Robbie Feinberg

Education News Producer

Robbie grew up in New Hampshire, but has since written stories for radio stations from Washington, DC, to a fishing village in Alaska. Robbie graduated from the University of Maryland and got his start in public radio at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Before arriving at Maine Public Radio, he worked in the Midwest, where he covered everything from beer to migrant labor for public radio station WMUK in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Ways to Connect

Brian Bechard / MPBN

This fall, Maine voters will head to the polls to vote on a new tax that would increase education funding statewide. It’s being proposed as educators and districts across the state continue to wrestle with limited budgets. As they do that, educators are increasingly turning to private money to fund education, and private foundations are now playing a big role in putting money directly in the hands of teachers.

Robbie Feinberg / MPBN

Figuring out how to deal with “problem children” in the classroom has always been a challenge for teachers and administrators. These students, who often have social and emotional problems, have traditionally been punished with a trip the principal’s office, or with detentions and suspensions.

4-H instructor Norm Greenberg teaches students at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond in Bethel.
Robbie Feinberg/MPBN

Originally published on June 20, 2016

It’s not unusual for high school students to spend time in the community or work on a special project. But one Maine school district has taken that a step further. On almost every school day during the school year, freshmen at Telstar High School in Bethel are bussed to a local 4-H camp, where they work on anything from English to building solar panels and hiking trails. The school views the “Telstar Freshman Academy” program as a new way of tackling the state’s new proficiency-based graduation standards. But, parents and students are still coming around on the idea.

Dan Ryder Teaches Students Design Thinking at Mt. Blue High School
Robbie Feinberg/MPBN

If you looked inside Dan Ryder’s classroom at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, you might think that he taught engineering. A 3-D printer sits in the corner, there’s a giant box of Legos, and a full cart of electronics right beside. Ryder, though, teaches English. And he uses a method called design thinking, in which he combines books, inventions and brainstorming to create a new kind of classroom experience.

Robbie Feinberg / MPBN

Earlier this week, all staff members at Athens Elementary School gathered together to discuss their yearlong experiment in school governance. To save money and reclaim local control, the school decided in September to get rid of its principal and appoint teachers to serve as both instructors and administrators. The approach is still new, but it could lead to changes across Maine’s small, rural school districts.

Brian Bechard / MPBN

When Pedro Zamarro teaches his first-grade class, it’s all in Spanish. What’s unusual about it, though, is that Zamarro’s students aren’t from Spain, Mexico or South America. They attend Lyseth Elementary in Portland, which two years ago launched the state’s first public Spanish immersion class for first-graders.

Robbie Feinberg / MPBN

School enrollment is declining in nearly all of Maine’s school districts. But in one city — Lewiston — more students keep pouring in each year.

It’s been more than a dozen years since the state launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative — a program to put a laptop in the hands of every 7th and 8th grader across the state. The program has since expanded to high schoolers. And in 2013, it moved beyond laptops to touch-screen iPads. But now, some school districts say the iPad approach has led to software glitches, frustrated teachers and distracted students. As a result, some schools are switching back to laptops.

BANGOR, Maine - Students at Husson University can now use new personal safety devices to call police faster in emergencies, such as medical crises and sexual assaults.

The new devices, called POM - or "peace of mind" - can attach to a keychain and connect wirelessly with a smartphone. The college says by just hitting a button, the device will call campus security and reveal the student's location.

Embattled SAD 6 Superintendent Frank Sherburne resigned Monday night after weeks of heavy criticism over apparent nepotism violations.

For weeks, parents in Maine School Administrative District 6 have been clamoring for Sherburne to leave his post. It all started earlier this month, when Sherburne’s son — who was hired as an education technician within the district — was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager in another district.

LEWISTON, Maine - Portland voters yesterday approved a new $104 million budget for the city's schools. The new budget will raise taxes by about 2 percent, but school officials say it was necessary after the city lost about $1.4 million in funding from the state.

Anna Trevorrow is the Finance Committee chair for the Portland Board of Public Education. She says the city had to find a few cuts to make up for the lost dollars.  But she says the city still made some investments, such as adding another Pre-K classroom and boosting staff to help homeless students.

A parent in Maine School Administrative District 6 has filed a formal complaint with the state Department of Education after the local school board declined to discipline the district’s superintendent for violating the district’s nepotism policies.

Earlier this week, the school board ruled that District Superintendent Frank Sherburne violated those policies by hiring his son, Zachariah, without state approval, proper credentials or a background check. That came out after Sherburne’s son was charged last week with sexually assaulting a student in another district.

LEWISTON, Maine - Husson University says a record number of incoming students are planning to attend the Bangor school this fall.

The private university announced today that it received more than 2,700 applications for its fall 2016 class - a 16 percent increase from last year's class.

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