At every grade level, across every course and co-curricular activity, our curriculum is intentionally designed to equip your daughter with the skills, characteristics, and attributes she requires to thrive during her years at Fontbonne, through college, and in her life far beyond college.

For questions regarding our curriculum, please email Barbara Ryder, our Assistant Head of School for Academics, at


Curriculum by Subject

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Even in the era of tweets and email blasts, our English Department and its focus on writing remains a strength of Fontbonne.

As relayed from an alumna now attending The University of Maine, “I benefited from the papers at Fontbonne…we were taught how to write a paper with proper set-up and citations. As a college freshman, I can easily write papers without feeling concern or stress. As I gaze around the classroom I realize that others feel stress, so I am forever grateful to Fontbonne...”

From one-of-a-kind insight and professional mentoring by a former Boston Globe Sports Editor, to programmatic assistance with her college essays, each student learns to harness the inherent power of language while maximizing her ability to communicate, and –importantly - connect. 

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Health, Wellness, and Physical Education

Four years of health and physical education are required for graduation. Students learn to create balance in their busy lives through an education in self-care that focuses on fitness, nutrition, stress management and advocacy. A wide range of opportunities are provided to practice health and physical education skills both in the classroom and beyond. Through a collaborative and unified approach to learning our comprehensive program strives to challenge, educate and motivate students to pursue lifelong wellness.

Wellness Center

The Wellness Center inspires and empowers students to take control of their own health and well-being by providing programs and resources that positively impact their mind, body and spirit.  

Health Education

Health education builds students’ knowledge, skills and positive attitudes that focus on personal well-being. Our curriculum motivates students to improve their current level of health, and reduce high-risk behaviors.

Physical Education

The physical education program teaches  the basic principles of exercise to promote immediate and lifelong physical fitness.  While participating in a variety of activities and sport, students demonstrate skills in communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Courses include: Fitness evaluation and body image, novelty games, yoga, pilates, and kickboxing.

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Wrote a former Fontbonne student, “I received my math placement for Newbury College…I scored a 90%...[this] placed me into the highest math class, Business Calculus…I will automatically receive credits for math and be able to pick up more classes to get ahead…thank you for all that you have done for me.”

A freshwoman is placed into one of four different Math classes, based on her abilities. Our approach to Math is cumulative, with each student constantly practicing material from the beginning of the year. Our individual assessments include all concepts from the beginning of the year. This leads to deeper understanding and better retention on the part of each student.

Math is also experiential at Fontbonne, and our students learn by doing.

Of note, on the 2018 exam for AP Calculus AB, 19 of 20 Fontbonne students passed the exam, with 15(!) receiving a 4 or 5.

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Philisophically, we believe contributions by women are too often underrepresented in science.

A freshwoman can start her studies in science with one of four different courses, including Chemistry Honors. Placements are determined by her middle school grades, a placement test, and her standardized test scores.

We stress the development of logical problem solving skills and analysis through experimentation, independent research, project-based learning, and a variety of critical writing techniques. Although increasing numbers of our girls pursue careers in science, a primary goal of our Department is to give all students an appreciation of the importance of science in their daily lives and an understanding of the potentials, limitations, and social responsibilities associated with current developments in science.

A student also has several opportunities to explore her interests in science outside of the classroom. For instance, alumnae who are working in medical and science careers return to speak with our girls; our math and science departments collaborate in our STEM club with Wentworth Institute of Technology; and students visit corporations to gain hands-on experience in science, technology, and engineering. 

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Social Studies

Our curriculum and pedagogy center on an appreciation of diverse cultures, experiences, and viewpoints. We teach through encouragement and in an inclusive classroom environment where student opinions are respected and valued. We develop in the Fontbonne student the skills and habits of scholarship - critical reading, researching, thinking, writing, and speaking - so that she may form and express her own historical interpretations. 

An especially noteworthy course is Liberty, Justice, & Security: America At Home And Abroad. This is an interdisciplinary course taught by members of our Theology and Social Studies Departments. A senior analyzes United States History post-Civil War through the dual lenses of Catholic Social Justice Teaching and the American ideals of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Through this experience, she acquires the knowledge and skills to help her understand and shape the post-9/11 world in which she lives. 

Ultimately, we will prepare your daughter for a life of intelligent decision-making and morally responsible citizenship. 

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We contribute to empowering young women for a future of spirituality, scholarship and leadership. 

As an academic subject, Theology intentionally develops a girl’s creative and critical thinking skills through proven pedagogical strategies, a student-centered approach to learning, and experiential learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom.

The final integration of her spiritual and intellectual growth takes place through the senior capstone Social Justice project that accounts for 40% of her grade. She learns how to structure long-term, independent work while further building her problem-solving skills in a real-world context. This tests her readiness for higher education and the workplace.

Through Theology’s four-year pastoral process of See, Judge, Act, a student will become a leader and global citizen of conscience of whom we can all be proud.

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World Language

All our students complete three courses in a language, although many study four years of language and some may even consider studying two languages. A freshwoman is often placed into a higher level language course based on her skills.

The small size of our upper level classes allows for significant speaking opportunities, which reinforce understanding and retention, and enhance fluency. We offer AP French and AP Spanish at the highest levels, and we teach all Latin courses at the honors level. 

We also maintain a Language Lab. It is used by French and Spanish classes to increase each girl’s speaking and listening proficiency. In the lab, a girl can listen to authentic material, record and listen to her own voice, and have a conversation with a partner.

We are especially proud of our World Exchange program. Through this initiative, our Spanish and French language students can travel to Argentina or France to live with families of students attending Fontbonne’s sister schools. Immersed in this language, culture, and family life, our students also attend classes and visit tourist sites. Our girls host their “sisters” for two weeks, too, as part of a reciprocal exchange.

A quick note on Latin and why we believe in teaching it: reading, writing, and speaking one’s own language is improved by studying Latin. The grammatical focus of Latin is extremely helpful in building stronger grammatical skills in English and to developing critical thinking skills. According to a 2012 survey by Educational Testing Service, Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT. After all, Caesar non supra grammaticos.

To review our curriculum by Department and course, please download the document below:

Program of Studies

For questions regarding our curriculum, please email Barbara Ryder, our Assistant Head of School for Academics, at