Academy Pathways

  • What is an EHS Academy? EHS Academies are not stand-alone schools but consist of an integrated pathway of courses and learning opportunities within EHS. Academy students meet the standard graduation course requirements and also participate in Academy pathway requirements. EHS offers students the opportunity to participate in three Academy pathways: the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA), the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Academy, and the Global Leadership Program (GLP).

    Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA)   

    AVPA is for students who wish to develop a passion for learning through exploration, creation and immersion in the arts. In addition to a rigorous experience within EHS visual and performing arts courses, students receive intensive exposure to professional artists through an arts lecture series, hands-on workshops and field trips. The internship and capstone courses offer AVPA students immersion into relevant, real-world arts settings. Students who wish to obtain the AVPA endorsement on their EHS diploma may sign up at any time during their high school career, however it is recommended to sign up at the end of 9th grade.   


    1. Enroll in an AVPA advisory
    2. Create an AVPA electronic portfolio
    3. Earn at least three credits in visual and performing arts courses
    4. Complete the AVPA Internship Course, usually during 11th grade
    5. Complete the AVPA Capstone Project during 12th grade
    6. Earn 30 Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO) points by particpating in AVPA field trips, Guest Artist workshops, and other advisor-approved ELOs

    Students interested in AVPA should enroll in a visual or performing arts course as soon as possible. These courses are: Art 1, Photo 1, Clay 1, Media Communications, Movie Production 1, Theater 1, Improv, Dance: Inclusion Fusion, Advance Dance Studio, Chorus, Symphonic Band, Orchestra, or Film Appreciation. Visual and performing arts teachers can help students with course selection and provide recommendations within a certain area of focus. Please see the Fine Arts section of this document for full course descriptions.

    For additional information regarding AVPA, including how to sign up, please visit

    Course Number: F427       .5 Fine Arts Credit      Grades: 11-12     

    The first phase of this course involves a 20 hour pre-employment skills course. The curriculum includes interactive student activities, site visits with businesses, and classroom presentations by professionals and employers. Students learn soft job skills and prepare to be successful at an internship. The next phase includes a 40 hour internship with a local business where students gain real world experience and learn hard skills. Instructors track and support students throughout both phases of the course. The internship phase necessitates time and transportation outside of the school day.  Students typically take this course in 11th grade.  
    Required for the AVPA endorsement.

    Course Number: F428       .5 Fine Arts Credit      Grades: 12     

    This course actively engages students in the learning process by facilitating student-designed projects.  This process allows students to learn about themselves and strengthen their organizational skills by moving an idea or dream toward a topic of interest, a post EHS application and/or a community need.  It synthesizes previous learning, offers new interactions with ideas and people, results in a showcased product, and submits the student in charge of the project to a review and evaluation by a community panel.  The work culminates in a formal presentation to the community.  Students are expected to spend at least 40 hours of work on their capstone project.  
    Required for the AVPA endorsement.

    Science,Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Academy

    The STEM Academy ( is designed to support students interested in building a strong foundation in the STEM content areas and providing students with the opportunity to explore connections across different disciplines through additional experiences. Students who complete all of the components of the STEM Academy will receive the STEM Endorsement on their diploma to indicate that they have gone above and beyond in the areas of scientific exploration and creativity. This program has been created in conjunction with an advisory board consisting of representatives from institutions including UVM, GlobalFoundries and Champlain College. Students who wish to obtain a STEM Endorsement may start at any time in their high school career, however it is recommended to sign up at the end of 9th grade.


    1. Enroll in STEM Advisory.
    2. Create a STEM electronic portfolio.
    3. Students taking 200-level science courses need to complete at least 11 credits of STEM courses. Students taking 100-level science courses need to complete at least 9.5 credits of STEM courses.
    4. Complete the STEM Internship course, usually during 11th grade.
    5. Complete of a STEM Capstone Project, usually during 12th grade. This project will be completed by enrolling in one of the following courses:
      • Designing Solutions to Global Challenges
      • Mobile App Development
      • Experimental Science
      • AP Environmental Science
      • AP Statistics
      • Entrepreneurship
      • Electronics
      • Robotics
      • CTE Engineering courses
      • Independent Study
    6. Attend 10 STEM Lecture Series events or equivalent Experiential Learning Opportunities (ELOs).

