Upper School Curriculum

A wide variety of teaching practices and learning opportunities

Upper School Curriculum Guide

Blended Learning

Blended online learning is evolving rapidly in many different directions at the K-12 level, as learning institutions prepare their students with radically different learning and living skills necessary for the 21st century. Blended online learning, which combines the fully online environment with other modes of instructional delivery, is the fastest-growing segment in the educational arena. The accessibility and flexibility of structured online curriculum combined with the “human touch" of interaction with the teacher in a face-to-face setting is an ideal paradigm for teaching and learning. The Upper School courses listed below have been developed by the Bullis School faculty and will be taught through its web-based learning management platform called Haiku Learning Systems. The complete course descriptions are included in the listings for each department.

Faculty of the Upper School courses have developed high-quality online courses that are taught in a blended online structure. Typically, each class meets with the teacher (face-to-face) in the traditional classroom setting two to three days per week. For the remaining two to three days per week, students manage their use of time in virtual sessions; after signing in with a proctor they can do online work for their class, work on other course work, or even do off-campus work. While the workload for each blended online course is in alignment with the typical schedule rotation of the traditional class, the online work settings during the schedule rotation provides flexibility for students to manage their time.

Class participation in the online component requires interactivity through asynchronous discussions, collaborative work using technology-rich resources, and possibly scheduled synchronous sessions via web conferencing, all with regularly scheduled due dates and deadlines. All Bullis teachers developing and teaching blended online courses prepared their courses with formal teacher professional development in this new teaching/learning delivery style. The courses are fully developed with clearly defined goals, objectives, activities, and student outcomes that meet core academic standards.

Please note that blended learning courses are indicated in class listings by a (BL) after the course name.

Signature Programs

Bullis currently offers planned courses of study in four signature program areas—Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Entrepreneurship, Humanities and Global Studies, and Visual and Performing Arts. The Signature Program model entails opportunities for interdisciplinary study, experiential education, research-based culminating/capstone experiences and student choice among curricular offerings.Signature programs are available at all grade levels, 2 through 12, to teach institutional and core academic values of the school and afford students an understanding of the personal traits and interpersonal behaviors associated with successful performance in life.

In the Lower School, cross-curricular Signature Programs, which are embedded into the core curriculum of reading, writing and math, provide emerging experiences for students. Middle School embraces an issues-based, modular approach to Signature Programs that provide greater opportunities for student exploration and build readiness for some stand-alone courses in the 8th grade. Students in the Upper School may opt for rigorous, innovative courses that build on core graduation requirements. The Upper School Program allows students to concentrate on select classes related to a given signature program and deepen their experience in a chosen area. Students participating in signature programs may engage in a formalized internship program and mentor relationships.

Required Signature Program Courses


Research Design and Methods (BL)

This is an advanced course for junior students with the maturity, independence, and motivation necessary to conduct their own research.Students will analyze research done in a number of STEM (science technology engineering and math) areas in order to understand the logic behind investigation design and the soundness of data produced.Students learn research methods and experimental design in preparation for creating their own research project their senior year.Students will draw from experiences in prior STEM courses to find an area of interest for their senior-year capstone experience and write a literature review on a topic of interest to them. Throughout the term students read from primary STEM literature and participate in discussion groups on current issues in STEM-related fields. (Open to juniors and seniors; requires approval by the STEM Coordinator and Academic Dean) Credit: 1/3

STEM Capstone Lab

Seniors will culminate their STEM experience and put their skills, content understanding and interests in STEM-related areas together to embark on a unique, independent, year-long research project which they design and develop. Although the topics of the students' projects will vary widely, this course will provide the necessary structure and guidance for their work. Each student will apply their acquired skills to see a project through from the beginning proposal to final panel presentation comprised of teachers, peers, administrators and mentors from the field. Throughout, students will elicit the feedback of peers and adult mentors as they improve their methods of research and design, communicate with experts in their field, and write a professional journal article. (Open to seniors; requires completion of Introduction to Research Methods and approval by Academic Dean and STEM Coordinator) Credit: 1


Entrepreneurship Capstone Lab

This course provides the tools and structure for students to plan, develop, and launch a small business.The courses will alternate case studies, field trips, and guest speakers with the time to pilot students' attempts to develop their own projects.Students will spend the majority of their time individually or in teams to develop a viable business plan.Students will enter their plans in an entrepreneurial challenge competition. Seed money will be available to the winning business plan. (Open to seniors only; requires completion of Introduction to Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy) Credit: 1

Introduction to Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy

This course introduces students to basic business principles, risk assessment, financial literacy, and creative modes of innovation. Students will be asked to read balance sheets, evaluate case studies, analyze market and economic trends, and employ microeconomics. In addition to developing and applying their evaluative skills, students will survey business history and contemporary examples of entrepreneurship. Students practice blending creative approaches with analytical insight through project-based learning as the class prepares students for the independent application aspects of Entrepreneurship Lab. Students must be enrolled in a minimum level of Algebra II. (Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors)


n the Upper School, we seek to honor the unique needs and contributions of each student through a continuing process of challenge and self-reflection. We draw on a wide variety of teaching practices and learning opportunities to cultivate respect, understanding and compassion for others. The success of our students also depends on close collaboration with parents and families. We expect our students to work with teachers, students and other members of the community to become independent, life-long learners.

In educating our students, we seek not only to prepare students for success in higher education, but also to equip them with the skills needed for a balanced, fulfilling and meaningful life. The Bullis curriculum provides students with the academic background for success at the college level, but also acts as the cornerstone for a range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities that help develop well-rounded individuals.

Students play an active role in the process of course selection, and each student's schedule is tailored to meet his or her academic needs. Before spring break, Upper School students receive academic advising and materials for use in planning the following year's schedule. Students work out tentative course selections with their parents and advisors. The advisor then gives the tentative schedule to the academic staff for review. New students have the opportunity to meet with Upper School administrative staff regarding course selection.

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