Thetford Outdoor Program

The mission of the Thetford Outdoor Program is to ignite academic curiosity and foster environmental stewardship through outdoor exploration, recreation, and project-based, experiential learning.

The Thetford Outdoor Program (TOP) launched in 2014 with the generous support of the Woodbury Foundation. TOP builds on TA’s long commitment to experiential and outdoor learning, and uses TA’s vast natural resources and the diverse ecosystems of the Upper Valley as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom.

TOP offers students wide-ranging opportunities to learn, grow, and lead outside the classroom. Outdoor and place-based learning is an important part of TA’s curriculum and is embedded into almost all academic disciplines. A cornerstone of the TOP academic program is its multidisciplinary, half-day Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education elective. This immersive outdoor experience explores concepts of environmental science, ecology, nature writing, mindfulness, and more and is open to students in grades 10-12.

TA’s school garden program provides another unique opportunity for students to learn outdoors. The 800 sq ft garden is a hub of student activity year-round. In the spring, summer, and fall, TA’s school garden coordinator works with students to plant, maintain, and harvest a wide variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. With two hoop houses and TA’s greenhouse for winter warmth, the season is extended through the colder months. Food from the garden supports TA’s culinary arts program and supplements our lunch program.

For students interested in outdoor recreation, TOP offers a variety of day and overnight hiking, camping, rock climbing, and canoeing trips through the year as part of the TOP Outing Club. In the winter months, TOP hosts recreational Nordic ski club for students of all ages and abilities. Finally, each summer the TOP Summer Leadership program offers a series of week-long outdoor recreation and leadership opportunities for TA students in grades 7-12. Opportunities include canoeing on the Connecticut River, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, and introductory Vermont Adventure program, Garden Camp, GLOW (for students who identify as girls, ladies, or women always or sometimes), and a student-led trail maintenance crew.

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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.