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Thinking, Creating, Reflecting: Impacting the Future

Upper School

Ages 10 - 14

  • Date created

    January 15, 2018

  • Last updated

    September 7, 2023


Adolescence is a time when social emotional learning and a focus on identity is critically important. At Spectrum, students are encouraged to become independent learners, taking on even more personalized projects. Such projects may include connecting with outside experts, developing mentor relationships, and creating evidence through digital media. Students learn the 21st century skills needed to be engaged in high school, the workforce, and beyond. What is most unique is this model gives students the opportunity to take creative risks without fear of failure.  Teachers work closely with each student to support and nurture their passions, while creating appropriate academic rigor meant for that child’s developmental needs. Teachers and parents collaborate through in person, email, and text conversations to attend to the whole child. Often you may find students on personalized field trips, including time at Rockford University. Finally, as part of our philosophy of progressive education, Upper School students identify ways to make an impact on their community and are expected to show evidence of creating a positive impact in our school community and beyond.

What to Expect

Students are becoming independent thinkers and learners

They are striving to be responsible and self-directed

Curiosity is encouraged. Students have more choice in what is studied, as well as how projects will be created and assessed

Students are encouraged to ask questions in order to develop deeper understanding

Students are developing more sophisticated problem solving strategies

Common core standards are incorporated within the curriculum

Upper School students continue to work on developing as a whole child (resolving social conflicts, the arts, etc)

High school readiness with exposure to a wide range of content

21st century literacy skills

Daily technology integration including video editing, blogging, and Google Drive

Problem Solving and Problem Based Learning

Psychosocial education for students and parents

Personal, meaningful relationships with all students and parents

Inside the Classroom

Upper School Highlights! May 13 – May 17

End of the Year Picnic was a success!Have a relaxing 

Upper School Highlights! May 6 – May 10

Upper Japanese students are great using chopsticks! (hashi 箸)Thanks Diane 

Upper School Highlights! April 29 – May 3

Mini chocolate banana candy in Japanese class!Upper School buddying up 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 22 – Apr. 26

Numbers in Nature! Exploring nature for numbers and poetry. Patterns 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 15 – Apr. 19

Making Origami Baskets! Team Yellow decorating their shirts for Friday! 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 8 – Apr. 12

Hee-Haw Hoedown Pictures! Upper School students closed out the Hee-Haw 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 1 – Apr. 5

Bandtastic Honor Band! Congratulations to Ben and Noah for being 

Upper School Highlights! Mar. 18 – Mar. 22

Anderson Japanese Gardens’ guest house! Students made own rice balls-onigiri 

Upper School Highlights! Mar. 11 – Mar. 15

Solofest! Solofest is this weekend for band students. They will 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 26 – Mar. 1

A beautiful February day! Parachute Man Mean, Median, and Mode….Nature 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 20 – Feb. 23

Spanish Class Afuera! It's was a beautiful day for a 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 12 – Feb. 16

Mosaico Cultural! This week, we had the dance instructor from 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 29 – Feb. 2

Upper School goal: reuse plastics combined with Art!Hard work in 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 22 – Jan. 26

Hands-on Equivalent Fractions!Beethoven! We are learning about Beethoven’s life and 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 16 – Jan. 19

Art Class! So much focus and creativity today in art 

Upper School Highlights! Dec. 18 – Dec. 22

Japanese Class Students are studying the Japanese alphabets Hiragana, Katakana 

Upper School Highlights! Dec. 11 – Dec. 15

Upper Spanish students started their presentations on holiday traditions through 

Upper School Highlights! Dec. 4 – Dec. 8

Making & Learning @ Makerspace!Ben on the Trumpet! You will 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 27 – Dec. 1

Upper working hard on their games and projects!All-School Sharing! Our 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 13 – Nov. 17

Band Student of the Day! Robin played trumpet last year 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 6 – Nov. 10

Special Visitor! Here's some pictures from when special guest & 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 30 – Nov. 3

This is Halloween, This is Halloween! Here are some photos 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 23 – Oct. 27

Haunted Trail Prep!Reading Buddies! Tuesday was the first day of 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 16 – Oct. 20

La Mer! We listened to and discussed French composer, Debussy’s 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 9 – Oct. 13

Work and Play! Creating Novel projects and starting our Game 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 2 – Oct. 6

This Week in Music with Miss Sue! This week, we 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 25 – Sept. 29

Beginning Band's First Day! We learned to put our instruments 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 18 – Sept. 22

Watercolor! This week in Art, we explored watercolors. Upper made 

Preschool Highlights! Sept. 18 – Sept. 22

Happy Pirate Week! We read "There was an Old 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 11 – Sept. 15

Spectrum Alum Visit! Upper and Intermediate had a fantastic time 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 5 – Sept. 8

