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Upper School

Upper School teacher and students sitting at tables in a circle
Upper School Head Andrew Prince

Welcome

Collegiate’s Upper School is a vibrant, challenging, and supportive environment where students are encouraged to be their unique selves. Collegiate students are afforded every opportunity to pursue their interests, guided by a knowledgeable and caring faculty. This happens through a diverse array of classes and clubs, participation in sports and the arts, and the frequent contentious, respectful, and informed conversations that happen across campus. This process of intense self-discovery is rarely linear, never easy, and one that prepares our students for the complex nature of the world they will inhabit and lead.

While students are encouraged to become the very best they can be individually, they are also challenged to think about their place in the various communities they inhabit.  They are invited to co-create the norms that we abide by through formal and informal leadership opportunities.  And we discuss the kinds of things they owe one another as citizens of a common school, city, country, and global community. We emphasize empathy; Diversity, Equity, and Belonging awarnesses; and a passion for justice of all kinds so that they will be best positioned to go into the world and use their immense talents to shape a better future for all of us.  

When a Collegiate student walks across the stage at graduation, they do so having been catalyzed to be the best version of themselves as they define it and in service of their classmates and all those they will interact with.

Andrew Prince
Upper School Head

Why Our Upper School?

Collegiate’s Upper School offers a robust set of opportunities designed to allow students to shape their learning and pursue their interests wherever they may lead. Academically, students are furnished with a strong foundation in their ninth and tenth grade year that is designed to expose students to a number of different subjects, topics, and ways of thinking. As students enter their eleventh and twelfth grade year, they are allotted more freedom to pursue the robust set of electives that are offered. These electives allow students to take a “deep dive” into particular areas of interest for them.  Whether it is Astrophysics, the construction of masculinity, or Ancient Greek, students can engage with numerous highly specialized areas. If an elective that matches a student's needs is not offered, they can pursue independent study or a senior project under the guidance of our expert faculty. Moreover, students are allowed to pursue their passions through clubs, affinity groups, athletic teams, and the arts throughout their Collegiate career.

In addition to the tremendous autonomy that students are afforded, they always have the support and guidance of our caring faculty. All Upper School students have a faculty advisor with whom they meet at least once a week and who ensures they receive the support they need. In ninth grade, students are assigned an advisor who works only with ninth graders. At the end of ninth grade, students select an advisor and become part of a multi-year advising group that extends through their final three years at the School. The advising program and the relationships that it helps form are foundational to the student experience and provide support, encouragement, and guidance for students throughout their time in the Upper School. We want our students to develop the skills and dispositions to be the architects of their own learning and we are always right alongside them to help when they might need it.

three students presenting at the front of class with a teacher looking on

What we offer to students

Our Curriculum

Our Upper School curriculum, organized here by subject, is rich, thoughtful, and designed so that each student can pursue his interests. Please select the department you wish to explore. 
Art

We believe that all students can create art.  Our students have hands-on, safe and varied experiences in drawing, painting, sculpting, clay, fibers, printmaking, photography and design. Our pillars include using art as: a language and a tool, as a form of communication, as a form of personal expression, as construction and craftsmanship, and as a means of learning about others while honoring individual students’ backgrounds and experiences. Students will learn technical skills as a means of expressing ideas.  Our studios model professional art-making environments in which students move freely, take responsibility for themselves and for their materials, and practice discussing their work within a supportive environment. 

Ninth grade visual artists, in a year-long course, explore a wide range of media and techniques including drawing, design, printmaking, sculpture and digital media.  Students in grades 10-12 can choose any of the following semester-long classes:  Drawing and Painting 1- 2, Ceramics 1-2, Photography and film 1-2, and the advanced year-long course, Art 3. 

Classics

The goal of the Classics program is the mastery of Latin and Greek and the introduction to the literary, historical, and philosophical works written in those languages. The aim of both sequences is to produce confident, highly skilled readers of ancient literature who have been able to study these cultures through close contact with the literatures themselves.  

The Latin sequence begun in eighth grade continues throughout Upper School. A firm foundation is established through intermixing rigorous grammatical training with frequent reading of unabridged passages from many ancient authors.  This foundation allows for close readings in tenth grade of Latin prose works (by Sallust and Cicero) and in eleventh of Vergil’s Aeneid and Eclogues. In twelfth grade readings vary (with student input) and may include works by Tacitus, Livy, Horace, Catullus, and Lucretius.   

