Explore Grades 9-12

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The Facts


Your Upper School Experience

What is my schedule like?


Landon School has an eight-day class cycle, so your schedule changes from day to day. That means you will take subjects at different times each day to experience every class when you are feeling your best. You will also never have more than two classes in a row without a break.

The day starts with community time at 8:05 a.m., which can be a meeting with your advisor, an all-school assembly, or study hall. Our “unbreakable break” after the first two classes is a prime opportunity for you to meet with teachers for extra help, collaborate with classmates on a project, grab a snack, or spend time with friends. Landon’s long lunch period (12:25–1:35 p.m. each day) gives you ample time to have a bite to eat and work on a community service project, attend singing rehearsals for an upcoming performance, hit a deadline for the Brown & White yearbook, or meet with the Engineering, Philosophy or Improv Club.

Athletics begin at 3:30 p.m. every day and are required for every Landon student. Take a look at our sample schedule here.

What can I expect from academics in the Upper School?


You will take required classes in the traditional subjects: English, history, math, science and world languages (choose from French, Latin, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish). We have a wide range of electives that include architecture, constitutional law, forensic science, meteorology oceanography, and photojournalism. Multivariable calculus is offered as part of a joint program with Holton-Arms School.

We also offer 17 Advanced Placement (AP) courses and 15 honors courses, and our signature Humanities course, required for every Grade 11 student, is similar to a college seminar. The class, taught in pairs by members of our English and history departments, considers the great intellectual achievements of world civilization and is known for its inspired debates among students and faculty.

Many of our teacher-coach-mentors also have an opportunity to travel abroad in order to share real-world experiences with their students. For instance, Upper School biology teacher Ray Wright traveled to Palau to conduct his own research on marine life in the country's aquatic reefs (watch the video below).

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Each Bear caps off his time at Landon with a required Independent Senior Project, which sees him choose and design a unique endeavor — such as starting his own small business, building a computer from scratch, engineering a working go-kart, or learning what it takes to be a meteorologist with an internship at WUSA-9. Click here to see Landon’s full curriculum guide.

What if I need extra help with academics?

We understand every boy learns differently. If you need extra help, a learning specialist from our Center for Teaching and Learning Resources will work with you to develop a plan tailored to help you achieve your goals, complete your work on time, and develop confidence in your learning style.

What art and music options do I have at Landon?

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The Upper School offers 22 courses in music, theater and the studio arts. You are required to take two years of classes in the arts, but are encouraged to take more if you so choose. You may join one of our performance groups — with options including the Chamber Singers, Jazz Band, Strings Ensemble and Handbells — and receive instruction from the 30 musicians who make up our full-time and adjunct music faculty.


Visual arts classes consist of drawing (a requirement), painting and sculpture to photojournalism, ceramics and media arts. If you are interested in theater, you can take our theatrical arts class; act in or join the set crew of our two annual joint productions with sister school Holton-Arms; participate in the Improv Club; and write and direct your own short play as part of our annual Director’s Workshop.


What sports does Landon offer?


Sports begin at 3:30 p.m. every day and are required for every Landon student. We offer 23 athletics options in the Upper School: 20 interscholastic sports (some of which have varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams), winter intramurals, and midday fitness and after-school strength and conditioning classes that teach the keys to physical fitness. Here are your choices by season:

Fall

  • Interscholastic: Cross country, football, soccer, water polo
  • Strength and conditioning, midday fitness

Winter

  • Interscholastic: Basketball, ice hockey, indoor track and field, riflery, squash, swimming and diving, wrestling
  • Intramurals
  • Strength and conditioning, midday fitness

Spring

  • Interscholastic: Baseball, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rugby, sailing, tennis, outdoor track and field, Ultimate Frisbee
  • Strength and conditioning, midday fitness

Do I have to play sports all three seasons?

Landon School varsity ice hockey

Yes. Athletics at Landon are “co-curricular,” which means that every student across the entire school is required to participate in a sport (varsity, club or intramural) each season. We offer 23 athletics options in the Upper School, including 20 interscholastic sports. In the winter, we offer an intramurals (field/gym games) option that stresses exercise and friendly competition. And in fall, winter and spring, you may choose to take midday fitness or after-school strength and conditioning classes that teach the keys to physical fitness. All freshmen are required to play an interscholastic sport for the fall season, but may participate in intramurals, midday fitness, or strength and conditioning at any time in their Upper School career after that.

