Curriculum

Upper school students and their teacher conducting an experiment

Students in grades 6-12 take required courses in English, math, science, social studies, arts, and world languages every year. Additional science and humanities electives allow students to explore specific topics in greater depth. AP courses in math, science, and languages are also available. As a community, Whitfield values hard work and honesty; students are expected to demonstrate a high degree of academic integrity at all times.

 

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

As a community, Whitfield values hard work and honesty; therefore, a lack of academic integrity, cheating, dishonesty or negative behavior will not be tolerated.  

Honor Code: We are committed to academic excellence and social responsibility, and to demonstrating respect, honesty and scholarship. As individuals, we assume the responsibility to preserve the ethical, academic and moral values of the community. The success of this Honor Code depends upon trustworthy behavior on the part of all involved.

Personal Code of Conduct: Everyone in the Whitfield School family, regardless of age or status, must treat one's self and each other with respect, honesty and compassion.  Whitfield students carry the responsibility of appropriate and respectful behavior on or off campus, and, at all times, serve as representatives of the school to the community at large.

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Advisory

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

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

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

RELATED MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  Advisory is a required course each year at Whitfield
GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  Advisory is a required course each year at Whitfield 

Advisory 6-8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An Advisory group consists of 12-15 students in the same grade and one faculty member who is also a teacher for those students. Planned activities aimed at developing self-awareness, social awareness, and responsibility include those from The Habits of Mind and Heart social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, service learning projects on and off campus, and student led parent-teacher conference preparation where students share evidence of personal growth.

Advisory 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Advisory 9 engage in activities from the Habits of Mind and Heart social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, community service, self-discovery, relationship building, and Office Hours time where students can schedule meetings with teachers from any of their classes. Office Hours helps students develop meaningful study strategies to prepare them well for academics at the upper school level. Students also prepare for student led parent- teacher conferences where they provide evidence of personal and academic growth.

Advisory 10
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Through discussion, readings, one-on-one meetings, and guest speakers, students in Advisory 10 continue developing social emotional skills by investigating topics such as academic achievement and integrity, social/ global issues, and time management. Topics are strategically scheduled to coincide with important events taking place at school. During the second trimester, the College Counseling department introduces age-appropriate college planning and self-discovery activities designed to help students identify their options for college and beyond.

Advisory 11
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Advisory 11, students have a voice in the topics of exploration and develop leadership in
implementing activities rooted in the Habits of Mind and Heart. The primary focus of advisory is to continue to mentor and support students in developing relationships with teachers, peers, and others. Eleventh-grade students are beginning to invest more of themselves and looking at how they fit into the world. Therefore, service learning and college-planning are key components of the junior advisory experience. Service learning is composed of multiple opportunities and organized as both group and individual experiences. College Knowledge focuses on the initial phases of the college selection process including characteristics of fit, standardized testing and application tools. Throughout third trimester, college counselors guide students through exercises to define, research, and analyze college options based upon the student’s strengths and needs to ensure success.

Senior Seminar
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Senior Seminar is a required, graded course and an extention of the Advisory program developed in grades 6-11. The curriculum includes college preparation work and exercises, the Senior Internship, preparation for the Senior Roundtable, and an optional Senior Independent Study. Students are required to complete their college preparatory work, the Senior Internship, and the Senior Roundtable, all of which are graded as part of Senior Seminar. Students are not eligible to graduate unless they meet all expectations of Senior Seminar satisfactorily.

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

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

English

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

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

Process Writing at Whitfield
Good writing is evidence of good thinking and is a vehicle for promoting empathy and appreciation of multiple perspectives. Through writing, students understand audience and purpose and, accordingly, develop ideas to communicate effectively. The teacher’s role is to help students find their own voices while developing critical thinking and reflection skills. Learning a variety of genres 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.

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  An English course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  Four credits of English

English 6: Building a Community of Readers and Writers through Literature & Composition
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The sixth grade English curriculum is designed to support and guide students as they explore and develop their identity as a reader and writer. Through a broad range of learning experiences, students practice making the choices that real readers and writers make every day. Writing is approached as a cyclical process where students are supported as they make choices that build their voice as a writer and craft pieces that help them explore their passions and realize the power of their voice in the world.

Students will study fiction and nonfiction works in the form of poetry, short stories, novels, videos, podcasts, and articles. Some will be read as a whole class while others will be read in book clubs or independently. These readings serve as vehicles through which students explore the answers to the course’s Essential Questions about their role in the world we live in.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What role does literature play in broadening our understanding of the world in which we live?
  • What role does literature play in creating opportunities for meaningful conversations in our community?
  • How can I use the work of authors and artists to inspire my own writing?
  • How can I use writing to influence the world around me?

English 7: Discovering the Emerging Self
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The seventh grade English curriculum is designed to guide students as they explore and develop their identity through early adolescence. In reading, we focus on characters who are transforming and making difficult choices about the type of person they want to be and their role in the world around them. In writing, students explore what is truly important to themselves when choosing topics. With support, students write across a variety of genres to impact the community and broader world in which we live. Included in the genres for writing study in seventh grade are realistic fiction, personal narratives, argumentative writing blended with literary analysis, poetry, and research-based informational writing.

Students will study fiction and nonfiction works in the form of poetry, short stories, novels, videos, podcasts, and articles. Some will be read as a whole class while others will be read in book clubs or independently. Student choice in reading is prioritized as students build stamina and use reading as a tool to help them explore identity and their role in society. These readings serve as vehicles through which students explore the answers to the course’s Essential Questions about their own identity.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

English 8: Exploring Identity
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Eighth grade is a unique transition year, combining the traditional middle school progression with more independent and rigorous high school studies. English 8 explores concepts of identity and the many aspects of freedom in literary works which may include texts such as Aesop’s Fables, the fairy tales of George MacDonald, Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassThe Hobbit and Macbeth. In addition to its emphasis on analyzing and interpreting literature, English 8 examines poetry, art and non-fiction. Students analyze these works in seminar discussion, developing skills necessary to articulate essay responses to literature, the world and themselves. Since writing is central to this course, students will also gain mastery in grammar and usage conventions necessary for high-level composition. Finally, a regular look at Latin and Greek roots will help expand the vocabulary of the students in this course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What are the various factors that shape identity? In what way is personal identity defined by others?
  • What is the role of community in establishing personal identity?
  • How can I affirm the value and dignity of other people without sacrificing my own healthy sense of identity?

English 9: Encountering the Other
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Building on the eighth grade exploration of the various factors that shape personal identity, ninth grade English asks students to look outside of the self and determine what role community plays in their lives and how they can be a responsible member of the various communities to which they belong. In a year where the ninth grade sees an influx of new students, it is important to consider how we define community and our place in the world. Units of study will center on the exploration of the other, an analysis of cultural influences, and an examination of how communities shape the individual. Reading experiences will include whole-class novels, book circles, and choice reading.

Whenever possible, independence and choice will guide the content of the course, while students practice and master age-appropriate skill sets. Thematic learning experiences will include literature, poetry, projects, videos, and podcasts that help us understand the experiences of others. The ninth grade English curriculum exposes students to habits and skills that will be used throughout high school and college. Students will approach reading, writing, speaking, and collaboration as a process that includes identifying audience and purpose while exploring organizational strategies and multiple genres.

Works studied may include: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde), Long Way Down (Jason Reynolds), Dear Martin (Nic Stone), The Rock and the River (Kekla Magoon), The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas), Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky).

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is community and what are the individual’s responsibilities to the community?
  • How does our need to be part of a group affect our actions?
  • How do personal experiences shape our view of others?
  • How does one develop empathy for others and why does it matter?

