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

girls in library
outdoor science class taking water sample from downspout
girl recreates %22Starry Night%22 on ceramic vase
boys do math problems on window
students wait for class to begin in arts hallway
boy discusses chemistry lab with teacher
students present work to panelists in library collaboration studio
boy shares DNA sample with genetics teacher
girls laugh in cubby
boy addresses model united nations conference
girl sketches outdoors
students work together at outdoor bench

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.

teacher discusses history project with boy and girl student

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

graduates leave Chenery Amphitheater after graduation


science teacher discusses work with students

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 & Social Sciences: Three years of Upper School study, during which time Global History and Geography, U.S. History and either one yearlong History & Social Sciences elective or two semester-long History & Social Sciences electives must be completed

Math: Four years of Upper School study

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 (French, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish)


Additional Requirements

Athletics/Health & Wellness: See grade-level requirements below

  • Grade 9: two seasons of a sport or one season of a sport and one season of health and wellness
  • Grade 10: two seasons of a sport or one season of a sport and one season of health and wellness
  • Grade 11: one season of a sport or two seasons of health and wellness
  • Grade 12: one season of a sport or two seasons of health and wellness

Career Intern Experience (CIE): Required in senior year

Community Service: All students are required to independently complete service hours outside of school. These individual volunteer projects completed with pre-approved organizations must total a minimum of 80 hours. Of these hours, at least 40 must be completed with a single organization.

Kent Denver School: What education should be!