At New Castle’s Maude H. Trefethen School, students receive a unique education that goes beyond traditional subjects. With an enrollment of just 26 students this year, the school offers a wide range of activities including knitting, hurricane tracking, robotics, and cooking Italian food. Despite its small size, the school provides a well-rounded educational experience alongside their public education studies.
The school’s population has always fluctuated due to the limited availability of buildable lots on the island. Principal David Latchaw explained that when families move in, the population increases, and when families move out, the population decreases. Currently, the school is accepting non-resident students from the greater Seacoast community to add to its small class sizes. The school is part of SAU 50, which includes several elementary and middle schools in the area. After graduating eighth grade, students from all four municipalities attend Portsmouth High School.
To accommodate non-resident students, the school has implemented a tuition program. Families from the Seacoast, southern Maine, and northeastern Massachusetts can enroll their children at a yearly tuition of $7,900. Non-resident students who have a grandparent, aunt, or uncle residing in New Castle are eligible for an 80% tuition discount. The school’s current out-of-district student population includes students from the Exeter area and Eliot, Maine.
Despite its small enrollment, the school is not in danger of closing. The ideal classroom size at the school is between 13 to 15 students. Approximately six non-resident students attend the school each year. The school also clarified that no students in SAU 50 are currently using Education Freedom Account funding.
The school’s welcoming atmosphere is complemented by the presence of volunteers. Parents, former parents, and town retirees frequently visit the classrooms to speak and work with the students. The combination of small class sizes, unique educational opportunities, and a tight-knit community make Maude H. Trefethen School a truly exceptional learning environment.
– “Small New Castle elementary school welcomes students from across the Seacoast” – Seacoastonline.com