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Old Model School • University of Maine at Fort Kent • 23 University Drive, Fort Kent, ME 04743

UMFK's Rural U Program Launches Early College Plus; A New Early College Program for Maine High Schools

August 25, 2020

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is excited to announce that this fall, the Rural U Early College and Concurrent Enrollment Program will start the semester with eleven new Early College Plus classes for high school students. Early College Plus is an enhanced, facilitated early college model that goes above and beyond traditional online early college classes where individual high school students take online college classes.

In the Early College Plus model, high school students in a school are placed in a cohort of seven or more students; all of whom have been enrolled in the same online UMFK class. In addition, the high schools partnering with UMFK on this new program will appoint a teacher or other instructional staff member at their school to be a “learning manager” for students in that class. “The students in an Early College Plus class will meet together in their school during regularly scheduled periods with the learning manager to work on their online class,” explains Scott Voisine, Dean of Community Education. “This provides an extra level of support for high school students enrolled in online classes.”

UMFK faculty teaching these online classes, classes that were already scheduled for traditional college students, will maintain communications with the learning managers whose primary role will be to ensure students are keeping up with their course work, tutoring, and technical navigation of the course. Learning managers will also be given copies of all course materials including books and any supplemental materials.

A number of high schools have jumped at the opportunity to partner with UMFK on Early College Plus classes for their students. They include Aroostook County schools like Southern Aroostook Community School, Ashland District School, and Hodgdon Middle-High School as well as schools throughout Maine including Shead High School in Eastport, Massabesic High School in Waterboro, and Mt. Abrams High School in Salem to name a few.

“Some high school students are hesitant to take online classes.” continues Voisine, “The cohorts involved in this new program and the additional support of a learning manager will alleviate some of the concerns and will certainly assist early college students and they explore college learning in high school.”

Early College Plus is an addition to Rural U’s class modalities and will not replace individual online early college classes or concurrent enrollment classes taught in high schools by qualified high school teachers. As Dean Voisine states, “Rural U strives to meet the needs of a wide variety of early college students and the addition of Early College Plus will attract students who may need additional support and a boost to their confidence as they pursue post-secondary learning.”

To learn more about Early College Plus or Rural U at UMFK, please call 834-8645 or go to ruralu.umfk.edu.