The Pathways to Success
The Pathways to Success represent the cross-disciplinary skills and dispositions that Casco Bay
High School strives to have all students achieve before graduation. The Pathways were adopted
in its revised form by CBHS faculty in the spring of 2012 and was introduced to the broader
community in fall 2012. Students will routinely reflect upon aspects of the Pathways – and their
individual progress and achievement - during conferences and expeditions.
A set of distinct practices define Casco Bay High School’s academic program.
Our curriculum is organized around Learning Expeditions. Learning Expeditions are long-term,
in-depth studies of a single topic that explore vital guiding questions. They incorporate standards
and involve fieldwork, service and research, culminating in a project, product or performance.
Expeditions require strong habits of work and quality thinking that come through the daily rituals
of reading, writing, research, problem solving, and discussion. Individual and group projects are
designed to unify and ignite student learning by calling for concrete products or actions that
address authentic problems, typically with a component of social or environmental justice. In
past expeditions, students explored topics ranging from Portland’s Working Waterfront to Ancient
Greece, from Flu Pandemics to Hurricane Sandy; they investigated questions from “How and
why do I change the world?” to “What is the impact of a generation?”
In 2013 CBHS was named 1 of 20 “Deeper Learning” schools in the nation by Getting Smart.
Rigorous Academics and Focus on College Preparation
CBHS has a rigorous curriculum and promotes a high level of student engagement through real-
world learning focused on issues of concern to teenagers. All students will meet college entrance
requirements by graduation and will be proficient in the core subject areas of English, math,
science, and social studies. We also place a strong emphasis on world language, wellness and the
arts. Staff members take students to visit colleges annually and help them through the college
application and financial aid process, especially in Crew and Senior Humanities.
Building Character and an Ethic of Service
Students learn that values such as collaboration, perseverance, and craftsmanship are essential to
the production of high quality work. Casco Bay's paramount values - best represented in the
Pathways to Success (see page 11) - are routinely assessed, reflected upon and taught. Service to
the community is an ethic that permeates CBHS. Students will experience authentic service to the
community as an important element of their academic work, including expeditions. At CBHS, we
are all crew, not passengers. Each year has its own theme designed to build character by
providing numerous opportunities to learn, practice and demonstrate the trait.
9th Grade: Community 10 Grade: Stewardship 11th Grade: Service 12th Grade: Leadership
Students will often use portfolios to organize their work and reflect on their progress, for instance
at student-led conferences.
Adventure and Fitness
Our innovative health and physical education program has a focus on lifelong fitness and nutrition
and includes an outdoor expedition in 9th and 12th grades. This year's freshmen and seniors will
spend four days adventuring and kayaking in Casco Bay. As sophomores, each student develops a
personalized “wellness plan” that may be monitored and revised throughout high school.
Learning extends beyond our school’s walls; it connects to the world. Students at Casco Bay learn
from fieldwork, experts, and service in addition to learning from texts. Students frequently work
in the field during expeditions. In our first nine years, our students have worked with scientists,
writers, politicians, businesspeople, graduate students, actors, documentarians, inventors, and
more. Off-site fieldwork has ranged from deep-sea fishing to Augusta internships. When in the
field, students are active investigators using the research tools, techniques of inquiry, and
standards of presentation used by professionals. In addition to having students conduct research
outside the school, teachers bring experts from the community into the classroom. These
experiences maximize students’ motivation to learn and achieve.
Use of Primary Sources
Although our students have access to textbooks, they more often gather information from non-
fiction texts, historical fiction, the arts, local experts, periodicals, and the Internet. By reading
literature and exploring primary sources, students gain information-gathering and interpretive
skills that they use to independently problem-solve and conduct research in the real world.
High Quality Work
Students at Casco Bay normally aren’t finished with a significant piece of work until they do
multiple drafts of it. This expectation reaches across grades and disciplines. Improving on work
again and again is a common practice. Teachers guide students from draft to draft. Students
collaborate to assess the work of their peers. Rubrics set high standards for finished pieces and
guide students as they strive to get their work to meet these high standards.
Learning is Public and Collaborative
Our students’ work is often assessed by their peers. Students read their writing out loud, solicit
comments, and present project drafts for formal peer critiques. We also seek a public, outside
audience for student work whenever appropriate. Having an authentic audience supports quality
work with high standards – while extending the impact of student ideas and learning.
