Branford "B: Hornets"

Program of Studies


The mission of Branford High School is to prepare students to be independent and collaborative learners who are responsible, informed, and contributing members of society. In partnership with the community, we strive to provide a learning environment that supports all students in embracing diversity, acting with integrity, and achieving their personal and academic potential.

Branford High School
185 East Main Street
Branford, CT 06405

"Improved Learning for Everyone"
College Board [CEEB] # 070040
Phone: 203-488-7291
Fax: 203-315-6740


Lee Panagoulias, Jr.


Joseph Briganti

Assistant Principal

Stephanie L. Byrd

Assistant Principal

Program Leaders

Aaron Brenner

Language Arts

Colleen Lepre

Language Arts

Christopher Stonier


Annemarie Raffone-Dudley


Sean Kennedy

Physical Education/Health

Jennifer Stackpole

Physical Education/Health

James Carlson

Social Studies

Robert Polemeni

Social Studies

Suzanne Sullivan


Tommy Chen


Kristin Mancini

World Languages

Andres Wullaert

World Languages

Michael Martone

Fine Arts

Erica O'Brien

Practical Arts/CTE

Katherine Matheson

Special Education

Meg Heath

Special Education

Stefanie Talpey


Aimee Harkins

School Counseling

School Counselors

Grade 9

Mrs. Harkins


Ms. Olszewski




Mr. Callan


Grade 10

Mrs. Harkins


Ms. Olszewski




Mr. Callan


Grade 11

Mrs. Harkins


Ms. Olszewski




Mr. Callan


Grade 12

Mrs. Harkins


Ms. Olszewski




Mr. Callan


How to Use this Catalog

The Program of Studies and the course registration process will be explained to you by your school counselor. Your counselor will discuss course/level placements and elective options to aid you in choosing the courses that will fulfill your graduation requirements as well as align with your post-secondary plans. You are encouraged to discuss course offerings with your teachers in order to choose the next appropriate course/level.

You are advised to take this process seriously and make your choices wisely. Before you meet with your counselor, you should complete the following:

  1. Read all the information in Sections I-IV.

  2. Review your past academic performance.

  3. Discuss your plans with your family and your counselor to develop your long-range program.

  4. Consider your goals and the courses that will help you to achieve these goals.

  • What courses will challenge me to stretch my mind and my imagination?

  • What subjects do I need to meet graduation requirements?

  • What courses do college and employers want me to have?

  • What subjects am I interested in?

  • Which subjects are usually hardest/easiest for me?

  • What would I like to do after graduation?

  • What is my career goal?

  • What activities will I be involved in next year? How might they affect my choice of courses?

  1. Discuss course descriptions/requirements with your teachers and Department Leaders.

  2. Keep in mind that taking 3 or more AP courses will require a significant alteration of your out-of-school responsibilities.

  3. Consider course options PRIOR to your scheduled conference with your counselor.

Your schedule of courses is one of the most important things you will have to decide on in high school. Our general requirements ensure that you will receive a balanced education in all areas, with strong emphasis on the skills and competencies required to live successfully in the rapidly changing world of the 21st century. The elective programs that you choose should prepare you in a meaningful way for your future and should give you the opportunity to expand your horizons by providing new learning opportunities.

Please be aware that low enrollment may result in the elimination of course offerings during the registration process.


Graduation Requirements & Expectations


BHS Academic Policies


Course Selection Process

The selection of courses by students determines the number and allocation of teachers, building utilization, schedule preparation, and other considerations that have a definite cost factor.

It is very important that you select your courses with great care.


College Admission

Entrance requirements for different colleges vary. Highly selective colleges expect a student to take a very demanding program of studies and do well in comparison. Admissions counselors also urge high school seniors to take a demanding and challenging program during their senior year. College acceptances may be withdrawn if a student does not perform at a level equal to or better than that of previous years.  

Admissions requirements and college options will be discussed with students throughout their four years in line with their interests and abilities.  For specific admissions requirements, students and parents should review individual college websites.

Division I Academic Requirements

Access DI academic requirements on the NCAA website.

Division II Academic Requirements

Access DII academic requirements on the NCAA website.


Course Descriptions

Fine Arts


The high school art program is integral to the education of all of our students. Art is one of the core academic subject areas and is important for every student. There is a basic level of literacy that all students should attain in the arts. Studies have shown that students who participate in arts education courses score higher on SATs. Arts Education fosters self-expression, creative thinking, craftsmanship, problem-solving, and self-esteem. Through art instruction and skill development, students learn about themselves and the world around them. Course offerings in the arts are rich, varied, and include a large variety of fine and commercial art subjects. The advanced level of courses can be taken repeatedly for an in-depth study of an art form.


The purpose of the BHS Music Program is to have all participating students learn to express themselves, their ideas, and their emotions through music. The students should learn to appreciate the importance of music in expressing and explaining the human experiences as well as increasing their understanding that personal beliefs and societal values influence art forms and styles. Students should be able to identify significant works and recognize the aesthetic qualities of a variety of forms of music from different historical periods and cultures. Courses in Music generally fall into three areas: Understanding the components of music, Choral participation, and Instrumental participation. All music ensemble classes may be scheduled as often as the student desires additional credit.

Career and Technology Education (CTE)

Business and Finance

Business and Technology Education is an integral part of the total academic program and provides a significant contribution to the education of all students in a business-oriented society. Emphasis is placed on enabling students to become productive and contributing members of society, capable of economic self-sufficiency, lifelong learning, and adaptability to change.

Business and Technology Education incorporates performance-based assessment by providing each student with a curriculum that combines application of principles, integration of subject matter, cooperation among pupils, individualization of instruction, evaluation using competency-based criteria, and articulation with advanced programs.

The Business and Technology Education curriculum incorporates the attitudes and attributes, skills and competencies, and understandings and applications of the Connecticut Common Core of Learning. Therefore, students enrolled in business and technology education courses are provided with the necessary knowledge and skills for employment, post-secondary schools, and to be productive and contributing members of society.

Family and Consumer Sciences

In Family and Consumer Science courses, students gain practical skills to succeed in college, career, and life. Courses in the Family and Consumer Science Department include:

  • Culinary Arts

  • Baking

  • Professional Food Preparation

  • Child Development

Technology Education Programs

Technology for the 21st century is changing at an amazing rate. All colleges and career paths in this fast-paced, mobile society require people to be knowledgeable in some form of technology. Preparing students to understand, use, and adapt these various forms to meet their personal and professional needs is the goal of the Technology Education Department. Whether going to college or directly into a chosen career path, Technology Education will help students prepare for their roles in society as well as meet many of the Learner Outcomes Requirements for graduation.

Courses offered in this area are Engineering Technology, Game Design, Drafting, Woodworking, Graphics, and Power Mechanics.

Language Arts

The English program strives to cultivate self-directed learners who think critically about the world, communicate effectively with a variety of audiences, and understand and appreciate diverse perspectives. As students move through thematic units that deal with real-world topics such as personal identity, coming of age, the American Dream, and moral dilemmas, they will have opportunities to choose texts that are of personal interest to them, engage with and learn from others, and demonstrate their learning through the completion of performance tasks.

While freshmen, sophomores, and juniors must register for their grade level’s core course, they are encouraged to pursue their individual interests by adding electives such as public speaking, creative writing, 21st century communication, acting workshop, or digital journalism. By senior year, students have the freedom to design their own English path, opting for a yearlong Honors or AP/ECE course or instead selecting two, semester-long electives that best suit their future goals.


The Mathematics program at Branford High School is designed to blend the concrete with the abstract, application with theory, and skills with concepts. As students progress through this sequential program, they learn to display the mastery of mechanical skills through the development of higher-order thinking skills, such as analyzing, predicting, and drawing conclusions.

Our approach to the teaching of mathematics is predicated upon the conviction that instruction should strike a balance between formal presentation by the teacher and discovery by the student through such means as hands-on activities, classroom experiments, work with calculators/computers, and engagement in rich instructional tasks with peers. This varied instruction should accommodate the diversity of student learning styles and interests by providing each student the opportunity to find success through his/her/their own efforts and to gain the life skills necessary for success in a technological, information-based world.

Through varied instructional techniques, especially by engaging in rich instructional tasks with peers, students should become more motivated and persistent and should improve their sense of responsibility, self-reliance, and intellectual curiosity. Interpersonal relations and a sense of community as moral and ethical values should also be enhanced.

