education options

education options2018-02-24T21:18:50-06:00

In Maine, you have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 1st. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must be enrolled in 1st grade if he or she is seven on or before December 31.  see more >

Required Documentation

Maine school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for Maine students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Maine, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Maine Charter Schools

A list of Maine Charter Schools can be found at the Charter Schools Directory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Maine Department of Education. 


Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Acadia Academy

Phone: (207)-333-3765

Grades: Pre-K – 2 grade

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science

Phone: (207)-699-5500

Grades: 9-12

Cornville Regional Charter School

Phone: (207)-474-8503

Grades: K-8

Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science

Phone: (207)-657-2244

Grades: Pre K-1st Grade 

Harpswell Coastal Academy

Phone: (207)-833-3229

Grades: 6-12 

Maine Academy of Natural Sciences

Phone: (207)-238-4100

Grades: 9-12

Snow Pond Arts Academy

Phone: (844)-476-6976

Grades: 9-12

Virtual Public Schools

Before the 2016–17 school year, each local board of education adopted a policy providing at a minimum, a virtual education option for eligible students in Grades 9–12, inclusive, beginning with that school year. Most have programs available for students 8–12 grade. Check your local school district for details.

Maine Connections Academy

Phone: (207) 805-3254

Grade: 7-12

Maine Virtual Academy

Phone: (877) 463-6198

Grade: 7-12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 160 private schools across the state.

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.

Voucher Programs

Maine’s Town Tuition Program is the second oldest school choice program in the nation. The program, launched in 1873, allows students from a town without a public school to attend either a public school in another town or a non-religious private school.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Maine visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

In Maine, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Maine may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. There are two options under which you can legally homeschool: home instruction and private school. Further information on homeschooling under these options is listed below:

Maine’s Home Instruction

  1. File a one-time notice. You must send a one-time written notice to your local school superintendent and to the state commissioner of education. To see what must be included in the letter visit the Homeschool Legal Defense Alliance.
  2. Send an annual letter. Each year after, you must submit a letter to the local superintendent by September 1st containing your student’s year-end assessment and a statement stating that you are going to continue your student’s education at home.
  3. Teach the required subjects. The subjects must include: English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical and health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in one grade between grades 6 and 12), and computer proficiency (in one grade between grades 7 and 12).
  4. Submit a year-end assessment. There are three ways to satisfy this requirement: Submit the official results of a national standardized achievement test; submit the results of a test developed by local school officials (homeschoolers do not commonly use this type of assessment); submit a letter stating that your child’s progress has been reviewed and is acceptable. Keep a copy of your student’s assessment.

Private School

Maine law allows homeschooling parents to join together and function as a “recognized” private school. The requirements a private school must follow to be “recognized” are listed in HSLDA’s analysis of Maine state law. You can satisfy Maine’s school attendance laws by enrolling your child in one of these schools. If you choose to homeschool as a private school, you must teach all of the following subjects: English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical and health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in one grade between grades 6 and 12), and computer proficiency (in one grade between grades 7 and 12).

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

Visit Here >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

Visit here >

Support Groups

Many home school associations offer classes, curriculum advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out the support group in your area.

Homeschoolers of Maine


Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment is defined as the opportunity to earn college credit for a high school course with an approved course syllabus meeting college course standards and a teacher approved as a college adjunct instructor. By adding the dual enrollment option to eligible AP4ALL courses, high school juniors and seniors can choose to earn credit by passing the final AP exam and receiving a grade for the course from UMFK, becoming part of an official college transcript.

Course Fees

Tuition is the responsibility of the student/parent, unless otherwise negotiated between the college and the local board of education.

As of April 14, 2016, the cost for dual enrollment has GONE DOWN!!! A 3-credit course is now $84.00 and a 4-credit course is now $112.00!! Course costs were $95.50 and $130.00 but thanks to the hard work of folks at UMFK, costs are reduced. Take advantage and register today.

For more information about Dual Enrollment in Maine, visit Maine Department of Education.

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