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Taft School

Taft School

Taft School

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Taft School

110 Woodbury Rd, Watertown, CT 06795, USA


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Taft School

About Taft School

More than a century has passed since Mr. Taft founded our school. While the world and the school have changed dramatically, his fundamental values endure: work hard, without regard for public acclaim; develop all your talents: academic, artistic, and athletic; and most importantly, give of yourself to others. Horace Taft chose our school motto: Non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret—Not to be served but to serve. Today, Taft’s 114 faculty members educate 579 boys and girls from 33 states and 33 countries. 

Our beautiful 220-acre campus features facilities that rival those of many small colleges, including a library with 56,000 volumes, a 45,000 square foot science and mathematics building, two theaters, two ice hockey rinks and an 18-hole golf course.   At Taft we are continually revising, re-examining and broadening the scope of our curriculum to provide students with a strong intellectual foundation. The rich and varied curriculum combines required classes with challenging electives, as well as opportunities for independent study both in and out of the classroom. 

Our academic approach provides the important general foundation of knowledge and yet allows students to pursue an individual course of study to fit their needs and specific interests. Taft's curriculum begins with foundation courses, then broadens into a diverse and challenging number of options, including honors and Advanced Placement courses in every discipline. As students' passions are kindled, they can pursue a wide selection of electives, as well as independent-study possibilities. Advanced coursework includes A.P.s, and equally challenging upper-level electives. Teachers move beyond textbooks and incorporate materials that stimulate sophisticated discourse. Our objective is to provide each student with a liberal arts education. The school year has two semesters, during which over 200 courses are offered, each worth 1 unit. Thirty-six academic units are required for graduation. In grades 9 and 10, the minimum course load is five major subjects; in grades 11 and 12, four major subjects.  

Class size is generally 10–16 students, and the student-faculty ratio is 6:1. Taft closely monitors the progress of its students. Every three weeks, teachers submit academic reports. Examinations are held at the end of each semester, and grades and teachers' reports are sent home four times per year.  


  • 8 units of English

  • 6 units of one foreign language

  • 6 units of mathematics

  • 4 units of history or government

  • 4 units of laboratory science

  • 3 units of arts

Advanced Placement Courses

     The Advanced Placement program at Taft is one of the best in the nation--with students here taking a total of 510 exams last year alone. Taft offers 30 different A.P. courses, and every Taft student enrolled in an A.P. course is required to take the exam. Many Taft graduates go to college with advanced standing or academic credit and thus are better able to take advantage of the opportunities available in their postsecondary education. The mean A.P. score for Taft students is 4 out of a possible 5, and nearly 90 percent of graduates take at least one A.P. Examination during their Taft career. 

Designing Your Own Curriculum

     Sometimes your interests do not neatly follow curricular boundaries, or your hunger for learning surpasses regular courses. Taft, in keeping with its philosophy of challenging girls and boys in the widest possible way, permits older students under close supervision to design and follow their own study plans--through independent course work with a faculty member or through an Independent Studies Project.

Recognition of Excellence

     The faculty selects outstanding students for awards sponsored by Harvard University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Smith College, Hamilton College, Holy Cross College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Bausch and Lomb Company. The highest academic award given at graduation, The Aurelian Award, is sponsored by The Aurelian Honor Society of Yale University. Students who rank at the top of the class are inducted into Cum Laude, a national scholarship society in secondary schools corresponding to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi in colleges and scientific schools. An average of 87 or above qualifies a student for the Honor Roll and 93 or above for High Honors. In the Senior year, qualified students compete for national recognition and college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Competition. The faculty selects one senior to compete for the Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina and another for the Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia.


     Mr. Taft understood the vital role of the arts in shaping the spirit and intellect of his students. The Arts are an important part of the Taft community, and Arts courses are central to the school's objective of educating the whole person. Taft graduates develop the skills and the discipline to be intuitive, imaginative creators and observers in all areas of their lives. The teachers of the arts are also practicing artists: they inspire and challenge our young people. Concerts, plays, performances, and exhibits fill the school calendar and celebrate artistic accomplishments. Introductory arts courses are required, and many students go beyond the basic requirements. Some students are involved in many facets of the arts, while others specialize as artists, musicians, or actors. Advanced Placement courses are offered in Art History, Music Theory and Studio Art. The Independent Study Program allows Upper Mid and Senior students to explore a discipline in an independent setting, and artistic expression is often the goal of these scholars. Each Independent Study participant is guided by an advisor, and a presentation of the year's pursuit is made in an exhibition, performance, or Morning Meeting. Poets, playwrights, sculptors, painters, fashion designers and artisans demonstrate skill and subtlety of expression every year for ISP pursuits.

Athletic Facilities

     The Taft athletic program is an important and vital component to the life of the school. Whether we are working with elite athletes or intramural participants, we believe that one of the greatest things we can teach our students is to enjoy athletics and to understand the importance of a life-long commitment to fitness. As we emphasize the significance of leading balanced and healthy lives, we also have the opportunity to help shape our students' values and priorities. Athletics at Taft serve a specific purpose in the growth of our students. In building one of the most successful athletic programs in New England, Taft coaches promote sportsmanship, a love of the game, competitive spirit and team loyalty. As a result, our students leave Taft with an understanding of how to work hard and to act like sportsmen, a commitment to the team concept, the ability to set goals and a positive feeling about physical activity.  Additional facilities include a second baseball diamond, a softball field, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey fields, and an off-campus boathouse for crew in Litchfield, Connecticut.  

Indoor Facilities

  • Donald F. McCullough '42 Athletic Center:

  • Field house with four indoor tennis and basketball courts and an indoor track

  • Cardio and weight-training rooms

  • Mays Hockey Rink

  • Odden Hockey Arena

  • Eight squash courts

  • Paul and Edith Cruikshank Athletic Center:

  • Two hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball

  • Indoor rock climbing wall

  • Locker rooms for boys and girls

  • Logan Field House:

  • John Wynne Wrestling Room

  • Athletic training and rehabilitation room

  • Aerobics/yoga studio

  • Rowing ergometer room

Outdoor Facilities

  • 18-hole golf course

  • 400-meter, all-weather William Weaver Track

  • 12 all-weather tennis courts

  • Snyder Soccer Field

  • Rockefeller Football Field

  • Geoffrey C. Camp '91 Field, an artificial turf field for field hockey and lacrosse

  • Rockwell Baseball Field

Beautiful Landscape

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