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Coastal Studies for Girls prepares for February opening in Freeport

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Coastal Studies for Girls prepares for February opening in Freeport

FREEPORT — Faculty and staff are completing last-minute details before the country's first residential science and leadership semester high school for girls opens next month.

Ginger Jones, development and marketing director for Coastal Studies for Girls, said staffers are experiencing the quiet before the storm.

"Everyday this process becomes a little more real," she said. "Faculty will arrive next week and we will have our orientation. We will take a retreat, get to know everyone, then the students arrive shortly after that."

There are now eight students confirmed to attend the 10th-grade semester school starting in February at 308 Wolfe's Neck Road, and Jones said there are another eight in various stages of the application process. The school will except up to 15 students and expect 12 to attend in the first few semesters. She said the students will hail from private, public and home schools, and will arrive from places as diverse as rural western Maine, Harlem and East Los Angeles.

"There is a very diverse group of students joining us," she said. "They range in terms of socioeconomic, ethnic and geographic backgrounds and experiences. It is exactly what we hoped for."

As for faculty and staff, Jones said a head resident has been hired, and a Spanish and French teacher was interviewed earlier this week. A campus intern is still needed, but the rest of the faculty has been hired. A food services coordinator has been selected and will focus on serving healthy, local foods for the students. She said the school meets national accreditation standards, and the teachers are very well qualified.

"We have an amazing pool of talented and dedicated educators," she said. "These are fantastic people who are excited to join us and we are happy to have them with us."

The curriculum will include history, English and language classes, as well as science, math and coastal marine ecosystems. There is an Outdoor Leadership strand of the curriculum that will be taught by Pam Erickson, who is the school's executive director, and Tara Treichel, its director of education. This area will encourage environmentalism, physical education and personal growth.

Erickson said in an e-mail sent this week that the staff is incredibly excited for the arrival of the students on Feb. 14.

"The most exciting part is that we have met many of the students already (as well as their families) and they are an intelligent, curious, capable group of young women who will undoubtedly teach us much," she said. "Additionally, the adult team that is coming together is incredibly impressive. From our head resident and interns to teaching faculty to food service, we are fortunate to work alongside such a passionate and dedicated group of people.”

Jones said of the $1.6 million needed to reach its capital campaign goal, the school is short about $220,000. Every piece of furniture has been donated, she said, from office equipment to beds and dining furniture. There is still a laundry list of items needed before the students arrive, but for the most part, the school is ready to open.

"We still need to paint doorways, and need science equipment, a copier, laptops, and outdoor leadership equipment," she said. "We are also getting the food services and kitchen equipment ready."

She said some of the students arriving in February may not have the outdoor equipment necessary to explore the Maine wilderness, so the school is still in need of gently used snowshoes, skis, hats, gloves, coats and boots. For a complete list of needed items, visit the Web site and click on support.

Jones said the staff has met more than half the students and said many have visited before making their decision.

"These girls are pioneers," Jones said. "They are brave in their own right. For them to be the first ones to attend the school is exciting."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net