Academic Overview

Students at Notre Dame receive a first rate education in a caring, family environment. Nearly 100% of our students go on to higher education. Students are eligible for a Notre Dame diploma after successfully completing the following requirements. According to the program the student is in, between 24.5 and 25.75 credits are needed for graduation.


Students are eligible for a Notre Dame diploma after successfully completing requirements as follows: a total of 24-1/2 credits distributed to include 4 units of English; 3 units of Mathematics; 4 units of Religion; 3 units of History, including World Civilization, American History and American Government; 2 units of Modern Language; 2 Lab Sciences; 1 unit of Physical Education, and the remainder distributed in electives. Students may choose electives from the various disciplines. A list of courses offered is submitted to students in the spring of each year. The courses selected must have the approval of the Guidance Office and must be signed by a parent. All attendance requirements must be completed for graduation. Also, Notre Dame's "Service to Community" program is a graduation requirement. Freshmen complete five hours plus a class service project, sophomores complete 15 hours of service, and juniors and seniors complete 20 hours of service per year. Seniors must remediate all failures in both required and elective courses.

High Honors

The High Honors/Advanced Placement level represents the highest course level offered. Students must maintain a high quality of work and achievement. The ability of the student will be taken into consideration for course offerings at this level.

The Advanced Placement courses are also included in the High Honors level. These courses are part of the AP program of the College Board. This program is a series of college-level courses and exams. Over 90 percent of the colleges that most AP candidates have attended give credit and/or advanced placement to students whose AP Exam grades are considered acceptable.


Course offerings at this level are above average in the demands of the course including syllabus, homework and testing. Students must maintain a level of work and productivity to be placed into, or remain in, this academic level.
College Prep

The course offerings at these levels are designed for a college preparatory program. These courses will prepare the student for courses offered in college.

Academic Failure

Failure is not usual for the student who works to full capacity. Students failing two or more subjects at the end of the first semester may be placed on academic probation. At this time, a parent/teacher, counselor/student conference may be held in an attempt to help the student resolve his/her problems.

Students who fail a course(s) MUST make up the failure(s) in summer school. This includes Religion.

Students with three or more failures will be withdrawn from Notre Dame.

All failures in both required and elective areas must be remediated before promotion to the next grade. Seniors must remediate all failures in both required and elective areas before receiving a diploma.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades on a student's report card signify that a student for a justifiable reason has been unable to complete his/her work in that particular subject. An extended period of two weeks may be given to the student with administrative approval. At the end of this period, a mark will be recorded in place of the incomplete grade. If work is not made up during this period, a failing grade will be recorded. An incomplete grade will be received if the junior research paper and/or senior government projects are not completed.

Report Cards

Reports cards are issued four (4) times per year. The first marking period report card must be picked up by a parent/guardian. Reports cards are available at school on Report Card Night in November (see calendar for specific date) from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. and from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M. Teachers are present to meet with parents. Report cards are mailed in late January, early April and at the end of June. Seniors receive report cards on Graduation.

When a student accumulates more than 15 absences, he/she must make up each day over the limit in a special program conducted after school closes in June. All students who exceed the limit - no matter what the reason(s) for the absences - are liable to make up the time lost from class. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

Any student who accumulates more than 15 absences in a course during the school year will not receive a grade or credit for that course until all time is made up.

Please Note: Students who exceed the absence limit must make up the actual class time in the special summer program. Each day over the 15-day limit must be made up. For this special session, it has been determined that 3 hours will equal one school day. FAILURE TO ATTEND THIS SPECIAL PROGRAM WILL RESULT IN A STUDENT'S WITHDRAWAL FROM NOTRE DAME. Students must make up time according to a DEFINITE SCHEDULE established by the school.

Any student who accumulates more than 20 absences in the school year may be subject to withdrawal from Notre Dame.

When attendance procedures are not followed (telephone the school to report absence/return to school with a note), the student may be withdrawn from Notre Dame.

Students who are absent and/or late excessively will be placed on Attendance Probation and subject to withdrawal from school if absences and/or lates continue.

If a lengthy absence - due to illness - is anticipated, a special program (Homebound) is provided by local school districts. To be eligible a student must first be absent 10 school days. Please contact the Guidance Office at Notre Dame for information.

Please Note: From the day a student is officially placed on Homebound until the day Homebound ends, the student is not recorded as absent from school. Days absent before and/or after Homebound are recorded as absent.

Whenever a student is absent from school for more than one day, upon return he/she must make up all class assignments, tests, quizzes, projects, etc. within a reasonable period of time - usually one week.

Excessive absences may mean withdrawal from school. Parents and students must realize that classroom instruction & the actual time a student spends in class is very hard to make up. Teachers may give make up assignments to replace classroom instruction only on a limited basis. In order to obtain credit for courses at Notre Dame, your actual presence in class is required. ONLY a reasonable number of absences are allowed. Excessive absence from classroom instruction cannot be made up at home. Notre Dame does not have the ability nor the wish to operate a correspondence-like school.

Notre Dame High School | 220 Jefferson Street | Fairfield, Connecticut 06825 | 203.372.6521