Upper School

In Duchesne’s Upper School, your daughter expands her worldview, leads teams and groups, and grows in sophistication. The girls discover and refine their own unique voices as key contributors, authors, inventors, international travelers, and tireless volunteers. Our Upper School prepares your daughter for where she’s headed next.


2016-2017 School Profile


Upper School Academic Overview

Graduation Requirements

Duchesne’s college preparatory academic program in the Upper School is strong and challenging. Students are required to complete the following:

4 credits English

4 credits Social Studies

4 credits of Math in the Upper School

4 credits Science

3 credits Foreign Language

2 credits Physical Education and Health

7 credits Religious Studies (including Social Awareness)

1 credit Fine Arts

.5 credit Computer Studies

.5 credit Speech (Class of 2017 and 2018)

27 Total Credits Required

A student must earn at least 6.5 credits to be classified as a sophomore, at least 13.5 credits to be classified as a junior, and at least 20 credits to be classified as a senior.

Advanced Credit from Middle School

Students may receive Upper School credit for Algebra I, French I, or Spanish I taken in the eighth grade if they are placed in Geometry, French II, or Spanish II freshman year. In this case, students must take three additional credits of mathematics and complete the third level of a foreign language in Upper School.

Advanced Placement Courses

Students may elect to take Advanced Placement courses with the recommendation of the appropriate teacher and the approval of the academic dean, provided they meet the benchmarks in rubrics developed within each department. All AP courses at Duchesne have been audited and approved by the College Board.

All AP students are expected to take the national AP exams in May. Students will receive an additional 0.5 quality point at the semester for each AP course passed.

Suggested AP Course Load: 10th Grade - 1 AP; 11th Grade - 2 APs; 12th Grade - 3 APs.

Social Awareness Requirement

As part of their religious studies credit, students are required to participate in a service learning program, Social Awareness. It provides them a gradually deepening opportunity to offer their gifts of time and talent in service to the wider community. Freshmen and sophomores are involved in a minimum of four approved service projects each year. Sophomores attend a weekly Social Awareness class to prepare them for the off-campus program. For two academic years, juniors and seniors volunteer each Wednesday at schools, soup kitchens, shelters, and other agencies throughout Houston. All students turn in journal reflections on their service experiences.

Physical Education/Athletics Credit

Students must participate in physical education or the equivalent each semester throughout Upper School. Participation in one season of Duchesne Athletics satisfies the physical education requirement during that season. For the exemption to be complete, the student must fill out the appropriate paperwork from the Athletics and Physical Education director. If a ninth-grade student is planning to participate in a spring sport but does not participate in a winter sport, she must start the second semester in PE. She will be exempt from PE once the spring practices begin.

Upper School Office

Donald Cramp, Ed.D.
Head of Upper School

Jill Hess
Upper School Dean of Students

Sheila Baisden
College Advising Director

Robbie Miller
Assistant to Head of Upper School

Duchesne is instilling me with an academic discipline that helps me focus on the tasks I need to accomplish. Also, the academic rigor is preparing me for how I should study for higher-level courses.

10th GRADER