of students in grade 9 take Global Citizenship, preparing them to be ethical, engaged and informed members of the world community.
Learning at the Upper School
The Upper School nurtures the intellectual talents and interests of all our students, inspires them to turn inquiry into insight, and empowers them to achieve their maximum potential. Here, students are challenged to think, supported to think, and eager to think—resulting in a deep and enjoyable education that lasts. Browse the Upper School Curriculum Guide below.
Download the Upper School Curriculum Guide.
Working with teachers who are both accomplished in their fields and student-centered in their approach, Upper School students participate enthusiastically in the varied academic opportunities available in our diverse, respectful, and caring classroom settings. On any given day, students explore labs, participate in deep and probing discussions, write critically and creatively, refine their thinking, and learn to solve cutting-edge problems in pursuit of durable truths and usable skills. Our graduates enter a rapidly changing world with the tools to learn continuously, lead bravely, and innovate humanely.
Our academic courses include appropriately challenging honors and Advanced Placement tracks. (Over the past three years, an average of 240 AP exams were taken per graduating class in 17 different subject areas. On 70% of these exams, students earned scores of 4 or higher.) Other signature challenges include opportunities for independent research in science, a junior thesis in American history, and an advanced mathematics and computer science sequence.
Other thoughtfully designed aspects of our curriculum, such as our Culture of Integrated Ethics, the writing program, the MKA Core, integrated technology, and Global Experience, help to develop our students’ capacity to think critically and to prepare them for a meaningful life at college and beyond. In our technology-rich environment, the 1:1 laptop learning initiative gives students tools to enhance collaboration and exploration, helps them thrive in the classroom, and readies them to succeed in today’s world.
Upper School teachers provide the blend of challenge, guidance, and support that fosters students’ independence. Faculty members enthusiastically work with students outside of class during Common Work Period (CWP), during a mutual free period, before or after school, or in the Math Lab. Students quickly realize that their teachers are their best resource for academic support, and, thanks to small class sizes, faculty members are able to meet students where they are and help them realize their unlimited academic potential.
Our research-based, 75-minute class schedule provides ample opportunities for in-depth learning and has resulted in reduced student stress, increased schedule flexibility, and higher grades and standardized test performance. Classes meet every other day, with four class periods, Common Work Period (CWP) and lunch daily. CWP allows students to collaborate, work one-on-one with faculty members, catch up on work, or take a break. End-of-day activities include school meetings, guest speakers, advisor group meetings, club meetings, and house competitions.
Learn more about the research that informs our 75-minute class schedule here.
A key component of each Upper School Student’s experience, the advisor system goes beyond academic advising and supports our social and emotional learning goals. The pairing of advisor and advisee helps students achieve self-efficacy as members of the Upper School community and serves as a positive relationship that supports them as they navigate high school. The advisor/advisee relationship is built over four years, enabling advisors to see students develop from early teens to independent young adults ready for college life. In grade 9, the advisor program is supported by a robust peer leader program, which partners ninth graders with upperclassmen for mentorship and guidance.
of Upper School students take three years of a world language, launching them on the road to fluency.
of Upper School students can opt to take sophisticated, niche courses, such as economics and computer science.
of Upper School students learn how to use a weight room and develop personal fitness regimens.
of students in grade 12 spend several weeks before graduation intensively pursuing an area of interest during May Term.