Upper School

Upper School


Clapham School is committed to the highest academic standards. Students are expected to work hard. The curriculum is intellectually challenging in all aspects and every student is considered an “honors” student both by the required classes and the expectations of conduct. While good test scores are a by-product of the Clapham model, the more vital aim of the curriculum and method is to encourage clear thinking and expression, diligent habits of study, and a love of goodness.



Curricular distinctions:

  • Humanities coursework consisting of the Great Books by authors such as Plato, Cicero, Dante, Milton, and Locke
  • Discussion-based learning in all disciplines through Socratic dialogue
  • Dual credit/AP level courses for upper classmen
  • Strong emphasis in writing and rhetoric
  • Senior year thesis and defense
  • Students literate in Latin and at least one other modern language by senior year
  • AP standards for math and science
  • Counseling for college and gap year opportunities


At Clapham, there is no choice between the head and the heart. Embedded in the inspiration of the classical curriculum is the idea that virtue is cultivated. Students are nurtured, known, and grown right alongside (and within) their studies. Even so, as a Christian school, spiritual development is actively encouraged; thus, class sizes are intentionally kept small to encourage the mentor/mentee relationship between faculty and students. Read Clapham’s Pastoral Aims.


Service has always been a core emphasis at Clapham. Our vision is to equip “men and women to intentionally serve Christ by cultivating his goodness, truth and beauty in the world.” We are helping students take up the privilege they have been given in life and learn to turn that privilege into service for the world. For example, the senior thesis and defense, inspired by the lives of the Clapham Saints, centers on a student’s individual research and plan for a life of service in the modern day.


Classical education can conjure up images of quill pens and antique pillars, but at Clapham we believe a classical education is highly relevant to this day and age. Studying the best in what has been thought and said brings a full and vibrant perspective to our current place in this world. The use of technology will be prevalent in the Upper School, but tempered by a thoughtfulness that extends learning without distraction and teaches students to intelligently use it.

  • Students required to pass typing competency and turn in all papers as typed
  • Classical teaching methods used to study current events, drawing from leading periodicals such as the Economist, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal
  • Film studied as text for upper classmen


Our teachers are scholars first; they set a living example of the vibrant life of the mind. In addition, they are true renaissance people, demonstrating a high level of integration in their lives by eagerly embracing a life of learning across disciplines, not just narrowly in one or two; our teachers are masters of the liberal arts, delivering a highly integrated, coherent curriculum. We want our students to be good in many aspects, resisting the cultural tendency to over-specialize at the expense of being well-rounded.


Consistent with the classical tradition, students need a well-rounded experience that trains mind, body, and soul. To that end, Clapham is committed to pursuing a select number of co-curricular opportunities with excellence. Instead of offering a multitude of options, we will offer fewer options which we can do well. Competitive athletics, partnered with outstanding coaches, will be offered in select sports. Other possibilities for co-curriculars include drama, choir, and debate.


Clapham School is provisionally accredited by the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS) and is in the process of permanent accreditation through an intensive self-study process. The school was formally accredited in the spring of 2013 for our lower and elementary program. Clapham’s Upper School benefits from the accreditation due to the national prominence of ISACS and plans to be formally accredited during the next self-study cycle with ISACS in 2020.