The Upper School

Inspiring Passions and preparing Foundations for college

Time and time again, young alumni will stop by campus to visit and tell us all of the wonderful things that they are doing—we’ll hear stories of the various courses they’re taking or jobs that they’re embarking upon, and it always gives us a sense of satisfaction. Even more gratifying is when they tell us how well prepared they are for their current undertakings because of their experience in the Upper School at Heathwood. This, after all, is the goal of our academic program: to inspire our students to explore their academic passions and to provide them with the tools and habits that they need to excel.

Our academic program has three key elements that distinguish it from other programs:

  1. A challenging and supportive educational experience that provides an excellent foundation for college.
  2. Occasions for deep analysis and scholarship—for not simply absorbing knowledge but also contributing to it.
  3. Opportunities for exploring new interests and passions.

We provide these elements through a careful sequencing of core classes, a rich selection of electives and AP courses, an outstanding faculty (the most honored independent school faculty in the state), and a number of signature programs, most notably our Senior Exhibition capstone research project (modeled after a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation process) and our Winterim program, an immersive, experiential learning program that transforms the world into our classroom.

In addition to the strength of our program and people, small class sizes, advisory and college counselling programs allow each student to gain a facility with working with adults and the support that they need to be successful. Small class sizes, for example, allow our writing teachers to give ample writing assignments, offer substantive feedback and spend time conferencing with students—perhaps that’s why so many of our graduates share with us the many positive comments they receive about their writing. Our small size likewise allows each member of our honors science research program to have a designated teacher mentor to guide him or her through the research process. From course selection to college selection, Heathwood students have a community of adults who know them and who support them all along the way.

The Upper School is the last stage of development as we partner with families in building futures for our students. Upper School students take on the primary ownership of this part of the journey as they develop their scholarship, their passions, and their leadership skills that will place them in the driver’s seat of the road that will be their future.


Curriculum Overview

At the core of the Upper School experience is a robust, challenging, and student-centered academic curriculum. Implemented by our committed, nurturing faculty, this curriculum makes for an academic program that prepares our students for success in college and throughout their future. Students will be challenged in the traditional disciplines while being offered opportunities to explore newer fields of study and innovative courses. Full details of the Upper School curriculum can be found in the Upper School Curriculum Guide (link is external). This document outlines all of the courses offered in the Upper School and identifies the graduation requirements, special academic programs available to students. We encourage you to take some time to look through this document to learn more about our curriculum and the possibilities it holds for each of our students.

Upper School Curriculum Guide (link is external)

Below you will also find information regarding two specific academic concentrations available to challenge students with a strong interest in the Sciences or the Arts.

Senior Exhibition

Heathwood faculty encourage and respect the academic curiosity and interests of their students at every stage of the Heathwood experience. Seniors in the Upper School take their curiosity to a new level, as they are required to identify one area of deep interest and develop it into a scholarly exhibition. 

Supported by a joint committee of adults and peers, each senior pursues a yearlong scholarly research project resulting in a lengthy research paper (or paper and original product.) The committee is made up of two Heathwood Hall faculty members and an outside expert in the field of the student’s chosen topic.   

In addition to thinking deeply and writing thoroughly about their topic, seniors must also take part in the Senior Symposium, in which they demonstrate mastery of their topic through a public presentation. These presentations are held in an open forum, and the Heathwood Hall community and other interested people are invited to attend. 

Successful completion of the Senior Exhibition is a requirement for graduation and an important step in our students’ life-long journey of learning they will soon continue in college. 

2021 Senior Exhibition Topics

2020 Senior Exhibition Topics

2019 Senior Exhibition Topics

2018 Senior Exhibition Topics


The Winterim program at Heathwood Hall is a valuable and exciting learning opportunity for Upper School students. Winterim occurs annually during the first week in March and provides a rich educational experience that takes place beyond the traditional classroom and outside the daily academic schedule.

