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Upper School Experiential Learning

Through real-world experiences and active learning, our students think harder, look closer, and read deeper, all while discovering more about themselves and the world around them.

Beyond the Walls of the Classroom

In our experiential learning program, students develop their interests, identify their strengths, and expand their horizons. Through alumni presentations, community service projects, and field trips, as well as workshops and reflection exercises, they hone in on the areas they want to explore.

To that end, every Upper School student completes an original, yearlong personal challenge project that spurs them to dig deeper. For these self-designed explorations, students choose a topic that brings their own interests and abilities into sharper focus.

Some students opt into further opportunities, such as summer internships or semester-long seminars. Others choose to pursue an experiential learning concentration in a field such as global citizenship or technology and innovation. By participating in the experiential learning program, students discover the world, and find themselves in the process.

 

Components of the Experiential Learning Program

Accordion

In ninth-grade, students complete inventories on their personal strengths, learning styles, multiple intelligences, and interest areas. The data from these inventories is readily available to students, parents, advisors, and counselors. This information may be helpful as students make decisions about course selections, extracurricular and community service activities, their personal challenge project, and even college options.

Throughout their Upper School experience, students are exposed to a variety of guest speakers through assemblies. These events may include political debates, speakers focused on a particular career or professional area, alumni sharing their past and recent experiences, or current students sharing personal challenge projects, as well as community service activities, summer programs, or internship experiences.

At the end of twelth-grade, students participate in a culminating experience that allows them to reflect on their high school years and to plan for the next stage of life.

As students move through the experiential learning program, they are encouraged to pursue their interests when they choose community service activities, their personal challenge project, and summer programs. In addition, opportunities are provided for job shadowing experiences and internships. Students also have the opportunity to explore areas of interest through elective courses, flex credits, and our travel and exchange programs.

For students who wish to pursue an area of interest in greater depth, there is the option of graduating with a concentration. Possible concentrations and the faculty adviser for each are listed below. Students may also request a concentration in a different area.

  • Community Engagement — Anne Ramsay
  • Engineering and Design — Lenore Horner
  • Environmental Stewardship — Jen Torline
  • Global Citizenship — Phil Thornberry
  • Political Engagement — Dan Polifka
  • Technology and Innovation — Brian Arnold
  • The Arts — Tina Kuhlman
  • Wellness — Erin Wierzba
  • Written Expression — Marielle Newton