Curriculum

Whitfield School has some of the most demanding graduation requirements in the nation.  Students in grades 6-12 take required courses each year in the following departments:  English, social studies, science, mathematics, and language.  Fine arts requirements, including music, theater and visual art, change as students get older, giving them first exposure to varied disciplines to discover their passions and then room to make the academic decisions that best fit their interests.  Through this rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, students gain a strong foundation for success in all academic fields, while learning to be creative problem solvers and critical thinkers who will succeed in the 21st century.  Whitfield classrooms average 14 students per class, and the teacher-student ratio is 1:7.  These facts support student engagement and allow teachers to challenge every student.

Please reference the drop down menu below to learn more about the curriculum.

Advisory

Advisory Department Overview
The advisory program is a key structure put into place to ensure that all students are well-known and supported academically, socially, and emotionally. The program's mission-driven objectives are:

  • to maintain open lines of communication and foster collaboration between the advisor, student, and parents/guardians
  • to be an avenue for delivering the Habits of Mind and Heart Curriculum, which helps students understand their strengths of character and the contribution this understanding makes to their personal growth, as well as to their local, national, and global communities.
  • to foster an appreciation for the strengths of others in their advisory group and to work throughout the year to build trusting relationships with each other

Advisories are regularly scheduled during the school day and meet between two and five times per six-day cycle of classes.

Advisory 6-9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6-9

Students in grades 6-9 meet regularly in Advisory groups several times in every six-day cycle. An Advisory group consists of 10-15 students in the same grade and one faculty member who is also a teacher for those students. Planned activities include those from The Habits of Mind and Heart social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, community service projects on and off campus, student led parent-teacher conference preparation, and personal growth portfolios.

Sophomore Forum
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Sophomore Forum is a course designed to promote the healthy academic and social development of 10th grade students and is an extension of the advisory program students had at earlier grade levels. The main focus of Sophomore Forum is self-management. Specifically, through discussion, readings, one-on-one meetings, and guest speakers, students investigate topics such as academic achievement and integrity, social issues, health education, and time management. Topics are strategically scheduled to coincide with important events taking place at school, such as social events, major projects and trimester exams. During second trimester, college counselors also introduce age-appropriate college planning and self-discovery activities.

Junior Colloquium
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11

Junior year advisory continues the personal and academic support of the Habits of Mind and Heart curriculum and reflects the unique milestones of this stage of high school. Students have a voice in the topics of exploration and develop leadership in implementing activities in the following areas: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Bringing Themselves Into the World. The primary focus of advisory is to continue to mentor and support students in developing relationships with teachers, peers, and others.

Developmentally, 11th-grade students are beginning to invest more of themselves and looking at how they fit into the world. Therefore, service learning and College Knowledge are key components of the junior advisory experience. Service learning is composed of multiple opportunities and organized as both group and individual experiences. College Knowledge focuses on the initial phases of the college selection process including characteristics of fit, standardized testing and application tools. College counselors guide students through exercises to define, research, and analyze college options based upon the student’s strengths and needs to ensure success. College Knowledge occurs on a regular basis predominantly in the third trimester.

Senior Seminar
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Senior Seminar is a required, graded course. The curriculum includes college preparation work and exercises, the Service Intensive, the Spring Internship, preparation for the Senior Exhibition, and an optional Senior Independent Study. Students are required to complete their college preparatory work, the Service Intensive, the Spring Internship, and the Senior Exhibition, all of which are graded as part of Senior Seminar. Students are not eligible to graduate unless they meet all expectations of Senior Seminar satisfactorily.

College Preparation
Seniors complete college preparatory work that includes writing college essays, planning college visits, preparing college applications, and participating in activities, seminars and panel discussions designed to prepare students for life in higher education, from dormitory practicalities to academic skills to self-awareness and self-regulation.

The Service Intensive
In the fall, seniors will spend one week reporting to local non-profit agencies for an extended service learning experience. As a capstone to the service experiences in which students have participated every year at Whitfield, this opportunity provides students the chance to explore, propose, and execute a plan for participating in the improvement of their local community while applying valuable skills in research, argumentation, organization, collaboration, communication, and empathetic reasoning. This required, immersive program is managed by the senior advising team, who will visit students at their placements. The Senior Seminar grade will reflect student participation in the Service Intensive.

Senior Spring Internship
The Spring Internship, an opportunity to extend education beyond the classroom, is a required component of the senior year. With the help of their advisors, students seek non-paying internships, which can be based on a career interest, service learning, or personal inquiry. With the help of their advisors, seniors learn how to create resumes, engage in interviews, and make professional contacts with organizations. Once students find an organization that inspires their interest, they arrange to spend 30 hours per week serving the organization for a period of four to five weeks in April and May.

Senior Exhibition
The Senior Exhibition, a final requirement of senior year, is held on campus. Students present individual exhibitions before a public audience of peers, parents, faculty, and invited guests. The Senior Exhibition is a culminating opportunity for seniors to demonstrate a passion, a talent or a skill that distinguishes them as educated people with much to offer the world. Work on the Spring Internship and Senior Exhibition determine the final grade for Senior Seminar.

Senior Independent Study (optional)
The Senior Independent Study gives seniors the opportunity to pursue a subject of study, plan the research, construct the timeline, and analyze the outcomes. Seniors are accountable for the completion of this work and must make a presentation summarizing their experiences to their peers and to the adult community. To be successful in this Independent Study, each senior will choose and work with a willing faculty member as his/her mentor. Seniors must provide plans, timelines, and deadlines during the entire senior year. The Senior Independent Study must begin prior to the end of the first trimester and continue throughout the academic year. The Senior Independent Study may or may not link with the student’s Service Intensive or Internship.

The Senior Independent Study will have a pass/fail grade with progress reports from the senior and the mentor at mid- and end-of-the-trimester periods. The Senior Independent Study will be included on the official transcript at the conclusion of the project and will be recognized in the college recommendation.

The subject of an Independent Study may be chosen from several areas; i.e., the pursuit of an academic subject that is not offered in the regular school curriculum (provided a faculty member is available to serve as an Independent Study mentor), an extension of an academic subject taught at school for the purposes of pursuing an interest to a greater depth, or working in a community service based context.

Independent Study reports and presentations will be due before Spring Break.

English

Mission
In the English program, Whitfield students build character, purpose, and passion in an environment that prioritizes communication, connectivity, and innovative thinking. Students develop an appreciation of the power and beauty of the English language by exploring literature, by writing in a broad selection of modes with different purposes, and by engaging with a variety of audiences. The mission of the English department is to provide students with the tools they need to become skilled, effective and enthusiastic readers, writers, and communicators.

English Department Overview
Organized around essential questions and thematic literature selections, each English course combines collaborative experiences and individualized instruction, the hallmark of which is writing as a process. Learner-centered design means that students examine ideas, read critically, make presentations, design media products, and communicate using a variety of technology resources, balancing deep thinking and concrete skill acquisition to prepare them for college, careers, and citizenship. English is a required course for students in grades 6 through 12.

Process Writing at Whitfield
Good writing is evidence of good thinking and is a vehicle for promoting empathy and appreciation of multiple perspectives. Working on a written assignment involves understanding audience and purpose and developing ideas to communicate effectively. The teacher’s role is to help students to find their own voices while developing critical thinking and reflection skills. Learning a variety of genres of writing comes from tackling authentic tasks. Students should be ready to revise and rework their ideas before creating a publishable product, and teachers will provide substantive, sequential coaching of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, polishing and publishing.

English 6: Building a Community of Readers and Writers
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

The sixth grade English curriculum is designed to give students experience with a variety of reading and writing opportunities that allow for practice of important skills such as writing organization, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. Students will study fiction and nonfiction works in the form of poetry, short stories, novels, and articles. These readings serve as vehicles through which students explore the answers to the course’s Essential Questions. Students will also participate in Socratic seminars, independent reading projects, oral presentations, and collaborative projects.

Throughout the year, students will explore how different values and beliefs impact individuals’ actions. As a class, students will read Rodman Philbrick’s "Freak the Mighty", Trenton Lee Stewart’s "The Mysterious Benedict Society", Grace Lin’s "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon", and Wendelin Van Draanen’s "Runaway". While some novels will be read as a whole class, other novels will be explored through book clubs, so that students can have choice in picking novels they identify with while discussing and analyzing these in smaller groups.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does literature reflect a culture's values and beliefs?
  • How do I effectively communicate who I am and what I believe?
  • How do our values and beliefs shape who we are as individuals?
  • How are individuals transformed through their relationships with others?

English 7: Discovering the Emerging Self Through Literature
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

The seventh grade English curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking connections between their own experiences and the literature they read as they enter early adolescence and discover their emerging self. Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a variety of reading genres through whole class novels, book clubs, and independent reading. Students will also have a variety of reading and writing opportunities that allow for practice of important skills such as organization of ideas and details as well as critical thinking. The fiction and nonfiction readings will serve as vehicles through which students explore answers to the course's Essential Questions. Students will also participate in Socratic seminars, independent reading projects, oral presentations, and collaborative projects.

Throughout the year, students will explore the themes of personal identity and self-discovery through literary works such as Ben Mikaelsen’s "Touching Spirit Bear" and Watt Key’s "Alabama Moon". Some novels will be read as a whole class while other novels will be explored through book clubs, so that students can have choice in picking novels they identify with while discussing and analyzing these in smaller groups.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do I effectively communicate who I am and what I believe?
  • What transforms personal identity?
  • What distinguishes personal identity from group identity?
  • How do societal identifiers such as race, culture, language, gender, and social class influence an individual's idea of self?

English 8: Exploring Identity Through Literature and Composition
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

Eighth grade is a unique transition because it culminates a student’s traditional middle school school progression, but it precedes, and by necessity, prepares students for more independent and rigorous high school studies. New issues and decisions occupy eighth-grade thoughts, especially, “Who am I in relation to others?” English 8 explores concepts of identity and perception in literary works such as "The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano", "American Born Chinese", "To Kill a Mockingbird", and "The Outsiders". In addition to its emphasis on analyzing and interpreting literature, English 8 examines poetry, film, and nonfiction. Students engage all of these works in seminar discussion, developing skills necessary to effectively articulate responses to literature, the world, and themselves. Writing is an important process, and students use this process to hone their fundamental communication skills in a variety of modes and for diverse audiences.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who am I? What are the various factors that shape identity? In what ways is personal identity defined by others?
  • What is the role of community in establishing personal identity?
  • What cultural influences shape personal identity?
  • How can I express pride, confidence, and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people?

English 9 Literature and Composition: Journeys, Transitions, and Coming of Age
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

The ninth grade English curriculum exposes students to habits and skills that will be used throughout high school and college. Students will approach reading, writing, speaking, and collaboration as a process that includes identifying audience and purpose while exploring organizational strategies and multiple genres. Units of study will center on the coming of age experience. Through the reading of a variety of bildungsroman (coming of age novels), students will determine what the stories and characters show us about the human condition and the maturation process. The protagonists in the books we will read journey through the same confusing, exhilarating, infuriating feelings that students go through when experiencing any major transition. Discussions, analysis, and projects will encourage students to consider their own experience of the transition into high school and reflect on how diverse characters in literature approach the process of growing up.

