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What’s Up With Toddy Pond School?

What happened to Toddy Pond School? Our former websites went down and our phones are disconnected. You do the math. We apologize if you are unable to find the answers you are looking for. We’ll do our best to provide you with some alternative information that may help answer your queries.

From the Bangor Daily News

Alternative schools offer unconventional approach for students with behavior problems

“When kids first arrive we ask them what it was like in their previous setting,” said Makin. “Invariably they attribute any success they have to luck or the task being too easy. When it comes to their failures, they point to some external factor and not their own decisions. We really work to attach a source of personal power and responsibility to everything they do.”

Though there is a points-based discipline system and clearly defined standards students are required to reach in academics and attendance, for the most part each student is part of defining and developing his or her own education program and goals. The factor that leads to success for many students is showing them that someone cares. Click here to read more…

REAL School

Exploring possibility

The REAL School is an adventure-based, alternative and special education school serving students with and without disabilities, whose needs have not been met in traditional school programs, and whose strengths have yet to be reflected in their school performance.

The REAL School recognizes that all learners have strengths. Our approach leverages these assets and interests as catalysts for positive change and growth across social, emotional, behavioral and academic goals. While programming to impact these goals is individualized, every individual is a precious and important part of our learning community. Students here are not merely receivers of services – they are active partnersin the development and care of a school culture that supports all members. Our core values of Safety, Respect, Responsibility, and Kindness are directly taught and practiced, and consistently recognized and rewarded. Click here to learn more…

Maine Alternative Private Schools

There are 17 private schools in Maine serving 428 students. Alternative schools typically provides a nontraditional education curriculum and falls outside the categories of regular, special education, or vocational education. Click here to see the entire list…

Getting Scholarships for School

Applying for and obtaining scholarships for private school is really no different than the same process for college scholarships. You just need to know where to find them and what the rules are for applying. For example, many college scholarships require essays. There are several scholarships without essays available too. Finding the scholarship that you qualify for and that is the right fit for you is key. Doing a simple internet search can go a long way. Also, it might be a good idea to ask around. Talk to other parents at the school or to faculty members to see if they know of any scholarship opportunities. Talk to local businesses or business owners. You just never know who might be willing to fork over money in the form of a scholarship to help pay for your kids education.



Trade School Education – Metal Working

For most of us, going to college seemed like an automatic choice after graduating from high school.

And it seems most teenagers make this choice because of the benefit of a higher income that a college degree usually affords us in working life.

But there are drawbacks. College degrees take four years to complete. So, at earliest, most people won’t be able to start their career until they are 22-years-of-age. The second drawback is the cost. The average bachelor’s degree in the U.S costs $125,000.

Luckily, there are alternatives. Attending a trade school is one such option, and it can offer a pretty compelling career path, particularly compared to the typical college path.

A trade course can be completed in 2-years, so the advantages of being able to get on the job ladder two years earlier is obvious. And salaries for the average trade worker are only $50,000 less than an equivalent degree-educated individual over the span of 20 years.

Below I will detail the benefits of a particular trade school educational path – Metal working.


Metal working is a material manufacturing process that produces parts by mechanically deforming metal into parts. Stamping and forging are two major types of metal working processes.

Courses in the metal working field include metal fabrication, which involves an education in welding and cutting processes. If you have even the most rudimentary interest in working with hand tools (like your Electric Knife Sharpener) and heavy duty manufacturing, a metal fabrication course could be truly engaging.

Typically, a student in this field will learn about a variety of cutting and welding processes including flame, carbon arc and plasma arc cutting and flux cored arc, gas tungsten arc and dual shield welding. Apart from sounding completely cool, these processes are vital everyday processes in the life of a metal fabricator.

Another option would be a course in Precision Metal Working. If you enjoy making and fixing things, or like to see how stuff like cars, guns and bicycles work, this could be a good choice for you.

Professionals in this field can work in a variety of specialist areas, such as welding, soldering and brazing, or work in joining pieces of metal to create circuit boards, cars or other manufactured goods. Sheet metal workers use hammers, saws and lasers to create and install roofs, gutters, ducts or signs. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like playing around with stuff like that? You could also be responsible for fixing dents or repairing car frames as an auto body technician, so the possibilities are quite varied.

Lastly, a different route to take would be to take a Metal Working Fluid Management course. For the more science-minded person, a course in this field allows you the opportunity to review the various operations that use metalworking fluids and explore the fundamentals of fluid and additive chemistry. You’ll also get to analyse factors that affect the quality of metalworking fluids and the work environment, learn about the unique aspects of metal working fluid microbiology and toxicology (complex stuff). If that is not enough, there is the possibility to study a wide range of condition monitoring tests, where you get to learn how to use metal-state monitoring to manage metal working liquids in single sumps and large systems.

