The academic program at the Upper School balances intellectual rigor and skill mastery with a highly supportive and accessible faculty. Our teachers promote creativity, intellectual courage, curiosity, and ethics in the learning process. And it is this balanced approach that allows us to engage a broad range of learners across disciplines in an authentic and purpose-driven approach to academics.
Dunn’s curriculum is highly responsive to the interests, abilities, and aspirations of our students and the unique strengths of our faculty, which means on any given day a student may go from deep reading and discussion in one class to a collaborative activity in the next. A Dunn education is marked by the opportunity to engage with a range of topics through a variety of approaches, ensuring that all types of learners are appropriately challenged and supported in the learning process through multiple modes of assessment. A visitor to Dunn is just as likely to see students launching rockets from Munger Common as they are to see them writing an in-class essay.
Learn more about our departments by clicking the sections below:
Our English curriculum includes the study of fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry with increasing sophistication and intellectual challenge from grades 6-12. Our writing instruction leads students through the stages of the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing) in a manner commensurate with their maturity and potential, exploring a wide range of genres.
The History curriculum engages students in analysis and interpretation of a range of primary and secondary source materials--helping students see history as a process rather than a set of agreed upon facts. Our approach to history is writing intensive and helps students develop a greater understanding of the issues and arguments of history, giving them a sense of their place in the world and their ability to affect change.
The Science Department incorporates traditional science and inquiry-based learning, reflecting the subject matter at a college-preparatory level. All science courses are laboratory qualified and the numerous experiments model scientific discovery to stimulate students’ imaginations and curiosity. Emphasis is placed on lab work, problem solving, logical deduction, information acquisition, and the group approach to scientific analysis.
The Mathematics Department provides a curriculum that aims to develop confident math students who are proficient at solving mathematical problems, as well as communicating and reasoning mathematically.
The World Language curriculum favors a communicative approach with an emphasis on listening comprehension and speaking. The goal is to develop students into independent users of a foreign language and heighten their understanding of cultural differences. Advanced courses place an additional emphasis on reading and writing.
The Arts program includes both visual arts and performing arts, offering students a broad spectrum of courses for artistic development and expression. Classroom instruction is designed to build intellectual, perceptual, and technical skills through inquiry, observation, problem solving, live performance, and analysis. Options include ceramics, studio art, photography, theater, music (vocal and instrumental).