Seventeen Presque Isle High School (PIHS) students, along with two University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) students, recently had the opportunity to participate in a week-long educational experience at Hurricane Island. This exciting experience was made possible due to an anonymous donor who fully funded the adventure, and was open to any student with an interest in career exploration in the sciences through Presque Isle High School’s newly implemented ELO program.
Hurricane Island runs field-based education programs with an emphasis on inspiring future environmental leaders. Students were able to experience the scientific process first-hand with the guidance of the expert staff at Hurricane Island. The feedback from PIHS students has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Hurricane Island was a life-changing experience that allowed me to learn and grow outside of the confines of a classroom,” said PIHS senior Morgan House who will be pursuing a career in the medical field. “The environment on the island encouraged not only learning but personal growth. I left the island feeling connected with my peers and built relationships that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible here at PIHS. You truly cannot place a number on the value of a hands-on education. I will be forever grateful to the donor who made this trip possible”
Thanks to a two-year, $250,000 grant from the Maine Department of Education, Presque Isle High School has been able to partner with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Caribou High School to implement programs offering extended learning opportunities (ELOs). ELOs are defined as hands-on opportunities outside of the traditional classroom with an emphasis on community-based career exploration. Allison Reed, Director of Guidance, is the ELO Coordinator for MSAD#1.
“The partnerships forged between schools and local businesses are proving to be mutually beneficial, with companies gaining fresh perspectives from the next generation of talent, and students gaining meaningful job shadowing experiences,” said Reed. “By providing students with opportunities to explore their passions, schools are nurturing a generation of informed, motivated, and inspired individuals poised to make a meaningful impact on the world.”
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.