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 12 students per class, and the teacher-student ratio is 1:8.  These facts support student engagement and allow teachers to challenge every student.

Please visit each department’s page to learn more about the curriculum.

English

In the English program, Whitfield students build character, purpose, and passion in an environment that prioritizes communication, connectivity, and innovative thinking. The curriculum is built around six skill areas:
  • Speaking, listening and discussion
  • Composition and presentation
  • Reading
  • Critical, creative and metacognitive thinking
  • Academic behaviors
  • Collaboration and connectivity

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.

Building a Community of Readers and Writers: Grade 6
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 and influence our behavior?
  • How are individuals transformed through their relationships with others?

English 6 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.

Discovering the Emerging Self Through Literature: Grade 7
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?

The seventh grade English curriculum is designed to enable students to make connections between their own experiences and the literature they read as they enter early adolescence. The course is designed to give students experience with a variety of reading and writing opportunities that allow for practice of important skills such as multiple-draft writing, reading comprehension and 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.

Exploring Identity Through Literature and Composition: Grade 8
Essential Questions:

  • What roles do family and peers play in identity development?
  • Why do we stereotype groups, peoples, or cultures?
  • How does our perception of ourselves affect our perception of others?
  • How does an individual connect with an audience?

Eighth grade is a unique transition because it culminates a student’s traditional elementary 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 To Kill a Mockingbird, American Born Chinese, and Romeo and Juliet. 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.

Making It Meaningful - Exploring Literature and Composition: Grade 9
Essential Questions:

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • How is identity shaped?
  • What does literature teach us about humanity?

Ninth grade is a year of academic and cognitive transition, and the English curriculum encourages students to recognize the value of organization, process and standards in written and verbal communication. Students are also provided with guidelines and opportunities to become informed, critical readers. Writing assignments, presentations and in-class activities challenge students to approach tasks and ideas from more than one perspective while maintaining a healthy respect for difference.

Course topics include social classes, peer groups, gender, and other formal or informal societal categories. Major works read and discussed in ninth grade include Coelho’s The Alchemist, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and a wide selection of short stories, poetry and essays. Over the course of the year, students can expect to write journal entries, essays, personal narratives, and poems.

Coming Of Age As A Global Citizen: Grade 10
Essential Questions:

  • What does “coming of age” mean?
  • Is the coming of age process a universal experience?
  • What aspects of the coming of age process are dependant on one’s race, culture, ethnicity, religion, orientation?
  • How does one’s actions and decisions today influence one’s character now and into adulthood?

The literature, writing, discussion, and investigation in sophomore English will center on the process and experience of coming of age. We will read a variety of bildungsroman (coming of age novels) and determine what the stories and characters show us about the human condition and the maturation process. The protagonists in the books we will read all grapple with the same confusing, exhilarating, infuriating feelings that students go through when transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Our discussions, analysis, and projects will encourage students to consider their place in an increasingly global environment. We will ask not just who am I, but who do I want to be? We will examine how diverse characters in literature approach becoming an adult with the intent of reflecting on students’ own preparation for and approach to adulthood.

American Literature: Communication and Culture: Grade 11

Essential Questions:

  • What makes a good American?
  • In what ways do you shape American culture? In what ways are you shaped by it?
  • What makes language powerful?

Eleventh grade English focuses on how American literature reflects who we were, who we are, and who we may become as Americans. Using the written and spoken word as the primary tools, teacher and students explore the subcultures within America, analyze the impact of communication differences on the country’s evolution, and develop both global and individual perspectives on what it means to be American. Collaboratively and individually, we also closely examine famous English-language speeches to both better understand diction and rhetorical devices as well as serve as a model for public speaking and speech writing. Finally, through analyzing the works of writers such as Baldwin, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Perkins Gilman, Whitman, and Wright, we delve into the American themes of the “American Dream,” immigration, gender roles, race and ethnicity, popular culture, and the “canon” of great American literature.

Advanced Seminar In Literature and Composition: Grade 12

Essential Questions:

  • What does literature teach us about the sense of self?
  • How can I discover what is false, what is valid, and what is true?
  • What constitutes an ethical decision?What is “the good life” and how may I live it?

Advanced Seminar in Literature and Composition offers Whitfield twelfth grade students opportunities to hone their writing, thinking and speaking skills while examining literature in ways that will prepare them for college work. Literature studied in this course should provoke debate and discussion regarding ethical and philosophical crises that are common to adulthood. Students read fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction essays, and plays that place protagonists in legal, ethical and moral dilemmas. Logical argumentation and powerful, effective writing figure prominently, but students also write in descriptive, narrative and analytical modes. Reading assignments by a diverse selection of authors, from Plato, Aristotle, and Sophocles to Hesse, Ibsen, Tan and Kingsolver provide content for discussion, and they function as models that help students explore their decisions and goals as writers, speakers and citizens.

 


Social Studies

Through the study of history, government and geography, students begin to understand societies and cultures of the past and the present. 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: Grade 6
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?

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.

WORLD CULTURES AND GEOGRAPHY: Grade 7

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?

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 develop a greater appreciation of differences as well as an understanding of the universal aspects of humanity. The focus of the content is on essential skills such as reading, writing and discussion, as well as on 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.

U.S. GOVERNMENT AND CIVICS: Grade 8
Essential Questions:

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

In this class, students will seek an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. This course will examine the origins and evolution of the U.S. Constitution and the role of government in American society. We will investigate the purpose of the three branches of government as well as the relationship between the federal government and state and local governments. We will also explore the political parties and the process of election campaigns and voting. Skills used in this class include research, reading a variety of sources, writing, critical thinking, debate, delivering presentations, and collaborative projects with peers.

