An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

K-12 Curriculum

Academic excellence is at the heart of the SPA experience. In all three divisions, students are challenged by what we believe is the best academic curriculum in Minnesota. They are supported by the individual attention that is made possible by master teachers—80% of SPA faculty hold a graduate degree beyond the baccalaureate—and the lowest average class size of comparable independent schools in the state. SPA's student-teacher ratio is 7:1. Kindergarten classrooms have an average of under 10 students per teacher; beyond the Kindergarten year, Lower School homerooms average 13-15 students per teacher.  Middle School classes average 15 students and Upper School classes average 14 students.

The K-12 Curriculum at a glance

Curriculum Guide

The Curriculum Guide provides a broad overview of the entire SPA curriculum from Kindergarten through Commencement.

Six-Day Schedule

The fundamental building block of the K-12 curriculum is the rotating six-day schedule.

In the Lower School, the rotation allows for optimum focus on the core homeroom courses (math, language arts, and social studies) with plenty of time for the specialist courses in science, Spanish,  art, music, physical education, and library time. The rotation also provides time for twice-weekly assemblies, “exploration” time in Grades K-2, the beloved “Mini” classes in Grades 3-5, as well as recess and the open playtime so important for young children. View a sample Lower School schedule or learn more about the Lower School.

The Middle School follows a six-day block schedule, which gives teachers the flexibility to incorporate both collaborative projects and individualized instruction into their courses. Because the block schedule both extends class meetings and spreads subjects out over longer periods, students have time to better absorb complex material. The 85-minute length of each allows ample opportunity for all three of the elements of deep learning: planning, exploration, and reflection. View a sample Middle School schedule or learn more about the Middle School.

The Upper School follows a six-day block schedule in which students have four classes per day, each for 75 minutes. The long blocks allow teachers to delve deeply into complex material and topics, with time in each class period for authentic problem-solving, collaboration, and a range of activities to engage all learners. The 45-minute “X Period” after the first allows time for assemblies, student organization and club meetings, and work with teachers and peers. View a sample Upper School schedule or learn more about the Upper School.

Graduation Requirements