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New Courses This Year: Learning Experiences To Remember

Intensives, our new academic term, have inspired a new crop of courses that draw upon multiple subject areas and use Seattle as a learning laboratory.

Richard Kassissieh, Assistant Head of School for Academics and Strategic Initiatives

UPrep’s independent curriculum caters to student interests, teacher passions, and contemporary issues. New course proposals are reviewed and refined through student leaders, department heads, and program directors. Intensives, our new academic term, have inspired a new crop of courses that draw upon multiple subject areas and use Seattle as a learning laboratory. We are excited to present these new courses for 2018-2019.

New Intensive Courses for the Whole Grade

These courses provide a deep dive into one or more subjects, putting students into immersive learning environments in which they apply knowledge from multiple academic disciplines to real-world topics and places. Students in sixth through tenth grades take the same spring intensive with their classmates, while seniors do one LaunchPad intensive, either independently or within a course.

Language Ignition

All sixth grade students begin their language study with an immersive experience during the first intensive term, whether they are placed in level A or beyond, or enrolled in Learning Pathways. The course introduces students to language fundamentals and culture of Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish.

Deep Space Six: Science Fiction, Science Fact

A partnership between sixth grade English and Science to explore astronomy, the solar system, and methods of inquiry in a creative, artistic, and hands-on fashion. Students explore outward from the Moon, to the Solar System, and then to some of the anomalies and the history of the universe itself.

Washington State History

Seventh grade students explore connections between the land and the people of Washington, develop a better understanding of how Washington’s diverse geography impacts culture, political views, and economies of its regions, and consider the ways in which Washington’s history has shaped its present.

Eighth grade students learn about critical actions taken by local organizations in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They then move through the research process as well as travel to local nonprofit organizations to gain first-hand understanding of the work being done locally to address global challenges. The intensive culminates in a “Global Awareness Gallery Night” at which students present their research and designs to convince an audience of local community leaders and nonprofit managers to support their project.

Biology (Semester + Intensive)

Ninth grade students engage with course content beyond the walls of UPrep through field work, field trips, and community involvement. While in the classroom, students have time to focus deeply on investigating biological phenomena and synthesizing information presented in multiple modalities—reading, lecture, class discussion, labs, and projects

Humanities (Semester + Intensive)

Tenth grade students choose one of three different tracks and conduct site visits to global organizations based in the Seattle community in order to write a six- to eight-page research paper. They immerse themselves in a research and writing process aligned with the overarching themes of the world history and literature curricula: promoting human rights and building an international community.

Senior LaunchPad

Every senior spends one intensive term working on a self-designed experiential educational project outside of the classroom. From shadowing software engineers, maintaining hiking trails, helping manage a Pilates studio, to producing original music, LaunchPad is designed to give students a chance to engage with the world beyond UPrep and practice real-world skills that they will need after they graduate.

New Global Link Intensive Courses

Three of UPrep’s global cultural competency trips move into intensives this year, binding more tightly to the academic program.

Global Link American South

This course is a comparative look at social justice movements in the Pacific Northwest and the American South (Atlanta and Montgomery), covering topics of historical and contemporary social justice issues including the Civil Rights movement in both regions, youth-led grassroots organizations, and environmental justice.

Go Talk Story: Creative Writing from Seattle to Samoa

In many Polynesian communities, the phrase “talk story” means to chat or to share in conversation, but these long traditions of oral storytelling are also a means for passing down history to the next generation. Engaging with our long-standing program partner in Samoa (the village of Faleseela), this course integrates the best practices of Global Link, focusing on those stories of creation, life, love, war, and change, while also exploring how the story for Samoans has evolved today.

Temas de Justicia Social en Colombia (semester + intensive)

Engaging with our current program partner in Barranquilla (Colegio San Jose)—adjacent to a research center and existing programs that focus on Afro-Colombian culture and the legacy of slavery and colonialism in Colombia—this course integrates the best practices of Global Link with an emphasis on cultural competency, student immersion, and risk management.

New Elective Courses

2018 will see the introduction of 40 new elective courses to the school program. Most live within the new, intensive terms, but new semester electives also feature this year. These include SchoolHacks, a course that provides support for executive functioning, organization, study skills and self-advocacy. Upper School French has moved to an elective model for courses above level 4, as Spanish did last year.

Middle School: Intensives

Art Lab

Filmmaking in Seattle

Global Link American South

The Graphic Novel

Math in Art, Technology, and History (M.A.T.H.)

Mobile Apps for Social Change

Project Science

Turning Pages: An Introduction to Book Arts

Middle School: Semesters

Introduction to Economics


Specialized Exercise for Lifelong Fitness (S.E.L.F.)

Team Sports


Upper School: Intensives

Art and the Body

Art Lab

Capturing Landscapes

Ceramic Arts

Confucius to K-Pop: East Asia Changes the World

Environmental Ethics and Advocacy (Semester + Intensive)

The Duwamish through Art and Science

Engineering I

From Songwriting to Production

Geometry B: Logic and Proof



Introduction to Musical Theater

Introduction to Statistics

Lifetime Activities


Radio Lab


Student-Produced Works

Turning Pages: An Introduction to Book Arts

Video Journalism


Upper School: Semesters

À la Découverte de Soi

Engineering II

Le Français des Affaires

Ma voix: Francophonie, Immigration, Justice Sociale

Medievalism From Myth to Media

Poetry: The Quarrel with Ourselves

Topics in United States History: Art and Music


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