Academics

Our rigorous college preparatory curriculum fosters intellectual and personal growth, fluency across disciplines, and a flexible, forward-thinking approach focused around sustainability. We make learning fascinating, challenging, and fun.

At Govs, we know students learn best when they are reaching, stretching, and growing—when they are on the learning edge. Our approach to academics balances the opportunity to achieve with the courage to explore.

Students here learn together with friends and faculty in small, interactive classes—typically about eleven students. Faculty here care deeply about their subjects and their students’ progress. As a community, we applaud and support students’ passionate commitment to develop their own areas of expertise, while encouraging them to explore other fields and discover other interests, too.

Academic Schedule

Our academic schedule is designed to provide ample classroom time while also allowing time for co-curricular activities, community meetings, meals, studying, and some downtime. Each class meets for fifty-minutes four days per week. Once per week, each class is lengthened to ninety-minutesproviding additional classroom time for all AP courses, for lab work in science courses, and for students to seek extra help from the teacher. Otherwise, those forty-minute “X” blocks, as we call them, are classroom breaks for students to use at their discretion. Music performance groups meet in a seventh fifty-minute block, free of conflict with other classes. On Wednesdays, classes end at 12:30 p.m. for afternoon athletic contests and extended drama rehearsals. On all other days, classes end by 3:15 p.m. and students then participate in the Afternoon Program until dinner. Classes do not meet on Saturdays. The full Govs community gathers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and students meet with their faculty advisors on Friday mornings, usually in their Advisory groups.

SEVEN ESSENTIAL SKILLS

At Govs, students practice seven essential skills that allow them to go far in life. Our curriculum is designed to teach students to:

  • Think critically and solve problems

  • Collaborate to achieve common goals

  • Communicate effectively

  • Read thoughtfully and actively

  • Access and analyze information

  • Adapt readily

  • Understand roles in larger community

Four Enduring Qualities

These qualities endure as hallmarks of our students’ education:

  • Family-like atmosphere
  • Academic excellence
  • Dedicated faculty mentors
  • Balance
Elaine White P'16, '21

Academic Dean, Assistant Head of School

I believe that the best work with our students is done in the trenches. It's where they learn to trust us and to realize that we want to inspire them to become their best selves. For me that means, even as an administrator, that I must be fully engaged in as many aspects of our students' lives as possible. It means that my door is open and that students feel welcome to drop by to ask for help, share concerns, or just check in.

In her over three decades at Govs, Elaine has done it all, including serving as Academic Dean for the last twenty years! She was the first female department chair in our school’s history when she took the reins of the English department in 1991. She has coached soccer, field hockey, ice hockey, and softball, lived in dorms, and taught every course offered by the English department. And she is proud to have played an instrumental role in the development of the Academy’s Seven Essential Skills and Visiting Professional Seminar Series.