Academic Program

Upper School


Student curiosity is a driving force of the Upper School curriculum that is focused on investigating the world with a confident and discerning scholarly lens. Our outstanding teachers work with students to cultivate a rich environment for exploration, taking advantage of their self-knowledge and developmental progression to make way for more autonomy and more agency in their academic journey. 
Students discover the beauty of each discipline, master its essential content, and most of all, develop resilient, flexible, and efficient problem-solving skills. We see our students at their most empowered walking toward challenges. We see them apply their knowledge to novel problems, and find the human and the personal in whatever is initially unfamiliar. We see them learning how to integrate, how to combine, and how to synthesize. We see our students become not only consumers of knowledge, but also producers of knowledge.

Our curriculum is designed to include a variety of voices that open up the classroom to a larger world so that our students can find themselves, and see their race, ethnicity, and culture reflected in what they study. A Spence education is an intellectual journey that is engaging, powerful, and purposeful.

—Rachael Flores, Head of Upper School

Explore Our Curriculum


“We ask, we wonder, we hypothesize, we imagine, we process information, we fail and try again and we ask further. I’ve also started to ask why not as I push my own learning by taking measured risks in seeking new knowledge.” 

Adventurous Learning for Life

Curriculum Highlights

412 Eco-Residencies

The Brizendine Center for Ecology at 412 offers the fertile space of growing a K–12 interdisciplinary ecology curriculum, inspiring programming that is urban and focused on sustainability. 

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 9 - Ecologies of Pandemics

    Students learn how zoonotic diseases have emerged and how people have lived with them. They then go on to consider contemporary policies that seek to remediate the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. They utilize multi-disciplinary skills to design solutions to some of New York’s most pressing challenges as we learn to live with COVID-19. 
  • Grade 10 - Food and Power

    Students map and understand food systems within NYC.

    During their time at 412, students will engage in programming designed by their English, history, math and science teachers that utilize their existing skills to design solutions to some of New York’s most pressing challenges. They will spend their time utilizing the greenhouse, garden and student center to explore novel ways to apply their learning to analyze energy systems. This residency is part of Spence’s K-12 commitment to empower students with the interdisciplinary skills to build a more equitable and resilient world. 
  • Grade 11 In Service to the City

    This program builds on the 11th Grade Service-Learning project with opportunities to deepen the practices of building partnerships and understanding food security issues in New York City.
  • Grade 12 - A Climate of Hope

    Students integrate all of their previous learning to think about their lasting legacy both at Spence and in NYC.

    This residency is a celebration of senior’s commitment to building a more equitable and resilient New York. Moreover, the program was envisioned and planned by the Grade 12 Eco Fellows. During their time at 412 on May 22, students will design solutions to some of New York City’s most pressing conservation challenges. 


US Students

8 Competitive Academic Teams

List of 4 items.

  • Computing Team | Debate

  • Math Team | Mock Trial

  • Model Congress | Robotics

  • Model UN | Science Team


Athletics Teams

4 Fellowships

List of 4 items.

  • 33

    Science Research Fellows
  • 23

    Eco Fellows
  • 13

    History Research Fellows
  • 12

    Art Scholars
A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


© 2023 Spence School