our private upper school

High School students in class with tablets at private independent school.

Grades 9 - 12

Deep scholarship and independent thinking form the academic core of our Upper School, private high school, education. Choice plays a key role as well, as students make decisions about what studio and performing arts classes they might take; whether to pursue college preparatory, honors, or AP classes; which sports or clubs they’ll choose; and, eventually, what history and English electives they will select their senior year.

Curriculum OVERVIEW

Grades 9-12 curriculum is designed to prepare students to successfully continue their education at the college level with emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and applying knowledge to new situations. College Prep, Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) level classes are available. The Upper School curriculum includes English, Mathematics, World Language (French or Spanish), History, Science, Physical Education, and Fine Arts.



CCDS Ivy League Placement

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Curricular Areas

Computer Science/Engineering

Computer Science - Each student must earn one half (.50) credit in Computer Science

Full Year Course
AP Computer Science

Semester Courses
Introduction to Computer Science (CS50x)
Computer Science 2 (CS2)
Introduction to Game Design
Principles of Engineering Design


English – Four credits of English

  • College Prep Courses: English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12
  • Honors Courses: Honors English 10, Honors English 12
  • AP Courses: AP English Literature
  • Senior Electives-All students will take two quarter-long courses, which approximate the atmosphere and expectations of College English classes while giving students an opportunity to pursue their interests. Offerings are made available in the fall. Past classes have included creative writing, personal narratives and memoirs, and the works of Tennessee Williams.

Fine Arts

Fine Arts – Two credits from two or more disciplines (Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music)

Visual Arts

  • College Prep Courses: Art I, II and III, Clay, Drawing, Photography I and II
  • Honors Courses: Honors Portfolio in Drawing (2-D design), Honors Photography
  • AP Courses: AP portfolio in drawing (2-D Design)
  • AP Portfolio in photography (2-D Design)

Performing Arts

  • College Prep Courses: Drama I, Acting Workshop, Improvisation for Beginners, Voice and Speaking Dynamics, Technical Theater I


  • Chorale
  • Wind Ensemble


History – Three credits of Modern European and U.S. History

  • Ancient and Medieval World History: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Modern World History, U.S. History and Government
  • Honors Courses: Honors Modern European and the World
  • AP Courses: AP U.S. History
  • Senior Electives – (Open to juniors with department permission)

Honors Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, Honors American Government, Honors Modern Cities: Art, Architecture, Photography, and Cinema, Honors Economics and Current Events: A Study of America’s Current Financial Landscape, Honors Roman Republic, Constitutional Issues, Two Titans Square Off: Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, Introduction to Philosophy, American History: 1960 to the Present, Genocide in the 20th Century, Modern China, Studying Contemporary Global Problems through Seri\us Games, and Exploring Humanitarian Law


Mathematics – Four credits of math including Algebra II and Geometry

  • College Prep – Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry and Discrete Topics in Math, Precalculus, Statistics

  • Honors – Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra II, Honors Precalculus, Honors Multivariable Calculus, Honors Linear Algebra

  • AP Course – AP Calculus (AB), AP Calculus (BC), AP Statistics

Physical Education

Physical Education – Each student must earn one half (.50) credit in Physical Education

  • PE: Lifetime Wellness (.25) credit
  • Although interscholastic athletics are optional, students are strongly urged to participate in them. Participation in four seasons of interscholastic sports may be used to earn (.25) credit in P.E.; this alone satisfies one half of the P.E. requirement.


Science – Three credits of Science

  • College Prep Courses: Earth Science, Biology, General Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics
  • Honors Courses: Honors Science: Biology/Chemistry, Honors Physics
  • AP Courses: AP Biology, AP Chemistry

World Language

World Language – Three credits in one language

  • College Prep Courses: French I, II, and III, Pre-AP French, French Conversation, French Composition

Spanish I, II, and III, Pre-AP Spanish, Spanish Conversation, Spanish Composition

  • Honors Courses: Honors French II, Honors French Literature,
  • Honors Spanish II
  • AP Courses: AP French Language,

AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature

Independent Study

Independent Study

Independent Study provides qualified students the opportunity to work with a faculty supervisor to investigate issues and topics of common interest and shared passion. Any student who has fulfilled departmental requirements and has previously demonstrated academic excellence in the relevant discipline is, potentially, eligible for Independent study. An Independent Study must be a student’s sixth course and cannot be used to fulfill or replace any graduation requirement.

Job Shadowing and Internship Program

Job Shadowing and Internship Program

College counselors and teachers work with interested students to find job shadowing or unpaid work experiences with contacts in a variety of fields. The process begins with a sophomore, junior or senior-year college counselling session during which a student expresses interest in an opportunity. Recent opportunities have included shadowing in art, law, software and engineering companies, and extensive internships with political campaigns, small businesses, and professors at the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.

Students can apply for an internship or job shadowing opportunity and people interested in offering an opportunity can do so at www.Country/Day.net/go/internship

Opportunities to Flourish

Our Upper School, a high school near Indian Hill and Madeira, Ohio, builds on the foundation established in the Middle and Lower School, allowing students to find their passion.

My Day

Regardless of the academic path chosen, students are asked daily to approach learning with energy and enthusiasm, as they build skills through myriad pedagogical approaches. On any given day our students might be:

  • Putting Hamlet on trial in an English class
  • Practicing French or Spanish after class with a native speaker “language coach” via Skype
  • Choosing expressive color for a self-portrait in art or creating a three-dimensional photo on glass
  • Considering post-Civil War Reconstruction in a videotaped student-led discussion
  • Building a solar-powered car in Geometry or making a hand warmer in Chemistry

While our Upper School students work toward distinguishing themselves as individuals, several shared experiences, both within grade levels and across them, bring our students together, creating that special Cincinnati Country Day School bond. Included among these moments are:

  • House Cup: including Kickball, Wiki Races, and Spelling Bee's to name a few.
  • Peer Mentoring: a program that brings 9th graders under the wings of seniors
  • Sophomore Paper: our students’ first formal large-scale research paper, conducted in every sophomore History class
  • Junior Paper: a year-long research paper on a topic germane to American History, advised by a member of the history department
  • The Junior Rafting Trip: The class bonds...
  • Senior Seminars: half-day opportunities for students to get pragmatic information about college and adult life, from understanding finances to hearing from alums about study abroad
  • Senior Projects: a two-week opportunity for seniors to immerse themselves in an area of passion
  • Community Service Day: a trek, by advisory group, out to the community for a full day of assisting those in need and intended to complement our Community Service requirements
  • Multicultural Morning: an Upper School half-day intended to help all students employ their compassion to understand better the diversity of experience around us

Graduation Requirements

To provide continuity and support throughout their rigorous Upper School careers, all students are assigned to a faculty advisor. The role of the advisor is a critical one, allowing each child a mentor who, over the course of four years, keeps track of the student’s academic, athletic, artistic, and personal progress.

Twenty-two and one-half (22.5) credits, earned in Grades 9-12, are required for graduation. One credit equals one full-year course meeting at least four periods per week. One-half credit is given for courses that meet for only one semester or for less than four periods per week. In addition, physical education is required, as well as 90 hours of community service.

Department Required Credits Recommended Credits
Arts 2.0
English 4.0 4.0
History (Modern World and US History) 3.0 4.0
Math (Alg. II and Geometry) 4.0 4.0
Modern Language (3 US credits in one language) 3.0 4.0
Science 3.0 4.0
Computer Science (Reinstated for class of 2021)0.5
Health 0.5
Physical Education 0.5
Electives 2.0 or more
TOTAL 22.5