The St. Paul’s Upper School offers an excellent education, utilizing a rigorous, creative, and collaborative approach that encourages students to think deeply and act decisively in the world. With its emphasis on critical thinking, intensive student-faculty interaction, and development of the whole person, the renowned International Baccalaureate (IB) Program – offered in Grades 11 and 12 – is a fitting culmination of the St. Paul’s educational experience.
More than 75 courses at all levels of academic challenge – including 28 IB offerings – are available. Dozens more courses are available in coordination with St. Paul’s School for Girls.
Three-quarters of our Upper School teachers have advanced degrees. In the classroom, and on the playing fields as coaches, our faculty connect deeply with their students and forge meaningful, long-lasting relationships. By knowing their students on such an individual basis, St. Paul’s faculty help each boy achieve at his highest possible level.
St. Paul's is a college preparatory school, and thus academic requirements are largely determined by the entrance requirements of the majority of the colleges to which St. Paul’s students apply. Each year, students receive a Course Selection Sheet to aid them in determining their program for the following year. Though each student’s advisor, among others, is ready to help in making decisions concerning the number and difficulty of courses that the student might take, ultimately each student is responsible for his own program and performance.
Any student having trouble with the material in a certain course is expected to discuss the difficulties with the instructor. The School’s grading system, with achievement and effort grades, serves to inform the student and parents of his progress.
If at any time a student’s effort or progress requires such action, the student may be placed under academic monitoring. In an effort to help the student achieve greater academic success, and to keep all interested parties updated on his progress, we have developed the following procedures:
- Academic Progress Reports - Approximately every other week students under Academic Monitoring and their parents will receive an e-mail from the advisor regarding the student’s academic progress.
- Study Halls - The student may be assigned to a study hall during all “free” periods (appropriate for juniors and seniors only).
- Review of Extracurricular Activities - The student’s participation in extracurricular activities will be examined. If, in the view of the School, it is in the student’s best interests to spend this time pursuing academic work, his participation in extracurricular activities may be suspended. Such suspension is appropriate if the student falls significantly behind and owes substantial work in one or more subjects.
- Loss of Off-Campus Privileges - If the student is a senior, he will lose his off-campus privileges.
These procedures will remain in place pending evaluation of the student’s performance at the end of each marking period. If the student’s grades have improved to the point that this process is no longer necessary, then he will be removed from academic monitoring. Any questions concerning academic monitoring should be directed to the Upper School Head.
ASH and Late Work Policy
Each teacher will present a policy regarding late work at the beginning of his or her course. All late work must be completed. There will be a loss of credit for late work. One option available to every teacher is requiring a student to attend ASH (Academic Study Hall) from 3:15-4:00. This supersedes commitments to practices but not games and performances. Teachers may allow missing or late work to be made up at this time.
Study hall is an important feature of the curriculum intended to help a student complete all academic work while also balancing the demands of his extracurricular and family responsibilities. All 9th and 10th grade students have mandatory study hall for the duration of the year. At the discretion of the Upper School Head, a 9th or 10th grade student who achieves the Headmaster’s List at the end of the first semester may be excused from study hall during the second semester. To aid a student’s academic progress, advisors and grade deans may choose to assign any student to study hall as they feel appropriate.
It is sometimes necessary, in the best interests of a student, for the School to waive one of the academic requirements. A request for a waiver may originate from several sources which include the student, his parents or his teachers. The student’s advisor will document the request by seeking input from the student’s teachers, the school counselor, and the appropriate department heads. A decision regarding the waiver will be made at a meeting of the advisor, the Academic Dean and the school counselor.
When an underclassman fails a course, the department chairperson will specify whether the course is to be repeated the following year or made up before the student returns in the fall. If a student must make up the course during the summer, the department chairperson will recommend to the Head a procedure to be followed. Parents of students in danger of having to complete summer work will be notified during the fourth quarter.
Students who do not perform at a level consistent with their or the School’s expectations may have the opportunity to improve their academic standing.
Policy for Summer Work, Modern Languages
Students who earn a C- or below as a final grade will be required to complete 15 hours of summer tutoring in order to be eligible to move on to the next level of the language.
Any student who completes 15 hours of summer tutoring, recommended or required, is eligible to retake the final exam. Students who successfully complete the exam retake may raise their final grade by up to 3 percentage points.
Summer tutors must be approved by the Modern Language Department Chair. Please contact the Modern Language Department Chair with any questions.
Policy for Summer Work, English
In order to earn enough English credits to qualify for a St. Paul’s diploma that is approved by the State of Maryland, students who earn an F as a final grade in English must enroll in a summer English course at a local accredited high school or college (not including online, tutoring resource, or other non-standard courses) and earn a passing grade. Grades from summer courses will be listed separately on a St. Paul’s transcript.
Please contact the English Department Chair if you have further questions.
