Students need to be prepared to perform complex tasks in a modern world. The program is committed to providing an educational experience that offers a chance to learn the skills that go beyond content areas and focus on human development. The methods by which subjects are taught focus on processes that are central to problem solving, group dynamics and inquiry within academic disciplines. These include a focus on both planning and goal setting. The results are unique to each student.
The school curriculum and philosophy uphold the Guiding Principles of the Maine Learning Results where each student will leave school as:
I. A clear and effective communicator
II. A self-directed and life-long learner
III. A creative and practical problem solver
IV. A responsible and involved citizen
V. A collaborative and quality worker
VI. An integrative and informed thinker
Staff members determine academic goals for each class. In addition to content area, these goals include:
Reading & Writing Across the Curriculum / Computer skills / Time Management / Student Presentations / Problem-Solving / Working Cooperatively / Relevant and Meaningful Experiences / Community Awareness / Research Skills / Career Planning
Carleton graduates are very well prepared for life after high school, regardless of where life may take them. Our distinctive Core requires students to graduate with a plan in mind, and endowed with a wealth of practical experience to help them meet their own goals.
All graduates must complete the following:
Senior Year Project-students will receive one credit toward their diploma by completing and presenting a project revolving around community activism. This project will be highly individualized, and is meant to allow student to connect with their own community, and advocate for something they think is important.
W.A.C.U.P. (Willingness to Achieve, Communicate, Understand & Participate)- Students will receive one credit toward graduation for participating in W.A.C.U.P meetings. They are instructor facilitated, student-driven forums designed to be a place where student voices and concerns can be heard. Research has shown that students have identified such forums as a very helpful part of the program that “takes off the pressure and stress of everyday school” and serves to “facilitate communication among fellow students and teachers.”
Workplace Experience– One credit toward graduation will come from the completion of 200 hours of workplace experience.
The school offers coursework that is flexible enough to accommodate student interest and fulfill Maine State Requirements for graduation from high school.
Within the context of minimum required courses as established by the laws of the State of Maine, the school offers a variety of modules that can be fit together to fulfill graduation requirements in the major content areas of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Life/Physical Sciences (including a lab), History, Visual & Performing Arts, Health & Physical Education, Maine Studies and Computer Skills.
Student assessment involves both teacher and student input into the content areas as well as specific concept areas.
Content evaluation focuses on the student’s academic performance and allows for both teacher and student evaluation of performance.
Concept evaluation measures personal growth in terms of: Self-esteem, Leadership, Inter-personal relations,Resourcefulness and Participation (S.L.I.R.P.).
The mechanics of this approach are very simple and direct. Curriculum is driven by students and teachers alike. Evaluation in the content areas takes the form of a teacher/student agreement with very clear expectations and consequences for both parties. The teacher has the ultimate responsibility of deciding whether or not the student has met the agreed-upon expectations for the course performance.
Additionally, attention is given to peer evaluation in group activities. The focus is on the process as much as the result. Creativity, research, cooperative learning, information management and a final presentation serve to highlight the quality of the work each student is doing. All students get an opportunity to see some quality work, and standards are implied if not stated. The teacher evaluates the planning process and the student evaluates the quality of his/her work, reflects upon the experience and negotiates for a final grade or pass/fail with the teacher.
The staff also assesses student performance on the basis of portfolio contributions in addition to the present methods being used. It is the philosophy of the school that such an approach offers students a very valuable exercise that serves to instill creativity through contribution to a representative document. It shows growth and a variety of experience and will be a representation of progress as a result of their school experience.
Periodical progress reports will cite specific and relevant examples of academic progress and student behavior to demonstrate to students where their successes are and, when necessary, suggest areas where change is needed. It will not become part of the student’s permanent record as it is primarily used as a tool for discussion. The time and energy necessary for staff to complete these evaluations will allow each student a regular reference point for insight into their own behavior, performance and progress that goes beyond standard report card formats.
The program, in keeping with its philosophy that the student’s individual educational needs will be considered, provides various methods for earning high school credit that include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following options:
Independent Study Options: are available for a good majority of credit options—students will either work with their instructor in the development of a research-based Special Topic course in any of the CORE subjects, or may work along-side an instructor-designed syllabus to complete a portfolio of projects that meet school requirements for the subject being worked on.
Cyber-School Options: are available for earning credit, upon teacher approval & assignment.
Aspiration Courses: Select students may participate in adult education & college classes at the discretion of their instructor and approval of participating partner.
Text-Book Options: are available upon request, and individual plans/course syllabi will be made with instructor.