Upper School Curriculum


Technology Integration
Here in the Churchill Upper School, our technology program cultivates adaptability, creativity, and responsibility in the digital world. Equipped with iPads and Google Chromebooks, students explore various types of software and applications to enhance their learning experience and deepen their understanding of the power of technology. 
Our assistive technology program seamlessly integrates technology into students’ learning experiences. From speech-to-text tools to text-to-speech applications, we guide students in identifying practical solutions that fit their unique needs. 
Woven throughout our curriculum are lessons in digital citizenship. These lessons foster the growth of responsible and balanced young people, helping to shape healthy behaviors regarding technology use. 
Moreover, our elective offerings in 9th through 12th grade present an array of courses like web and game design, film and video lab, digital arts, web design, programming, and courses that encourage students to delve into the intersections of technology and society. Across the Upper School, we provide students with a dynamic platform to engage and excel. 

Mental Health Support Services
Our dedicated team of mental health clinicians is here to support every student in a variety of meaningful ways throughout the day. From engaging weekly Health and Human Relations groups to nurturing social skills sessions for our younger students, along with division-specific support, affinity groups and easily accessible drop-in visits, we create a safe space where students can freely explore their emotions, work through challenges, and cultivate sound decision-making. Our skilled psychologists and social workers collaborate closely with our educators, providing ongoing consultation to ensure our students thrive within the classroom environment. We're all about proactive care, consistently introducing fresh strategies that alleviate the pressures of a typical day, benefiting both students and teachers alike. At Churchill, we view parents and caregivers as vital partners in nurturing the growth and progress of our young learners. As a result, our Mental Health Support Services team extends its resources and initiatives to our families, offering regularly scheduled family support groups geared toward parents and caregivers. We're committed to equipping you with valuable information, insightful resources, practical suggestions, and helpful referrals whenever necessary.

Speech and Language
At Churchill, our Upper School students engage in a dynamic speech and language therapy program that is informed by the best research-based practices and builds on the language skills and strategies developed throughout their time in Lower School. Our team delivers services directly within the classroom setting. Students delve into expressive and pragmatic language skill development during English and Writing Labs using their core curriculum materials. This strategic alignment allows us to tackle essential language-based proficiencies such as enriching vocabulary, crafting intricate sentences, and mastering the art of expository and persuasive essays. Our clinicians maintain a close partnership with teachers, ensuring tailor-made strategies that address each student’s unique language needs across disciplines. Language Therapists also teach mini-lessons on discrete aspects of sentence comprehension and composition and other specific grammar and writing skills in coordination with curriculum-based projects and assignments. By working collaboratively, we optimize the classroom experience, providing ample opportunities for students to apply language techniques. Not only do students witness their progress in the quality of their completed assignments, but their grades also reflect their enhanced language skills. 

All new Churchill students undergo a thorough screening process and, if necessary, proceed to a comprehensive speech/language evaluation. Speech intervention services are determined based on the outcome of dynamic assessments and classroom observations. Consideration is also given to the level of specialized support already embedded throughout our robust academic program. We value open communication and encourage parents and caregivers to reach out to their child's therapist with any questions.

Service Learning
At its core, Service Learning seamlessly blends community service with purposeful learning. It is an immersive educational experience that combines impactful community engagement with intentional instruction and meaningful reflection. This approach not only imparts civic responsibility but also strengthens the bonds within our communities. Through this program, students are empowered to cultivate practical skills by exploring areas of social consciousness, sharing insights from their service encounters, and sharing their accomplishments at the end of each year.

Our students commit to consistent involvement by engaging with an organization or participating in community events every quarter throughout the school year (with a minimum of four events annually). This sustained engagement, a fundamental aspect of Service Learning, nurtures an ongoing connection with the community.

At Churchill, the realm of community service is vast and diverse. From the art mentoring program and reading initiatives to the Bideawee Animal Shelter, Model UN Club, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, student council, and International Student Learning—an impactful nonprofit—students have an array of avenues to choose from. Additionally, opportunities within the local neighborhood offer a wide range of community service experiences.

