As an Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Coordinator, Healthy Acadia’s Corrie Hunkler has led a pilot to expand the organization’s youth employment and career exploration programs while creating ELO opportunities for students in the coastal Washington County region. The project aims to create and promote ELO opportunities by developing new and existing partnerships with community-based organizations and local high schools.
As part of this initiative, Hunkler has worked with several high schools to support and develop their ELO programs and offerings. At Narraguagus High School, Hunkler assisted with the creation of a Learning Korean and Photography ELO for alternative education students. She collaborated with students at Jonesport-Beals High School and community mentors to create Sports Management and Dental Hygienist ELOs. Students at Jonesport-Beals are also offered several formal ELO courses including Career Exploration, Cultural Explorations, Community Service Learning, and Fishing Industry Exploration and Innovations.
Through Community Service Learning at Jonesport-Beals, high school juniors and seniors got the opportunity to mentor students at a local elementary school. This experience allowed the student mentors to build relationships with the younger students while also learning about goal setting and community service.
Under Hunkler’s leadership, this pilot has expanded and brought awareness to local ELO programs and opportunities. “I love working with kids, helping them develop deeper, more meaningful ways to expand their education,” said Hunkler. “I love that ELOs help connect schools to communities and use these connections to enrich and expand the learning opportunities for small, rural schools.”
Hunkler would like to thank the students and school leaders she has partnered with throughout this project.
Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are hands-on, credit-bearing courses outside of the traditional classroom, emphasizing 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.