Core Courses are held in the morning and include the following subjects:


Students are allowed to choose the writing course they want to take based upon their need or interest.  Some classes help students prepare for the state writing exam in high school, while others focus on research writing, journalism, or creative writing.  All writing classes are conducted in BSU computer labs.


To ensure students read a variety of books as they progress through Upward Bound’s summer programs, we have taken a genre-based approach in our literature curriculum.

Working diligently during writing class
Working diligently during writing class.

This enables students to select literature courses that focus on the kind of stories they would be most interested in reading.  Past Upward Bound literature courses have explored the following genres: adventure, coming of age, mystery, science fiction, international short stories, Native American literature, and classics.


Whether it’s in an algebra I or pre-calculus class, students are able to have more one-on one time with their Upward Bound instructors because class size is kept small.  Math instructors focus on group work in the class and encourage students to help each other.  Students are able to choose from algebra I, geometry, algebra II, ACT prep, statistics or pre-calculus.

Dissecting owl pellets in Environmental Science
Dissecting owl pellets in Environmental Science.

Upward Bound offers a range of science courses each summer that focus on hands-on learning.  Science instructors focus on learning the basic concepts of scientific principles to give students an advantage for the science classes they will take at their high school.  Past summer programs have offered are physical science, biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics.


Whether studying Ojibwe, Spanish, Chinese, or American Sign Language, students have many opportunities to practice pronunciations and actually use the new language in class.  In addition to studying languages, students will also engage in related cultural activities such as watching a subtitled film or eating ethnic foods.

School of Rock class band
School of Rock class band.
Cultural and Recreational Electives

Electives take place on alternating afternoons. Students are able to choose from a variety of offerings. The courses change almost every year to provide variety. Past Creative Electives have included stage combat, yearbook, speech, psychology, Native American crafts, and painting. Recreational electives have included basketball, ultimate frisbee, leisure sports, and zumba fitness.

Additional Academic Support

Support is available most evenings for students wanting additional assistance with their classes. While there is little homework during the Summer Program students will have a novel to read and may have material to review.

Internship Opportunities

Internships are available to seniors in the Summer Program. Students are placed in paid internships at businesses in the Bemidji area that relate to their individual career interests. Internship sites in the past have included: the Department of Corrections, Karvakko Engineering, Sanford Hospital, and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.