TNS’s Mission

The New School is a democratic high school that empowers students to reach for the best in themselves, love learning, and become responsible stewards of our world.

TNS accomplishes this mission by:

  • Offering rich, integrated learning experiences within and outside the classroom that ignite students’ talents and passions;
  • Giving students a strong voice in the design of the curriculum and the governance of the school;
  • Providing a safe, supportive learning environment where differences are honored and bullying is not tolerated;
  • Coupling a challenging academic program with authentic assessment methods that honor students’ strengths and nurture their growth;
  • Integrating social and environmental responsibility into the curriculum and everyday life at the school.

How TNS began

The New School is the sister school of School Around Us (SAU), a K-8 independent school that was founded in Arundel, ME in 1970. The schools’ founders were heavily influenced by American educational philosopher John Dewey, who inspired the Progressive Schools of the 1930’s and 1940’s.  He believed that schools should be holistic institutions that attend to the mind, body and spirit of young people, and give them the tools to be active, informed citizens of a democracy. This was in stark contrast to the prevailing idea that the primary purpose of schools was to train students to enter the work force and contribute to the capitalistic economic system.

“I believe that education which does not occur through forms of life, forms that are worth living for their own sake, is always a poor substitute for the genuine reality and tends to cramp and to deaden.” John Dewey

Over time, the desire grew among School Around Us parents and the greater community to extend the benefits of holistic education to high school students. After several years of study, planning, and fundraising, The New School opened its doors in 2000. Together, the two schools offer a K-12 continuum of holistic education that is unique in Maine.