Upper School (Grades 9-12)

The energy of our students is one of the most visible qualities of York Country Day’s Upper School. This extraordinary energy is found in our classrooms, where vigorous learning and a vibrant exchange of ideas takes place. It overflows into our courtyards, labs, and workshops and animates the students in the hallways, the lounges, and the playing fields. Created both within and beyond the school, this energy, harnessed within our close-knit community, makes a difference in our students’ lives. The School encourages and scaffolds this energy by providing both an academic and cocurricular program rich with opportunities and challenges and a faculty that creates a stimulating classroom environment.

Success as a Country Day student involves making choices about one’s interests, strengths, challenges, and personal integrity. Our students develop a robust background in liberal arts disciplines through required and elective courses, independent study opportunities, and clubs. They make selections every day about which activities to pursue, how to demonstrate their talent in courses in which they excel and how to improve in subjects that they find more challenging; they take classes at York College of Pennsylvania to fortify their Country Day education. Our advisory program provides students with the academic and socio-emotional support they need, as they navigate their journey through the upper school.

List of 10 items.

  • Advisory

    Our advisory program is a deliberate and meaningful partnership between students, parents, and their faculty advisor. Advisors serve as academic coaches, mentors, and are advocates for each student in his/her advisory. Advisors support students' academic, social, and emotional growth through role modeling, discussion, education, and organizational management strategies.
  • Athletics

    Upper School students must participate in at least one season of sports each year, during their 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years. Each season of sports participation applies to the cocurricular activity requirements, which also includes service learning and senior projects.
  • Clubs and Organizations

    There are a number of student organizations that students lead each year. These student groups meet during designated times in the school day. The leadership of these groups requires dedication and time. Each year the list of student organizations responds to the interests of the student body. Students may form new organizations with the help of a faculty advisor and other students. Traditionally, the following publications, organizations, and competitive teams are offered: Yearbook, Student Council, Robotics, and Model United Nations.
  • College Classes at York College of Pennsylvania

    Upper School students have the opportunity to take college courses at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) as part of their YCDS enrollment. YCDS juniors and qualified sophomores are offered introductory level courses in a wide range of areas. Both juniors and seniors have the opportunity to pursue higher-level courses if they complete pre-requisites in their freshmen and sophomore years. The course offerings are diverse and robust, and our direct relationship with the college insures that our students comfortably get accustomed to the challenge of college academics before heading off to their chosen post-secondary institution after graduation.

    YCP courses recently taken by YCDS students include
    : Calculus 1, College Algebra, Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving, Cultural Anthropology, Entrepreneurship, General Chemistry, General Psychology, Human Communication, Intro to Art Appreciation, Intro to Business, Intro to Philosophy, Intro to Sociology, Intro to Religion, Perspectives-Literature, Photography, Principles of Athletic Coaching, Principles of Marketing, Race-Gender-Sexuality, Russian 1, World Religions.
  • Digital Media

    Students in the Upper School have the opportunity to engage in a variety of elective courses in the world of digital media. Class offerings include Vidcast, Sound Design, Photography, and Digital Design. Many projects are related to other areas of the school both curricularly and co-curricularly.  Through empathetic ideation and the design thinking process, students create projects for clients both internally and externally. Submissions include posters for school events, soundscapes and effects for performing arts productions, as well as digital media products for the greater York community.
  • Electives

    Through a rich offering of elective courses, students can choose classes that fuel their personal passions and interests. Elective offerings are fully described in each year's course catalog; some elective courses are: Robotics and Engineering, Studio Art, Acting Studio, Guitar, Advanced Art, Chorus, and Ensemble.
  • Graduation Requirements

    In order to graduate from York Country Day School, a student must accomplish the following:

    Complete a minimum of 20 credits in grades 9-12, with a minimal course load each semester of 5 courses totaling a minimum of 5 credits per year.

    Satisfy the Upper School distribution requirements for the core academic and magnet programs, as follows:
    • 4.0 credits of English
    • 3.0 credits of Mathematics
    • 3.0 credits of History
    • 3.0 credits of Science
    • Three consecutive years of Modern Language, French or Spanish (2.0 credits of which must be taken in grades 9-12)
    • 2.0 credits of Fine or Performing Arts
    • Four semester-length courses at York College of Pennsylvania or YCDS elective courses
  • Peer Mediation

    Peer mediation allows trained student mediators to help peers work together to resolve conflict and come up with a mutually satisfying resolution. Through a generous gift from Suzanna Anstine Norbeck ‘57, YCDS was able to bring in Richard Cohen, of School Mediation Associates, Watertown, Mass., to train nine students, grades 9-12, to be our first class of peer mediators.

    These students participated in thorough and intensive training that included active listening, removing personal bias, eliciting open and healthy communication, honoring confidentiality, helping peers move from competitive conflict resolution to collaborative conflict resolution, and role playing.

    The mediators will lead students who come to mediation to navigate the twist and turns of relationships with classmates, gain empathy and understanding, and come up with a win-win resolution. The mediators do not offer advice or make judgements, but rather, they guide the parties to greater understanding and empathy. The mediators will help students understand what is at the heart of the conflict; therefore, the overwhelming majority of conflicts result in a lasting resolution.

    For more information on the YCDS Peer Mediation program, please contact Molly Wertz.
  • Robotics and Engineering

    Upper School students build upon the scaffolding of problem solving developed in earlier grades by tackling real world problems with engineered robotic applications and solutions in elective courses. Teams participate in FIRST Robotics First Tech Challenge, where our school has advanced to the World Championships multiple times. Students are encouraged to, and frequently do, apply concepts of the engineering process to other curricular disciplines.
  • World Language

    Our Upper School world language program offers both French and Spanish. Students can continue their language choice from Middle School at an advanced level or switch to the beginning level of a new language. The upper level courses are a more in depth study of language and grammar. Students continue to practice reading, writing, and speaking the language of their choice, while exploring history, literature, culture, and geography.
    • Dr. John D'Adamo

      Head of Middle & Upper School and Assistant Head of School

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