Academic Departments

Science

Housed in a new state-of-the-art facility, the science program consists of three distinct disciplines: physics, chemistry, and biology. Students work in small, problem-solving groups to execute labs, complete assigned projects, and present reports. Technology is incorporated directly into the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the thoughtful use of data as a reasoning tool rather than on the superficial memorization of facts. Frequent experiments are performed because they excite curiosity as they amplify and solidify the concepts. These experiments also develop the students’ powers of observation, classification, and analysis. 
 
English

Studying English requires imagination, discipline, and a mind open to new possibilities. Our classrooms are a cooperative environment where students are encouraged to lead discussions, discuss complex topics, and articulate their ideas. The acquisition of fundamental skills [grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing] is approached as a separate topic in the freshman and sophomore years and through course content in the junior and senior years. The English department’s primary objective is to develop students into highly effective readers, writers, and thinkers.
 
Math

We focus on how technology has influenced the use of mathematics and how to apply mathematical skills to real-life situations. Students are challenged at every level to develop reasoning skills and hypothesize about possible solutions to both simple and complex problems. Small classes create a comfortable atmosphere for true understanding. We focus on how technology has influenced the use of mathematics and how to apply mathematical skills to real-life situations. Students are challenged at every level to develop reasoning skills and hypothesize about possible solutions to both simple and complex problems.
 
History

Our faculty encourages students to become culturally literate while finding their place as world citizens. Students are challenged to consider problems on multiple levels, facilitating a deeper understanding of the complexity of society and the consequences of human judgment. History courses introduce students to important events and trends, world geography, and the political, intellectual, and artistic expressions of various civilizations. 
 
Computer Science

Students with additional interests in technology have the opportunity to use advanced tools and techniques in courses ranging from multimedia design to networking protocols and advanced software programming.
 
Languages

In our interconnected world of the 21st century, the students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Geographic boundaries are becoming blurred by economic realities. Therefore, it is essential that students educated in the US be exposed to different languages, cultures, and customs. The goal of the languages department is to teach essential skills [reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, writing] as the fundamental components of communication.
 
Leadership
 

The goal of Suffield Academy’s Leadership Program is to develop human beings with integrity who wish to make a significant and positive impact on our society. Students in grades 9, 10, and 11 take required year-long courses where the curriculum emphasizes experiential learning and guided self-discovery. The leadership experience at Suffield concludes in the 12th-grade, with each student participating in senior seminars and a senior speaker series.
 
Performing Arts
 

 

Students acquire foundational knowledge in acting, dance, filmmaking, design, creative research, emerging media, and dramatic writing.
 

Visual Arts
 

 

The visual arts are an integral part of Suffield Academy’s curriculum. When you walk into the Tremaine Visual Arts Center, you will find artists pursuing a variety of interests—from painting and drawing to drafting, photography, ceramics, and sculpture. 
 

 

Suffield offers 15 courses that can help a motivated, qualified student develop the skills and knowledge base necessary to prepare successfully for the College Board Advanced Placement Exams recognized by many colleges. Though course offerings and their AP orientation may vary from year to year, the following courses prepare for the exams in the corresponding fields.

AP Computer Science
Intro to Computer Science Honors
AP Computer Science Principles Exam
AP Language
AP Literature
AP US History
AP US History Exam
AP Government & Politics
AP American Government Exam
AP Economics
AP Macroeconomics Exam and AP
Microeconomics Exam
French V Honors
AP French Language Exam
Spanish IV Honors
AP Spanish Language Exam
Spanish V Honors
AP Spanish Literature Exam
AP Statistics
AP Statistics Exam
AP Calculus I: AB
AP Calculus AB Exam
AP Calculus II: BC
AP Calculus BC Exam
AP Biology
AP Biology Exam
AP Chemistry
AP Chemistry Exam
AP Physics C: Mechanics
AP Physics C Exam
AP Physics C: E & M
AP Physics C: E & M Exam

Courses denoted as AP require all enrolled students to sit for the AP Exam; students should carefully read course descriptions and requirements before enrolling. Courses listed with the AP designation are weighted as Honors courses in computing grade point averages.
 

Reports are prepared by the faculty six times during the school year [midterm and end-of-term]. Parents receive a copy of all these reports, which include narrative comments from teachers and two advisor reports during the year. Advisors review these reports with students at each interval. Grades given range from A+ to F.

  • Grades in the A range (GPA equivalent of 3.67 to 4.33) mean the student’s work has been excellent.
  • Grades in the B range (2.67 to 3.33) indicate very good achievement.
  • Grades in the C range (1.67 to 2.33) indicate satisfactory achievement at the college-certifying level.
  • Grades in the D range (0.67 to 1.33) are passing but unsatisfactory. Students with this grade would normally need summer review work to deal adequately with the next level of that course.
  • A grade below the D range is a failure, for which no credit is given.

Grade point average is computed for each term and for each full-year course and is designed to reflect the difficulty of the program being undertaken, as well as a student’s numerical average. The grade point average is determined by converting letter grades to a numerical equivalent and then averaging those numerical equivalents. Students enrolled in honors or AP classes have 0.33 point per class added to their numerical equivalent grade (e.g., 3.0 to 3.33) prior to averaging to reflect the difficulty of the class(es) being taken. This does not apply to an A+ in an honors or AP level course.

Students who qualify for academic honors are given special recognition in the following ways:
Honor Roll: 3.33 GPA / no grade below C+
High Honor Roll: 3.80 GPA / no grade below B

Book Awards and Academic Prizes
Awarded to students whose academic achievement has been extraordinary at Underclass Prize Day (Fall), and at Commencement (Spring).

Cum Laude A National Honor Society Modeled on Phi Beta Kappa
Students in the top 10% of their class who have maintained High Honor Roll both junior and senior years for five consecutive terms are eligible for selection.

To earn a Suffield diploma, each student must successfully complete the school's programming and uphold our expectations of good citizenship. Students must earn 18 credits, including the following specific academic requirements:

Note: In addition to these credits, students must take an annual Leadership course, a minimum of four major courses per term, and each course taken in the senior year must be completed successfully.

Black Lives Matter: Understanding the Movement in Literature, Film, & Music

This course is designed to help students understand the history of the BLM movement and explore its influence on modern art forms. The course will begin by taking a look at the BLM movement, with the purpose of understanding its origin, its purpose, and who is involved. From there students will use their knowledge of the movement to discuss and analyze contemporary novels, films, works of art, and music. Some of the texts we will read are The Hate U GiveWelcome to Braggsville, and Citizen. Some of the films we will watch are The Hate U Give13th, and Get Out. Other class texts are flexible and will adjust to student interest. Students will be expected to lead and actively contribute to discussion as well as complete several short writings throughout the course. The class will culminate in a final project that focuses on building connections between literature and our world.
 

Current Black Voices: Race in Popular Culture & Media

The course will explore the current media and journalistic representation by and about Black/African American identity, focusing on representation in and by social media, music/music videos, fashion, stand-up comedy, art, fiction, streaming dramas, and other artifacts of popular culture. In addition to considering their personal participation with and consumption of Black-themed popular culture and media, students will think critically about the influence of popular culture and the implicit call to anti-racism within this medium. Selection of texts will vary with student interest and current events. Finally, in addition to analyzing sources studied, students will have opportunities to write their own blog posts, editorials, poetry, and more.
 

Good Trouble: Black Agency

The major theme of this course is the active, dynamic, and essential role that Black Americans have played in US History. The course begins with a look at Black America in 2020 in pursuit of the question: “How did we get here?” We will unpack the social construct of race, the impact of systemic racism, the persistence of white supremacy, and the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement. To deconstruct the reality of present day, we take a thematic approach to our study by tracing 1865-present through these eight units: The constitutional and legal basis of segregation and discrimination, Black Women activists, Education and Incarceration, Labor, Jobs, and Migration, The Goals and Tactics for strategies to achieve racial justice, Black Culture, American Foreign Policy and Race, and Science and Blackness. The course will include an independent project researching the agency of another marginalized group, selected by the student. We give our thanks to the late John Lewis in helping us name the course.


In addition to our current DEI academic courses, a year-long course in African Studies—as part of Area Studies Program— will be offered in the Fall of 2021.