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Curriculum and Assessment

Curriculum Overview

Coastal Studies for Girls understands that adolescent girls are most fully engaged by experiences that allow them to exercise their natural sense of intellectual curiosity within a supportive and caring community – to explore, ask questions, practice, research, reflect, and dialogue with peers and then to create their own interpretive response to demonstrate and share their learning with others. Our small student body and dedicated, knowledgeable faculty combined with our proximity to the rich natural and cultural resources of the Maine coast offer an ideal environment for this profound learning to take place. Numerous guest speakers and field trips with local educational partners enhance the curriculum and integrally connect learning to students’ lives, other classes, the local environment and the world. Students will find a refreshing change in our rigorous, collegial learning atmosphere and our place-based, experiential learning emphasis.

Our curriculum features classes and extensive fieldwork in marine science and leadership and also includes classes in English, history, math, and foreign language. Our classes are designed to challenge and advance our students’ intellectual skills and abilities, prepare them for further academic study and admission to college, and keep pace with their sending schools’ grade level and graduation requirements. Mandatory classes include Coastal Marine Ecosystems (Honors), Leadership, English: the Literature of Place (Honors), and History of the Maine Coast (Honors). Elective classes include multi-level Spanish or French, and Geometry, Algebra II, or Pre-Calculus (Honors option available). Students also receive pass-fail credit in Physical Education. Our classes follow National Education Standards and/or Common Core standards as competency guidelines for each subject.


Coastal Studies for Girls employs a variety of assessments in order to meet multiple academic objectives, including those of the individual student, her sending school, and CSG. Students are assessed in each academic subject through daily class participation and discussion, written assignments, experiential projects, tests and exams, and are awarded letter grades based on a standard grading scale. CSG issues Mid-Term and Final Academic Transcripts with grades and detailed qualitative evaluation comments from faculty for each subject.

In addition, students participate in three culminating projects each semester and prepare an individual  Student Portfolio.

Student Portfolio

 As John Dewey noted, ‘We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflection on experience.’ The student portfolio collects the best student work from the semester and final reflections on what each student has learned. Our digital portfolios include assessments, essays, creative work and videos of student presentations that demonstrate student accomplishment and proficiency with regard to state and national standards as well as sending school graduation requirements. Students are responsible for maintaining the portfolio and are encouraged to share it with their sending school and college admissions officers as evidence of their learning and growth at CSG.

Exhibitions of Learning

Three times each semester, CSG students share their achievements with a public audience of faculty, parents, sending school personnel, CSG board members, and community guests. Exhibitions are designed to create opportunities for public demonstrations of learning and for practicing presentation skills essential to leadership. These presentations are also live streamed for the those unable to join us in Maine.

  • Coffeehouse is a showcase of the creative writing and expression that the students produce in Humanities class. Original poetry, prose and performance art are presented at a local coffee shop creating a community portrait of place.
  •  Marine Science Exhibitions are a capstone project that demonstrate the combined skills sets of data collection, scientific analysis, team work, problem solving and presentation techniques. Student teams present results of their original research conducted in the Coastal Marine Ecosystems class. Each presentation ends with a community response period in which audience members are invited to ask questions and engage students in dialogue about their research.
  • Semester Reflections are the final culminations of each student’s experience at CSG. During the reflection, each girl shares her insights on leadership and learning in a capstone multi-media presentation. In addition, a student gallery highlights the semester long work in humanities, mathematics, leadership and world language classes.

Transfer of Credit

All academic credit will be awarded by the student’s home school or sending institution. Students will receive comprehensive evaluations for the courses and work they complete at CSG, which will be used by the sending school’s academic office to determine grades and/or credit earned.


CSG helps students learn to set boundaries around technology use and to use it intentionally and effectively.

In a world that will require students to communicate effectively in word, image and sound, CSG teaches essential 21st century digital literacy skills. As a 1:1 laptop school with the Maine Learning and Teaching Initiative, each student has an 11” Apple MacBook Air to use for school work and personal communication. Coursework includes projects that develop students skills in ebook authoring, data analysis and presentation, video production, and GIS mapping.  These projects help students synthesize physical experiences into digital platforms that communicate their learning to broader audiences.