Academic Courses

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Unified Arts

Arts courses at TA focus on artistic expression, creative problem solving, critique and revision, collaboration, improvisation, and responsible habits of work. Many classes culminate with community performances or public presentations of student work, providing student artists with an authentic audience and real-world assessment of their hard work and commitment to their craft. One Arts credit is required for graduation.

Visual Arts

The visual arts at Thetford Academy focus on visual literacy. How do color, contrast, value, shape, pattern, and quality of line affect the way one reacts to a visual presentation—either in life or on canvas? And in the studio, how does one employ elements and principles of design to portray creative ideas?

Art students at Thetford Academy study how art theory and methods are employed in skillful creative expression. Students work together, learning the valuable disciplines of effective critique and collaboration. Students also work independently, discovering and evolving their own style.

From Middle School Art to Advanced Art and independent studies, every class begins by revisiting and exploring the employment of the elements and principles of design, or, in the case of ceramics and other three-dimensional work, form and function.

Several opportunities exist for students to pursue individual artistic interests. Within any course, many assignments are open to student choice. In Advanced Art and in an Independent Study, students will choose the media in which they wish to work.

Middle School Art

Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation
In grade 7, students create artwork in conjunction with an informal introduction to art theory and its associated vocabulary, as well as art materials and skill building. Projects such as color wheels, posters, and brain- teasing designs allow students to put theories into use. Projects may include printmaking, sculpture, and themes that take into account the time of year. Projects in all seasons will make use of the students’ imaginations.

In grade 8, students paint landscapes and posters, sculpt in clay or papier maché, and draw from observation and imagination. Using the perspective and shading techniques introduced in the classroom, students will learn how to give a sense of three dimensions or depth to their paintings and drawings. Students will draw figures from life using each other as models and create multi-media compositions based on the drawings. Using architecture as a theme, they will explore the rules of linear perspective in imaginative ways.

Art 1

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Art I is an introductory exploration of art materials and methods, with an emphasis on learning technique and employing this knowledge as a tool for personal expression. Students experiment with various media including, but not limited to, pencil, ink, paint, collage, and relief sculpture. The focus on developing technical skill culminates with the fun and challenging tradition of drawing Thetford Academy’s hallways in the linear perspective assignment.

Expressive Drawing and Printmaking

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Using various drawing media such as pencil, charcoal, ink, and non-traditional materials, this semester-long course explores in depth the possibilities of mark-making as personal expression. Emphasizing skill development through accurate drawing from observation, students will focus on still life, figures, and self-portraiture. Students will also use their honed skills for drawing from the imagination and for conceptual work. Experimentation with various printmaking techniques is the focus of the second half of the course. The students will work toward creating a series of prints expressing their interest in a particular subject.

Ceramics: Hand Building & Wheel Throwing

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
This course introduces students to working in three dimensions through the medium of clay. Students will learn hand building and wheel throwing techniques in creating both functional and sculptural pieces, including coil, slab, pinch, and working on the wheel. Surface carving and decoration will also be explored, as well as texture and color, through the use of ceramic glaze. Overarching questions threading through the course are: “Where does the balance exist between form and function in the creation of ceramic art?” and “What is the role of craftsmanship in ceramics?”


Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
The Painting class is designed for students wanting a more focused exploration into traditional painting techniques, as well as more thinking outside the rectangle. Painting class challenges students to combine technical skills with experimentation to develop their visual voice. Emphasis is on the technical qualities of various painting media, (acrylic, watercolor, pastel), as well as the exploration of color theory, in order to understand and use color in a personally expressive way.

Prerequisite: Ceramics or Expressive Drawing and Printmaking

Advanced Art and Independent Art

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
The Advanced Art course is designed for the serious and self-motivated art student. Students develop a series of independent works based on a concentrated area of study such as pottery, acrylic painting, printmaking, or other media the student chooses to explore in depth.

Students are encouraged to explore and experiment with different themes and media, and will often participate in classroom skill- building exercises, and may elect to cooperate in guided service-learning projects such as The Memory Project. A class climate of mutual support and respect is emphasized through regular class critique. Writing a research paper and completing artwork outside of class are requirements of this course. This course may conclude with a public exhibition.

Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor or either Ceramics, Expressive Drawing and Printmaking, or Painting.

Design Technology

The Design Technology program at TA introduces students to design and manufacturing, emphasizing hands- on learning in a collaborative setting. The introductory courses focus on the fundamentals of woodworking, metal fabrication, jewelry making, and introduce students to three-dimensional design software and the computer aided design and manufacturing process. Many students go on to take advanced classes where they design and build more significant projects, such as furniture, musical instruments, metal sculptures, and small buildings.

Middle School Design Technology

Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation
This course introduces students to basic woodworking techniques, wire jewelry making, and wood turning. Emphasis is on the proper use of hand tools, principles of design, appreciation for fine craftsmanship, and shop safety. Students learn to use SketchUp as a three dimensional design software, and use computer numeric controlled machines to embellish their work. Student projects are often displayed at the end of the term.

Design Technology I: Technology for the 21st Century

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2 or 1
This course is designed for beginning Design Tech students who may or may not have any previous experience in Design Tech. The course helps students gain knowledge and skill using a variety of hand tools and power machinery including the table saw, surface planer, wood lathe, and welding equipment. Students are also introduced to the computer aided design and manufacturing process. Students complete individualized projects in woodworking, wood turning, jewelry making, and metal work.

Design Technology II

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1/2 or 1
This course is designed for those students who want to pursue additional studies in one or more areas of design technology. Students are required to utilize computer aided design and manufacturing when appropriate.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Design Tech I with a minimum grade of B and demonstration of ability to work safely in the shop.
Note: This semester-long course may be taken for a half block or a full block.

Computer Graphic Design

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
This course introduces students to computer graphic design, emphasizing the fundamental elements and principles of design and following the National Standards for the Arts. Engaging in the design process, students learn to interpret a design brief, prepare sketches and initial drafts, incorporate client feedback, and follow through with a finished project. Students are introduced to several software programs as they start to design and lay out projects, which might include posters for their class dances; logos, signs, social media posts, etc. for local companies; style guides, media brochures, or other real-world design tasks. Students prepare a portfolio of their work for display at the Arts Night in May. Written reflections accompany each project. While homework is minimal, this course requires student motivation, perseverance, and self-reliance.

Timber Framing

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
Students collaborate to design a timber- framed structure, complete with a scale model, site plan, engineering calculations, brief environmental impact statement, timeline, and budget. They then cut the frame in the workshop, raise the frame on site, and contribute towards the completion of the structure. Readings, math work, and other traditional assignments supplement the hands-on learning. Homework may include spending time outside class hours contributing to the project after school or on weekends.


The Drama program at Thetford Academy offers students varied opportunities to explore the theater arts. Drama production is the assembling of people and things in a delicate balance of believability, in order to bring the artistic creation of a playwright to life. Theater can open up a fascinating world in which students may find opportunities to exercise their drive for self expression and creativity.

Middle School Drama

Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation
This course focuses on improvisation and the fundamentals of acting technique. The class begins with improv games and evolves to individual character development. Students learn to use aspects of voice and movement to enhance a role, and are introduced to theater vocabulary. The class culminates with the performance of a short, selected piece.

