Maine Charter Commission approves contracts with three new public charter schools

The following is a news release from the Maine Charter School Commission.

AUGUSTA — The Maine Charter School Commission in a public meeting held Tuesday in Augusta discussed, voted and signed three public charter school contracts – culminating months of work on the part of the schools and the commission. The Maine Charter School Commission has the responsibility to approve up to 10 public charter schools in the State in 10 years. The three schools are the Baxter Academy for Technology and Sciences to be located in Portland; the Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray; and the Harpswell Coastal Academy in Harpswell. These three schools will open September 2013.

They will join the Cornville Regional Charter School and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, providing Maine with the choice of five different public charter schools.

Each application had been reviewed by the Commission for its education plan, a proposed organizational and operational plan, and its governance, business and financial information.

Baxter Academy’s program will be that of a rigorous, college preparatory high school promoting student ownership of learning through a curriculum focused specifically on STEM.

The Fiddlehead School of Arts and Sciences’ program will be based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy with place-based multiple intelligences, art integration and inquiry-based learning.

Harpswell Coastal Academy’s plan will incorporate a vast array of practical-life principles in their education plan and will utilize the ocean, wetlands and farmlands as a central aspect of the school’s resources.

Jana Lapoint, chair of the Commission, said, “The ultimate responsibility of the Commission is to ensure that a quality education is provided to all students attending a public charter school. Today’s approval of the contract for these schools is good news for the State of Maine as it provides additional choices for parents as they seek an education that best meets their child’s individual needs and learning style. These programs can serve as an alternative model of learning that other schools might consider and replicate. Our hope is that all public schools, non-charter and charter, working collaboratively together, will result in improved educational results for all of Maine’s students.”

The Maine Charter School law has been commended by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as second in the nation for requiring best practices that support charter school success.

For more information about the Maine Charter School Commission, visit: www.maine.gov/csc or call 624-6729.

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