Welcome to the Upper School

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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

Biology

Calculus – AB

Calculus – BC

Chemistry

Chinese Language

Comparative Government and Politics

Computer Science A

Computer Science Principles

English Language and Composition

English Literature and Composition

French Language and Culture

European History

Macroeconomics

Microeconomics

Music Theory

Physics 1

Physics C: Mechanics

Psychology

Spanish Language and Culture

Spanish Literature and Culture

Statistics

United States History

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

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.

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

Drama

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

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

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 a multidisciplinary and multicultural approach to examining and understanding global issues. Interested students engage in intensive study of global problems and responses to them: environmental, socio-economic, diplomatic, and intellectual. Emphasis is placed on the study of the historical and anthropological origins and effects of global expansion; post-World War II and post-colonial world affairs; globalism and globalization; environmental changes and how they impact the globe; the growth of interdependent economies and their ramifications; global institutions such as the IMF and World Bank; global problems facing the United Nations; how new mentalities impact the globe and are impacted by it, as well as the global effects of mass media. Students examine those problems from diverse perspectives, in an effort to overcome ethnocentrism and foster multicultural understanding.

The Global Studies Distinction is an opportunity for a student to distinguish him/herself as one who is interested in and has seriously pursued a variety of topics and experiences related to global study. The Distinction appears on the student’s transcript.

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

SEE REQUIREMENTS

World Languages

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

REQUIREMENTS FOR WORLD LANGUAGE DISTINCTION

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

Psychology: Healthy/Abusive Relationships

Religion in Sparta and Athens: A Comparative Study

Research in Biomass Energy

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. 

Upper School in Action

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
Diana Degnan '20 inspires the King community to make a difference in the fight against world hunger

The US Gymnasium was transformed into a processing plant on Wednesday, March 6, as Diana Degnan '20 lead the charge to pack over 100,000 meals for the Feed My Starving Children organization and feed nearly 300 children for a year. At the end of the day, Middle and Upper School students and Staffulty helped exceed the goal and packed 101,304 meals (469 boxes) in total. This ambitious undertaking was part of Diana's Capstone Project for Global Studies and the effects of her work will be felt thousands of miles away.

Read more about Diana Degnan '20 inspires the King community to make a difference in the fight against world hunger
Annual El Sistema Music Residency Scheduled for April 6-8: Building and Connecting Communities Through Music

King is excited to host its fifth annual El Sistema Residency April 6-8 when talented musicians from our Middle and Upper Schools collaborate in intensive music workshops with visiting students of various El Sistema USA programs, including Stamford's own Project Music. The overarching focus of the residency is to inspire a connection between communities of different socioeconomic backgrounds, using the music ensemble as the vehicle through which to inspire deeper communication.

Read more about Annual El Sistema Music Residency Scheduled for April 6-8: Building and Connecting Communities Through Music
King Cares trip to New Orleans includes volunteer service opportunities and music immersion

Earlier this month, a group of 25 students and five staffulty spent the long holiday weekend in the Treme in New Orleans during a King Cares service trip. The Treme is (according to New Orleans official guide) not only America's oldest black neighborhood, but was also the site of significant economic, cultural, political, social, and legal events that have shaped the course of events in Black America for the past two centuries. This year, in partnership with King Cares, members of the King jazz band took part in the trip to perform music and participate in service opportunities.

Read more about King Cares trip to New Orleans includes volunteer service opportunities and music immersion
Grethe Andersen '19 to receive Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Buckingham Palace in May

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award program is designed around four sections: community service, physical fitness, skill development, and adventurous journey. Grethe completed all four sections of the Award as well as undertook a residential component in Cambodia. Grethe, and her fellow recipients, will be presented with the Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award in one of the Royal palaces in London in the presence of a member of the Royal family.

Read more about Grethe Andersen '19 to receive Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Buckingham Palace in May
Summer Sabbatical to Vienna Connects Resilience and Psychology for Laura Bowe

Last summer, Laura Bowe, History Faculty, traveled to Vienna on a Faculty Sabbatical, to explore psychology and the lives of Sigmund Freud and Viktor Frankl. Ms. Bowe's sabbatical is one of many ways in which King supports a top quality Professional Growth and Development (PG&D) program, which is a cornerstone of our success.

Read more about Summer Sabbatical to Vienna Connects Resilience and Psychology for Laura Bowe