Through a diverse range of programmatic offerings, the Upper Schoool strikes a healthy balance of academic, social, and emotional development.
The academic program is centered on three core values: offering a Learner-Friendly curriculum, developing a Critically-Engaged Citizenry and identifying as a Community of Individuals. Academic departments include English, history, science, mathematics, Spanish, visual and performing arts, and physical education. Two grade level teams (9th and 10th, 11th and 12th) thematically integrate the curriculum across disciplines. The 9th and 10th grades alternate between the themes of Identity and Relativity while the 11th and 12th grades rotate between the themes of Transformation and Discovery. The English, history and science teachers of grade level teams meet once a week to discuss curriculum and individual students with reference to their academic, social and emotional development.
Student learning is differentiated through varied course offerings and individualized attention within the classroom. Students have the option of taking Intensive courses that move at a faster pace or go more in depth than a regular course. One period per week, X-Block is also devoted to reinforcing skills and concepts that are addressed within the broader curriculum. Students have other opportunities to connect with their peers and teachers through advisories, community service and activity periods.
The most distinctive element of Crefeld’s Upper School program is its unique system of Graduation by Exhibition. In addition to passing their junior and senior classes with a C- or better, students must complete fourteen graduation exhibitions. Some of these exhibitions are exams that students must pass with a score of 80 percent or above to demonstrate mastery. Other exhibitions are assessed based on a rubric, and students must earn an “Exceeds Expectations” or “Passed” for all criteria. Feedback regarding the Graduation by Exhibition program from faculty and students is overwhelmingly positive. Students report that teachers serve as cheerleaders, mentors, advocates and quality control inspectors throughout the process. The exhibitions train students for the type of independent work they will experience in college, and reassure teachers that students are leaving Crefeld well-prepared for their next phase of life.