Upper School

Oakwood Upper School in Poughkeepsie NYOakwood's Upper School serves students in grades 9 through 12. The course curriculum is designed to teach students to think critically, to analyze and evaluate information carefully and to be open to understanding new ideas.  In keeping with Oakwood’s mission is to educate the spirit, scholar, athlete, and artist in each student, all are encouraged to challenge themselves and be active participants in their learning. We encourage the athlete to try out for the school play, the student who excels in Calculus to study International Relations and the ceramicist to dive into Greek Philosophy. Both electives and year-long courses bridge traditional areas of study with contemporary global issues.

The extensive course offerings are not only open to all students. In fact, students are required to engage in a wide breadth of course and topic of study throughout their time here. Take a look at the extensive course guide:

Download the Upper School Curriculum Guide

A Sample Spring Course Overview


Featured Programs


Oakwood High SchoolThe Core ESL (English as a Second Language) Program at Oakwood Friends School provides intermediate-range students who place into it with a supportive learning environment and ample opportunity to practice the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

More on the International ESL Program


The Academic Support Center (ASC) strives to meet the academic and social needs of students who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate learning differences, Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) and/or Autistic Spectrum disorders. 

More on the Academic Support Center 

Global Affairs

Oakwood Friends High SchoolTalk today is about how rapidly and deeply the world is changing. Economic and political events in countries thousands of miles away affect everyone, often immediately. Recognizing this, Oakwood Friends School developed its Global Affairs Certificate Program. Students graduating with a Global Affairs diploma engage in rigorous academic work in conjunction with practical experience.

This program involves completing coursework from classes such as Ethics, Asian Religion, International Relations, Cultural Anthropology, Modern Middle East, Postcolonial Studies, Revolutions in Three Countries, Economics, Greek Philosophy and Globalization. The program offers Mandarin Chinese as a language option. The program wraps up with individualized capstone research projects in the spring of senior year.

Throughout Oakwood’s educational program, connections to the larger global community can be found. At the upper levels we offer courses that prepare students with the requisite knowledge and perspectives to understand contemporary global relations, culminating for some students in independent research projects leading to a Global Affairs Certificate. Outside of class, students reinforce this with clubs like Model United Nations, Academic Worldquest, Human Rights internships with the United Nations Association-Mid Hudson Valley and Global 20/20. Our school community itself, with its wide and deep diversity reflects the desire we have to promote global understanding. At all levels, courses are aimed at the moral and philosophical growth of students and by design, emphasize depth over breadth.


Robotics provides students interested in mathematics and science an opportunity to study theory, design and application. This year-long course is divided roughly into three sections. An explosion in wireless technology coupled with decreasing size and cost of hardware has sparked a sensor revolution. We are hard-pressed to function for even a few hours without benefiting from embedded sensor technology. With this in mind, we will spend one term exploring the design, construction and implementation of a variety of sensors. During a second term, the class focuses on the planning, building, programming and testing aspects of robotic design. The final term of robotics challenges students with a balance of theory and engineering application. We cover topics in statics, kinematics, vector and calculus-based physics, basic electronics, Boolean logic gates and Arduino circuit design.


Oakwood students enjoy an extremely high level of available technology to support their studies:

  • Oakwood Friends Upper SchoolHigh-speed Internet across campus for all students, both wired and wireless connections
  • 18-seat computer lab for student use as well as computers in all dormitories with printers available
  • 5-seat art computer lab with 3D printer, 3D clay printer, and access to Adobe’s full creative Cloud products
  • 1:1 middle school Chromebook program
  • iPad program for advanced language classes
  • Google Apps for education, allowing students to submit assignments online, email their teachers, safely store their files in the Cloud, and have access to all of Google’s applications via their Oakwood Google account