AUBURN — Eighteen juniors at Edward Little High School are taking college courses at the school and could earn enough credits to become college sophomores when they graduate in 2017.

They also are taking Lewiston Regional Technical Center classes in areas they’re considering for careers, including law enforcement, automotive technology, health sciences, nursing, carpentry and entrepreneurship.

Speaking to the School Committee on Wednesday night, student Monique Verrill said she and other juniors are taking college classes in algebra, chemistry, history and writing. This past summer they attended an academy in Bangor, where they visited businesses to see potential career choices.

“We visited a nursing home, construction sites, we went to the National Guard and a hospital too,” she said.

At the end of the academy, they got IDs from the University of Maine at Augusta, she said.

“If we want to take college courses there in the summer, that’s an option we have,” Verrill said.

Edward Little High School Assistant Principal Jim Horn, who brought the Bridge Year college program to the school, said, “The nice thing UMA offers is (students) can submit their work to UMA, they’ll look at the paper and send it back with suggestions. UMA has been extremely helpful.”

Teaching the college courses are high school teachers who’ve become UMA adjunct professors. They are math teacher Nancy Bowie, chemistry teacher Brandi McFadden, writing teacher Melissa Margarones and history teacher Nathan Theriault.

To qualify, they must hold master’s degrees, Bowie said.

Bowie’s students’ math exams are reviewed by UMA professors “to make sure our standards are held as high as the college’s,” she said. “We’re doing pretty good. I’ve been pushing them pretty hard. It’s nice to see this is very doable for our students.”

The cost to students is $900, including textbooks, Horn said. Through a federal grant, the city of Auburn has offered summer jobs to students and $3 an hour is withheld from their paychecks to help cover tuition.

Next year, plans are for another 20 or so juniors to enroll in the program, bringing the enrollment to about 40.

“That sounds wonderful,” School Committee Chairman Tom Kendall said.

School Superintendent Katy Grondin said numbers are limited, in part, because of limited openings at Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

Also at the high school this year, Central Maine Community College instructor Marc Gosselin teaches a sports management course to 15 students. Students receive college credit and do not pay for that class.

Plans are to add more CMCC courses next semester, Horn said.

Edward Little also has 27 students in the Early College program, in which students take classes at local colleges and earn credits.

City Councilor Mary LaFontaine, the mayor’s representative on the School Committee, praised students for enrolling in college credit programs.

“Certainly, it shows the commitment to yourself,” she told them.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.