Community

The Academy is located in a beautiful setting near the historic Thetford Hill Green. There are no boarding students at Thetford Academy, and no admission requirements. Open admissions foster diversity in the student population, and as a result, the student body exhibits a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and aspirations. TA students benefit from the best traditions of small schools: individualized attention, respect for diversity, a strongly cooperative spirit, and multiple opportunities for leadership, activities, and service.

Purpose & Principles

Thetford Academy is a private school with a public mission: independently governed since its founding in 1819, it serves students from local towns as a community school. While meeting state quality standards for public secondary education, the school also sustains the traditions and character of its 193-year history as a New England Town Academy, Vermont’s oldest secondary school.  

Small Size: With approximately 300 students in grades 7-12, the Academy functions as a close-knit community where each student gets individual attention. In classes averaging 15 students, teaching-learning relationships are personal and supportive. Weekly all-school meetings encourage students from every grade to speak up and share their accomplishments. Cooperative learning formats and all-school events—from mountain climbing and workdays to banquets and festivals —are binding forces for the school community.  

Civic Engagement: Thetford Academy is Vermont’s leader school for service learning, an approach that links academic study with work to meet community needs. Nearly all departments offer courses with community-based learning, engaging students in planning, action, and reflection on authentic issues. Over 90% of Academy students participate in at least one major service-learning project each year.  As organizers and leaders of many projects, students have a strong voice at the school.

Respect for Diversity: Student identity spans a wide range of ability and socioeconomic status, as well as variations in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality. The curriculum expects students to examine issues of diversity in depth and encourages them to engage actively with multiculturalism. Students reflect critically on social problems through methods that accommodate a variety of learning styles. They develop the skills to succeed in an environment where diversity is acknowledged, respected, and celebrated.

 

Opportunities for Challenge:  Small size and a supportive climate foster the confidence to meet all kinds of challenges.  The school encourages both teachers and students to experiment, stretch their capacities, and take risks as learners. With access to multiple fields of endeavor and encouragement to try new things, including self-directed study, Academy students learn to explore their options. Through attention to individual attributes, the Academy strives to stimulate natural curiosity, creative thought, and an appreciation of lifelong learning. 

Location:  Thetford and its neighboring communities are small towns that have been shaped by a long agricultural heritage. Although rural, this region of the Upper Connecticut River Valley, with Dartmouth College ten miles away, has developed a vibrant cultural and civic life. Students have access to both traditional and contemporary values, role models, and careers. 

Thetford Academy is accredited by the Independent Schools Commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and by the State of Vermont through the Public School Approval process.