Watershed School in Camden is scheduled to open to in-person teaching and learning this September. Due to its intentionally small class sizes, recently remodeled building and use of outdoor space, the school meets the CDC reopening guidelines.

In an effort to continue to provide relevant and important academic offerings, Watershed is unveiling two new programs, the Climate Action & Leadership Lab and new interdisciplinary courses that focus on race and ethnicity.

Mila Plavsic has been hired to teach science and to oversee the newly formed CALL program. CALL, Watershed’s Climate Action & Leadership Lab, is an interdisciplinary, project-based, and community-oriented semester experience for high school sophomores and juniors from Maine and beyond. Students can gain a deep understanding of the environmental, political, economic, ethical, and cultural impacts of a rapidly warming climate in the context of climate action and civic engagement. They collaborate with town government and the community at large on environmental projects, and they serve as mentors for other students and municipalities throughout Maine that are creating their own initiatives to address climate change.

Plavsic received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Yale University, and her Doctorate in Conservation Science from the University of Cambridge. She has taught at the University of New England, Babson College, and most recently at the Manhattan High School for Girls in New York City.

The CALL program is scheduled to begin in January 2021. Students who don’t live in the Camden area will be housed with local host families.

Watershed School is also offering a course called Race and Ethnicity in the U.S., for upperclassmen. Taught by History faculty, Joe Kleinman and English faculty, Ronni Arno Blaisdell, the course will engage students in issues of identity politics, race, privilege, and ethnicity. The course will emphasize critical reading and thinking skills, and explore various constructions of racial identity — biological, cultural, and political — while discussing the history of shifting ideas about what race means. The course was suggested last January by a Watershed student, who thought it was important to have a class that was focused on Black literature. In discussions about the course, the faculty and students agreed that bringing an interdisciplinary aspect to the class by adding a history component would give the course greater depth and content.

Ninth and 10th graders will participate in another new course, Introduction to Latinx Literature and the Cultures of Diaspora, taught by Spanish and English faculty member, Marieloisa Dowling. Through the interdisciplinary focus on Latinx literature and culture, this course will cultivate the voices of emerging writers. As an introductory English course, its intention is to develop necessary writing skills, both creative and academic, as well as reading comprehension and retention.

“We hope the introduction of these courses is the first step in a multi-step process to bring more diversity to Watershed School,” said Will Galloway, head of school. “This is a part of our commitment to redesign our academic program to expand diversity in our course offerings and hiring practices, and continue our work to break down economic barriers for anyone seeking an independent high school experience.”

For more information, please call 230-7341 or visit watershed-school.org.