Friday, March 18, 2022

March 18 Blog Post

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day and that you have all recovered from the loss of that hour of sleep last weekend!  I don't know about you but that always throws me for a loop and takes me at least a few days to recalibrate!  All set now though and absolutely READY FOR SPRING!  I do apologize for those of you that are snow lovers...but I do think the rest of us have been patient and it is most definitely time for that warmer weather!

As usual, lots to share, but before I get into the meat of the message for this blog post - I wanted to start as I have been starting - by sharing some pictures that give you just a glimpse into what has been happening the past few weeks here in the Gorham Schools!  I do hope you notice all those smiles!

Now on to the information pieces!


As we continue on our journey of moving from a Pandemic to an endemic in our schools and in our community I wanted to take a moment to just remind folks that even though masking has moved to be optional across our schools, that does NOT mean that COVID 19 has gone away and it most certainly does not mean that we are not still following key Maine CDC guidelines for safety.  

While we enjoy our new found visible smiles, I would encourage us to remember key health and safety practices that will still be followed across all our schools.  I've added a few more Q&A pieces that I have gathered from our nurses to help make sure folks remain clear on our continued safety protocols.  These are questions they have received frequently over the past few weeks, so bear repeating.  Please read/review and reach out if you have additional questions and remember...


2.  Wash/Sanitize those hands frequently

3.  Keep that physical distance when possible

4.  As the weather warms, get outside as much as possible - best air ventilation systems are "mother nature"!

Updated Q&A:

Q:  Now that there is no universal masking protocol, what happens if I am a close contact to someone with Covid-19 (including someone in my household)?


  • If you were exposed to Covid-19 and are NOT up-to-date on Covid-19 Vaccinations: Quarantine at home for 5 days and wear a mask at school (and all public settings)  on days 6-10

  • If you were exposed to Covid-19 and are up-to-date on Covid-19 vaccinations OR had confirmed Covid-19 within the past 90 days:  Wear a mask at school (and all public settings) for 10 days

  • Refer to the most recent SOP (3/8/22) for more information

Q: If my child has had a positive Covid test and is due to return to school, will they be required to wear a mask when they return to school? Even if they have no residual symptoms?

A: Yes. They will be required to mask on days 6-10

Q: If I chose not to test my child for Covid and instead elect  to keep them out of school for 5 days, will they be required to wear a mask when they return to school?

A: Yes. Your child will be considered “presumed positive” for Covid and will therefore be required to mask on days 6-10

Q: If my child is sick, and I test them for Covid that day and it is negative, can I send them to school as long as they wear a mask? 

A: No, If you child is sick, keep them at home

Q:  What are the masking guidelines for student transportation (Riding the bus etc)?

A:  Effective February 25, 2022, CDC and Gorham Schools do not** require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs. **Unless you are currently required to be masking because you are a close contact or are returning to school after having Covid-19**

Please reach out with any questions you may have. Your school nurses are here to help!


Over the past two years the Gorham Schools have been the recipient of federal CARES Act dollars to assist us in moving through and navigating the unforeseen and daunting challenges associated with operating public schools during a global pandemic. There have been three major funding streams:




It is important that we expend these funds in a transparent manner so that taxpayers and others know and understand how we have best utilized these funds in a manner to assist our students in sustainable ways. Below is an outline of each grant fund total allocation and a summary of expenditures to date thus far for funding.

CARES ESSER I ( Total Allocation to Gorham: $187,306.44)

These funds were utilized to help pay for additional staff that were needed to support our schools as we operated under global pandemic conditions. The vast majority of these funds were utilized to support 2 full time substitute teachers across each of our five schools. As you may recall, our substitute pool dropped from 95 individuals to just 25 individuals during the height of the pandemic for obvious reasons as many of our substitutes were retired individuals who needed to be cautious with their own health and wellbeing and understandably so. However, as we continued to operate within a pandemic, required quarantines, and absences for staff due to illness reached an all time high. These much positions helped us continue to keep our schools open for students even during these challenging times.

