Education

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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.

Teacher Shortage

Jan 15, 2018
https://www.flickr.com/photos/foilman/

Maine schools are struggling with a shortage of teachers, particularly for areas such as Special Ed and world languages. How do we compare with other states? Why aren’t there enough qualified teachers to meet the demand, and what's being done about it? Some districts have found creative solutions to fill the need.

Guests: Catharine Biddle, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Maine College of Education and Human Development

Lois Kilby-Chesley, President, Maine Education Association

Barbara Slote, Grade 7 Language Arts Teacher, Westbrook Middle School 

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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