English 10: The Assertion of Self
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: It is vital that we get to know ourselves, respectfully consider others’ views, and decide what is worth defending. This life skill has never been more important than today when we are constantly surrounded by contrasting information, ever-diverging views, and powerful rhetoric. The literature, writing, discussion, and inquiry in sophomore English will center on the development of self and the questioning of identity within a larger community.

Students will explore and learn to assert personal beliefs while working to embrace the concept that values can simultaneously change, evolve, and anchor us. Through discussions, debates, and Socratic seminars, students will practice asserting their ideas as well as actively listening and responding to the ideas of others. In addition, students will use frequent writing and reading opportunities to hone their perspectives, seeking diverse lenses through which to better understand the world in which they live.

Works studied may include: Lord of the Flies (William Golding), House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros) Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare), Boy Erased (Garrard Conley), Brain on Fire (Susannah Cahalan), Born a Crime (Trevor Noah), The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway), Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck), Anthem (Ayn Rand), and select short stories and poems.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

English 11: Pursuit of the American Dream
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Building on close reading and interpretive skills from previous years, this course seeks to increase students’ reading speed in anticipation of the demands of college humanities courses. Through reading a variety of stories that represent diverse historical periods, experiences, students will explore the theme of fiction and nonfiction that shaped the philosophical mindset of the “American Way.” In their writing, students will develop confidence in their ability to express ideas effectively through a variety of assignments. Students will also practice formal literary analysis to gain a greater appreciation for the artistic construction of a text and its cultural resonance.

Works studied may include: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Beloved (Toni Morrison), The Jungle (Upton Sinclair), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe), Self-Reliance (Ralph Waldo Emerson), Civil Disobedience and Walden (Henry David Thoreau), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) and a selection of essays and poetry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to be an American?
  • What is American culture?
  • What is the American dream and does it still exist?
  • What is the role of literature in social change?

English 11: A Soldier’s Heart: War in American Literature
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Building on close reading and interpretive skills from previous years, this course seeks to increase students’ reading comprehension in anticipation of the demands of college humanities courses. Through reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction that represents diverse historical periods and experiences, students will explore America’s complicated relationship with its military history and the portrayal of war and soldiers through novels, essays, articles, poetry, and film. In their writing, students will develop confidence in their ability to express ideas. Students can expect to read and discuss works with the collective goal of understanding the variety of historical factors shaping contemporary issues.

Works studied may include: The Iliad (Homer), The Declaration of Independence, the speeches of Patrick Henry, A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway), Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut), The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien), selections from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the poetry of Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, Laurie Cruwys, Nellie McClung, and Rupert Brook, contemporary military narratives by both men and women, and a broad selection of related essays, speeches, short stories and films.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What is war? How do we make sense of it?
  • How does war change the individual (self) and society?
  • How do literature and rhetoric affect the way that wars are represented and remembered?

English 12: Beauty, Truth and Justice
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Beauty, Truth and Justice offers Whitfield students opportunities to hone their writing, thinking and speaking skills while examining literature that explores values, virtues, and traditions. This course is designed for students interested in pursuing the Humanities (e.g. philosophy, the arts, literature, history, religious studies, law, or languages). Students will write in a variety of rhetorical modes, select and discuss books that intrigue them, engage in seminar discussions about important issues, and equip themselves with strategies essential to success in higher education.

Works studied may include: The Norton Sampler, 8th Edition (Thomas Cooley, ed.), Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse) selections from The World’s Religions (Huston Smith), chapters on writing techniques from such authors as Annie Dillard, Peter Elbow, Ann Lamott and Natalie Goldberg, selected essays by such authors as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Amy Tan, Gary Soto, and Alfred Kazin, TED Talks by Chimamanda Adichie, Rich Benjamin, Thandie Newton and others, excerpts from Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (Corbett and Connors), and Critical Thinking (Moore and Parker), Antigone (Sophocles), The Republic and The Crito (Plato), Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), Discourses (Epictetus), Fundamental Principles Of The Metaphysic Of Morals (Kant), Utilitarianism (Mill), Exile and the Kingdom (Camus) and much more, including articles on current events.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can others’ ideas, beliefs, and values shape our own?
  • What can literature teach us about beauty, ethics, values, justice, and truth?

English 12: Communication and Innovation
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Communication and Innovation offers Whitfield students opportunities to hone their writing, thinking and speaking skills while examining issues related to science, technology and business. Student choices about reading, writing topics, and project outcomes are accompanied by core assignments that provide a foundation for college-level reading and writing for students interested pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and business fields. Students can expect to write resumes and cover letters, create proposals, defend arguments, engage in discussions, select books that intrigue them, and design and promote innovative end products that tap into their aptitudes and creativity, all while learning strategies essential to success in higher education.

Works studied may include: Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs (Keeley et al.), The Norton Sampler, 8th Edition (Thomas Cooley, ed.), Einstein’s Dreams (Alan Lightman), An Enemy of the People (Henrik Ibsen), short stories by such authors as John Steinbeck, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., essays by such authors as E.B. White, Yiyun Li, Monica Wunderlich, and Judith Ortiz Cofer, TED Talks by Alexander Wagner, Rich Benjamin, Shimpei Takahachi, and Jia Jiang, chapters on writing techniques from such authors as Annie Dillard, Peter Elbow, Ann Lamott and Natalie Goldberg, Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), The Republic (Plato), Fundamental Principles Of The Metaphysic Of Morals (Kant), Utilitarianism (Mill), and current op-ed pieces, editorials, and news articles relating to science, technology and the economy.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does professional communication look and sound like, and why is it so important?
  • How do effective thought and communication contribute to innovation?
  • What roles do ethics and philosophy have in business practices and technological advances?
  • What does literature teach us about leadership, progress and success?

Fine Arts

Fine Arts Department Overview

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

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

INSTRUMENTAL AND VOCAL MUSIC:  Performing is an essential activity of any music group and is, therefore, part of the band and choir curriculum. Students are required to participate in all performances and occasional group rehearsals. Middle School students will also have the chance to explore the world of music without performance requirements in their Applied Arts classes.

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  A Fine Arts course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  One credit of Fine Arts is required for graduation.

INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTS COURSE (1/2 credit)

Applied Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: All middle school students will take this course to supplement and enhance a primary fine arts course. Applied Arts offers students a range of experiences in musical, theatrical and visual arts disciplines through interdisciplinary projects. Students will experience authentic connections between the fine art disciplines through hands-on projects. Learning to apply fine arts skills in a variety of contexts will help students develop confidence in their creative ability. Sample projects could include filmmaking, animation and the art of the presentation

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do I engage in the creative process?
  • What is the role of the fine arts in society?
  • What is the role of art in my life?
  • What are the essential elements necessary to create in theater, music and visual art?

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC OFFERINGS

Beginning Band
LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6, 7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Beginning Band is for students in grades 6 and 7 who have had no previous experience in the study of woodwind and brass instruments. Students will be aided in choosing an instrument, learn the basics of instrument care, develop mastery on instrument playing technique and knowledge of music theory fundamentals. Students learn how to perform as a soloist and as a member of the band ensemble. Emphasis is placed on self-discipline and responsibility. The core concepts that are covered in Beginning Band include basic general music skills and skills that are specific to each instrument, and their culminating performances include concerts in both the winter and spring.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Concert Band I; Concert Band II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Concert Band I and II are designed as performance ensembles. Students must have a general knowledge of their instrument and ability to read music notation. Students will further refine their skills and develop their technical facility through their wind, brass, or percussion instrument. Rudimentary exercises such as major scales and arpeggios, breathing technique, rhythm patterns, and specific exercises designed for their particular instrument will help them improve their musical technique. Students will also have the opportunity to form small ensembles to explore interpretation, musical styles, balance, and intonation. Students perform at both the winter and spring music concerts, music festivals, and for special events. The core concepts that are covered in Concert Band II include the expansion of the general music skills and instrument skills that were built in Concert Band I.

