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School Profile

Who We Are

Casco Bay High School (CBHS) is a small and rigorous public high school that reflects the diversity of Portland, Maine (population more than 68,000). Founded in 2005, CBHS is a school of choice for nearly 400 students (9-12). At Casco Bay, we challenge and support our students to become college-ready through our three R’s: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. The Class of 2009 was our first graduating class, and nearly 100% of our graduates have been accepted into college. On standardized tests, Casco Bay students routinely exceed state and district averages – as well as demographic expectations – in reading, writing, science, and math.

Casco Bay High School is proud to be a credentialed, lead school in the EL Education national network of schools. CBHS has been named one of Maine’s top high schools by U.S. News & World Report and Niche.com. CBHS was chosen as one of twenty “Deeper Learning” schools in the country. The National Education Policy Center selected CBHS as a “School of Opportunity (Gold Level),” the first ever in Maine. In 2023, Casco Bay’s innovative excellence was highlighted in two new books about progressive education as well as in videos by Edutopia and the New Teacher Center.

School Facts

  • Student Body: 380
  • 93 Seniors
  • 45% Free/Reduced Lunch
  • 13% Special Education
  • 36% Multilingual
  • 16% Receive ELL Services

What We Do: Learning Expeditions

Our instruction results in quality work about genuine problems for a real audience. Learning Expeditions are long-term in-depth studies of a single topic that explore compelling social and environmental questions, incorporate vital standards, involve fieldwork, and culminate in an authentic project, product, or performance. The Class of 2024 has undertaken learning expeditions on topics ranging from climate change to global migration. 

Last fall and winter, juniors researched various U.S. public policy issues, from the need for prison reform to the waiting period for asylum seekers' work authorization and then presented and defended policy briefs (white papers) to local experts at our Public Policy Symposium. In the spring, in Chemistry and in partnership with Acadia National Park, the Class of 2024 conducted research on the rise of green crabs in the Gulf of Maine and its relation to climate change, using scientific data and communication. 

This fall seniors are launching a two-quarter project of their own design, driven by a passion and societal need – the Senior Expedition. Products will include a research paper, an action project (their “slice of the solution”), and a “Ted Talk” to our community about the essence and urgency of their topic – as well as the seniors’ learning process and takeaways.

Co-Curricular Activities

CBHS students participate in sports offered at Deering or Portland High schools. We also offer a variety of co-curricular activities on our campus, ranging from Model UN & literary magazine to Community Council & theater.

College Acceptances

Graduates from our first 15 classes have been accepted to over 200 colleges and are currently matriculated at institutions such as Barnard, Bates, Bowdoin, Brown, Colby, Haverford, Howard, McGill, Northeastern, Oberlin, and Stanford – as well as Maine universities and community colleges. Nearly 80% of our graduates have been accepted to 4-year universities. 

They say our school broke the mold, but I think we just made a new one.”

-Alex Lyscars
CBHS Alumnus

Curriculum

CBHS students participate in a demanding, college preparatory curriculum. 

View Course of Studies

Students typically enroll in six-year-long courses that meet every other day. Additional support and accommodations are provided for our English Language Learners and special education students. 

Student Achievement

  • Class of 2022 Highest GPA: 3.96/4.0
  • March 2022 SAT (83% part.):

ERW: 513       Math: 466

  • 62% earn college credit before graduation (Class of 2023)

We Do Not Weight or Rank GPAs

CBHS Staff

  • 11 staff have earned state or national awards for excellence, including 2 Teachers of the Year 
    in 2023
  • 72% of faculty hold Advanced Degrees
  • 100% Dedicated

41 Units of Proficiency (UPs) are required to graduate from all of Portland’s public schools. Due to the rigor of our core curriculum, juniors and seniors don’t take more than 2 AP or college courses at one time.

  • Seniors who meet requirements for exceptional, deep achievement in science, technology, and math (STEM) courses and activities will receive a STEM endorsement on their diploma. 
  • Students who demonstrate proficiency in a second language receive the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Students are encouraged to take at least one college or AP course before graduation. 
  • Crew is a student’s family during their time at CBHS. Crews and crew advisors meet 3 hours weekly, focusing on holistic student development as well as college and career planning. 
  • Humanities courses (9-12) integrate English and Social Studies – and meet daily.
  • Our math program is inquiry-based and technology-rich. Science courses are lab and field-based.
  • French 2-5, Spanish 1-5, and Chinese 1-3 emphasize oral proficiency for use in real contexts.
  • Honors (or “exceeds”) work is available in each course. 

Graduation Requirements

Distinct Offerings

Intensives - Compact expeditions in which students complete specialized electives during one 30-hour week. Intensive offerings range from rocketry to filmmaking.

PATHS- 18 vocational courses, from Dance & Cybersecurity to Biomedical Sci. & Welding

Sophomore Passage - Public presentations when sophomores individually address who they are, how they are doing, and their plans for the future.

Casco Bay Quest - A three-night, four-day expedition in outdoor adventure (kayaking/hiking) and personal writing that launches the freshman and senior years. 

Senior Expedition - A capstone project within Senior Humanities in which students explore the intersection of a personal passion and a need in the world.

Class of 2024 Graduation Distribution

Proficiency Based Grading

To earn a unit of proficiency at CBHS, a student must master content, meeting each course standard. Course standards represent what all students must know or be able to do in a specific course.

1 = Does Not Meet the Standards
2 = Approaching the Standards
3 = Meets the Standards
Only this rigorous level of achievement and higher earns credit.
3.25-3.5 = Exceeds The Standards
3.75-4 = Honors
This is represented with an “H” on a CBHS transcript.

Changes to the CBHS Academic Program Due to COVID-19:

2019-20 Spring Trimester: 100 % Remote Learning

2019-20 Spring Trimester grades: “Met” or “Not Yet”

2020-21 85% of Students in Hybrid Learning; 15% Remote

2021-23 (we hope): 100% in Full-time, In-person Learning