Ancient Greek is also offered and is taught with the same approach in a four-year sequence that concludes with readings in Plato and the Greek dramatists (Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes) and in passages from dozens of other authors.   

 

Computer Science

Our computer science curriculum aims to give the students the skills to navigate and be part of a world connected through technology and computational thinking. The students combine their own creativity with the precision of computers. Whether it be building a website, creating robots or designing a game, we believe it is important for boys to experience this world.  Using a problem solving approach, students figure out solutions using tools at their disposal. Programming skills are taught in a way so they can be applied to learning new languages in the future. 

Computer Science classes are optional and have no prerequisites. There are year-long classes in ninth and tenth grades (Digital Literacy of the 21st Century and Coding 101) and electives such as Advanced Topics of Computer Science offered to eleventh and twelfth grades.

Drama

The goal of the Drama Department is to expose our students to the active practice of the art of theater; therefore, empathy, collaboration, discipline, playfulness, and creativity are central values. Our Upper School sequence will prepare students to create as actors, playwrights, directors, and designers and to knowledgeably critique theatrical texts and performances. We endeavor to present theater and performance as an academic area of the school's curriculum; to value the qualities of gratitude, inclusion, optimism, courage, and love; and to strive to help our students to see meaning and find satisfaction in their own lives and in the lives around them. 

Upper School drama courses begin with a ninth grade theater survey in which students form a theater company and produce, design, build and perform in several productions. In tenth through twelfth grades students can take semester-long elective courses. Past course titles have included Acting, The Director and Designer, Technical Theater, On/Off Broadway, and Improvisation.

English

The English Department in the Upper School is committed to the close and careful study of language. Every day, students hone their reading, writing, and comprehension skills through explorations of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction texts, as well as a variety of creative and analytical writing assignments. By the time a student graduates after four years of English study in the Upper School, he is a confident reader and writer who is ready to embark on a lifelong love of language.

The journey begins in ninth grade with a yearlong course studying literature about identity. In texts such as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Larsen’s Passing, Butler’s Kindred, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, students explore the intersection of race, gender, and class to ask questions about realizing identity in our country. By way of contrast, the tenth grade course is a more formal study of epic, comedy, tragedy and the novel, acting as a bridge to Upper School electives and giving the opportunity to study major works, such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Morrison’s The Song of Solomon, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet

After a term of training in research essay writing, juniors are free to select from an enormous range of semester electives during their final two years at Collegiate. A glance below at some of the electives gives a hint of the riches on offer:

  • 20th C. Japanese Literature
  • Black and Jewish American Literature
  • Foundations of American Literature
  • Latin American Literature
  • Literature and Education
  • Literature and Judgment
  • Postcolonial Literature
  • The Marriage Plot: 19th Century European Novel
  • The Personal Essay
  • The Writer's Life
  • Aesthetics
  • Gods of War: Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Epic
  • Independent Study
  • Modern Drama
  • Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theatre
  • Shakespeare II

 

French

Modern Language classes equip each student with the tools needed for effective communication, empathetic discovery and cross-cultural understanding of our interconnected world. We emphasize teaching language in context, guiding students in the exploration of authentic texts, media and the arts as conduits to practices and perspectives from where the target language is spoken. In their years of study, learners apply their knowledge of vocabulary, register and structures to communicate, as they grow attuned to cultural nuance. Students develop their linguistic skills through interpersonal, presentational and interpretive tasks.

In ninth grade, students expand their linguistic range surrounding everyday life topics such as health, city life, and school life, with a focus on civic engagement and personal growth. In tenth grade, students further their acquisition of vocabulary and structures as they strengthen their ability to speak and write about issues facing the modern world. Students in eleventh grade deepen their engagement with current events and contemporary crises, to draw comparisons between practices and perspectives in their community and those from French-speaking regions. The focus in twelfth grade French varies is built on student interest and focuses literary and cinematic works from a wide geographic span

History

History is an evolving conversation that prepares students to think critically about the world and their place in it. Students become historians as they delve and research into the past using primary sources while simultaneously incorporating and comparing contemporary issues. By comprehending perspectives from a variety of actors in the past, the study of history at Collegiate urges empathy and an understanding and embrace of diversity in the present. We make sure to incorporate marginalized voices and non western content. Our global approach also includes looking at international relations through political and social history. Teachers seek to develop and refine students’ reading with college level texts, analytical writing, deep research, and historical thinking skills. Discussion in class and regular opportunities to present projects is a key part of the curriculum. The goal is to equip students with the necessary skills to better navigate the past, present, and future.

