Curriculum

Our core curriculum empowers students to think ethically, critically, and creatively about global issues and their local manifestations. With the support and guidance of our faculty, Thaden students develop the skills to build coherent, compelling, and innovative arguments. Through independent and collaborative work, they are encouraged to see connections among the humanities, sciences, and mathematics as integrative disciplines in the search for knowledge, meaning, and beauty.

Middle School

At Thaden, we approach the middle school years as a time to nurture agile minds and hearts through play, discovery, compassion, and trust. Early adolescents have unique intellectual, social, and emotional needs as they navigate the critically important years between elementary and high school. Designed with a deep understanding of these needs, Thaden’s middle school curriculum ignites students’ curiosity and passion for discovery while building the skills and habits they will need to thrive in our upper school program. We also offer a broad range of co-curricular programs that help younger students build confidence and develop as leaders, artists, and community volunteers.

The middle school curriculum provides a balanced foundation in the traditional disciplines: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English, World Languages, and the Arts. Each year, students take an average of five core courses plus an elective. Each course meets three times per week. While emphasizing skills development, our faculty approach each of these subjects in innovative and highly integrated ways that allow students to grapple with challenging questions well beyond the classroom walls. Middle school students also have the opportunity to integrate their studies across the disciplines through each of our three signature programs (Meals, Reels, and Wheels).

Upper School

The upper school curriculum respects the boundaries of the core academic disciplines so that students learn to distinguish the ways in which scientists, artists, mathematicians, historians, and others create knowledge and understand the world. The program of study in each discipline, however, also intersects across fields so that students may recognize patterns and illuminate big questions.

Thaden requires a minimum of 26 credits for high school graduation, distributed across the curriculum. One credit is equivalent to a year-long course. Students will exceed the minimum requirements by taking additional electives and advanced courses. Many of our courses have distinctive features that set them apart as particularly challenging and comparable to college level work.

At many schools, especially those serving students with an extremely broad range of academic trajectories and needs, courses that are specifically designed to prepare students for college often carry the Advanced Placement (AP) designation in order to signal their academic rigor. Thaden has not adopted an AP designation because our entire curriculum, as a whole, is challenging and designed to prepare all students for admission to even the most selective colleges and universities in the world. Thaden students will in the natural course of their studies develop all of the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to excel on AP examinations should they choose to take them. Any student graduating from Thaden School will also have met or exceeded Arkansas state graduation requirements.