The Upper School starts from Sixth Grade and encompasses the logic and rhetoric phases of the trivium.
Geneva School is excited to announce the addition of Ninth Grade in fall 2021 with one additional grade each year, culminating in our first graduating class in June 2025.
The goal of our Upper School math program is to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for the world of mathematics. Students in Sixth Grade approach concepts using Singapore math with an emphasis on bar modeling. This gives students an opportunity to “feel” and see how large a quantity is as they compare it to another, tackling topics such as fractions, speed, volume, and angles. Students apply these modeling techniques with multiple steps of logical reasoning to arrive at their conclusions. Students study Algebra 1 in Seventh Grade and continue through Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics, paving the way for future mathematical pursuits in the college years.
Geneva School presents the study of science as one of the critical building blocks in a student’s well rounded liberal arts education in the classical tradition. We approach science by thinking first as philosophers that are consumed with the questions what and why. Rather than fitting our curriculum into blocks of study, we regulate our curriculum by universal principles that we learn to ponder about keenly, observe prudently, and apply masterfully.
In examining stories of the great scientific minds as well as in their discoveries, we encourage our students to ask bold questions and seek answers. In biology we ask: what is life, what is a human, what is heredity? In physics we ask: what is motion, matter, energy? Then we contemplate: why does nature function with seeming eternal purpose and order? Further, students experience this guiding principles for themselves through careful natural observation and experimentation of natural phenomena. Finally, we encourage students to explore frontiers of new science questions. Today, scientists are asking: why does matter behaves like energy when it is not observed? Why does 95% of the universe which is comprised of light and vibrations, remains invisible until "watched"?
In the logic phase, the emphasis is on teaching the proper use of the scientific method, training students to keep science notebooks for proper record keeping, with a focus on experimentation and deduction. Students use multiple sources, including primary sources of scientific findings. Research projects trace the development of particular ideas and technologies. For example, Fourth and Fifth Grade students learned how to grow pea plants. The following year while in Sixth Grade, students will attempt to genetically cross their pea plants while studying Mendel’s paper discovering the law of heredity.
Rhetoric phase students take yearlong courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and cap their studies with Science Seminar, equipping them for future pursuits in the science field.
Sixth Grade students grow Wisconsin Fast Plants from seed disks, compare the phenotypes of the parent plants, and collect data on the subsequent generations to see the pattern of inheritance predicted by Gregor Mendel's work.
Logic phase students revisit the historical periods (ancient, medieval, and modern) they studied in Lower School but with deeper content. A Lower School student will have memorized and acted out history in chronological order; Upper School students begin to access primary sources and gain the importance of historical facts and their relevance to current events. By the end of Eighth Grade, our students are equipped to articulate a thesis and defend it in both oral and written forms. In addition, our Upper School graduates will have studied the greatest authors of ancient and modern history from Homer, Hesiod, Aristotle, Plato, Dante, and Shakespeare. At Geneva School we place a special emphasis on our students’ ability to read great books for themselves and to evaluate, question, discuss, present, debate, and even teach based on their own ability and curiosity.
In Upper School humanities the themes of sojourn, identity, citizenship, and faith serve as the academic architecture for a rich, diverse body of interrelated subjects—literature, history, cinema, art, music, poetry and oratory. Ninth Grade students start with the theme of journeying and consider the ideas of quest, destination, and peril: What does it mean to be on a journey? Is the journey more important than the destination? What perils befall travelers? In Tenth Grade, students consider the topic of identity to explore who we are, why we are here, and what it means to be created in God's image. In Eleventh Grade students progress from identity to community and discuss what it means to belong, to work for common good, and to be a citizen of both earth and heaven. Finally, in Twelfth Grade, students step into the unseen as they ask questions about faith: What is the relationship between faith, reason, and technology? How does faith manifest in history, at school, and in the public square?
By articulating questions and seeking answers, spoken, acted, and written, Geneva School students graduate as those who are “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks.. the reason for the hope that you have.. with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). They are prepared to become leaders in scholarship, virtue, and faith.
