Programs & Initiatives

This page describes both Maine Department of Education initiatives and international world language initiatives, the majority of which involve collaboration with the Maine DOE. Many of the international initiatives are the result of educational Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) that have been co-signed by our Commissioner of Education and officials from government agencies in other countries.

Maine DOE Initiatives

  • World Languages in Maine Schools: Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment. The Maine DOE is working with the Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to improve teaching and learning by creating an environment in Maine schools where standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment in world languages are an integral part of the work that all K-12 world language educators do.
  • Education Evolving: Maine's Plan for Putting Learners First. The Department's strategic plan that sets out objectives and action steps for building an education system in Maine that meets the needs of all learners, from early childhood into adulthood, and prepares them for college, careers and civic life.
  • Getting to Proficiency: Helping Maine Graduate Every Student Prepared. Provides technical assistance, resources and guidance for school districts to implement the proficiency-based diploma and to do so in a way that promotes student learning and achievement of the Maine Learning Results.
  • Middle Level Education in Maine. The Commission on Middle Level Education created the report Bright Futures! on the current state of middle level education to make recommendations to the Maine DOE about improvements for educating Maine’s 10- to 15-year-olds. The report provides middle level educators, parents and policy makers with a clearer understanding of what is needed for high quality, equitable and effective education for Maine students.

International World Languages Initiatives

Chinese Guest Teacher and Trainee Program
Now in its fifth year, this program is the largest K-12 Chinese guest teacher program in the U.S. and brings qualified teachers from China to teach Chinese language (Mandarin) and culture in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. The program is a collaboration of the College Board, Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters and the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages. Following orientations and training sessions in both China and the U.S., guest teachers arrive in the individual states in August and teach for a period of one to three years. As each guest teacher's travel is fully subsidized and his/her salary partially subsidized by Hanban, host institutions can pilot or expand a Chinese program at a reasonable cost for the first few years.

Starting in 2012, the Chinese Guest Trainee Program provides established K-12 Chinese programs with the opportunity to gain an authentic Chinese language and cultural resource to enrich their school’s classrooms and communities. This program places a trainee from a Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language post-graduate program in China in a host school or district for one year. The guest trainees have one year of teaching experience; however, they cannot serve as teachers of record nor fixed co-teachers. Participating institutions are responsible for providing guest trainees with a structured training plan and complimentary housing and transportation.

Detailed information, including frequently asked questions and an application, is available online. The application deadline is Feb. 1 for the following school year. Contact the Maine DOE world languages specialist or Michaela Kabat, coordinator of Chinese language & culture initiatives at the College Board.

Additional requirements for participating Maine school districts include the following:

  • Payment of $100 application fee for an International Visiting Teacher Permit issued by the Certification Office of the Maine DOE
  • Payment of $55 fee for a Criminal History Records Check (fingerprinting)
  • Payment for a telephonic ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview in Mandarin if required for teacher certification due to the guest teacher’s credentials
  • Payment of expenses for the guest teacher to attend the annual FLAME Conference held in Portland
  • Payment of the guest teacher’s expenses of up to $150 to attend a one-day orientation program held in August in Augusta

Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program
The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The program provides opportunities for full-time teachers with at least five years of full-time teaching experience to participate in direct exchanges of positions with colleagues from other countries for a semester or a year. The participating countries may vary from year to year. Teachers exchange classroom teaching assignments and related school duties. By living and working abroad, exchange teachers gain an understanding and appreciation of different educational systems and cultures, practice their skills in another language (depending on the country), and enrich their schools and communities by providing students with new perspectives about the world in which they live. The application deadline for the following school year is Oct. 15.

Note: The French Fulbright Commission will actively recruit teachers from the French Academy of Nantes, with whom the Maine DOE has a MOU, in an effort to match interested Maine teachers with teachers from the Nantes region.

Maine-France Partnership Program
The Maine DOE has a MOU with the Académie de Nantes in France. The purpose of the MOU is to foster educational collaboration between Maine and the Académie de Nantes, which is responsible for directing K-12 and post-secondary education in the Pays de la Loire region of France. 

Through the MOU, all partners agree to develop a range of joint educational and research activities for students, teachers, professors and school administrators. Examples of possible cooperative projects include correspondence, visiting programs and study/research activities and exchanges that are either face-to-face or mediated through technology. (Due to current economic conditions, overseas travel should not be viewed as a required component to a project. The inclusion of travel will depend on the extent to which partner schools are able to find ways to finance the desired travel.) Examples of project themes range from a comparison of French and American schools to a discussion of an environmental issue facing your region or the state; from sharing cultural information (e.g. tourism, history, visual and performing arts) to comparing geography and related industries in Maine and the Pays de la Loire; from sharing information about students’ families and/or friends to creating stories or plays together in French and English. 

Maine-Spain Partnership Program
The Maine DOE has a MOU with the Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sports of Spain. This MOU was created to promote cross-cultural connections between the citizens of Maine and the people of Spain and to collaborate on educational initiatives. One such initiative is a partnership program between elementary, middle or high schools in Maine and Spain.

Programme Jules Verne – Visiting French Teachers
Now in its fourth year, this program brings elementary and secondary school teachers from France to teach for a period of one to two years. The visiting teachers will be prepared to teach French language and culture in Maine schools. The teachers’ salaries and required health insurance are paid by the French Ministry of Education. Participating school districts are responsible for travel expenses, visa fees and teacher certification fees. Because the Maine DOE has an educational MOU with the Académie de Nantes in France, visiting teachers will come from the Nantes region. Contact Maine DOE world languages specialist for additional information.

Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) – Visiting Chinese and Arabic Teachers
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) places experienced English as a Foreign Language teachers from China and Egypt (native speakers) in schools throughout the U.S. for one academic year to teach Mandarin or Arabic. Elementary and secondary schools can apply to host a Chinese or Arabic exchange teacher. TCLP supports teachers' living expenses, health care, roundtrip airfare and both methodological and cultural training throughout their participation. Additionally, TCLP provides ongoing and in-person support to participating schools and teachers, as well as providing monthly honoraria to mentors and access to grants to support language-learning projects. The application for the following school year is due Feb. 1. For additional information, contact Stephanie Heard, American Councils for International Education, at 202-833-7522.

Visiting Teachers from Spain Program
The Maine DOE, in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sports, participates in the Visiting Teachers from Spain Program. This program brings qualified teachers from Spain to teach the Spanish language and culture in Maine elementary, middle/junior high and high schools for a period of one to three years.