Island Middle to High School Transition Program

Social and emotional support for students and their families as they prepare to leave their island school to attend school on the mainland.

M2HSTP evolved from Maine Seacoast Mission’s annual Middle School Retreat which began in 2003.

Most island students must leave their families and their island to attend high school. Only three of Maine’s fifteen unbridged islands have K-12 schools. The remaining islands have one or two room schoolhouses that offer grades K-8. Island students are accustomed to having only a few other students in school, often being the only student in their grade, and practically receiving individual instruction from the same teacher, year-after-year. Attending high school is daunting enough for any adolescent. It’s even more significant when the student comes from such a unique experience and they must leave their family to board on the mainland (or commute 2-3 hours each day). M2HSTP offers support to island students and their families during the middle school years to help ease the social and emotional anxiety experienced as they prepare to attend high school on the mainland.

Though M2HSTP is part of Student Pathways, it’s offered through Maine Seacoast Mission’s Island Outreach program.

What it is:

Social and emotional support for students and their families as they prepare to leave their island school to attend school on the mainland.

Who it serves:

6th, 7th, and 8th grade students/families from Islesford, Great Cranberry Island, Frenchboro, Swan’s Island, Isle au Haut, Matinicus, Monhegan, and Cliff Island

Program elements:

  • Monthly meetings held during the school year
  • Annual three-day retreat which takes place over the MLK holiday weekend each January
  • Collaboration with families
  • Collaboration with island schools, mainland high schools, and community organizations who also support island students

Where it is:

  • Monthly meetings take place on the students’ individual islands
  • The annual retreat rotates between Bar Harbor, Belfast, and Camden

When it begins:

October of each academic year