LA was founded in 1801 to serve local students who wanted to continue their education past elementary school, because towns were not required to provide education past the primary level. At this time, Maine was still part of Massachusetts. While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts gave a grant of land to fund the school, tuition was paid by the students’ families.
This early version of school choice remained until 1904, when the Maine legislature required municipalities to provide secondary education. Since Lincoln Academy had been operating successfully for 100 years, towns in the Damariscotta-Newcastle area chose not to establish a new public high school, but to continue to pay tuition to L.A. The Academy has continued to be the ‘secondary school of choice’ for the area.
In 1957, the Sinclair Act was passed, which ‘consolidated’ many school systems. At this time, many independent schools closed their doors, became independent schools or became public high schools. L.A. is one of the ten independent schools that continued to serve students from their area towns and beyond.
The Academy has expanded its program and its campus to serve the growing populations in the Midcoast. The curriculum provides courses in all subjects and on all levels from introductory to Advanced Placement. Clubs and sports teams offer opportunities for service, leadership, team-building, public speaking, and creativity.
Lincoln Academy’s mission is to be a comprehensive high school that serves the needs of all students. This means that LA maintains a wide range of courses in all disciplines at all levels. The majority of the students come from the local area. However, the school has added a boarding program and is now also welcoming students from all over the world.
Lincoln Academy is governed by an independent Board of Trustees. As established by the charter granted in 1801, trustees are not elected officials but are selected for their knowledge, skills, and dedication to the mission of the school. Lincoln Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and belongs to the Maine Association of Independent Schools, the Independent Schools Association of Northern New England, and the National Association of Independent Schools.
All students who attend Lincoln Academy choose to do so. Students in towns that do not have a public high school may choose to attend any high school they wish, and their tuition is paid from the towns to that school.