Portland School Notebook: Oct. 18

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Lyseth students fight back against bullying

Fifth-graders at Lyseth Elementary School are reaching out to the community and asking residents to help them spread an anti-bullying message throughout the area. 

The local students want Portlanders to help them celebrate Unity Day by wearing the color orange “to spread the word and unite against bullying,” according to a press release sent by the school. 

“I am writing to you because we hope to see a lot of people in Portland and surrounding communities wearing orange on Oct. 25,” wrote Cooper, one of several students who was assigned the task of writing to local media. “As fifth graders we are leaders of our school. We are choosing to be upstanders and make sure all students feel safe in our school and our community.

“If you would like to help stop bullying please wear orange on Oct. 25.”

UNE awarded $1.3M research grant, gains plaudits

The University of New England has been awarded a nationally competitive grant for $1.3 million from the Department of Energy and has also been recognized on  a trio of college ranking lists. 

Awardees of the DOE grant are part of a new program called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources that aims to develop the tools to enable the United States to become a leading producer of macroalgae, or seaweed, which can be utilized as a feedstock for transportation fuels, chemicals, foods and other commercial products. 

“This award will support UNE’s network of eager young scientists and entrepreneurs in all of our marine programs,” said President James Herbert, Ph.D. “With the help of this funding from the Department of Energy, our students will be part of a movement to pioneer the next generation of marine products.”

The UNE team will develop a finely-tuned 3D modeling tool to simulate mechanical stresses that seaweed farms face in the open ocean. Team members will use their modeling expertise to determine the structural performance of new and existing farm designs in the Gulf of Maine. They will expand UNE’s experimental seaweed farm from its current small size off Wood Island to 4 acres in Saco Bay.

University of New England also recently announced it is among three newly released college ranking lists.

The College Raptor “Hidden Gem” distinction recognizes UNE as one of the best colleges in the country, based on number of applications received, graduation rates, diversity, endowment per student and other metrics. It is the second time that UNE made the list.

The Hidden Gems for Women in STEM rankings highlight colleges and universities that are dedicated to encouraging women in the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. UNE ranked among the top five schools in the country.

The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 375 Green Colleges” features four-year colleges that have demonstrated a high level of commitment to the environment and sustainability. 

Educator chosen for national fellowship 

LearningWorks Afterschool Assistant Director Trina Dorn has been selected, along with 24 out-of-school time and youth development professionals from across the nation, for a National Afterschool Matters Fellowship.

The Fellowship launched its second national cohort of fellows in late September. The winners will, over two years, engage in reflection, inquiry, and writing activities that position them to learn about and contribute to the quality of after-school programs.

The 2017-19 program launched with a fall retreat at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Dorn said, “I am honored to be among such innovative, passionate professionals. I have no doubt I will learn and grow in ways that both challenge and inspire me as both an educator and leader in OST!”

LearningWorks to celebrate half-century 

Tickets are now on sale for LearningWorks’ 50th anniversary celebration, to be held 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15 at The Custom House, 312 Fore St., Portland. The bash will include an exhibition of photos from the school’s 50 Stories Project, guest speakers, food, drink, and fun. All proceeds benefit LearningWorks’ free community-based education programs. Tickets are $50-$425 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/2xJrKmg.

This fall, nearly 40 Hall Elementary School first- and second-graders went “ponding” at Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. Teacher Kristen Wyatt said students learned all about pond life and strove to answer the question: “How do living things thrive and survive in and around the pond, and what is the human impact on this ecosystem?”