Academics

Curriculum

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Core Courses and Electives

English, mathematics, language, history, science, and the visual and performing arts have specific requirements for graduation. In choosing advanced courses beyond the required graduation level, it is advantageous to pursue a subject to the highest level possible. A student should attempt, therefore, to extend the study of mathematics through the Sixth Form and to establish the best background in language, history, science, and creative arts as talent and interest permit. Students should ascertain the special requirements of colleges and college programs of their choice.

Promotion and Graduation Requirements

For promotion from one form to the next, a student must have sufficient credits, including those the student expects to earn in the years ahead, to meet graduation requirements. The student must also meet the “Quality Requirement” described below.
 
For graduation with a diploma, a student must earn a minimum of 18 credits in approved college preparatory courses, including English, 4 credits; mathematics: Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, 3 credits; U.S. History and one other year of history, 2 credits; two years of Latin or a modern language, 2 credits; two years of science, 2 credits; and visual and performing arts, 1 credit. Each student must also meet the “Quality Requirement” described below.
 
More typically, a graduate of Westminster has accumulated the following credits: English, 4 credits; mathematics, 4 credits; science, 3 credits; history, 3 credits, including one in U.S. History; Latin or a modern language, 3 or 4 credits; creative arts, 1 credit; and electives, 3 credits.
 
The “Quality Requirement” for promotion and graduation: In order to earn a diploma as a Sixth Former or promotion as an underformer, a student must pass four major courses each year including English, and earn a general average of 75.0. In order to pass a course for the year, students must earn at least a 70.0. As a general expectation, all students are required to be enrolled in five full-credit courses. Any deviation from this requirement is allowed only by recommendation and approval from the Academic Office.

Advanced Placement® Courses

All academic departments offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and examinations. Enrollment in Advanced Placement courses requires departmental permission and an average of 90 or above in the course preceding the Advanced Placement level. Students who score successfully on the examination may become eligible for advanced standing in many colleges and universities.
 
All Fourth and Fifth Form students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses are required to take the AP examination in that subject area. Sixth Form students, in consultation with their AP teacher, can opt out of taking the AP examination.

Study Abroad

Students may choose to study abroad during their Fifth or Sixth Form years. Westminster students accepted by the prestigious School Year Abroad program, experience yearlong study and travel in China, France, Italy, or Spain. Another option for study abroad is available through the equally prestigious English Speaking Union. Available to Westminster graduates in the year following graduation, the program allows a year of study and travel in the United Kingdom. Advice on these programs is offered through the Academic Office, and admission is gained solely through the programs’ respective application processes.

Independent Study Program

The primary purpose of the independent study program is to provide students with curricular options when they have exhausted the Westminster curriculum. Independent study courses will NOT be used to substitute for a course offered in the Westminster curriculum nor will they precede courses that are taught in a sequence. Students are required to apply for an independent study by the end of the previous school year. Independent study courses will require approval from the department head and the academic dean or director of studies. The course proposal will have a description and curricular outline that includes an overview of major assessments. Students will be required to prepare a public component that reflects their work in the course.

Postgraduate Program

Students in the 12th grade who will graduate from their high schools but feel an extra year of academic, athletic, artistic, and personal growth and preparation before heading to college would be beneficial may apply for a postgraduate year at Westminster. Typically there are eight to 10 postgraduate openings each academic year.

The application process is the same as students applying for other grades except that candidates should submit the results of the SAT or ACT instead of the SSAT to fulfill the standardized testing requirement. Students who are accepted for a postgraduate (PG) year join Westminster’s Sixth Form and become members of the graduating class. They must take the Sixth Form English class, but there are no other requirements or coursework specifically designed for postgraduate students. Postgraduate students are expected to contribute to the school community with their leadership, involvement, and citizenship.

If they meet our graduation requirements they will receive a Westminster Diploma at Commencement, otherwise they will receive a Certificate of Completion.

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Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students
In keeping with our support for a diverse community, Westminster abides by all applicable federal and state laws and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, color, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national and ethnic origin, ancestry and/or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. Westminster admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. 
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