Academics in the Upper School are closely aligned to college-level course work. Graduation requirements align with competitive collegiate admissions requirements, including a myriad of honors and Advanced Placement classes across the curriculum. This alignment is integral to our high school students’ acceptance and preparation for a competitive college or university.
The Mathematics curriculum emphasizes the development of problem solving and computational skills to provide a firm understanding of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and Pre-Calculus. In addition, a high percentage of ULS high school students take the college courses Advanced Placement Calculus and/or Probability & Statistics. The goal of the department is to have every student become an effective mathematical problem solver.
The Science department focuses students on acquiring knowledge through investigation and observation by providing laboratory experiences, which involve students in the spirit of inquiry. Students are expected to gain the knowledge of facts, concepts and theories of science and apply them to problem solving and critical thinking.
The English program incorporates classic literature including Scott Momaday, Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare and many more. Students respond to these texts with writing assessments including creative, analytical and persuasive. They interpret and discuss ideas prompted from the literature that prepares them for college and beyond.
Social Studies places focus on developing understanding and making connections across time periods, as well as cultural boundaries. Utilizing college-level primary source analysis, research skill development, essay construction and public speaking skills, teachers strive to allow students to understand different points of view, challenge ways of thinking and thrive as well-informed citizens in the modern world.
The Spanish department champions immersion, real-world connections, local and foreign field experiences and a proficiency in the target language, which allows students to communicate frequently and idiomatically. The department achieves these results by stressing acquisition of the language through comprehensible input, and then by requiring a thorough understanding of structure and grammar.
Expectations for independent work increase in scope and complexity in the Upper School. There are many opportunities to cultivate and demonstrate independence, culminating in the capstone Senior Project.
Seniors engage in a yearlong exploration of a self-selected topic. Students arrange a hands-on learning experience to be completed throughout the month of May. They work with an experienced advisor, leader or teacher and are required to keep a daily journal. In conjunction with the off-campus work, students write a formal academic paper and present their project to the ULS community and a review panel comprised of current students, faculty and alumni. Completion of the project is a graduation requirement at ULS.
As the role models on campus, Upper School students are expected to practice leadership skills daily. Students may teach a class to Lower School students, assist with tutoring or coach a sport. Once a month, Upper School students lead all-school assemblies, organizing themselves and younger students to present various topics to the entire ULS community. In addition, all Upper School students participate in the Camp Manitowish ropes course and camping trips, as well as meet a variety of service requirements.
More About Leadership Trips
The most powerful hands-on learning experiences in the Upper School occur during Intersession — a yearlong study of a topic. Intersession enables students to concentrate on a non-traditional area of study without interruptions or demands from other classes or activities. Topics change each year with student interest and there is always an international travel option. Some examples of recent intersessions include trips to Chile and Ireland, Sustainable Living, Intersession of Rock, Philosophy, Theatre Costume and Stage Make-Up.
More About Intersession
The ULS teachers and leadership team believe that at the core of technology in education is a model in which technology’s purpose is to enhance the learning experience rather than be the experience. Students and teachers are active participants in their own learning, choosing the best tools to accomplish their goals. Technology is used to develop strategies that allow learners to reflect on the process and make choices that will lead to improved learning outcomes.
Middle and Upper School students utilize their own portable computer as research work and academic projects need to be worked on increasingly outside of class.