A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Upper School

Q&A with Sebastian, Senior and Natalie, Junior

Latin emphasizes self-advocacy and empowers students to ask questions and explore, not to study and regurgitate answers.

- Latin parent

During the upper school years, our students make deep connections with their teachers and their peers. They become part of a tight-knit community committed to learning and discovering their talents and passion.

Latin students actively shape their academic program. The upper school curriculum begins with everything you would expect in a college preparatory high school—literature and history surveys, biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, calculus, geometry, language. But Latin takes it a step beyond. We offer our students exceptional educational opportunities and ask them to dig deep, think critically and commit themselves to fully pursuing their intellectual passions both inside and outside the classroom.

Latin’s educational approach is student-centered and individualized. By understanding how each child learns best, our teachers help students identify their passions and take on new challenges.

Latin students love learning. They are encouraged to do, to create, to try and to fail. The focus is on the process, not the outcome, which helps students build resilience, remain intrinsically motivated and succeed.

Around the Upper School

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Join upper school students Molly and Ella and Ms. Merrell, science teacher and Global Online Academy site director at Latin, to learn more about the GOA offerings and the benefits of taking a GOA class.

TRANSCRIPT

Amy Merrell  0:15  
Besides being exposed to a topic that isn't offered at Latin, so just exposure to different things, taking courses from teachers from different schools and with students from different schools, I think opens your eyes to different viewpoints, increases your collaboration, because you have to collaborate with people in different time zones and different schedules. And I think that's a skill that will help students even after Latin.

Molly 0:41  
The favorite part of my class was, you know, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella  0:57  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Amy Merrell  1:16  
Hi, my name is Amy Merrell. I am a science teacher and the site director for Global Online Academy here at Latin.

Ella 1:20  
I'm Ella Reese-Clauson. I'm a senior.

Molly 1:22  
And I'm Molly McKee, and I'm a junior.

Amy Merrell  1:23  
So Global Online Academy or GOA is a consortium of about 120 schools from around the world that offer a variety of online classes to students. And so the classes are taught by teachers from those 120 schools. So Latin students have the opportunity to take these courses, and learn from teachers from all over the world. And with students from schools all over the world. These courses are counted just like Latin courses are so they go for a grade and are on transcripts. GOA is started in 2012. And when it started, we had less than 15 students enroll. And we have just it has gotten progressively bigger interest has grown as GOA has gotten bigger. And so we are now at total for this year we have 62 students enrolled for both semesters. And so I think it's grown quite a lot. They've also opened summer opportunities as well. So that is another place that GOA has grown. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can take classes. And there is a wide variety of classes. So I'm not going to go over all of them. But they're some of the most popular ones are the psych classes. So Neuro Psych, Abnormal Psych and Positive Psychology. Prisons and criminal law is another really popular one, as well as there's a variety of computer science classes that students decide to take. And some new ones that students are in there's been growing interest in are Intro to Investments, and also Entrepreneurship, which are two kind of newer additions that students have taken.

Molly  3:14  
So I considered taking a GOA class just because well, first of all, I liked all the options, and after sophomore year, I wanted to pursue a similar topic, because I took Nazi Mind the first semester. And I was really interested in like everything that we learned about in that class. But I think the main thing that pushed me to taking a GOA was a COVID and the pandemic because it opened up so much free time in my schedule, and I thought GOA would be a great way to fill it.

Ella  3:44  
Adding on to that, I think that also like Ms. Merrell mentioned, the specificity of the courses was really appealing to me because I think that at Latin we have some really great general courses whereas GOA helps you to go kind of into more niche subject areas. I took Medical Problem Solving one which ended up coincidentally having Ms. Merrell as a teacher.

Molly 4:06  
I took Introduction to Legal Thinking, and I'm signed up for a criminal law one next semester because I liked the first one so much. GOA classes can fit into my schedule a lot and really nicely just because it's not as rigid of a structure like normal classes. It has a lot more independent learning and a self-regulated working pace, I guess. So it was like really easy to fit it into whenever I had free time.

Ella 4:33  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Molly 4:53  
I think with GOA you get a much wider variety of project types than you would in normal classes. I had debates with other students or wrote example legal documents. And I feel like I never actually wrote an actual essay, which is something you would expect to do in a typical class. So it's nice to get a different variety. The favorite part of my class was, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. And, I think it was also, at least in my class, it was everyone's first time taking a GOA. So, everyone was kind of like in the same boat and we were all experiencing the thing, this class for the first time. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella 5:44  
I really enjoyed the class I took. And I, like, Molly, really enjoyed the aspect of collaboration, especially with people from other time zones, which was very difficult to navigate, because we all had very different schedules. But it was really cool to meet people who had different kinds of work styles and schedules and being able to learn to collaborate. And then also, I was really interested in the course material. So I loved all these kinds of diagnostic presentations. I think that if you have a specific interest in one kind of genre, or subject, then I would absolutely recommend taking a GOA because it helps you to go much more in-depth into that one topic. And, it's just an all-around really great way to have a much more flexible class. And to learn that kind of whole new skill set.

