Session 1: 9:15am – 10:45 am

Assertive Communication Strategies for Educators in Collaborating with Administrators and Engaging Parents


Presenter: Giovanna Bechard

Intended Audience: All

Unlock the potential of assertive communication to enhance your role as an educator within a union. Learn practical strategies for effective collaboration with administrators and constructive engagement with parents, ensuring your voice is heard and your goals are achieved. In this session, you will:

1. Learn the core principles of assertive communication, from expressing your perspective with clarity and respect to active listening and effective conflict resolution.

2. Gain practical strategies for collaboratively working with administrators, including how to advocate for educator rights while maintaining professionalism and fostering mutual respect.

3. Acquire valuable techniques for engaging with parents, ensuring productive and constructive interactions that benefit students, educators, and the community.

4. Address common obstacles educators face when implementing assertive communication strategies within the union and learn how to overcome them effectively

Building Welcoming and Affirming School Environments for LGBTQ+ Youth


Presenter: Katie Lutts (OUT Maine)

Intended Audience: All

This training is designed for consolidated K-12 school staff. It will provide a foundational understanding for those who are new to working with LGBTQ+ youth, as well as updated and in-depth information for those who are looking for a refresher. This training focuses on the unique needs of both high school and elementary-aged students, particularly in regard to gender identity and expression. During this training participants will review: terminology and pronoun usage, supporting transgender and gender-expansive youth, student rights, intervening in harmful behavior, and creating an inclusive classroom.

Understanding the Dangerous Behavior Prevention and Intervention Law


Presenters: Amanda Fickett and Mallory Cook

Intended Audience: Union Leaders/All

To help increase workplace safety, MEA helped pass the Dangerous Behavior and Prevention Law. Among other things, the law: · protects your paycheck and sick time, if a dangerous behavior is substantiated and a staff person is injured · requires administration to work with the union to develop action plans · aims to keep staff and students safe and prevent future dangerous behaviors When the training is complete you will know:

1. What constitutes a dangerous behavior, what protections are in place and covered in the law

2. Learn the protocols the district should have in place

3. Understand how your union can ensure administration is held accountable in addressing dangerous behavior

4. How to navigate the reporting process

Introduction to Working with Multi-Lingual Learners


Presenter: Jane Armstrong (DOE)

Intended Audience: Ed Techs/Early Career Educators/Those new to working with Multi-Lingual Learner

This session is intended for those new to working with multi-lingual learners and will introduce participants to appropriate strategies that can be implemented to support multi-lingual learners. More information is coming soon

Adult Social Emotional Competencies


Presenters: Martha Gladstone (UMaine) & Clarissa Fish (UMaine)

Intended Audience: All

During this session we will explore Casel’s 5 core competencies (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills) and understand what those mean for us as educators. However, more importantly we will look within ourselves to establish areas of strength and areas of weakness.

Session 2: 11:00am – 12:30pm

The Dandelion Shift: Seeing the Ability in Disability


Presenter: Jane Loxtercamp (EMCC Learning Facilitator Program)

Intended Audience: Ed. Techs/ECE

Explore how disability can be seen as something good and dandy. We will listen to Laura Whitaker, executive Director of Extra Special People, encourage us to view difference as ability, not disability. You will investigate your own abilities, recognize and celebrate the abilities of the students you work with, and plan how to plant seeds that will allow your students to help others make the Dandelion Shift and see their ability not their disability

Leaders for Just Schools Part I: Uncovering Biases and Structural Inequities


Presenters: Stephanie Hendrix and Nesrene Griffin

Intended Audience: All

Developed by the NEA, the Leaders for Just Schools training allows participants to dive into understanding equity, to investigate their own biases and how they impact conditions of teaching and learning, and to explore ways in which they can improve school culture so that every student has the opportunity to succeed. The curriculum is grounded in real life experiences, so the content is real, relatable, and actionable. In session one, participants will reflect on their first exposure to people different than themselves, noting their genuine feelings and how those have evolved over time. They will also take an implicit association assessment to identify their own biases, and have time to unpack those biases independently and with others in the group.

Supporting Multi-Lingual Learners Through Policy


Presenter: Jane Armstrong

Intended Audience: Union Leaders, Educators with experience working with Multi-Lingual Learners

This session is intended for those who are experienced in working with multi-lingual learners or those who are interested in understanding policies that support multi-lingual learners, the DOE’s resources, and the law and enactment of Language Acquisition Plans. More information is coming soon!

