Buckfield Junior Senior High School Teacher Takes on Morning Announcements to Stay Connected with Students

With many schools offering various learning modes through the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and staff alike are going above and beyond to stay connected with their students, both to keep them engaged in learning and to support their wellbeing.

Buckfield Junior Senior High School Teacher Annette Caldwell has been providing morning announcements and news to her school community recently, including the weather and some tips and tricks for staying on track while learning remotely.

While the school was providing learning in a hybrid model, the morning announcements were created by students, with direction and guidance from Annette. More recently, the school has transitioned to a fully remote learning model and Annette has taken on doing the announcements completely. She makes a point to do one everyday for students.

Check out a recent announcement created by Annette in the embedded video below.

“So many of our staff across RSU 10 are going above and beyond,” said RSU 10 Superintendent Deborah Alden.

Lets all take a moment to appreciate and thank our schools, educators, administrators, and staff members for everything they are doing to keep students engaged and learning during this difficult and exhausting time.

Information for this story was provided by RSU 10 as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Hannaford Expands ‘Fuel Kids at School’ Pantry Initiative to Maine’s Community Colleges

Hannaford Supermarkets announced today an expansion of its ‘Fuel Kids at School’ pantry initiative to Maine’s community colleges with a donation of $35,000 to establish and expand pantries at all seven community college campuses. The donation will be used for startup and buildout of pantry and storage spaces as well as food costs.

Based on research conducted with Preble Street in Portland, system officials estimate that at least 40% of students enrolled at the colleges are food insecure.

“This generous donation not only helps keep these food pantries stocked, it provides for freezers and refrigerators that will allow these food pantries to provide a range of food options for years to come,” said Maine Community College System President David Daigler. “Our students can’t learn if they’re hungry. These food pantries, many of them student-run, are a critical resource for our students and their families.”

More than $15,000 of the donation will be used to stock food with the remaining funds going toward refrigerators, freezers, and renovations at five of the campuses. (Editor’s note: For a breakdown by campus, please refer to the graph at the end of the release.) The Colleges will work directly with Good Shepherd Food Bank on preparatory and operational logistics, including food safety training and inspections and food purchases.

“By removing barriers and bringing food right to where people already are and through folks they already trust is such a win-win,” said Shannon Coffin, Vice President of Community Partnerships at Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The donation is a part of Hannaford’s $1 million commitment to ‘Fuel Kids at School’ pantry initiative launched in November 2019 to establish 90 school food pantries across the northeast, including 30 in Maine. Since then, all 30 school-based food pantries have been established at Head Start preschools across the state in partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Watch this video to hear directly from students, college leaders, and community partners about the importance of providing access to food at Maine’s community colleges across Maine:  https://bcove.video/3jVHeHH

This story is part of the Maine Department of Education’s Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Portland High School Seniors Create Online Historical Journal to Publish Student Research Papers

Three Portland High School seniors who excel in doing original historical research have created a digital journal so that they and other high school students can have a place to publish their historical scholarship.


“Our idea and our current mission is to create an outlet for students wishing to share their hard work and research in a published historical journal, one made specifically for high school students by high school students,” say the three co-founders and editors of The Nor’Easter High School Historical Journal, Lucy Howe, Hannah Prue, and Zoe Bertsch.


They have sent out a call for papers to high school principals in Cumberland County, encouraging them to have their students submit research-based history papers to the journal by the deadline of Feb. 28, 2021. The journal, which also serves as the three students’ senior capstone project, will issue its first edition in the spring.


Since they were sophomores, Lucy, Hannah and Zoe have been working closely with PHS history teacher Gavin Glider to do historical research and write papers based on their scholarship.


“In our sophomore year, we had the honor and opportunity to present research done in our AP U.S. History class at the Maine Bicentennial History Conference, held at the University of Maine,” the students explained in their call for papers. “Over the summer, a similar opportunity arose at the New England Historical Association’s bi-annual conference at Roger Williams University. At both conferences, we attended seminars, spoke to graduate students and professors, and learned about the history of Maine, New England, and beyond.”


At the first conference, Lucy presented an essay titled “A History of Female Power;” Zoe presented a paper on “Feminism and Female Combat in the American Revolution;” and Hannah’s presentation was on “The Salem Witch Trials and Modern Day Witch Hunts.”


At the second conference, Hannah presented a paper titled “Dorothea Dix and Prison Reform in the 1800s;” Zoe’s presentation was on “Harriet Tubman’s Unifying Effects on Abolitionism and Feminism;” and Lucy presented a paper titled “Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage and Beyond.”


The three said they were the only high school students at the conferences. While there, “several attendees at both conferences asked us where our work was published, as they wanted to learn more. To this inquiry, we had to sadly report that it was not yet published anywhere.”


That inspired the three to create the online journal, Glider explained. “Due to the lack of opportunities for high school students to publish research, they decided to create their own journal as a capstone project,” he said. “The goal is to expand this project over the next couple of years to encompass all of New England. All three plan to continue as editors of the journal during their college careers.”


The three journal co-founders and editors plan to include 30 papers in the journal, which may cover any topic in any discipline of history. “Whether they see this as an experience to learn, to boost their college applications, or to further immerse themselves in historical research, we hope that students will participate in this truly unique project,” the editors say.

