Table of Contents Lower School
Toddler ......................................................................................................................................... 2 Primary ........................................................................................................................................ 3 Elementary .................................................................................................................................. 4
Fifth Grade .................................................................................................................................. 6 Sixth Grade .................................................................................................................................. 8 Seventh Grade ........................................................................................................................... 10 Eighth Grade ............................................................................................................................. 12
English ....................................................................................................................................... 14 History ....................................................................................................................................... 16 Mathematics .............................................................................................................................. 19 Modern & Classical Languages .............................................................................................. 21 Science ....................................................................................................................................... 24 Multidisciplinary ...................................................................................................................... 26 Technology ................................................................................................................................ 27 Visual & Performing Arts ........................................................................................................ 28 Diplomas with Distinction ...................................................................................................... 31
Graduation Requirements Students must accumulate nineteen credits in the Upper School to graduate. Additionally, each department has its own graduation requirements. This publication carries complete course descriptions for all departmental offerings. Graduation requirements are as follows: Department # Credits Required Visual & Performing Arts 1 English 4 English must be taken every semester Modern & Classical Languages 2 Both credits in the same language History 3 Including Great Questions in World History and United States History Mathematics 3 Including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II Science 3 Including Physics, Biology, and Chemistry Elective Choices* 3 Selected from any department Total Credits 19 *Courses are offered depending upon student interest and sufficient staffing In addition to the academic curriculum requirements, seniors must also complete a social service project and a senior speech. Social Service: After the conclusion of senior exams in May, students begin a 40-hour internship as a way to give back to the community. Seniors work with a faculty advisor to secure an internship and must meet the demands to successfully complete the project, including attending a panel discussion at the conclusion of the program. Senior Speech: Seniors are required to present a speech to the North Yarmouth Academy community as a way to demonstrate public speaking skills. The presentation must meet the guidelines of the speech advisors. While students have a choice in the topic, their speech must be appropriate for the audience, including family, faculty, staff, and students.
Toddler Program The Toddler Program provides a warm and inviting setting which welcomes our youngest students to the Montessori classroom and supports the physical and cognitive development of each child. Learning is child-directed and focuses on increasing independence and social-emotional development. Circle time encourages and builds a community atmosphere and includes songs and finger play that help support emerging Language and Math skills. The major areas of the Montessori classroom are represented in the Toddler setting. The materials are slowly introduced to the children in small group lessons and are then available for the children to choose at will. Working with these materials fosters concentration and independence, as well as the development of gross and fine motor skills. The prepared environment is a key component of the Montessori classroom, and the materials are ordered on the shelves from simple to complex and concrete to abstract in a left to right and top to bottom order. This layout is carefully designed to prepare the hand, the eye, and the mind for reading and writing and all other works. New works are introduced throughout the year, providing new and varied learning opportunities for the children. Practical Life exercises instill care for self, for others, and for the environment. This is a major developmental area in the Toddler program as children gain confidence in navigating the classroom. These activities serve to enhance muscular coordination, strengthen the pincer grasp, and develop powers of concentration, coordination, independence, and a sense of order. Art is a direct continuation of Practical Life, further developing these skills and allowing for creative expression. Children learn to name and identify colors, sort and match by color, and identify circle, square, triangle, and other shapes.
Sensorial materials are designed to develop cognitive skills as children explore their environment utilizing their various senses. These works also lay the foundation for mathematics through the manipulation of specially designed materials. Mathematical concepts include identifying numerals and rote counting 1 to 10, beginning to count using one to one correspondence, and sorting like objects into groups. Language learning focuses on spoken language while preparing children for the transition to written language. All areas of the classroom enhance language development, and lessons incorporate vocabulary enrichment, story time, rhyming, and song. In addition, visual discrimination activities prepare the eye for letter recognition. Children learn to follow along at story time, participate in finger play, and experiment with story retelling materials. They also practice matching objects to objects, pictures to pictures, and objects to silhouette. Science curriculum allows the child to experiment with and observe their natural world. Concepts include the difference between living and non-living, a basic understanding of plants and animals, showing respect for all living things, and developing curiosity in the world around him/her.
The goal of Music is for the children to enjoy hearing and participating in musical activities. The children sing a variety of short, repetitive songs. Students may begin by just listening or participating through hand motions or gestures, but soon they begin to sing along. Children also have the opportunity to try different rhythm instruments, including maracas, rhythm sticks, sand blocks, and bells. In weekly Spanish classes, students learn songs that include basic Spanish vocabulary such as greetings and goodbyes, days of the week, parts of the body, and numbers. The children also listen to stories in Spanish to help reinforce these language concepts. In Creative Movement, children learn fundamental locomotor and nonlocomotor skills. They develop confidence in walking, running, galloping, and jumping while increasing motor planning abilities. Different obstacle courses throughout the year allow children to improve balance and stimulate both sides of the brain with constant cross-lateral movement. Students also learn to throw, bounce, and kick, to move and dance to specific songs, and to follow directions during these activities.
Primary Program The Primary Program welcomes children aged three through Kindergarten into a nurturing, multi-age Montessori classroom. During the Great Period, children are free to choose works in the classroom from any of the curriculum areas. The children work at their own pace, and the teacher acts as a guide, with the overarching educational goal to empower rather than instruct. Children learn through exploring and manipulating materials designed to create intrinsic motivation to think, feel, and discover. These activities help lay the foundation for increased abstract thought, all within the context of connecting with other classmates and the world around them. The Primary classroom and curriculum are divided into seven main areas. The teacher serves as a guide and offers a prepared environment for children to encounter through individual or small group lessons across the curriculum daily. Using observation and record keeping, the teacher chooses appropriate lessons for each child. Over the course of the day, the week, and the year, children experience all areas of the classroom and progress through various lessons with the Montessori materials. The prepared environment is the heart of the Montessori classroom and is set every day with purpose and intention. Practical Life activities include physical skills, care of self, care of environment, and grace and courtesy. These activities serve to enhance muscular coordination, pincer grasp, and to develop powers of concentration, coordination, independence, and a sense of order, preparing the child for all other classroom works. Children develop skills such as initiating activities, working independently, completing the cycle of activity, caring for the materials responsibly and using them purposefully, and exhibiting problem solving skills.
Sensorial materials are designed to train the hand, the eye, and the mind toward greater power of discrimination. The children work on developing skills of sequencing, grading, and matching by touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound. Mathematics begins with numeration, one to one correspondence, and quantity to symbol associations. The concepts are introduced by manipulating specifically designed materials. These materials are presented sequentially, moving from simple to complex, from concrete to abstract, and from numeration to decimal system to linear counting to operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Children develop skills in rote counting, displaying oneto-one correspondence, sequentially ordering numbers, recognizing and naming numerals, writing numerals, and identifying basic shapes, polygons, quadrilaterals, and geometric solids. They are also introduced to the clock, money, and squaring and cubing numbers. The Montessori classroom introduces Language sequentially, beginning with spoken language. Spoken language in the classroom consists of vocabulary enrichment, story time, and rhyming. Students are then introduced to visual discrimination work designed to develop symbol awareness. Next, children are introduced to phonemic lessons and learn to distinguish beginning sounds of letters while exploring their tactile shape with sandpaper letters and using metal letter insets designed to develop the hand movement needed for making the shape of letters. Children are then prepared to begin reading. Through work with the movable alphabet and phonics games, children begin to sound out words. Through reading work, they begin to understand phonograms, start to gain fluency, and refine comprehension.
In Science, the works are designed to allow the child to experiment with and observe their natural world while helping to build vocabulary and classification skills. Geography gives the child an understanding of the Earth and its physical properties. The curriculum covers land and water elements and then moves into the continents. Each continent is represented in a puzzle map where children can explore and name the continent, oceans, countries, and provinces. The land and water form trays allow the child to pour water into a form and see the dichotomy between land and water. Having a model to physically hold, trace, and manipulate makes learning about the world both concrete and enjoyable. While studying each geographic region, students learn about the amazing diversity found throughout our world. Each continent is explored through traditions, foods, clothing, structures, and community. In the third year, children in the Primary Program expand upon their Montessori instruction with more formal kindergarten instruction each afternoon. Literacy is a major focus, with daily lessons and work with phonetic readers. Additional work includes journal writing, formal handwriting instruction, penmanship booklets, poetry lessons, book buddies, and chapter book readaloud. Children also have additional instruction in math, science, and culture, incorporating interdisciplinary projects, activities, and games. Children in the Primary program pursue enrichment courses each week including Music, Visual Arts, Library, Spanish, Creative Movement, and Physical Education. Ice skating instruction begins in kindergarten. These courses take the children out of their classroom space and actively integrate them into the campus.
Elementary Program Overview The elementary program at NYA employs multi-age classrooms where students have the opportunity to both teach to and learn from their peers. The first grade program provides a smooth transition for students from the Montessori classroom, building from that strong foundation, and preparing students for the second grade. The curriculum in the early grades is designed to emphasize social and academic growth, while promoting a sense of community within the classroom and the entire NYA campus. The teacher guides students through an expansive exploration of culture, language, mathematics, and science as well as concepts that shape social learning and understanding. The classroom offers
a rich and open learning environment incorporating class meetings; group work; individual, small-group, and full class instruction; and varied learning and discovery centers. Field trips and classroom projects are integrated into the curriculum. The classes are structured to meet the needs of each individual, as the students are given the opportunity to work at their own level and at their own pace. As students progress through the grades, the program continues to provide a small, nurturing environment which allows students to transition with ease, creates strong connections, and paves the way towards success in the Middle School. The approach is student-centered and incorporates more formalized elements
in various subjects. Students are given the opportunity to be self-directed learners through guided discovery. The classroom is organized in a way to foster independence, cooperation, and productivity. Teachers place increasing emphasis on developing fluency in mathematics, reading, and writing. They inspire and support each student to reach her or his potential while embracing a love of learning. Students are provided with multiple exposures and learning experiences, including numerous field trips and classroom projects. With the guidance of their teachers, students continue to drive their own educational discoveries as they begin to tackle increasingly complex concepts in preparation for their transition to the Middle School.
