In June when the warm weather has settled in and the seniors have moved on, holding the interest of the remaining underclassmen can be quite a challenge. This year Messalonskee High School is introducing a program that aims to do that and so much more.
The YES (Year End Studies) program is the culmination of more than two years of planning and is based off of the year-end practices of Burlington High School in Vermont. It is comprised of a series of short, non-traditional courses designed to help students discover new passions while working on standards in a different context.
Each course is driven by student and staff interest and runs for either a full day or half day session. Some courses, like Cycling to Health, Healthy Living, and Hip Hop Dance focus on health-based standards while Don’t Be Afraid of the Kitchen, Farm to Home, and Life After High School target basic life skills and habit of mind standards. Still others like Casino Gaming Math, teach academic standards with a new twist.
The YES program was originally planned for a full two-week session, but the number of snow days this winter caused it to be shortened to 7 days, running from June 13th through the 21st. The daily schedule begins and ends with an academic support hour from 8-9 and then again from 1:30 to 2:30. These two, hour-long slots are focused on standards recovery and course completion, and could even take the place of summer school for students who are close to completing the requirements.
The YES courses themselves are scheduled for a morning session from 9-11 and an afternoon session from 11:30-1:30 with a half-hour lunch break in between. Most courses take place on or around the MHS campus, though some incorporate a few field trips.
The final day of school will be dedicated to a gallery walk where students can view a display of the work done in each program. Students and staff are looking forward to this new approach to winding down the year.