Grades 9-12

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The APS Upper School Prepares college-bound students for the demands of college studies and to be life-long learners and leaders.

The Aiken Prep Upper School (grades nine through twelve) is one of three divisions of the school.  The Lower School enrolls children in grades four year old Kindergarten to fifth grade, and the Middle School enrolls children from sixth to eighth grade. 

The three divisions fulfill the same mission and there is a clear sequencing of fundamental skills (reading, writing, computing and study skills) as well as a progression of course content.  This academic structure ensures that each student moves smoothly through the grades.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate, students must complete 24 credits.  While this more than required by the typical school, the requirements allow a student to meet the standards of the highly selective colleges and the LIFE scholarship program

Four years of English

Four years of Mathematics

Four years of Science

Three years of history including World History, United States History, economics and government

Three years of a foreign language on the secondary level

Six credits in electives including Public Speaking and the Senior Project.

School year

The year is divided into two 18 week semesters with grades given every 9 weeks. Full year courses meet a minimum of 200 minutes per week for the entire year and earn one unit of credit, while major electives meet 200 minutes a week for half the year and earn one-half unit of credit.  Minor elective courses meet three times a week or even twice a week for a semester and are given credits accordingly.  APS accepts credits from other middle schools and high schools, but converts those credits into APS units.



English 9 (Required):  Students will read and discuss novels, poetry, short stories, plays and mythology selected from authors around the world.  Several works are selected to parallel the study of modern world history.  Student writing focuses on descriptive writing starting with sentences, phrases and paragraphs and concluding with the three-part essay.  Students continue the study of grammar through writing exercises and the structure of the works they read.

English 10 (Required):  Students will read and discuss novels, poetry, short stories, plays, essays and social/political commentaries by American authors.  The readings are selected to parallel the study of United States history.  Student writing includes literary criticism as well as expository, persuasive and creative writing.

Electives (Juniors and seniors are required to enroll in English electives in Semester I and II):

Mythology (Semester I)                                         Creative Writing (Semester II)

Shakespeare (Semester I)                                      British Writers (Semester II)



Electives (both of these electives are required):

Public Speaking (Semester I) - Students learn the elements of speaking in public and make speeches of their own.

Computer Applications I (Semester I, Two Days Per Week):  A basic course in keyboarding and using the applications in Microsoft Office for students who have not fulfilled the Computer Applications requirement.


Modern World History (Required):  A study of the major events in world history from the mid-1600's to the present with particular focus on the rise and fall of colonial empires, the three-isms of capitalism, communism and fascism and the Cold War.

United States History (Required):  A survey course in U.S. History.  Students write a research report each semester.

Comparative Government (Required) Semester I:  An in-depth look at the United States form of government compared with other forms of government in practice around the world.

Economics (Required) Semester II:  The study of economic systems (macroeconomics) and the study of personal finances.


The Rise of Nazi Germany (Semester I) - A study of the original of National Socialism and the coming to power of Adolf Hitler.

The Civil War (Semester II) - An in-depth study of the causes, conduct and aftermath of the Civil War.


Spanish I, II, III:  An introductory course in Spanish in which students learn the structure of the language and vocabulary as well as reading passages and dialogue in the language.

French I, II, III:  An introductory course in French in which students learn the structure of the language and vocabulary as well as reading passages and dialogue in the language.

Latin:  Courses offered as required by student interest.


Biology I:  The fundamentals of biology from cells through ecosystems and ecology.  This is a laboratory course.

Chemistry:  The principles of chemistry with laboratory work.  Applications in biochemistry are introduced.

Physics (Project Physics):  The study of physical forces and the physical universe.  This is a laboratory course.


Ecology I & II  (Semester I & II.   Can be taken as a semester course, but most effective as a yearlong course) - A study of organisms and their environment through observation and field study.  Students design and implement a research project and develop study sites requiring accurate recording and interpretation of data as well as a clear display/presentation of conclusions.  Students create a virtual symposium on the APS web site that can be accessed by students at other schools and scientists from the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and Ruth Patrick Science Center, USC Aiken. Also includes selected readings and discussions and interviews with professional scientists.

AP Biology:  An advanced placement course in Biology covering the syllabus set by the College Entrance Examination Board.  This is a college level course and students can expect to work at that level.  There are numerous labs, field experiences and visits with professional researchers.


Algebra I:  A comprehensive course in first year Algebra.

