Student Voice and Choice a Big Part of Brewer High School Extended Learning Program

“We are seeing dramatic improvement in attitude and effort on the part of our students,” said Brewer High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator Kevin Napolillo. “They feel that their career goals are finally being addressed and can see the value of what they are doing.”

Along with a growing number of schools and districts across Maine, Brewer High School has established an Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator to work with students to set up intentional career/work experiences and coordinate efforts for students to experience and learn about different jobs, career paths, and work opportunities available here in Maine and beyond.

“We have set up extended learning opportunities in the areas of auto mechanics, child psychology, and marine biology just to name a few,” said Napolillo. “We have also established a CNA [Certified Nursing Assistant] training program with a local nursing home.”

Napolillo says that the best part of his job is, “Observing the signs of realization when a student becomes aware that the school personnel will find out their likes and foster their desires for careers.”

In an effort to keep the program student directed, Napolillo has also worked to establish a relationship with the local Chamber of Commerce to develop relationships with local business owners.

It takes those strong local and State partnerships to develop and sustain a successful Extended Learning Opportunity programming and to that end, Napolillo would like to extend a debt of gratitude to: Walker’s Garage-Brewer, Brewer Center for Health and Rehabilitation, and Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands on, credit bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based career exploration. These opportunities are personalized for students and help them explore options for their professional lives. They help students engage in learning through instruction, assignments, and experiential learning. The Maine Department of Education (DOE), along with State-wide partner Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG), have made a concerted effort to provide working models, support, and funding opportunities for Maine schools to set up ELO programs within their school communities. To learn more about Maine’s initiatives with extended learning opportunities, visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/index.php/learning/elo or reach out to Maine DOE ELO Coordinator Rick Wilson at rick.wilson@maine.gov.

 

Aroostook County Teachers of the Year Lead Effort to Face Regional Teacher Shortages

Aroostook County Teachers of the Year (CTOY) Leslie Marquis (2017), Bill Guerette (2018), Kim Barnes (2019), Jocelyn Saucier (2020), and Heather Anderson (2022), along with Maine Teachers of the Year (TOY) Elaine Hendrickson (2001) and Alana Margeson (2012) came together to plan, The Future of Aroostook County Education Symposium, or otherwise known as FACES, on November 17th at Caribou Community School.

Current teachers, ed techs and paraprofessionals, interested high school students, pre-service teachers, administrators, career/guidance counselors, community partners, policymakers, and higher education representatives enjoyed an evening of conversation, collaboration, and visioning to address the critical need to both draw and keep dedicated educators in our schools as we face an unprecedented time of teacher workforce shortages in Aroostook County, Maine, and nationally.

Maine DOE Educator Excellence Coordinator Emily Doughty, Educate Maine Program Specialist Kaitlin Young, and Valley Unified School District Superintendent Ben Sirois served as keynote speakers to ground conversations about teacher recruitment and retention. Delta Kappa Gamma Society of Women Educators also supported the evening event.

“In true Aroostook County fashion, we ‘rolled up our sleeves’ and dug into the what, why, and how of teacher recruitment and retention,” said 2019 Aroostook CTOY and 8th grade Teacher Kim Barnes.

Media Release: Lewiston Students Create Ornaments for Maine’s Tree as Part of the National Christmas Tree Display in Washington, D.C.

(Photo from National Park Service)

Students at Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston created one-of-a-kind ornaments now adorning Maine’s tree as part of the 2022 National Christmas Tree display on the Ellipse in President’s Park outside of the White House.

Students and educators from Connors Elementary School’s Civil Rights Team led the effort and designed ornaments featuring familiar Maine scenes including the outline of the state, moose, lobsters, and pine trees filled with messages celebrating the themes of belonging, inclusivity, and feeling welcome. They wanted to ensure that those who don’t celebrate the holiday were also represented and highlight how Maine welcomes all.

“The students were really excited to be part of this, and we are really honored to have this opportunity,” said Kelsey Boucher, an art teacher at Connors Elementary and the 2022 Androscoggin County teacher of the year. “Students were already working on a Day of Welcome project and wanted to make ornaments about what makes them feel welcome at school. They got creative by filling in outlines of iconic Maine shapes with diverse images and messages around belonging, inclusivity, and welcoming all.”