First Grade In English and Language Arts, the development of skills in reading, writing, listening, and oral expression are emphasized. Reading and writing are taught in tandem, focusing on letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, and building fluency and comprehension. Highlights include a Readers’ Theatre mini puppet show and a Family Poetry Share during National Poetry Month in April.
The Mathematics curriculum aims to give students a deeper understanding of whole number relationships, place value, and base-ten notation. Increased fluency with addition and subtraction, understanding of linear measurement, and analysis of basic geometric shapes are a focus of the program. The use of manipulatives allows for concrete understanding of abstract concepts.
Science and Social Studies are integrated into the curriculum. Life, Earth, and Physical Sciences, as well as concepts in geography, culture, and civic responsibility, are explored within the structure of thematic units. Early research skills are modeled and practiced.
In Mathematics, students build upon the skills developed in first grade and increase fluency with addition and subtraction. Skip counting builds a framework for multiplication facts. Students also strengthen comprehension of money and telling time.
Science and Social Studies are again integrated into the curriculum in thematic units. Units may span a variety of topics including the solar system, weather, states of matter, maps/globes/directions, and community, citizenship, and laws. Research skills are modeled and practiced, and students learn to make meaningful connections to enhance their learning.
Second Grade In second grade, the English and Language Arts curriculum continues to develop skills in reading, writing, listening, and oral expression, while fostering a love of reading and language. As student skills progress, there is increased emphasis on fluency and comprehension. Students begin to read different genres and write frequently in a variety of modes, including poetry.
Third Grade In English and Language Arts, the curriculum continues to focus on skills and strategies in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Cursive writing instruction is also introduced in the third grade. Writing units emphasize mechanics (indenting, capitalization, punctuation), the writing process (planning, revising, editing), and different styles of writing, including descriptive, research, and opinion writing. Students work on word analysis for decoding and context use for word recognition. Through the exploration of a variety of reading materials, students
understand and appreciate language and literature. The main goal is to instill and foster a love of reading! The Mathematics curriculum focuses on skills and strategies in algebraic thinking, numbers and operations in base ten, fractions, measurement, data, and geometry. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a strong foundation with multiplication facts. Science utilizes a hands-on approach to actively engage students in the discovery
process. Units include topics from Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science. Students learn to apply the Scientific Process (Ask, Predict, Plan, Investigate, Record Data). The Social Studies curriculum builds upon students’ skills and experiences, allowing students to make meaningful connections and to expand their knowledge. Topics of study may include the New England States, explorers and inventors, and local and national government. Students learn specific vocabulary for each topic studied.
Fourth Grade In English and Language Arts, students read various genres, expanding their love of reading and literature while improving fluency and comprehension. They work on drawing inferences, determining themes, understanding characterization, and comparing points of view. There is increased emphasis on writing mechanics and skills as students further refine their writing abilities. Students increase writing stamina and write for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences, including opinion pieces, informative text, narratives, and research writing. Students
also continue with cursive writing and begin to learn typing and keyboarding skills in the computer lab. Mathematics focuses on skills and strategies in algebraic thinking, numbers and operations in base ten, fractions, measurement, data, and geometry. Students further their grasp of multiplication and division facts. More complex word problems are integrated into the curriculum, further developing the connections between math and daily life.
The Science curriculum builds upon the concepts and skills from third grade, with particular emphasis on the Scientific Process and lab skills. In both Science and Social Studies, the curriculum frequently focuses on the state of Maine, including history, culture, economy, government, land and water features, and native plants and animals. Students also select, plan, and implement a service learning project based on a classroom, school, or community need.
Enrichment Elementary students further their involvement in enrichment courses. They participate in the Academy’s highly regarded Performing Arts program, strengthening performance skills through continued vocal and instrumental music instruction. Beginning in grade three, students take part in an introductory Strings course with violins provided by the Academy. Students perform at a concert each winter and again at Lower School
Grandparents’ Day in the spring. Students also take part in the Lower School Drama production each November. Students gain exposure to a variety of materials and experiences in the studio during their biweekly Visual Arts classes. Their works are displayed throughout the Lower School as well as at the arts celebration each winter. They have instruction in Spanish language
and culture twice each week, building a foundation and vocabulary base. During Library time, students visit the Lower School Book Nook, NYA’s main Library in Curtis Building, or Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth. Physical Education classes take place in the gym, on the turf and grass fields, and in NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena, providing opportunities for personal growth, good sportsmanship, achievement, and teamwork.
Fifth Grade Program Fifth grade is a natural transition point as students begin to move from childhood to early adolescence. The fifth grade class at NYA is small, consisting of a single section of 10 to 15 students. In a safe and nurturing self-contained classroom, students receive the benefit of whole class instruction and also have opportunities to interact with students in grades six through eight. The fifth grade curriculum is carefully aligned to ensure that students master the knowledge and skills essential to coursework in successive grades. Throughout the year, field trips are integrated with ongoing work in academic subjects. Classroom discussions and special projects encourage students to think critically, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively. Teachers provide guidance and support, while encouraging independence. Students begin their studies with an introduction to the school’s core values: respect, trust, community, integrity, character, and intellect. Throughout the year, experiential education initiatives foster teambuilding and mutual respect among students, as well as individual confidence, self-discipline, and leadership skills. The classroom teacher serves as the advisor, and the group meets for Advisory time twice each week. On Fridays, there is a short check-in time following Friday Forum (weekly gathering of Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff) and senior speeches. A longer advisory period takes place each Tuesday, allowing for directed discussion, teambuilding, games, social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, and periodic “advisory challenges.”
with their classmates. These poems are kept and treasured in their poetry notebooks. Throughout the course of the year, students add their own personal favorites as well as ones they have written in class. Reading is an integral part of every day with assigned class readings, independent reading choices, and a monthly book chosen based on a different genre. Weekly trips to the library for minilessons and book talks with our librarian inspire students’ reading. Monthly book projects are compiled in a class directory of book reviews that serve as a resource for students looking for their next read. Grammar and the mechanics of writing are woven into daily lessons to build a foundation for the many different kinds of writing pieces students will work on throughout the year. Spelling and weekly vocabulary studies focus on words from current class topics as well as words chosen by each student based on their own needs. As part of Social Studies, students study United States and Maine history, with a focus on the state’s Native American tribes and early settlers. Concepts in geography, culture, economics, government, and civic responsibility are key components of the social studies curriculum. Individual projects develop critical research skills and provide opportunities for taking academic risks.
The fifth grade English program emphasizes the development of skills in reading, writing, grammar, and oral expression. Every day, students read a poem aloud and share their reflections
In Math 5, students gain a deeper understanding of mathematical principles and arithmetic operations and apply these to fractions and decimals, formulas and measurements, and positive and negative numbers. Word problems, geometry, and data analysis strengthen problem solving and reasoning skills. As part of the Science curriculum, fifth graders utilize the scientific method and investigate ecosystems, classification of living things, simple machines, astronomy, and weather. Nature journals, field trips, and experiments provide hands-on lab experiences that make science visual, enlightening, and exciting. Curiosity is sparked by learning about how things work. STEM-based (Science, Techology, Engineering and Mathematics) interdisciplinary units take place weekly throughout the year providing students with the opportunity to expand their understanding and work cooperatively with classmates while incorporating writing and speaking skills. In biweekly Spanish classes, students learn basic vocabulary and grammatical structures that support the development of receptive (listening and speaking) and productive (reading and writing) language skills. Using varied resources and activities, students gain a greater
understanding of different Spanishspeaking cultures while developing introductory Spanish language skills. Physical Education classes emphasize teamwork, build strength and skills, and introduce students to different sports. Classes meet three times a week in the gym, on the turf and grass fields, and in NYAâ€™s Travis Roy Ice Arena, providing opportunities for personal growth, achievement, and good sportsmanship. Fifth grade students have the opportunity to become fully immersed in the performing arts with daily classes. Chorus includes the study and practice of the voice as an instrument, and covers music theory level one. Instrumental Music includes both strings and band. Students learn about the instrument families of the orchestra, and have the opportunity to try out members of the woodwind, brass, string, and percussion families.Â They then engage in more in-depth study and gain basic proficiency on both the violin and their selected woodwind or brass instrument throughout the year. In Theatre Arts, students explore the many facets of theatre production (including auditions, technical stagecraft, improvisation, acting, choreography, costuming, make-up, sound, lights, and set construction) and work together to produce an engaging year-end production. In addition to the culminating Fifth Grade Arts Night, there are 4 music performances each year.
X-block Enrichment Courses enhance the academic program, meeting twice per week for one semester. All fifth graders take Keyboarding in the fall semester to build their typing and computer skills. In the spring, they select from numerous options, such as Myths and Visual Storytelling, Creative Writing, Ecological Footprints, Techsavvy, Buddy Books, and much more. Students also have the opportunity to connect with their Middle School peers through Student Community Council and Peer Council. Student Community Council is open to all students and meets during periodic break and lunch periods. This group takes the lead in putting together Thanksgiving baskets, coordinating our Holiday Families Program, organizing the fall and spring dances, planning Winter Fun Night, and sponsoring additional service projects
Visual Art is designed to introduce students to a variety of materials and experiences in the studio. Classes meet twice each week, and projects include ceramic reliefs, impression prints, collages, watercolor paintings, and partnerportraits. Using the elements of art and the principles of design, the emphasis is on process, not product.
throughout the year. The Peer Council is a group of students nominated by their peers and selected by faculty to represent the student body in discussing matters concerning school culture and occasionally to help address violations of our school rules.Â Peer Council has monthly lunch meetings. The fifth grade program is designed to support the development of the whole child. Academic, artistic, and athletic components are interwoven with service, character, and community. As a culminating event, the fifth grade class experiences an overnight on the schooner Stephen Taber out of Rockland, bringing many of their studies to life. At the conclusion of the fifth grade program, students are equipped with the academic and social skills necessary for continued growth and success in their education at NYA.
