HCA ‘s curriculum and pedagogy is intended to showcase best practices developed over the past 20 years by organizations such as the Coalition of Essential Schools and Expeditionary Learning Schools: standards-based teaching and learning; relevant, place-based curriculum that incorporates fieldwork and internships; and deliberate structures for building students’ character and holding them accountable. HCA’s organizational structure supports students in achieving high standards in a variety of ways – a longer school day, Saturday “intensives,” and community mentors for each student.
- Project-based, experiential learning that solves complex real-world problems and creates unique projects that matter to an authentic community audience. We place our unique coastal location at the center of much of our curriculum. HCA’s learning design is integrated, place-based, and built from case studies and investigations that are relevant locally and that matter globally. Reading, writing, mathematics, the scientific method and other “cross-cutting” skills are built into long-term studies based on Field Work in the fisheries, farms, and forests of Harpswell.
- Proficiency-based Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Common structures and practices that set clear, common expectations while allowing adaptations for pace and learning styles. Using the Common Core State Standards and the Maine Learning Results as “anchor” or “power” standards and state of the art learning management systems to track student growth and progress, we can make sure that assessments inform an “adaptive” teaching climate.
- Habits of Work, Learning, and Citizenship: HCA’s mission is to develop strong, creative, resilient, caring and responsible young people. How we collaborate, what we do with what we learn, and how we contribute to our larger community are just as important as what we learn academically. Each student participates in regular school-based Citizen Scholarship activities and community-based service learning. HCA’s structures incorporate and assess Habits of Work Learning Targets that help students reflect upon and learn from mistakes and hardship so that when they “pass,” they’ve clearly demonstrated they know how to do good, not just do well.
If you would like to review the complete application for charter submitted to the Maine Charter Commission, visit http://www.maine.gov/csc/