Your future, your choice
St. Johnsbury Academy is a comprehensive, co-educational secondary school serving students in grades 9-12 and a postgraduate year. In describing itself as comprehensive, the Academy intends that its curriculum will meet the needs of all of its students regardless of their intellectual ability. Placement in the Academy’s academic program is limited to those students who demonstrate reading and math skills at the fifth grade level or higher. The Academy offers a wide range of subjects and sequences at different levels of difficulty. Because real care should be taken in making choices among our courses of study, and because the number of options available to students is quite extensive, parents and students should read the curriculum guide very carefully before electing any courses or sequences of study. If parents or students have questions that remain after reading this guide, they should seek answers from Academy personnel before proceeding further.
The Academy is a four-year institution. Students normally progress from the ninth through the twelfth grades and finally to graduation by accumulating credits through successfully passing courses of study. The age of a student does not determine grade placement; the number of credits that the student has accumulated is the determining factor. Students enrolling after grade nine will receive a credit evaluation which will include the specific classes and number of credits needed to meet graduation requirements. At any point in the student’s progression through the Academy, if the student does not accumulate the requisite number of credits to advance to the next class, he will remain in the same class until accumulating enough credits to be promoted to the next class. Some students who fall behind are able to make up missed credits and graduate in four years.
In order to be granted a diploma by St. Johnsbury Academy, a student must complete four years of study, and accumulate 26 credits. (See chart on left.) Underclassmen must take eight blocks of study for the year. Seniors must take seven. Again, the decisions that students and parents make in their choice of courses and in the sequence of courses are most important. Students and parents should remember that the choices made for the freshman and sophomore years will strongly affect the options available for the junior and senior years. For that reason, we have attached model paths that typical students might follow at the Academy. Students and parents who familiarize themselves with these paths will find them to be very helpful in making choices. They can be found starting on page 39 of the Course Bulletin.
Because we are a comprehensive school, we admit students whose intellectual capacities and abilities span a wide range. We believe that students learn best when the material that they are required to learn is presented in a form and at a degree of difficulty matched to their abilities. In nearly all of our academic departments, students are homogeneously grouped; that is, they are placed in instructional sections with students of similar abilities and academic preparation.
All of our academic departments offer courses at four levels of instruction: basic, standard, accelerated, and Advanced Placement. Students who are placed at the basic level have demonstrated a need for instruction in the basic skills required to learn the material of the course. Further, they frequently possess less information than their peers. Students who are placed at the standard level of a course have demonstrated average ability and skills. They possess threshold skills and are sufficiently versed in requisite information to be successful in this college preparatory curriculum. Students who are placed in the accelerated level of a course have demonstrated advanced skills and possess considerably more information than most students. They have also demonstrated the ability to learn more quickly than their peers. Students are placed in various levels of instruction after careful study of standardized tests they have taken, recommendations of teachers and guidance personnel in the schools from which they came to us, and consultations with each Academy department chair. Students are not placed automatically at a given level of instruction in any department simply because they are in that level of instruction in another department. It is quite common at the Academy for students to be placed at different levels of instruction within different departments. Further, it is the aim of the basic courses at the Academy to equip the students to move to standard levels of instruction as soon as possible. Department personnel meet regularly to make sure that students are appropriately placed.
The Advanced Placement program of the College Board is offered to students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) who have strong academic preparation and the desire to complete a college level course while in high school. Successful completion of an AP exam is recognized by many major colleges and universities for credit.
The Academy offers 21 Advanced Placement courses including: English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, United States History, European History, United States Government and Politics, Psychology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Environmental Science, Studio Art, French Language, Spanish Language, Japanese Language and Culture, and Music Theory.
Students who are placed in Advanced Placement courses have demonstrated a superior understanding of the subject matter and have signified their desire to attempt to achieve college credit for courses taken while they are still in high school. Students who take Advanced Placement courses are required to take the nationally administered Advanced Placement exam at the end of each course. Payment for the Advanced Placement exam is due in early January.