These funds have been fully expended.

CRRSA ESSER II ( Total Allocation to Gorham: $777,000.00)

These funds were used for a variety of Pandemic Related purposes. Once again, strengthening staffing capacity was a huge focus to ensure the continued operation of our schools. These funds continued to support Full time substitutes across each of our five schools. These funds also supported the continuation of what we called "Clinic aid" positions which were positions added specifically to assist our school nurses in contact tracing and communication with families in managing our COVID 19 safety protocols. Additionally, funds were expended here to help reduce class sizes at our K-2 grade levels across all three schools for the 2021-22 School year. This allowed our classroom teachers to better differentiate and support students who may have been struggling as a result of the pandemic academically or in areas related to social/emotional learning. Funding was also utilized to upgrade our wireless infrastructure at GMS and GHS as we continued to use technology to help bridge gaps in student learning when they were out for quarantine or isolation periods. Funding was also used to purchase additional educational materials for students to aid in at home learning and to provide supplemental materials for our teachers to use in their daily instruction. Finally, funds were also used to help support our transportation system as we worked to ensure an appropriate number of bus runs to help keep safe physical distancing on our buses.

By the conclusion of the 2021-22 School Year, these funds will be fully expended.

ARP ESSER III (Total Allocation To Gorham: $1,751,611.06)

These funds are funds that we have begun to use in the 2021-22 School year but will also likely extend use through the 2022-23 School Year to continue to support our schools.

Funds already spent have supported the following programs:

- Spring, 2021 Summer Bridge Learning Program - we offered four weeks of instructional programming via zoom to qualifying RTI students across grades K-8.

- Summer, 2021 Enrichment Programming - we contracted services with Gorham Recreation Department to provide fun programming for our summer learners for a six week program.

- Summer, 2021 Learning program - we provided a six week academic and SEL focused learning program for 90 at risk students across the district.

- Reveal Math Curriculum - we purchased a new K-9 Math curriculum to strengthen and bolster our math instruction across these important grades to address areas of identified need.

- Class size reduction - We used funding to add additional teachers at grades 3-5 to reduce class sizes so that teachers could provide more targeted and differentiated instruction for students in need across the board in academic and social emotional learning.

- COVID Support positions - We used funding to continue to support full time substitutes, lunch duty monitors, and the addition of a full time substitute school nurse that works across all five schools.

- Air quality project - we identified a space at GHS that required additional HVAC work to ensure high quality air ventilation and circulation was occurring. Repairs were made over the summer.

We will also utilize funds to operate a summer learning program this summer for students identified as needing this additional summer learning "boost".

Through the 2021-22 School Year & additional summer programming we will have expended approximately $1.4 million of the total allocation, leaving us approximately $350,000.00 to work with for FY 23. We are building plans on how best to utilize this funding to support our students now as we work on our comprehensive FY 23 Budget Development process.

This overview demonstrates that we have indeed utilized these funds and utilized them well to support our children in Gorham. There is some "press" out there saying schools haven't used these funds, or that they have been "sitting on these funds" and I want you to know that is most definitely NOT the case in Gorham. I hope you can see from the summary above that we have found numerous ways to utilize these funds to best support our schools and the students we serve with the primary focus of providing required capacity and support to keep our schools fully operational throughout the course of this pandemic, providing much needed services to our children and families even during the most difficult of times.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any follow up questions via email (


I've mentioned this work a few times in past blogs, but I wanted to take a quick moment to provide an update to the community on where this work is and where we are headed.

First, a reminder - what is this work?

The Little Rams Early Childhood Project is a powerful partnership of schools, child care programs, educators, parents, businesses, and local organizations and leaders. We engage the community in prioritizing our youngest Gorham children with a focus on early learning, nurturing care, and healthy development ages birth - age 5. Our vision is that All children and families in Gorham have access to quality early learning experiences that promote healthy development and school/community readiness. We are working to Develop a written early childhood vision report for the community of Gorham.  This report will include (but not be limited to):

  • A Vision for early childhood learning (birth - 5) for Gorham

  • An Assessment of current community assets to build towards actualizing this vision.

