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.

  • Equity and Justice

    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. We begin in 5th grade thinking about People; understanding all people are inherently valuable by recognizing the dignity and humanity of all beings. In 6th grade we focus on Place; understanding that perspective matters, we counter dominant narratives by including multiple perspectives and balance stories of oppression with those of agency, resistance, and perseverance. In 7th grade we begin to think about Process; students are invited to examine how policies and practices operate to impede or advance human potential. Finally, in 8th grade we start to unpack Power; students consider the hidden and visible ways racism/bias manifests in individuals and societies due to power. 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

    The goal in the Upper School Art Program is to nurture each child’s creativity and individuality and to enable everyone to have a sense of success and accomplishment. It also works to build a body of knowledge as well as an openness to ideas that they will carry with them beyond their years at Cathedral. Through the use of a variety of two and three dimensional materials, students explore various concepts based on assignments that are designed by the art teachers. Often, these projects are also designed in collaboration with other departments including Science, Social Studies, English and the Foreign Languages. While these projects teach specific skills they welcome the interpretation and risk taking on the part of every student. Building students’ creative problem solving skills as well as fostering their independence is of great importance in the Cathedral School Art program.
    Student art is made in the two art studios and finished projects are hung in the Main Hall Gallery frequently rotating between grades so that everyone can see the magnificent pieces that other grades are making including their own.
  • Music

    The Upper School music program continues to build on the study of skills and concepts learned in Lower School. Skills such as reading notes and rhythms, improving intonation, sight singing, ear training, instrumental work and vocal technique are all taught to the level of sophistication of each grade. New materials and methods are introduced, such as composing, improvisation, songwriting, and advanced musical terminology. In Upper School music, students analyze and explore music from various time periods, cultures and genres. Students learn to rehearse individually and as an ensemble through singing and instrument practice. Throughout the school year at Cathedral, students have many opportunities to perform and showcase their work, culminating in the traditional 8th grade musical.
  • Library

    The Cathedral School library collection is thoughtfully curated for readers of all abilities and interests. The Upper School students are encouraged to choose from the different sections of books, including graphic novels, fiction chapter, nonfiction, and young adult. The library space is also used as a common learning space before and after school, allowing Upper School students to study, read for pleasure and purpose, and just relax with friends.

  • 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 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.
  • Identity Curriculum

    Upper School students learn about executive functioning skills and the role they play in both their everyday and academic lives.  They will recognize the effect each area has on one and other and how to use their strengths to enhance weaker areas. Students will leave class with a toolbox of strategies to help improve each executive function area covered.
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