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.
- Who leads the Upper School?
- What is my schedule like?
- What can I expect from academics in the Upper School?
- Does Landon offer Advanced Placement classes?
- Do I get a computer at school?
- 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?
- What ethics and leadership programs does Landon offer?
Ehren Federowicz is head of the Upper School. He is a graduate of Milton Academy, and earned a B.S. in Biochemical Science at the University of Vermont. He taught chemistry at the Gunston School and served as a teacher placement counselor for independent schools in the United States and abroad at Independent Educational Services. Mr. Federowicz arrived at Landon is 2002 and has taught chemistry, coached soccer, hockey, and golf, and served as a form dean and Upper School assistant head. In 2010, he was appointed as the Upper School head.
Federowicz leads a team that includes Assistant Head Ardis Danon, Dean of Students Mike Derwinski, grade level deans, a guidance counselor, college counselors, advisors, teachers and coaches.
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 Upper 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 clubs. Lunch is included in the cost of tuition. Our provider, SAGE Dining, offers three different hot meal stations each day, as well as salad, soup and fresh fruit.
Athletics begin at 3:30 p.m. every day and are required for every Landon student.
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.
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.
During the 2019-20 school year, Landon is introducing a new technology program. Upper School students will continue to take part in our voluntary "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) program, which means you can purchase your own computer and bring it to school.
Beginning in 2020-21, Landon will require Grade 9 students to purchase a Microsoft Surface Pro through the school that will be family-owned. Students in Grades 10-12 are grandfathered into the voluntary BYOD program.
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 you manage your academic lives, you have access to your grades online. We believe it promotes student responsibility and ownership of the academic experience. Advisors, grade level deans and learning specialists are eager to help you learn how to handle any academic conversations as this will be a skill you 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, volleyball
- Strength and conditioning
- Interscholastic: Basketball, ice hockey, indoor track and field, riflery, squash, swimming and diving, wrestling
- Strength and conditioning
- Interscholastic: Baseball, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rugby, tennis, outdoor track and field, Ultimate Frisbee
- Strength and conditioning
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 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 or strength and conditioning at any time in their Upper School career after that.
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.
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; and 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.
All of our athletics teams are also committed to participating in service projects during their season and throughout the year.
You will visit 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.
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 14 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.
In your Grade 9 year, you will take a class called Foundations, which is a discussion-based course in which students review and analyze case studies on core values such as kindness, respect, and inclusivity. A big part of this class is to engage with your classmates in reflective exercises to help you better understand the benefits of embracing these values.
In Grade 10, there is mandatory leadership class in which students reflect on and identify their individual strengths and areas for growth as a leader. You will also identify the character traits that affect your ability to lead, as well as learn the importance of empathy and the needs of others in order to lead them.
There are also ethics assemblies in the Upper School, service opportunities around DC, and leadership summits with Holton-Arms School. Landon has a Director of Ethics, Service, and Leadership, John Bellaschi, who coordinates this programming.