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Grants To Aid CBHS Students with Outdoor Learning Quests

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Grants To Aid CBHS Students with Outdoor Learning Quests
Posted on 08/04/2016
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To help them make the transition to high school, freshman at Casco Bay High School (CBHS) will participate in an innovative orientation experience on Cow Island in Casco Bay this September. During their Sept. 27-30 Freshman Quest, the students will kayak, camp and engage in learning activities that focus on building community.

CBHS seniors also will set off on their backpacking or kayaking Senior Quest in September, with some focusing on Cow Island and others backpacking in the White Mountains. The seniors are embarking on their final year of high school before heading off to college and career, and the Sept. 20-23 Senior Quest will give them an opportunity to unite and take stock of who they are and where they want to go.

The annual Quests are a hallmark of CBHS. They promote community, citizenship and leadership through writing and adventure-based learning. CBHS partners with two other organizations to design and implement these learning expeditions: The Telling Room, a nonprofit Portland-based writing center for children and young adults; and Rippleffect, a nonprofit youth and community development organization that operates wilderness education programming out of Portland.

Each year, the Quests have received generous grant support that enables all students who want to participate to be able to do so, regardless of family income. This year, the Quests are being made possible through a $30,000 grant from the White Pine Foundation, a Portland-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the principles of good civics and free enterprise; and a $3,000 grant from The Hoyt Foundation, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that works to support the inclusion of disabled young people in all facets of daily life. In addition, the district has awarded CBHS $7,500 from its Nellie Mae Education Foundation funds that support extended learning opportunities (ELO’s) outside the traditional classroom for high school students.

“We are so grateful to these organizations for their support, especially the White Pine Foundation, which has supported the Quests from our first one in 2007. Without the White Pine Foundation, these transformative learning experiences for our freshmen and seniors would just not be possible,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce. “The Quests are vital in the development of our school’s vibrant community, so our goal is always to have 100 percent of our students participate, regardless of family income. This generous funding helps ensure all our students can undertake these Quests.”

CBHS students also are asked to contribute $50 for their Quests. Students who qualify for free lunch are asked to contribute a reduced fee of $10. Nearly 200 Casco Bay students are expected to participate in the Quests this year.

CBHS is a small and rigorous public high school that reflects the increasing diversity of Portland. Founded in 2005, it is the Portland Public Schools’ newest high school and is a school of choice for nearly 400 students. Students are challenged and supported to become college-ready through the school’s 3Rs: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. In 2016, CBHS was again named one of Maine’s top high schools by US News and World Report. CBHS is a credentialed school in the EL Education national network of schools, and for 2015-16, CBHS was again selected as a “Mentor School” within the network. In 2014, CBHS was named one of 20 “Deeper Learning” schools in the country and won the $100,000 Larry O'Toole Award from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation for advancing student-centered learning in New England.

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