The advisement program at Churchill supports our students' academic, social, and emotional development. Advisors and homeroom teachers build supportive relationships with students that model our Core Values, bring our Core Principles to life, strengthen student autonomy, and create a sense of belonging.

The advisement program evolves from kindergarten to 12th grade to be developmentally appropriate and to fit the needs of the students as they progress. It is the foundation for personal growth and community development at Churchill. In the Lower School, homeroom teachers create a structured, supportive environment grounded in our Core Values of Respect, Kindness, Responsibility, Integrity, and Perseverance. As students progress, the advisement structures in Upper School adapt to students’ growing independence. Our 7th, 8th, and 9th graders have a daily morning advisement that emphasizes executive functioning skills, the use of support and resources, and building community and social connections. Our 10th, 11th, and 12th graders continue to have morning advisement check-ins, but the program shifts to a 1:1 model so that these students develop a unique and encompassing relationship with one advisor. Individualized meetings allow discussions around goals and strategies to be tailored to the specific needs of each student as they transition to life after Churchill. 

The Upper School English Department fosters the development of critical thinking, analytical skills, and effective written communication through an exploration of diverse perspectives found in world literature. Our curriculum encompasses a wide range of literary forms, including plays, poems, short stories, novels, and non-fiction works, both classic and contemporary. Students delve into timeless literary themes as well as modern subjects and those related to social justice. 

Our dedicated teachers employ various pedagogical methods to promote critical analysis, including guided discussions, Socratic-style seminar classes, and close reading exercises. These activities empower our students to become independent thinkers, enhance their reading comprehension skills, and enable them to proficiently use textual evidence in support of their opinions and claims. 

In addition to honing critical thinking skills, our English Department places a strong emphasis on developing proficient writing skills to prepare our students for their post-Churchill endeavors. Every English class dedicates time to work with our speech and language specialists, who provide invaluable assistance in writing development. Writing assignments in our English curriculum encompass analytical essays, creative writing, persuasive essays, and guidance for college application essays. Writing lab sessions may include direct grammar instruction, writing conferences, goal setting, and working on current writing projects. 

We are committed to meeting the individual needs of our students at every level of instruction and assessment. To facilitate learning, we provide audio recordings of books, chapter summaries, and guided notes for our readings. We work with the speech and language department to offer extensive outlines, graphic organizers, brainstorming activities, and one-on-one writing assistance. 

Our ninth-grade English curriculum is designed to further enhance students' reading and writing skills through exposure to a diverse selection of literary works encompassing various genres and cultures. These works are explored through thoughtful discussions and shorter written assignments, allowing students to delve into themes, character development, literary devices, and vocabulary. At the conclusion of each book, students are tasked with crafting a literary analysis essay that showcases their understanding of audience and purpose.

Moving on to the tenth grade, students focus on developing their voices as both writers and critical thinkers. Exploring themes related to societal dynamics and individual experiences, students engage with various texts. Moreover, students establish interdisciplinary connections by exploring historical and social contexts, enabling them to relate literature to broader human experiences. The year culminates with a project that requires students to reflect on the themes and ideas explored throughout the year.

In eleventh grade, our English curriculum explores classic and contemporary texts, delving into the complexities of human experiences and societal dynamics. We emphasize not only what authors convey in their narratives but also how they craft their stories. Works in this grade include a variety of literary forms and styles, fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of storytelling.

In twelfth grade, as students prepare to transition beyond high school and the Churchill community, our curriculum focuses on the exploration of identity and one's role in society. Early in the year, students engage in introspective writing, dedicating time to crafting personal narratives and reflective essays. Later in the year, the focus shifts towards advanced critical analysis in essay writing. Throughout the year, we read and discuss various literary works, including a diverse selection of texts that encourage students to ponder their place in the world and the complexities of human identity.

In the Upper School English Department, we are dedicated to providing a rich and transformative educational experience that prepares our students for success in their future endeavors.

Music, Visual, and Performing Arts
Welcome to the vibrant and dynamic world of the Churchill Music, Visual, and Performing Arts Department. Here, we are passionately dedicated to nurturing the unique talents and boundless creativity of each student, from their earliest days in kindergarten to their final year in twelfth grade. Our multi-divisional department serves as a thriving hub of collaboration, fostering an environment where individuality is not only celebrated but also encouraged to flourish. We firmly believe that the pursuit of excellence in the performing arts is a journey of self-discovery and self-expression, where dedication and hard work pave the way to unparalleled achievements, nurturing a profound appreciation for the world of music, visual, and performing arts.

