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Upper School

Matt Peal
Clark Family Head of Upper School

My idea of school is simple. When we're kind, respectful, and of service to ourselves and others, we're able to create a community that challenges, supports, and encourages young people to discover and reach their potential.

- Matt Peal, Clark Family Head of Upper School

The academic program of the upper school represents a four-year college preparatory curriculum that provides broad training in the liberal arts and sciences and stresses independent thinking, writing, critical reading, discipline, and creativity.

We promote understanding through classroom experiences and real-world applications that involve students in the in-depth discovery and development of their talents, skills, and acquired knowledge. Each student is also assigned a faculty advisor through our advisory program, a cornerstone of an ESD education, who provides guidance, counseling, and support.

2024-25 Upper School Course Catalog
For specific guidance in course selection, please view the document above.

32 AP Courses offered for upper school students
500 plus leadership opportunities for ESD students
100% of Students, Faculty, and Staff Sign the Code of Conduct

Beyond the Classroom

Experiences You Don't Want To Miss

Two students perform in the musical %22How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying%22

The Upper School Performing Arts program typically produces three to four live performances each school year, giving students the opportunity to audition for plays and musicals like spring 2020's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (pictured) and fall 2020's Clue.

No desire for the center stage spotlight? No problem! No performance would be successful without the hard work of our Technical Theatre crew,  who do everything from build sets to manage the sound and lighting of each show.

Learn more about ESD's Arts programs here.


Interactive learning is a cornerstone of the ESD curriculum. By completing projects with real-world applications, students are able to not only grasp concepts more quickly, but also understand how they might be used outside of the classroom.

In our upper school engineering class, students were tasked with designing a car that could travel the farthest distance. They studied Newton’s Third Law of Motion and how different forces act on an object, as well as watched videos of Formula 1 racing car drivers, in order to construct their cars.

Learn more about this hands-on project, and more, here.


At the beginning of each school year, students from the senior class are paired up with fifth graders for different events throughout the school year.

This fun tradition is a long-standing one at ESD that students look forward to every year and encourages upper and middle school engagement. The buddies participate in community service, themed days like Twin Day where they dress up in pair costumes, and more.

Learn more about ESD's student life and traditions here.

Chemistry students conduct an experiment with the electricity in different gases.

In science courses, students lead inquiry-based laboratory investigations that complement their classroom discussions. Self-led experiments allow students exciting hands-on experience in the labs.

This chemistry class was looking at different gases when they have electricity pumped through them with spectroscopes. Electricity causes spectroscopes break apart the overall color (the red in this picture) into the various emission spectra emitted by the atom based upon its elemental identity.

Learn more about ESD's academic curriculum here.

News and Notes From the Upper School


ESD film students showcase their cinematography skills at the Upper School Film Festival.