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Upper School

Upper school students practicing calligraphy during Chinese class

Our students are trailblazers with the freedom to forge their own paths.

They propel themselves forward, overcome obstacles and, ultimately, find out what success means to them. Each day brims with possibilities.

Here, students are encouraged to experiment and innovate intellectually, artistically and athletically, limited only by their own imaginations and the length of each day. With the firm belief that teaching how to learn is as crucial as the understanding of the lesson itself, faculty guide students’ quests by encouraging risk-taking, collaboration and fresh thinking. 

As our graduates cross the stage and accept their diplomas each June, they do so as passionate, confident, creative thinkers and community members, ready to take on whatever awaits.

Upper school student welding during furniture design class

Distinctive Opportunities

Senior Projects

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From hands-on research in cutting-edge university facilities to teaching English in Liberia — and everything in between — senior projects have prepared six generations of PDS students for the next step in their educational journeys. A time-honored tradition, the senior project is a self-designed learning experience that takes our soon-to-be alumni anywhere in the world and provides them with the opportunity to delve into a research project of their choosing.

Science Research Experience Program

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The Science Research Experience Program (REx) supports aspiring scientists and researchers by providing an unparalleled independent scientific study and internship experience. With oversight by PDS faculty, students spend the summer before their senior year at leading professional and academic laboratories across the country. At the conclusion of their experience, students have the opportunity to present their research to the PDS community each fall.

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Jacobson Music Scholars Program
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Designed to encourage, guide and nurture students who are serious about pursuing music beyond their secondary education, the Jacobson Music Scholar Program supports our most passionate and talented juniors and seniors. Named in honor of beloved former music teacher Frank Jacobson, this selective program prepares students for the college audition process and experience. During each winter, students prepare and perform "juries" for a faculty panel. At the conclusion of each year, each Jacobson Scholar performs a solo recital.

Clubs and Affinity Groups
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Having fun is part of our day, every day. With over 40 student clubs, organizations and affinity groups, you will discover what excites you — and also find your people. Whether you’re a linguaphile or filmmaker, app developer or aspiring meteorologist, there are unlimited opportunities to investigate, explore and connect with other students and faculty who share your passions. And, if you don’t see something that sparks your interest, it’s okay — you can always create it.

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College Counseling
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The college process is an opportunity for personal growth and self-reflection. Our college counselors are eager to take this journey with you and provide the tools necessary for navigating the many paths toward college admission. They believe that each student has a unique story to tell and, as a result, all of their work is tailored directly to the individual. With a well-balanced approach rooted in support and enthusiasm, our college counselors emphasize trust, accessibility and open lines of communication with all students and families.

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Upper school advisory group meeting in the campus center
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As an Upper School student, you will be paired with an advisor of your choosing — a “go-to” faculty member with whom you check in daily. Your advisor becomes your advocate, sounding board, cheerleader and biggest supporter. They know your dog’s name, your favorite snack and your birthday — and yes, they sing. Advisors and advisees regularly meet as a group to talk about important issues and pressing concerns while also finding moments to relax and reflect together, creating bonds that go far beyond the traditional classroom setting.

Chart Your Own Path

Are you ready to open your mind to new experiences? Visit PDS and see for yourself how our vibrant community is unlike anywhere else.

Contact Admissions

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