Students may choose to participate in activities that are staged locally, or they may choose to become involved in a program that travels regionally, domestically, or even internationally. Students also have an opportunity to become immersed in a job shadowing, or internship, experience.

The Winterim curriculum focuses on four core areas: academic and/or cultural enrichment, service, wilderness immersion, and internship opportunities. It is strongly recommended that students engage in a program grounded in each of the four core areas during their time in the Upper School. At a minimum, all students are required to engage in at least one internship during their four years as an upper school student.

Knowing young people often learn best when they are able to choose a subject and become actively immersed in its study, Heathwood faculty members have offered a wide variety of Winterim experiences for Heathwood students for nearly forty years, providing students with incredible learning opportunities in our own community, around the country, and around the world. The richness of experiences and the ongoing success of Winterim have made it a Program of Distinction at Heathwood Hall.

College Counseling

College Counseling Overview

We know that there exists an exciting world of over 4000 college options across the country, in Canada, and in the UK. We introduce our students and families to as broad a range as we can.

It is our priority to know each young person as a unique individual and guide them in making informed choices in light their aspirations, ability, style, and strengths.

We recognize that the range of college choices available to each student is directly related to their own effort and individual habits of mind. Therefore, we guide students in taking ownership over their high school education and college planning process, knowing that doing so will maximize the college options that will later become available to them.


The college planning process formally begins in the junior year. A combination of meetings, events and online resources enables students and families to engage thoughtfully in the process:

  • Students meet with college counselors one-on one to discuss academic strengths, aspirations, and viable college options.
  • Students use Naviance – an online college planning platform – to manage their search and their applications.
  • Day and evening programs throughout the year are designed to inform juniors and their families of various aspects of the college process and create excitement for the journey that lies ahead.
  • Teachers and advisors communicate regularly with the college counseling staff as they prepare student recommendations.

On a less formal basis, the college counseling office engages freshman and sophomores in developmentally appropriate ways so that they, too, may be inspired to position themselves optimally for a broad range of college options.

Click here to fill out a transcript request form for summer program applications, scholarship applications and college transfers.

Click here to view the 2021-2022 Upper School Profile.

Information for College Representatives

Heathwood Hall is welcoming all college-admission representatives back to our campus!  Click here (link is external) to access our school-visit calendar.

If you have any questions about on-campus visits to Heathwood, please contact Mrs. Kenetta Dash:


The integration of technology into the classroom has been a process over 30 years in the making at Heathwood Hall. Heathwood Hall has been a leader in instructional technology for many years with their leadership rooted in the goal of finding meaningful ways to integrate technology into the academic experience of the student to enhance the instruction and learning in our classrooms and, at the Upper School division, introduce students to technological fields of study from computer programing to graphic arts.

Eight years ago we introduced 1:1 Laptop program to the Upper School. Having a long tradition of working with faculty to enhance their instruction and student coursework with technology, the time was right to move to each student having their own device. But, a 1:1 program is much more than just a personal computer, we have built a rich teaching and learning ecosystem that includes the online services, resources, and the professional development that allow our students and faculty to unlock the richness that a 1:1 laptop program makes possible. This ecosystem opens new possibilities for the classroom while allowing teachers to foster the development of 21st Century Skills with our students: collaboration, creativity, information and media literacy, to name a few.

Click for Digital Citizenship Information

Community Service

One formalized way in which Heathwood Hall honors its commitment to developing the character of every student and preparing them to be leaders is the Upper School Community Service program. In the Upper School the school-wide community service program becomes a more formal and individualized experience. Each student is required to complete 20 hours of community service each year. Students are free to pursue service opportunities that are of interest to them and make an impact on the community. As part of the culminating set of experiences for our students, in conjunction with Baccalaureate and Commencement, seniors travel together to Johns Island, accompanied by faculty, for a three-day service project to restore homes for those in need of assistance. The Johns Island Service Project has been a part of the Heathwood Hall experience for over 30 years and serves as a powerful experience of unity and service for our graduating seniors.

Total Students


Upper School Students


Student : Teacher Ratio