Next fall, 15 technology students from Hermon (Maine) High School will take part in a pilot program that will allow them to earn college credits while working towards their high school diplomas. Earning college credits in high schools isn't new, but the way Hermon's program will connect those credits to career and technical skills, is. As Patty Wight reports, education officials are hoping it may become a model for schools across the state.
Educators in Hermon, like many of their peers, have been thinking a lot about how best to engage and prepare their students for the world that awaits them when they graduate. Hermon High School Principal Brian Walsh says their goal is for students to leave high school with enough career skills to get a good job and the drive to attend college.
For college-bound students, Hermon High already has programs that connect students to higher education, Walsh says, but for techonology students, something was missing.
"We have an agreement with Husson, for example, in accounting, with University of Southern Maine in our math department, but it's focusing mainly on those academic courses," Walsh says. "But it's not linking them to technical or career skills, and we think that's a very important piece."
So, Walsh says, they created a program where select students at their affiliated technical school, United Technologies Center--or UTC--will be dually enrolled in academic courses at Eastern Maine Community College. "And the idea is that what the students learn in those courses will then be applied in their career technical program at UTC," Walsh says.