The Upper School Model
Customized Learning Approach
In the Upper School, our talented team of teachers and administrators gets to know every student. We take the time to understand her interests and cultivate her gifts, which allows us to map out a personalized path to increase her confidence and fulfill her potential academically. She can shine on the stage, score the winning goal, cross examine a witness in Mock Trial or shadow an orthopedic surgeon. The opportunities are endless.
We recognize that each Upper School student develops at her own pace, which is why most academic areas of our Upper School curriculum feature four flexible levels of learning: College Preparatory, Accelerated, Honors and Advanced Placement. Our faculty and staff are trained to deliver our academic program through innovative and reflective instructional methods. They recognize when a girl may need more support, more independence and/or more rigor. Through personalized academic advising, College Counseling and the Center for Academic Excellence, each student is given the tools to meet and exceed her potential.
Maryvale students can focus their academic studies in one of our signature programs if they choose:
- Visual Arts Scholars Program (6-8 Courses)
- Performing Arts Mastery Program (2-4 Courses)
- Leadership Certificate Program (4 Courses)
- STEAM (STEM + Art) Leadership Certificate (5 Courses - 3 electives in 2 disciplines)
Students with an insatiable appetite for storytelling and cinematography may take a variety of classes, such as Computer-Assisted Drawing and Web Design. In addition, students who love Broadway may discover a different side of the arts by electing Technical Theater Production, made possible by our state-of-the-art sound and lighting booth inside the Erinn McCarthy Humanities Hall Theater. Finally, students can apply design thinking principles in our class on Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship as a part of our Leadership Institute.
STEAM (STEM + Art)
From building mini-trébuchet to programming robots and flying a drone, exciting experiential learning comes to life at every corner of the campus. Inquiry-based learning is infused within the Upper School curriculum with courses such as: Introduction to Computers and Networking; Forensic Science I and II; Environmental Science; Anatomy and Physiology; Graphic Design; Web Design; and Technical Theatre Production.
Maryvale students have the opportunity to pursue unique, nationally-recognized programs, including the Fire Protection Engineering Design Challenge at the University of Maryland, and work on revitalization design projects in Baltimore through the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Mentoring Club. Many of our girls receive leadership awards and scholarships to college for their excellence in STEAM-related fields and garner admission into competitive internship programs such as Google’s coveted Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI).
Through firsthand experiences on campus and in the broader community, students are able to pursue careers as engineers, computer programmers and health care professionals, just like many of our accomplished alumnae.
From classroom debates to performances in prose to Socratic circles, the humanities are alive at Maryvale. Learning how to write effectively and clearly is the cornerstone of any successful education. Our freshmen are engaged right from the start in the writing process. Through a scaffolded approach, our ninth grade students complete the research process, which culminates in a college-level thesis paper.
A global lens, collaboration and teamwork are commonplace within our Humanities Departments. With an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum development and cross-curricular planning, our students have a foundation to apply their knowledge to new material.
When Juniors read The Great Gatsby, their U.S. History class curriculum covers the Roaring 1920s.
Regardless of a student’s future ambitions, the ability to master various kinds of writing — expository, narrative, persuasive, descriptive and creative — is essential for achieving academic and career success. Just ask our recent AP English students, who collectively earned a 100 percent passing rate on The College Board exam.
Thanks to the interest of our passionate, forward-thinking students, Maryvale proudly offers numerous courses that align with many career paths. These classes add a valuable element to the Maryvale educational experience and prepare girls for their next steps. For example, students interested in the legal field may opt for our Introduction to Law or Forensics classes.
Students have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who have represented companies including: Google, One Love Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Primerica, TurnAround, Intuition Robotics San Francisco, The Rage Box Dance Center and Kelly’s Dream.
They also take field trips to the headquarters of many global and regional companies, including: T. Rowe Price, Under Armour, PANDORA, McCormick & Company, Domino Sugar, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and the National Aquarium. The girls have also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and M&T Bank Stadium.
In addition, partnerships with Towson University and Anne Arundel Community College allow students with specific career interests to pursue their passions through tailor-made independent studies during their junior and senior years at Maryvale. Girls who participate in these exciting and unique partnerships are exposed to online learning of a subject typically introduced in college, giving them a head start on the next phase of their academic journey.
Finding Her Voice
At Maryvale, we believe every student can be an extraordinary leader. Under the umbrella of our signature Leadership Institute, we offer Upper School leadership classes, Advisory lessons, internships, career afternoons and all-school assemblies where the girls begin to develop confidence that will serve them for a lifetime.
We strategically infuse opportunities for our girls to show- case their leadership skills before their classmates and the community. We ensure that our learners of today will become the leaders of tomorrow, whether they are organizing a service event through the Social Justice Coalition (SoJuCo), campaigning for a position on the Upper School Student Council or making an impact as the captain of a sports team.
Following our roots in the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, we offer a global approach, which includes trips abroad.
Girls travel to countries such as Kenya to learn about social justice, France to immerse themselves in the French language and culture and Nicaragua to offer valuable service.
Back on campus, students can participate in a continuously growing list of student-run activities and clubs, which include numerous sports teams, clubs and the performing arts. Students can even create their own clubs. Our newest clubs include the Forensic Speech Club and Glee Club.
The Maryvale Way
It’s easy to recognize a Maryvale girl by her uniform, but also by her character. The Maryvale Way is both a standard and a mindset where respect, dignity and inclusivity are at the forefront of each student’s educational journey.
Every day, we strive to create a positive, welcoming environment that allows our community to live out the mission created by our founders, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. At the heart of that mission are the beliefs in the following hallmarks: the goodness of God; the dignity of each person; an education on behalf of social justice and peace in the world; commitment to community service; the gift of diversity; legacy of friendship rooted in God; and the development of holistic learning communities.
To earn a diploma from Maryvale Preparatory School, a student must:
- Earn passing grades in all courses.
- Fulfill all community service requirements.
- Be enrolled in seven courses (consult the Course Description Handbook for specific requirements and course descriptions) each semester.
- Complete a minimum of 26 required credits, which are detailed below.
|English||4 credits - one per year|
|Fine and Performing Arts||1 credit|
|Mathematics||4 credits - Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry and one elective|
|Physical Education||1 credit|
|Science||3 credits - Biology, Chemistry and one elective|
|Servant Leadership||70 community service hours for graduation|
|Social Studies||3.5 credits - Introduction to Social Sciences, World History, U.S. History|
3 credits - French or Spanish for three consecutive years