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 and educators, and provide curriculum resources for writing about education and finding success through our Raise Your Voice! initiative.

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

After losing a lengthy lawsuit, the LePage administration is finally releasing millions of dollars in job training funds to Maine's regional workforce boards. But now proposed requirements on how to spend the money have some workforce board officials unsure if they can build the state's job training system back up to what it once was.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

A lawyer representing Scarborough High School Principal David Creech says that the district's board of education has refused the principal's request to stay on as principal.

Creech announced his resignation earlier this month, following months of conflict in Scarborough over a new school start time policy that concerned some parents and teachers. But Creech's attorney, Bill Michaud, says the principal was pressured into resigning by the school's superintendent and received little explanation behind the decision.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Hundreds of students and parents flooded the sidewalks near Scarborough High School early Monday morning, protesting the resignation of the school’s principal, David Creech.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Maine was the first state in the country to embrace a new “proficiency-based” high school diploma. Maine's current ninth-graders are set to graduate under these new requirements, which apply to subjects from math to English and social studies. However, the Maine Department of Education is considering a change in that law that would potentially make it less onerous to graduate.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Over the next few months, towns across Maine will vote on local school budgets, a process that can turn divisive as costs rise and older residents on fixed incomes feel the pinch. But in the small town of Medway, near Millinocket, there’s an effort underway to bring some of those elders into the classroom, and help them feel like they're a part of the school community.

pihs.sad1.org

A unique school tradition will come to an end in one Aroostook County town next year. Wednesday night, the school board for SAD 1, in Presque Isle, voted to eliminate “harvest break” – a three week period in the fall when students leave the classroom and help to harvest potatoes. In recent years other towns have also eliminated the break. However, school officials expect that the unusual practice will continue in a few places.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

This fall, many Maine schools are expected to get more money from the state as part of a budget deal reached last year, and one of the major funding boosts is for public preschool.

Thomas College wants to eliminate textbooks in some of its courses as a way to lower costs for students.

The Waterville-based college announced Tuesday that it will use a $140,000 grant to transition away from requiring textbooks to using free online resources in 30 courses over the next three years. That's out of about 250 courses that the school offers each semester.

A new bill would restore state funding for school administrators that could be cut in some districts as part of last year's budget agreement. Maine school leaders want to restore state funding for administrators that could be cut for some districts as part of last year's budget agreement.

Under last year's agreement, districts that do not join "regional service centers" could lose nearly $100 per student from the state in coming years. On Wednesday, lawmakers heard from school officials who supported getting rid of those potential cuts.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

What was once called "vocational education" in Maine is now called "career and technical education," or CTE. More than 8,000 high schoolers are enrolled in classes at CTE centers around Maine, where they learn everything from carpentry and plumbing to biotech and digital media.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

For generations, high school students in northern Maine have taken a three-week break from classes every fall to harvest potatoes. But the acreage has shrunk over the past 50 years, and technology has reduced the demand for labor, which means far fewer teenagers are working in the fields of Aroostook County.

In the town of Presque Isle, the school board is looking at a new approach that could end the tradition of the October break and bring the harvest into the classroom.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Starting three years from now, high school students in Maine won’t be able to graduate by just earning enough credits — they’ll need to have mastered a set of standards in subjects including math, English and science. Some schools are taking new approaches to help students meet the new proficiency standards — but some educators are still worried that a large percentage of students may not be able to make the grade.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Like a lot of states, Maine has a shortage of teachers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, schools are struggling to find people to fill positions ranging from librarians to Spanish teachers.

Oak Hill High School Principal Marco Aliberti works with a student in English class as part of a revamped course structure in the school.
Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Beginning this year, high school freshmen in Maine have to work toward a new kind of "proficiency-based" diploma. Under the new requirement, students must be "proficient" in a number of subjects by the time they reach their senior year. Reaching the standards is a tall order.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

At most any high school in Maine you will find Advanced Placement classes, which are more challenging, and designed to help students prepare for college. Nationally, minority students have often been underrepresented in many AP classes — but one Maine high school has transformed theirs, and welcomed in many more minority students in the process.

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