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

Instrumental Ensemble
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3 GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Instrumental Ensemble is designed as a performance ensemble, striving to further refine the skills students have learned in Concert Band I and II. Students will explore the fundamentals of music theory and music design. Advanced skills will be introduced and refined, such as minor scales and arpeggios, secondary fingerings, and complex rhythms. Students will also learn sight-reading skills. Solos and small ensembles will be formed to further strengthen the individuality of playing an instrument. All students may pursue the option to audition for All-District Honors Band and participate in the Solo and Small Ensemble Festival. Required performances also include the following school programs: Grandparents Day and both the winter and spring concerts. Students are also encouraged to participate in our extracurricular ensembles, such as the bonfire groups and Jazz Band.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is music a tool of communication?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensemble’s success?

Instrumental Ensemble - B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students who are not able to fit full-time band into their schedule but who would still like to develop their musical skills can enroll in Instrumental Ensemble-B and meet less frequently. Instrumental Ensemble is designed as a performance ensemble, striving to further refine the skills students have learned in Concert Band I and II. Students will explore the fundamentals of music theory and music design. Advanced skills will be introduced and refined, such as minor scales and arpeggios, secondary fingerings, and complex rhythms. Students will also learn sight-reading skills. Solos and small ensembles will be formed to further strengthen the individuality of playing an instrument. All students may pursue the option to audition for All-District Honors Band and participate in the Solo and Small Ensemble Festival. Required performances also include the following school programs: Grandparents Day and both the winter and spring concerts. Students are also encouraged to participate in our extracurricular ensembles, such as the bonfire groups and Jazz Band.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is music a tool of communication?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensemble’s success

VOCAL MUSIC OFFERINGS

Concert Choir 6, 7 and 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture. Choir students will also exhibit their skills through choir performances throughout the school year.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

High School Choir
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels - intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically - as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral and solo repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is music a tool of communication?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensemble’s success?

High School Choir - B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students who are not able to fit full-time choir into their schedule but who would still like to develop their musical skills can enroll in High School Concert Choir-B and will meet less frequently. As students sing in choir, they will find themselves challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, and musically, as they strive to recreate great works of art. Through the use of choral and solo repertoire and other supplementary materials, students will be taught the essentials to using their vocal instrument through correct posture, breath control, a variety of exercises in tone production and articulation, and movement. Students will also be exposed to music appreciation and how to be a good audience through music listening. Other concepts that will be explored include form, style, sight singing, intonation, blend, note reading, rhythm, harmony, history, and culture.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is music a tool of communication?
  • How does engagement with music reveal, integrate and enlarge life experience?
  • How am I invested in my personal development and the ensemble’s success?

THEATER ARTS OFFERINGS

Theater Arts 7 and 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7 and 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in the full-year middle school theater program will be introduced to the many aspects of producing theater and understanding its important place in the world. Students will explore exercises and theater games in order to develop performance skills, such as concentration, observation, problem-solving, and imagination. Classes will use original scene work, lighting and sound design, and advanced improvisation games to further their comfort and confidence in performance. Students will be assessed on participation, skill development, homework, and project completion.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Theater Arts 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Theater Arts 9, students will explore many elements of performance including working within an ensemble, storytelling and script analysis, design choices, vocal and movement skills, technical aspects of performance, theater history, and how contemporary theater reflects society. The goal of this course is to introduce students to theater as an immediate art form, helping them to understand the interrelationship of script, acting, design and craftsmanship in a production in the the hope that students will develop skills and a lifelong interest in attending and enjoying theatrical performances. Students will be prepared for future theater arts classes.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Intermediate Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will broaden their knowledge of performance by working with an array of performance styles and dramatic literature, the introduction of style and genre, and developing more specific acting techniques, voice, and movement in character development. Students will examine how theatrical choices are made, from the selection of a story to every element of a final theatrical piece. The importance of craftsmanship in production, from play writing to props, is emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Advanced Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students explore and analyze a variety of texts and performances, developing greater readiness for sophisticated performance and understanding of theater production, both as participants and audience. Theater will be examined as a function of culture and societal influences, and students will read, watch, compare, discuss, examine and perform a variety of works to experience style and genre. Students will analyze production choices in works of performing art and develop their ability to express meaningfully a perception of why or how a performance functions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Studio Theater Arts
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students explore and analyze a variety of texts and performances, developing greater readiness for sophisticated performance and understanding of theater production, both as participants and audience. Theater will be examined as a function of culture and societal influences. Plays will be read, watched, compared, discussed and examined. Students will read and perform a variety of works to experience style and genre. Students will analyze production choices in works of performing art and develop their ability to express meaningfully a perception of why or how a performance functions.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

VISUAL ARTS OFFERINGS

Visual Arts 7
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 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.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Visual Arts 8
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The eighth grade visual arts program continues to present students with a variety of artistic processes. There is increased emphasis on personal investment and engagement with the creative problem solving process.
Focus shifts to the essential art elements that structure visual imagery and visual communication. Projects are designed to prepare students to advance into the upper level visual arts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Design Overview
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces freshmen to the Elements and Principles of Design as the foundational building blocks that support all works of art. Students engage in a variety of assignments that aid in the development of technical skill and a personal creative process. Dry, wet, and mixed media are used throughout the course to push the notion of making, creative play, and experimentation. In addition, the course provides students with the opportunity
to use visual communication to convey messages to a broader audience.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can we form a strong understanding of what we see?
  • What are the Elements and Principles of Design that all visual imagery is built upon?
  • How does an artist present their work as a meaningful form of visual communication?
  • What is the creative process and how does the artist function within it?

Introduction to Drawing
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to the foundations of observational drawing. Students engage in a variety of assignments that aid in the development of technical skill as well a personal creative process. The two-dimensional picture plane serves as the primary vehicle for expression and visual communication. Introduction to Drawing provides students the opportunity to explore the technical skill-set necessary for representational drawing. Students investigate the visceral response to the creative process by means of experiential drawing methods and learning to see without labeling. Introduction to Drawing also provides students with the facility to develop a critical perspective in order to assess their works of art.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Advanced Drawing and Painting
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Advanced Drawing and Painting further develop their artistic language and descriptive drawing methods by building upon technical skills acquired in Introduction to Drawing. This course provides students with a new conceptual avenue to navigate: the consideration of the “why” in addition to the “how” of creating works of art. Students develop an arsenal of techniques necessary to manipulate “drawn” elements to serve expressive and communicative intentions. Drawing is re-considered and evaluated not only for its power within the artistic realm, but for where it resides in contemporary practice in relation to self, others, and the collective whole.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How does conceptualism factor into the creative process?
  • In what ways is art a reflection of culture?
  • How do we form an understanding of our world through our creative endeavors?
  • What ways can art impact a viewer?

Studio Painting
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in 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 Studio Painting student the opportunity to deconstruct and re-interpret images and contemporary topics while addressing their own personal aesthetic. In addition to conceptual approaches to making, students push their technical skills in order to produce strong work suitable for inclusion in a portfolio to submit to a college art program (if applicable). A number of projects may be team-taught with the photography and painting faculty.

