• Principal's Message

    Dear Students and Parents,

    Essex High School provides a comprehensive, rigorous, innovative curriculum and schedule. Our curriculum is designed to help meet the numerous needs and interests of our students as they prepare for college and career options. Our world is rapidly changing and the needs of our students graduating from high school now are different than what their parents experienced. 

    The 2018-2019 Program of Studies offers a wide variety of courses designed to meet graduation requirements and also to allow students to pursue flexible pathways of interest. I encourage students to optimize their math skills, be able to write effectively in many venues, and proficiently deliver oral presentations individually, and as part of a team. These are crucial skills you should develop while attending Essex High School, regardless of your college or career aspirations.  

    Please consider the following when thinking about your course selections: 

    • What skills do you wish to learn during your time at Essex High School? 
    • Are your choices challenging? 
    • Are your choices congruent with your personal learning plan? 
    • Are you taking full advantage of our wide array of offerings? 
    • Are you considering a Center for Technology - Essex course or program? 
    • Are you considering an internship your 11th or 12th grade year? 
    • Are you considering a Virtual High School Collaborative or Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative online course?
    • Have you planned an extra-curricular activity? 
    • Have you considered a community service project? 
    • Are you interested in developing a research project in an area that interests you? 
    • Are you learning foundational, personal finance skills and concepts? 
    • How will your many experiences here enhance career opportunities for you? 

    Choices are not always clear and simple. Please take full advantage of our school counseling staff, teachers, and administrators when making your selections. 

    I know you are fortunate to be enrolled in Essex High School. We have a proven track record of success.  Please be an active learner and take full advantage of all that we have to offer. Remember: What you learn today, you earn tomorrow. 

    Respectfully, Rob Reardon, Principal

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    Core Values and Beliefs

    Mission Statement/Narrative

    The mission of EHS is to engage students in learning that is intellectually vital, personally meaningful, and socially valuable. 

    Learning Expectations/Outcomes adopted May 2011 as a part of the EHS accreditation process through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) 


    1. Read and critically analyze a range of texts, media, and forms of art for a variety of purposes.
    2. Communicate clearly and creatively for a variety of purposes and audiences.
    3. Engage in the writing process when producing formal pieces of writing.
    4. Demonstrate a command of grammar, usage, and mechanics in writing.
    5. Formulate questions and solve problems.
    6. Effectively analyze and evaluate information in order to draw valid conclusions.
    7. Demonstrate mathematical literacy and reasoning skills.
    8. Understand which learning styles and strategies best facilitate their own learning.
    9. Demonstrate an understanding of personal finance.
    10. Use appropriate technological tools and information literacy skills to solve problems and enhance learning. 


    1. Demonstrate and foster compassion, respect, responsibility, and integrity.
    2. Work cooperatively and collaboratively with peers and adults within the school and greater community to support academic, personal, and social development.
    3. Make decisions that will positively influence social, emotional, and physical health and well-being.
    4. Understand choices have consequences.


    1. Understand and exhibit citizenship in order to be a contributing member of a democracy and of a global community.
    2. Understand a wide variety of post-secondary options. (Return.)

    Proficiency-Based Grading and Graduation Requirements for the class of 2020 and beyond

    In accordance with Vermont Law Act 77 and the Vermont Education Quality Standards, the Class of 2020 and beyond will be able to demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:
    1. Literacy, including critical thinking, language, reading, speaking, listening, and writing.
    2. Mathematical content and practices, including numbers, operations, and the concepts of algebra and geometry.
    3. Scientific inquiry and content knowledge, including concepts of life sciences, physical sciences, earth nd space sciences, and engineering design.
    4. Global citizenship, including the concepts of civics, economics, geography, world language, cultural studies, and history.
    5. Physical and Health education.
    6. Artistic expression, including visual, media, and performing arts.
    An emphasis on each of the VT Agency of Education’s five transferable skills will be incorporated into the teaching and learning process for each proficiency area.  These transferable skills are clear and effective communication, self-direction, creative and practical problem solving, responsible and involved citizenship, and informed and integrative thinking. (Return to top.)

    Information and Definitions

    Essex High School (EHS) provides a rigorous and varied curriculum in order to support every student with access to state graduation requirements and to support students in pursuing individual interests. Courses listed in this Program of Studies may change due to insufficient enrollment, budgetary constraints, staffing changes, or other factors, including changes in state and national curriculum.  (Return to top.)

    Academic Year

    The academic year includes four quarters, each approximately nine weeks in length.  