Central to our mission is the conviction that exposure to a rich tapestry of diverse stories, histories, and music enriches our students' understanding of the world. Through the performing arts, we empower our students to connect with people and experiences that differ from their own, nurturing a deeper appreciation for the intricate mosaic of human existence.

Our meticulously designed curriculum is a scaffolded journey that spans from the early years to Upper School. In the Lower School, we lay the foundational elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, dance, and coordination, all while nurturing each student's innate creative spark. As our students progress, we delve deeper, honing their musicianship and cultivating their performing capabilities. By the time they reach Upper School, we offer a comprehensive selection of robust courses that equip students with the essential skills needed to pursue a future in the performing arts.

Throughout the year, each division of our department proudly presents a myriad of captivating productions, ranging from dramatic plays and spellbinding musicals to mesmerizing band concerts, intimate showcases, and enchanting small-group music concerts. These performances are a testament to the dedication, talent, and growth of our students.

Our Upper School Art Program is thoughtfully designed with the student in mind, transforming the Upper School art room into each student's personal studio. Our students are innately creative, and our program builds upon their earlier art experiences. Freshman and sophomore students alternate between skill-based projects and problem-solving assignments, enhancing their artistic toolbox to tackle higher-order thinking challenges. Our 11th and 12th graders continue honing their skills while also embarking on a journey to find their own unique voice in visual arts. Assignments are tailored to each student's individual interests and passions in the visual arts.

In addition to studio work, students engage in the exploration of art history and criticism through regular dialogues and daily working critiques, fostering a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of artistic traditions. Many of our students also create portfolios to showcase their work, furthering their aspirations for college applications and art school admissions.

Social Studies
Our Upper School Social Studies program at Churchill is all about creating a dynamic and captivating learning environment. Over the years, students explore Global Studies, Geography, U.S. History, Civics, and Economics.

Our approach is flexible, prioritizing collaboration with our students and putting them at the center of their learning experience. Our classes are designed around engaging group activities such as station work, gallery walks, creative writing, art and media projects, challenges, and games. With this multi-faceted approach, we harness our students’ strengths. We understand that each student is unique, and we provide accommodations and resources to support diverse learning styles, including exploring different note-taking techniques, outlines, graphic organizers, repetition, and a metacognitive approach. Our pacing is tailored to each student, and we incorporate audio-visual elements as well. 

Our Social Studies department works closely with our English department and our Speech and Language Therapists to enhance students’ writing skills. We focus on honing skills in providing evidence and analysis, which also applies to research papers. Responsible sourcing and digital literacy play a key role in research as students spend time analyzing appropriateness, credibility, and bias. As students advance through our program, we introduce academic databases as essential research tools. In our Upper School Social Studies department, we strive to create a safe space for students to engage with historical, cultural, and political topics. Our teachers encourage critical thinking by exploring history from various perspectives, including geography, gender, race, sexual orientation, language, family structure, abilities, religion, and class. Throughout our curriculum, we emphasize the importance of connecting history to current events, fostering informed and engaged global citizens. 

Welcome to the world of the Upper School mathematics program at Churchill. Our program is designed with a clear mission: to empower every student, regardless of their prior mathematical knowledge, self-perception as a math learner, or any learning challenges they may face. Our philosophy is simple yet profoundly impactful: All of our students can learn mathematics, and as teachers, it is our responsibility to ensure that they do.

This philosophy guides every facet of our instruction and interactions with our students. We've discovered that the most effective way to foster mathematical understanding is through small-group learning. In these intimate settings, our dedicated teachers provide comprehensive direct instruction complemented by teacher modeling, an abundance of illustrative examples, extensive practice, lively discussions, engaging group activities, stimulating games, creative projects, and the integration of manipulatives and cutting-edge technology. These elements work together to deepen our students' comprehension of mathematical concepts.

