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The transition to ninth grade includes welcoming new students into the grade, as class size expands from approximately 90 to about 125. Ninth graders are now officially high schoolers and their grades are recorded on their high school transcript. With this expansion of their world comes new opportunities, including the ability to select courses—in studio art, theater, music and technology—a taste of the elective course system to come in the eleventh and twelfth grades. Prep School courses are more sophisticated and have more required independent work, but for these new high schoolers, the responsibilities of ninth grade help them cultivate resilience and self-confidence. At the same time, the School builds a framework of support and attention around students through access to teachers, their Dean and school counselors. Changes in the ninth grade include the freedom to go out in the neighborhood for lunch twice a week in the first semester and three times in the second semester, a “finals” experience with exams in the gyms at the end of the school year and a comprehensive rotation that includes Art 9, Music 9, Theater 9, Computer Science & Robotics and Social Issues courses.
Greater independence and confidence are the hallmarks of tenth grade at CGPS. Students have access to more electives, with room for two elective choices in their schedule. The confidence that has grown from the eighth and ninth grades is well-utilized as the rigor in tenth grade increases. It’s a challenging year in which students take required courses in English, history, math, science and world language which prepare them well for the increased autonomy of junior and senior years. They are expertly guided by our engaged faculty, in particular their Deans with whom they meet each semester to discuss their academic programming. Tenth graders are also incredibly active in clubs, arts and sports, and begin developing into future student leaders. They also now have the privilege to go out of the Prep School building at any time during a free period.
Students in this pivotal academic year take more responsibility than ever for their academic schedule, with the freedom to choose almost all their courses (in consultation of their Dean and subject-level teachers). In the fall, eleventh graders kick off the college process with the Junior College Trip, a two-day visit to three colleges and universities. On this trip, students are paired with their college counselor for the first time, and begin meetings with them in January. Juniors are incredibly busy, taking on new leadership roles in classes, in clubs and on the playing field. This is the year they draw upon the self-reliance our program has cultivated to properly prioritize their time and fulfill their myriad responsibilities. In addition, AP level courses begin for those qualified and interested.
Senior year, the culmination of the high school program, is when our students are the most independent and flourish as fully accomplished learners. They embrace challenge, take intellectual risks, exhibit resilience and advocate for themselves. Their time at CPGS has encouraged them to explore possibilities and pursue excellence while cultivating their talents and passions. Throughout it all, they seek balance, as our students learn that academic success comes in harmony with personal well-being. Twelfth graders are prepared for their transition to college by assuming the role of leaders of the School through the Peer Leaders program and other leadership roles. These roles allow them to set an example of respect, kindness and inclusivity for all students in the community. Seniors also complete the 60 hours of community service required for graduation.