir eventually became the astronaut she had always envisioned.

When Caribou High School principal Travis Barnes learned in January that Meir was likely to be going to space, he wanted his students to get involved. No one knew then that Dr. Meir would be making history as a member of the first all-female spacewalk, but Barnes knew his students had a rare opportunity to participate in a space talk. He began the monumental work required to secure a NASA “uplink” to provide students in RSU 39 the opportunity to speak to Meir in real time.

Being an astronaut’s alma mater is not reason enough to be accepted. The application had to demonstrate extensive support and involvement of the whole community and significant impact on student learning and aspirations. Developing the application for NAS meant Barnes and his teachers had to develop a myriad of opportunities to both inspire and support RSU 39 students to dream big in a small town. The RSU 39 ground crew had to include staff, students, and community to meet the rigorous requirements set by NASA. The space talk was only part of the big day.

Assembling the Ground Crew: Staff

Middle school teachers Kim Barnes, Susan Keaton, Arik Jepson, Twyla Learnard, Cheryl Pelletier, Jennifer Crawford and high school teachers Shannon Sleeper, Jessica Bell, Kayla Brown, Peg Conologue, Jessica Doucette worked with students through an inquiry process to develop a deeper understanding of the International Space Station, the current mission and tasks, issues facing the space program, and Jessica Meir’s personal journey into space. Motivated by the opportunity to speak to Meir, students worked to review and revise the questions forwarded to NASA. See those questions here.

Assembling the Ground Crew: Community

CHS Alum

CHS alum visited the school and provided students other lenses into career development and goal setting. While Jessica Meir stayed focused on her goal throughout her life, many others meandered to find their pathways and develop careers, some never considered or even known. Dustin Damboise and Jamie Corrigan created a trivia game with facts about their high school, college, and work experiences, asking students to match the facts with the person. With more than two majors listed and neither matching either job title provided, Damboise and Corrigan demonstrated to students how exploration and an open mind can lead to identifying a gratifying career. CHS alums Dan McCormack (’91), CEO of InterMed, and Darcie McElwee (’91), Assistant United States Attorney, also shared their “space walks,” encouraging students to take advantage of different opportunities, such as an internship or the military. McCormack and McElwee stressed how perseverance learned at Caribou High School shaped their journeys to career success. In total, more than a dozen graduates of CHS returned to the launch pad to support student aspirations.

Caribou and All of Maine

Other activities during the day demonstrated the importance of staying healthy despite rigorous work, sessions that focused on health and wellness, and sessions to explore potential career paths in the medical field. Denis St. Peter, PE President and CEO of CES, Inc. as well as a 1986 CHS graduate, brought three engineers with him to expose students to new experiences in the engineering world including: Game of Drones with Josh Maker (Survey Technician, Surveying Division); Watershed Down with Justine Drake (Engineer, Engineering Division); Go with the Flow with Andrea Dickinson (EI, Senior Project Engineer, Environmental Division). Students learned about the science behind protective gear, research about creating jet fuel from wood, coding, outdoor survival and much more thanks to support from agencies such as the Caribou Fire Department, Maine Emergency Management, and the Maine Forest Service. [insert photo here?] See a complete list of all the companies, agencies, organizations who were part of the RSU 39 Ground Crew.

Blast Off: Uplink with the International Space Station

Middle and high school students assembled in the auditorium of the Caribou Performing Arts Center as NASA prepared the uplink. Selected students presented questions directly to Dr. Meir. Dr. Meir was appropriately impressed by the demonstration of understanding of her work on the ISS and of other issues regarding technology and the environment as well as Dr. Meir’s personal journey to the ISS.

Students in grades K-5 remained in their respective buildings, remotely watching Jessica Meir talk to students at Caribou High School. Their day included student choice STEM activities led by classroom teachers designed to develop student creativity and problem-solving skills. Some of the sessions included Sphero rockets, designing space helmets, virtual reality, catapult execution, launching straw rockets, and trying astronaut ice cream.

A tremendous amount of time and planning was involved in making this day such an overwhelming success.  The “ground crews” ensured everyone who participated had a blast!

This article was written by Maine DOE English Language Arts Specialist, Morgan Dunton in collaboration with school staff from Caribou schools. The article is part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. For ideas or submissions for Maine Schools Sharing Success, email Rachel at