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Our Academics

Embracing Challenge

The academic program at Coastal Waters Chartered Public School places an emphasis on every aspect of student growth and development, while meeting state requirements. Suitable class sizes and exceptional, qualified teachers allow us to offer a comfortable and inclusive educational environment, while ensuring each student receives the individualized attention and support they need.



Coastal Waters Chartered Public School takes great pride in our curriculum, blending tradition and innovation to meet students in a developmentally wholesome, yet challenging way. Our educators use a highly interactive and engaging teaching style, and the enthusiasm they bring to teaching is truly the heartbeat of our school.


Kindergarten is a unique experience at Coastal Waters, where children are given the time and space to learn how to be themselves and how they fit in with others.  Our classroom is warm and inviting, and a constant hum of activity engages students in a variety of ways.  In the kindergarten, our work is play, and our play is work.  Each day has a rhythm which includes gross and fine motor skills, imaginative play, outdoor time, story and song, as well as time for rest and reflection.

Young children experience joy and independence in work well-done, and the daily tasks of the classroom encourage this.  From baking, sweeping, washing linens and caring for classroom toys, to seasonal crafts, painting, and drawing, our curriculum makes daily life the means through which students learn and engage with their curriculum.  The rhythm of the seasons and the natural world are the threads which weave throughout our year.


Elementary ( 1-5)

The early years at Coastal Waters set the foundation for a love of learning through experiencing the world around us and building core skills along the way. Students stay with the same class teacher throughout grades 1-5, allowing them to thrive in a small group with a teacher who knows them well and has watched them grow.

Aside from the core subjects of math, language arts, science, and social studies, beginning in Grade One students learn two foreign languages, choral and instrumental music, movement and games, handwork and art, agriculture, and a class dedicated to team-building through STEM challenges.  Students in grade 3-5 take the required NH state assessments for reading, writing, and math; and Grade 5 students take the science assessment as well.  Students are prepared for these through their curriculum and we approach them with a sense of curiosity and personal challenge, minimizing stress as much as possible.

Large amounts of the day are dedicated to spending time outdoors, whether in a games class, gardening, or in free play. Not only does this allow for gross motor development and fresh air, but it also gives a rhythmic quality to the day by adding balance to our focused indoor work.


Middle School (6-8)

As students enter their middle school years, they are ready for something more.  The close-knit family they felt in the elementary years is there to support them as they expand their horizons and begin to discover themselves in the world.

The same core subjects are taught in middle school, with the addition of a few electives, team sports and extracurricular activities, and the opportunity to participate in leadership opportunities.  To meet the growing capacities of middle school students, our faculty structure adapts to still having a class teacher who stays with the group through their three middle school years, but specialists who teach the core subjects with particular interest and knowledge of their field.  NH state assessments are administered in grades 6-8 for reading, writing, and math, and the science assessment is added in Grade 8.  Much like in the lower grades, we approach testing as one dimension of their overall learning portfolio, and encourage personal growth over competition.

Middle school students still need plenty of time to stretch their legs and move, so we incorporate time outside just as much in these middle years as in the earlier ones.  They may be exploring in a class, maintaining school grounds, playing games, or simply having time to exercise their social capacities as they reflect in conversation.


High School (9-12)

The high school years are the defining experience of students at Coastal Waters.  Bringing together all of their previous learning, each year of high school focuses on a different developmental question: what, how, why, and who.  Students in these final years are given greater autonomy over their learning, participate in mentoring and leadership roles, influence in the running of the school, and greater expectations for community engagement.

The faculty model for high school acknowledges both the independent nature of this age group, as well as the power of community.  All subjects are now taught by specialists who bring enthusiasm and a depth of knowledge to their teaching.  More electives and extracurricular opportunities are available.  Students no longer stay with the same class and teacher, but instead are placed in mixed-age groups with the same faculty mentor for their four years together.  NH state assessment is administered only in Grade 11, and is done through the statewide School Day SAT and the standard science assessment.  By the end of Grade 12, the curriculum is designed so that students have surpassed state credit requirements in all academic areas.

Finally, all students complete a senior project of their choosing, with the support of their mentor and other faculty as needed, and these are presented to the community at the end of their final year - not only as a demonstration of what they have learned academically, but as a synthesis of capacity and interest.  The projects are as individual as the students who create them.

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