Mission and Vision
Harpswell Coastal Academy (HCA) is a public charter school offering rigorous, personalized, project-based education to midcoast Maine students in grades 6-12. Originally initiated by a group of Harpswell citizens concerned that many of the Town’s young people were increasingly disengaged from school, HCA has grown to include a diverse group of midcoast educators, business leaders, and community partners committed to preparing students to live and work in the rapidly changing coastal economy.
The curriculum incorporates marine and natural resources, farms and forests, and sustainable entrepreneurship, often through direct and ongoing partnerships with professionals and organizations that work in those fields.
HCA insists that all students can and must meet meaningful academic standards, develop strong habits of work, contribute to their community, and leave with a clear and realistic plan for post-secondary education. Our students will come to us quite different from each other – some will come testing well below and others well above grade level; some will come with special education IEPs or 504 plans; some will have participated in gifted and talented programs. Some will come from poverty, some from privilege, and most from somewhere in between. Our staff will be comprised of teachers, leaders and role models who are experienced and eager to meet the challenges of a very diverse group of learners. And while we expect our students to leave quite different from each other, they will have something in common—the confidence that comes from having clearly and unambiguously demonstrated their readiness to move on.
HCA ‘s catchment area will include students currently residing in MSAD 75, Brunswick, RSU 5 and RSU 1. Our target student population will be regional in nature, with a goal of raising the graduation and post-secondary success, by engaging students who struggle to succeed in traditional middle and high schools.
Between 80 and 90% of entering Maine freshman completes his/her course study work in four years by receiving a high school diploma. The remaining 20% leave school without a diploma, opt for a GED, or have difficulty assimilating the required classroom work in the requisite amount of time. For those who do graduate from high school, many are unprepared for college, requiring remediation.
While there are no simple solutions, the drive to retool our educational system and provide the business community with a prepared work force, has received a huge boost from Maine’s charter school legislation. HCA is proud to participate in the dawn of the charter school initiative and improving educational outcomes in Maine.
Public charter schools often start in a temporary home to serve the relatively small number of first-year students. HCA has reached a tentative agreement with the Town of Harpswell to lease West Harpswell School.