St. George School Chosen as the School of the Year by the Maine Environmental Education Association

Submitted by Mike Felton, Superintendent of St. George Municipal School Unit

St. George School has been chosen as the School of the Year by the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA)! In the award letter to the school, the MEEA wrote, “Your demonstrated commitment to creating authentic learning opportunities for your students and engaging them in their environment as well as your clear dedication to reaching into the community to create real world learning opportunities make St. George School a clear choice for this award.”

The school congratulates and thanks their educators, students, families, community members, local organizations, and Town officials and committees for all they do to make the school-community what it is. In a statement to the community, the school said, “Together, we are stretching people’s imaginations as to what’s possible in public education and redefining the depth and potential of the relationship between school, community, and environment.”

Erskine Academy Wins School Spirit Challenge Tournament of Champions by Raising a Record-breaking 196,969 Pounds of Food

Submitted by Michael J. McQuarrie, Headmaster of Erskine Academy 

Beginning in September, Erskine Academy committed to a challenging mission, once again, to collect food and funds to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine (GSFB) by participating in WGME13/Fox23’s School Spirit Challenge Tournament of Champions. The School Spirit Challenge (SSC) is a friendly competition between schools to show school pride and spirit, all while helping the community.

The program is designed to promote the school community and good stewardship with students of high schools in central and southern Maine through an eight-week food drive to benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank and local food pantries.

This was the second time Erskine participated in the School Spirit Challenge, the first being two years ago, an event which was won handily over the other participating schools thanks to the efforts of many students, parents, alumni, businesses, and friends. In 2016, Erskine was the School Spirit Champion for having raised nearly 85,000 pounds of food, an amount exceeding the total raised by the second and third finishers combined.

Always up for a challenge and a worthy cause, the campaign was kicked off during the school’s homecoming in September. In attendance were WGME 13 anchor Jeff Peterson and representatives from the GSFB and the sponsors of this year’s SSC. The morning kicked off with students arriving at 5:30 a.m. for a tailgate breakfast served in exchange for their food donations.

The campaign continued until November 2 and was a more significant success than the Academy ever imagined. The Erskine community pulled together to collect food and monetary donations and to support the many activities of the Challenge.  Events included “Fill the Bus” with returnables,  the Fly Like an Eagle 5K Run/Walk, Trivia Night,  Trunk or Treat,  Open Mic Night, and a dodgeball tournament. Off-campus activities included an EA Parents Food Drive Challenge.  An online appeal went out on social media, and many generous donors gave through the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s virtual food drive.

Though initiated by Erskine’s students and faculty, the school led what was a broader community campaign supported substantially by many area businesses and organizations. Student council representatives will soon visit key contributors as part of their “Gratitude Tour.”

Erskine Academy won the competition by far exceeding its goal of 100,000 pounds. Erskine raised a record-breaking 196,969.25 pounds of food for The Good Shepherd Food Bank, which is over twice the amount that any of the 60-plus competing schools has raised in the five years and ten seasons of this competition.

About this accomplishment, Headmaster McQuarrie says, “The School Spirit Challenge was for a great cause, and through it, our community engaged in collective problem-solving and activism as we made a significant difference in the fight against hunger in Maine.  We demonstrated, and others witnessed, the dynamism of EA’s values—stewardship, leadership, and relationships—at work.  The work ethic, inspiration, and idealism of our young people, in particular, are humbling and heartening.”

Professional Learning Opportunity: Using Assessment to Strengthen Instruction

The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce the next installment of its Balanced Assessment series: Using Assessment to Strengthen Instruction for high school grades. Participants will explore SAT data and methods to compare local data to determine instructional priorities.  The workshops will be at USM, UMO, and UMPI. There is no cost for these events.

For more information and to register, go to: Assessment Literacy: Grades 9-12.

For further questions, contact Morgan Dunton, English Language Arts Specialist, grades 6-12 for the Maine DOe at (207) 624-6625 or morgan.dunton@maine.gov.

 

Seeking Success Stories from Maine Schools

In an effort to help promote and highlight the positive stories, initiatives, and efforts happening in Maine’s local schools, the Maine DOE will be collecting stories from local schools and districts and sharing them in a new section of the Weekly Maine DOE Update called Maine Schools Sharing Success. Each of the stories will also be highlighted on Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

If a school and/or district would like to contribute a story, please write out a few paragraphs, with photos if applicable, and send them via email to Communications.DOE@maine.gov. If you have further questions or would like more information, please contact Rachel Paling at (207) 624-6747 or rachel.paling@maine.gov.

Maine DOE World Language Specialist Available for Program Support

The Maine Department of Education’s World Language Specialist, Lavinia Rogers is available to talk with and support districts interested in creating a plan to realize world language programs for all students, especially those districts who may be experiencing a teacher shortage in that area.

More information and resources about world languages can be found on the Maine DOE’s website, or feel free to contact Lavinia directly to request a meeting or ask questions. She is available at lavinia.m.rogers@maine.gov or (207)624-6825