Spring semester we held five different college classes for credit through Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) as well as four supported study hall periods each week, where one student was able to take an online math class (Quantitative Reasoning) and other students could get academic support and use the laptop computers to write papers and do research. Tim Hagelin from SMCC taught Personal Finance and Ms. Chaison taught four classes, including Oral Communications English Composition, Academic Success Seminar, and for the first time ever, Creative Writing. Ten students participated in classes, and I’m especially proud that this semester saw some of the highest overall GPAs we’ve seen in the college program. Typical GPAs for the semester included:
3.6 GPA (took Oral Communications, Personal Finance, Creative Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning online)
4.0 GPA (took Oral Communications)
3.8 GPA (took Academic Success Seminar, English Comp, and Personal Finance)
3.5 GPA (took Personal Finance)
On track for Associate’s Degree
One of our students successfully passed an online math class (despite having never attended high school), working closely with a volunteer tutor as well as Diane Grilling from Goodwill to help him with lagging skills. Thanks to the generous funding of the Friends, who funded his classes and his textbooks for several online classes he needs, he is on track to complete his Associate’s degree in liberal studies/English December before he is discharged from the facility. He will be the first student at Long Creek to receive a degree while incarcerated here, but what is truly extraordinary about this young man is that he dropped out of school in seventh grade. He received his HiSET (GED) when he was committed to Long Creek and took his first college class with Ms. Chaison (English Composition) three years ago this September.
Bowdoin tutor/mentor wrap-up
Our program this year was a wonderful success! Thirteen Bowdoin students were involved and they came down every Friday both fall and spring semesters, to work with ten of our Creek to College students. It was so great to watch our Long Creek students being “normal” teenagers while hanging out with the Bowdoin group, playing cards, playing pool, and socializing. Fall semester the emphasis was on relationship building, and then Spring semester, we put more focus on supporting students with their academic needs as well. Thanks to the Friends for providing funding for our meet and greets in the beginning of each semester!
One of our students who discharged last year recently got a job welding in Westbrook and is also now successfully living in his own apartment. Thank you so much to the Friends for funding his welding class while he was still in the facility! The Friends have also generously funded another student who wants to be a welder, and he is enrolled in Welding 100 at SMCC for the summer term. Thank you friends for paying for his class and textbook! The class starts the first week in June. He is so excited!
One student, who took several classes in the Creek to College Program while she was here is now enrolled in the University of Southern Maine (USM) nursing program, and another (who earned 27 credits while he was with us) will be matriculating into USM’s business administration program in the fall.
One student–who returned to us after leaving the facility last July–spent his time wisely here by taking Oral Communications class and working with Ms. Chaison on preparing for his Reading and Writing Accuplacer tests. He worked all semester on practicing for the Accuplacer, and last week he passed the writing test with flying colors! We will be doing more Accuplacer prep this summer so he can raise his reading score by a few more points to pass. Another student took Personal Finance spring semester and also worked with Ms. Chaison, Halorie, and Nini (a volunteer) on preparing for his math Accuplacer, as he didn’t pass it when he tested in January and needed to do so in order to get credit for Personal Finance. He retested in April and passed with flying colors!