Over the course of the year, students can expect to write in each of the following rhetorical modes: argumentation, narration, and persuasion. The major works read and discussed in ninth grade may include the following: "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint- Exupery, "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Saenz, "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas, "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, and a selection of short stories, poetry, and essays.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:
What does it mean to “grow up” or “come of age”?
What are the patterns or universal experiences in the journey to adulthood?
What aspects of the coming of age process are dependent on cultural identifiers?
How do times of transition allow us to better understand ourselves?

English 10 Literature and Composition: The Assertion of Self
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

It is vital that we get to know ourselves, respectfully consider others’ views, and decide what is worth defending; this life skill has never been more important than today when we are constantly surrounded by contrasting information, ever-diverging views, and powerful rhetoric. The literature, writing, discussion, and inquiry in sophomore English will center on the development of self and the questioning of identity within a larger community. Students will explore and learn to assert personal beliefs while working to embrace the concept that values can simultaneously change, evolve, and anchor us. Through discussions, debates, and Socratic seminars, students will practice asserting their ideas as well as actively listening and responding to the ideas of others. In addition, students will use frequent writing and reading opportunities to hone their perspectives, seeking diverse lenses through which to better understand the world in which they live.

Works studied may include: "Lord of the Flies" (William Golding), "Native Son" (Richard Wright), "The Kite Runner" (Khaled Hosseini), "Waiting for Godot" (Samuel Beckett), "Merchant of Venice" (William Shakespeare), "Boy Erased" (Garrard Conley), "Brain on Fire" (Susannah Cahalan), "Born a Crime" (Trevor Noah), "The Old Man and the Sea" (Ernest Hemingway), "Of Mice and Men" (John Steinbeck), "Anthem" (Ayn Rand), and select short stories and poems.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we identify and develop our individual truths?
  • In a world where others try to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?
  • When should an individual take a stand?
  • In the face of adversity, what causes some individuals to prevail while others fail?

English 11: Literature and Composition: Come Looking for America
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 2
GRADE: 11

Literature tells the stories of experiences—dreams, desires, acts, and mistakes—through which individuals are connected to one another and to the world around them. Building on skills from previous years, English 11 students read a variety of stories that represent diverse historical periods, experiences, and identities in American Literature. In their writing, students will develop confidence in their ability to express ideas effectively through a variety of assignments. Students will also practice formal literary analysis to gain a greater appreciation for the artistic construction of a text and its cultural resonance.

Works studied may include the following: "The Great Gatsby", "Round House: A Novel", "Beloved", "Clybourne Park: A Play", "The Things They Carried", as well as numerous short stories and poems.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do American voices, both unique and shared, represent our heritage?
  • How do we relate to our families, communities, and society?
  • Which is more important and why: the journey or the destination?
  • What defines the Great American Novel?

English 12: Advanced Seminar in Literature and Composition (T1)
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 12

The journey as a motif is as old as storytelling itself. This course uses journeys into the wilderness, the future, the unexplored-- in other words, anywhere outside of the known and the safe-- as vehicles for analytical discussion and writing. Hesse's "Siddhartha", Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", short stories and travel writing, and poetry by Scott, Whitman, Dickinson, Service, Frost, and Atwood are just a few examples of the reading selections that may inspire students to investigate what can be learned, good and bad, from leaving the comforts of home. Students will analyze journeys in literature and in their own experiences, and they will compose their own personal narratives, descriptive essays, and poems as well.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do journeys serve as catalysts and metaphors for transformation in literature and in life?
  • How is narrative literature different from other writing, and how does it do more than just record a journey?

English 12: Advanced Seminar in Literature and Composition (T3)
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 12

Reading from sources such as Plato's "Republic and Crito", Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics", Kant's "Fundamental Principles of a Metaphysic of Morals", John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism", and more, students will apply ethical theories to challenging legal, ethical and moral dilemmas while learning the building blocks of argumentation and rhetoric, including deductive and inductive reasoning, categorical arguments, pseudo-reasoning, and methods of introduction, arrangement, and style. The course culminates in a mock general court martial in response to a real military incident, during which students practice public speaking and real-world application of ethical theories in a public setting.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I discover what is false, what is valid, and what is true?
  • What do I value?
  • What constitutes an ethical decision?
  • What is “the good life” and how may I live it?

Journalism
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 11, 12

A news story can save lives, correct injustice, halt destruction, exalt the common person, and even preserve democracy. Students will become journalists in this course, examining the role, techniques, history, and power of journalism through news analysis, writing assignments, and viewing of such films as “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “All the President’s Men.” Students will collaborate as a news team and develop projects for audiences beyond the classroom.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is journalism a vital form of communication in a democratic republic?
  • How do journalists hold governments, businesses, and individuals accountable to the citizens of the United States?
  • How is journalistic writing different from other forms?

Memoir & Podcast: The Voices of Who We Are
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 11, 12

Writers examine their personal experiences for meaning and tell those stories to connect with others. In this course, students read, listen, discuss, and write about memoirs. Students will examine auditory elements and tools that complement words. They will consider how best to communicate within the constraints of recorded media. Reflecting on their life experiences, students will write, polish, and produce their own stories as a podcast. These episodes will be published on a podcast featured on Whitfield Now.

Works studied may include the following: "Modern American Memoirs", "River Runs through It and Other Stories", and "Glass Castle: A Memoir, Stitches".

Podcasts Studied May Include: "This American Life", "Radio Lab", and "The Moth Radio Hour".

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does memoir help us to understand our lives?
  • How do writers invoke prior experiences to connect with others?
  • What messages can memoirs communicate?
  • How do we write for the ear?

The Seventh Art: Cinema and Its Language
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 11, 12

Few forms of popular entertainment have shaped the cultures of the world as greatly as cinema. Students in this course will watch films from many genres, countries, and eras, and they will engage in analysis of the historical conventions that give cinema its place alongside other art forms. Students will also familiarize themselves with the philosophy and strategies of such “auteurs” as Ford, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Ozu, and Truffaut, among many others. Reading from literary sources of many classic film storylines, students will develop writing and thinking skills that focus on narrative analysis.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How has cinema evolved as an art form unto itself?
  • What is the relationship between film and literature, and how can the languages of each inform our perspective?

Visual Literacy & The Graphic Novel: See What I Mean
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 11, 12

In this course, students look at 21st Century visual literacy and the development of the modern graphic novel. Critical and aesthetic analysis of the graphic novel as an art form and a cultural product serves as an engaging point of entry into modern communication skills that require effectively combining textual and visual elements. Students will learn how sequential art tells a story visually and how the text in a graphic novel has visually communicative elements. Selections will include works from a variety of creators such as Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Marjorie Liu, Daniel Clowes, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Alison Bechdel. For the end of course capstone, students will conceive and design a proposal for an original graphic novel.

Works studied may include the following: "Understanding Comics", "MAUS I", "Ghost World", "V For Vendetta", "Y: The Last Man", "Jimmy Corrigan", "Blankets", "Sandman", "Monstress" and "Persepolis".

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does sequential art communicate stories?
  • How do images and text work together to create meaning?
  • How have graphic novels evolved as a storytelling medium?

Writing Studio
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 1
GRADE: 11, 12

The Writing Studio is a writing workshop that gives students the opportunity to create a portfolio of different types of writing, from short fiction to poetry to literary journalism. Along the way, students will learn techniques for fostering creativity, providing feedback, and receiving useful advice. Texts by authors like Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Peter Elbow, Lynda Barry, and others will direct students toward the practices employed by published, professional writers.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is “the writing life” and what rewards does it promise?
  • How can we use our writing to help us better understand the world?
  • How does an individual connect with an audience?

Fine Arts

Fine Arts Department Overview

Visual Arts
The Visual Arts program is designed to support students in achieving the following objectives: the acquisition of essential studio techniques and skills to serve artistic intent, an understanding of how to approach art-making as a problem based process, an understanding of how to develop a theme through visual imagery, and the ability to articulate artistic concepts and use artistic vocabulary to critique work effectively. Curriculum in grades 6 through 9 focuses on aspects of art and the creative processes relevant to intellectual growth and development in all individuals. Visual arts are viewed not only as a visual language to be manipulated, but also as an observable problem-solving process that is an integral part of the creative process within any discipline. In grades 10 through 12, students who have completed Design Overview or Fine Arts may choose to take the upper level studio electives.

Performing Arts
The Performing Arts program is designed to develop language and communication skills and creative problem-solving strategies; to promote a positive self-concept, social awareness, empathy, a clarification of values and attitudes, and an understanding of the art of performance.

Instrumental and Vocal Music
Performing is an essential activity of any music group and is, therefore, part of the band and choir curriculum. Students are required to participate in all performances and occasional group rehearsals. As an alternative to performance-based classes, a general music class offers seventh and eighth grade students the chance to explore the world of music without performance requirements.

Theater
The theater arts program at Whitfield encourages participants to develop talents they possess both onstage and behind the scenes, while exploring and fostering the innate creativity found in all students. The many courses provide students with the resources needed to help them take risks, develop their imaginations and learn creative problem-solving techniques associated with the performing arts.

Beginning Band
LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7

Beginning Band is for students in grades 6 and 7 who have had no previous experience in the study of woodwind and brass instruments. Students will be aided in choosing an instrument, learn the basics of instrument care, develop mastery on instrument playing technique and knowledge of music theory fundamentals. Students learn how to perform as a soloist and as a member of the band ensemble. Emphasis is placed on self-discipline and responsibility. The core concepts that are covered in Beginning Band include basic general music skills and skills that are specific to each instrument, and their culminating performances include concerts in both the winter and spring.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways am I a musician?
  • What are the elements essential to reading and performing music?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?

Concert Choir 6
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture. Choir students will also exhibit their skills through choir performances throughout the school year.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways am I a musician?
  • What are the elements essential to reading and performing music?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?

Visual & Theater Arts 6
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

In the sixth grade, students are introduced to various artistic processes. This course explores both the visual and theater arts. In the visual arts, the creative problem solving process is introduced to help students develop confidence in themselves as creative beings. Projects are designed to complement the 6th grade curriculum, and the arts become a vehicle for exploring and understanding their creativity. When students transition into the theater units, they will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving and imagination. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to create?
  • How does creating art help us learn about ourselves and other cultures?
  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?
  • What is the role of theater in society?
  • In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?

Concert Band I and II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7, 8

Concert Band I and II are designed as performance ensembles. Students must have a general knowledge of their instrument and ability to read music notation. Students will further refine their skills and develop their technical facility through their wind, brass, or percussion instrument. Rudimentary exercises such as major scales and arpeggios, breathing technique, rhythm patterns, and specific exercises designed for their particular instrument will help them improve their musical technique. Students will also have the opportunity to form small ensembles to explore interpretation, musical styles, balance, and intonation. Students perform at both the winter and spring music concerts, music festivals, and for special events.

The core concepts that are covered in Concert Band II, for grades 7 and 8, include the expansion of the general music skills and instrument skills that were built in Concert Band I.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways am I a musician?
  • What are the elements essential to reading and performing music?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?

Concert Choir 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture. Choir students will also exhibit their skills through choir performances throughout the school year.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does music communicate?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensembles success?

