Academics

Upper School

Here, You Become Prepared

Challenging academics. Independent spirit. In the MVS upper school, students become creators, communicators, and powerful advocates who are ready to impact the world.

The MVS upper school offers an immersive college-preparatory curriculum with a wide variety of core courses and electives in pursuit of unique and rigorous graduation requirements. As in the middle school, classes meet every other day in an 85-minute block schedule, mirroring the schedule our students will experience at most colleges and universities.

In upper school, MVS’ signature Immersion Term spans four weeks, providing students in grades 9-12 with extended opportunities to explore topics of interest outside the boundaries of the normal classroom. In addition to studying in multi-grade groups in Immersion courses such as “Designing for Social Action,” “Marine Ecology,” and “Outreach to Ghana,” upper school students also have the option of designing their own independent study during Immersion Term. As indicated by the example course offerings above, upper school Immersions often involve significant off-campus travel and real-world experiences.

Our upper school students are dynamic, creative, and diverse individuals who are engaged in and excited about their learning. Through the MVS Immersion Method, students have ownership over their studies, creating an even more authentic learning experience. Upper school electives are wide-ranging, providing students the opportunity to study programming, printmaking, and playwriting with equal zeal.
Our upper school students are dynamic, creative, and diverse individuals who are engaged in and excited about their learning.

Upper School Programs

List of 2 items.

  • Beyond AP

    In keeping with the principles of the MVS Immersion Method, The Miami Valley School moved beyond Advanced Placement® courses beginning in 2017. Instead of subjecting students to a curriculum that privileges test prep over authentic education, MVS teachers create dynamic opportunities for real-world learning and academic achievement in a one-of-a-kind school environment. In the upper school, advanced and honors courses are designed to replicate the experience and small-group dynamic of a college-level seminar, favoring depth over breadth in course content.
  • Independent Research & Fieldwork

    In the upper school, students’ natural curiosity and passion for learning is encouraged through a variety of opportunities for independent study, original research, and real-world fieldwork.

    All students complete the Aries Project, the school’s signature capstone, as one of their graduation requirements. This in-depth research project requires students to conduct original fieldwork in collaboration with an Outside Expert as well as completing an extensive literature review in pursuit of a final research paper and presentation at the Aries Colloquium.

    Students may also participate in The Learning Project, a semester-long independent study organized around a student-driven research question, or the MVS Student Assistant Teacher program, which allows older students to mentor younger students and be mentored themselves by faculty members as teaching assistants.

The MVS Upper School Offers...

List of 4 items.

  • Top Academics

    MVS is Dayton's #1 high school in the 2024 Niche Best Schools rankings. Visit our campus to see how it all happens.
  • Top Preparation

    MVS is Dayton's #1 school for college preparation in the 2024 Niche Best Schools rankings.

    Explore our college counseling program below.
  • Top STEM

    MVS is Dayton's #1 school for STEM programs in the 2024 Niche Best Schools rankings. 

    Explore our course catalog below. 
  • Diverse Community

    MVS is recognized as one of Private School Review's most diverse schools in Ohio. 

    Here, you belong.

Curriculum

List of 13 items.

  • Clubs & Activities

    The upper school has over 30 student-led clubs and organizations to join. Students have club time built into the framework of their class schedule, with many clubs also meeting after school or traveling on weekends for competitions. Students are able to create their own clubs, and many are able to build communities of shared interest using this option.

    Club and Activities Available (2022-2023):
    • Academic Challenge (Quiz Bowl)
    • Alliance of Catholic Students
    • Black Student Union
    • Cabbage Club
    • Chess Club
    • Chinese Honor Society
    • Diversity Club
    • Dungeons & Dragons Club
    • Film Club
    • French Honor Society
    • Games Club
    • GSA
    • Improv
    • Indian Students Association
    • International Students Union
    • Junior State of America
    • JustWrite (Power of the Pen)
    • Math Competitions Club
    • Model UN
    • Muslim Student Association
    • Prom Committee
    • Rambotics (Robotics Team)
    • Ram Report (newspaper)
    • Ski Club
    • Spanish Honor Society
    • Speech and Debate
    • Student Ambassadors
    • Student Government
    • Student Service Board
    • Tune Commune: Music Appreciation Society
    • Yearbook
  • Community Service

    MVS students must complete 20 hours of community service for each full year spent at MVS in order to graduate. Students may earn community service credit through independent volunteer work at organizations of their choice, by volunteering at designated school events, or through group community service activities organized by the MVS Student Service Board. The Student Service Board is a student-run club at MVS that helps connect peers with service opportunities.
  • Computer Science

