Upper School

Cultivating an empowered leader.

In the Upper School, our girls master a rigorous curriculum and immerse themselves into a rich array of co-curricular and servant leadership experiences. At Stone Ridge, the girls go beyond academic learning to discover who they are as confident, self-aware leaders ready to make a difference in the world.


Committed to educating to a deep respect for intellectual values, the Upper School at Stone Ridge seeks to inspire students to a lifelong love of learning. Our academic program across all divisions is founded upon our mission: to inspire young women to lead and serve, through lives of purpose that integrate faith, intellect, community, social action, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

Our Upper School program is designed specifically to serve the needs of young women as they stretch themselves towards a greater sense of understanding of self and the world, and of purpose. Each student is known, loved, and celebrated. We offer an educational program in the Upper School that is designed to nurture and inspire young women to develop their gifts, to build empathy and compassion for their world, and to gain confidence in the knowledge that their lives have meaning, promise, and purpose.

Upper School Girls

Upper School Social Action at Bikes for the World

Research tells us that young women thrive on engagement and connection; when learning is directly tied to the understanding of self and to increased knowledge of the world, girls learn best. Unique to the Upper School at Stone Ridge, the Social Action Program allows girls to build on their classroom learning outside of the School’s walls; to deepen their faith formation and to engage in reciprocal acts of justice, service, and connection.

Our relationship with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools and the Network Exchange Program cultivates community, perspective, and empathy as Upper School girls travel throughout the United States and abroad and often host girls from other Network schools. Likewise, our Upper School students and faculty participate in summer service projects with other Network schools. These programs highlight the engaged connection that is a hallmark of our Upper School experience, each founded in our mission and in the understanding of how young women learn best -- building connections with a larger sense of both purpose, place, and people.

Exchange map


Upper School art class


Our Upper School faculty believes that full engagement and thoughtful dialogue fosters lasting understanding and the transfer of knowledge. As such, our program uniquely serves young women with a curriculum founded on critical thinking and the cultivation of their God-given gifts as they navigate increasingly, and developmentally appropriate challenging landscapes of learning. Stone Ridge educates using Understanding by Design as its pedagogical approach for instruction and curriculum design. Each course is grounded in essential questions which allow the girls to engage in meaningful, open-ended questions designed to foster student interest, guide inquiry, stimulate discussion, and spark rethinking over time, pointing toward intra- and inter-disciplinary ideas. Students’ understanding of skills and knowledge is revealed through flexible performance. By anchoring our courses with Essential Questions, we guide students in uncovering and constructing meaning that they can flexibly transfer to new settings, issues, and problems. Learning, for our Upper School girls, becomes an exercise of purpose, of self-understanding, and of coming to know the world in which they will soon lead and serve as children of the Sacred Heart.

Academics Course of Study

PDF version of the Course of Study 2019-2020

Student Support


The Upper School has two Counselors that encourage students to focus on personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom, Goal V.

The Upper School Counselors’ primary focus is to:

  • provide direct short-term counseling assistance to students experiencing academic or emotional challenges.
  • facilitate seminar classes, to encourage personal growth and development through educational facts and discussions on topics that are developmentally relevant to adolescent life.
  • consult with teachers and parents, provide referrals, and consult with the Upper School Support team in creating strategies for any student in need.

Nikola Edgar, PhD
Upper School Psychologist (First and Second Academic Students)

Denise Key
Upper School Counselor (Third and Fourth Academic Students)

Learning Support

Students in the Upper School at Stone Ridge are encouraged to become independent learners, who are self-aware and able to self-advocate. Most academic support in Upper School is provided through classroom differentiation and direct extra help from faculty. Students make appointments to see their teachers during free periods, break, lunch, before school, and after school. When additional learning support is necessary, learning specialists will assist in determining a course of action. 

Upper School Learning Specialists:

  • Provide small group/individual meetings.
    • Students who have documented learning differences and have demonstrated the need for additional learning support meet on a regular basis.
    • Specific study skills strategies are available for all students on a drop-in basis.
  • Communicate student learning differences and approved accommodations to teachers.
  • Work with teachers to develop in-class support structures for students with learning differences.
  • Make referrals for psychological-educational testing and are the school liaisons to educational psychologists.
  • Document each student’s accommodations through a Student Success Plan.
  • Assist families in applying for College Board/ACT testing accommodations.