Fall Play and Ten Minute Plays

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
The first half of this class is devoted to a full-length production. Auditions are held during the first week of classes. The second half of the course is dedicated to producing ten-minute plays, some of which may be written by Thetford Academy students. Students may act in multiple dramatic roles, and they may also have an opportunity to direct a play. Students in tech roles have the opportunity for hands-on experience creating the technical elements of theatrical production, from set construction and painting to lighting design and sound. Students only interested in tech roles should seek prior approval of the instructor before registering for the course.

Musical Theater

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
This course is offered during TA’s second semester and corresponds with the production of the spring musical. Students who plan to audition for the musical should sign up for the full block of Musical Theater in both the third and fourth quarters. Students interested in tech crew must request permission from the instructor to take this class.
Class activities may include rehearsing and performing the show, determining the scenic and technical requirements of the show, determining the best way to rehearse this particular show, choreographing some of the musical numbers and possibly directing some of the scenes, raising funds and arranging publicity, helping create and/ or gather props and costumes, and helping build and/or paint sets. Note that while much of the rehearsal process occurs during class time, some rehearsals may be required after school and on weekends.


Music is a form of aural expression; its impact upon us can be instantly and profoundly experienced. Music reaches across time and influences us regardless of our differences. Recognizing that music is an effective communicator, provides great joy to both performer and listener, and brings people together. The Thetford Academy Music Department ensures that students:

  • Learn to use music to express what they understand and experience about their world, and to realize and respect what others have said about theirs;
  • Recognize that working together in a cooperative, caring atmosphere fosters positive results;
  • Develop an awareness of the musical concepts of pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, timbre, and form through participation in various performing ensembles, private and small group lessons, and general music activities;
  • Take responsibility for attending class regularly and arriving ready to work, as attendance, work attitude, effort, and commitment are important to achieving the best possible product.

All music classes are semester-long. Under extenuating circumstances, qualified high school students may join classes for the second or fourth quarter with permission from the instructor. Participating in only the first or third quarter is not permitted.


Beginning Instruments

Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation

This course is designed for students with little or no musical experience, and serves as an introduction to playing a musical instrument. Students in the course learn proper playing techniques, music reading skills, how to perform as part of an ensemble, and appropriate care of their instruments. Students perform publicly.

Instrumental Ensembles

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
Instrumental Ensembles meets daily for a half block and performs concerts in December and May and at assemblies and celebrations throughout the school year. Concert attendance is mandatory and is part of the student’s grade for the course. Students enrolled in Instrumental Ensembles learn proper instrumental technique, sight reading skills, basic music theory and its application to their instrument, basic improvisation skills, effective practice and rehearsal techniques, and perform as an ensemble music from a variety of genres.

Stage Band

Grade 9–12 | Credit: ½ or 1 

Stage Band is an upper-level ensemble class for high-school students who are able to read music. The stage band meets daily and performs for multiple events throughout the semester including concerts in December and May. Students enrolled in Stage Band learn and perform music from a variety of genres, learn theoretical concepts in relation to their instruments and the music they are performing, and utilize specific practice techniques to develop their craft. This class also introduces students to essential skills necessary for effective improvisation. They perform and analyze transcribed solos as well as create their own.

Prerequisite: Entry to the class is by audition or teacher permission.



Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation
Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
Choral Music provides training and performance opportunities for all interested students. The course explores music from a variety of eras, styles, and cultures and teaches students the basics of how to follow choral scores and read music. Students in Choral Music work together to create a bright, expressive choral sound and unified ensemble. Performances (in December or January for first semester students, and May or June for second semester students) are a mandatory part of a student’s evaluation.

Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts courses address multiple skills, including food preparation, nutritional health, consumer skills, and time management. Food courses concentrate on the fundamental cooking skills used in everyday life, such as reducing recipes, kitchen safety, and sanitation. In select course-work, students may also look at budgeting and consumer skills: unit pricing, comparison shopping, and time management strategies.

Culinary courses offer practical applications for traditional academics. By using reading comprehension skills to decipher a recipe, math skills to alter quantities, or the scientific method to modify recipes. Students participating in Culinary Arts build transferable skills that can be used across the curriculum.

Introduction to Cooking

Grade 7–8 | Arts Rotation
Introduction to Cooking is a middle school elective designed for hands-
on learning. The course explores the fundamentals of standard cooking procedures, vocabulary, and measurement. Students work through a variety of recipes, including simple entrees, breakfast foods, and desserts, with weekly selections reflecting students’ growing skills and efficiency.

Cooking for Health

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Cooking for Health focuses on both cooking skills and on planning a healthy diet. Students in the course plan and prepare meals from a variety of food groups using the My Plate Food Guide. The course teaches students how to read the USDA Food Nutrition Label to deduce and compare the health quality of different food items. Cooking labs provide an opportunity to try nutrient-rich foods with complementing flavors to make healthy and delicious meals. Empowering students to cook opens the world of food possibilities. Gaining confidence in the kitchen benefits personal health throughout life. Meals made from scratch with real ingredients are more nutritious.

Meal Planning and Preparation

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Meal Planning and Preparation offers students opportunities to develop cooking know-how. Students practice standard cooking methods and are introduced to more advanced culinary techniques. Using the textbook Guide to Good Food, students will cook two to three times per week, while learning about basic cooking methods, techniques, common dilemmas, and best practices. Meal Planning and Preparation is linked to Service Learning, with projects including Empty Bowls for the Thetford Food Shelf and a Holiday Luncheon for the Thetford Elder Network.

Foods Around the World

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Trying new foods with unfamiliar flavors is an adventure in Foods Around the World. Students in this class have the opportunity to select, prepare, and share foods from a wide variety of countries and cultures. The course introduces basic and intermediate cooking procedures, cooking vocabulary, and measurements. In cooking labs, students develop culinary skills through regular practice and experience. In each unit, students dive deeper into a culture’s recipes, comparing regional crops with diet profiles and customs, and learn about the role of spices and their identity in ethnic foods. The course culminates with a smorgasbord “banquet” highlighting each unit with student-prepared dishes and emphasizing ethnic blends of spices, form, appeal, and presentation.


Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Pastries offers students the opportunity to create a variety of pastry shop delicacies including: éclairs, napoleons, palmiers, croissants, Danish pastries, tarts, tortes, artisan cakes, and cookies. Students learn the secrets of flaky and buttery crusts, rich and creamy fillings, and light, airy pâte à choux. This course introduces the techniques for cutting and folding in butter to make laminated dough and blitz puff pastry. Students learn about form, symmetry, appeal, and presentation. This course satisfies the graduation requirement in the Arts.

Food Science

Grade 9–12 | Credit: ½ or 1
The Food Science course uses common food ingredients to explore the nature of matter. Cooking offers informal opportunities to investigate chemical and physical changes, acid and base reactions, phase changes, heat transfer and more. Throughout the course, students will participate in laboratory-food-experiments. Jams, pickles, beef jerky, ice cream, bread and candy all offer a platform to study changes. Exploring the interactions of ingredients and varying the recipe offers students an opportunity to predict outcomes, test hypotheses, make a “better” recipe or make a “mess.” Either way,  students discover connections and draw conclusions. After successfully completing Food Science students will have an introductory understanding of basic chemistry.


