Welcome to the Upper School

Watch Videos about King Upper School

The King Upper School program emphasizes self-knowledge, fearless learning, and healthy risk-taking - all qualities that lead to a life of purpose and success. Authentic, respectful challenge encourages a growth mindset that leads to students' achieving their personal best in the classroom, on the stage, and on the athletic fields. Students engage as active learners and are prepared to thrive in college and in life.

"Learning to be a fearless learner is such an important skill for students today. At King, we teach that the world is complicated and you can navigate it."
Marnie Sadlowsky, Head of Upper School

We invite you to learn more about one of Stamford's top-rated private high-schools, explore the benefits of our program, and browse our rigorous high school curriculum. Also, view our Upper School in Action, and check out our High School Clubs and Activities. We look forward to welcoming you at our upcoming events!

My King Story

Pushing the envelope with classroom discussions

History & Social Science Faculty

"It's wonderful to watch students become more self-confident and articulate as they engage with multiple perspectives and multifaceted problems."

In the Upper School, the key to academic excellence stems from:

Opportunities for students to engage with a thoughtfully designed, sophisticated program in the liberal arts and sciences that requires students to be active, in-depth learners

Commitment to Academic Excellence
The Upper School program emphasizes self-knowledge, fearless learning, and healthy risk-taking -- all qualities that lead to a life of purpose and success. Each King student is unique, so we give you the ability to design your own academic path. As part of King's rigorous core curriculum, you may design your own Advanced Tutorial courses or choose to graduate with a Certificate of Distinction in STEM, Leadership, Global Studies, or World Languages. In addition, you can choose from advanced seminars in specialized topics, including Research and Development courses in all science areas; honors-level independent studies that you design with a Faculty advisor; 22 AP course options; and numerous electives. Guiding you along the way is a fully developmental, personalized College Counseling program that helps you shape a pathway to the finest colleges and universities. LEARN MORE.

STEM
Discover how the STEM disciplines influence one another and prepare you for success in college. You can graduate with a STEM Distinction, learning first-hand real world skills and pursuing a Capstone Project. Choose from courses in advanced programming, Multivariable Calculus, and Digital Mobile App Development. Technology is a complex tool; at King, you will learn to engage it with skill and wisdom. You can join the King Math Team which excels at both the County and State levels. LEARN MORE.

Reading and Writing
You will use literary analysis to dissect challenging texts. Your writing will continue to blossom as you learn to build persuasive arguments. Small, seminar-style classroom discussions give you the opportunity to develop your critical thinking skills and find your voice. You can sharpen your public speaking skills further by presenting at King Talks, in Debate Club tournaments, and at Model UN conferences. LEARN MORE.

Enriching Opportunities
Immerse yourself in a wide range of academic, club, arts, and athletic opportunities that will take you places you hadn’t even considered. Team with talented peers as you create the Literary Arts magazine, produce a film, or pursue victory on the athletic field.

Support by Exceptional Faculty

Exceptional Faculty
Our private high school Faculty are dedicated to being experts in their subject areas. Our teachers support students with meaningful learning experiences which help students explore sophisticated topics and think creatively and independently to learn to design solutions to real world problems. MEET OUR FACULTY.

King's Approach to Teaching and Learning
Our teachers know the power of using their students' interests, learning patterns, and personal goals to drive rigorous academic exploration. US Faculty use the latest educational research to guide student-centered instruction. King's deeply experienced Faculty allow for curricular flexibility. In addition to learning from core classes, students can take advantage of advanced tutorials and specialized seminars, AP courses, and honors-level independent studies they design with a Faculty advisor. LEARN MORE.

A Kind, Respectful Community

Be a member of a community that is grounded in four King Virtues -- Integrity, Kindness, Perseverance, and Respect. At King, you are joining a family that wants you to succeed and appreciates you for who you are. You will benefit from a strong personal and academic Advisory system that will support and guide you throughout your high school years. King offers a supportive, reflective environment that embraces diversity and inclusion as central to educational excellence and to success in a multicultural world. Our King Cares Service Program, takes shape in the rich array of clubs, coursework, and travel opportunities, both domestic and international. Be inspired to serve and to see service as integral to who you are and who you will become. LEARN MORE.