    Daily Schedule and Course Credits

    EHS follows a "block" schedule with alternating A and B days including four full blocks (80 minutes each) per day.  Courses can be one semester long for a full block (.5 credit); full year, full block (1 credit); or full year, split-block (Belize Field Study only, .5 credit).  Full year, full block Science and Mathematics courses with an additional 38-minute split-block lab earn 1.5 credits.    

    Flex Block

    Flex Block happens for 30 minutes every day.  One day per week students meet with their Flex Block advisor to schedule their Flex Blocks for the rest of the week.  Scheduling options include academic support at the request of the student or teacher, enrichment activities, and other opportunities including open gym and the library.   

    Full-time and Part-time Status

    Full-time students have at least six classes per semester. Science and Math classes with labs count as two classes and pre-approved alternative credit options count as one class. Part-time students are not eligible to participate in co-curricular activities including athletics, cannot receive Latin Honor designation at graduation, and are not eligible for Honor Roll. Part-time status may affect certain Federal/State benefits and insurance coverage. Approval for exceptions must be obtained from the administration.  

    Personal Learning Plans (PLPs)

    All 9th grade students and any 12th grade student taking a dual enrollment course will create a PLP.  This formal plan and process involves self-assessment by the student to set and achieve learning goals based on personal, academic, and career interests.  PLPs cover personal, academic, and career development in an action plan including deadlines and annual updates. 

    9th and 10th Grade Course Selection

    Grades 9 and 10 serve as the foundation of the EHS program allowing students the opportunity to explore courses of interest and begin to build flexible multiple pathways. Incoming 9th grade students are required to enroll in four core courses (Math, English, Social Studies and Science) and may choose to take additional electives, including courses that meet graduation requirements. Students are encouraged, but not required, to schedule at least one study hall in 9th grade and to enroll in Computers and Careers in either 9th or 10th grade.   A typical student’s first two years at EHS include the following courses: 

    9th GRADE
    • 9th Grade English 1 credit
    • 9th Grade Social Studies 1 credit
    • Mathematics 1 credit
    • Earth and Space Science 1 credit
    • Electives 2-4 credits 
    10th GRADE
        • 10th Grade English 1 credit
        • U.S. History 1 credit

    Course Levels and Sequences

    Some courses are designed around student interest and are open to students of all ability levels. Others are designed around both interest and ability levels. The English, Mathematics, and Science content areas offer leveled courses and describe difficulty levels in their introductory sections.  Students or parents interested in exploring a level change during the semester can begin by communicating with the course teacher or with their School Counselor. Requests are then processed through the School Counseling Office and approved by School Administration.  

    Some content areas have courses that follow a sequence. For example, typically a student is required to take French I before French II. Exceptions are considered if a student meets with their teacher or the content area leader to discuss course selection and demonstrate proficiency in some way.   (Return to top.)

    NCAA Clearinghouse and Athletic Eligibility

    Students who intend to play sports at a Division I or Division II college must register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse during 11th or 12th grade. For specific information about NCAA eligibility requirements and EHS courses accepted by NCAA, consult the website at www.ncaaclearinghouse.org. For more information about EHS Athletics, please visit www.ewsd.org/ehsAthletics 
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    Alternative Credit Options

     Students may have the opportunity to design an alternative program which suits their learning needs in order to meet graduation requirements.  These alternative options can provide students with learning opportunities which may not be available at EHS or may not fit into the student’s school day.  

    Career and Technical Education

    The Center for Technology - Essex (CTE - ewsd.org/cte) and Burlington Technical Center (BTC - burlingtontech.info) provide opportunities for EHS students to access rigorous technical training. Although some similar courses are available at both centers, each center has its own unique delivery model. Students can visit programs at each center to decide which one best meets their educational goals and interests. CTE and EHS are co-located on the same campus. For more information about pursuing technical education opportunities, students can see course information at the end of this document, visit the CTE and BTC websites, and speak with their EHS School Counselor. (Return to top.)

