Honoring RISE Award Finalist Jim DuDevoir From Auburn

Jim DuDevoir is a dedicated School Custodian at Sherwood Heights Elementary School in the Auburn School District. He was recently nominated for the RISE Award and named a finalist by Maine Department of Education (DOE). The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Breann Crocker, an educator at Sherwood Heights Elementary nominated Jim. Here are a few thoughts from Breann about why she nominated Jim.

“Jim goes above and beyond to help everyone at school. From moving furniture, fixing sinks, hanging curtains, whiteboards, and more, he is always there when we need him.”

“Jim makes it a point of coming to school events. He helps get everything set up for these community events ahead of time and cleans up after.”

“He comes in on the weekends if a teacher is having an issue with the school alarm. He comes in at all hours to fix water leaks and anything else that needs repair. He makes sure we are safe and well taken care of in our school.”

“Everyone in our building loves Jim because he truly shows he cares about everyone. He is always there when we need him. He never complains and he makes it so that we can focus on teaching the children and not have to worry about the building itself. Our school would not be what it is without him.”

When asked what he loves most about his job, this is what Jim had to say:

“Here at Sherwood, I feel like I make a difference. I do my best to keep things running smoothly for the staff and help out as much as I can. If they don’t have to worry about all the little things, then they can concentrate on teaching the kids, and that’s why we’re all here: to make sure the kids get what they need.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

Maine DOE Update – November 20, 2020

From the Maine Department of Education


Reporting Items

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News & Updates

Mills Administration Updates COVID-19 School Health Advisory System

The Mills Administration today released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission by color and is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) assessed the data and trends for all counties. | More

Giving Thanks to Our School Staff: Maine Honors RISE Award Finalists

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today announced the finalists for the recently enacted, national Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. This new award, passed by the United States Congress in 2019 and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service. | More

Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Denise Towers

Maine DOE team member Denise Towers is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Denise | More


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Honoring RISE Award Nominee Bonnie Fortin From Moscow

Bonnie Fortin is a dedicated Administrative Assistant for Moscow Elementary School in MSAD 13. She was recently nominated for the RISE Award and selected by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as one of Maine’s Nominees. Her story was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration for the national level RISE Award. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Wendy Belanger, a colleague from MSAD 13 nominated Bonnie for the award. Here are a few thoughts from Wendy about why she nominated Bonnie.

“Bonnie is someone that is always willing do the extra.  We are a very small district and I often ask Bonnie to make posters, signs, coversheets, etc for district plans, handbooks.  She prepares district staff and student handbooks on an annual basis.  She monitor’s the Moscow school budget to the penny.  We have completed many parent survey’s in last 6 months regarding internet connections, free meals, etc.  Bonnie takes the time to call each parent to ensure that the district has accurate data.” 

“Bonnie organizes our school food pantry. She coordinates with the local town food bank to distribute our leftover food so they may share it with the general community. She has even taken food donations to local elderly resident. The students look to her for security and comfort.”

“Bonnie is a veteran and takes time out of her workday to assist the fourth grade students with learning about the proper care of the flag and shares her vast knowledge. She is a true role model for our students.”

“There are very few people that make an impact in the way Bonnie does in a school. She is the core of our school community. She is so approachable and often after a child has moved on from our school, parents and caregivers will still reach out to Bonnie for information and assistance with numerous things. She is always willing to assist them. Moscow Elementary is very lucky to have her.”

When asked what she loves most about her job, this is what Bonnie had to say:

“I cannot quite pinpoint, it’s not as simple as the joy I get in creating documents to simplify someone’s day or putting together databases to show them how much their job means.  I’m fortunate enough to wear many hats in my position; I love assisting staff, students, and parents in any way possible to make their lives a bit easier.  I enjoy seeing how each of us within the school touches the lives of students, and the positive impacts made in the simplest of ways. I love connecting with parents, letting them know their children are respected, and watching how fast they grow. 

Again, I am honored to be submitted for the RISE Award for Inspiring School Employees, this honor to me is a true reflection of the teamwork at Moscow Elementary.” 

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here the national RISE Award can be found here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Mills Administration Updates COVID-19 School Health Advisory System

York County joins Androscoggin, Franklin, Somerset, and Washington counties in yellow designation; Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec counties closely monitored in green

AUGUSTA — The Mills Administration today released an update to its color-coded Health Advisory System that classifies counties’ relative risk of COVID-19 transmission by color and is provided to assist schools as they continue with their plans to deliver instruction and support students safely this fall. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) assessed the data and trends for all counties.

Based on this assessment, York County is now categorized as yellow, joining Androscoggin, Franklin, Somerset and Washington counties, which were designated previously. Cumberland, Hancock and Kennebec counties remain designated as green and continue to be closely monitored. Knox is now designated as green, along with all other counties.