Students are able to choose courses based on their interests so no two students have the same schedule.

Movement between and among our programs is quite fluid and is dependent upon the relative areas of strength for each student.

Particularly in highly content-sequential departments like Mathematics and World Languages, departments sometimes will recommend summer work to bridge content gaps if a student is moving, for example, from a College Preparatory program to an Honors program.

The College Preparatory Program

The College Preparatory Program is the fundamental program in every given discipline.

The Honors Program

The Honors Program takes College Preparatory courses to a more sophisticated, advanced level, generally preparing students for Advanced Placement courses in their junior and senior years. The pacing of these courses is faster and the content exploration deeper, allowing for the study of more topics and/or texts.

THE ADVANCED PLACEMENT PROGRAM

The Advanced Placement program incorporates and often goes beyond a standardized, national College Board curriculum in preparation for a comprehensive examination in early May. Superior skills in the fundamentals of the various subject areas are generally a prerequisite for entering AP courses, along with a high level of intellectual curiosity and motivation, solid analytical and reasoning ability, and a strong independent work ethic. Departmental approval is required. Students in AP courses must remain committed to the demands of the program throughout the entire year, including preparation for the exam itself. Students must sit for the AP exam to satisfy requirements for the course. If a student does not sit for the exam or fails to meet the ongoing course expectations, the AP designation is removed from the transcript and replaced with an Honors designation; if a student has been accepted to college, King will report the change of course status. Students may not sit for an AP exam unless he or she takes the course through King or an independent study approved by the Academic Dean. King currently offers Advanced Placement courses in the following areas:

List of AP Courses

2-D Art and Design

3-D Art and Design

Biology

Calculus – AB

Calculus – BC

Chemistry

Chinese Language

Comparative Government and Politics

Computer Science A

Computer Science Principles

Drawing

English Language and Composition

English Literature and Composition

French Language and Culture

 

European History

Macroeconomics

Microeconomics

Music Theory

Physics 1

Physics 2

Physics C: Mechanics

Psychology

Spanish Language and Culture

Spanish Literature and Culture

Statistics

United States History

World History: Modern

 

Upper School Program Offerings

Read more about our academic philosophy and view detailed descriptions of all courses.

DOWNLOAD THE UPPER SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE

*College Preparatory and Honors Levels offered

English

The English faculty encourages students to explore and understand how language is used to express the thoughts and feelings of English speakers interacting with their world and reflecting upon the challenges of being human. At each grade level students are empowered to develop and refine their skills of reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and listening, as they encounter increasingly challenging texts from a number of literary periods and genres. In particular, the English faculty is committed to developing authenticity of personal voice in each student and to fostering a love of the written word and pleasure in the act of reading.

Fundamentals of Composition and Literary Study

Writing about Literature *

American Literature *

Senior Seminars:

  • African-American Literature
  • Adaptation: Screen to Page
  • Creatures Great and Small
  • Comic Books and Graphic Novels
  • The Latest and Greatest
  • Coming of Age

AP English Literature

AP English Language and Composition

Math

The Mathematics faculty works to enhance and expand student understanding of pattern, order, relation, and structure, and the development of abilities of logical analysis, deduction, conjecture and proof, and calculation within the context of these patterns and structures. Students learn that the process used in obtaining a solution is at least as important as a correct answer. The faculty also works to ensure that each student is thoroughly familiar with analytical, computational, and problem-solving methods, as well as logical patterns of reasoning.

Algebra 1

Geometry *

Algebra 2 and Trigonometry *

Algebra 2

Pre-Calculus Essentials

Pre-Calculus *

Pre-Calculus, Accelerated

Calculus

AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus BC

AP Statistics

Multivariable Calculus

Linear Algebra

Differential Equations

History

The History faculty guides students in the close examination of the written record of human civilization, human action, and interaction, via primary documents and secondary sources. Research and debate form an integral part of our studies, and special attention is placed on showing the controversy and complexity of historical study as students learn to synthesize and interpret opposing points of view while formulating their own theses.