Your Employment Contract: It’s Not a Book of Neat Ideas and Interesting Suggestions


Presenters: Amanda Fickett & Rob Olsen

Intended Audience: ECEs or those unfamiliar with their contract

Here’s a little secret: Maine schools don’t *give* employees any pay or benefits. Nope. Every dollar in your paycheck and benefit enjoyed has been fought for by your colleagues before you. That’s how “collective bargaining” – better known as “negotiating a contract” – works. In this session, you’ll begin to learn about what sorts of rights are included in contracts, what to look for in a “good” contract, and what happens when an employer doesn’t follow the contract. Participants will leave with a better understanding of how to compare prospective job offers and what to do in the event they are denied their contractual rights.

Maximizing Impact: Canva for Your Local Association


Presenter: Shawn Berry

Intended Audience: Union Leaders

Are you ready to elevate your local association’s visual presence and engagement? Join us for an interactive session on harnessing the power of Canva, the ultimate design tool, to boost your association’s branding, communication, and member involvement. Learn how to create stunning graphics, engaging social media content, and compelling promotional materials that resonate with your community. Walk away with actionable insights and templates tailored to your local association’s needs, ensuring your message shines bright and your members stay connected. Don’t miss this opportunity to transform your local association’s visual identity!

Mentoring for Retention


Presenter: Mallory Cook

Intended Audience: Teachers with 3 or more years of experience

There’s no way around it – the first two years in the classroom are tough, but strong mentorship can provide newer teachers with the supports they need to thrive and persist. Developed in partnership with early career teachers, this training emphasizes best practices in mentoring so that you can assess your mentee’s strengths and areas for growth while also providing assistance and support to help them reach their full potential.

Session 3: 1:40pm – 3:10pm

Organizing to Improve School Culture


Presenter: Annie Mansfield

Intended Audience: Union Leaders

MEA understands that school culture is a concern of our members. In this session you’ll learn how to harness your union’s power to improve school culture by defining school culture, understanding how to survey your members effectively, and how to create an organizing plan. We will practice 1:1 conversation basics, understand power dynamics in your district, and have time to craft an organizing plan.

Of Pirates, Witches, and Workers: 500-Years of Labor History


Presenter: Kevin Van Meter

Intended Audience: All

For 500-years, “the cause of labor is the hope of the world.” Of Pirates, Witches, and Workers: 500-Years of Labor History is a series of vignettes taking a long, planetary view of how the working-class was made in fields, factories, and workshops. However, the working-class was intimately and immanently involved in its own making; and this includes not just those toiling in fields, factories, and workshops but those working in offices and coffee shops, kitchens, bedrooms, and classrooms. We begin in the conflict over the collection of firewood and then circulate through the witch-hunts, pirate utopias and slave resistance, correspondence societies and the communards of Paris, the 8-hour day movement and mine wars, great sit-down strikes and great migrations, wartime strikes and the Treaty of Detroit, neo-liberal responses to worker-student and civil rights movements, and the return of the labor movement today. Our stories reverberate throughout labor history, across the planet, and in our working lives.

Addressing Challenging Behaviors


Presenter: Mallory Cook

Intended Audience: All/Early Career Educators

Having a student with challenging behavior can be disruptive and interfere with other students’ learning. It can also be one of the most stressful situations that educators face. The good news is there are proven strategies that can ease the situation and help educators form positive relationships with all students in the process.

Develop by NEA’s Teacher Quality Department, this session will give participants the space and tools to:

  • Respond positively to challenging behaviors through relationship building, goal setting, and monitoring. 
  • Understand both the legal and ethical responsibility you have to challenging students. 
  • Develop a behavior support plan that will give you the tools you need to work successfully with challenging students with empathy, understanding, and skill.

Leaders for Just Schools Part II: Privilege, Microaggressions, and Beyond


Presenters: Stephanie Hendrix and Nesrene Griffin

Intended Audience: All

Developed by the NEA, the Leaders for Just Schools training allows participants to dive into understanding equity, to investigate their own biases and how they impact conditions of teaching and learning, and to explore ways in which they can improve school culture so that every student has the opportunity to succeed. In session II: Equity and Bias, participants will continue their work from Session I (Uncovering Biases and Structural Inequities) by reflecting on their own privilege, by coming into proximity with others, and considering productive ways to have conversations about race and racism. Participants will work together to enact strategies for responding to microaggressions they may hear in schools. Preparing for these challenging conversations will encourage stronger relationships and more equitable institutions.

What to Do When Students Aren’t Walking Through the Door


Presenter: Jess Anderson (Count ME In)

Intended Audience: All

This workshop will briefly cover the laws related to regular student attendance, share classroom-level strategies and best practices for supporting student attendance, and offer an opportunity to reflect and apply those strategies to case studies.

Register Now!

The Maine Education Association invites you to join us at our annual winter conference on December 2 at King Middle School in Portland.

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