Upper School
Signature Experiences

A high school experience like no other

There are so many things that make the PCDS Upper School unique, impactful, and unforgettable. Our students' rate their relationships with their amazing faculty atop the list of most important PCDS experiences, along with their academic growth and peer relationships.

Here is just a sampling of some of the many experiences that make the PCDS Upper School special:

Independent Studies

Upper School students have the unique opportunity to dive deeply into an academic topic of their choice, guided by an expert faculty mentor. Recent Independent Studies have included interdisciplinary work in Animation, researching a biochemical analysis of oxytocin, economics of e-commerce, and analogue audio effects.

Senior Speeches

Every year, each senior delivers a 7-10 minute speech to the entire Upper School students and faculty body on a topic of his or her choice. Whether tackling a prescient political issue, sharing personal heartache, or laughing about the foibles of human relationships, these speeches offer both insight to the student speaker and the challenges facing the world today.

In-Depth Research

Whether connecting novels to historical issues, or working with complex biochemical reactions in the Shin Center, Upper School coursework often bridges the gap between theoretical and practical application of ideas. Students and faculty go beyond a depth of understanding, and encourage students to be active participants in the application of their learning.

Humans of PCDS

Each year, students and faculty join together for a day of non-academic activities centered around diversity, inclusivity, and social issues pertinent for our community. This student-led initiative has included guest speakers and student- and faculty-led discussion panels on topics such as gun violence, gender identity, political climate, and more. The day is capped by a favorite PCDS tradition-- the International Food Festival, which features food, music, and dance reflecting the array of cultures and backgrounds in the PCDS community.