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

Introduction to Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
RADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, students will increase their awareness and understanding of form, particularly those made of clay. They will become familiar with the materials and techniques used by ceramic artists through the exploration of a number of projects. Students will also become more aware of aesthetic questions related to ceramics, begin to appreciate ceramics as a mode of expression, and, in the process, begin to develop a personal vision of clay forms. This course will thoroughly prepare students for the next level of ceramics making.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Advanced Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: While craftsmanship continues to be a focal point in the further development of skills in this course, students will also begin to evoke thoughts and feelings as they begin to further consider the aesthetic of their work in clay, strengthen critical thinking skills, and begin to establish an identity of a young artist. Additionally, students will begin to learn to evaluate, read and interpret own work and artwork in general and have input in the installation and display of their work.

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?

Studio Ceramics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: While craftsmanship remains important in this course, students will also use techniques that better support their ideas and begin to develop forms that suit their growing personal aesthetic. Brainstorming and honest feedback are the norm at this level; it will be the norm for students to use information to further ideas and concepts with the end result being that they will begin to truly question the strength of their work: does it say what they want to say? Does the viewer see what the artist wants them to see? Students will install two exhibitions this year, one group show exploring a specific concept and a Senior Retrospective which will serve as a culmination of their high school art making experience and as an exhibition of their personal vision. A number of projects may be team-taught with the photography and painting faculty.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Photography
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introductory course in both analog and digital photography, this course continues the exploration of art as a form of visual language. Students will become proficient in the manual use of a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR), basic studio lighting and will develop a significant working understanding of Adobe Photoshop. Projects are presented as problems that students must solve by engaging in the creative process. Throughout the year students will experiment with a variety of problem solving and brainstorming techniques so that they may individualize their process and final products. By the end of the year they should know how to trigger their own creative thinking process.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do I use the camera as an extension of what I see?
  • What is my creative process?
  • How can I communicate visually?
  • How can engagement in the arts improve my thinking skills?

Graphic Design
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Our world is flooded with images, text and video. Our brains accept these visuals and decode their hidden messages. In an increasingly connected time and global economy, the ability to decipher these messages will make you a more informed citizen. The ability to create these messages and communicate visually will set you apart. Students will explore both traditional graphic design applications, illustration and basic animation. To support their design process, students will learn to work with various digital art creation programs such as Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and InDesign along with non-digital art mediums.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can engagement in the arts enhance my thinking skills?
  • How can I identify and interpret visual messaging in my environment?

Studio Photography & Design
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This studio course is for seniors who have completed a photography and/or a graphic design class. This course offers students an opportunity for more in-depth exploration of subjects of personal interest while identifying and developing a personal aesthetic. Students will continue to gain understanding of what conceptual and contemporary art is as they conduct a more in-depth exploration of meaning over form. The role of the audience and their impact on the final products will also be a constant conversation throughout the year. Students will install two exhibitions this year, one group show exploring a specific concept and a Senior Retrospective which will serve as a culmination of their high school art making experience and as an exhibition of their personal vision. This is a studio art course; students will be pushed out of their comfort zone and work with mediums beyond photography and digital art in order to fully explore their potential to communicate a personal vision. A number of projects may be team-taught with the photography and painting faculty.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I communicate personal vision?
  • How do I develop and understand my personal vision?
  • How can engagement in the arts improve my thinking skills?

Mathematics

Mathematics Department Overview

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

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  A mathematics course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  Four credits of mathematics are required for graduation.

Middle School Math Course 1
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this course is to help students build a solid math foundation. Students will practice a variety of strategies to approach different problems and also determine if a solution is reasonable. Topics studied will include fractions, decimals, percents, money, ratios, proportions, single-step equations, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Middle School Math Course 2
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this course is to help students build a solid foundation for success in Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. Students will practice a variety of strategies to approach different problems and also determine if a solution is reasonable. Topics studied will include integers, fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, multi-step equations, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Middle School Math Course 3
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this course is to build a solid foundation for success in Algebra I and Geometry. Students will learn to identify and represent patterns, communicate mathematically, and employ problem solving strategies. Topics studied will include integers, rational numbers, writing variable expressions, solving one variable equations, ratios, proportions, percents, introduction to linear functions, and basic geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Algebra I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to introduce formal algebraic concepts and foster independent learning.
Students will use their knowledge of writing to develop ways of expressing their mathematical ideas. Topics studied will include solving equations, inequalities and systems of equations, writing and graphing functions, evaluating and simplifying exponential expressions, and simplifying and factoring polynomials.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Geometry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 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 justification, 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 and Smart Board capabilities in the classroom will give students an opportunity to manipulate the tools of geometry to further their understanding.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Algebra I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to introduce formal algebraic concepts and foster independent learning. Students will use their knowledge of writing to develop ways of expressing their mathematical ideas. Topics studied will include solving equations, inequalities and systems of equations, writing and graphing functions, evaluating and simplifying exponential expressions, and simplifying and factoring polynomials.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Geometry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 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 justification, 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 and Smart Board capabilities in the classroom will give students an opportunity to manipulate the tools of geometry to further their understanding.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Advanced Algebra
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Designed to expand on previous coursework in Algebra I, the Advanced Algebra course is a formalized study of expressions, equations, inequalities, functions, graphs, linear systems, quadratic, polynomial and radical functions, rational exponents, and rational functions. Students will examine techniques for solving and graphing polynomial functions of various degrees. Properties of powers, roots, and radicals are used to solve and graph rational functions. Geometry is integrated at various levels to strengthen skills and develop concepts. Students utilize graphing calculators as well as software on their tablet computers to enhance their discovery and their understanding of algebra concepts.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Algebra III/Trigonometry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Algebra III/Trigonometry will enhance the higher level thinking skills developed in Advanced Algebra through a more in-depth study of those concepts and exploration of some Precalculus concepts. After an exhaustive extension of Algebra topics, students will refine their knowledge by exploring the families of trigonometric functions, rational functions, and exponential and logarithmic functions. Students will use graphing calculators and computer software to be able to visualize in real time the dynamic nature of their manipulations of equations and graphs.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I apply the mathematical patterns of manipulating and solving used in linear equations to the study of polynomial equations?
  • How can I relate the exploration and discovery of rational, radical, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions to their real world applications?

Precalculus
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Precalculus will develop a more thorough understanding of functions and connecting the visualization of their graphs. They will investigate multiple ways of solving functions and supporting their solutions. Students will be introduced to parametric equations, manipulate equations and graphs of conic sections, piece-wise defined functions, limit notation, and develop an intuitive understanding of continuity. Once students are comfortable with the language of functions, they will continue their study by exploring the trigonometric functions, identities, and proofs. Throughout the course, students will continue to develop and hone critical problem solving approaches and methods.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Introduction to Calculus
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to Calculus includes polar coordinates and complex numbers and vectors. 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 integration with applications of both are included in the calculus units.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

AP Calculus AB
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: AP Calculus AB, the first of two AP Calculus courses, is designed to provide a rigorous introduction to the essential topics of calculus. These topics include functions, limits, continuity, techniques of differentiation and integration, slope fields, and differential equations. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement AB Calculus exam in May and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

AP Calculus BC
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is the second of the two AP Calculus courses offered by the AP College Board. This course has been designed to provide a rigorous study of the essential topics of calculus. These topics include functions, limits, continuity, techniques of differentiation and integration, slope fields, differential equations, parametric functions, and series. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement BC Calculus exam in May, and will provide a strong foundation for further study in mathematics and the sciences.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Senior Math Topics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Senior Math Topics explores the applications of mathematics through a wide range of disciplines. While the physical world studied in chemistry and physics is modeled by continuous mathematics (represented by algebra and calculus), information processing often requires the use of discontinuous mathematics. Students in this course will learn math applications to political science, law, and business management. The course also includes a basic introduction to trigonometry and a college algebra preview.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Computer Science Language
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Computer Science Language is a year-long elective course offered to students in grades 11 and 12. The course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object- oriented and imperative problem solving and design using both Java and C++ languages. The approach of the class will allow students develop solutions to challenges that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can computer programming be used to design, implement, and analyze solutions to a problem?
  • How can a programmer develop and select appropriate algorithms and data structures to solve new problems?
  • How can a programmer write solutions fluently in an object- oriented paradigm, as well as run, test, and debug solutions in a programming language utilizing standard library classes and interfaces?

