Mid-Maine Tech Center Students Improving Their Community, One Glass of Water at a Time

A team of chemistry students from Waterville Senior High School collected 85 water samples from different locations in Waterville, which were sent to the  Dartmouth Lab for analysis. Fifteen of the samples tested positive for arsenic—so the class researched inexpensive filters called Zero Water to keep water arsenic-free and make their community safer.

The project was covered by a team of Mass Media Communications students at Mid-Maine Technical Center (MMTC) as part of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. MMTC is the only school in Maine that hosts this program. It was presented on Maine Public Television and nationally on PBS Nature’s American Spring LIVE, and won third place in a national STEM Film Festival hosted by PBS.

Maine Spring Live – Clean Water from Mid-Maine Technical Center on Vimeo.

This story was written by Maine DOE Intern Emmeline Willey. If you have a story idea or would like to submit a written story for the Maine DOE Newsroom, email Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Freeport Girls Code Their Way to Finals 

As the computer-savvy become a more and more heavily sought-after breed of employee, young women across the nation are getting a head start in this growing field. GirlsGoCyberStart, a competitive, multi-leveled program, is teaching them the ins and outs of cybersecurity before they even graduate. Through various games, teens are honing skills in cryptography, web vulnerabilities, Python, Linux and forensics—and learning teamwork and determination along the way. 

“Cybersecurity is a growing and critical field. It is more important than ever before to train skilled experts in Maine and across the nation to defend our national and financial security,” said Governor Janet Mills at the launch of the program’s second year in February. Last year, almost 200 students from the State participated. “This program will help young women pursue the education and training they need for lifelong careers and leadership positions in cybersecurity.” 

Several Clubs from Maine entered the CyberStart competition. Each group of skilled teens would code their way through three levels of increasingly tough competition. 9,500 girls from across the nation entered the ring at the first stage back in February. Two participation challenges were also run, to encourage more girls to get involved. For every five girls registered to a Club who completed at least two challenges, their school would be entered once in the running for a $1,000 prize. At the end of the ‘Assess’ stage, in which girls are evaluated for their aptitude with code and security through a series of challenges, the three Clubs in each State with the most girls registered (having completed at least one challenge) will receive prize money by place in totals of $1,000, $750, and $500. Those winners from Maine this year were, in order: 

  • Hancock County Technical Center (1st) 
  • Deering High School (2nd) 
  • Sanford High School (3rd) 

The top schools in each state are decided by the second round, and those then proceed onto the Championship ‘Capture the Flag’ round. The CyberGEMS of Freeport High School were among the 120 schools to make it to the Championship, placing 87th in this final round. The team was comprised of four precocious teens who were nominated by their Club: Dena Arrison, Leah Rusecki, Taylor Harris, and Rachel Packard. 

Rusecki, a sophomore, commented in a press release prior to the Championship, “My class schedule is quite full, but having the chance to explore computer technology outside of regular classes is a great opportunity for us. Solving the cybersecurity puzzles and challenges has been really interesting! I hope to take a computer programming class next year.” 

Each member of the CyberGEMS took home $100, as well as an additional $100 for their school. More than that, every girl who participated in some level of the competition developed skills vital to the rapidly growing cybersecurity field—and with results from last year showing that number of students interested in cybersecurity doubled after playing, these students show promise at filling more of these high-paying, challenging jobs in the future. 

This story was written by Maine DOE Intern Emmeline Willey. If you have a story idea or would like to submit a written story for the Maine DOE Newsroom, email Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

MEDIA RELEASE: 1200+ Students Attend Annual MLTI Student Conference at UMaine Hosted by Maine DOE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kelli Deveaux (207) 624-6747 or kelli.deveaux@maine.gov

Orono – More than 1200 middle and high school students from schools across Maine gathered today at the University of Maine at Orono for the Maine Department of Education’s Annual Maine Learning Through Technology Initiative (MLTI) Student Conference. The event is held each year to engage students in technology related learning.

The opening of the event featured Abby Sanborn from Sacopee Valley Middle School, in addition to student-led sessions where participants can learn a skill from their peers, and then create something using technology to take back to their schools. This year, in a special surprise for students, mascots from Maine’s public universities were on hand as part of a fun technology challenge and to highlight how a young learner can “apply yourself,” through the university system’s youth development and early college programs.