Core English courses for students in 7th to 10th grade are required. Juniors and seniors have a wide range of English electives from which to choose. Social Studies courses emphasize skill development in critical reading, writing, and oral expression. Students explore vital concepts in a variety of classes, including U.S. and Modern World History, Economics, and Psychology. The primary goal of the World Languages program is to help students develop linguistic proficiency and cultural sensitivity through the study of French and/or Spanish. By interweaving language and culture, the program seeks to broaden students’ communication skills while deepening their appreciation of other cultures. Many humanities courses provide students the opportunity to pursue honors work.


In the English Department, students work to achieve competence and aim for excellence in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, studying, reasoning, participating in literate communities, and establishing enduring human values. The English Department offers a variety of courses. Core English courses for students in grades 7 through 10 are grouped heterogeneously. Juniors and seniors can choose from a wide range of electives and are required to take at least one credit of English per year. Students with an exceptional interest in reading and writing are encouraged to take additional courses beyond their required core English program.


English 7

Grade 7 | Required
The goal of English 7 is to meet standards of participation in a literate community by talking about books, ideas, and writing. Students accomplish this through reading and writing workshops; in addition, they practice grammar and vocabulary skills. Discussions and writing assignments are designed to help students make connections between their own experiences and the readings. Titles may include: Nothing but the Truth, Day of Tears, The Outsiders, Diary of Anne Frank, and Ghost Boys. Students use the writing process and write “Response to Literature” essays, a personal essay, a persuasive essay, poetry, and other creative pieces.

English 8

Grade 8 | Required
This course emphasizes skill development in reading, writing, speaking, and listening—all essential tools for communication. Students study a variety of both fiction and non-fiction literature, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and personal essays. Over the course of the year, students engage in reading and writing workshops, several interdisciplinary units, and plenty of grammar and vocabulary work. For the final exam, students create an original creative project and essay for an independent reading book. Titles may include Esperanza Rising, A Long Walk to Water, and Twelfth Night.

English 9

Grade 9 (Required) | Credit: 1
English 9 is designed to strengthen students’ academic literacy—the skills of reading, writing, and reflection that are essential to success in high school. Participating in the course’s literate community and sharing ideas and work with others helps students develop both expressive and collaborative skills. Students explore themes of coming of age, respecting differences, human dignity, and justice. Students may read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Twelve Angry Men, The Hate U Give, and Enrique’s Journey. Students write personal responses, responses to text essays, creative pieces, and other assignments as time and interest allow. The English 9 course includes an embedded honors option.

English 10: Identity & Voice

Grade 10 (Required) | Credit: 1
In English 10, students read Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and Emily Bernard’s Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In addition, students study contemporary plays, poems, and a “Book Group” novel they choose from a list of offerings. Students write responses to literature, personal essays, poetry, and vignettes. The course asks students to explore their own sense of identity and voice as readers and writers. “The Anthology Project,” a TA tradition, highlights this exploration. Students collect excerpts of both original and published literature that feel important to them–citing all sources and exhibiting their own artistic touch. To cap off the project, students formally present their anthologies to an audience. The English 10 course includes an embedded honors option.


Creative Writing

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
For students who love literature and want to create their own, this course explores crafting poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and personal essays. For inspiration, students draw upon powerful texts old and new, art, music, and nature, as well as workshops led by local authors. Students frequently read their work aloud to each other during class. Grammar and vocabulary are regular components of study; woven into the examination of rules and definitions is a consideration for how writers control the reader’s experience by the punctuation, grammar, and words they choose. As a culminating project, students present a sampling of their work to an audience in the theater. Reading one’s work aloud is a requirement of this course.

Composition for College & Career

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
This course strengthens students’ everyday writing and vocabulary skills. It aims to make the study of grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary relevant to their lives. Students write a short paper most weeks on a topic that is meaningful to them, and through consistent practice, revision, games, activities, and weekly quizzes, they get better and better at editing their own writing. Reading includes Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle selections from Annie Proulx’s Heart Songs and Other Stories, and Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun.

Science Fiction

Grade 11–12 (10 with permission) | Credit: 1
This course explores speculative fiction through the wide genre of science fiction, including novels, short stories, films, and games. Students will examine how more fantastical worlds and concepts still allow us to explore themes and anxieties present in our current culture, as well as strengthen both creative and analytical skills through essays, presentations, and short stories. Works studied may include Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Kindred, The Thing, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, To Be Taught, if Fortunate, and short stories by Ray Bradbury.

Civil Rights Literature

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
The class explores the history of what is often called the “Classic Civil Rights Movement” by examining the literature of that period, as well as the literature about that period that has been published more recently. There is also an emphasis on current events as they relate to civil rights and racial justice. Course texts include a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including (but not limited to) speeches, poetry, novels, short stories, news articles, and movies. Students will write traditional essays, as well as creative compositions such as poetry and short stories. By exploring the major milestones and markers of the Civil Rights Movements, the course aims to provide students a foundational understanding of the events themselves and the associated literature.

Human Nature in Literature—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
Because students in this course read literature with challenging, unconventional structures, and because they push beyond their current achievements when they write about this literature, the subtitle of this course is “Breaking Boundaries.” The writing focus is on responses to text, specifically clarity of purpose. Students work on choosing apt quotes as evidence as well as crafting dynamic introductions and solid conclusions. This work prepares students for Honors American Literature, college applications, college courses, and…life! After all, being able to make an argument backed up by relevant evidence is a useful skill. In addition, students write poetry and creative non-fiction. Vocabulary study is a weekly component of the course, and students also take an in-depth look at how grammar affects writing style and voice. Reading may include works of literature such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, as well as independent reading choices.

Honors American Literature

Grade 12 | Credit: 1
The primary goal of Honors American Literature at Thetford Academy is for students to develop their abilities as writers and independent critical readers. In this college-level course, seniors read and study selections from some of the best writings of American and world literature—books, plays, poetry, and short stories. The writing component includes personal responses, analytical essays about literature, and a research essay. Honors American Literature is for those seniors with an exceptional interest in literature and writing who are willing to work hard at both.

Prerequisite: Summer reading and writing are mandatory for this course; the assignments may be picked up during the last week of May.

World Literature

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
World Literature gives students an opportunity to expand their global cultural awareness by examining literary perspectives and traditions through the work of non-American writers. This study provides opportunities for dynamic discussion and a deeper understanding of other cultures. The course explores questions such as: How does where we come from impact who we are or who we become? What is the relationship between one’s personal experience and one’s cultural perspective? How does literature reflect the culture? Readings include global selections such as Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Dai Sijie’s Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress, and Camus’s The Stranger. Writing assignments to include informational pieces, narratives, journal entries, and poetry.


ESOL—English for Speakers of Other Languages

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
This course provides English Language Learner students with extra support in the foundations of the English language by enhancing their skills in reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation and listening comprehension.

Social Studies

Social Studies courses help students contextualize modern society and current events through the study of major historical eras, influential individuals and groups, and economic and governmental systems. Students will learn to analyze information and differentiate among fact, opinion, and interpretation, and build a solid background in the skills of reading, writing, and oral expression. All students are expected to complete two major research papers and two oral presen-tations during their high school careers.


Introduction to Social Studies 7

Grade 7 | Required
This course is an introduction to Social Studies focusing on the American experience. It includes orientation to social sciences such as geography, economics, and civics, as well as topics in history. Some units of study include: What is History, Thetford History, Native American People, Slavery, Civil Rights, Immigration, and major American conflicts. For each unit, students are expected to maintain an organized notebook, participate in class discussions, and complete daily homework assignments. Methods of learning include small group discussions, large group discussions, presentations, note taking, projects, research papers, and tests.

