For RSU 14 Director of Community Connections & Windham High School (WHS) ELO Coordinator Lorraine Glowczak, the best part of her job is working with students. “A very close ‘second’ best part of my day is all the new people I get to meet throughout the state through my community outreach,” she added.
Although extended learning opportunities (a.k.a. ELOs) were officially implemented at WHS during this school year, Glowczak has been working with the Windham/Raymond community for quite some time as the school administrative unit’s (SAU) Community Connections Director engaging with community members and businesses to increase student educational opportunities and support school-related needs. As part of this work, she also carefully collaborates with multiple stakeholders within the SAU and school community, including administration, teachers, counselors, and parents.
“Although available for the whole district, my office is located at Windham High School, where I meet with high school students, assisting them in completing capstone project requirements,” said Glowczak. “I also act as an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Coordinator for the high school, coordinating credit-based educational opportunities outside the traditional classroom for students through various methods, including internships, job shadows, and mentorships.”
Glowczak enjoys collaborating with educators and business leaders in both her roles.
“Just as importantly, and what I believe emerges as a benefit, is the ‘thinking outside the box’ creative innovation that is required to make it all happen,” she said. “This, I believe, is a win-win for all and a must for the best education possible.”
This year alone, she has helped coordinate opportunities for students to work in the yacht, filmmaking, civil engineering, architectural engineering, and publishing industries since taking on the ELO coordinator role.
One of those success stories was RSU 14 student, Greta Paulding who took an internship in Civil Engineering with the Town of Windham’s Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). “When I started this job, I wanted to be a civil engineer,” said Paulding Glowczak. “That career path still interests me, but I realized that the in-depth engineering side of things, the math, and physics of a project, is less interesting to me than the big picture.” Pauling has since shifted her career focus to civil architecture, which focuses on building design. “The knowledge I gained helped me to sharpen my view of my future and set my sights on a career I can use to make a difference in my town and beyond,” Paulding added. WEDC Executive Director Tom Bartell was exceptionally pleased with Paulding’s work and offered her a part-time job that continues today.
Another online ELO success story at WHS, is a student who has some training and interest as an electrician and was recently accepted as a paid intern for Sabre Yachts in Raymond. “The student and the business are working together to see if this internship can turn into a full-time job as an electrician upon graduation from high school. So far, it looks very promising,” said Glowczak.
Looking to the future, Glowczak says their ELO program hopes to be able to expand the number of industry options for students to broaden their experiences and career horizons. One strong possibility is paid internships as a lifeguard with the Bureau of Parks and Recreation with the potential to offer students credit. Being able to offer credit-bearing paid internships would be an exciting expansion to RSU 16’s ELO Program.
Glowczak extends a special thanks to the following community partners who have helped with the success of their ELO program thus far: Sabre Yachts of Raymond, Delano Architecture of Saco, The Windham Eagle Newspaper of Windham, Voices of Hope and Dave Packem of Scarborough, Fluky Fiction, a publishing company based out of Rockland, and Windham Economic Development Corporation of the Town of Windham.
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.