Sixth Grade Program Sixth grade is a transition for students as they move out of the self-contained classroom. The program is designed with 2 core sixth grade teachers who teach English, Geography, Math, and Science and serve as the sixth grade advisors. The year begins with a week-long orientation familiarizing students with the campus, routines, and core values of NYA and includes an overnight camping trip incorporating swimming, s’mores around the campfire, teambuilding, and practical camping activities. Advisory meets twice each week and helps to build a cohesive sixth grade class. On Fridays, there is a short check-in time following Friday Forum (weekly gathering of Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff) and senior speeches. A longer advisory period takes place each Tuesday, allowing for directed discussion, teambuilding, games, social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, and periodic “advisory challenges.” The sixth grade English curriculum utilizes an interdisciplinary approach. Students put instruction in grammar and usage to use in a wide range of writing assignments from creative writing to informational writing. Writing exercises and assigned reading often link to what students are learning in geography and science, allowing students to integrate research skills learned in English class with work in other academic areas. Spelling words are taken from throughout the sixth grade curriculum and incorporate many Latin roots. Students enjoy creating crazy stories using their spelling words and sharing them in class. Vocabulary units are focused on contextual clues, synonyms and antonyms, and analogies. In addition to assigned reading, students are also required to read at least one book per month independently. Students choose their own books from lists that include
Maine Student Book Award books, books from specific genres, and books that support the geography study units. By the end of sixth grade Geography, students are able to draw a world map from memory – with all of the continents, countries, and major bodies of water in correct locations. Moving past mere memorization, students explore the continents, their countries, and various cultures with the help of many hands-on activities. In addition, the course features an interdisciplinary study of Africa that provides an in-depth understanding of African geography and culture culminating in an Africa Fair with food, demonstrations, and presentations for parents and classmates. Finally, students use the Weekly Reader Current Events Magazine to engage in ongoing discussions of current events from around the world and to see the relevance of the geography to understanding the world around them. Math 6 stresses increased problem-solving strategies and accurate computational skills with a focus on learning how to approach and solve word problems. In addition to a thorough review of basic arithmetic operations and concepts, topics covered include: whole numbers, decimals, fractions, integers, percentages, place value, ratios and proportions, mathematical properties and how they relate to our real number system, the metric system, GCF and LCM, prime numbers, exponents, squares and square roots, solving one- and two-step equations and inequalities, and the coordinate plane. Principles of geometry covered include the formulas and applications of perimeter, area, volume and surface area. Successful completion of this course leads directly to Pre-Algebra. Qualified sixth grade students may enroll in Pre-Algebra with permission of the department.
The sixth grade Science course explores some of the major divisions in science including chemistry, physics, and biology. Topics of study include density, states of matter, elements, forces, laws of motion, cell functions, genetics and adaptations. Learning the skills of science is emphasized, including the metric system, scientific method, lab skills, and science writing. Field work and handson activities are an integral part of this course. The class is structured to provide opportunities for students to improve their ability to explain, reason, communicate scientific information, raise questions, plan and conduct inquiries, evaluate experimental results, apply problemsolving skills, and present their findings to others. In biweekly Spanish classes, students continue to build basic vocabulary and grammatical structures to support the development of receptive (listening and speaking) and productive (reading and writing) language skills. Using varied resources and activities, students gain a greater understanding of different Spanish-speaking cultures while developing introductory Spanish language skills. Visual Art classes meet twice each week. Sixth grade students continue to build on what they have learned in the fifth grade by delving deeper into the elements of art and learning some of the principles of design. Projects include flip-books, layered landscape drawings, self-portraits, papier maché monsters, and stencil making. Students in grades six, seven, and eight have three options in Music – Chorus, Strings, and/or Band. The chorus, a large group of mixed voices, studies basic music theory and vocal performance techniques based on the 2014 National Standards of the National Association of Music
solving, and building trust. This year-long course meets once per week. X-block Enrichment Courses allow students to enhance their academic program with additional coursework in a variety of areas. The courses meet twice per week for one semester and are graded according to effort. All coursework is completed within the class period and no homework is assigned. Many of the courses are interdisciplinary, team taught, and include a cooperative learning approach. Options have included Geography or History Bee, Myths and Visual Storytelling, Ecological Footprints, Techsavvy, Jazz Band, Creative Writing, Buddy Books, and much more. Educators. Students apply their knowledge as they sing a variety of compositional and cultural styles. Students are also invited to participate in smaller groups, including Junior Varsity Singers, and to audition for District II Festivals. Students who have played an instrument for a minimum of one year are welcome to join the band or string ensemble. In Band, students work on instrumental techniques as they learn to play popular, jazz, and classical compositions in a large-group format. They review basic music theory and terms such as harmony, rhythm, intonation, and balance. Sixth grade band students meet both in a grade-level grouping and as a full band with seventh and eighth graders. Small group sectionals meet outside of the class period for more individualized instruction. The String Ensemble plays a variety of music chosen to suit the instrumentation and varying levels of development. Instrumental music students are encouraged to continue their private lessons and may audition for District II Festivals. Music classes meet twice per week and performances are scheduled 4 times per year.
Study Skills is an integral component of the sixth grade curriculum and uses the SOAR® program to address basic organizational and strategic learning needs for sixth graders. The course begins with a look at “HOW are you smart?” This unit exposes students to the exploration of the many intelligence types. Students learn about the consistent and effective use of the agenda book, active listening skills, planning and prioritizing, strategies for keeping track of belongings, goal-setting, note-taking strategies, reading a text vs. reading a novel, memorization techniques, and organization strategies at home and at school. Study Skills is taught by a learning strategist and academic coach and meets weekly throughout the school year. Life Skills focuses on issues related to Middle School students while fostering a sense of community among peers. In this course, sixth graders engage in activities and discussions that are experiential in nature and focused on character education. Some topics include self-identity, friendships, respecting differences, peer pressure, problem
Students also have the opportunity to participate in Student Community Council and Peer Council. Student Community Council is open to all students and meets during periodic break and lunch periods. This group takes the lead in putting together Thanksgiving baskets, coordinating our Holiday Families Program, organizing the fall and spring dances, planning Winter Fun Night, and sponsoring additional service projects throughout the year. The Peer Council is a group of students nominated by their peers and selected by faculty to represent the student body in discussing matters concerning school culture and occasionally to help address violations of our school rules. Peer Council has monthly lunch meetings. In the sixth grade, students begin the after school Afternoon Activity Program. Afternoon activities begin at the end of the academic day. Students select from a range of individual and team sports that promote skill-building, fitness, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. In the winter season, students may also choose to participate in the Middle and Upper School musical theatre production.
Seventh Grade Program In the seventh grade, students experience greater independence as they navigate a schedule with different teachers for each of their courses. Many teachers teach multiple courses in multiple grades, however, assuring a certain degree of continuity and familiarity for the students. Advisory groups combine seventh and eighth grade students and students generally stay with the same advisor for two years. Advisory meets twice each week. On Fridays, there is a short checkin time following Friday Forum (weekly gathering of Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff) and senior speeches. A longer advisory period takes place each Tuesday, allowing for directed discussion, teambuilding, games, social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, and periodic “advisory challenges.” In the early fall, the class has an overnight at The Leadership School at Camp Kieve where they experience ropes courses, indoor climbing, and group challenge activities. Seventh grade English is an exploration of literature and composition, with an emphasis on fostering life-long reading habits and developing writing skills. Students read classics such as Steinbeck’s novella, The Pearl, learning how to read a book critically and reflect on it thoughtfully. Students then move on to analyzing modes of literature, including works of short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to read often, both inside and outside of the classroom and are expected to share their thoughts, reactions, and interpretations in a variety of ways, including literature circles, reading journals, presentations, and various writing assignments. Students are introduced to the world of Shakespeare, initially by studying his time period, culture, and body of work and then by reading their first full play. Student reading and dramatization of scenes from the play enrich their understanding of
Shakespeare’s world. Additionally, students explore the world of poetry, often through mini-lessons and weekly poetry readings throughout the year. To supplement their reading and writing, seventh graders have weekly lessons in vocabulary, with an emphasis on understanding words in context, as well as lessons in grammar and usage.
step equation solving, graphing linear equations, inequalities, polynomials, selected non-linear functions, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Successful completion of this course leads directly to either Introduction to Algebra or Algebra I. Qualified seventh grade students may enroll in Algebra I with permission of the department.
Seventh grade History is a study of civics and economics. Students study various governmental systems with a focus on the U.S. government. The goal is to impart the knowledge to help students become active and responsible citizens now and in the future. During the second half of the year, students gain an understanding of basic economics and the role the U.S. economy plays in world markets, including a major unit on the stock market. In June of alternating years, students have the opportunity to travel with the school to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington, D.C.
In Earth Science, students learn that the Earth is a set of closely linked systems. Topics of study include the Royal River water quality, coral reef monitoring, ecosystem interactions, Earth/sun/ moon interactions, plate tectonics, and seafloor spreading. A strong emphasis on environmental science, conservation, and advocacy helps students relate Earth science to themselves and the community. Students learn how to conduct field work and relate what they are learning to a target audience. Lab investigations and hands-on field work activities are an integral part of this course. The class is structured to provide opportunities for students to improve their ability to explain, reason, communicate scientific information, raise questions, plan and conduct inquiries, evaluate experimental results, apply problem-solving skills, and present their findings to others.