    Independent Programs

    Students interested in receiving high school credit for an independent program must meet with their School Counselor snd complete a pre-approval form BEFORE starting the program. 
      Students can earn .5 credit for 60 hours of community service. A documented description of the community service activity and signatures from on-site supervisors are required. Students will receive a Pass/Fail grade.
      An independent study must be an integral part of an individual student’s program that cannot be met through any of the existing curriculum offered at EHS or cannot be met because of the student’s schedule.  This learning experience may occur on the EHS campus or off site depending on the unique needs identified by the student in his/her application.  Since academic credit can only be awarded by a certified professional, the instructor/evaluator must hold secondary school certification in the proposed content area of study.  All Vermont Agency of Education-adopted standards and proficiencies must be addressed appropriately in the proposed learning opportunity.
      A student interested in an independent study option must meet with a teacher or teacher leader in the appropriate content area to discuss a proposal and get independent study paperwork.  The teacher form provides specific criteria necessary for a successful experience.  Prior to approval, the form requires signatures from the student, parent, teacher or Curriculum Content Leader, School Counselor, and Principal.(Return to top.)

    College Courses

    Students interested in receiving high school credit for a college course must meet with their School Counselor and complete a pre-approval form BEFORE starting the course.
      Vermont`s Flexible Pathways Act (Act 77) provides high school students who are Vermont state residents the opportunity to use two college course vouchers during their 11th or 12th grade years in high school. Students may apply for a voucher for the semester they wish to enroll in a dual enrollment course. The voucher covers the cost of tuition for a course of up to four credits at any participating Vermont college. The voucher DOES NOT cover the cost of materials, textbooks, or transportation. Dual enrollment courses can provide both high school and college credit when successfully completed. Interested students should meet with their School Counselor and visit www.vtdualenrollment.org for more information.
      Early College is a full-year alternative to the 12th grade year of high school. Students take courses in college, completing their 12th grade year of high school and their first year of college simultaneously, tuition-free. For more information please contact your School Counselor and go to education.vermont.gov/flexible-pathways/early-college. You can find information about one example of a science and technology-focused Early College program here: www.vtc.edu/vast-faqs 
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    Online Learning

    Students interested in receiving high school credit for virtual/online learning must meet with their School Counselor and complete a pre-approval form BEFORE starting the course. Virtual/online learning courses are delivered through the Internet. Course work is conducted through a learning platform that may include electronic forums, discussion groups, external resources, quizzes, Skype, social rooms, and electronically-submitted assignments. Learning activities may include pair work, small group work and project work. Courses are taught by licensed teachers with special training in online student support. Online class work time is flexible and can happen during and outside of the regular school day.(Return to top.)
    Options for accessing virtual/online learning opportunities for required and/or elective courses include the following programs:
    • Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative:(VTVLC)
      VTVLC is a partnership of Vermont`s K-12 schools and teachers offering online courses. VTVLC offers semester .5-credit and year-long 1-credit courses. Courses meet rigorous national standards and are designed to meet or exceed school graduation requirements. Twenty-five student slots are available per semester. For more information about VTVLC please visit their website (www.vtvlc.org). To receive EHS credit, students must meet with their School Counselor BEFORE starting the course to seek approval for taking the course and to complete the necessary forms.
    • The Virtual High School Collaborative:(VHS)
      VHS online study program provides students with challenging and engaging student-centered courses that both enrich and expand EHS course offerings. Students gain 21st century global competence skills while participating in an online learning environment with a diverse peer group. VHS addresses students` educational needs by creating an additional pathway to college and career readiness. Twenty-five student slots are available per semester. For more information about VHS please visit their website (www.TheVHSCollaborative.org). To receive EHS credit, students must meet with their School Counselor BEFORE starting the course to seek approval for taking the course and to complete the necessary forms.  
      may be available and must be pre-approved. To receive EHS credit, students must meet with their School Counselor BEFORE starting the course to seek approval for taking the course and to complete the necessary forms.

    Learning Labs and Study Skills Support


    .5 Elective credit per semester

    This course is a specialized instructional program for students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Students receive individualized instruction in reading, writing, oral language and/or math. They may also receive support with organization, behavior/social skills and/or study skills. The focus of the program is to help students understand their abilities and needs and to improve their academic skills so that they may become more independent in their learning.&nbsp(Return to top.)


    This full-block or split-block opportunity provides academic support for all content areas. Learning Lab access is determined through either the Educational Support Team or the student’s 504 team.  (Return to top.)


    The ACE Program is located in the Park Street School in Essex Junction. ACE offers students an opportunity to combine the learning of basic academic skills with the acquisition of life skills and work experience. The individualized academic instruction is geared to the abilities, needs, and interests of each student. Students work to complete the necessary credits to graduate from Essex High School. The ACE Program is an educational resource option, and students who attend ACE may also attend courses at Essex High School and the Center for Technology-Essex. The ACE Program has a maximum enrollment, and students are selected through an application process. (Return to top.)