Upper School Specialty Areas

Our Upper School students are individuals with unique interests, talents, and passions. The Cathedral School’s curriculum nurtures all of these characteristics, while helping every adolescent who walks through our doors journey from student to scholar. This journey includes specialty subjects beyond those in the core curriculum. Through the entire curriculum, students develop as critical thinkers capable of not only solving complex problems but also applying what they learn in and out of the classroom to new and challenging situations.

List of 7 items.

  • Technology

    Upper School students investigate and develop coding skills by learning the basics of a variety of languages and programs. They also use technology to facilitate research skills, learning to synthesize information and think critically to make informed opinions and judgments. They use this acquired technological knowledge to work independently and collaboratively on projects and presentations. Also, students continue to strengthen ability to identify reliable online information. Digital citizenship units in fifth and sixth grade health classes and character education discussions expand the students’ ability to use technology appropriately, responsibly, and ethically. Students have access to iPads and laptops throughout the day in all curricular areas, and eighth graders have school-issued iPads.
  • Identity Curriculum

    In the Upper School, students begin to see the inconsistencies between the ideal and the real world. While they are encouraged to describe the worlds in which they live in Lower School in an effort to develop empathy and confidence, in the Upper School, they are encouraged to interrogate the societal structures and histories that create disparate experiences. Through learning units in Equity & Justice, discussions during Community Time, and the humanities curriculum, students are afforded the opportunity to question texts, policies, stereotypes, and expectations in light of the lack of equitable access and treatment of marginalized populations experience. The ability to critically question and think about how the world works and why it works as such is a marker of civic education necessary to assist in the development of active and positively contributing people in our nation and world.
  • Visual Arts

    • In fifth grade, students work on understanding proportion, anatomy, and color mixing; learn the process of printmaking; design an animal banner on canvas; investigate African textile and mask design; paint a Matisse-style self-portrait; invent an animal fossil; and create a sculpted desert.

    • Cathedral sixth graders study the art of ancient Egypt and Greece by creating an Egyptian wall painting on paper and canvas and by making death mask sculptures. Students study Grecian temples, urns, and free-standing sculptures, and are introduced to symmetry, positive and negative space, and shading.

    • Seventh grade visual arts focus on the art of the Middle Ages, and includes castle designs and sculptures, one-point perspective study, Coat of Arms banners, oil painting, and illuminated manuscripts. Seventh graders also compete to design The Cathedral School Spring Fair T-shirt.

    • Cathedral eighth graders study the “-isms” in art history, including Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism and other movements in 19th- and 20th-century art. They create Expressionist objects, Impressionist Cathedral Close paintings, and a group mural project. They also design and produce the set for the eighth grade musical and create a self-portrait series using Adobe Photoshop and other media.
  • Music

    • In fifth grade, students learn sacred, secular, and seasonal songs, and work on vocal notation and xylophone skills. They enrich their knowledge of music history through listening skills, with a focus on Jazz (Blues, Ragtime, Dixieland, Gershwin, Big Band, and Cool Jazz). Students also play drama games. In the violin elective, violinists practice more finger patterns and expand their repertoire.

    • In sixth grade, students learn sacred, secular, and seasonal songs, and have a more sophisticated study of xylophone. In music history, students explore The Baroque, Classical, and Early Romantic eras. A popular “favorite music” presentation allows student free choice. In the violin elective, violinists practice more finger patterns and expand their repertoire.

    • In the seventh grade, students learn sacred, secular, and seasonal songs. They review and expand study of terminology of instrumental and vocal techniques and learn the history of 20th century music. They also participate in the popular “favorite music” presentation. In the violin elective, violinists practice more finger patterns and expand their repertoire.

    • All eighth grade students participate in the musical, and are involved in every aspect of production, including selection of the musical, choreography, set design, and blocking. In the violin elective, violinists practice more finger patterns and expand their repertoire.
  • Library

    Cathedral Upper School students have the resources of The New York Public Library available to them. In the library, students learn to evaluate websites for content, purpose, and reliability. They review the rules of copyright and come to understand the nature and responsibilities of digital citizenship. To that end, students learn proper means of and reasons for citation of sources. Students also share literature related to classroom work and research projects.

  • Citizenship, Community, Wellness & Health

    In the Upper School, students have structured discussions about social health, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, human growth and development, personal hygiene, and sex education in a supportive atmosphere. Cathedral’s award-winning Character Education Program is directly connected to the school’s core values of responsibility, courage, kindness, integrity, cooperation, respect, and passion for learning.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education inspires a pursuit of physical fitness and a lifetime of physical activity. During physical education, students are taught intermediate sport skills and fitness concepts and increase their skill and strategy application through scrimmage and tournament play. All student-athletes pursue sportspersonship, teamwork, and positive competitive spirit.
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