Upper School

Young adults at Blake's Northrop campus have amazing opportunities to explore their potential and grow as individuals.

Students receive top-notch academic instruction and support. What's more, we provide multiple avenues for creative expression, athletic achievement, off-campus study and international travel. Northrop's location in the heart of Minneapolis, next to the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, helps facilitate these opportunities. Young adults graduate with a clear sense of their personal goals and a determination to make a difference.

Personal Guidance

Upper School students sitting on interior steps

Our students demand the best of themselves in many different pursuits. We recognize that they may struggle to fulfill their own high standards, so adult support is crucial. Students are always encouraged to seek out faculty, counselors and administrative staff for support. See our Student Support page for details.

Grade-Level Deans: Lending an Ear

In every grade, an assigned dean serves as students' primary adult point of contact. Our grade-level deans play a crucial role in supporting students, helping to ensure they live up to their highest potential in and out of the classroom. Each dean remains with a given cohort of students throughout their Upper School years.

College Counseling

We guide individual students through every stage of the college search process: exploring options, selecting choices, applying and making the transition to college. See our college matriculation school list and College Counseling page for details.

Academic Rigor

Pursuing Individual Passions

Blake athlete

Students challenge themselves to fulfill their highest potential, not only in the classroom but also in the art studio, on the athletic field and onstage. Required arts coursework and athletic participation ensure all Blake students become well-rounded individuals. Many continue artistic and/or athletic pursuits that go well beyond graduation requirements. Students discover their unique passions through the following:

Arts coursework that includes at least four semesters of electives in: TheatreSpeech and Debate, Visual ArtsMusic and Athletics participation that includes playing on an athletic team for at least one season in grade nine and in grade ten.

Visit the linked pages above to view arts electives and team sports offered at Blake.

Upper School  teacher teaching class

Our program is academically rigorous, emphasizing thoughtful inquiry, creative problem-solving and disciplined habits of mind. Required courses are challenging and thought-provoking. Electives explore specialized topics in depth, and Advanced Placement courses are offered in all core subjects.

Core Studies

A typical course of study in the core subjects includes intensive coursework in English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and languages. Students:

  • Study world and American literature during their freshman and sophomore years respectively, then pursue English electives as juniors and seniors.
  • Study world cultures and U.S. history during freshman and sophomore year, then pursue social studies electives addressing national and international concerns.
  • Complete algebra and geometry in Middle and Upper School, then choose mathematics electives based on career goals.
  • Complete courses in biology, chemistry and physics, then choose among science electives.
  • Complete language coursework at Level III or beyond in Spanish, French, Latin, or Mandarin Chinese.

Seniors also devise their own course of study for their Senior Program and deliver a Senior Speech at a school assembly. For details about coursework and graduation requirements, see our Upper School Course Catalog and pages for specific Areas of Study.

Building a Better World

Upper School students walking in hall

The Upper School's core values – respect for self and others, love of learning, integrity and courage – shape students' activities in and out of class. Opportunities to lead, serve and contribute are woven into our academic curriculum and our Global Focus and Community Engagement programs. Blake students delight in learning and achievement for their own sake. They also graduate ready to use their talents to make the world a better place.

School News

Bear Pause: Sam Hardy '24

Sam Hardy ΚΌ24 loves to travel, try new experiences and binge his favorite TV shows, “Ted Lasso” being his top pick.

Blake retirees 2024

With the close of the 2023-24 school year, three longtime Blake employees celebrated their retirement. These individuals represent a combined 83 years of service at Blake. Read highlights from notes Blake community members shared with this year's retirees.