EARLY MODERN WORLD HISTORY—1400-1800: Grade 9
Essential Questions:

  • What are the driving forces and consequences of globalization?
  • Can individuals change the course of history?
  • What is a nation-state?
  • How do ideologies, philosophies and religions contribute to political, economic and social development?

This course is designed to introduce high school students to the study of world history from a multicultural perspective. It traces the increasing interdependence of the world’s different societies with the goal of understanding how history is conceived and presented. Topics include cross-cultural interactions in the early modern world, the origin and development of dynastic states and feudal regimes, the evolution of scientific and democratic ideas, exploration and colonization, religious and political conflicts, social and cultural change, the genesis of the Industrial Revolution, and the changing role of citizenship and identity across cultures and societies. Students will be reading a number of important and exemplary works with an eye to analyzing different approaches to posing, exploring, and answering historical questions. The course will also promote skills that high school students must develop to become effective researchers, clear and evocative writers, and incisive verbal communicators.

MODERN WORLD HISTORY—1800-THE PRESENT: Grade 10
Essential Questions:

  • To what extent was the Industrial Revolution, positive or negative, politically, socially, or economically?
  • How did Imperialism influence Africa, Asia, and Latin America?
  • How do ideological and technological struggles provide an explanation for many of the conflicts of the 20th century?
  • In what way do global conflicts affect the global balance of power?

Modern World History students will explore the modernization of the world since the dawn of industrialization. Students will be exposed to themes that include: technological advances, imperialism, nationalism, global wars, genocide, religious conflicts, and ideological movements around the world. We will examine controversial developments like the rise of socialist and communist philosophies, the disparity of wealth created by capitalism, the side effects of colonization, and reasons for revolts and dissent. Students will develop a number of skills such as proper research techniques, reading, writing, discussion, and presentation skills that will help allow students to think critically. They will be encouraged to engage in historical discussions, analyze primary sources, evaluate and understand historical perspectives, as well as create an argument grounded in research. Activities and assessments include, but are not limited to: seminar discussions, projects regarding cultures and customs from multiple continents, and analysis of 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.

UNITED STATES HISTORY: Grade 11
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?

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 American History. Foundationally, students will move chronologically through history. Building upon such a foundation, students will continually be exploring the themes of Art/Culture, Economics/Capitalism, Government/Politics, and Immigration/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. Students will be tested on their knowledge and understanding of the federal and state constitutions.

TOPICS IN MODERN WORLD HISTORY: Grade 12
Essential Questions:

  • How is human identity constructed and who sets the criteria for its construction?
  • How have encounters between universal religions shaped interactions between human communities?
  • How has religion affected social, political, and economic structures in different cultural contexts across world history?
  • How does religion impact the development of a society's art, architecture, philosophy, and law?
  • What is the goal of mass violence? What states or historical actors had deployed it in the past?
  • What are the warning signs of genocide and how can we prevent it from happening in the future?

Religious beliefs and traditions provide meaning and inspiration for millions. The Topics in Modern World History course invites students to explore and compare major global religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students will devote the first two trimesters to studying the historical developments, key figures, as well as major doctrines and fundamental teachings of each belief system. Then, during the third trimester, the course will focus on diverse cultural experiences of mass violence and displacement in the context of modern world history. In particular, students will explore how different communities have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in the aftermath of mass crimes and nation building. Throughout the entire school year, students will analyze primary and secondary literature as well as engage in constructive dialogue and discussion surrounding the course themes. Students will be reading some important and exemplary works with an eye to analyzing different approaches to posing, exploring, and answering historical questions. They will also be focusing on the skills that advanced high school students must develop to become successful scholars: effective and efficient reading, clear and evocative writing, and incisive oral communication. In addition to excerpts from a variety of texts, the main textbooks for the course include Jeffrey Brodd's World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery and Paul Bartrop's Genocide: The Basics.

AP WORLD HISTORY: Grade 12
Essential Questions:

  • What factors contribute to the rise and decline of civilizations, dynasties, empires and nation-states?
  • What is the impact of cross-cultural interaction?
  • To what extent has technology been advantageous or detrimental to humanity throughout history?
  • What is the relationship between geography, political systems and economic power?
  • How are social hierarchies based upon race, class, gender, religion and ethnicity constructed, maintained and changed?
  • What are the similarities and differences between world religions and what factors contribute to religious conflict?

AP World History is the equivalent of an introductory college survey course. This full-year course explores the expansive history of the world. Course content is structured around the investigation of 5 course themes in 6 different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E to the present. Students will learn historical facts and develop critical thinking skills that are necessary for analyzing historical evidence. This will be accomplished by focusing on the skills of: crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization and historical interpretation and synthesis. College-level resources will be utilized so that students are able to assess issues of change and continuity over time, identify global processes, compare within and among societies and understand diverse interpretations. Students will be expected to read a couple of chapters per week, write formal and informal papers, research and deliver presentations, participate in Socratic Seminars and take AP-style exams. Students are required to show their mastery of course goals by taking the College Board AP World History Exam in May.

PSYCHOLOGY: Grade 12
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?

The 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 you, the senior 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. You 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.

ECONOMICS: Grade 12
Essential Questions:

  • How do individuals interact in economic systems?
  • What factors affect economic decisions, both for individuals and for society at large?
  • What are some economic solutions and considerations with regard to social issues?
  • What influence does the market have on people?

This elective course will immerse the student in the principles of Economics with a focus on how the central theories and ideas apply to real-world situations. The first semester will focus on basic economic principles and move into Microeconomic theory. Applications will involve how businesses make economic decisions, the role of the household in the economy, the role of money and banking, and the effect of the government on individual decision making. Students in the second semester will focus on Macroeconomic theory. The curriculum will center around ideas that affect the economy as a whole and the leading indicators of national economic policy. Students will study such things as inflation, unemployment, Gross National Product, and the global economy. Students will study current economic issues to illustrate these concepts and will apply principles to real situations.


