FARMINGTON — The $64 million Mt. Blue Learning Campus under construction in Farmington may be the new model for high schools across New England, according to a regional educational conference official.

The campus will bring together programs at Mt. Blue High School and Foster Technology Center, hoping to create a new approach to traditional academic classes and career training for students in the region.

This project and two other innovative educational programs from Gray and Portland will be representing Maine at the High School Redesign in Action conference, which is sponsored by New England Secondary School Consortium, according to Mark Kostin, the conference liaison for Maine.

Kostin said the Mt. Blue Learning Campus was picked because its driving the discussion about career technology programs.

He said he knows of some programs trying to tie high school classes with career training, but nowhere in New England is there a chance to build a project from the “ground up.”

“We’re hoping that other existing career (technology programs) can learn from the design process,” Kostin said of the new campus, which is expected to be finished in 2013.

Foster Technology Center Director Glenn Kapiloff said the program is going to be a chance to try out a lot of new ideas.

He said the current career training program has classes in everything from biotechnology to composite technology, which is not offered to high school students anywhere else in the country.

Kapiloff said he hopes to add courses in areas like pre-engineering, while integrating math, English and other academic classes into the program. The biggest difference is having the career training on the same campus as the high school, he said.

“Some of this is not finalized, certainly we’re going to give students more choices,” he said of bringing the career training program together with the high school.

Students at Foster Tech come from Mt. Blue, Jay, Livermore Falls, Rangeley and Mt. Abram high schools. The program is currently renting space in Farmington until the campus is finished.

The conference picked three schools each from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont to represent unique educational programs.

About 400 educators from across New England will gather today and Friday in Nashua, N.H. They will work on plans to promote new educational programs, pursue donations from educational advocacy groups and share ideas, Kostin said.

As for the other Maine schools, Gray-New Gloucester High School was selected for its work on a national initiative to track new educational standards, according to Kostin.

Casco Bay High School in Portland is working on a new interdisciplinary curriculum for its students.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]


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