Global Studies and Geography

Grade 8 | Required
Global economic, cultural, and political forces increasingly shape our lives in the 21st century. This course aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully navigate our global society. Major questions in this course include: Where are the countries, regions, and major physical features on earth located? What does it mean to be a responsible global citizen? Why should one know and care about what goes on in other parts of the world? Students develop skills in a variety of disciplines, including history, geography, and current events. Coursework focuses on analytical reading and writing, as well as individual and group research projects.

World Civilizations

Grade 9 (Required) | Credit: 1
What enabled the western European nations, in a process that began around the year 1500, to dominate nearly all of the peoples of the world? How didthe geographic positioning, the history, and the cultural traditions of the West create the foundation for all that is familiar to us today? These are the two focusing questions of this course. Knowing, thinking, and writing about how the West developed is crucial to understanding our responsibilities in the world today. This course is divided into 12 units that survey the history of western civilization from its ancient Near Eastern beginnings to the Renaissance. An additional emphasis is placed on academic writing; students complete research papers in this class. This course includes an embedded honors option.

United States History

Grade 10 (Required) | Credit: 1
This course offers a thematic approach to studying US History in the time frame from colonization through the Great Depression. Themes we will examine include American Democracy, Immigration and Migration, The Economy, Labor and Reform, Struggles for Equality, and Imperialism and War. In studying these topics students will be asked to read a variety of primary and secondary sources.  The first half of the course will be dedicated to learning strategies for reading historical texts and focusing on the components of research paper writing. All of these skills will then be used in writing a major research paper during the second half of the course. This course includes an embedded honors option.

Modern World History

Grade 11–12 (Required) | Credit: 1
The society in which we live is a direct result of 20th-century events, both in the U.S. and across the world. This course reviews important domestic and international developments and events since 1900, and approaches the 20th century through the themes of communism versus capitalism, genocide, colonialism, war, human rights, and globalization. Students learn to analyze the causes and effects of important events and developments; compare, contrast, and evaluate conflicting interpretations of historical events; display knowledge of worldwide current events and their impact on the U.S.; write in a variety of styles; and complete a culminating research paper and oral presentation. This course includes an embedded honors option.


Economics—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
This course is an introduction to economics, covering fundamental economics concepts, as well as topics in micro and macroeconomics. These topics include, but are not limited to, scarcity and choice, opportunity cost, markets, prices, supply and demand, gross domestic product, aggregate supply and demand, unemployment and inflation. Additionally, the course will discuss the application of these concepts through the lens of labor and environmental economics.

Social Justice in Action

Grades 9-10 | Credit 1/2
This project based course is designed to introduce students to social justice issues and assist them in discovering their ability to create positive change in their own world. Students will critically analyze various social movements related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Students will also explore and discuss how these concepts influence human understanding, relationships, and behavior. The course will be devoted both to learning about social constructs and movements, and influencing change by designing and implementing a social justice action project within their own community or framework.


Grades 11-12 | Credit 1/2
Learning about civics gives students the skills and knowledge necessary to be active citizens who have a positive impact on their communities. In this course, students discover the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States. This course is designed to provide students with a practical knowledge and understanding of the study of the American government, and its direct connection to its citizens. Students will be able to apply knowledge of the US Constitution and demonstrate their understanding of how the American system of government functions on the local, state and national levels, as well as the impact on individual citizens. Students will also be able to demonstrate their understanding that US citizens have both rights and responsibilities in order for our government to maintain order in our society.


Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
Why do people do the things they do? What does it mean to be “normal”? How do we learn and remember? What does it mean to think and feel, and how do we know? People have pondered these questions for ages, and the field of psychology provides the tools to search for answers. In this upper level course, students will rely heavily upon primary sources, small group work, independent research, and student presentations, as they explore such topics as personality theories, biopsychology, cognition, sensation, emotions, states of consciousness, abnormal psychology, and the interface between psychology and the law.

Gender Studies

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
In this course, students explore how gender roles in the world have changed and expanded since the 1860’s. Students look at the political, social, economic, educational, and gender issues of the past and apply them to contemporary issues. The course focuses on everyday sexism and how it affects not just women but everyone in our culture. Through media and technology, writing, presentations and discussions, students will broaden their knowledge and critical thinking skills while respectfully considering other perspectives.

Food Justice

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2 or 1
We interact with food on a daily basis, and yet its origins and journey are often unclear. This course is designed to introduce students to the complex systems that bring food from farm to table. The study of food systems is dynamic and multidisciplinary, so the curriculum will integrate Social Studies, humanities, nutrition, and environmental science. Students will engage in hands-on learning to discover their place in the complex web of food production, distribution, and consumption. The ultimate goal of the course is to prepare students to become active and informed participants in their own local, regional, and global food systems.

World Languages

All students at Thetford Academy are invited to study languages other than English. Thetford Academy strongly encourages college-bound students to take at least three courses of the same language in high school; four or five courses are preferred. The primary goal of the World Language department is for students to develop linguistic proficiency and cultural sensitivity. By interweaving language and culture, the program seeks to broaden students’ communication skills while deepening their appreciation of other cultures. The language program adheres to the National Standards for Foreign Language pertaining to the 5 Cs: communication, cultures, connection, comparisons, and communities.


French I—A and B |
Spanish I—A and B

Grade 7–8 | strongly recommended
Thetford Academy offers French I and Spanish I as two-year programs in the middle school. Students may start language studies as 7th graders and continue in 8th grade, covering the equivalent of a French I or Spanish I course in two full years of study. Students will need to complete both years successfully in order to advance to the second level as 9th graders.
They will not receive high school credit, but will be able to enroll directly in French II or Spanish II. Please refer to the French I and Spanish I descriptions that follow. Middle School languages teach students the skills to be successful language learners, and place importance on projects, interactive games, and activities.


The World Languages department believes that students of French should be equally proficient in the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The French program emphasizes each of these skills throughout the curriculum. At the end of a three or four-year sequence, students will be able to enjoy communicating with a native speaker about most aspects of daily life, express opinions, and discuss a variety of cultural subjects, including interpretation and analysis of music, poetry, art, and literature. The program offers a communicative, whole language approach that stresses Comprehensible Input.

French I

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
This course is an introduction to the study of French and the francophone world. Students will establish a solid foundation for more advanced study as they develop the tools necessary to communicate in French about a variety of topics drawn from their daily lives. They will gain proficiency in each of the four areas necessary for really learning a second language—listening, reading, speaking and writing—as they acquire basic vocabulary and begin to develop an understanding of the way French works. Components of the class include oral drills, pair and group work, total physical response (TPR), silent writing, games, songs, dialogues, and other activities. All languages exist within a broader cultural context, and an equally important objective of the course is for students to better understand French speakers and cultures around the world.

French II

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
In French II, students improve their proficiency in listening, reading, speaking, and writing as they expand their vocabulary, gain increasing confidence and facility with the language, and deepen their understanding of French grammar. There is an intensive review of the key grammatical concepts and vocabulary from French I at the beginning of the course. As in French I, oral drills, pair and group work, total physical response (TPR), silent writing, games, songs, dialogues, and other activities are all components of the class. A much greater portion of the course, however, is conducted in French. As students gain confidence and facility with the language, they will be expected to communicate with the teacher and their classmates in French. French language websites, video documents, and other realia are used extensively.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of French I with a grade of C or better or permission of the instructor.

