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High School Choices

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One Great District, Three Great High Schools

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  • The Portland Public Schools prepares students for college, careers and citizenship.  Our three high schools - Deering, Portland High, and Casco Bay High School - all offer:

    •  A student-centered approach to learning that allows young people to make choices while giving them the support and guidance needed to succeed.
    •  Caring teachers who forge strong relationships with students and support their emotional and social growth. •  A full range of courses in mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, World Languages and fine arts. •  Access to vocational and technical programs at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) in growing field such as health care and robotics.
    •  Co-curricular activities such as athletics, drama, service clubs and musical groups.
    •  Opportunities for internships and job shadowing at local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
    •  A student body that reflects Portland’s rich diversity.
    •  Advanced Placement courses, dual enrollment courses that earn both high school and college credit and access to college courses for qualified students.
    •  Academic support, peer tutoring and other interventions, when needed.

Each high school has its own personality and some unique offerings.  Eighth graders have a choice of high schools based on available room; a lottery will be held if there are too many applicants. 

Explore PPS high schools on our High School Choice Website. You can also use the chart below to compare and contrast our high schools. You can find out more by attending the parent nights at each high school and by arranging for your child to visit during step-up days. 

Website link
Casco Bay High School Deering High School Portland High School
Founded 2005 1874 1821
Enrollment 335 944  877
Logo Get Smart to Do Good. Learning without Borders
The City is Our Campus.
Location North Deering Deering Center
Learning model Expeditionary Learning  involves students in long-term studies of a single topic.  The learning expeditions explore compelling social-justice questions, incorporate vital standards, involve fieldwork and culminate in an authentic project, product or performance. International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) adds a global focus to all subject areas.  Throughout the curriculum, students investigate the world through interdisciplinary projects, recognize perspectives, communicate their ideas and take action.   Johns Hopkins University’s Talent Development Secondary includes a freshman academy that supports ninth graders with dedicated counselors and interdisciplinary teams of teachers. The teams focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere with high expectations and rigorous curriculum, intensive academic and social support and opportunities for students to extend their learning beyond the classroom.  Career-themed academies in grades 10-12 provide curricula and engaging learning activities that promote active learning, career exploration and acquisition of 21st century skills.
What makes this school special?

CBHS’s small size allows the staff to get to know each student deeply and to tailor instruction to students’ needs. 

Each CBHS student belongs to a “crew” headed by a staff member.

The Deering Coaching program connects each student with a teacher to work towards a successful high school career.

A respectful student body

Portland High’s staff forges personal relationships with students to further their learning, as noted in the 2012 Great Maine Schools Comprehensive Program Review. 

Portland High’s collaboration with numerous community partners makes the city its campus.


In 2012, CBHS was named one of Maine’s top high schools by US News and World Report and selected as a “Mentor School” in Expeditionary Learning’s national network.

CBHS routinely has 100 percent of its graduates accepted to college.

Deering High School’s graduation rate of 84.44 percent exceeds the state average.

Seventy-one percent of Deering students scored 3 or above on the Advanced Placement tests, compared to 61% globally.

Recent Portland High students have been recognized as AP scholars, National Merit scholars and national language award winners in French, Greek, Latin and Spanish.

The Portland Mentoring Alliance has matched more than 90 students with mentors annually.

Co-curricular activities

CBHS co-curricular activities include drama, robotics, ultimate frisbee and much more.  They are listed on page 32 of the school handbook.  CBHS students may participate in athletic teams at Deering or Portland High.

Deering offers more than 50 activities include sports, music debating, Environmental Club, Outdoor Club, Gardening & Cooking Club and much more.

Dozens of long-existing clubs and a tradition of establishing new student-initiated clubs each year, including Photography, Sailing, ASL, International, Film Consideration Club and the Gay-Straight-Transgender Alliance.

Fun facts

Freshmen begin the year with a kayaking expedition.  This year's juniors will spend a week in New York City helping to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy and  interviewing people affected by the storm.

Twice a year, CBHS pauses core classes and offers week-long electives in topics ranging from songwriting to winter camping.

Deering is the first ISSN school in New England and one of about 30 across the country.

Deering has as many students participating in fine arts as athletics.

Portland High is the second oldest continuously operating public high school in the United States.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. 

Students come from 45 countries, making PHS the most diverse high school north of Boston.