Portland charter school on track to open in Sept. 2013

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PORTLAND — After receiving full-approval from the Maine Charter School Commission on Friday, Baxter Academy for Technology and Science is set to start classes next fall.

The school received conditional approval from the commission in July, but had to revise its charter application by Sept. 30 in order to receive the full approval.

Bob Kautz, executive director of the Maine Charter School Commission, said full approval for the school could have been given earlier, but the commission needed more from Baxter officials before making its decision.

“They appreciated the idea but they needed more information on everything from finances to board governance to areas that needed more clarification and more information,” he said.

John Jaques, executive director of Baxter Academy, said that the full approval from the Maine Charter School Commission allows the school to begin working on its curriculum.

“We are obviously excited about this decision,” Jaques said in a press release Friday. “This designation allows us to put forth a rigorous curriculum focused on subject areas that encourage and foster innovation and creative thinking – technology and science.”

He also said that technology and science learning gives students the chance to learn skills that will help them in the work force.

With an opening planned next September, the school is now focused on enrollment. The goal is to have 160 freshmen and sophomores enrolled by the first day of school.

The regional school, accepting students from all over southern Maine, will offer an alternative to the School of Math and Sciences in Limestone and an option for Portland students on the Casco Bay High School waiting list, Jaques said.

Curriculum at the school will be aimed at students who have a strong interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Students at the school will learn alongside scientists and engineers, and participate in project-based learning.

Baxter Academy will be Maine’s third charter school. The commission expects to open as many as 10 schools within the next 10 years and as of September had received eight proposals for new charter schools.

Amber Cronin can be reached at [email protected] or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.