Graduate Studies in Education at UMF

The University of Maine at Farmington understands the importance of furthering and continuing education. That is why UMF offers various graduate degrees and certification programs beyond the first four years. UMF offers two Master of Science in Education programs and five certificates, including other additional programs. With all of these options, future educators have great opportunities to continue their professional development.

Master of Science in Education:

M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education- This program prepares educators to also be advocates, leaders, curriculum specialists, program administrators, and resources for young children and their families. The program emphasizes curriculum, child development, assessment, and the family and community dynamic. Through collaboration with community agencies, students are able to get a hands-on approach to building their skills. Students are mentored by faculty with extensive knowledge and abilities in the education field.

Approximately 30% of the program is delivered face-to-face, while the remaining 70% is conducted online. This 36-credit program is designed to be completed in 6 years and is comprised of both core and elective classes, which will be related to the early childhood field.

 

M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership- This program contributes to the professional, intellectual, and personal growth of educators who wish to serve as exceptional leaders in their schools and communities. The program emphasizes school improvement and action research. Students in the program will complete an acton research project during the final two courses. This project focuses on classroom practice and/or school improvement. It includes planning, intervention, data collection, analysis, and the producing a professional report by presenting to faculty and peers.

This program is also 30% face-to-face and 70% online. The program is designed to be completed in two to three years. The Master of Science in Education program is approved as part of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation of the University of Maine at Farmington.

 

Certificate Programs:

Certification Programs are four-course programs comprised to graduate study courses to provide participants with a comprehensive, strong knowledge and skill base in a defined area of study.

Certificate of Administration- Designed for educators with two years experience teaching (required for admission), this program provides participants with the skills and knowledge to pursue opportunities in school administration.

Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis- This program prepares educators and professionals to work with challenging and difficult behaviors. Applied Behavioral Analysis is one of the best evidence-based practices for working with children on the Autism spectrum. If you are interested in this program enroll now- it will not be offered again until the Fall 2019!

Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education- This program prepares educators to work with exceptionally gifted and talented children. All courses are offered in a blended format, combining both face-to-face and online deliveries.

Certificate in Math Leadership- This program is designed for currently practicing educators to pursue opportunities in mathematics leadership. This program opens doors to various career options, including Math Coach, RTI Coordinator, Title 1: Math Teacher, and more!

Certificate in Proficiency Based Education- This program is designed for educators who wish to grow their content knowledge and increase their pedagogy. Participants will increase their skills in curriculum design, instruction, assessment, organization, and communication in order to best teach their students.

 

Other Programs:

Maine Mathematics Coaching Project (MMCP)- In July of 2015 UMF began piloting the Maine Mathematics Coaching Project. MMCP is designed to support PreK-8 teachers in transitioning to the role of mathematics coach in an elementary school setting. The three goals of the program are to (1) prepare Maine students to meet career and college mathematics demands, (2) provide teachers in the state of Maine with high quality mathematics professional development, and (3) increase interest, engagement, and self-efficacy in mathematics for students and teachers.

Special Education Alternative Route to Certification (SPARC)- This online program helps to address the need for qualified special educators in the state of Maine. This program is open to all current Special Education educators holding a baccalaureate degree, including in-service educators, those working in Birth to Age 5 intervention settings, Ed Techs, and others. Upon program completion, participants will receive their 282 certification in Special Education in the state of Maine.

With a growing demand for qualified, knowledgable, experienced, and competent educators, there are many opportunities for educators to further their education. UMF programs are flexible and designed to meet the demands of a constantly changing field. For more information about UMF graduate and certification programs, visit the UMF Graduate Studies website.

Graduate School Applications: How to Prepare

Applying to graduate school is a big step, and it requires careful time and attention. It can be stressful and confusing at times, but if you follow all of the steps and prepare for what is required, it will be a lot easier. Follow these steps to make the application process as stressless as possible:

