The Upper School program is the culmination of the CHS experience. While continuing to gain new knowledge across the academic disciplines, students in Grades 4-6 focus on the application of skills in the service of increasingly complex and multi-dimensional projects. Having made the transition from learning to read to reading to learn, students are challenged and inspired by increasingly sophisticated opportunities to gather, evaluate, synthesize, and present information. Open-ended research projects on Nobel Peace Prize winners in Grade 6 or in-depth multimedia presentations on Medieval culture in Grade 4 are exciting and constantly evolving examples of such investigations. Both within and between disciplines, students utilize high-level problem solving skills, whether grappling with multi-layered math problems, developing insightful questions about the properties of acids and bases, or tackling complicated design challenges in programming a robot or constructing a life-size greenhouse. Upper School students have equally powerful opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills to issues of equity and social justice and to engage in increasingly deep thought and conversation about bias, stereotypes, prejudice, and social action.
With an increased emphasis on independence in the upper grades, students assume more responsibility for their own learning and for the organization of time and materials. Program highlights at this developmental level include a formal athletics program, a signature focus on leadership skills, and the introduction of an overnight Spanish culture immersion trip to Thompson Island in Grade 5 and a three-day curriculum-themed Farm School trip in Grade 6.
All Upper School students participate in an interscholastic athletics program designed to foster teamwork, build school spirit, enhance sport-specific skills, and expose students to competition with other nearby independent schools. Games are scheduled respectively both for boys and for girls on a seasonal basis: soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and softball/baseball in the spring. The program is introduced in Grade 4, when students begin to have practice time added to their weekly schedule in order to prepare for a limited number of games each season. In Grades 5 and 6, an extended school day (3:45 pm Monday-Thursday) incorporates increased time for athletic practice and a full schedule of games. Team travel exposes young athletes to conditions both home and away and builds powerful esprit-de-corps among the children and their coaches.