Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Clapham’s Upper School: A New Kind of College Prep

By Heather Hagenberg, College Placement Director


With this year’s Class Nine begins the launching of the long-anticipated Clapham Upper School. Though our first graduating class is three and a half years away, our Upper School is fully planned with curriculum guides and graduation requirements including four years of math, four years of science, Latin, French, Art, Choir, and Drama. Our students also participate in a humanities seminar for which our current Class Nine students are already receiving dual credit from Houston Baptist University in Texas.



As our school grows to a full PK-12 school and with our continued work with Houston Baptist, our Upper School students are on track to graduate with up to two years of HBU dual-credit, along with AP Calculus (AB and BC), AP Statistics, AP Physics, along with taking the AP Latin exam. Likewise, while we do not teach to the test, we understand the importance of the SAT/ACT in college admissions. To that end, we begin with our students taking the PSAT in Class Nine, followed by the SAT and ACT in the following years.


What all of this means is that our students at Clapham School are receiving the best of both worlds. Students encounter academic rigor above that of local honors students, yet Clapham doesn’t waver on its mission to engage the heart and train the affections. We hold firmly to this position that the heart and mind work together, and we will not compromise the training of virtue in small class sizes.


It is a special time in the life of our school, and it is a rare opportunity that we get to invite parents and students to take part in the coming of age of our Clapham Upper School. Being young does prohibit us from certain things, like fielding a football team, but what we lack in size we make up for in opportunity. Our students have the chance to not just join clubs, sports, and extra-curriculars, but to create them. Our students can partner with teacher-mentors to innovate service projects that could impact the surrounding community for the next twenty years.  As we train our students in virtue to be the leaders of tomorrow, these first few graduating classes are already leaders, paving the way down the less traversed road of learning devoted to serving Christ.


A few notes on dual-credit: Dual-credit means that our students are receiving high school credit and college credit at the same time, and, in the case of HBU, our students will receive a transcript from both schools. John Mark Reynolds, Provost of Houston Baptist, helped launch this program, and after looking at our syllabus and curriculum found our students were doing college-level coursework that required hardly any changes to be an accredited college course. Our teachers do the majority of the teaching, with occasional live and video sessions with HBU professors, thus the dual-credit. Currently we take advantage of this for our Class Nine Humanities course, which will receive 3 hours of HBU credit as English 1320: Great Books I.


What if my student does not end up attending HBU? Do we lose all of that credit?

That is a question you will have to take to the Registrar’s office at the schools you are considering, as each university views transfer credit differently. While many schools will accept some—if not all—of HBU’s credit, the more selective the school, the less likely they will accept it as a match to one of their courses. For example, though Harvard may not accept HBU transfer credit, Wheaton College would. That being said, even if a school does not accept the credit, the dual-credit transcript which shows that your child took college-level courses in high school will be viewed favorably in the admissions process, and could allow for advanced placement in a college’s coursework.


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