Is community service required?

Landon Upper School community service

Community service is voluntary at Landon, but we offer a wealth of options to serve others, and we encourage participation so that you can put the lessons you learn about character to use in the world beyond campus. Our dean of students and Community Service Club organize a robust schedule of volunteer opportunities and host an annual community service fair to provide you with numerous options to serve.

Each year, students visit the Special Education Center at River Terrace to work with special needs students, collect winter coats to distribute to wounded Armed Forces veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, collect food to distribute to in-need families, raise money for cancer research by leading the charge in a “Be Brave and Shave” campaign where they shear off their hair to benefit Children’s National Medical Center, and so much more.

Are there field trips?

Upper School field trips

You will visit to national museums, art galleries and historic sites conveniently located in nearby Washington, D.C. For example, you may visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History with your chemistry class to take in exhibits about minerals and gems, then cross the National Mall in the same day to enjoy the planetarium show at the Air and Space Museum. A trip to the National Gallery of Art with your painting or sculpture class lets you experience firsthand works by such legends as Vincent Van Goh, Johannes Vermeer and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. If acting or music is your passion, you may attend plays and concerts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Other trips are service oriented: They include visits to the Special Education Center at River Terrace to work with special needs students or Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to deliver winter coats collected for wounded veterans.

Are there opportunities for study abroad?

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Each summer, Landon teacher-coach-mentors lead trips to Spain and China, where you and your peers from other area schools can immerse yourselves in the culture and language of a foreign country. Upper schoolers also have the opportunity to spend six weeks studying at Knox Grammar School in Sydney, Australia. And Landon welcomes exchange students from Knox and China during the year to promote a culture exchange in our own classrooms.

Who can I ask if I have questions?


The same men and women who teach you in the classroom also coach you in sports, advise you on the Student Council and yearbook, and direct you in the latest Landon-Holton musical — so they know you well and are always willing to field questions and, when you need it, offer advice.

In addition to your teachers, you have a faculty advisor, an academic dean and a guidance counselor to talk to. You will meet with your advisor several times during an eight-day cycle — both one on one and in groups with other students — to discuss what is happening at school, in your life, or in the world. Your advisor stays with you throughout your time in the Upper School, so you have someone to advocate for you who knows you well.

How will I make friends?

Our orientation program helps new students make friends and become acquainted with the school before the academic year even begins. We also require Grade 9 students (Form III) to play on an interscholastic team in the fall, and those practices begin before school starts. With small class sizes (the average is 13 boys), you will get to know your classmates well once school does begin. And with sports, music groups, lunch and clubs, there are plenty of other ways to meet new people and connect.

How does Landon prepare me for the college application process?


At Landon, the college search is guided by fit rather than by college rankings, so it’s no surprise that two-thirds of students from the Class of 2017 who filed early college applications were admitted. Our 30-to-1 student-to-counselor ratio is far lower than most private and public schools, so our boys receive plenty of personal attention and guidance as they weigh this important decision. Under the guidance of Co-Directors of College Counseling Andy Luther and Deborah Basket (previously a high-level admissions director at the College of William & Mary), our college counselors begin the process in Grade 9 (Form III) to advise you on course selection. By Grade 11, you are matched with a counselor who works with you and your family one on one.

EMBRACE INDEPENDENCE

Each spring, Landon seniors take their education into their own hands with an Independent Senior Project. For the past 20+ years, the required program has given seniors the opportunity to conceive of and execute a unique project with the guidance of two faculty advisors. Some seniors climb mountains in Alaska to reap survival skills. Others build Habitat for Humanity homes to learn the value of service to others. Still others gain business acumen by opening up an on-campus coffee shop or hone their engineering talents by constructing a go-kart from scratch.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

At Landon, finding the right college is about finding the right fit. Under the guidance of Director of College Counseling David Toomer, previously a high-level admissions director at the University of Pennsylvania, our full-time staff of three professional college counselors and one assistant help each boy find that fit by matching his strengths and preferences with the many colleges that compete for his acceptance. Our 30:1 student-to-college-counselor ratio is far lower than most private and public schools, and our college counseling staff begins working with students during their freshman year to help them map out a strategic plan for academic courses and extracurricular activities.

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