Our Academic Programs
We offer a wide variety of courses at foundation, college-prep, honors, and AP levels to meet our students’ diverse needs and interests. Many are traditional academic courses that build our students’ knowledge bases, both shared and individual, and encourage them to reflect on what they have learned and how it relates to their lives and the lives of others. Many go beyond traditional academics and engage students in more integrated, practical ways to meet their individual needs. All provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need to further their educations, to pursue careers, and to lead purposeful lives in a changing world.
“Sometimes we learn because it satisfies our curiosity, or is self-fulfilling, or expands who we are. Sometimes we learn because it prepares us for later education, or for a career, or to be good citizens of our community. All of these aspects of learning are found ... at GSA."
"Our curriculum has both breadth and depth. There is a set of common knowledge and experience that all students, and all people, should have. All students should know something about ... American literature, the creative arts, biology, mathematics, and world history, ... . But students are also individuals ... ; students can choose to follow their unique interests by pursuing multiple courses in an area of expertise or by broadening their experience by sampling from our wide array of electives.” – David Stearns, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction
Many courses have hands-on elements, but more than a third are primarily experiential.
In these courses, students spend most of their time engaged in practice, whether painting a still life, designing a building, taking water samples, varnishing a boat, fabricating a component, white-water rafting, or programming a robot.
One in four draws substantially on our area’s unique cultural, historic, or natural resources.
Our students research local flora, fauna, and the environment; examine local geography, economy, and human resources; read fiction and nonfiction about Maine and by Maine authors. These are a few examples of how our students engage with local resources. In doing so, their understanding deepens, but they also learn what it takes to be good community members and stewards of these resources.
More than one in four help students make substantial connections to our communities.
Our students connect with the community in many ways, through field trips and expert interviews; class visits by local authors, politicians, and small-business owners; public performances, like the winter concert; Spring Arts Festival; and ISIP.
Many courses provide students with skills they need for careers wherever they live, but some prepare them specifically to work in fields of local importance, like health care, marine resources, building trades, and scientific research.
More than a third help students make substantial cross-cultural connections.
Our students relate their lives to the lives of others around the world by exploring other cultures. These connections are made in many courses, including our World Language courses, with their frequent class visits by people who have lived in or visited other countries; our social studies courses, through guests speakers and other resources; and our arts courses, which look at the visual, performing, and culinary arts of other cultures.
Click on the department and program links for more about our programs and faculty.