Upper School

Introduction and Philosophy

The Upper School program presents a challenging and engaging curriculum that balances specific course requirements with a wide range of electives to give students increasing choices as they prepare for post-secondary study. The academic program offers a wide range of opportunities for students including Honors Program and Advanced Placement courses, as well as special diploma programs in STEAM, global studies, creative arts, and international travel experiences.
 
Upper School students engage in increasingly complex research and writing projects and advanced course work in all disciplines as they progress through each grade level. In their required courses and elected Honors course work (see below), they complete independent and collaborative work that requires them to take both critical and creative approaches to analysis and problem-solving. 
 
For graduation, students must complete the following requirements:
 
4 credits of English
3 credits of Mathematics
3 credits of History, including European, Modern World, and United States History
3 credits of Science, including Biology and Physics
3 consecutive credits of one World Language (French, Spanish, or Mandarin) 
2 credits of Creative arts
1 credit of Technology
 
A total of 22 credits is needed for graduation and students earn their remaining needed credits in elective courses.
 
Several electives are offered in the Humanities, Science, Math, and Technology. These courses as well as the creative arts electives (visual, theater, and performance arts) are listed in the current curriculum guide. 
 
Approximately 60 percent of juniors and seniors take at least one Advanced Placement (AP®) course; the majority enroll in more than one during either or both years. AP® courses are offered in fourteen subjects, cover the equivalent of college level material, and prepare students to take the AP® exams, which may qualify them for college credit or advanced placement. Several courses not designated AP include extensive research, college level reading, and advanced writing skills. During senior year, students complete a Senior Thesis, with a focus on literature, history, or global studies, which they defend before a panel of classmates, teachers, and administrators. 
 
The Honors Program is designed to offer students an intellectual extension to the required class work with additional focus on creative problem-solving, independent thinking, extended research skills, and application of learned content and skills. By definition, the teachers offering this program will not offer one-on-one instructional support and will expect students not to engage a tutor to complete the work assigned. Each teacher participating in the Honors Program requires quarterly projects and additional material for the students to learn. Some of this material might be designed to complete work needed for the SAT II subject exams. The School recommends that students who desire an additional academic challenge focus on an area of strength or interest when pursuing the Honors Program. Few students will be able to balance the work of more than three honors courses at one time. Students should recognize that each course is an additional commitment of time with a considerable level of independent learning required.
 
During the final four weeks of the second semester, 12th graders may participate in an internship program (12th Grade Project) that allows them to explore occupational fields of interest. They work off campus from 24 to 30 hours a week under the direction of an on-site supervisor. Projects are also monitored by faculty advisors and the Head of the Upper School. Students return regularly for meetings with their advisors, and are required to share their work experiences at a special exhibition at the end of the project period (12th Grade Project).

Winterim is an Upper School program that takes place every other year and gives students the opportunity to travel both abroad and domestically and learn about people, cultures, customs, history, language, science, and the environment. Students may choose to participate in School trips to places such as Belize, China/Korea, Europe (England/France, Italy/Greece, France/Spain, Germany/Austria, Iceland), India, and the Dominican Republic. Domestic trips have included visits to New York City and Washington, D.C.; a week of local day trips in Boston is always offered as well. Trips offer a variety of activities including community service, tours of historic and cultural sites, and classes and lessons — dance, martial arts, engineering, creative arts, etc. — as well as visits to museums and landmarks and workshops/meetings with representatives of private organizations, government agencies, and the media. All trips are conducted for educational purposes and many relate directly to or expand upon classroom studies or program goals. All Upper School students are required to participate in a Winterim program. 

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BRIMMER
69 Middlesex Road
Chestnut Hill, MA  02467
617-566-7462