AUGUSTA — A proposed new program could allow selected students taking classes at Capital Area Technical Center and Cony High School to earn college credits while still in high school.

In the Bridge Program, between 15 and 20 students would take classes at Cony High School in math, science, English and humanities.

Students in the program would be able to earn college credits and, if successful in the program, would be guaranteed a spot in a Maine state college, according to James Holland, director of Capital Area Technical Center. Holland recommends Augusta schools join the program, which is already in place in a few other Maine schools.

The students involved in the program would take the same high school classes at Cony as a group, or cohort, Holland said, so they would be able to form study groups together and bond with and provide support to each other.

He said students in the program elsewhere have graduated from two-year colleges at a rate of 90 percent, compared to 26 percent for students not in the program.

If more than 15 to 20 students seek to join the program, a committee would select which students could participate, based upon criteria including the motivation and aspirations they show.

Students in the program would also each take classes, but not as a group, in a program of their choosing at Capital Area Technical Center.

Holland said Augusta has been approved for grant funding to help implement the program.

“It could have a positive impact. We’re always encouraging our students to go to college,” Holland said. “It’s a really good program that could help students that might not otherwise consider college.”

The Board of Education is scheduled to consider approving the new program at their meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers at Augusta City Center. That approval, however, is contingent on money for changes needed to accommodate the program being added to the proposed school budget.

Superintendent James Anastasio said adding the program would impact the budget because additional teachers would be needed at Cony High School if the program is implemented. That’s because the 15 to 20 students in the program would make up a class smaller than the usual class sizes at the high school. If one teacher was teaching that smaller class of students, it would leave more students that need to be placed in other classes. Anastasio said at least part-time teaching hours would need to be added to the budget, and it may be hard to find teachers willing to fill part-time positions.

Board members are also scheduled to:

• Consider adopting a policy on medical marijuana in schools. Anastasio said the policy is based on a model policy from Maine School Management Association. The policy is meant to give guidance to staff in dealing with students who use medical marijuana to manage a medical condition and have written certification from a medical provider for the use of medical marijuana. The policy states students would not be allowed to possess medical marijuana in school and requires medical marijuana to be administered, in non-smokable form, by a primary caregiver, such as a parent. The Winslow School Board approved a similar policy last month, as school districts across the state work to comply with a state law passed last year.

• Consider several other proposed new polices and policy revisions as the board continues work to update the school system’s policy manual. People may view and comment on pending school policies on the school department’s website at www.augustaschools.org.

• Hear an update on Hussey Elementary School from Principal Troy Alexander.

• Consider approving a new, elective guitar course at Cony High School, which Anastasio said would not require any additional staffing.

• Consider staff and student travel requests.

• Consider approving the 2016-2017 school calendar.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj