Wayfinder Schools’ Passages Program in Washington County

Did you know that Washington County has a free home-based high school degree program for young parents, age 14 to 20? Wayfinder Schools’ Passages Program, founded in 1994, has been located in Washington County since 2008. Passages serves teen parents wishing to complete high school while caring for their child and supporting their families. 

Passages supports a young parent’s dual responsibility to complete their education while caring for and supporting their child. The Passages curriculum incorporates parenting, life skills, and social and emotional learning of parent and child along with the academic demands of high school. Students and their teachers meet weekly, one-on-one, and complete coursework through a combination of workshops, class time and online instruction. 

Passages students and their teachers build a trusting and supportive relationship.  The curriculum is self-directed and self-paced and allows a young parent to stay at home with their child. Lesson plans are personalized and developed by the teacher and student together to reflect the student’s own real life strengths and challenges.  The school schedule is flexible, taking into account the parent’s other appointments and job responsibilities.  Students remain enrolled until they graduate (1-5 years average).

To apply, interested students set up a home visit with a Passages representative to explain the program. An interview and application process follow, and if accepted, students are matched with a Passages teacher. After the ten-week trial period, students receive a loaner Apple MacBook through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), and internet access is available if needed. 

Students also participate in group workshops, field trips and community service projects and have the opportunity to be published in the “Passages Press”, a student-written newsletter published four times each year. The Passages Press covers topics like parenting, politics and book reviews, and includes student art, photography, recipes and other how-to projects. 

Passages students who are close to graduating complete a final “Passage” project. Students design an individual project that addresses a particular passion, challenge or goal in their life.  A committee of staff, students and community members support them throughout their process. Recent Passages projects in Washington County include publishing a book of interviews with teen mothers around the world, raising awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and creating art from found objects during a beach cleanup.

Passages graduates receive a Maine Department of Education approved private high school diploma, not a GED or HiSET. The Passages Program is available to students in Knox, Lincoln, Waldo, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc, York, Cumberland and Washington counties. 

Wayfinder Schools serves more than 80 students statewide, and has offices in Camden, New Gloucester and Machias. Washington County Passages serves up to 18 students each year and works closely with Community Caring Collaborative, Maine Families, UMMachias, Washington County Community College, Career Center and others. The Washington County Passages office is located at the University of Maine at Machias, Room 101, Torrey Hall. 

 

For more information about Wayfinder Schools, visit www.wayfinderschools.org. To reach The Washington County office, call 207-255-1468.