Upper School Grades 9-12
Offering a rigorous college preparatory program
Doane Academy has academics which challenge students to cultivate deeply resonant personal truths and develop empathetic perspectives that allow them to fully engage with the world around them.
Designed to foster increasingly high levels of autonomy at each grade level, our curriculum allows students to acquire the foundational academic knowledge required for their future studies while also keeping them focused on a critical truth: knowledge acquires its full potency and meaning only when used in the service of improving one’s self and one’s world. Building and sustaining strong relationships is at the heart of Doane’s culture and is a critical and ever-present part of our classroom environments. Teachers know, love, and encourage each of their students on a daily basis and in doing so, guide them to discover and articulate the ideas and learning approaches that inspire them.
Our faculty’s shared focus on our mission and our students’ growth is manifested in every element of our program. Our interdisciplinary S.T.E.A.M. program emboldens students to design a project which inspires them and will allow them to impress the dozens of judges who come to campus to evaluate their final presentations. Our English program requires students to take not one but two courses during 9th grade, one of which focuses exclusively on developing the writing skills one must have to communicate who they are and what they believe. Our unique partnership with Studio Incamminati, one of the nation’s foremost schools of art, teaches our students how to see the world in higher definition as they learn the techniques and principles of humanist realism. And through seminar-style conversations, our Lead Onward Program classes challenge students to have honest and open conversations about the issues which too often divide us. These offerings and many more guide students to reach their full potential by helping them know themselves and impact their world.
Upper School English students learn to be strong communicators and deep thinkers, with a particular focus on the development of writing skills and the cultivation of expansive empathy. Through the study of important works of literature, students explore the differences between people across the boundaries of time, place, and culture while also searching for the shared aspects of the human experience that bind us together.
Doane Academy’s English department stands apart in the extent to which it emphasizes the development of writing skills. Students must complete five English courses in order to graduate, as our ninth grade curriculum includes two courses, one of which focuses exclusively on research and composition skills. In every English course, students write multi-draft essays each trimester and participate consistently in writing workshops throughout the year. Through critiquing their own and others’ writing, students learn the art of substantive revision, addressing issues of structure, content, style, and grammar across a range of assignments. Our small class sizes allow teachers to provide the kind of personalized and detailed feedback required for writers to reach their full potential, and our commitment to seminar style discussion helps every student make their voice heard. We celebrate this commitment through our yearly Poetry Out Loud competition, which allows us to see the growth of our students’ oral communication skills.
Doane’s English curriculum encourages students to grapple with issues of character and essential questions about the human experience. Ultimately, when students look back on their English studies, they will remember an experience in which they confronted life’s most difficult questions and gained the confidence to answer them.
The history department seeks to empower students with the knowledge that individuals can affect, alter, and shape the world around them if they understand what the past can teach us about the nature of change. The curriculum helps students acquire information about the major figures, movements, ideas, events, and beliefs that have defined the human narrative and then challenges them to make connections between these pieces of raw data with the goal of discovering critical historical lessons and enduring sociological insights. This process requires students to develop strong note-taking skills and train their memories to retain essential details, and it culminates with written assignments that require thorough analysis and independent thinking. Students’ studies begin with the dawn of recorded history and continue through the modern day, with several electives that allow them to consider the nuances and complexities of modern relationships between peoples and individuals. Topics studied include economics, geography, government, history, psychology, sociology, and religion. Students in grades 6-10 take a series of required history courses before having the opportunity to enroll in a range of electives in grades 11 and 12. As an Episcopal school, Doane Academy encourage students to view religious faith as both a personal journey and a driving force of historical events. Consequently, 10th grade students take a required World Religions course alongside their US History course.
Doane Academy’s Science department seeks to engage students in the practice of doing science as a means of engaging scientific theory. Our inquiry-based approach to curriculum design challenges students to explore concepts through experimental design, projects, tinkering, data modelling, and more. We firmly believe that students learn best by “doing.” As such, we emphasize hands-on, real-world experiences that encourage students to understand the nature of scientific inquiry and how it applies to their daily lives.
During their science careers at Doane, students will design digital roller coasters, build Rube Goldberg Machines, create artistic representations of genetic mutations, and explore the science behind alchemy. They may also find themselves analyzing the projectile motion of pumpkins launched across the Delaware River, generating fire effects for the school play, or pantomiming the evolution of a species for the “Odyssey of the Mind” team.
Between a robust selection of electives and a core laboratory science curriculum, students graduating from Doane Academy will have learned that true scientific inquiry is not about having the right answers, but instead about asking challenging questions which propel them toward new understandings of the world around them.
For many students, finding the value of ‘x’ is their primary goal. At Doane Academy, the Mathematics department is dedicated to the advancement of the mathematical reasoning skills critical for fostering quantitative and deductive thinking abilities in our students. We strive not just for competency with concepts necessary for effective citizenship, but also for recognition that mathematics is a vibrant field of study that can serve as a powerful and exciting tool in this ever-evolving world. We seek to develop students who want to collaborate and who are unafraid to take intellectual risks while developing their problem solving skills.