  1. 1. Research schools based on location and disciplines. Once you find programs in the area you want, research each program to find out exactly what research is being done, what you will be doing, and what the application requirements are. You do not want to just apply to any program that has your discipline, because the school and program itself might not be a good fit for you. To find graduate programs that fit your needs, click here.
  2. Reach out to grad school faculty and ask questions. This will show them that you are serious about the program and that you take initiative. It will also facilitate a relationship with graduate school faculty, who are usually the ones to make admissions decisions.
  3. Prepare for the standardized test you will need to take (Graduate Record Exam-General Test, Graduate Record Exam- Subject Test, Miller Analogies Test, Graduate Management Admission Test) and register for the test. Each program requires (if any) different tests, so make sure you prepare for any and all that are needed.  
  4. Request letters of recommendation from undergrad professors, faculty, and internship/work supervisors. Professionals who can speak about your abilities, growth, passion, strengths, and about you as a professional overall are the best resources for recommendation letters. Do not include personal references unless specifically requested.
  5. Draft your essay/personal statement. Read it a few times, have others read it, and edit, edit, EDIT! Make sure it is perfect, because this is the first snapshot that grad school admissions will have of you.
  6. File your application by the admissions deadline. Make sure you know when any and all deadlines are.

Okay so now you know step by step what to do, but what about all of the in betweens? Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to do everything:

  • Breathe and relax. Getting overwhelmed can cause you to make careless mistakes. Take each step one day at a time if necessary.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute, because then you will be stressed and pressed for time, and you will be rushing to get it all done.
  • Make sure you follow all of the application directions. Failure to follow directions could cause faculty to question your ability to follow policies and procedures.
  • Make sure everything is spelled correctly and punctuated right. Poor spelling can have a negative impact on your application, no matter how high your GPA or tests scores are.
  • Be clear about your goals and desires, your strengths and areas for growth, and your professional experiences and abilities. This shows that you have personal insight, know where you stand as a professional, and that you are determined to reach your goals.
  • Communicate those goals/strengths/etc to those writing recommendation letters- these are important topics that they can touch upon and build up for you.
  • Have a backup plan, just in case you do not get accepted to your top choice program(s).

 

Applying for and going to graduate school can be stressful, but it pays off in the end and is definitely worth it! If you are considering furthering your education or for more information about the graduate school application process, visit the UMF Graduate School Resources site.

Planning Environments for Young Children: Seeing Designs Come to Life

For the past few years Early Childhood Education professor Dr. Patti Bailie has been implementing an assignment that requires students to plan, design, budget for, and create a visual of a proposed childcare center. This is a very in depth, hands on assignment that allows students to express their creativity while learning about the processes that go into planning an environment for young children.

Planning Environments for Young Children (ECH 420) is an upper-level course offered every fall semester and has evolved greatly over the years. Students engage in a three-phase process of designing a learning environment that incorporates  indoor and outdoor spaces. First, students are put into groups of three and interview early childhood educators and directors to get their input on what is important to include in the space. They then write a program for their proposed center, draw out the environment to scale, and decide what materials need to be in the environment. This assignment requires a lot of work and new knowledge, as students need to draw the space with proper dimensions that align with childcare center policies, create a budget and a list of all of the materials they would need, and consider any challenges that may evolve through this process.

Another interesting aspect of this assignment is the implementation of nature based education. Professor Bailie has expertise in the field of nature based education, which is the promotion of using the natural outdoor environment to encourage children to explore and learn from their organic surroundings. “The whole idea of nature based education and nature play areas is taking hold in preschools and elementary play environments, so I am excited to implement it more,” said Professor Bailie. “I am excited to see pre-educators taking this mindset and enjoying this topic as well.”

Not only do ECH 420 students engage in planning the environment, but geography students have played a part in the past, as well. In the Fall 2015 semester, geography Professor Matt McCourt partnered with Professor Bailie to create a co-lab, incorporating the expertise of students in both fields to create a sustainable nature based environment. Geography students surveyed the land next to the Sweatt-Winter learning center located on campus to determine where the sun hits the land the most, how wind effects that area, rain drainage, and more. Early childhood students then used this information to design and implement a nature based outdoor area for children to use. They created tree stump seats, mud kitchens, and willow tree tunnels to encourage children to engage in the natural resources that surround them. This was a very hands-on experience, as students used chainsaws and other tools to create the materials for the outdoor play area. They then watched their ideas come to life, as the children enrolled in Sweatt-Winter then got to explore the space and learn about the various materials from the students.

There has been talk about relocating Sweatt-Winter and building a new space for the center. In the Fall 2016 semester, Professor Bailie’s students proposed ideas which were presented to various faculty and community members in January, including President Foster. While there are no set plans for the new center yet, those involved in the process did write down common themes or ideas that ECH students had that could be implemented in the new center.

