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

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Over the past 15 years, Portland Public Schools have undergone a major transformation. While enrollment has fallen, the percentage of black and African youth has increased by more than 150 percent, due to an influx of refugees and immigrants.

That presents new challenges for educators, but the district has adopted a new approach to help make schools more welcoming to students of color.

The Maine Department of Education is offering more than $3 million in grants to encourage schools to consolidate and share services between districts.

In a statement, Acting Education Comissioner Robert Hasson says the grants will be used to create new models for schools to share services. The department says that could include districts sharing teachers, maintenance contracts or technical education centers.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

One of the biggest stories of this election cycle was the rise of “fake news” — false news stories that look real but aren’t. They often go viral on social media, and some say they helped influence the election.

While many social media sites are trying to stop the spread, Maine educators are stepping up, too, helping students differentiate between fact and fiction.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Many educators point to 9th grade as a crucial year for students. New studies show that freshmen have the lowest GPAs and lowest attendance of any high school grade level.

LEWISTON, Maine - Most of Maine's students are performing at grade level in science, but far fewer are proficient in Math and English, according to new statewide assessment data.

Newly released numbers from the Maine Department of Education show that last year, only about 38 percent of students rated as proficient in math on Maine's statewide assessment test. Fifty-one percent were at or above grade level in English and 61 percent met the state benchmark in science.

jariceiii / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ten years ago, Deer Isle-Stonington High School was considered one of the worst schools in the state, as measured by the dozens of students who were dropping out and heading to work on the water. But today, more students in this Down East fishing community are staying in school and graduating.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

With college trips, applications and financial aid deadlines approaching, the next few weeks will be stressful for many of Maine’s high school seniors.

Third-grade teacher Sara Wilder leading her class
Robbie Feinberg/Maine Public

Studies show young people in Maine have been exposed to some of the nation’s highest rates of adverse childhood experiences, such as drug abuse and violence at home. In schools, those experiences often lead to problems as students act out and are punished. One town in southern Maine is trying to change its approach to discipline and possibly change the community as well.

Courtesy Lewiston 21st Century Facebook page

How do you help a largely white teaching staff talk about race and culture with black students? That's a big question at Lewiston High School as the city's Somali population has grown to about 7,000.

Cape May County Library / Flickr

This week, we’ve been exploring why so many of Maine’s public schools can’t seem to find enough foreign language teachers. In his third and final report of the series, Robbie Feinberg takes us into one of these classrooms to see if technology could be the answer.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Maine’s public schools can’t find enough foreign language teachers, and they’re having a hard time keeping those that they do hire.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Across Maine, public schools can’t find enough qualified foreign language teachers. Already, schools are cutting programs and pondering lower standards because of the shortage.

In the first of a three-part series, Robbie Feinberg looks at the cause of the problem, and how it’s already affecting education in Maine.

LEWISTON, Maine - A new report indicates that more Maine families are taking advantage of new public pre-kindergarten programs.

The report, from the business-led education lobbying group Educate Maine, found that 36 percent of Maine's 4-year-olds were enrolled in public pre-schools, which is more than double the number from a decade ago.

Students at Snow Pond Arts Academy spend the morning studying theater, music and dance before using an online curriculum in the afternoon.
Snow Pond Arts Academy

Across the state, about 800 middle and high school students wake up every morning, log on to their computers, and take all of their classes completely online. They’re enrolled in to Maine’s two virtual charter schools. This year, that same, online approach is also being used by brick-and-mortar schools, as well. The track record for online and blended learning is mixed nationally. The question now is if Maine’s schools can buck the trend.

For Tiffany Jones, teaching English only requires a computer and an internet connection.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Across Maine over the past five years, a group of schools has tried out an experimental approach to learning. They call it “self pace,” and the idea is that if students decide how quickly or slowly they learn, they can stay more engaged and become more independent.

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