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UMFK's Community Education Department unveils RURAL U portfolio of Early College Education programs

December 10, 2013

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 Photo at press conference.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent's Community Education Department today unveiled a major re-branding of its signature early college education programs whose emphasis is to build college aspirations among Maine's high school students living in rural areas of the state.

The three, previously separate and distinct programs, Early College, Pleasant Street Academy, and Dual Enrollment now are known collectively, as RURAL U.

The re-branding was unveiled today at a morning news conference led by UMFK's Dean of Community Education, Scott Voisine, in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference Room on the UMFK campus.

The re-branding of the early college education programs under the RURAL U umbrella, included educators from across Maine speaking in support of the programs; how they work for rural students, and how assembling them programs under the RURAL U banner, will tie the programs together to better serve the state's future collegians.

Speaking on behalf of the traditional Early College program (Maine Aspirations Early College) was Jacquie Martin, a guidance counselor at Fort Fairfield Middle-High School; Dawn Dougan, principal of Fort Kent Community High School, spoke in support of Pleasant Street Academy; and Renee Thompson, principal of Ellsworth High School (speaking via Skype), spoke about Dual Enrollment.

UMFK's RURAL U has 22 high school partners from across the depth and breadth of Maine, from as close by as Fort Kent, and as distant as Ellsworth, Vinalhaven, and Winslow. During the past five years, the participation numbers have doubled, and RURAL U now serves more than 125 students throughout rural Maine.

The portfolio of early college education programs, now under the RURAL U banner, consists of:

EARLY COLLEGE -- Maine Aspirations is a program in which students take live or online classes for college credit and high school elective credit. The program is not exclusive to UMFK, however, UMFK does work with school partners to ensure that appropriate student and academic support structures, both at school at on campus (via distance technology, if necessary) are in place.

PLEASANT STREET ACADEMY is Maine's first early college high school model. Students enroll in Pleasant Street Academy as juniors and seniors and have the opportunity to earn one full year of college credit by graduation. All classes are taught at UMFK by UMFK faculty and at Fort Kent Community High School teachers approved as adjunct faculty. Classes count toward both core high school requirements and UMFK general education requirements.

DUAL ENROLLMENT classes are courses taught at the partnered high school by teachers approved as adjunct faculty, or UMFK appointed faculty. Students earn both high school credit and college credit.