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Upper School Academic Departments


The Religion program encourages each student to become the person God created and calls him or her to be. With the Bible as its foundation, the program seeks to nurture students personally, and to challenge them intellectually and spiritually as they explore the Jewish, Christian, and other faith traditions.

Five quarters of religion are required for graduation: Sophomore Ethics, Senior Ethics, New Testament Survey (a semester class), and one other religion class.

  • Ethics for Sophomores

    Grade 10
    One Quarter
    ¼ credit
    This course focuses on the specific moral decisions of life in the Upper School: lying, cheating, stealing, drinking, and relationships, among others.
  • New Testament 8 - Christian Themes in Films

    Grades 10–12
    One Quarter
    ¼ credit
    This course focuses on recognizing and analyzing Christian themes that appear in films, such as redemption, sin, repentance, human freedom, and love. Films range from “Freedom Rider” to “Chariots of Fire.”
  • Senior Ethics

    Grade 12
    One Quarter
    ¼ credit
    The course explores the ethical implications of faith. Themes of human disobedience and God’s justice and the ethical foundations for developing guidelines for a responsible believer are explored.
  • New Testament Survey - Text and Tradition

    Grades 9-11
    One Semester 
    ½ credit
    This is a required course.
    This course focuses on the Bible, starting with fundamental readings from the Hebrew Scriptures but spending a majority of time on the Christian writings that comprise the New Testament. In order to help students understand the complexities involved in Christianity continuing to be a major influence on culture in the modern world, there are periodic forays into historical and contemporary material that illustrate the interplay of religion and culture. For example, time is spent on modern ways of interpreting scripture that have shaped our western world and American society. Students consider how modern science has challenged the traditional Christian world-view, and question the degree to which politics should be influenced by religious belief.
  • American Religions

    Grades 10-12
    One Quarter
    ¼ credit
    Over the past half century, the United States of America has simultaneously become more religiously diverse and less religious over all. For the first time in American history, less than half the adult population of America identifies as Protestant. At the same time, the percentage of Americans identifying as Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, and “None” has grown, accounting for over 30% of the American population. This demographic shift has been accompanied by the resurgence of perennial debates in American history: Which religions are authentically American, welcome in America, or compatible with American life? In this course, we’ll explore these debates in relation to identity formation, community building, and negotiating life as a religious minority in a pluralistic society.
  • Religion and Music: Sacred Sound

    Grades 9-12
    One Quarter
    1/4 credit
    This course will explore the numerous roles that music plays in religious and spiritual contexts around the world. We will compare religious musical practice from a global perspective, exploring the connections between religious doctrines, rituals, and cultural performances. The scope of the class will cover the major world religions using listening, analysis, and discussion to develop a foundation of understanding for music’s role to express reverence for and connection with the divine.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Sean Cavanaugh

    Sean Cavanaugh

    Religion Department Chair, JK-12 Chaplain
    Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA - M.Div.
    East Carolina University, Greenville, NC - B.A.
  • Kristen Farrington

    Assistant Chaplain, Upper School
    Yale Divinity School - M.Div.
    College of Wooster - BA
  • Photo of Scott Strednak Singer

    Scott Strednak Singer

    Upper School Religion Teacher
    Temple University - Ph.D.
    Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary - M.A.
    Centre College - B.A.
Age 3-Grade 12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia


List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Age 3-Grade 5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304