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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO. 21
POLICY CODE: IHBCD
TO: †††† ††††††††††† Superintendents of Schools, Principals, School Board Chairs
FROM:††††††††††† J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner
DATE: ††††††††††† September 26, 2001
The Legislature enacted, and the Governor signed, the above-referenced legislation. The provisions of the bill (attached) identify interagency initiatives designed to improve the effectiveness of release and discharge planning, transition services, aftercare services and reintegration planning provided to youths discharged from juvenile correctional facilities. This bill also charges the Department with providing technical assistance and with the development of standards pertaining to reintegration planning and transition services.
School administrators should pay particular attention to Section 1055, subsection 12, which requires Superintendents to convene a reintegration team to carry out reintegration planning pursuant to Section 254, subsection 12. The reintegration team must consist of the school administrator or their designee, at least one classroom teacher to whom the student will be assigned or who is involved in the student's assistance team, a parent, guardian or custodian of the student and a guidance counselor.
In order to address the requirements of this legislation, a team of Department staff co-chaired by Edwin N. Kastuck, Ph.D., Learning Systems Team, and Ms. Shelley Reed, Truancy, Dropout, Alternative Ed, Homeless Ed and School Counselor Services, will be formed to begin work on developing the statewide standards and technical assistance pertaining to reintegration and transition planning. The team will work with juvenile correction officers, and organizations representing school boards, school administrators, teachers, parents and other interested local officials and community members. Additional communications regarding the progress and outcomes from this initiative will be forthcoming.
As the State moves forward with the initiatives outlined in this legislation, it is important to note the major developments that have occurred in the area of juvenile corrections. As you may know, the long road to school approval and school improvement began at the Maine Youth Center in December 1997. Since then significant improvements and innovations have been implemented. The school is approved and a new future has been mapped.
The new direction for juvenile corrections in Maine is a holistic program called "Learning for Life" which incorporates education, substance abuse counseling, and mental health services. The concept for this initiative arose from the collaboration of the Maine Youth Center personnel† and Dr. Seymour Papert, renowned expert in instructional technology and constructivist education. Dr. Papert and members of his team are providing direct services to the new juvenile corrections initiatives in Maine.
Another major initiative is the creation of two juvenile service facilities. One is the Mountain View Youth Development Center, in Charleston, Maine, serving youth from the counties of Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington. The second site is called Long Creek Youth Development Center, located in South Portland and serving youth from the counties of Androscoggin, Cumberland, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc and York. Both facilities will be serving detained and committed youth. The Long Creek site will be the sole provider for services to juvenile male sex offenders from all counties. The anticipated date for these sites to open is prior to the beginning of the new calendar year. For more information on each site you should contact Ms. Roberta Niehaus, Principal, Long Creek (822-0060) or Jefferson Prestridge, Principal, Mountain View (285-0882).††
Since the public schools will play a critical role in the reintegration of Maine's juvenile offenders, it is important that the transition process be well conceived and supportive. One of the key factors is the acceptance of the academic work each student completes while in detention or during commitment at one of the facilities. The educational programs at each site will be State approved and all student academic work completed should be accepted by public schools. Both sites have aligned their curricula with the Maine Learning Results and students will be enrolling in public schools with a portfolio and a transcript that indicates the content standards and other areas of learning achieved by the student. Placement in public school programs should be based upon the studentís abilities and the academic work achieved during their stay at either facility.
If you have further questions regarding reintegration team technical assistance please contact Ms. Shelley Reed at 624-6637. If you have any questions regarding the programs at either juvenile services facility please contact Edwin (Buzz) Kastuck at 624-6776.