Academic Program


The Academic Program is traditional in nature and grounded in the core subject areas: English, History, Science, Mathematics, Foreign Languages, Visual Arts and Performing Arts. Introductory levels focus on the acquiring of basic skills and the establishment of habits essential for future success. An extensive array of Advanced Placement courses in all subject areas serves as the foundation for advanced study.

Academic distinction is rewarded with membership in the Cum Laude Society, the independent school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa membership. Spartanburg Day School was the first independent school in South Carolina to establish a chapter of Cum Laude.

The Arts thrive in the Upper School. All students participate in some artistic endeavor, many throughout their high school careers. The Mildred H. Dent Fine Arts Center, built in 1999, symbolizes the school’s commitment to the visual and performing arts. The Dent Gallery hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, highlighting local artists, as well as student work.

Athletics plays an integral role in the life of the Upper School. At SDS, we believe that team participation, sportsmanship and the honing of athletic skills are essential in the education of a young adult. All students participate in at least one athletic season each year, with most students choosing to exceed that requirement.

A unique component of the Upper School experience is Special Studies Week, which traditionally takes place during the first week of March. During this time, Upper School students take a break from the normal academic schedule and participate in one of many “experiential learning” options. Students may travel to a foreign country, perform community service, participate in a robotics competition, or engage in something as eclectic as scrap-booking or shag dancing.

Multiple Clubs and Service Activities in the Upper School provide opportunities for students to pursue a passion or gain leadership experience. Students may choose to help direct the social life of the school, perform community service, or simply share an interest with their peers. All students are urged to get involved in the extra curricular life of the school.

College Counseling in the Upper School is proactive and individualized. Beginning freshman year, students and their parents are systematically shepherded through admission trends, College Board testing, the college selection process and, finally, the application process itself. Seminars, one-on-one-guidance, and accessible technology are all part of our hands-on approach. Every student enters the college process with an extensive personal recommendation written by one of our college counselors.