Holland Hall’s Upper School prepares each student for success in college and in life by sharpening their ability to make sound decisions, solve difficult problems, and cultivate healthy values. Our students have the self-confidence that comes from being taken seriously in school, and from being encouraged to reach beyond their grasp.
Students with an offer to a four-year university
Students receiving a college scholarship
Students' AP exam scores are a 3 or higher
Different clubs and honor societies
Holland Hall’s Upper School strives to involve students in their own education so learning becomes more applicable to the world around them and more deeply embedded in their memories. We accomplish this goal by prioritizing the student-teacher relationship. It is only when a student is truly known that exponential growth can happen.
Our teachers work to develop a curriculum based on interdisciplinary and experiential learning. We value getting students out of their seats and into situations that provide firsthand experiences. We also strive to provide students with opportunities to see connections between the traditional academic disciplines, in classes like American Studies, where English and history are combined. In these and many other ways, we strive to involve our students rather than simply telling them or showing them.
Holland Hall students can make their own paths through our curriculum. As they grow older, they can focus on the subjects that inspire and intrigue them, including independent studies, if they would like to explore a subject absent from our curriculum. Our goal is to help students explore new terrain and develop their specialized talents because in this quickly changing world, it is critical to feel comfortable with exploration with the new while feeling firmly planted in one’s knowledge of self.
In our daily Morning Meetings, students grow into their own voices, guiding the activities and topics of discussion in our community. On the fields and courts, our students develop the ability to work as part of a team, as they develop the skills of the game. On the stage and in the studio, our students grow in confidence and creativity. In the classroom, our students learn to think critically and to express themselves clearly.
In the hallways and during less formal times of the day, our students develop what Daniel Goleman refers to as their emotional quotient (E.Q.), with a communal emphasis on empathy and kindness.By using every arena as a place of learning, we hope our students will realize that we learn by seeking novelty in all that we do, by seeking connections to the world around us, and by giving our creativity the license to explore ideas and solutions beyond the status quo.
The rich and varied college-preparatory curriculum in the Upper School is designed to prepare students for life and learning in the 21st century. Our belief in a strong and well-rounded liberal arts education is supported by over 140 curricular offerings. These offerings include four foreign languages, over twenty interscholastic sports, a wide variety of courses in the performing and visual arts, a broad range of elective courses for juniors and seniors and a broad choice of honors or AP courses in every academic discipline. At Holland Hall, our curricular program reflects our belief that the future will belong to those who are able to use their minds to access, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information in order to become critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers.
Curriculum Guide: Click here for a complete list of curricular offerings in the Upper School.
Faculty: Holland Hall’s faculty make this community what it is — 63% of our teachers have advanced degrees, including seven teachers who have doctorates. Not only do they have a depth of knowledge in their subject matter, with an average of 20 years of teaching experience, they have a depth of knowledge about the art of teaching and the teenage brain.
English: 4 credits
Foreign Language: 3 credits
Mathematics: 3 credits
Science: 3 credits
Social Studies: 3 credits
Religious Studies: 0.5 credits
Fine Arts: 1 credit
Athletics: 3.5 credits
(Minimum 21 credits required for graduation.)
Additional Non-Departmental Requirements Include:
• Wellness: (9th, 12th grades) One semester class dealing with social and emotional health
• College Seminar: One semester class addressing college selection and application process
• 40 hour senior internship or shadowing experience
Students must earn a full art credit before graduation, and the majority of students engage in the arts well beyond this minimum requirement. Robust course offerings include ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, dance, music, theater, and more. Our arts faculty is composed of master practitioners of these disciplines, working artists who teach from rich personal experience.
Find more about our arts program here.
Students need six seasons of athletic credits to graduate — participating in two sports in 9th and 10th grades and one sport in 11th and 12th grades. Students who want to play competitive sports will find a place on teams ranging from Field Hockey and Football to Golf and Tennis. Noncompetitive sports include dance and a range of classes designed to keep students active and engaged.
Find more about our athletics programs here.
Clubs are initiated by students each year and meet during unscheduled time, before or after school or on the weekend. Each club has at least one faculty sponsor and are overseen by student government.
Because the clubs are created for and by students, they change annually, depending on what current students are interested in. Some perennial favorites include eSports, language clubs, math club, Spirit Club, tabletop gaming, book, chess, environmental, FCA, investment, medicine, coding, Ultimate Frisbee, Young Conservatives, Young Progressives and more.
Each club is responsible for a booth at Field Day, a fair for the whole school that happens every fall and is the major club fundraiser.
Click here to view all clubs that are offered for the 2023-24 school year.
Very few schools are fortunate enough to have the small college counselor to student ratio enjoyed by Holland Hall students. Three college counselors attend to the needs of a class of approximately 80 seniors, affecting a ratio of 1:26. This leads to quality and in-depth counseling with each student and his or her family.
Find out more about our college counseling program here.
Diversity and Inclusivity Council: This council is made up of elected students who serve the community by developing lesson plans for our advisory groups to explore issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
: The Student-Faculty Honor Council, composed of elected students and an equal number of elected faculty, meet with students who have violated major school rules. The Honor Council is given the responsibility of recommending appropriate consequences to the dean, subject to the approval of the Head of the Upper School and Head of School.
Student Government: The Student Government acts as a medium between the students and the faculty, serving to empower the voice of the student body. The members of this student-elected organization are charged with sponsoring activities and projects that may include dances, special events, pep rallies, clubs, and community service activities.
The center of the Upper School academic facility is an enclosed open space known as The Barnard Commons. Here, before classes each day, Upper School students from all four grades and their teachers assemble for “morning meeting.” It’s also a gathering spot throughout the day for students and faculty members.
The students produce a yearbook, the Hallway magazine/newspaper and the literary journal Windmill.
See all student publications here.
A learning specialist works closely with all educational teams to deliver age-appropriate support to students. Current research in the area of learning science informs our approach as we strive to assist students in navigating a robust college preparatory curriculum.
In our Upper School, a learning specialist facilitates the implementation of all Learning Assistance Plans and requests for accommodations with SAT and ACT. Only students with a current psychoeducational assessment can receive learning accommodations.