The Tad Bird Honors College is a cohort-based, 4-year Upper School program of innovative, student-centered Humanities coursework and community engagement that helps students identify and pursue their passions while cultivating an empathetic eye towards others. Each year, students complete coursework that builds core skills, mindsets and values that students can utilize throughout their All Saints' experience and far beyond the classroom during their lives. 

Honors College Mindsets
  • Servant Leader
  • Engaged Citizen
  • Creative Thinker
  • Collaborator
  • Communicator
  • Innovator
  • Researcher

Honors College Coursework

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Ninth Grade Honors College English I: Inquiry & Analysis

    Full-Year, 1 credit; required for Honors College cohort members; replaces English I
    Introduces students to the concept of “Design Thinking” that rests at the heart of the Honors College program. Through this process, students will identify and empathize with others’ cultural lenses and social identities, analyzing the impacts of culture in our local communities and on a wider scale. We will investigate issues through an array of disciplines, including sociology, literature, political science, history, philosophy, and psychology. Students learn how to lead classmates through complex discussions, cultivate formal writing and presentation skills, and employ Design Thinking processes in multiple modes.
  • 10th Grade Modern Society: Global Issues

    Full-Year, 1 credit; required for Honors College cohort members; replaces Modern World History
    Enables students to look comprehensively at contemporary world issues and help devise solutions facing us currently and in the future. Topics to be considered include nationalism and ethnic conflict, geopolitics and leadership, technology’s impact on society and culture, and urbanization. Students will engage in diplomatic processes aligned with Model United Nations guidelines, continue to work collaboratively on Design Thinking-driven projects, and refine the interview and community engagement skills they will employ extensively in the Junior Honors Thesis and Capstone Design courses.
  • Junior Honors Thesis

    Full-Year, 1 credit; required for Honors College members open to all All Saints' juniors in good standing via application process
    Prompts students to pursue scholarly inquiry about a topic or issue of personal interest. Students extensively analyze and synthesize high-level scholarship in their selected field, conduct original research outside our immediate All Saints' community, and write and defend a comprehensive, polished thesis discussing their methodology and results. This process employs the empathy skills established in 9th and 10th grade HC courses while also helping students continue refining research, writing, and communication skills that prepare them for college and beyond.

    View Class of 2021 Junior Honors Thesis presentations here.
  • Senior Capstone Design & Ethics

    Full-Year; required for Honors College members and open to other Seniors who successfully completed Junior Honors Thesis
    Builds on the Junior Honors Thesis program by providing students an opportunity to conduct extensive empathy work and partner with a local or national service-based organization that aligns with their personal interests. Students will continue honing their ability to collaborate and work with others’ needs in mind, seeing the complexities of ethical service learning and community engagement while constructing a ‘product’ (not necessarily physical) that will assist their chosen organization in meeting community needs for years to come.

    View Class of 2020 Capstone Project presentations here.

Key Dates

Parent Information Sessions
November 30, 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. (Virtual)
December 2, 9:00 - 9:30 a.m. (Virtual)

Applications Due
January 8

Group Interviews
Week of February 1 (8:00 - 9:15 a.m.)

Individual Interviews
February 8-23

Friday, March 12

List of 2 members.

  • Dr. William Matsuzaki 

    Dean of Curriculum / Director of Tad Bird Honors College
  • Sra. Leslie (Wittenbraker) Cox 

    Upper School Spanish / Modern Language Dept. Chair / Asst. Director of the Tad Bird Honors College

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • What makes the Tad Bird Honors College different from other honors colleges?

    The focus of the Tad Bird Honors College is not on content mastery and high grades; the focus is on skill development, cross-cultural competancy, and student-owned learning. The collaborative projects and round table discussions center on actively engaging complex ideas, devising solution and communicating effectively. Many Honors College students take ‘honors’ level classes during their Upper School experience for the added rigor and positive connotations on transcripts, but this has no relationship to the student's standing in the Honors College.
  • What are Honors College courses like?

    Traditional lectures and tests are replaced by project-based learning, collaborative endeavors, and roundtable discussions on critical issues facing our local and global communities. Students have significant latitude in developing their own unique processes, and their final products often reflect this same uniqueness.
  • What does the Honors College look for in applicants? 

    Honors College admissions is a holistic process that takes into account personal reflective essays, group and individual interviews, teacher recommendations, and traditional ‘data’ like grades and test scores to build a cohesive cohort with the abilities, skills, and mindsets necessary to create a dynamic experience for all students involved in the program.

    The typical successful applicant exhibits the following qualities:
    • A willingness to use his or her imagination and envision what could be
    • A desire to understand the human condition and empathize with others
    • A growth mindset about his or her own, and others’, abilities
    • A spirit of collaboration inside and outside the classroom
    • An ability and desire to tackle complex, long-term projects
    • A high character that aligns with All Saints' values
    Cohort groups typically are composed of 14 to 16 students, and the average number of applications over the past few years has been 30+.
  • If my student does not want to participate in the Humanities-centric Ninth and 10th Grade coursework, can he/she join the Honors College later? 

    Not technically, but both the Junior Honors Thesis and subsequent Senior Capstone courses are available to all All Saints' students in good standing. Performing well in these two endeavors shows the ability to complete advanced college-level work.
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