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Academic Program 2022-2023 FAQs

What is the New Academic Program?

George School’s new academic program combines a substantially revised curriculum and a completely reimagined schedule, called 7-Term. They have been developed together to enable students to maximize their opportunities and do amazing things.

How does the 7-Term schedule work?

The academic year—late August-early June—is divided into 7 terms, each 24 days long, or about 5 weeks.

A single term of a class or other activity is a “mod,” with individual courses ranging from 1 to 3 mods in length, providing the right amount of time to dig into each subject. (In terms of instruction, 3-mod courses are roughly equivalent to a full-year course at many schools.) Mods in a multi-mod course do not necessarily meet in consecutive terms, so the combination of classes and other activities a student takes changes each term.

With 4 mods per term and 28 mods each year, students have a lot of choice in how they explore the curriculum. Students take 3 or 4 classes at a time, typically totaling 20-24 mods per year. This leaves plenty of room for other experiences and free time.

What does the daily schedule look like?

Just as there are 4 mods per term, there are 4 periods (we call them “arrangements”) in the school day, one for each mod. Though the time each is held varies from day to day, each is 75 minutes long, with breaks in between. After the academic day, there is plenty of time for sports, performing arts, clubs and activities, homework, extra help, socializing, relaxing, and enjoying campus life.

How does the schedule impact work load?

With only 4 mods at a time, students can focus on each one and make homework time more meaningful and less stretched.

How does the schedule impact testing and grading?

With 75-minute class periods, teachers can schedule exams and other big assessments when they are appropriate for the course, rather than during predetermined exam weeks.

Grades at the end of each term indicate progress to date, but only the final course grade is recorded on transcripts.

How does the schedule impact AP and IB?

7-Term supports the deep learning emblematic of AP and IB courses.

7-Term’s built-in flexibility enables more students to pursue AP or IB, if they wish, by making it easier to take both the prerequisites and the AP/IB courses themselves while still taking other subjects of interest.

Courses are scheduled during the year in accordance with any fixed external dates, such as AP and IB exams. So, for example, AP and IB courses conclude in terms that finish shortly before their associated tests to allow maximum instructional time prior to those exams.

Some aspects of the IB Diploma Program, such as the Group 4 (science) project and its independent lab work, may be undertaken in their own mods, providing dedicated time for their completion.

How does the schedule impact college admission?

While the academic day will change and the course offerings are enhanced with the new schedule, the approach to college counseling remains the same: to guide students in their college search that is healthy and informed with up-to-date information directly from colleges.

To colleges, the foundation on which an application rests is the high school transcript, which illustrates the student’s rigor and success within the rigor offered at that high school. The question colleges ask when looking at a George School transcript will not change. That question is “How has the student maximized their learning opportunities with the curriculum that is offered at George School”. The 7-Term schedule enables students to learn more broadly and deeply, including through experiential learning—it helps George School students shine in ways that the timing of the school day did not previously allow.

Why Change the Academic Program?

George School is always looking for the best ways to teach students and provide them with transformative experiences to prepare them for a continually changing world. As a result of ongoing, extensive professional development, the school undertook strategic planning that led to a wholesale curriculum review. The same research that drove the curriculum revision led to the new schedule that supports it.

Together, the new, more flexible curriculum and calendar make more choices available. Students still get a broad and deep academic foundation that prepares them well for college, while gaining increased opportunity to take extra courses in areas they love and to participate fully in campus life.

What are the Strategic Goals Supported by the New Academic Program?

Specific goals of the strategic plan made possible by the new curriculum and calendar include:

  • A customizable program of study.
  • A significant interdisciplinary experience for all students.
  • Commitment to the IB Diploma.
  • Enhanced offerings in science, technology, engineering, and math linked to the arts.
  • Inquiry-based learning as a signature pedagogy.
  • Engagement in the local community and world through internships, student-faculty research, enhanced service-learning trips, and other off-campus experiences.

What is the research that supports it?

The field of educational neuroscience has provided new insights into how the adolescent brain learns. We’re talking durable learning here, not memorizing for a test.

For example, research on forgetting and relearning demonstrates the long-term benefits of refreshing previously learned material. These resources provide valuable insights:

How does the new academic program benefit students?

Because the new academic program enables students to customize their education, the benefits are individualized to each person.

What exciting opportunities are made possible by the 7-Term schedule?

The new schedule makes it easier to meet students where they are and take them where they want to go. They can now more easily:

  • “Double up” in an area of interest as early as 9th grade while taking the full breadth of courses recommended in a college-prep program.
  • Accelerate by taking courses that must be followed sequentially (e.g., Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, Geometry and Algebra 2, or a prerequisite and an advanced course) in a single year.
  • Spend a term off campus, such as in a domestic or international service-learning course or an internship.
  • Design and create their own course, with guidance from GS faculty.
  • Build in the supports they need, on a daily basis or in concentrated mods depending on what is needed.

In what ways can students benefit from new options?

  • Students don’t have to sacrifice things they love to ensure they meet graduation requirements (unless they love too many things).
  • George School offers more courses and more other experiences, including internships, structured independent research, and community engagement during a carefully scheduled mod or 2.
  • Students can go deeper into a department or sample more subjects.
  • Term-long service-learning trips have a greater impact, with a strong curricular connection and time for preparation and reflection built in.
  • With only 4 mods per term, students have more time—to get involved in extracurricular activities, seek extra help, enjoy campus events, spend with friends, sleep, and breathe.
  • With only 4 mods per term, teachers have fewer students at a time and therefore more time for each student.
  • Because each term comprises different classes and experiences, school stays fresh and students look forward to what the next term will bring.

How can students achieve varied goals through 7-Term?

Take a look at these sample schedules to see the different ways students can customize their program to reach their goals.

Whom should I contact with questions?

For more information, please contact the Admission Office.