Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) 2.0 Seeks Distinguished Educators

Are you passionate about professional growth and technology? Do you want to make a difference in Maine schools? Are you currently teaching in a Maine public school?

The Maine Department of Education is hiring five distinguished educators to join our team in supporting MLTI 2.0 professional learning. These are full-time, two-year, contracted, remote positions. The MLTI 2.0 distinguished educators will provide instructional technology coaching directly to MLTI 2.0 participating educators and work closely with the MLTI 2.0 team to implement the MLTI 2.0 program.

Ideal candidates will be excited about instructional coaching and innovative technology practices in education, eager to work with other teachers, have outstanding communication skills, and experience with middle and/or high school pedagogy.

Distinguished educator positions are set up as an exchange agreement between the Department of Education and your local school district. Through the agreement, the Department pays your local school for the duration of your contract as a distinguished educator, allowing your school to temporarily fill your vacant position and continue to pay you your current rate while you work as a distinguished educator. Once the two-year contract is complete, you will be able to return to your position within that district.

To learn more about the MLTI distinguished educator position, click here to access the full job description.

If you’re interested in applying to be an MLTI 2.0 distinguished educator, click here to access the application form. The application closes April 30th.

If you have questions about the position or the exchange process, check out the FAQ.

Still have questions? Contact the Digital Learning Specialists at the Maine Department of Education to learn more.

Jonathan Graham, Elementary, Digital Learning Specialist, jonathan.m.graham@maine.gov

Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science and Secondary Digital Learning Specialist, emma-marie.banks@maine.gov

Maine Celebrates 21 New and 5 Renewed National Board Certified Teachers in Virtual Ceremony

Maine recognized 21 teachers newly certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) during an April 8 virtual ceremony. These exemplary educators join more than 400 teachers across the state who have gone through this highly reflective and transformative professional development, including five of their colleagues who renewed their National Board Certification this year.

Friends, family, colleagues and administrators joined the celebration hosted by the Maine Education Association (MEA) and the National Board Certified Teachers Network of Maine (NBCTs of Maine). Offering congratulatory remarks were Education Commissioner Pender Makin, MEA President and NBCT Grace Leavitt, NBCTs of Maine Chair and NBCT, Melissa Guerrette, and Representative Rebecca Millett.

Featured speaker Kelly Elder, NBPTS, NBCT Board of Directors, 2017 Montana Teacher of the Year and 2018 NEA Foundation Fellow, shared a talk titled “What’s Next? Moving Forward from the Intersection of Emotional Health and Learning in a Post-pandemic World” Elder, a grade 6 geography teacher, acknowledged the challenges involved in teaching in a year unlike any other, and the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on our most vulnerable students. Elder noted that NBCTs, given their experience in such a highly reflective process as National Board Certification, are uniquely positioned to create, innovate, and lead the differentiated work (including rethinking assessment practices) in the coming years, in order to meet the needs of all of our students.

The event’s emcee, Heidi Goodwin, NBCT and NB Professional Learning Facilitator, was joined by Kristi Charette, NBCT and NB Professional Learning Facilitator, in leading this year’s unique pinning ceremony, with attendees being “pinned” by a family member at home. Dan Allen, MEA Professional Development Director, offered closing remarks, encouraging the NBCTs to engage in ongoing leadership opportunities, including offering support to candidates working on National Board Certification.

The journey to National Board Certification is a challenging one—the process, on average, requires nearly 400 hours of time and effort to achieve. Educators must submit a detailed portfolio that includes examples of student work and video recordings that show how they teach and interact with students. In addition, they must submit a reflective piece on student assessment and learning and demonstrate mastery of the content of their chosen certification area. This evidence must meet the Five Core Propositions and the National Board Standards, a body of knowledge that is maintained by teachers. Practicing teachers, through a peer-review process, assess the portfolios.

In pursuing and achieving National Board Certification, the following teachers have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to their students, schools, and districts. Please join us in congratulating them!

Maine 2020 New NBCTS

  Name National Board Certificate Position District/School
1. Heather Sinclair Science: Early Adolescence Middle School Science Teacher RSU 2 Hall-Dale Middle High School
2. Heidi Corliss Music: Early Adolescence/YA Fine & Performing Arts Teacher RSU 22 Hampden Academy
3. Alyce Delfino Exceptional Needs Specialist: Early Adolescence/ YA Special Education Teacher Five Town CSD

Camden Hills Regional High School

4. Christopher Driscoll Mathematics, Early Adolescence Middle School Math Teacher Falmouth Public Schools/ Falmouth Middle School
5. Sara Jones Mathematics: Early Adolescence Middle School Math Teacher Falmouth Public Schools/ Falmouth Middle School
6. Tara Robertson Literacy: Reading -Lang Arts: Early & Middle Childhood Title I Teacher Lisbon Public Schools

