RSU 13 Extended Learning Coordinator Creates Student-centered and Enriching Experiences for Oceanside High School Students

Molly Staples - RSU 13 ELO Highlight

“Students are at the core of every move I make, and we create these internship experiences together,” said Molly Staples, Oceanside High School ELO Coordinator. “We treat every challenge as a learning experience and the students are able to dabble in real-world challenges.”

The best part of Molly’s day is hearing about students’ experiences at their internships. “I’m always wanting to unpack their time and hear how it made them feel,” she said. “I also love working through challenges.”

Realizing that oftentimes students don’t really want to make mistakes, Molly works hard to break down that fear of doing things wrong. She does this by encouraging students to test things out and experiment with how to work out a situation and to not be afraid of trying something and if that didn’t work out, then try something else.

“I’m most proud of the diversity in our program,” said Molly. She and others at RSU 13 have created a range of different opportunities for students which all may look a bit different depending on what the student’s needs are.  Where some ELOs may be a chance to connect with someone via email, on a video call, or attend a community meeting, other opportunities are more traditional experiences like job shadowing and full internships. It all depends on what the students’ goals dictate. “This allows for lots of wiggle room and time to segue to new experiences,” explains Molly. “It allows students the opportunity to say, ’that isn’t what I want to do,’ and pivot to a new avenue without consequence.”

Here are what a few students from the program had to say about their ELO experiences:

“It definitely impacted me. The stuff I’m working with really gives me a lot to think about.”

“I am really overall enjoying the internship and the work I do.”

“Being at the shelter working with animals takes my mind off of everything else letting me fully focus.”

“I absolutely loved it. I learned so much and I really enjoyed it.”

Here are a couple of parent comments:

“I am so proud of her and excited that she has this opportunity!”

“This program is so neat!” 

Looking ahead, Molly is working on expanding the program to allow students to be able to stay on for a second semester to elevate their work in career exploration.

In celebrating the success of the Oceanside High School ELO program, Molly and the RSU 13 school community would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the following community partners who have helped make this all possible: Schooner Bay Taxi, Penobscot Island Air, Somebody Loves Me Bridal, Habitat for Humanity, City of Rockland, Dream Local, Hybrid Fitness, Adventure Advertising, Carleton Investment Properties, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Miller Turnery Co, Pitch, Flanagan Rec Center, Pope Memorial Humane Society, Officer Bagley and Rockland PD, Gerald Weinand, Architect, Penobscot Bay YMCA, Kim Young, Thomaston Grammar School, New Hope Midcoast, Jesse Rutter, Emily Philbrook, and SO many more!

“I am incredibly excited to see how receptive our local businesses and organizations have been to work with our students,” said Steffany Tribou, RSU 13 Assistant Superintendent. “We are merely building the foundation of this project, and in this work, we are seeing the great potential that it has for our students. There are great possibilities on the horizon for students in the Midcoast.”

To learn more about the RSU 13 ELO program visit their Facebook page.