Ninth graders participate in the Freshman Seminar Identity course.


Freshman Seminar

Upper School Freshman Seminar

In their first year in the Upper School, all 9th graders participate in one semester of Freshman Seminar, and the other semester is spent taking one of the Freshman Arts Experiences (FAX) courses.

Freshman Seminar is designed to give students an opportunity to acquaint themselves with diverse members of our adult community and to explore varied topics that fall outside of the traditional academic program. Freshman Seminar consists of 6 mini-courses, designed to educate our ninth grade students on internal and external facets of Menlo life and beyond. Student rotate through the six courses in small cohorts that meet during A block. The sections include:

  • Ethics
  • Identity
  • Community Engagement
  • Whitaker Lab 
  • Human Behavior
  • Human Sexuality 

The Upper School’s Human Sexuality curriculum, also taught in the Freshman Seminar, is centered around Teen Talk High School, a 10-hour comprehensive sexuality education course developed by Health Connected. Teen Talk High School complies with California’s Healthy Youth Act and meets the California Health Education Content Standards for “Growth, Development and Sexual Health.” Both courses, Human Behavior and Human Sexuality, serve as a foundation for later 10th, 11th, and 12th grade workshops, presentations, and discussions related to decision making, healthy relationships, consent, sexual health, and substance education during Student Life time.

In a rapidly changing world in which young people face many challenges, the seminar offers opportunities for students to explore their attitudes on topics ranging from peer pressure, substance use and abuse, sexuality, and positive decision making to the exploration of teenage brain development.

Ninth graders participate in the Freshman Seminar Whitaker Lab course.

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