The following departmental performance expectations are the focus of the mathematics curriculum:

  • Analyze trends/patterns to create models and make predictions

  • Utilize tools and technology appropriately within a mathematical context

  • Apply mathematical concepts to multi-step, authentic problems

Physical & Health Education

Physical and Health Education are an integral part of the total education program and together work to promote and empower individual student wellness. The goal of the physical education program is the development of competence, confidence, and persistence as it relates to educating students in, about, and through movement to promote physical activity for a lifetime. The health component is designed to develop a student’s health literacy by increasing their skills, knowledge, and understanding of the factors and choices that promote healthy and balanced living. 

 Physical and Health Education courses are required.

  • Students will incorporate fitness and wellness concepts to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical fitness.

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks

  • Students will choose physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and/or social interaction to sustain a physically active lifestyle.


The Science program at Branford High School is designed to give students opportunities to explore a variety of sciences including life, physical, as well as Earth and space sciences. Since the State of Connecticut adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the district has made efforts to engage students in these content standards as well as the Science and Engineering Practices in all courses. Our goal is to teach students how to think and act like scientists by doing what scientists do. The Science and Engineering Practices are:

  1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems

  2. Developing and Using Models

  3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

  4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

  6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

  7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence

  8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Three credits in Science are required for graduation for all students. Students graduating in the Class of 2023 and beyond will need 9 STEM credits, including 3 Science credits. Each course below can fulfill credit towards the STEM 9-credit requirement. All students entering 9th grade are required to select a science course. We encourage families to review all of the science courses offered to see what students want to take before they graduate from Branford High School. We suggest that students take courses in each of the three domains of science: life, physical, as well as Earth and space sciences. Many of our courses have prerequisites, especially in mathematics; therefore, planning a sequence early on ensures that students will be prepared to take the courses they want. Students who plan to attend any post-secondary institution should look into the courses the institution recommends for admission.

Social Studies

The Social Studies Department at Branford High School is committed to fostering critical thinking, historical analysis, and civic engagement through an innovative approach to learning. To enhance our curriculum we are aligning our courses with the Inquiry Design Model (IDM). The IDM is a research-based framework that empowers students to explore complex historical and social issues through inquiry-based learning. Inquiries enable learners to take the lead in their learning process, allowing them to develop problem-solving skills, independence, and a deeper understanding of concepts as they inquire, analyze, and draw conclusions from their own investigations. By integrating this model into our courses, we aim to cultivate a deeper understanding of historical events, societal structures, and global perspectives -as we aim to inspire a lifelong passion for learning and critical inquiry among our students.

The goal of the Branford High School Social Studies Curriculum is the development of autonomous, lifelong learners as well as knowledgeable, thinking, and active citizens. Our curriculum is driven by the BPS Global Learning Competencies as well as the C3 (College, Career, and Civic Life) National and Connecticut Social Studies Standards and the Inquiry-Design Model. 

Specific Learner Outcomes:
Students will learn to take an active role as citizens in a complex, democratic society through:

  • reading, writing, and thinking critically,

  • exploring and evaluating a variety of sources and perspectives,

  • developing questions and planning research,

  • connecting to and building on historical knowledge, and

  • taking appropriate informed action.


World Language


BPS students will be able to communicate effectively in a second language in order to foster personal growth, connect with global communities and cultures, and demonstrate acceptance, empathy, and a curiosity for the world around them.

The department encourages every student to include a world language in his/her/their program of studies.* Three languages are offered: French, Spanish, and Latin.

The following departmental Transfer Goals are the focus of the World Language curriculum. Students will independently use their learning to:

  • Communicate effectively in a variety of situations in order to create meaningful cultural connections and appreciate diverse perspectives.

  • Explore the relationship between perspectives, products, and practices in the target language in order to develop cultural awareness.

  • Connect with other disciplines and use the language to acquire information and diverse perspectives to become well-rounded, informed global citizens.

  • Make comparisons between the language and culture studied and their own in order to interact with cultural competence.

  • Develop relationships with multilingual communities outside of the classroom to engage with and embrace cultures other than their own.

*Most colleges currently require a minimum of two years of high school credit in a world language for entrance, and many colleges recommend 3-4 years of high school credit.


Special Programs