Upper School Curriculum
Through its broad graduation requirements, the Upper School curriculum at Community School ensures a well-balanced foundation for college studies. However, there is also ample flexibility for you to shape a curriculum that allows you to pursue your particular strengths and interests while providing a strong profile for college admissions.
If you’re just entering ninth grade, you will find that most of your curriculum is prescribed: you will be enrolled in English, World History, Mathematics, World Languages and Cultures, Biology, Health. Typically, ninth graders have six of their classes predetermined. Most ninth grade students enroll in seven classes, allowing them the chance to select an art or computer science elective, as well as two Principles courses, where you can explore interests.
Following ninth grade, each year allows a bit more flexibility. In the sophomore year, only five specific areas in the core disciplines of English, Mathematics, World Languages and Cultures, Science, and Social Sciences, are predetermined. Since students must enroll in six classes, all tenth graders will have at least one elective. Some students in tenth grade opt for seven classes in either one or both semesters. Students make many different choices when selecting electives. Some double up in world language or math, others select courses in the visual or performing arts, and some prefer computer science courses or yearbook. In choosing whether to enroll in six or seven courses, you should think about both the level of the classes for which you have been recommended as well as the extent of your extracurricular commitments.
It is important to realize that CSN’s graduation requirements are not synonymous with the curricular recommendations of very selective colleges. For instance, while you can graduate from CSN with three years of science, many colleges strongly prefer to see four. Similarly, even though our requirements in history and world language are also three years, students should plan on continuing at least one, if not both of these through twelfth grade. In senior year, students are required to select six courses; keeping in mind that colleges strongly prefer that the twelfth grade curriculum be at least as demanding as that selected in prior years.
Colleges urge students to select the most challenging courses available and appropriate. While every college asserts that the high school transcript is the single most important criterion for admission, remember that this transcript consists of two equally weighted factors: course selection and performance. While CSN is a college preparatory school, our students are individuals who vary widely in their goals, their strengths, and their interests. The college counseling office, along with your academic advisor, looks forward to helping you to select those curricular choices which will best meet your unique needs and help you best prepare for the next step in your life.
English (4.0 credits)
Four Credits: Literature & Composition I or Literature & Composition I Honors; Literature & Composition II or Literature & Composition II Honors; Literature & Composition III Honors or AP English Language and Composition; Literature & Composition IV Honors or AP English Literature and Composition.
Mathematics (4.0 credits)
Four Credits earned during grades 9-12.
Social Sciences (3.0 credits)
Three Credits: Modern World History, Modern World History Honors, or AP World History; Honors Seminar: US Government or AP Seminar: Political Analysis; United States History Honors or AP US History.
Science (3.0 credits)
Three Credits: Biology or Biology Honors, Chemistry or Chemistry Honors; Physics, Physics Honors, or AP Physics C.
World Languages & Cultures (3.0 credits)
Three Credits (in the same language is strongly recommended) earned during grades 9-12.
Art/Computer Science Electives (2.0 credits)
Two Credits: credits may be satisfied with classes in the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, and/or Computer Science departments.
Health and Fitness (1.0 credit)
Half Credit of Health, typically earned in grade 9; Half credit of Fitness, which can be earned either through a semester course or participating in a season of a CSN sport (beginning with the Class of 2022).
Principles Courses (0.5 credit)
Half Credit, which is earned by taking two quarter-long courses. Principles courses are project-based enrichment courses to help students discover and pursue interests and passions. This requirement beings with the Class of 2022.
25 hours per year enrolled in CSN’s Upper School.
Successful completion of both components of Junior Experience in May of junior year, as organized and overseen by school administration.
In keeping with CSN’s commitment to academic excellence, students are required to maintain a challenging course load. The number of students in any course may be limited. Any announced course for which the enrollment is deemed insufficient may be withdrawn. All Upper School students are expected to complete a minimum of 25 hours per year of community service. An Upper School mathematics or world language course taken in the CSN Middle School will be recorded at the bottom of the transcript but will not be included in the cumulative GPA.