    As the world becomes dependent on the digital, it is imperative to educate our students in computer science. This challenges our students to participate productively in society, to make good decisions, and to protect themselves.
    Our Computer Science courses develop academic skills, build qualities like perseverance and organization, and gain valuable 21st century skills. Critical thinking and problem-solving are important life skills and frequently used in these courses. From Web Design to Robotics, our students learn the broad spectrum of computer science.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • Arduinos & Raspberry Pis
    • Intro to Processing
    • Python
    • Big Data
     
  • English

    The upper school English program promotes an understanding of and appreciation for humanity that transcends cultural boundaries. The literature-rich and writing intensive curriculum stimulates intellectual curiosity and a greater sense of self.
    Students are encouraged to revise, to conference individually with faculty, to research authors and content, and to discover their own voice through analytical and creative assignments. Students exercise freedom of thought and expression as they explore diverse and universal human concerns and integrate ideas from literature with daily life. Students discover the pleasure and value of reading and writing as lifelong learning processes and participate in active and lively critical discussions of their own work as well as the work they read.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • The Art of the Essay 
    • World Literature
    • American Authors
    • Topics in Senior English
    • Grammar & Writing
    • Music and Lyrics
    • South Asian Writers
    • Technical and Professional Writing
    • Women Writers
    • Shakespeare
    • Intro to Film
    • Black Literary Voices
    • Reading Poetry
    • Humans, Machines, and Technology: Science Fiction Literature
  • Math

    With extensive offerings in mathematics, our students can choose courses that are appropriately challenging for them. Math at MVS incorporates technology and techniques that allow our students to conceptualize, navigate uncertainties and problem solve. With the relevant and rigorous curriculum, students enter college with solid math sense, advanced mathematical skills, and new ways of understanding the world around them. MVS’ math curriculum is unique in its offering of multivariate calculus, which provides advanced students with the opportunity to study this high-level math on campus with an MVS instructor.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • Algebra I
    • Geometry
    • Geometry Honors
    • Algebra II
    • Algebra II Honors
    • Precalculus
    • Differential Calculus
    • Calculus I
    • Calculus II
    • Statistics & Inference
    • Probability & Game Theory
    • Multivariate Calculus
  • One Schoolhouse

    Seniors at MVS may also enroll in One Schoolhouse online courses as their sixth course for a semester. For more information about MVS’ One Schoolhouse options, please click the button below.
    Information & Accepted Courses
  • Physical Education

    Physical education is good for a student physically, mentally and socially. Quality physical education programs are needed to increase the physical competence, health-related fitness, self-responsibility and enjoyment of physical activity for all students so that they can be physically active for a lifetime. In many ways, our physical education courses strengthen more than their bodies and minds, but major social skills between each other. Our courses delve into more than just physical activity. Students learn about maintaining healthy lifestyles and interpersonal relationships. well as the work they read.

    Courses Available:
    • Strength & Conditioning
    • Health
    • Credit Flex
  • Science

    While academic excellence is best achieved through a balanced exposure to the arts, humanities, science, and physical wellness, we know that the most rapid changes taking place in the world around us are in the areas of science, technology and engineering, which is why we also offer a robust selection of science courses that are both challenging and varied. MVS Advanced Topics seminars are the most advanced science classes offered at the school, providing a college-level science experience founded on deep, immersive learning.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Chemistry Honors
    • Physics
    • Conceptual Physics
    • Chemistry II
    • Biology II
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Anatomy: Skin and Musculoskeletal Systems
    • Anatomy: Neuroscience
  • Social Science

    Social science courses at MVS aim to develop effective learning techniques and practices for studying the human condition. Students investigate individuals’ and civilizations’ role in influencing social and cultural development; the mechanics and dynamics of cultural chance; and value structures and concepts. Our social sciences program develops students’ critical learning skills of research, analysis and communication. Through developing a sense of inquiry into mankind’s ideas and ideals, our students gain a better understanding of their world and how to be a compassionate global citizen.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • World Civilizations
    • US Government
    • US History
    • Europe in a Global Context
    • International Relations
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Economics & Finance
    • Contemporary Issues
    • Sociology
    • The Carbon Economy
     
  • Special Programs

    Our Elective Learning courses give insight to real world careers. Students gain a better understanding to the ever-changing world of business, academics and education. Students receive guidance from outside professionals and more importantly, learn for themselves what piques their interests. Whether it’s the cutting edge of web and social media analytics or the intricacies of the classroom, our students prepare themselves for the world outside of school and begin to think about their careers.

