Curriculum Guide

Upper School Class Descriptions

English Language Arts

Upper school students journey through literature to explore tough questions and develop effective writing methods. Literary works such as "The Giver," "The Diary of Anne Frank," and "To Kill a Mockingbird," allow students to explore historical moments while confronting the principles of a just society, what our response to conflict says about us and how human compassions inform our understanding of the world.

Language Arts classes coincide with social studies and music, in order to provide students a more complete view and perspective of life and times.

By the end of Upper School, students will be able to :

  • Reflect about themselves and their society
  • Explore how their experiences can influence the world around them.
  • Begin to actualize who they will be in the world as global citizens by creating their narrative.
  • Explore why it is essential to defend human rights
  • Define how life experiences can shape our values?
  • Ponder the responsibilities of power?


Upper school mathematics builds on the principles and understandings learned in lower grades, with a focus on computation, data and chance, measurement and reference, an introduction to geometry and patterns, functions and algebra.

Students will practice data analysis, qualitative and quantitative probability, units and systems of measurements, lines and angles, transformations and symmetry,

By the end of eighth grade, students will be able to:

  • Understand the systems and processes of measurement
  • Use appropriate techniques, tools, units, and formulas in making measurements
  • Use and understand reference frames
  • Investigate the characteristics and properties of two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric shapes
  • Apply transformations and symmetry in geometric situations
  • Algebraic notation
  • Order of operations
  • And the properties of arithmetic operations


Social Studies

Upper school students study geography, world history and civics. Students will learn about the people, places and features of the world's nations before diving into the ancient civilizations of the world. The journey concludes with an exploration of local, state and national governments in the US.

At each turn, social studies lessons correspond with the literature reviewed in Language Arts class, and the selections in music class.


Upper school technology focuses on game design. Through the years students matriculate from leaning about game design to coding and the business of game design.

Graduates of upper school will know how to design, code, evaluate and market video games.

World Languages

Upper school students focus on language proficiency, as Spanish students attend classes taught in the target language up to 90 percent of the time, and Mandarin immersion students master their proficiency.


In the upper school, students add a religion class to their every-other-day chapel routine, which adds another level of depth to their studies. Bible curriculum continues to build on making higher-order informed decisions and choices, and students learn that the Bible is not only the basic guideline written for the believer, but is the very fabric of their daily life. Each session, students are challenged with two questions: What does this scripture mean for my community? And what does this scripture mean for me?

As students begin to balance their commitment, academic focus, and application in their day-to-day tasks, upper school students use their time to more deeply study the nature and character of God, by surveying the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures.

By the end of 8th grade, students should be able to:

  • Understand the big picture of the Old and New Testaments
  • Understand how God has carried out his plan of salvation through his people
  • Understand God as the central figure of the Old Testament
  • Understand Jesus as the central figure of the New Testament
  • Personally challenge themselves to maintain a right relationship with God
  • Translate knowledge into personal application
  • Discover how an attribute of God applies to daily life

Physical Education

Upper school students continue to build on skills learned in the lower school with a greater focus on personal fitness and individual activities such as paddle ball, tennis, pilates and yoga. Students are able to describe how they improve fitness, use information from a variety of sources to guide and improve performance, and use complex movement to refine skills and learn new skills.

Upper school graduates are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.


In the upper school music program, students are required to participate in band or orchestra, and the music department centers its program around advanced music and performance skills. Students explore various musical styles such as folk songs, marches and spiritual music, while they learn to take responsibility for their practice, work habits and performance.

Upper school graduates will have a firm grasp on:

  • Music reading and vocabulary
  • Tone quality
  • Articulation
  • Critical listening and evaluation


Upper school students, having developed greater control and hand-eye coordination continue to study the masters and build on the basics they learned in lower school. Students take in the masterful works of Norman Rockwell, Maria Martinez, Gustav Klimt, and Michaelangelo, while experimenting with more complex media, such as oil paints and pottery, to further develop their understanding of three-dimensional shape, detail, pattern and form.

Students continue to enhance their cultural and global awareness as they encounter the expressions, times and environments of artists from around the globe. Art studies in the upper school are correlated with humanities lessons of history, religion and literature.