STUDENTS FROM Harpswell Coastal Academy are shown during a 2014 outing.

STUDENTS FROM Harpswell Coastal Academy are shown during a 2014 outing.

Forms need filling out

HARPSWELL

In anticipation of its third school year, Harpswell Coastal Academy has announced that enrollment is open to students in grades 6-11 for the 2015-16 school year.

The public charter school was one of three new charter schools opening in 2013 and two opened the year before, following a new law that went into effect in 2011 allowing public charter schools. HCA will serve grades 6 through 12 by 2016-17 and offers a projectand place-based curriculum emphasizing experiential learning.

As in past years, interested parents must submit an online information form and submit a signed declaration of intent to enroll form. All letters of intent must be submitted to the school by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26.

Following a process outlined by state statue, if there are more students seeking slots than those available, there will be a lottery conducted at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 6. Students offered a spot at the school, even if on a waiting list, then have 14 days to secure their spot by submitting a signed commitment to enroll form. Otherwise, the spot goes to next student in line.

For parents who may be interested in looking into HCA as an option for their child, Assistant Head of School Carrie Branson said she always encourages peo- ple to look at the school’s website (http://harpswellcoastalacademy.org). There they will find an overview of how the charter school tries to do things differently and what a week at the school looks like.

A series of information sessions start next week and will all be held at the school, located at 9 Ash Point Road. Parents can see the school, meet faculty and learn more about HCA’s curriculum, enrollment process and transportation options. Registration isn’t required but is requested to help with planning.

— Thursday, Feb. 12, 6-7:30 p.m.

— Monday, Feb. 23, 8-9:30 a.m.

— Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6-7:30 p.m.

Branson said in its first year, the school served grades 6 and 9; it lost some students and gained others this school year. Currently, there are 120 students in grades 6, 7, 9 and 10. Next year they anticipate close to 180 students and by the 2016-17 school year would expect enrollment to be somewhere between 210 and 240 students.

Students do a lot of handson activities and the school year is going great, Branson said.

“We have a great group of kids down here,” she said. “This year we doubled our staff because we were doubling our school population and as a faculty team we’ve really come together and are working nicely together.”

The students do a lot of field work, visiting different community partners and businesses in town to do different projects. Currently, older students are working with the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust on a Voice of the Sea oral history project. The community is invited to a presentation March 4 which will showcase audio and photographic documentaries based on student-generated interviews with local citizens about Harpswell and its marine heritage. This event is free and will be held 6:30-8 p.m. at the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust at 153 Harpswell

Neck Road. There is a March 5 snow date.

Meanwhile, younger students are writing children’s books and have created characters that include an ocean or land animal local to this area, and that will address a problem the oceans are facing such as green crabs, red tide or dead zones, Branson said. They are drawing upon what they are learning in their science class as well as their English and humanities class.

“We’ve hit the same standards any school would need to do, but we do it through project-based experiences,” she said.

The school utilizes Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing as well as the state-required Smarter Balance, though the school will need more time and longterm data to show real growth as a school.

In addition to project-based learning within the community, the school’s use of restorative justice to address disciplinary issues has been another feature setting HCA apart. Where possible, a student who inflicts harm through behavior will meet with a teacher and party or parties harmed so that a resolution can be determined so the student can make amends. It has impacted how the school community has developed, said Branson.

The school is required to provide transportation and this year contracted with Luce Transportation so there are a couple full-size buses running from Bath through Cook’s Corner and another one through Bowdoinham, Topsham and through Brunswick; and the school has a van to pick up students on the islands.

Negotiations have been ongoing with the town of Harpswell for HCA to purchase the former West Harpswell School it now leases and the hope by both parties is that it will appear on the March 14 town meeting warrant. Branson said next year the school may need some temporary trailers and its board is looking at what the school will need to do for space when at full size.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

Learn more

A SERIES OF INFORMATION sessions start next week and will all be held at the school, located at 9 Ash Point Road. Parents can see the school, meet faculty and learn more about HCA’s curriculum, enrollment process and transportation options. Registration isn’t required but is requested to help with planning.

— Thursday, Feb. 12, 6-7:30 p.m.

— Monday, Feb. 23, 8-9:30 a.m.

— Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6-7:30 p.m.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: