Upper School: Challenging, Intentional Academics for the College-Bound

Upper School students at the Ethics Day Assembly

Our Upper School students are hard learning and working; they seek and embrace challenge. And they certainly would not be here if they were looking for what is easy.

They, too, are ambitious; not only do they desire an excellent education, they are also committed to doing something significant in the world. They are talented and passionate.

They come to Kent Denver to develop their identities around aptitudes and enthusiasms or to find them. And finally, they have excellent character—they are empathetic, concerned, engaged, collaborative and thoughtful.

Our teachers are the best. Pedagogical scientists, they continually work to develop deep learning experiences for their students through compelling, active, engaging classrooms. They know each of their students as individual learners and build fundamental relationships of trust, care and mutual study.

In our classrooms, every student has a voice and is active. Students are not told what to think; they are given the opportunity to think—and explore, consider, interact, conclude. Yes, they master the content essential to moving educationally forward, but they also develop problem-solving confidence and ability, and the skills and wisdom for life.

They understand and internalize that they can do anything as long as they are willing to make the effort.


Graduation Requirements



English: Four years of Upper School study.

Electives: In addition to the graduation requirements for the various departments, students must complete two years of additional coursework in any subject or combination of subjects of their choice.

History and Social Sciences: Three years of Upper School study, including Global History of the Modern World, U.S. History or AP U.S. History, and either one yearlong History and Social Sciences elective or two semester-long History and Social Sciences electives.

Mathematics: Four years of Upper School study, three of which must be consecutive. Program must include Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II (all or part of which may be satisfied during Middle School).

Science: Three years of Upper School study, including one year each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Visual and Performing Arts: Two years of Upper School study.

World Languages: Three consecutive years of Upper School study in a single language (Chinese, French or Spanish).


Additional Requirements

Athletics and Performance: See grade-level requirements below

  • Grades 9 and 10: Two seasons of a sport or one season of a sport and one season of performance activity.
  • Grades 11 and 12: One season of a sport or two seasons of performance activities.

Career Intern Experience (CIE): Required in senior year

Community Service: A minimum of 80 hours must be successfully completed during a student’s high school career as part of the graduation requirement. Of these hours, 40 must be logged in with a single organization.

Kent Denver School: What education should be!