McLean Upper School is an exciting place, with a terrific student body and a superb faculty. This is a school that applauds students with a strong work ethic, young people who are ready to get involved.
Students are busy getting ready for college. They are learning to appreciate fine literature; to engage in the study of cultures throughout history; to solve complex problems in mathematics and science; and to express their ideas on paper. Proudly, they celebrate their jazz combo assemblies, their quality play performances, their computer graphic designs, and their hallways filled with artwork. Upper School students have written and implemented a student government constitution; created and supported an honor pledge; designed and followed through with a volunteer service program; taken charge of day-to-day discipline; and volunteered to help counsel peers in need. In the spirit of community service, the Service League sponsors such events as food and clothing drives, feeding the homeless, and coordinating school-wide holiday baskets for children of the homeless. This is a student body that works hard to sponsor fun social activities after school and on weekends, including a fall dance and senior/junior prom. In addition, McLean Upper School students have taken an active part in their athletic program, applying their many strengths to develop competitive teams in a variety of sports. They are confident in the knowledge that they “can” handle tasks they encounter, working closely with their teachers to determine “how,” using the strengths of their particular learning styles.
All Upper School students are encouraged to participate in clubs, committees, and activities. Elected student representatives serve the student body through their student government, which includes the Service League, the Equity Board and the Activity Committee. Concerned student leaders are chosen by the faculty to serve on the Honor and Discipline Committees. In conjunction with a faculty sponsor, students are encouraged to form clubs based on mutual interests.
Thirteen athletic teams are available to Upper School students (in the fall, boys soccer, girls volleyball, and co-ed cross country; in winter, boys and girls basketball, co-ed wrestling and dance team; and in the spring, boys lacrosse, girls softball, and co-ed track); or they may take a physical education class or engage in an independent physical education contract for at least two years.
At the end of their senior year, students undertake a Senior Project. Designed over the previous six months, the project offers seniors the opportunity to spend the last 2 weeks of May in a volunteer program or as an intern in the “real world” of business. The project ends with a formal presentation before the Upper School community.
The Upper School counselor is available to assist with social, emotional, and behavioral support in order to promote student success in school. This support can be offered through individual meetings with students, consultations with teachers and other school staff, classroom interventions and collaborations with parents and any outside providers. The counselor observes students in the educational setting and assists with intervention plans in school and recommendations to parents for out-of-school supports, as students demonstrate needs impacting their educational success. The counselor works as part of a multi-disciplinary team to create a safe and respectful environment where all students may learn.
The goal of the college counseling program is to help McLean students identify and select the colleges that best match the academic strengths, learning styles and personal interests of each individual student. The full-time college counselor holds regular group meetings with juniors and seniors to review the various aspects of the college application process, including researching colleges, planning visits, writing essays and practicing interview skills. Additionally, the college counselor works with individual students and their parents, helping them to navigate and manage the college admission and financial aid process.
All students benefit from the multiple-modality teaching style used by McLean teachers. In addition, the school encourages students to use the tools they need to be successful. Students may use preferential seating, books on tape, extended time on tests, laptop computers, note-taking buddies and the Kurzweil reader. When appropriate, students may also receive oral exams and/or readers for exams. Academic Achievement Plans are developed for students based on current outside professional diagnostic testing reports as warranted. This plan does not guarantee approval for accommodations by any outside testing agency. A full-time learning specialist and a part-time academic coach are additional resources for the Upper School community.