Professor Bailie is always impressed with the ideas that students have. One group designed an outdoor trampoline area that incorporated the use of technology, one group created a circle-shaped lobby that had pods extending around it for kindergarten, first, and second grade classes, and one group included various rooms and resources for parents as well. While some groups had similar ideas, no two design proposals were the same. Through this class, students are able to get a taste of what goes into planning a learning environment, budgeting, following policies, and collaborating with other professionals in order to create the best space possible. This is a great assignment that allows students to use their individual creativity while planning.

When asked what her favorite part about this assignment is, Professor Bailie said she loves watching it all come together. “Students start off feeling very challenged, but by the end of the semester they are drawing and designing and are excited about their ideas! I like to see the change in students’ attitudes over the semester as these projects come together.”

 

Are you interested in nature-based education? Professor Bailie has taught an honors nature-based education class in the past, which may be offered again. UMF is also working on developing a nature based education minor program available to all students, not just education majors. Keep an eye out for more information about various nature based programs offered at UMF, including the Nature Based Education Summer Institute taking place on campus this summer!

For more information about the co-lab that took place in 2015, read the article about it here.

Faculty Farewell: Professor Rick Dale and his impact on students and UMF

It is a bittersweet moment when a beloved professor and faculty member leaves the University of Maine at Farmington. Professor Rick Dale is closing the chapter on his time at UMF as he prepares for his retirement. After 11 years as a professor of special education at UMF and 38 years in the field, Dr. Dale has made many positive impacts on the students and colleagues he has worked with.

Dr. Dale was working as a special education professor at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania when he came to UMF in 2006. After previously working as a practitioner, Dr. Dale wanted to focus more on the teaching aspect of special education as opposed to the research process. “My focus was to be a teacher and not focus on research, and thats what the program here does,” stated Dr. Dale. “Research is important too, but it is not what I wanted to do.” The geographic location of UMF was also appealing, and the small size is similar to that of Mansfield University, which is something Dr. Dale enjoys.

Over the past eleven years, Dr. Dale has seen many changes to UMF. During his first semester his office was in Franklin Hall, but he soon moved to the Education Center. There have been changes made to the special education department as well, as Dr. Dale and his colleagues have continuously worked towards improving things that do not work and maintaining those that do. Also, when Dr. Dale came to UMF in 2006, NCATE was the accrediting agency, but now it is CAEP. “There have been many changes in what needs to be done to reach the CAEP standards,” he said, “as well as the focus on Common Core teaching standards and the standards for students.” Dr. Dale has worked very hard to alter the curriculum in order to prepare future educators as they begin to enter the field of special education.

When asked what some of his greatest career accomplishments are, Dr. Dale spoke of his dedication to the field. “I stuck to and stayed in a career that serves a very vulnerable population,” he said. “I started right after college and this is my 38th year in the field. I gave up other career paths that would have made more money, but this was more satisfying and I can look back and say ‘I had an honorable career and I am proud of that.'” When working at the Department of Education in Pennsylvania, Dr. Dale oversaw important regulatory changes in special education as the Regional Service Director in the department. As an administrator in PA and a director of special education, he was very successful in creating and growing programs to help students in the area. Dr. Dale has also been published in Teaching Exceptional Children, writing about influencing IDEA regulations. He was also faculty president for a year at UMF and then became chair of the division. “It’s about the day to day accomplishments of doing what you do,” said Dr. Dale, as he is most proud of the little things that make a big impact.

While being a professor of special education at UMF, Dr. Dale has also repeatedly taught a First Year Seminar class titled, ‘What Would Kerouac Do?’, which was a wonderful opportunity. Typically, Dr. Dale teaches upperclassmen, so teaching First Year Seminar also exposed him to the freshman classes each year. He was able to incorporate his own personal hobby and interest in the works of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation into his teaching curriculum while also working with students from various majors that he might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. “I have really enjoyed the opportunity to teach first year seminar,” said Dr. Dale. “It’s a great chance for professors to teach outside of their discipline, which I did for 5 years.”

When asked about post-retirement plans, Dr. Dale said that he wants to do the things he does not have time to do now, such as travel, read, exercise, and write. He is currently planning a trip to Europe in the fall and plans to visit his family in California. What better way to spend your time than doing the things you enjoy with the ones you love?