Note: Whitfield's Social Studies Department is partnered with the Federal Reserve of St. Louis to integrate economic principles throughout our 6th-12th social studies curriculum.
 

Science

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, who 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.

SIXTH GRADE SCIENCE: Grade 6
Essential Questions:

  • What are the scientific theories that explain the physical world?
  • How is my life affected by occurrences around the globe and in space?

Using the scientific method, students in Sixth Grade Science study Earth Science topics. Topics include erosion, deposition, soil formation, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, the formation of rocks, climate and weather, and the solar system. Students learn how Earth science events around the globe affect them in everyday situations.

LIFE SCIENCES: Grade 7
Essential Question:

  • What are the structures, functions, and characteristics of living organisms?

This course is designed to build a foundation in life science while focusing on the process of science throughout the year. Some of the skills emphasized in this course include: recording qualitative and quantitative observations, exhibiting proper use of the scientific method, designing and conducting experiments, interpreting and communicating scientific findings, demonstrating scientific literacy, and working cooperatively with peers.

Students are introduced to the scientific method, utilizing it throughout the course in their own scientific experiments. Major topics covered will include cell structure and function, genetics, evolution, the organization of life, ecology, and human anatomy and physiology. Major projects will include independent experiment design and presentations, popular science article summarizations and presentations, scientific art projects, and human disease presentations.

PHYSICAL / EARTH SCIENCE: Grade 8
Essential Question:

  • How does a scientist describe our world?

The eighth grade science curriculum is an activity-based curriculum that emphasizes the importance of precise measurement using the metric system while incorporating physical as well as earth science-related topics. The characteristics of fluids and pressure, speed and acceleration, temperature and kinetic theory of matter are typical topics of study. In addition, the motions of waves are explored with a look at earthquakes and sound. Basic chemistry is also approached with a look at the atom, the periodic table of elements, bonding, and balancing ionic formulas. In general, the quality of a students' observations as well as their ability to understand and describe the physical processes and concepts introduced is essential. In addition, basic mathematical concepts such as dimensional analysis and the density triangle are covered as well. Working collaboratively with peers will also play a major part of a student's success in Physical/Earth Science.

BIOLOGY: Grade 9
Essential Questions

  • What processes are essential to life?
  • What are the necessary components of a living organism?
  • What is genetic information and how is it passed down through generations?

The overall focus of the ninth grade science course is to promote students' ability to think critically and analytically. The major topics include an introduction to ecology, including a unit on photosynthesis and environmental processes, an introduction to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and their processes, how cells obtain energy, cell division, DNA structure and function, protein synthesis, Mendelian genetics, genetic engineering and the mechanisms of Evolution. Laboratory investigations and class discussions are integral components of this course. In addition, students study, in detail, the profound effects of science on society. Through class discussion of articles and video clips, students evaluate the role scientific processes play in society and in their own daily lives.

CHEMISTRY/ACCELERATED CHEMISTRY: Grade 10
Essential Questions:

  • What is matter and energy?
  • How can matter be manipulated to produce products of energy and material?

In this course, the students explore the conservation of matter and the conservation of energy in the micro sense of atomic rearrangement. Students use the scientific method and relate it to how scientific problems are solved and learn to classify types of reactions. The class also investigates percent composition, stoichiometry, limiting reactants, specific heat capacity, gas laws, solubility, equilibrium and other essential patterns of behavior for matter. A strong emphasis is placed on laboratory work and demonstrations. Laboratory experiences are a substantial part of the course, increasing the knowledge and skill level of the student. Laboratory reporting is used and students complete at least one formal laboratory report in the style used by professional scientists.

PHYSICS / ACCELERATED PHYSICS 11
Essential Questions:
  • What is physics?
  • What are the different areas of physics and how can these concepts be observed and measured to explain natural occurrences in everyday life?
  • What is energy and how does it affect its surroundings?

In this course students explore physics and its many concepts. Students will use a variety of measuring techniques to quantify and observe various physics phenomena, including force, energy, momentum, electricity, and magnetism. The course will also help improve the students’ ability to solve problems using mathematical relationships. Students write formal lab reports that effectively communicate what they have observed and discovered graphically, mathematically, and in written language.

The goal for this course is to give students an appreciation for physics and its presence in their daily lives. Students should look upon the material in this course as an opportunity to obverse life from a scientific and mathematical perspective.

Students will also learn computer programming using a variety of languages including Alice. They will be using computer programs to help model and observe different concepts in physics.


AP CHEMISTRY: Grade 11 or 12
Essential Questions:

  • How does chemistry affect your life?
  • How do advanced laboratory experiences develop a mastery of chemistry?

Topics covered include the structure of matter, states of matter, chemical reactions, descriptive chemistry, chemical calculations, and mathematical formulation of principles. Special emphasis is placed on laboratory work which gives students a more thorough understanding of the topics. This course prepares students for the Advanced
Placement (AP) Exam.

ACCELERATED PHYSICS 12
Essential Question:

  • How can the laws and concepts of physics be applied to describe, predict, and control the behavior of matter and energy?

The Accelerated Physics 12 class is a continuation of the work begun in the junior year. The focus of the course turns from observing physics phenomena to using these observations to predict and control objects and energy. Predicting the behavior of various objects and energy requires an application of knowledge gained in the previous year. Concepts and problems become more complex as various topics in physics are expanded and explored. The material is math-intensive and students use increasingly sophisticated mathematical problem-solving techniques. From the quadratic form to multi-variant algebra to trigonometry, physics students use nearly every skill they have learned in their math classes.

