Welcome to Harpswell Coastal Academy!

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Whether you’re a prospective parent, student, teacher, community partner, or just someone who stumbled upon the site, we hope you find a few things here.

A vision for a truly 21st century public school

Deliberately small, fiercely focused on helping our young people, regardless of background, learning style, or any other factor, find a pathway to productive, rewarding citizenship.

A strong sense of place embedded in all we do

The natural and man-made world, the people and other creatures, the history and the traditions, and the possibilities for the future of Harpswell and MidCoast Maine.

A sense that anything is possible

For our students and our staff especially – HCA is where conventional wisdom is tested and re-tested – some of it lasting, and some of it going by the wayside, depending on whether it helps us get where we need to go, or gets in the way.

When we started HCA in the fall of 2013, we were a team of six educators and sixty students. Over the last four years, we have grown to 200 students and more than 20 faculty. We have expanded to two campuses, developed partnerships with incredible community organizations, and offered students real world experience in things from documentary creation to unmanned vehicle piloting, from bike repair to culinary arts. We have held symposiums, performed the Odyssey, participated in state Model UN and Poetry Out Loud competitions. We have strummed, drummed and sang to our hearts content, created new lovers of Gaga Ball, hiked all the trails in Harpswell, and counted all of the rocks at Stover’s Cove. Our students have mapped forest growth and sea level rise, camped in the White Mountains, investigated the causes of declining shellfish populations, explored the roots of democracy, captured precious metals from old electronics, begun to build a farm, and sailed Casco Bay. Along the way we have experienced bumps in the road, as any start up school would, but we have met those challenges head on and have taken each as an opportunity to improve our school.

Two years ago, HCA was awarded another five year charter from the Maine Charter School Commission, allowing us an opportunity to continue on our path of reflection, revision and refinement. The Leadership Team and Board recently worked together to establish a set of five-year strategic goals, informed by our faculty, our four-year renewal report, and annual student, family and faculty survey results. These goals include:

  • Professional development of faculty to improve school climate and student outcomes
  • Improvement of academic outcomes
  • Full implementation of consistent, research-informed
  • Project-based learning practices;
    and focus on improving school culture and external relations

I look forward to working with our Leadership Team, faculty, and Board to meet these goals over the next several years. I invite you to reach out to us at HCA if you would like to find out more about our programs, or would like to explore how you can support our work on behalf of increasing public education options in mid-coast Maine.

​Best regards,
Mel Christensen Fletcher, Head of School