Lisbon Community School

7. Linda LaCasse Literacy: Reading -Language Arts: Early & Middle Childhood Title I Teacher Lisbon Public Schools

Lisbon Community School

8. Julia Bemis Science: Adolescence and Young Adulthood High School Science Teacher RSU 6 Bonny Eagle HS
9. Jennifer Fronczak- Math: Early Adolescence Middle School Math Teacher RSU 84 East Grand School
10. Vicki Bailey Generalist: Early Childhood Grade 1 Teacher RSU 22 Earl C McGraw Elementary School
11. Audrey Bracciodieta Exceptional Needs Specialist: Early Childhood through Young Adulthood Special Education Teacher RSU 22 George B Weatherbee School
12. Jennifer Brown Generalist: Early Childhood Kindergarten Teacher RSU 12 Chelsea Elementary School
13. Robin Tiller Science: Early Adolescence Middle School Science Teacher Biddeford Public Schools

Biddeford Middle School

14. Rachel Singh Generalist: Early Childhood Grade 1 Teacher Bar Harbor Public Schools

Conners-Emerson School

15. Rebecca Sanborn Generalist: Early Childhood Kindergarten Teacher RSU 60 North Berwick Elementary
16. Krista St. Cyr English as a New Language: Early Adolescence/YA English Language Learner Teacher Lewiston Public Schools

Lewiston Middle School

17. Lacey Todd Generalist: Middle Childhood Grade 5 Science Teacher RSU 10 Mountain Valley Middle School
18. Kaitlin Woodbury Literacy, Reading Language Arts: Early/Middle Childhood Grade 1 Teacher RSU 1 Phippsburg Elementary School
19. Lorene Hinkley – Gordon Literacy, Reading Language Arts: Early/Middle Childhood Title I Teacher RSU 49 Albion Elementary School
20. Jessica Archer English Language Arts: Early Adolescence Middle School: English, Science and Health Teacher RSU 26 Orono Middle School
21. Danielle Quimby Exceptional Needs Specialist: Early Childhood through Young Adulthood Gifted & Talented Teacher RSU 6 Buxton Center Elementary School

Maine 2020 Renewed NBCTS

  Name National Board Certificate Position District/ School
1. Laurie Alves Literacy, Reading Language Arts: Early/Middle Childhood Grade 5 Teacher Scarborough Public Schools Wentworth School
2. Brian Cote Science: Early Adolescence Middle School Science Teacher Bar Harbor Public School

Conners-Emerson School

3. David Doubleday Literacy, Reading Language Arts: Adolescence/YA High School English Language Arts Five Town CSD

Camden Hills Regional High School

4. Rachel Landry Exceptional Needs Specialist: Early Childhood/YA Special Education Teacher Portland Public Schools

Harrison Lyseth Elementary School

5. Joanne Powers Literacy, Reading Language Arts: Early Middle Childhood Elementary Literacy Teacher RSU 1 Dike-Newell School

National Board certification is voluntary and open to all teachers who have at least three years of classroom experience and a bachelor’s degree. Certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from preschool through 12th grade.

Maine offers an annual salary supplement for teachers who have achieved National Board Certification and scholarships to support up to 30 teachers, annually, in attaining National Board Certification.

Contact information for National Board Certification in Maine:

NBCTS of Maine:

Heidi Goodwin: nbct.heidi@gmail.com

Melissa Guerrette: nbct.melissa@gmail.com

Susan O’Brien: nbct.susan@gmail.com

Kristi Charette: nbct.kristi@gmail.com

Maine Education Association:

Dan Allen: DAllen@maineea.org

Maine Department of Education:

Tamara Ranger: tamara.ranger@Maine.Gov

Celebrating the 2021 Week of the Young Child

The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Week of the Young Child is turning 50!  This weeklong celebration highlights the importance of high-quality learning opportunities for young children and their families through a variety of awareness building activities.  This year, the Week of the Young Child will be celebrated  April 10-April 16, 2021.

The Early Learning Team at the Department of Education wants to take this opportunity to acknowledge the week that brings attention to whole child growth and development across the birth-grade 3 span and to encourage educators, families, and anyone interested in supporting young children to be part of this celebration. Each day of this weeklong celebration offers a theme to promote engagement of educators, families and students in new and exciting activities. For more information and ideas you can check out the NAEYC website or our Maine affiliate, Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (MAEYC).

As an example, the Maine DOE would like to highlight one public Pre-K program in RSU 58/MSAD 58 where teachers and administrators have come together to plan a week filled with activities  for their local students and families. With a Pre-K teacher taking the lead, the RSU 58 team raised $500 dollars in donations to purchase books through Scholastic Book Clubs. This will allow every child in their school systems from PreK-3rd grade to take a book home. RSU 58 has three elementary schools and they will be holding a Week of the Young Child event in all three locations. There will also be a book walk, literacy games, a book basket raffle and flyers about ways to improve child development. Way to go RSU 58!

