Upper SchoolGrades 9–12
Advanced courses with expert teachers, engaging electives in a variety of fields, a four-year student research program, and the opportunity to curate a professional portfolio–these are the cornerstones of Grayson’s Upper School experience. We challenge students to tackle real problems, take risks, and persevere in the face of failure. Immersed in a rigorous yet supportive environment, Grayson students benefit from a close-knit community that loves to innovate and push academic limits.
Real World Products
As the Upper School expression of our Projects program, Open Studio gives gifted high school students extended blocks of time every day to puzzle through a question or problem they care about and fall deeply into their ideas. Working with faculty mentors, students create a vision and develop it into a real-world product for an authentic audience. Every Upper School student works with teachers who mentor them in independent projects of their own design, both through our Open Studio program and in other disciplines.
In leading the execution of their project, they must learn how to manage their time and resources, construct a budget, deal with setbacks, and incorporate feedback from peers and teachers. They exhibit their final products in professional-level presentations. Students develop into scholars, researchers, and creators: they conduct experiments, produce working prototypes, apply for patents, start businesses, create original media, and found legacy projects.
Open Studio sparks students’ creativity, pushes them to make connections across disciplines, teaches them how to respond to failure, and gives them the tools and confidence to aim ever higher in their vision of what they can do and become. Our graduates are experienced, independent learners who are prepared for advanced scholarship in post-secondary education and beyond.
Building a Greener Future: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Pennsylvania
A National History Day award-winning documentary produced by two students who are passionate about environmental protection and restoration. They uncovered primary sources, interviewed experts, and navigated the intricacies of film editing using professional software.
Introduction to Genetic Engineering Summer Camp
A student developed a complex and rich curriculum including biology, genetic engineering, lab techniques, and scientific ethics. She led this 2-week summer camp program for underserved gifted middle school students after securing grant funding for materials and scholarships.
Set design and construction for Seussical, Jr.
Sets for a full-scale musical theatre production involving the entire Lower School. After researching productions of this musical from all over the country, this student crafted whimsical Seussian sets that were easy for students to move and use: circus cages for Circus McGurkus; a spinnable nest for Gertrude McFuzz; and, of course, a field of truffula trees.
Our extracurricular offerings are diverse, ranging from the traditional to the truly specialized. At any given time, there are about 30 active organizations that provide leadership opportunities and foster a sense of community and friendship.
Beyond the Classroom
Grayson embraces the world as our classroom, incorporating regular field trips as opportunities for experiential learning—including trips to museums, cultural centers, and research laboratories.
Upper School students have the opportunity to travel to MIT programs and participate in excursions to New York or Philadelphia that relate to their studies. Through our annual international trip, they gain a better understanding of themselves, different cultures, and their communities.
Grayson’s clubs change yearly because they are organized and led by students for students to reflect their interests and passions. Recent examples: Gryphons & Gryphlings (G2) mentorship program; Rainbow Club, for LGBTQ+ advocacy and allyship; and Venturing Club, for outdoor enthusiasts.
Examples include Grayson Gearbook Yearbook Committee; Community Service Committee; Grayson Astronomical Society; the Grayson Globe student newspaper; and Student Council.
Students plan and participate in a variety of social activities including Prom, Fall bonfire, alumni events, Junior/Senior dinner, and Senior Fun Day.
Our Upper School program has a later start, but for those students who do arrive early, there are writing labs, academic workshops, musical ensembles, Mastery Transcript office hours, college planning, yoga and meditation, and more.
Students may participate in VEX Robotics, Esports, Model UN, and World Language and Mathematics Competitions.
Our growing high school program includes ultimate frisbee, soccer, archery, fencing, and cross country.
Visual and Performing Arts
Students take on every aspect of putting on a full-length musical, including costumes; light, sound, and set design; and assistant directing. They can also participate in Gryphonix, our a cappella singing ensemble; instrumental and choral ensembles; and advanced auditioned ensembles such as the Grayson Chamber Jazz and Chorale.
Students are encouraged to participate in school-sponsored service opportunities as well as out-of-school service projects.
Upper School Faculty Member
“Grayson is a unique intellectual playground that takes full advantage of passionate, creative teachers who love to be able to collaborate, imagine, and invent new curriculum alongside students who engage fully and throw themselves into their work.”
— Upper School faculty member