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Karen Hopkins and I attended the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the Deaf in St. Augustine, Florida.

Karen Hopkins and I attended the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the Deaf in St. Augustine, Florida. The conference provided wonderful opportunities to interface with national deaf administrators. We also were able to spend time with Rebecca Falbo. It is evident that we made a terrific choice in Rebecca as everyone had wonderful things to say about her, both as a person and an administrator. She will be joining us on May 31st. David Sherry was awarded a Lifetime for Service and Leadership award at the conference.

As I write this report ahead of our May meeting, two major issues remain unresolved. First, we are awaiting proposals from the RFPs for housing specific to our high school students. I am expecting at least one bid to be submitted by April 30th. If all goes as planned, we should be able to submit to the board a finalized agreement with a selected agency by the next board meeting on June 7th.

Secondly, despite solid support from both the Senate and the House on LD 1756, the governor had ten days to either do nothing and let the bill become law, or veto the bill. As we know, he vetoed the bill. It now will require 101 votes from the House to override the veto. MECDHH, along with DRM, have been strategizing on how to best garner support from the house of representatives. Legislation will convene within the next 30 days to vote on bills vetoed by the governor.

We recently received word from the State that we are recipients of E-rate funding, and believe we will continue to receive the savings of $15,000 to $20,000 for the 2018-2019 school year. Rich Foisy did a nice job appealing the original denial of E-rate.

We will be honoring graduating seniors from Portland High School/PATHS, as well as mainstream students served by Public School Outreach, on the evening of May 24th.

We have recently been notified by the State that we are eligible for one-time funding under Title IV for approximately $10,000. The focus will be on STEM related activities. Exact activities will be finalized prior to the June meeting.

MECDHH will partner with Boston University and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve to expose our students to wetlands and estuary biomes. This is part of a federal grant that will provide training in August for Emily Blachly, Christy Callahan, two interpreters, and myself on Waquoit Bay, Cape Cod. The grant will culminate with students participating in actual field work at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, along with staff and interpreters, in the Fall of 2018. We will acquire ASL STEM modules and curriculum material for our teachers.

From the Office of the Director of Early Childhood Education, Family Services and Elementary Programs;

Most of our staff had a very well deserved week off last week. We hope they enjoyed time with their friends and family and came back recharged ready to close out the school year.

While most of the staff of MECDHH took the week off, many of the ECFS team continued to support families as our services are year-round, we support families when they need the support and babies do not follow the school calendar! :) This team is also working with our preschool team and our PSO team to transition children into Kindergarten – it’s a busy time for sure!

The PSO team is beginning to look at the concept of regionalizing our services statewide. We have strong encouragement from DOE to put this in action sooner rather than later so the team is looking at potential regions, caseloads, and how this might be implemented. It is challenging, but also very exciting. The consultants are eager to work more directly with the students and be able to be embedded into the children's IEPs.

We have good news to share from HRSA. Pending the approval of our new policies by the school board, our financial audit has been approved! Traci has been working closely with our HRSA representative to ensure we have everything we need to meet the requirements. It also appears that we will be getting the full funding from HRSA this year. We are waiting for the final notification, but it looks good! We also were able to work with DHHS in Maine to finalize the DHHS grant budget and get the funds secured to include training and professional development – this is very good news for our staff and programs.

The preschool team is celebrating NAEYC week of the young child this week! They are celebrating movement, art and even cleaning up the island! The team has worked extremely hard to make this week a fun educational week for all!

East End staff wrapped up their swimming program last week for our students. Through a grant that East End received, our students were able to take part in fully accessible swimming lessons for ten weeks. They loved it and learned a lot! We are so thankful to East End for including us in this program!