Geometry:  A comprehensive course in geometry. 

Algebra II:  A comprehensive course in second year algebra.

Pre-Calculus:  The study of advanced algebra, trigonometry and vectors.  This course is designed to prepare students to study the Calculus in the next year.


Probability and Statistics (1st semester)

AP Calculus AB: (1st and 2nd semester) - An Advanced Placement course in Calculus covering the       syllabus set by the College Entrance Examination Board.  This is a college-level course and students are expected to work at that level.


Studio Art I (Semester 1 and 2):  Students complete project in various media drawing, painting, sculpture or pottery.

Graphic Arts I (Semester 1):  An introduction to design, paste-up, fonts, and layout.  Students will design and publish a periodical.

Graphic Arts II (Semester 2):  Advanced techniques of graphic design including animation and airbrush techniques are taught.  Students will design and publish material for a client.

Theater Arts (Semester 1 and 2):  The study of the arts of theater, acting, set design, stagecraft and technical aspects of sound and lighting.  Students will perform.

Performing Groups:

Choral Group - A singing group that will perform at various functions.

Instrumental Group - Instrumental groups will be formed based on interest and instruments.

Theater Productions - Productions will be offered after school. Participation is optional with a variety of skills such as make-up, set design, sound and light needed in addition to on stage personnel. Productions are wonderful opportunities for participants but do require significant after school time. Parents are encouraged to understand the scope of involvement and potential effect on study time when considering student involvement.


 Health and Physical Education: (Required of all new ninth grade students) Semester 1 and 2.

 Junior Research Project

During the Interim Period (three weeks in January), juniors learn how to design a significant research project.  Working with teachers, students identify an area or field or topic of interest, collect background on the field, and design a research project that they will complete in the fall.  Students may use this topic for their Senior Project or have the option of changing the topic as they approach the end of the year.

 Senior Independent Research Project (1/2 credit - Honors, Pass, Fail):

All seniors complete an independent research project that takes the place of an elective course during the first semester of the senior year. 

In the spring of junior year, each student selects a teacher to be a project advisor and starts to identify the project or area to be researched.  Research is completed prior to the end of the Fall Semester.

The Interim Period (three weeks in January) is used to develop the presentation stage of the project.  The student makes a presentation of findings to faculty, students and experts in the field of study.

The Senior Project is the culmination of a student's education at Aiken Prep.

Grading scale:

We grade on an A-F grading scale.  Grades are based on all work completed for a class including homework, quizzes, tests, writing assignments and presentations.  Teachers determine the weight of each block of work depending on the subject and level of the class.  

A: superior work

B: good work

C: acceptable work

D: passing, but not acceptable work

E: failing work

F: denotes flagrant neglect in a course, meaning that assignments or test grades are missing and may not be made up


APS competes in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) league and plays against private schools in the CSRA.  Teams and individual players qualify for SCISA championships and awards. 


Soccer (menís and womenís)


Basketball (menís and womenís)

Baseball (will be offered if there is interest)

Softball (will be offered if there is interest)



Cross Country

Other sports will be offered based on student interest and scheduling opportunities.  This could include sports such as rowing, court tennis, lacrosse, ping pong, riding.

Clubs and activities:

APS offers certain clubs each year and others as student interest develops.

Student Government                                                  Drama Club

Yearbook                                                               Foreign Language clubs

National Honor Society

Performing groups:

Students are given the opportunity to perform in a variety of ways.  The daily schedule will be designed to allow as many students to participate as possible.

Drama productions                          Instrumental Groups

Singing groups

College Counseling and Placement:

The College Counselor is responsible for the college search and application process.  The counselor works closely with students and parents throughout the process.  The school takes very seriously our responsibility of assisting students with college and eventual career choices. 

The college counseling process starts in the ninth grade with discussions about course selections and general information about the college search process.  Students interested in the highly selective colleges are urged to take CEEB achievement tests when they complete certain courses.

In the tenth grade students prepare for and take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude test).  While this test is taken again in the eleventh grade, a trial run is recommended.  Students start to research colleges and universities and are encouraged to schedule visits. 

The junior year focuses on taking the PSAT and SAT tests and developing the list of colleges to which a student will apply. 

In the senior year, students complete applications and make final choices.


Students choose a teacher who serves as academic and personal advisor for all four years.  The advisor/advisee relationship is intended to be a close one and the advisor is the primary contact between parents and teachers.



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