Innovation Pursuit Program

An Innovation Pursuit (IP) is a completely student-driven and student-directed endeavor. The subject choice is dependent upon each individual student’s passion. Student inquiry is personalized and the outcome is deeper learning and a greater appreciation of the topic. Students who complete an IP do so in addition to their academic commitments and the focus of their IP falls outside of what is offered through the Berwick curriculum. 
Innovation Pursuits directly foster and instill the skills required in 21st century education. Students conduct original research and critically think about new ways to problem solve. Each IP includes creative elements of originality. Students collaborate and make connections with other experts in their fields, and Innovation students strengthen communication skills and share their projects outside of the Berwick community. And it all begins with student choice!

  • An Innovation Pursuit is not an independent study  
  • Mentor collaboration is a crucial element of every IP
  • Innovation Coordinators will assist in the mentor-pairing process.

Faculty Resources

The Jackson Library has a database of community members and their professional interests in supporting innovative projects. Occasionally, a student may have an interest beyond the scope of current faculty. In that case, the coordinators will try to solicit mentors from the greater community, which may include local universities, industries, or professional groups.

Application Process

Applications to this program are competitive and are limited in number.
Applications may be obtained in the Jackson Library or downloaded from the Berwick Academy website. Students will complete the application, obtain parent and advisor signatures, and submit the application to Darcy Coffta in the Jackson Library.
The following timetable should be used as a guide for Upper School Innovation Program applications and precise dates will be communicated to all students and teachers.

Mid-September – deadline for fall applications
Early-December – deadline for winter applications
Late-February – deadline for spring applications*

NOTE:  Spring IPs require prior approval from the Innovation Center Director and will be considered on a case by case basis.
Upper School students will receive an activity credit for successful completion of the Innovation Pursuit and presentation at the Innovation Celebration.

IP Enhancements Include:
  • Innovation students may have the opportunity to intern or job shadow as part of the IP.
  • Public speaking opportunities may be available at various school assemblies in all divisions.
  • Financial support may be available and a grant application may be used to apply for aid.
  • Connections will be facilitated to allow for interviewing experts related to the IP.

Students Talk about Innovation

Building an Autonomous Kayak


List of 1 members.

  • Darcy Coffta 

    Director of Innovation & Upper School Librarian
    207-384-2164 x2702

Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

Berwick Academy is Maine's oldest, independent Pre-K through Post Graduate private school. Our community is dynamic, offering challenging academics, competitive athletics, and creative arts programs. Members of the community operate within a context of caring and respect as we pursue our quest for "useful knowledge" as "one school with three divisions." Students and faculty are encouraged to expand their horizons by balancing academics with athletic, dramatic, and musical options.