Upper School

North Shore strives to inspire all our students to stretch their minds and hearts so they can make their way in life with courage and confidence, committed to making a better world.

Rigorous coursework has several advantages. In addition to preparing our students for college life and beyond, important relationships form between students and teachers. Further, we work closely with parents and believe students benefit when teachers, administrators and parents communicate skillfully and work in partnership. The better we work together, the more meaningful the environment we can create for our students.

Yet Upper School at North Shore is more than just academics. Students develop into well-rounded adults by stretching themselves with experiences in performing arts, athletics, service, activities and meaningful connections made with their teachers and peers.
Three words define the Upper School student experience: rigorous, connections, complete.


List of 8 items.

  • English

    The English curriculum helps students to develop their ability to read, write, think and speak clearly, critically, creatively and logically. Conversation is at the heart of our teaching and learning. We work to build classrooms of active and involved learners. Our curriculum encourages students to use writing as a means of inquiry and discovery and to become independent thinkers. 
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  • History

    The History Department offers a variety of courses designed to expose students to national and international affairs. The courses strive to give students a greater understanding of the world and their place in it. In all courses attention is given to helping students improve their skills of critical reading, analytical thinking and effective writing.
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  • Languages

    The language curricula in the Upper School continue the sequence begun in junior kindergarten (Spanish) or 6th grade (French and Mandarin). Proficiency in using another language, an understanding of other cultures and their languages, and an enriched understanding of one’s own language and culture are the goals of the Language Department. The department promotes interdepartmental curricular exchanges. There are various opportunities for language immersions, cultural exchanges and field studies, which are highly encouraged. Students must study French, Mandarin or Spanish for at least three years in Upper School, with many continuing to advanced levels. The opportunity exists for some students to consider adding a second foreign language. AP language courses offered are based on the number of students and the proficiency level of those students, and may vary from year-to-year.  
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  • Mathematics

    The mathematics program is designed to fulfill four primary goals: 
    1. to provide courses which will give students mastery of the technical skills and understanding of the basic concepts of mathematics that are increasingly important in the world today, 
    2. to give students a mathematical foundation that is sufficient for all levels of further study,
    3. to develop in students an appreciation for the essential character of mathematics as an intellectual discipline and a recognition of mathematics as the “language of science,” and 
    4. to foster development of logical reasoning skills, both inductive and deductive, and the ability to utilize these skills in general problem solving tasks beyond the classroom.
  • Performing Arts

    The Performing Arts Department welcomes and encourages the participation of all students in the Upper School. Courses are designed to allow students to both build a beginning foundation of skills in music and drama and to continually develop those skills through a wide variety of classroom and performance experiences. There are opportunities for both vocal and instrumental music and acting and technical theatre.
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  • Physical Education

    Physical education classes are scheduled two times per week. The programs provide opportunities for the optimum physical growth and development of each student. Students develop and improve components of physical fitness (strength, endurance and flexibility) through a variety of programs. In addition, there are experiences designed to teach students skills and techniques from a variety of team sports. The goal of the Physical Education Department is to teach students to develop an appreciation of physical activity and to help them realize the importance of developing and maintaining a lifetime of fitness.
  • Science

    The Science Department strives to nurture a spirit of inquiry as we guide students in the study of the natural and physical sciences. All courses are laboratory and/or field-based, emphasizing the process of science in addition to core content knowledge of the disciplines. The history of science and scientific literature capture the implications of science in society, and science courses thus draw from authentic accounts of scientists’ practice. 
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  • Visual Arts

    The Upper School visual art program promotes open-mindedness, global thought and personal creative actions. Student-artists experience art through many lenses: hands-on practice, historical inquiry, group critique, museum trips and visiting artist connections. The process of art is the anchor of the Upper School curriculum, rather than the visual product.
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North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.