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Students perform in a group dance on a stage

When we say that academics at Carolina Friends are “different by design,” we mean several things. First, we believe in student-centered education. This means that teachers will strive to evaluate students individually. Teachers work to cultivate, above all else, a “growth mindset” in their courses. We have high expectations, and those high expectations are calibrated differently for each student. 

Second, we believe that students should have a voice in framing their work, through our many electives, through pathways in certain subject areas, through guided independent study, and through mentored student teaching. Curricula are structured by both grade level and student achievement, and students are encouraged to pursue advanced level study in disciplines appropriate to their interests and abilities. Likewise, we want our teachers to have opportunities to teach their passions, sharing with students what it means to delve deeply into a subject and move from knowledge toward insight.

We recognize that students are "more than:" more than a letter grade, more than an athlete, a scientist, an artist. They build rich pathways of study that create interdisciplinary exploration and a more full realization of self that embrace all areas of passion and pursuit.

Student Schedules

The Upper School year is divided into 12-week trimesters, with time devoted to the Upper School Retreat, service, Symposia, and End of Year Experiences. Most students take four full years (12 credits) of Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Modern Language, and Cultural Arts.

Subject Areas

Graduation Requirements

Language Arts 12 credits (3 credits of Foundations of Literature, 3 credits of Global Literature, 6 other; 1 per term is required)
Mathematics 9 credits*
Science  9 credits (3 credits of biological science, 3 credits of physical science, 3 other)
Social Studies 9 credits (3 credits of Geography, 3 credits of Global History, 3 of US History)
Modern Language 6 credits*
Service-Learning 6 credits (minimum of 1 credit per year)
Physical Education 6 credits (minimum of 1 credit per year)
Cultural Arts 8 credits
Adolescent Health 1 credit

Students may choose to sit for AP or SAT Subject exams in corresponding disciplines after consultation with their advisor, teachers, and the College Counselor.

*Admission to the University of North Carolina system requires one year of math beyond Algebra II and two years of the same language.

Satisfactory completion of one term in any subject area constitutes one credit in that area.

Quaker Values

We are both intentionally secular and deeply informed by principles of mutual respect, a search for truth, and a desire for social justice.

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Campus Highlights

In addition to our wooded, 126-acre campus, Upper School students can build technology in our Makers Lab, create art in our digital, visual, and filmmaking studios, and stage dance and theater productions in our state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.