November 21, 2017
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Want to be an island school kid? Ask me how.

By Courtney Naliboff

Hello from North Haven!

It’s that back to school time of year, and at North Haven Community School, we’re welcoming an unprecedented number of new kids to our tiny community school. Some are from families new to the community, and we have three exchange students hailing from Thailand, Germany and Slovakia.

We’re especially excited about our two new magnet students! We’re piloting a program this year to welcome high school students from the mainland, or from other island communities, to our school to take advantage of our tiny student to teacher ratios, hands-on and experiential programs, arts offerings, and supportive environment.

The program is modeled after Islesboro’s, but without their more frequent ferry schedule we have a boarding house for magnet students, complete with a dorm parent. Magnet students will spend Monday – Thursday nights there, and then commute home for weekends, barring special events.

If this sounds enticing to you, or you know a high school student who would thrive in a small, non-traditional school in a gorgeous setting, check out our school Web site; an article I wrote about the program for Working Waterfront; or our school’s Facebook page. We have room in the house – and scholarship support available – for up to three more students this year and we’d love to hear from anyone with questions.

For our students, some of whom have been islanders since birth, the opportunity to meet, have class discussions with, and play basketball with students from outside of the community is incredibly valuable. The magnet program will provide that for our students, just as the magnet students will have the chance to get focused attention from staff, pursue their own interests and get their hands dirty.

Although North Haven Community School is the smallest K-12 public school in the state, we offer French instruction starting in Kindergarten; music, theater and visual art classes as well as three community and school plays each year; varsity sports teams including rowing, cross-country, track and field and basketball, and interested students can participate in soccer, baseball and softball on Vinalhaven (they send their students over for cross-country and track and field). In addition to more traditional science classes, our kids have the opportunity to participate in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program, with hands-on science learning in the fisheries they know so well. We have a greenhouse and agriculture program and a diversified trades instructor who offers classes from carpentry to welding and small engines.

In the twelve years (starting my 13th!) I’ve taught at North Haven Community School, I’ve often been proud and amazed at what we accomplish in the classroom, in the wilderness, on the stage and on the court. Join us! Ask me how.


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