Upper School

PCS offers a rigorous Upper School program which prepares students for application to competitive universities, colleges, and conservatories. A minimum of 18 credits is required for graduation, but many of our students graduate with 22-25 credits.

Flexibility is a hallmark of the PCS Upper School, and we pride ourselves on our incredibly supportive and talented faculty and staff, who are always willing to meet students exactly where they are. PCS is not a place where students are expected to fit into the same tidy box. Rather, we celebrate our students’ differences and highlight them as the assets that they are to our community. Students who are very busy professionally take advantage of our unique Guided Study program to keep up with their school work. Integrated technology and our learning management platform, Canvas, allow all Upper School students to have robust ownership of their learning. 

Communication between students, parents, advisors, faculty and the administration is prioritized. Since about one-third of our high school students live away from home, communication with families is essential.

The PCS Upper School is a vibrant, supportive, creative community that celebrates our students’ scholarly and professional successes. There is always space for students to grow, change, and try new things, even if they are deeply rooted in their professions. It is a place where the sometimes unconventional nature of professional life is recognized and fully understood by peers. It is a place that students come to know as their second home. 

Sarah Rutledge, Head of Upper School

Graduation and Credit Requirements

A minimum of eighteen credits are required for graduation. Professional Children’s School’s curriculum is based on a four-year program, and it is recommended that college-bound students graduate with credits beyond the minimum, especially in sequential courses.

Students generally carry five credits per year. Courses that meet five times per week receive one credit per year or one-half credit for semester offerings. Courses that meet less frequently receive less credit.

Credit Requirements:

Each student is required to take the following courses:

English 4 credits; including Senior English for all. ENL courses can be taken for equivalent credits.
History 3 1/2 credits; including U.S. History and U.S. Government. ENL students: 3 credits.
World Languages 2 credits; must be taken for two consecutive years/levels; ENL students exempt.
Mathematics 2 credits
Science 2 credits
The Arts 1 credit
Health (Grades 9/10) 1/2 credit
Research & Information Literacy 1/2 credit online course; must be taken before Senior year.
Physical Education Must be taken each year unless an exemption is granted.

In addition to the above, students must fulfill a three-year sequence in at least one of the following: World Languages, Mathematics, or Science.


Once students have completed course requirements, the additional credits required for graduation may be taken from the sequences or in history, English, Math, Science, or the Arts.

Upper School Advisory Program

The Upper School Advisory Program is designed to encourage student self-advocacy and support students’ academic and social-emotional needs. Most often, once students are assigned an Advisor, they continue to work with that Advisor for the duration of their time at PCS. Students meet with their Advisors in small, grade-specific groups as well as individually, both formally and informally, over the course of the year. The group meetings allow students to engage in social emotional learning with their peers and collectively discuss topics that include current events, the role of social media in their lives, mental and physical health, and issues surrounding equity and justice. In one-on-one meetings, Advisors assist students with course registration, review report cards, steer students toward proper channels of support, and provide ongoing encouragement. In addition to supporting our students, Advisors oversee parent conferences and are available to respond to questions or concerns parents have regarding their child’s experience at PCS.