Group of students
Upper Division

As a teacher and an advisor, I am an ally, not an adversary. It’s a very hard role: balancing advocacy with discipline. We’re teaching accountability here. Grade 7 teacher / advisor

Park’s Upper Division builds on students’ elementary preparation, producing flexible thinkers, engaged learners, and competent and curious scholars. Growing up at Park, adolescents develop a deep understanding and self-awareness of their own learning process, all while being known and supported by the community that surrounds them. After Park, they enter the world with knowledge and skills that will help them to excel in high school, as well as a sense of confidence, a joy for learning, and a hunger for the next intellectual endeavor. 

Adolescents Thrive at Park

Grades 5–8 are the years of the emerging adolescent identity. And at Park, it’s a time when students get ample opportunity to excel academically and socially, to hone their skills, and discover their passions. Park’s Upper Division intentionally strikes a balance between academic rigor and creative exploration; high expectations and emotional support; becoming future-ready while preserving the simplicity and sincerity of childhood.

We know that children ages 10-15 are motivated by four dominant needs: competence, relationship, autonomy, and fun. When these needs are met, adolescents, who are developing independence and a sense of self, engage with rigorous learning, and thrive. We provide a unique setting where, as the oldest cohort of students, fifth through eighth graders lead the School with an authentic and earned sense of maturity. They have ample opportunities to excel academically and socially while honing their skills, discovering their passions, and trying something new.

The Four Needs and How We Meet Them

Children ages 11–15 are governed by four dominant needs: competence, relationship, autonomy, and fun. When these needs are met, adolescents can thrive and achieve their potential.

The concept of the adolescent needs of relationships, competence, autonomy, and fun are drawn from the book, Classroom Discipline: Guiding Adolescents to Responsible Independence, by Linda Crawford and Christopher Hagedorn. (The Origins Program, 2009.)