Bucket Drumming! We started bucket drumming this week! We learned 

Upper School Highlights! Aug. 28 – Sept. 1

Medium discovery with centers during Art with Miss Megan!It’s been 

Upper School Highlights! May 15 – May 19

Build-A-Bear! We went to build a bear for a Grad/Pre-Grad 

Upper School Highlights! May 8 – May 12

Hiking Adventures!Piano Recital and Talent Show! As always, feel free 

Upper School Highlights! May 1 – May 5

Coding Hour for the Mogwai…. 01001011010001MTFBWY Crack the code. A 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 24 – Apr. 28

Future Problem Solving State Bowl! What an amazing experience for 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 17 – Apr. 21

Thank you Miss Keiko for creating these pulchritudinous masterpieces for 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 10 – Apr. 14

We’ve definitely been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather lately!Faulkner 

Upper School Highlights! Apr. 3 – Apr. 7

Gremlins at work and play!Let's Study Jazz! This week, we 

Upper School Highlights! Mar. 27 – Mar. 31

Yoga with Miss Tara! Have a relaxing weekend! As always, 

Upper School Highlights! Mar. 13 – Mar. 17

Just doin a lil science, don’t worry about us!Pi Day 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 27 – Mar. 3

WNDR Museum: immersing ourselves in art and good times together!Music 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 20 – Feb. 24

Tuesday Teachings! On Tuesday, Lindsay started as the teacher, but 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 13 – Feb. 17

Upper helped lead 100-second challenges in celebration of our 100th 

Upper School Highlights! Feb. 6 – Feb. 10

Holding on to snowy recesses…Jam Session! All band members came 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 30 – Feb. 3

Upper Assistance! Cameron and Julia explain multiplication, while Chase explains 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 23 – Jan. 27

Notice Ben and Chase helping some of their younger classmates? 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 17 – Jan. 20

Upper School Grads and Near-Grads have done an intensive review 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 9 – Jan. 13

Getting ready for Spectrum’s Showcase this Thursday! Come 3:30pm to 

Upper School Highlights! Jan. 3 – Jan. 6

Forensic Scientists in Training! We are privileged to welcome our 

Upper School Highlights! Dec. 12 – Dec. 16

Happy Birthday Gus!Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Gremlins!Have 

Upper School Highlights! Dec. 5 – Dec. 9

Rockford Hunting! Shout out to Upper School Gremlins for a 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 28 – Dec. 2

Classroom work!Like sand through the hour glass…so are the days 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 14 – Nov. 18

First snows...Group presentations, coding, and building a hydrobot arm kit!Around 

Upper School Highlights! Nov. 7 – Nov. 11

Science! Exploring new concepts and challenges in Upper this month! 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 31 – Nov. 4

Ice Hogs Game!Tree Climbing with Teachers!Working on Skits and Math24!Have 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 24 – Oct. 28

Haunted Trail, Lit Groups, RU, and writing tales of horror!Getting 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 17 – Oct. 21

Impromptu hike….much needed after two days of testing!Nutrition and Health 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 10 – Oct. 14

A cold but gorgeous Fall day for a field trip 

Upper School Highlights! Oct. 3 – Oct. 7

Thank you Miss Keiko for a perfect Fall field trip 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 26 – Sept. 30

Lil' Gremlins coming through with the muscle power in unloading 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 19 – Sept. 23

Happy Pirate Day from Upper and Early! We made us 

Upper School Lil’ Gremlins’ Highlights! Sept. 12 – Sept. 16

Roald Dahl Day! Happy Roald Dahl Day from the Gremlins! 

Upper School Highlights! Sept. 6 – Sept. 9

Buddy Time with Upper School and Preschool!Discovering the mysteries of 

Upper School Highlights! Aug. 29 – Sept. 2

Falling Into Nature!Working on Self-Portraits!Take the weekend off, you earned 

Supply List & Resources

Resources  This site explains our plan-do-review process, how children learn through active learning, and how adults support children in their experiences.  You will also find the KDI’s (Key Developmental Indicators) listed.  How we support students in fine motor development and pre-handwriting

Supply List

Students are asked to have:

  • Outdoor shoes (comfortable shoes for walking that can get dirty)
  • Water colors
  • Markers
  • Sharpies
  • Highlighter/s
  • Expo
  • Crayons
  • Pencils #2 sharpened
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Colored Print Paper (one package any color)
  • Kleenex
  • Paper Towels
  • Folders x3
  • Wide-Ruled notebook spiral x3
  • Aluminum foil (two rolls)
  • Tape (duct, masking, and/or scotch)**lots needed**
  • Glue
  • Disinfecting wipes x2
  • ArtMixed Media Sketch Pad 9′ X 12″ (Michaels offers this one)

If available for Fall projects (not necessary, but appreciated):

  • Local Field/Nature Guides
  • Tree/Animal/Plant ID books
  • Insect Repellant
  • Board Games (any that have the parts/pieces)
  • Yoga mat
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