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Upper School

Taking the Lead, Creating Their Future.

We see our students’ years in the Upper School as a time for young adolescents to come to know themselves as members of an active learning environment and as individuals who are continuing to explore facets of their personal identities. Upper School faculty are expert educators who truly enjoy working with and mentoring children of this age, forging the student-teacher relationships that are essential for academic and personal growth in the middle school years. 

Life skills of responsibility, self-awareness, independence, collaborative learning, resilience, and empathy are learned and reinforced through a challenging academic curriculum and varied opportunities to lead and try new activities. Our students graduate from Town as confident, self-aware learners more than ready to meet the challenges of the excellent high school programs that they attend. 

Our students’ success and well-being are at the center of everything we do. 

Carol Seeley
Head of Upper School

Division Overview and Parent Partnership

Our rigorous Upper School curriculum encourages students to think critically, read with care, write with conviction, and apply their knowledge to new challenges. We support ambitious academic goals by incorporating essential study skills and time management components that are vital to success for middle-schoolers.

Leaders of the school.

Upper School students set the tone for our school community by how they act as students, leaders, and citizens. As the senior-most students at Town, they run student government, plan assemblies, organize service projects, create and edit the yearbook, and form special committees to explore issues of interest, such as national current events. 

A unique guidance model.  

At Town, each Upper School student is guided by a dedicated advisor who oversees their academic, social, and emotional well-being. Advisors track students’ progress, and help them build organizational skills, manage their time effectively, and set goals.  

Parent-Teacher-Student partnership.

Parents meet with their child’s advisor twice during the year in December and June and receive written reports that include an evaluation of the student’s skills, work habits, and portfolio.

Upper School Curriculum At-A-Glance


The Upper School arts curriculum is interdisciplinary, hands-on, and focused on drawing historical connections between the various disciplines. Discovery, appreciation, and development of technique are a common thread throughout all arts classes.


Our comprehensive English curriculum combines literary analysis, creative and expository writing, and the study of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Language arts skills are reinforced by daily analytical discussions, grammar exercises, individual conferences with teachers to refine writing skills, and multiple editing and proofreading sessions for written work.


Real-number operations are continually reinforced to advance mathematical knowledge and understanding. Curriculum emphasizes reason, inventiveness, and technical proficiency to solve mathematical problems. 

Physical Education

The Physical Education curriculum focuses on skill-building, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Athletic teams for soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and track and field begin in Upper School. 


The Science curriculum develops critical thinking skills, improves laboratory techniques, and solidifies students’ ability to use the scientific method. Through labs, projects, class discussion, and designing their own experiments, students become scientific thinkers and learn to use data to draw conclusions.

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum centers on diverse communities from early cultures through contemporary government and society. Course content begins with the study of ancient civilizations in 5th grade and culminates with American history and government in 8th grade.


In Upper School, technology tools such as Google Apps for Education and the Schoology learning management system are used to support collaboration and learning across subjects. Students are given wider and more independent access to technology and each receive a school-issued iPad to use at school and at home. Coding activities become more sophisticated as students tackle new challenges such as robotics, learning a simple programming language, and understanding how coding can be used to meet different needs. 

World Languages

The Upper School language program is equivalent to a comprehensive first year high school course. The classes are taught almost entirely in French/Spanish in order to build fluency in both speaking and listening. As the study of grammar becomes more rigorous, classes focus on conversation. Latin is added in 7th and 8th grades, focused on learning the language as well as Roman culture and history. 

High School and Life Beyond Town

Town graduates are well-rounded, articulate, confident, and ethical individuals who are prepared to meet the challenges of a demanding secondary education and continue on the path of lifelong learning.

Our N–8 curriculum is thoughtfully designed to prepare students for high school—and beyond.  Everything we do at Town primes our students for entry into an impressive array of the top high schools in the New York City area. The 8th grade students approach the transition to secondary education with confidence and self-awareness; the same qualities that are critical to the college application process. 

A true team approach.

At Town we take a true team approach to the high school application process. Our High School Placement Director, Upper School Head, and faculty provide continuous support and guidance to families throughout the process so that they can make the best possible decision for their child’s high school education. 

Individualized placement process.

In the spring of 7th grade, Town families begin working with our High School Placement Director to learn about the mechanics of the high school application process. During the summer between 7th and 8th grade, families spend time exploring schools that suit their child’s interests and preferred learning style. 

In the fall of their 8th grade year, students go on school visits and interviews. They attend weekly “Decisions” classes throughout the fall application period where they receive dedicated support and guidance with the application process, and practice for interviews. From September through December, students and families continue to research schools, meet regularly with the placement director, work on essays, and narrow down their final application list for December deadlines.

Student voice is essential.

Our 8th graders are challenged to think seriously about themselves as individuals and use their voice to express who they are as people and as learners. Each November, members of the most recent graduating class return for a panel discussion with the 8th graders to share their reflections on the placement process and the first months of high school.

Prepared for the future. 

Town alumni/ae go on to attend the best schools in NYC, including independent day schools, performing arts academies, specialized public high schools, and boarding schools in the tri-state area and beyond.  High schools consistently remark on how well-prepared Town students are academically, and how quickly Town graduates become active members of their new school communities. 

Recent High School Destinations 
  • Avenues: The World School
  • Chapin
  • Columbia Grammar & Prep
  • Dalton
  • Dwight Englewood
  • Fieldston
  • Grace Church School
  • Horace Mann
  • Nightingale-Bamford
  • Packer Collegiate
  • Poly Prep
  • Riverdale Country School
  • Trevor Day
  • Trinity
Select College Destinations
  • Boston College 
  • Brown University 
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University 
  • Emory University 
  • Georgetown University 
  • Harvard University 
  • New York University 
  • Northwestern University
  • Syracuse University 
  • Tufts University 
  • University of Chicago 
  • University of Pennsylvania 
  • Vanderbilt University 
  • Washington University in St. Louis 
  • Wesleyan University 
  • Yale University 

Read more here.

Interactive Curriculum Guide

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