Place-based learning: Incorporating elements of experiential education, service learning, and book learning, place-based learning roots students’ understanding of academic concepts in the environment, economy, and social structures of the place they live.
Character and skill-building through real-world work experience: Rather than separate the worlds of work and learning, each student in grades 6-12 will have a regular role, and for older kids a paying job, in one of the school’s 4-5 enterprises. Prior to graduation, or in a school-facilitated “gap” year, students will engage in a semester-long service-learning, study-abroad, or early college experience consistent with their post-secondary plans.
Standards-based Assessment: The curriculum is aligned with global standards and implemented and assessed in a personalized and flexible manner. Every student must demonstrate proficiency in communication and literacy, mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies. The path each student takes to this goal may vary in structure and in the length of time needed to complete the work. Students will have three major passages, after 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. Each passage requires the student to present online and physical portfolios of work, standardized test scores, and other accomplishments to the community, which decides whether they are ready to pass to the next level or ultimately graduate.
Sustainability: Every aspect of the schools’ operation will be a laboratory for study, reflection, and action around environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Every decision the school makes will consider the short- and long-term implications for the natural and human world in Maine, the US, and internationally.
Community as a model for democracy: All members of the community – staff, parents, students, and community members – will have defined roles in a process that models deliberation, research, conflict resolution, consensus-building and restorative justice.