Many Flags, Penquis receive planning grant

Jan 04, 2013

Many Flags/One Community, a regional education initiative in the Midcoast and Penquis, the Community Action Agency serving Knox, Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, have been selected by the Obama Administration to receive a Promise Neighborhoods grant for 2013 in the amount of $348,100.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced the winners of the Promise Neighborhoods grant fund on Dec. 21 in Washington, D.C., “Children must be safe, healthy, and supported by adults across an entire community to reach their fullest potential,” said Duncan in a news release.

More than 200 programs nation-wide submitted proposals for the Promise Neighborhoods grant, but only 10 were ultimately selected to receive a 2013 planning grant.

The Many Flags /One Campus Foundation jointly applied for the US Department of Education grant with Penquis. The Promise Neighborhoods grant funds will be used exclusively in the Many Flags/One Community Midcoast region.

The Many Flags/One Community model is a new regional approach for a seamlessly integrated secondary and post-secondary education system in Maine. The “regional secondary and post-secondary education initiative” was enacted by the Maine Legislature and Gov. John Baldacci in 2008. In 2010, the Many Flags/One Community project, in the greater Knox County area, was selected by the Maine State Board of Education as the model 9-16 regional program to be implemented in Maine.

Many Flags/One Community is a unique concept that promotes educational excellence and administrative efficiency by integrating, both physically and virtually, a regional network of high schools (Oceanside High School; Camden Hills Regional High School, Vinalhaven School, North Haven Community School and Islesboro Central School), 
a state-of-the-art career and technical center (Region 8 Mid-Coast School of Technology);
 a higher education center (with courses and degrees offered by the Maine Community College and University of Maine Systems); and industry training centers.

Alan Hinsey, executive director of the Many Flags/One Campus Foundation said in a news release, “We are thrilled to receive this grant and we are very excited to begin work with Penquis, as well as collaborating with a broad range of community support services throughout our region of Maine.”

Hinsey added, “The fact that Many Flags was chosen by the USDOE as one of only 10 Promise Neighborhoods planning grant recipients this year means a lot to us. Our community has worked hard for several years to design and launch our new regional model. The planning grant funds and the recognition by the USDOE will provide some of the momentum we need to keep moving this model forward. Our hope is that this grant will demonstrate that our innovative regional approach is a legitimate model for Maine that should be fully implemented now.”

Charlie Newton, CEO of Penquis said, “The Many Flags model in the Knox County area is a great example of effective regional collaboration. The coordinated network of regional education and training providers that Many Flags represents is exactly what USDOE was looking for. The idea is now to effectively and efficiently add in the family, health and social support services needed so that every student in the Many Flags system can reach their true potential. As the local Head Start provider, Penquis is experienced in providing the broad array of supports families need to enhance their children’s educational accomplishments. We look forward to working with Many Flags to expand that support to all educational levels.”

The Promise Neighborhoods grant is a 12-month planning grant. Many Flags/One Community and Penquis staff will oversee a regional needs assessment and development of an implementation plan that will lead to a continuum of social, health and family services that can be coordinated with the newly-developed Many Flags regional education structure. The intent is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children, students and the workforce throughout the entire region. The framework for a fully integrated longitudinal data system will also be developed as a product of this planning grant. Once the work is completed, the Many Flags/One Community program will also make the research, implementation plan and longitudinal data system available to the Maine Department of Education.

At the completion of the 12-month planning grant period, Many Flags/One Community and Penquis can apply for a USDOE implementation grant of up to $6 million per year for three to five years. In 2013, seven Promise Neighborhoods programs were selected for implementation grants totaling $30 million dollars.

Loren Andrews, interim chairman of the new Many Flags Regional Board of Directors and a Regional School Unit 13 School Board member said, “The timing of the Promise Neighborhoods grant is perfect. It will greatly help us as we begin the effort of implementing the Many Flags regional educational model now. Plus, we are very happy to be working with Penquis on this important comprehensive needs assessment and planning effort.”

Andrews added, “But as we all know, the work that can be performed with these federal funds is very narrowly defined. We will need to secure additional funds to implement our innovative regional model. It will be necessary for businesses, foundations, private donors and the State to step up now if we are to fully realize the Many Flags vision for Maine.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine added her congratulations and support, ”The folks in the Midcoast have worked tirelessly on this innovative educational model. I’m very pleased that Secretary Duncan and the USDOE has recognized the value of the Many Flags/One Community regional approach. The grant funds, plus the new partnership with Penquis, will move the project to the next level. Our hope is that Many Flags/One Community can become a replicable model for Maine – and the nation.”

For more information contact Alan Hinsey at 691-3227, ahinsey@manyflags.org.

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