Pre-Algebra includes a review of integers, rational and irrational numbers, percentages, and formative geometry while consistently emphasizing problem solving skills. Students also study multi-
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Beginning in seventh grade, students choose to study French, Spanish, or Latin and follow a two-year sequence to complete level I of the language. Middle School language classes emphasize active learning with activities and assessments tailored to the needs of students at this age level, at a pace which allows students to best utilize extensive repetition and practice in working towards mastery. In French and Spanish, students develop receptive (listening, reading) and productive (speaking, writing) skills, as well as gain insight into various cultures through classroom activities and exercises that emphasize proficiency. Mastering a wide vocabulary base and developing an understanding of the basic grammatical structures are emphasized through study of thematic units. In Latin, the emphasis is on gaining familiarity with the language, mastering a wide vocabulary base, and developing an understanding of the basic grammatical structures. The students use Ecce Romani, a modern readingbased text, for translation. This work is supplemented with cultural units on classical Rome. Visual Art again meets twice each week. Seventh grade students continue to master the elements of art and principles of design while working with a variety of materials and techniques. The students learn how to apply a ceramic surface treatment called sgraffito, make stop-action animations, print a series of multi-colored prints, and learn one and two point perspective drawings. Students in grades six, seven, and eight have three options in Music – Chorus, Strings, and/or Band. The chorus, a large group of mixed voices, studies basic music theory and vocal performance techniques based on the 2014 National Standards of the National Association of Music Educators. Students apply their knowledge as they sing a variety of compositional and
cultural styles. Students are also invited to participate in smaller groups, including Junior Varsity Singers, and to audition for District II Festivals. Students who have played an instrument for a minimum of one year are welcome to join the band or string ensemble. In Band, students work on instrumental techniques as they learn to play popular, jazz, and classical compositions in a large-group format. They review basic music theory and terms such as harmony, rhythm, intonation, and balance. Small group sectionals meet outside of the class period for more individualized instruction. The String Ensemble plays a variety of music chosen to suit the instrumentation and varying levels of development. Instrumental music students are encouraged to continue their private lessons and may audition for District II Festivals. Music classes meet twice per week and performances are scheduled 4 times per year. X-block Enrichment Courses allow students to enhance their academic program with additional coursework in a variety of areas. The courses meet twice per week for one semester and are graded according to effort. All coursework is completed within the class period and no homework is assigned. Many of the courses are interdisciplinary, team taught, and include a cooperative learning approach. Options have included Geography or History Bee, Myths and Visual Storytelling, Ecological Footprints, Techsavvy, Jazz Band, Creative Writing,
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Buddy Books, and much more. Seventh grade students may also select VEX Robotics, Objectified – 3D Printing Art, Bluegrass Ensemble, or Debate and Mock Trial. Students have the opportunity to participate in Student Community Council and Peer Council. Student Community Council is open to all students and meets during periodic break and lunch periods. This group takes the lead in putting together Thanksgiving baskets, coordinating our Holiday Families Program, organizing the fall and spring dances, planning Winter Fun Night, and sponsoring additional service projects throughout the year. The Peer Council is a group of students nominated by their peers and selected by faculty to represent the student body in discussing matters concerning school culture and occasionally to help address violations of our school rules. Peer Council has monthly lunch meetings. Seventh grade students participate in the after school Afternoon ActivityProgram at the end of the academic day. Students select from a range of individual and team sports that promote skill-building, fitness, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Seventh graders play a pivotal role on our multi-age teams. In the winter season, students may also choose to participate in the Middle and Upper School musical theatre production.
Eighth Grade Program Eighth grade students assume the benefits and the responsibilities of being leaders and role models in the Middle School. Students enjoy increased independence throughout the year, including the opportunity to join select Upper School activities and athletic offerings and eighth grade privileges during the final weeks of school. Eighth graders remain with their same advisor in a combined group of seventh and eighth grade students. Advisory meets twice each week. On Fridays, there is a short check-in time following Friday Forum (weekly gathering of Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff) and senior speeches. A longer advisory period takes place each Tuesday, allowing for directed discussion, team-building, games, social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, and periodic “advisory challenges.” In the early fall, the class has an overnight with Rippleffect on Cow Island where they experience ropes course initiatives, sea kayaking and zip line adventures, service learning opportunities, and group challenge activities. Composition is the focal point of the eighth grade English course. Students begin to write longer expository essays, employing topics from their reading as well as from experience. Interdisciplinary work is an important element of the course, and as the year progresses, students work on several writing assignments that correlate with their work in American History, using such books as Inherit the Wind. In the spring, students read Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and study the Salem Witch Trials and the McCarthy trials of the 1950s. In conjunction with this unit, the class journeys to Salem, Massachusetts to walk through the sites they have studied. Throughout the year, students learn to argue important issues in academic
debate, which provides students with opportunities to synthesize ideas and to speak in larger groups. Eighth graders also study one of the major works of Shakespeare. Eighth grade History is a study of United States History from the Civil War through the Cold War. Students use their knowledge of civics and economics, gained during seventh grade, to analyze and study the Reconstruction of the South, immigration at the turn of the 20th Century, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. Over the course of the year, students complete a variety of assignments, including research projects and class debates. In June of alternating years, students have the opportunity to travel with the school to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington, D.C. The math options for eighth grade students include Introduction to Algebra, Algebra I, or Geometry. Introduction to Algebra is designed to introduce students to an initial study of algebraic concepts with a focus on operations with signed numbers, the fundamental axioms and properties of number theory and algebra, the language of algebra, equation solving, graphing linear equations, inequalities, ratios, proportions, percents, rational and irrational numbers, square roots, and measurement. Students also study functions and relations, two and three dimensional geometry, and manipulation of polynomials and powers. Successful completion of this course leads directly to Algebra I. Algebra I includes the study of positive and negative numbers, the fundamental axioms and properties of algebra, linear equations and inequalities, formulas, problem-solving using equations,
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operations with polynomials, quadratic equations and factoring, systems of linear equations, properties of exponents, and radical algebraic expressions. Additional topics may include rational algebraic expressions and function terminology. The Geometry course challenges students to think logically. Topics include congruent triangles, parallel and perpendicular lines, polygons, similarity, the Pythagorean Theorem, right triangle trigonometry, circles and arcs, area, and volume. Additional topics may include transformational and coordinate geometry. Geometric proofs are an integral part of this course. Ample opportunity is provided for students to apply and maintain algebraic skills. Human Biology and Related Chemistry covers the basics of human biology in a modern context by showing that our health depends on well-functioning organ systems, which are in turn dependent on a healthy social, psychological and physical environment. Special attention is given to the major systems of the human body, including the parts, functions, diseases, and disorders. Students also acquire knowledge of basic chemistry and the importance chemical reactions play in maintaining a healthy body. Learning is enhanced through the use of anatomical charts, handouts, laboratory activities (including dissections), discussions, and lectures. In addition to writing lab reports, students also learn and reinforce content by completing technology-based projects done both individually and within groups and by participating in blog discussions facilitated by internet articles and research. In eighth grade, students continue with their study of French, Spanish, or Latin. Middle School language classes emphasize active learning with activities
and assessments tailored to the needs of students at this age level, at a pace which allows students to best utilize extensive repetition and practice in working towards mastery. In French and Spanish, students develop receptive (listening, reading) and productive (speaking, writing) skills, as well as gain insight into various cultures through classroom activities and exercises that emphasize proficiency. Mastering a wide vocabulary base and developing an understanding of the basic grammatical structures are emphasized through study of thematic units. In Latin, the emphasis is on gaining familiarity with the language, mastering a wide vocabulary base, and developing an understanding of the basic grammatical structures. The students use Ecce Romani, a modern reading-based text, for translation. This work is supplemented with cultural units on classical Rome. At the conclusion of the two-year sequence, students have completed level I of the language and are ready to enter level II in the Upper School. In eighth grade Visual Art, students continue to master the elements of art and principles of design, while learning how to discuss the art they are creating. Some of the projects the students will invest themselves in include a charcoal selfportrait, watercolor landscape painting, a series of life drawings, and a unit on paint mixing. Classes meet twice each week. Students in grades six, seven, and eight have three options in Music – Chorus, Strings, and/or Band. The chorus, a large group of mixed voices, studies basic music theory and vocal performance techniques based on the 2014 National Standards of the National Association of Music Educators. Students apply their knowledge as they sing a variety of compositional and cultural styles. Students are also invited to participate in smaller groups, including Junior Varsity Singers, and to audition for
District II Festivals. Students who have played an instrument for a minimum of one year are welcome to join the band or string ensemble. In Band, students work on instrumental techniques as they learn to play popular, jazz, and classical compositions in a large-group format. They review basic music theory and terms such as harmony, rhythm, intonation, and balance. Small group sectionals meet outside of the class period for more individualized instruction. The String Ensemble plays a variety of music chosen to suit the instrumentation and varying levels of development. Instrumental music students are encouraged to continue their private lessons and may audition for District II Festivals. Music classes meet twice per week and performances are scheduled 4 times per year. X-block Enrichment Courses allow students to enhance their academic program with additional coursework in a variety of areas. The courses meet twice per week for one semester and are graded according to effort. All coursework is completed within the class period and no homework is assigned. Many of the courses are interdisciplinary, team taught, and include a cooperative learning approach. Options have included Geography or History Bee, Myths and Visual Storytelling, Ecological Footprints, Techsavvy, Jazz Band, Creative Writing, Buddy Books, and much more. Eighth grade students may also select VEX Robotics, Objectified – 3D Printing Art, Bluegrass Ensemble, Debate and Mock Trial, and may choose from Upper School Activities such as Yearbook or Model UN in the spring semester. Eighth graders can participate in Student Community Council and Peer Council and frequently help to spearhead initiatives. Student Community Council is open to all students and meets during
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periodic break and lunch periods. This group takes the lead in putting together Thanksgiving baskets, coordinating our Holiday Families Program, organizing the fall and spring dances, planning Winter Fun Night, and sponsoring additional service projects throughout the year. The Peer Council is a group of students nominated by their peers and selected by faculty to represent the student body in discussing matters concerning school culture and occasionally to help address violations of our school rules. Peer Council has monthly lunch meetings. Eighth grade students participate in the after school Afternoon ActivityProgram at the end of the academic day. Students select from a range of individual and team sports that promote skill-building, fitness, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Eighth graders take on more of a leadership role in their teams and have the opportunity to serve as team captains. On occasion, qualified student athletes may be able to participate in Upper School athletic offerings as policies allow. In the winter season, students may also choose to participate in the Middle and Upper School musical theatre production. At Middle School Recognition Evening, eighth graders are recognized for their accomplishments throughout Middle School and later celebrate with their classmates on an overnight whitewater rafting trip on the Kennebec River. By the end of their Middle School program, students have developed critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills and are comfortable asking questions, seeking assistance, and self-advocating. Having gained academic, organizational, social, and leadership skills, students are thoroughly prepared for the expectations and challenges in the Upper School.
