AUBURN — Edward Little High School students will soon have the option of starting college and completing their high school diploma at the same time.

In a new partnership between Central Maine Community College and the Auburn school district, some second-semester Edward Little High School seniors will enroll in a full semester of college courses in the spring semester.

Modeled after a similar pilot program at Southern Maine Community College for Portland high school students, the Spring Ahead program will enable students to complete a full semester of college at no cost to students.

Program administrators say they’re looking for students who have met most of their gradation requirements, are socially mature and are able to work independently.

“We have different breaks than Edward Little High School does, we have different days off, we’re going to have different snow day policies,” said Andrew Morong, the associate dean of enrollment at Central Maine Community College. “They’re going to have to commit to our academic calendar all while still meeting the needs at Edward Little High School as well.”

The 2023 spring semester runs from Jan. 17 through May 8.


Students will be responsible for providing their transportation to CMCC where they will take three to five classes, one of which will be a first-year seminar class introducing students to the college environment. They can enroll in academic or trade-oriented classes, provided the prerequisites are met. These courses can be used to fulfill high school graduation requirements.

Classes will be scheduled over three to four days per week.

“We’re going to try to limit (days) as much as we can without overwhelming them on too much, because we know transportation is going to be an issue,” Morong said. “The more classes we can get done on fewer days means less transportation that the students have to worry about.”

As a CMCC student, they’ll receive free rides on CityLink buses, as well as access to tutoring services, facilities and other student perks.

“We’re going to treat them as if they were our own,” Morong said.

Textbooks, tuition and other fees will either be waived by the college or covered by the Maine Community College system and the Aspirations fund from the Maine Department of Education.


Students in the Spring Ahead program will also have access to college advisers who can help them choose classes “so they’re actually closer to earning a degree in a quicker pace,” he added.

“So many times at the community college level, we get so many students who come to us having 18, 24, even 30 credits, but none of them apply to a single degree program,” Morong said.

To apply for the program, students must receive approval from their guidance counselor and a parent. One student has already signed up for the program, and about 25 families attended an information meeting about the program.

In the spring, Mayor Jason Levesque wrote a resolution with city counselors requesting that the School Committee boost its dual enrollment program, according to Levesque.

“The intent here was to make sure that we rethought education in such a way that we could satisfy the needs of our community, our businesses, our parents as well as our students, he said. “We didn’t have the answers, but I think we got a little bit closer tonight.”

Morong said CMCC aims to pilot the Spring Ahead program with Auburn students and eventually open it to other districts in the area.

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