Maranacook Community High School and Lewiston High School
Maranacook Community High School is a small, nearly all-white high school in central Maine. Lewiston High School is a large urban high school with a very diverse student body, many of whom are recent immigrants to the United States. Although these schools are less than 30 miles apart, they are located in very different worlds. The first reciprocal exchange between a cohort of students in each school began in fall 2015 and ended in Spring 2019. Beginning as ninth graders in 2015, these students worked to explore their own identities and tackle fear and prejudice. They participated in conversations and activities that developed understanding and built bonds which transcended social divisions. Their work culminated in series of podcasts in which they shared their thoughts about “The New Maine” with a wider audience.
OBS continued the partnership between these two schools with new cohorts of students in fall 2019. That work has been put on hold due to the COVD-19 pandemic. The work will resume in the fall once students are hopefully physically back at their schools.
Indian Island School, Orono Middle School, and Leonard Middle School
This partnership started in 2015-2016. It brings together middle school-aged youth from three different communities who, despite all living along and being connected by the Penobscot River, harbor stereotypes and misperceptions about each other. Initially this exchange focused on identity, culture, being an ally, and understanding Native and non-Native communities and their shared histories along the Penobscot River. Students then worked together to educate themselves and other students about climate change and its effects on us and our planet. In the following year they focused on school safety and what they can do to address unnecessary violence. The 2018-2019 cohorts chose to write and perform a song, “These Three Towns,” to express what they had learned in their 3-way OBS partnership and to encourage residents of these three communities to see the strengths of these three towns and the benefits of working together.
The partnership among the three schools continued in Fall 2019 as they look at the importance of “place” in our lives coupled with the value of differentiating between ‘assigned’ and ‘real’ identities. This work is continuing while schools are closed through online meetings with the students at each school.
- Indian Island School, Old Town, ME
- Orono Middle School, Orono, ME
- Leonard Middle School, Old Town, ME
The Brooklin School (Brooklin, ME) and Arts and Letters (Brooklyn, NY), aka Brooklin to Brooklyn Partnership
This new partnership began in the 2019-20 school year between two small K-8 schools. Their communities have almost the same name, but are radically different. Initial steps have been taken, but given the situation with COVID-19 this partnership will resume during the 2020-21 school year.
Westbrook High School (ME) and Gorham High School (ME)
This new partnership is connecting students in two neighboring southern Maine towns with very different characters. Initial partnership work is taking place, including online meetings with the student cohort at Gorham HS. We hope to begin similar meetings with the Westbrook students this spring. Meetings between the two schools will not begin until the 2020-2021 school year.