Additionally, the Maine DOE’s Early Learning Team would like to celebrate the work of a number of Maine educators over the course of the past year in developing interdisciplinary, asynchronous learning modules for young children (PK-3) that can be accessed through the Maine Online Opportunities for Student Learning (MOOSE) platform.

Furthermore, the department, with support from Maine educators, has just published a Foundational Skills module for parents and caregivers  interested in better understanding how children’s foundational skills develop between ages 3-9 in the areas of literacy, mathematics, motor development, and approaches to learning. This new module is also housed within the MOOSE platform.

More information pertaining to the high-quality early education, transitions and development of young children can be accessed from our Early Childhood home page. Questions and concerns should be directed to our Early Childhood Specialist, nicole.madore@maine.gov

Considerations for Schools Supporting Observances During School Year- Ramadan Begins

Other than the Christian observance of Christmas, Maine school calendars do not currently include days off from school for religious holidays. As a result, those of other faiths must navigate their observances around the expectations of schools – including expectations regarding attendance and participation – which may conflict with the traditions of the observance. To assist schools in understanding the timing, traditions, and possible impacts of some religious holidays, the Maine Department of Education has shared a calendar and considerations for major religious observances that may occur during the school year.

Islam is the second most populous religion in the world, and Maine is home to many Muslim families. Maine Department of Education would like to provide some general information about Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr to schools, so they can support their Muslim students and community members as they enjoy this very special time of year.

Ramadan is a month-long fast observed by Muslims around the world. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. To wish someone a happy Ramadan, you can say “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak.”

This year, in the United States Ramadan will start around April 12th and end around May 12th. The official beginning and end of the month of Ramadan will not be announced until the sighting of the new moon. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is about 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan happens about 11 days earlier each year.

During Ramadan, most Muslims fast (i.e., consume no food or water) from dawn to dusk. Many Muslims also pray more frequently, recite the Quran (Islamic book) and make special efforts to be kind, generous, and compassionate. This is a joyous time of year, and each Iftar (post-sunset meal to break the fast) is a celebrated opportunity to gather with friends and family. Muslims may also wake before dawn to eat Suhoor (a pre-dawn meal), which helps give them energy to endure the day’s fast. (Iftar and Suhoor timings can be found here.) For some Muslims, the typical patterns of sleep are shifted so that more waking hours occur during the night, which can make it difficult to wake up early and stay alert during the day.

After Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr (the festival of breaking the fast) is a three-day celebration with feasts and gatherings of families. This is an extremely important and cheerful time of year for Muslims, and students will likely be absent for all or part of the three days. Children often receive a new outfit or a small amount of money as a gift from their family for the holiday. To wish someone a happy Eid, you can say, “Eid Saeed” or “Eid Mubarak.”

Here are a few tips for supporting students during Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr.

  1. Learn about Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr.

There are many resources available online that can help you understand how and why Ramadan is observed. Keep in mind that practices may vary depending on culture, so your students and their families are the best sources of information about their Ramadan traditions. Here are a couple of articles that give a general overview.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/what-ramadan-six-things-know-about-muslim-holy-month-n586426

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/ramadan

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eid-al-Fitr

This video provides a brief and accessible explanation.

  1. Encourage cultural sensitivity for all school community members.

Fasting can have many physical and mental effects, such as fatigue, lack of concentration, and irritability. For your students, your understanding and support can help ensure that they continue to learn and make the most out of their time at school while fasting. Teachers, school nurses, sports coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and all other staff who interact with students will need to know how fasting can affect students.

Talking with staff and students about Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr helps encourage an atmosphere of cultural awareness and sensitivity for the whole school community. Sensitivity towards fasting students includes avoiding consuming food and beverages in front of them whenever possible. Consider holding any celebrations that include food, such as awards banquets, after Iftar (breaking fast at sunset).

  1. Ask students and their families how you can best support them.

Some schools may choose to offer a place for students to go during lunchtime, alternative options for physical education, or dedicated prayer spaces. Schools may also avoid scheduling assessments or other required activities during Eid-al-Fitr, when students are likely to be absent. The best way to ensure that your school is a supportive, culturally-aware learning environment is to involve students, families, and other community members in planning and policy creation. Check out these two articles for some practical ideas that may benefit fasting students.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/column-teachers-can-support-students-ramadan

http://www.isre.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Schools-Guide-to-Ramadan-2.pdf

  1. Have a clear, well-communicated policy on tardies and absences.

Maine’s statute on excused absences is Title 20-A, Section §3272. It states that an absence is excused when it is for “observance of a recognized religious holiday when the observance is required during the regular school day and the absence has prior approval.” Fasting during Ramadan is a required religious observance, and the physical and mental demands of fasting may cause students’ tardies and absences to increase. Eid-al-Fitr celebrations are also religious observances. Districts will need to share clear expectations for attendance with students and families. It is highly recommended to develop these expectations in collaboration with your community members, recognizing that interpretation and translation may be necessary to ensure meaningful communication.