This blog post is written by Upper School Counselor Richard Curtis, who recently led a free, six-week class on parenting for members of our community. Curtis explains why “Active Parenting of Teens” was an opportunity for parents to learn from and share with each other what works for them and what doesn’t during the teenage years.
In Landon’s Upper School, Forms III through VI (or Grades 9–12), we seek to challenge you academically, open your eyes to the breadth of possibilities in your future beyond Landon, and teach you the skills you will need to succeed in that future. We prepare you to excel in college, but we also encourage you to develop artistically, athletically and ethically so that you may lead a full, successful life as an accomplished, responsible and caring man. You are guided in these endeavors by your outstanding teacher-coach-mentors and, in particular, by one faculty advisor who is assigned to you for the duration of your Upper School experience and is always available to listen, offer counsel, or talk about your passions.
Small classes (the average size is 13) encourage you to participate, think, write, discuss and debate. Our four language options (Spanish, Latin, French and Mandarin Chinese) and 32 accelerated and honors courses provide you with academic outlets for all of your interests and passions. Click here to see our full curriculum guide.
Our science program, for example, is implementing student-directed learning. Juniors take a signature class in the Humanities, a team-taught, interdisciplinary course designed to teach you how to think independently as you explore the foundations of Western intellectual and artistic culture. The class is so beloved by students that we now offer it to parents.
You’ll also reap the benefits of outside-the-box learning. For instance, the annual Chinese Scholastic Exchange Program promotes an invaluable cultural exchange when high school students from China travel to the area to live with Landon families and attend classes with you. Or, you can practice your Spanish at Monday Mesa, a weekly informal conversation with classmates and teachers over lunch.
The Upper School follows a rotating, eight-day block schedule with no more than two classes in a row. We find that this structure benefits both students and teachers because it recognizes that some boys learn better at certain times of the day, so they have the opportunity to experience each class at their peak time. Our “unbreakable break” after the first two classes is a prime opportunity 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 Landon News, the Brown & White yearbook or the Prometheus Unbound literary magazine (see examples of creative work from Landon Bears below in our Virtute magazine); or meet with the Engineering, Philosophy or Improv Club.
At Landon, finding the right college is about finding the right fit. 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 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.
Because our 30-to-1 student-to-college-counselor ratio is far lower than most private and public schools, students receive personal attention and guidance as they weigh this important decision.
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. This process intensifies during junior year, when families work closely with their individual counselor. By the time boys are seniors, they are well prepared to find that right fit.
Each summer, Landon teacher-coach-mentors lead trips to Spain and China, where you and your peers from other area schools stay with local families and immerse yourselves in the culture and language of a foreign country. You also have the opportunity to spend six weeks studying at Knox Grammar School in Sydney, Australia. In addition, Landon welcomes exchange students from Knox and China during the year to promote a culture exchange in our own classrooms.