Beyond the Traditional Classroom
Learn more below about the great opportunities GSA students have to explore interests beyond what we teach in our traditional classes.
- Alternative Course Contracts
- Culinary Arts
- Independent Study & Internship Program
- Ocean Studies
- Outdoor Leadership
- Other Opportunities
Alternative Course Contracts
Alternative Course Contracts (ACC) provide an opportunity for a student to take a course not offered in GSA’s regular curriculum. In consultation with the Dean of Curriculum & Instruction and a member of the GSA faculty, students design the curriculum and write a course proposal that includes a description of the course and its goals and objectives. ACC proposals should be written and approved before the beginning of the semester. Alternative courses are usually taken in addition to a full academic courseload. Students may earn up to three ACC credits while at GSA.
For More Info: David Stearns, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Culinary Arts is a hands-on course that introduces students at least 16-years-old to the basics of kitchen work and culinary technique using a variety of teaching methods and experiences. Students learn the art of food preparation, presentation, and service. Lessons include knife skills, menu planning, basic purchasing, nutrition, careers in food service, and other topics pertaining to the hospitality industry.
Faculty: Kristyn LaPlante, email@example.com
Independent Study & Internship Program
Pictures from the most recent ISIP
Fostering a love of knowledge and instilling self-confidence are important parts of our mission, and since 1970*, our Independent Study and Internship Program (ISIP) has helped us do just that.
Many students explore careers. After “testing the waters” in a field of interest, some pursue careers in those fields, while others realize that their interests lie elsewhere. Others “go deep” into personal interests, like auto restoration, diving, glass blowing, metal fabrication, working at a nonprofit, learning about fitness, and learning to sing. Most projects take place nearby, within an hour’s drive of GSA. These students make real and valuable connections to experts who live and work in the area, many of whom are alumni.
* CLICK HERE to find out how the program began.
Students interested in marine-related careers and who benefit from a hands-on approach to learning are ideal candidates for this course. Ocean Studies includes participation in the Eastern Maine Skippers Program and other opportunities for field-based research and interaction with marine scientists, fisheries-related businesses, and policy experts.
Through the Skippers Program, students learn seamanship skills including navigation, knot tying, and boat handling; engage in scientific research processes through actual research projects; explore the business world through creating business plans; and practice public speaking so they can speak for themselves at fishing venues like Department of Marine Resources hearings. One of the many goals of this endeavor is to sustain the local fishing economy and way of life while responding to changes in the economy, climate, regulations, and technology. Travel to all-day meetings with the other schools is required, as is attendance at the Fishermen’s Forum. The program is organized by the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.
Those interested in more focused research on the ocean environment and the organisms within it should consider the Marine Ecology Research Honors class.
Faculty: Megan Flenniken, firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is designed to enrich the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth of students by utilizing a wide range of content areas and incorporating the natural resources and opportunities of the Blue Hill Peninsula, Acadia National Park, and the state of Maine.
Through class instruction and content, student journals/portfolios, guest speakers, group projects, field trips, and willingness to be pioneers in this course, students will develop their interpersonal skills, such as leadership, communication, trust building, and group problem-solving and decision-making; knowledge of a wide range of related topics; confidence and self-esteem by facing new challenges and adversity; lifelong skills, such as planning and organizing field experience, orienteering, and first aid/CPR; added purpose, relevance, connections, motivation for classroom work; and reverence for life, nature, and our role as stewards.
Structured around the seasons, each semester is independent of another. Students have the unique experience of developing the direction of the course and its content. The success of the course depends on the hard work, positive attitude, and responsibility and cooperative leadership of the class.
Faculty: Dan Kane, email@example.com
Cooperative Education: Semester or year-long internships in community organizations or businesses of interest to the student.
AP4ME: Online courses taught by high school teachers throughout Maine.
College Courses: GSA students can take college courses while at GSA, some through GSA connections with programs like Rural-U at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and some through the student's own initiative at the University of Maine or elsewhere.
Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC): Juniors and seniors can take courses part-time (afternoons or mornings) at the Hancock County Technical Center while continuing academic coursework at GSA.
Online Courses: When appropriate, GSA supports students who take online courses through programs such as those offered by BYU.
For More Info: Students should speak with their advisor, Assistant Head of School Rebecca Gratz or Dean of Curriculum and Instruction David Stearns to explore if and how these opportunities could supplement their learning at GSA.