Cardigan’s curriculum is designed to support and challenge each student as the School prepares him for the demanding academic programs characteristic of the independent schools most graduates attend. Mastery of fundamental skills and exploration of content is emphasized in all disciplines.
The curriculum provides each student with instruction in all the core courses and exposure to a number of other complementary subject areas. Cardigan requires all students to take yearlong courses in English, history, mathematics, and science. In addition, a world language (French, Latin, or Spanish) is required of boys not enrolled in Building Confidence in English (BCE) in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.
Beyond the core courses, the School also requires each boy to broaden his horizons and strengthen his scholastic preparation through additional course work in Life Skills, leadership, music, and art or woodworking. Sixth and seventh grade students are also required to participate in the Gates Invention and Innovation Competition. Cardigan also offers a course to all students called Personalized Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge & Skills® (PEAKS), which helps students become better learners and self-advocates.
To learn more about the curriculum subject areas, CLICK HERE.
To enhance the opportunity for each student to achieve academic success, the curriculum incorporates the following provisions:
Classes range up to 16 students; the average class size is 11 students.
The sixth grade is grouped heterogeneously and follows a self-contained classroom model. The seventh grade has several different heterogeneous groupings based on classroom dynamics that follow the exact same course of study. There are normally two levels in each subject in grades eight and nine. In the accelerated level of each grade, more challenging texts are sometimes used, assignments are occasionally longer and more challenging, and often more emphasis is placed upon independent study and thought. The other level in eighth and ninth grade spends more time reviewing fundamentals and solidifying skills. Assignments and examinations are designed to challenge but not overwhelm students in both levels. In math and world language, students will take the most appropriate course based on their ability as determined by placement tests and performance in previous courses taken.
Cardigan provides for the fact that a boy’s ability may vary in different academic disciplines. For example, boys who are struggling in the area of language arts but are more capable in mathematics may be placed in a middle level section for English, history, and science, but in an accelerated level for mathematics. It is not uncommon for a boy to be in accelerated levels of some courses and middle levels of others. Progress is evaluated regularly by the director of studies, department chairs, and teachers and a boy may be changed from one level to another to increase the degree of challenge or enhance his opportunity for success. Alternatively, a boy may be also moved to a more appropriate level if a course is found to be too demanding for that student.
Conference periods are generally scheduled on weekdays. Teachers are at designated locations during this time to give tutorial help to any boy who needs or requests it. A student may use this time to make up work, get ahead in his studies, or seek individualized attention. Before a conference, a student must report to his advisor. The advisor oversees and is responsible for his advisee’s attendance at conferences. A student wishing to see another teacher for a conference must inform his advisor of this intention. If a conference is unnecessary, he will remain with his advisor to study or read independently.
Faculty members at Cardigan have always been noted for their willingness to work with boys needing extra help during daytime study halls, free time in the afternoon, in the evening during study hall, and on weekends. The fact that most teachers live on campus in residence halls affords students further accessibility to assistance. In addition, the academic schedule includes an advisory/conference period several days per week, during which students may work with teachers or meet with their advisors. Over the years, conference period and extra help have proven invaluable to many students in getting the additional attention they need to meet their academic goals.
Cardigan uses a trimester system, and progress reports are produced at the middle and end of each of the three terms. Grading includes both achievement marks and an effort rating in order to encourage all boys to work toward their potential.
Term reports include a commentary on the student’s performance and achievement. Students are graded according to the following scale: A (94-100), A- (90-93), B+ (87-89), B (84-86), B- (80-83), C+ (77-79), C (74-76), C- (70-73), D+ (67-69), D (64-66), D- (60-63), and F (below 60).
In addition to letter grades for performance, students receive grades for effort on a 1 through 5 scale: 1–excellent effort, 2–good effort, 3–average effort, 4–effort needs improvement, and 5–unsatisfactory effort. Unsatisfactory academic achievement or effort may result in mandatory attendance at Supervised Study Hall or loss of off-campus trips and other privileges until improvement is noted.
The honor roll system is designed to recognize students for both achievement and effort. Privileges are extended to those making the honor roll and/or effort honor roll at the end of each marking period.
Honor roll students enjoy these privileges:
- Free use of the evening study hall in a classroom, his room, the gym, the weight room, or the Wakely Center with faculty supervision and permission.
- Ability to study in the library during evening study hall with permission of both the dorm parent on duty and the evening library supervisor.
- Early entrance to the dining room prior to meals, with permission to get their food early.
- Ninth graders only: During the spring term, ninth graders on any honor roll may petition for the privilege to study in their rooms during daytime study halls.
Academic Program Requirements
|Each student is required to take the six major courses at Cardigan: English, history, math, science, a world language (French, Latin, or Spanish), and Personalized Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills (PEAKS). If a student has a documented reason why a world language would not be appropriate, the student and his parents may petition the director of studies to take Building Confidence in English (BCE) in lieu of a world language course.|
Places for Teaching and Learning
|Brewster Hall |
This triad of classrooms is dedicated to the math department. Two of these rooms are equipped with interactive whiteboard technology and all have projectors installed overhead.
These classrooms are dedicated to math and music. In the evening, music lessons take place in Hayward.
One of Cardigan’s main classroom buildings, this complex houses the administrative offices as well as a variety of classrooms for different disciplines. English and history classrooms, as well as the School Store, are located on the first level. On the middle level, there is a science wing with classrooms dedicated solely to science, a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, and a variety of administrative offices. The third floor houses the sixth grade area, the art studio and gallery, and a large multi-purpose classroom.
The other main classroom building on campus, this facility houses more administrative offices, the world languages department, the PEAKS department, the Kirk Library, and Humann Theatre.
The Kirk Library
To allow for flexible access to the library, students may work individually in the library during a study hall if they are on one of the honor rolls or if they have a note from their teacher. The library is open during all class periods as well as during evening study hall. The Kirk Library is a three-tiered, well-equipped multimedia resource center offering students and faculty computer software, audiotapes, videocassettes, and DVDs, as well as approximately 10,000 volumes and numerous journals and periodicals. Thousands of newspaper and magazine articles are available through EbscoHost, a service provided by the New Hampshire State Library. Computers are provided for student use. Affiliation with the New Hampshire State Library’s Automated Information Access System enables users at the school to obtain materials through the inter-library loan process. One full-time librarian and a part-time aide staff the library.
The Humann Theatre
This well-equipped theater comfortably accommodates 250 people, and is used for school drama productions, movies, debates, classes, All-School Meetings, and guest lectures.
The PEAKS Suite
The PEAKS Suite houses the Personalized Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills (PEAKS) department. Each PEAKS coach has his or her office here. A reading area and study carrels are available for the students to enjoy, as is a small PEAKS lab for computer work in classes.
The Charles C. Gates Lab
Located downstairs in the Chapel, this lab is solely dedicated to the Gates Invention & Innovation Competition program. It is equipped with work tables and tools for use by students enrolled in the Gates program.
This has been the longtime home of the woodworking program at Cardigan. Here, the boys find all the tools needed to create the many fine wood projects they produce each year.
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