Find Your Voice.

Upper School students sit on the board of trustees, serve on administrative committees, and promote curriculum change. You’ll scrawl questions on the “free speech board” in Goodwin Hall. You’ll use Upper School and All-School Meetings to praise and comment, air grievances, and solve problems. As you speak up for yourself, you also learn what it means to be part of a thriving community.

Work Hard on Interesting Things.

Upper School academic demands are sophisticated. Our rigorous curriculum is college-preparatory, which means traditional skills like timed essay writing. But our coursework is based on intellectual depth and creativity, not memorization and regurgitation.


Challenge Without Pressure.

At heart, independence is about making decisions and taking responsibility. As options increase, you learn to balance priorities, evaluate information, and structure time well. Most of all, you’ll enjoy being in an environment of genuineness, where integrity, curiosity, and a respect for individuality prevails.

Points of Distinction

List of 4 items.

  • 9th Grade

    9th Grade Seminar
    A three trimester course comprised of "Projects Class," "Digital Citizenship," and "Personal Essays," the 9th Grade Seminar prepares students to thrive in our largely project-based interdisciplinary high school curriculum.  

    In Projects Class, students explore and become knowledgeable about a new, unexplored interest, OR deepen/extend their knowledge of an already existing interest. They also build project-work and presentation skills, with a particular focus on understanding and learning to enact Watkinson’s Essential Characteristics: commitment, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and self-advocacy.  

    Digital Citizenship is a one-trimester ninth grade course that asks students to consider the impact of the Internet on our lives, our society, and the world. Along the way we also develop several technology skills that help prepare us for continued personal, academic and professional success, including creating original graphics, conducting online research, posting online content, and engaging in effective online communication.

    In Personal Essays class, students develop their skills with the writing process.  The essays in this course are autobiographical, which pushes students to deepen the ways they reflect on their experiences as growing human beings. By the end of the course, through series of drafts and revisions, students will produce 3-4 polished pieces about who they are and what has shaped them. This course deliberately lays a foundation for, among other things, 10th Grade Exhibitions and college essay writing.
  • 10th Grade

    Exhibitions
    A year-long process in which students become collectors, evaluators, and exhibitors of their own 9th and 10th grade work in writing, applying the research method, problem-solving, and collaboration. Students receive one-on-one coaching throughout and present their findings to an audience for feedback and commendation.

    Civil War Monologues

    Students research, write, memorize and perform as someone (real or created) from the Civil War Era. In order to capture the motives and struggles of such a character, it is imperative for students to understand the social, political, economic and cultural events that shaped the people of this period.
  • 11th Grade

    College Counseling Process
    An ongoing series of interviews, discussions, and evaluations; a thorough and realistic assessment of each student’s goals, achievements, academic records, and extracurricular activities; and a powerful presentation to colleges of everything a student has to offer. Our goal is to enable our students to find the right match with a school that truly “fits.” We strongly encourage each student to dream about the future, set goals to help those dreams come true, and be diligent in their research for the right step after earning a Watkinson diploma. From the sophomore to senior year, students attend more than 25 college counseling events.
  • 12th Grade

    Graduation
    Unlike other graduations, ours puts the student at the center by having no VIP speaker. Rather, we invite our students—as many as want to—to speak or perform; the program thus develops organically and individually, from year to year. With as many as 20 of their peers taking center stage before the awarding of diplomas, all students come away feeling that this final rite of passage was truly their own.

Upper School Department Heads

List of 6 members.