Freshman and Sophomore Year
Freshmen and sophomores take a core curriculum of six, yearlong courses that enables students to
build foundational skills and knowledge in math, science, and the humanities while participating
in interdisciplinary learning expeditions. All freshmen and sophomores take math, science, humanities (English and social studies), and crew. In addition all freshmen take a year of Visual
Arts, and all sophomores take a year of an integrated health and physical education course called
Wellness. For a sixth course, 9th and 10th graders take Spanish, French, Chinese, Academic
English (for ELL students), or Executive Skills (for some students with an IEP).
TYPICAL FRESHMAN COURSE LOAD
TYPICAL SOPHOMORE COURSE LOAD
| Humanities 1
|| Humanities 2
| Math 1: Geometry and Probability
Math 2: Algebra and Stats (or Math 3 or Pre-Calculus
for students who completed Algebra in 8th grade)
| Visual Arts
|| Wellness (Health and PE)
French (1-4), Spanish (1-4), Chinese (1-2),
Academic English (ELL) or Executive Skills
French (1-4), Spanish (1-4), Chinese (1-2), Academic
English (ELL) or Literacy Support/Supported Study
| Freshmen Crew
|| Sophomore Crew
Elective Intensives (Casco Bay Quest, Winter
Intensives, and Spring Intensives)
Elective Intensives (Winter Intensives and Spring
Special Learning Opportunities for Sophomores
The purpose of the Sophomore Passage Presentation is, at the halfway point of high school, to
give each student an opportunity to:
demonstrate who s/he is and where s/he wants to go
reflect on growth
develop presentation skills
share (and develop) talents and passions
The “Sophomore Passage” is a gateway to being an upperclassman. In late spring, each
sophomore will review classroom work with teachers and eventually complete a ten to fifteen
minute, public presentation that addresses the overarching questions of Crew: Who am I? How
am I doing? What are my plans for the future? The presentation will include a demonstration of a
talent or passion as well as substantive reflection on the three questions and the Pathways to
Success. The audience will include a panel of students and staff. The presentation grade will
appear on a student's transcript.
Junior and Senior Year
The goal of the junior and senior year at CBHS is to graduate each student:
• Self Aware: with a clear sense of who they are and where they want to go.
• Trained: with the skills and knowledge they will need to both follow their dreams and be
• Ready: for college, career, and citizenship.
Our junior and senior year curriculum will ensure all students...
1) become more aware of themselves, their community, and their world.
2) meet essential learning targets in math, science, and the humanities.
3) experience structured opportunities to pursue their particular passions and interests in
4) assume greater independence and responsibility for the nature and course of their
5) develop the habits, skills, and knowledge necessary for quality craftsmanship and
responsible, involved citizenship.
Juniors and seniors continue a college preparatory core curriculum through crew, humanities,
math, and science as well as electives which might include second language study, a college
course, a PATHS course, independent study or a course at Deering or Portland. Interdisciplinary
learning expeditions will continue to drive curriculum, but, as compared to expeditions in 9th and
10th grade, junior and senior expeditions are more likely to involve fewer courses and more
student ownership and choice. All CBHS upperclassmen are strongly encouraged to enroll in
at least one USM or SMCC course before they graduate. CBHS students will be eligible for
at least one course, tuition free, thanks to our partnership with the two colleges called U.
TYPICAL JUNIOR COURSE LOAD
TYPICAL SENIOR COURSE LOAD
|| Senior Humanities
Math 3, The Code, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
| Math 3, The Code, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
Environmental Issues or AP Env. Science
Junior Internship and Junior Journey
AP English or AP US History
|French (1-4), Spanish (1-5), Academic English
(ELL) or Supported Study
French (1-4), Spanish (1-4), Pre-College English (ELL)
or Supported Study
| Junior Crew
|| Senior Crew, Senior Quest
Electives: USM and SMCC College Courses,
CBHS Electives and AP's, PATHS Courses,
Common Schedule Offerings, Winter
Electives: USM and SMCC College Courses, CBHS
Electives and AP's, PATHS Courses, Common Schedule
Offerings, Winter and Spring Intensives
Special Learning Opportunities for Juniors
In lieu of Spring Intensives, juniors will experience two different kinds of compact expeditions:
the internship and Junior Journey. The first is a one-week Junior Internship (.5 elective
credits). In collaboration with staff and community partners, students will design an internship in
a field of interest. After the internship, crew advisors will help students reflect on their
experience for a presentation of their learning.
