Upper School

We chose Breck because of the strong academic rigor, yet we found so much more.
Our children are encouraged to take risks and meet challenges head on at every level in academics,
arts, and athletics. Each child is a unique and valued member of this diverse community.Breck Parent

Our Upper School offers an exceptional experience for students in grades 9-12. Central to our mission is the development of each child's unique talents and potential to excel. We do this through our innovative curriculum, state-of-the-art learning spaces, talented faculty, and commitment to academics, the arts, and athletics. At Breck, students are cared for and known as individuals, which allows us to leverage their particular passions and motivations to drive deep, authentic learning. Through independent research opportunities, interdisciplinary classes, and post-AP course offerings, our students are challenged to explore new ideas and emerging fields of study. This, combined with our fully integrated community partnership program, research-informed teaching, and inclusive community, means that our students’ Upper School experience prepares them for a life of learning long after Breck.

Distinctive Programs

Interdisciplinary Learning

Critical thinking, strong communication, and engagement across disciplines are key components of a Breck education. Each year our creative and talented faculty offer a number of unique interdisciplinary courses. These courses, which are often are team-taught by two faculty members, ask our students to examine a question or problem outside traditional disciplinary boundaries. Course examples include:

  • American Elections: Statistical and Historical Analysis
  • Media Theory and Design
  • Expansion of Religion Throughout History
  • Affective Neuroscience and Learning
  • HerStory: Women Writers and Their History
  • Music Psychology
  • Politics, Equity, & Power

Advanced Research Opportunities

For those students whose academic passions push them beyond the standard curriculum, we offer Advanced Research Opportunities in Math, Science, and History. In these selective, post-AP courses, students dive head first into a topic of their choosing, supported by a Breck faculty member as well as mentors in the community. Recent research topics and projects have included:

  • Re-Examining the JFK Assassination 50 years later (History)
  • Holding Your Heart in Your Heart: 3-D Printing a Mechanically Accurate Accurate Aortic Valve Model (Science)
  • Understanding Reconciliation for Indigenous Communities in Canada (History)
  • More than Skin Deep: Deciphering the Role of Bartonella Henselae Infection in Melanoma Metastasis (Science)
  • American Refugee Committee: The Role of Mobile Technology in Sudanese Healthcare (Math)
  • Where There is Unity, There is Victory: Exploring the Greater Benefits of Unified Clubs for Athletes with Disabilities (Math)

Student work and a background of projects can be found on the Community-Based Research in Mathematics and Advanced Science Research websites.

Visual and Performing Arts

Arts engage the whole person and build skills of self-expression, creativity, social interaction, collaboration, and self-discipline. Our abilities to listen, imagine, and reason bloom. Upper School courses give students a chance to explore and experiment with multiple forms and mediums to unlock their own talents and passions.

Performing Arts

From playing classical violin to creating a theater set from the ground up, Upper School offers options for everyone to learn, create, and thrive.

Visual Arts

Function and form. Craft and risk. We focus on awareness of media, design, and critical thinking. We also establish a formal foundation across cultural and disciplinary boundaries that offers nuanced context and creative possibility.

Community Partnership

As Breck strives to instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility, we actively encourage our learners to find opportunities to engage the world outside of our walls. Each Wednesday, the entire Upper School student body leaves campus to engage in meaningful, ongoing work with one of our over 40 community partners. Whether it’s through working with preschoolers at a local Head Start chapter or packing meals for hungry teens, our students build relationships with our partners and learn as much as they serve. Our focus is on the value of the reciprocal relationship that is developed over time.Community Partnership Examples:

Senior Speeches

Each week, our Upper School community gathers together to hear the senior speeches from members of our senior class. These speeches not only teach focus, confidence, and presentation skills, they also represent one of the culminating moments of a student’s journey at Breck.an opportunity for our community to come together for this longstanding Breck tradition. Friends, family, and visitors join us for this long-standing and moving Breck tradition. 

Every senior student gives a four- to six-minute speech chance for students to discuss a passion, explore a new idea, or share a meaningful experience or lesson, all while thinking critically about how best to present ideas.

Sample speech topics include: Baking Bread, Memes in Popular Culture, The Role of Religion in My Life, Equity and Power in Modern Society, and What I’ve Learned from Superhero Movies

May Program

We know that our students thrive when given the chance to create their own meaningful learning experiences. We know that broadening our definition of the classroom affords our students the opportunity to learn from our vibrant city. Each year, as a part of our academic program, students participate in our May Program. This unique approach to the final weeks of each school year gives our students experiences that prepare them for a meaningful life beyond our walls.

  • Ninth and tenth grade students take on-campus mini courses created by our faculty specifically for May Program.
    • Recent offerings include: World Religions, Build Your Own 3D Printer, The Films of Alfred Hitchcock, The Beatles, Photojournalism, Write Your Novel, and Cryptography.
  • Eleventh and twelfth grade students engage in off-campus projects that speak to their own passions. Students have interned at businesses, volunteered with non-profits, or developed their own major initiatives.
    • Recent examples include: building a plane, researching the physics of gymnastics, interning at a marketing firm and major healthcare companies, writing and producing a documentary, working with Habitat for Humanity, and others.
  • Juniors and Seniors are also eligible to travel abroad with one of our World Language programs.
    • In recent years students have journeyed to: Morocco, China, Spain, France, and Colombia.

College Counseling

At Breck, we value learning for the sake of learning and emphasize process over mere performance to create thoughtful, mature, young adults ready to make smart decisions about the next step in their educational careers. Our experienced College Counseling Staff can help students and parents understand plans, choices, and next steps. 

Athletics

We believe Breck’s athletic programs are a continuation of the classroom - our coaches are teachers of their individual disciplines. Our student-athletes learn how to work as a team, demonstrate leadership, learn time management skills, and strive to be mature adults and productive members of society. We also believe that competitive sports contribute significantly to our students’ well-being. Athletics assist students to develop self-esteem, respect for others, honesty, responsibility, a sense of justice and strong ethical values to carry into their future.

  • 27 different athletic programs
  • Expansive 56-acre campus with seven tennis courts, turf practice field, on-campus football stadium with track, two baseball fields, softball field, indoor pool, and nearby ice arena
  • Learn more about Breck Athletics on their website at brecksports.org.

Student Leadership and Clubs

Breck students provide an important voice in the leadership of the school. Our Upper School students have the opportunity to serve one of six of our student leadership councils. Leadership roles can also be found in one of our many student clubs, athletic teams, and performing and visual arts. Leadership Councils include:

  • Advocacy Council
  • Arts Council
  • Athletics Council
  • Diversity and Inclusion Council
  • Integrity Council
  • Service Council

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