Students and colleagues speak very highly of Dr. Dale and his work at the University of Maine at Farmington. He will truly be missed, but the impact he has made on the lives he has touched will never be forgotten. “UMF has been a great place to work and is a great place to finish my special education career at,” he said. “I’ve always felt very supported here and have great colleagues in my program. Special education is a very rewarding career and I encourage anyone interested to consider it as their career path.” Thank you, Dr. Rick Dale, for your work and contributions not just here at UMF, but in the field of special education.

Congratulations on your retirement from all of us here at UMF!

#UMFReadtoME: UMF students and faculty participate in a state-wide literacy initiative

The Maine Department of Education has launched a state-wide initiative challenging parents, educators, and anyone who interacts with children to spend at least fifteen minutes a day reading to children in order to increase their literacy. Various UMF students and faculty participated this year at three different locations, making an impact on many young children in the area.

Kathryn Will-Dubyak is an assistant professor of literacy education in the elementary education and early childhood division and has been working here since August of 2016. She collaborated with Julie Farmer, the director at Sweatt-Winter, and Tracey Williams, the principal at WG Mallett School to organize read-in sessions at each school on February 16th and 17th. Sweatt-Winter had eight participants that spent a total of one hour reading to the children, and Mallett had sixty participants that read to all of the students for about 45 minutes. Participants included UMF students, professors, and staff. The UMF Women’s Softball Team also took on the #ReadtoME challenge and visited Phillips Elementary School to read to children there. When one of the softball players explained that she might struggle with pronouncing some of the words, a first grader said, “Well, if you don’t know a word, remember to slow down and sound it out!” How inspiring!

“This is a great program organized to encourage the power to reach to children early and often and to spread the word on social media,” said Professor Will-Dubyak. “The children loved it. Chompers came and some children read to him, which they really enjoyed!”

#ReadtoME is an annual event, so if you are interested in taking on the challenge keep an eye out for next year’s events! “Stay tuned,” said Professor Will-Dubyak, “we are going to make it bigger and better!”

For more information about the #ReadtoME challenge, visit the Maine DOE website here, or search for the #ReadtoME or #UMFReadtoME hashtags on Twitter.

Faculty Farewell: Recognizing Dolores Appl and her contributions to UMF

While the spring semester is halfway through, most students and faculty are preparing for final projects and exams, symposium, and graduation. Some faculty, however, are closing the door on their time at the University of Maine at Farmington and are preparing to retire. One of those faculty members is Dolores Appl.

Dr. Appl is a professor in the Early Childhood Special Education department and is the facilitator of the PIWI-Inspired Playgroup on campus. Over the past fifteen years Dr. Appl has seen and contributed to many positive changes at UMF and has made a difference in the lives of students and young children.

Dr. Appl was working in Pennsylvania as an early childhood special education instructor when she applied to UMF in 2002. When asked what is was about UMF that she liked, Dr. Appl started listing various appealing attributes. “I liked the birth-5 ECS certification, I liked the small size of the school, the ability to work with students over the years, and being able to live within walking distance of where I work” she said. Another quality that drew Dr. Appl to UMF was the available space to implement the PIWI-inspired playgroup.

Parents Interacting with Infants (PIWI) is a playgroup designed to encourage and facilitate parent-child interactions to help parents create a bond with their young children while contributing to their development. The PIWI Playgroup was founded by professors at the University of Illinois. One of the founders was Dr. Jeanette McCollum, Dr. Appl’s advisor and mentor during her graduate studies. When Dr. Appl came to UMF, she implemented a similar PIWI-Inspired Playgroup that served as a practicum site for students and as a resource for parents. ECS students that implement their practicum with the PIWI-Inspired Playgroup plan various activities and topics of discussion for each weekly playgroup. Students then lead and facilitate the discussions and activities, assisting parents in engaging actively with their children. Dr. Appl mentors the students and helps guide them through planning and instruction. The PIWI-inspired Playgroup meets on Maguire street next to Public Safety and has a generous amount of space and materials for children and families to use.

Below is a photo of Dr. Appl and Dr. Jeanette McCollum at the 2015 Division for Early Childhood (DEC) conference, posing with Dr. Appl’s poster on research being done on the PIWI-Inspired Playgroup. This Playgroup has been a great resource for UMF students and community members and families!

