Some courses at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center will now count as core graduation credits. Courtesy photo

WESTBROOK — Students can now get required core credits from vocational classes, opening up more options for students set to graduate.

The Westbrook Regional Vocational Center and Westbrook High School have identified various core requirements in vocational classes, allowing students to get graduation credits without having to sacrifice a chance to try out vocational offerings.

As seniors, students often were forced to choose between a core class, like math or English, for the credits, but never got the chance to try out a certain class they might be interested in next door at the vocational center. Westbrook will now accept vocational courses as a certain amount of credits. Classes like engineering could get students needed math or science credits, for example, while other vocational courses that require a large amount of reading comprehension might qualify for core English credits.

“We worked with our math and literature coaches looking into all our curriculum … and how would it line up with any performance indicators offered at our five sending schools,” vocational center Director Todd Fields said. “We looked at the WHS curriculum and tried to align our courses. As a result of that work, what we came up with, if a student takes electricity or computer repair for two years, they receive a math credit, if they take automotive and early childhood occupations, they will get half a credit in math, tech courses get science credits.”

The new system, set in place for the upcoming school year, allows students who may not have done in well as freshmen and sophomores to get their credits through vocational classes, said Assistant Principal Jennifer Mull-Brooks.

“They would have a more difficult time accessing the vocational center because they had to complete the required courses. This opens up their ability to gain those credits through the vocational programs,” she said.

School officials hope the change will help reduce the drop-out rate.

“Those students who ended up in the alternative program doing credit recovery oftentimes had a strong desire to be in the vocational program, (but) then left high school and entered the work force,” Mull-Brooks said. 

The change has been a year in the making, beginning with sender school Bonny Eagle. Gorham, Windham and Scarborough also send students to the vocational center.

While other schools looked into the credits, Westbrook High School “picked up the ball,” Fields said.

Over half of the vocational center’s students are from Westbrook, about 150 of the 350 students in the school.

“Any program where you can receive additional credits is a win for everyone,” Fields said.We’ve had a great year and look forward to working together to make it even better.”

 

 


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