Cherry Hills Christian School

The Upper School
Preparing students spiritually, academically, physically, emotionally and relationally for success in high school
Home » Academics & Extracurriculars » The Upper School

The Upper School builds upon the well-rounded foundation and tenants of education and spiritual development forged in The Lower School and expands on them with specific consideration for the challenges older students have as they continue to mature spiritually, academically, physically, emotionally and relationally.

Our rigorous instruction meets and exceeds Colorado Department of Education standards, and we have found that our unique and carefully designed core classes, electives and extra-curricular offerings result in high levels of student learning and engagement. The Upper School curriculum also focuses on helping students connect with God through His Word and through spiritual disciplines and community connections. Graduates of The Upper School are well prepared for high school, and many place into honors classes their freshman year.

Curriculum

For students in The Upper School, expectations are high, and instructors understand and honor their individual developmental uniquenesses. Our curriculum — a mapped, spiraled and thoroughly documented blend of outside and CHC-developed lessons across all grade levels — challenges students to recognize the value of difficult assignments, home practice, research and service. Students also are taught to move from concrete to abstract thought and critical thinking, and to be self-advocates who are also accountable.

The Upper School Faculty is required to adjust and update lesson plans regularly and according to benchmarks and curriculum maps for all instructional areas. However, it’s the flexibility our teachers have to meet the personal and individual learning needs of every student that makes a CHC education extraordinary. It is the integration of Christian truth through daily, intentional and spontaneous moments that add to a student’s growth trajectory of being well-prepared for all aspects of life, as they are guided to know not only who God is, but also who He made them to be.

It is the hope of CHC that this knowledge will be so deeply rooted in each student that as they matriculate on to the challenges they surely will face in high school and beyond, the foundation of truth they acquired during their time at Cherry Hills Christian School will direct them in the way God has designed for their lives without too much course-correction needed.

Girl sitting

Core Classes

Bible

Through study of the authoritative and historically accurate biblical text, students graduate confident that they are each a divine masterpiece, created for relationship with the triune God—through faith in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit with the purpose of glorifying God. By examining scripture and their own lives, students learn that God pursues all people, and they are challenged to develop practices of connecting with Him and serving others.

  • Students in Grade 6 journey through the Old Testament, focusing on the lives of these heroes of the faith by analyzing their strengths and weakness, while exploring how God pursues a relationship with them though they are flawed.
  • Students in Grade 7 focus on the life of Jesus through the lens of the four gospel writers. Our desire is we may see how Jesus is who He claimed to be: The Son of God who came to seek and save the lost.
  • Students in Grade 8 travel through the book of Romans all the way to Revelation, tracing the movement of the church through the power of the Holy Spirit, from Jerusalem to Rome and beyond. 
By examining scripture and their own lives, students learn that God pursues all people, and they are challenged to develop practices of connecting with Him and serving others.

Language Arts

Language Arts instruction at Cherry Hills Christian School exceeds and meets national standardized test score norms. Using a CHC-designed curriculum, The Upper School’s approach to teaching is rooted firmly in the truth that God is the Supreme Communicator, and He graciously has designed us with the abilities to speak, listen, write and read. Students are trained in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, public speaking, and listening. They are expected to communicate clearly, logically, and concisely in oral and written forms and from a biblical worldview. The Upper School’s Language Arts instructors consistently seek and receive feedback regarding the strength of our students’ writing upon graduation to help ensure subsequent classes continue CHC’s track record of success.

Science

Students in The Upper School learn science concepts and explore them through a biblical lens. Classes incorporate excellent online tools, group activities and experiments that encourage hands-on learning and higher-level critical thinking. Students in Grade 6 examine the Earth and its systems. Students in Grade 7 learn about biology and life science. Students in Grade 8 learn about physical science, chemistry, physics and genetics.

Science beakers sitting on a window ledge

Mathematics

Cherry Hills Christian School’s Upper School math program is designed to meet and exceed Colorado state standards. Students in Grades 6-8 are placed based on their mathematics ability — and students also are given the opportunity to test into higher-level courses. The Upper School’s most advanced math courses are Geometry and Algebra II. Faculty members teach math classes with biblical principles to help ensure students’ growth and to enhance their knowledge of God’s involvement in His kingdom.

Physical Education

Mandatory and elective courses are designed to promote sport knowledge, athletic skill development, base fitness, individual discipline and teamwork. Biblical principles are covered by encouraging students to consider how God can work through sports; integrity and ethics are stressed. At the end of a quarter or semester, students are evaluated on their fitness improvement. The Advanced P.E. elective course includes a special leadership component that requires students to lead squads, using problem-solving and interpersonal skills to lead their groups to success.

