Academics

We believe that the pursuit of knowledge has intrinsic rewards.

Located in Northern New Jersey, our independent school community of learners value the contributions, perspectives, and talents that each student and faculty member bring to campus. Within this community, characterized by camaraderie, connections, and inclusion, students gain the confidence and self-possession to persevere in challenging courses, to voice opinions during class discussions, and to attain their potential.

Our core values—courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence—combined with a rigorous academic program and genuine understanding of student learning, inform our teaching. Teachers design and guide an engaging and nurturing environment that supports students academically, ethically and socially, preparing them for college and meaningful, purpose-driven lives.

Lower School

The GSB Lower School nurtures each student’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity, laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning while equipping children with the skills to succeed academically, developmentally, emotionally, and ethically.

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Middle School

The GSB Middle School Program focuses on the mastery of core academic subjects, exploration of new clubs and interests, and personal growth. Understanding the unique characteristics of pre-teens and emerging adolescents, middle school teachers place special emphasis on the values of community, empathy, and healthy decision-making.

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Upper School

The GSB Upper School offers a rigorous and comprehensive college-preparatory program, abundant opportunities for research across the curriculum, and specialized elective courses for students to explore and further their specific interests. 

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Explore Our Curriculum

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Acting Advanced

Building on the concepts of Acting I and Acting II, this semester-long course offers more in-depth training in the areas of emotion, character development, and motivation.

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Advanced Topics in Computer Science

This is an advanced course in programming application and computer science intended for students who have completed AP Computer Science A and would like to explore the subject in greater detail.

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Algebra 1

Depending on their readiness, students take this course over a single year (accelerated) or over two years (enriched).

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Algebra I

A full-year course, Algebra I, is an introductory level math course and is a prerequisite for Geometry.

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Anatomy and Physiology

In this semester course, students study the anatomy (structure) and the physiology (function) of body systems in humans and other animals.

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AP 2-D Art and Design

AP 2-D Art and Design is a yearlong course that is not based on a written exam; instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation in early May.

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AP Art History

The AP Art History course welcomes students into the global art world to engage with its forms and content as they research, discuss, read, and write about art, artists, art making, and responses to and interpretations of art.

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AP Calculus AB

This course follows the syllabus for the AP exam in Calculus AB. As such, it is a rigorous, demanding course requiring a strong foundation in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and analytic geometry.

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AP Chemistry

This course is the equivalent of a first-year college chemistry course; it covers materials in-depth and provides a deeper consideration of both the theoretical and mathematical analysis of topics.

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AP Drawing

AP Drawing is a course designed for the serious art student who is interested in an intensive investigation of art concepts, media, and techniques after taking an introductory level art course, Drawing and Painting and Honors Portfolio.

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AP Latin

AP Latin concentrates on the translation, analysis, and interpretation of Vergil’s epic poem, the Aeneid, and Caesar’s commentaries, De Bello Gallico.

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AP Microeconomics

This course provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and analyze critical topics in microeconomics.

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AP Music Theory

This yearlong course takes advanced musicians with existing knowledge of music theory through the equivalent of a first-year college music theory class.

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AP Physics I

This course is a response to the format changes made by the College Board in 2014, and it is based on the “Six Big Ideas,” or core principles identified by the College Board.

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AP Physics II

This course follows the first-year AP Physics course and requires many of the same skills: mathematical competence, organization, motivation, and strong problem-solving abilities.

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AP Spanish Language and Culture

This rigorous and challenging course emphasizes the use of authentic Spanish for active communication, allowing students to reach advanced levels in their oral, aural, reading, and writing skills. Students engage in conversation by using advanced grammatical structures, literary analysis, cultural studies, and in-depth discussions of current events around the world.

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AP Statistics

The AP Statistics course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data.

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Biology Honors

Topics covered in this fast-paced course include ecology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, Mendelian and non-Mendelian genetics, bioethics, evolution, diversity of life, and animal and human anatomy, and physiology.

