Academic Guide/Course Catalogue



The curriculum serves a range of academic abilities. We offer 16 AP courses and 26 Honors sections as well as support for students who benefit from extra help with coursework. Technology, a powerful tool for learning, is integrated into courses across the curriculum. Each classroom has a SMART Board, and teachers use iPads and Apple TVs to enhance teaching. The Director of the Copley Library is current with 21st century research options and serves as a valuable resource to faculty and students. A faculty committee monitors the school’s curriculum and encourages the incorporation of current, sound practices.

Performance and Visual Arts

Canterbury offers an exceptionally strong program in the fine arts. The Canterbury Chorale and the Schola Cantorum perform concerts in the chapel, in the choral classroom, at school meetings, and for special events; the Jazz Band, Rock Band and Concert Jazz Band perform in several shows a year and engage in impromptu jam sessions; and the Orchestra, Classical Chamber Ensemble, and students taking private music lessons give recitals. Vocal students meet in the L. Michael Sheehy ’56 Choral Classroom. The MIDI-lab, instrumental classrooms, a recording studio, and practice rooms round out the Stephen ’43 and Lacy Hume Music Center.

Theater students present two major productions each year in Maguire Auditorium. The fall Shakespeare play and the spring musical always discover new talent in our community. Technical theater is equally important. By opening night, students run the show.

The Visual Arts Department sponsors exhibitions of work by students and professional artists in the Edward J. Duffy Family Art Gallery throughout the year. A wonderful facility, the gallery and its adjacent studios are flooded with natural light. A juried art show takes place each February with work contributed by students in the art classes. The Steele Hall Dining Room and hallways of Hume Hall also provide a venue for displays of student art, and fall and spring Parents’ Weekends feature student art shows. The School’s Fine Arts Calendar informs the community of events in music, theater, and the visual arts.


We believe in the value of the athletic experience in our students’ education. The pursuit of excellence is at the heart of our program, but developing and strengthening the values of sportsmanship, accountability, leadership, and perseverance are major goals. Our program will increase a student’s sense of confidence and self- discipline as well as instill an awareness and respect for life-long fitness and wellness. We believe that daily physical activity is important not only for improving health but also for helping our students perform better in the classroom.

Our athletic tradition is a strong and proud one, best witnessed by the effort, character and spirit Canterbury teams display. The Saints have won both individual and team New England and Western New England Championships over the years and have hosted many championship events as well as annual tournaments. Competitions are usually held on Wednesdays and Saturdays with practices on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Our competitive teams are the foundation of our program. Third and Fourth Formers participate in three seasons--fall, winter, spring--of athletics. Fifth and Sixth Formers may choose to participate in an alternate activity for one season. These options are: media arts, music, theater, managing a team, and strength and conditioning. Provided consent of the Athletic Director, students may opt to participate in a sport off campus that Canterbury does not offer to fulfill the athletic requirement.

Canterbury offers 18 sports and sponsors approximately 35 teams that reflect level of ability and experience. Boys may play interscholastic sports in the following: football, soccer, cross-country, water polo, basketball, swimming & diving, ice hockey, wrestling, squash, baseball, golf, lacrosse, track & field, tennis, and crew. Girls may play interscholastic sports in the following: field hockey, soccer, cross-country, volleyball, basketball, swimming & diving, ice hockey, squash, golf, lacrosse, track & field, wrestling, tennis, softball, and crew.

Canterbury’s outdoor athletic facilities include five grass playing fields, one synthetic turf field, one baseball diamond, one softball diamond, eight tennis courts, and a 440 cinder track used for practice. Home track & field meets are run at the local high school. Our crew team rows on nearby Lake Lillinonah, and 20 ergs are available on campus for workouts. The golf teams play at Lake Waramaugh Country Club. Indoor facilities include an ice rink, four basketball courts, five international size squash courts, an eight-lane 25-yard competitive swim and dive pool, a 60’ x 40’ wrestling room, a weight room complete with free weights and strength and cardiovascular machines, and a fully staffed training room.