French III

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
French III begins with review and expansion of the most important concepts from French II. There is an emphasis on vocabulary development and oral and written self-expression. The class is conducted entirely in French, as students focus on improving their listening comprehension and developing the ability to express themselves fluidly in French. Activities are regularly drawn from French-language movies, YouTube videos, songs, and newspapers. By the end of the class, students will be comfortable in a French-only classroom environment and have the skills necessary to succeed in Advanced French. Students taking this course commit to speaking French during class.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of French II with a grade of B or better or permission of the instructor.

French IV/V—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

In this advanced course, students explore childhood and growing up by reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic, Le Petit Prince. Historical and cultural areas of study are related to this work and to the life and times of its author. Additional topics of study include grammar for advanced-level communication and developing one’s oral and written expression. Students in Advanced French commit to speaking French during class.

Prerequisite: Completion of French III with a grade of B or better or permission of the instructor.


The World Languages department believes that students of Spanish should be equally proficient in the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The Spanish program emphasizes each of these skills throughout the curriculum. At the end of a three or four-year sequence, the student will be able to communicate with a native speaker about most aspects of daily life, express opinions, and discuss a variety of subjects including interpretation and analysis of music, poetry, art, and literature. The program offers a communicative, whole language approach.

Spanish I

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
This course is an introduction to the study of Spanish and the hispanohablante world and helps students establish a solid foundation for more advanced study, travel, and intercultural communication. The number of Spanish speakers in this country is rapidly increasing; therefore, there is both academic and practical purpose in pursuing Spanish. Students will be engaged in a variety of active methods that will contribute to the development of skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Oral drills, pair and group work, total physical response (TPR) exercises, written and oral exercises, games, music, dialogues, multimedia projects, and other activities are all components of the Spanish program. This course explores a wide variety of cultural topics, with an emphasis on the daily lives of young people.

Spanish II

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
This course begins with an intensive review of Spanish I. Methods are much the same as in level I; however, more of the course is conducted in Spanish as students continue to develop the ability to understand, speak, read, and write. Oral work is stressed and self-initiated conversation is encouraged. Students will be prompted to manipulate the language at a more advanced level while expanding vocabulary, applying grammatical structures, and strengthen-ing awareness of cultural similarities and differences. Performance-based assessments such as skits and videos are a regular component of the course. Short readers, various realia and media, as well as a text-based Supersite accompany the text program.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Spanish I with a grade of C or better or permission of the instructor.

Spanish III

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
This course continues the work accomplished in Spanish II, including a review and expansion of many concepts and structures. This level is taught almost entirely in Spanish and requires focused work on the development of fluid speaking, reading, and writing. In addition to text activities, this course includes studies of current events, traditional and contemporary music, short stories and legends, poetry, film. YouTube videos, and other realia and media. Upon completion of this course students will have enhanced their ability to communicate with hispanohablantes about many topics and be well prepared for Advanced Spanish.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Spanish II with a grade of B or better or permission of the instructor.

Spanish IV/V—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

This course is designed to provide an active and rewarding experience as students continue to strengthen language competency and cultural awareness. Each semester offers a different curriculum to suit the demands of enrollment. Students read selections of contemporary and classic literature. Additional resources include news articles, short stories, plays, podcasts, videos, musical selections and other web resources. Topics include the natural environment, current and historic events, influential figures, themes of identity and power in the Americas, and music and art of the Hispanic world. Students who sign up for this course should commit to speaking Spanish only.

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish III with a grade of B or better or permission of the instructor.


The Science and Mathematics departments at Thetford Academy use a hands-on approach to education, one that allows students to collect, record, and analyze data and apply their knowledge and skills  to real-world problem solving. Examples of this include model bridge construction, use of data collection sensors, water  quality monitoring, horticultural design, woodlot management, construction of physical models, statistical analysis, applied mathematics, and business/actuarial analysis.


The Mathematics Department offers a variety of courses, providing multiple entry points and pathways for students to progress in their mathematical competency. The math curriculum at TA is informed by the Common Core standards and the Vermont Framework in curricular content and learning opportunities, particularly the standards for mathematical understanding, problem-solving, and systems.

Graduation Requirements and Course Selection: 

At least three credits of high school mathematics are required for graduation, with Algebra I recommended as one of the three courses. All students interested in pursuing a STEM field should consider taking two years of Algebra, one year of Geometry, and an advanced mathematics course. Students are required to earn two of their math credits at Thetford Academy; for students pursuing a technical program with an embedded math credit, one mathematics credit from the tech center can be counted toward the graduation requirement.

Course Credit Regulations: 

Students who wish to take two mathematics courses in one school year may do so if they have met the prerequisite requirements for the second course and there is room available in the class. If a course is offered at TA and a student takes an equivalent course elsewhere, the student must take the Thetford Academy math course exam and receive at least 85% on the exam for the course to serve as the appropriate prerequisite.

Math I

Grade 7–8 | Required
Math 1 strengthens students’ understanding of basic math concepts such as decimals, fractions, percents and problem solving. The course prepares students for Math 2 or Concepts.

Math II

Grade 7–8 | Required

Math 2 solidifies students’ understanding and application of decimals, fractions, integers, percents, and problems solving. It also begins an exploration into proportional reasoning. The course prepares students for Math 3 or Pre-Algebra.

Math III

Grade 7–8 | Required
Math 3 builds on the discovery-based problem-solving and critical thinking done in Math 1 and Math 2, preparing students for Algebra 1. Topics include evaluating expressions, fractions, ratios, proportions, precents, and introductory geometry. The main area of focus is solving one-variable equations and graphing linear equations. Students need a firm grasp of integer and basic operations to be successful in this course.

Math Concepts

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Math Concepts is a small-group, individualized class, with a curriculum designed for students who need instruction in the foundations of mathematics.

Prerequisite: Placement in this course requires consultation with a school counselor and the math department.

Consumer Math

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

Consumer Math is a small-group, individualized class focusing on the application of mathematical concepts to life skills such as balancing checkbooks, managing expenses, being a savvy consumer, and understanding product discounts.

Prerequisite: Placement in this course requires consultation with a school counselor and the math department.


Grade 9–10 | Credit: 1
Pre-Algebra bridges the gap between basic mathematical functions and algebraic thinking. The focus is on building a strong foundation as students prepare to move forward to Algebra I, Applied Mathematics, or Personal Finance. Topics include evaluating expressions, fractions, ratios, proportions, percents, and introductory geometry. The main area of focus is solving one variable equations and graphing linear equations. Students need a firm grasp of integer and basic operations to be successful in this course.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (C or above) of Math II or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

Algebra I

Grade 8 | Instructor permission required
Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Algebraic thinking is the stepping stone to higher level mathematics. The course begins with a thorough review of the concepts essential to success in Algebra—the order of operations, operations with signed numbers, and the distributive property—and moves on to solving and graphing, linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. In addition, students study factoring, simplifying and manipulating rational expressions, and linear functions. The course includes an emphasis on collaborative problem-solving. The Algebra I course includes an embedded honors option.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of Math III or Pre-Algebra, or permission of the instructor.

