At Harker’s upper school, our comprehensive academic program prepares your teens to excel in college and as leaders in their future careers.
Upper School Academics
At Harker’s upper school, we invest in comprehensive curriculum, expert teachers, small classes, leading-edge technology, extensive academic support, and high-quality programs and extracurricular activities. With 100 percent acceptance into college, universities and conservatories, our students leave Harker with a well-rounded education, ready to succeed in the world.
Upper School Curriculum
We tailor our students' academic placement to meet their individual needs, personal interests and social and emotional growth at Harker’s upper school. Each student's academic and extracurricular journey is uniquely tailored to individual needs and passions.
Our curriculum inspires students to push their intellectual boundaries in a supportive environment by emphasizing:
- engaging teachers and classrooms
- motivated students
- comprehensive lab experience
- post-AP classes
- in-depth research, and
- study skills.
With 29 advanced placement (AP) courses, 23 post-AP courses and countless programs and extracurricular activities, your children will reach their academic goals at the upper school.
Beyond our core academic subjects, our students explore their interests in complementary areas of study including communication studies such as debate, journalism, business and entrepreneurship and performing and visual arts.
To prepare our students with a well-rounded education, we focus on required courses in the following subject areas, with many classes available at AP and honors levels:
- English: Study of Literary Genres, British & American Literature
- Math: Three years
- Science: Physics, Chemistry and Biology
- History and social sciences: World History I & II and United States History
- Modern and Classical languages: Spanish, French, Latin, Mandarin or Japanese
- Performing and visual arts: Study of Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Technical Theater or Theater Arts
- Computer science: One semester. Options include Digital World, Programming and others
- Physical education: Four semesters or seasons of P.E. or competitive sports
Working with our academic dean, your teen will develop a four-year curriculum plan to ensure that all graduation requirements are met and any academic interests and strengths are cultivated.
As our students move through the upper school, our counselors and teachers offer ongoing guidance and support, recommending adjustments to the plan if needed.
Upper School Electives, Programs and Extracurriculars
Outside of the classroom, we encourage students to explore our wide-ranging electives, programs and extracurricular activities.
- Choose from more than 100 enriching electives, like art history, psychology and architecture.
- Exceptional programs include our global education international travel opportunities to locations like the Galapagos Islands and Southeast Asia.
- Try robust extracurricular activities, from our academic clubs to our competitive sports teams.
Our world-class team of teachers at Harker’s upper school is a key foundation of our program. They serve as role models to help your teen develop into a student who is ready to take on adulthood, college and a meaningful career. Harker’s teachers are the gatekeepers who open your child up to a world of opportunity with a high-quality education.
Harker teaches you to learn. It’s really not about the grades. It’s about the fact that I can read analytically, discuss material with my peers, work through a problem until I solve it, write a cogent paper, and interact with people from all walks of life.Alice Looffbourrow '11
We value character, honor, kindness and personal integrity as key components of the Harker experience. With hands-on learning opportunities for character development both in the classroom and out in the community, your teen will have many options for participating in service and helping others.
Our inquiry-based teaching approach hinges on information literacy – knowing how to find, verify, use and cite information available in print and on the web. Teachers and library staff work collaboratively to augment classroom lessons and facilitate research with outside resources available in our extensive library.
With a laptop for each student, we ensure that our students have access to the technological tools they need to succeed. And in the classroom, our teachers have access to leading-edge instructional technology to support creative teaching techniques.
We believe that our students are destined to make a global impact. Global learning programs, national and international trips and community volunteer opportunities support a well-rounded and worldwide education at the upper school. In collaboration with our sister schools around the world, we take part in global exchanges to countries like Switzerland, India, Australia and Japan.
Behind every student at Harker’s upper school is a dedicated team of teachers, counselors and advisors to support, motivate and celebrate along the journey. Our support teams work together to monitor our students’ academic, social and emotional growth and development.
We design our programs and offerings at Harker to inspire students to explore their passions, develop their strengths and share their talents with their classmates, teammates and the greater community. Our students are eager to make a difference, and we celebrate all of their accomplishments.