Policy for Summer Work, Mathematics
Students who earn a C- or below must take a summer class at a local accredited high school or college, approved by the Mathematics Department Chair, or repeat the mathematics course. Grades from summer courses will be listed separately on a St. Paul’s transcript.
Courses must be approved by the Mathematics Department Chair. Please contact the Mathematics Department Chair if you have further questions.
Headmaster’s List and Honor Roll
The Headmaster’s List is calculated at the end of each semester. Students are named to the Headmaster’s List if they earn a 3.67 GPA with no grade lower than B-.
A student is named a St. Paul’s Scholar if he is placed on the Headmaster’s List every semester of his high school career.
Students are named to the Honor Roll, which is calculated at the end of each semester, if they earn a 3.0 GPA with no grade lower than B-.
A+ 98-100 4.33 GP
A 93-97 4.00 GP
A- 90-92 3.67 GP
B+ 87-89 3.33 GP
B 83-86 3.00 GP
B- 80-82 2.67 GP
C+ 77-79 2.33 GP
C 73-76 2.00 GP
C- 70-72 1.67 GP
D+ 67-69 1.33 GP
D 63-66 1.00 GP
D- 60-62 0.67 GP
F Below 60 0 GP
Cum Laude Society
Induction into the Cum Laude Society is one of the ways in which our school recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement. The St. Paul’s Chapter is permitted to elect no more than 20% of the Senior Class to Cum Laude (10% of the class may be inducted during junior year) and each of the inductees must clearly show that he strives for excellence, justice, and honor. The student members of Cum Laude are nominated by the faculty on the basis of cumulative grade point average, the number of honors and International Baccalaureate courses taken, and overall academic excellence. Final selection of inductees from the nominated students is made by a committee of the faculty members of the Cum Laude Society.
Cum Laude Society Paper
Each of the over 360 Cum Laude Schools is permitted to submit a single outstanding example of original work for consideration in the Cum Laude Society Paper competition. The purpose of The Cum Laude Society Paper is to recognize and celebrate outstanding academic achievement through a paper of superior scholarship and original thought.
St. Paul’s representatives in the competition have included:
2010 Charles Thorpe and his extended essay on why A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene and The Stranger by Albert Camus are exemplars of the existential novel
2011 Ben Breckler and his extended essay on the role of religion in the 2008 United States Presidential election
2012 Will Ensor and his extended essay on the role of social media in the Arab Spring (Click here to read the essay)
2013 Conor Wolford and his extended essay on the social make-up of Maryland and the Union during the Civil War (Click here to read the essay)
2014 Jack Hamed and his extended essay on the impact of H. sanguineus on indigenous
species of crab in competition for shelter in the Delaware estuaries (Click here to read the essay)
2015 Ethan Pronovost and his extended essay: Analysis of Linear Regression Algorithms (Click here to read the essay)
In order to offer feedback to the individual learners in our school, the Upper School uses a variety of mechanisms that focus on internal and external motivation: comments by both advisors and teachers as well as evaluations both narrative and numerical. Effort grades, one of these feedback tools, provide the school an opportunity to offer students input about their initiative, responsibility, and communication while allowing our teachers to model our regard for truth, excellence, and integrity. Effort grades are awarded at the end of each semester.
Each student must earn a minimum of 21 credits in four years, achieving at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average while carrying a minimum of five courses for each semester. Additionally, a student must pass all of his courses in the senior year.
From past experience, it is unlikely that a student will achieve a 2.0 cumulative grade point average for four years if he has not reached that goal by the end of his sophomore year. Therefore, in the interest of the student, the faculty will rarely promote a student to his junior year without a 2.0 cumulative GPA. In general, any student who cannot maintain a 2.0 GPA may be asked to leave.
Minimum Graduation Requirements for SPS
History or social studies
World Religions (10th grade)
Theory of Knowledge (12th grade)
1 credit (fulfilled through athletic participation)
19 credits (21 credits required to graduate)
Service Learning Requirements
The mission of the St. Paul’s Service Learning Program is to form students into life-long agents of compassion through meaningful service, honest reflection, and sound instruction.
Over his four years in the Upper School, each student must complete and log at least 60 hours of service, including at least one hour per year. These must be approved by the Service Learning Council after being entered into the x2Vol system by the student. Students are encouraged to serve communities in need, and to form meaningful connections with those they serve by committing to a single organization.
Upper School students log and track their own service hours through x2Vol, an online management system. They may sign up for service opportunities through x2Vol, and are expected to record their completed hours in the system, along with a short reflection about the experience, during the academic year the hours were served.
Every Upper School student must participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. In his four years, each student must participate in a minimum of eight (8) school-sponsored activities, of which five (5) must be made up of full athletic participation on a school-sponsored team or full participation in the troupe or crew of the fall musical. Students are encouraged to surpass the minimum requirements. Because the possible combinations of activities and athletics are as varied as our students, each boy’s level of participation is subject to review by the Upper School Dean of Students and the Head of the Upper School.
