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.