Course Bulletin

Course Selection Guide

St. Johnsbury Academy is a comprehensive, co-educational secondary school serving students in grades 9 through 12 and a post-graduate 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 this ­curriculum guide very carefully.

Grade Progression

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.

Graduation Requirements

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 below.)

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 included 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 here.



Senior Capstone

1 credit


4 credits


3 credits


3 credits

Social Studies*

3 credits

Physical Education

1 ½ credits

Computer Literacy

½ credit

Health Education

1 credits


9 credits

Total Needed

26 credits

*One credit of English and one credit of Social Studies is met through the Freshman Humanities course.

The Health and Computer Literacy requirements are met for freshmen through the Critical Skills course.

St. Johnsbury Academy will not accelerate graduation. Students must achieve four calendar years of resident study in a high school in order to qualify for graduation.

Freshman Requirements

Students entering as a freshman are required to take Freshman Humanities, Critical Skills, Computer Literacy, and Introduction to P.E.

Ability Grouping

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.

Advanced Placement Program

The Advanced Placement program of the College Board is offered to students who 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 (sophomores, juniors, and seniors). Successful completion of an AP exam is recognized by many major colleges and universities for advanced placement or credit, at their discretion.

The Academy offers 30 Advanced Placement courses including: AP Capstone Program (AP Seminar and AP Research), English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, United States History, European History, World History, United States Government and Politics, Microeconomics, Psychology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles, Biology, Chemistry, Physics 1, Physics 2, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Environmental Science, Studio Art: Drawing and Painting, Studio Art: 2D, Studio Art: 3D, Music Theory, French Language and Culture, Spanish Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, and Latin.

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 prior to the exam.

Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma™
and Certificate™ Program

The AP Capstone program is a two-course sequence of AP Seminar and AP Research that allows students to explore real-world issues while developing the analytic, research, problem solving, and communication skills that colleges look for in an applicant.

Students typically take AP Seminar in the 10th or 11th grade, followed by AP Research in 12th grade. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in the AP Seminar and AP Research courses and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills.

Alternatively, students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and Research Exams only will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

The Academic Support and Enrichment Services Center

The Academic Support and Enrichment Services Center (Learning Center) is professionally staffed with faculty representing core disciplines. The Center offers a resource for students to seek support as well as enrichment to pursue their academic interests and realize their potential. Students can access the Center during their unscheduled blocks or study halls.

Grade Reporting

Grades are reported to students and parents four times a year: Mid-semester and at the end of each academic term. Report cards consist of a list of courses taken, the teacher of each course, and the grade or grades for the period being reported. It should be noted that after the name of each course there is a parenthetical abbreviation. That abbreviation signifies the level of instruction at which the course was offered. There are five abbreviations: IS (Individualized Services), BA (Basic), ST (Standard), ACC (Accelerated), and AP (Advanced Placement).

Many of our non-academic and some of our academic courses are heterogeneously grouped; that is, a student will be placed in them without reference to already acquired skills and information. Some of these courses are Computer Literacy, ­Physical Education, Health/Critical Skills, and some technical courses. All of these heterogeneously grouped courses are regarded as standard. Thus, the parenthetical designation after their listing on the report card will be ST.

Students will earn credit in all courses at the successful completion of each semester of work.

The Academy acknowledges superior ­student achievement with two published lists, the high honor roll and the honor roll. Honor rolls are determined by mid-semester and semester grades. To achieve high honor roll status, a student must achieve an overall average of 90 or better. To achieve honor roll status, students must achieve an overall average of 85 or better.

Procedure for Course Selection


St. Johnsbury Academy begins the course selection process. Current freshmen will meet with a guidance counselor to discuss course selections for the next school year and the options available in the context in their own educational plans.


Current sophomores and juniors will meet with a guidance counselor to discuss course selections for the next school year and discuss the options available in the context of their own educational plans. Student course selections will be mailed to parents for signed approval.


A schedule is distributed to each student to discuss with their parents. Student schedules produced in May will not contain teachers’ names or the time at which courses meet. Teacher course assignments and meeting times are not finalized until mid-August. Student schedules are subject to change and academic course loads will be balanced over the summer.

Communication is key to a successful course selection and schedule. Guidance counselors, advisors, students, and parents should be fully aware of the student’s needs and each other’s responsibilities. Senior year courses can be critical in the college admission process. We advise seniors to take a challenging academic course load.

Scheduling Policies

Fifth Course

Students may take a fifth course in a semester if that course is Guided Studies, Freshman Study Skills, Study Skills, English as a Second Language, or a Performing Arts course.

Level Change

Level changes are made only by the Department Chair or the Assistant Headmaster for Academics.

Driver Education

Driver Education during the school year is requested through the course selection request form. Previous requests do not carry to the next year and must be made again. The basis for selection will be by year of graduation. The waiting list will be first come first serve without considering year of graduation.

Teacher/Time Request

Students and parents may not request teachers or times.

Student-Initiated Schedule Change

Student-initiated changes may be done at any time until August 15th.
After that date, student-initiated changes will not be accepted.

Student Schedule Appeal

First appeal to the Department Chair.
Second appeal to the Director of Guidance.
Final appeal to the Assistant Headmaster for Academics.

Rules and Credit Requirements


  • Must take at least seven credits
  • If the student has signed up for eight credits, he/she will
    not be allowed to drop to seven credits once the school year has begun

Juniors and Sophomores

  • Must take eight credits
  • Only those enrolled in Band, Chorus, or Advanced Placement courses may take less than eight credits


  • Must take eight credits
  • Must take Freshman Humanities, Introduction to Physical Education, Health/Critical Skills, and Computer Literacy
  • There are no exceptions for Freshmen to drop below eight credits