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Biome Museum

This marks the culmination of weeks of cross-curricular research, place-based learning, and exploration focused on a specific campus ecological system, such as pond, stream, wetland, forest, or farm.

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Ceramics Advanced

Advanced ceramics will allow the further development and exploration into technical skill, personal style, and aesthetic choice within the medium of clay.

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Ceramics I

Ceramics one focuses on the development of skills within sculptural and functional pottery creations to allow students to familiarize themselves with the medium of clay.

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Ceramics II

Ceramics two focuses on the unification of sculptural and functional pottery creations to allow students to pursue projects unique to his/her/their interests and art style.

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Character Education

The school’s commitment to its core values is integrated into daily life at Gill, as is a focus on character awareness and development.

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Chemistry

This course emphasizes the periodic table of elements, the formation of compounds, and reactions that occur to produce new substances.

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Chemistry Honors

This course emphasizes the periodic table of elements, the formation of compounds, and reactions that occur to produce new substances.

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Choir Honors

Students who have completed the Concert Choir course and pass a proficiency evaluation are eligible to take Advanced Choir.

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Community Service

Community service is a natural extension of our emphasis on character awareness, citizenship, inclusion, kindness, and respect.

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Creative Writing Advanced

Open to juniors and seniors who have taken Creative Writing and Portfolio Development, students in Advanced Creative Writing I craft a more extensive portfolio of fiction or poetry organized around a theme or common topic.

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Desktop Publishing

Students in this semester-long course learn the basic design principles involved in print publications, including the development of a theme or motif, layout and design, the appropriate choice of a font or typeface, the appropriate placement and use of images, and the importance of proofreading for both spelling and grammar.

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Differential Equations

This course follows college level curriculum intended to teach students (a) learn elementary analytical solution techniques for the solution of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), (b) understand the solution structure of linear ODEs in terms of independent homogeneous solutions and non-homogeneous solutions, and (c) interpret the solutions using plots and methods of calculus.

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Digital Illustration

Serving as an introduction to the study of digital illustration as a visual interpretation of words, concepts, and ideas, students will use a variety of Adobe software for illustration, technical drawing, composition, and implementation of created art into page layout.

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Digital Media Advanced

In this full year, students will expand on the technical and design skills they previously learned in Digital Illustration and Graphic Design.

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Directing

In this semester-long course, students learn how to create an artistic vision of an existing play, how to serve as the coordinator of a cast of performers, how to manage the schedule of a production, and how to be the single director of a staged performance.

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Discrete Mathematics

This introductory semester course in discrete mathematics is designed for strong math students, particularly those also interested in computer science.

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Drawing

In this semester-long course, students learn numerous skills and techniques for representational drawing, focusing on and capturing what they see and using value, shading, and contrast to create a sense of form.

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Exercise Science

The focus of this one-semester course is to empower students with the capacity to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and services, and apply that knowledge to make informed decisions in their daily life.

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Forensic Science

This course is designed for seniors who would like to pursue advanced studies in science after successfully completing physics, chemistry, and biology.

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French II

Although this course expects students to have a solid first-year preparation in vocabulary and grammar, the class begins with an active review of previous material before leading the student into more challenging material.

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French III

This course continues to review and reinforce communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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French III Honors

This course continues to review and reinforce communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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French IV

Students continue to develop and refine their language skills through increased exposure to more advanced grammar and vocabulary.

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French IV Honors

Students continue to develop and refine their language skills through increased exposure to more advanced grammar and vocabulary.

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Grade 1 Visual Art

Building on the introduction of art elements in kindergarten, first-grade students continue to identify and describe concepts through various lessons.

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Grade 2 Language Arts

Second-grade students continue to become more independent as readers, exploring their interests through reading, building reading stamina, and applying reading strategies to maintain reading fluency.

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Grade 2 Mathematics

Students gain increasing mastery with addition and subtraction skills, working with numbers up to 1,000, using mental math strategies, and solving word problems.

