• Academics US General


Upper School

Tandem Upper School: A Place for Purposeful Knowledge Seekers

Tandem Friends’ progressive, purpose-based approach to learning allows Upper School students to explore their passions and find meaning in their pursuit of knowledge and their contributions to the world. 

Upper School is both the culmination of and preparation for a life of knowledge seeking, inventive learning, self-expression, and curiosity. It’s when students become their boldest selves as they step confidently into the future.
The Upper School curriculum is designed to give students greater agency in their studies as they progress from freshman to senior year while supporting their academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs. 
  • The English program immerses students in the craftsmanship and power of words, rooted in a tradition of prolific writing, round-table Socratic discussion, and richly diverse texts. 
  • History is presented as a cultural experience, not a sequence of political events. Students study people, places, and events within the context of social development, the rise of nations and political institutions, urbanization, and conflict.
  • Mathematics is rooted in analysis and the thought process, encouraging conjecture, experimentation, discussion, extension, writing, and problem solving. 
  • The lab-based science program encourages students to think critically, discuss scientific ideas, conduct scientific experiments, and analyze data while taking advantage of small class sizes and our school’s expansive natural campus setting. 
  • World language courses in Latin, French, and Spanish give students an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, preparing them to live meaningful lives in a global society. 
  • The creative arts - art, drama, filmmaking, and music - give students outlets for self-expression and an opportunity to explore new talents and their creative potential. 
  • Grade Capstone Projects are exciting, serious independent projects that require each student to explore a self-chosen subject area, culminating in a final research paper and both individual and class presentations. 
  • Tandem’s membership in Constellation Learning allows students access to a global learning community and classes at other independent schools. These online classes are both an extension of our curriculum as well as an expansion beyond our offerings (e.g., Mandarin, psychology, ASL). 
Ready for your Upper School student to grow in Tandem? 

Meet our Upper School Director

    • Upper School Director

Russell Combs has over fifteen years experience in Upper School administration, primarily as a Dean of Students in both small and large schools, and has taught US history throughout his career. He holds a B.A. in U.S. History from Potsdam College, an M.A. in U.S. History from St. Bonaventure University, and completed three years of Ph.D. work in U.S. History at the University of Albany.
If you have questions about the Tandem Friends Upper School, please contact Russell Combs by email or by phone at (434) 296-1303 x502.

Upper School Photo Gallery