Over the past fifteen years Dr. Appl has seen many changes in UMF. When she started here, most classes were worth 3 credits and most professors taught four classes a semester at 3 credits each. Once the classes became 4 credits each professors started teaching three classes a semester. This was a shift that required a lot of changes in the curriculum to be made, which Dr. Appl assisted in. The accreditation system as also changed considerably, and the ECS program was revamped by Dr. Appl and Lorraine Spenciner.

Dr. Appl has made many great accomplishments throughout her career. Implementing the Playgroup at UMF is one of her greatest, including her publications and presentations about the playgroup. “Since being at UMF I have been published in peer-reviewed journals ten times, six of those including collaborative work with students.” Dr. Appl also contributed to the creation of the individual progress monitoring document (IPMD) which helps ECS students keep track of various assignments that line up with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and DEC standards in order to better organize final portfolios. Dr. Appl has enjoyed working with students during symposium and served on the Institutional Review Board, reviewing research done by faculty and students. Dr. Appl certainly has been very involved over the years.

When asked what her post-retirement plans are, Dr. Appl listed an array of options. “I am thinking about doing accreditation through CEC and increasing my involvement with CEC and DEC. I plan to consult with the UMF playgroup, try to implement playgroups in Texas where my kids live, travel, and spend time with family. I plan to stay in Farmington for a while and will probably volunteer somewhere nearby.”

Dr. Dolores Appl has made tremendous contributions to the University of Maine at Farmington and the early childhood special education department. The PIWI-Inspired Playgroup will carry on and will be taken over by the incoming ECS professor. While Dr. Appl will be missed at UMF, the impact she has made on students and children will be remembered. Thank you, Dr. Appl, for your hard work and dedication over the years.

Teaching Abroad: From Maine to South Korea

The University of Maine at Farmington currently has four teacher candidates conducting their student teaching at the Daegu International School in Daegu, South Korea. The Daegu International School (DIS) has a partnership with UMF that allows students to conduct their student teaching internationally while meeting all of the requirements to receive their degree. Tori Lands and Kayla Girardin were able to share their experience and discuss various challenges, opportunities, and stores from their experience.

Student teaching abroad provides students with the opportunity to use and build on their skills and professional development while traveling and immersing in a new culture. Tori  always had an interest in studying abroad but was not sure if it would work out for her in an education major, until she learned about student teaching abroad. “I believe that one of the most important responsibilities educators have is to help guide students to becoming global citizens,” says Tori, while discussing some of the reasoning behind her decision to go abroad. “I feel as if my time at UMF both as a secondary education/ social studies major and an International Global Studies minor have greatly influenced my ability to be a compassionate and conscientious member of society. I hope to be able to foster these qualities in my future students and feel as if going abroad is allowing me to build on the foundation UMF gave me as well as develop my own understanding of what it means to be apart of the global community.”

While teaching abroad, students are exposed to a different school system and classroom structure that they may not be used to. It can be challenging going into a new classroom with expectations and situations that you may not have experiences with. Kayla found this to be a challenge at first. “Many of my students are ESL (English as a Second Language), which challenges me to differentiate instructional strategies,” she said. “There is no Special Education here, so there may be students with learning differences who do not receive services because there are none to offer.  It is interesting for me to see the difference between the way disability is perceived here compared to the United States since I have a minor in Special Education.” Kayla has since adjusted to these challenges and has been able to connect to her students, which she believes is the most important aspect of teaching.

Tori has found the cultural differences between Maine and the students she teaches at DIS to be most interesting. Maine is not as diverse as DIS, as Tori has students in her classroom from Korea, America, China, the Philippines, Japan, Australia- just to name a few. The diversity in her classroom has allowed her to learn from her students as well. “Instead of just reading about different cultures and countries these students can share personal stories and experiences,” Tori said. “It has been challenging to make sure I am sharing content in a way that makes sense to all the different learners in my classroom and making U.S. history relevant to students who may have only been to the states once or twice is interesting.” Both Tori and Kayla believe the cultural experience that students gain when teaching abroad has been much richer than teaching at home in the states.

Are you interested in students teaching or studying abroad, but don’t know where to start?