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Grade 2 Visual Art

Students continue to incorporate elements of art and principles of design into each project, allowing them to develop more purpose within their artwork.

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Grade 3 Language Arts

Students continue exploring fiction and nonfiction genres, including narratives, informational texts, fairy tales, and poetry, as they become increasingly more independent as readers.

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Grade 3 Science

Beginning with observations of the sky and weather, third graders become meteorologists using weather measurement tools to predict the weather.

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Grade 3 Social Studies

The course of study begins with a unit on Native Americans and continues to European explorers and the British colonization of North America.

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Grade 4 Language Arts

Students begin the Accelerated Reader program, which encourages independent reading and the further development of comprehension skills.

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Grade 4 Mathematics

More advanced work is introduced with decimals, fractions, algebraic reasoning, and basic geometry, while also stressing mastery of skills that will enable students to thrive in later math courses: proficiency with the four operations; quick recall of math facts; and facility with estimating, rounding and judging the reasonableness of an answer.

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Grade 4 Music

Students have already explored note and rhythm reading, form, pitch, dynamics, and tempo, and they are ready for an exploration of timbre and texture.

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Grade 4 Social Studies

The curriculum includes an in-depth study of the American Revolution, the United States government, westward expansion, and immigration.

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Grade 5 French

This class is designed to introduce and expose all students in the grade to the sounds, structure, and basic use of the French language.

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Grade 5 Latin

This introductory course develops and strengthens good vocabulary and grammar skills while teaching students the fundamentals of a classical language.

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Grade 5 Makerspace

This class focuses on introducing design thinking and engineering, allowing students to tinker, collaborate, craft, and build.

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Grade 5 Spanish

The goal of this class is to expose and foster topical and functional communication and to raise cultural awareness of traditions and daily life in countries where Spanish is spoken.

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Grade 5 Technology

Students learn a range of computing skills, including keyboarding, word processing, working with spreadsheets, and creating presentations.

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Grade 6 French

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 6 Language Arts

Students study a range of literary genres, including historical fiction, science fiction, and non-fiction (memoir), as well as short stories and poems.

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Grade 6 Latin

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 6 Mathematics/Pre-Algebra

This year-long course continues the Singapore Math program, building pre-algebra skills, and focusing on conceptual understanding and application of skills to solve problems.

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Grade 6 Science - Our Changing World (STREAMS)

 6th grade science, "Our Changing World", is designed to engage students through hands-on experiences that will deepen conceptual understanding but also cultivate essential scientific inquiry skills necessary for future exploration and discovery.

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Grade 6 Spanish

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grade 6 Technology

Much of the focus of computer instruction at this level is on the Google Apps for Education, with additional projects requiring the use of Apple apps, such as iMovie and iPhoto.

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Grade 7 English

As they learn to discuss and write about increasingly complex literature, students develop critical-thinking skills in seventh-grade English.

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Grade 7 French

This is the second of two consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 7 History

Students continue to investigate early civilizations by exploring Greece, Rome, Europe during the Middle Ages, and Islamic culture.

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Grade 7 Latin

This is the second of two consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 7 Makerspace

Seventh-grade students continue their engineering and design skills and build on their previous experiences in the Makerspace.

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Grade 7 Science - Organization in the World (STREAMS)

7th grade science, "Organization in the World", is designed to engage students through hands-on experiences that will deepen conceptual understanding but also cultivate essential scientific inquiry skills necessary for future exploration and discovery.

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Grade 7 Spanish

This is the second of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grade 8 English

In  eighth  grade,  students  become  more  independent  in  their  reading,  writing,  and  thinking  skills.

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Grade 8 French

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 8 Geometry

This is the highest-level math course offered to Middle School students and is open only to eighth-grade students who successfully completed a full year of Algebra I.

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Grade 8 Latin

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 8 Makerspace with Tech Ed

Projects in this class are hands-on learning opportunities that incorporate circuitry, robotics, and electronics, as well as using a variety of materials and devices to design, build, collaborate, and tinker.

