Upper School Academics
The Upper School prepares students for the transition to independent learning, secondary school and their years as teenagers. We recognize that early adolescence is a time when students are considering their own personal ideologies, becoming more autonomous, and developing more sophisticated cognitive skills. The Upper School program is structured to assure academic progress with these important developmental stages in mind.
The departmental system of study fosters insight into the depth and breadth of each academic discipline and allows students to receive the benefit of each teacher’s area of expertise. Students and teachers pursue a rigorous curriculum and set high academic standards for themselves. As in the younger grades, students continue to study music, art, drama, shop, and interscholastic sports in addition to the traditional academic subjects. Each student is guided by a faculty advisor who closely follows the academic, social, and emotional development of his/her advisees.
Sixth grade provides a transitional year into the discipline-specific approach, with additional support from advisors. Both sixth and seventh grade students are honing their basic skills, learning more about themselves and the world around them, improving their study and organizational skills, and developing stronger work habits. These skills are essential to their academic success. In keeping with their growing maturity, eighth graders are taught increasing responsibility and leadership.
They have the opportunity to take on leadership positions in activities and student government; participate in art, woodworking, and writing mentor programs; travel as a part of our foreign language travel programs; and help lead our athletic teams. Eighth graders create the yearbook and plan their graduation ceremony. On the playing fields, interscholastic athletic competition underscores the importance of individual accountability within the context of a team.
Our students are engaged in our community – our service programs have earned recognition in the state just as our history students and jazz band have – and their experience is further expanded by class trips and opportunities to travel overseas and to host visitors from other countries. Our aim is to prepare students who will not simply succeed and lead in secondary school but who will have internalized the skills needed to meet their futures with confidence, knowing that they can make a difference.
By the time they graduate, Applewild students have not only learned a great deal, they have accomplished a great deal. In the arts, on the playing fields, in the classrooms, or in the community at large, they can point with pride to tangible achievements. They know they are ready for the challenges of secondary school and are confident that they will make a contribution.
“[Our son] has had three exceptional advisors who strongly support and encourage him, fostering trust and building important relationships. [His advisors] have encouraged our son to take risks in his art and permit mistakes. This lesson overflowed to his daily life and provided a context wherein our son can err but keep moving forward. His advisors have devised creative ways to help him stay organized and self-advocate in a way that was fun, positive, and caring.” Parents of an 8th Grade Student
After Applewild, our students continue their education at a wide variety of public, charter, parochial, and independent secondary schools. We find that our core liberal arts curriculum and rigorous academics, as well as our culture of trying hard and having fun, prepares our students for success in a broad array of secondary school environments. In the arts, academics, and community involvement of all types, Applewild students are poised to become leaders at their next schools.