Overview (US)


Maret’s upper school curriculum is challenging and exciting. Upper school students are prepared for college and beyond through a broad curriculum that intentionally incorporates analytical reading and writing, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, lab work, research methodologies, and study skills—as well as artistic and athletic endeavors. Working with faculty advisors, students craft a course of study that is appropriate and engaging.

Students in ninth grade take core English and history classes. In upper grades, they choose electives based on their abilities and interests. Some students take advanced classes through MSON seminars with peers from across the country. Students may enrich their education through immersive summer courses. 

Upper school students develop as thoughtful, healthy, empathetic, and engaged adults who are involved in their communities. Maret’s core values (Respect, Integrity, The Individual, Connectedness, Creativity, Excellence, and Joy) become second nature to our students. Faculty, administrators, and staff ensure that

• students are respectful of each other and of adults;

• harassing or offensive comments or acts are recognized, addressed, and corrected;

• students are academically honest and understand and avoid plagiarism;

• fair play and sportsmanship are encouraged in athletics;

• open debate and differing points of view are respected;

• creativity is celebrated.

Students expand and enrich their thinking through assemblies, which feature outside speakers, films, and performing groups. In each grade, upper school students have increased freedoms and are encouraged to take intellectual risks.  


Ninth grade students take five academic courses: History 9: History of Our Multicentric World,
English 9: Literature of Our Multicentric World, Biology 9 or Physics with Algebra, a world language class, and a math class. They also take one course in the arts—either visual art or performing arts. Students are aided in the design of their academic programs; division directors and department chairs work with ninth grade students to build a challenging yet manageable schedule. Students interested in world languages may pursue a double-language option during ninth grade, and postpone their art class requirement. Double-language students have the same credit requirements as other students but may fulfill some of them during different years than their peers. 

In tenth and eleventh grades, students take five academic courses and one art or tech/computer science class. Tenth graders typically take English 10, US History, a science class, a world language class, a math class, and one class in either art, music, or tech/computer science. Double-language students postpone US History until the following year. Eleventh grade students take five academic courses, which typically include two humanities electives, a world language class, a science class, and a math class. Faculty members aid students in the crafting of their academic schedules. 

Twelfth graders must take at least four academic courses; however, most elect to take five.

Certificate of Completion

Students unable to complete senior year due to unusual circumstances (medical or otherwise) may be awarded a certificate of completion in lieu of a diploma. The certificate indicates that the student successfully completed Maret’s rigorous graduation requirements in a non-traditional way. 

Advanced and Accelerated Courses

Maret’s flexible and rigorous high school curriculum lets students explore many challenging topics in depth. Although some advanced and accelerated courses are similar in rigor and complexity to conventional Advanced Placement (AP) classes, none are designated as AP. That designation signifies adherence to an externally prescribed curriculum that might offer fewer benefits than Maret’s student-centric program. However, Maret recognizes that colleges and universities may use AP exam results to determine placement, especially in math, science, and languages. 

While no Maret class prepares students fully for an AP exam, with some  additional independent work, students in the following courses choose to take the corresponding AP exam: Advanced Calculus, Accelerated Calculus, Advanced Chemistry, Accelerated Physics C, Advanced Environmental Science, Economics, Accelerated US History, Civil Liberties, Hispanic Cultures, Francophone Culture, and MSON’s Chinese V.

Independent Study

Students who wish to pursue an academic interest not available at Maret or through MSON may apply to pursue an independent study in that subject. Independent study applications will be reviewed by the department chair, the director of Upper School, and the assistant head for curriculum development. Any extra costs incurred through independent study are the responsibility of the family.

Senior Option

Seniors may broaden their studies by creating a senior option course with the approval of the director of Upper School and the assistant head for curriculum development. These courses do not involve homework and earn a pass/fail and a credit. Recent senior options have included coaching middle school sports, studying child development as an assistant in the Lower School, and working on a presidential campaign.

Certificate of Completion

Students unable to complete senior year due to unusual circumstances (medical or otherwise) may be awarded a certificate of completion in lieu of a diploma. The certificate indicates that the student successfully completed Maret’s rigorous graduation requirements in non-traditional ways. 