    Course Number: Fall M130, Spring M132, or Online M131       .5 Elective Credit      Grades: 11-12 

    This one semester seminar course is for 11th and 12th grade students who need to meet the internship requirement of the STEM Academy.  Students will use digital research tools to follow current trends in technology and will create an electronic portfolio of their experiences in the course.  Pre-employment skills will be taught in conjunction with our Career Center.  Students will then participate in a 40 hour internship at a local STEM business.  If STEM Academy students are unable to fit the STEM Internship course into their schedule, they may sign up for Course Number M131 (the online option) to earn the 0.5 credit and meet the STEM Academy requirement.  Students participating in the online version of this course will meet with the STEM Academy Leader to create a plan for the course, including preparation of an electronic portfolio on their own time and participation in at least 40 hours of off campus career experiences. 

    Global Leadership Program (GLP)

    The Global Leadership Program ( is Essex High School’s newest academy. GLP is a flexible combination of globally-focused coursework, internships, experiences and activities that are customized to students’ personal, academic and pre-professional goals. With a focus on cross-cultural competency, leadership development, and language acquisition, the program prepares students for both college and careers in today’s competitive global economy. Upon graduation, students receive a GLP endorsement on their diploma to recognize and reward their pursuit of learning and experiences in fields with an international dimension. Students in all grades (nine through twelve) may apply. 

    To earn the Global Leadership Program Endorsement, students must complete the following (in addition to high school graduation requirement):

    • Enrollment in a GLP Advisory
    • Three or more years of study of one world language, which may include study through dual enrollment at a college or university.  (Note: Students whose second language is English may seek a waiver of this requirement.)
    • EHS Internship course (Course Number B340 .5 Elective credit). Note: Students in grade 11 or 12 complete an approximately 40-hour internship, facilitated by the EHS Internship Coordinator, with a GLP employer or organization
    • Two semester (.5 credit) courses or one full year (1 credit) course from the following globally-themed courses list. Note:  These courses may also fulfill graduation requirements. 
      • ENGLISH
        •   Multicultural Literature (.5)
        •   Public Speaking (.5)
        •   World Literature (.5)i
        •   AP Comparative Government and Politics (.5)
        •   AP World History (1.0)
        •   Current Issues (.5)
        •   Facing History and Ourselves (.5)
        •   Introduction to World Geography (.5)
        •   World Cultures (.5)
      • SCIENCE
        •   Belize Field Study (.5 Natural Science)
        •   Designing Solutions to Global Challenges (1.0 Physical Science) 
    • TED Talk
      GLP students in grade 11 (and, for the 2018-2019 school year only, grade 12) complete capstone projects in the form of a TED Talk before an audience of peers, friends, family, faculty and the community. Students share their in-depth knowledge about and passion for an important globally-themed topic. TED Talk global themes support post high school graduation goals.  Students research and prepare their presentations with the support of a GLP Faculty Advisor in the Fall of 2018. 
    • Participation in 10 GLP endorsement events, including:
      • Workshops
      • Guest lectures
      • Performances
      • Film series
      • Conferences
      • Forums
      • Podcast Projects
      • Exchange program participation (Tour Guide, Student Ambassador, Student Host, Scholarship student host, Student Traveler, etc.)
      • Off-campus events such as:
        •  Rowland Foundation Conference
        •  Rotary meetings and/or presentations
        •  University of Vermont lecture series and events


    • Skills and knowledge that support future success in a global economy
    • Opportunities to grow a pre-professional network that supports summer internships and jobs, college applications, and valuable experiences through participation in GLP internships, guest lectures, and UVM and other off-campus events
    • Planning for semester or year-long study abroad programs in college
    • Option to complete GLP as a stand-alone academy or concurrently with AVPA or STEM
    • Achievement of advanced level of foreign language proficiency

    Course Number: Advisory only       0.00 Credit      Grades: 9-12    

    Requirements: Required for GLP Endorsement