Algebra II

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
In this course, students study sequences, statistics, linear models and systems, functions, relations, and transformations. Problem solving and group work make up a large portion of the course. This course is designed for students who wish to develop their mathematical intuition by seeing how math works in real-life situations. It is excellent preparation for the social sciences such as psychology or sociology, and students would be well prepared to continue their study of math by enrolling next in the Statistics course.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of Algebra I or permission of the instructor.

Note: Students must take Algebra II Honors before enrolling in Precalculus.

Algebra II—Honors Course

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1
Algebra II Honors is an advanced mathematics course that helps students prepare for future mathematical study and STEM careers. The course expects students to have a very strong algebraic foundation, including excellent factoring skills. Units of study include matrices, trigonometry, functions, and square roots of both real and imaginary numbers. Graphing various forms of equations and inequalities is an integral part of the course. Students are asked to think critically throughout Algebra II Honors by explaining, justifying, verifying, interpreting, drawing, and labeling mathematical relationships.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of the embedded honors option in Algebra I or permission of the instructor.


Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Geometry covers similarity, congruence, basic trigonometry, properties of geometric figures, transformations, and the geometry of solids. Deductive reasoning and developing mathematical arguments are a central focus. This course is discovery-based and focuses on applications. The Geometry course includes an embedded honors option.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of Algebra I, Algebra II Honors or Algebra II, or permission of the instructor.

Applied Mathematics

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

This course surveys various mathematical contexts through the lens of everyday use. Topics may include carpentry, home budgeting, the mathematics of voting, the geometry of art, and automotive applications. Applied Math is offered for students who have not yet taken Algebra I or Algebra I Honors.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Algebra or permission of the instructor.

Personal Finance

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
This course reviews foundational mathematical skills to navigate common financial topics in the business world and in one’s personal life. Units of study include types of wage payments, taxes, loans, saving and investing options, insurance, and household expenses.


Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
Statistical analysis is the basis of many areas of study. Most college-level students will study some level of statistics to prepare them for their future careers. This course provides a good background preparation for that study. Students learn about data collecting techniques, data analysis, measures of central tendency, and probability. Computer applications and calculators are used throughout the course.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (C or above) of Algebra II and Geometry, or permission of the instructor.

Precalculus—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

This course provides preparation for calculus through detailed study of the elementary functions. Topics of study include an introduction to functions and their algebraic properties and in-depth analysis of a variety of elementary functions. Trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic and polynomial functions are included, with other topics selected by the instructor.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of Algebra II Honors and Geometry, or permission of the Algebra II instructor.

Calculus—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
This course is an entry-level survey of the topics of the calculus of one variable, and includes applications from both differential and integral calculus. While emphasis is on skills, the course also covers the theoretical foundations of these topics.

Prerequisite: Successful completion (B or above) of Precalculus or permission of Precalculus instructor.


The Science Department introduces and develops student awareness of physical, life, and chemical sciences. This is a major responsibility as students become more aware of the ever-changing roles of science and technology in today’s society. With this awareness, students should be able to:

  • Acquire, classify, and utilize scientific knowledge;
  • Understand basic scientific methods and principles;
  • Understand and apply safe lab techniques;
  • Demonstrate proper use and care of laboratory equipment; and;
  • Be environmentally aware.

To fulfill the Science diploma requirements of Thetford Academy, a student must complete three credits of coursework from the Science Department, including Conceptual Physical Science and Biology.


Introduction to Laboratory Science

Grade 7 | Required
This course introduces students to laboratory science through a variety of subjects and experiences. Students will have an opportunity to design experiments, complete engineering and design challenges, collect and record data, interpret results and communicate findings using scientific writing.  Students will engage in units that cover topics related to matter and its interactions, meteorology, climate change and human impact on our environment, Genetics, human body systems and cell structure and function. This course will use our outdoor resources for the purpose of learning as much as possible.

The Flow of Matter and Energy through the Biosphere

Grade 8 | Required
This course examines the transfer of matter and energy through ecosystems, both in the field and in the laboratory. Students explore the ecological structure and composition of a nearby forest and pond ecosystem and delve into the complex dynamics of the biotic and abiotic world, including food webs, nutrient cycles, and species interactions. The physical earth section explores rocks and minerals, the processes that shape the planet, and the geologic history of the earth. Students examine the physical aspects of energy and matter transfer, and the topics of magnetism, electricity, and the nature of light. Finally, students will study botany, focusing on plant parts and their functions.

Conceptual Physical Science

Grade 9 (Required) | Credit: 1

This course is a laboratory-based introduction to the physical sciences with an emphasis on proper laboratory safety and procedures.  Topics in physics and chemistry include motion, energy, force, work, heat and states of matter, as well as the structure of the atom, chemical bonding, and the periodic table of elements. This course also includes a unit on astronomy, giving students the opportunity to better understand the Earth’s (and their own) place in the universe.  In addition to individual and group research projects and labs, students are challenged to complete engineering design projects. This course includes an embedded honors option.

Essentials of Biology

Grade 10 (Required) | Credit: 1

Are viruses alive? If human mass is mostly bacterial cells, who is running the show? If the mushroom on the forest floor is not a fungus organism, what is? This introductory course answers these and other questions and helps students relate modern biology to our ever-changing world. Topics of study include ecology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, evolution, and classification. The course includes a variety of labs and hands- on field explorations designed to further understanding of the scientific method.


Environmental Science: Global Concerns / Local Impacts

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

Environmental degradation on a local, state, and global level may be among the most serious crises of our times. This course on a nearby ecosystem—the Zebedee Wetland—broadens student understanding of limnology (fresh water aquatics), soil biology, air quality, biotic and abiotic factors in these ecosystems, as well as the impacts of human activity and development on watershed ecosystems. Students engage in on-site data collection to analyze and assess the current health of the wetlands. Topics covered include terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, air quality and pollution, geology, biochemistry of soils, and current global issues.Please note:

Note: This course is not being offered in 2022-23.


Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1/2
What makes a star shine? How long will the sun keep shining? What are black holes and how can they form? Astronomy is a general introduction to contemporary astronomy that includes how stars form and how they end their existence. The course gives special attention to the historical roots of astronomy and the exciting discoveries of the past few years. Students learn how pulsars and black holes result from the evolution of normal, massive stars, and how Black Holes are at the center of galaxies and quasars. Astronomy students explore the solar system and constellations and learn to find their way around the sky. In labs, students explore concepts discussed in class.

Advanced Biology—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
Advanced Biology immerses students in study of the biological processes that control and regulate all life. Looking at DNA as life’s “blueprint,” students explore DNA’s role and use as a delivery device for the biological information that drives evolution, as well as its role in medicine, industry, and forensic science. Students engage in a series of labs and independent projects to prepare themselves for college-level work in science, biology, or a health-related field of study.
Prerequisite: Essentials of Biology or permission of the instructor.

Chemistry I: The Study of Matter

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

Chemistry is the study of matter and its changes. In this class, students learn how all matter in the known universe is simply a combination of 92 fundamental elements and how they themselves, and all that sustains them, are made of those elements. To understand this, students study the building blocks of matter, how humans have come to understand them, and how science may be harnessed to predict their inter-actions and create new forms of matter. Chemistry is a compelling tale about how humans have come to make sense of the natural world. This course provides students with the language, information and ideas needed to understand that story, which is still being written.

