Lynn Kovitch is new to her role as Noble High School’s Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator. Thus far, she has spent a lot of her time building relationships with local businesses, organizations, and individuals in the community.
In addition to her research and leg work, Kovitch co-leads an ELO Class serving Noble High School’s Multiple Pathways Alternative School housed within the building where they are finding ways to engage students outside of the classroom. “I continue to meet new students, learn about their interests and place them in job shadows, paid work, and internships,” she said. As part of that process, she helps students with job applications and resumes and has conversations about post-secondary options including arranging career and college visits, as well as scheduling and bringing students to volunteer in the community.
“Now that we have a dedicated staff role to help our students find opportunities outside of the classroom, it feels like we are suddenly able to do more, and ideas we had are becoming a reality,” said a teacher from Noble High School Multiple Pathways Alternative School.
In describing a recent success, Kovitch explained that Noble High School has worked with a junior that applied and did not get into vocational school for the Automotive Program. After sharing his interest in working with his hands and learning anything about cars, Kovitch worked to find him a placement at a local garage. She went with him for an informal interview at a small garage this fall and the owner offered the student a job.
“He came up to me during the school day, looked me in the eyes, and thanked me. He gets to build a relationship with the shop owner, learn more about working in the automotive industry, and get the hands-on experience he had hoped for,” explained Kovitch. “This was one of the first of a handful of ‘work-study’ ELO’s and has motivated me greatly to continue helping students find placements- especially for those who did not get a spot in the vocational program.” Noble High School has students placed in many businesses in the area, including in childcare, welding, autobody and cosmetology.
Kovich goes on to explain that moments like these are the perfect example of why she loves her job so much. When students thank her for helping them locate opportunities outside of school that engages them in their passions and interests. “Seeing students genuinely excited to pursue their interest while building their confidence about their future and the many things they are capable of!”
Kovitch says that looking forward, Noble High School plans to grow its group ELO offerings next semester in addition to expanding its ability to transport students. She said they are also working on partnering with local organizations like Cooking Matters and Junior Achievement Maine to offer more life skills like financial literacy, cooking and budgeting in group ELO’s. This is all of course in addition to her continued efforts to match students with local businesses as she has worked so hard to do in the first half of the school year.
“We are excited to keep expanding our program as I settle into the role and get to know the community better,” she said.
Kovich extends a special thanks to some of their new community partners: Berwick Early Learning Center, Cabana Salon and Tanning, True Enterprises, Cabana’s Auto Body, Greater Works Land Trust, Riverside Farm and Another Chance Animal Shelter & Second Hand.
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 email@example.com.