Theater Arts 7, Theater Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7, 8

Students in the full-time middle school theater program will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Classes will use original scene work, lighting and sound design, and advanced improvisation games to further their comfort and confidence in performance. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?
  • What is the role of theater in society?
  • In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?

Theater & Musical Arts 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

Students who wish to study both theater and musical arts in seventh grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. In the theater units, students will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion. The general music portion of the course is designed to foster a student-centered learning environment in which the students will be actively engaged with a variety of musical experiences; learning to read, analyze, and appreciate music in multiple styles and forms. Students will develop music skills which produce performance competencies that are appropriate to the student's music experience, development, and potential. Throughout the course, life skills such as teamwork, self-discipline, visual and auditory development, positive self-image, listening skills, self-expression, and creativity are emphasized. In addition, through hands-on experiences, mindful listening and exposure to a wide range of musical styles, students will develop an appreciation for music, aesthetic awareness, and enjoyment of the arts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?
  • What is the role of theater in society?
  • In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?

Visual & Musical Arts 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

Students who wish to study both visual and musical arts in seventh grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. In seventh grade, students go beyond exploring art to developing as artists themselves. A variety of media opportunities are presented to foster individual engagement with the creative problem solving process, a greater awareness of craftsmanship, and confidence with technical skills. Projects are designed to introduce art as a visual language. The general music portion of the course is designed to foster a student-centered learning environment in which the students will be actively engaged with a variety of musical experiences; learning to read, analyze, and appreciate music in multiple styles and forms. Students will develop music skills which produce performance competencies that are appropriate to the student's music experience, development, and potential. Throughout the course, life skills such as teamwork, self-discipline, visual and auditory development, positive self-image, listening skills, self-expression, and creativity are emphasized. In addition, through hands-on experiences, mindful listening and exposure to a wide range of musical styles, students will develop an appreciation for music, aesthetic awareness, and enjoyment of the arts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to be creative?
  • What is the creative problem solving process?
  • In what ways am I an artist?

Visual & Theater Arts 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

Students who wish to study both visual and theater arts in seventh grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. In seventh grade, students go beyond exploring art to developing as artists themselves. A variety of media opportunities are presented to foster individual engagement with the creative problem solving process, a greater awareness of craftsmanship, and confidence with technical skills. Projects are designed to introduce art as a visual language. In the theater units, students will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to be creative?
  • What is the creative problem solving process?
  • In what ways am I an artist?
  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?What is the role of theater in society?
  • In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?

Concert Choir 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture. Choir students will also exhibit their skills through choir performances throughout the school year.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways am I a musician?
  • In what ways am I an artist?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?

Visual Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

The eighth grade visual arts program continues to present students with a variety of artistic processes. There is increased emphasis on personal investment and engagement with the creative problem solving process. Focus shifts to the essential art elements that structure visual imagery and visual communication. Projects are designed to prepare students to advance into the upper level visual arts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the elements essential to creating art?
  • How do we grow as an artist?
  • What does it mean to invest in and engage with the creative problem solving process?

Theater & Musical Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

Students who wish to study both theater and musical arts in eighth grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. In the theater units, students will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion. In addition, through the music portion of the course, students will develop listening and composing skills through the study of various styles of popular music. In each style, the elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, tone color, texture and form) will be discussed and evaluated. With an understanding of the musical elements that are fundamental to different styles, students will electronically compose their own music.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?
  • What is the role of theater in society?
  • In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?
  • How do I appreciate music?
  • What makes different musical genres unique?
  • How can I create music?

Visual & Musical Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

Students who wish to study both visual and musical arts in eighth grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. The eighth grade visual arts program continues to present students with a variety of artistic processes. There is increased emphasis on personal investment and engagement with the creative problem solving process. Focus shifts to the essential art elements that structure visual imagery and visual communication. Projects are designed to prepare students to advance into the upper level visual arts. In addition, through the music portion of the course, students will develop listening and composing skills through the study of various styles of popular music. In each style, the elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, tone color, texture and form) will be discussed and evaluated. With an understanding of the musical elements that are fundamental to different styles, students will electronically compose their own music.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the elements essential to creating art?
  • How do we grow as an artist?
  • What does it mean to invest in and engage with the creative problem solving process?
  • How do I appreciate music?
  • What makes different musical genres unique?
  • How can I create music?

Visual & Theater Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

Students who wish to study both visual and theater arts in eighth grade will take this course as their annual required fine art class. The eighth grade visual arts program continues to present students with a variety of artistic processes. There is increased emphasis on personal investment and engagement with the creative problem solving process. Focus shifts to the essential art elements that structure visual imagery and visual communication. Projects are designed to prepare students to advance into the upper level visual arts. In addition, during the theater units, students will be introduced to the many aspects of creating theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the elements essential to creating art?
  • How do we grow as an artist?
  • What does it mean to invest in and engage with the creative problem solving process?
  • What roles can I play in the creative process of making theater?
  • What is the role of theater in society?

Design Overview
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

This course introduces freshmen to the elements and principles of design as the foundational building blocks that support all works of art. Students engage in a variety of assignments that aid in the development of technical skill and a personal creative process. Dry, wet, and mixed media are used throughout the course to push the notion of making, creative play, and experimentation. In addition, the course provides students with the opportunity to use visual communication to convey messages to a broader audience.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can we form a strong understanding of that which we perceive?
  • What are the elements and principles of design that all visual imagery is built upon?
  • How does an artist explore their creative work as a meaningful form of visual communication?What is the creative process and how does the artist function within it?

Fine Arts 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

Fine Arts 9 is a course that will facilitate and enhance the students’ appreciation of both the visual and performing arts. In the visual arts focus, students will explore the conveyance of messages and the creation of images and objects intended to have expressive and aesthetic character. The production of visual arts renderings will include a variety of materials and tools using various techniques and skills to develop desired effects and finishes with an emphasis on craftsmanship in conjunction with the elements of design and composition. In the performing arts area of this class, students will explore many elements of performance: working within an ensemble, storytelling and script analysis, design choices, vocal and movement skills, technical aspects of performance, theater history and how contemporary theater reflects society. A goal of this portion of the course is to introduce students to theater as an immediate art form, helping them to understand the interrelationship of script, acting, design, and craftsmanship in a production in the the hope that students will develop skills and a lifelong interest in attending and enjoying theatrical performances.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the vocabulary of the artist?
  • What are the elements that visual imagery can be reduced to?
  • What do we perceive?
  • What are the elements of performance?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?
  • How do theater and other types of performance reflect and affect society?

Theater 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

In Theater Arts 9, students will explore many elements of performance including working within an ensemble, storytelling and script analysis, design choices, vocal and movement skills, technical aspects of performance, theater history, and how contemporary theater reflects society. The goal of this course is to introduce students to theater as an immediate art form, helping them to understand the interrelationship of script, acting, design and craftsmanship in a production in the the hope that students will develop skills and a lifelong interest in attending and enjoying theatrical performances. Students will be prepared for future theater arts classes.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the elements of performance?
  • How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?
  • Why do we tell stories on stage?
  • How do theater and other types of performance reflect and affect society?

High School Concert Choir
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10, 11, 12

As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels - intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically - as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral and solo repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture.

All students will be given opportunities for solo work through preparation for the District Festival during third quarter.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does music communicate?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensembles success?

High School Concert Choir - B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10, 11, 12

Students who are not able to fit full-time choir into their schedule but who would still like to develop their musical skills can enroll in High School Concert Choir-B, during which students will meet less frequently and so will have less exposure to choral music.
As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral and solo repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture.

All students will be given opportunities for solo work through preparation for the District Festival during the spring.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does music communicate?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensembles success?

Instrumental Ensemble
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10, 11, 12

Instrumental Ensemble is designed as a performance ensemble, striving to further refine the skills students have learned in Concert Band I and II. Students will explore the fundamentals of music theory and music design. Advanced skills will be introduced and refined, such as minor scales and arpeggios, secondary fingerings, and complex rhythms. Students will also learn sight-reading skills. Solos and small ensembles will be formed to further strengthen the individuality of playing an instrument. All students may pursue the option to audition for All-District Honors Band and participate in the Solo and Small Ensemble Festival. Required performances also include the following school programs: Grandparents’ Day and both the winter and spring concerts. Students are also encouraged to participate in our extracurricular ensembles, such as the bonfire groups and Jazz Band.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does music communicate?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensembles success?

Intermediate Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

Students will broaden their knowledge of performance by working with an array of performance styles and dramatic literature, the introduction of style and genre, and developing more specific acting techniques, voice, and movement in character development. Students will examine how theatrical choices are made, from the selection of a story to every element of a final theatrical piece. The importance of craftsmanship in production, from playwriting to props, is emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does an individual develop skills for performance?
  • What is the process for creating a performance?
  • How is an individual challenged during the creative process?

Introduction to Drawing
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

This course introduces students to the foundations of observational drawing. Students engage in a variety of assignments that aid in the development of technical skill as well a personal creative process. The two-dimensional picture plane serves as the primary vehicle for expression and visual communication. Introduction to Drawing helps students learn to see without labeling. In addition to exploring the technical skill-set necessary for representational drawing, students investigate the visceral response to the creative process by means of experiential drawing methods. Introduction to Drawing also provides students with the facility to develop a critical perspective in order to assess their works of art.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can observation improve the development of an artist’s technical skills?
  • How does the artist create a “voice” through their creative process?
  • How does one generate a personal aesthetic?

Introduction to Photography
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

An introductory course in both analog and digital photography, this course begins a student's conceptual approach to the medium as well as the technical use of a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR). Students will also have an introduction to digital editing techniques through the use of Adobe Photoshop. Building from the Design Overview course, the elements and principles of design play a large part in introduction to photography as a tool to create interesting and thoughtfully composed images. Students also have the opportunity to learn how to give and receive constructive criticism through the critique process. Introduction to Photography enables the student to become a conceptual thinker, begin to become a visual communicator, and create a technical foundation in the medium of photography.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to see?
  • How do I see?
  • How does the viewer see?
  • How do I use the camera as an extension of what I see?

Introduction to Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

In this course, students will increase their awareness and understanding of form, particularly that of clay. They will become familiar with the materials and techniques used by ceramic artists through the exploration of a number of projects. Students will also become more aware of aesthetic questions related to ceramics, begin to appreciate ceramics as a mode of expression, and, in the process, begin to develop a personal vision of clay forms. This course will thoroughly prepare students for the next level of ceramics making.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the relationship between function and form?
  • How can form express personal vision?
  • How can a student demonstrate risk taking through playful exploration of form?

Advanced Drawing
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

Students in Advanced Drawing further develop their artistic language and descriptive drawing methods by building upon technical skills acquired in Introduction to Drawing. This course provides students with a new conceptual avenue to navigate: the consideration of the “why” in addition to the “how” of creating works of art. Students develop an arsenal of techniques necessary to manipulate “drawn” elements to serve expressive and communicative intentions. Drawing is re-considered and evaluated not only for its power within the artistic realm, but for where it resides in contemporary practice in relation to self, others, and the collective whole.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does conceptualism factor into the creative process?
  • In what ways is art a reflection of culture?
  • How do we move beyond observation to form a complete understanding of our world and experiences?
  • What ways can art impact a viewer?

