As one of the oldest academies in Maine, Washington Academy (WA) has been meeting the educational needs of students in grades 9–12 since the school’s charter was signed by John Hancock in 1792. Originally a feeder school for Bowdoin College in the early 1900s, the Academy has maintained an emphasis on academics and success for the individual. Taking into account each student’s differences, the Academy strives to create opportunities that equip students socially and intellectually for their future endeavors. The curriculum is geared toward college preparation, but it is also flexible enough for the student who seeks a quality education that includes business and technology education and vocational studies. Emphasis is placed on the performing and visual arts, math, sciences and technology, and involvement in the community.
Since 1792 Washington Academy has served as an educational, cultural, and community center. The Academy’s blend of high academic quality, varied program offerings, attractive, safe campus environment and affordability has made it a gem in the educational system of Washington County. The proof of this is in the school’s enrollment: 430 students from 26 different Washington County towns and 25 different countries are part of the Academy’s rich and thriving community, bringing together a wealth of academic, athletic, and artistic talents in a flourishing, diverse culture. The 2015-16 matriculation rate into four-year post-secondary schools was 94%.
The Academy’s 75-acre campus is located in a safe, rural community in coastal Downeast Maine. The location enhances the nurturing environment created by a low student-teacher ratio, individualized attention, and a welcoming community. Just 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the area also provides excellent recreational opportunities, including kayaking, sailing, fishing, hiking, and nature walks.
Washington Academy is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and is a member of the Maine Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Independent School Association of Northern New England (ISANNE), The association of Boarding Schools (TABS), the Enrollment Management Association (formerly SSATB), and The North American Boarding Initiative (NABI).
The Academy offers a challenging and comprehensive curriculum to meet the needs of students of varying academic abilities. Courses range from training opportunities in boat building to Early College, Advanced Placement, Honors courses in many disciplines, including Marketing & Entrepreneurship, Holocaust Studies, Marine Biology, International Business, Outdoor Leadership, Nursing, and all of the college prep core courses. More than 100 courses are offered, with class sizes ranging from 2 to 20. The average class size is 16 and the student-teacher ratio is 11:1. Twenty (23) credits are required for graduation. Required credits include 4 credits in English; 3 credits in science, including 1 credit in biology or coastal studies/environmental science and 1 credit in chemistry or physical science; 4credits in math; 3 credits in social studies, including 1 credit in U.S. history and 1 credit in world history or AP European history; ½ credit in health; 1 credit in physical education; 1 credit in fine arts; and 1 credit in adviser/advisee. Students are given latitude in selecting electives, which include many fine arts courses, such as advanced digital photography, music composition, and concert chorus. Other electives include Advanced Placement courses, foreign languages (Spanish, Chinese, and Latin), coastal ecology, and internships, including an exploratory course in health occupations at a local hospital. The curriculum includes English as a second language (ESL). Students are provided with basic, intermediate, and advanced ESL. International students are integrated into classes within the regular curriculum. Block 5 classes include learning labs, standard curriculum courses, as well as support labs in English and math, and many recreational activities. The Academy operates on a two-semester system. Reports with grades and comments are sent to parents every four weeks. All students are issued laptop computers.
Washington Academy students can enroll in University of Maine freshmen classes on the Machias campus and receive college credit with a passing grade. Students can also dual enroll in Husson University and Thomas College courses taught at WA by WA’s masters level teachers. Many students receive enough college credit to enroll at university as a sophomore. WA offers 9 early college courses on campus.
Center For Dynamic Learning
College-bound high school students requiring additional support and focus can add smaller study halls to their schedule and take advantage of the Center’s educational staff for tutoring and academic enrichment. Personal learning plans are developed for each student and a case management team monitors student progress throughout the school year.
College Admission Counseling
The Guidance Office assists students in preparing for their postsecondary education and career objectives. Two full-time counselors and a full-time college placement counselor assist in researching colleges, admissions and financial aid applications, and scholarship. Visits by college representatives to the Academy are open to interested students. In recent years, on average, 92 percent of the graduating class has applied and been accepted to colleges or universities. International matriculation nears 100% each year. Recent graduates have been accepted at American, Bates, Bowdoin, Boston University, Bryant, Cornell, Dartmouth, Ithaca, Maine Maritime Academy, Middlebury, MIT, Roger Williams, Vassar, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Maine, to name a few.
For international students, Washington Academy has agreements in place with several universities that will extend application deadlines, waive requirements for recommendations and some testing, and offer scholarships.