    Courses Available:
    • The Learning Project
    • Student Assistant Teacher Program
     
     
  • The Aries Project

    The Aries Project is The Miami Valley School’s signature senior capstone research experience, which is completed by all members of the senior class in order to graduate. Students work with a faculty mentor and an Outside Expert to perform original research and fieldwork on a topic of their choice, then complete an extensive literature review and research paper on their topic while also showcasing their research at the annual Aries Colloquium.
  • Visual & Performing Arts

    Our robust Visual and Performing Arts Department offers a variety of opportunities for students to discover their talents and express themselves in innovative and creative ways.
    Music, visual art, and theater are all part of the MVS Arts experience, cultivating creative intellectual leaders with an excitement for learning. Process is at the heart of the program, providing excellent studios and quality materials for students to take creative risks. Students are required to take a certain number of Fine Arts semester-long elective courses, but many elect to immerse themselves in the arts above the requirement.
    Courses may change yearly, so students have the opportunity to take advantage of an array of media and techniques.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • Design Foundations
    • Storytelling in the Visual Arts
    • Painting
    • Printmaking
    • Ceramics
    • Sculpture
    • Drawing
    • Jazz Ensemble
    • Strings Ensemble
    • Ars Nova A Cappella
    • Performing Arts
    • Music, Gender, & Sexuality
    • Theater Design and Production
    • Music Theory
  • World Languages

    The upper school world language department aims to help students develop language skills, with an emphasis on communication in the modern languages, and cultural awareness. Through exploration of diverse cultures, our students gain a greater understanding and practice of compassionate global citizenship and discover lifelong passions.

    2023-2024 Courses:
    • Spanish I
    • Spanish II
    • Spanish III
    • Spanish IV
    • Spanish V
    • French I
    • French II
    • French III
    • French IV: Topics in Modern French Literature and Culture
    • French V: Le Septiéme Art
    • Mandarin I
    • Mandarin II
    • Mandarin III
    • Mandarin IV
    • Mandarin V
    • International Student Support Services

The Immersion Method

The Miami Valley School’s academic program is guided by the school’s signature pedagogy, the MVS Immersion Method. The Immersion Method is grounded in our shared belief that learning is rooted in direct experience, which leads to engagement and the discovery of passion by each individual student. At MVS, teachers serve as guides and collaborators rather than lecturers, and deep knowledge of concepts is privileged over rote memorization.

Everything we do at The Miami Valley School is carefully sculpted to create a community of student and adult learners who are supported in pursuit of their individual passions. Our faculty and staff collaborate with students to help them pursue the information they are curious about.

College Counseling

Preparing for college and beyond

At The Miami Valley School, our unique blend of experiential education and challenging core academics makes our students ready for the challenges of college and beyond. Every one of our graduates is prepared for the rigors of a competitive four-year college. However, the MVS college process is not one-size-fits-all. Our Director of College Counseling works with every senior to find an institution that is the best place for them. At MVS, personalized attention in the college admissions process is integral to student success.

The Aries Project

A capstone research experience

The Aries Project is The Miami Valley School’s signature senior capstone research experience, which is completed by all members of the senior class. Students work with a faculty mentor and an Outside Expert to perform original research and fieldwork on a topic of their choice, then complete an extensive literature review and research paper on their topic while also showcasing their research at the annual Aries Colloquium. The Aries Project not only allows MVS students to deepen their expertise in their chosen field, but also instills the research skills and self-advocacy necessary for success in college and beyond. In this way, the Aries experience exemplifies the MVS Immersion Method of education.

Here, Immersive Learners...

List of 4 items.

  • Explore

    At MVS, students and teachers explore by mentally, physically, and virtually venturing from where they are today to expand the footprint of their collective experience and the boundaries of their comfort zones. Through exploration, students and faculty combine big ideas and themes and begin authentic problem-solving on a wider scale.
  • Connect

    At MVS, students and teachers connect by linking frequently, closely, and authentically to the past and future, considering their own backgrounds, perspectives, and goals. Students and teachers collaborate in learning with and from a wide range of other people, places, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Share

    At MVS, students and teachers share their work by designing, creating, building, making, discussing, publishing, presenting, and otherwise contributing original and derivative work in real time to the collective body of human knowledge and experience. Students and teachers take their findings outside the four walls of the classroom and make their learning public.
  • Reflect

    At MVS, students and teachers make a habit of stepping away from the everyday routines of a typical school day and seeking understanding about the why, how, and what if of the learning process. Students and teachers consider their position within the work of learning and think deeply about how their work can be integrated with their other interests, passions, and expertise.

The Miami Valley School College Report

Learn about the MVS college counseling process and see the next steps for the Class of 2023.

Robert Tate, Class of 2012

You don't come to MVS to go through the motions of school, and you don't come here only because you're going to have a great brand on your resume when it's time to apply to college. You come to MVS because the things you learn here are going to stick with you for the rest of your life.
© Miami Valley School. All Rights Reserved