Our small high school is the perfect place to get inspired, take risks, learn from mistakes, get invested in your education, be surprised by what you can do, and most importantly, get ready for success in college and beyond. 

Compass School Vermont

In the high school at Compass, everything we do is designed to prepare students for life in the world beyond our school walls. It is all about what is best for students, which is helping young people identify their passions and dreams and giving them the skills to be a success.

Travel, community service and extended personal projects get students engaged in the real world and motivated to contribute and learn.

Compass School Vermont

Academic Rigor

21st Century society calls for a different definition of rigor — in our exciting and changing world, rigor is about developing strong thinkers, problem solvers, communicators,  and collaborative workers with the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Some schools define rigor as doing large quantities of work that feels hard. 

At Compass, we have plenty of hard work, but we look at rigor as the breadth of experiences we expect of every student.

We strive to develop good students and good people with a range of challenges in every realm and a broad diversity of experiences.  While this may look different from a traditional definition of rigor, this is the kind of challenge that prepares Compass grads for the dynamic 21st Century world beyond our school walls.

Preparation for College

Compass has an excellent record of college acceptances and scholarships, which shows that colleges recognize the value of the personalized, innovative education we offer.   Our students graduate with confidence and clarity about their interests and abilities, and our college advisory program helps students and families find the best college options out there.

Compass School Vermont

A Compass graduate not only has a strong and robust academic foundation, they also knows how to adapt, collaborate, problem solve, and thrive in a new environment. 

The final two years at Compass allow students to engage in learning experiences outside school such as internships, distance-learning programs, travel experiences, college courses and investigations of a variety of professional environments in addition to their coursework.

Students are empowered and encouraged to craft their own education with guidance from experienced, caring educators who know them best.

Compass School Vermont

National Merit Scholar, Skye Rhomberg, Class of 2018

While at Compass, Skye was an advanced math student who completed two years of calculus, studied one year of discreet mathematics, and joined the MIT Primes Crowd Math community.


The academic day is organized around Integrated Humanities and Science/Technology Blocks with shorter daily classes in Math and Spanish. The purpose of the block is to create a learning focus that provides time necessary for in-depth examination of topics. Analysis and synthesis of information, independent research, and projects are routinely expected in Humanities and Science blocks.

Humanities includes history, geography, psychology, literature, economics and aspects of architecture, music and art. English skills focus on written, verbal and visual communication and the study of a range of genres in literature, correlating with the social science focus when possible.

Science/Technology integrates relevant math and technology content and skills into the Science Main Lesson curriculum, which includes laboratory and field experiences. Science includes a broad range of topics from physical, earth and space sciences to personal and community health issues. Instruction uses appropriate technology to support and complement the learning process. Both blocks are organized in two-year cycles.

Afternoon exploratories are offered two days each week.  These courses are developed around the interests, passions, and expertise of the students, local professionals and the Compass faculty—all of whom may serve as teachers and mentors.  The exploratory program offers opportunities for students to develop practical skills as well as to explore sports and the arts. There are opportunities for students to pursue independent options to pursue individual interests.

Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) On Wednesday and Thursday, students have choices of offerings for extended learning in the arts, music, and physical education. In addition, a variety of support programs will be offered such as Writer’s Workshop, Math Workshop, and time with the school counselor. There are opportunities for students to serve as peer tutors for the workshops or teaching assistants for ELO classes.


Student Assessment is based on demonstration of learning and utilizes a range of techniques including exhibitions, traditional testing, and creation of digital media productions. Students often are engaged in self and peer assessment to reflect on their learning.

Sophomore Portfolio: Students gather samples of their work that demonstrate their performance and growth. They present their work to a roundtable which includes their advisor, a teacher, parent and peer. Successful completion is a gateway to 11th grade.

Graduation Portfolio: Students present work samples of their work that demonstrate their successful completion of expectations for graduation. They present their work to a panel including a professional from outside the school, a board member, their advisor, teachers, parents, the school director and a peer.  This is a requirement for graduation.

Advisory: All students are part of an advisory that meets two times each week with the same teacher. Portfolio work, preparation for parent conferences and other activities occur to enhance student-faculty relationships and provide student support.  All teachers serve as advisors to students, nurturing their intellectual, emotional, social, and ethical development.

Global Connections Program: All 11th graders participate together in a multi-week immersion travel experience in a Spanish speaking country where students are involved in service, practice with Spanish, and developing deeper understanding of the developing world.

Our weirdness is loved and our strengths cherished. Here I can speak up, design classes I want to take, or wear chicken costumes to school. I’m encouraged to think harder and go above and beyond the required expectations.

I know I can overcome challenges and hard times, and have to do so repeatedly. I know I am strong now, and I know I can take on whatever life tries to throw at me next. I’ve become a person that I know I can rely on. I can’t wait for the future ahead of me.
— Compass Graduatate

College Planning: All students have the opportunity to take PSAT, ACT and SAT and receive support through the Advisory Program and Senior Seminar to plan for college.  College visits by the whole student body are planned annually and speakers/visits from colleges are welcomed. The Compass School CEEB number is 460474.

Comps: Students in grades 11-12 are required to demonstrate competency in critical skills expected of our graduates. Two blocks per week are scheduled as supervised “Comp Time” for work on this requirement with teacher support. Each student is paired with a faculty “comp coach” with whom they plan their work and assess progress. The Wednesday schedule is arranged to enable students to work outside of school on that day for internships, field study or other organized learning experiences.

Senior Projects: Seniors develop a proposal for study of a topic of great interest through an individual project conducted outside of school for several weeks in the spring of senior year. Projects must include research and a written and visual component presented to the student body.

Independent Study: Students have the opportunity to develop independent study projects with the support of a mentor/teacher to satisfy course requirements in any content area. Proposals must have prior approval from a staff member and the support of parents. Learning outcomes need to be outlined with evaluation well documented in order to receive credit, preferably using an approved credit-granting program.

“Compass has helped me turn into a young adult and made me realize how much responsibility I have. So many things have changed for me over these four years, and Compass has given me the chance to grow into them.

I have cemented myself as a learner… as a political thinker… as a world traveler… as a lover of all things intellectual… as a person who wants a better world.
— Compass Graduate