Welcome to the Upper School

The Head-Royce Upper School provides a challenging and stimulating liberal arts curriculum that inspires each of our 375 students to develop a lifelong love of learning. As Head of the Upper School, I believe that our school is unique, not just because of our history and facilities, but because of something vital that develops in the relationships between teachers and students. We seek to build close faculty and student relationships that grow from our mission to inspire academic excellence, promote diversity, and encourage constructive global citizenship.

At Head-Royce, we encourage students to appreciate diverse ideas, to become engaged participants in their community, and to develop into thoughtful, caring, and enthusiastic citizens of the world. Courses are designed to provide learning opportunities in which students develop critical thinking skills, take intellectual risks, work in collaborative settings, engage in creative and imaginative learning, and practice ethical decision making. I often hear of high school described as a journey but I like to think of it as a quest. At Head-Royce students discover a sense of purpose beyond themselves.


Upper School Curriculum

Our Academic Program

The Upper School offers a strong and challenging college preparatory program with a variety of activities which supplement the academic curriculum. In the Upper School, all students take four years of English and at least three years each of math, history, science and a world language (French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish or Latin).

We offer:

  • A wide array of honors and AP classes.
  • Opportunities for both outdoor education and field study throughout the Bay Area.
  • Award-winning robotics and debate teams and school newspaper and yearbook positions.
  • A wide range of student-initiated and organized clubs including Democracy Matters, Asia Club, Black Student Union, India Club, and the Fine Arts Dance Ensemble (FADE).
  • Opportunities for students to work as classroom aides in the Lower School and tutors in the Middle School.

Student Leadership Opportunities

To foster an atmosphere of self-governance, upper school students may apply to serve one-year posts on several faculty/student committees in areas such as curriculum, diversity, STEM, and student life. Additionally, senior prefects serve as mentors to freshman homerooms and students are frequently given the opportunity to lead community projects through the Center for Community Engagement.


Through our premier athletic program, Head-Royce students can play on over 26 interscholastic teams. Our competitive programs have captured more than 50 league championships in the last 19 years. Sports offered include baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball. Middle school teams compete in baseball,basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

Fine and Performing Arts

We offer a broad program in the arts, including opportunities for involvement in school musicals, dramatic and dance productions, jazz band and chorus. We offer coursework in photography, graphic design, film, studio arts and music theory. FADE, our intensive student-run dance program, stages a major production each spring. Our upper school musicians in the select instrumental and choral groups Caravan and Colla Voce, respectively, travel to music festivals across the country.

Curriculum Overview

Sample Schedule

College Admissions

Carl Thiermann
Upper School Head
(510) 531-1300 x2266

Saya McKenna
Assistant Upper School Head
(510) 531-1300 x2136

Keri Keifer
Assistant to the Upper School Head
(510) 531-1300 x2535