How to get in

It is worth checking with your local trade school what the exact requirements are to gain admission on to a course, but in general a high school equivalency test pass is accepted in place of a high school diploma if you don’t have one. Generally, nearly all schools accept a pass in a General Educational Development test score instead of a high school diploma.


Trade schools sometimes require students to pass a placement test before gaining entry, of which there are general placement tests that are used nationwide. Individual schools may also require an English basic language, reading and math placement test.


Why It’s Important To Teach Kids Differently

There has been a lot of debate about education in the last few months, with many of it focusing around the so called “common core” standards for

education (you can read more about common core here). There are many states starting to do common core, and just as many states trying to stop common core from happening. Thankfully, we are not interested in engaging in that debate. Toddy Pond School is different, and we focus on different things and use different metrics for success for our kids growth and development  than the common core. We are looking for the development of things that are much more difficult to track, such as problem solving skills, intra-personal relationships and the ability to think critically about a subject or task – things that common core does not (or can not) measure.

This is why our school seems “odd” at first glance. We have the kids spend time not only on “traditional” learning such as reading, math and writing, but we also teach our kids applicable, marketable skills starting in the first grade. We teach them how to garden and how to take care of the land. We teach them how to balance a checkbook and how to budget for expenses so they dont leave toddy pond school unprepared. We know that there’s a real world that they have to function in when they leave our doors, so we try to teach them as much about how to operate in it and find success as possible.

One thing that we want to ensure to talk about is how to teach kids to spend time outside. Mostly, we are trying to get them into good habits while they are young, so they will be “exercising” when they are older and it will not feel like exercise to them – just something that you do when you want to for a bit of fun and to see different sights. We try to take some of our older students (grades 5 and up) hiking at least once every two weeksfor a 2 mile or more hike to get them outside. These hike are not for just exercise of course, we talk to them about the different plants and animals that they see, and what they do for the environment or for humans that makes them special. We talk quite a bit about each different thing we see, and how humans act on it. Since we can get so many questions, we usually try to focus on just one topic (such as trees) when we are out, and will let the kids ask as much as they want about that topic.

When we are out, we also talk about humans relationship with the outdoors. We make sure to bring it up early, and the discussions get deeper as the kids get older. We talk about the different ways that humans use the resources that we were provided. We talk about making lumber, paper and other products when we are talking about trees, and we also always try to find something that they are familiar with that would be made from what we are seeing, such as a bed or a table.

We also talk about how humans manage our resources (mostly to the older kids). We explain to them how logging permits work, why they are there and how the government uses them (and other things) to make sure the forests dont get clear cut like some have. We talk about how they manage hunting and grazing and all sorts of other things, and where they can get more information about hunting. We also talk to them about the web and how much they can learn from that.


Teaching Children to Cook is Great Life Lesson

As parents we all want to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our kids, not only keeping them safe, ensuring that they are healthy and educated, but also preparing them for life beyond child hood – ensuring that they have the skills and experience to make their own way in the world.

It is a complicated world out there and there are so many skills that children need – it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. Perhaps one of the easiest lessons, and one of the most important, is cooking. It might sound a bit over-simplified, especially when it seems that a lot of people exist with pre-prepared meals from the supermarket, or eating out at every occasion, but it is essential for your child to have a basic understanding of how food works, how to cook basic meals, and how to appreciate good food.

No doubt your child will undertake some sort of basic cooking lessons at school, and that is really helpful to teach some of the basics about food and personal hygiene, but most schools are not really equipped for some of the real cooking that your child will have to do when they grow up. Imagine when your child goes to college – sure they could get by just living on pot noodles and take-away pizzas, but is that what you want? Wouldn’t you feel better if they knew how to grill a steak, bake a potato, and make a salad?

One easy way to get your kids interested in food and learning some of those valuable life
lessons is to make it fun and to make it a bit of an adventure. This is where an outdoor activity like camping can play an important role – by being out in the bush or the wilderness, away from all of those modern conveniences, you start to appreciate a lot of the simpler things in life and realize the importance of hunting, gathering, and cooking in order to ensure survival.

But if you don’t have the time or the resources to mount a big camping trip, then why not bring some of those life lessons in to your backyard? Everyone loves barbecues, and everyone loves pork ribs, so a really great activity is to teach your children how to turn a simple barbecue into the best backyard smoker ever seen. It’s a relatively simple process and you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money. If you have a suitable barbecue then you just need to purchase some lump charcoal (as it burns better and gives a cleaner heat than a briquette) and you’ll need some wood chips. Make sure that the wood chips do not have any bark and are not treated with any chemicals, you need a nice clean smoke in order to cook and flavor your meat.

The best smoke cooking results are achieved by cooking slowly, at a low heat, and with plenty of patience. Patience is one of the hardest lessons for children to learn but also one of the most important. The longer you can leave the ribs without looking at them or touching them (and thereby changing the heat levels in the smoker) the better that the results will be at the end. Everyone loves pork ribs, and that is perhaps the most important life lesson of all.