RUMFORD —

, 2014 Oxford County Teacher of the Year, recently learned he has been chosen as one of eight Maine teachers in the semifinal selection for Maine Teacher of the Year 2015. Bailey is a technology teacher at Mountain Valley High School where he teaches video production, broadcasting, computer-aided design, architectural design and engineering.

Bailey said, “I am excited to be one representative of the many hard-working and innovative teachers in Maine.”

He continued, “I’d like to spread the word about some of the great things happening in our schools and some of the challenges we face in education today. Preparing students for an ever-changing world will need help from all of us and I’d like to contribute to that conversation.”

As part of the next step, Bailey is developing a professional portfolio that he will present to the Teacher of the Year Committee in late July. By the end of August, the list of candidates will be narrowed to four. The committee will visit those teachers’ classrooms during the early fall.

Bailey expresses three major themes as he talks about schools and teachers’ roles in education.

First, schools have changed.

Bailey explained, “Teachers have new challenges, from technology to the changing nature of learners and increasing student social and emotional needs. School is no longer about simply ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic.’ Schools are being asked to provide much more and prepare students academically as well.”

“The levels of performance we ask students to prove proficiency are far beyond what we have asked any generation prior to them,” he added. “We have set and are striving to meet significant goals with students. Just take a look at the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test that all juniors in Maine take). In short, ‘This ain’t your parent’s schoolhouse.’”

As the MVHS Civil Rights Team Adviser, Bailey has worked with his team and individuals to look at how create a better learning environment free from biased-based language and behaviors like racism, sexism and discrimination.

Second, schools will need to continue to change.

Bailey observed, “With all of these new challenges, we need new tools. With information at all of our fingertips and in all of our pockets, schools are no longer the sole provider of information. In the Information Age, schools need to help students think by sorting, comprehending, and applying that information.”

He continued, “Schools cannot remain relevant without being willing to take risks and innovate. We need to adopt new technologies, learn from emerging brain science about how students learn, and share with each other the strategies that are working in order to better improve all of our work with students. We cannot afford to ‘close the door and teach.’”

Bailey recently applied for donations to purchase a three-dimensional (3-D) printer for his engineering students. In just six days, 51 donors contributed more than $2,500. The 3D printer became a reality.

The printer became a huge hit that improved learning in the Information Age.

Bailey observed, “Some students have surpassed even my knowledge of the technology and have become mentors to others. I have even had past students stay after school to work numerous hours on their own on projects with no grade attached. That’s truly learning for learning’s sake!”

Third, schools cannot do this work alone.

Bailey explained, “In order to thoroughly educate and provide resources for our students we need to work together — teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members and businesses leaders”

He added, “Students need to see the relevance of learning outside the classroom. Students need to hear about the value of education from their parents. Businesses need to work with schools to help define the needs of an ever-changing workforce as well as to provide learning partnerships with schools.”

Bailey challenged one of his architectural design students to create a preliminary model of the Western Maine Play Museum. The student’s work became the basis of a fundraising brochure for the start-up museum. The project clearly connects the world of school with the world of business.

Asked about the next steps in the application process for Maine Teacher of the Year, Bailey said, “The portfolio I will develop this summer will cause me to reflect on the work I have done and ask me to choose topics in the teaching profession that I would like to speak about. Though it is clearly extra work, I think reflecting on these topics help to inform the work I do with students and faculty throughout the year. Summer is a great time to look back and readjust your strategies.”


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