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Grade 8 Science - The World at Different Scales (STREAMS)

8th grade science, "The World at Different Scales", is designed to engage students through hands-on experiences that will deepen conceptual understanding but also cultivate essential scientific inquiry skills necessary for future exploration and discovery.

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Grade 8 Spanish

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grades 5-6 Woodworking

Beginning with formal instruction of proper safety procedures and with basic drawing and design to elicit creativity and to build confidence, students discover how to use a variety of materials in different ways.

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Grades 5-8 Physical Education and Athletics

A variety of physical activities and sports are introduced in physical education classes that emphasize fitness, skill development, teamwork, sportsmanship, and cooperation, in addition to strength and conditioning.

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Grades 7-8 Drama

Drama class meets weekly and offers students the opportunity to study all facets of theater, from theater games and acting, to history and stagecraft.

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Grades 7-8 Music

This one-semester elective class is designed to give students a deeper understanding of music, while continuing to engage them in a choral setting.

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Grades 7 Ceramics

Seventh-grade ceramics teaches the basic skills of working with clay while focusing on sculptural projects and hand-building techniques.

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Grades 8 Ceramics

Eighth-grade ceramics explores how we interact and utilize clay and pottery within our daily routine by utilizing foundational ceramic techniques to create functional pottery pieces.

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Graphic Design

In this semester course, the interaction of text and image and the fundamental components of graphic communication are introduced, and students develop and hone skills in working with text and image as they create solutions to a series of design problems.

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Health and Wellness

As part of physical education, students in grades three and four have health and wellness instruction on a variety of topics, including healthy eating, the importance of physical fitness, healthy strategies for working through differences with friends, hygiene, and other developmentally appropriate topics.

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Introduction to Physics

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of and appreciation for physics while preparing them for higher-level science and mathematics courses.

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Kindergarten Science

The curriculum encourages the natural curiosity of young learners while introducing them to the science skills and tools to investigate the world around them.

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Kindergarten Visual Art

Students are introduced to the elements of art (line, shape, space, value, color, texture, and form) and learn about well-known artists and the unique styles they use to emphasize elements.

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Latin III

Students continue the study of Latin grammar and vocabulary, translate increasingly complex material, and further their exploration of Roman culture and society.

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Latin III Honors

Students continue the vigorous study of Latin grammar and vocabulary to be able to translate increasingly complex material, including several classic heroes and begin to study original works by Roman authors, including Pliny, Martial, Catullus, and Ovid.

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Latin IV

Roman literature is a diverse and exciting field, and in this course, students have the opportunity to read authors such as Catullus, Ovid, Virgil, Caesar, Suetonius, and others.

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Latin IV Honors

Roman literature is a diverse and exciting field, and in this course, students read diverse authors such as Ovid, Virgil, Caesar, Cicero, and others.

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Linear Algebra

Students will utilize the basic concepts and methods of linear algebra to analyze basic applied problems, solve linear equations of equations and find eigenvalues and eigenvectors to enable diagonalization.

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Makerspace Classes

Stocked with art supplies, building materials, several 3-D printers, Arduino boards, and other technology resources, the Makerspace hums with activity before, during, and after the academic day.

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Music Laboratory

Music Lab is a one-semester, repeatable course in which student musicians will advance their existing musical skills and develop new ones.

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Musicology

Musicology offers an interdisciplinary journey into the study of music, blending elements of history, sociology, and cultural studies to deepen your understanding and appreciation of various genres of music.

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Painting

In this semester-long course, students learn about the unique qualities of different types of paint, including watercolor, acrylic, and oil.

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Photography I

This course serves as an introduction to the historical, technical, and aesthetic responsibilities of digital photography.

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Photography II

Students continue discussions of the historical, technical, and aesthetic responsibilities of digital photography.

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Portfolio Development Honors

Honors Portfolio Development is a yearlong course for students who are serious about the practical experience of art and want to develop mastery in conceptualizing, composing, and executing their ideas.