Advanced Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

While craftsmanship continues to be a focal point in the further development of skills in this course, students will also begin to evoke thoughts and feelings as they begin to further consider the aesthetic of their work in clay, strengthen critical thinking skills, and begin to establish an identity of a young artist. Additionally, students will begin to learn to evaluate, read, and interpret their own work and artwork in general.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can a student demonstrate risk taking through playful exploration of form?
  • How does honest assessment enable the development of a personal aesthetic?
  • How is the process and product of art-making personal to the individual?

Advanced Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

Students explore and analyze a variety of texts and performances, developing greater readiness for sophisticated performance and understanding of theater production, both as participants and audience. Theater will be examined as a function of culture and societal influences, and students will read, watch, compare, discuss, examine and perform a variety of works to experience style and genre. Students will analyze production choices in works of performing art and develop their ability to express meaningfully a perception of why or how a performance functions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we construct a theatrical vision, both visual and thematic?
  • How do silence, sound, light, costuming, environment, movement, voice and gesture come together to tell a story?
  • In what ways can theater impact an audience?
  • How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?

Advanced Photography
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

This is an advanced course in photography that builds upon composition and technical lessons from the introductory course with an added emphasis on using photography as a visual language. Projects are presented as problems that students must solve by engaging in the creative process. Throughout the year, students will experiment with a variety of problem-solving and brainstorming techniques so that they may individualize their process and final products. By the end of the year, they should know how to trigger their own creative thinking process. Formal and informal critiques will be used to provide valuable feedback as well as a way to rehearse and refine students’ understanding of visual language. To support the projects and understanding of visual communication, students will explore a variety of examples of professional work.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is the process and product of art-making personal to the individual?
  • What is the role of creative problem solving in the arts?
  • How can I communicate visually?

Graphic Design
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

Our world is flooded with images, text and video. Our brains accept these visuals and decode their hidden messages. Both consciously and subconsciously, we receive a great deal of information visually. In an increasingly connected time and global economy, the ability to decipher these messages will make for a more informed citizen and the ability to create these messages and communicate visually will set one apart. Beyond creating visual imagery, students will have a constant eye on the end-user and how to provide added value to any experience or environment. To support their design process, students will learn to work with various digital art creation programs such as Adobe Illustrator and InDesign along non-digital art mediums.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the role of creative problem solving in the arts?
  • How do I become more receptive and aware of visual messages?
  • How can I use design to communicate visually?

Studio Painting
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Students in Advanced Studio Painting push conceptual theories through a variety of projects that are formed as creative problems to solve. Students further develop their descriptive and expressive artistic vision to become more engaged and accountable for their creative process. Each problem provides the Advanced Studio Painting student the opportunity to deconstruct and re-interpret images and contemporary topics while addressing their own personal aesthetic. In addition to conceptual approaches to making, students push their technical skills in order to produce strong work suitable for inclusion in a portfolio to submit to a college art program (if applicable). Students will install two exhibitions this year, one group show exploring a specific concept and a Senior Retrospective which will serve as a culmination of their high school art making experience and as an exhibition of their personal vision.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we work within our creative process to produce art that is personal to an individual?
  • How does an artist articulate their “vision”?
  • How does an engagement within the arts reveal, integrate and enhance our life experiences?
  • How does one know a work of art is effective?

Studio Photography & Design
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Having established a strong foundation in basic photographic or graphic design skills, this course offers students an opportunity for more in-depth exploration of subjects of personal interest while identifying and developing a personal aesthetic. Students will continue to gain understanding of what conceptual and contemporary art is as they conduct a more in-depth exploration of meaning over form. The role of the audience and their impact on the final products will also be a constant conversation throughout the year. Students will install two exhibitions this year, one group show exploring a specific concept and a Senior Retrospective which will serve as a culmination of their high school art making experience and as an exhibition of their personal vision. This is a studio art course; students will be pushed out of their comfort zone and work with mediums beyond photography and digital art in order to fully explore their potential to communicate a personal vision. Many projects will be team-taught with the painting and ceramics faculty.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we communicate personal vision?
  • How do I begin to develop and understand my personal vision?
  • How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate, and enlarge life experiences?

Studio Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

While craftsmanship remains important in this course, students will also use techniques that better support their ideas and begin to develop forms that suit their growing personal aesthetic. Brainstorming and honest feedback are the norm at this level; it will be the norm for students to use information to further ideas and concepts with the end result being that they will begin to truly question the strength of their work: does it say what they want to say? Does the viewer see what the artist wants them to see? Students will install two exhibitions this year, one group show exploring a specific concept and a Senior Retrospective which will serve as a culmination of their high school art making experience and as an exhibition of their personal vision.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways can our artwork be a reflection of ourselves?
  • How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?

Studio Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Students explore and analyze a variety of texts and performances, developing greater readiness for sophisticated performance and understanding of theater production, both as participants and audience. Theater will be examined as a function of culture and societal influences. Plays will be read, watched, compared, discussed and examined. Students will read and perform a variety of works to experience style and genre. Students will analyze production choices in works of performing art and develop their ability to express meaningfully a perception of why or how a performance functions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we construct a theatrical vision, both visual and thematic?
  • How do silence, sound, light, costuming, environment, movement, voice and gesture come together to tell a story?
  • In what ways can theater impact an audience?
  • How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?

 

Language

Language Department Overview
The language program offers French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin. Language is a required course for students in grades 6 through 12. Generally, students are required to continue the study of the same language in grades 9 through 12. As a component of the core curriculum, all students in grades 7 and 8 have exposure to Latin through the Language Fundamentals curriculum.

Objectives of the language department/courses:

  • Create an immersion setting so that students can perform at their personal best.
  • Each student will achieve the highest possible personal level of oral proficiency.
  • Using the ACTFL standards, the goal for students is to achieve a higher level of oral proficiency primarily through pair practice.

While the primary emphasis of the French, Spanish, and Mandarin programs is oral proficiency, students will also develop skills in the following areas:

  • Reading: Students read a variety of texts in the target language. Complexity of texts progresses from simple passages to complete literary works.
  • Writing: At every stage of their language development, writing skills are acquired through a sequence of exercises—from mechanical to communicative to creative.
  • Culture: Culture is integrated at all stages of language learning. Students explore culture through authentic experiences such as idioms, dance, cooking, music, travel, etc.
  • Listening: Listening comprehension activities reflect real life situations through authentic multimedia materials.

Small classes provide a positive learning environment where group and partner activities and individual attention are both possible. In order to navigate successfully through another culture with confidence and fluency, students are expected to work diligently toward speaking in French. Pair/group speaking activities in the target language involve face-to-face communication, active listening with a focused and conscious engagement with a partner, being respectful, and continually engaging in the learning process.

Language Fundamentals 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

This is an introductory course which gives the beginning foreign language student an introduction to the concept of “foreign language” with a particular emphasis on Latin. Broader topics covered include parts of speech, sentence construction, and the idea of tense. More specific topics in Latin include pronunciation, verb conjugation, subject-verb agreement, and noun-adjective agreement. Students who take this class should be well prepared to begin Latin I or any other first level foreign language class.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who are the Romans?
  • How do the language and culture of the Ancient Romans still influence us today?

French A
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7

This course, the first part of a two-year foundational language course, is designed to build confidence and success in listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in French for the introductory language learner. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations. Paced to provide the maximum amount of repetition and practice, the course typically covers four to five units during the school year and students engage in diverse activities to supplement and reinforce all learning.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to learn a language?
  • What are the elements of culture?
  • Who or what comprises the French-speaking world?

French B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7, 8

This course, the second part of a two-year foundational language course, is designed to build on the confidence and success started in French A in the areas of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Everyone is expected to try their best, be willing to take chances, and learn to enjoy the challenges of learning a foreign language. Students are expected to speak French for a majority of the class period, and they will explore the French language and culture through traditional texts as well as project-based learning, short novels, and films.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we find meaning in exploring the French language and culture?
  • How do I effectively communicate basic information about myself and others?
  • How do I cope with and adapt to unknown situations in a different culture?

French I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10

French I is the equivalent of level A and B combined, moving at a faster pace for high school students. This course is designed to build confidence and success in listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in French for the introductory language learner. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations through participation in diverse activities which supplement and reinforce all learning. Students are expected to speak French for a majority of the class period, and they will explore the French language and culture through traditional texts as well as project-based learning, short novels, and films.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to learn a language?
  • What are the elements of culture?
  • Who or what comprises the French-speaking world?
  • How do we find meaning in exploring the French language and culture?
  • How do I effectively communicate basic information about myself and others?
  • How do I cope with and adapt to unknown situations in a different culture?

French II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8, 9

The goals for the French II class are to develop skills for oral and written communication, learn some aspects of the French culture, broaden perspectives, and develop sensitivity to cultural diversity. With a focus on oral proficiency, collaborative speaking activities create a community of learners where language skills can develop with ease, flow, and fluency.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In what ways is learning another language beneficial?
  • What do activities and pastimes reveal about a culture?
  • How does education shape individuals and societies?
  • What activities do friends in other countries do together?

French III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11

The goals for the French III class are to develop and deepen skills for oral and written communication, learn different aspects of the French culture, and be able to identify one’s own culture in the context of a global community. In their third year of studying the French language and Francophone culture, students will be able to express their needs and wants in a more sophisticated way.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the French-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do French-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?

French IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

The goals for the French IV class are to reinforce and deepen skills for oral and written communication, research and present different aspects of the Francophone culture, and be able to compare and contrast one’s own culture with the French-speaking world. In their fourth year of studying the French language and culture, students will be able to articulate their thoughts in a more expressive and creative way. During the year, students will analyze these essential questions: What customs and language patterns are useful in communicating? How can we communicate and describe daily needs, events, and opinions effectively and creatively? How can we expand our understanding of the French-speaking world, its customs, and culture?

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What customs and language patterns are useful in communicating?
  • How can I communicate and describe daily needs, events, and opinions effectively and creatively?
  • How can I expand our understanding of the French speaking world, its customs, and culture?

AP French Language
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

The AP French Language and culture course is designed to be the equivalent of the fourth semester of a college French grammar and composition course. By succeeding in the AP course and performing well on the AP Examination, students may be able to receive college credit for their high school course and place into a more advanced course. The AP Exam is an excellent test of proficiency skills in all of the skills areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The classroom atmosphere is designed to be like a college-level course, with only French spoken in class by the instructor and students, and challenging and rigorous assignments both in and out of class. Reading and subsequent analysis and discussions are a fundamental part of the course as a means to build vocabulary, strengthen grammar skills, and to practice critical thinking, speaking, listening, and writing skills. In addition to reading, students will explore, examine, and exhibit specific themes and familiarize themselves with the format of the AP exam. In class, they will perform many practice exercises similar to those required on the AP exam. The time needed to build up oral fluency will depend greatly on the students’ motivation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • SPEAKING: When I participate in both formal and informal discussions, how can I demonstrate and support relevant, clear and detailed ideas?
  • LISTENING: How can I use complex structures and cultural and vocabulary knowledge to comprehend, process and draw conclusions about conversations and lectures?
  • READING: How can I expand my comprehension of a text beyond the main idea and small details, achieving the ability to analyze, hypothesize and form opinions?
  • WRITING: How can I write an essay in an organized, relevant manner while demonstrating control of complex structures, rich, precise vocabulary and ease of expression?