Prerequisite: Essentials of Biology (concurrent enrollment permitted) and  Algebra I.

Advanced Chemistry—Honors Course

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

Students delve into the part of chemistry involving calculating amounts—how much solid is produced? How much heat is given off? Students learn to write chemical formulas and reactions, examine reactions of gases, analyze how fast reactions proceed and look at a special class of reactions that go forward and backward at the same time. Advanced Chemistry is the essential next step for those students who wish to take a Chemistry course in college for a career in medicine or another STEM field. This course, along with Chemistry 1, is a good preparation for the SAT II test in chemistry.

Prerequisite:Chemistry I with a grade of B or better. (Algebra II and other ongoing preparation in mathematics are recommended.)

Anatomy and Physiology

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
The human body is a finely tuned, resilient, and adaptive machine. Anatomy and Physiology is an exploration of the inner workings of the body in health and disease. By exploring the healthy function of organ systems, students learn how and why things go wrong—that is, when illness or injury occurs. This course covers organ systems including the Circulatory/ Respiratory, Digestive, Musculoskeletal, Integumentary, Nervous, Endocrine, Reproductive, and Immune, with a focus on understanding how the various systems work together to maintain homeostasis.

ZOOBOT! – The Lives of Animals and Plants

Grades 11-12 | Credit: 1/2 or 1

Zoobot is a combination of two half-block courses: botany (the biology of plants ) and zoology (the biology of the animal world). They can be taken individually for .5 credit), or together (1 science credit).

Zoology – Animals are on the move: predators hunting prey, armies conquering new territory both on land and in the water. They have survived for hundreds of millions of years. Their survival has been ensured by reproducing in a way that allows them to morph into new forms, forever adapting to a changing environment. They comprise the kingdom of Animalia, and they include all of us. That’s zoology!

Botany – Plants face the same sort of challenges that animals confront throughout their lives. In order to survive, plants too, have to move. Plants invade territory, they fight one another, and they have to compete for mates. Some plants have developed traps to capture and devour invaders from the animal world. Plants simply operate on a different time scale then animals, making it harder for us to see all this action. Through your study of botany, you will see this kingdom of plantae differently than you have ever seen it before.

The predator-prey relationships within these two worlds have maintained their balance for millions of years. That balance is now shifting due to the dominance of one species in the animal world: homo sapiens; humans. We will explore the inter-relationship between humans and the rest of the living world by reading excerpts from Amy Stewart’s Wicked Plants, and The Animal Dialogues, by Craig Childes, and by drawing from David Attenborough’s documentaries of the plant and animal kingdoms.

Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education

Grade 10–12 | Credit: See below
Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education is a half-day, interdisciplinary course covering a wide range of important environmental topics. The course takes advantage of Thetford Academy’s vast natural resources to engage students in hands-on, outdoor learning and scientific exploration. Students in the course will develop strong ecologic literacy and an understanding of their role in–and connection to–the natural world. Students in Environmental Studies will use field experiments and independent study to take a deeper look at the natural history, ecology, and biologic processes of our local, regional, and global environment.

Note: The course involves embedded work in English and Science over two semesters (four blocks). Students will earn two Science credits, one English credit, and one elective credit. Students can enroll for one semester and receive one Science credit, one-half English credit, and one-half elective credit. Sophomore students who enroll for the whole school year will receive Biology credit.

Food Science

Grade 9–12 | Credit: ½ or 1
The Food Science course uses common food ingredients to explore the nature of matter. Cooking offers informal opportunities to investigate chemical and physical changes, acid and base reactions, phase changes, heat transfer and more. Throughout the course, students will participate in laboratory-food-experiments. Jams, pickles, beef jerky, ice cream, bread and candy all offer a platform to study changes. Exploring the interactions of ingredients and varying the recipe offers students an opportunity to predict outcomes, test hypotheses, make a “better” recipe or make a “mess.” Either way, students discover connections and draw conclusions. After successfully completing Food Science students will have an introductory understanding of basic chemistry.

Note: This course involves embedded work in English and Science over two semesters (four blocks). Students will earn two Science credits, one English credit, and one elective credit. Students can enroll for one semester and receive one Science credit, one-half English credit, and one-half elective credit. Sophomore students who enroll for the whole school year will receive Biology credit.


Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1

In Forestry, students study the forest as a biological community, covering ecological concepts such as energy flow, forest nutrition, nutrient cycling and decompo-sition, and the interrelationships between trees and other organisms comprising the community. Students examine the concepts of disturbance, succession, population dynamics, biological and ecosystem diversity, and wildlife habitat management. Students also study ecologically based manipulations of forests to achieve desired management objectives; develop and apply silvicultural prescriptions to timber and non-timber forest benefits; and learn about soil, forest health, and biodiversity.


Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1/2
This is an introductory course in basic horticulture designed for the student who enjoys watching things grow. The course covers methods and principles of organic gardening, plant propagation, and greenhouse management. It will also instruct students in the proper use of fertilizer; biological control of plant pests; small fruit gardening; lawn and turf grass management; vegetable, herb, and flower gardening; and landscape and garden design. This is a practical, hands-on class that will benefit any future homeowner, gardener, or burgeoning farmer as well as the student seeking further opportunities in the horticulture field.

Physics: Mechanics

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
If something moves, it can be studied – falling objects, wind, and water currents, rockets launching into space, or cars driving down the highway or racing around a track.  Forces allow objects to start and stop moving, turn, and affect other objects.  Forces acting over time and distance lead to a study of energy and how it powers all the objects in our daily lives.  A good background in algebra and basic trigonometry is very helpful for this course and a willingness to apply your mathematical knowledge to scientific problems and projects.

Prerequisite: Algebra II

Physics: Waves, Light, Electricity, and Magnetism

Grade 11–12 | Credit: 1
A bobbing spring or a swinging pendulum begins a study of waves, which then leads to a study of sound, including the basics of music and musical instruments.  You will then take this knowledge and apply it to a study of electrical current and circuits, magnetism, and finally thermodynamics.  Laboratory assignments will emphasize experiments and projects that allow students to explore each of the topics in depth and allow them to further improve their scientific communication skills.

Prerequisite: Algebra II

Engineering and Technology

Computers are available in a variety of locations on campus in a networked system that provides all students with email accounts and internet access under a Responsible Use Policy. Computer skills instruction is offered to students in grades 7 and 8, with the expectation that students will demonstrate proficiency before entering high school.

Middle School Digital Literacy

Grade 7 | Required
In Digital Literacy, students explore what it means to be a digital citizen, expand their understanding of how digital networks and computers operate, and practice using digital tools to learn and create. The class is designed to help students become capable and thoughtful users of technology. Students will find out how long it takes a web packet to travel from Los Angeles to London, make a plan for combating cyberbullying, and learn how to spot an online scam. They’ll discuss subjects such as what information should be kept private and explore some of the ways online companies use data you give them. Once a week, students will spend the class creating with technology: building websites, editing images, creating 3-D models, coding games, animating movies, and more.

Introduction to Computer Science

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1
Computer Science drives much of the 21st century economy, from the software running on your phone when you text your friend, to the programs that help your car’s fuel economy and stability, to programs that decide what to suggest you buy when you visit How do they work? How can you write your own programs? How can you manage information or machines? In this course, students learn to design and write computer programs that solve problems in many different fields. Computer Science is not a math class; there are no formulas to memorize, and if you forget something, you can look it up. Learning computer science involves using some fairly simple tools to build amazing things.

