Upper School

Oakwood’s Upper School, consisting of grades 8th-12th, is the capstone to a student’s preparation for academic independence and strong character that has been developing in Oakwood’s Lower and Middle Schools. With the guidance of an outstanding faculty, our Upper School students develop writing, researching, debating, and critical and creative thinking skills, as well as a passion for life-long learning. Experiential and differentiated learning ensures each student in the Upper School has the potential to succeed. In the classroom and beyond, Oakwood Upper School students are encouraged and guided to cultivate wisdom, creativity and strong social skills that will prepare them for a future that is constantly changing.

Along with the success and importance of our college placement, Oakwood looks beyond college in the teaching of its students. The Upper School desires for its students to become game changers of the future - individuals who help to make the world a better place, whether through social activism, medical discoveries, or cultural engagement.

Upper School Highlights:

  • Our advanced curriculum offers a majority of Honors and AP courses, encouraging critical thinking and intellectual flexibility
  • Strong fine arts, athletics, clubs, and honor societies for service, collaboration, leadership, and passion
  • Student support crucial at this point in a student’s life - our teachers do not let students slip through the cracks by implementing a strong advisory system, Honor Code, and individualized attention
  • Experiential learning is prioritized through travel, internships, and independent studies, promoting real-world application of knowledge
  • Innovation STEAM Lab allows students hands-on, experiential learning with science, technology, and more
  • Strong college guidance beginning in 9th grade and utilizing SCOIR
  • Students engage in student-initiated and student-driven community service projects throughout the year

The Oakwood Upper School Difference

Upper School Curriculum

The Upper School’s rigorous Honors and AP curriculum prepares its students for colleges and universities around the nation; the advisory and community service programs focus on helping students become positive members of our communities; and the athletic, fine arts and clubs contribute to nurturing empathetic and tolerant students with strong leadership and collaborative skills.

Experiential Education

Each fall our students spend upward of a week on the activity of their choice on a particular trip near and far or through an internship/independent study. These trips are designed to foster independence and leadership and give students a sense of community with their classmates and the world around them. One intended goal of trips is to form bonds between students of different grade levels, so no preference is given to seniority in signing up. We encourage students to choose trips based on their interests and not their peer groups.

While our 8th graders travel as a class to Washington, D.C., our 9th through 12th graders choose from a range of trips that encompass various activities and interests, price levels, and distance traveled. Whether experiencing German culture, practicing Spanish with native speakers in Spain or Puerto Rico, visiting museums in New York City, serving others in Charleston, SC, touring college campuses, and more, Oakwood students benefit not only from the application of what they’ve learned in the classroom, but also from the maturity needed to accomplish experiences of this magnitude.

Closer to home, we also offer students the opportunity to pursue individual interests through a pre-arranged internship or independent study during the week. Past examples include working in an art studio creating a piece of art, shadowing a local cardiologist, and visiting the headquarters of a national non-governmental organization (NGO) in Washington, DC.

The US faculty has mapped out a four-year rotation of trips, spanning three price ranges and offering direct ties to various areas of study each year. The internship/independent study will continue to be an option for students each year. Also, 8th graders will continue to travel to Washington, D.C. as a class.