Mid-Coast School Notebook: June 22

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HCA forges ahead on new path for students

Harpswell Coastal Academy announcing the start of a new program for students in divisions 2 and 3 at the charter school for grades 6-12.

According to Carrie Branson, executive director, the Pathways program is not intended to pigeonhole students into a narrow field, but to show the connections between different careers, and make students aware of professions they may know nothing about.

“You can’t read much about Maine these days without reading about our state’s lack of skilled workers and the incredible opportunities that exist for the entrepreneurially minded amongst us,” Branson said. “Our Pathways program is designed to address these opportunities.”

The Communications pathway will focus on the nexus of media, culture, and society forged in the digital age. A student on this path may look to become a web developer, market analyst, or journalist.

The Environmental Studies pathway will assess how local marine and forest resource-based industries affect and are affected by global climate change. A student on that path would explore how to become an aquaculture farmer, scientist, policy leader, or fisherman.

The Design Thinking pathway will explore in detail the five phases of the design process – discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution – by creating real-world solutions to real-world problems. Engineer, auto technician, or architect could be some of the careers explored by students. 

The Service pathway will explore fields ranging from government and policy to teaching, social work and health care, all fields that are expected to be among the fastest growing in Maine. Students may look to be teacher, EMTs, attorneys, or enter government service.

“By directly linking our curriculum to clear post-secondary outcomes, we will build engagement amongst students and help them see a path to a productive life for themselves right here in Maine – something our founders hoped for years ago,” Branson said.

She explains in much the same way that a college student declares a major, after a few years following the general curriculum at Division 2 HCA students will choose one of the four pathways “to provide a rich mix of learning experiences.” These could include long-term investigations, Region 10 or SMCC classes, internships, and mentoring relationships. Students will conclude their studies with a capstone project, and post-secondary planning that will identify future academic and career goals.

Merrymeeting Adult Education honors educators, students

Merrymeeting Adult Education recognized Patricia Brown, former Merrymeeting Adult Education student, for her academic achievements and welcomed her as the guest speaker as the program honored 26 graduates this spring. In addition, director Diana McCain recognized Frannie Welch for her years of service to Merrymeeting Adult Education and congratulated her on her retirement this year.

During the ceremony held in late May, six students were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society. To be eligible, a student must be nominated by a teacher and demonstrate excellent attendance, positive attitude, helpful to others and outstanding work ethic. The following students were recipients of the award: Mary Burright, Brinley Johnson, Kylee McLarey, Ashley Frazier, Jessie Rizza Lazaro and Edwin Tynes. 

JMG supports Community Alliance

The Jobs for Maine Graduates at Morse High School, in partnership with the Unity Foundation, has donated $1,000 to Midcoast Community Alliance.

Students begin the process by identifying needs in the community and researching organizations that address those concerns. They then invite a selection of organizations to apply for the grant and review finalists. 

The grant will be used by the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to create a series of three educational videos for parents and teens to increase education about suicide prevention, including signs and symptoms, factors to increase resilience and distress tolerance, and available resources.

In June 2016, after another suicide by a young person living in Bath, community member Jamie Dorr rallied for change. Through her grassroots effort, MCA, a public/private organization, seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage those affected to reach out for help. 

The goal of the Unity Foundation is to teach Maine youth about philanthropy and the grant process. In this endeavor, each JMG site is allotted $1,000.

Brie Pinkham, JMG senior said, “When choosing this year’s JOY grant the choice for me was easy. Through past experiences, I have learned just important knowledge of mental health can be. As a teenager I have lost two childhood friends, a feeling/experience no one that age should go through, feeling that hopeless. These videos could have helped us with the signs of depression and how to help.”

Awarding the grant to MCA is just one aspect of how the Morse JMG students and MCA collaborate. Last fall they partnered to plan the Hope Garden of yellow tulips, which was inspired by the Yellow Tulip Project, an organization that uses the flowers as a reminder that spring brings with it hope and light. This spring representatives of the MCA, which include the Bath Police Department, and JMG students took to the streets of Bath to raise awareness of suicide and the mission of MCA as well as to distribute posters with the statewide suicide crisis hotline number.

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