  • An Assessment of current community gaps in actualizing this vision.

  • Creation of draft priority action steps and approximate timelines for work needed to make the early childhood learning vision a reality in Gorham.

The group has been meeting since fall of 2021 on a monthly basis. You can view our running agendas and notes by CLICKING HERE, but I wanted to provide folks with a cliff notes version of the work that has been done and where we are going in case you don't want to read all that - so here goes:

Work Completed:
- Brainstormed potential goals
- Done a deep dive into state and local data to better understand existing conditions
- Conducted an initial parent survey
- Identified existing and potential challenges and barriers as well as opportunities
- Learned about Maine Department of Education Public PreK programs
- Learned about the importance of Play
- Learned about DHHS requirements for early care
- Learned about Kindergarten requirements
- Learned about CDS Part C and Part B services & how these transition into public schools
- Brainstormed focus areas for our written plan
- Researched templates of other community plans

Work Left To Do (and approx. timeline):
-  Begin drafting initial plan (now - June, 2022)
-  Conduct follow up parent/community Thought Exchange (April/May, 2022)
-  Finalize plan (Summer, 2022)
-  Prepare to present plan to TC and SC (early fall, 2022)
-  Prepare to present plan to public/community (early fall, 2022)

Exciting work no doubt...and IMPORTANT WORK.  Please stay tuned!


The Gorham Action Team for Youth (GATY), in collaboration with The Opportunity Alliance will be sponsoring two evenings of learning for Gorham Parents/Guardians. One night is geared towards MS/HS level and the other is geared more towards K-5 level. The topic is on "Parenting Strategies For Modern Challenge" - a timely topic indeed! Please see the flyer below for more details and contact information for who to reach out to with questions. This looks to be an incredible learning opportunity! Hope to see you there!


Please see the message and links below from Neile Nelson, GHS teacher and Interact Club advisor ...

Hi Friends / Family / Staff

The Gorham High School Interact Club is doing a satellite RELAY FOR LIFE  event of our own on Sunday, May 1st at the Gorham High School Track, under the umbrella of the Relay for Life of Greater Portland. Our club currently has approximately 155 members involved and we are hoping to have 100% participation throughout the day.  We will be walking/running the Gorham High School track from 7:00AM until 7:00PM.  Our members and I are actively trying to solicit donations on behalf of our team - GHS Interact Club.  The donations help raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society directly.  Please consider a donation to this worthwhile cause on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Our club is hoping for 100% participation in the event and we are shooting to exceed our donations from last year. We have set a club goal of raising over $6,000.  Please help and donate if you can, and also feel free to share this email with anyone!!! 


If any of you are interested in joining us for a bit walking or running, please do so at any point throughout the day. We will also be having a Luminary lap and Survivor Lap at roughly 6:00PM, if you would like to come and watch those events.  Our club members will be decorating luminary bags in honor of friends, family members, neighbors, that have been affected by cancer in some way. We will place these bags around the GHS track at 6:00 that evening. In addition to that, we are inviting family, friends, neighbors and members of our community to join us in supporting our "Survivor" lap to support and honor those who have been directly affected by this disease.  That will be taking place between 6 and 7 PM as well. 

With one in three people expected to experience cancer in their lifetime, it’s likely we all know someone who’s been affected by the disease — friends, loved ones, maybe even yourself.

Our club is participating in this year’s Relay For Life to help the American Cancer Society change all that. Please donate to our fundraising page, so we can continue to see fewer people diagnosed, and more people surviving cancer. Give what you can. Every gift — large and small — makes a big difference.


Neile Nelson
Math Teacher
Interact Club Advisor
Gorham High School


It has been a while since my last video message, so I thought it would be great to share a quick closing message of optimism and renewal via video.  Please click on the link below to view - I PROMISE IT IS BRIEF!