Students study World and U.S. histories in grades nine and ten, then choose from a wide variety of upper-level electives, such as 

  • Protest Actions in Black American History
  • 21st Century Citizenship
  • Global History of Epidemics and Pandemics
  • Global Middle Ages
  • History of Central America and Mexico
  • History of Manhood in the United States
  • History of the U.S. Since 1945
  • Independent Study in History
  • Middle East: Axis of Uncertainty
  • Modern China and Japan
  • Global Gender Studies
  • Race and Whiteness in the Western World
  • The Communist World
  • The U.S. in the World
Mandarin

Modern Language classes equip each student with the tools needed for effective communication, empathetic discovery and cross-cultural understanding of our interconnected world. We emphasize teaching language in context, guiding students in the exploration of authentic texts, media and the arts as conduits to practices and perspectives from where the target language is spoken. In their years of study, learners apply their knowledge of vocabulary, register and structures to communicate, as they grow attuned to cultural nuance. Students develop their linguistic skills through interpersonal, presentational and interpretive tasks.

In ninth grade the focus is on fostering communication around familiar themes, such as personal backgrounds,  school life, leisure activities, health, and travel. In tenth grade students work with themes of caring for others, expressing gratitude, social mores and the conventions of prose and poetic registers. Mandarin 11 fosters complex student expression through a variety of authentic materials including films, news articles and podcasts on current events. The twelfth grade class is designed for motivated students who wish to deepen their understanding of Chinese literature and culture.

Mathematics

The Mathematics Department develops in each student knowledge, understanding, and curiosity about mathematics both as a discipline in itself, and as a means of describing and understanding the world. We hope all of our students will find a love of mathematics, whether it is in its structure, elegance, or utility.  Student collaboration and communication are highly valued, and students are regularly encouraged to grapple with challenging concepts in small groups to gain deep and long-lasting understanding.  Using multiple representations (written, algebraic, graphical, and numerical) is critical to this mathematical communication.  In this way, students learn problem-solving skills, analytical methods, and logical thinking as they practice organizing information and tackling a variety of mathematical problems.

All students take a proof-based Geometry class in ninth grade and progress through a curriculum including Precalculus that will lead to the opportunity to take Calculus.  For many students this will include one or more advanced-level Calculus classes.  Elective courses are offered in a variety of mathematical areas including Advanced Statistics and Mathematical Modeling.

Music

The Music Department strives to promote excellence in music by creating meaningful experiences through performance, understanding, and appreciation of the art of music. We aim to help students develop their individual talents as well as cultivate their musical interests. Further, we want students to explore the areas of expression and imagination. We believe that every student should be given the opportunity to learn music and to share in musical experiences. We work to foster self-confidence, creativity, responsibility, and self-expression.

In ninth grade, students can choose to take one of three music classes: Chorus, Orchestra, or Music Production/Electronic Music. In tenth through twelfth grades, Upper School Chorus, Upper School Orchestra, and a rotating variety of music elective courses are offered. These could include drumming, music history, music theory, and world music.

Physical Education

The Physical Education Department provides a balanced and varied curriculum that addresses health-related fitness and motor skill development. The program provides each student with the opportunity to develop and maintain a level of physical fitness commensurate with his individual ability. Students are offered a variety of activities, such as basketball, soccer, weight training, floor hockey, volleyball, paddleball, and badminton. 

To receive Physical Education credit, students have a choice of joining a Physical Education class, joining an athletic team, or applying to the department for an Independent Out-of-School exemption.

Religion

The Religion Department in the Upper School introduces students to a variety of religious and philosophical traditions that have shaped values, influenced social movements, and contributed to our continuing conversation about the nature of culture, society, and humanity. Although courses differ in content, each means to offer an illuminating perspective on enduring human questions.  

Courses taught in recent years include: “Islam”; “Matthew”; “The Gods of the Poets:  Hades and Eros”; “Homer and Tolstoy”; “The Death of Socrates”; “The Just, The Beautiful, and the Good in Greek Thought”; “God, Man, and Law in Herodotus’s Inquiries; and “Greek Tragedy: War and the City.”   

