BRUNSWICK — Regional School Unit 1 & Wiscasset Adult Education is collaborating with Merrymeeting Adult Education for the first time this school year.
Brunswick Superintendent Paul Perzanoski announced the collaboration at the Aug. 8 meeting of the Brunswick School Board. It was launched Aug. 1.
Perzanoski said the districts would “evaluate it after this year to see how things have gone,” and that there will be no cost to Brunswick for the new program.
RSU 1 & Wiscasset Adult Education will continue to offer enrichment and high school equivalency courses, but is now receiving support from Merrymeeting Adult Education.
Before RSU 1 joined the initiative, classes for Merrymeeting Adult Education were only held in Brunswick and School Administrative District 75.
Diana McCain, director of Merrymeeting Adult Education, on Aug. 28 said adding RSU 1, which has schools in Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg and Woolwich, will “make it more regional.”
McCain said it will also “add more enrichment” to the Bath area program, and allow for RSU 1 to “take advantage of Merrymeeting’s resources.”
She said Merrymeeting is looking at “systems, organization, and overall building the infrastructure for a strong on-site Bath program with support from Merrymeeting Adult Education.”
Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, McCain added, is also served by the Bath adult education program, along with the greater Wiscasset community, which will also have to be incorporated into the collaborative program.
“Community members will have a larger selection of classes to choose from each semester. Teachers will have more venues to choose from and more exposure of their classes,” she said. “We expect that the catalog going forward will reflect a greater amount of classes, workshops and opportunities for Bath residents held in Bath.”
RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said his district will also be contracting with SAD 75 for management services, or an administrator for its adult ed program, which will save his district approximately $20,000.
Merrymeeting was established as a joint effort between Brunswick and SAD 75 in 1978.
According to the website, the initial goal of the Merrymeeting program was to provide high school completion and the necessary testing “for students with interrupted educations.”
Today, the program offers classes in crafts, personal enrichment and vocational skills, too.
McCain said the fall semester will include some new classes on Google photos, a refresher on American Sign Language, astrology, and cooking classes.
She also said through sharing resources with Bath this year, the expectation is that a greater number of adults will be able to participate in classes offered in Bath. The need for nonresident fees will also be eliminated next semester.
McCain said the plan is also to eventually have one website for the entire program to make it easier to navigate for people who wish to take classes.
Ultimately, she added, support for Merrymeeting Adult Education has always been strong in the towns it serves.
“The communities and school districts understand the value that an adult education program plays in their community,” she said.