Academic Departments


Needham High School is a caring Community Striving for Personal Growth and Academic Excellence. 

Needham High School draws from the strengths of the community to create partnerships between faculty, parents, and students, both on an individual level and in groups, in order to provide a high quality education. Teaching and learning are central to our mission, as is integrity. 

The school offers students a variety of opportunities to excel and a diversity of perspectives from which to learn in an environment that is both nurturing and challenging. 

The balanced student is able to participate actively in school and society, be creative, and self-advocate while determining their unique path to fulfillment. 

At Needham High School, we believe meaningful critical inquiry empowers all students to collaboratively navigate challenging ideas and topics, embrace a variety of experiences, identities and viewpoints, and connect authentically with the world they inhabit and for which they share responsibility. We are dedicated to establishing and maintaining communities throughout the school that are safe, inclusive and supportive academic and interpersonal spaces, where students can explore nuanced curricula, safely pilot their ideas and perceive disagreement as an opportunity to learn. 


In conjunction with our school-wide learning expectations (e.g., Communication; Research; Analysis; Personal Responsibility; Civic Responsibility) and our Portrait of a Needham Graduate Core Competencies (e.g., “Preparing all Needham Public School Students to be...Creative Thinkers and Problem Solvers; Communicators and Collaborators; Socially and Culturally Responsive Contributors; Responsible and Resilient Individuals; Empowered Learners”), student achievement and growth will be measured in the following domains: 

Skill Enrichment -We embrace a growth mindset in our work to empower all Needham High School students to write effectively; research effectively; read critically for comprehension; solve complex problems; think critically; demonstrate non-written communication skills; demonstrate effective organizational skills; and monitor and direct their learning using various feedback sources. We believe that academic skills and social-emotional wellness are the foundation for students’ social and civic inquiry and outreach. 

Positive & Proactive Digital Citizenship – We believe in a thorough source analysis, through which students consider the reliability, bias, and transparency of materials that supplement their exploration of core course texts, resources, and artifacts. Teaching students to be discerning consumers of online information is an essential skill, and our instruction empowers the discovery of trustworthy content, responsible online sharing practices, and negotiation of online communication. 

Equitable Inquiry – We believe in engaging students in challenging critical inquiry as a means to achieve more equitable classroom, local, and national communities. This is most effectively accomplished through rigorous discourse exploring the role of history, power and privilege through lenses (i.e., race, ethnicity, faith, class, power, culture, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability) that inform students’ understanding of core content as well as their own evolving views, values, and identity. 

Civic Expectations & Student Voice – Through student-centered, collaborative and personally relevant inquiry, students will develop individual and collective voice, heightened self-confidence, agency and purpose. We aspire to increase students’ capacity to participate in dialogue across differences and - through authentic engagement and reflection - consider the perspectives of those whose experience and position in the world differ from their own. As students increasingly understand and define their own civic disposition, they will also expand their awareness of others’ fundamental needs and rights. Lastly, students will be encouraged and empowered to take thoughtful action, make informed choices and work together on projects that promote a public good beyond the classroom, forging reciprocal connection with the large communities of which they are a part.

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