UMaine promotes mental health and wellness in schools with summer educators institute

Over 100 Maine teachers and school administrators participated in the University of Maine Educators Institute last week, exploring evidence-based practices and strategies around the theme of “Promoting Mental Health and Wellness” with experts from UMaine and various state and national organizations.

“I enjoyed being in a group of like-minded people very much,” says Lana St. Cyr, an educational technician at Enfield Station School. “It was inspiring and refueling to chat with others that have the same passion for helping our students (and ourselves) address mental health issues. It was one of the best trainings I have ever attended.”

The annual summer institute is offered by the UMaine College of Education and Human Development and the Division of Lifelong Learning.

This year’s event included workshops on social-emotional learning, partnering with families to address mental health concerns, outdoor- and place-based learning, and the needs of rural schools and communities. There also were two keynote speakers: Nikole Hollins-Sims, a certified school psychologist specializing in social justice and a special assistant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, and Steve Goodman, a partner with the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and co-principal investigator with the Integrated Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Research Network.

Educators who took part in the event received contact hours or continuing education units, which Maine teachers are required to earn to stay up-to-date with their certifications. About 20 UMaine graduate students also participated in the institute as part of a month-long summer course being offered by the College of Education and Human Development via UMaineOnline: “EHD 590: Evidence-Based Social-Emotional Learning in Schools.”

“Teachers are critical to making sure Maine’s children grow up in strong, healthy and resilient communities,” says Penny Bishop, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “This institute is just one way our college, home to the largest and most comprehensive teacher education program in the state, supports schools and helps educators meet the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students.”

UMaine will have two more virtual summer workshops for educators this year. The University of Maine Climate Change Workshop, July 18-19, is back for a second year. The annual Summer Technology Institute, part of the collaborative graduate program in instructional technology offered through the UMaine College of Education and Human Development, the University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Southern Maine, will be held Aug. 1-3.

Contact: Lindsey McMorrow,; Casey Kelly,