Upper School Signatures
Our Upper School signatures allow you to explore new ideas, delve deep into your interests, and immerse yourself in opportunities outside the classroom (heads up: that means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, taking risks, and getting a new perspective—AKA when the magic happens).
At CA, we don’t have AP classes. We have something better. Our advanced classes (ADV) offer all the academic rigor and expectations of a college course but give our faculty much needed flexibility in the curriculum.
We can offer deeper content, increase your freedom to follow curiosity where it leads, and broaden inquiry to areas of study not prescribed in the AP syllabus. Don’t worry, if you are in an ADV class that has a correlating AP test, you’ll be prepared to take the AP exam offered by the College Board (most CA students do, perform well, and are granted the college credit to prove it).
Clubs and Activities
At CA, our students take the lead in more than 50 clubs and activities, big and small. Nearly 25% of our Upper School students are involved in our Outdoor Club and our Speech and Debate teams–or both (no putting you in a social box at CA).
Our Speech and Debate program is among the most successful in the nation, our smaller physics team has won a national championship, and our robotics team has made it to Worlds.
Like math, chess, knitting, frisbee? Club, club, club, club. Something you like not on the list? Start your own club. CA is that kind of place.
Discovery Term offers an immersive opportunity to take the curriculum into your own hands to pursue personal learning interests that are typically outside of our regular courses. Maybe you’ll investigate how environmental themes are explored across a variety of artistic genres. Or tackle physics problems far beyond the classroom level. Or tour important Civil Rights sites across the South to get a deeper understanding of the Black Freedom Struggle. The Discovery Term course catalog is limited only by the bounds of your curiosity.
Any student can propose a potential Discovery Term course (although it is typically ninth and eleventh graders). You’ll identify a faculty sponsor that will serve as your mentor and work alongside them throughout the year to develop your course content and plan the experience (yep, you’re the leader, administrator, and co-teacher). Then, in late T3, you’ll help facilitate your two-week course for your peers. It’s an amazing opportunity to develop those leadership skills, explore an area of interest, and take your learning to the next level. And, you never know, you might just leave a lasting mark; new curricular units, courses, and clubs often grow from innovative Discovery Term offerings.
The real-world isn’t siloed into disciplines and your learning shouldn’t be either. Visual arts in the calculus classroom brings data visualizations to life, shedding light and meaning. Computer modeling in history class highlights a pattern that leads to a new hypothesis and deeper understanding. A nuanced understanding of how governmental policy is implemented adds a new dimension when considering issues of environmental sustainability. Across our curriculum, you’ll make connections, think critically beyond the confines of a single discipline, and develop a more complex and nuanced understanding of our world.
No GPA Ranking
We want you focused on getting the most out of your CA experience. Your eyes on your own learning journey, personal growth, interests, and future. That’s part of the reason we don’t calculate GPA. We strive for peer collaboration, not competition. And we want you to feel empowered to explore your curiosity, embrace challenge, and take smart risks—without worrying how that might affect your ranking.
Besides, GPA doesn’t really tell us anything meaningful about you. We’ve got far better methods of assessment that are tailored to give us—and you—a better sense of how you’re doing, your strengths and challenges.
Work Experience Program
You might work alongside a lobbyist while legislature is in session, work with polymers and nanoparticles in a research lab, partner with a sound engineer at a local television station, or get an inside look at video game production (former WEP students have).
Whatever your career aspiration, we’ll tap our far-reaching professional networks to help you secure a placement with a local company or organization aligned with your interests. You’ll get first-hand insight into the demands of a particular profession or industry, explore whether it might be the right fit for your future, and develop references and professional contacts to get you started on your path.
World Language Exchange
Get your passport ready. In tenth grade, you’ll put your world language skills to good use, spending 12-16 days living like a native of Argentina, China, France, or Germany. You’ll attend classes at a host school, live with a local family, and experience daily life in the host community. You’ll return the favor later in the year, as you and your family welcome a student from one of our international partner schools into your homes to complete the rewarding cultural exchange.