Unknown Speaker  6:38  
The only challenging part of GOA I found was the time differences. I think everything else was really great. Especially with the material that I was learning about, I got to hear a lot of different perspectives and I feel learning with other people from different countries, you get a lot more out of it than you would with just taking the class with people from the US. Definitely agree with what Ella said, I think it's a great way to explore your interests further.

 

Podcast
 

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Upper school student athletes

Latin’s Athletics Department celebrated the following seniors who have committed to the next chapter of their athletic career: 

  • Alice M. ˈ23 will be running track & field at Harvard University
  • Carly W. ˈ23 will be playing field hockey at the University of New Hampshire 
  • Akili P. ˈ23 will be running cross country and track & field at University of Michigan
  • Megen S. ’23 will be playing basketball at University of Illinois at Chicago 
  • Ago G. ˈ23 will be rowing at Yale University

Congrats and Go Romans!

Athletics

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teaching assistant in action in front of class

I like being able to get a student’s mind to click and figure something out when they are stuck.
- Quinn Lovette

Teaching assistants are not just for colleges and universities. Formally established four years ago, Latin has a robust upper school student TA program with 20 to 30 seniors participating each year.

The program spans all departments, according to Zach McArthur, Teaching Assistant Program Coordinator and Upper School Mathematics teacher. Students are chosen after applying, based on their interest and past performance in the course. Students receive a pass/fail in the Independent Study course.

TAs are not involved in grading but their roles vary depending on the class. Sarah Landis, an Upper School language teacher who teaches Latin, has found her TAs invaluable. Last year, with a larger class, she broke students into groups and the TA rotated among them, facilitating group work. “This year, with a smaller class, I’m having my TA lead more of the activities and he will be able to teach some of the lessons,” she said.

Leadership opportunities abound for TAs. Students are chosen after applying, based on their interest and past performance in the course. Students receive a pass/fail in the Independent Study course.

McArthur and Landis both agree the TA program is a win-win both for the students in the class as well as the TA. Landis recalled an instance where a student fondly remembered his TA. “The TA is more relatable to them and closer to their age, and someone closer to the experience of being a novice [with the material,]” she said. Landis notes that students sometimes feel less intimidation approaching a TA when they need assistance. “It’s someone who feels more accessible and relatable.”

Quinn Lovette is a TA for the Finance and Math class. Lovette was attracted to the program after taking the class last year. He likes working with students he might not normally meet. “Being a TA gives me the ability to work with younger students and get to know them,” said Lovette. Lovette also relishes those a-ha moments. “I like being able to get a student’s mind to click and figure something out when they are stuck.”

I wanted to share my excitement for the material with the next generation of Nazi Mind students.
- McLaine Leik

Leadership opportunities abound for TAs. Leo Romano is a TA for a sophomore English class, Latin American Literature, taught by Ann McGlinn. Romano is often called upon to lead class discussion, assist with group discussions and even helps edit papers. He acknowledged that serving as a TA is a lot of responsibility but it was something for which he was ready. “Ms. McGlinn trusts me and she guides me, obviously,” he said. Romano also is happy to help one of his favorite teachers and appreciates the bond they are establishing.

McLaine Leik is a TA for Nazi Mind, a one semester class that culminates with a simulation of a Nuremberg trial that takes place in a courtroom at the Daley Center. “That class fostered a passion for history for me,” said Leik, so much so that she plans to study history in college. Leik likes seeing the students become enthusiastic about the same subject matter that left such an impression on her. “I wanted to share my excitement for the material with the next generation of Nazi Mind students.”

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Homecoming 2022

Latin’s annual Romans Run filled Montrose East and West Fields on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Families, faculty, staff and alumni donned their best and brightest orange and blue for an afternoon of races in the park.

fans at homecoming games

Fanatic fans cheered on the Romans at the homecoming games on both Friday and Saturday. Check out the scoreboard from the weekend.