English English I – 9th Grade This course is an introduction to composition and literature at the high school level. During the year, students engage with and respond to different literary genres in depth, including the short story, drama, poetry, novels, and essays. An important component of the reading in the course involves the practice of reflection on multiple texts concurrently. Among the works students read are Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Homer’s The Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and a wide range of short stories. Class discussions reinforce comprehension and increasingly focus on analysis as the year progresses. Freshmen write often in ninth grade English, producing original short stories, poetry, narrative and expository essays, research-based writing, and more. English I also emphasizes vocabulary, critical thinking, and the development of research and study skills. Overall, the ninth grade literature and writing program introduces students to a variety of new ideas, cultures, and perspectives, while inspiring imagination and a love of learning. Required of all 9th grade students
gender, and the relative value placed on rationality and imagination. The writing curriculum offers students exposure to a range of writing challenges: critical essays, poetry, satire, personal narrative, stylistic imitations, editorials, and research-based analysis. Students also work on their public speaking skills in class presentations and debate. Among the works students read are Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Yann Martell’s Life of Pi, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Kurt Vonnegut’s SlaughterhouseFive, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Required of all 10th grade students
English III – 11th Grade This course is taught primarily as a writing and reading workshop. The year begins with a study of literary analysis through a class reading of The Great Gatsby but, after that, readings are mostly selected by the students themselves, with guidance from the instructor. Students in the course read on a daily basis, both in the classroom and for homework, with an emphasis
English II – 10th Grade Tenth grade English is a multi-genre literature and composition course designed to help students see literature in the context of its culture. Much of the literature is chosen as a companion to the historical periods studied in the sophomore history courses, and students are asked to consider what they read from both a literary and an historical perspective. Discussions touch on how literature reflects the values of specific cultures and how it can act as a tool to look critically at cultural practices and beliefs. Themes discussed include the tensions between the individual and society, assumptions about class and
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on volume and variety. Through their free choice reading selections, students are expected to read books from several genres and time periods, including non-fiction and fiction, 19th century and contemporary literature, American, and world literature. On occasion, students may be asked to choose books based on specific themes and topics, leading to class discussions that aim to synthesize their readings. Writing in the course is frequent and varied, beginning with analysis and then moving on to argumentation, persuasion, personal writing, and some creative writing. The writing program focuses heavily on workshops, with students working independently on various assignments and then conferencing with both peers and the instructor throughout the drafting process. Over the course of the year, weekly vocabulary work, grammar review, book talks, and poetry study augment the students’ independent work in advancing their reading and writing skills. Required of all 11th grade students not taking AP Language and Composition
Advanced Placement English Language and Composition – 11th Grade AP English Language and Composition is the equivalent of an introductory college composition course, with a focus on rhetorical analysis and argumentation. Through a variety of written assignments, readings, and discussion topics, the course prepares students for the challenging AP Language and Composition exam given in May. In the first semester, students learn how to analyze an author’s use of rhetorical techniques, as well as how to write and think creatively about language. During one unit, for example, students study great speeches from throughout history, ranging from Pericles’ Peloponnesian War funeral oration to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream,” and also have a chance to write and present speeches of their own. As the year progresses, students focus increasingly on how to craft a persuasive argument, supporting their opinions with primary and secondary source material as well as personal observations and experience. Writing assignments in the course are frequent and often complex, and readings consist primarily of non-fiction essays, speeches, and articles, supplemented by independent, outside reading choices. Additionally, a healthy knowledge of current events is encouraged in students and fostered throughout the year through regular discussions of topical issues that invite dialogue and debate. Departmental recommendation required
English IV – 12th Grade This course prepares students for reading and writing at the college level. Through the assigned texts, English IV challenges students to investigate the world around them and explore their place in it. In the first semester, students study the theme of legacy through the summer reading books as well as through an in-class reading of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Other texts, including George Orwell’s 1984, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, and Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger, focus on how the individual survives
when faced with adversity in an often flawed society. Writing assignments cover a range of styles, from personal essays to literary analysis, with an eye towards helping students to identify areas of relative strength and weakness in their own work and to take greater ownership of their writing. Students finish the year with a major writing project, most of which is completed independently. Over the course of this project, students conduct research and practice interview skills before recording an interview with a subject, typically an older family member, friend, or acquaintance who has been an influence in the student’s life. The students then write an extensive paper that combines elements of research, narration, and reflection to tell their subject’s life story and explore how another person’s experiences may connect with one’s own life. The resulting paper, a senior “thesis” of sorts, demonstrates a student’s mastery of the research and composition skills needed for success in college. Required of all 12th grade students not taking AP Literature and Composition
Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition – 12th Grade AP Literature is for the student who has already demonstrated a strong interest in and aptitude for reading and writing about literature. The course is the equivalent of an introductory college course in the literary analysis of poetry, drama, and prose fiction, and it is designed to prepare students for the AP Literature and Composition examination in May. Students begin the year by exploring the dystopian themes of their summer reading novels through an essay-writing workshop. They then move to a review of classical mythology, Ancient Greek drama, and famous stories often alluded to in literature throughout the ages. Through an in-depth study of past and contemporary short fiction, students sharpen their close reading skills, refining their understanding of style with a series of prose imitations. Throughout the year, students read and analyze poems from
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a variety of eras and in a wide range of styles. Short exercises in recognizing key poetic elements, such as tone, point of view, structure, and imagery, prepare students for an original study of a contemporary poet. Major works studied include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Fences by August Wilson, The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Departmental recommendation required
Creative Writing –
English Elective This semester-long elective provides students the opportunity to explore creative writing in a variety of genres, with a focus on fiction and poetry. Students write daily, generating an extensive body of work, some of which they craft into polished final pieces. They also read and discuss excerpts from a range of texts that provide examples of effective writing and suggestions for improving one’s own fiction and poetry. Assignments address elements of fiction such as character development, tone, setting, dialogue, point of view, and dramatic structure as well as poetic devices such as imagery, metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, and meter. Students are encouraged to approach creative writing in a fun, playful manner and to explore their own interests, ultimately developing a longer piece in a genre of their choice. Throughout the course, students receive ample guidance and feedback on specific writing assignments through peer editing workshops as well as one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Additionally, students in the course are expected to read their work aloud, in both informal and formal settings. Please note: Creative Writing may be taken in conjunction with the core English courses but does not replace them. Though it primarily is designed as a junior and senior course, freshmen and sophomores are welcome to enroll, pending department and FAC (Faculty Academic Commiittee) approval.
History Great Questions in World History – 9th Grade The aim of this course is for students to consider (and then answer) a series of essential questions that have confronted humanity across time and cultures. Questions may include: • When is authority legitimate? • What do the strong and the weak owe each other? • Who am I? Where does “identity” come from? • What is the purpose of religion? • What makes a meaningful life? The course begins with a study of the world’s major religions followed by an indepth examination of ancient civilizations from around the world. By studying each civilization, students will consider how these questions have been addressed in the past as they search for their own answers. The final unit of Great Questions is a study of political violence and genocide of the twentieth century using the text Facing History and Ourselves as an anchor. Students will learn about the European Holocaust as they research another genocide of their choosing, culminating in a major research paper. Required of all 9th grade students.
Modern World History – 10th Grade “How did the world get to be like this?” Modern World History is a year-long investigation of the world for the curious. The course takes two simultaneous approaches. On the one hand, students examine various foundations of the modern world. For example, they look at intellectual movements (such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment) that shape our assumptions about the world. Similarly, they explore the contacts among world cultures (from “discovery” to decolonization) that laid the foundations of our globalized society. Drawing on the
theme of “Revolution,” students explore the legacies of dramatic changes in France, Britain, Russia, China, and the Middle East to understand the variety of modern political and economic systems we live in and live with. On the other hand, the course devotes a significant amount of time to tracking and analyzing current events in light of the historical themes we study. Students are expected to follow and explain the major stories of the day. After taking this course, students should be able to recognize and articulate some of the ways in which the world of today unfolds from the legacies of the past.
Advanced Placement European History - 10th Grade Students look closely at the political and diplomatic, intellectual and cultural, and social and economic history of Europe from about 1450 to the present. In addition to mastering the narrative of major events in this period, students evaluate historical material, weighing evidence and interpretations, and researching and writing analytical essays. A considerable amount of time is spent practicing the writing of effective, convincing essays in preparation for a major portion of the AP exam. Students examine historical continuity and change in the modern world, with an emphasis on the peculiarly dynamic and revolutionary qualities of Western society. The course also examines the consequences of European contacts with other areas of the world. Departmental recommendation required
United States History – 11th Grade This course focuses on the cultural, social, economic, and political history of the nation from its founding up through the 1970s. The course does not use a textbook but rather focuses its inquiry
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through nonfiction, fiction, biography, autobiography, and primary source materials. The course is designed to explore topics of major significance in American history in detail to get a clear idea of how events and people shaped the way America and Americans are today. Topics and readings include: The creation of the country from colonialism to the Constitution (1630-1787) through City Upon a Hill, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and The Constitution; The Civil War (1861-1865) through Abraham Lincoln’s Speeches and This Mighty Scourge by James McPherson; the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (18781913); the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s through Eyes on the Prize and Warriors Don’t Cry; the Red Scare and McCarthyism; and Nixon and Watergate through All the President’s Men.
Advanced Placement United States History – 11th Grade This class is a one-year, intensive study of American history. Textbook readings serve as background for specific discussions and activities during class time. Students are taught to analyze evidence and interpret historical scholarship. They examine primary source materials (speeches, political cartoons, photographs, songs, and poems), different historical interpretations of events, and influences of past events in today’s world. Critical writing and reading are also heavily emphasized. Students are expected to analyze and synthesize data, historical knowledge, and information from other classes. The course covers themes from Colonial times up through the Reagan Era. The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP exam in May. Prerequisite: Modern World History or AP European History Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Placement Art History – 12th Grade Although structured as a survey of art history from pre-history into the modern era in preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam, a fundamental goal of the course is developing the skill of artistic analysis. This development comes through daily in-class discussion, written analysis and testing culminating in a major research paper. Museum visits and student-taught classes are used to deepen the students’ understanding. Departmental recommendation required The following semester electives for 11th and 12th grades provide opportunities for students to study a different aspect of history:
Psychology: A Study of Human Behavior The word “psyche” is derived from the Greek “psuche” meaning breath, life, soul… At its root, psychology can therefore be considered a study of the source that animates life. This course is an introduction to the field of psychology. The course begins with the biological foundation of behavior, with an emphasis on a study of the brain. The students then study other influences on behavior, including gender, culture, classical and operant conditioning, as well as more traditional areas of psychology such as consciousness, sensation and perception, motivation, and normal and abnormal behavior. Students have a significant voice in the areas of psychology the class investigates. A successful measure of the class is leaving it with as many unanswered questions as those that have been resolved.