Tutors for SAT and TOEFL prep are available for all students, as are tutors for TEOFL and ACT prep. This is included in the tuition cost. Washington Academy is a registered SAT test center; students are able to register and take the SAT multiple times on Washington Academy’s campus throughout the school year. In addition, Washington Academy is a TOEFL Test Center, so students do not have to travel to take the TOEFL, and can take this exam multiple time during the school year by registering right on campus.
Boarding and General Facilities
Washington Academy currently operates three boarding facilities. The newest dormitory opened in December 2006 and houses 48 boys. The Larson dormitory houses up to 12 boys, with 2 students in each room. The Cates dormitory, with its recent sixteen-bed addition, has the capacity to house 32 girls. Internet and cable access is available in all rooms. The Academy’s residential faculty live in the dormitories and provide 24- hour supervision the students. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided each day in the school dining hall. Weekend and after-school activities are coordinated, including transportation, by the Office of Residential Life.
An alternative to dormitory living on Washington Academy’s campus, the Homestay Program provides some of our international students with a unique opportunity to reside with a family and to enjoy the benefits of home life. Many of our international students that do not travel over the school breaks can request a homestay for vacations. This gives them both the opportunity to live on campus in a dorm and to experience the culture and traditions of American families. Families in the program have been carefully screened and matched with incoming students.
The Academy promotes sports and activities as an integral part of the educational process. Team sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and wrestling. The Academy competes with both private and public schools in the area. The Academy has competed in many eastern Maine and state championships, winning Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling, and Cheering multiple times. Due to the rural setting, the community is very involved in the Academy’s athletic program. The amount of support and pride from fans is tremendous and has been more evident with the addition of a second lighted athletic field in 2016, allowing for more community attendance during evening hours. A state of the art fitness center is located in the Gardner Gymnasium. Two athletic fields occupy the rear portion of the campus and consist of football, soccer, baseball, and softball fields, as well as four tennis courts. The Academy has a wooded 5K cross-country trail that covers blueberry fields and shaded pine tree stands. Outdoor basketball courts are located behind the rear parking lot. WA students have open access to the pool located at the Center For Life Long Learning at the University of Maine-Machias campus, just 2 miles from WA.
Washington Academy seeks students who are likely to both benefit from and positively contribute to the school and its student body. Entrance tests are recommended- SLATE, IELTS, TOEFL or similar scores are accepted for international students to determine placement for ESL courses. Admission decisions are made by an Admissions Committee after reviewing information on the candidate’s academic ability, achievements, and other interests. Washington Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. The school is committed to ensuring all enrolled students are provided with equal social and academic opportunity. Financial assistance is also available for international students.
The Admissions Office accepts applications throughout the year but strongly encourages fall applicants to send all forms and supporting documents to the Admissions Office by April 1. Parents are notified of the committee’s decision on a rolling basis.
- Estimated Start DateLate August
- Estimated End DateMid June
- Number of Students430 (21% international)
- Teacher/Student Ratio1:13
- Teachers with Advanced Degrees65%
- ESL ProgramsYes
- AP Classes14
- Tests AcceptedTOEFL, TOEFL Jr, IELTS, SSAT, SLATE-Plus
- School UniformDress code
- Year Established1792
- Campus Size75 acres
- BoardingYes (3 dorms and Homestay)
- Countries Represented20+ countries including: Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Rwandese Republic, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turks & Caicos, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
- Foreign Languages OfferedChinese, Latin, and Spanish.
- ArtsCourses in music, dance, theater, visual and digital media arts.
- AP CoursesEconomics, Physics, English Literature/Composition, English Language/Composition, Calculus (level AB), Calculus (level BC), Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, United States History, European History, Latin, Spanish, Music Theory.
- Honors CoursesFor students who want a more rigorous high school program, WA offers honors levels for all English, History, Mathematics, Sciences, and Arts.
- ActivitiesAmbassador Program, Art Club, Chinese Club, Concert Choir, Environmental Club, Gay Straight Transgender Alliance, Student Council, Silver Quill—Literary Arts Magazine, Math Team, Media Arts Club, National Honor Society, Outdoor Club, Pep Band, Robotics Club, Ski Club, Student Media Team, WA Players, Yearbook.
- Sports OfferedFall: Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, and Volleyball. Winter: Basketball, Cheerleading, Indoor Track & Field, Swimming, Wrestling. Spring: Baseball, Outdoor Track & Field, Softball, and Tennis.
- University Acceptance Rate100%
- University Matriculation Rate92-94%