Meanwhile, students are encouraged to express themselves with precision using both mathematical notation and written English. There will be an increased emphasis on the careful use of variables and significant figures, and students explore the difference between formal scientific writing and writing for grant proposals.

Topics of study include magnetism and its link to the generation of electrical energy, rotational motion and amusement park physics, fluid dynamics, ballistics and projectile motion, and finally an introduction to quantum mechanics.

ADVANCED BIOLOGY: Grades 11-12
Essential Questions:

  • How can genetic and biochemical theories be tested and verified in the laboratory?
  • How do the different systems of the human body work together to form and maintain a functioning individual?

This course offers a more in-depth study into the genetic and biochemical aspects of modern biology and their present and potential applications. Students apply theoretical and investigative research in the laboratory. Human anatomy and physiology are also featured topics in this course. Students are required to produce formal laboratory reports throughout the year. Animal and organ dissection are a major component of the laboratory experience in this course.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Grade 10-12
Essential Questions:

  • How do the major systems on Earth work and relate to one another?
  • What major environmental problems, both natural and human-made, exist on Earth and what are some solutions to resolve and/or prevent those problems?

Environmental Science offers an understanding of the major environmental processes on Earth and the impact humans have on those processes. Students explore topics such as environmental ecology, air, water, and soil systems, fossil fuels and alternative energy sources, as well as environmental law and policy. Hands-on, laboratory investigations are an essential part of the course, as are current event readings, guest speakers, videos, and regular in-class discussions.

AP Biology: Grade 12
Course Prerequisites: Successful completion of Biology 9 and Accelerated Chemistry 10

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 College Board redesigned the AP Biology curriculum (first implemented during the 2012-2013 school year) to address the challenge of balancing the breath of content coverage with depth of understanding. To achieve this goal, the content has been organized around four underlying principles called “Big Ideas” and the core concepts (Enduring Understandings – EU) 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.

 

Mathematics

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 and 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 assistance 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: Required
Essential Questions:

  • How will my mathematical knowledge/skills be applied to solve real-word problems?
  • How will I assess if my answer is reasonable?
  • Will I be flexible in my thinking to accommodate multiple approaches to math problems?
  • How will I respond to obstacles that I will encounter with challenging math topics?

Students apply pre-algebraic concepts dealing with fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, equations and integers to solve real world problems. They also will be given opportunities to apply a variety of problem solving strategies, including pre-algebraic strategies to solve problems.

Math 7: Required
Essential Questions:

  • How will my mathematical knowledge/skills be applied to solve real-word problems?
  • How will I assess if my answer is reasonable?
  • Will I be flexible in my thinking to accommodate multiple approaches to math problems?
  • How will I respond to obstacles that I will encounter with challenging math topics?

Students apply pre-algebraic concepts dealing with fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, equations and integers to solve real world problems. They also will be given opportunities to apply a variety of problem solving strategies, including pre-algebraic strategies to solve problems.

Math 8: Required
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 problems solving strategy?
  • How can I assess if my answer is reasonable?

The main goal of this course is to build a solid foundation for success in high school level math classes including 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.

Pre-Algebra
Essential Questions:

  • How do I use basic mathematical skills to solve real-world problems?
  • How can my mathematical knowledge be applied to basic algebraic concepts?
  • How do I assess if my answer is reasonable?

The main goal of this course is to encourage students to think mathematically. Students will learn to look for patterns, communicate mathematically, and solve problems. Topics studied will include interpretation of data, operations with integers and rational numbers, writing variable expressions, solving simple equations, patterns and functions, ratios, rates, and percents.

ALGEBRA I : Grade 7, 8 or 9 – Required (Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or Math 8)

Essential Questions:

  • How do I solve and graph various functions?
  • How do I communicate mathematical ideas both verbally and in writing?
  • How do I assess if my answer is reasonable?

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.

GEOMETRY: Grade 8, 9 or 10 – Required (Prerequisite: Algebra I )
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?

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.

ADVANCED ALGEBRA : Grade 9, 10 or 11 – Required (Prerequisite: Geometry)
Essential Questions:

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

This course is designed to expand on previous course work in Algebra I. Advanced Algebra 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.

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Grade 11 or 12 (Optional)
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?

Computer Science is an elective course offered to 11th and 12th grade students that allows them to explore several areas of computer science. Students will start by learning how the computer works and how the computer has affected society in terms of innovation in different real world areas. Students will then dive into programming in different languages including java, C sharp, and some application development languages. Towards the end of the course, students will take all they have learned about computer science and explore an area of interest. Examples of an area of interest are bio-medical, business, marketing, game development, education, art, and many more. They will develop innovative programs, devices, and other tools to help them create in this area of interest and see how their studies can be beneficial to society.

PRE-CALCULUS: FUNCTIONS AND TRIGONOMETRY: Grade 10, 11 or 12 - Optional (Prerequisite: Advanced Algebra)
Essential Questions:

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

This is the first of a two-year course to prepare students for college level calculus. Topics covered include function theory, polynomial functions, and exponential and logarithmic functions. Trigonometry is studied in depth, including triangle and circular trigonometry, trigonometric equations, identities, and proofs.

INTRODUCTION TO CALCULUS: Grade 11 and 12 - Optional (Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus)
Essential Questions:

  • How are mathematical models used to solve problems involving physics and probability?
  • What is calculus and how is it related to advanced algebra?