  • JV Girls Field Hockey vs. Francis Parker, W 3-0
  • Varsity Girls Field Hockey vs. Francis Parker, L 0-2
  • JV Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 2-1
  • JV Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 1-0
  • Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 3-0
  • Varsity Girls Swimming vs Trinity HS, W 84-81
  • Freshman Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, W
  • JV Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, W
  • Varsity Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, L
     
student with pizza from Billy Brick's standing in front of Aztec Dave's food truck

Cheering for these Romans worked up an appetite, so attendees dined on the go from some of the city’s tastiest food trucks, including Aztec Dave's Food Truck, Billy Bricks Food Truck, Cheesie's Food Truck and CheSa's Gourmet Food Truck.
 

homecoming 2022 collage

Over 250 alumni, faculty alumni and friends returned to Latin for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend. A virtual fireside chat with Head of School Thomas Hagerman kicked off the weekend, followed by the annual LGBTQ+ Alumni & Friends Gathering where LGBTQ+ alumni and allies collaborated on a community art piece featuring encouraging messages for students (currently on display in the upper school Learning Commons). Alumni and their families joined us at Montrose Field to honor the 2021 and 2022 Hall of Fame inductees.

Alumni in reunion classes, Golden Romans and former and current faculty celebrated their connections to Latin at the reunion cocktail party on Saturday evening. Highlights included 88-year-old former lower school teacher Pat Peterson reconnecting with the Class of '92, her former third graders! Throughout the night, faculty-led tours of the upper school, hugs and laughter abounded and the photobooth was in high demand. Many classes continued the celebration at class gatherings around the city, including at private homes, The Weiner Circle, Green Street Local, The University Club and Uproar.

On Sunday, Latin hosted two brunches: one for Golden Romans who have already celebrated their 50th reunions, and our annual homecoming brunch for alumni of color. We finished off the weekend with the alumni annual orange and blue soccer game.

Features

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How We Approach Teaching and Learning

Kristine VonOgden

We are a community of learners. We strive to grow as students, as educators, and as caring and engaged members of our Latin community and the amazing city of Chicago. Our students learn from the past, focus on the present, and prepare for the future. 

Kristine Von Ogden, Upper School Director, Mary Gertrude White Upper School Endowed Principalship

Upper School Virtual Tour

Experience Academic Excellence

A Wide Variety of Courses and Innovative Electives
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178

upper school courses offered

 

Small Classes

Small class size encourages continual interaction and sharing of ideas.

  • average class size: 14
  • student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1

Strong Teacher/Student Relationships

Teachers are passionate about their subject areas and are available to students inside and outside the classroom.

Freedom to Pursue a Passion and Create Your Own Class.

If you have a passion for languages, for instance, you can double up. Take French and Chinese, Latin or Spanish for example.

Students can develop independent study courses where they work one-on-one with a faculty member on a self-designed curriculum.

I understood the value of this education first hand when I went off to college. My persistence and strong desire to learn and connect with my professors was a reflection of the close relationships I made with my teachers at Latin.

- Alum

I love the way that Latin accepts everyone. No matter race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc., Latin is always accepting and welcoming to everyone.

- upper school student

At Latin, I value the project-based learning where students are able to take their own interests outside of school and bring them into the classroom and share their passions with others authentically.

- Latin faculty member
Experiential Learning

Learning at Latin is experiential and project-based, including simulations, mock trials and hands-on lab work.

Examples of experiential learning:

  • tenth grade Nuremberg Trials simulation
  • senior projects
  • Project Week

 

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100%

percentage of students who have taken different academic paths through the upper school in the past ten years

I chose to become a student at Latin because I am interested in a wide range of topics that expand far beyond the traditional academics curriculum, and Latin has fulfilled that expectation vey well.

- Upper school student

FAQ

Do you have questions? We would love to hear from you.

Nick Baer

Nick Baer

Titles: Upper School Drama and Technical Theater
Degrees: B.A. University of Illinois
Suzanne Callis

Suzanne Callis

Titles: Dean of Community Learning, Upper School English
Degrees: B.A. Keene State College
M.A. Middlebury College
Timothy Cronister

Timothy Cronister

Titles: Director of Student Life
Degrees: B.A. Haverford College
M.A. New York University
Bridget Hennessy

Bridget Hennessy

Titles: 9th and 10th Grade Dean of Students, Upper School History 
Degrees: B.A. Loyola University-New Orleans
M.A. University of New Orleans
Karen Horvath

Karen Horvath

Titles: Assistant Director of the Upper School
Degrees: B.A. DePaul University
M.A. Argosy University
Shamina Stanford

Shamina Stanford

Titles: Upper School Assistant
Kristine Von Ogden

Kristine Von Ogden

Titles: Upper School Director, Mary Gertrude White Endowed Principalship
Degrees: B.A. University of Chicago
M.A. New York University

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Excellence. Integrity. Community.

 

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