The Rivers Upper School offers a diverse and challenging curriculum in an ideal academic setting. The challenge comes from a rigorous academic program that includes extensive honors and AP courses, as well as an eclectic array of electives. At the same time, our Upper School classrooms reflect a strong balance between individual achievement and collaborative learning. Rivers teachers lead students in their learning by demanding high levels of thinking and analysis.

Education in the Upper School emphasizes the importance of developing students who can think critically and analytically, write logically and incisively, and speak articulately and convincingly. The curriculum includes traditional academics, along with the infusion of arts and athletic requirements. As students move through the program, a diverse offering of electives becomes available, allowing students to create an academic schedule that best reflects their interests, expertise, and passions.

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  • Learn about our advisor system

    Every Upper School student is assigned an advisor at the beginning of their freshman year who they will have for two years, and then students get to choose preferences for another advisor who they will have for junior and senior years. The student-to-advisor ratio in the Upper School is 6 to 1. Advisors meet twice a week with their entire groups, in addition to regular one-on-one check-ins. The Advisory Program at Rivers is designed to provide additional support to each student in their academic and social-emotional growth, as well as foster more connections between students at each grade level. Advisors also serve as a vital resource for parents. Each year, at the midpoint in February, parents have a comprehensive one-on-one meeting with their child’s advisor to discuss the student's growth and experience within the Upper School program. The advisor system is yet another way Rivers ensures that each student forms meaningful and longlasting connections with the adults and their peers on campus.
  • Learn more about our programs

    Our faculty believe in working closely with students in and out of the classroom. Because most teachers are advisors, they are deeply engaged with students in every aspect of their education as well as in their daily lives. This dynamic creates a nurturing environment in which high achievement in all facets of a student’s life is an expectation. Faculty encourage students to discover individual abilities in both academics and cocurricular areas. This combination affords students the opportunity to stretch themselves and, in the process, reach their full potential.

    Because taking visual and performing arts classes is required for graduation, risk-taking and creativity are central to the Upper School experience. Coupled with athletic requirements, the program reflects the value of diverse experiences as fundamental to an education that prepares students to become responsible individuals. In addition to our on-campus programs, Rivers also sponsors regular trips and programs that take students off campus and around the world. Several years ago, the Language Department established a summer study program during which students spend nearly one month in Cadiz, Spain, while the Science Department’s signature summer internship program has placed students in research laboratories at BU Medical School, Children’s Hospital, and local biotech companies. The business internship program - established through the Math Department - gives interested students the chance to gain real world experience by spending their summers working at venture capital and private equity firms in the Boston area. And each year various academic departments sponsor trips to places like England, Italy, France, Japan, Switzerland, and China.

Programs of Distinction


Rivers offers a college-preparatory, liberal arts curriculum that challenges students to think critically, creatively, and independently. Our academic program offers a wide variety of courses designed to foster the intellectual, analytical, and personal development of students in each grade with increasingly demanding levels of rigor. In the Upper School, students must meet the demands of the core curriculum in addition to satisfying requirements in the arts, the afternoon program, and community service. Upper School students also have the opportunity to choose from honors or AP-level courses in each of our academic offerings.

View the full course catalog.
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