Academic Departments

As a comprehensive high school serving students in grades 9 through 12 and a postgraduate year, St. Johnsbury Academy offers a rigorous, wide-ranging, 220-course-plus, standards-based curriculum designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide range of abilities, career goals, and interests.


The English Department ensures that students master specific skills essential to the proper use of language and that they know how to write, read, create, and think critically in a world that demands increasingly complex choices. The English curriculum is designed to help students continue to improve their language skills and further expand their developing talents. Students are required to complete one non-elective, core English course each year.


Clear River Review

The Academy’s Journal of Creative Writing and Visual Arts


For several years running, the Academy has published editions of an original creative writing and visual arts journal, the Clear River Review.


View the Clear River Review Submission Guidelines.


For answers to questions, contact Editors-In-Chief, Jenny Mackenzie and Angela Drew, via email at

Social Studies

One of the stated objectives of education is to produce good citizens. In a democracy, this means informed, involved citizens, persons who are willing and able to understand and act upon the critical issues of their times. The Social Studies are replete with controversy, questions of power, decision-making, leadership, duties of citizens, goals for the nation, freedom for individuals, equality of opportunity, distribution of wealth, war and peace—these are issues that must be studied, re-examined, and acted upon by each new generation of Americans. Divisions of opinion are inevitable but an informed, involved, critical thinker is much better able to pursue their task of citizenship. The goal of the social studies department at St. Johnsbury Academy is to develop such informed, involved citizens.


The sequence of courses within the math department curriculum will allow students to accomplish a number of goals. First, students will learn to view math as a blend of patterns instead of a set of isolated topics. They will make connections and construct models and theories that order their understanding of their environment and in this way learn to relate mathematical ideas to everyday experiences and real-world situations. Students will also discover how to adjust procedures to solve new problems and create “real” connections, studying those connections from concrete to abstraction. We encourage our math faculty to spend significant time on each topic, enabling invention and practice. Our math students develop communication, reasoning, and problem solving skills


In our science courses, students participate in a course of study that will enable them to master the processes of scientific investigation, and to design, and safely conduct, evaluate, and communicate about such investigations. They will acquire essential knowledge about the content of science in the fields of physical science, life science, and earth and space science. It is our goal that students will be scientifically literate—able to read and analyze scientific information. Further, science students at the Academy will engage in the authentic practice of science. They will know and understand relationships among science, technology, and human activity and how they affect the world, and understand that science involves a particular way of knowing. They will also understand common connections among scientific disciplines. Finally, students will understand the history of science.


The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Program is an elective, multifaceted system of guidance, coursework, work experience, mentoring, and training for students and teachers that provide students with a pre-university experience in engineering. The Academy’s program aims to increase the number of students—particularly young women and other students traditionally under-represented in engineering—in science and technology programs.


Communication is necessary to establish social ties, to knit people together in relationships, to enhance cooperation, and to develop a global community. In our teaching of language, we emphasize communicative approaches with a goal of providing students with the skills to use the their chosen language outside of the classroom in authentic settings. An integral part of language use is awareness of cultural diversity, both at home and around the world. Language learning is a life-long process, and we strive to provide a foundation upon which students can build in college and elsewhere. We currently offer courses in French, Japanese, Latin, Spanish, and English as a Second Language

Health and Wellness

Along with St. Johnsbury Academy’s dedication to academics, we strongly believe in the importance of one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We strive to support students in gaining the knowledge and decision-making skills to enhance their lives. We believe the programs we offer provide our students with a base from which to build a lifetime of healthy living.

Fine Arts

In addition to offering more than 30 courses in the visual and performing arts, the Academy’s Fine Arts program provides an extremely diverse range of extracurricular opportunities from Art and Fashion club, photo lab to intaglio printmaking. Our semester-based schedule allows all students to include the arts as part of their high school experience – we believe creativity is part of every future.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Center for the Arts provides classroom, studio, and practice/performance space. In addition to classroom and studio instruction by the arts department faculty, students also benefit from frequent workshops and seminars with internationally acclaimed artists and performers.


The Academy actively partners with several local and state arts institutions, programs, and organizations, including the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Catamount Arts, and the Vermont Arts Council as part of our ongoing effort to introduce and encourage young people’s participation in the arts.


Our Humanities program puts freshmen on the track to success at the Academy. The Humanities course is a yearlong, team-taught, interdisciplinary class that focuses on key skills including analytical writing, critical reading, research, and public speaking. Freshman Humanities explores themes of community and identity through a study of world cultures and history. The program culminates with the Humanities Capstone project.


Over the years, the Academy has forged strong partnerships with Catamount Arts, the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center. These relationships provided the perfect opportunity for the Capstone. At these institutions, students are able to pursue an experiment in place-based learning, which highlights the power of place as an educational tool, lens, and opportunity. Extending the classroom into the community allows students to foster a deeper connection within the town.


Students begin work in teams with their partner institutions to research, design, and create their Capstone products for presentation and display. They then work collaboratively to define research questions and assign tasks as a team, and conduct research with local experts. Their ideas about final projects are pitched to their Capstone partners, from whom they receive feedback, and in response they then adjust their work to meet the needs of the audiences who would view it. The semester-long project culminates in a final presentation on Capstone Day.

