Maine Education Project

The Maine Education Project explores student-centered learning from early childhood through college and beyond. The project is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which is working to encourage a transformation of public schools toward places that create learning opportunities to engage and inspire all students to meet challenging standards.

Spearheaded by Robbie Feinberg, education news producer, and Dave Boardman, education program coordinator, the project seeks stories about innovative learning in Maine’s classrooms and educational institutions and connects with the voices of students, educators and policymakers as they look at solutions to the challenges facing education today. We highlight the perspectives of students through our Raise Your Voice! initiative.

Have a story suggestion? Contact the team at maineeducationproject@mainepublic.org.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

In classrooms, there has long been an assumption that students need to be still, calm and attentive to learn. But more and more, researchers are finding that attitude could actually be harming many students.

E'nkul Kanakan / Portland Empowered (courtesy photo)

For someone new to Maine, particularly if they have come from another country or speak a different language, education is an opportunity. But it can be intimidating. The academics are challenging, but what’s tougher for many students and their families is the language barrier.

Courtesy of Page Lennig

It’s budget season for school districts across the state, which are grappling with a funding proposal from Governor Paul LePage that would cut state funding by about $20 million compared to last year, and shift administrative costs back to the schools.

University of Maine at Presque Isle

While more high school students in Maine are going on to college these days, they’re taking their time to graduate.

The word “expulsion” probably brings to mind disruptive high-schoolers. But in fact, many children are expelled as early as preschool. New research shows that in Maine, nearly a quarter of childcare centers have expelled a child in the past year.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

While school funding is at the center of public debate right now, educators are wrestling with another problem, too: how to measure student success.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

It’s a two-word phrase that’s music to the ears of schoolkids across Maine: “snow day”. The rush to catch the bus turns instead to plans of sledding, making snowmen or just relaxing.

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.

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.

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.

Video: Stories of Student-Centered Learning

Nov 1, 2016

What's student-centered learning all about? It's a combination of choice, relevance, and engagement, and a number of Maine educators are successful at putting those elements together to help their students meet challenging standards. In this video broadcast on Maine Public Television, the Maine Education Project team takes a look at what student-centered learning looks like from college to first-grade. We feature programs at Telstar High School, Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Colby College, and the Lyseth Elementary School in Portland.

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