As students navigate the Upper School, they apply their knowledge and skills to increasingly challenging, problem-based scenarios in all disciplines. Foundational courses in science, history, and English comprise the ninth- and tenth- grade course loads, along with courses in math, languages, and elective options in the arts, computer science, and speech and debate. As upperclassmen, students select from a broad range of courses
based on their interests and abilities. While specialization is discouraged, opportunities are available for students to develop particular areas of interest in depth.
Classes in the Upper School are based on inquiry and collaboration, requiring students to prepare, discuss, debate, present and defend points of view. Teachers guide the discussions, but students navigate their way through information together, constructing understanding for themselves rather than being told what to know.
Paul C. Ransom, a follower of educational reformer John Dewey and naturalist John Burroughs, believed in experiential learning.
At RE’s antecedents, the Pine Knot Camp and, later, the Adirondack-Florida School, Ransom’s students learned by using the Adirondack Forest and Biscayne Bay as extensions of the campus and living laboratories.
Today, Ransom Everglades still requires every student to master basic sailing, canoeing and kayaking skills in order to graduate. One of the most distinctive aspects of Ransom Everglades’ experiential pedagogy is the annual Outward Bound
program for ninth graders. Preparation for Outward Bound is part of the ninth-grade Bay Studies curriculum and includes instruction in canoeing and the use of map and compass.