We utilize the “flipped” classroom model for the core, foundational courses of Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Grounded in research about how students learn best, this model allows students to absorb lectures and see example problems solved at home on video and complete the bulk of their “homework” problems in class. This problem-based learning approach affords our students with tremendous opportunities to tackle multidimensional problems with the help of their peers and their instructor, thereby allowing them to constantly expand their abilities while also receiving the kind of support needed to sustain their confidence levels. Those students looking for even greater challenges may take our advanced level Calculus courses, and the S.T.E.A.M. Fair and Mathematics Club offer them additional opportunities for exploration and growth. Students graduating from Doane Academy leave with a deeper understanding of the nature of mathematics and are capable of constructing complex, logical arguments making use of mathematical modelling and quantitative data.
Doane Academy’s S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program is dedicated to developing a community of young tinkerers ready to tackle 21st century problems with their creativity, individuality, and unique passions. Our interdisciplinary S.T.E.A.M. courses seek to accomplish this by providing students with open-ended, collaborative class structures which encourage them to pull content knowledge from a wide variety of other subjects in pursuit of problem solutions that they can truly call their own.
At Doane, we insist on including the liberal arts - History, Band, Theater, Poetry, and so on - in our S.T.E.A.M. education efforts because they drive the creative and entrepreneurial spirit that can lead our young men and women to new discoveries. As such, our S.T.E.A.M. curriculum is as much about learning the engineering design process as it is about providing our students with the opportunity to test their own ideas, make mistakes, refine designs, and eventually create a final product.
Students enrolled in S.T.E.A.M. courses are challenged to be active participants in our annual events - including Punkin Chunkin, Green Week, the Recycled Boat Race, and the S.T.E.A.M. Fair - and to help guide the activities of our extracurriculars. By the time they graduate from Doane Academy, students who have capitalized on the opportunities that the S.T.E.A.M. program presents will find themselves unafraid to generate big ideas and equipped to bring them to fruition.
Physical Education is required in grades 6-8. The focus of the Physical Education program at these grade levels is to provide an opportunity for students to participate in a wide variety of physical activities and experiences that help them build a framework for lifetime activities and healthy living. These years are a time of transition which may bring about an upheaval in the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual aspects of a young person’s life. To successfully bridge this transition, students will explore and apply information that empowers them to assume responsibility for their own lifetime health, wellness, and fitness.
In order to fulfill the Physical Education graduation requirement in grades 9-12, students must participate in at least one season of a school sport per school year.
Physical Education is only one part of Doane’s commitment to students’ health and wellness.
The Classical and World Language Department: Inspiring Global Awareness and Cross-Cultural Understanding
The goal of our language program is for students to achieve proficiency in either Latin or Spanish and to instill cultural understanding and linguistic curiosity that will benefit them academically and personally. We function with the belief that all students can be successful scholars of linguistics and culture. Language learners at Doane Academy develop an acute global awareness by comparing, analyzing, and examining other cultures through the lens of a different language. To that end, our language students are able to recognize what is common to all human experience and to embrace that which is different. We support Doane Academy’s mission to create strong, ethical leaders by providing the skills necessary to participate in the international community with a well-developed sense of empathy, refined communication skills, and confident globally-minded leadership.
Presented in a dynamic, interactive manner, the courses in our program introduce and reinforce vocabulary and structures for meaningful communication within various cultural contexts. Focused on the study of art, music, literature, history, customs, architecture, and cultural norms of Spanish speaking and ancient Roman civilizations, engaging lessons also work to complement other content areas, such as English and History, providing students with a deeper global and multicultural understanding of the world. In both classical and modern language classes, students develop written and spoken communication skills while improving their listening and reading comprehension abilities. Doane Academy supports language instruction and cultural immersion outside of the classroom by sponsoring field trips, summer camps, and international travel.
The Classical and World Language Department strives to develop well-rounded learners of linguistics and culture. Throughout the program, students are exposed to oral and written language in context and through extensive use of technology and authentic materials. Classes include hands-on activities such as interactive writing prompts, group and individual oral presentations, and inquiry-based research.
Both in and out of the classroom, a Doane education guides students to define the most positive version of themselves and challenges them to cultivate the integrity needed to stay true to this ideal form.
Faculty members are dedicated to providing the love and support that can both inspire young people to seek their best selves and give them the strength to be resilient in the face of challenges and disappointments. Through the many curricular and extra-curricular opportunities afforded to them, students at Doane test and ultimately redefine their limits as individuals. As they come to fully appreciate and value themselves, they gain the ability to expand the circumference of their empathy to include the entire community and inspire its members. This inspiration can take many forms and be accomplished through many methods, and students will come to see the unique ways in which they can become leaders as they grow older and stronger. Be it as an athlete in competition, a student in the classroom, a member of the Student Government, or a performer in the Arts, each Doane student finds their leadership opportunity and is encouraged to seize it.
Doane’s School Family program, which connects students to each other across all grade levels, is a particularly innovative way of encouraging young people to develop empathy and a sense of community. Moreover, required Lean Onward courses help students recognize their academic studies as part of fulfilling the larger goal of building character.