Boucher joined her Civil Rights Team Co-Advisor Nesrene Griffin and Assistant Principal Travis Jalbert in Washington, D.C. today to represent Maine for the National Christmas Tree lighting this evening. The school will host a watch party for students, educators, and family members when the ceremony is aired on December 11.

 

 

 

 

The America Celebrates ornament program is an annual collaboration of the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Park Foundation (NPF). These ornaments adorn 58 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree. The trees represent states, territories, and schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity. This year, more than 2,600 students participated in the America Celebrates ornament program. Click here for more information.

 

New STEAM Lab at Glenburn School Making a Big Impact

(Pictured: A Glenburn student looks through the telescope at the Star Party.)

Establishing a culture of creation, innovation and hands-on learning is becoming a focal point at Glenburn School. The driving forces toward that goal are a couple of long-time educators – Technology Integrator, David Davis, and Technology Director, Ken Worster. Last year the administration implemented a plan to repurpose a science lab to house materials for a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Lab. Worster advocated for functional space for technology creation since the one-to-one devices had made the traditional computer lab unnecessary. Davis credits his administrative team at Glenburn for its support of this initiative and feels “fortunate that [his] administration had the vision of technology integration” in order to bring this plan to life.

The STEAM Lab consists of several technology tools including a laser cutter, green screen, a fleet of iPads, a recordable microscope, over a dozen 3-D printers, codable robots, and more. Davis and Worster’s hope is to establish the lab as an integral part of the curriculum for educators. Worster mentioned that the immediate goal is to have teachers “looking at their content and bringing it to David in a way where they can have that conversation about how they can integrate our technology.”

Even in the Lab’s infancy, Davis is already seeing its impact in the classrooms, most notably in the sixth and seventh grade English Language Arts classes. In those classes, students have been able to dive deeper into their reading by designing and printing 3-D objects or characters from their books, by recreating scenes with green-screen video, and by etching “plaques” with the laser cutter that outline the author’s biography.

Additionally, Davis and Worster envision enhanced student engagement through the STEAM Lab by incorporating it into science classes across the school. Davis integrated an astronomy theme and tiered the work for the various grade levels. Students in kindergarten through second grade used the online platform Wixie to design constellations that were then etched with the laser cutter, students in third through fifth grade also used the laser cutter to design the phases of the moon, and finally, sixth through eighth grade students created a 3-D model of a footprint that incorporating each student’s constructed quote acting as if they were to be the first ones stepping onto Mars.

Glenburn Engraving
(Left to Right) Constellations designed in grades K-2, moon phases etched in grades 3-5, 3-D printed footprint in grades 6-8.

Davis and Worster concluded the unit by coordinating with the Challenger Learning Center and the Versant Power Astronomy Center at the University of Maine to host a “star party” outside at the school. The night was a huge success with over 200 family members attending. It allowed students the chance to stargaze with a telescope which Worster noted was the first time for most of them.

Even with the initial success of the STEAM Lab, Davis and Worster know that it will take time for the innovative culture to spread throughout the school. While they admit the program is not without its wrinkles, they are hopeful that a steadfast dedication to technology integration will create breakthroughs for their staff. Davis knows that it pays off to start small and have it build from there, “If I could just get [the teachers] there once or twice, it will take on a life of its own.”

Glenburn Printers
Sets of 3-D printers at Glenburn School

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Rob Dominick as part of the Maine Schools Sharing the Success Campaign. To learn more, or to submit a story or an idea for a story, email rachel.paling@maine.gov.

 

Regional Connection Events for Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Coordinators

Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) is hosting Regional Connection Events throughout Maine for ELO (Extended Learning Opportunity) Coordinators. Each event is held in-person where a light breakfast and lunch will be provided, as will opportunities to spend time sharing, connecting, and being inspired. Find a detailed schedule/program here.

The December schedule is as follows:

  • North Region – University of Maine at Orono on Dec 6th, 9am – 3pm
  • Central Region – Thomas College on Dec. 13th, 9am – 3pm
  • Southern Region – University of New England, Biddeford on Dec. 15th, 9am – 3pm

If you have a scheduling issue please feel free to join a region that is a different location from your school/organization.

Register here.

For more information reach out to JMG’s Extended Learning Opportunities Team.