Social Studies

The overarching goal of The Upper School’s Social Studies program is to convey to students that they, and our nation, are part of the long story of God’s fascinating, redemptive relationship with humanity.

We lead students in examining significant eras, events, and people from Creation through modern America, guided by the understanding that the God of the Bible interacted with humanity throughout history and continues to do so. As history is explored, the three related social studies dimensions of geography, economics, and civics are covered.

Learning for students in Grade 6 begins with Creation and ends with the fall of Rome and the dominance of the Barbarians in the era of 500-1000 AD.

Students in Grade 7 develop understanding of world history from the Middle Ages through colonization and on to imperialism in the 1800s. Then they explore more recent topics intersecting with American history, including World Wars I and II and the Civil Rights movement.

Students in Grade 8 take a deeper look at American history, beginning with the British colonies, then the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, abolitionism, the Civil War, and immigration. They end the year by studying how the American history topics they learned about in Grade 7 led to the Cold War.

 

Academic Enrichment

The Upper School offers three distinct programs designed to provide students in-depth exploration of the arts, sciences and foreign language.

Missions and Outreach

Service to others is a vital and core component of the The Upper School. Students in Grades 6-8 participate in service projects near and far throughout the academic year. Among them:

Missions Week

This is one of the most highly anticipated weeks of the school year! Missions Week excursions challenge students to reach outside their comfort zones in care and service to others. Students in Grade 6 travel to inner-city Denver. Students in Grades 7 and 8 are invited to travel out of state, where they have worked in previous years on a Native American reservation in South Dakota and for an orphanage in New Mexico.

Service Projects

These quarterly, off-campus excursions allow students to perform acts of service for one of CHC’s 24 ministry/community partners in metro Denver. Students in The Upper School also have the opportunity to participate in three yearly food drives benefiting local food banks.

Christmas Outreach

Students also look forward to this wonderful time of the year — and to our annual dodgeball tournament and other fun and games resulting in support for Musana, CHC’s sister school in Uganda.

CHC Students at Friday Night Lights

Extracurricular Activities

Students of The Upper School are invited to participae in a wide range of after-school sports.

Biblical Worldview

Life Groups

These single-sex groups, led by an Upper School faculty member, meet daily so students can connect directly to support each other, foster a closer relationship with a teacher and discuss in a safe place various life lessons developed by CHC and topics generated in chapel and of interest to the group’s members.

Professional development for The Upper School Faculty and Staff includes monthly training in strategies to help students see life and learning through a biblical worldview.

Chapel

The Upper School meets weekly for Chapel. This is an essential time for presenting the Gospel of Christ and biblical instruction about life and Christian identity. Students often serve as members of the CHC Praise Band and assist with teaching.

Class sizes

  • Core Classes currently have a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:18. Core classes are capped at a maximum of 24 students.
  • Special, required classes, such as Physical Education, Art, Music and Technology, and elective courses have a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:15. These classes are capped at a maximum of 25 students.
  • The foreign language class ratio now stands at 1:17. These classes are capped at a maximum of 25 students.

Our Faculty and Staff

Using time-honored and evidence-based teaching methodologies, innovative approaches to education, and cutting-edge technology and resources, our highly experienced faculty engages and challenges students of The Upper School to become the best they can in all aspects of their lives. This requires our faculty members to know their students well and to work with them individually so they are thoroughly prepared for high school and beyond.

  • Teachers in The Upper School have been selected carefully in keeping with CHC’s mission, and they exhibit outstanding teaching ability and a loving, Christ-like character.
  • Teachers are certified by the State of Colorado.
  • All teachers and CHC personnel are current in CPR/1st Aid and Universal Precautions. They consistently receive background checks.
  • CHC has a nurse on site throughout the school day to respond to illnesses and accidents.
Tamara Polvogt

Tamara Polvogt

Director of The Upper School

  • Master's degree in Educational Administration from The University of Houston-Clear Lake, Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from The University of Houston, teaching certification in Gifted and Talented Education
  • Extensive experience in school administration; curriculum development, especially in the realm of Gifted and Talented education; the integration of biblical teaching and academic instruction; and program assessment and evaluation.
  • Favorite Bible verse: "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him." - Isaiah 53:5-6
  • Read her full bio here.
Share This