Science

Our science curriculum emphasizes problem-solving, the use of methodical approaches coupled with intuitive reasoning, a firm grounding in scientific research, and the development of scientific literacy. Our experienced team of science faculty help students learn to think and work like scientists. Much of our rigorous coursework focuses on laboratory and real-world experiences. It allows students to understand the relationship between science and engineering, and different ways that science can be applied. Ultimately, the Science Department is committed to showing students that science is interdisciplinary, has practical applications, and must be understood in a larger cultural and societal context. Our overarching objective throughout the curriculum is to foster students' critical thinking skills when drawing conclusions, inferring relationships, solving problems, and testing their own hypotheses.

Students take biology in their freshman year, and then can take chemistry and physics in their sophomore and junior years. Students interested in specific applied sciences can also choose from our elective courses, such as Environmental Science, Behavioral Neuroscience, Organic Chemistry, Quantum Physics, or Astronomy. 

Students that demonstrate exceptional interest and initiative can apply for enrollment in the Collegiate Science and Engineering Research Program (CSERP). This one- or two-year elective course sequence consists of a long- term research project on any basic or applied science topic. Rising juniors can enter the two-year mentored program, designed to emulate all the significant steps in a typical scientific research project, by seeking out and working closely with a professional research mentor outside of Collegiate. Rising seniors can enter the one-year independent program, to systematically design, build, test, and experiment with a device that applies scientific concepts.

Spanish

Modern Language classes equip each student with the tools needed for effective communication, empathetic discovery and cross-cultural understanding of our interconnected world. We emphasize teaching language in context, guiding students in the exploration of authentic texts, media and the arts as conduits to practices and perspectives from where the target language is spoken. In their years of study, learners apply their knowledge of vocabulary, register and structures to communicate, as they grow attuned to cultural nuance. Students develop their linguistic skills through interpersonal, presentational and interpretive tasks.

In ninth grade, students develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills under the framework of communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. Tenth grade students build upon the vocabulary and structures and  practice their writing with guided compositions based on literary, journalistic, or audiovisual material. Spanish 11 emphasizes oral communication and interpretive skills through class discussions and presentations based on authentic sources – films, TV series, documentaries as well as short stories. In twelfth grade, students can elect to study contemporary issues through the lens of Hispanic cinema and film adaptations or to focus on current events through Hispanic media channels and newspapers.

Special Programs

Independent Study
Students may receive credit for Independent Study during any semester at the Upper School. The purpose of Independent Study is to allow a student to specialize in an area of interest under the guidance of a teacher. Any student interested in such study consults with the teacher and his advisor. 

Semester Programs
Students may participate in off-campus programs for a semester or a year. Several examples of those programs are The Mountain School in Vermont, Maine Coast Semester, The Island School, and School Year Abroad.

Senior Projects
The Senior Project, offered only during the second half of the Spring Semester of the senior year, is an important part of the Collegiate curriculum. Properly undertaken, a Senior Project can substantially add to a student’s educational experience and intellectual development. The faculty encourages seniors to explore projects of their own design that represent a serious and worthwhile examination of some aspect of their learning.

student government meeting at a conference table
Upper School Highlights

Student Government

It is important that our older students have a voice in the Upper School. The Upper School government consists of representatives from each grade and under the leadership of their president and of the Upper School division head, they work on projects to improve the everyday life of the student body. 

Students studying at a table in the library
Upper School Highlights

Down Time

In the Upper School the students have more autonomy with their free time. Many choose to study in the library surrounded by stacks of books and comfortable beanbags!

Students playing ping pong
Upper School Highlights

Ping Pong in the Student Center

Many students manage to fit in a game of ping pong between classes. Located in the hub of the Upper School is the center, a hub for socializing and unwinding.

Two students interviewing an assembly guest on stage
Upper School Highlights

Assembly Speakers

In the Upper School, inviting speakers to speak to students is an important part of the Assembly program. Here you see students interviewing Aristotle Torres, a writer, director, and photographer based in New York City, who visited the Upper School as the assembly speaker for Latinx Heritage Month.

Students outside a Broadway theater
Upper School Highlights

Class Trips

The faculty of the Upper School love to utilize the city for field trips across different disciplines. Here you see members of grades 9 and 10 French classes who went to see The Little Prince, a book they had read in class, on Broadway.

Upper School Highlights

Collegiate Science and Engineering Research Program

Eleventh and twelfth graders have the option to join a program called CSERP, the Collegiate Science and Engineering Research Program. Students undergo scientific research and are mentored by scientists from outside the school.