As 11th graders at University School of Milwaukee, our juniors begin their journey as upperclassmen in the Upper School. The junior year is an important step in that journey, with students taking on more responsibilities and typically starting an even more challenging curriculum than they experienced in their first two years of Upper School. By the end of 11th grade, students are ready to return in fall as seniors and begin their final year at USM.
As juniors, USM students begin to refine and expand their roles as leaders in the school and outside communities, and the concept of ethical leadership is heavily reinforced throughout this year. Various leadership models are demonstrated and explained, so that students can learn about their own styles, as well as the styles of others, and better understand how different styles can work together toward the best outcomes.
The college search process also begins in this year, and much of the year is focused on preparing students and their families for the important college application process ahead. Although autonomy and independence are important themes throughout the junior year, teachers, advisors, and college counselors work together to ensure support in this area while continuing to focus on academic success and extracurricular opportunities.
In 11th grade, students typically have a maximum of 40 minutes of homework per class meeting, and no homework is assigned over breaks. For Advanced Placement courses, faculty may assign a maximum of 60 minutes of homework per class meeting and also one assignment (60 minutes) over school breaks. There may also be up to three hours of homework over summer vacation for Advanced Placement courses.
Early in the junior year, 11th graders participate in Junior Leadership Days, two day-long retreat days when students visit locations inside and outside our community. This is an integral part of the junior advising program and a very important component in reaching our goal of building strong leaders and citizens, as students are provided many opportunities to better understand and hone their leadership skills. In addition, the junior class is responsible for prom each year, with class board members contacting venues and coordinating menus, tastings, decorations, and other elements of this special event. Juniors are also able to take on leadership roles through opportunities including:
- Student council
- Junior class board
- House captains
- Athletic team captains
- Student ambassadors
Our 11th grade students also collaborate with their younger classmates in junior kindergarten, with many opportunities throughout the year when they gather together for reading, crafting, and other social engagement activities.