Unified Bball Video Link:

So Proud to be a Gorham Ram!  Enjoy Spring starting on Monday! 

Friday, March 4, 2022

March 4 Blog Post

Its been a great week back from the February break in the Gorham Schools!  Lots happening for we'll get right to it.  But before we get to the information...just want to start with my usual "snapshot" of our students and staff doing what they do best - Having fun while learning!

Now on to the important information!


There has certainly been a flurry of information the past week on this front, so I thought it would be important to put it all in one place for families to be able to reference and understand.

On Wednesday 3/2 Governor Mills and the Maine CDC announced that they will be adjusting their recommendations and SOP for public schools to allow for optional masking.  Their start date to lift the recommendation was Wednesday, March 9.

On Thursday, 3/3 the Gorham School Committee met in an Emergency Special meeting to discuss moving that date up to Monday, March 7 in order to be more realistic in implementation of the change at the beginning of a school week vs. the middle of one.  Given that data wouldn't change significantly in that 48 hour time frame, this would be a more common sense approach for our school system since no other significant changes would need to be made.  The School Committee voted unanimously to move the initiation date for masking optional to Monday, March 7 for this reason.

Bottom line:  Our schools will move to optional masking for all school related indoor activities (including school buses) on Monday, March 7 in continued alignment with Maine CDC recommendations.

Over this same time frame, our school leaders and our school staff have been working to ensure a smooth transition from required masking to optional masking.  We have been spending time talking with our staff and students about the importance of making sure that individual choices in this matter are fully respected and encouraged.  It is ESSENTIAL that we view this as an individual decision.  Everyone will be supported, no matter what decision that they make.  

It is also important to note that our messaging is making it clear that there will be no tolerance for making comments or poking fun at anyone that chooses to still wear a mask.  It would be most helpful if you could help with this messaging as parents as well.  Everyone has their own reasons for their decision.  Some may choose to wear a mask for comfort and protection, some may choose to wear a mask to help keep their faces warm, some may choose to wear a mask in order to help individuals in their family who may have compromised immune systems.  It is not anyone's place to ask questions or make assumptions about these choices.  

As a school system we continue to focus on making sure that every child and every staff member is supported in the decision to either wear a mask or not to wear a mask.  Our Code of Conduct teaches us to be respectful, responsible and courageous and we will continue to honor our Code of Conduct through our actions moving forward.  It is time to celebrate the fact that we are at this point where this kind of a change can safely occur in our schools and we look forward to moving our focus from Pandemic to Endemic over the course of the next several months.

As usual, have gotten some questions already from families.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of those questions (with answers even) with all of you in case you are wondering similar things.  You can view the Q&A sheet by CLICKING HERE.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to point out the 2+ years of hard work and dedication it has taken us to get to this point TOGETHER.  We have been through so much, and that hard work is now beginning to pay off.  COVID 19 is not "done with us" by any stretch, but it is clear that we are moving from the Pandemic phase of this work to the Endemic phase.  In order to help us stay here, we all have a great responsibility to do our best to follow all the other safety precautions that help to keep COVID 19 at bay.  As a reminder, those are:

*  Continue your daily health screening routines.  If Sick - STAY HOME.

*  If experiencing symptoms, test.  

*  If you test positive for COVID 19, report to the School Nurse so she is aware and can help guide you regarding specific protocols.  Isolate for at least 5 days.  If asymptomatic on day 6, return to school is possible but A MASK IS REQUIRED to be worn on days 6-10.

*  Wash/Sanitize those hands frequently.

*  Maintain physical distancing of 3 ft to the extent possible.

*  Strongly consider getting vaccinated/boosted if you haven't already done so.

By continuing to work together we will ensure continued forward progress - I have no doubt! GO RAMS!

P.S. - There is A LOT of work to do to go back through all of our handbooks and other online resource materials to make sure they are updated with these changes.  This work will be ongoing over the course of the next several weeks, so please if you have questions email or call your building principals and I'm very sure they can help you in answering them.  THANK YOU!