Latin I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

This class is designed to teach comprehension of Latin for reading. Students are introduced to all concepts essential to the study of Latin, which include declension, conjugation, and subject-verb agreement. Students will meet the first three declensions, all the cases, and the present tense as well as all the past tenses. Additional grammar topics include participles, noun-adjective agreement, and relative clauses. Special emphasis is placed on the Latin influence on the English language through regular study of derivatives. During each class, students read short passages of Latin that become more sophisticated as the students’ knowledge-base expands. The focus of translations during the first half of the year is daily life in a Roman city, and students will explore such topics as houses, families, slavery, the role of women, and the destruction of the city of Pompeii. During the second half of the year, students will read about life in the Roman provinces.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who were the Romans?
  • How can reading Latin help us understand the Romans?
  • How were the ancient Romans similar and different to modern cultures?

Latin I-A
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

This class is designed to teach comprehension of Latin for the purpose of reading. Students are introduced to all concepts essential to the study of Latin which include declension, conjugation, and subject and verb agreement. Students will meet the first three declensions, the nominative, accusative, and dative cases, and the present, imperfect, and perfect tenses. During each class, students read short passages of Latin that become more sophisticated as the students’ knowledge-base expands. Topics for translation include daily life in a Roman city, and students will explore such topics as houses, families, slavery, the role of women, and the destruction of the city of Pompeii.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who were the Romans?
  • How can reading Latin help us understand the Romans?
  • How were the ancient Romans similar and different to modern cultures?

Latin II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

Students in Latin II continue to develop their reading skills. Students finish their introduction to nouns by learning neuter nouns and the genitive and ablative cases. Their study of verbs continues with the introduction of the infinitive and imperative moods, the pluperfect tense, irregular verbs and present and past participles. In addition, students learn demonstrative pronouns, relative clauses and noun/ adjective agreement. Students regularly read passages of Latin of increasing difficulty that focus on life in the Roman provinces of Britain and Egypt.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can studying ancient Rome and Britain help expand an understanding of our historical narrative?
  • What happens when diverse cultures collide?

Latin III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11

Building on previous Latin courses, grammar topics at this level are the most sophisticated and include participles, the passive voice, and the subjunctive mood. Students use their knowledge of these concepts to continue to develop their reading skills with both Latin passages from their texts and readings from ancient authors. Cultural topics focus on Imperial Rome and include the city of Rome, life in the army, engineering, travel and communication, and Roman religious beliefs.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does the political structure of the early Roman Empire mirror our modern systems?
  • How does power affect people?

Latin IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Building on previous Latin courses, grammar topics at this level are the most sophisticated and include participles, the passive voice, and the subjunctive mood. Students use their knowledge of these concepts to continue to develop their reading skills with both Latin passages from their texts and readings from ancient authors. Cultural topics focus on Imperial Rome and include the city of Rome, life in the army, engineering, travel and communication, and Roman religious beliefs.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does the political structure of the early Roman Empire mirror our modern systems?
  • How does power affect people?

Mandarin A/B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7, 8

Students will develop basic skills in listening, reading, writing and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable.
Topics include pinyin, numbers, family, shopping, describing people, houses, and transport.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do Chinese-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?
  • How can I communicate and describe daily needs, and opinions effectively?
  • How can I describe myself and my family?

Mandarin III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, shopping, describing people, houses and transport

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do we educate ourselves about the difference of Chinese-speaking cultures?
  • How does language help you understand different cultures?

Spanish A
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7, 8

This course is designed to build confidence and success in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations. With an emphasis on speaking, listening, reading, writing, and culture, students will develop speaking proficiency through diverse activities.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the Spanish-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do Spanish-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?

Spanish B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7, 8

Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, songs, videos, poetry, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, describing people, houses, and apartments, among others.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the Spanish-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do Spanish-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?

MS Spanish II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7, 8

In Spanish II, middle school students focus on making detailed descriptions of people, places, and things. They continue to communicate in the present, immediate future, and preterit, and they also learn to incorporate the imperfect tense in past narration. Reflexive verbs are introduced and used in present, preterit, and imperfect tenses. Vocabulary themes include school activities, daily routine, leisure activities, the city, and childhood. Students also study a variety of historical and cultural topics. By the end of Spanish II, students are incorporating more complex grammar structures into different forms of writing such as short essays, brochures, and stories.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the Spanish-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do Spanish-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?
  • How do I change through exposure to other cultures?
  • How can I challenge stereotypes between and among cultures?
  • What makes up a culture?

MS Spanish III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

Level III Spanish continues to prepare middle school students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency and communication. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking in partners and making short presentations. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers, and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters, and electronic mail.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I effectively communicate using verbal and non-verbal language?
  • How can I communicate and describe daily needs, events, and opinions effectively and creatively?

Spanish I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

The Spanish I curriculum introduces students to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture through activities that involve listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Course themes include, but are not limited to, introductions, weather, alphabet, calendar, likes and dislikes, food, school-related vocabulary, family, home, and celebrations. Students will primarily learn to express themselves in the present and immediate future tenses.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the Spanish-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do Spanish-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?

Spanish II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8, 9, 10, 11

In Spanish II, students focus on making detailed descriptions of people, places, and things. They continue to communicate in the present, immediate future, and preterit tenses, and they also learn to incorporate the imperfect tense in past narration. Reflexive verbs are introduced and used in present, preterit, and imperfect tenses. Vocabulary themes include school activities, daily routine, leisure activities, the city ,and childhood. Students also study a variety of historical and cultural topics. By the end of Spanish II, students are incorporating more complex grammar structures into different forms of writing such as short essays, brochures, and stories.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the Spanish-speaking world?
  • How can we communicate essential needs and information?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?
  • How do Spanish-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?
  • How do we change through exposure to other cultures?
  • How can we challenge stereotypes between and among cultures?
  • What makes up a culture?

Spanish III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

Level III Spanish continues to prepare students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency and communication. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking in partners and making short presentations. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters and electronic mail.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I effectively communicate using verbal and non-verbal language?
  • How can I communicate and describe daily needs, events, and opinions effectively and creatively?

Spanish IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

Level IV Spanish continues to prepare students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking in partners and in seminars. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers, and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters, and electronic mail.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does understanding other cultures and their historical context help us make more informed opinions?
  • How does information help us avoid creating stereotypes about other cultures?
  • How do we educate ourselves about the differences and commonalities of Spanish-speaking cultures?
  • How do we educate ourselves about the differences and commonalities of Spanish-speaking cultures?
  • How does effective communication, not only through language, helps people from different cultures come closer together?
  • How does language affect culture?

Spanish V
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

In Spanish V students work to perfect their communication skills through discussions, films, research, reports, and presentations. Emphasis at this level is placed on different topics, which include history, geography, culture, current events, and various artistic expressions in the Hispanic world. A Spanish-only textbook engages students in authentic communicative activities in cultural contexts. Real world performance tasks and assessments are embedded throughout such as emails, tweets, texting, Facebook status comments, podcasts, blog entries, interactive journals, and website contests. A second text on cinema engages students in Spanish language study through the use of films from across the Spanish speaking world. This format motivates students in conversation, writing, and listening skills in addition to providing them with a broad and real world experience with the culture of the Spanish speaking world.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does understanding other cultures and their historical context help us make more informed opinions?
  • How does information help us avoid creating stereotypes about other cultures?
  • How do we educate ourselves about the difference and commonalities of Spanish-speaking cultures?
  • How does language affect culture?

AP Spanish Language
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is designed to be the equivalent of the fourth semester in a college Spanish grammar and composition course. By succeeding in the AP course and performing well on the AP Examination, students may be able to receive college credit for their high school course and place into a more advanced course. The AP exam is an excellent test of proficiency skills in all of the skills areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The classroom atmosphere is designed to be like a college-level course, with only Spanish spoken in class by the instructor and students, and challenging and rigorous assignments both in and out of class. Reading and subsequent analysis and discussions are a fundamental part of the course, as a means to build vocabulary, strengthen grammar skills, and to practice critical thinking, speaking, listening, and writing skills. In addition to reading, students will explore, examine, and exhibit specific themes and familiarize themselves with the format of the AP exam. In class, they will perform many practice exercises similar to those required on the AP exam. The time needed to build up oral fluency will depend greatly on the students’ motivation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • SPEAKING: When I participate in both formal and informal discussions how can we demonstrate and support relevant, clear and detailed ideas?
  • LISTENING: How can I use complex structures and cultural and vocabulary knowledge to comprehend, process and draw conclusions about conversations and lectures?
  • READING: How can I expand our comprehension of a text beyond the main idea and small details, achieving the ability to analyze, hypothesize and form opinions?
  • WRITING: How can I write an essay in an organized, relevant manner while demonstrating control of complex structures, rich, precise vocabulary and ease of expression?

English Language for International Students
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10, 11, 12

English Language for International Students is a practical, academically-oriented course for non-native English speakers. It is designed for students who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading, cultural understanding, or writing skills in an academic setting. Special attention is given to each individual learner’s needs and learning style, and a focus is given to scaffolding strategies to strengthen skills in all four areas using an integrated approach.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the English-speaking world?
  • How do English-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information in English?
  • How can I learn to navigate comfortably in an academic environment in English?

Advanced English Language for International Students
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

Advanced English Language for International Students uses diverse thematic and authentic materials to strengthen language (oral/vocabulary), cultural understanding, and reading and writing strategies. A focus on interpretive listening and reading, interpersonal listening and speaking, and presentational writing is emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Who and what comprise the English-speaking world?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information in English?
  • How do English-speaking cultures compare to my home culture?
  • How can I learn to navigate comfortably in an academic environment in English?

 

Mathematics

Mathematics Department Overview
The mathematics program addresses a wide array of needs in addition to more traditional content objectives. The goal of the program is to assist students in gaining mathematical confidence as well as competence. To this end, the sequencing of the program remains flexible to meet the needs of students who may benefit from additional reinforcement or those who progress at an accelerated rate. A focus on problem-solving and active student learning guides the students’ efforts to utilize and apply mathematics. Students should see mathematics as providing them with a structure and a system through which they can view the world.

The objectives for the mathematics curriculum focus on students acquiring the ability to communicate using the language of mathematics as well as enabling them to choose and apply algorithms and nontraditional strategies to problem-solving situations. Throughout the math program, students have the opportunity to get support and to utilize a variety of resources ranging from teacher assistance to online textbook videos and posted notes when they are learning new content. Algebraic and geometric concepts are integrated throughout the curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to more fully explore the relationships between the two fields.

Mathematics 6
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

The main goal of this course is to help students build a solid math foundation. Students will practice a variety of strategies to approach different problems and also determine if a solution is reasonable. Topics studied will include fractions, decimals, percents, money, ratios, proportions, single-step equations, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can my prior mathematical knowledge/skills be applied to solve real-word problems?
  • How can I use multiple approaches to solve a variety of math problems?
  • How will I respond to obstacles that I encounter with challenging math topics?
  • How can I assess if my solution is reasonable?

