The story of perseverance and change

What Carleton Project looks like today is not what it looked like when the school program started over 20 years ago. However, one thing has never changed and that is it’s mission: to provide opportunities that help meet the needs of students who have not been successful in traditional school settings.

Our History

Before the school opened it’s doors in 2000, Carleton Project operated summer science camps in Mount Carleton Provincial Park in New Brunswick, Canada. Over 500 high school students from Aroostook County schools and neighboring New Brunswick earned credits towards graduation, climbed the highest mountain in Canada’s Maritime Provinces and experienced the unique beauty and heritage of a unique geological area. Students also learned water quality concepts while conducting stream inventories. They learned orienteering and first aid. They gained expedition experience with overnight stays at remote testing sites. They learned about teamwork and finding their voices. And bugs. They learned a lot about bugs.

The school continues to conduct similar activities on the Ambrose Bear Stream (formerly known as the B. Stream) nearby during summer months and has gathered many years of water quality data at 36 testing sites. During the summer of 2018, students participated in a Turtle Study with help from a University of Maine graduate student and identified a species not thought to have been present in Aroostook County. Very cool! Future endeavors are being planned that support our summer program and those of our partnering schools. 

Carleton Strong

We have been proud to send our graduates into the world and many colleges and universities have enjoyed our students continuing to learn with them. We currently operate as a Private School under license of the Maine Department of Education and agreements with area schools, agencies and the State of Maine Department of Corrections. In spite of targeted attacks on our legitimacy by some public school officials and some community members, we remain confident that any person that spends any time with our students will understand why Carleton is an important community asset.

This Is Our Passion

Carleton Project’s Board of Directors has always endorsed, at its core, best practices in education models that go beyond student options available in Maine’s public schools today. We have been, and always will be, focused on student success through support, encouragement and valuable learning experiences for both students, their families and our dedicated staff. 

We are all about...

Encouraging Individuality

Carleton Project encourages students to embrace their individual traits and use them as strengths. Giving them permission to be themselves allows them to flourish and gain confidence they never knew they had. Participatory education practices allow the transfer of responsibility to the learner over the course of their high school career. Students build upon their individual talents and interests to create flexible, relevant , individual education plans that incorporate the most important people in their lives. This creates a roadmap for life-long learning that builds upon successes and changes people's lives.

Creative Minds

Unleashing creativity is the hallmark of any good education program. And learning new stuff is fun. And some lessons are harder than others.That's why we fill our days with fun and inventive ways for our students to learn and practice critical thinking on a daily basis. Research clearly shows that when students have the freedom to express themselves, they will learn to use their voices. And they are going to need them in a world that seems to be getting louder as it searches for answers to more and more complicated issues.

Discovering New

We try to get out and about with our students as much as possible so that they may experience more learning outside of the classroom. Our trips often include fun recreational and inspiring activities. Our summer science excursions take the classroom outside and our Turtle Studies and Water Quality Surveys are steeped in Carleton Project history.

Making a Difference

The concept of community is vital for our students and the continued success of Carleton Project. Community has gotten it to this point and community will guide it's future. Students are highly involved in community projects and local businesses in and around the small town of Houlton, Maine. Many alumni live in the area and continue to visit and support the school. By 2022, they'll be guiding it. By 2030, some may be looking for options for their own children.

Working & Volunteering at Carleton Project

You don’t have to be crazy to work here but it helps.To be a successful teacher, you have to love it more than you hate it, and you need to be passionate about learning new things. And your humanness needs to show. You must value relationships above all, and the rest will take care of itself.

Teachers need to be creative learners too. They need to be valued in their communities. They need to be able to hone their skills and feel supported in their growth. They should always be regarded as so much more than just good or bad employees. A bad teacher can do a lot of damage. A good teacher will have students who are all thriving.

Teachers of the future will be experts in their fields who continue to challenge their own knowledge and who will comfortably lead by example in either live and/or digital formats. Where they are housed will become less relevant. We have embraced a global economy without a global education. There’s a lot of catching up to do as the world continues to change before our eyes. Good teachers will play a changing role in helping their students navigate the “too much information” age.

A private, not for profit alternative high school serving students who haven’t been successful in a traditional school setting. Our mission is focused on student success.

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