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.  Reading, writing, and conversation are at the heart of our teaching and learning.  
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  • Social Studies

    The Social Studies faculty sees its work as central to North Shore Country Day School’s mission to develop self-confident, ethical citizens of the world who think critically, communicate effectively, and embody our motto, “Live and Serve.” Our disciplines—and the skills they call for—prepare students for the demands of the world in which they will live. Throughout a course of study emphasizing history, geography, economics, and contemporary social issues, we encourage our students to:
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  • Languages

    The language program in the Upper School continues the sequence begun in junior kindergarten (Spanish) or 6th grade (Spanish, French and Chinese). Proficiency in using another language, an understanding of other cultures and their languages, and a comprehension of what it means to be a global ethical citizen of the world are the goals of The World Languages Department. The program promotes interdepartmental curricular exchanges. There are various opportunities for language immersions in France and Spain, cultural exchanges in China and field studies in the city of Chicago, which are highly encouraged. Students must study French, Chinese or Spanish for at least three years in the Upper School, with many continuing to advanced classes. The opportunity exists for some students to consider adding a second foreign language. AP language courses are offered in all three languages and Independent Studies open up various opportunities to explore areas of interest for those students who have completed the regular sequential program.
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  • Mathematics

    The math department is committed to instilling habits of mind and building skills developmentally and individually appropriate for each learner. We collaborate to develop effective teaching approaches that keep with current research and common best practices. The department’s desired outcome is to develop citizens with a love and appreciation of the power of mathematics and the skills and confidence to succeed in future endeavors. The Upper School Math Department approaches teaching through a student-centered philosophy, getting to know each child and adjusting our approaches to what works best. We integrate direct instruction, discovery, inquiry, collaboration, student presentation, and student discussion in our classes. We strive to help students understand not only new processes and techniques but also the validity, contexts, and purposes surrounding the new skills.
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  • 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. Students will have the opportunity to select from a variety of classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Tai Chi, Martial Arts and Athletic Development. The classes are designed to develop and improve components of physical fitness (strength, speed, agility, power, endurance and flexibility), to encourage relaxation techniques and to foster a knowledge and appreciation of the importance of wellness. In allowing students to choose their experiences and in exposing them to different classes, students can learn lifelong skills and discover different ways to be active for life.
  • 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.