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The upper school offers an immersive college-preparatory curriculum with a wide variety of core courses and electives in pursuit of unique and rigorous graduation requirements. As in the middle school, classes meet every other day in an 85-minute block schedule, mirroring the schedule our students will experience at most colleges and universities.
In upper school, MVS’ signature Immersion Term spans four weeks, providing students in grades 9-12 with extended opportunities to explore topics of interest outside the boundaries of the normal classroom. In addition to studying in multi-grade groups in Immersion courses such as “Designing for Social Action,” “Marine Ecology,” and “Outreach to Ghana,” upper school students also have the option of designing their own independent study during Immersion Term. As indicated by the example course offerings above, upper school Immersions often involve significant off-campus travel and real-world experiences.
Our upper school students are dynamic, creative, and diverse individuals who are engaged in and excited about their learning. Through the MVS Immersion Method, students have ownership over their studies, creating an even more authentic learning experience. Upper school electives are wide-ranging, providing students the opportunity to study programming, printmaking, and playwriting with equal zeal.
In the upper school, students’ natural curiosity and passion for learning is encouraged through a variety of opportunities for independent study, original research, and real-world fieldwork. All students complete the Aries Project, the school’s signature capstone, as one of their graduation requirements. This in-depth research project requires students to conduct original fieldwork in collaboration with an Outside Expert as well as completing an extensive literature review in pursuit of a final research paper and presentation at the Aries Colloquium. Students may also participate in The Learning Project, a semester-long independent study organized around a student-driven research question, or the MVS Student Assistant Teacher program, which allows older students to mentor younger students and be mentored themselves by faculty members as teaching assistants.
In keeping with the principles of the MVS Immersion Method, The Miami Valley School phased out Advanced Placement® courses beginning in 2017. Instead of subjecting students to a curriculum that privileges test prep over authentic education, MVS teachers create dynamic opportunities for real-world learning and academic achievement in a one-of-a-kind school environment. In the upper school, advanced and honors courses are designed to replicate the experience and small-group dynamic of a college-level seminar, favoring depth over breadth in course content.Upper School Course Catalog 2023-2024
The upper school English program promotes an understanding of and appreciation for humanity that transcends cultural boundaries. The literature-rich and writing intensive curriculum stimulates intellectual curiosity and a greater sense of self.
Students are encouraged to revise, to conference individually with faculty, to research authors and content, and to discover their own voice through analytical and creative assignments. Students exercise freedom of thought and expression as they explore diverse and universal human concerns and integrate ideas from literature with daily life. Students discover the pleasure and value of reading and writing as lifelong learning processes and participate in active and lively critical discussions of their own work as well as the work they read.
The Miami Valley School’s academic program is guided by the school’s signature pedagogy, the MVS Immersion Method. The Immersion Method is grounded in our shared belief that learning is rooted in direct experience, which leads to engagement and the discovery of passion by each individual student. At MVS, teachers serve as guides and collaborators rather than lecturers, and deep knowledge of concepts is privileged over rote memorization.
Everything we do at The Miami Valley School is carefully sculpted to create a community of student and adult learners who are supported in pursuit of their individual passions. Our faculty and staff collaborate with students to help them pursue the information they are curious about.Learn More
At The Miami Valley School, our unique blend of experiential education and challenging core academics makes our students ready for the challenges of college and beyond. Every one of our graduates is prepared for the rigors of a competitive four-year college. However, the MVS college process is not one-size-fits-all. Our Director of College Counseling works with every senior to find an institution that is the best place for them. At MVS, personalized attention in the college admissions process is integral to student success.College Counseling Homepage
The Aries Project is The Miami Valley School’s signature senior capstone research experience, which is completed by all members of the senior class. Students work with a faculty mentor and an Outside Expert to perform original research and fieldwork on a topic of their choice, then complete an extensive literature review and research paper on their topic while also showcasing their research at the annual Aries Colloquium. The Aries Project not only allows MVS students to deepen their expertise in their chosen field, but also instills the research skills and self-advocacy necessary for success in college and beyond. In this way, the Aries experience exemplifies the MVS Immersion Method of education.
MVS gave me the meaning of true friends and a supportive community to pursue my passion for music. Nurturing my passion at MVS helped me choose my college and shape my future.
Adele Taylor, Class of 2017
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