Learning Specialists
Jen Shoemaker-Trinh
Learning Specialist (First and Second Academic)

Miranda Whitmore
Learning Specialist (Third and Fourth Academic)


Upper School Leadership Program
Upper School leadership at mass

Stone Ridge is committed to developing student leaders and accomplishes this goal by sharing leadership of the Upper School program with the student body. Stone Ridge students have the choice to engage in the practice of leadership through a rich array of leadership opportunities that are accessible to all. Students will develop a thoughtful awareness of leadership qualities in themselves and others by developing self-awareness, facilitation and communication skills, inclusivity, accountability and team work in the service of others. Leadership opportunities attract the emerging student leader who is interested in trying leadership for the first time as well as student leaders looking for greater challenge. Student leadership fosters independence and personal responsibility from all participants.

Stone Ridge Student Groups
  • Elected Student Bodies
    Examples include Core Group, Class Officers, Honor Committee/Board and Athletic Association Blue/Gold Reps. The Core Group serves all upper school grade levels and fosters an environment of good order, high morale, school spirit, and school community growth and well-being. The Core Group meets to discuss and address issues of concern to the student body and to provide suggestions and ideas germane to the improvement of student life at Stone Ridge. Class Officers plan many grade level activities including spirit week, school dances, ring day and more. The Honor Board acts as a hearing board and honor committee. As honor committee, the group is charged with reviewing honor and integrity at Stone Ridge and to putting forth recommendations on how to continue to foster a community committed to these ideals.
  • Appointed Student Boards
    Examples include Campus Ministry, Student Diversity, Social Action, School Community Governance Board, etc.
  • Diversity and Culture Groups
    Examples include Asian ApreciAsian, Black Student Alliance, Amig@s, Spectrum, Allies, Multiracial Student Association.
  • Interscholastic Teams
    Examples include It’s Academic, Model United Nations, Science Competitions, Robotics, etc. Interscholastic Teams compete against other area schools.
  • School Community Governance Groups
    School Community Governance groups (SCGs) are an opportunity for students to gain more awareness of the causes that are important to the student body. Topics are determined based on student interest. Examples include Gators Troops Love, Habitat, Amnesty International, Best Buddies, Gators Halt Hunger, Operation Smile, Sacred Heart Health, Good Samaritan, Oceana, PAWS, CARE Cancer Awareness, etc.
  • Social Action Reflection Groups
    Social Action Reflection Groups meet after every Social Action Wednesday.
  • Performance and Arts Groups
    Examples include a capella (Heartfelt), Literary Magazine (Callithump), Music Ministry.
  • After-school Clubs
    After-school clubs generally fall into specific categories such as career interest, exploration/enrichment of a discipline, artistic expression and those that are just for fun. Examples include World Language Clubs, Science Clubs, Book Club, Dance Clubs, Arts Clubs, Gators for Life Club, etc.
  • Ad Hoc Committees
    Examples include Dance Committees, Feast Wishes Committee, Caffeine Committee, TEDx Committees, etc.


STEAM Program in the Upper School

In the Upper School, students uncover a passion for scientific discovery and seek to engage in scientific research and internship opportunities beyond the classroom. The Stone Ridge STEM Certificate recognizes those students that have demonstrated further interest in the STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) by having completed a variety of activities including an internship outside of Stone Ridge.

With guidance and support from the program coordinator and Science Department faculty, students find internship opportunities in the DC metro area--an area rich in technology and scientific endeavor. Back on campus, students will work with and lead groups like Science Club and compete in local STEAM related competitions such as the Central Maryland Physics Olympics. In addition, upperclassmen work with younger students as peer tutors. Students produce a portfolio of related experiences building science and technology knowledge and skills.

The purpose of the STEM Certificate is to support learning based on current best practices, especially with girls. The program aims to provide our students a healthy and balanced way to demonstrate their mastery of skills expected at the next level. Girls interested in scientific inquiry and engineering design need the opportunity to experience all types of technology inside and outside the classroom. Learn more about the program requirements or contact Joanna Caudle, Upper School Science Department Chair.

Seal of Biliteracy

Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by participating school systems that recognizes a student’s high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages other than English.

The Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.

In 2019, Stone Ridge was the first all girls school in Maryland to offer the opportunity to earn the Seal of Bilteracy award. 21 members of the Class of 2019 earned the Seal of Biliteracy!

Seal of Biliteracy


Campus Ministry and Retreats

Campus Ministry
Upper School Campus Ministry

The Upper School includes an extensive and popular Campus Ministry program. Students assist in planning, writing, and sharing in faith-filled activities. The entire program includes four programs: worship, service, reflection, and retreats.

