Upper School Philosophy

The Upper School meets St. Catherine’s Mission of providing a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and preparing each individual girl for leadership and service in a global community through the breadth of curricular and cocurricular choices and by the flexibility of the program which allows each girl to pursue her own interests in depth. A strong advising program, close relationships with teachers both in and out of the classroom, engagement in the community and self-reflection are central to this personal growth.

While Upper School students are introduced to the major academic disciplines, the curriculum emphasizes skills that help students synthesize learning across the disciplines and that prepare students for success in the 21st century: critical thinking, advanced research, problem solving, collaboration and written and oral communication. In addition, the rich offerings in the visual and performing arts nurture creative thinking and expression, and X-Term, an independent research projects, and internships provide extensive opportunities for experiential learning.

Our offerings in each department are enhanced by our coordinate program with St. Christopher’s, a partnership that affords our students with a co-educational experience at different levels throughout high school.

Central to the philosophy of the Upper School is the increased independence of our students. With this independence comes the responsibility each girl has to live with integrity, to contribute to a positive community and to use her unique gifts to make the world a better place.


The Upper School Experience

Special Offerings and Real-World Experiences:
  • All leadership positions held by girls
  • Independent projects and science research
  • Intensive Studies Program in the Arts, Global Engagement, and STEM
  • Junior Internship program
  • Guest speakers from all over the world
  • Student-led chapels and assemblies
  • Numerous clubs and organizations
  • International study and service trips
  • Annual career day with alumnae representing myriad career paths
  • Additional course offerings through Online School for Girls 
X-Term
X-term is a special yearlong enrichment program, coordinated with St. Christopher's. Freshmen participate in grade-level service learning, which sophomores and juniors join learning cohorts to study a topic of interest to them with a faculty mentor. Read more

Upper School Curriculum

To graduate, a student must earn twenty academic credits in Upper School. Many of our students far exceed these requirements, taking full advantage of 21 AP and 28 Honors courses. 
  • English - 4 credits
  • Mathematics - 4 credits 
  • Science - 3 credits (2 with labs)
  • World Languages - 3 credits
  • History - 3 credits
  • Religion and Philosophy - 1 credit
  • Fine Arts - 1 credit
  • Electives - 1 credit
  • Physical Education - 4 units (1 unit in fitness, 3 electives)
  • Health - 2 units
  • Service Learning - 25 hours of service required each year with a total of 100 hours by graduation
6001 Grove Avenue | Richmond, Virginia 23226 | (p) 804.288.2804 |  (f) 804.285.8169
Experts in the way girls learn best, St. Catherine’s offers a rigorous liberal arts education, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (JK- grade 12), JK- grade 12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and 23 AP classes and 33 honors classes. Call us today for a tour 804-288-2804.