The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has been awarded $16.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rethink K-12 Education Models Funding. Maine is one of 11 States to receive funding. Maine’s project, Rethinking Remote Education Ventures (RREV) offers a multi-pronged solution with a primary goal of generating innovative remote learning models to provide equitable access to high quality remote learning opportunities for all students.

RREV will provide statewide resources and supports through professional development, coursework, and guided engagement in effective use of design processes to empower educators and school leaders as authentic research and development professionals. As new remote learning models are designed and piloted, they will be made widely available through an open-source community of practice platform to support collegial sharing, ongoing critical feedback, and continual revision and improvement to sustain a culture of innovation and to foster statewide access to exciting remote learning models.

“This has been a team effort on the part of our staff and our partners throughout the state,” said Maine DOE Commissioner Pender Makin. “I believe this project will place Maine at the forefront of innovation nationwide.”

The project design centers around the belief that by both building capacity for innovative mindsets in education and supporting the design and implementation of the innovative ideas that are generated, we can develop and support agile, effective, and resilient learning experiences that are responsive to local priorities and improve learning outcomes for all students.

In partnership with the University of Maine and other higher education organizations in Maine, courses in research and development, innovation engineering and design, and others will be made widely available to educators and school leaders. This project involves statewide professional development in innovation and innovative project design, financial support for school units to pilot and collect data on innovative projects designed, coaching and technical support for pilot districts, and an online hub that unites educators statewide as a community of practice to share innovative models, recommendations, tools, and resources.

“We think this project will further empower our educators to become designers, researchers and entrepreneurs,” said Page Nichols, DOE Chief Innovation Officer.

In the coming weeks, the DOE will be reaching out with opportunities to participate in this exciting work. We will invite those with experience in innovative project design to partner with us to design and deliver workshops.  There will be opportunities to enroll in coursework or trainings to build your own capacity in innovative project design, and there will be the chance for districts to receive funding to pilot one of the new models that are developed.  Educators who have taken courses or workshops in innovative project design can apply to become coaches, and we hope that everyone will participate in our online community of practice.

For more information contact Page Nichols at page.nichols@maine.gov.