Indian Island School, Orono Middle School, and Leonard Middle School and Bronx Academy of Letters

This partnership started in 2015-2016. It brings together middle school-aged youth from three different communities who, despite all living along and being connected by the Penobscot River, harbor stereotypes and misperceptions about each other. In 2021-2022, the partnership expanded to include students from the Bronx Academy of Letters in the Bronx, NY.

Partner schools:

In 2021, students from this partnership created a video to show that activism starts with each of us:


Initially this exchange focused on identity, culture, being an ally, and understanding Native and non-Native communities and their shared histories along the Penobscot River. Students then worked together to educate themselves and other students about climate change and its effects on us and our planet. In the following year they focused on school safety and what they can do to address unnecessary violence.

The 2018-2019 cohorts chose to write and perform a song, “These Three Towns,” to express what they had learned in their three-way OBS partnership and to encourage residents of these three communities to see the strengths of these three towns and the benefits of working together.

OBS students and community leaders convened a meeting at Leonard Middle School in early 2020.

The partnership among the three schools continued in Fall 2019 as they examined the importance of “place” in our lives coupled with the value of differentiating between assigned and real identities. This work continued through online meetings with the students at each school while schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020-21, the students worked to create awareness and educate the Orono, Old Town, and Indian Island communities about climate change and equity. They met with town and school leaders and community members to find out what their communities are doing about these issues. They want the people of Maine to know that it is more powerful if we can all work together to address climate change and racial and LBGTQIA+ equity.

During the 2021-2022 school year, these students will again partner as they look at interconnectedness and how they can work together for the common good.