Beyond rote memorization, our goal is to instill the ability to generalize what they've learned and apply their mathematical knowledge to solve a wide array of real-world problems. Our Upper School math teachers employ a diverse range of resources for courses like Common Core Algebra I, Common Core Geometry, Algebra II & Trigonometry, and Calculus. By striking a harmonious balance between theory and practical application, our students not only master procedural fluency but, perhaps even more importantly, hone their critical problem-solving skills.

In the Churchill Upper School mathematics program, we are committed to ensuring that every student not only learns mathematics but thrives in their mathematical journey. Join us in exploring the exciting world of mathematics, where every student's potential is nurtured and celebrated.

Physical Education and Athletics
The Churchill Upper School Physical Education program offers students an opportunity to develop a diverse range of skills in a safe, nurturing, and success-driven environment. Our aim is to instill a genuine appreciation for physical activity and its lifelong benefits.

At Churchill, we understand that every student is unique, which is why we provide them with the freedom to tailor their physical education experience. We offer a variety of engaging options to earn physical education credits, ensuring that each student can choose the path that best suits their interests and goals.

For those passionate about team and individual sports, our gymnasium hosts an array of activities throughout the year. Here, students can sharpen their sport-specific skills, delve into game strategy, foster teamwork, and cultivate leadership abilities.

Alternatively, our cardio studio is available for those who aspire to set and achieve their fitness goals independently. Whether students are aiming to improve endurance, cardiovascular health, or overall fitness, this is their personal space to excel.

For students looking to build strength, flexibility, and agility, our well-equipped weight room awaits. Guided by our experienced fitness trainer, students not only enhance their physical fitness but also develop essential life skills such as discipline and responsible use of training equipment.

While students have the flexibility to explore different options during each unit, a more extended commitment is needed for those who opt for weight training. Our fitness facilities are open beyond regular class hours, providing access to the weight room and cardio studio for students who wish to work out outside of their scheduled physical education classes.

At Churchill, we believe in the benefits of fitness, sportsmanship, and lifelong well-being and empower each student to embrace physical activity in their own way. 

Welcome to Churchill Upper School's innovative science curriculum, where we ensure that every student has the support they need to excel while fostering independence. Our student-centered approach blends content-based instruction with hands-on experiences, encouraging active learning.

Our assessment methods include hands-on projects, lab reports, analytical questions, verbal presentations, quizzes, and tests. Throughout their time with us, students explore various subject areas.

In Earth Science, students begin by exploring astronomy, understanding Earth's formation, and even get the unique opportunity to study space during the day. Students also investigate weather and climate change and learn the art of meteorological communication. Hands-on lab experiments vividly illustrate the formation of physical features on our planet.

The following year, our curriculum focuses on the study of living organisms. This course covers life and living organisms, emphasizing structure, function, growth, evolution, and more. Students experience biology through hands-on activities, discussions, projects, and lab investigations. Topics range from cells and human body systems to ecosystems and environmental impacts. Engaging activities connect with student interests, ensuring an interactive learning experience.

In the eleventh grade, chemistry takes center stage. This course explores the world of chemistry through hands-on laboratory experiments, guided notes, and independent projects. Students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, emphasizing practical application over memorization. Experiments cover diverse topics, from elemental flame tests to acid-base titrations. Students also explore elements, STEM careers, and the science behind everyday items.

For seniors, we offer an Advanced Principles in Natural Science course. This college-level course introduces students to biology, genetics, zoology, botany, environmental science, and more. Students enhance their scientific reading and writing skills by analyzing research data and conducting inquiry-based experiments. Graduates of this course are equipped with the scientific tools to navigate entry-level college science courses.

At Churchill, we're committed to making science accessible, engaging, and enriching for all students.

Churchill Honors Challenge
Students who are seeking an additional academic challenge are invited to register for the Honors Challenge program. This program places a strong emphasis on critical thinking, offering students the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking readings, discussions, and compelling writing assignments. The program is robust, developing both a depth of content knowledge and skill development. Within this program, students’ coursework is elevated, pushing them to explore their potential. Students engage more deeply with their studies, dedicating additional time to learning. They are expected to produce work at a high academic level that is graded according to honors standards.