Intensives

UPrep is creating new opportunities for transformative learning experiences while also preserving what we know works well. The move to intensives provides a new type of time container to support bold learning innovation in a portion of our curriculum. The UPrep community expressed this interest during the design of our strategic plan, and we are excited to offer these new courses starting in January 2019.

Intensives are three-week terms during which students take one class full-time, earning the same credit as one semester class. They take place twice a year, in January and in May-June, following first and second semesters. Intensives are designed to meet several Next Generation Learning goals: deeper learning, interdisciplinary study, experiences beyond campus, and innovation in learning design. With intensives, we also better align the school year to vacations and maintain students' ability to take a wide range of elective classes.


The vast majority of courses continue in the semester format with the same amount of instructional time, and students are still able to take a free period or sequence classes across semesters. The total number of classes a student may take each year remains the same as prior years, while opportunities for broader and deeper learning increase. Global Online Academy classes and semester away programs line up better with the new term schedule.

Intensive courses earn full credit and appear on the UPrep transcript the same as semester courses. Intensives include more instructional minutes than a semester course but have less homework as they are based on an experiential learning model.

The introduction of intensives required consideration of the full, grades 6-12 curriculum framework. In most grades, one of the intensives will be a required class, as shown in the graphic below, and there have been some corresponding changes to semester course offerings.


Elective courses include a wide range of engaging subjects such as Graphic Novel, Art Lab, Project Science, and Math in Art, Technology and History (M.A.T.H) in the Middle School, and Ceramics, Lifetime Activities, Mobile Apps for Social Change, East Asian History, Storytelling in Samoa, and Engineering in the Upper School. All intensive courses are listed within their subject pages on the Middle School and Upper School sections of this website.

Faculty members have invented entirely new courses, adapted existing courses from the semester model, and partnered with our experiential programs such as Global Link and LaunchPad to create transformative learning experiences. Intensives will include student-designed projects, internships and mentorships, day visits to organizations in town, and overnight travel near and far. Intensives promote student leadership, collaboration, and community engagement and de-emphasize homework, solitary study, and isolated subjects.

While the idea of taking a single class full-time may seem unfamiliar at first, educators have long recognized the value of immersion learning. Languages are best acquired within an immersion environment, and academic summer programs consider two- to three-week courses standard. We visited Hawken School in Ohio, which has run for-credit intensive courses for nine years with similar purpose and vision, and the Bay School in San Francisco, which is launching intensives in the same timeframe as UPrep. Our respective teachers are sharing their course ideas.

Innovative learning empowers students with the academic, interactive, and interior skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world. We look forward to guiding students through the first set of intensives starting in January 2019.