Students transition from French to Latin in Fourth Grade, studying Latin through Twelfth Grade. As students study Latin, they reinforce their knowledge of English grammar. Starting in Ninth Grade students read Roman prose: Cicero and Caesar. In Tenth Grade, students focus their attention on Vergil. In Eleventh and Twelfth Grades, students can negotiate with teachers to select authors. Students also have the option to study a modern language as well as classical Greek. After a thorough study of Greek grammar, students will read excerpts from a few Platonic dialogues and the speeches of Lysias.
Upper School students continue with their study of the Bible, moving into a specific Bible class for each grade level. Sixth Grade students study the life of Christ with specific emphasis on the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy. Seventh Grade students study the early Church, and Eighth Grade focuses on apologetics and the study of Paul’s Epistles. Starting in Ninth Grade, students study theology and philosophy. They consider topics such as epistemology, ethics, and biblical theology. Students also wrestle with difficult issues, ask honest questions, and consider various points of view. Students will work through the writings of ancient and modern commentators, Eastern and Western thinkers, and Christian and non-Christians authors. The goal is to cultivate faith in a pluralistic world.
Music and Art
Upper School students continue with the Kodály music approach which incorporates chorus and sight singing. Upper School music leans upon the sight-singing skills taught in grades below in order to build chamber ensembles that learn and perform a variety of musical literature ranging in genre from classical to contemporary. The music class incorporates the students' skills as singers as well as instrumentalists. In addition to ensemble music, students will work with the teacher on solo repertoire. Performances include concerts and events as well as outreach concerts and competitions. Upper School chamber groups also help in leading worship during weekly Assembly.
In art, students build upon the principles and skills they learned in Lower School art classes and further develop classical fine art techniques in multiple mediums. They cultivate deeper knowledge of art history, grow in art appreciation, and discuss the role and impact of art upon society throughout history. As in Lower School, our teachers facilitate out-of-classroom learning, taking advantage of the incredible cultural treasures found in our art-rich city. Older Upper School students gain greater individual expression and independence in seeking out opportunities afforded them by being located in New York City.
Upper School students engage in formal physical education classes where they consider holistic elements of physical fitness and nutrition, in addition to the rigors of calisthenics and team sports. Team sports begin at the Upper School level, with soccer and basketball teams who compete with similar schools. Our basketball teams use the next-door Stephen Gaynor gymnasium as their home court, and its proximity allows for school-wide spectators. The discipline of team sports, whether within Upper School teams, P.E. class, or after-school programs, allows plenty of opportunities for students to cultivate conduct in keeping with good sportsmanship—honesty, compassion, leadership, friendship, cooperation, respect, and hard work.
We want our graduates to excel in every way, including important life skills that often get overlooked amid the rigors of high school. To that end, our Upper School curriculum incorporates both soft skills and other life competencies, such as financial literacy, health, nutrition, resume writing, interviewing, media literacy, social media protocols, and social etiquette.
Our Approach to Technology
Students learn best in dialogue between teacher and student. We believe that books are superior to screens when it comes to reading comprehension and facilitation of classroom interaction and discussion. We approach technology as an informed consumer, utilizing it as a tool such as for research and to produce professional documents and presentations. Furthermore, we believe that a vibrant classical education lays a stronger foundation for the pursuit of further studies in the sciences by instilling reasoning, creativity, and criticial thinking skills in problem solving, equipping our graduates with the tools for future success.
In the classical academic model, we often say that the teacher is the curriculum. Our Upper School faculty, most of whom hold advanced degrees, are committed to spiritual and professional growth. They model life-long learning and attend conferences to enhance their skills as educators. The faculty seeks to set an example of faith, character, and a learning agility. They love engaging the hearts and minds of their students and encouraging them as image-bearers of God. This creates an infectious environment of learning and rich relationships between students and their teachers.
Our past Eighth Grade students have excelled (see Academic Evaluation) and matriculated to top independent, boarding, and public schools in New York City and beyond. Now with our expansion to high school, we look forward to having our students continue in the classical Christian pedagogy through Twelfth Grade. We are confident that a classical Christian education that continues through Twelfth Grade cultivates ready scholars and servant leaders who are equipped for further academic pursuits.