Success at the Blue Hill Harbor School is measured in four ways:
1. Academic Progress - measured by credits, grades and learning targets
2. Attitude - measured by school engagement and class participation
3. Reliability - measured by attendance, punctuality and follow-through
4. Project Development - measured by initiation, planning and completion.
Our Three INITIATIVE Levels
Students on the supported level are generally new to project based learning, and do their project work in the context of core and incubator classes. Supported students independent work and computer time is more closely monitored, and they get 30 minutes at a time to use open campus privileges. All first years will start as supported students.
Students on the aspiring level are working on developing in the four areas, and have shown evidence that they are making progress. Most project work will be completed in incubators, but students will get more independent work time during crew, and get 45 minutes of open campus privileges at a time. Most BHHS students are identified as aspiring.
Students on the independent level have shown substantial progress towards development in all four areas, and are given the most autonomy for independent work and educational planning. They are eligible for Honors classes, independent math, BHHS summer classes, fully independent projects (with advisor support always available), and shortened weeks.
Your advisor will tell you your initiative level and review promotion guidelines on the first crew day (the Monday of the second week). You will be on your initiative level for at least one block and most students will be on aspiring level for a year or two. It is our goal that all students reach independent level by the end of their time at BHHS.
Promotions and Restrictions
You can ask your advisor to move up an initiative level at the end of the block. Once you are promoted, you will never move down levels; however, if you are struggling in a certain area, your advisor may put certain restrictions on your privileges (for example, requiring you to be in incubators for projects, or to sign an attendance plan).
Credits & Credit-Hours
Like traditional high school, progress towards graduation requirements is still measured in credits. However, unlike a traditional high school, we work with a lot of smaller units of credit than 1 or 5. These small units of credit are called
credit-hours, and they are worth 1/100th of a credit.
You could earn English credit, for example, via a combination of class learning, writing a short story, and publishing your own graphic novel. Every class and incubator will award a designated number of credit-hours.
Maine is moving towards proficiency-based diplomas; while full implementation is not legally required until 2025, what this means is the School wants you to know not just how well you are learning (your grade) but to understand what you are learning. In state language, this is called a proficiency. Therefore, for classes and projects, we will track this with learning targets. Crew advisors and class teachers discuss learning targets in your classes and as you develop your projects.
Core classes are designed - and required - for first-year (and occasionally) transfer students. They provide key elements of each required subject at the Blue Hill Harbor School, so that students have a good foundation on which to design their future projects. Each core class provides 80 credit-hours (.8 credits) for the year. For students seeking to earn a full one (1) credit
that year, the remaining 20 credit-hours can be earned during May Term, either through individual project work or workshops and subject-specific activities. There will be an opportunity for project work within the context of core class subjects.
New this year! These are block classes designed to support primarily students on the Aspiring level, although they will be open to students on the Independent level as well. Incubators support project work along a theme chosen by the advisor. For instance, in history, that theme may be the Civil War; or, in science, the theme may be Fundamental Forces in Physics. Unless students are on the Independent level, or have special advisor permission, they must sign up for incubators if they wish to do a project in that subject.Incubators generally offer 20 hours of subject area credit (including project work).
Also new this year! A Math Lab is required for all students enrolled in math; these labs provide significant support for students - to learn from the instructor and other students - learning the same topics at the same time. Independent online work will be assigned on days the class is not held.