As outlined in my last blog, I wanted to make sure folks are aware that we are continuing to have conversations regarding our proposed 2022-23 School Year Calendar.  The biggest item being discussed right now is an initial proposal to move to Early Release Days every week next year.  I'm not going to repeat all of what I wrote in my last blog here, but you can go back and look at that post if you need a refresher.  Bottom line is that this is an initial proposal only and I expect that through continued dialogue, we will find an appropriate balance between meeting the additional PD needs of our staff while also honoring the incredibly stressful work schedules many of our parents must juggle.

All that being said, I wanted to make sure you all had a solid understanding of timeline and process.

The School Committee will meet again on Wed. March 9 at 7:00 p.m. in council chambers to continue discussion.  NO DECISION will be made on that night.  However, it is a perfect opportunity for folks (if interested) to come out and share your thoughts with the School Committee.  There will be a public comment section at the beginning of the agenda for this purpose.  If you can't make the meeting, I would encourage folks to send a respectful email outlining your thoughts and ideas to Anne Schools, (SC chair) and then cc other School Committee members and myself.  School Committee email addresses can be found on the district website or you can CLICK HERE for the direct link.  

We have conducted a study of Cumberland County school systems to determine what they do for Early Release or Late Start days and will be presenting that on Wed. Night.  I thought folks might also find that information interesting, so you can CLICK HERE to view.

Additionally, we will present a more thorough overview of what this additional time might be used for, where our focus points would be and how we would measure success.  Again, thought folks might be interested, so you can view that information by CLICKING HERE.

After this meeting, we plan on spending another chunk of time on this discussion at our March 23 Workshop meeting.  Again, no decision will be made at this meeting, but additional information will be shared and questions asked. Then the plan would be to bring the item back to the April 13 regular meeting agenda for final decision making.  The March 23 meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. in the upstairs conference room at the Municipal center and the April 13 meeting will be at 7:00 in council chambers.  The March 23 meeting will not be live streamed but both the March 9 and April 13 meetings will be using the town's website (CLICK HERE for quick link).

Bottom line, we are still very early in the conversation and learning phase of this topic, but I am sure that through continued open and respectful dialogue we will find the right balance to meet the needs of our staff and our families moving forward.  I'll continue to keep folks updated and will most definitely share the final approved calendar after our April 13 meeting as I know many of you are "itching" to know those dates for next year! ☺


I had mentioned this important work a while back, but wanted to follow up with the completed report that folks can view if you are interested.  As a quick re-cap the Town of Gorham and the Gorham School Department hired CHA (a state Architectural Firm) to conduct a long range facilities plan in November of 2020.  The Town recognized the need to prepare a long- range facility plan to be used as a planning tool for the Town Council and the citizens of Gorham in evaluating options for growth at Town owned buildings. The completed report draws conclusions and make recommendations. Only the residents of Gorham can determine the final solutions and decisions. This study prepares an analysis of existing conditions, organizational concepts, population and school enrollment projections, and education visions for school organizations. This report recommends that the Town embark in a series of public workshops to begin the dialogue and help the Town establish priorities for tackling overcrowded and outdated facilities as well as opportunities. The Town inevitably will have to make major investments with local or state funding to renovate, expand, or construct new schools and municipal facilities. 

You can view the full and final report by CLICKING HERE.

The topic of capital facilities needs across our community is going to continue to be a large topic in the community of Gorham as we grow.  It is a relatively lengthy report, but worth the read!

Next steps will be for the Town Council and School Committees to establish a timeline of joint meetings and joint work to do exactly what is recommended above.  To engage our community in establishing priorities for tackling overcrowded and outdated facilities as well as to address the various opportunities these discussions can present.  Once those priorities are established together, we will then work collaboratively to make them a reality for our community over time.