This is the second year of a two-year course to prepare students for college level calculus. Topics covered 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. Juniors in this course also study analysis and applications of conic sections

DISCRETE MATHEMATICS: Grade 12 - Optional (Prerequisite: Advanced Algebra)
Essential Questions:

  • How does mathematics apply to quantitative problem-solving in the social science?
  • How does mathematics enhance analysis in business and management science?

Why are statistics and probability the optimal resources for finding meaning in data?
Discrete mathematics explores the applications of mathematics outside of algebra and geometry to a wider range of disciplines. Students learn math applications to political science, law, and business. The course also includes an introduction to descriptive statistics and normal distribution.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS (AB): Grade 11 or 12 - Optional (Prerequisite: Intro to Calculus)
Essential Questions:

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

This course 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. The course will prepare the students for the Advanced Placement AB Calculus exam and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS (BC) Grade 12 – Optional (Prerequisite: AB Calculus)
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 multi-variable real-world problems be solved using the techniques learned in Calculus?

This course is the second of the two AP Calculus courses offered by the AP College Board. The students will continue their studies of Calculus, investigating several real world applications of the topics. New material includes Taylor series, and the Calculus of variable-factor products. The students will also review several topics learned in AB Calculus. The course will prepare the students for the Advanced Placement BC Calculus exam and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

Language

The language program offers French, Spanish, Latin and Chinese. 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 an ADVANCED level of oral proficiency primarily through pair practice.

While the primary emphasis of the French and Spanish programs is oral proficiency, students will 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.

Beginning in September 2013, the Language department at Whitfield School started to work with Dr. Audrey Heining-Boynton, who has been a professor of Spanish and education at UNC Chapel Hill, served as past president of ACTFL and consulted with public and private schools domestically and internationally.

During the 2014-2015 school year, teachers will implement a new departmental focus based on oral proficiency standards. Using research-based language acquisition methodology will ensure that the program is aligned with American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) standards that prepare students for the 21st century. http://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-proficiency-guidelines-2012

FRENCH A: Grade 6 & Grade 7
Essential Questions:

  • Why is it important to study a second language?
  • How can learning a language benefit me?
  • What defines a culture?
  • Who is a part of the French-speaking world?
  • How can I describe myself and my environment?

The French A curriculum allows students to communicate essential needs and learn about the countries where French is spoken. During the school year students learn greetings and introductions, physical descriptions, personality traits, time, dates, weather, seasons, likes and dislikes, anatomy, food, extracurricular activities, and school vocabulary. By the end of French A, students are able to listen, read, speak, and write in the present tense. Students are exposed to and gain insight into various French cultures. They are challenged to explore differences and similarities among cultures.

FRENCH B: Grade 8
Essential Questions:

  • Who is part of the French-speaking world?
  • How can we communicate essential needs and basic information at home and abroad?
  • How can I describe myself, my home, and my community?
  • How do French-speaking cultures compare to my culture?

In French B, students continue to work with the present tense and are introduced to verbs in the immediate future and past tense. Using a broadened vocabulary, including themes such as family, home, and directions, French B students are expected to create original dialogues, write short essays, and build upon their speaking skills.

FRENCH I
Essential Questions:

  • How do we change through exposure to other cultures?
  • In what ways can I learn about my language by studying other languages?
  • How do I use language to understand culture?
  • How can we challenge stereotypes between and among cultures?
  • What makes up a culture?

The French I curriculum introduces students to the French language and culture through activities that involve listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Course themes include greetings, weather, alphabet, calendar, likes and dislikes, food, school vocabulary, family, home, and celebrations. Students will master the present tense and be introduced to the past tense and immediate future tense. Using a broadened vocabulary, students are expected to create original dialogues, write short essays, and speak for up to 3 minutes at a time.

FRENCH II (Prerequisite: French I or French A and French B)
Essential Questions:

  • What defines a culture?
  • How do we change through exposure to other cultures?
  • How do French-speaking cultures compare to other cultures?
  • How can we challenge stereotypes between/among cultures?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How would I describe myself and my environment?

In French II, students learn to communicate future plans and past events by describing leisure and school activities, household objects, food, and clothing. They learn to obtain information about people and places by focusing on how to ask questions and become more creative with the language.

FRENCH III (Prerequisite: French II)
Essential Questions:
What makes up a culture?

  • How do we change through exposure to other cultures?
  • How do French-speaking cultures compare to your home culture?
  • How can we challenge stereotypes between/among cultures?
  • How can I communicate essential needs and information?
  • How would I describe myself and my environment?
  • What underlying values do people attach to the word “foreign”?

The French III curriculum enables students to gain fluency using the present, past and future tense. Students talk about professions, animals, travel, meals, and invitations. Students use authentic materials to discuss comparisons between the French and American cultures.

FRENCH IV (Prerequisite: French III) and FRENCH V (Prerequisite: French IV)
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 its culture?

Students continue to develop a working vocabulary necessary in real-life situations. Students learn to interact more with others and to work on more elaborate descriptions of people, things, and emotions. Students continue to work with narration in the present, past, and future tenses. They will read authentic fiction and nonfiction material and will be encouraged to be more creative in their use of the language.

FRENCH V
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 French-speaking cultures?
  • How does language affect culture?

In French V, students work to perfect their communication skills through discussions of films, research of current topics, short stories, writing, and presentations. At this level emphasis is placed on the culture of French speaking countries with topics that include history, geography, slavery, immigration, religion, human relationships, current events, and artistic expression in the French-speaking countries.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT FRENCH LANGUAGE & CULTURE (Prerequisite: French V)
Essential Questions:

  • During both informal and formal discussion, how can we demonstrate and support relevant, clear and detailed ideas?
  • How can we use complex structures and grammar and cultural and vocabulary knowledge to comprehend, process and draw conclusions about conversations and lectures?
  • How can we expand our comprehension of a text beyond the main idea and small details, achieving the ability to draw conclusions, analyze and hypothesize?
  • How can we write in an organized, relevant manner while demonstrating control of complex structures, rich, precise vocabulary and ease of expression?

