Grades 9 - 12
At GCDS, you're the author of your own story: your interests, your choices, and your future.
We're here to help you build the resources, knowledge, and inspiration to map it out—and then help you realize it.
If you have had the good fortune to see the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, you know the refrain: "How lucky we are to be alive right now."....
Signature Learning Experiences
Our signature learning experiences are core to your time in the Upper School. They help you make connections within your academic classes so that you can make sense of why you are learning what you are learning every day.
Check your compass:
Each year has a different theme as a foundation for learning and exploration to help you put the knowledge you're building in context.
9th grade: Identity
Engaging with self and community
10th grade: Global perspectives
Systems and intersections
11th grade: Leadership
Expertise, empathy, and purpose
12th grade: Stewardship
Connecting mission and action
Set your own course: Intersession
For three weeks each January, you'll take a deep dive into a particular area of study. You can explore your interests through intensive courses, trips, internships, and/or a project of your own design—gaining experience, knowledge, skills, and new perspectives along the way.
See the big picture: Thesis Project
During your junior or senior year, you'll complete a Thesis Project to explore a Humanities, STEM, or Arts topic through a rigorous, research-driven process. The end result will be as personal as it is intellectually rich.
Make it personal:
Integrated seminar, college counseling, and advising
Seminar is a full-credit class where you'll connect what you're learning in the classroom with what you're experiencing in your day-to-day life.
The integrated approach to Seminar and College Counseling also gives you the time and the guidance to take stock of your ambitions, strengths, and challenges. We believe this self-reflection should be at the core of each eventual college list, and our College Counseling Office is there to help you every step of the way.
Find the meaning: Presentations of Learning
At the end of each year, you will present and defend significant work and accomplishments to GCDS faculty, professionals in your field of study, and classmates to demonstrate your new knowledge mastery, debate findings, and receive constructive, meaningful feedback.
Build connections: Internships and service learning
At GCDS, you will build relationships with service and not-for-profit organizations, businesses, academic institutions, professionals, and visiting scholars. Each relationship presents an opportunity to apply learning in the real world.
Opportunities abound at GCDS. The close-knit, inclusive community at GCDS is possible because we make our school a place for everyone to be themselves and pursue their interests.
Student government, clubs, and extracurricular activities are a great way to make new friends, discover new talents, and just have some fun!