A Dawson Upper School education is defined by rigorous academics, by experiential education that takes students outside of the classroom into the community and into nature, and by relationships that feed student potential. Dawson’s emphasis on relevance and creativity keeps the school on the forefront of college preparatory education by challenging students to tackle problems both in- and outside of the classroom.

Each school year begins with four-day, grade-level excursions designed to help students learn more about one another and to consider more deeply the school’s primary virtues of respect, compassion, courage, and integrity. When students return from those trips, they come home with new friends, strong bonds with the faculty members they got to know during that week, and a feeling of accomplishment to begin the year.

Dawson offers AP courses in every discipline, challenging athletics and activities, exceptional performing and visual arts, and a rich array of community service opportunities. Dawson has earned an outstanding reputation at colleges across the country, and alumni consistently report that the academic program prepares them well for post-secondary study, while experiential programs such as class trips, Winterims, and senior projects build character and passion.  

Students who reflect on their years at Dawson always highlight the faculty and staff members who have impacted their lives as advisors, role models, and friends. Most significant among those moments is Senior Honoring, when members of the faculty offer a tribute to each senior in a ceremony on the eve of graduation. 

Dawson graduates are young men and women who achieve their individual potential, savor life, and meet the challenges of the world.

Upper School Courses & Curriculum

The course catalog (link below) is a short description of courses that is intended to help families get a sense of what will be taught in the class. The curriculum guide (link below) is a detailed description of each course intended to share not only content, but also methodology. The curriculum guide is used both by families interested in what and how we teach at Dawson and also by a new faculty member who needs to know how to approach a course that is new to them.