An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Felicia Wilks, assistant head of school/Upper School director 

Core to the philosophy of Lakeside Upper School is giving students choice and voice: we want to provide students with a choice of what and how they’re learning, and a voice in presenting what they’ve learned. The way our courses are developed and our course-selection process are two places students have an opportunity to influence the curriculum and shape their own journeys through the school.

Lakeside teachers are constantly adapting the Upper School curriculum so that it continues to evolve to best meet the needs of our students. Each fall, the Upper School department head’s group (one member from each academic department) ask faculty members to submit their ideas and proposals for new courses for the next school year. Proposals that center the values of the school — academic excellence, equity and inclusion, ethical development, and global citizenship — as well as those that advance the school’s work on incorporating the re-envisioning’s competencies and mindsets are encouraged.

In addition to administrators and department heads, four students who’ve applied to serve on the curriculum committee (two juniors and two seniors) review these proposals for new courses. They meet with department heads, ask questions, and push the proposals toward sharper, more relevant classes for all students. This year, some of their feedback was to add service opportunities and student leadership to a new senior wellness elective, Beyond High School: Happiness and Success. They also offered titles and texts to help expand the offerings in a new interdisciplinary course, Black Lives Matter: A Long History of Now.  

As a result of this student-teacher collaboration, the curriculum guide for next year includes several new courses as well as major revisions to longstanding classes like Quest, a course in the humanities with an outdoor component. The 2021-2022 curriculum guide was posted in mid-December and this month, Upper School advisors will guide students through signing up for next year’s courses. We are proud of the classes we’ll be offering, and we hope students are looking forward to choosing their next steps along their path.

Parents and guardians can find the curriculum guide here.

We encourage current Upper School parents and guardians to come to one of the following curriculum night webinars. Upper School Assistant Director and 5-12 Academic Dean Hans de Grys will share the grade-level opportunities our curriculum provides, answer questions, and talk about how the school and parents/guardians can partner to guide students in determining their unique paths through the Upper School.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 12, 7-8 p.m.: Classes of 2022 and 2023 (current 10th and 11th graders) curriculum night. This optional event is for parents and guardians of current sophomores and juniors and provides a short overview of Lakeside’s curriculum and options for junior and senior years.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13, 7-8 p.m.: Class of 2024 (current 9th graders) curriculum night. This optional event is for parents and guardians of current 9th graders and provides a short overview of Lakeside’s curriculum and options for sophomore year.

Webinars will be recorded. Students usually do not attend; they receive similar information from advisors and their teachers. Learn more in the curriculum nights FAQ.

Reopening update

This week, Lakeside’s Medical Advisory Board will meet and make a recommendation as to whether we should reopen campus this month. We will update families by email, later this week.

If your student is hoping to return to campus, please remember that they need to be in Seattle a week prior to getting tested the Friday before returning to campus. That means that if we open campus on Jan. 11, students in grades 9 and 10 need to have been in the Seattle area by last Friday (Jan. 1) for testing on Friday, Jan. 8. If they are not back a week before getting tested, they can learn remotely until after they have quarantined and tested negative.

Parents and guardians: review the family checklist on the reopening webpage; check out your child’s cohort rotation (when they would be on campus and when they would be learning remotely); make sure you review the health and safety expectations and return-to-school checklists and protocols; and make sure that your student has everything they need.

After the decision about reopening campus, parents and guardians will receive a short survey so you can let us know if your student will be attending in-person classes through midwinter break.

Additional dates and events for January

See the full calendar for up-to-date information about arts, college counseling, and PGA events.

  • Monday, Jan. 4: Classes resume. All classes will be remote this week.
  • Friday, Jan. 8, 8 a.m.: Upper School parent and guardian webinar with administrators. Invitations will be sent a week in advance. A recording of the webinar will be posted the following day on the parents and guardians webpage.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 12: Classes of 2022 and 2023 (current 10th and 11th grades) curriculum night. Information above.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: Class of 2024 (current 9th graders) curriculum night. Information above.
  • Friday, Jan. 15: Fall semester ends.
  •  Monday, Jan. 18 and Tuesday, Jan. 19. Lakeside is closed to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and for a professional development day.  
  • Thursday, Jan. 21, 8-9 a.m.: Parents and guardians of seniors are invited to a special breakfast with Upper School administrators. We’ll be talking about senior spring, and what to expect from your senior during the next few months. The event is drop-in and will be online. Watch for an email from Lynelle Ehart to RSVP. 
  • Friday, Jan. 29: Students’ course signups for next year are due by 3 p.m. for the 2021-2022 school year.

Felicia Wilks is Lakesides assistant head of school and Upper School director. Reach her at or 206-440-2721.