Physical Education

Physical Education Department Overview

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  A physical education course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  One credit of Physical Education and Foundations in Wellness is required for graduation and is taken in the ninth grade

Physical Education & Health 6-9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 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, basketball, net games, weight training, indoor soccer, soccer, lacrosse, and fitness testing. Boys’ activities include: fleetball, soccer, wrestling, basketball, hockey, net games, track, softball, and fitness testing.

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.

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.

Foundations in Wellness
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This required sequence provides freshmen the opportunity to dig into topics and trends that are immediately relevant and critical for growth within and beyond Whitfield classrooms. Special emphasis is placed on the practical application of Habits of Mind and Heart and on the topics and trends best suited for preparing students to become active participants in tomorrow’s communities. 

Foundations: Neuroscience & Self focuses on developing the abilities necessary for recognizing and regulating one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Units may emphasize brain structure and function, growth mindset, mindfulness practices, stress, and anxiety.

Foundations: Computer Science & Society focuses on the role today’s culture plays in building tomorrow’s tools and communities. Units may emphasize social identities, dialogue, coding, privacy, data structures, and implicit bias. 

Foundations: Physiological Awareness focuses on topics and trends related to physical development and well-being. Units may emphasize human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, addiction, and life-saving techniques.

Science

Science 6
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The 6th grade curriculum is focused on the study of Earth science and physical science. Students will gain an understanding of how scientists and engineers solve problems using the scientific method and design thinking. Topics to be covered include computer coding, circuits, wind and solar energy, weather, climate change, bridge design, soil types, erosion, earthquakes, rockets, and flight.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Science 7: Life Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Seventh grade science is focused on using the scientific method to study living organisms. Students will develop skills in taking accurate measurements, recording data, creating and interpreting graphs, and experimental design. Students will use these skills in the study of various topics. They will compare plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi in how they acquire energy, communicate, move, exchange gas, and defend against predators and disease. They will then study the interactions within ecosystems to see how living organisms function on a larger scale.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Science 8: Physical / Earth Science
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The eighth grade science course is an activity-based curriculum that emphasizes the importance of trial and error, conceptual design, and precise measurement using the metric system while incorporating physical as well as earth science-related topics. The characteristics of fluids and pressure, balance, speed, acceleration, aerodynamics, the Periodic Table of Elements, and atomic structure are typical topics of study. Students will create 3-D objects using Open- Scad and TinkerCad as part of their Mobile Project. In general, the quality of a student’s observations and measurements, as well as his/her ability to understand and describe the physical processes and/or concepts introduced throughout the curriculum is essential. Basic mathematical concepts such as dimensional analysis, the density triangle, and pressure are covered as well. Working collaboratively with peers will also play a major part of a student’s success in Physical/Earth Science.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How is the scientific process helpful to understand our world?
  • How does physical science aid in the understanding of future science courses?
  • How does a physical scientist describe our world?
  • What are the benefits of 3-D computer modeling?

Biology 9
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course emphasizes the patterns, processes, and relationships of living organisms. Core ideas include structures and processes in organisms, inheritance and variation of traits, evolution, and ecology. Biology students will mirror the work of a life scientist, using observation, experimentation, modeling, and technology to explore how life works, with multiple opportunities to apply core ideas during inquiry-based learning activities and laboratory investigations as they develop solutions to authentic problem-based scenarios.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will be given the opportunity to actively engage in the study of the structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions, nuclear processes, intermolecular and intramolecular interactions, and energy transformations regarding chemical processes. The focus of this course will not be memorization; rather the focus will be defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, determination of the validity of data, as well as the engagement of scientific argument based on evidence, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information regarding chemistry. Students will demonstrate their competency of chemistry by maintaining portfolios which will include lab reports, journals, written responses to readings, investigations, problem sets, presentations, and exams. Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Accelerated Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Accelerated Chemistry students develop the understanding of the essential concepts of chemistry through experiment, demonstration, lecture, and problem-solving. While probing the four essential questions, students will develop a variety of skills. Among these will be the collection and analysis of data, drawing conclusions from the collected data, analytical thinking to break problems down into manageable components, critical thinking through the analysis of competing models, as well as the development of these models. Upon conclusion of the course, the student will have a fundamental understanding of the conservation of matter and energy, the reliability of matter’s nature, the kinetic molecular theory, and an understanding of the forces that drive chemical reactions. Prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Field Studies
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Field Studies is an interdisciplinary, immersive science class that focuses on developing essential skills through project-based learning. Lessons will include content from chemistry, physics, earth science, biology, computer science, and robotics. The first trimester will focus on the chemical reactions involved in real-world applications and how that knowledge can be used to optimize a product through scientific investigation and design thinking. The second trimester will build on these skills through the investigation of problems related to plant growth, nutrient cycles, and water purification. The third trimester will involve a culminating independent research project that addresses an authentic problem and utilizes skills developed in the previous trimesters.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How do scientists and engineers solve problems?
  • How might we use scientific study and engineering to improve life on Earth?
  • What physical and chemical reactions occur in the real- world and how can those be optimized to produce a superior product?
  • How might an understanding of the nutrient and water cycle aid in plant growth?
  • What factors impact the production of health, nutritious and safe food and water?

Physics I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Life in the modern world relies on physics disciplines such as transportation, energetics, electronics, cybernetics, and space exploration. This course
provides a first-year overview of some of the main themes of physics, with students learning how to apply mathematical skills such as trigonometry, solution of equations, and graph theory. This course emphasizes developing a strong conceptual understanding of fundamental physical principles.

Students will acquire and deepen important scientific skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, and laboratory exploration. Doing well in this course involves actively participating in class and taking notes, studying the textbook, doing the assigned work, and designing and analyzing lab experiments. Hands-on laboratory work emphasizes building and deepening collaborative and independent inquiry skills, as well as the formal presentation of research results. Course prerequisites: successful completion of Chemistry and Advanced Algebra.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How are the physical properties of matter studied in the laboratory?
  • Kinematics: how is motion analyzed?
  • Dynamics: how do force interactions explain motion?
  • Energetics: how does energy change relate to motion?
  • Elasticity: how does matter oscillate and transmit waves?
  • Electrostatics: how do electric fields affect charged particles?
  • Circuits: how do electric currents move in conductors?

Accelerated Physics I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Life in the modern world relies on physics disciplines such as transportation, energetics, electronics, cybernetics, and space exploration. This course provides a mathematically rigorous first-year overview of some of the main themes of physics. Students apply and extend mathematical skills such as trigonometry, vector analysis, graphical representations of functions, and limit theory. This course emphasizes developing both a strong conceptual understanding and a mathematical grasp of fundamental physical principles and conservation laws.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How are the physical properties of matter studied in the laboratory?
  • Kinematics: how is motion analyzed mathematically?
  • Dynamics: how do force interactions quantitatively describe motion?
  • Energetics: how does energy change relate to motion?
  • Conservation laws: how are energy and momentum conserved in motion?
  • Elasticity: how does matter oscillate and transmit waves?
  • Electrostatics: how do electric fields affect charged particles?
  • Circuits: how do electric currents move in conductors?