Cybersecurity I

Hackers are working 24/7 to get our data. They want bank accounts, passwords, and access to our computers and networks. They can bankrupt companies, shut down power grids, and change the results of national elections. It’s a war out there, and cybersecurity experts are in high demand all across the world to fight back. Are you interested in joining the effort to protect your personal, local, state, and national security? Cybersecurity is a first step in learning how. Topics of study include protecting vulnerable information and data; learning about and creating systems to deter hackers; and the basic tools and concepts of cybersecurity. The course encourages students to create solutions that allow people to share computing resources while protecting privacy. This course raises students’ knowledge of and commitment to ethical computing behavior. It also aims to develop students’ skills as consumers, friends, citizens, and employees who can effectively contribute to communities with a dependable cyber-infrastructure that moves and processes information safely. The Cybersecurity course is offered through River Bend Career and Technology Center and takes place at Thetford Academy.

Note: Participating students will receive one Elective credit and one-half Technology credit.

STEM Internship with Hypertherm and Fujifilm Dimatix

Grade 11–12 | Credit: See below
The STEM Internship is available by application process to all Thetford Academy juniors and seniors. This course explores career readiness and employment opportunities in the Upper Valley. This unique and innovative learning experience takes place on both Fujifilm and Hypertherm campuses. Participating students will receive one Math credit, one-half Science credit, and one-half Elective credit. Students gain competency in industry safety standards and an understanding of the skills needed for successful employment. Students acquire hands-on experience in all aspects of business, including history, marketing, assembly, accounting, engineering, and research and development. Through this diverse experience, students develop perspective and have the opportunity to discover the benefits and challenges faced by businesses. Interested students should see their school counselor for more information.

Note: Participating students will receive one Math credit, one-half Science credit, and one-half Elective credit.


Thetford Academy’s Wellness program supports a positive and healthy lifestyle through exciting physical education experiences and the study of important health and wellness topics.

Physical Education and Health

Physical Education and Health at TA helps students develop social skills through individual and team activities and physical skills through listening, observation, and practice.
A comprehensive Health curriculum teaches students to make positive informed choices about their physical, social, and emotional health. Students are required to complete two credits of PE and Health combined.


MS Physical Education

Grade 7-8 | Required

Middle school students are combined to create four different sections of middle school PE. MS Physical Education focuses on developing basic skills, knowledge, and group cohesion. We do this by participating in net games, team sports, individual sports, fitness, team builders, and recreational activities. In addition, the middle school students will partake in a three week health unit focusing on sex ed and sexual health.


Grade 10 (Required) | Credit: 1/2
In Health, students are challenged to consider the physical and emotional consequences of sexual activity using class activities, literature, and class discussions. Information concerning birth control and sexually transmitted diseases is presented to facilitate a thorough understanding of responsible sexual health choices. In addition to sexual health, students are challenged to consider the physical, emotional, and intellectual consequences of substance use, as well as identify risk factors for addiction. Information about the acute and chronic effects of two specific drugs, alcohol and tobacco, is presented. Additional topics for class discussion include addiction, family relationships, legal considerations, and life goals.


Lifelong Activities: Individual and Team

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
Thetford Academy offers exciting physical education experiences through a wide variety of activities. These activities challenge the individual to master fundamental motor skills; develop coordination and overall fitness; maintain or increase positive attitudes toward peer groups; practice social skills necessary for participating in individual and team activities; demonstrate physical skills based on observation and listening to instructions; understand physical, mental, and emotional health; and increase knowledge and skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Education activities offered in the fall and spring semesters: flag football, archery, soccer, ultimate frisbee, disc golf, basketball, badminton, pickleball, volleyball, nitro ball, team handball, indoor soccer, and a fitness unit.

Aerobic Fitness

Grade 10–12 | Credit: 1/2
In this course, students utilize the Thetford Academy fitness room to create individual plans to increase muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, coordination,
and agility. Students are taught the proper techniques for using free weights, developing a weight training program, and reducing the risk of injuries. The course also provides opportunities for student athletes to train for a specific sport, allowing them to perform at an optimal level.

Yoga and Mindfulness

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
Finding personal balance in a busy life is important for everyone. The practice of yoga and mindfulness can be powerful tools every student can learn and practice as lifelong skills. It can also help them achieve balance during the school day and beyond. This course focuses on teaching students to develop a stronger, more flexible body while learning and practicing breathing and relaxation techniques designed to manage stress.

Outdoor Leadership and Recreation

Grade 9–12 | Credit: 1/2
The focus of this class will be on building our physical and social health by engaging with recreational activities such as: tracking and animal behavior, disc golf, hiking, orienteering, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and more. The class will also focus on shelter building, trail maintenance, and fire building. We will explore and provide opportunities to be a leader while working in small groups to complete challenges on the low ropes course. This class will primarily take place outdoors unless the weather provides an element of danger, so expect to come prepared for all types of weather.

Outdoor Learning

MS Outdoor Leadership

Grade 7–8 | Elective Rotation
In this course, students learn basic outdoor skills, which may include reading maps, navigating by compass, building shelters and fires, knot tying, tree identification, trail improvement, and risk management.  Some reading is required. The course is designed to support middle school students in the development and application of leadership and teamwork skills. Throughout the course, students learn and practice positive group interaction, respect, inclusiveness, preparedness, and informed, thoughtful decision-making.

Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education

Grade 10–12 | Credit: See below
Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education is a half-day, interdisciplinary course covering a wide range of important environmental topics. The course takes advantage of Thetford Academy’s vast natural resources to engage students in hands-on, outdoor learning and scientific exploration. Students in the course will develop strong ecologic literacy and an understanding of their role in–and connection to–the natural world.

Note: The course involves embedded work in English and Science over two semesters (four blocks). Students will earn two Science credits, one English credit, and one elective credit. Students can enroll for one semester and receive one Science credit, one-half English credit, and one-half elective credit. Sophomore students who enroll for the whole school year will receive Biology credit.

Independent Study

Challenge Course

A Challenge Course gives a Thetford Academy student the opportunity to dive deeply into a topic of interest. Any topic not currently offered in TA’s curriculum will be considered for approval. In the Challenge Course, students will design and plan their own course of study, while gaining experience in time and task management, project planning, self-direction, and effective communication. All Challenge Course Students are required to give a final presentation about their project.

Challenge Courses may be undertaken for varying amounts of credit, up to 1 full credit per academic year. 30 hours of work = ¼ credit. Successful completion of a challenge course will appear on a student’s transcript as a “P” for Pass.

For more information, and to begin the process of writing a Challenge Course Proposal, students should see their school counselor.

Upcoming Events

June 2022

Monday June 27 – Friday July 1

TOP Backpack/Canoe Trip - GLOW



We set high expectations. we challenge all members of the school community to reach their highest potential.


We value initiative, courage and dedication. We take personal responsibility for the goals we set and work hard to achieve them.


We work and learn together. We see teachers as coaches, students as team members, families as partners, and learning as practice and action.


We provide individuals with personalized support and guidance. We care about each other and the larger community.


We respect differences among people. We welcome the contribution of varied perspectives to a rich and flexible school culture.