Explore Grades 9-12
- What is my schedule like?
- What can I expect from academics in the Upper School?
- Does Landon offer Advanced Placement classes?
- What if I need extra help with academics?
- How will I keep track of my grades?
- What art and music options do I have at Landon?
- What sports does Landon offer?
- Do I have to play sports all three seasons?
- What clubs does Landon offer?
- Is community service required?
- Are there field trips?
- Are there opportunities for study abroad?
- Who can I ask if I have questions?
- How will I make friends?
- How does Landon prepare me for the college application process?
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, Film or Improv Club. Lunch is included in the cost of tuition. Our provider, SAGE Dining, offers four different hot meal stations each day, as well as salad, soup, cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit.
Athletics begin at 3:30 p.m. every day and are required for every Landon student. Take a look at our sample schedule here.
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 32 accelerated and 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).
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.
Landon does currently offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes, but along with seven other D.C.-area public schools, we will be moving beyond the AP course offerings by the 2022–23 school year at the latest. Moving beyond AP courses will allow our teachers to design and offer a wider variety of courses that are more rigorous and enriching, provide opportunities for our boys to have more authentic engagement with the world, and demonstrate respect for students’ intellectual curiosity and interests. Please click here for more information.
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. Please click here to see our Center for Teaching and Learning Resources policies and accommodations.
In order to help Upper School Bears manage their academic lives, our students have access to their grades online. The goal of providing this is to promote greater student responsibility and ownership of their academic experience, and to develop skills essential to their development as confident, self-sufficient, and communicative young men.
Online grade access also informs him of his progress, helps him identify areas where additional effort is needed to meet goals, fosters productive conversations between a student and his teacher regarding opportunities for growth.
If one of our Bears is hesitant about approaching a teacher there are a number of additional resources at his disposal to guide him toward a productive and helpful conversation. Advisors, grade level deans and learning specialists are eager to help boys learn how to handle these academic conversations as this will be a skill the boys will utilize in college and beyond.
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.
Sports begin at 3:30 p.m. every day and are required for every Landon student. We offer 22 athletics options in the Upper School: 19 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:
- Interscholastic: Cross country, football, soccer, water polo
- Strength and conditioning, midday fitness
- Interscholastic: Basketball, ice hockey, indoor track and field, riflery, squash, swimming and diving, wrestling
- Strength and conditioning, midday fitness
- Interscholastic: Baseball, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rugby, tennis, outdoor track and field, Ultimate Frisbee
- Strength and conditioning, midday fitness
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 22 athletics options in the Upper School, including 19 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.
The Landon Upper School offered 40 clubs for the 2017–18 school year to provide an outlet for you to explore extracurricular interests. You can sate your hunger for the culinary arts with Cooking Club; hone your acting skills and learn to think on your feet with Improv Club; discuss the magic of movie-making in Film Club; or act as a mentor to Lower School Bears through our "Buddies" program. Please click here for a full list of the 2017–18 Upper School clubs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Between sports, music groups, lunch and clubs, there are plenty of other ways to meet new people and connect. The class of 2019 launched a new peer-to-peer advisory program, pairing up a senior with a freshman, to support our ninth graders transition to Upper School.
At Landon, the college search is guided by fit rather than by college rankings, so it’s no surprise that 95 percent of students from the Class of 2018 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.