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

Curriculum & Community

SPA's Upper School is an extraordinary learning and teaching community. From the first day of Grade 9, students begin to develop the habits and relationships that will carry them through high school and into the world of college and beyond. The Upper School's rigorous academic curriculum and seminar-based learning model is complemented by a network of support that includes teachers, advisors, college counselors, and resources for both academic and social/emotional well-being.

By the time they leave SPA, Upper School students are energetic and informed participants in discussions, nuanced and accountable in their analysis, and articulate in their critique and defense of ideas. They view their teachers as guides, mentors, and collaborators, and their peers as partners in creating and maintaining the warm, diverse, and thoughtful community that defines the Upper School.

Life outside the classroom is an important piece of the Upper School experience. In our extensive student life programs, students find their passions, pursue new interests, and become leaders in areas that excite and engage them.

The three most popular areas of Upper School student life are athleticstheatrical and musical ensembles, and student clubs and organizations. Nearly 79% of Upper School students are members of at least one of SPA's 47 athletic teams in 17 sports; and almost as many—more than 70%—play an instrument, sing in a choir, or participate in one of the three annual theatrical productions. As these numbers indicate, many Upper School students are both athletes and artists. Finally, most students are members of at least one of the many Upper School student clubs and organizations such as Upper School Council, The Rubicon student newspaper, math team, book club, or Science Alliance (view full list of student clubs/organizations).

Meet the Upper School Deans

Behind the Scenes in the Upper School

In our "Behind the Scenes" video series, we asked Upper School students to make videos that show what life is really like at SPA. Swipe to the right to explore the video series.

Behind the Scenes: Upper School Seminar-Based Learning

Behind the Scenes: The Rubicon—Our Student Newspaper

Behind the Scenes: Our Favorite Places

Behind the Scenes: Upper School Debate

Upper School Curriculum and Community