Independent School DFW - Upper School - The Clariden School


Welcome to Upper School!

Clariden Upper School is an exciting time for students as they take on more complex projects and challenges. Students tackle real-world engineering challenges in STEAM class, utilizing technology such as CAD and 3D printing. Hands-on labs and projects occur in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Students also have leadership opportunities as NHS Officers, Student Council Officers, and project team leaders. Global citizenship is better developed through Service Learning, International Travel, and Character Education. Many electives can be pursued such as Robotics, Rocketry, Digital Art, and Dance. Juniors and Seniors take College Readiness where they prepare for the ACT and SAT tests, receive guidance on college applications, essay writing, and applying to summer programs and for scholarships. A wealth of extra-curricular activities can also be pursued such as Theater, Cross Country, Track and Field, Odyssey of the Mind, and Bell Vertical Robotics. 

We are excited and proud that you are considering Clariden as your path in education. Here, our students unlock their genius and discover their best self.


The Upper School Team

Curriculum - Independent School DFW

“All-Honors Graduation Program”

Clariden graduates students on the Distinguished Academic Plan — Texas’ highest graduation plan. All students begin honors courses in 9th grade and typically graduate with more credits than public school students on the same plan.

Core Curriculum

Upper School students have a complete schedule of core courses. The Clariden curriculum meets and exceeds Texas Curriculum Standards.

  • Internship & Capstone Projects
  • AP exam support
  • Dual Credit Courses
  • 1:1 College Counseling

Contact Us

Clariden Staff Fall 2023 (83)

Eileen Fairbanks

Middle/Upper School Educator
Clariden Staff Fall 2023 (79)

Marcus Simmons

Middle/Upper School Educator
Clariden Staff Fall 2023 (130)

Rissa Westerfield

Middle/Upper School Educator
Clariden Staff Fall 2023 (47)

Tim Garrett

Middle/Upper School Educator
Clariden Staff Fall 2023 (97)

Alexander Griffin

Middle/Upper School Educator
Guidelines: The National Honor Society was founded in 1921 to create an organization recognizing and encouraging student academic achievement while also developing characteristics essential to all citizens of a democracy. These ideals of scholarship, character, service and leadership remain as relevant today as when NHS was first founded. Selection for membership is considered by many as the pinnacle of achievement in one’s high school career. It is an honor that carries with it the responsibility of continued demonstration of the founding principles of scholarship, character, leadership and service. To that end, membership selection is a privilege, not an entitlement. An NHS Faculty Council at Clariden is charged with evaluating the candidacy of potential members through information submitted to them by interested and qualified Upper School students.
Clariden Student Council embodies the school’s mission with the goal of preparing each student to become a responsible, active citizen. To that end, the program strives to instill in each student an awareness of the multiple needs in our community, a sense of moral obligation to help those in need, and the desire to make one’s community a better place. Types of Service include: 1) Community Service: Typically performed outside of our school community, this service betters the world at large in an inclusive manner. 2) School Service: Performed within our school community, this service enhances student life, builds connections across divisions, and assists in helping with on-campus events and activities.
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Project-Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is the heart of the educational experience at Clariden.  Every grade, from preschool to Upper School, builds their academic year around four or more engaging, multi-disciplinary projects. The PBL projects are generated to rigorously address and exceed Texas Curriculum Standards, while incorporating student interests.

Projects are driven by rich, real-world, and relevant research questions. The learning process simulates the way problems are solved in the workforce: through team effort, exploration, testing, and evidence-informed conclusions. Projects combine research, composition, public speaking, and presentation skills. Each project framework includes goals, methods, lessons, timeline and assessments.

The PBL Framework:

  • Driving Question
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Concepts Introduced
  • Technology Introduced
  • Vocabulary
  • Field Study
  • Presentation of Learning / Assessment
  • Competition (when applicable)
Independent School Dallas TX | Best Private School DFW | students

Steam & Competitions

Upper School students have a daily STEAM class where they engage in research, documentation, design, prototyping, testing, and data analysis. STEAM is the acronym Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math — which goes beyond STEM to emphasize the design skills needed for real-world product development, packaging, marketing and more.

Grades 9-12 work collaboratively on project teams. This gives our students mentoring opportunities and ensures that teams have a comprehensive set of skills. STEAM projects culminate in either a Presentation of Learning, where teams present their research and findings, or in a Competition, in which their engineering notebooks and builds are judged in Regional, State and National/International competitions.

VEX V5 Robotics

VEX Robotics’ VEX IQ Squared Away Competition is designed to challenge students to build, program and compete with their robot to complete a number of challenges. “Two robots compete as an alliance in 60-second long teamwork challenge matches, working collaboratively to score points. Teams also compete in two additional challenges: The Driving Skills challenge, where one robot scores as many points as possible under driver control; and the Programming Skills Challenge where one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously, without any driver inputs.” Learn more about the challenge here

Clariden’s Results:

Best Independent School in DFW | Best Private Middle Shool Southlake TX | Robotics competition
Best Independent School in DFW | Best Private Middle Shool Southlake TX | Students with rocket

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC)

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an annual national competition. Clariden students work to build a rocket from scratch and have it complete a number of challenges laid out by the competition.

Clariden’s Results:

United States Super STEM Competition (USSSC)

The USSSC “is an educational non-profit organization running a yearly event to challenge the creative mind of all middle school, high school and college students.” The competition is open to both US and International students. There are multiple divisions in which teams can compete. Each year, Clariden selects one of the divisions and then students work to build their entry as part of their STEAM PBL. The project is graded as part of the STEAM class and entry in the competition follows.

Clariden’s Results:

  • 2019 National 1st Place Winner: Clean Energy Division – Super Wind Turbine
  • 2018 National 1st Place Winner: Biomimicry Division – Super Umbrella
  • 2017 National 1st Place Winner: Architecture Division – Tiny Houses
Independent School DFW | Private School in Dallas Fort Worth | USSSC-winner-2019

Private School Southlake TX | Private School in Dallas | Verizon-Innovation-App-Challenge-150-150

Verizon Innovative App Challenge

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is a nationwide contest that challenges middle and high school students to come up with a mobile app idea that would help solve a problem within their community. Over 1,200 app ideas were submitted nationwide.

Clariden’s Results:

  • Clariden’s team was named the 2015-2016 Best in State winner in the high school division.
  • Because they were named Best in State winners, each student was awarded a mobile tablet along with a $5,000 grant for their school, making them eligible to compete in the Fan Favorite People’s Choice Challenge. Read more