Mathematics 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

The main goal of this course is to help students build a solid foundation for success in pre-algebra and algebra. Students will practice a variety of strategies to approach different problems and also determine if a solution is reasonable. Topics studied will include integers, fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, multi-step equations, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can my prior mathematical knowledge/skills be applied to solve real-word problems?
  • How can I use multiple approaches to solve a variety of math problems?
  • How will I respond to obstacles that I encounter with challenging math topics?
  • How can I assess if my solution is reasonable?

PreAlgebra 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

The main goal of this course is to build a solid foundation for success in Algebra and Geometry. Students will learn to identify and represent patterns, communicate mathematically, and employ problem solving strategies. Topics studied will include integers, rational numbers, writing variable expressions, solving one variable equations, ratios, proportions, percents, introduction to linear functions, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I use mathematics to model, predict, and make decisions about the world in which I live?
  • How do I choose and use the most effective means of mathematical communication: words, pictures, tables, graphs?
  • How do I choose and use the best problem solving strategy?
  • How can I assess if my answer is reasonable?

Mathematics 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

The main goal of this course is to build a solid foundation for success in Algebra and Geometry. Students will learn to identify and represent patterns, communicate mathematically, and employ problem solving strategies. Topics studied will include integers, rational numbers, writing variable expressions, solving one variable equations, ratios, proportions, percents, introduction to linear functions, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I use mathematics to model, predict, and make decisions about the world in which I live?
  • How do I choose and use the most effective means of mathematical communication: words, pictures, tables, graphs?
  • How do I choose and use the best problem solving strategy?
  • How can I assess if my answer is reasonable?

Geometry 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

This course is designed to lead students through investigations in which they will discover and work with the many theorems of geometry. Topics studied include tools of geometry, reasoning and proof, parallel and perpendicular lines, congruent triangles, relationships within triangles, polygons and quadrilaterals, similarity, right triangles, and area. Students will learn how to use a compass and protractor to construct geometric figures and to work with properties of lines and figures. Throughout the course, students will apply learned concepts to create logical, written arguments. Software on student tablets, including Microsoft OneNote, DyKnow, and Geometer’s Sketchpad, together with Smart Board capabilities in the classroom will give students an opportunity to manipulate the tools of geometry to further their understanding.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I use my knowledge of algebra to solve geometric problems?
  • How do I make my own discoveries by doing geometric investigations?
  • How do I use reasoning and problem-solving strategies to draw logical conclusions?

MS Algebra I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7, 8

This course is designed to introduce formal algebraic concepts and foster independent learning. Students will use their knowledge of writing to develop ways of expressing their mathematical ideas. Topics studied will include solving equations, inequalities and systems of equations, writing and graphing functions, evaluating and simplifying exponential expressions, and simplifying and factoring polynomials.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do I solve and graph various functions?
  • How do I use multiple representations such as words, equations, graphs, and numbers to effectively communicate mathematical ideas?
  • How do I assess if my answer is reasonable?

Algebra I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

This course is designed to introduce formal algebraic concepts and foster independent learning. Students will use their knowledge of writing to develop ways of expressing their mathematical ideas. Topics studied will include solving equations, inequalities and systems of equations, writing and graphing functions, evaluating and simplifying exponential expressions, and simplifying and factoring polynomials.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do I solve and graph various functions?
  • How do I use multiple representations such as words, equations, graphs, and numbers to effectively communicate mathematical ideas?
  • How do I assess if my answer is reasonable?

Geometry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10

This course is designed to lead students through investigations in which they will discover and work with the many theorems of geometry. Topics studied include tools of geometry, reasoning and proof, parallel and perpendicular lines, congruent triangles, relationships within triangles, polygons and quadrilaterals, similarity, right triangles, and area. Students will learn how to use a compass and protractor to construct geometric figures and to work with properties of lines and figures. Throughout the course, students will apply learned concepts to create logical, written arguments. Software on student tablets, including Microsoft OneNote, DyKnow, and Geometer’s Sketchpad, together with Smart Board capabilities in the classroom will give students an opportunity to manipulate the tools of geometry to further their understanding.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I use my knowledge of algebra to solve geometric problems?
  • How do I make my own discoveries by doing geometric investigations?
  • How do I use reasoning and problem-solving strategies to draw logical conclusions?

Advanced Algebra
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9, 10, 11

Designed to expand on previous coursework in Algebra I, the Advanced Algebra course is a formalized study of expressions, equations, inequalities, functions, graphs, linear systems, quadratic, polynomial and radical functions, rational exponents, and rational functions. Students will examine techniques for solving and graphing polynomial functions of various degrees. Properties of powers, roots, and radicals are used to solve and graph rational functions. Geometry is integrated at various levels to strengthen skills and develop concepts. Students utilize graphing calculators as well as software on their tablet computers to enhance their discovery and their understanding of algebra concepts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I translate real-world situations into mathematical expressions which then require algebraic manipulations?
  • How can I graphically represent algebraic expressions?

Precalculus
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

In this class - the first year of a two-year course - students in Precalculus will develop a more thorough understanding of functions and connecting the visualization of their graphs. They will investigate multiple ways of solving functions and supporting their solutions. Students will be introduced to parametric equations, piecewise defined functions, limit notation, and an intuitive understanding of continuity. Once students are comfortable with the language of functions, they will continue their study by exploring the trigonometric functions, identities, and proofs. Throughout the course, students will continue to develop and hone critical problem solving approaches and methods.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are functions and how can they be used to model real world situations?
  • What are the fundamentals of trigonometry?

Introduction to Calculus
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

This is the second year of a two-year course which prepares students for college level calculus. Building on skills learned in Precalculus, topics covered in Introduction to Calculus include polar coordinates and complex numbers, vectors, sequences and series. Students also work with combinatorics, probability, and statistics. Students are introduced to calculus by studying continuity and limits of functions. Basic rules for differentiation and applications of the derivative are included in the calculus units. Accelerated students in this course also study analysis and applications of conics.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How are vectors and polar coordinate systems used to mathematically understand and solve problems involving physics?
  • How does the study of combinatorics along with probability and statistics allow people to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics used in everyday life?
  • What is calculus and how does it allow use to deal with change in a mathematical system?

AP Calculus AB
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

AP Calculus AB, the first of two AP Calculus courses, is designed to provide a rigorous introduction to the essential topics of calculus. These topics include functions, limits, continuity, techniques of differentiation and integration, slope fields, and differential equations. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement AB Calculus exam in May and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the fundamental techniques of differential and integral calculus?
  • How can these techniques be applied to mathematics of models of complex real-world problems?

AP Calculus BC
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

This course is the second of the two AP Calculus courses offered by the AP College Board. This course has been designed to provide a rigorous study of the essential topics of calculus. These topics include functions, limits, continuity, techniques of differentiation and integration, slope fields, differential equations, parametric functions, and series. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement BC Calculus exam in May, and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the fundamental techniques of differential and integral calculus?
  • How can these techniques be applied to mathematics models of complex, real-world problems?
  • How can multivariable, real-world problems be solved using the techniques learned in calculus?

Senior Math Topics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Senior Math Topics explores the applications of mathematics through a wide range of disciplines. While the physical world studied in chemistry and physics is modeled by continuous mathematics (represented by algebra and calculus), information processing often requires the use of discontinuous mathematics. Students in this course will learn math applications to political science, law, and business management. The course also includes a basic introduction to trigonometry and a college algebra preview.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does mathematics apply to quantitative problem-solving in the social science?
  • Why are statistics and probability the optimal resources for finding meaning in data?
  • How does mathematics enhance analysis in business and management science?

Computer Science
DEPARTMENT: Mathematics & Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

Computer Science is a year-long elective course offered to students in grades 11 and 12. The course introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can influence the world. The five main units the course will cover are the internet, digital information, algorithms and programming, Big Data and privacy, and building apps. This course seeks to provide students with a “future proof” foundation in computing principles so that they are adequately prepared with both the knowledge and skills to live and meaningfully participate in our increasingly digital society, economy, and culture. That is why during the third trimester, each student will propose and work on an independent project in an area of computer science of their choosing. Examples of previous projects include working with robotics, developing and testing a data analysis project, developing and building a game or app, working with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to create a device, and working with developing homemade 3D printers.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is Computer Science and how is it changing affecting all areas of society today?
  • What is innovation and how can the data-collecting create further innovation?
  • How do you create a computer program and what purposes can those programs serve?

Physical Education

Physical Education Department Overview

Physical Education classes at Whitfield School are designed to provide appropriate instruction which maximizes an individual’s potential for developing and maintaining a healthy body, mind and character. This is achieved through an instructional program that reflects students' needs and promotes lifelong fitness. Physical Education is required of all students in grades six through nine.

Physical Education 6, 7, 8, 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6, 7, 8, 9

The Physical Education program provides activities to develop students' awareness of terms, scoring, rules of play, skill techniques, safety principles and basic offensive and defensive strategies for the sports covered in the instructional program. Activities for girls include: field hockey, volleyball, cross country, basketball, net games, weight training, indoor soccer, soccer, lacrosse, and fitness testing. Boys' activities include: fleetball, soccer, cross country, wrestling, basketball, hockey, net games, track, softball, and fitness testing.

HUMAN PERFORMANCE: Grades 6, 7, 8 & 9
Weight room resistance training focuses on athleticism. Through athletic performance training students develop speed, agility and quickness. Students use ladders, cones, bands, hurdles, medicine balls and weight training equipment to develop athletic skills outside of individual and team sports, with a focus on developing the habits and awareness necessary for lifelong fitness. Weight room training during class provides students with the skills they need to use the weight room outside of class.

Science

Science Department Overview
The Whitfield science department is dedicated to the development of critical thinking and collaborative skills by immersing students in scientific theory, process, and technique within a challenging laboratory environment. Students are expected to go beyond learning basic scientific concepts by applying problem-solving skills and ethical standards to self-developed laboratory experiences that avoid predetermined results. Students are also challenged to attain a sophisticated level of scientific literacy and technical writing ability. To aid in this process, professional scientists of various disciplines interact with students to share their research and clinical experiences and offer practical career applications and research partnerships. The seven-year science program is designed to produce well-rounded, confident individuals who are well versed in scientific procedure and theory, have an appreciation for the natural world, and who can thrive in a demanding college environment and beyond. To this end, students in grades 6 through 12 are required to take a science course each year.

Science 6
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

The sixth grade curriculum is focused on the study of Earth science and physical science. Students will gain an understanding of how scientists and engineers solve problems using the scientific method and design thinking. Topics to be covered include computer coding, circuits, wind and solar energy, weather, climate change, bridge design, soil types, erosion, earthquakes, rockets, and flight.

This course emphasizes student choice in the selection of learning activities, which include conducting laboratory investigations, giving presentations, building models, reading and creating articles, and participating in class discussions. The course will conclude with an independent engineering project related to the skills and concepts they learned throughout the year.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do scientists and engineers solve problems?
  • How might we use scientific study and engineering to improve life on Earth?
  • What is energy and what are the various ways we get energy from the Earth?
  • How are bridges designed to be functional in different environments and withstand earthquakes and high winds?
  • What principles explain the movement of objects and how does this affect rocket flight?