Community Service

Canterbury believes strongly that our students should have an awareness of the importance of committing themselves to returning the good fortune in their lives to those in need. We seek to instill a sense of responsibility for and dedication to a lifetime of volunteer service. Students choose from a myriad of community service projects including visiting elders in a nursing home and mentoring at local schools. Students are encouraged to see the need for service worldwide but also within the community in which we live and participate.

Students are active in New Milford Social Services through donations to the food bank, participating in Sibling Shopping, and helping with childcare during weekend retreats. Additional community service activities have included Coaches Against Cancer, Special Olympics Flag Football, Oxfam, Hockey Skates for the Veterans, Penguin Plunge, and American Red Cross Blood Drives. Canterbury cultivated a great relationship with Special Olympics Connecticut and is happy to host events on campus and send volunteers to events statewide. Our faculty members are active volunteers and enjoy working alongside the students.

During March break, faculty members accompany students to Nicaragua and serve at the Fabretto Children’s Foundation helping with projects and interacting with the local students. We also have run service trips to Costa Rica to assist with saving the sea turtles and to Puerto Rico to work in an animal shelter. Each summer, a group of students and teachers spend a week at Lourdes, France, assisting pilgrims. Within the United States, students have completed service projects in Appalachia and Camden, New Jersey.

Canterbury’s clubs, organizations, and athletic teams support current and new causes annually. Students are urged to share local organizations from their home areas with our community and create events to support their cause. Notably, every year brings change and new organizations to campus and students are able to create opportunities based on their interests and concerns.

Student Life

Canterbury’s energetic students lead busy lives but still find time for extracurricular activities. We offer the following clubs and organizations: Admission Ambassadors, Cantuarian (Yearbook), Carillon (Literary Magazine), Community Service, Drama, Mentoring, Peer Counseling, Student Activities Committee, Student Government, The Tabard (School newspaper), and Women of Canterbury.

For our boarders, life revolves around the dorms—a place to relax and do homework, develop close friendships, and enjoy impromptu social times and good talks with dorm mates and faculty residents.

Third and Fourth Formers participate in the Work Program at such jobs as working in the dining hall, helping in the library, or sorting mail.

Beyond a required theology course each semester and attendance at Sunday Mass, students practice their faith and attend to their spiritual lives as they choose. Form retreats and shared prayer provide opportunities for spiritual growth. Pizza and Prayer, a dinner gathering to accommodate both boarding and day student schedules, is a discussion-level event in which students socialize and engage in conversation centering on spiritual topics. Participants also host special events to honor holy seasons such as Stations of the Cross and Reconciliation Services during Lent and student Sacristans act as leaders in Campus Ministry events.

Weekend Activities

Canterbury weekends provide an exciting and fun selection of activities for boarders and day students alike. The Office of the Student Activities Coordinator plans activities such as dances, intramural sports, comedian/hypnotists, game shows, community events, professional sports games, and other off-campus excursions. Saturday night trips to the movies and Sunday afternoon outings to the mall are predictably popular.

On any given weekend, students and faculty chaperones might be heading to New York City for a musical, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or taking a trip to Six Flags New England in Massachusetts. Dotted with state parks, scenic roads for biking, and quaint villages, the surrounding countryside is a wonderful area for exploring. Day students often invite boarders to their homes for the weekend or for holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving or Easter.

Academic Information

Course of Study

Canterbury’s academic year consists of two semesters, the first ending in December and the second concluding in May. Each semester, students will take five major core courses and one or more minor courses. Although courses for Third and Fourth Formers are mostly prescribed, they may, in some cases, choose from among electives. Fifth and Sixth Formers have more flexibility in course selections. Most major courses require five hours of class work and five hours of homework per week. Honors sections and Advanced Placement courses require more. Minor courses involve two or three meetings and two hours of homework per week. Most courses, including art, are major courses. Minor courses are mostly theology.

