As the school’s Extending Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator, Robert Scully is working with Marshwood High School students to create meaningful and relevant educational experiences beyond the classroom. Since receiving the ELO Programming Grant last spring, Scully has been leading the development of the program and its team to make it a sustainable and impactful part of the school’s future.
During the program’s development year at Marshwood, students have been able to engage in a wide variety of opportunities. “We had numerous independent study experiences including students learning American Sign Language, world languages, and programming,” said Scully. Students have also been able to participate in programs for service learning, building trades, real estate, and health care.
Scully says the best part of his job is meeting one-on-one with students to plan experiences that will keep them interested and engaged in their educational careers. “Students taking agency in their learning – sitting and discussing, designing, developing an experience that will provide a valuable learning experience is a profound moment,” he said.
The program underwent its implementation phase this spring, with 65 students already expressing interest in creating an ELO of their own for the Fall 2023 semester. Scully is also planning on teaching a Career Exploration Course next school year to encourage authentic, hands-on learning.
By receiving this grant, Scully says that he and his team “will be able to develop and offer relevant learning experiences that – quite frankly – are limitless in their potential to prepare students for the future they hope for.”
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.
This story was written by Maine DOE Communications Intern Natalie Grandahl in collaboration with Marshwood High School as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel Paling, Maine DOE Communications and Outreach Manager at email@example.com.