Four years that will prepare students for the world
Educating the mind and heart is an act of exploration, and the Upper School builds a never-ending desire to learn. At Nightingale, girls plumb the depths of their abilities to develop the best versions of themselves. Their final years in the Schoolhouse allow them to exhibit and solidify their passions and purposes, and to do so with intellectual integrity and empathy.
Though each student’s path is unique, Upper School students are marked by their compassion, independence, and curiosity. They relish their roles as open-minded participants of their classes, communities, and the world.
By the end of their journey at Nightingale, these young women have deepened their friendships, strengthened their voices, and stretched their limits. As true explorers of the academic and the creative, our graduates are poised to become great stewards of their futures.
Upper School Highlights
Worlds to Explore
A trip to London for the entire Class IX is the capstone of months of study linking literature, history, science, and art. This trip is the first of many study abroad options offered throughout Upper School. Each student who studies a modern language has the opportunity to travel to a country where the language is spoken and experience the culture first-hand. With this focus on global education, students leave Nightingale as citizens of the world.
Students travel to countries where the language they study is spoken and experience the culture first-hand.
Nightingale’s Independent Study Program empowers girls to pursue their unique passions without limits. Under the close guidance of a faculty mentor, seniors research and report during the spring semester on a topic of their choosing. Past projects include The Future of Urban Agriculture and Feminism in the Persian Gulf. The program is a college-level experience that brings seniors with an immense sense of personal achievement.
Nightingale’s Independent Study Program empowers the pursuit of passions without limits.
Making Positive Change
Going Beyond Barriers takes Nightingale’s mission into practice. Over four years, students reflect on social issues, their roles in the community, and how they can make positive changes. They identify leadership behaviors and hone communication skills through public speaking. The sequence culminates by pondering life’s essential questions through a multitude of lenses and educating minds and hearts in a way only Nightingale can do.
Going Beyond Barriers puts Nightingale’s mission into practice.
Years at a Glance
Equal parts of mind and heart
Upper School is a unique place where every student finds her voice while being supported by a community that values her.
A class sleepover to kick off the year, Big Sibling and House assignments, peer mentoring, group advisory meetings, a year-long course on the foundations of web development plus the Agents of Change class, and a trip to London are all part of the distinctive Nightingale Class IX experience. The class expands this year, and new friendships take hold. While taking five or six majors and several minors, students enjoy increasingly in-depth academic exploration, participation in clubs, and playing team sports while forming meaningful Upper School relationships.
Class X cultivates a mature sense of purpose regarding school life. Community engagement requires participating in one cross-divisional event each year. Students receive a one-on-one advisor who will see them through Upper School. This year, students take Mr. Burke’s leadership class, field trips, and courses in arts and digital design. Class X students can apply to Science Seminar and semester away programs, both offering global opportunities for internship or study. Interschool Consortium classes, including a trip to Frost Valley, are also a way to deepen a student’s specific interests.
Class XI students begin to personalize their learning experience through electives, internships, and field studies. Many participate in a study abroad. Every student takes Public Speaking; writing and presenting eight speeches to her class. As they gain confidence in promoting themselves, the college counseling process begins. In conjunction with the internship program where they learn to write resumes and cover letters, students learn how to present themselves to the larger world. Class XI students advance their ideas, take more profound initiatives, and realize new levels of intellectual interest.
Nightingale’s seniors take the lead in all community activities, heading up the major student-led boards and leadership positions. The Essential Questions and Personal Wellness courses are capstones of senior year. As students take ownership of their emerging areas of expertise, they can also pursue an Independent Study Project in the spring under the direction of a faculty mentor. Class XII students leave the blue doors as self-actualized scholars, leaders, and agents of change.
Programs & Curriculum
A class for every passion
The Upper School curriculum reflects our belief that a liberal arts education adapted to the modern world is the best preparation for college and a lifetime of learning.
Using Census data to recount the history of a city block, investigating issues of public health, including bioterrorism and novel diseases, or diving into number theory and foundational mathematics, Nightingale’s STEM program positions students to conduct scientific research for real-world achievement.
Nightingale’s broad world language offerings include Latin, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. English classes balance the traditional with the contemporary. Lectures, including Pulitzer winners and poet laureates, make the Creative Writing Program a stand-out.
- Global Education
Global in both perspective and scope, an Upper School education at Nightingale can include studying Mandarin in China, music lessons and Spanish conversation in Bogotá, or a choral exchange in South Africa.
- Leadership Development
Through formal public speaking, conflict resolution training, lectures from powerful female role models, meaningful community engagements, and debate competitions, the Upper School students find countless practical and scholarly ways to express their leadership.
The Upper School library program supports students by sharpening foundational research skills and fostering a lifelong appreciation of literature. Students become more creative and agile thinkers as they navigate an incredible wealth of source materials.
- Student Life
Student-run clubs, from Chocuzzle (eating chocolate and doing puzzles) to Step Up (activism), give students ways to flex their passions and explore. Award-winning student publications create space for self-expression. Sitting on school boards, from Arts to Inclusivity, allows students to be leaders among their peers.
Recognizing the physical, emotional, and social value of athletics and team sports, Nightingale offers a wide-ranging program of competitive teams for our students at the JV and Varsity levels during fall, winter, and spring seasons.
- Performing Arts
The Nightingale Dance Collective, the fall drama production, the spring musical, and the outstanding choral program all give Upper School students ample opportunities to be seen and heard through the thrills of live performance.
- Visual Arts
A mix of art history and studio classes helps Nightingale’s visual artists connect with their subject matter. Access to New York’s unparalleled art scene serves to extend the classroom to world-class museums and galleries.
- College Counseling
College preparation begins in earnest in junior year, affording students and families expert counseling during the process. Nightingale’s internship program also offers Upper School students pre-college experience, placing them in organizations, businesses, and labs throughout the city.