Upper School (Grades 9 to 12)

Upper School Curriculum

Armbrae’s Upper School program is designed to engage students in their educational journey, instilling transferable skills and a love of learning that will propel them toward success in their postsecondary studies, future employment and as engaged members of their communities. The academic program is designed to meet and exceed the high school graduation requirements set out by the Nova Scotia Department of Education. The program structure includes a broad range of academic courses in Grades 9 and 10 (Foundation Years), incorporating strategic acceleration in some courses in order to create increased options for personalized course selection in Grades 11 and 12 (Specialization Years). Students have the opportunity to co-design their academic program with a member of the guidance team, incorporating both compulsory and elective options based on their post secondary pathway.

Students Entering Grade 9

Students entering Grade 9 will take eight courses; seven core courses and one elective. These courses are chosen to provide all students with a strong foundation across disciplines and skills that will empower them throughout their high school years. Strategic acceleration is introduced with a Grade 10-level Fine Arts credit; this will create opportunities for additional electives in their final years of high school. The Grade 9 Academic Program consists of:

  • Citizenship 9
  • English Language Arts 9
  • French 9
  • Leadership 9
  • Mathematics 9
  • Physical & Health Education 9
  • Science 9
  • Elective: Visual Arts 10 or Drama 10

Students Entering Grade 10

Students entering Grade 10 take eight courses. These courses are chosen to provide a strong foundation across disciplines for all students, as well as to meet a number of high school graduation requirements. Strategic acceleration is introduced to create opportunities for additional electives in their final years of high school and to provide early exposure to AP opportunities.

Students Entering Grade 11

Students entering Grade 11 select seven or eight courses. Compulsory courses provide solid preparation for success in postsecondary studies, and keep students on track to complete their graduation requirements. Students are encouraged to consider taking a Grade 12 level or AP elective in their Grade 11 year.

Students Entering Grade 12

It is important that students entering Grade 12 have a good understanding of the prerequisites required for postsecondary programs of interest, and that they have both researched these independently and met with their guidance counsellor to review their plans. Students who expect to be strong candidates for admission must successfully complete at least 5 university acceptable courses at the Grade 12 level (6 or more are recommended).

AP Program

Advanced Placement Program Information

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program offers students the opportunity to take one or more university-level courses while in high school. AP courses follow guidelines developed by the College Board, an association recognized by educational institutions across North America and around the world. Each course covers the information, skills and assignments you would find in a corresponding university course.

What are the benefits of AP?

There are many benefits to taking AP:

  • Enrichment: Challenge yourself with rigorous academic courses.
  • Flexibility: Choose courses based on your academic strengths and interests.
  • Preparation: Experience university-level expectations and content to help you prepare for university studies.
  • University Recognition: Earn credit, advanced placement, or both, based on your performance on standardized, demanding AP examinations.

Who should enroll in AP courses?

  • Students who have demonstrated a high level of achievement and plan to attend university.
  • Students who have a willingness to meet the challenges of a rigorous academic course.
  • Students who are ready to explore a subject in greater depth, learn to make connections with larger concepts, develop analytical reasoning skills, and form disciplined study habits that will contribute to their success at university.

Which AP Courses are available?

Armbrae offers a select number of AP courses each year, including AP Computer Science Principles during students’ Grade 10 year. This allows all students to experience studying at the AP level and gain experience with AP test-taking. Other AP courses are offered based on student interest and may differ from year-to-year. Students should indicate their interest in AP during their course selection meetings. Students are encouraged to consider preparing in any AP subject that is of interest to them, regardless of whether it is available as an official AP course during a given year. The corresponding Armbrae course, independent study and tutorials with their subject teacher and/or a tutor can prepare students for success on an AP exam.

Course Selection Handbook

University Guidance website

Upper School Director, Head of Guidance & University Counselling

Ally Read is an enthusiastic and relationship-focused educator who knows that building a strong and authentic relationship with each and every student is essential to working with young people. She finds great joy in helping students shape their paths and gain the skills and confidence to navigate current and future opportunities. Now in her thirteenth year at the school, Ally has taught upper level English courses, Yoga and Healthy Living and now teaches Career Education to various classes in the Upper School. Ally became the Upper School Director at Armbrae in August of 2019, integrating this leadership position with her existing role as the Head of Guidance and University Counselling.

Ally holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Acadia University in Wolfville and a Bachelor of Education from Western University. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management, both from Saint Mary’s University. A committed life-long learner, Ally earned her certificate in career counselling at Dalhousie University, recently completed the CAIS Leadership Institute Accreditation module and currently holds the position of VP Atlantic with the CISC (Canadian Independent School Counsellors).

Grade 9

John Thomson

Jamie Wilkinson

Tim Brennan

Paul Carter

Grade 10

Ryan Shaw

Angela Fothergill

Cynthia Lewis

John Tramble

Grade 11

Shelley Thomas

Kim MacIntyre

Grade 12

Lauren Utter

Andrew Creighton


A typical day in the Upper School starts off in the Dining Hall at our Coburg Campus. Students begin arriving at 8:00am and before the academic day begins they spend their time playing music, table tennis, chatting with friends or perhaps meeting with one of their teachers. At 8:40am, students head to their first period class either in the Coburg building or over at our Oxford campus (Sciences, Physical Education & Art). The academic day consists of five 60-minute periods, with a 15-minute recess between the first and second class, a 45-minute lunch break after third period and another 15-minute recess break between fourth and fifth. On breaks, students can be found relaxing in the Dining Hall, shooting hoops on the outdoor basketball net, or spending time with a Lower School class as their Prefect. At the end of the day, students head to clubs and activities, followed by sports practices at nearby soccer fields or in the AARC.

*SCHEDULE for Thursdays

Features Include: 5 x 50 min periods | 60 min lunch | Full School Assembly | Advisory Period

Download 2022-2023 Bell Schedule

To learn more about Armbrae Academy please Email Suzanne Morrison or call directly 902-830-1418