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Precalculus

A prerequisite for Calculus, students master topics that include recognizing parent functions; graphing functions (polynomial, rational, logarithmic, and exponential); solving quadratic equations and inequalities; solving systems of equations using matrices.

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Preschool Mathematics

Hands-on activities introduce young learners to numbers and foundational mathematical concepts, including less versus more, part versus whole, and same versus different.

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Programming II - Java

This year-long course is designed for students who have computer programming experience and are interested in a rigorous introduction to object-oriented languages.

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Related Arts

Specialized teachers in art, library, music, science, technology, and Spanish comprise the Related Arts faculty.

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Robotics and Engineering I

Students in this semester course are introduced to the principles, history, and social implications of robotics and experience a hands-on introduction to robotics and engineering, enabling students to combine the skills of a mechanical engineer, project manager, and programmer.

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Room to Grow

Middle School at Gill St. Bernard’s fosters students’ growing independence, understanding that preteens and adolescents are naturally driven to explore and experience the larger world.

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Sculpture

This semester course helps students develop an understanding of the interaction of forms in space.

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Singapore Math

Our math curriculum, based on the Singapore Math approach, begins in early childhood, and extends through the second year of Middle School.

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Spanish I

This course stresses proficiency in all four skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—and provides an understanding of basic grammatical structures and patterns of communication.

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Spanish II

This course reviews and reinforces communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spanish II Honors

This course reviews and reinforces communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spanish III

This course reviews and reinforces Spanish communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spanish III Honors

This course continues to reinforce Spanish communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spanish IV Honors

In this course, students continue to expand and refine their knowledge and communication skills through the study of more complex vocabulary and advanced grammatical structures at a rigorous pace.

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Spotlight on Science

In addition to standard, honors, and AP courses for physics, chemistry, and biology, the Upper School Science Department offers many elective courses.

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Spring Unit

For over 50 years, the Spring Unit has been the inspiration for the school’s motto, Schola Mundus Est: “The World is Our Classroom.”

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Spring Unit Program

Held at the end of May, the Middle School Spring Unit Program allows students to immerse themselves in a subject outside of the core curriculum.

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Statistics

This course uses both a theoretical and experimental approach and provides students with a solid foundation in introductory statistics.

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STREAMS

Students in fourth through sixth grade take part in STREAMS, a yearlong program that brings together work in sustainability, technology, research, engineering, agriculture, math, and service.

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Studio Art

This semester-long, entry-level course provides an overview and introduction to the visual arts using a variety of art tools and materials.

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Traditional academic spaces are complemented by our 208-acre campus that integrates gardens and orchards, ponds and streams, and a working farm and apiary into our curriculum. The interplay of teachers and students with extraordinary resources vibrantly recognizes myriad ways in which experiential learning enhances classroom learning. On any given day, an animal science class measures and weighs our animals, an advanced creative writing class works with a visiting author, or an art class paints en plein air.

Admission Process

Upper School GSB Students

Admission Process

GSB welcomes applications from students who demonstrate academic potential and who are deemed likely to benefit from and contribute to the GSB community. To be considered for admission, applicants must submit a complete application, which varies by grade level, and includes components such as transcripts, exam results, teacher recommendations, writing samples, and a campus visit.

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Affording Gill

GSB Student

Affording Gill

A GSB education is a significant investment in your child’s future. We are committed to building a community of talented, passionate, creative, and thoughtful students from a diverse range of backgrounds independent of financial circumstances.

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Campus Tour

Campus Tour

Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students in preschool, prekindergarten, kindergarten, and through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provide a rigorous, meaningful, and developmentally-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning on our 208-acre campus, which includes our working, sustainable Home Winds Farm.

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FAQs

Upper School Students

FAQs

What is the most important part of the application for admission? What makes Gill St. Bernard's distinctive? What does the school's tagline "Balance Matters" mean? Learn all this and more!

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Request Information

Request Information

Thank you for your interest in Gill St. Bernard's School! Please complete our form and we will send a package with more information about our school. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at 908-234-1611, extension 245.

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