The next Joint meetings of the Town Council Facilities Committee and the School Department Facilities Committee will take place on Monday, March 7, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in the downstairs conference room of the municipal building.  A full agenda can be found on the Town's website.


It has been a while since I have updated people on this important work so I thought it might be nice to take a moment or two to do that very thing!

This community-wide initiative encourages students in every grade, in every Gorham school, to think about their futures.  Collaborating with businesses and community organizations in and around Gorham, the Aspire Gorham team is connecting students to professionals in order to ensure meaningful real-world learning opportunities are at the center of our curriculum for students.  We do this through a focus on THREE key elements:

EXPOSURE:  Building future-ready skills and inspiring students.

This foundational state of Aspire Gorham provides introductory career-related opportunities that incorporate dramatic play, experiential learning, time for discussion, parent engagement, and development of future-ready skills that foster children's aspirational strengths and interests.

EXPLORATION:  Supporting students to explore their strengths and interests.

Deepening the career exposure that occurs in early childhood and elementary education, this stage encourages students to actively "try it" and explore many different careers and skills, without fear of failure.  Students continue to focus on the development of future-ready skills through ongoing exposure to and engagement with their community.

EXPERIENCE:  Empowering students to craft their future stories.

Building upon the foundations of career exposure and exploration, students partner with teachers and community mentors to pursue authentic career experiences that are directly tied to future goals and are located in the community.  Students also actively engage in career exposure and exploration activities as they refine their skills and take steps towards realizing their aspirations.

For this year's work we've established FOUR key goals:

We've done incredible work in this initiative so wanted to just provide a brief overview of the work done thus far towards accomplishment of these goals:

Goal #1:  
* We have created written and video resources to all staff K-12 via google classroom platform.
*. We have provided a short presentation to each school's staff about Aspire Gorham and provided access and training on use of google classroom materials.
*. We have created a business panel (Thank you Shawn Moody, David Willis, Marti Allen, and Lisa Shaw for participating) that has visited one staff meeting at each school to talk about partnerships and the importance of connections between our school and business community.

Goal #2:  
*. We have worked with leaders at WRVC and PATHS to solicit input and find meaningful ways to celebrate and promote our CTE programs and students.
*. We've strengthened our semester long workplace learning experience program at GHS.
*. We have started a new Tech Start program for GMS 8th graders.
*. We have written grants to support the establishment of pre apprenticeship and apprenticeship experiences for our students.
*. We continue to lean heavily on our steering committee for their incredible guidance and vision.

Goal #3:
*. We've created a way to follow up with graduating seniors and track their success in order to collect meaningful data.
*. We have begun a process of annual meetings with GHS graduates in a focus group setting in order to collect data on success.
*. We have presented and analyzed annual Aspire Gorham data to determine areas of success and areas of challenge moving forward.

Goal #4:
* We have created the Little Rams Early Learning Project to develop a community wide vision for early learning in Gorham ages birth - 5.
*. This team has analyzed data and created partnerships with local childcare partners to build meaningful and trusting relationships upon which future work can be built.
*. We continue to sponsor the incredible work of the "Little Learners" program in partnership with Baxter Memorial Library.

This of course is not everything we have done so far this year, but it is a nice overview.  I hope it allows you to see into the objectives of this important work a bit more clearly.  I would most definitely welcome additional questions if you have any - just reach out!

In the meantime, please enjoy the most recent March, 2022 Aspire Gorham Newsletter spotlighting so many of our incredible students and their "future story journeys"! 


Basketball-Girls basketball won the Class AA South Regional Championship over Scarborough Saturday night. The girls will play in the state championship game on Saturday night vs. Cheverus at 7:00pm.  Anna Nelson was named Red McMann Outstanding Player, the Ms. Basketball semifinalist honrs, and received, along with Elijah Wyatt, the Maine McDonald’s Academic recognition award.

Skiing-the girls Alpine Ski team finished 16th of 24 teams and the boys finished 11th of 21 teams. The girls were awarded the Sportsmanship Award!

