Small class sizes and access to resources enable Upper School students to take learning to the next level. Students utilize iPads, Google Docs and our leading-edge Healey Center to work collaboratively and experiment with concepts.

The Upper School Curriculum

Through their service to the school and the surrounding communities, and by sharing their own experiences, the Upper School students learn to lead. A rigorous curriculum focuses on study skills and develops students into capable independent learners and thinkers. Skills such as self-advocating, prioritizing, risk-taking, creative thinking and public speaking are emphasized to provide students with the tools they need to be successful after they graduate Derby.

The Upper School Program

List of 2 items.

  • Academic Curriculum >>

    Our Upper School program is designed to intellectually challenge students and help them develop into strong independent learners – students who think critically, who possess excellent study and organizational skills, and who are confident self-advocates in the classroom. By offering a rigorous, departmentalized academic program, combined with required participation in athletics and the arts, students develop a love of learning, an appreciation of different cultures and a confidence in collaborative problem solving, all essential skills that they will need to succeed in secondary school and beyond. Active involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular programs is encouraged in areas such as public speaking, publications, student council and community service. This enables each student to build a sense of his or her own individual potential for leadership and accomplishment.
  • Social Curriculum >>

    We are committed to actively guiding and supporting the social and emotional needs of our students in Grades 4-8. In a general sense, we accomplish this by providing on a daily basis age-appropriate structure, clear behavioral expectations and personal guidance in a safe learning environment. Further, we actively maintain connections between our Lower School and the older grades by incorporating the tenets of the Responsive classroom and by having Middle Schoolers serve as “big buddies” for our youngest students in our monthly PALS program.

    Our social curriculum consists of a number of highly effective programs: weekly advisor-advisee sessions (with a student : teacher ratio of about 6:1); weekly grade-level class meetings; tri-weekly morning meetings for Grades 4-8; and an annual outdoor education activity for each grade that culminates in a three-day, two-night trip at a New Hampshire wilderness center for the eighth graders. Additionally, sixth graders take part in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program which teaches students “how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.” Several times throughout the year seventh and eighth graders meet in small groups with a consultant from Wellness Collaborative. At these meetings, students learn strategies for dealing with peer pressure, stress and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

    We also offer service experiences for students so they may develop a stronger of social responsibility. Examples include monthly trips to the Father Bill’s Shelter for the Homeless (Quincy) and the Cradles to Crayons program (Boston). Participation in student-intiated fundraising projects through our two students councils or World Awareness Club provides additional opportunities for Middle and Upper Schoolers to be connected to the greater community outside of their school.

    Through all activities mentioned above, we believe our students successfully learn to negotiate relationships, to manage peer pressure, to solve problems in teams, to grapple with ethical issues, and to understand their emerging responsibilities to themselves and to the world they inhabit.

View our Curriculum

Upper School Highlights

  • Math Connects (Grade 6)
  • Grade 6 World Percussion, Dance, and Digital Music
  • 1:1 MacBook program in Grade 6 and 7
  • Pre-Algebra (7) and Algebra (8)
  • World History: 
    • Rights and Roots (7)
    • Becoming a Global Citizen (8)
  • High School Level 1 Spanish, French or Latin
  • 1:1 iPad program (8)
  • Earth and Physical Sciences
  • Public Speaking
  • Interscholastic Sports
  • Technology integrated into courses of study
  • App²
  • Arts electives
  • Student recital series
  • Student Council
  • Advisory Program
  • Winter Musical
  • Student-led service learning projects
  • Engineering design and robotics
  • Chorus, strings and band
  • Clubs
Each year we expect to have a limited number of openings in Grade Seven. 

Some years, we also have a few openings in Grade Eight. Each section is limited to 16 students.

If you are interested in openings in our Upper School, please contact the Admission Office.


The best educational choice on the South Shore for Pre-K through Grade 8 education.