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From the Upper School
 
Grade 8 Goes to Washington
Jeff Feinberg
 
Prior to spring break, Grade 8 students and advisors spent three days and two nights exploring our nation’s capital. The annual class trip to Washington D.C. is the perfect opportunity for students to connect with their studies of U.S. history and experience our government in action.

This year, the trip included tours of The United States Capitol and The Supreme Court. We also visited Ford’s Theater, Smithsonian Museums, George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and more.

While visiting The United States Capitol, students discussed the role and history of the legislative branch of our government from inside The House of Representatives Chamber. The tour also provided our group an up close look at the impressive neoclassical architecture of the building, a common theme throughout much of Washington D.C. With much in the news about court decisions and nominations, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head across the street from The Capitol to visit The Supreme Court.

In Grades 7 and 8, we study the history of The United States, and for many students, the historical connections to their studies came to life on the trip. Alex B. said, “We delved far deeper into the historical figures than we ever had in the classroom.” The same was true for the wars they have studied and the men and women who served in them. At the memorials for World War II, the wars in Vietnam and Korea, and Arlington National Cemetery, students gained insights into the scope of the conflicts, including how many people gave their lives in defense of our nation.

In addition to the unique civic and historical experiences students had in D.C., the trip also provided a chance to enjoy time with classmates and teachers. Whether we were taking in the hysterical performance of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center or competing in a scavenger hunt at the National Portrait Gallery, experiencing Washington D.C. together as a class strengthened our relationships and left everyone with lots of great experiences.



"I'VE GROWN UP HERE. I'VE GONE FROM BEING A STRESSED OUT, SHY, LITTLE GIRL TO AN INDEPENDENT, RELAXED, OLDER GIRL WHO LOVES MAKING FRIENDS. THE TPS COMMUNITY HAS SHAPED WHO I AM IN SO MANY WAYS. IF I HADN'T GONE HERE, I WOULDN'T BE THE PERSON I AM TODAY." - JULIA P. '14


Upper School

The Upper School - Grades 7, 8, and Freshman Year - offers a challenging preparatory curriculum.

The literature-based English program continues to develop students’ critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. Each grade level in the Upper School studies a play by William Shakespeare; in addition, students read and analyze literary works by a variety of authors, including Sherman Alexie, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, S.E. Hinton, Shirley Jackson, and William Golding (among many others), constructing thoughtful responses in both speaking and writing.

The history curriculum in Grade 7 focuses on American history, particularly colonization through reconstruction. In Grade 8 students continue their study of U.S. history, concentrating on reconstruction to the present. The first two terms of the Freshman Year history curriculum are devoted to a survey of Chinese history and culture, leading up to the class trip to China; the spring term is devoted to a survey of some of the world’s great religions.

Science in the Upper School makes extensive use of the Dow Science Lab, technology, and the school garden. Grade 7 focuses on earth science and basic chemistry; Grade 8 concentrates on physical science and ecology. The Freshman Year is devoted to biology.

The mathematics curriculum continues with pre-algebra or algebra in Grade 7 and concludes with either advanced studies in algebra or geometry.

In the Upper School, students have the unique opportunity to master one modern language, French or Spanish, or study its ancestor, Latin.

Although departmental in structure, the curriculum does have important links among all the disciplines. Faculty meet to plan interdisciplinary experiences that help students understand how areas of study are related. The curriculum prepares students for the most competitive boarding and day schools and for the honors and AP programs in local public high schools.

Overnight trips to Frost Valley, the Adirondacks, Washington, D.C. and China provide academic enrichment as well as an opportunity to build class unity.

Through the intra-school Green and Gold competition, interscholastic athletic teams, the student leadership and service group, yearbook, and various fine and performing arts productions, students have ample opportunities to develop leadership skills. As homeroom teachers, advisors, and coaches, the Upper School faculty work closely with all students to help them become positive and productive leaders of our school community.



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