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Spaulding High School’s Extended Learning Opportunity Program Thrives

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Rochester Public Schools
Michael L. Hopkins, Superintendent
31 Wakefield St.
Rochester, NH 03867

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, Feb. 4, 2019

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Spaulding High School’s Extended Learning Opportunity Program Thrives

ROCHESTER — Superintendent Michael Hopkins is pleased to announce that the Spaulding High School Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) program is thriving, thanks to the support of numerous Strategic Partners.

The Spaulding High School ELO program seeks to provide students experience in the workforce while also training capable future employees for local organizations, and connects students to diverse opportunities, including internships, job shadows, job fairs, and medical mentoring.

More than four years ago, Dean Graziano, extended learning opportunities coordinator at Rochester Public Schools, started a strategic partners group to support the ELO program.

Today there are 22 Strategic Partners, including business, academic, and government leaders, who have helped grow the program and continue to do so by providing funding, offering paid and unpaid internships, attending career fairs, giving mock interviews, and helping the school to implement soft workplace skills into its curriculum.

“The Strategic Partners have been incredible supporters of the ELO program,” Graziano said. “I intentionally reached out to businesses and other local groups when I started the Strategic Partners to expand support for the program outside of the school district, and to better connect the students to the larger Rochester community.”

A group of 10 Spaulding High seniors are currently halfway through a year long ELO pilot program that will allow them to earn an Advanced Composites Manufacturing Certificate at Great Bay Community College while also earning credits for their diplomas. Students that complete the program are also promised an interview at Safran Aerospace Composites, an aerospace manufacturing company in Rochester.

“It’s wonderful to see students earn a certification that will prepare them for a successful transition into the workforce after they graduate,” said Jennifer Marsh, Economic Development Specialist for the city of Rochester. “Moreover, these students aren’t incurring any cost to obtain that certification, and they will have the chance to interview at a notable local organization. It’s an amazing opportunity, and a huge success for Rochester.”

Legislators and educators alike are pushing to start similar ELO initiatives statewide, like the Spaulding/Great Bay certification program. In particular Gov. Chris Sununu has said he aims to create a program for New Hampshire students to earn their associates degrees, at no cost.

On Friday, Jan. 25, Strategic Partners met to discuss their latest initiatives.

“The big takeaway from our last meeting is that we have a healthy, driven group supporting this program today,” Graziano said. “This group will be a huge help by allocating resources, as well as by bringing together business leaders, local government, and schools to develop programs to create workforce opportunities for students.”

A representative from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office also attended the meeting, and read aloud a congratulatory letter from the legislator.

“I want to thank all of the students, faculty and staff as well as the participating businesses, for coming together to shape a program that is quickly becoming a model for schools around the state,” Sen. Shaheen wrote. “Extended learning opportunities are not only  a crucial component of modern education. They also represent a pathway through which local businesses and manufacturers can train and eventually hire capable employees they need to grow and thrive.”

“These programs are a win-win for students who can refine essential skills and confidence outside the traditional classroom and a workforce hungry for talented workers,” she added.

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