The worship life of the school is reflected in school liturgies and prayer services, opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Morning Prayer in assembly. Students and the Campus Minister plan the theme, content, and music of the liturgies. Priests from nearby parishes and schools are invited to preside at the liturgies.

The Social Action program enables students and faculty members to become involved in service to those in need in the community beyond Stone Ridge. In addition to the bi-weekly program, the Campus Ministry provides additional regular and seasonal opportunities for service. Fruits for breakfasts and “snack packs” for dinners are collected and served once a month at Progress Place soup kitchens and So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E.) respectively. Projects to serve the hungry, homeless, and others in need in the area and the world are sponsored as well, particularly during Lent and Advent. Monthly service at Shepherd’s Table is an experience students find most meaningful.

The reflection periods complement the theology program by giving students and faculty a variety of opportunities to experience and express their faith. In addition to liturgies, reflection time includes prayer, social action reflection, films and speakers relating to peace and justice issues of local, national, or global concern to Christians, as well as exploration of other religious traditions.

An annual day of retreat for all classes and faculty members, and a three-day retreat at an area retreat house for Fourth Academic students, provide time for each student to deepen her knowledge and love of God. The retreats are directed by the Campus Ministry team, which collaborates in planning with faculty members and students.

Retreat Program

"Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart inspires young women to lead and serve, through lives of purpose that integrate faith, intellect, community, social action, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom."

The Stone Ridge Upper School Retreat Program contributes to the school's mission by offering students the chance to develop a deeper self-awareness, awareness of the needs and gifts of others, and awareness of the presence of God in their lives. By developing the capacity for spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, and reflection, the retreat program intends to realize the following objectives:

  • "To make known the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the world.
  • To understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus as a Child of the Sacred Heart, and to provide a space and time to practice.
  • To provide formative experiences that enable students to continue to grow and develop deeper self-awareness, compassion, and awareness of the presence of God.
  • To develop a vocabulary for interpersonal affirmation and spiritual practice.
  • To develop a deeper and ever-expanding understanding of community and the skills to build just relationships and discern the presence of God."
First Academic Retreat

As an introduction to the retreat program, the Lumen Retreat creates a safe and welcoming environment for students to develop self-awareness and an appreciation of the gifts of others. Through experiences of prayer, reflection, and meditation guided by Faculty and 4th Academic Leaders, students are introduced to the significance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, consider what it means to shape a community characterized by love and compassion, and develop skills of recognizing the gifts of others.

Second Academic Retreat

The Agape Retreat is designed to provide 2nd Academic Students an opportunity to consider the relationships that shape them. For a day, students go off-campus to experience witness talks, small group activities, and reflection in order to develop the skills of reflection, interpersonal communication, and prayer.

Third Academic Retreat

The Renewal Retreat for 3rd Academic Students is an off-campus, overnight retreat that provides students a chance to explore their interior lives and develop skills of reflection and discernment. With a special emphasis on the ideas of renewal, students have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Fourth Academic Retreat

Cor Unum, the culminating retreat experience for Stone Ridge students, is a three day, off-campus retreat that allows students to consider the ways they are called to transform themselves, their community, and the world. Through individual reflection, communal experience, and the celebration of the Eucharist, the retreat offers students a chance to deepen their understanding of what it means to be a Child of the Sacred Heart.

Fourth Academic Internships

During two weeks in May, all Fourth Academic students participate in independent professional internship. These programs can take the form of an internship, service project, job shadow, or carefully-planned creative endeavor. Each Fourth Academic student will complete a project proposal and gain the approval of the Fourth Academic Project Committee. Upon completion of the project, each student participates in the Fourth Academic Internship Symposium.

NASA Goddard internship
Washington Institute of Dermatological Laser Surgery internship
  • Chevy Chase Surgical Associates
  • Circuit Court for Montgomery County Judge’s Office
  • Consumer Products Safety Commission
  • E/L Studio ArchitectureEagle Bank
  • Erika Lane Photography
  • Federal Reserve Board
  • Imagination Stage
  • Jesuit Refugee Service
  • Kelley Interior Design
  • Metro Orthopedics and Sports Therapy
  • Navy Medicine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • NIH/NHLB/Office of the Clinical Director
  • NewsCorp: Fox Broadcasting
  • Ocean Conservancy
  • Office of States Attorney
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • St. Jane De Chantel School
  • Strategic Media Services
  • The Stanley Medical Research Institute
  • University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering
  • US Treasury Department
  • Washington PostWealthEngine
  • Woodrow Wilson Center
  • World Central Kitchen
  • WUSA - TV