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 firstname.lastname@example.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.”
College is expensive for everyone. The fees, tuition, room and board, and everything else that is factored in can add up to a hefty dollar amount. Did you know that there are loan forgiveness programs and UMF scholarships designed for education majors? Read below to learn about some of these options.
Loan Forgiveness: The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. If you have PLUS loans only, you are not eligible for this type of forgiveness. Participants in this program must have a bachelor’s degree in education to be considered a qualified teacher, and ust have completed their five years of full-time teaching before applying for Loan Forgiveness. You may visit the Teacher Loan Forgiveness website to learn more information about eligibility requirements, loan qualifications, or to fill out an application.
UMF Scholarships: UMF offers over one hundred academic scholarships for students, and many of them are dedicated to students in the education field. Many scholarships have very few requirements to be eligible, and they are designed to help all students that are deserving. Below is list of just some of the scholarships offered to education majors at UMF. For a complete list of UMF scholarships and recipient requirements, visit the UMF Scholarships website.
Scholarships for Education Majors (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Allen, Grace Stone Award
- Ambrose, Dr. Edward S. and Barbara Dickey Scholarship
- Arsenault, Katie J. Memorial Scholarship
- Brooks, Leonard Knowles ‘58 Scholarship
- Clawson, Gene and Sue Scholarship
- Cobban, Margaret R. Scholarship Fund
- Cramer, Rowena Titcomb Scholarship Fund
- Currie, Edmund D. Scholarship Fund
- D’aiutolo, Sadie Redding
- D.A.R. Scholarship
- Genthner, Grace Berry Scholarship
- Irwin, Charlotte M. Brett
- Johnson, Alice Miller (Class of 1939) Scholarship
- Kaulback, Vera Macbean (Class of 1940) Scholarship
- Lake, Doris Francis Scholarship
- Lockwood, Helen E. Scholarship
- Macinnes, Beatrice Hudon Memorial Scholarship
- McGary, Ruth Webber (Class of 1950) Scholarship
- Mosher, Nettie Taylor Scholarships
- Nickerson, Clement (1956) and Patricia Craig (1959) Scholarship
- Parlin, Millard S. Sr. and Alverna, W. Scholarship
- Richards, Leona Coy Scholarship
- Verrill, Joan R. Scholarship
Lindsay Gorman is a junior at the University of Maine at Farmington studying Special Education and International and Global Studies. Lindsay is spending her Fall 2016 semester at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. Lindsay was able to answer some questions about her experience in Ireland, how it has differed so far from her experience at UMF, and what else she is looking forward to this semester.
How has your experience at UCC differed from your experience at UMF?
-The class structure is much different than I’m used to. At UMF, the professors really encourage group discussion and collaboration. At UCC, and most European Universities, all of the classes are strictly lectures, even the education class I’m taking. The classes are much larger too, all of them have at least 100 people in it! Also, the work load is much different. For most classes, you are expected to show up to class and take notes to prepare for your final exam at the end of the semester, and that’s it. Your exam really determines your final grade.
What made you choose Ireland?
-I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland! With my last name being Gorman and my family being traced back to being from there, it’s been on my Bucket List for a while. I already knew a lot about Senator George Mitchell since I’m a Mitchell Scholar from my high school, and when I learned about the George Mitchell Peace Scholarship, I started to look more into the Senator’s work in Northern Ireland. I was really inspired with what he was able to do to create peace during the conflicts in Northern Ireland, and I wanted to learn more. And what better place to do it than Ireland itself!
What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
-With my major in Special Education and my minor in International and Global Studies, I’m really interested in learning about how other countries look at people with disabilities, such as their laws to protect them, how society perceives them, etc. I was able to learn a little bit about Tanzania’s perception of disability when I went there this past June on a travel course, but I didn’t get as much research done as I would have liked. I’m hoping that since I’m here for a whole semester, I’ll be able to really get an idea of what life is like for someone with a disability in Ireland, particularly what their education is like. I think that being culturally aware will make me a better teacher!
What differences have you found in the way special education is perceived in Ireland versus in the U.S.? Similarities?
-With the United States and Ireland both being developed nations, I’ve found a lot of similarities so far. Both seem to have had a difficult history of their treatment of people with disabilities, but both have seemed to make great progress since then. I actually learned that the reason American Sign Language and Irish Sign Language are so similar is because when Sign started to become really popular for the Deaf, both Americans and Irish went to the same country to learn it, which was France. I found that really neat! That being said, there are a few differences I’ve also found. First, there seems to be a lot more non profit organizations supporting people with disabilities in Ireland. For example, one of my first days going into the city, there were some people asking for donations for Ataxia Ireland. Also, in many government run buildings, there are statues of dogs with coin slots in them, and the money goes towards Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. I’m sure there are also organizations that support people with disabilities in the States, but it just seems to be more apparent over here. Lastly, in the field of Special Education, we use person first language, meaning we put the person before their disability when speaking about them, such as “a person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person.” That doesn’t really seem to be the case in Ireland.
What have you learned so far that has been surprising to you?