Academic and Leadership Awards

Students in the top 20 percent of their graduating class are eligible for election to the national Cum Laude Society. A faculty committee representing various disciplines selects students based on engagement in intellectual inquiry, the level of courses taken, and demonstrated academic excellence. 

Students who have attended Maret for at least four semesters in grades 9–12 are eligible to be valedictorian. The valedictorian is selected based on cumulative GPA, rigor of academic course load, and intellectual curiosity. 

Maret also recognizes seniors’ achievements through the School’s annual Core Value Awards. 

For all academic and leadership distinctions, a student’s standing as a positive and contributing member of the Maret community is considered. 

Service Learning

Upper school students apply newly acquired academic skills and knowledge in real-life situations that promote awareness of and involvement in the larger community. Service learning projects are conducted collaboratively between the School and community organizations and are designed to meet identified needs of community partners. Students engage in short-term and sustained service learning initiatives with local, regional, national, and global communities. In the classroom, students reflect on, discuss, and write about their experiences. They develop communication skills, educational competence, and a sense of personal and social responsibility. 

The ninth grade history course includes a unit on hunger and its relationship to historical and social inequities within DC, as well as in a larger world context. Ninth graders participate in a service retreat, serving in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food banks. Upper grades engage in service learning through a variety of projects, clubs and organizations, and elective courses. 

Co-Curricular Programming

At the beginning of the week, all upper school students gather together at Convocation to share news of the week, athletics results, and other important information. Longer assembly periods twice a week allow students to appreciate musical performances, hear speakers from outside of school, gather for discussions on issues of current interest, and meet with their academic advisors. 

Upper school students participate in over 35 student-led clubs. Faculty advisors help student leaders manage the clubs, substantively and logistically. Many clubs meet weekly during breaks; other clubs meet less frequently or seasonally. 

Intensive Study Week (ISW)

ISW provides enriching educational experiences outside the traditional classroom format. Students select their top five choices and are placed in a program by the ISW chair. The School covers most ISW costs; qualified students may request financial aid for any additional fees. 

FATEH Library and Center for Inquiry

Students develop effective research and inquiry practices through the Center’s innovative information-literacy programs. Students cultivate a lifelong love of reading and can use the vast online catalog of books and scholarly databases on their devices. 

The librarians at the Center support faculty through the creation of curricular resource programs; train faculty in current research and information-processing techniques; and share with other independent schools current methodologies, ideas, and best institutional and educational practices.



The Malone Schools Online Network (MSON) is a consortium of schools funded by the Malone Family Foundation. Highly motivated high school students (generally juniors and seniors) can participate in a variety of superior online courses taught by subject experts. Students benefit from the courses’ commitment to excellence, small class sizes, and personal relationships with fellow students nationwide. To qualify for enrollment, students demonstrate sufficient independence and the commitment to succeed in a virtual discussion seminar setting.

MSON COURSES blend synchronous instruction, real-time video conferencing seminars and discussions, with asynchronous instruction—recorded lectures and exercises, which students complete outside of the class. Each course enrolls a maximum of 16 students who participate in the virtual discussion seminar. Courses are delivered in high-definition classroom set-ups that allow students and teachers to see one another, interact throughout class, and form meaningful relationships. Forty-nine courses are offered in the 2021–2022 academic year, spanning the humanities, math, science, computer science, and world languages.

MSON Partner Schools

Augusta Preparatory
School (GA) 

Brownell Talbot School (NB)

Canterbury School (IN) 

Casady School (OK)

Chadwick School (CA)

Columbus Academy (OH)

The Derryfield School (NH)

Fort Worth Country Day School (TX)

Hopkins School (CT)

Indian Springs School (AL)

Manlius Pebble Hill School (NY)

Maret School (DC)

Mounds Park Academy (MN)

Newark Academy (NJ)

The Prairie School (WI)

Porter-Gaud School (SC)

The Roeper School (MI)

St. Andrews Episcopal School (MS)

Severn School (MD)

Stanford Online High School (CA)

Trinity Preparatory School (FL)

University School in Nashville (TN)

Waynflete School (ME)

Wichita Collegiate School (KS) 

Wilmington Friends School (DE)

Winchester Thurston School (PA)


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