World History

Hubris in Ancient History, Honors

World History 2 *

United States History *

AP United States History

America in the Sixties, Honors

Genocides of the Twentieth Century

Modern Ireland:

Nationalism, Radicalism and Violence from 1641-present

AP European History

Science

The Science faculty provides a collaborative educational experience in which to study the physical world by reviewing current knowledge, manipulating variables or components, and interpreting phenomena. Students are challenged to expand their knowledge bases and develop the ability to use inquiry, problem recognition and resolution, critical thinking, and research while interacting with technical information. Students are exposed to all three basic sciences to enable them to perceive the world through multiple perspectives, make connections, and see patterns within and between disciplines.

Biology 1 *

Chemistry 1 *

Physics *

Conceptual Physics

Biology 2 *

Physical Anthropology: Human Evolution *

Environmental Science and Sustainability

Principles of Engineering

AP Biology

AP Chemistry

AP Physics

AP Physics 2

AP Physics C

Introduction to Computational Chemistry

Engineering Design & Development

Computer Science & Digital Applications

The Computer Science and Digital Applications curriculum is designed to respond to the needs of all King students and enhance student opportunity for advancing individual aptitude, knowledge, and skill. The Department seeks to build a more profound intellectual awareness of our evolving technological society and prepare King students in the practical applications, usage and management of technology and its deep relevance to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and virtually all aspects of living in the evolution of humankind.

Programming 1

Advanced Programming

with Robotics

AP Computer Science (com 500)

AP Computer Science Principles

C++ Programming *

Digital Mobile App Development Android

Digital Mobile App Development Apple

Research and Development, Honors

Web Development 1: HTML & CSS

Web Development 2: Javascript & Jquery

Digital Photography

Digital Animation

Filmmaking 1: Visual Storytelling

Filmmaking 2: Audio & Light

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences faculty guides students in the scientific study of human societies and institutions. Students learn the terminology of the social sciences, study the major theories associated with the various fields of study, and engage in quantitative, comparative, and interpretive analysis through research and debate.

Life Skills 1

Study Strategies

Leadership Foundations

Introduction to Global Studies

Topics in Global Studies

Life Skills 2

Leadership Seminar

Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Honors

Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Advanced Seminar

Financial Market Economics

Money and Banking

Field Archaeology *

Field Archaeology, Advanced Seminar

Cultural Anthropology:

Honors and Advanced Seminar

Literature of Social Reflection 1: Children of Crisis

Literature of Social Reflection 2: Affluence and Poverty

General Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

Archaeological History, Method, and Theory *

World Religions

Leadership Practicum

AP Microeconomics

AP Macroeconomics

AP Comparative Government and Politics

AP Psychology

World Languages

The World Languages faculty empowers students to understand and appreciate the diverse values, beliefs, biases, and worldviews of non-English speaking people. Students explore linguistic systems through a variety of culturally authentic materials. The faculty employs multimedia resources to expand and refine exposure to the art, literature, and history of the Spanish and French and Chinese-speaking world. Through the acquisition of another language and a more intimate acquaintance with other cultures, students are better equipped to perceive and interpret the world and their place in it.

Chinese 1

Chinese 2, 3, 4 *

Chinese 5, Honors

AP Chinese Language

French 1

French 2, 3 *

French 4, 5

French 5

Intro to AP French Language and Culture

AP French Language and Culture

Spanish 1

Spanish 2, 3 *

Spanish 4, 5

Introduction to AP Spanish Literature

AP Spanish Literature

AP Spanish Language

Spain: History and Art

Innovation Lab

The Innovation Lab provides students the tools, space, and guidance to inspire and nurture discovery. Through real-time critical thinking and trial-and-error activities, students learn to design solutions to real world problems. Innovation Lab courses are inherently interdisciplinary. Immersion in the Design and Innovation curriculum will prepare students to become active participants in shaping the Cultural and Economic landscape of the future.

Marker Techniques

Design Thinking I

Design Thinking II

Graphic Design Studio

Learn more about our Innovation Lab. 

