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Grades 5 — 8

Upper School

We intentionally design the Upper School experience to be Creative, Relevant, Engaging and Challenging. Upper School Students take part in many academic, social and active experiences which encourage leadership opportunities and increase responsibility. In addition to our academic offerings that will help prepare them for Secondary School, our focus on Character Development is incorporated into what we do each day.

Character Development

Through our daily commitment to honoring the SPS Community Code, we strive to be kind, compassionate, and inclusive. We are respectful of and honest with ourselves, our work, and others. We are all encouraged to be our best selves.

Academic Pursuit

Courses including English, mathematics, science, history, French, physical education, art, and music engage and challenge Upper School students to develop academically.


Students meet with faculty who advise them on academics and support their social and emotional growth. They engage in student-driven and teacher-guided conversations about leadership, learning styles, personal accountability and cultural competence, while practicing skills for social awareness.

Arts Appreciation

Exploration of the studio, musical and theatrical arts provide students rich opportunities to embrace creativity and self-expression, while gaining a long-lasting appreciation for the arts.

City Curriculum

By deepening community partnerships and connections, and exposing our students to engaging and uniquely Philadelphia-specific experiences, our City Curriculum enhances the learning experience for each student and provide an opportunity to build a stronger bond to their communities and the city at large.


US students choose a club of their choice each trimester to specialize and explore areas of interest during the school day.


Fifth through Eighth Graders practice speaking publicly at Declamations. Students challenge themselves to master and declaim celebrated works of poetry and prose, including speeches, sonnets, and excerpts from novels, plays, and songs.

Independent Study Project

The inquiry-based learning Independent Study Project (ISP) engages Fifth through Eighth Graders as they research, design, and develop a deeper understanding of a topic of their choice, culminating in a presentation of their findings to the School community in the spring.

Interscholastic Sports

US students participate in the School’s interscholastic sports program, donning garnet and grey uniforms and representing SPS as the School challenges neighboring independent school rivals in a variety of athletics, including cross country, soccer, basketball, and track.
Secondary School Placement: Our Secondary School Placement Director works closely with US students and their families as they apply to high school.