All students are expected to take a minimum of 5 1/2 credits each year.

Academic Office Contacts

Questions about academic matters should be directed to one of the following:

Questions about academic records or requesting a transcript should be directed to:

The Advisor System

Each student has a faculty advisor who is a key link between the School and the family. The boarding student’s advisor often lives in his or her dormitory; the day student’s advisor often teaches or coaches the student. In addition to providing guidance on academic matters, advisors offer personal support and encouragement. The faculty advisor receives correspondence from teachers, coaches, activities advisors, and dorm parents about a student’s performance. The Dean of Academics and Academic Counselors also track the academic progress of the students. Advisors receive all official reports that parents receive.

Supervised Study & Extra Help

All boarding students observe a quiet time for studying in the dormitories Sunday through Friday evenings. Dormitory faculty and student proctors monitor the evening study period; many faculty are available for extra help during this time. An additional time for extra help is during the conference period four mornings a week. Of course, students may arrange for extra help with teachers at times that are mutually convenient. Some students are assigned to daytime study hall during their free periods each marking period. New Third and Fourth Formers in honors courses are not scheduled in daytime study hall for the first marking period. In subsequent marking periods, students are not assigned to daytime study hall if they have achieved a certain marking period GPA. For Third Formers that average is 2.6 and for Fourth Formers it is 2.3. Fifth Formers with a failure are assigned to daytime study hall for the following marking period. Sixth Formers are not required to attend daytime study hall.

AP Courses & Honors Sections

The following courses culminate with Advanced Placement exams:

  • Honors American Literature (Language and Composition)
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Calculus
  • AP World History
  • AP United States History
  • AP European History
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics 1
  • AP Physics C
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Art (2-D Design & 3-D Design)
  • AP French Language
  • AP Spanish Language
  • AP Spanish Literature.
  • Honors or AP sections are available in English (4 years)
  • Mathematics (4 years)
  • History (3 years)
  • Science (4 years)
  • Language (2 years)
  • Studio Art, and Music.

Independent Study

Fifth and Sixth Formers at Canterbury have the option of taking independent study courses in English, foreign language, history, science, computer science, mathematics, theology, and the fine arts. Students wishing to undertake an independent study must have a good academic record. The topic of the independent study must be outside the established curriculum. They should obtain a faculty advisor and work with that advisor to develop and present a detailed study plan to the Dean of Academics well before the independent study begins. It is expected that to earn independent study credit, a student will complete the equivalent work associated with a minor or major course.

The Sixth Form Project

A few Sixth Formers take off-campus projects after March Break. Such projects must be planned in detail with a faculty advisor and the Sixth Form Project Advisor and approved by the Project Committee. Postgraduates may not undertake a Sixth Form Project. Sixth Formers involved in an off-campus project must have been accepted to a college. Those interested in a Sixth Form Project should obtain a copy of the guidelines and procedures from the Sixth Form Project Advisor by early January.

ESL Program

Canterbury’s English as a Second Language courses are designed for those international students who study at the School, but who need to improve their English skills. The goal of the ESL program is to mainstream the student into the School’s regular curriculum and prepare the student to qualify for a Canterbury diploma. International students must be enrolled in and pass mainstream English courses throughout their Sixth Form year.

Academic Policies & Procedures


All Canterbury students must carry a standard load of courses consisting of the equivalent of five majors and one minor. Each student’s course of study is determined by the Dean of Academics and the two academic counselors in consultation with the student, his or her faculty advisor, and relevant faculty. The Dean of Academics tries to accommodate course requests, but placement in specific sections and in elective courses depends on numerous factors, including the result of placement examinations, grades previously earned, grade level, departmental prerequisites, special permissions, and scheduling and staffing limitations.

