AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission voted Friday to approve the application from the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science to move to the contract phase that will result in becoming the first public charter school in Maine’s history focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It will be the third charter school approved by the Commission.
Baxter Academy aims to be a rigorous, college preparatory high school promoting student ownership of learning through curriculum focused specifically on STEM. Baxter plans to serve students with a strong interest in science technology, engineering and mathematics. Baxter’s intent is to help guide students to be passionate, self-directed learners by engaging their intellect and encouraging their imaginations through technology-rich project-based learning. Students at Baxter will follow a standards-based curriculum for English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts. The program will be located on York Street in Portland.
In the first year, the school says it hopes to meet the needs of at least 150 students in grades 9 and 10. The school will add one more grade each year the next two years.
By law, a charter school is a publicly funded program in which the dollars follow the child. In addition, the school anticipates receiving some support from fundraising activities. The contract will include very clear expectations for student enrollment, student achievement, staffing, funding and curriculum and will be closely monitored by the Maine Charter School Commission.
Commission Chair Jana Lapoint said, “We are delighted Baxter received approval today and we are looking forward to working with Baxter. They will be a great addition to the academic world in the Portland area.” Baxter Academy plans to open Sept. 10, 2012.
The Maine Charter School Commission is considered an “authorizer” under Maine’s public charter school law. Local school boards can authorize additional public charter schools.. The Commission is a seven-member body that can authorize up to 10 public charter schools statewide over the next decade, Charter schools are public schools of choice that have more flexibility than traditional public schools over decisions concerning curriculum and instruction, scheduling, staffing and finance. However, they are accountable to the terms of the contracts, or charters that authorize their existence, and the academic standards to which all other public schools are accountable.
For more information about the Maine Charter School Commission, visit: www.maine.gov/csc or call 624-6729.