‘It’s Hardest to Learn Where They’re Least Vaccinated’ by Aley, Anna, and Bill

It is with special permission from renowned artists the Indigo Girls themselves that we present this beautiful nod to their song, “Least Complicated” by Mainers Bill, a music teacher, Aley, a school counselor, and Anna, a parent of a child in school.

This recently recorded, heartfelt song urges communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to keep children safe in schools and schools operational.

Check out their music video here:

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Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application

The Maine Department of Education is thrilled to announce the release of the Computer Science Professional Development Grant Application! 

Maine’s 130th legislature, through a bill sponsored by Senator Pouliot, created a pilot grant program to provide funding for high-quality, teacher-developed or teacher-led professional development for PK-12 computer science pedagogy and content.  

Priority will be given to applicants that: 

  • Do not currently offer computer science learning opportunities; 
  • Serve socioeconomically disadvantaged school districts; 
  • Prioritize student populations traditionally underrepresented in computer science; 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing high-quality educator professional development that emphasizes integration of computer science into other course work and curricula or establishes or expands access to courses that offer college credit and other certificates of value, or both; and 
  • Collaborate or partner with other entities, including but not limited to other local education agencies, the business community, nonprofit organizations and private entities. 

The Fall application window opens Friday October 8th, 2021 and closes November 5th, 2021. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received. All applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of the application deadline.  

There is no limit to the grant amount awarded per applicant; however, funds will be dispersed equitably across all applications based on county and throughout PK-12. There is a total of $25,000 available for this grant in the Fall. 

A Spring application window will become available in January 2022. A minimum of $25,000 will be available in the Spring. 

Have questions? Want to learn more? We are hosting three informational sessions, October18th, October 25th, and November 1st. 

Interested in applying? Check out our website to register for an informational session, learn more about the grant, and submit an application.  

Need assistance applying? contact Emma-Marie Banks, Computer Science Specialist & Secondary Digital Learning Specialist emma-marie.banks@maine.gov 

WEBINAR: Bullying Awareness and Prevention Resources and Strategies

Please join the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse on October 26 at 3:00 PM EDT for an informational webinar on bullying awareness and prevention resources, tactics, and strategies to create safer school environments. This session will provide information and resources to the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) school community.

The session will feature guest speaker and bullying prevention expert Melissa Mercado Crespo, Ph.D., MSc, MA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention. She will provide an overview of what bullying is and how to identify it, key strategies and actions schools and school personnel can implement to prevent and address it, and the tools and resources available from the government to support schools in these efforts. She will also describe the different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), their impact on school violence, and the relationship between bullying, suicide, and the well-being of school-age youth.

The discussion will also feature additional school safety-related resources on topics like school climate and mental health access and support and a Q&A session for participants to engage directly with Dr. Mercado Crespo.

  • When: October 26, 2021, 3:00 to 4:00 PM EDT
  • Where: Adobe Connect (access link to be provided one day in advance of the event)
  • For: K-12 School Superintendents and Principals; Counselors and Mental Health Practitioners; School and District Administrators; Teachers and School Staff; School Resource Officers; Parents and Guardians; Students
  • Registration: https://schoolsafetybullyingpreventionwebinar.eventbrite.com

We hope you can join us for this special event during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Homeland Security’s School Safety team at SchoolSafety@hq.dhs.gov.

3D Printing Elective at China Middle School

The seventh and eighth grade students at China Middle School have a unique opportunity when choosing electives – 3D printing!

This elective is taught by an eleven-year veteran of education, Jamie Dugan. Jamie, a seventh-grade math teacher, is not a stranger to technology. Jamie earned a BS in Math and Computer Science from Springfield College and has been using that degree ever since, saying, “I have been privileged to work at schools that value technology in the classroom.”

Jamie’s latest endeavor is offering a 3D printing elective to her students. In this once-a-week elective, students start by learning the fundamentals of 3D printing either by looking at an example or watching a video. Students then learn how the 3D printer works and how to use it, and finish the class by designing something of their choice in the application, Tinkercad. The goal is that every student prints an object before the elective ends, which is not as straightforward as it seems.

“Not all 3D prints will work,” Dugan says, but “learning and understanding how to create 3D items can lead to creativity and innovation,” which is a goal of the elective.

In the end, students have printed some fantastic things: door stops, octopi, fidget spinners, phone docks, game pieces, and stands for computers. It is not all about the stuff, though, Dugan noted, “As a building, we believe that 3D printing is a great way to make a connection to our content and make it feel authentic.”

To learn more about the work Jamie Dugan is doing with 3-D printing at China Middle School, you can reach out at: jdugan@rsu18.org.

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Erik Wade 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.

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine DOE Opens 2021/2022 Student Cabinet Application – Calling on Diverse Voices to Apply

PLEASE SHARE WITH STUDENTS

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) today announced that it is opening applications for the 2021/2022 Student Cabinet, a group of students that meet regularly with the Maine DOE to discuss educational opportunities, improvements, and policy.

The purpose of the Student Cabinet is to provide a forum for Maine students’ voices to be heard. This year will be a special opportunity for Cabinet members to design a pilot project that reflects on the past two school years, to reinvent how schools think about remote and responsive learning as part of the Reinventing Responsive Education Ventures (RREV) initiative.  RREV is the product of a $16.9 million award from U.S. DOE to support and develop projects which will strengthen a culture of innovation in PK-12 education.

This is the third year the Maine DOE has appointed students to a Student Cabinet with the goal of integrating student voice into decision-making on education issues that impact their journey through Maine’s education system. In past years students have helped in identifying mental health needs at school, raised issues of racial equity, and helped brainstorm ways to individualize learning.

The Maine DOE is especially interested in having perspectives from students with diverse experiences, interests, cultures, and backgrounds. It is important that the student cabinet include members who are able to represent and advocate for underrepresented groups, including but not limited to students who identify as: gender expansive, English learners and other bilingual/multilingual students, members of a racial or ethnic minority in Maine, economically disadvantaged, new to living in Maine, or living with a mental and/or physical health diagnosis, as well as students who have special educational needs, experience in the juvenile justice system, or experience in one of the many different educational pathways found in education, including Extended Learning Opportunities, Adult Education programs, and Career & Technical Education.

There are 16-20 seats that are open for students in grades 4 – 12 and first year of college. The newly selected members will serve for a term of two years starting this November. All 16 counties in Maine will be represented on the Student Cabinet.

Selected cabinet members will be expected to attend scheduled meetings, prepare for each meeting as needed, work in a collaborative manner with one another and with Department staff as needed; and express views and opinions openly, constructively, and respectfully.

Instructions for applying:
Students interested in serving on the Maine DOE Student Cabinet will need to submit the electronic application by Monday, October 25, 2021 at 5 pm. Applications can be submitted electronically here.

For more information contact Rachel Paling, Communications & Outreach Manager, Maine Department of Education at rachel.paling@maine.gov.