Academics

Grounded in the Classics

High school academics expose students to the great ideas of humankind, the events that shaped civilizations, the beauty of mathematics, the power of the arts, and phenomena of the natural world.

The Path of Intellectual Growth and Self-Discovery

Just as remarkable physical development occurs in the first four years of life, ages 14–18 bring extraordinary emotional and intellectual development. We strive to meet teens where they are both as human beings and learners—it’s not just what we teach, but how we teach that makes the difference.

These snapshots illustrate each year’s developmental and academic focus.

Grade 9: WHAT

Ninth graders live within the polarities of black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. Like young scientists gathering diverse data, they practice skills of exact observation. They experience opposites by exploring classes such as Black and White Drawing, and Comedy and Tragedy. Subjects like algebra, art history, geology, and chemistry engage them in experiments and projects focused on documenting observed phenomena.

Grade 10: HOW

Growth and maturity are hallmarks of the sophomore year. Our curriculum buoys students amid academic and personal transformations. Immersed in Greek history, students focus on movement from myth to philosophy and from monarchy to democracy. Math and science curricula highlight transformative processes of practical trigonometry, acids and bases and hydrology. Composition classes provide rich opportunities to compare and contrast.

Grade 11: WHY

Intellectual deconstruction takes place as the sense of “knowing” is replaced by a sobering realization: differences of opinion abound and answers may not always be clear. Students study varying points of view, focusing on skills of analysis and abstraction. They explore “big picture” astronomical relationships, as well as the periodic table and botany. In Literature, they contemplate the quest for truth with Parsival and examine realms of morality and their own cultural identity in U.S. History.

Grade 12: WHO

By their senior year, students are practiced at relating to multiple points of view simultaneously in order to create an integrated picture of the world and their place in it. Courses such as the Symptomatology and World Religions highlight interconnections, while Optics and Mathematical Physics examine complex systems. Our students’ final year at SWS is a time for them to synthesize and bring everything together—reflected in their capstone senior project. It’s from this solid place of self-knowing that they discover and pursue their purpose in a world that desperately needs their creative and innovative thinking.