Economics This semester elective, a joint offering of the history and math departments, offers students a brief introduction to the concepts of microeconomics (the study of how producers and consumers make economic choices) and macroeconomics (the study of the national economy as a whole). In addition to text readings, the class involves games and
simulations, historical and case studies, and mathematical explorations of how economics works. Toward the end of the semester, students turn their attention to the practical application of economic concepts in the world outside the classroom.
Current Political Issues How does the American political system work? Students obtain some clarity on this issue by focusing on such topics as special interest groups and whether they hinder or help the political process; who has the most influence in elections, legislation, and government and why; what role money plays in the political process, especially on campaigns and legislation; and how mass media sways what Americans know. The class also investigates the politics of rhetoric, paying careful attention to what is really being said and what is being heard. Readings are from magazines, newspaper articles, and other sources.
The Criminal Justice System Who is behind bars and why? This question drives the class and generates discussion on issues such as the benefits and drawbacks of focusing on the prevention of crime, the social, economic, and cultural issues of incarceration, and recidivism rates. In addition, there is a focus on the economic, social, psychological, and cultural costs of the death penalty, life imprisonment, and rehabilitation in addition to looking at prison culture and juvenile offenders. Readings are from magazines, newspaper articles, and other sources.
Power and Oppression in China: The Chinese Cultural Revolution The course covers Communist China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Students read Nien Cheng’s autobiography, Life and Death in Shanghai, and Anchee Min’s memoir, Red Azalea. The idea of the communist state’s desire to rid the culture of capitalists and intellectuals is discussed as well as
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the nature of communism. The course evaluates power, oppression, communism, and Marxist ideals through the eyes of those most affected by the Cultural Revolution.
Power and Oppression in South Africa: South Africa and Apartheid This course covers South Africa from the beginnings of Apartheid in the 1930s to the present. Through literature the course discovers who holds the power in South Africa and all those who were oppressed. The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay, and Invictus, by John Carlin, are used to delve into the country’s history.
20th Century American History and Culture Through Baseball This course looks at American History and Culture through America’s greatest pastime, baseball. An exploration of the minds and spirits of the American people and her institutions through literature, history, and film gives students a better understanding of the country. The course studies such topics as baseball’s impact on social change with Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, gender issues with World War II’s interruption of the game and the ensuing women’s league, and the current controversies of steroid use and bloated salaries. The course incorporates a multimedia approach through readings from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year and David Halberstam’s The Teammates, and videos ranging from Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball to the documentary on the Dominican “invasion” of American baseball, The Republic of Baseball to A League of Their Own, among others.
History of the Cold War This course covers the history of the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States from the end of WWII to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Students examine the origins of the Cold War, when the Cold War turned “hot,” the major turning points in the era, how the Cold War influenced culture in both
countries, how the allies and surrogates of the superpowers experienced the Cold War, and why the Cold War ended the way it did. Students read a variety of primary and secondary source materials, examine period film, literature, and art, participate in simulations, and write a series of short analytical papers.
Global Studies Seminar What in the world is going on? The Global Studies Seminar finds out, beginning with a wide angle examination of two topics that affect nearly every part of the world: globalization (both economic and cultural) and debates about human rights.
Modern Middle East
rise of sub-Saharan Africa. The seminar nature of the course means that students are expected to interact with a variety of sources – history, anthropology, literature and poetry, journalism, policy analysis, memoirs, and more – in this middle portion of the term to develop or pursue a topical or regional expertise they can share with the class.
The course then tightens its focus on regional or topical issues that vary depending on student interest and current relevance. For example, topics for this portion of the course could include: controversies surrounding development work and international aid, the postArab Spring Middle East, the effects of climate change on various societies, the growth of China as a world power, Latin American literary culture, issues of gender and women’s rights around the world, anticipating a post-Castro Cuba, or the
Finally, the end of the course requires the students to select a specific relevant question for independent research. For students pursuing the Distinction in Global Citizenship, this independent project is intended to provide the foundation for the capstone project. The Global Studies Seminar is required of students who are pursuing the Distinction in Global Citizenship but is open to any interested juniors and seniors as well.
This course examines the origins and development of the most important Middle Eastern regions since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. Although the Arab-Israeli conflict plays a central role in this course, students also study the modern history of such important regional states as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. Students have opportunities to explore the rich variety of Islamic cultures through art, literature, and primary and secondary sources.
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Mathematics Algebra I
Algebra I is the study of positive and negative numbers, the fundamental axioms and properties of algebra, linear equations and inequalities, formulas, problem-solving using equations, operations with polynomials, quadratic equations and factoring, systems of linear equations, properties of exponents, and radical algebraic expressions. Additional topics may include rational algebraic expressions and function terminology. This course is open to qualified seventh and eighth grade students with permission of the department.
Intended as a preparation for Advanced Placement Calculus AB, this course is an introduction to analysis and the study of functions. Topics include a review of quadratic functions and transformations, the theory of polynomials, the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, rational and root functions, limits and asymptotic behavior, exponential and logarithmic functions, circular functions and trigonometry, complex numbers and polar graphing, vectors, conics, sequences and series, and parametric equations. Graphing calculators are used regularly to aid the study of the behavior of functions. Students wishing to take Pre-Calculus AB must have a strong algebra background, a demonstrated interest in mathematics, and a desire to enroll in AP Calculus for their senior year. Departmental recommendation required
Geometry This course in Euclidean geometry challenges students to think logically. Topics include congruent triangles, parallel and perpendicular lines, polygons, similarity, the Pythagorean Theorem, right triangle trigonometry, circles and arcs, area, and volume. Additional topics may include transformational and coordinate geometry. Geometric proofs are an integral part of this course. Ample opportunity is provided for students to apply and maintain algebraic skills.
Algebra II As both a review and a continuation of Algebra I, this course focuses on simplifying, solving, and applying the concepts of linear functions, quadratic functions, polynomial functions, rational functions, root functions, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, and sequences and series. Each unit includes relevant graphing components. Further topics include complex numbers, systems of equations and inequalities, rational exponents, and transformations of quadratic functions. Additional topics may include an introduction to circle trigonometry, matrices, and conic sections.
Algebra II and Trigonometry Intended for students to accelerate to AP Calculus, this course covers all topics of Algebra II and Pre-Calculus AB in one year. Topics include applications of linear and quadratic functions and inequalities, transformations of the basic functions and function behavior, the theory of polynomials, the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, rational and root functions and inequalities, limits and asymptotic behavior, exponential and logarithmic functions, circular functions and trigonometry, applications of trigonometry on oblique triangles, complex numbers and polar graphing, vectors, sequences and series, counting principles, systems of equations and matrices. Graphing calculators are used regularly to aid the study of the behavior of functions. Emphasis will be placed on problem solving skills, independent exploration, and contributions to
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collaborative class discussions. Due to the pace and scope of this course, students must have strong Algebra and Geometry backgrounds. Departmental recommendation is required
Advanced Placement Statistics Following the guidelines established by the College Board, this course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes: exploratory analysis, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns with probability, and statistical inference. Students learn to describe patterns, plan and conduct studies, estimate population parameters, and test hypotheses. This course prepares students to take the AP Statistics exam in May. Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Placement Calculus AB Following the guidelines established by the College Board, this course covers the theory of limits, continuity, derivatives and their applications, including curve sketching, maximum/minimum problems, and related rates. Students then turn to integration and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus with applications to area, volume, arc length, and average value. Students learn to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: verbally, graphically, numerically and symbolically. This course prepares students to take the AP Calculus AB exam in May. Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Placement Calculus BC Following the guidelines established by the College Board, this course reinforces and expands upon the concepts learned in the AP Calculus AB course. While strengthening student understanding of all AB topics throughout the year, students expand their conceptual knowledge of derivatives and integrals. Additional topics covered include parametric, polar, and vector functions; improper integrals, further techniques and applications of integration, polynomial approximations and series; and differential equations. Students continue to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: verbally, graphically, numerically, and symbolically. This course prepares students to take the AP Calculus BC exam in May. Departmental recommendation required Semester electives for seniors are listed here:
Statistics & Data Analysis
within problem contexts such as voting, apportionment, finance and money, networks, symmetry, logic, numeration systems, counting methods, and probability. An emphasis on mathematical literacy, assumption making, and critical thinking is made throughout the course. Throughout the semester, students actively prepare and engage in a variety of projects that utilize proper modeling techniques. Open to seniors Departmental recommendation required
Pre-Calculus Fundamentals Intended as a preparation for an introductory collegiate mathematics program, this semester course provides an overview of the major types of functions that will be applied within the study of college algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Topics include a review of linear and polynomial functions, rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, and assorted additional topics as time allows. Mathematical modeling is emphasized
Designed for students who have completed at least Algebra II and are interested in a fourth year of elective mathematics, this semester-long course introduces foundational statistical concepts with an emphasis on both understanding and application. Techniques are applied in using the TI-84 graphing calculator to help perform calculations and data analyses. Students also develop an introductory understanding of probability and combinatorics as they relate to the ideas of chance and randomness. Throughout the semester, students actively prepare and engage in a variety of projects that utilize statistical methods and ideas. Open to seniors Departmental recommendation required
Mathematical Modeling & Applications Designed for students who have completed at least Algebra II and are interested in a fourth year of elective mathematics, this semester-long course delves into the analysis of mathematical models as a way to solve real-world problems. A wide variety of modeling concepts are examined
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throughout the course and graphing calculators are used regularly to aid the study of the behavior of functions. This elective is designed for seniors who have completed a second-year Algebra course. Open to seniors Departmental recommendation required
Introduction to Calculus Designed for students who have previously completed a course in Pre-Calculus, this course begins with an in-depth review of functions, asymptotes, slope, velocity, and continuity. The theory of the limit is then thoroughly explored, followed by an examination of the derivative and the process of differentiation. Students then examine applications of the derivative including curve sketching, optimization, and related rates, if time allows. Students learn to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: verbally, graphically, numerically, and symbolically. Open to seniors Departmental recommendation required
