Introduced as an innovation in 2006, Notre Dame’s trimester system divides the school year into three equal terms. Each class period is 57 minutes long; beginning with traditional instruction and moving into interactive group activities that tap into “male adolescent energy” and enhance learning. 

Because class time is longer, some courses can be taught in two rather than three terms, thereby giving students more options for electives – or the chance to create further academic advantages for themselves through Advanced Placement or college courses. 

Since its introduction in 2006, data shows an overall increase in learning. Average exam scores and semester grades have risen across the board. While the number of students making the honor roll has risen, the trend is actually the opposite of grade inflation. We’ve challenged our students to stretch themselves academically, and they are doing so with enthusiasm. Thanks to strong student engagement, absences, late arrivals, and withdrawals have all declined during the transition to the trimester schedule.

Innovations in Teaching Examples

List of 2 items.

  • Virtual High School

    Notre Dame participates in an accredited Virtual High School program that makes more than 200 courses (including A.P.) not listed in our catalog available to students online. With approval, students may choose from these courses, thereby creating options for more in-depth study or for exploring new interests.
  • UConn ECE Program

    Through the University of Connecticut (UConn) Early College Experience Program, many Notre Dame students earn college credit for courses they take while at Notre Dame. Not every high school can offer this – only those with faculty whose caliber and credentials qualify them to serve as adjunct professors for UConn. 

    Notre Dame currently offers college-credit courses in  English, Latin, Italian, Music Theory, and Spanish. Last year, some 90 young men earned from 3 to 15 UConn (transferable) credits each. Not only does this joint program give students a jump-start on college, but it allows for greater flexibility in scheduling (and/or changing majors) once there. In some cases, work done while at Notre Dame has opened time needed for work or an internship during college. In other cases, it has saved parents a full semester of college tuition.