Mar/Apr 2017 newsletter

March/April 2017 newsletter

MCSS Announcements/News


 Tell Maine's delegation in DC that you value the work of the NEH!

The Trump administration has released its proposal for the FY2018 federal budget. As expected, the proposal calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among other agencies.

This marks the beginning of the budget process. As you know, our Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to appropriate funds for the operation of the government. The appropriations process will play out over the coming weeks and months.

As the process gets underway, MCSS is asking for your help. This is a key time for everyone who supports the humanities in the state of Maine to make their voices heard.

You can help by speaking up!

Our partners at Maine Humanities Council have valuable information and advice on reaching reach out to your representatives in Congress:

Make your voice heard, spread the word, and thank you for your support!


Meet the new Maine DOE Social Studies Specialist Joe Schmidt!

My name is Joe Schmidt and I am the new Social Studies Specialist and Western Maine Regional Representative for the Maine Department of Education. I am a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a Bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies and a Master’s degree in Education from Viterbo University. My career started with nine years of high school social studies teaching experience before I left the classroom to become the K-12 Social Studies Teacher Leader in Curriculum & Instruction for the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin.

During my professional career, I have served at the national level on the iCivics National Educator Network, the Teaching Tolerance National Advisory Board, and as chairperson of the National Council for Social Studies select subcommittee for Social Education. I have also served at the state level as the Vice-President and Business Manager for the Wisconsin Council for Social Studies and the Social Studies Advisory Council for the Wisconsin Department of Instruction. Also, I have been selected for fellowships at the Center for the Study of the American Constitution and for the European Union Center for Excellence.

I am excited to support social studies teachers, programs, and organizations throughout Maine and work to provide professional development and other learning opportunities around the state. 

Welcome aboard, Joe!

From your friends and colleagues at the Maine Council for Social Studies


SidexSide - Bringing History and the Arts Together

by Gretchen Berg

Local arts organization Side x Side partners with Maine Historical Society to infuse the arts into the social studies curricula in five Portland elementary schools (Reiche, Ocean Avenue, Hall, Riverton and East End). One such Side x Side and MHS partnership project is happening this winter at Ocean Avenue Elementary School where third graders are studying the history of Portland; they work with MHS educators and tour the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and galleries. George Neptune a Passamaquoddy master basket maker, Abbe Museum educator and storyteller visited Ocean Avenue to launch student thinking about the history and current realities of Wabanaki people in Maine. Throughout their study students keep project journals that combine drawing and notes. 

Next Side x Side teaching artists Laurie Downey and Gretchen Berg work with teachers and students to brainstorm and create both a permanent in-school mural and a lively theater performance about the history of Portland. The mural and performance are then presented to the community in a public celebration. In November 2016, Laurie Downey and Gretchen Berg shared this unique teaching and learning process at the Maine Council for the Social Studies annual conference in a workshop entitled Forging Strong Community Connections: Experience-based Learning & Integrated Arts.

Learn more about SidexSide here:


Have a story you want to share for our SOCIAL STUDIES IN MAINE or SOCIAL STUDIES IN THE CLASSROOM spotlights? Submit it to the Maine Council for Social Studies at  

Opportunities for Teachers and Students

National History Day (April 8), judges needed, register by March 17 - The National History Day Maine State Contest is quickly approaching!  April 8th is the contest date and it will take place at the University of Maine.  Response from teachers, students, and parents has been overwhelming and this year we are anticipating our largest group of student participants yet! Volunteer judges are needed! Complimentary breakfast and lunch is provided.  Judge registration is currently open at: . The registration window will close on March 17th.  

Maine Maritime Museum, student-designed exhibit Commerce, Culture, Community:The Sewall Family Shipbuilders, March 31st through April 30th - This exhibit in the Marjorie W. Kramer Gallery is the museum’s “Sense of Place” education program capstone project designed by all 7th graders from Regional School Unit One.  Over the course of six months students examined material culture from the museum’s collection and selected objects, documents, and photographs to tell the story of how the Sewall family shipbuilders shaped their community. Exhibit is included with museum admission.

Maine Geographic Alliance and Esri’s ArcGIS Online U.S. School Competition, April 7th deadline - Showcase your student’s ArcGIS Online maps! Students have an opportunity to win prizes and a trip to the 2017 Esri Education Conference in San Diego, CA, by submitting a map to Esri’s ArcGIS Online U.S. School Competition. 