Modern & Classical Languages French I In French I, students explore the various modes of communication by building vocabulary, working on basic grammatical structures, and learning to express themselves through writing and speaking. Reading comprehension is developed by monitoring student understanding of the texts, learning various reading strategies, and by the ability to decode thematic vocabulary in context. Throughout the year, students explore French culture by researching the different monuments of Paris and historical and current Francophone figures. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: D’accord I
French II In this course, continued emphasis is placed on the development of language skills. More frequent writing assignments encourage students to use vocabulary and grammatical structures to express their thoughts through storytelling in both the past and the present. Students participate in a wide variety of interpersonal activities to develop their speaking and listening skills as well as acquire practical vocabulary that can be applied outside of the classroom. During the course of the year, students study the provinces of France and France in general as well as begin to explore the other cultures that make up the French-speaking world. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: D’accord II Departmental recommendation required
French III Conducted almost exclusively in French, this class provides a thorough review of grammatical structures taught in levels I and II and introduces the literary past tense, conditional sentences, and the subjunctive. Students communicate using more complex structures in French on
a wide variety of topics. The course also continues the development of students’ understanding of the cultures of the Francophone world. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: D’accord III Departmental recommendation required
French IV Conducting this course exclusively in French offers students the opportunity to deepen their confidence and further their proficiency in the language. Students gain more access to the various cultures that make up the French-speaking world. The curriculum builds on the previous years’ skills, stressing acquisition of useful vocabulary through oral presentations and written mastery of the French language for contemporary life. Students read short stories and current event articles and listen to songs, radio broadcasts, and authentic videos. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: Imaginez Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Placement French Language & Culture This course is conducted exclusively in French. Emphasizing the use of French for active communication, the course helps students to develop the ability to understand spoken French in various contexts beyond the school setting and to express themselves coherently, resourcefully, and with reasonable fluency and accuracy in both written and spoken French. To continue to develop their ability to speak, write, read, and listen in French, students participate in a variety of activities such as writing email responses, reading excerpts from a variety of sources, listening to a variety of authentic audio materials, and participating in class discussions. The readings take students beyond simple comprehension to higherorder thinking of application, synthesis
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and analysis. In addition, students work on several projects individually and with partners and explore websites to prepare cultural presentations based on authentic materials. Students explore the different cultures of French-speaking countries in both contemporary and historical contexts. Students take the AP French Language & Culture exam in May. Texts: AP French: Preparing for the Language Examination and Le Petit Prince Departmental recommendation required
Latin I This course emphasizes gaining familiarity with the structure of the Latin language, mastering a wide vocabulary base, and developing an understanding of the basic grammatical forms and concepts. The students use a modern reading-based text, begin translating on the first day of class, and work throughout the year to synthesize their knowledge with effective translation techniques. In addition, the students are exposed to Roman geography, history, and civilization. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: Ecce Romani I
Latin II This course, through the Ecce Romani text and workbook, continues to expand the students’ knowledge of vocabulary, solidify their understanding of the more complex grammatical structures, and improve their translation skills. In the spring semester, students work to move beyond the textbook Latin by beginning to read The Millionaire’s Dinner Party, an adaptation of the Cena Trimalchionis of Petronius. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Texts: Ecce Romani II and excerpts as listed above Departmental recommendation required
Latin III This course is a survey of different types of Latin prose. Students study excerpts from Livy’s History of Rome, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, and Cicero’s First Catilinarian Oration, as well as selected letters of Pliny the Younger. In addition, students work to expand their understanding of grammar through both review and exercises in prose composition, to become familiar with the stylistic elements of Latin literature, and to learn to read with an eye to the broader historical and cultural context. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Texts: Review Latin Grammar and excerpts as listed above Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Latin Literature Advanced Latin Literature is offered in alternating years with the AP Latin course. In this course, students translate, analyze and interpret a variety of Latin poetry, concentrating on the poems of Catullus and selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Amores. Literal translation, sightreading and familiarity with the cultural, social and political context of the literature are emphasized. Students also devote significant time to developing analytical writing skills. Due to the rigor of the course and quantity of material, this course carries an additional 0.3 points in the weighted 4.0 scale and may require additional time. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Texts: Students’ Catullus and Ovid: Amores, Metamorphoses – selections Departmental recommendation required
cultural, social, and political context of both works are emphasized. Students also devote significant time to developing analytical writing skills. Students take the AP Latin exam in May. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Texts: Vergil’s Aeneid: Selections From Books 1, 2, 4, and 6 and Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii de Bello Gallico Departmental recommendation required
Mandarin I In Mandarin I, the students’ learning experience is intertwined with the 5 Cs of language study – communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. From the first day of class, students start speaking Mandarin and then learn characters and the pinyin Romanization system. Sentence patterns are emphasized throughout the course. Students are engaged through interactive and integrated language practice through meaningful activities, including contemporary topics. A summer review project is required for continuing students. Text: Huanying: An Invitation to Chinese I
Advanced Placement Latin The AP Latin course is offered in alternating years with Advanced Latin Literature. In this course, students translate more than 800 lines of Vergil’s Aeneid and approximately 50 chapters from Caesar’s Gallic Wars while also reading the entirety of each work in English. The students work on analyzing the texts and study both the epic and the historiographical traditions. Translation, sightreading, and familiarity with the
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Mandarin II In this course, students continue to build their mastery of spoken and written Mandarin while studying thematic units that are essential to everyday communication. Students move from being able to describe and discuss their immediate surroundings to the bigger world. Chinese idioms and proverbs are introduced and the proper usage of these is practiced. Mid-year, a contemporary Chinese movie is integrated into the curriculum. A summer review project is required for continuing students. Texts: Huanying: An Invitation to Chinese I & II Departmental recommendation required
Mandarin III Mandarin III continues to emphasize authentic communication, achieved through rapidly expanding a student’s vocabulary, in both the written and spoken forms. Students learn to discuss contemporary Chinese issues, such as multi-national families, in Chinese. Chinese tales and traditions, as well
as idioms and proverbs, are utilized to broaden an understanding of Chinese culture and language. A summer review project is required for continuing students. Text: Huanying: An invitation to Chinese II & III Departmental recommendation required
Conducting this course exclusively in Spanish (¡Todo español, todo el tiempo!) offers students the possibility to deepen their confidence, become more resourceful with the language, and strengthen their proficiency. With all grammar study completed by the end of Spanish III, grammar is reviewed as necessary but is not a major focus of the course. Instead, students continue to increase their proficiency and acquire vocabulary through frequent cultural readings, writing assignments, class discussions, and research projects that highlight various traditions in the Spanish-speaking world. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: El mundo 21 Departmental recommendation required
Mandarin IV In this course, which is conducted exclusively in Mandarin, students continue to expand their mastery of spoken and written Chinese. Acquisition and correct usage of new vocabulary is emphasized, and students are expected to read and comprehend longer passages of writing. Oral presentations help students gain confidence in their language abilities. Students are also expected to teach several classes throughout the year, which allows students to share their interests in Chinese language, culture, history, or contemporary issues. Text: Huanying : An Invitation to Chinese III & IV Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Placement Spanish Language & Culture
Spanish I From the beginning, Spanish I focuses on building basic communicative skills so that simple conversations and regular classroom business can be conducted in Spanish. Students then begin to rapidly build their repertoire of fundamental vocabulary and grammar while learning the mechanics of good writing and oral expression. Exercises and activities are varied, and include computer-based oral practice. Projects and presentations are also utilized to strengthen language skills and deepen cultural understanding. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: Vistas
Spanish II Students broaden their knowledge of vocabulary, grammatical structures, and verb tenses, studying the preterite and imperfect, future and conditional, the present perfect and past perfect, and commands. Increased emphasis is placed on writing and using Spanish in the classroom to improve communicative
ability. Exercises and activities are varied, and include computer-based oral practice. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: Vistas Departmental recommendation required
Spanish III As we delve more deeply into advanced grammar, students practice synthesizing their knowledge and expressing themselves more fluidly. Most classroom business and discussions are conducted in Spanish. Our grammatical focus is on mastery of all uses and tenses of the subjunctive, and emphasis is placed on incorporating this challenging verb mood into students’ writing and speech in a variety of settings, such as letters, dialogs, and daily sentences about animals. We progress through increasingly advanced vocabulary units, including politics and the environment. A summer reading project is required for continuing students. Text: Vistas Departmental recommendation required
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This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish, with students and the teacher signing a pledge at the beginning of the year to speak only Spanish in class. Through rigorous practice in a wide variety of contexts and focused feedback from the teacher, students gain both productive proficiency (writing, speaking) and interpretive proficiency (reading, listening). Students practice a variety of types of writing and speaking including formal essays, email responses, poetry, oral presentations, conversations, and discussions. Through the study of authentic source material, students broaden their vocabulary, extend their communicative ability, and deepen their cultural understanding. Connections and comparisons are made between the students’ own lives and the cultures they encounter in their studies. The rigor of the course is balanced with a welcoming atmosphere where students are made comfortable and lessons come alive through videos, photos, songs, and discussion. Students take the AP Spanish Language & Culture exam in May. Texts: AP Spanish: Preparing for the Language Examination and Senderos fronterizos Departmental recommendation required
Science Special Note: All science courses in Upper School are laboratory courses.
Physics – 9th Grade This course gives students a solid foundation in physics – the study of matter, energy, forces, and motion. The major principles of introductory physics are analyzed throughout the course. Topics covered include mechanics, force, heat, sound and light, and electricity and magnetism. With the goal of preparing students for more advanced science courses, students learn and apply skills and concepts including lab techniques, report writing, and the metric system. Laboratory investigations are completed throughout the year and are central to the “guided inquiry” philosophy of the course. Required of all 9th grade students.
Biology – 10th Grade This course is a general survey of biology concentrating on ecology, cell structure and function, heredity, genetics, evolution, and plants. Students prepare and present individual research projects on the evolutionary progression of microorganisms, fungus, and animals. Current topics in life science are incorporated into the basic principles presented in the classroom. Laboratory investigations, including dissections, help solidify these concepts.
Advanced Placement Chemistry – 11th Grade This course is comparable to a first year college course in general chemistry. Topics of study include atomic theory and structure, chemical bonding, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, gases, solutions, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics. A strong emphasis is placed on laboratory experiences, solving chemical calculations, and both collaborative and independent work. This course prepares students to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisite: Biology Departmental recommendation required.