Science 7: Life Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

Seventh grade science is focused on using the scientific method to study living organisms. Students will develop skills in taking accurate measurements, recording data, creating and interpreting graphs, and experimental design. Students will use these skills in the study of various topics. They will compare plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi in how they acquire energy, communicate, move, exchange gas, and defend against predators and disease. They will then study the interactions within ecosystems to see how living organisms function on a larger scale.

This course emphasizes student choice in the selection of learning activities, which include conducting laboratory investigations, giving presentations, building models, reading and creating articles, and participating in class discussions. The course will conclude with an independent scientific investigation related to one of the topics previously studied.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is the scientific method used to investigate scientific questions?
  • What are the characteristics of living organisms?
  • What are the similarities and differences between plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi?
  • How do living organisms interact within the world?

Science 8: Physical / Earth Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

The eighth grade science course is an activity-based curriculum that emphasizes the importance of trial and error, conceptual design, and precise measurement using the metric system while incorporating physical as well as earth science-related topics. The characteristics of fluids and pressure, balance, speed, acceleration, aerodynamics, the Periodic Table of Elements, and atomic structure are typical topics of study. Students will begin an online computer programming course during the first trimester as well as create 3-D objects using Open-Scad as part of their Mobile Project. In addition, at the end of the second trimester, students will undergo a 6-day course designed to teach students the benefits of computer modeling. In general, the quality of a student's observations and measurements, as well as his/her ability to understand and describe the physical processes and/or concepts introduced throughout the curriculum is essential. Basic mathematical concepts such as dimensional analysis, the density triangle, and pressure are covered as well. Working collaboratively with peers will also play a major part of a student’s success in Physical/Earth Science.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is the scientific process helpful to understand our world?
  • How does physical science aid in the understanding of future science courses?
  • How does a physical scientist describe our world?
  • What are the benefits of computer modelling in the 21st century?

Biology 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

Biology students will mirror the work of a life scientist as they use observation, experimentation, modeling, and technology to explore how life works. This course emphasizes the patterns, processes, and relationships of living organisms. Core ideas include structures and processes in organisms, ecology, inheritance and variation of traits, and evolution. There will be multiple opportunities for student to apply these ideas during inquiry activities and laboratory investigations as they develop solutions to authentic problem-based scenarios.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do organisms live, grow, respond to the environment, and reproduce?
  • How do organisms interact with their environment and what are the effects of these interactions?
  • How are characteristics of one generation passed on to the next?
  • How can there be so many similarities among organisms yet so many different types of plants, animals, and microorganisms?
  • How does biodiversity affect humans?

Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

Students will be given the opportunity to actively engage in the study of the structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions, nuclear processes, intermolecular and intramolecular interactions, and energy transformations regarding chemical processes. The focus of this course will not be memorization; rather the focus will be defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, determination of the validity of data, as well as the engagement of scientific argument based on evidence, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in regards to chemistry. Students will demonstrate their competency of chemistry by maintaining portfolios which will include lab reports, journals, written responses to reading, design projects, problem sets, presentations, and exams. Students will be involved in the engineering design process as it is applied to chemistry. Using Vernier probe ware and Arduinos, students will apply their understanding of chemical processes in design challenges.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do the properties and structures of matter affect society? Individuals?
  • In what ways can matter be manipulated for the benefit of society?
  • What is the protocol to design and carry out a sound, scientific experiment in chemistry?

Accelerated Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

Accelerated Chemistry students develop the essential concepts of chemistry through experiment, demonstration, lecture, and problem-solving in order to answer the course’s essential questions. While probing these four fundamental questions, students will develop a variety of skills. Among these will be the collection and analysis of data, drawing conclusions from the collected data, analytical thinking to break problems down into manageable components, critical thinking through the analysis of competing models, as well as the development of these models. Upon conclusion of the course, the student will have a fundamental understanding of the conservation of matter and energy, the reliability of matter’s nature, the kinetic molecular theory, and an understanding of the forces that drive chemical reactions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the relationship between matter and energy?
  • What is the composition of matter?
  • What is the nature of changes in matter?
  • What forces drive these changes?

AP Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

The AP Chemistry curriculum is designed to provide the equivalent coursework of a freshman college class. The class is an inquiry-based investigation of the core competencies of general chemistry, including, but not limited to, atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. The 6 "Big Ideas" that the College Board states as the major thematic objectives are stated here and are the fundamental goals of this course:

  1. The chemical elements are the building blocks of matter, which can be understood in terms of the arrangements of atoms.
  2. Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.
  3. Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.
  4. Rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions.
  5. The laws of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
  6. Bonds or attractions that can be formed can be broken. These two processes are in constant competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external forces or changes.

Successful completion of this course should prepare a student to either excel in an introductory collegiate course or, depending on the AP exam score and the college that the student chooses, acceleration into an organic chemistry course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the relationship between matter and energy?
  • What is the composition of matter?
  • What is the nature of changes in matter?
  • What forces drive these changes?

Environmental Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10, 11, 12

Environmental Science offers an understanding of the major environmental processes on Earth and, more specifically, how our environment affects us and how we affect the environment. Students explore the complexity of living systems, the various components that make up the Earth, and the interactions between them. Topics to be covered include human demography, environmental ecology, atmospheric, water and soil systems, fossil fuels and alternative energy sources, toxicology, and environmental law and policy.

Readings from the textbook and other materials will be a large component of the course and a common homework assignment throughout the year. Students will be given guiding questions and journaling prompts to direct focus in reading selections and help prepare for class discussions and evaluations. Hands-on activities, data collection and analysis, laboratory investigations, and presentations are essential components of the course, as are current event readings, videos, and regular in-class discussions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do biotic and abiotic factors interact to create a sustainable systems on Earth?
  • How do organisms interact with each other and with the Earth’s systems?
  • What are the factors that influence a population’s size and growth rate?
  • How can the Earth’s resources be used in a sustainable manner?
  • What are the potential uses and limitations of renewable energy sources?
  • What major environmental problems, both natural and human-made, exist on Earth and what are possible solutions to resolve and/or prevent those problems?

Physics 1
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11

Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Modern society relies on physical disciplines such as mechanics and transportation, energy generation, electronics and computer technology, and space exploration. This course provides a first-year overview of some of the main themes of physics, with students applying mathematical skills such as trigonometry, solution of equations, and graphical representation of functions. The course also emphasizes developing a strong conceptual understanding of fundamental physical principles.

Students will acquire important scientific abilities, including critical thinking, problem solving, and laboratory experimentation. Doing well in this course requires actively participating in class and taking notes, studying the textbook, doing the assigned work, and performing and analyzing lab experiments. Laboratory work emphasizes building collaborative and independent inquiry skills, as well as the formal presentation of research. Mastery of this course prepares students to take Accelerated Physics 2. Course prerequisites: successful completion of Advanced Algebra and chemistry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How are the physical properties of matter observed in the laboratory?
  • Kinematics: how is the motion of objects analyzed?
  • Dynamics: how do forces explain object motion?
  • Energetics: how do work and energy relate to motion?
  • Elasticity: how does matter stretch and transmit waves?
  • Electrostatics: how do electric fields govern charge interactions?

Accelerated Physics 1
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11

Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Modern society relies on physical disciplines such as mechanics and transportation, energy generation, electronics and computer technology, and space exploration. This course provides a first-year overview of some of the main themes of physics. Students apply and extend mathematical skills such as trigonometry, vector analysis, solution of equations, and graphical representation of functions. The course also emphasizes developing a strong conceptual understanding of fundamental physical principles.

Students will acquire important scientific abilities, including critical thinking, problem solving, and laboratory experimentation. Doing well in this course requires actively participating in class and taking notes, studying the textbook, doing the assigned work, and performing and analyzing lab experiments. Laboratory work emphasizes building collaborative and independent inquiry skills, as well as the formal presentation of research. Mastery of this course prepares students to take Accelerated Physics II. Course prerequisites: successful completion of Advanced Algebra and chemistry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How are the physical properties of matter observed in the laboratory?
  • How are mathematics and graph theory used to describe physical systems?
  • Kinematics: how is the motion of objects analyzed?
  • Dynamics: how do forces explain object motion?
  • Energetics: how do work and energy relate to motion?
  • Elasticity: how does matter stretch and transmit waves?
  • Electrostatics: how do electric fields govern charge interactions?

Accelerated Physics II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Modern society relies on physical disciplines such as mechanics and transportation, energy generation, electronics and computer technology, and space exploration. This course continues a two-year overview of physics by exploring areas such as fluids, thermodynamics, magnetism, and optics. Besides applying their algebraic skills, students explore physical applications of calculus tools such as differentiation and integration. The course also continues last year’s emphasis on developing a strong conceptual understanding of fundamental physical principles.

Students will continue to exercise important scientific abilities, including critical thinking, problem solving, and laboratory experimentation. Doing well in this course requires actively participating in class and taking notes, studying the textbook, doing the assigned work, and performing and analyzing lab experiments. Laboratory work emphasizes building collaborative and independent inquiry skills, as well as the formal presentation of research. Mastery of this course prepares students to excel in physical sciences at the college level. Course prerequisites: successful completion of Advanced Algebra and Accelerated Physics I.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Fluidics: how are Newtonian concepts used to study fluid statics and motion?
  • Thermodynamics: how is heat related to energy and work?
  • Electrodynamics: how do moving charges exhibit magnetic properties?
  • Optics: how does light propagate and interact with matter?
  • Quantum physics: how are atomic and subatomic structure described probabilistically?

Anatomy & Physiology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will be given the opportunity to actively engage in the study of genetics, DNA electrophoresis, PCR, comparative anatomy and animal dissections, bioengineering using Arduinos, physiology and homeostasis, along with data collection utilizing Vernier probes. The focus of this course will not be memorization, rather the focus will be on students defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the engagement of scientific argument based on evidence, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in regards to chemistry.

Students will demonstrate their competency of Anatomy and Physiology by maintaining portfolios which will include lab reports, journals, written responses to reading, design projects, problem sets, models, presentations, and exams. Students will be involved in the engineering design process as it applies to anatomy, physiology, and/or genetics. Using Vernier probe-ware and Arduinos, students will apply their understanding of anatomical structure in design challenges. Course Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the relationship between structure and function in terms of anatomy and physiology?
  • How is homeostasis maintained within an individual?
  • How are animal models utilized to assist in the study of human beings?
  • How do genetic traits affect the structure and function of an individual?

AP Biology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

AP Biology is a very rigorous and demanding course, which is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college biology course. Content will be covered in more detail and greater emphasis will be placed on interpretation and analysis of information than in previous high school biology courses. In addition, statistical analysis of data and the modeling of concepts will be expected. A significant amount of studying for this course must be completed outside of class to allow time for discussion, labs, and inquiry-based activities during class. The content has been organized around four underlying principles the College Board calls “Big Ideas” and the core concepts (Enduring Understandings) that support them.

