Portland School Notebook: Aug. 23

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LearningWorks director selected for National Policy Fellowship 

LearningWorks Afterschool Director Amy Pichette has been selected, along with 15 leaders in the field of afterschool and expanded learning from across the nation, as a White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow as part of a partnership between the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Through discussion of actual case studies led by policy-makers, the Fellowship equips graduates with a real-world understanding of the art and science of sound policy-making for afterschool and expanded learning. In the 10-month program, which begins in October, Pichette will also develop and implement state-level policy projects in partnership with Statewide Afterschool Networks and the national Afterschool Alliance.

“I am excited to become more involved and influential in supporting afterschool and summer programming for students, families, and communities across Maine,” Pichette said. “I will be learning more about policies from across the country that support expanded learning, and I am hopeful that I will be able to create or influence policy in Maine that allows more children to access the benefits expanded learning has to offer.”

LearningWorks Afterschool serves 1,000 students in second through fifth grade at 11 schools in Portland, South Portland, Biddeford and Waterboro. Students struggling to meet grade level milestones are referred to the program by their teachers, and they receive nine months of enrichment programming that incorporates arts, health, and social-emotional learning into a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, curriculum with extra supports such as multilingual education, free food, and transportation.

Waynflete student serves as research fellow

A Peak’s Island girl was one of nine high school students who participated in research fellowships at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor this summer.

Luna Soley, who attends Waynflete School, was funded through the James Slater Murphy M.D. Fund; her mentor was Bram Lutton, Ph.D., associate professor at Endicott College, Beverly, Massachusetts.

“Though we are primarily a research institution, we also have a long and impressive track record in science education,” said Jane E. Disney, Ph.D., the institution’s director of education. “Our summer fellowships expose high school students to career options in the biomedical sciences and help build the pipeline of well-trained workers that is critical to developing a thriving science and technology sector in Maine.”

The research fellowships support high school students who work in the laboratories of resident or visiting scientists on hands-on research projects, with each student being supervised by a senior scientist mentor. The fellowships also provide students with other educational opportunities, including an extensive scientific seminar program, professional development workshops and dedicated residential life programs.