  • NOW YELLOW: York County’s positivity rate has risen to 3.5 percent, making it tied for the third highest county positivity rate.
  • REMAIN YELLOW: Androscoggin County’s number of new cases per capita in the past two weeks increased significantly to a high among Maine counties of 33.8 cases per 10,000.  The new case rate continues to rise in Franklin and Washington counties. Somerset County’s new case rate is third highest among Maine counties at 24.4 cases per 10,000, and its positivity rate is 4.7 percent.
  • NOW GREEN: Knox County’s new case rate per capita is now below the state average.
  • CLOSELY MONITORED: Case trends in Cumberland, Hancock and Kennebec counties continue to require close

Evidence continues to suggest a relatively low risk of school-based transmission of COVID-19 and affirm the importance of keeping some level of in-person instruction for students whenever possible.

School and health officials in Scotland published an analysis of COVID-19 within their systems. Their findings include no direct evidence that transmission of the virus within schools plays a significant role in driving rates of infection among children. Their analysis also found no difference between COVID-19 positivity rates in teachers and school staff relative to other worker groups of the same age. In addition, they found that closing schools presents a serious risk of harm to the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable.   

A study from Vermont  found that “School closure alone has minimal effect because disease continues to spread via alternate social contacts in the community.”

Additionally, a recent analysis and statement from Children’s Hospital of Dartmouth-Hitchcock provides a regional lens and strongly affirms the relative safety and importance of in-person instruction for students, and the effectiveness of layered prevention measures for providing a safe learning environment.

These findings affirm Maine’s approach and thorough analysis when determining county designation levels.

These designations are made out of an abundance of caution and for the consideration of school administrative units in their decisions to deliver instruction.

It is essential that school districts across the State of Maine continue to implement plans that adhere to the six requirements for returning to in-person instruction, regardless of their county’s designation.

The Health Advisory System categorizations are defined as follows:

  • RED: Categorization as “red” suggests that the county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread and that in-person instruction is not advisable.
  • YELLOW: Categorization as “yellow” suggests that that the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider additional precautions and/or hybrid instructional models to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms at any one time.
  • GREEN: Categorization as “green” suggests that the county has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction, as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures.  Schools in a “green” county may need to use hybrid instruction models if there is insufficient capacity or other factors (facilities, staffing, geography/transportation, etc.) that may prevent full implementation of the health and safety requirements.

The county-level assessments are based on both quantitative and qualitative data, including but not limited to recent case rates, positivity rates, and syndromic data (e.g., symptoms of influenza or COVID-19). Those data are publicly posted every week on the Maine CDC website. DHHS and Maine CDC also consider qualitative factors, such as the presence of outbreaks that may potentially affect school-age children.

The Health Advisory System reflects ongoing analysis of evolving data, and serves as one piece of information that school and district leaders can use to make decisions about how to deliver education this fall. The qualitative and quantitative considerations and data used by the CDC in determining community transmission risk levels for schools can be located here: How County Risk Levels for Maine Schools are Determined

The Health Advisory System can be found on the Maine DOE website in Part I of the Framework for Reopening Schools and Returning to In-Person Classroom Instructionhttps://www.maine.gov/doe/framework/part-I.

The next update is scheduled for Dec. 4, 2020.

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Honoring RISE Award Nominee Betty Newman From Baileyville

Betty Newman works tirelessly as the Director of Food Services for Woodland Elementary and Woodland Junior/Senior High School in AOS 90 in Baileyville. She was recently nominated for the RISE Award and selected by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) as one of Maine’s Nominees. Her story was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration for the national level RISE Award. The RISE Award (Recognizing Inspirational School Employees ) honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

Janice Rice, a colleague from the school nominated Betty for the award. Here are a few thoughts from Janice about why she nominated Betty.

“Betty Newman has worked in the Baileyville School system for many years; she started working in the food service department when her mother was the food service manager and she just slid into the position when her mother retired. She has the respect of everyone in the school. We all see this commitment to the families and students and admire her for that. In her spare time, Mrs. Newman is writing grants to improve her program and this kind of dedication does not go unnoticed.”

“Mrs. Newman has always been an extremely hard worker for our school but when the school had to go remote learning because of Covid-19, she stepped it up. She had the ability to transform her two-school service for grades pre-k – 12 into a program that went mobile, serving over 200 children 14 meals a week. With only a staff of three to cook and package meals, she seamlessly transformed her school-based food serve program into a program that fed the families of Baileyville.”

 “Another example of Mrs. Newman’s commitment to the students and the school is this summer when the school was able to continue feeling students in the summer months. Betty unselfishly gave up her summer vacation time to continue feeding families in the Baileyville area. Because we have a small food service staff, she worked 12 straight months, without time off.”

“Betty Newman is a dedicated mother, having adopted several children; she is a loving grandmother. She is working with administration to design and build a cafeteria. She has worked for over 30 years in a pieced together kitchen that is spread out over four rooms to feed students in pre-k thru 12 in two different buildings. This takes dedication, leadership, time management skills, multi-tasking, and the ability to lead and work well with a team.”

When asked what she loves most about her job, this is what Betty had to say:

“What I love most is the kids and to be able to provide a service for them and maybe make a smile in their day.”

RISE Award nominations were submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, educators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members this fall. Finalists and Maine Nominees were announcement recently in the Maine DOE Newsroom and they are being featured individually in the Newsroom this month. National RISE Awardees are expected to be named in the Spring of 2021. More information on the Maine RISE Award can be found here and the national RISE Award can be found here.