Special Olympics Maine recognizes Bath high school for inclusive program

Members of Morse High School’s unified sports teams accepted a banner from Special Olympics Maine Friday recognizing the school for its involvement in the organization’s Unified Champion Schools program. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

BATH — It’s the last minute of the final game for Morse High School’s unified basketball team, which boasts an equal number of students with and without disabilities. Shots are taken, missed, and taken again as the clock ticks down until the buzzer sounds and every player, coach and spectator erupts into cheers, applause and congratulations. Who wins isn’t remembered, but the sense of acceptance every student feels will last a lifetime.

The unified basketball team is just one part of Morse High School’s involvement with Unified Champion Schools, a Special Olympics Maine program aimed at fostering a sense of social inclusion, respect and acceptance for all students and teachers. The Bath high school received

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After 40 years in medicine, here’s what a Maine addiction expert has learned about alcohol, opioids and public health

When The New York Times, the Washington Post and news agencies across Maine have needed to understand the opioid epidemic and the policies emerging in response to it, they have often turned to a specialist in addiction medicine working in Portland, Dr. Mark Publicker. Unafraid to criticize redundant task forces and barriers to treatment, his advocacy led to better policy and saved lives, said those who learned of his impending retirement online.

As the pandemic complicates the more hidden challenge of addiction, Publicker, 70, will retire from his private practice at the end of the year, after 40 years in medicine. He recently spoke about his career and the changing upheavals of the opioid crisis. Today, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Dr. Mark Publicker will retire from his private practice in Portland at the end of the
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Maine Higher Education And Smith College Receive Blockbuster Private Gifts

Higher Education in Maine and Smith College were each beneficiaries of record-setting, transformative private gifts this week. The two massive gifts, totaling more than half a billion dollars, will support multiple educational initiatives by their recipients for years to come.

The Maine Gift

The Harold Alfond Foundation announced Tuesday that it was donating more than $500 million for new investments to help grow Maines’s workforce and economy and support quality health care. The grant awards will be paid out over time as recipients meet certain benchmarks.

Eight recipients will receive between $5 million and $240 million each, to support their work in education, skill-building, research and job creation. According to the foundation, “supporting the goals of Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, the selected institutions will help enhance the skills of the state workforce, promote innovation

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Alfond Foundation grants $500M to Maine higher ed and research institutions

A prominent Maine philanthropic organization said Tuesday that it is granting more than $500 million to “high-performing” institutions that it said will help build Maine’s future.

The Harold Alfond Foundation said the grants, which range from $5 million to $240 million, will be given to innovative higher education and research organizations that can help create jobs, educate and build skills.

“Our state faces unprecedented challenges,” said Greg Powell, chair of the Harold Alfond Foundation. “In the face of these challenges, we still see a bright, prosperous future for the people of Maine.”

Gov. Janet Mills said the investment will “fuel new opportunities for Maine people and diversify and expand our economy at a critical moment in our state’s history.” The institutions that will receive the grants will support the goals of Maine’s 10-year economic development plan.

The grant recipients are the new Roux Institute at Northeastern University in Portland, the

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Educate Maine announces three education leaders join its board of directors

Incoming members bring unique skills and experience as Educate Maine thanks two retiring board members for their service

PORTLAND – Educate Maine has announced that three education leaders have joined its board of directors. They are Hancock County Technical Center Director Amy Boles, Bowdoin College Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Cato and Ellen Halliday, superintendent of RSU 29 (Hammond, Houlton, Littleton and Monticello). The new board members’ backgrounds and experience in education align with current education and workforce preparedness priorities in Maine and Educate Maine’s mission to ensure all Maine people are college and career ready. The announcement coincides with the departure of two long-serving board members, business consultant Ron Bancroft and business and public affairs executive Chris Hall.

“As we celebrate the leadership of Ron Bancroft and Chris Hall and thank them for their last nine years of guidance as board members, we are excited to

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Maine Education Commissioner provides update as students return to classrooms

More Maine students are returning to the classroom. Their schools are set up much different from when they left half a year ago.

AUGUSTA, Maine — As students return to school, we’re hearing from the Maine Department of Education commissioner about how the start of the year has been going for schools statewide.

It seems for the most part in Maine students have been able to return to the classroom, some for more days a week than others.

Many districts are also utilizing a hybrid model of both in-person and online instruction.

We asked the Department of Education Commissioner, Pender Makin, about whether students will be allowed to switch to only learning from home if need be.

RELATED: Back to School: Every Maine school district’s reopening plan, organized by county

“In many school districts, many schools are offering fully remote options. Not all are able to or have the capacity

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Maine Dept. of Education launches online learning platform ‘MOOSE’ for teachers, students, and families

The platform is open access and does not require users to register.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Education announced Tuesday the official launch of MOOSE (Maine Online Opportunities for Sustained Education), which is intended to be a learning platform for teachers, students, and families across Maine. MOOSE is now live and available as a resource to anyone who is interested.

MOOSE features an online library of asynchronous, interdisciplinary, project-based modules aligned to the Maine Learning Results for grades PK-12. Over the summer, more than 200 Maine educators from across the state developed nearly 100 modules to populate the first quarter of content.

Embedded in the modules are elements of social, emotional, and behavioral learning as well as considerations for all learning styles. It is not a curriculum, but a library to choose from, based on interests, content standards, or topics. MOOSE was designed as an optional, educational resource

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Maine DOE updates color-coded guide for schools, all counties remain green except for two

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – The Department of Education has updated its color codes for schools that guide them on safely returning to class.

Oxford County went from green to yellow.

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Oxford County went from green to yellow.

Oxford County went from green to yellow.

York County’s color remains yellow.

All of the other counties stayed green. However, officials continue to monitor Androscoggin County due to the increase of COVID-19 cases there.

York County moved from green to yellow last week with the increase in COVID-19 cases there.

Green means a low risk of coronavirus spread allowing for in-person instruction.

A yellow designation suggests an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread, and schools should consider hybrid learning.

Many schools in the state are already taking that approach.

Red means there’s a high risk with

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Maine Voices: For many kids, distance learning makes healthy eating a lot harder

When schools closed in response to COVID-19, educational platforms, websites and applications became a daily part of students’ lives. Homes replaced school buildings, and computers replaced classrooms.

Maine recently secured internet access for students facing connectivity issues so all students can learn remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Many Maine school districts are adopting hybrid models this school year. In Portland, about 10 percent of students are expected to learn remotely full time. Depending on the school, the rest may attend classes in person for several days a week while learning online the others.

Distance learning can protect students from the immediate threat of COVID-19. But students’ increased use of digital learning tools could exacerbate another, long-term public health problem: diet-related disease.

The COVID-19 crisis has made clear that our diets are putting us in danger. Patients with obesity, diabetes and hypertension are more vulnerable to the virus, meaning that healthy

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