Across the U.S., high school and middle school students are invited to submit a map about their community or state using ArcGIS Online.  Maine students should choose a Maine-centered topic. All projects that focus on the local community and/or the State of Maine are welcome. Students will use ArcGIS Online to study local history, environment, land-use, culture, political and social issues. The ArcGIS Online US School Competition 2017 is open to high school (gr.9-12) and middle school (gr.4-8) students in the U.S who can analyze, interpret, and present data via an ArcGIS Online presentation, web app, or story map.  The Maine Geographic Alliance is participating! Your school can submit up to 5 student projects to the Maine Geographic Alliance ArcGIS Online Mapping Competition. Judges for the Maine Geographic Alliance will select 10 winners (5 at middle school level and 5 at the high school level), each will be awarded $100 and their work will be submitted to the national Esri competition. At the national competition, one high school project and one middle school project will earn a trip to the 2017 Esri Education Conference in San Diego, CA.

Registration is now open; closes April 7th Contact Margaret Chernosky to register. Please type “Esri Student Competition” in the subject line; Margaret will get right back to you and will help you get started.

Student Map Submissions deadline is April 28th 2017.Contact Margaret Chernosky or Sue Lahti for more information.

Holocaust and Human Rights Center, Scholarship and Award Opportunities, April 7 deadline

Each year, the HHRC honors students and community members who are doing outstanding work in the fields of Holocaust and Human Rights education. Scholarships are available for k-12th grade students as well as educators. Additionally, the Gerda Haas Award for Excellence in Human Rights Education and Leadership will be awarded to an individual or organization who has demonstrated excellence and initiative in human rights education and leadership. The winners will be honored on Sunday, June 11th at the Woodlands Club in Falmouth. Applications and nomination forms are available through the HHRC’s website. Nominations and applications must be in by April 7, 2016.  For more information visit  

Holocaust and Human Rights Center, exhibition, Pay Attention! It’s Independence Day!, through April 14th - The Whitefield 4th of July Parade is an annual celebration of free speech, featuring provocative and timely statements from a group of artists and activists in the community. The exhibit, Pay Attention! It’s Independence Day showcases photos and original artwork from the last decade and a half of unique parade themes. This exhibit is in partnership with Natasha Mayers, the USM Galleries, and Artists Rapid Response Team [ARRT]. For more information visit, email or call 207-621-3530.

Holocaust and Human Rights Center, exhibition, Heroism in Unjust Times: Rescuers During the Holocaust, April 24th – August 11th -  Despite the fatal consequences, thousands of individuals risked their lives to help those targeted by the Nazis in the time leading up to and through the Holocaust. Heroism in Unjust Times: Rescuers During the Holocaust, celebrates and honors those righteous individuals. The exhibit will also share stories of individuals and their descendants who were saved by these rescuers and settled in Maine and nearby. Heroism in Unjust Times is presented in partnership with the Sousa Mendes Foundation, Yad Vashem, the Berkshire Holocaust Museum, Darrell English, Julie Lanoie, Mona Pearl Treyball, and Jean-Claude van Itallie. The exhibit is made possible through the support Kennebec Savings Bank. For more information visit, email or call 207-621-3530.

Illustrated Mapmaking Contest, Osher Map Library, May 1 deadline - The Osher Map Library invites all Maine 5th Graders to enter the 2017 Illustrated Mapmaking Contest by May 1st for a chance to win $1,000 ($500 for you, $500 for your class)!  More information available at

Contact Renee Keul at with questions.

