Investigations are in depth interdisciplinary courses of study based on a compelling question and resulting in products and performances with authentic audiences. These generally last 6-8 weeks. Some investigations are school-wide, others are student choice.


Workshops are small group learning experiences developed to build key skills in reading, writing and math.

Student as Worker

At HCA, we believe that regular work experiences, including what used to be called “chores,” are a vital element of teaching students the habits needed to thrive in both educational and non-educational settings. Our students have regular rotations: help grow, prepare, and serve food; clean the building; and maintain and improve the physical plant. These non-traditional work experiences at HCA foster an understanding of what it means to be part of a community, and build a feeling of ownership and responsibility in our students.


Electives provide opportunities for students to explore existing passions and try new things in small group classes.


Milestones are experiences that all students take part in throughout their time at Division 1. These include: Adventure kick-off in year one, Intensives, Passage Camp, and Passage Rite of Passage.

Career Pathways:

Communications and New Media

The Communications & New Media pathway focuses on the nexus of media, culture, and society forged in the digital age. Specifically, it addresses the role of media in today’s society while engaging students in the production of new content for an authentic community audience. Students who have chosen this pathway have taken an interest in how culture, media, and technology shape our identities and our relationships, and how the power of public media is used to build community by helping marginalized people find their voice. Whether individuals wish to pursue careers in video production, web development, digital art, or journalism, the Communications & New Media pathway will help students further their own critical and thoughtful trajectories through the diverse landscapes of our image and content-saturated environment.

Coastal Studies

Students in the Coastal Studies pathway take advantage of the rich, abundant, diverse ecosystems that comprise our very own backyard on the coast of Maine in order to develop skills in leadership, critical problem solving, technology, and scientific methodology, while making real contributions to the local and global scientific community. A major focus of the Coastal Studies pathway is assessing how our local marine and forest, resource-based industries, affect and are affected by global climate change.

Caring and Public Service

Students in the Public Service and the Caring Professions pathway will explore fields ranging from government and policy to teaching, social work and health care, all fields that are expected to be among the fastest growing in Maine. Investigations will include those that focus on food systems, public policy, and life sciences, with the goal of helping students make informed decisions about the wide variety of career and educational choices in these fields.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a methodology used to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it is solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be. Students participating in the Design Thinking pathway explore in detail the five phases of the design process – discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution – by creating real world solutions to real world problems.

Independent Study (including MVR 10)

The Independent Study pathway is an opportunity for students to pursue an area of interest that does not readily fit within the parameters of any of the other four pathways. Students who choose to create their own pathway work closely with their crew leader to prepare a thorough proposal and a comprehensive course of study. Additionally, students are responsible for managing their own learning experiences, locating resources, and identifying community mentors. Independent Studies culminate in a presentation or product launch that has meaningful impact on the larger community.