Upper School

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Course offerings provide a range of challenges, including many Advanced Placement and post-AP options in mathematics, French and Spanish. (Students typically take no more than two designated AP courses per year.)
  • Upper-level choices in English include African American Literature, Censored! Banned Books in the United States, Science Writing, Writing Politics, and The Power of Humor in Comic Literature.
  • World-language choices include French, Spanish, Chinese, Latin, and classical Greek.
  • Arts courses span music, dance, drama, and the visual arts, with many options in each area and opportunities to be part of art shows, concerts, theatrical productions, and singing groups.
  • Elective offerings include Anatomy and Physiology, Engineering, Modern Africa, The Environment, AP Human Geography, AP Computer Science, and Psychology of Human Development.
  • Our coordinate program with St. Albans School includes academic offerings, performing arts, clubs, and athletics.

US Curriculum Guide

US Grades

List of 3 items.

  • Letter Grades

    Grades are given according to the following guidelines:

    A demonstrates thorough knowledge of course content; expresses ideas with clarity and style; exhibits critical, inquiring attitude; makes connections, draws inferences, sees relationships; thinks independently and creatively; is willing to take risks, to seek challenges; has excellent work habits; is involved very positively in learning.
     
    B demonstrates accurate knowledge of most course content; expresses ideas clearly with strong control of structure and mechanics; often indicates curiosity, creativity, insight, and initiative; has very good work habits; exhibits cooperation and engagement in class activities.

    C
     suggests competent grasp of basic course content; expresses ideas in organized form with adequate control of terminology and mechanics; shows understanding of main ideas and some relationships; displays suitable effort and cooperative attitude to learning.

    D
     suggests minimal knowledge of course content; may present ideas unclearly; may lack understanding of essential ideas and relationships; may use faulty or inadequate reasoning; may exhibit poor effort/attitude toward learning; may resist help; may fail to meet deadlines; needs more active involvement in and personal contribution to learning.

    E
     demonstrates unacceptable level of understanding of course content; indicates inadequate skills; may imply lack of preparation, effort, and classroom involvement.
  • Pass/Fail Grades

    The following grades are used for physical education courses. Students taking certain courses in the arts may choose these grades or letter grades:

    DP Distinguished Pass; demonstrates excellence in all areas of coursework.

    Pass; demonstrates strong ability in most areas of coursework.

    MP
     Minimal Pass; demonstrates minimal effort in most areas of coursework.

    F
     Failure; unacceptable effort and performance.
  • Class Rank

    NCS students are not ranked. NCS uses a standard, unweighted 4.0 scale to calculate grade-point average. All courses taken for academic credit and receiving a letter grade are included in the GPA and reported to colleges.

US Requirements

List of 8 items.

  • Arts: 1 Year

    Two courses or equivalent activities in either the visual or performing arts.
  • English: 4 Years

    Required full-year courses in grades 9 and 10 and four consecutive one-semester courses in grades 11 and 12. Students must take American Literary Traditions in grade 11.
  • World Language: 3 Years

    Three sequential years of a foreign language studied in grades 9-12, or a combination of three years of one language started in grade 8 plus two years of a second language started at the Upper School level.
  • Mathematics: 3 Years

    Three years of study in grades 9-12.
  • Physical Education: 10 Seasons

    Three seasons (fall, winter, spring) each year in grades 9 and 10 and at least two seasons each year in grades 11 and 12.
  • Religious Studies: 1 Year

    A semester of Living Religions of the World, plus a one-semester elective.
  • Science: 2 Years

    A full-year course in two of the following areas: physics, chemistry, or biology.
  • Social Sciences: 2½ Years

    One year of Modern World History and one semester of World Geography, plus one year of U.S. History (survey or AP).

US Considerations

List of 3 items.

  • Advanced Placement Program

    Students may take only two AP-designated courses per year; those who wish to take more must receive special permission from the head of the Upper School. Only in rare cases are students ready to take an AP class prior to junior year. Students in AP classes are required to sit for the AP exam in May.
  • Computer Use & Requirements

    NCS recommends that students have a home computer compatible with the Microsoft Office application suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Course materials are frequently posted online, and e-mail contact with teachers is standard. Students are assigned a Cathedral e-mail account, which they are expected to use to communicate with faculty members. This account also provides access through Office365 to basic online versions of Microsoft Office.
  • Course Load

    Students in grades 9-12 are expected to take five academic courses each semester, in addition to physical education and arts courses. In certain cases, under the counsel of the director of the Upper School, a student may take four academic courses per year.

    The requirements at left are the minimum study in each area for a well-rounded program. Students may pursue further study in one or more disciplines, and many colleges recommend that students complete more than these minimum requirements. Students who aspire to participate in collegiate athletics should consider the academic requirements established by the NCAA.