Gakushuin Senior High School, Tokyo, Japan
The exchange program with Gakushuin Senior High School started in 1990 as a teacher exchange program and grew to become a comprehensive program that includes a three-week (June), as well as a four-month (March through July) study programs for St. Paul's students, as well as a ten-month program for the Japanese students to study in our Upper School. In both the three-week and four-month programs, our students become a Gakushuin student by taking classes, experiencing Japanese life with a homestay family, and traveling to various cities in Japan. The four-month program allows our students to gain a deeper understanding of the culture and more opportunities to practice the language. We also have the privilege of hosting two Gakushuin students at St. Paul's. They take a full-load of classes, participate in extracurricular activities, and become a part of our community.
Pascal Gymnasium, Muenster, Germany
The St. Paul’s Schools for Boys and Girls have been participating in the German Exchange Program with Pascal Gymnasium in Muenster, Germany for over 20 years. Known as a university city with bicycle access to all points of entertainment, culture, and intellectualism, Muenster presents SP boys and girls with a unique opportunity to learn about a foreign culture while still feeling comfortable and “at home” in a medium-sized city. While taking part in the three week trip, students have the opportunity to attend classes, spend free time with their exchange partners, experience German family life, and see some of Germany’s most prominent and important cities.
During their 2 and a half week stay in Baltimore, the German students visit various historical and cultural sites in Baltimore. In addition to events such as the scavenger hunt in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the German students join their American counterparts for a welcome party, a potluck dinner, and an Orioles game, among other things.
Escola Pia de Sitges, Sitges, Spain
St. Paul’s furthered its mission of providing students with educational opportunities in the international setting when an exchange with the Scola Pia School in Sitges, Spain began in 2012. Sitges, fifty miles south of Barcelona, is an active, dynamic and beautiful seaside resort where cosmopolitan opportunities exist and yet there is a distinct small town feel. Sitges is well known for its stunning beaches; for over a century Sitges has been chosen by writers, painters, intellectuals and artists as a home and inspiration for their work. Its alluring landscape and cultural tradition make it appealing to people from around the world. During the approximately three-week long trip to Spain, St. Paul’s students visit Madrid, Spain’s capital and cultural center, before traveling east to Cataluña where they will meet the wonderful families of Scola Pia, who look forward to the prospect of hosting and showing off their part of the world. Students live in Spanish homes, attend classes at Scola Pia, and take day trips to some of the many other world-class tourist attractions Spain has to offer. St. Paul’s participants in the exchange find their world view greatly broadened and their Spanish skills much improved. Moreover, St. Paul’s families, and not just those whose children will travel to Sitges, have the opportunity to host the students from Scola Pia. By inviting these fine young men and women into our homes, we show them our beautiful part of the world and expand their cultural horizons while benefiting from all they will have to offer us. Should you have any questions about this outstanding opportunity or are interested in hosting a Scola Pia student please contact Sra. Silvia Stier, organizer and head of the exchange and Upper School Modern Language Department Chair.
Fettes College, Edinburgh, Scotland
Fettes College is a leading co-educational boarding and day school for children aged 7-18. Uniquely situated in extensive grounds and woodland close to the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, the school enjoys a reputation for excellent academic results, the highest level of pastoral care and a proud sporting tradition. St. Paul’s began its exchange with Fettes in February 2014.
Each year, 4 students from Fettes (2 girls and 2 boys) visit the St. Paul’s Schools for Boys and Girls for 2 weeks, attending classes, participating in school life and living with a host student. The St. Paul’s host students then return to Scotland for a 2 week stay at Fettes. On alternating years, a teacher from St. Paul’s or a teacher from St. Paul’s School for Girls will join the students as a chaperone and guest teacher at Fettes.
Hangzhou Entel Foreign School, Hangzhou, China
Founded in 2008, Hangzhou Entel Foreign Language School (HEFLS) is a rising private secondary school that features foreign language teaching and aims for the long-term development of every student. HEFLS enrolls 780 academically talented students of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds from a wide area and provides a friendly educational community that is committed as an institution to the ideal of “nurturing each person’s unique gifts” and “preparing students to meet varied challenge from the future.”In fall 2013, two students from HEFLS enrolled in the tenth grade at St. Paul’s, and will remain at the School for three years until they graduate with the Class of 2016. The School expects to welcome one to two additional Hangzhou students to the tenth grade in subsequent years. St. Paul’s students studying Chinese are offered the opportunity to join an exchange trip to China each June with fellow students from St. Paul’s School for Girls. Additionally, two teachers from St. Paul’s and St. Paul’s School for Girls will teach at HEFLS for three weeks.