Indoor Track-The boys team finished 5th in State Championship meet highlighted by Andrew Farr winning the state championship in the 400 Meter Dash and setting a new state record as well as winning the 200 meter dash. The girls finished as the Class-A runner up—highlighted by state championships by Alyvia Caruso I the 55 Hurdles, Emma Green in the High Jump, and the 4x200 relay team of Maddie Michaud, Ashley Connolly, Emma Green, and Sydney Connolly who won the state championship with a new state record time.

Ice Hockey—the boys team is the 7th seed in the Class B South Play-offs. The girls team was awarded MPA Sportsmanship Award!

Swimming—Boys swimming finished 9th and girls finished 11th at the state championships!

We are congratulate all of our athletes for a job well done!


The Emperor's New Clothes will be presented by Gorham Middle School Students on Friday March 11 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

I've seen is going to be good! Check out the flyer below for more details:


The last game of the GHS unified team's schedule will be next week Wednesday at 3:30 pm at GHS.  

Gorham Middle School will be starting their own Unified team this year with their home games coming up at GMS on March 10 and March 24 at 3:30 p.m.

If you have a moment, you should most definitely check these games out...we are so very proud of our unified athletes!  GO RAMS!

Maine Department of Education Resources on Helping Young People Safely Navigate the Internet 

The information below is shared from the Maine Department of Education as an incredible resource I wanted to remind parents about!

Maine DOE Offers Parents, Educators, and Students Free Resources By Grade Level 

Augusta, ME—During his State of the Union address this week, President Biden called for increased measures to ensure young people are protected on the internet and while using social media. The Maine Department of Education offers parents, educators, and students a number of free resources, by grade level, to help young people safely navigate the internet and avoid dangers that can impact their physical and mental health.  

The Maine Department of Education’s comprehensive web-based social emotional learning resource SEL4ME embeds specific lessons in interest safety at every grade level. For example, the second grade module Be Fine Online helps students learn ways to stay safe when online, including the importance of never revealing their personal information; sixth graders have lesson like Be Aware What You Share in which they gain a deeper understanding of internet safety and social media and on cyberbullying; the eighth grade lesson User Beware: The Scary Side of the Internet helps students understand that not everything on the internet is safe, including how to spot online predators and the dangers of sexting; and in 11th grade, students have access to Cyber Bullying and Digital Citizenship which goes into the effects of online bullying and the virtual footprint that can follow them into the work place.   

SEL4ME is free to all Maine schools, families, and community partners and offers more than 450 PreK-12th grade learning modules. Each grade level hosts lessons within the five key elements of social emotional learning (SEL): self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making. Educators, families, and students can learn more and sign up here.  

The Maine Department of Education’s Digital Learning Specialists, in partnership with the MLTI Ambassadors, also provide professional learning, resources, and support for digital citizenship, social media use, online safety, and cyber security. MLTI also partners with Common Sense Education to share digital citizenship and online safety resources with educators. Educators can also reach out to specialists directly to explore ways to integrate these skillsets into their instruction to help students stay safe online.  

“The internet is a tremendous resource for students to explore and activate their passions, develop skills and knowledge, build connections, and expand their digital literacy, and Maine educators and schools are constantly integrating technology into teaching and learning in innovative ways,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “We’re also committed to making sure students have the tools and resources they need to navigate the internet safely and avoid the very real dangers that President Biden outlined in his State of the Union speech that pose a threat to the physical and mental health of our young people. We encourage educators and families to take advantage of our free resources.” 


With all that is happening in the world right now, I thought there might be some families looking for resources to help talk with their students about what is happening in the Ukraine right now.

*. The Best Teaching & Learning about the Russia/Ukraine Conflict - Culmination of Resources From Educational Blogger Larry Ferlazzo


A concert happening right here in Gorham of the Maine Multicultural Girl's Choir.  Check out flyer below for details if Interested!

Well that is it for this post.  I'll blog again on March 18!  Have a great weekend everyone!