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts faculty helps students learn to use and manipulate a wide range of media and techniques to express themselves and develop their personal artistic vision. Students develop artistic skills and good craftsmanship, learn to seek alternative answers to problems, and become deeply involved in the artistic process. Through the enhancement of nuance and intuition, and the respect for and understanding of human creative endeavors from other cultures and points of view, students learn to view the world through the eyes of the artist.

Fundamentals of Art for Beginners

Intermediate Art

Drawing

Printmaking

Painting

Clay Workshop

Clay Explorations

Global Art:

The Phenomenon of Human Expression

King Publications: Design and Content

Advanced Art 1, 2, 3, 4

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts faculty engages students in the use of their voices, hands, and/or bodies to express themselves and their ideas in the disciplines of vocal music, instrumental music, theater, and dance. Experiences in this program cultivate the development of intuition, reasoning, imagination, and self-confidence in ways and at a level not found in the traditional classroom setting.

Drama

Acting 1

Acting 2

Technical Theater 1

Technical Theater: Special Projects

Stage Combat in Shakespeare’s Plays

Stage Fighting in Classical Literature

Public Speaking 1

Public Speaking 2

Producing and Directing Theater

Actor’s Studio

Mask Making

Music

Chamber Music

Beginning Guitar

Guitar Workshop

Dance

Jazz Combo

Concert Band and Jazz Band

Choir

Vocal Ensemble

Music Composition

Piano Keyboard

Music Theory

Choir and Musical Theater

AP Music Theory

Athletics

The Athletic Program is an integral part of every student’s experience at the School. The Athletic Department offers a broad-based program designed to serve as a complement to the rigorous academic program. The School’s athletic offerings provide students with the opportunity to compete athletically through Varsity and JV team sports, and to participate in a noncompetitive environment through fitness and recreation opportunities.

Students can graduate with Certificates of Distinction

The Upper School offers Certificates of Distinction to students who elect to complete additional requirements in particular areas of study beyond the broader graduation requirements. In an analogy to undergraduate study, the minimum graduation requirements comprise a sort of “major” in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, but the requirements for each Certificate of Distinction comprise an additional, focused “minor.”

Certificates of Distinction are entirely elective. They are only appropriate for students who, by Grade 10, prefer digging deeply into a focused area of study rather than continuing to explore broadly across the curriculum.

Certificates of Distinction:

STEM

Students who elect to graduate with a Certificate of Distinction in STEM will pursue a variety of challenging coursework, club activities, project development and/or research opportunities. Along the path to Distinction, students will learn first-hand some of the skills that are regularly used by today’s researchers and innovators, such as literature review, experimentation or project design, modeling, data analysis, and presentation of information. Moreover, students will appreciate the extent to which STEM fields overlap when applied to real world problems.

Each Certificate includes required courses, electives, commitments to clubs/organizations, trips/events, and a final capstone project.

SEE REQUIREMENTS

Leadership

King's leadership program is founded on the belief that strong, ethical leadership is comprised of skills and behaviors that everyone can learn and develop.  Students have the opportunity to put their leadership skills into action through a variety of course work, case study, project development, team work, and meaningful roles in the community .  In addition, students who want to commit to the academic study of leadership theory can work towards a Leadership Distinction. 

To complete the Leadership Distinction at King, a student must demonstrate an understanding of leadership theory and meaningfully apply a strong skill set to coursework, leadership roles, and a Capstone Project.

Each Certificate includes required courses, electives, commitments to clubs/organizations, trips/events, and a final capstone project.

SEE REQUIREMENTS

Global Studies

The Global Studies Program at King takes an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to examining and understanding global issues. Interested students engage in an intensive study of global challenges and responses to them in the fields of environmental science, international relations, socio-economics, human rights, and cultural studies. Emphasis is both placed on the intellectual and emotional development of our global scholars with respect to the impact of globalization on multiple geographic and cultural areas of the world.

We educate them to appreciate their shared humanity while they investigate the world, and to recognize their own and others’ perspectives. In the classroom, through engagement in field research and work (both local and global), participation in cultural and language immersions, and service programs and internships with local and global partner organizations, King global scholars develop an understanding of the globalized world so that they can recognize the need for their participation in ethical, cultural, socio-economic, political, scientific, and environmental issues.