The curriculum also requires that there will be significant class time (25%) devoted to laboratory and other inquiry based activities, with the aim of developing advanced inquiry and reasoning skills. Science practice is a way of coordinating knowledge and skills in order to establish lines of evidence. This evidence can then be used to develop and refine testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena. Course Prerequisites: successful completion of Biology 9 and Accelerated Chemistry 10.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do biological systems utilize energy and molecular building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain homeostasis?
  • How do living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes?
  • How do biological systems use complex properties to interact with each other?
  • What is the role of macro and microevolution in the diversity and unity of life?
  • How does understanding the relationships between biological concepts allow one to visualize unity in the field of biology?
  • How can experimental design and execution aid in the understanding of biological processes?

 

Social Studies

Social Studies Department Overview
Through the study of history, government, geography, psychology, sociology, and economics, students begin to understand the behavior and traditions of societies and cultures of the past and the present. Indeed, the Social Studies Department offers an inclusive curriculum that focuses on the experience of diverse historical actors and the study of diverse historical narratives. The teaching of critical thinking skills is emphasized, and a premium is placed on helping students learn how to integrate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate both primary and secondary sources and to develop empathy for people in different times and places. In all social studies classes, teachers coach students to express their ideas fluently in research papers, projects, and during oral presentations. Social studies courses are required of students in grades 6 through 12.

Elements of Social Studies in the Ancient and Modern World
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6

In order to gain a better understanding of why we study social studies, students will learn about the different branches of the social sciences including history, archaeology, geography, economics, sociology, and psychology. Students will use primary and secondary sources, fiction and nonfiction, art, film, and hands-on activities to research and discover why and how the past affects our world today. Essential skills such as reading, writing, discussion, presentation, and research will be emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is social studies? Why study social studies?
  • In what ways can understanding other civilizations affect and inform our lives?
  • How do the different branches of social studies come together when we study civilizations, both past and present?

World Cultures & Geography
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7

Using primary and secondary sources, fiction and nonfiction, students gain a true understanding of specific world cultures. This class examines the unique aspects of Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Pacific cultures. Students will develop a greater appreciation of cultural differences and an understanding of the universal aspects of humanity. The focus of the content is on essential skills such as reading, writing, research, and discussion, but also includes human interactions and geographical and political aspects within specific world regions. Finally, through hands-on activities, cartography, simulations, guest speakers, and exposure to various forms of literature and film, students learn to think critically about different cultures.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is culture?
  • Why is it important to study other cultures?
  • How does geography affect culture?
  • How do stereotypes reflect and affect culture?

Civics & US Government
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8

In Civics & US Government, students seek an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of The United States of America. This course will track the development of American democracy from colonialism to today. Students will investigate major events that served as catalysts of political and social change and will gain an understanding of federalism, and our system of checks and balances through in-depth studies of elections, Supreme Court decisions, political media, social movements, and the legislative process. Skills used in this class include effective researching, writing (non-fiction essays and persuasive opinion pieces), critical thinking, debating, film-making, delivering presentations, and collaborating with peers.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the role of government in America?
  • What is the relationship between liberty and security?
  • What is patriotism?
  • What does it mean to be a citizen?

Early Modern World History 1400-1800
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9

This survey course is designed to introduce students to the major historical and intellectual currents surrounding world history from the fifteenth century through the beginning of the nineteenth. Our class will succinctly dissect the narrative of global watershed events so that students may better understand the social, political, and economic development of the early modern world. Significant attention will be given to the changing concepts of freedom, culture, race, government, labor, economics, religion, art, philosophy, and society. Specifically, this course will explore such topics as the consolidation of power and wealth in Europe, the rise and fall of the empires of West Africa, the evolution of slavery in the Americas, trade and in expansion in Asia, and the impact of colonization on Native American societies. Through a multi-layered examination of relevant topics, students will develop critical thinking skills, learn how to properly interrogate sources, and improve upon their ability to present ideas rooted in fact and evidence. At the end of the year, students will be able to demonstrate a firm grasp of global history and provide a sophisticated analysis of the movements, events, and people which shaped the development of the early modern world.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • In which ways are societies altered via cross-cultural contact?
  • How did innovation and trade change the balance of power locally, regionally, nationally, and globally?
  • Why does the definition of freedom change over time?
  • How do concepts of labor shape society, law, and culture?
  • How did religion and philosophy play a part in shaping culture and society in the early modern world?

Modern World History 1800-present
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10

Modern World History students will explore the modernization of the world since the dawn of industrialization. Students will explore themes that include technological advances, imperialism, nationalism, global wars, genocide, religious conflicts, and ideological movements around the world. Controversial developments - like the rise of socialist and communist philosophies, capitalism, the side effects of colonization, and reasons for revolts and dissent - will be explored, and students will further develop their research techniques and reading, writing, discussion, and presentation skills. Students will be encouraged to engage in historical discussions, analyze primary sources, evaluate and understand historical perspectives, as well as create an argument grounded in documents and other sources. Activities and assessments include, but are not limited to: seminar discussions, projects regarding cultures and customs from multiple continents, and analysis of historical themes and symbols within memoirs such as "Night" by Elie Wiesel and "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai. The teacher will guide students through a research process by encouraging all students to ask questions and find their passion for the history of the modern world.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What were political, social, economic, and technological issues and results of the Industrial Revolution?
  • How did societies change throughout the nineteenth century, twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century?
  • Why and how did societies attempt to maintain selected traditions, customs, and inherited ways of life during the nineteenth century, twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century?
  • How do ideological struggles provide an explanation for many of the conflicts of the twentieth century?
  • Who were some of the major political and cultural leaders from various world and local cultures, and what were their goals?
  • What is globalization?

United States History
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11

The course content will span the period of human habitation of the North American continent focusing on the history of the United States. Skill emphasis will be placed on reading, writing, research, and presentation. Pedagogically, the course marries a chronological and thematic approach to teaching United States History. Foundationally, students will move chronologically through history. Building upon such a foundation, students will continually explore the themes of Art/Culture, Economics/Capitalism, Government/Politics, and Migration/Globalization. Furthermore, throughout the course, current events will be discussed and connected to the past so as to give students a greater understanding of the role of history in the current American and global climate. The first trimester will focus on the period ranging from the arrival of the first humans through the US Civil War. The second trimester will examine Reconstruction through the World Wars. The final trimester studies the period following World War II through current events. Under Missouri state law, students must take and pass a test covering the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions, and so preparation for and administration of that requirement will also take place in this course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is the “American Dream?”
  • What role has/should government play in the lives of Americans?
  • How did/does capitalism define America?
  • What factors have most greatly impacted the development of America?

World History Topics: Human Rights & Genocide
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

This course examines diverse cultural experiences of genocide and displacement in modern world history. In particular, students will investigate and attempt to understand the origins and causes as well as the progression and development of genocidal campaigns in cross-cultural contexts: the Americas, Aboriginal Australia, Colonial Africa, the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. Students will also draw connections to other episodes of mass crimes, including the genocides of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the unprecedented experience of European Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, commonly known as the Holocaust (Shoah). Through readings and discussions, students will examine and discuss the behavior and perspectives of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders while seeking to understand the nature of these modern “events” and their significance for contemporary global politics.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How important is race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social class, and sexual orientation in our examination of mass crimes and human rights violations?
  • What are human rights and where do they come from? What are some of their religious and philosophical foundations?
  • What is genocide? Why are there so many different definitions and interpretations of genocide?
  • What is the goal of ethnic cleansing? Which states or historical actors have deployed it in the past? What is the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide?
  • What is the relationship between colonialism, forced migration, nation building, and genocide?

World History Topics: World Religions
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12

Religious beliefs and traditions provide meaning and inspiration for millions. This course invites students to explore and compare major global religions including Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Students will study the historical developments and key figures, as well as major doctrines and fundamental teachings of each belief-system. In addition, they will study some of the interactions that have taken place among the five universal religions. This will allow students to place two or more religions side-by-side and examine their similarities and differences. Ultimately, then, students will learn the basic tenets of each faith in order that they may gain the ability to discuss each religion and its corresponding history, practice, and relationship to other faiths.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How have encounters between universal religions shaped interactions between different human communities?
  • How has religion affected social, political, and economic structures in different cultural contexts across world history?
  • How does religion affect the development of a society’s art, architecture, philosophy, and law?
  • What are some common religious questions? What questions, in particular, do world religions address and profess to answer?
  • How does religion influence people’s way of life? How does a belief system unite/divide a particular society?

Economics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

In this course, students will study and analyze macroeconomics and policy decisions through project based learning, research papers, and seminar discussions. Students will study the development of economics systems and theories through time, participate in an in depth analysis of global energy use since the industrial revolution, and consider globalization and the role of disruptive technologies Students will learn collaborative skills on a major marketing project, develop formal research and writing skills, and understand their role within an interconnected global economy.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What role does government play in the economy?
  • How does technological innovation disrupt economies?
  • What causes a recession or depression?
  • What are the economics of energy production and consumption?
  • What are the costs and benefits of protectionism vs. globalization?
  • How do countries accumulate wealth? What makes some countries poor and others wealthy?
  • How do extractive political and economic institutions perpetuate poverty and inequality?

Psychology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11, 12

 This elective introduction to Psychology course begins with a survey of basic psychology and then transitions to a more in-depth exploration and application of psychological theories. The course will focus on the study and discussion of theories relevant to the senior or junior student: the psychology of stress, success, motivation, failure, social behavior, and personality. In addition, we will discuss hot topics like abnormal, social and developmental psychology, research methods and ethics, and the biological aspects of psychology including sensation, perception, and the brain. Seminar discussions, reflective writing, case studies, and college-level readings will dominate course activities. In addition, if students choose to, they should be prepared to take the AP Psychology test with some additional review prior to the May test, and though the AP exam is optional, it is highly recommended. Most colleges and universities have a social science requirement, so a high score (4 or 5) on the AP Psychology exam will sometimes fulfill that requirement.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can psychology help us understand the behavior of individuals and cultures?
  • How can we apply psychological theories to understand and control our own behavior?
  • How is our psychological state influenced by outside forces and how is our perspective of outside events influenced by our psychological state?

 

  • © 2007-2015 WHITFIELD School
  • 175 South Mason Road
  • St. Louis, MO 63141
  • T: 314-434 5141

About Us

Whitfield School is an independent, coeducational college preparatory day school for grades 6–12.

Learn More »

Academics

Whitfield’s demanding academic program coupled with the support of a dedicated, world class faculty prepares graduates for both the college experience and life beyond.

Learn More »

Arts

Students who choose to engage in the arts at Whitfield, whether performing or visual, discover the nearly limitless possibilities for self-expression.

Learn More »

Athletics

The Warriors have claimed 28 state championships, earning multiple coach and player of the year awards, and sending numerous alumni to play at the collegiate level.

Learn More »

Student Life

Whitfield students are happy, healthy and engaged in their community. Working diligently both in and out of the classroom, they learn both the academic and the interpersonal skills that lead them to success in college and beyond.

Learn More »

Admission

Find out what makes Whitfield unique among St. Louis schools.

Learn More »

Giving

The culture of philanthropy has always been an essential part of the Whitfield experience. Whitfield is fortunate to have parents, alumni, alumni parents, faculty and staff, trustees, grandparents and special friends who consistently support our school.

Learn More »

powered by finalsite