Accelerated Physics II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Physics is the study of the motion and interactions of matter. Life in the modern world relies on physics disciplines such as transportation, energetics, electronics, cybernetics, and space exploration. This course continues a two-year overview of physics by exploring areas such as fluidics, thermodynamics, magnetism, and optics. Besides applying their algebraic skills, students explore physical applications of calculus concepts and tools. The course continues last year’s emphasis on developing both a strong conceptual understanding and a mathematical grasp of fundamental physical principles and conservation laws.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Anatomy & Physiology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students actively engage in studying the structure and function of the human body by examining the cells, tissues, and organs that comprise its various organ systems. These systems will be surveyed with the goal of understanding the anatomical and physiological relationships between them that are necessary for the proper function and maintenance of the body. Common prefixes, suffixes, and wood roots will be learned to understand and also predict the meaning of medical terminology. The importance of genetics and the use of genetic engineering through recombinant DNA technologies in medical research and clinical therapies will also be emphasized. Students will practice defining and
solving problems, planning and carrying out investigations, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and the engagement of scientific argument based on evidence.

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

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

AP Chemistry
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The AP Chemistry curriculum is designed to provide the equivalent coursework of a freshman college class. The class is an inquiry-based investigation of the core competencies of general chemistry, including, but not limited to, atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. The 6 “Big Ideas” that the College Board states as the major thematic objectives are stated here and are the fundamental goals of this course:

  • The chemical elements are the building blocks of matter, which can be understood in terms of the arrangements of atoms.
  • Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.
  • Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.
  • Rates of chemical reactions are determined by the details of the molecular collisions.
  • The laws of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
  • Bonds or attractions that can be formed can be broken. These two processes are in constant competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external forces or changes.
  • Successful completion of this course should prepare a student to either excel in an introductory collegiate course or, depending on the AP exam score and the college that the student chooses, acceleration into an organic chemistry course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

AP Biology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: AP Biology is a rigorous, demanding course designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college biology course. Content will be covered in more detail and greater emphasis will be placed on interpretation and analysis of information than in previous high school biology courses. In addition, statistical analysis of data and the modeling of concepts will be expected. A significant amount of studying for this course must be completed outside of class to allow time for discussion, labs, and inquiry-based activities during class. The content has been organized around four underlying principles the College Board calls “Big Ideas” and the core concepts (Enduring Understandings) that support them. The curriculum also requires that there will be significant class time (25%) devoted to laboratory and other inquiry based activities, with the aim of developing advanced inquiry and reasoning skills. Science practice is a way of coordinating knowledge and skills in order to establish lines of evidence. This evidence can then be used to develop and refine testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena. Course Prerequisites: successful completion of Biology 9 and Accelerated Chemistry.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Social Studies

Social Studies Department Overview

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  A social studies course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:  Four credits of social studies

Elements of Social Studies
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 6
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In order to gain a better understanding of social studies, students will learn about the different branches of the social sciences including history, archaeology, geography, economics, sociology, and psychology. Students will use primary and secondary sources, fiction and nonfiction, art, film, and hands-on activities to research and discover why and how the past affects our world today. Essential skills such as reading, writing, discussion, presentation, and research will be emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

World Cultures & Geography
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Using primary and secondary sources, fiction and nonfiction, students gain an understanding of specific world cultures. This class examines the unique aspects of Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Pacific cultures. Students will develop a greater appreciation of cultural differences and an understanding of the universal aspects of humanity. The focus of the content is on essential skills such as reading, writing, research, and discussion, but also includes human interactions and geographical and political aspects within specific world regions. Finally, through hands-on activities, cartography, simulations, guest speakers, and exposure to various forms of literature and film, students learn to think critically about different cultures.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Civics & US Government
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Civics & US Government, students seek an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of The United States of America. This course will track the development of American democracy from colonialism to today. Students will investigate major events that served as catalysts of political and social change and will gain an understanding of federalism, and our system of checks and balances through in-depth studies
of elections, Supreme Court decisions, political media, social movements, and the legislative process. Skills used in this class include effective researching, writing (non-fiction essays and persuasive opinion pieces), critical thinking, debating, film- making, delivering presentations, and collaborating with peers.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Early Modern World History to 1800
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This survey course is designed to introduce students to the major historical and intellectual currents surrounding world history to the end of the eighteenth century. The class will succinctly dissect the narrative of global watershed events so that students may better understand the social, political, and economic development of the early modern world. Significant attention will be given to the changing concepts of freedom, culture, race, government, labor, economics, religion, art, philosophy, and society. Specifically, this course will explore such topics as the consolidation of power and wealth in Europe, the rise and fall of the empires of West Africa, the evolution of slavery in the Americas, trade and expansion in Asia, and the impact of colonization on Native American societies. Through a multi-layered examination of relevant topics, students will develop critical thinking skills, learn how to properly interrogate sources, and improve upon their ability to present ideas rooted in fact and evidence. At the end of the year, students will be able to demonstrate a firm grasp of global history and provide a sophisticated analysis of the movements, events, and people which shaped the development of the early modern world.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Modern World History 1800-present
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Modern World History students explore the modernization of the world since the dawn of industrialization. Students will explore various cultural, political, economic, and social themes through a variety of articles, books, historical documents, news videos or documentaries, and material culture for developing their understanding of the modern world. Students will learn, practice, and apply discussion skills through multi-layered historical discussions, document-based analysis and synthesis, and evaluation of historical perspectives, as well as formulate arguments grounded in documents and other sources. Activities and assessments include, but are not limited to: seminar discussions, document- based question essays (DBQs), projects regarding cultures, customs, societies, economics and innovation, creative expression, and analysis of memoirs and biographies.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

United States History
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course content will span the period of human habitation of the North American continent focusing on the history of the United States. Skill emphasis will be placed on reading, writing, research, and presentation. Pedagogically, the course marries a chronological and thematic approach to teaching United States History. Foundationally, students will move chronologically through history. Building upon such a foundation, students will continually explore the themes of Art/Culture, Economics/Capitalism, Government/Politics, and Migration/Globalization. Furthermore, throughout the course, current events will be discussed and connected to the past so as to give students a greater understanding of the role of history in the current American and global climate. The first trimester will focus on the period ranging from the arrival of the first humans through the US Civil War. The second trimester will examine Reconstruction through the World Wars. The final trimester studies the period following World War II through current events.

Under Missouri state law, students must take and pass a test covering the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions, and so preparation for and administration of that requirement will also take place in this course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

United States History, Advanced College Credit
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 11
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students who enroll in the Advanced College Credit option of United States History and opt to purchase college credit through the partnering university will have an additional and approximate fee of $390. In addition, the pacing and assessments will be appropriately aligned with the partnering university so as to fulfill the college credit requirements. Consequently, students enrolling in this course need to have demonstrated strong performance in previous humanities courses. Additionally, course enrollment will be limited.

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 for a college level course will be placed on reading, research and writing, presentation, and primary source analysis. Pacing of the course will be in accordance with that of a college class, with readings, writings, and assessments regularly. Pedagogically, the course marries a chronological and thematic approach to teaching United States History that has been developed in conjunction with the partnering university.

Foundationally, students will move chronologically through history. Building upon such a foundation, students will continually explore the themes of Art/Culture, Economics/ Capitalism, Government/Politics, and Migration/Globalization. Furthermore, throughout the course, current events will be discussed and connected to the past so as to give students a greater understanding of the role of history in the current American and global climate. The first trimester will focus on the period ranging from the arrival of the first humans through the US Civil War. The second trimester will examine Reconstruction through the World Wars. The final trimester studies the period following World War II through current events.

