In 1985, a small group of parents and teachers sat around a kitchen table. Some of the parents were also teachers, some of the teachers were also parents. But they all wanted to figure out how to establish an alternative learning program within Portland’s public schools. Together, they worked up some ideas — including a focus on the arts, project-based, hands-on teaching, and multi-age classroom groupings — and took them to the School Board.
From that beginning, the program’s been run with the support of parents and teachers working together. A 1986 State Department of Education Innovative Grant helped teachers, parents and the principal at Hall Elementary School create the program, including the multi-age groupings that were part of the original vision and that are so important to us today.
“Among the works of nature no one can properly call a river deep or a mountain high, without the knowledge of many mountains and many rivers.” – Samuel Johnson
A recent independent audit commissioned by the Portland Public Schools and released in 2014 found the Many Rivers program to be a true alternative for families interested in a “student-centered, experiential, process-oriented, and interactive approach” for their elementary-school children within the public school system.
In recent years we’ve developed our Adventures in Art collaboration with the Maine College of Art in Portland. This has become an essential part of our curriculum over the last several years, and of theirs.
For more information about enrolling your child in Many Rivers, to visit a classroom, take a tour, or speak with a Many Rivers parent, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hall School (207) 874-8205.