High schools becoming ‘town squares’ to meet community needs

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“’As you walk into our main entrance of the high school, it’s called the town square, and there are three large display cases that have North Berwick, Berwick and Lebanon on them so that people recognize that this is (a) coming together of the three communities,’ said Susan Austin, assistant superintendent at Maine School Administrative District 60, which oversees Noble High.

Noble is what’s called a community school that offers programs beyond public education. It’s a community hub, where students and community members can access a variety of services.

Students can also apply for apprenticeships in the local trades, as well as internships and job shadowing opportunities around town. They can also access on-site mental health and substance abuse counseling offered through a local behavioral health nonprofit.

Residents frequently use the 1,000-seat auditorium for community events such as concerts or dances. The school provides an adult education program to enrich the lives of adult residents of the surrounding towns with affordable education on topics ranging from yoga to web design.

Community schools like Noble are set up so students can benefit from the resources of the surrounding locale in a way that complements their education.”

Read the full story here.

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