“Maine’s public universities provide a tremendous and growing number of youth development opportunities on our campuses, at our 4-H camps, and in partnership with local schools,” said Dr. Carol Kim, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the University of Maine System.  “This year 3,500 Maine high school students earned low and no cost college credit through our early college programs and we will provide enrichment and learning programs for 20,000 Maine youth through our 4-H camps and community programs.”

In a fun and interactive story line, UMaine’s mascot, Bananas, got himself trapped in a virtual world, and needed help!  His friends Augustus, Chompers, Benny, Hootie, Champ- the mascots from University of Maine Augusta, University of Maine Farmington, University of Maine Fort Kent, University of Maine Presque Isle, and University of Southern Maine, respectively- arrived on the scene, but needed the students to assist. Divided into teams, the students all worked collaboratively to solve puzzles and gather keys in order to free Bananas.

In addition to a great experience and new learning, 10 students left with $1,000 scholarships, should they choose to attend University of Maine in the future, and each campus raffled off their own swag bags. Educate Maine got into the mix when 5 more students got cool electronics, and all left with their eyes on future opportunities in Maine.

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Learning for the 21st Century- a Professional Development Opportunity for Educators

Join the Maine Department of Education as we explore knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for 21st century careers as well as the intentional actions of educators that support students’ skill and will to fuel their learning. During these day-long workshops, participants will delve into the principles of formative assessment as they examine strategies for building units of instruction that integrate multiple content areas. Sessions will be led by teams of the Department’s content specialists. Units will integrate combinations of world language, social studies, visual and performing arts, science, English language arts, health education and physical education, and mathematics. Units will also incorporate strategies for technology integration and family engagement.

Structure of the Day:

School districts are strongly encouraged to attend as teams of three or more people. Teams will gather at the beginning of the day for a panel presentation and discussion. Then, team members will attend breakout sessions where they will experience integrated lessons and units incorporating the principles of formative assessment drawn from Hattie, Fisher and Frey’s (2018) Developing Assessment Capable Learners text. Finally, at the end of the day, teams will reconvene to share, process, and apply what they experienced in the breakout sessions, as well as have opportunity to connect with other teams to gather additional ideas.

Team Configuration:

Teams may include PK-12 educators, administrators, instructional coaches, and special education instructors.  Schools are encouraged to include representation from multiple grade levels and all content areas when forming teams and to divide up team members across breakout sessions.  The time at the end of the day will be more productive if participants attend as part of a team, but if an educator attends without a team, accommodations will be made to group single participants for sharing and planning. When registering participants, be sure to gather information about which breakout session each will attend.  Session descriptions are included below.

Registration Dates/Locations/Links:

Elementary (Pk-5):

July 9th at the Ramada in Lewiston, 8:30-3:30

July 24th at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer, 8:30-3:30

Secondary (6-12):

July 10th at the Ramada in Lewiston, 8:30-3:30

July 25th at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer, 8:30-3:30

Registration Cost:

$75/team of 3 or $30/ person.  Individual registrations are accepted but teams are strongly encouraged.  Register by June 28, 2019.  Credit or debit cards are necessary for registration.  Cancellations must be made at least a week prior to the event to be eligible for a refund.  A morning snack and lunch will be provided. Participants will earn 6 contact hours.

For more information please contact Lee Anne Larsen, leeann.larsen@maine.gov or Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov.

 

PK-5 Breakout Session Selections

Session 1: Laying a Foundation for Future Learning

Wendy L. Ostroff describes curiosity as being aware and open, checking things out, experimenting and interacting within one’s surroundings. Come explore with us ways to create the conditions for curiosity in the PK-5 classrooms. Together, specialists in Career and Education Development, Early Childhood Learning, Physical Education, and World Languages have designed learning experiences to pique curiosity about inventors, inventions and innovations and how they change daily life.  Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Jean Zimmerman (Physical Education), Lavinia Rogers (World Languages), Nicole Madore (Early Childhood), and Diana Doiron (Career and Education Development).

Session 2: Mimicking Animals

Humans have imitated and mimicked animal characteristics for as long as man has walked the earth. In this strand we will explore how humans use strategies inspired by nature to solve health and safety problems, then to communicate those out while embracing strategies that are proven to advance student learning and develop assessment capable learners.  Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Danielle Saucier (English Language Arts), Susan Berry (Health Education), and Shari Templeton (Science).