This course will prepare students to take the AP French Language and Culture Exam with the following goals: a) to develop the ability to understand spoken French in various contexts; b) to gain insight into the French culture; c) to develop a vocabulary sufficiently ample for reading newspaper and magazine articles, literary texts, and other non-technical writings without dependence on a dictionary; d) to develop the ability to express themselves in both speech and in writing, coherently, resourcefully, and with reasonable fluency and accuracy. Extensive training is given in the organization and writing of compositions. Course material, reflecting the shared interests of the students and teacher, may include: audio and video recordings, podcasts, youtube videos, film, newspapers, and magazines.

SPANISH A: Grade 6 & Grade 7
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?

The Spanish A curriculum allows students to communicate daily essential needs in context and learn about the countries where Spanish is spoken. Students learn to greet and introduce people and to express personal preferences. Through the course, students learn physical and personality traits, to tell time, dates, weather, seasons, likes and dislikes, anatomy, food, extracurricular activities, and school-related vocabulary in Spanish. By the end of Spanish A, students are able to express themselves in the present and the immediate future tenses. Culturally, students are exposed to and gain insight into different Hispanic cultures and are challenged to explore differences and similarities among cultures.

SPANISH B: Grade 8
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?

In Spanish B, students continue to work with the present and immediate future tenses. They learn the regular and irregular verbs in the preterit tense. Students broaden their vocabulary to include themes such as family, home, and celebrations. During the second year, students are expected to create original dialogues and to write short essays.

SPANISH I
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?

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 tense and immediate future.

SPANISH II (Prerequisite: Spanish I or Spanish A & Spanish B)
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?

During Spanish II, 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.

SPANISH III (Prerequisite: Spanish II)
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?

In Spanish III, students adapt to an advanced level of conversational language practice and grammar study. Students participate in conversations about practical and current topics and also work to improve reading and writing skills. Students work to improve and enhance reading comprehension skills through building an active and broad vocabulary. Vocabulary themes include accidents and natural disasters, sports, movies, food, travel, professions and immigration. In addition, this course provides a thorough review of the present and past tenses, while introducing the future tense and subjunctive mood.

SPANISH IV (Prerequisite: Spanish III)
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?

In Spanish IV, students’ productive skills shift from the concrete to the abstract. They learn vocabulary that enables them to describe art, entertainment, and their relationship to the world in terms of community service, relationships, and current events. They learn to support their opinions in detail. They interpret a variety of world issues through discussions, reading, and writing. Grammar focuses on refining the past tenses and the subjunctive mood. Compound tenses are introduced. During this year, students will hone the four basic skills of language acquisition, through oral and listening activities, short essay writing and analysis of short stories.

SPANISH V (Prerequisite: Spanish IV)
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?

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.

SPANISH ADVANCED PLACEMENT LANGUAGE (Prerequisite: Spanish V)
Essential Questions:

  • During both informal and formal discussion, how can we demonstrate and support relevant, clear and detailed ideas?
  • How can we use complex structures and grammar and cultural and vocabulary knowledge to comprehend, process and draw conclusions about conversations and lectures?
  • How can we expand our comprehension of a text beyond the main idea and small details, achieving the ability to draw conclusions, analyze and hypothesize?
  • How can we write in an organized, relevant manner while demonstrating control of complex structures, rich, precise vocabulary and ease of expression?

This course will prepare students to take the AP Language and Culture Exam with the following goals: a) to develop the ability to understand spoken Spanish in various contexts; b) to develop a vocabulary sufficiently ample for reading newspaper and magazine articles, literary texts, and other non-technical writings without dependence on a dictionary; c) to develop the ability to express themselves in both speech and in writing, coherently, resourcefully and with reasonable fluency and accuracy. Graded discussions are held every class. Course material, reflecting the shared interests of the students and teacher, may include audio and video recordings, film, newspapers and magazine articles, and Internet resources.

SPANISH ADVANCED PLACEMENT LITERATURE (Prerequisite: AP Spanish Language)
Essential Questions:

  • How can we critically analyze the form and content of literary works, orally and in writing, using appropriate terminology?
  • How can we understand a lecture in Spanish and participate actively in discussions on literary topics in Spanish?

The AP Spanish Literature course is the equivalent of a third year college course, covering selected works from the literatures of Spain and Latin America. For this purpose, students read and analyze literature orally and in writing, which enhance language proficiency and skills in Spanish composition, conversation, and grammar.

LANGUAGE FUNDAMENTALS (LATIN 7th GRADE AND 8th GRADE)
Essential Question: How do the language and culture of the Ancient Romans still influence us today?

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.

LATIN I
Essential Question: Who were the Romans?

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 and imperfect tenses. 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. 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.

LATIN II
Essential Question: What happens when two cultures meet?

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

LATIN III & IV
Essential Question: How does power affect people?

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.

Mandarin
Chinese 1 is a practical, beginning course for non-native Chinese speakers in speaking and understanding modern spoken Chinese. It is designed for students who want to learn Chinese, who want to travel to China, or who have previous limited experience in Chinese. Attention is given to proper pronunciation, to practicing the words and basic structures used most frequently in daily conversation, and to learning the social conventions and Chinese culture necessary for interpersonal communication with native speakers of Modern Chinese.

ELA
English Language Arts is a practical, academically-oriented course for non-native English speakers. It is designed for students who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading 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.

 

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 6th through 9th grade 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.

