“We are seeing dramatic improvement in attitude and effort on the part of our students,” said Brewer High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator Kevin Napolillo. “They feel that their career goals are finally being addressed and can see the value of what they are doing.”
Along with a growing number of schools and districts across Maine, Brewer High School has established an Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator to work with students to set up intentional career/work experiences and coordinate efforts for students to experience and learn about different jobs, career paths, and work opportunities available here in Maine and beyond.
“We have set up extended learning opportunities in the areas of auto mechanics, child psychology, and marine biology just to name a few,” said Napolillo. “We have also established a CNA [Certified Nursing Assistant] training program with a local nursing home.”
Napolillo says that the best part of his job is, “Observing the signs of realization when a student becomes aware that the school personnel will find out their likes and foster their desires for careers.”
In an effort to keep the program student directed, Napolillo has also worked to establish a relationship with the local Chamber of Commerce to develop relationships with local business owners.
It takes those strong local and State partnerships to develop and sustain a successful Extended Learning Opportunity programming and to that end, Napolillo would like to extend a debt of gratitude to: Walker’s Garage-Brewer, Brewer Center for Health and Rehabilitation, and Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.
Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands on, credit bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based career exploration. These opportunities are personalized for students and help them explore options for their professional lives. They help students engage in learning through instruction, assignments, and experiential learning. The Maine Department of Education (DOE), along with State-wide partner Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG), have made a concerted effort to provide working models, support, and funding opportunities for Maine schools to set up ELO programs within their school communities. To learn more about Maine’s initiatives with extended learning opportunities, visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/index.php/learning/elo or reach out to Maine DOE ELO Coordinator Rick Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.