by David Sturdevant
As I mentioned earlier, the three words under the Lincoln Academy school seal are INDEPENDENT, COMPREHENSIVE, GLOBAL. In my last two columns, I have addressed the concept of Lincoln Academy as an independent school, and I have explained its funding mechanisms and the way in which it is accredited. This week, I am exploring the school’s comprehensive nature.
What do I mean by comprehensive? I refer to the school’s student body and the community it represents, along with the curriculum, programs, and initiatives a school provides.
Many independent (private) schools are not comprehensive, in that they address a specific group of students. For example, some independent schools claim to be college preparatory, and, indeed, their mission is to prepare all of their students to go on to a college or university after graduation. Often times, they place great emphasis on students attending selective or very selective colleges. While these schools have a strong mission, and many have strong traditions, they often do not offer a wide and varied curriculum. Their students tend to take the same types of courses at the same levels.
Some independent schools espouse a specific mission and purpose and therefore attract and admit a certain type of student. There are schools that focus greatly on the arts, that focus on educating only boys or only girls, or that focus on outdoor education. Some schools serve only students with specific learning differences, students on the autistic spectrum, or students who have behavioral challenges. Some schools are day schools, drawing students only from local communities, while others are boarding schools drawing students regionally, nationally, or globally.
While most public schools are comprehensive, even the scope of their comprehensiveness may be dictated by the socio-economic diversity or lack thereof in their community. Gone are the days where every public school offered the same or similar courses across the curriculum. When I talk about the differences and similarities between and among public and independent schools, I am not saying that one type is any better or worse than the other. Schools should be evaluated based on their own merits — not based on which category in which they belong. The defining difference between the two is the governance structure, which I have previously discussed.
Lincoln Academy is a comprehensive school, and we are proud of that fact. We admit students of varied aptitudes and attitudes, with a wide variety of strengths and challenges. We have students who take as many AP courses as they can fit into their schedule, and we have students who apply to our local vocational/technical schools in Bath and Rockland, where they spend half of their day focusing intensely on one subject. We also have students who, in their senior year, attend school for half a day and work at a local business in the afternoons.
We have students who attend the most selective colleges and universities, and we have students who have no desire to go to college after they leave high school. They want to go directly into a family business or other employment opportunity, travel, or join the military. I should note here that we work to ensure that all of our students will have viable options after they leave LA. Some students will seek further education and/or training at a later date. To serve the needs of all of these students, we need a comprehensive curriculum, which I will address in my next column.
As always, should you have questions about Lincoln Academy, please feel free to make an appointment to meet with me. You may contact Carole Brinkler, Assistant to the Head of School at 207-563-3596, ext.102