Director: Nura Yingling
Upper School students are encouraged to discover and develop their own interests as they expand and deepen their studies in the traditional disciplines. As students progress from freshman to senior year, they enjoy greater flexibility in personalizing their studies by choosing from a broad range of electives and independent study opportunities. Students can also take advantage of an Advanced Placement program of college-level courses through which they may earn credit toward a college degree.
Click here to see the 2012-2013 School Profile.
The administrative structure of the Tandem Friends Upper School is designed to best serve the academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs of its students, and to maintain open communication with parents. The Upper School Director oversees the daily school experience of Upper Schoolers by arranging schedules, working to resolve conflicts and problems, maintaining a visible presence in all areas of the School, arranging grade-based activities and special projects, handling minor disciplinary issues, and generally “keeping a finger on the pulse” of the students.
Students and faculty constantly initiate innovative ways to bring learning alive at Tandem Friends.
The Emphasis program, a weeklong intensive alternative educational experience, allows students an opportunity to pursue interests in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Recently, students and teacher chaperones have traveled to Gettysburg to deepen their understanding of the Civil War, ventured to Vermont and Montreal to study Northern culture, and provided services such as Katrina relief in Mississippi, working at animal shelters, and tending to the homeless through the local PACEM program. They have built African drums, learned to make silver jewelry, painted murals for local businesses, learned blacksmithing and glass blowing, and explored the customs and cooking of world cultures.
Foreign language study is offered at every level, and a variety of programs weave foreign languages and cultures into the school’s daily routine. Upper School students may take Latin, Spanish or French from entry level through Advanced Placement, and independent study is available for those who wich to pursue another language. Foreign language intensives place Tandem Friends students into homes abroad, and Tandem Friends plays occasional host to foreign students visiting Charlottesville.
English 9, World Literature is a full-year, required course designed to ensure that Tandem freshmen further develop the reading, writing, and analytical skills necessary for being successful upper school students. We will explore English language and literature through a focused study of selected works in “tandem” with the 9th grade history class on The History and Geography of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Along the way, we will concentrate our attention on developing fundamental writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills that will help students succeed in upper school and beyond.
Writing is a major focus of English 9. We will review the writing process and sharpen skills through frequent and varied writing assignments. Writer’s workshops and class discussions will give students the opportunity to think and share about the literature, the conventions of writing, and their own experiences with writing.
Through the Sophomore Seminar Project, tenth graders investigate a topic of intense personal interest. The sophomore English teacher guides them through the research process, and assists them in the preparation of a formal fifteen-page research paper. Students present their topic to fellow students and parents as the culmination of their sophomore year, “academic rite of passage.”
Click here for the 2011 list of Sophomore Seminar Topics.
As seniors, students complete a Senior Project, an independent research endeavor that caps their Tandem Friends education. Students meet with faculty advisors and adult mentors in their chosen fields of study, conduct guided independent work, maintain a detailed journal, and in the spring, present their projects to the Tandem Friends community. Recent Senior Projects have included original plays and screenplays, scuba certification, learning to fly, training for and completing the New York City marathon, architectural models and studies.
Click here to see the Class of 2012's Senior Project Presentation Schedule
After AP exams and before graduation, our seniors embark on another adventure designed to help them with career choices. The Senior Externship program pairs seniors with a business, organization, or individual mentor with whom they are interested in working. For two weeks, seniors dedicate 30 hours to gaining a closer, hands-on knowledge and understanding of their chosen field of study. Examples of past externship placements have included woodworking, horticulture, nursing, veterinary work, archaeology, photography, art museum management, outdoor recreation, culinary arts, and many more.
Click here for the 2011 list of senior externships.
Tandem students are often selected for extracurricular enrichment programs, including the prestigious Governor's School in the humanities, the sciences, and the fine and performing arts, and many fine state-university summer academic programs. Student writing from Tandem has appeared in national and local publications, and our students are frequent participants in the Virginia Festival of the Book and The Writer's Eye.
Tandem is unusually fortunate in having the resources of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia available. Students have access to a wealth of libraries, museums, and theaters. Advanced students have taken classes at the University of Virginia or Piedmont Virginia Community College as part of their high school program. Washington, Richmond, and Baltimore are readily accessible for field trips and cultural activities.