There are many resources on campus to help, including your academic advisor, the Financial Aid department, the Study Abroad office, and more! “The logistics of planning for the trip can get hectic and overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask questions,” advises Kayla. “Reach out to people who have done it before and see what they have to say about it.  Research the country you’re going to and be aware of the culture, history, and language.  See if there are any places nearby you would like to travel to during any breaks and work those costs into your budget.  If you’re going to be abroad, make the most of it! Your student teaching responsibilities come first, but don’t forget to truly experience the country you’re in.  Get involved as much as you can with the school as well because it will help you make more connections with teachers and students.”

It can be scary and overwhelming to go abroad, but students find it to be very worth it. “I think it is easy to stay in places and environments that are comfortable and when thinking about the joys and obstacles that come with student teaching it may seem overwhelming to go abroad, but I have already seen growth in both myself and my teaching because of this experience,” says Tori. “I am confident that it will have lasting benefits in both my personal and professional life.”

If you are interested in studying or teaching abroad, you are encouraged to talk to your advisor and whomever else might be able to provide more information about the process. Take advantage of the opportunities that UMF offers, as these opportunities may not present themselves again.

Thank you Tori and Kayla for sharing your expereince in South Korea so far. On behalf of the UMF community, we wish you luck with the remainder of your endeavors.

 

Addiction Certification: Not Just for Rehab Majors

One of the best things about college is that you get to choose classes and topics that interest you, even if they are not part of your declared major! Did you know that UMF offers specialized certification programs that allow students to take a set of classes designed to target a specific field, interest, or topic? The certification programs are not majors, and they are not minors- they are simply a set of courses put together and designed to prepare students going into various fields by giving them knowledge and skills outside of the courses that align with their major. UMF offers Addiction Rehabilitation, Alpine Operations, and English Language Learners (ELL) certifications.

These certification programs are offered to all majors, even with no prior background. Brittany Jerome is a junior at UMF majoring in Early Childhood Special Education while also enrolled in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification program. She has been able to make strong connections between the two fields, as many of her peers have as well. “I never took a rehab class before enrolling in this certification, and I did not feel as though I was behind my classmates,” said Brittany. “These classes include students from a wide range of majors, as many of the classes contain content that is applicable to a variety of majors. The professors understand that not everyone in these classes have the same prior knowledge, so they are really good about including information that non-rehab majors might not know. I have taken classes with students majoring in rehab, education, health, psychology, ORBA, and many more!” 

When asked why she has interest in the addiction field, Brittany touched upon the rapid growth of addiction across the nation. “Addiction is spreading, very quickly. Today, almost everyone you meet has been affected by addiction in some way. While working with young children and their families I will come across families where parents, siblings, and other family members may be struggling with addiction, and it affects the whole family. The applied knowledge of addiction and how it can affect families will give me a better understanding and insight into what the family as a whole struggles with, so that I can better help the family meet their needs.”

This program includes classes about substance abuse prevention and addiction, families in rehabilitation, counseling and the helping relationship, child and family psychology, and more! Some of them are health classes, rehabilitation classes, and psychology classes. For a complete list of the courses included in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification, click here

The classes that are included in this certification have been selected and designed to give students the knowledge and competencies needed in order to take the exam to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Maine. More information about the CADC requirements is available here.

This certification program can expose students to various career paths that they had not thought of before that allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in these classes with that of the classes in their major. This was Brittany’s experience, as she was not exactly sure what she wanted to do until recently. “I always knew I wanted to work with babies and young children born with various physical, cognitive, and functional impairments- but I did not want to be a teacher,” Brittany said. “I personally have an interest in working with infants and children born with various mental health needs as well as with parents struggling with their own mental health. I can help parents understand their child’s needs and how to cope with their own struggles as they transition into parenthood. As addiction is a growing epidemic, I will most likely be working with families that struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders, and even babies born with addiction. This certification program allows me to apply my early childhood special education knowledge with my addiction counseling knowledge in order to make me a more appealing and qualified candidate.”

Are you interested in the topic of addiction counseling, but do not think it will apply to your career goals? Think again! The courses in this certification program are applicable to anyone who wants to work with the public, especially in the human services field. Even if you do not have interest in being an addiction counselor, you still learn a lot about addiction in general, families, co-occurring disorders, the helping relationship- so much more. “Since addiction is such a growing issue, it is almost inevitable that you will end up working with someone who has been affected by addiction,” said Brittany. “Addiction does not discriminate, so I think anyone can find a way to apply it to their current field of interest.”

