Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning

Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning Logo

Basic Information

Address: 196 Allen Avenue, Portland, Maine 04013
County: Cumberland
District: Portland
Phone Number: 207-874-8160
Fax Number: 207-797-5437
Principal: Derek Pierce

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Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning
Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning
Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning
Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning

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Additional Information

School Type: public
Accreditation: Expeditionary Learning Mentor School
Grade Level: 9-12
Founded: 2005
School Setting:

Small City

School Schedule (Hours in Day): 7:55-2:05
School Days in Calendar Year: 180 Days
School Colors: Light Blue and Black
School Mascot: Cougar


School Size: 365
Classroom Size: Average of about 22
Support Services:

We offer additional support for both students with IEP's and English Language Learners. All of our students are mainstreamed in college preparatory courses.

After School Programs: Yes
Summer School: Yes
Computer Capabilities:

Each of our students has a school-issued iPad.

School Clubs:

We offer a full-range of co-curricular opportunities for our students.

Mission Statement:

A community of learners where the wonderful in each student is known and nurtured, where learning is catalyzed by student inquiry and academic adventure, and where every graduate is prepared for college, work, and citizenship.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

Our core values are rigor, relevance and relationships.

Enrollment Characteristics: Casco Bay High School (CBHS) is a small and rigorous public high school that reflects the increasing diversity of Portland, Maine (population: 64,000). Founded in 2005, CBHS is a school of choice for about 335 students (9-12). At Casco Bay, we challenge and support our students to become college ready through our 3R’s: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. The Class of 2009 was our first graduating class, and 100% of our graduates have been accepted to college for three out of five years. On the annual Maine High School Assessment, Casco Bay students routinely exceed state and district averages – as well as demographic expectations – in reading, writing, science and math. Casco Bay High School is proud to have been chosen again as a “Mentor School” in the Expeditionary Learning national network of schools ( In 2010, Casco Bay was featured by Edutopia as part of their “Schools that Work” series, and in 2012 CBHS was named one of Maine’s top high schools by US News and World Report. In their spring 2011 “Comprehensive Program Review”, the Great Schools Partnership concluded, “the school has demonstrated consistently high levels of accomplishment in every dimension with exemplary performance... in many areas.”
Programs and Services:

CBHS students participate in a demanding, college preparatory curriculum. Students typically enroll in six year-long courses that meet for nearly 90 minutes every other day. Additional support and accommodations are provided as necessary for our English language learners and special education students. 41 credits are required to graduate from all Portland Public Schools.
• Humanities courses (9-12) integrate English and social studies and meet daily.
• Our math program is inquiry-based and technology rich. This fall, we have replaced Math 4
with Pre-Calculus.
• Science courses are lab and field-based.
• French 1-4 and Spanish 1-4 emphasize oral proficiency for use in real contexts.
• Honors (or “exceeds”) work is available in each course. We also offer four AP courses.
• Through our U. Start Ahead Program, upperclassmen are encouraged to take at least one college
course before graduation.
• In Senior Humanities, students prepare for life after graduation and complete a customized senior
project, the Senior Expedition.
• Crew is students’ family during their time at CBHS. Crews and crew advisors meet 2 1⁄2 hours
weekly, focusing on holistic student development as well as college and career preparation.

Learning Expeditions: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships
CBHS is intentionally small so that we can get to know each student deeply, and so we can better personalize instruction that will help students become their best selves. Our instruction is driven by Learning Expeditions that result in quality
work about genuine problems for a real audience. Learning Expeditions are long-term, in-depth studies of a single
topic that explore compelling social-justice questions, incorporate vital standards, involve fieldwork, and culminate in an authentic project, product or performance. The Class of 2014 completed a cross-disciplinary expedition last year that centered on the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine explosion and its larger ramifications. It included the research and presentation of policy briefs (white papers) to environmental and energy experts, fundraising $30,000 for the class “Junior Journey”
to Appalachia, and service with Habitat for Humanity while in West Virginia. The expeditions concluded with multimedia
oral histories documenting the untold stories of West Virginians interviewed during the trip. The oral histories resulted in a DVD that simultaneously premiered in Maine and West Virginia. Other distinct programming includes:
• Intensives - Compact expeditions where students complete specialized electives during one 30-hour week. Intensive offerings range from boat-building to filmmaking.
• Sophomore Passage - Public presentations when sophomores individually address who they are, how they are doing, and their plans for the future.
• Junior Year Internship - 30-hour internships in a career area of interest.
• Casco Bay Quest - A three night, four day expedition in kayaking and personal writing that launches the freshmen
and senior years.
• Senior Expedition - A Senior Humanities expedition in which each senior designs and actualizes
his/her own long-term project and formally presents his/her learning to an authentic audience.