Upper School

Upper School Curriculum

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High School Academics


The Bible department stands at the heart of the educational mission of the Dunham School:  to educate the heart and the mind for Christ.  Over the course of 12 years at Dunham (grades 1-12), students will read nearly the entire the Bible.  Bible at Dunham is taught from a perspective of unity:  we emphasize what we share in Christ, and not what separates us.  We do not approach scripture from a denominational perspective, and we do not teach from a particular doctrine.    

Class discussion is the primary method of instruction in Bible classes.  This assures that all students’ voices are heard as students probe scripture.  


The Dunham English department has a tightly-woven curriculum that demands daily reading and frequent writing.  While students will read from the canon of Western classics (e.g. The Odyssey), they will also have significant exposure to non-Western literature and thought.  The 6 + 1 Traits of Writing program provides students with consistent vocabulary and expectations for their writing at Dunham.  Shurley grammar and Word Study courses provide a strong foundation for students’ progress.

Fine Arts

The Fine Arts department expects its graduates to be articulate in the ability to critique visual arts and live performance, and to have an appreciation of both musical genres and of live artistic productions.  Central to the department’s philosophy is the idea that students need meaningful practice and confidence in a particular art form, as well.

Foreign Language

The goal of Dunham’s foreign language program is to have its graduates attain proficiency in a particular language -- i.e., the ability to read, write, speak and hear the spoken language with confident understanding.  Students will move from basic vocabulary acquisition and grammar structure through a thorough and in-depth study of advanced grammar and, in modern languages, production of the language.  In French and Spanish, comprehension and interpretation of authentic reading and listening passages as well as written and oral expression will increasingly be emphasized throughout the course of study.  In Latin, the emphasis in level 3 and beyond will be advanced translation, grammar usage, and reading comprehension.  The department also wishes to cultivate in students an appreciation of a culture different from their own.


Dunham’s history department aims to produce graduates who see history as the story of God’s providence for us; who are able to write and speak about history eloquently and critically; and who are geographically literate.  We provide students opportunities to wear the mantle of the historian by allowing them regular opportunities to wrestle with original documents.  While students will receive a thorough grounding in Western civilization, they will also learn non-Western history in a curriculum that combines spiraling and sequence.  


Graduates of Dunham’s mathematics department will have had much meaningful practice in math (in which both process and answer are important) through hands-on activities and the latest technological methods – methods that will also be part of their college experience.  

Graduates will be numerically literate; will learn to think critically through problem solving; and will apply math to real-life situations.

Physical Education

The Physical Education program aims to produce graduates who see physical fitness and good health as life-long pursuits.  Students are exposed to a variety of opportunities to participate in Dunham’s successful athletic program and are taught sportsmanship, fair play and a Christian approach to competition.


In Dunham’s science program, our students have access to up-to-date scientific facilities and technology while learning to think scientifically.  Our approach is experiential:  students will learn scientific thinking by using the tools of science in the classroom every day.  Our graduates will leave Dunham prepared to succeed in college-level science classes and beyond.