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Upper School Curriculum

  • Interdisciplinary Studies
The Mission-Driven Life
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

This course explores the contributing factors, competing theories and necessary interdependence of morality, happiness and productivity. It challenges students to reconsider, refine and recommit to personal values that matter. The ideas of Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Pauli Murray, Carol Gilligan and David Brooks will frame our study of morality. Research from positive psychology will inform our discussions of happiness. Ben Franklin, Carol Dweck, Adam Grant, Eduardo Briceño and Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) will help us identify new paths to productivity. At least 10 guest speakers — representing a range of professions and personalities — will share their experience and wisdom during the semester. Conversations, debates and classroom activities will be enriched by frequent, brief written personal reflections on the readings, TED Talks and guest speakers we encounter. Three major assignments will help build public speaking skills, strengthen our class community and expand perspectives on how to live a life of purpose. In the first assignment (“Genius Time”), each student researches, writes and delivers a speech on a topic of authentic personal interest. In the second, each student interviews and then describes the essence of a mission-driven role model. The third speech (and final exam for the course) is a Personal Mission Statement — describing the sources and reasons behind the values and virtues that matter most to each student.

  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12