VISUAL ART: Grade 6
Essential Questions:

  • What does it mean to create?
  • How does creating art help us learn about ourselves and other cultures?

In the sixth grade, students are introduced to various artistic processes. 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.

VISUAL ART: Grade 7
Essential Questions:

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

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. If students choose to take visual art as their primary fine art class, they have art twice a week for the entire year.

VISUAL ART: Grade 8
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?

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. All eighth grade students are enrolled in this course. Students may choose to take visual art as their primary fine art class and meet twice a week for the entire year.

DESIGN OVERVIEW: Grade 9
Essential Questions:

  • How can one form a strong understanding of that which is perceived with one’s eyes?
  • 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 one function within it?

Design Overview is the foundation level course offered to freshmen who are interested in taking upper level visual arts classes in the future. Having been exposed to a variety of materials, methods and processes in 7th and 8th grades, students are now confronted with the idea that art is a language, and like any form of communication, it has the potential to convey information and to be understood by those who can decipher it. Effective communication is a function of effective process and our students are encouraged to develop and refine their visual thinking through creative problem solving tools and techniques. Students will be asked to generate and manipulate images and various media to communicate the visual language. Assignments are designed around the elements and principles of design in order to provide a broader knowledge base of how the visual arts work, as well as to reveal a sampling of upper level studio experiences.

FINE ARTS 9: Performing and Visual Arts Grade 9
Essential Questions:

  • What are the elements essential to “performance”?
  • How do we exam the myriad of choices that effect performance?
  • What are the Elements and Principles of Design that all visual imagery is built upon?

Fine Arts Nine is a course designed for the student who is interested in pursuing an exploration of both performing and visual arts. Each discipline will investigate how the arts are used as forms of communication. Words are not always the most effective way to convey information, and these classes will give students the opportunity to explore the “languages” of performing and visual arts in greater depth.

INTRODUCTION TO DRAWING: Grades 10, 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Design Overview or Fine Arts 9)
Essential Questions:

  • What does it mean to observe?
  • In what ways can representation enhance the real?
  • How does the artist create a “voice”?
  • How does one generate a personal aesthetic?

This course introduces sophomore level 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 picture plane serves as a 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 creative process and works of art.

ADVANCED DRAWING AND PAINTING: Grades 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing)

Essential Questions:

  • How does conceptualism factor into the creative process?
  • In what ways is art a reflection of culture?
  • How does one move beyond observation to form an understanding of their world?
  • What ways can art impact a viewer?

Students in Advanced Drawing further develop their artistic language and descriptive drawing skills by building upon technical skills acquired in Introduction to Drawing. This course provides students with a newly conceptual avenue to navigate; asking them to consider 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 is resides in contemporary practice.

ADVANCED STUDIO - PAINTING: Grade 12 (Prerequisite: Advanced Drawing)
Essential Questions:

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

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 reinterpret 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).

INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY: Grades 10, 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Design Overview or Fine Arts 9)
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?

This course is made up of predominately sophomore level students however it is offered to Junior and senior level students as well. While fostering and developing conceptual thought throughout the course there is a large portion of technical skills covered related to the use of a single lens reflex camera (SLR) and a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR). Students will also have an introduction to digital editing techniques through the use of Camera Raw and 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.

ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY: Grades 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Introduction to Photography)
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?

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 the students must solve by engaging in the creative process. Students will experiment with a variety of problem solving and brainstorming techniques so that they may individualize their process and final products. Formal and informal critiques are used to provide valuable feedback as well as a way to advance their understanding of visual language. Students will also be exposed to a variety of examples of professional work to broaden their visual aesthetics and communication abilities.

ADVANCED STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY: Grade 12 (Prerequisite: Advanced Photography)
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?

Having established a strong foundation in basic analog and digital photographic procedures, this course offers students the opportunities for more in-depth exploration of subjects of personal interest and to identify and develop a personal aesthetic. Students continue to gain understanding of what conceptual and contemporary art is as they explore a more in-depth exploration of meaning over form. Students explore the role of the audience and their impact on the final products. Students 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.

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Grades 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Design Overview or Fine Arts 9)
Essential Questions:

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

This is an introductory course in graphic design that builds on the basics of design explored in previous visual arts courses. Students will be learn to utilize design industry standard programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects in order to become more fluent visual communicators and educated audiences. Emphasis on becoming content creators as opposed to solely consumers drives the course curriculum. Projects are presented to students as problems to reinforce the concept that creativity is a thought process that can be cultivated, not a natural talent.

INTRODUCTION TO CERAMICS: Grades 10, 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Design Overview or Fine Arts 9)

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?

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.

ADVANCED CERAMICS: Grades 11 or 12 (Prerequisite: Introduction to Ceramics)

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?

Craftsmanship continues to be a focal point in the further development of skills. In this course students will begin to evoke thoughts and feelings as they begin to further consider the aesthetic of their work in clay and at the same time 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 own work and artwork in general.

ADVANCED STUDIO - CERAMICS: Grade 12 (Prerequisite: Advanced Ceramics)

Essential Questions:

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

While craftsmanship remains important students will 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 so it will be the norm for students to use the information to further ideas and concepts with the end result 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 student wants them to see?


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.

PERFORMING ARTS: Grades 7 and 8
Essential Questions:

How do individuals work together to create an ensemble?
What are the elements essential to creating art?
● In what ways am I an artist?
● In what ways can I push myself to become more comfortable and confident on stage?

