Grades Nine through Twelve
Upper School offers an intellectually challenging college preparatory program which encourages students to strive for academic excellence and to use their education for the betterment of the community at large.
The curriculum provides a broad foundation in the humanities and sciences, develops critical and creative thinking, stresses competence in oral and written communication and quantitative operations, and stimulates intellectual curiosity. Each student's personal and social growth is fostered by promoting self-confidence and self-esteem and by stressing personal integrity and physical fitness.
The faculty offers students opportunities to develop self-reliance and to undertake independent study and strives to promote world citizenship, multicultural understanding, and peaceful conflict resolution.
Classes, which have an average of 14 to 16 students, are informal and are conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The small class size permits individual attention, group discussion, and close interaction between students and teachers. Ninth and tenth grade students take five major courses per year. Eleventh and twelfth graders take four or five major courses.
The liberal arts curriculum is rich and wide-ranging, accommodating individual student interests and needs. Courses in mathematics, science, and foreign language are offered at different levels of difficulty and are open to qualified students in any grade level. English and history courses are grouped by grade.
The program includes extensive offerings in visual and performing arts; four or more years of study in Mandarin Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish; computer courses including C++; and advanced electives in English, history, mathematics, and the sciences. Students may also pursue independent study and internships. A complete list of courses is published on the School's Web site at www.sidwell.edu.
Sidwell Friends cooperates with other schools in the area to offers a consortium course in Japanese. Sidwell is also an associate of School Year Abroad, a program that permits qualified students to spend a year studying in France, Spain, China, or Italy.
The physical education program provides a foundation for a lifetime of sports and physical fitness. It focuses on individual performance and development. Ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders are required to participate in all three seasons each year; twelfth graders, in two seasons.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of diverse offerings. Opportunities include inter-scholastic competition, instructional classes, recreational activities, and School-sponsored club teams in crew (girls) and ultimate Frisbee (co-ed). Approval may be given for independent study in physical education activities not offered at the School.
Boys' teams compete in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track and field, and wrestling. Girls' teams compete in the Independent School League in basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The boys and girls swimming and diving teams also compete in the Washington Metropolitan Prep School Swimming and Diving League. Indoor soccer for boys and winter soccer for girls are played on an independent basis.
Physical education experiences are offered in most recreational sports. Also offered are activities such as rock climbing, weight training, aerobics, yoga, and various dance opportunities.
Students participate in more than 40 clubs which focus on community service, political action, language interests, drama, computers, chess, and debate. The School has active chapters of Students Against Drunk Driving and Amnesty International, and participates in a model United Nations program. Students take full responsibility for producing a newspaper, a yearbook, and a literary magazine. There are ample opportunities to participate in dramatic plays, choral recitals, instrumental concerts, and musicals. Through an active student government, students serve in a senate, on a curriculum committee, and on an honor committee. The honor committee, which includes students and teachers, deals with violations of the honor code, a statement of principles concerning personal honesty and academic integrity.
The Upper School offers students personal counseling, academic counseling, and college counseling. Each student has a faculty advisor who helps review his or her academic progress, assists with decision-making, and serves as an advocate for the student within the school community. College counseling on an individual basis begins in the junior year. Sidwell Friends School graduates attend a diverse group of colleges including Ivy League institutions, small liberal arts colleges, and large state universities.
Homework and Grades
Most Upper School classes meet four, five, or six times per week and require approximately 45 minutes of homework per class meeting. The Upper School uses a letter grading system, with grades accompanied by narrative comments.