Maine Curriculum Leaders' Association, May 15 & 16 - The Maine Curriculum Leaders' Association is offering Providing Opportunity to Learn at the Auburn Hilton Garden Inn. Participants register for one of two strands for both days. Strand 1 is Planning Proficiency-based Instruction and Strand 2 is Personalized/Independent Learning. Registration deadline is May 1. Complete information and links are at

University of Maine, Summer 2017 Teachers Institute, Montréal and Ottawa, June 25-30 - 2017 marks the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, and the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation.  K-12 teachers, curriculum coordinators and administrators with teaching background in social studies, geography, history and/or French are welcome to apply to the Summer Institute for K-12 Professionals held this summer in Montréal and Ottawa, Canada, from June 25th-30th.  “Québec and the Evolution of Canada” is a unique professional development opportunity providing participants with foundations in history and geography plus contemporary cultural insights through first-hand experience.  The content is taught by academic specialists and is designed to meet Common Core, C3, and state standards.  Rolling registration is open until May 1:

Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market, Saturday, July 8, 10 am - 4 pm, College of the Atlantic -  This popular festival, sponsored by the Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance and the Abbe Museum, is hosted on the campus of College of the Atlantic and offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists, as quality and authenticity is the hallmark for this Indian Market. For many visitors, this is a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Indian arts and cultures from Maine and the Maritimes. 

Free and open to the public. Contact the Abbe Museum for more details at 207-288-3519 or

Cultural Understanding in China Study Abroad Program, University of Southern Maine Travel Program, July 20 - August 2 - Travel to Beijing, Dalian, and Hohhot, China in this six credit EDU 479/579 course. Students will gain an invaluable perspective as they are immersed into Chinese culture through exploration, volunteer opportunities, and culturally comparative instruction. With a focus on refugee and immigrant populations, students will develop understanding, empathy, and insight into the best ways to support and empower these communities.

Program Fee: $2,750 plus airfare. Students who are part of the Confucius Institute at USM will have reduced travel costs. Financial aid may be used to pay for the credits and travel of this course.

The ‘Program Fee’ includes lodging, in-country transport, cultural activities, and most meals. Tuition and international airfare is an additional expense.

For more information, please visit:

Holocaust and Human Rights Center, Teacher Training and Student Seminars, July and August Save the date for the HHRC’s upcoming annual Summer Seminars for high school students, K-12 Educators, Librarians and Lifelong Learners. This year, we will also be offering a seminar for 8th – 12th grade students. Seminars are $100, and include lunch, snacks, and contact hours. For Educators:

July 11, 12 – Immigrant Experience in Maine; July 19, 20 – Holocaust and Human Behavior; August 2, 3 – Civil Discourse; For Rising 8th - 12th grade students: August 8, 9 – Civil Discourse.  For more information visit, email or call 207-621-3530.

Maine Humanities Council programming, ongoing - Did you know the Maine Humanities Council has lots of programming around the entire state of Maine? Check out all the offerings online!

Giant Traveling Map of Maine, Maine Geographic Alliance, ongoing - The National Geographic Education Foundation has given each member of the Alliance network, two ‘giant’ maps. The Maine map is 17 ft by 20 ft and includes major cities, Native lands, and topographic features such as rivers, lakes and elevation.  he trunk that houses the map also includes teacher materials for grades 2-5.   There are supporting materials including an activity book with standards’ based lessons, lanyards, plastic cups and cones, plastic chains, Maine Ag in the classroom resources, state and national flags, the Maine classroom Atlas and more.  Schools may use the map and materials at no cost. This is a floor map and students may walk on it with socks on. No shoes or writing materials are to be used on the map.

If you are interested in scheduling one of the maps for your school, please contact Susan Lahti at  Put GTMMaine in the subject line.    

Margaret Chase Smith Library Exhibit, Encore: Walking the Red Carpet with Margaret, ongoing A screenplay about Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s life is currently in the works.  In conjunction, Museum Assistant John Taylor has created our most recent exhibit, “Encore: Walking the Red Carpet with Margaret.” The new installation focuses on the Senator’s many connections to Tinseltown.  Come see Margaret hobnob with Hollywood royalty like Jimmy Stewart, Esther Williams, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, and Ronald Reagan. Highlights include photographs of Smith on the set of the 1944 film “Kismet,” letters from a multitude of celebrities, audio and video clips of her on television, and see how she influenced the current movie rating system. You can finish off your experience by playing the Library’s version of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. The exhibit is currently open and will remain up through the end of the year.

Holocaust and Human Rights Center, Free Educational Outreach, ongoing - The HHRC provides educational outreach to schools and community groups throughout Maine free of charge. These programs focus on issues relating to the Holocaust and human rights.  Our outreach programs are available to bring to your school, or you’re welcome to schedule a visit to the Michael Klahr Center.  For more information visit, email or call 207-621-3530.