Partnerships for College Succes
The University of Maine at Presque Isle and Caribou High School
The University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) and Caribou High School have long collaborated on teacher education, curriculum development, performance assessment, and a range of other projects. Based on these existing strengths, the UMPI-Caribou partnership is developing the Transitions Project to help Caribou students prepare more fully for college success.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle, with 1,400 students, offers 30 bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs in the liberal arts and the professions. The only four-year institution of higher education within a 50-mile area, UMPI serves many low-income and first-generation college students and is an important cultural and educational resource for the entire community.
The Caribou School Department serves a rural population with an enrollment of nearly 1,600 students, 600 of whom attend Caribou High School. Caribou, with a low dropout rate and attendance above the state average, has received state and national recognition for academic excellence. Fifty-five percent of Caribou’s graduates go on to pursue a four-year college degree. Caribou’s goal is to increase this percentage and prepare all students to be college ready and experience college success.
The UMPI-Caribou Transitions Project aims to raise Caribou students’ educational aspirations and prepare every student for post-secondary study. The program focuses on faculty/professor development and involvement, improved data collection and management processes to increase student achievement, and a seamless curriculum in grades 9-16 in selected core subjects. Three focus groups—in English, math, and science—have been formed to look closely at disconnects between high school and college skills, and to develop better means of assessing readiness for college-level achievement. The UMPI-Caribou partners anticipate using their findings to design a curriculum that will help all students understand, early on, the skills they will need for both college admission and college success. Ultimately, the partners anticipate improvements in Caribou’s college enrollment and persistence rates.
Project Coordinator Mike McCormack is the primary contact person for the UMPI/Caribou High partnership and can be reached at (207) 768-9746.