Under Missouri state law, students must take and pass a test covering the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions, and so preparation for and administration of that requirement will also take place in this course.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

World History Topics: Human Rights & Genocide
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines diverse cultural experiences of genocide and displacement in modern world history. In particular, students will investigate and attempt to understand the origins and causes as well as the progression and development of genocidal campaigns in cross-cultural

contexts: the Americas, Aboriginal Australia, Colonial Africa, the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. Students will also draw connections to other episodes of mass crimes, including the genocides of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the unprecedented experience of European Jews in Nazi- occupied Europe, commonly known as the Holocaust (Shoah). Through readings and discussions, students will examine and discuss the behavior and perspectives of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders while seeking to understand the nature of these modern “events” and their significance for contemporary global politics.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Social Change and World Affairs
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3 GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines diversity, multiculturalism, and identity construction in a global historical context. In particular, students will explore the role of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation as key factors in the development of human behavior and identity. Indeed, the purpose of this course is to increase students’ awareness, knowledge, and understanding of social issues related to equity, intersectionality, as well as social and economic justice. Students will be encouraged to think critically, sensitively, and analytically about the condition of different human communities across national and cultural boundaries. Furthermore, learning will be facilitated through various readings, lectures, collaborative work, class discussions, and other relevant assignments. By the end of the academic year, students who have fully invested themselves in the course topics and discussions will have a greater appreciation of multiculturalism and social justice (both nationally and internationally).

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • Why should we study sociology and what does it teach us about society?
  • What are the building blocks of human identity and how does history affect how human identity is constructed?
  • How do cross-cultural encounters affect relationships between different groups and individuals?
  • What makes for competent, robust and socially-just communities and institutions?

Economics
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, students will study and analyze macroeconomics and policy decisions through project based learning, research papers, and seminar discussions. Students will study the development of economics systems and theories through time, participate in an in depth analysis of global energy use since the industrial revolution, and consider globalization and the role of disruptive technologies. Students will learn collaborative skills on a major marketing project, develop formal research and writing skills, and understand their role within an interconnected global economy. There will be both a minimum and maximum course enrollment size which will impact whether this course will be offered and if so, how many sections and to which grade levels it will be available.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Psychology
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This elective introduction to Psychology course begins with a survey of basic psychology and then transitions to a more in-depth exploration and application of psychological theories. The course will focus on the study and discussion of theories relevant to the senior or junior student: the psychology of stress, success, motivation, failure, social behavior, and personality. In addition, topics like abnormal, social and developmental psychology, research methods and ethics, and the biological aspects of psychology including sensation, perception, and the brain will be investigated. Seminar discussions, reflective writing, case studies, and college-level readings will dominate course activities. In addition, if students choose to, they should be prepared to take the AP Psychology test with some additional review prior to the May test, and though the AP exam is optional, it is highly recommended. There will be both a minimum and maximum course enrollment size which will impact whether this course will be offered and if so, how many sections and to which grade levels it will be available.

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?

World Language

World Language Department Overview

The language program offers French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin. Language is a required course for students in grades 6 through 12. Generally, students are required to continue the study of the same language in grades 9 through 12.

Objectives of the language department/courses:

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

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

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

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS:  A Language course is required each year of middle school.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: Four credits of Language are required for graduation

MS French: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course, the first part of a two-year foundational language course, is designed to build confidence and success in listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in French for the introductory language learner. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations. Paced to provide the maximum amount of repetition and practice, the course typically covers four to five units during the school year. Students engage in diverse activities to supplement and reinforce all learning.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does it mean to learn a language?
  • What are the elements of culture?
  • Who or what comprises the French-speaking world?
  • How do we find meaning in exploring the French language and culture?

MS French: Novice-Mid
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course, the second part of a two-year foundational language course, is designed to build on the confidence and success started in French A in the areas of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Everyone is expected to try their best, be willing to take risks, and learn to enjoy the positive challenges of learning a foreign language. Students are expected to speak French for a majority of the class period, and they will explore the French language and culture through authentic texts as well as project-based learning, short novels, and films.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS French II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goals for the French II class are to develop skills for oral and written communication, learn some aspects of the French culture, broaden perspectives, and develop sensitivity to cultural diversity. With a focus on oral proficiency, collaborative speaking activities create a community of learners where language skills can develop with ease, flow, and fluency.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

French: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to build confidence and success in listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in French for the introductory language learner. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations through participation in diverse activities which supplement and reinforce all learning. Students are expected to speak French for a majority of the class period, and they will explore the French language and culture through traditional texts as well as project-based learning, short novels, and films.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

French II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 8-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goals for the French II class are to develop skills for oral and written communication, learn some aspects of the French culture, broaden perspectives, and develop sensitivity to cultural diversity. With a focus on oral proficiency, collaborative speaking activities create a community of learners where language skills can develop with ease, flow, and fluency.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

French III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goals for the French III class are to develop and deepen skills for oral and written communication, learn different aspects of the French culture, and be able to identify one’s own culture in the context of a global community. In their third year of studying the French language and Francophone culture, students will be able to express their needs and wants in a more sophisticated way.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

French IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goals for the French IV class are to reinforce and deepen skills for oral and written communication, research and present different aspects of the Francophone culture, and be able to compare and contrast one’s own culture with the French-speaking world. In their fourth year of studying the French language and culture, students will be able to articulate their thoughts in a more expressive and creative way.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

French V
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 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.

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?

AP French Language and Culture
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The AP French Language and Culture course is designed to be the equivalent of the fourth semester of a college French grammar and composition course. By succeeding in the AP course and performing well on the AP Examination, students may be able to receive college credit for their high school course and place into a more advanced course. The AP Exam is an excellent test of proficiency in all of the skills areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The classroom atmosphere is designed to be like a college-level course, with only French spoken in class by the instructor and students, and challenging and rigorous assignments both in and out of class. Reading and subsequent analysis and discussions are a fundamental part of the course as a means to build vocabulary, strengthen grammar skills, and to practice critical thinking, speaking, listening, and writing skills. In addition to reading, students will explore, examine, and exhibit specific themes and familiarize themselves with the format of the AP exam. In class, they will perform many practice exercises similar to those required on the AP exam. The time needed to build up oral fluency will depend greatly on the students’ motivation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin I
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Latin I is designed to teach comprehension of Latin for reading. Students are introduced to all concepts essential to the study of Latin, which include declension, conjugation, and subject-verb agreement. Students will meet the first three declensions, all the cases, and the present tense as well as all the past tenses. Additional grammar topics include participles, noun-adjective agreement, and relative clauses. Special emphasis is placed on the Latin influence on the English language through regular study of derivatives. During each class, students read short passages of Latin that become more sophisticated as the students’ knowledge-base expands. The focus of translations during the first half of the year is daily life in a Roman city, and students will explore such topics as houses, families, slavery, the role of women, and the destruction of the city of Pompeii. During the second half of the year, students will read about life in the Roman provinces.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin I-A
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Latin I-A is designed to teach comprehension of Latin for the purpose of reading as a half-credit elective. Students are introduced to all concepts essential to the study of Latin which include declension, conjugation, and subject and verb agreement. Students will meet the first three declensions, the nominative, accusative, and dative cases, and the present, imperfect, and perfect tenses. During each class, students read short passages of Latin that become more sophisticated as the students’ knowledge- base expands. Topics for translation include daily life in a Roman city, and students will explore such topics as houses, families, slavery, the role of women, and the destruction of the city of Pompeii.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin I-B
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 10
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Latin I-B is the second year of a two-year, half-credit course which can be taken as an elective. This class is designed to teach comprehension of Latin for the purpose of reading. Students are introduced to all concepts essential to the study of Latin which include declension, conjugation, and subject and verb agreement. Students will meet the first three declensions, the nominative, accusative, and dative cases, and the present, imperfect, and perfect tenses. During each class, students read short passages of Latin that become more sophisticated as the students’ knowledge- base expands. Topics for translation include daily life in a Roman city, and students will explore such topics as houses, families, slavery, the role of women, and the destruction of the city of Pompeii.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Latin II continue to develop their reading skills. Students finish their introduction to nouns by learning neuter nouns and the genitive and ablative cases. Their study of verbs continues with the introduction of the infinitive and imperative moods, the pluperfect tense, irregular verbs and present and past participles. In addition, students learn demonstrative pronouns, relative clauses and noun/ adjective agreement. Students regularly read passages of Latin of increasing difficulty that focus on life in the Roman provinces of Britain and Egypt.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3 GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Building on previous Latin courses, grammar topics at this level are the most sophisticated and include participles, the passive voice, and the subjunctive mood. Students use their knowledge of these concepts to continue to develop their reading skills with both Latin passages from their texts and readings from ancient authors. Cultural topics focus on Imperial Rome and include the city of Rome, life in the army, engineering, travel and communication, and Roman religious beliefs.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Latin IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in Latin IV finish reading the episodic, historical novel that they began in Latin I. They then begin reading both adapted and original passages of Latin from Roman authors including Ovid, Vergil, Martial Catullus, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger. In addition to practicing points of grammar introduced in earlier courses, the students will meet several important points of grammar that occur frequently in these authors like indirect statement, gerunds and conditional clauses. Cultural topics focus on the reign of Domitian, the law courts, marriage and Greek and Roman mythology.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • What does the ordinary person do in the face of tyranny?
  • How does Latin poetry differ from Latin prose? What ideas are poets able to express more easily than prose writers? What themes are best suited to poetry?

