Upper School (Classes 9-12)

Finding focus, flexibility, and success. 

Through a versatile academic program that is responsive both to students’ interests and to the emerging challenges of a changing world, upper school students master essential skills, gain a genuine enthusiasm for scholarship, and become co-creators of their education.
Our students articulate ideas and perspectives confidently, immerse themselves in project- and experience-based learning, and embrace leadership roles with energy and humility.

I think we are doing something rather unique in the world of independent schooling. We let your children take the lead. We let them teach us what they want to look like, who they think they want to be, and we help them discover their best selves. We embrace shaping our program and expectations for excellence around each individual child." Dr. Brian Bloomfield
Head of the Upper School  

Explore the Upper School Curriculum

We invite you to learn more about our Upper School curriculum by visiting our community partners page. 

Public Speaking

An essential part of the Dexter Southfield experience, the Public Speaking program is designed to build character, confidence, and leadership.

In addition to the oral presentations required in academic courses, students meet weekly for the formal study of public speaking. Each Class presents an annual, culminating speech: Class 9 gives persuasive speeches; Class 10 delivers fast-paced ignite speeches; Class 11 offers “This I Believe” speeches; and Class 12 develops capstone senior speeches.

Signature Programming

New Venture Competition:
In the fall of 2020, Dexter Southfield will launch an entrepreneurship program that will encourage all upper school students to identify a business, service, or product opportunity and create operational and growth plans. Through this program, students will have access to speakers, seminars, written resources, and mentors from within Dexter Southfield’s extensive alumni and parent communities. They will collaborate to frame ideas, conduct research, and create teams, budgets, marketing plans, and prototypes. Their efforts will culminate with creating a business plan for the first Dexter Southfield New Venture Competition, where students will put their public speaking skills to work as they pitch their venture to a panel of judges.

January Term, or J-Term, offers students in Classes 9-12 the opportunity to explore a variety of topics beyond the standard curriculum. Students select sessions offered by faculty members, who have carefully crafted sessions around areas of their own passions. Together, students and faculty delve into a single subject—running the gamut from baseball to yoga—and work together to cultivate new levels of curiosity, broaden their understanding of the world around them, and develop their critical thinking skills. 

All members of Class 12 conclude their Dexter Southfield academic experience by completing an off-campus independent learning experience during the month of May. Guided by a faculty mentor and an onsite project mentor, each student takes advantage of the School’s proximity to Boston’s world-class resources through projects such as internships, community service, career exploration, science and lab research, and academic or creative pursuits. 

Community Partners

Our curriculum extends far beyond campus, with programming and opportunities for experiential learning. 

College Counseling

Our college counseling program is designed to help each student find a suitable match in higher education.

Student Activities

Upper school students have plenty of opportunity to become involved in clubs and organizations, or to propose starting one if they have a particular interest.