Academic Overview

Our academic program challenges and inspires students to discover their passion and realize their potential. Our learning community is highly collaborative, real-world focused, and research-based.

The ALA school calendar year is on a two-semester system, and grades are annualized. A minimum of 110 credits is required for graduation (2.5 credits = semester course, 5.0 credits = yearlong course). Requirements include:

  • 4 years of English (grades 9-12)
  • 4 years of a Foreign Language
  • 4 years of Mathematics (beginning with Algebra I or II)
  • 3 years of History including United States and World
  • 3 years of a Laboratory Science
  • 2 semesters of Physical Education
  • 1 year of Speech and Composition
  • 2 semesters of Art
  • 1 year of AP Seminar

Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are criterion-based and ALA currently offers: U.S. History, Art History, English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, Spanish Language & Culture, Spanish Literature & Culture, Computer Science A, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus AB, and Capstone/Seminar.


Early College Courses

In partnership with Merrimack College (North Andover, MA), our Early College program allows students to take courses on the Merrimack campus beginning their junior year. Juniors who meet the criteria take two undergraduate courses – BIO 1025: Intro to Biological Science and POL 1100: Politics of the US. Seniors will take two undergraduate courses which may include the following: Intro to Engineering, Psychology, Calculus I, and Statistics. ALA students have the opportunity to graduate high school with four college courses completed on their Merrimack College transcript.



  • Pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams in English, Math, and Science.
  • Complete a Capstone Interdisciplinary Research Project each year which includes the College Board AP Seminar course in their Senior Year.
  • Be involved in at least one sport, club, or extracurricular activity each academic year.
  • Complete a minimum of 25 hours of Community Service per year, totaling at least 100 hours by graduation.


Course Levels

Based on rigor, courses in the subject areas of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish are designated as follows:

  • Early College – Courses taken at Merrimack College through our partnership program.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) – This is a program of college-level courses and exams for 10 – 12th grade students sponsored by the College Board.
  • Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) – Aligned with College Board, these courses serve as pre-requisites to prepare students for the demands of AP courses.
  • Advanced Honors – Given the highly selective admissions process and rigorous academic program, this is our base level for courses.


Reading and Writing

Students will critically analyze texts from a variety of perspectives and cultures, forging personal and literary connections. Students will engage in interdisciplinary learning, articulate original ideas, and write coherently, creatively, and persuasively.

Problem Solving

Students will form logical and rational assumptions to address higher order thinking questions. Students will develop habits of mind while thinking creatively and outside of the box to solve problems.

Research and Resourcefulness

Students will develop executive functioning skills including goal setting, organization, and time management. Students will cultivate strong research skills that demonstrate an ability to effectively access, analyze, and cite sources to interpret evidence and support arguments, as well as use technology strategically and purposefully.

Communication and Public Speaking

Students will communicate effectively in a variety of formats: written, oral, digital, and visual. Students will speak and present effectively to multiple audiences. Students will be adept at using data, visual representations, and models to present their findings.