Academics / Overview

At Kirby, education is more than test scores, and loving to learn is not a social liability.

Middle School

Kirby’s middle school provides a well-balanced and developmentally appropriate transition from elementary school to the challenges of a rigorous college preparatory high school program. Our sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are provided with a strong academic foundation and mentorship to explore their creative, intellectual, and physical potential in a lively and supportive environment.

Middle school students build their educational foundation with English, history, mathematics, science, foreign language, and the arts, and develop mind-body awareness through fitness and wellness and athletics programs. Faculty help students develop important critical thinking and problem solving skills and teach them how to work effectively, both independently and in groups. In middle school, homework averages 1½ to 2 hours per night.

To succeed in a demanding college preparatory environment, students need to develop solid study skills. The middle school study skills curricula breaks down the various skills into organization and time management, planning, note-taking techniques, and test-taking strategies. Self-advocacy is also developed with the purpose of taking responsibility for one’s learning.

Through parent/teacher conferences and other regular communication, teachers work closely with middle school students’ families to build the critical parent/teacher partnership.

High School

Balanced, innovative curricula fuse traditional academics, the arts, and technology. An extensive range of electives in the humanities, math, science, foreign language, and visual and performing arts afford opportunities for comprehensive study and prepare students for the social, political, and economic realities of the twenty-first century. All courses share common goals: reading analytically; writing with clarity and conviction; questioning actively; and thinking critically.

High school students are given many opportunities to customize their academic experience. They may choose from an array of rotating electives and advanced coursework; juniors and seniors are offered a wide range of specialized, semester-long English courses to complete their English requirements. Additionally, students may pursue a general college preparatory path or may focus their study through a unique program of Intensive Paths in four disciplines. Homework varies depending upon the path chosen, but averages 2 to 3 hours per night.

Advanced study is available through honors and Advanced Placement courses. With a few exceptions, Kirby’s high school level courses are certified to meet all “a-g” admission requirements of the University of California system, and graduation requirements exceed University of California admission prerequisites. The innovative elements of Kirby’s program ensure a rich educational experience and prepare students for success at the colleges of their choice.

Graduation Requirements »