For more information, contact PHS history teacher Gavin Glider at glideg@portlandschools.org

This story is submitted by Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.


MEDIA RELEASE: RSU 38 Students Create Ornaments for National Christmas Tree Display in Washington, D.C.

RSU 38 Students Create Ornaments for National Christmas Tree Display in Washington, D.C.

Students from 56 schools across the country, including Maine Regional School Unit (RSU) 38 serving Maranacook area students, have designed one-of-a-kind ornaments for the 2020 National Christmas Tree display on the Ellipse in President’s Park. These unique ornaments will adorn 56 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree. The trees represent each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia as part of the America Celebrates ornament display. This year, several ornaments from each school will also be displayed inside the White House.

“We are so proud of Visual Art Educator Nicole Blake and her students in RSU 38 for their dedication to creating original-design ornaments for both the state of Maine tree and the tree that appears in the Blue Room of the White House,” said Jason Anderson, Maine DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist.

The America Celebrates ornament program is a collaboration of the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Foundation (NPF). The U.S. Department of Education worked through state art and education offices, which identified elementary, middle and high schools to participate in the America Celebrates program. The project is funded by the NPF.

From state flowers to notable landmarks, students created ornaments that celebrate their state, district or territory. Students from RSU 38 pictured with the the ornament they designed can be seen below:

56 schools designed ornaments for the 2020 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park:

Alabama: Shelby County High School
Alaska: IDEA Homeschool
American: Samoa Lupelele Elementary School
Arizona: Pinnacle High School
Arkansas: Wooster Elementary School
California: Riverside STEM Academy
Colorado: Meeker High School
Connecticut: Berlin Public Schools
Delaware: Newark High School
District of Columbia: Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC)
Florida: Port Salerno Elementary
Georgia: Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School
Guam: Agana Heights Elementary School
Hawaii: Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High School
Idaho: Mountain Home High School
Illinois: Richland County Community Unit School District
Indiana: Brown County High School
Iowa: Karen Acres Elementary School
Kansas: Rolling Ridge Elementary School
Kentucky: Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School
Louisiana: Parkway Elementary School
Maine: Regional School Unit #38
Maryland: Hyattsville Middle School
Massachusetts: All Saints Academy
Michigan: Brimley Area School District
Minnesota: St. Alphonsus Catholic School
Mississippi: Terry High School
Missouri: Nixa Public School
Montana: The Polaris School
Nebraska: Chadron Public School
Nevada: Damonte Ranch High School
New Hampshire: Amherst Middle School
New Jersey: Delaware Township School
New Mexico: Harrison Schmitt Elementary School
New York: Champlain Valley Educational Services
North Carolina: West Buncombe Elementary School
North Dakota: Kindred Public School District
Northern Mariana Islands: Grace Christian Academy
Ohio: Liberty Tree Elementary School
Oklahoma: Jenks High School
Oregon: Howard Street Charter School
Pennsylvania: Neshaminy School District
Puerto Rico: Escuela Dr. Francisco Hernández y Gaetán
Rhode Island: Frank E. Thompson Middle School
South Carolina: J.G. McCracken Middle School
South Dakota: Hill City High School
Tennessee: Beaumont Magnet Academy Elementary School
Texas: Caldwell High School
U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix Educational Complex High School
Utah: Union High School
Vermont: Milton Town School District
Virginia: Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
Washington: Tukes Valley Middle School
West Virginia: Robert L. Bland Middle School
Wisconsin: St. Thomas More High School
Wyoming: West Elementary School

The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience. The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was held virtually on Thursday, Dec. 3, you can see a recording of it at thenationaltree.org. This year’s show featured the recorded lighting of the National Christmas Tree, holiday performances and more.

Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park – one of America’s 422 national parks! A 30-foot Colorado blue spruce currently serves as the National Christmas Tree.


‘Operation Panda Drop’ Warms the Hearts of Prescott Memorial School Community

Since the start of the school year, an anonymous group of community members have been arranging a special surprise for the teachers, staff, and students at Prescott Memorial School to feel a sense of connection and care at school on Friday mornings. The group operates in the early morning hours to arrange a special surprise ahead of time and keep themselves anonymous.

With a surprise coming every week, the community has come to expect something wonderful when they come to school every Friday. Recently, 3rd Grade Teacher BJ Kopishke (Mrs. K) captured her reaction to Operation Panda Drop on video, just before the Thanksgiving break.

“I just wanted to show you what Operation Panda Drop did for us this week. This is probably the sweetest surprise and gift that they have done. Um, it made me cry. So, I just wanted to share with you how wonderful this group of people, who are anonymous and will remain anonymous, are but they are spreading cheer here in our community and the kids and the teachers, and the staff, we look forward to this every single Friday.”

You can check out Mrs. K’s full video on Facebook to see what the surprise is and her reaction.

In a time of uncertainty and never-ending challenges for school communities across the globe, this gesture of kindness and caring sends a powerful message of hope for students, teachers, and staff.

“It is the sweetest thing and we are so very blessed with this wonderful group of people,” said Nancy Stover, the principal of Prescott Memorial School.