Career and Technical Education

The St. Johnsbury Academy Department of Career and Technical Education prepares students for both post-secondary education and the world of work. We provide educational opportunities covering industry-specific skill training and credentialing, general employability skills, academic and career skill integration, and personal enrichment. The department prepares our students for current and future educational and workplace opportunities through hands-on learning, authentic workplace experiences, and classroom instruction. These courses provide important benefits to students including career awareness and exploration and applied learning of academic skills.


The Department of Career and Technical Education offers courses in the following areas:

  • Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
  • Architecture Construction
  • Business and Management
  • Career Awareness
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Transportation. Distribution, and Logistics

English as a Second Language

Our ESL program offers four levels, from beginning to advanced, and includes several non-language-specific courses such as US History and Contemporary Issues. Our ESL courses are designed for a full academic learning environment in English. They provide direct instruction in the English language in order to enhance the proficiency level of each English language learner. Students are encouraged to use authentic English in a supportive atmosphere so that each student can achieve fluency, accuracy, and confidence. English language learners focus on the integration of all language skills, including listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary development. English language learners are asked to apply their newly acquired or improved language skills to real life situations. English language learners that proceed through the program are prepared for college admission, as well as for college level work.

Special Services


Multi Tired System of Support (MTSS) is defined as “the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying student response data to important educational decisions” (Batsche et al., 2005). Based on a problem-solving model, the MTSS approach considers environmental factors as they might apply to an individual student’s difficulty and provides services/intervention as soon as the student demonstrates a need. Focused primarily on addressing academic problems, MTSS has emerged as the new way to think about both disability identification and early intervention assistance for the “most vulnerable, academically unresponsive children” in schools and school districts (Fuchs & Deshler, 2007). St. Johnsbury Academy has an MTSS team that meets biweekly to review the model’s implementation and success, in addition the Student Support Team also meets Bi weekly to review, student academic and behavioral information to ensure proper interventions and supports are implemented.


To learn more about our MTSS program here at St. Johnsbury Academy, please use these links as a reference:

MTSS Model

MTSS Flowchart

MTSS Universal Accommodations



We offer additional reading and writing support to all students after school through a reading writing lab staffed by a reading/writing specialist trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach. Orton-Gillingham is a structured literacy approach, breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. While it is most commonly associated with teaching individuals with dyslexia, it is highly effective for all individuals learning to read, spell, and write. The Orton-Gillingham Approach uses a multisensory method to teach reading, which is a common part of effective literacy programs. This means that instructors use sight, hearing, touch, and movement to help students connect language with letters and words. The basic purpose of everything that is done in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, from recognizing words to composing a poem, is assisting the student to become a competent reader, writer, and independent learner. The lab is open Monday-Friday from 3:10-4:15 and by appointment. 


All Academy special educators and paraprofessionals have been trained in the Orton Gillingham approach. We understand the importance of providing a consistent, targeted, multisensory, structured literacy approach for students struggling with reading and writing. We also understand that many students are exceptionally bright and simply need to be presented with information in a different way.


Guided Studies

The Guided Studies program provides services to students requiring intensive attention and support. In addition to learning strategies and time management skills, this program provides individual support including remediation and the development and monitoring of classroom accommodations. Guided Studies instructors maintain frequent parent contact, receive daily grades, progress reports, report cards, and deficiency reports, and are responsible for teacher collaboration and contact. They also monitor a student’s need for a daily conference period and classroom accommodations.


  • Provides support services to students with educational, behavioral, and emotional needs
  • Provides specialized instructions
  • Monitors students’ progress in class
  • Encourages students to develop confidence in their abilities
  • Teaches students to self-advocate
  • Develops good study habits


  • Self-advocacy skills and learning independence
  • Increase academic skills through direct instruction
  • Increase self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Remediate area of need whether academic, emotional or social
  • Partnership between teachers and Guided Studies staff to develop a program that helps students and hold them accountable for their responsibilities


  • Individual or small group remediation/support
  • Intra-personal skills
  • Study strategies
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Organization skills
  • Time management
  • Writing skills
  • Mentoring
  • Behavior management
  • Memorization techniques
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Career planning
  • Goal setting
  • Reading skills
  • Speaking skills
  • Problem solving
  • Self advocacy


Individualized Services

The Individualized Services program is designed for students who require intensive daily support and remediation based on educational, behavioral, and/or emotional needs.


A primary goal is to develop caring and capable young people with a strong commitment to themselves and their community. Toward this end, students learn to identify and understand their own abilities and needs so that they may achieve their highest potential in self-advocacy, self-esteem, and independence.


Outside of the classroom, students in the Individualized Services program are encouraged to participate in the many after-school programs offered at the Academy. They may also participate in clubs, activities, and school-sponsored events. 



Life Skills Program

This program provides students with individualized support for academic and practical skills. This program focuses on the areas of functional academics, self-care, daily living skills, independent living, community access, and job training and placement. Social thinking is also an important component of instruction. By making specialized instruction available to students, the program balances the myriad educational and extra-curricular opportunities at St. Johnsbury Academy with the necessary skills for students to become independent adults and contributing members of the region.


Special Services Categories

Special services are provided for students who qualify in accordance with the State of Vermont Special Education Rules in the following categories: 

  • Intellectual disability
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Visual impairment, including blindness
  • Autism
  • Hearing impairment
  • Other health impairments
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Multiple disabilities
  •  Traumatic brain injury
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness


Please contact our special services department at (802) 748-7184 if you have questions about your student’s eligibility.