Welcome to the Upper School! Our academic year is organized on a trimester system including a 3 week mini-term (between Thanksgiving and winter break) with a special schedule of courses, electives, field trips, and guest speakers organized around a theme. A unique feature of our upper school is our tri-weekly grade reports. Every three weeks, teachers post letter and effort grades along with brief narrative comments on our parent portal. This allows parents to have an ongoing sense of the overall progress of their child. All upper school students travel to different classrooms for their instruction from teachers who specialize in subject areas.
The daily life of a Bement student is filled with rich, active and varied learning experiences. Each morning begins with an upper school community meeting. This meeting provides time for taking attendance, sharing important announcements, student-led reports on the previous days’ sports contests, and discussions on any issues that impact our upper school community. Our morning meeting is followed by an advisory period, two academic classes, a 20-minute recess, and then two more academic classes. Lunch is followed by an additional community meeting and the final class of the school day. Students generally have one study hall each day during which time all teachers are available for extra help.
In the course of a school day, student studies range from experiential learning activities i.e. designing a Rube Goldberg invention (Science 9) to project-based learning with the construction of solar cars (Science 6). In the same day, students might engage in an inquiry-based in-depth exploration of the Civil War (History 8), creating and rehearsing an original play ( Drama 6-9 ), discussing and dramatizing portions of the Odyssey ( English 9 ), learning about internet safety (Information Literacy 6), and learning how to graph equations (Algebra I ). Bement students benefit from the cultural diversity of our boarding community as they share classrooms with students from around the globe. In every class, athletic field, and corner of the school, our students and faculty embrace the values of acceptance, honesty, integrity, kindness, respect, and responsibility…which help us to maintain our strong sense of community. It takes a major effort to do this daily, but the rewards are many. Students and teachers working together help to make the daily journey much easier and more enriching!
Fridays are an exciting time in the upper school. Students start the morning attending special performances in all school meeting, followed by morning classes, and a band/chorus/strings rehearsal period. After lunch, on alternate Fridays, students participate in either the electives program or group activities with their advisors. The electives program allows students and faculty to collaborate on rich learning experiences not covered in the regular curriculum. Recent offerings have included stop motion video production, cycling, jazz band, and dance.