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Curriculum

Curriculum Overview Video

In recent years, Providence Day’s curriculum has moved to intentionally incorporate the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented groups in core classes. Five years ago, the school implemented the PD Passport, which contains the skills, traits, knowledge, and global competencies that each PD student will acquire by graduation. The passport serves as a guideline for each curricular review.

Lower School

POSITIVE IDENTITY AFFIRMATION AND FOUNDATIONAL
UNDERSTANDING OF BIPOC HISTORY AND CULTURE

In the early years of Lower School, curriculum serves to positively affirm the identity of every student by providing windows and mirrors that allow all students to see themselves reflected as well as expose them to the experiences of others. This begins with culture surveys and continues with self portraits, name projects, family traditions, and religious celebrations. Physical attributes are affirmed and celebrated with the inclusion of diverse literature and multicultural skin-tone materials used for projects such as the self portraits. Classroom conversations provide students the language to challenge bias, racism, and stereotypes. Global studies focus on Canada, Mexico, Kenya, China, India, and Germany. First through fifth grade emphasizes Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) history and culture which includes but is not limited to: hidden figures, biographies, immigration, civil rights, and social justice activism. They also learn about contributions women and people of color have made to aviation, human rights, government, and performing and visual arts. Additionally, students engage in perspective taking, such as learning about colonization from the experience of colonized people. The latter grades build on students’ introduction to the major world religions through a scaffolded religious literacy curriculum.

Lower School Curriculum Video

Middle School

FOSTERING AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY, ELEVATING VOICES OF MARGINALIZED
COMMUNITIES, AND BUILDING SKILLS THROUGH PERSPECTIVE TAKING

In Middle School, students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to intentionally build inclusive communities. Throughout the curriculum they learn about the histories of peoples that are not typically covered in traditional curriculum such as that of the ancient African civilizations, including Kush and the Black pharaohs, as well as that of the indigenous aboriginal populations of Australia and the First Peoples of Canada. In class, they explore why the histories of some populations have been historically elevated above others. This development of critical thinking skills continues with their study of the founding documents of the United States. In their examination of the statements “All men are created equal” and “We the people,” students interrogate: Did these ideals apply to everyone? Who was included? Who was left out? Do we currently live up to these ideals?

They continue to explore these themes through the study of literature and art, contemplating how stereotypes and cultural biases are formed, acted upon, and challenged. Middle School students also examine how governmental policy can result in inequitable environmental impacts on communities. The knowledge and skills cultivated in the classroom come together in the grade level capstones that focus on building community through collaboration and problem solving in 6th grade, engaging empathetic design to make communities more inclusive in 7th grade, and supporting United Nations sustainability goals by evaluating existing solutions and creating a learning experience for younger students in 8th grade.

Middle/Upper School Curriculum Video

Upper School

UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMS AND APPLYING KNOWLEDGE

The Upper School curriculum builds on that of Middle School through a comprehensive study of political, socio-economic, and cultural systems. In 9th grade, students think critically about what it means to be a citizen by examining aspects of the justice system, governmental policy, and their impact on marginalized communities. In particular, they learn about redlining and other forms of housing discrimination and the impact it has on immigrants, both documented and undocumented, and African-Americans that moved up north as part of the Great Migration.

During the Charger Impact Challenge, a co-curricular experience, students further explore the topics of housing discrimination and affordable housing specific to the city of Charlotte. In 10th grade, students learn about the political development of African Kingdoms and states throughout the continent and the impact that colonization and imperialism has had on the modern African state. In English, students explore the concept of white supremacy in The Great Gatsby as well as learn about diverse approaches to racial uplift during the late 19th and 20th century in their reading of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the latter years of Upper School, a wide array of elective courses are offered that allow students to continue to build and apply their knowledge of equitable systems. These include: African-American Literature, Latino American Literature, Decolonization, Human Rights and Genocide, Advanced level World Language Courses, AP Computer Science, and a selection of Global Issues courses in the Global Studies Program.