Session 3: Putting the You in Comm_nity

It takes a community to raise a child and this includes making sure that students understand that they are part of a bigger world. Take a look at what it means to be part of a community through the eyes of early childhood, visual and performing arts, and social studies as we explore an integrated approach to instruction that focuses on helping students take ownership in their own learning. Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Joe Schmidt (Social Studies), Nate Menifield (Visual and Performing Arts), and Sue Reed (Early Childhood).

6-12 Breakout Session Selections

Session 1:  To Tell the Truth: Using Decision-Making to Your Advantage

As the rate of change in the world increases faster than ever imagined, students need to be able to think on their feet, process new information, and make good decisions. Come explore with us ways to support students to think critically about the world around them by examining how Career and Education Development, Health Education, and Social Studies could use problem solving to develop decision-making skills that are necessary for success both in and out of the classroom.  Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Susan Berry (Health Education), Joe Schmidt (Social Studies), and Diana Doiron (Career and Education Development).

Session 2:  Graphical Literacy, S’il Vous Plait

World Languages, Mathematics and Science all build upon knowing how to read and interpret data found in a variety of graphical formats. We will utilize graphs to tell a story and to explore the intersections between content areas while practicing proven strategies that move the needle on student learning. Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Lavinia Rogers (World Languages), Michele Mailhot (Math), and Shari Templeton (Science). 

Session 3:  STRENGTH AND STAMINA: SUPPORTING ASSESSMENT CAPABLE LEARNERS

In Visual & Performing Arts, Health & Physical Education, and English Language Arts

Building learning strength requires a growth mindset to set goals that are challenging and reachable. Building leaning stamina involves persistence, problem solving, planning, and practice. VPA, HPE, and ELA specialists will provide support for evaluating learning to set growth goals and model strategies for building stamina while focusing on the student’s overall experience throughout the school day, the school year, or the education pathway. Presented by Maine DOE Specialists Jean Zimmerman (Physical Education), Morgan Dunton (English Language Arts), and Nate Menifield (Visual and Performing Arts).

 

 

Update on Maine Department of Education’s MLTI Plan- Post June 2020

The Maine Department of Education, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), has been providing 7th and 8th grade students and teachers access to, and support for, educational technology since 2002. While the goal has remained constant – provide State support for access to technology-enhanced education experiences for all students – the program has changed in many ways, and will continue to grow and evolve in the future. The Department remains committed to this goal.

As many school administrative units (SAUs) are aware, the final contracts for the MLTI program are set to expire on June 30, 2020. Included in the Department’s biennium budget package, which is currently being considered by the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, are funds to support a “bridge year” for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Department is actively working with current vendors to secure agreements for this “bridge year,” which will enable SAUs to maintain existing levels of technology support. The details of these agreements are still being developed, so the following information is very preliminary:

  • SAUs in cohort 4 (lease begun in 2016) for 7th & 8th grade and staff devices will keep their current devices for SY 2020-2021. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
  • SAUs who are currently leasing additional devices (elementary or high school student and staff devices) from the Department will continue to lease those devices from the Department at a reduced cost of $73/ iPad; $118/ laptop. They will continue to receive the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development they have been receiving. After SY 2020-2021, these SAUs will have the option to buy out their devices at the 2015 rates, $28/ iPad and $48/ laptop.
  • SAUs who are currently receiving MLTI grants from the Department that are set to expire in June of 2020 will be granted an additional year of the same grant award as the previous 4 years.

The Department would use the additional time afforded by the “bridge year” to meet with stakeholders throughout the state, collecting feedback on what has worked well in the past, as well as innovative ideas about the future of MLTI. Discussions would include topics such as portable computer devices, device management and deployment, software, wireless networking, technical support, and professional development, as well as financial models to support these efforts. The Department would also convene a workgroup to synthesize this information and help to create a plan for the State.

Below is the estimated timeline for MLTI through 2021.

  • May 2019 – August 2020: The Department holds meetings with stakeholders regarding the future of MLTI (post SY 2020-2021) and convenes a workgroup to develop a State plan
  • July 2020 – June 30, 2021: Bridge Year
  • October 2020: The Department announces plan for MLTI post SY 2020-2021 (including the release of any necessary RFPs)
  • July 2021: SAUs have the option to buy out devices; launch of the future MLTI

For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, contact Beth Lambert, beth.lambert@maine.gov, 207-624-6642.