Upper School / Grades 7-9
Pine Cobble’s Upper School combines the intimacy of a small, close-knit school with a wide landscape of ideas and opportunities. We challenge students as mathematicians, scientists, writers, historians and as scholars of Latin, Spanish and the arts. Equally important, we challenge them as individuals, gently guiding each student to what may feel unfamiliar so that they grow intellectually. The result is a curriculum that is ambitious, rigorous and individualized.
We prepare students exceedingly well and give them confidence in their own abilities. However, Pine Cobble does more than prepare students in specific academic subjects. We also ensure that they have the broad range of skills they need to thrive in all of the years that follow. Students leave Pine Cobble fully ready to be engaged, to work extremely hard, to pursue interests and passions and to assume leadership roles in their community and beyond. Our students graduate knowing how to meet deadlines and produce sophisticated work, how to forge meaningful relationships with faculty and peers and how to take full advantage of the resources around them.
Students also learn the intellectual habits they need to thrive. They learn to think critically, analyze a situation from multiple perspectives, apply logic and scientific reasoning, recognize patterns and trends, advocate for a position and engage in constructive dialogue. Walk through the hallways of our Upper School, and you will find students wrestling with complex ideas. You will hear stimulating intellectual discourse filling classrooms and hallways along with joyful silliness. You will find students who understand what it is to work hard, to challenge themselves, to find new ways to interpret familiar information, and to pursue truth and delight in the process.
Upper School students become mentors, in real and concrete ways. They are keenly aware of the importance of their relationships and daily interactions with younger children. Advisor groups volunteer in classrooms and design service projects with younger classes or with the outside community. Projects such as Pumpkin Day, the Thanksgiving Feast, and Cookie Day give students concrete opportunities to nurture their mentorship. Our graduates consistently report that they were exceedingly well-prepared to embrace central roles and active participation after Pine Cobble.
Academics are customized to student need. Both highly accelerated students and those who need help closing gaps will find that our faculty and administration are dedicated to meeting individual needs and ensuring that students are challenged as individuals, without sacrificing their sense of community and participation.
A thumbnail sketch of our Upper School curriculum:
- In mathematics we teach Pre-Algebra through Trigonometry, with students placed in the class that is best suited to their strengths.
- Students study Physical Science, along with Astronomy and Biology.
- History includes detailed analysis of United States History, World Cultures, and culminates in Western Civilization. Interdisciplinary units are often taught across the curriculum.
- Spanish and Latin are offered, and two-thirds of our students take both languages.
- The English program emphasizes outstanding reading, writing and oral communication skills; all 9th grade students present a research topic before the whole school, after a year of study on the subject.
- Electives give students the chance to pursue their own interests – be it film, art, debate, computer programming classes, or athletics.
There’s plenty of evidence for the fact that our program works. For example, our students are able to thrive at the most challenging high schools in the nation. Recent graduates are currently making their mark at Concord Academy, Dana Hall School, Emma Willard School, Miss Hall’s School, Northfield Mount Hermon, Putney School, and St. Mark’s School. Our Upper School students have also earned honors in the Dorothy Sarnoff speaking competition every year they’ve participated.
Equally important is the fact that our students love learning, that they know how to learn, that our hallways are filled with the chatter of adolescents who are confident, compassionate, and excited about the world around them.