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$30k Grant to Benefit CBHS Students

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$30k Grant to Benefit CBHS Students
Posted on 07/01/2022
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Casco Bay High School (CBHS) has received a $30,000 Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grant that will facilitate student participation in the school’s annual senior and freshman adventure Quests this fall, regardless of family income.

Governor Janet Mills this week announced the launch of the Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative to provide Maine students with hands-on, outdoor learning experiences this summer and, in CBHS’ case, for the Quests this fall. The initiative was developed by the Maine Department of Education, using federal funding.

“After several pandemic years where we were not able to offer students the full Quest experience, the Outdoor Learning Initiative will enable all of our students to once again undertake this hallmark and often transformative CBHS adventure,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce. “We are very grateful for this grant, which will be used to subsidize the ninth- and 12th-grade Quests so that all students can participate, regardless of family circumstance.”

Rippleffect, a Portland-based youth development organization, partners with CBHS each year to run the Quests – innovative outdoor learning expeditions for students. Each fall, Rippleffect facilitates two different, weeklong kayak-centered Quests for the entire freshman and senior classes at CBHS. The Quests are designed to build community among students while teaching them the value of challenge and collaboration in life, as well as fostering an appreciation for nature.

“This grant to support the Quest program at Casco Bay High School will help sustain the long-standing partnership with Rippleffect,” said Rippleffect Executive Director Adam Shepherd. “Together, we continue to provide equitable access to the islands of Casco Bay and to wilderness explorations in Maine."

In comments regarding Maine Outdoor Learning Initiative grant recipients, Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin, said, “Being outside connecting with nature and each other is so important in helping students recover from the pandemic. These outdoor learning experiences will build teamwork and leadership skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop new skills in our vast outdoor classroom, which will translate to success inside the classroom as well. We thank all of the organizations that stepped up to be a part of this exciting initiative.”

According to the state, the initiative is funded by nearly $900,000 in federal funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.

Rippleffect is a Portland-based youth development organization whose adventure and wilderness experience programs reach underserved children in Maine, building confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills