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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine's education commissioner is visiting schools in western Maine as part of his cross-state tour to observe innovative school practices.

Commissioner Stephen Bowen starts Thursday at the Roberts Farm Preserve to see Oxford Hills Middle School seventh and eighth graders enrolled in the experiential learning program. More than 740 students receive ongoing life science and leadership development training at the farm.

In Dixfield, the commissioner will visit Mountain Valley Middle School to see classrooms that are implementing customized learning models. He will also meet with a few Dirigo Middle School teachers and local principals to learn more about the Western Maine Education Collaborative.

Bowen's Promising Practices tour will take him to all nine superintendent regions in the state before the end of the school year.

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