2020-21 Curriculum Overview by Dean of Academics Mary Ellen Mega
Long Trail School provides students with a rigorous course of study that ensures their success for the future. The curriculum challenges students to establish a strong foundation while providing the skills required to succeed in the 21st century. Our curriculum emphasizes independence and empowers students to become thinkers and creators who embrace learning.
Middle School Acceleration
Middle school students enrolled in an upper school level course will receive diploma credit for this work.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
IB Diploma candidates must complete course work in six subject areas and pass exams in each. They must also take the Theory of Knowledge course, write an Extended Essay based on the study of an original problem, and complete an extracurricular requirement in three areas: Creativity, Action, and Service. The IB Programme is a natural fit with the vision of the school and the upper school curriculum. The IB emphasis on critical thinking, depth of learning, research, and writing skills underscores the philosophy of our program. The IB Handbook provides detailed information on expectations, costs, and offerings.
Long Trail’s Support Services Program provides a comprehensive range of individualized academic support services and accommodations that promote the full integration of students with learning differences into the mainstream college-preparatory environment.
A learning specialist provides guidance and scaffolding, but most importantly leads the student to a path towards independence, and is also a liaison with teachers when necessary.
Students enrolled in the Support Services Program work with an individualized plan, and work one-on-one or in small groups to build skills with a variety of materials. Skills worked on include:
- Basic language skills
- Written expression
- Reading comprehension
- Study skills
- Content support
A complete course of studies listing can be found on our website under Academics or About/Documents.
Permission to withdraw from a course is granted by the Dean of Academics on a case-by-case basis. A student may not be permitted to withdraw from a course if it means that s/he will drop below the minimum course load. During the first full week of instructional days of a semester, students may request to change course(s) by completing the online COURSE CHANGE REQUEST. Courses cannot be changed after the first full week. Requests will be granted if the student was scheduled in the wrong level course. Changes will not be allowed if:
- The class requested has reached its enrollment capacity;
- The class requested does not meet at a time that will complement the rest of the schedule;
- It is strictly a teacher or friend request.
Course work will not be credited, nor will the student be penalized if a course is dropped within the course change period. Courses dropped after this time will appear on the student’s transcript with the grade at the point at which the course was dropped; no credit will be given for work completed. Exceptions for illness or other special circumstances may be granted by the Dean of Academics and the appropriate department chair.
Students are expected to arrive promptly and be ready for class to begin. Students who do not have all class materials may be asked to retrieve them and will be considered tardy.
Commendations & Expectations
A system of commendations and expectations is provided to assist students in developing academic skills and adhering to community norms. Students may receive kudos for exemplary behavior, effort or performance. They also can expect to receive notification of issues when a teacher notices a pattern or behavior that requires attention (i.e. not completing homework). Commendations and expectations are shared with families via email, phone calls or direct contact.
Independent studies are courses in specialized topics not offered within the regular curriculum. An interested student may plan an independent study with a faculty member and submit a proposal for approval to the Dean of Academics. Students are limited to one independent course per semester and, with permission, the independent study can replace a course requirement. All proposals for first semester or full year independent studies must be submitted no later than the course change deadline in order to be considered. Proposals for second semester independent courses must be submitted to the Dean of Academics no later than the first week of January. Students, advisors, and faculty supervisors will be notified whether a student’s independent study proposal has been approved.
Long Trail ’s goal is to work closely with students to select colleges and universities that match their needs, abilities, and interests and then guide them through the admissions process. The Director of College and Career Counseling works with students one-on-one and helps chart the most academically challenging and appropriate path for them and encourages the development of any special skills or talents beyond the classroom. Students are empowered to take ownership of the process. Regardless of name or prestige, a school that is a good fit for a student provides the happiest and most productive post-secondary educational experience.
Upper school students in good academic standing may arrange for either a first or second semester internship in substitution of up to two courses (excluding diploma requirements). The student will work with the Dean of Academics to demonstrate ,in writing, how the internship will meet the student’s learning objectives, how the student will be evaluated, and how the opportunity expands the student’s experience at LTS.
Meeting and Working with Faculty
Faculty are available to meet with students for assistance. Students are encouraged to initiate conferences as the need arises. Scheduled meetings take precedence over extracurricular activities.
While individual teachers may provide distinct guidelines, parents and students should be considerate when contacting faculty outside of school hours. Parents and students can expect emails to be answered by the end of the next school day.
The school or family may request meetings of parents, faculty, and administrators. The school encourages families to work with the classroom teacher as the first step. It is the school’s practice to include the department chair and/or an administrator in meetings with a classroom teacher.
Seniors are expected to complete their final year at LTS in good standing. If a senior fails a course, exceeds attendance criteria, or violates major school rules, participation in commencement may be jeopardized.