The innate creativity found in all students is explored and fostered in the Middle School Performing Arts program. These courses provide students the resources needed to help them take risks, develop their imaginations and learn creative problem solving techniques. Beginning in the sixth grade, students are introduced to the concept of ensemble as process; this idea provides a foundation for group work and will be built upon in successive years. The students will learn to depend on each other for ideas, support and constructive critiques. Rhythm, creative movement, and improvisation are some of the venues explored to help students discover their vehicles for creative expression. In the process, they acquire skills to strengthen their voice and body in order to communicate more effectively. As artists, they are encouraged to make creative choices and defend their work. Projects become increasingly more challenging and require the students to work independently and in a variety of group settings. Some units are designed to complement both the theatre arts and 6th/7th/8th grade curriculum. In addition to informal workshop presentations of class work, interested students are invited to audition for the middle school productions.

THEATRE ARTS: Grade 9
Essential Questions:

● What are the elements of performance?

Within a safe, trusting environment, students become comfortable with improvisation, self-expression, acting techniques and theatrical vocabulary. Students will build performance skills and stagecraft techniques with an understanding of theatre as a unique tool for communication to an audience.


FINE ARTS 9: Performing Arts Component
Essential Questions:

● What are the elements of performance?
● What are the Elements and Principles of Design that all visual imagery is built upon?

Fine Arts 9 is a course designed for the student who is interested in pursuing an exploration of both performing and visual arts. Each discipline will investigate how the arts are used as forms of communication. Words are not always the most effective way to convey information, and these classes will give students the opportunity to explore the “languages” of performing and visual arts in greater depth. Within a safe, trusting environment, students become comfortable with improvisation, self-expression, acting techniques and theatrical vocabulary. Students will build performance skills and stagecraft techniques with an understanding of theatre as a unique tool for communication to an audience.

INTERMEDIATE THEATRE ARTS: Grade 10

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?    

Students will broaden their knowledge of performance by working with more specific acting techniques, voice and movement in character development, an array of performance styles and dramatic literature and the introduction of style and genre. 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 every element of production, from playwriting to props, is emphasized.


ADVANCED THEATRE ARTS: Grade 11
Essential Questions:

● How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
● How do technical elements affect the mood, style and setting of a production?
● What is the impact of culture and society on theatrical productions?
● How do major historical periods affect performance and production?

Students explore and analyze a variety of text and performance, developing greater readiness for sophisticated performance and understanding of theatre production. Theatre 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 one-act plays 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.

Special Note: This course generally requires students to participate in extracurricular rehearsals and performances.

ADVANCED STUDIO ARTS - THEATRE: Grade 12

Essential Questions:

● How is an individual challenged during the creative process?
● How does engagement with the arts reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?

Students will examine and create several types and styles of performance, both collaborative and individual.
Students will be directly involved in the production process of Whitfield theater. 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.

 

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Physical Education

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: Grades 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.

HEALTH: Grades 6, 7, 8 & 9
The health curriculum gives students the knowledge and tools to make healthy decisions throughout their lives. The curriculum is based upon the three areas of health: physical health, mental/emotional health, and social health. Physical health includes first aid, injury prevention, nutrition, sleep, physical activity, hygiene, body systems, human growth and development, disease prevention, and avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Mental/emotional health includes character development, self-esteem, stress management, mental disorders, and spiritual health (a sense of meaning and purpose in life). Social health includes communication, conflict resolution, peer pressure, and healthy relationships. The health classes are divided by gender to encourage comfort when asking questions and discussing current issues. A variety of techniques such as role playing and small group work are used throughout the course.

 

Seminars

Students in grades 10, 11 and 12 participate in courses designed to build the skills they need for a healthy transition to the increased responsibility and independence they encounter. Each course is designed to explore age-appropriate issues relating to healthy decision making, college admission and success in college. Issues of character, integrity, work ethic and responsibility are central to each seminar course.

LIFE SKILLS AND HEALTH: Grade 10
Students in Life Skills and Health cycle through a six week rotation, which includes physical education classes, weight room classes, health, and a practical application class. Life Skills and Health is a course designed to promote the healthy academic and social development of students as they prepare to make important life decisions. Through discussion, readings, and guest speakers, students investigate topics such as health education, academic achievement and integrity, social issues, and time management. Topics are strategically scheduled to coincide with important events taking place at school, such as social events, major projects and semester exams.

COLLOQUIUM: Grade 11
Colloquium, which is required of all juniors, provides a forum for cultivating healthy habits and good decision-making skills. Discussions, research and readings also introduce students to their roles in the college application process, from exploring schools using the latest technology to writing effective essays to understanding college admission procedures. By the end of the course, students have completed the first important steps toward the college application process. In addition, students continue their commitment to service learning, as well as their work on self-evaluation, study skills, and conference preparation. With resource time provided and teacher help sessions offered several times a quarter, the students are prepared to tackle their senior year.

SENIOR SEMINAR - Grade 12
Senior Seminar is a required course that meets each cycle and is graded. 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 successfully 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.

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.

Senior Quest
Seniors spend the last five to six weeks of the year involved in an off-campus experience which may either be community service based or non-paid career potential experience based.

The Service Intensive
In the fall, seniors will spend four full class days 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 career-oriented, service based, or both. 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 from May 1 through May 24.

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 final 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. The Senior Exhibition is followed by a celebratory dinner hosted by the Parents’ Council in the school dining room, which includes viewing of the senior class DVD. Parent Liaisons will communicate details to senior families.

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 quarter 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 quarter 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.Senior Seminar contains four components, three of which must be completed prior to graduation: College Preparation, Senior Quest, Senior Exhibition and Senior Independent Study. Students are required to successfully complete College Preparation, Senior Quest and Senior Exhibition.

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  • 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.

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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.

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Arts

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

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Athletics

The Warriors have claimed 27 state championships since 2000, earning multiple coach and player of the year awards, and sending numerous alumni to play at the collegiate level.

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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.

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Admission

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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.

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