-When my professor first used the term “disabled,” it definitely surprised me, since all of the Special Education professors at UMF use person first language. Also, I was looking for local schools I might be able to volunteer at by looking at their websites. I was specifically looking to see if there was any information about their Special Education department, and was surprised to see that very few of the websites had information about it. That is something I am definitely going to look into more while I’m over here.
What has been your favorite experience so far?
-This is a very touristy answer, but a few weekends ago I went on a trip to the Ring of Kerry, and I got to see a double rainbow. It’s definitely my favorite memory so far!
On Wednesday October 12th, Johanna Prince, Director of Graduate Programs got to see alumna Laurie (Rodrigue) Catanese (MSEd in Educational Leadership 2015) in her new role as Assistant Principal of Oak Hill High School in RSU 4. Laurie began her morning working with a teacher who was creating a new unit plan as part of the district’s work in Proficiency Based Education.
After a tour of the building, Laurie was able to share her energy and excitement for supporting staff and her passion for bringing engaging, relevant, hands-on learning to students. Laurie shared that her capstone research on the value of mentoring has helped her feel prepared for supporting the teachers she works with and aligning that support to district goals.
Keep up the great work, Laurie!
On September 27th students and community members gathered in Lincoln Auditorium to meet visiting author/illustrator Chris Van Dusen. Chris is a children’s book author and illustrator known for his works Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, If I Built a Car, and many more! The event was hosted by UMF’S Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC).
During the visit, Chris covered a lot of his work, starting with the books he illustrated for in the past, including Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson stories. He then transitioned into discussing If I Built a Car, written and illustrated by Chris himself. He went through the planning process of the book, changes his editor wanted to make, and how he moved forward with those changes.
This event was open to UMF students and faculty, as well as members in the community. The audience included professors, faculty, UMF students, parents, and children of many ages. Chris took the time to answer questions and sign autographs for his fans.
When asked if there will be any other visits of this nature in the future, UMF’S AEYC President Ranae Carlson seemed hopeful. “We definitely hope to
have future author events, but for right now, nothing is set in stone,” she said. “We try to make our events applicable to people other than education students but I think anyone can benefit from hearing what authors, specifically those in Maine, have to say! It’s like having a celebrity on campus!”
The UMF Teacher Education program would like to thank Chris Van Dusen, the AEYC, and those who attended for making this such an enjoyable event for all!
Meet our newest Education Faculty & Staff!
Dr. Leigh Ann Fish is coming to UMF from Troy, Ohio where she worked in public education as an elementary teacher and coordinator of gifted and talented education.
After earning her Ph.D. from Miami University in 2015, Leigh Ann decided to pursue her passion for working with the next generation of teachers… and was thrilled to find the talented and welcoming UMF community!
When not on campus, Leigh Ann enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two young daughters hiking/kayaking, exploring historical sites, and trying her hand at modern-day “homesteading” on their 18th century farm.
She will be teaching ECH 150 (Intro to Early Childhood Ed) and ECH 232 (Social Science for Young Children) this fall.
Dr. Kathryn Will-Dubyak
In her own words: “Although I am a Florida native, I arrived at UMF from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana where I was a part of the community for 23 years. I am thrilled to be here.
Teaching literacy courses to pre-service teachers is the job I have been dreaming of for quite sometime. Being able to do it in a community like Farmington is beyond my wildest dreams. My husband, Travis, and I are looking forward to getting involved in the community.
Throughout my life I have had many opportunities to work with children of varying ages. I taught in a four room school house in Big Sky, Montana where we often had to alter our recess schedules due to elk herds on the playground, and went skiing every Friday for our physical education program.
During the time in my life when I was a farmer, I established and developed science camps for preschool-aged children as well as family-to-farm summer camps where entire families learned about the origins of their food and food preparation. I also have two children who are now 18 and 20 years old. When they were younger we spent hours (and hours) every day reading.
When I am not thinking about literacy and preparing teachers for their future classrooms, I really enjoy growing and preparing food, hiking, knitting or crafting in some form, and learning new things (a.k.a. reading, reading, reading).”
Julia Jeremias is the new Early Childhood Education Off-Campus Bachelor’s Degree Program Advisor and Coordinator. Julia comes to UMF from southern Maine where she is adjunct faculty in the early childhood department at Southern Maine Community College.
After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and Lesley University, Julia started her life in education as a toddler teacher and continued in various rolls from teacher to public school administrator, until her family was transferred to Maine.
When not working, Julia enjoys hiking with her partner and son, traveling, quilting, and baking.
We recently had an opportunity to talk with Secondary Social Studies Major, Bradford Lopes, about his experience as a transfer student at UMF. Thank you, Bradford, for taking the time to share your experiences, reflections and perspectives!
Could you tell us a bit about yourself? So my name is Bradford Lopes, and I transferred to UMF prior to the spring semester of 2014. I came here as a Secondary Education major with a concentration read more…
This summer I am working in the Education Department at Plimoth Plantation. I get the opportunity to wear many hats throughout my work here. My days are mostly occupied
by the camp that is run by the museum. Working at the camp is particularly exciting because I have plenty of opportunities to geek out with the read more…