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Arts and Culture

State Approves New Performing Arts Charter School in Sidney

  Maine’s newest charter school will focus on the performing arts.

The state’s charter school commission gave its unanimous approval this week to Snow Pond Academy, a high school that will open in September and be based in Sidney on Messalonskee Lake.

The commission is also considering a proposal for a new program at the state’s first charter school in Fairfield, focusing on pregnant and parenting teens.

When the Maine Charter School Commission began its work, members went on a listening tour. Shelly Reed, who now chairs the commission, says they asked parents all over the state what kind of charter schools they might want to see in their communities. Reed says a school focusing on music, drama and other performing arts came up repeatedly.

“And it was really thrilling for me to be able, as chair, to sign the contract for the first arts academy charter school in the state,” she says.

Snow Pond Academy will be localed in Sidney, where it will share a campus with the New England Music Camp. The performing arts part of the curriculum will focus on music, theater and dance.

A short distance up the road, meantime, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences is hoping to get the commission’s blessing to add a program for parenting and pregnant teens who’ve dropped out or are not thriving in traditional classrooms.

“That’s a historical issue in Maine, supporting our young moms and dads,” Reed says. “So we’re very interested in the program.”

Before approving it, Reed says the commission needs to figure out how the program would fit in with the schools existing charter contract and head count.