Learn about how Upper School students take control of their learning, study the world around them, and hear from two of our students about their favorite classes and teachers.
Upper School Curriculum
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. King currently offers Advanced Placement courses in the following areas:
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.
Upper School Program Offerings
Read more about our academic philosophy and view detailed descriptions of all courses.
*College Preparatory and Honors Levels offered
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 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.
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
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 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.
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.