The certification programs offered at UMF are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of pre-professionals in various areas and disciplines before entering the field. The additional education that students in these programs receive make them a more qualified and appealing candidate, and may be the deciding factor for employers when comparing UMF graduates with other applicants. For more information about the various certification programs offered at UMF, visit the Certificates website.

 

Partner Spotlight: Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century Kids of Franklin County

The University of Maine at Farmington values the partnerships held with various community members and organizations. These partnerships allow UMF students to get involved in the community while building on their field experience and engaging in a hands-on learning environment.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force provides extensive employment, practicum, volunteer, and internship opportunities for students, including their 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N After School Program. Thomas Desjardins, Program Coordinator, was able to give an insight into the program, the opportunities it provides for UMF students, and the value of this partnership.

“The Franklin County Children’s Task Force generally assists families in need in Franklin county,” Mr. Desjardins explains. “Specifically, my program is the 21st Century After School Program and the mission of this program is to provide quality after school programming with intensive academic supports at no cost to the students in both Farmington and Wilton and the Mt. Blue school district. We provide a safe space for parents to leave their kids when they are at work. We know how much child care costs, but we want to do more. It is more than just a safe space. We want to promote positive interactions and academic achievement in these children. It is all about caring about the people in the community.”

Out of the 31 staff members, 28 of them are UMF students. Kathy Kemp, a UMF Rehabilitation Services professor, is also on the Task Force Board of Directors. Partnering with the University has given the Task Force and the 21st Century Program numerous cooperative and valuable contacts within the community.

UMF students that are employed through the 21st Century Program have the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to this program, as they are involved in lesson planning and implementing those lessons at Mallet or Academy Hill Elementary School. UMF students serve in the role of enrichment facilitator, academic tutor, homework helper, and as the site coordinator. They plan various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, provide academic supports, kinesthetic activities, visual and performing arts, and health prevention education.”

As a previous school principal, Mr. Desjardins enjoys coaching and supporting new teachers and helping others build on their own skills. “[UMF students] learn how to interact, manage, teach, plan- all aspects of being a school teacher. It’s not babysitting, it’s more like being paid for student teaching or practicum. They participate in monthly staff meetings and professional development, they bring in professionals from various fields, and engage in professional discussions around teaching and learning.” Mr. Desjardins values the “organic connection” that students have with him and his program. “Students look for opportunities to further their craft outside of the classroom. It’s a win win situation, they get the experience and I get to coach them. And they get a paycheck!” Mr. Desjardins said with a chuckle.

When looking for prospective candidates, positive energy and good character are the most important qualities for a potential employee to have. “My realization is that in your early 20’s as a student you have a lot of capacity to be built, but you do not have a lot of tools in the tool box,” says Mr. Desjardins. “It is incumbent upon me to expand your tool box. I run this program as if I am a principal and these employees are my teachers.”

Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century After School Program are valuable assets to the community and the University. Mr. Desjardins cares a lot about the community, families, and his employees. His experience as a school principal gives him the skills and knowledge to work with future educators and help them build on their own skills to reach their full potential. He is a tremendous leader, educator, coordinator, and partner. The University of Maine at Farmington and the Franklin county are lucky to have him as a partner and a supporter.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force and the 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N Program are always recruiting UMF students for practicum, student teaching, volunteer, and employment opportunities. For more information about this program and how to get involved, please contact Thomas Desjardins at tdesjardins@fcctf.org or (207) 778-6960, or visit the Franklin County Children’s Task Force website.

On behalf of the UMF community, we would like to thank Mr. Desjardins and his program for all that they do for University students and the community. “Franklin County Children’s Task Force, strengthening families for over 30 years.”

 

Praxis Core Prep Sessions

PRAXIS Core prep sessions led by Learning Commons tutors will take place on the following days. These sessions will be repeated at the end of the semester.
All sessions will meet in Ricker Addition 217 at 7pm.
Monday, 2/6 Writing: Multiple Choice
Tuesday, 2/7 Math: Functions and Algebra
Monday, 2/13 Writing: Informative Essay
Tuesday, 2/14 Math: Geometry
Monday, 2/27 Writing: Argumentative Essay
Tuesday, 2/28 Math: Stats and Probability