Each Certificate includes required courses, electives, commitments to clubs/organizations, trips/events, and a final capstone project.

SEE REQUIREMENTS

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program stresses the importance of original creative thinking and individual artistic expression. Students engage in art-making based on observation and vision, are encouraged to use critical thinking, and to persist in exploring unique ways of executing their work. Learning is supported by exposure to the history of art and work from artists around the globe. Reflection and class critiques further strengthen artistic growth.

Students who wish to pursue a Certificate of Distinction in the Visual Arts will complete challenging coursework, participate in related club activities, and partake in summer and/or extra-curricular art learning, culminating in authentic capstone projects that reflect their unique artistic vision. Students will consider their role as an artist within society, creating work that is relevant, original, and that addresses universal concerns through the exploration of a personal theme.

SEE REQUIREMENTS

World Languages

Students wishing to qualify for the World Languages Distinction should complete the following.

SEE REQUIREMENTS

Video Feature: King Students discover leadership potential

Additional Program Opportunities

THE ADVANCED SEMINAR PROGRAM

The Upper School offers students courses that go beyond the scope of the Advanced Placement program. Courses in advanced Research and Development in Mathematics, the Sciences, and Engineering, as well as Archeology, Multivariable Calculus, Introduction to Computational Chemistry, Genetics and Philosophy, for example, would fall under this programmatic category.

INDEPENDENT STUDIES

Independent Study options are open to all students, either in addition to a full course load, or to round out a student’s academic program. Independent Studies are honors-level courses, typically taken on a semester basis. Students work on a topic of their own design and are responsible for mastering the work and research required under the direction of a mentor(s) from the appropriate academic department(s). Weekly meetings are required.  Click here to learn more about our current independent study and research programs. 

Examples of past Independent Studies include the following:

Advanced Clay Methods

Aerospace Engineering

Conducting

Film Production

Global Warming & Clean Energy

German Language

Graphics Programming

Italian Language

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Music Theory and its Application

Nietzsche

Portrait Painting

Portuguese Language

Psychology: Healthy/Abusive Relationships

Religion in Sparta and Athens: A Comparative Study

Research in Biomass Energy

The Social Impact of Videogames

Tracing the Denial of the Holocaust

Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Book

SPECIAL PROJECTS

Special Projects build on content acquired within King’s curriculum to investigate topics or undertake projects that advance deeper and/or further than King’s formal course offerings. Guided by a mentor or mentors from the appropriate academic department(s)—and sometimes by outside experts—students are responsible for the work and research required to master a topic and/or design and implement a project. Projects may be completely driven by an individual student’s interest or may be offered and directed by instructors working with small groups of students. Regardless, all projects require a commitment from students to be curious and to explore and apply independently. Special Projects typically earn advanced (Honors or Advanced Seminar), major credit and typically are taken on a semester basis in addition to a full schedule of at least five major courses. Products are as varied as the projects and have included essays, presentations, stage lighting design, software applications, and a fixed-wing drone.

Click here to learn more about our current independent study and research programs. 

Advising at King

Personal Advisors

The Personal Advisor is the student’s primary advocate, monitoring student progress, discussing academic and/or social issues and concerns, and assisting with the academic planning process. Each student stays with their advisor for all 4 years at King. Advisors typically have 10 students each and meet regularly. 

Grade Deans

Grade Deans are assigned to each grade level to provide an administrative presence devoted entirely to the needs of those classes and their individual members. Together with the personal advisors, Grade Deans are responsible for monitoring a student’s overall progress from an academic, social, and emotional perspective.

School Counselors

The School Counselor are available as a supportive resource to all students in Grades 9-12. The Counselors offer the opportunity for brief solution-focused sessions regarding issues that affect students’ academic or social health. The Counselors also take the opportunity to meet with students new to the Upper School to discuss any issues that may arise during their transition to a new school environment. Although most students come to the Counselors by their own referral, Administrators, Personal Advisors, and/or parents can also refer students when they feel that some level of intervention is necessary.