MS Mandarin: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will develop basic skills in listening, reading, writing and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include pinyin, numbers, describing people, food, school, time and dates.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Mandarin: Novice-Mid
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, shopping, describing people, houses and transportation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Mandarin: Intermediate
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, shopping, describing people and clothing, food and sports.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Mandarin: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, shopping, describing people, houses and transportation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Mandarin: Novice-Mid
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, shopping, describing people, sports and transportation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Mandarin: Intermediate
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Mandarin III students will deepen their oral and written skills adding proficiency in their communication through discussions of short stories, articles, and informal writing. Topics include learning and discussing school life, professions, visiting campus, social interactions, and hobbies. Students will add to their learning thereby improving their ability to express their thoughts in more creative and sophisticated (since you used express before) ways.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

  • How can I communicate and describe school life in regards to understanding the differences between Chinese and American schooling?
  • How do we educate ourselves about the social differences and similarities of Chinese Mandarin speaking cultures?

MS Spanish: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-7
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to build confidence and success in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish while introducing students to Hispanic culture. Students will develop a keen ear as well as reproduce the target language in everyday situations. With an emphasis on speaking, listening, reading, writing, and culture, students will develop speaking proficiency through diverse activities.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Spanish: Novice-Mid
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students will continue to develop skills in listening comprehension, reading, writing, and other aspects of culture through short stories, songs, videos, articles, and written exercises when applicable. Topics include giving personal information, talking about school, places in the city, family, holidays, describing people, food and houses, among others.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Spanish: Novice-High
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 7-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In the novice-high level of Spanish, middle school students focus on making detailed descriptions of people, places, and things. Emphasis is placed on oral proficiency and navigating authentic communicative tasks through speaking and writing. Students are encouraged to speak in Spanish in class and will be evaluated on their ability to negotiate meaning in Spanish in increasingly complex spoken and written interactions throughout the course. The course will emphasize interpersonal speaking and writing, interpretive reading and listening, and presentational speaking and writing, which are the three modes of communication as defined
by ACTFL. Some of the topics covered include education, technology, the environment, daily routine and schedule, the city, going on vacation, and shopping. Students will be exposed to culturally relevant material that will allow them to draw comparisons between the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world and their own background.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

MS Spanish III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADE: 8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Level III Spanish continues to prepare middle school students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency and communication. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue
to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking with partners and making short presentations. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers, and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters, and electronic mail.

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

Spanish: Novice-Beginning
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The novice-beginning curriculum introduces students to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture through activities that involve listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Course themes include, but are not limited to, introductions, weather, alphabet, calendar, likes and dislikes, food, school-related vocabulary, family, home, and celebrations. Students will primarily learn to express themselves in the present and immediate future tenses.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Spanish II
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Spanish II, students focus on making detailed descriptions of people, places, and things. Emphasis is placed on oral proficiency and navigating authentic communicative tasks through speaking and writing. Students are encouraged to speak Spanish in class and will be evaluated on their ability to negotiate meaning in Spanish in increasingly complex spoken and written interactions throughout the course. The course will emphasize interpersonal speaking and writing, interpretive reading and listening, and presentational speaking and writing, which are the three modes of communication as defined by ACTFL. Some of the topics covered include education, technology, the environment, daily routine and schedule, the city, going on vacation, and shopping. Students will be exposed to culturally relevant material that will allow them to draw comparisons between the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world and their own background.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Spanish III
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Level III Spanish continues to prepare students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency and communication. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking with partners and making short presentations. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters and electronic mail.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Spanish IV
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Level IV Spanish continues to prepare students to reach a higher level in the four skills of the language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with emphasis on oral proficiency. Students will work in a variety of activities, reviewing and building upon grammar concepts and vocabulary. They will also continue to improve their critical thinking skills in Spanish through discussions of issues that are meaningful to them. Students will improve their oral proficiency in the target language by speaking in partners and in seminars. They will listen to music, watch videos and movies, and read short stories, online newspapers, and articles. Students will write short essays, journals, letters, and electronic mail.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Spanish V
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In Spanish V students work to perfect their communication skills through discussion, 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, such as film and short story. This format motivates students in conversation, writing, and listening skills in addition to providing them with a broad and real world experience with the culture of the Spanish speaking world.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

AP Spanish Language and Culture
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 11-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is designed to be the equivalent of the fourth semester in a college Spanish grammar and composition course. By succeeding in the AP course and performing well on the AP Examination, students may be able to receive college credit for their high school course and place into a more advanced course. The AP exam is an excellent test of proficiency skills in all of the skills areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The classroom atmosphere is designed to be like a college-level course, with only Spanish spoken in class by the instructor and students, and challenging and rigorous assignments both in and out of class. Reading and subsequent analysis and discussions are a fundamental part of the course, as a means to build vocabulary, strengthen grammar skills, and to practice critical thinking, speaking, listening, and writing skills. In addition to reading, students will explore, examine, and exhibit specific themes and familiarize themselves with the format of the AP exam. In class, they will perform many practice exercises similar to those required on the AP exam. The time needed to build up oral fluency will depend greatly on the students’ motivation.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Middle School English Language for International Students
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 6-8
COURSE DESCRIPTION: English Language for International Students is a practical, academically-oriented course for
non-native English speakers. It is designed for students who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading, cultural understanding, and writing skills in an academic setting. Special attention is given to each individual learner’s needs and learning style. A focus is given to scaffolding strategies to strengthen skills in all four areas using an integrated approach.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

English Language for International Students
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 9-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: English Language for International Students is a practical, academically-oriented course for non-native English speakers. It is designed for students who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading, cultural understanding, and writing skills in an academic setting. Special attention is given to each individual learner’s needs and learning style. A focus is given to scaffolding strategies to strengthen skills in all four areas using an integrated approach.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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

Advanced English Language for International Students
COURSE LENGTH (in Trimesters): 3
GRADES: 10-12
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Advanced English Language for International Students uses diverse thematic and authentic materials to strengthen language (oral/vocabulary), cultural understanding, and reading and writing strategies. A focus on interpretive listening and reading, interpersonal listening and speaking, and presentational writing is emphasized.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

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