The Residential Curriculum

Residential students are required to attend and actively participate in the following classes:  Writing Group, Diversity and Social Justice, American Sign Language, Green Initiative, Literature and Reading, Art Theory and Practice, Biology, Geology, Physics or Chemistry Labs, Math, Real Life Skills, and Documentary Film Studies.  

In addition, they earn credit for individualized learning through their end-of-year Passage Projects, Self-Care and Wellness Plans, and participation in physical education activities.  They are also able to set up individual tutorials in areas that interest them and to get extra help from volunteer tutors if they need or want it.

Art Theory and Practice is worth one credit and includes both lecture and creation.  Students learn about contemporary artists, visit galleries and museums, and complete a variety of projects with an emphasis on conceptual and self-expressive art.  Sample assignments include: collaborative “Exquisite Corpse” drawings, color and pattern workshops, environmental sculpture, and mask-making.  We also explore the connections between art, activism, and social justice themes.

Diversity and Social Justice is worth one credit and includes units on the Holocaust and social roles; politics and government; international issues and current events; gender identity and sexuality; race, racism, and slavery; Native American history; and a long unit on environmental injustice.  We explore these topics using hands-on activities, discussion, and community partnerships.

Green Initiative is worth one credit and explores alternative energies, environmentally-conscious gardening methods and techniques, local vs. global food systems, water and food scarcity, “clothes miles,” “food miles,” and environmental activism.  Students collaborate with community partners to identify needs on our campus and in our community, working to develop solutions and contribute to positive change.

Writing Group is worth one credit and covers both creative and expository genres.  Students create a working portfolio throughout the year that includes short fiction, poetry, non-fiction narrative, argument papers, thought pieces and research styles.  They write several long pieces while here including a seven-page research paper on a topic of their choosing.  We also offer mini-lessons each week in grammar and vocabulary.

Literature and Reading is worth one credit and focuses on reading to further our understanding of ourselves and the world.  This involves group-reading and analyzing texts, with an emphasis on social and emotional learning.  Students also read at least one work of canonized literature while here, work on comprehension and vocabulary development, and read individually at their own level books of their choosing.

Real Life Skills is worth one credit and covers a variety of themes including: Culinary instruction, household and vehicle maintenance, financial management, a variety of guest speakers/teachers, volunteer service projects, sex education, substance abuse counseling and awareness, dance and fitness classes, mentoring and leadership training, and post-graduation plans.

American Sign Language is worth one credit and provides students with an introductory course in communicating in ASL.  Students learn signs related to family, cooking and food, time and calendars, travel, emotions and personalities, describing people, and opposites.  Throughout the year, we create videos in ASL to assemble a portfolio of their learning.  They also compose traditional ABC stories as their end of the year project, using each handshape in the manual alphabet.  We also cover  topics related to deaf culture and identity.

Documentary Film Studies is worth one credit.  Students watch films on a weekly basis and participate in discussion and related reflection on the topics covered.  The films watched relate to other coursework and curriculum, and often explore social justice themes.  Our ongoing list of films has included “Food, Inc.,” “Dark Days,” “Sound and Fury,” “Born into Brothels,” “Beautiful Losers,” and “The Silent War.”

Biology, Chemistry, Geology or Physics Labs are worth one credit each.  Students are expected to attend labs at Camden Hills Regional High School’s Adult Education Program, or at Gray New Gloucester High School each semester.  Student learn principles of science through hands-on experiments and class activities during their weekly three-hour lab.  They also complete homework for these courses with support from Community School staff.

Math is worth two credits and includes skill acquisition and applied projects.  While much of the instruction takes place in group settings, students also have the opportunity to work at their own level of skill, accessing tutors and their math instructor for additional help with assignments.  We are continually revising and re-envisioning our math curriculum to incorporate social justice principles and to align what we cover in math with other aspects of the curriculum.  Students graduate with a strong grasp on problem-solving skills, data collection and analysis, and principles of statistics.


Read more about Residential Academic Requirements and Objectives.