Upper School

Grades 9-12

The Upper School, which encompasses Grades 9 through 12, completes the program of college preparation at the Academy. As students transition from the Middle to the Upper School, learning continues to be authentic and engaging with rigorous curriculum offerings at three levels: college preparatory, honors, and advanced placement. Dialogue and interchange between teachers and students are hallmarks of the Upper School, where the focus moves from subject mastery to higher-order thinking skills. In this unique setting, students have the opportunity to develop their individual talents and creativity through a carefully sequenced and integrated curriculum.

Upper School Profile (PDF)

Upper School Curriculum


 

Overview

The Upper School program provides an excellent academic curriculum as well as varied athletic, artistic and leadership opportunities. It fields a variety of athletic teams; provides opportunities in the performing arts, including band, chorus and theater productions; and offers numerous co-curricular offerings to develop leadership ability. Students compete and consistently win in divisional, regional, and statewide academic and athletic competitions, including previous recognition in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) and Rube Goldberg contests.
With a rigorous academic program, four-year college guidance, weekly assembly period, peer mentoring program, and standardized test review preparation, our students are accepted at the nation's best colleges and universities, including Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford, the University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Williams, M.I.T. and the Naval Academy.

In the Upper School, students can customize their curriculum to meet individual needs, interests and abilities. With a variety of academic and co-curricular offerings, students can excel in learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. Hypothesis, experimentation, and conclusion are the focus of science classes, over nomenclature. Numerical reasoning rather than solution becomes the goal of mathematics. In history, facts give way to reasons and social understanding. While mastery is still the focus of world language, students approach fluency in real language situations. In English, students are exposed to a large sample of the best works of literature and learn to communicate concisely and precisely. In addition to its core courses, the Upper School offers exciting opportunities in the visual and performing arts with two full-length productions in fall and spring. The new Global Scholars program prepares students to serve and lead as stewards in the world, and to promote environmental awareness, global thinking, and local action.

Whether taking on a leadership role in a school club or organization, participating in service learning projects, or volunteering in service opportunities locally or around the world, Upper School students exemplify the Academy’s commitment to excellence as independent thinkers and global leaders of the 21st century.

What Makes Us Different

The Upper School curriculum reflects rigor:
  • Students’ ACT and SAT scores are well above the National and State averages.
  • Opportunity to earn non-Honor’s Credit in required courses. Fourteen AP courses and 10 Honors courses offered.
  • Four-year graduation requirement in English; three-years in history, math and science; two-years in world languages
  • 100 percent graduation rate, with 99 percent of students going on to college.
  • Writing is done extensively throughout Upper School and the writing process is stressed. 
  • Research is continued throughout Upper School with added demands on skills, understanding and independence.
  • More than 60 percent of Upper School students achieve Honor Roll or High Honor Roll.
  • Students studying French regularly receive recognition in the National French Contest.
Reflects enrichment:
  • Hands-on science is emphasized in the Upper School.
  • Simulation-based learning projects help students gain a deeper knowledge of topics.
  • Eleven varsity sports are offered.
  • Music, art, fine arts and physical education are part of the regular curriculum and taught by subject specialists.
  • Students can be involved in two major dramatic performances each year.
  • Students can join organizations such as WYSE, Model UN, Mock Trials, Band and Chorus.
Reflects global perspectives and understanding:
  • Global Scholars program enhances students’ global awareness and involvement.
  • Diverse student body celebrates Diwali, Ramadan, Eid and more.
  • International Day is an extensive educational project in Upper School involving research, planning and sharing cultural knowledge.
  • Social studies is taught throughout the Upper School. Areas of study include local, US and world history, and current national and world events.
  • Electives in all disciplines allow for a deeper analysis of the subject matter.
Reflects individualization:
  • College and wellness counseling programs to meet student needs.
  • Advisors work closely with students and families.
  • Students choose from a variety of electives in all disciplines.
  • Projects are used in addition to traditional assessment in order to allow for varied learning styles and strengths.
  • AP and Honors sections are offered in many courses.
  • Accelerated mathematics materials are used at all grade levels.
  • Open-ended and student-chosen activities, including writing projects, allow for varying developmental levels and abilities.
Reflects state-of-the art in education:
  • Curriculum is updated on a regular basis to address student needs.
  • Program stresses a multi-disciplinary approach to science and social studies in addition to English, mathematics, world languages and fine arts.
  • Computers and SMARTBoards are used in the classroom and students continue to develop computer skills.

Advisory Program

At Morgan Park Academy, our teachers do far more than teach facts or school subjects. We cultivate our mission through our students’ learning every day in the classroom. Character education is both respected and reinforced through teachers’ daily interactions with students.

Morgan Park Academy places importance on its advisory program throughout the entire school. The idea that all students have someone advocating for them and guiding them through their education is crucial to their success, and plays a vital role in helping them feel part of a caring community. Having this “special faculty member” looking out for students is valuable at every grade level.

Each coeducational advisory group has eight to 10 students in the same grade. Advisory groups meet each morning and each Tuesday afternoon, with the purpose of sharing the challenges and milestones the students encounter on their educational journeys.

The Advisory Program strengthens student-teacher relationships, and keeps our community healthy. Advisors nurture, advocate for, and guide their advisees, and in return, students learn to share with a group of peers, and develop time management, organizational and team-building skills. The advisees develop a group affiliation, make personal connects with, and build academic and interpersonal skills within their group.

Graduation Requirements

The minimum major course requirements for graduation from Morgan Park Academy are 24, earned while enrolled in secondary school. Of this number, 22 must be as follows:
English: 4 credits
Mathematics: 3 credits
History and Social Sciences: 3 credits
Science and Technology: 3.5 credits
World Languages: 3 credits
Fine Arts: 2 credits
Physical Education/Health: 1.5 credits
College and Career Studies: 0.5 credit
Additional Electives: 2 credits
 
Note: One credit of Global Studies is required. Seniors must carry a minimum of 5.5 courses if they do not elect to take a science course. Additionally, seniors must pass all courses carried.

Additional Graduation Requirements
Global Retreat
4 years of Advisory Program
4 Project Week units

Service Learning: Ten service hours are provided during the school year with two scheduled service days; students are expected to match the service hours with an additional 10 hours per year, for a total of 20 service hours earned each year. 80 service learning hours are required for graduation.

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