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Upper School

Small School. Big Impact

Too many upper school students today feel overlooked and invisible in large, standardized programs.  Not here.  At Cascades Academy you are known.  Here you matter.  Here you are an integral part of a palpably connected community.  Here you get to shape what school is and what it means to you.  

We believe in the power of a small upper school experience.  Intimate learning environments can have big impacts when the multi-dimensional relationships forged between students and with faculty run throughout every dimension of our program.   

Teaching for Purpose

We believe that high school education should not only prepare students for the years after school, but encourage a meaningful life today through engaging, empowering, and relevant programming. 

We're proud of the fact that our graduates report feeling prepared for life after high school, but we're even prouder that our students report feeling inspired and engaged throughout their years at Cascades Academy.

Preparation is important, but engaged learning is paramount

Because our goal is for our students to be engaged in their learning, the school’s college preparatory curriculum balances relevant classroom work with meaningful experiences outside of the classroom including professional internships, service learning, fine arts classes, exciting travel, and outdoor education. This dynamic learning environment fosters lifelong learners, critical, independent thinkers, and socially conscious individuals.

Our intimate learning environment cultivates an unparalleled sense of community. With class sizes of 10-20 students, teachers identify how to help each individual student reach their unique potential. And, students develop supportive, meaningful relationships with each other. This kind of caring, collaborative community is an important part of who we are, and we invite you to come and experience it for yourself!


Competency Based Learning & The Mastery Transcript

A foundational piece of our program is challenging academic content in core areas such as humanities, math, and science. We are an early member of  the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC), a growing network of public and private schools committed to competency-based learning. Together, we're reimagining how students learn in high school and how we communicate their abilities to colleges and universities. We know that traditional methods of reporting grades do not align with our school's values of igniting curiosity, learning by doing, and sharing joyfulness. Instead, we're empowering our students to tell their own stories, chart their own paths, and embrace the challenges that come with learning in and out of the classroom. 

Learn More >>

Two Robotics Students


Experiential Learning

At Cascades Academy, experiential learning is so much more than trips - it’s intentionally infused into the delivery of our core academic courses.  Our faculty understand that learning by doing is a transformational pedagogical practice that is fundamentally more informative and instructive.  What’s more, experiential learning delivers unique academic depth, the type of challenge that is not born from a superficial volume but instead arises from depth and meaning.  
In addition to classroom-based experiential learning, the Upper School program includes multiple stand-alone programs that further advance the experiential nature of the students’ experience.  Some are part of our weekly rhythm, others occur periodically throughout the year.  

Advisory Program

More than just great teachers, students need adults they trust to guide and support them on their academic journey. While our small size and connected community provides this regularly, the advisory program is designed to ensure that each student has a designated adult who considers herself responsible for a holistic sense of a student’s life at school.  Advisory meets twice a week in the Upper School.  During one block, students follow a research-based, social-emotional curriculum that tackles subjects such as: neuro-plasticity, healthy relationships, decision making, growth mindset, and more.  In the other, advisors check in individually on each student’s academic standing and targets areas for support as needed. 


A Day in the Life of a Cascades Academy Upper Schooler

The weekly schedule for upper school students is packed full of a mix of engaging academic core classes, hands-on experiences, and freedom of choice. Upper school students regularly enjoy the power of the Cascades Academy community through advisory time, all-school gathering, and one-on-one teacher support.  Each week, students are off campus to cultivate community partnership and revel in the Oregon landscape.

Sample 9th Grade Schedule

Time course
8:30-10:00am Interdisciplinary Humanities
10:15-11:00am Physics
11:00-11:45am Grade Level Impact Program


12:15-1:05pm Math
1:05-1:55pm Study Hall/ Faculty Office Hours
1:55-2:45pm Spanish
2:45-3:45pm Elective/Fine Arts

Additional Information

The Upper School provides individual connection to students like no other school in Central Oregon. This year we were so impressed with how the teachers reached out to our daughter and us when things weren't seeming quite right with her and/or her work, and how understandable and flexible they were with each situation.

Current Parent

Student Profiles

Lars Heraeus

Lars Heraeus

Class of 2026
Ariya Lippincott

Ariya Lippincott

Class of 2025
Joe Malamed

Joe Malamed

Class of 2024
Ellery Rather

Ellery Rather

Class of 2023
Kai Sereni

Kai Sereni

Class of 2025
Branson Witt

Branson Witt

Class of 2023