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UMaine Supports Teachers with First Summer Educators Institute

Schools across the state held their last classes of the 2021–22 school year , marking the official start of summer for Maine students, parents and teachers. However, about 125 educators didn’t the classroom , as they took part in the first annual University of Maine Educators Institute being held virtually June 22–23.

The theme of this new UMaine Summer University program, developed in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education, is “Supporting Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being in School Communities: From Surviving to Thriving.”

“Educators have always faced challenges, many of which have been amplified by the pandemic, as well as by the social and cultural environment of the past few years,” says Penny Bishop, dean of the UMaine College of Education and Human Development. “We’re launching this institute in hopes of equipping teachers and other school-based professionals with new knowledge and strategies they can take back to their schools next year to meet these challenges head on.”

The program features six strands, with workshops led by faculty members from UMaine, as well as educators and other experts from around the state and beyond. The six strands are Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice; Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); Trauma and Resilience; Social-Emotional Learning (SEL); Student-Centered Learning; and Exploring Wabanaki Studies.

The institute also included keynote speeches by  Judith Josiah-Martin, a faculty member at the UMaine School of Social Work and former director of UMaine’s Office of Multicultural Student Life, and Catherine Bradshaw, university professor and senior associate dean for research and faculty development at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development.

Participants are eligible to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for professional development. In addition, more than a dozen educators are will take part in the institute as part of a three-credit graduate course that runs from mid-June to mid-July and includes additional content and strategies.

“We’re excited about the program for this inaugural institute and look forward to working with the College of Education and Human Development to make it the premier summer personal and professional development opportunity for educators in Maine moving forward,” says Patricia Libby, assistant dean of the UMaine Division of Lifelong Learning.

In addition to the UMaine Educators Institute, the UMaine Division of Lifelong Learning is offering two other Summer University opportunities for teachers and educators: The UMaine Climate Change Workshop: “Climate Change Teaching Tools,” July 12–13; and the Summer Technology Institute: “Cooperation Across Environments and Boundaries,” Aug. 2–4.

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