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Maine Department of Education will use federal funding to train educators

Part of the $137 million from the American Recovery Plan will be used to address the staffing shortage in schools

MAINE, USA — The U.S. Department of Education approved Maine's Plan to use $137 million from the American Rescue Plan to support schools across the state. 

The amount of money will vary by each school district depending on a number of factors, including the number of students.

Daniel Chuhta, deputy commissioner at the Maine Department of Education, told NEWS CENTER Maine the funding will be used for a variety of things, but one use that is front of mind for many people, addressing the staffing shortage.

"I think school units are taking this time now to do some self-assessment to see what the staffing needs are," he said.

That's where Eastern Maine Community College comes in with its Learning Facilitator Program

"It's actually a full academic year program but it starts with a week-long, ten-day boot camp," Megan London, EMCC Education Department co-chairwoman said.

The program has a variety of different types of students,  from folks who already work in schools looking to grow their careers to people who are trying to change careers altogether.

"There's no experience like being in the classroom doing it so in a way it was extra beneficial for them," Chuhta said.

Maine's plan for this funding focuses on:

  • Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time, including developing opportunities for students to gain credit by working with community-based and work-based organizations.
  • Encouraging districts to focus on social-emotional learning, mental and behavioral health programs, restorative alternatives to exclusionary discipline, trauma-informed practices, student-centered learning through project-based instruction
  • Meeting emergency needs funding for mental health support for students, educators, and families
  • State coordination of efforts to encourage local schools to partner with community organizations to support afterschool programming
  • Development of a fast-track training program for paraprofessional-level educators