Students may drop or add courses for a specified period of time at the beginning of each semester. A student may drop a course after the sanctioned Drop/Add period only if the teacher and/or the Dean of Academics deem it necessary. Any course dropped after the close of the first marking period is designated as a withdrawal and the marking period grade will stay on the report card. If a student drops a full-year course at the end of the semester, the grade is shown on the transcript but credit may not be awarded.

International students or students with diagnosed learning differences may occasionally carry a lighter load. Students who find taking 5 ½ credits too challenging may carry fewer credits after such a decision is reached by the Dean of Academics in consultation with the student, the student’s parents, the advisor, and appropriate faculty members. Students who take a reduced load should do so only temporarily. See the section on Honor Roll for the criteria for these students to attain honor roll status.


Because true education is based on the spirit of honest inquiry, Canterbury expects its students to adhere to a high standard of academic integrity. In the classroom, students are expected to submit only their own work. Forms of academic dishonesty include passing off someone else’s work as one’s own, copying someone else’s homework, allowing someone to copy one’s homework, using crib notes during a test or quiz, receiving answers during a test or quiz, and plagiarism, which is the use of another person’s words, ideas, images, organization, thought or facts without citing the source.

A student could violate standards of academic honesty in exercises not limited to but including quizzes, homework, tests, projects, papers, speeches, and semester exams. Violations result in grade and disciplinary consequences. Dismissal is a possibility for blatant or repeated academic dishonesty. All students receive and sign a copy of Canterbury’s Honor Code which defines forms of academic dishonesty and delineates the consequences of academic dishonesty.


Canterbury uses a standard percentage-based system as a basis for grading. The School reports percentages for each course on semester progress reports and letter grades on report cards and transcripts.

Faculty, also, give effort grades at the conclusion of each semester. An effort grade of 1 indicates commendable effort; a grade of 2, satisfactory effort; a grade of 3, unsatisfactory effort. Effort grades are not recorded on the transcript. Letter grades are posted on the transcript. Only semester grades and year-end grades appear on the student’s official transcript. The percentage grades and the letter equivalents are as follows:

96-100 A+ 4.3
90-95 A 4.0
87-89 A- 3.7
84-86 B+ 3.3
80-83 B 3.0
77-79 B- 2.7
74-76 C+ 2.3
70-73 C 2.0
67-69 C- 1.7
64-66 D+ 1.3
60-63 D 1.0
0-59 F 0

The official average is the GPA recorded on the transcript. It is arrived at by translating the percentage grade for each course to a letter grade and averaging the corresponding equivalent points. The GPA is adjusted for honors and advanced placement courses.


The following GPAs are used as criteria in naming students to Honor Roll status:

Honors 3.3-3.6

High Honors 3.7-3.9

Highest Honors 4.0 and above

Students must carry at least 5 credits, pass all courses and earn no “3” effort grades to attain Honor Roll status. We make exceptions for the 5 credits requirement for those students with documented learning differences or those in an ESL course. To gain Honor Roll status, these students must earn a GPA that is 0.1 higher for each half credit they fall below 5 credit hours. The Dean of Academics must approve a non-standard load.


Fifth and Sixth Form honors students are eligible for membership in The Canterbury Honor Society. Fifth Formers with a Highest Honors cumulative GPA are eligible at the end of the first semester of the Fifth Form year. Sixth Formers with High Honors averages who were not inducted in their Fifth Form year may be inducted in their Sixth Form year. Members must be enrolled in a rigorous academic program which includes honors and AP courses in a diverse course of study. Students should challenge the most demanding courses in at least three disciplines. They must have established a record of good citizenship in the school community.


Canterbury School will issue two progress reports and one report card in the first semester and three progress reports and two report cards in the second. Faculty include written evaluations of all students in all courses with each progress report. Advisors write reports on their advisees in January and June.

Special events which provide opportunities for parents to speak with faculty and administrators include the fall and spring Parents’ Days.

Parents should feel free to call the Dean of Academics, the Academic Counselors, or the student’s advisor at any time about academic matters.

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