Upper School (Grades 9-12)
Upper School students explore challenging subjects with fearless curiosity while learning the importance of having strong mentors and friendships.
Every Upper School student deepens her learning by making connections, addressing real-world issues, and taking ownership of her unique learning journey. Our curriculum-wide interdisciplinary threads - Design and Innovation, Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice, Emerging Technologies, Global Systems, Truth and Beauty, and Women in the World - offer a real-world context within which they can apply their thinking and learning. With inclusion and wellness guiding the student experience, girls come to understand how to support themselves and each other as they explore deep ideas and build confidence, compassion, and capacity.
By 2021, Castilleja will complete the transition to an Advanced Topics (AT) curriculum. First taught in the 2012-13 academic year, AT courses are designed by Castilleja faculty and grounded in research into how adolescent girls learn best, what college faculty expect entering students to know, and what skills are essential for success in upper-level college courses. Since then, our selection of Advanced Topics courses has grown in number and in scope. As the most rigorous courses available in each academic discipline, AT courses are thoughtfully designed to replace the Advanced Placement® (AP®) curriculum, exploring topics in greater depth and emphasizing experiential learning. Like many of our peer schools, Castilleja has created our advanced curriculum to empower students to make decisions about and extend their own learning in ways that will prepare them for college and for life-long learning.
We are especially excited that we will continue to see new offerings at the AT level as every department has the freedom to design courses driven by the passions their faculty share with students; our faculty remain committed to designing and teaching an excellent and engaging curriculum. As happens now, some AT classes will continue to offer students the option of taking an AP® exam at the end of the year, while others will not.