A Threshold to Success
The Upper School takes well-crafted learners, where their time throughout Middle School was spent honing their learning skills and organization, and places them in a liberal arts environment where their true passions take flight. Part of what makes our Upper School so successful is the range of classes offered, and the number of Advanced Placement, or college-level, classes offered—17 total. The classroom experience is rounded out by programs like our summer Internship Program for rising juniors and seniors, and The Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies, which offers its students travel opportunities and a global perspective in learning. This year, we'll graduate our first STEM Certificate students who must complete a senior project, specific course requirements, and participation in outside STEM activities in order to receive this designation. Put all of these elements together and you have something truly special; you have a North Cross graduate. You have a student who is ready not just to join, but to contribute—thoughtfully and fearlessly—to any college environment.
Upper School Division Director
Upper School History and Global Studies
The Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies at North Cross School is designed to make students more aware, capable, and interested in a globalized and interconnected world. Through course work and experiential education, students will become more knowledgeable and engaged in 21st century issues with greater international outlook, insight, and perspective. Students who successfully complete the established requirements will earn the designation of Global Studies Scholar on their diploma and transcript.
Beginning the 2018-19 academic year, Upper School students will have the opportunity to graduate with a STEM certificate designation. The program outlines specific coursework (such as computer science and math classes) and activities (such as Robotics or Coding Club) in which students must participate in order to qualify. The capstone to the program replaces their senior speech with a senior STEM project.
Even in the Lower School, writing is a pillar on which we rest the success of our curriculum. By the time a student reaches the Upper School, they are well versed in the art of crafting an essay, uncovering research with integrity, and critically evaluating the ideas and theories of others. As a final exercise of both our public speaking and writing programs, each senior delivers a speech at assembly that is based in academic research and the result of a written research paper of at least ten pages. Seniors are paired with a faculty advisor as they read and research a topic of the senior’s choosing.
This project highlights the ability of North Cross School students to read, research, organize, write, and then confidently deliver a fifteen minute speech and presentation to a crowd approaching 200 people.
North Cross offers a variety of classes at the AP level. A few of our teachers not only instruct AP courses but grade exams for the College Board. For the 2017-18 academic year, 39 of our Upper School students this year were named AP Scholars (those with a score of a 3 out of 5 or above on at least 3 AP tests), 7 of which were named AP Scholars with Honor, and 13 were AP Scholars with Distinction, while 3 made the prestigious National AP Scholar level.
Advanced Placement Classes for the 2018-19 school year:
Each year 100 percent of North Cross School graduates have the opportunity to enroll in a college or university, and most years, all of them do. The experience of choosing a college helps students further develop interests, define talents, and consider their own individual ideas, stances, and values. College Counseling at North Cross School is designed primarily as a resource for students and parents. The underlying assumption is that college counseling at North Cross School empowers students to take control of their own college search and application process and ultimately identify and apply to post-secondary institutions that meet their individual needs and expectations.
All Upper School students have a physical education requirement (participation in at least 3 athletic seasons over 4 years). Students can fulfill this requirement by joining an athletic team. The North Cross School athletic program is based on the knowledge that a well-exercised, competitive young person can learn about himself or herself on the athletic field in a way difficult to match in other areas of school life. The development of the complete person is the goal of both the faculty and the students at North Cross and that goal is enthusiastically pursued in our athletic program.
Despite a no-tryouts policy, our teams win numerous conference and state titles each year. Perhaps it's the way our student-athletes come together as a team. The School has an honor code : “I will not lie. I will not cheat. I will not steal.” When the word "honor" is mentioned, the discussion usually turns to being a "person of integrity" or having "good character." To further that initiative, our Athletic Program has added a Sportsmanship Code that is introduced in the Lower School: “I will play fair. I will try my best. I will be kind to everyone.”
Beyond athletics, students in the Upper School have many areas in which to express and develop their interests. From Model United Nations to tutoring young children at a nearby church, students are encouraged to look beyond their school's walls for experience and skills. In the early winter, students have a day-long Symposium where local artists, scientists, and everyone in between are brought to give "mini-courses" in their field of expertise to those in the eighth through twelfth grades.
Yearbook and Journalism might take a trip to New York City to learn about the latest techniques. Students might decide to spend a spring break in China or France with faculty chaperones. In a nutshell, North Cross recognizes that there are many places that can be called "classrooms," and we encourage our students to explore them all.
In the summer, rising juniors and seniors can do an internship at a local business or organization. Past opportunities have included positions at Roanoke Opera; Novozymes Biological, Inc.; Roanoke Regional Partnership; Woods & Rogers Law Firm; Roanoke Star Soccer and The Science Museum of Western Virginia, to name a few.
Many private schools talk about the importance of "character," but what does that look like? At North Cross, we develop students of the world, not just of the classroom. We encourage a sense of responsibility that extends beyond themselves and their immediate environment. Community Service is a mainstay of an Upper Schooler's experience. Each year, each advisory group will spend hours at a local humanitarian aid organization (in 2017-18, North Cross partnered with the Rescue Mission, volunteering a total of over 1,200 hours). In addition, students have a number of service hours that must be completed each year independently.
A global perspective naturally results from traveling to foreign countries. As such, students have many opportunities to travel abroad, beginning in the Middle School. They'll also listen to speakers and presenters as we bring lecturers and innovative thinkers to campus with our community-wide CrossCurrents Annual Speaker and Dialogue Series.
Perhaps the best way any individual learns to set a good example is through mentorship. Each senior is paired with an ECP-2 (4-year-old) buddy who they spend the year getting to know through regularly scheduled activities surrounding holidays and School events. The younger children love having a North Cross "big kid" friend, and the seniors learn responsibility and how important it is to set a good example for the next generation of Raiders.
The Upper School athletic captains lead a Sportsmanship Assembly in the fall where, similar to our Honor Code, students promise to try their best, play fair and be kind to everyone.
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North Cross School is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory day school founded in 1944 and governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees.
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North Cross is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. North Cross School's ECP-1 and 2 are accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools who is recognized by the Board of Education pursuant to §22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Virginia Council for Private Education to accredit private nursery, preschool, elementary and secondary schools in Virginia.
North Cross is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, National Association for College Admission Counseling, and Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, The Cum Laude Society and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.