AUGUSTA — The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will partner with Teaching Tolerance to present a day-long seminar for teachers, “Civil Discourse: The Need for Challenging Conversations.” The seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta.

The seminar will begin with a presentation of data and research on the educational value of having conversations focusing on issues of civil discourse within our educational institutions. A structured academic controversy exercise will follow, focusing on the story of Maine’s Malaga Island, an island just off the coast of Phippsburg, where a mixed-race community was evicted by the state of Maine in 1912.

This story has been a source of controversy since that time, all the way through official apologies by Gov. John Baldacci in 2010, and just last year by Gov. Paul LePage.

The afternoon session will provide an opportunity for teachers to begin to create their own classroom lesson plans on civil discourse, using tools provided by Teaching Tolerance, which is a program of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The seminar will be led by HHRC Program Director David Greenham and Joe Schmidt, the Social Studies specialist for the Maine Department of Education. Participating teachers will be eligible for CEU credits toward re-certification.

Cost for the program is $75 per participant and lunch is provided. Registration is limited to 25 participants. Limited travel stipends are available for participants traveling 80 miles or more.

For more information, visit or call 621-3530.

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