The mission of the Junior Journey is to involve CBHS juniors in a one-week, cross-cultural
learning experience that will expand students’ sense of both their world and who they are through
service and adventure learning. In 2011, CBHS students and staff travelled to Biloxi, Mississippi
and completed service projects as well as oral histories about residents whose lives were impacted
by the BP Oil Spill and Hurricane Katrina. Last year's juniors engaged in a similar process of
service and documentary study of Hurricane Sandy victims in the Rockaways (Queens) as part of
an expedition called “The Eye of the Storm.” Students must complete substantial fund-raising so
that all juniors can participate, but we expect the Junior Journey will remain a foundational piece
of the Casco Bay education.
“When I walked into Juanita's house, I was shocked. The floors were torn up and dirty. The walls
were broken in various places, and the windows didn't look like they did much to keep the cold
out. Juanita's home is a former FEMA trailer. Juanita is an old, unemployed squatter who is
unable to fix her situation. Seeing the inside of her home was very humbling to me, but knowing
that the rain won't leak through her ceiling because of the roof that I helped build for her is very
~ Eliot McInnis ('09), reflecting on the Junior Journey to West Virginia, May 2008
Special Learning Opportunities for Seniors
All seniors will design and complete their own Senior Expedition focused on a particular passion
or field of interest. Seniors will be coached through this process in Senior Humanities, publicly
presenting their learning in the early spring. One requirement of Senior Humanities will be that
each senior complete an application for a college or post-secondary program as well as a post-
secondary plan. Senior Humanities teachers will support students through this process– with
regular assistance from crew advisors and our guidance counselors. Senior year curriculum is
launched with the Senior Quest (p 23) and ends with the Final Word (p 55).
“[D]ata reveal consistently high-quality instruction occurring across classes at Casco
Bay...[C]lassroom observations suggest that Casco Bay delivers a consistently high level
of academic rigor, varies instructional approaches, and values interactions between
students and teachers as a key component of learning.”
~ Excerpted from the Great School Partnership's “Comprehensive Program Review,” Spring 2011
Common Schedule Offerings at Deering and Portland
All high school students in Portland are able to take advantage of common schedule offerings at
Casco Bay, Deering and Portland High Schools. For the first and last blocks of the day, start times
are synched so that PPS students may take a course that their home school may not offer or which
otherwise does not fit in their schedule. Bus transportation can be provided to and from the home
school. Casco Bay students have taken advantage of courses such as Band, Chorus, Latin, Java
Programming. Public Speaking, US History and World Religions through the “Common Block.”
Enrollment is subject to class size and logistics. Given the number of required team core courses
for freshmen and sophomores, common schedule offerings are more likely to be an option for
juniors and seniors. Please contact Mr. Hale for more information.
Early College – U. Start Ahead
CBHS is thrilled to offer the opportunity for each student to take a college course – tuition free –
before s/he graduates from high school. This is a crucial part of our pledge to prepare each
student for college, for career and for citizenship. We call it U. Start Ahead. USM Education
Professor Lynne Miller notes that “freshmen who arrive on campus with 3 - 6 college credits
gain momentum and increase the probability of graduating from college on time.” We are able to
offer at least one USM or SMCC course to all interested and eligible juniors and seniors.
Certain standardized test scores (on the SAT's, Accuplacer and/or PSAT's) and a 3.0 GPA may be
required to enroll in a particular course and/or be eligible for free tuition. CBHS students will be
limited to courses where there is space available after matriculated USM students have
completed their sign-ups. In addition, for USM, CBHS students will be limited to “100 level”
classes (except by professor approval) and primarily classes that meet after 2pm on the Portland
campus. See Ms. Doyle for the extensive list of potential courses. So far, nearly half of CBHS
students have taken advantage of the opportunity to take USM or SMCC courses before
graduation, ranging from Women's Studies to Beginning Japanese, from Oceanography to
With SMCC, in 2014-2015, we plan to offer the following college courses on the CBHS campus,
Introduction to Psychology (fall) and Introduction to International Relations (spring).
Like all USM students, CBHS students will be responsible for some University fees (which
provide athletic facilities access) as well as the cost of buying course books. Participating
students may be eligible for early dismissal or late arrival on some days. Taking an early college
course is a significant challenge, opportunity and responsibility. Interested students must
complete all of the requisite paperwork and requirements. Students must turn in their final college
grades to CBHS in order to earn credit towards graduation and to have the course and grade
listed on their CBHS transcript.