Upper School Curriculum

Students in the upper school have access to a wide variety of academic offerings designed to challenge students as they strive to achieve their individual potential.  With 15 different Advanced Placement offerings in five disciplines, Dawson graduates are well prepared for the work that will be asked of them in the college and university setting.  In addition to these college-level courses, the Dawson curriculum is rich with such electives as Engineering, Modern American Poetry, Forensic Science, and Jewelry Making, that allow students to pursue individual academic interests while still fulfilling graduation requirements.

2015-16 Upper School Curriculum Catalog

2014-15 Upper School Curriculum Guide


Winterim, a unique program that sets Dawson apart from other schools, is an integral part of the Dawson curriculum. Faculty design weeklong programs that support the mission of the school by requiring students to stretch themselves in mind, body, and character while exploring their education from an active, experiential perspective. Winterim programs take many forms, engaging students in the arts, technology, the outdoors, culture, science, history, and fitness. Winterim opportunities include local, national, and international experiences. Dawson’s Winterim program was developed as a means to strengthen regular classroom education by drawing students into activities and places that will help bridge the gap between theory and real life. Establishing this link is a critical component of a holistic education.

Online Course Option

Students during their junior year and the first semester of their senior year have the option of taking on semester course online in lieu of an elective course at Dawson. Students are given a course release for the semester in which an online course is being completed.  Only one course release would be granted per semester.  Courses need to be approved and monitored.   Students should look to EdX, Coursera, and other learning consortiums.  All courses need to be approved by the Academic Dean at least one month prior to the start of the semester.  The course would be recorded on the transcript as pass/fail; requirements to pass the course include a certificate of completion, a reflective piece, and copies of the work submitted for the class.

Senior Projects

Dawson School recognizes that knowledge gained outside the classroom is a valuable complement to academic learning.  Over the course of their educational tenure at Dawson, students participate in a number of experiential education events: class trips, Winterims, etc.  The culminating piece of the senior year continues this emphasis on experience as a learning tool. Seniors will finish their studies at Dawson by spending the last weeks of their high school careers in internships of their own design that will expose them to career and community service possibilities for the future.  The senior project allows students to pursue a passion, a field of interest, a dream not yet realized.  It is an opportunity for students to exert their independence and to celebrate the passage from Dawson to the rest of the world.  We have designed this project to help our seniors complete high school with a renewed sense of personal growth and of connection to a broader social context.  Successful participation in Senior Projects is a requirement for graduation at the Dawson School.