Directors of Teaching and Learning

As certified learning specialists, the Directors of Teaching and Learning assist and guide students with certain aspects of their studies; coordinate action plans designed to capitalize on student strengths to aid in their academic improvement; and monitor student progress.

College Counseling

Learn more about college counseling. 

Upper School in Action

PA Speaker Cristina Young encourages celebrating teens' success and keeping open lines of communication

Earlier this week the Parents' Association welcomed Cristina Young as she presented Understanding the Teenage Brain: The Keys to Improving a Challenging Relationship. Ms. Young, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist with 25-years of experience, led an authentic discussion on the challenges and joys of parenting teenagers in today's environment. 

Read more about PA Speaker Cristina Young encourages celebrating teens' success and keeping open lines of communication
The journey continues: Class of 2019 Matriculation

Congratulations to the Class of 2019. One of the key benefits of a King education is the many different opportunities we offer students to discover and pursue their passions as they grow as learners and people. Thanks to the tireless guidance and support of their teachers, college counselors, and families, the successes they created for themselves in the classroom, on the field, and on the stage helped them earn acceptances to the best schools in the country and abroad.

Read more about The journey continues: Class of 2019 Matriculation
Closing Upper School assembly celebrates community spirit 2019

Christos Galanopoulos, Chair of History Department, explores the "emotional outpouring of love of our community" at the last Upper School assembly this year.  Experience Mr. Galanopoulos's reflection and a video of the assembly featuring the passionate speech by Luke Buttenwieser, President of the Upper School student body, and the touching tribute by Mr. Lear-Nickum to retiring teachers Cathy Mishkin and Connie Nichols.

Read more about Closing Upper School assembly celebrates community spirit 2019
King Community Makes a Difference at King Cares Family Service Day

Saturday, April 13 was the fourth annual King Cares Family Service Day. Over 250 students, parents, family members, friends, and staffulty came together to support 10 of King's partner organizations, and the day concluded with the US student Midnight Run. The mission of the King Cares Service Program is to support the values-based education at King School. This Program reinforces the School's belief that service to the broader community, both local and international, is central to educational excellence.

Read more about King Community Makes a Difference at King Cares Family Service Day
Twelve members of the Class of 2019 are newly inducted into the Cum Laude Society

Congratulations to the new King inductees. These students have chosen rigorous academic programs and have met the requirements of all those courses of study and have often exceeded them. It is their sustained excellence over the entire course of their high school careers that marks them as worthy of consideration, although that is not to say that they have not grown emotionally and intellectually during the journey.

Read more about Twelve members of the Class of 2019 are newly inducted into the Cum Laude Society
US Science Fair showcases student research and innovative experiments

There were 65 projects from 98 total students and all of them included stringent statistical analyses even at the Grade 9 level, every hypothesis was tested in at least three different ways, and finally, with the inclusion of student projects from the Advanced Math & Science Research (AMSR) program, this year marked the first time that students presented rigorous, high-level research that was performed off-campus in professional laboratories.

Read more about US Science Fair showcases student research and innovative experiments
Math Team success includes a perfect score for Cam Raker '19 and a second-place team finish

Congratulations to the members of our Math Team who competed in the State Competition, which took place on April 4 at Haddam-Killingworth High School. Out of all "Small" schools in the competition - there are 22 schools in this category - King placed second behind Christian Heritage. Also, Cam Raker '19 achieved a perfect score for the second year in a row. 

Read more about Math Team success includes a perfect score for Cam Raker '19 and a second-place team finish
Grade 10 team showcases their trained robot at Annual Machine Learning Symposium

Earlier this month, Grade 10 students Ryan Heaton, Sammy Hillenmeyer, and Alex Lim attended the 13th Annual Machine Learning Symposium at the New York Academy of Sciences where they met employees of Google and leaders in the field of Computer Science from Stanford University, WashU, and other institutions. They were chosen to attend and represent King at this event because their US Science Fair Project involves teaching a robot to learn and solve a maze on its own.

Read more about Grade 10 team showcases their trained robot at Annual Machine Learning Symposium