Environmental Science – 11th/12th Grades This course is designed to give students a greater understanding of how humans interact with the natural world. Topics include ecology and ecosystems, biodiversity, conservation, human populations with respect to the environment, natural resource management, renewable and nonrenewable energy, global climate change, sustainability, and environmental
Chemistry – 11th Grade This is an introductory course in chemistry that reviews basic mathematical concepts and covers the basic principles of chemical reactions and uses them to explain chemical phenomena in our lives. The major concepts covered include properties of matter, elements, compounds, atomic and molecular structure, and the properties of chemical reactions. Mathematical concepts are thoroughly explained and reviewed. This course emphasizes problem solving through projects and laboratory exercises.
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policy. Laboratory and field investigations allow students to study the environment through first hand observation. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Note: Students may concurrently take Chemistry or AP Chemistry.)
Advanced Placement Environmental Science – 11th/12th Grades This course is comparable to one semester of introductory college level environmental science. Topics covered include population dynamics, natural resource management, ecosystems, energy production and conservation, pollution, and global climate variations. The course emphasizes comprehensive laboratory and field investigations, allowing students to study the environment through firsthand observation. Class work explores historic and contemporary issues, probing ethical, political, and scientific factors that influence environmental health. This course prepares students to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Note: Students may concurrently take Chemistry or AP Chemistry.) Departmental recommendation required
Advanced Physics – 12th Grade This course is designed to provide a solid understanding of the major concepts in college preparatory physics. It is ideal for students who enjoy blending science and mathematical problem solving, and it emphasizes learning through modeling and experimentation. Students develop the mathematical relationships between physical quantities and apply graphical analysis throughout the course. Topics of study include vectors, kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, the laws of conservation of energy and momentum, gravitation, center of mass, and modern physics if time permits. Demonstrations and student projects are integrated throughout the course. Co-requisite: Enrollment in AP Calculus or departmental permission
Advanced Placement Biology – 12th Grade The scope, sequence, and design of this course are comparable to a full year of introductory college biology. Topics of study include basic principles of chemistry as they relate to biology, cell biology, heredity, genetics, evolution, biological diversity, and ecology. Analytical thinking, independent work, and laboratory experiments, including dissections, are integrated throughout this course. This course prepares students to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry Departmental recommendation required The following semester electives, designed for juniors and seniors, provide students with the opportunity to pursue science topics in greater depth.
Genomics – 11th/12th Grades This semester elective is designed to introduce students to different genes and how they function, including interactions with other genes and the environment. This information, along with the ethics of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, is incorporated into everyday topics
such as sports, cancer, genetic disorders, and personalized medicine. Laboratory investigations include a series of protocols in conjunction with The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. Prerequisite: Biology
Forensics – 11th/12th Grades This semester elective focuses on the application of science as it applies to the law. Students learn how to process a crime scene as a whole and then some of the techniques used to analyze evidence. Topics may include fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, hair and fibers, impressions, powders, and firearms. Laboratory investigations, outside readings, and guest speakers are part of this course. Prerequisite: Biology
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry – 12th Grade This semester elective focuses on organic compounds and the chemistry of living systems. It is especially designed for those
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students with an interest in chemistry, biology, or health sciences. Topics include organic nomenclature and reactions, hormones, proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids. For the second half of the course, students research and present on a specific drug of interest. Field trips and basic organic laboratory techniques are introduced. Prerequisite: Chemistry or AP Chemistry
Profiles of Engineering/ Computer Aided Drafting (POE/CAD) – 11th/12th Grades POE/CAD introduces students to each branch of engineering through interactions with current professionals in industry, case studies, and current events. The course provides students with a framework for the engineering design process, including brainstorming and FMEA methods. Students will also complete introductory coursework in Computer Aided Drafting using AutoCAD. This course is a requirement for the Diploma with Distinction in STEM. Prerequisite: Geometry
Multidisciplinary The following Upper School multidisciplinary courses are semester electives that meet 4 times per 6-day cycle for 1/2 credit.
Literature of Glacier Bay This spring semester elective focuses on American environmental writing and literature, with a particular eye toward the literature of Glacier Bay in Alaska. Students are introduced to the wide-ranging tradition of American environmental writing and thought with a special focus on writing about Glacier Bay. Writing assignments throughout the semester help students to think critically about the main texts, and to put the techniques and ideas that they have analyzed into practice with their own creative writing. During critical assignments, students are expected to use the expository writing and analysis skills they have developed in their English classes. Students select one location in which to journal on a weekly basis throughout the semester, and they write a 5-page essay or analogous creative work by May 15. In addition to creative and analytical writing, the curriculum includes aspects of backcountry safety, geology and biology of Glacier Bay, bear protocols, and map/chart navigation. The course concludes with an optional ten-day non-graded trip to Alaska, where students meet some of the authors they have been reading and spend a week kayaking in the backcountry of Glacier Bay, literally paddling and walking in the footsteps of John Muir.
Senior Innovations Seminar (SIS) This spring semester elective brings together interdisciplinary collaboration, project-based learning, and cultural awareness by having students work in groups over the course of a semester
to solve real-world problems. These problems could be social, political, scientific, and/or economic in nature, presenting complex challenges that require a range of talents and expertise to address. Students declare a specialization in STEM or Human Culture and work in multi-discipline groups utilizing designthinking and inquiry, case studies and brainstorming sessions, and research methods and communication skills, all while learning that teamwork is critical to the process of developing a sustainable and realistic solution to complex problems. A key part of the projects undertaken by students is collaboration with other organizations, businesses, students,
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or community members. Each group will finish its work with a multimedia presentation of its Capstone Project. Successful completion of SIS will carry cocredit with the University of Maine Orono for the INV 180 Create course, which is the first of four courses in the Innovation Engineering certificate program. Students can complete the certificate program while attending UMO or online. Prerequisite: Students must be recommended by faculty and complete a writing prompt to be considered for acceptance into this course.
Technology The following Upper School technology courses areÂ semester electives that meet 4 times per 6-day cycle for 1/2 credit.
Computer Graphics I This course provides students with a good working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, a powerful 2D graphic editing program used to change and colorize images, retouch proofs, and create original and composite artwork. Students learn each of Photoshopâ€™s tools and then apply them to self-designed projects. At the end of the term, each student designs a final collage of works to be displayed in an NYA internet gallery.
Computer Graphics II This course uses an advanced graphics program by MetaTools called Bryce 5. This application offers a simple way to design
and render natural 3D worlds and abstract 3D sculptures. It is the ideal entry into the world of 3D graphics. Students learn how to design terrain, materials, light sources, clouds, water and many other objects that Bryce 5 lets the user control. Prerequisite: Computer Graphics I
Computer Graphics III This course covers the advanced aspects of Bryce 5 and Blender. Topics include the material editor, the terrain editor, animation, and the integration with other programs such as Photoshop and Poser. Students must be able to think and work independently as they design projects that demonstrate their knowledge of the material they have learned. Students complete a minimum of 3 animations using Bryce and 8 still projects. There is no final exam. Prerequisite: Computer Graphics I and II and instructor permission
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Computer Programming I This course is intended for students with little or no programming experience and serves as an introduction to objectoriented programming using the Java programming language. Students will learn the fundamentals of OOP syntax, theory, and structure, the knowledge of which will allow them to continue work in Java or expand into additional languages after completion of this class. There will be heavy focus on lab work which can be completed in an NYA computer lab or at home with the proper IDE, which will be supplied in class. This course is a requirement for the Diploma with Distinction in STEM.
Visual & Performing Arts Visual Arts Advanced Placement Studio Art – Full Year Following requirements designated by the College Board, highly motivated, advanced level art students prepare either the Drawing, 2-D, or 3-D Design portfolio for evaluation at the end of the school year. Students must demonstrate quality, concentration, and breadth in their work. The portfolio consists of three parts: • Quality – examples of work that demonstrate mastery • Concentration – slides of a personal body of exemplary work designed by the student • Breadth – slides showing a wide range of ability in working with various materials, tools, and subjects Students may submit two portfolios during high school. Prerequisite for AP Drawing: Drawing I, II, III. Prerequisite for AP 2-D Design: Printmaking I, II, III. Drawing I strongly suggested. Computer Graphics I and Photography encouraged. Prerequisite for AP 3-D Design: Sculpture I, II, III. Students may also fulfill the prerequisites by participating in pre-college programs or attending classes at art schools. Summer preparation for AP courses is expected. Departmental recommendation required AP Studio course fee: $45 one time fee + AP exam fee. (Students may also want to purchase personal art materials.) The following Upper School art courses are semester electives, meeting 4 times per 6-day cycle, for 1/2 credit. All Upper School art courses, including photography, have a prerequisite of Foundations of Studio Art.
Foundations of Studio Art Required of all new students to the NYA Upper School who wish to take visual arts. Not required for rising freshmen who attended NYA Middle School. This course is designed to help students understand and utilize the Language of Art. The main emphasis of this course is the Elements of Form and the Principles of Design as they apply in art construction. Students learn that creating artwork begins with a proper foundation of artistic skills that can then be built upon. The teacher encourages students to practice learning the fundamental techniques to maximize the greatest potential for unique self-expression. At the end of the semester, students are fortified with formal fundamentals they can utilize in any form of artistic expression in the future. Foundations is a survey studio course that teaches students creative methods in various techniques such as: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture. Objectives: • Learn the Elements of Form and how to utilize them in a work of art • Learn the Principles of Design and how to utilize them in a work of art • Demonstrate that all artwork can be broken down to a fundamental language of art • Learn the functions and limitations of different 2D and 3D materials • Focus on accurate observational construction of form using 2D materials • Explore form and how light affects form, using 3D materials (1 semester) Studio Fee: $45
Drawing I, II, III, Advanced This is a working studio curriculum designed to teach the fundamental mediums and techniques used to create finished drawings. In the beginning of the semester, students practice drawing from a
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still life to establish a proper way of seeing three-dimensional form and translating it onto a two-dimensional surface. Value is added later to show how it can create the illusion of form and help effect mood in a work of art. Students progress through the semester with a series of projects designed to develop sensitivity to the application of mediums and surface quality. As they begin to gain confidence in their ability, students focus on utilizing the fundamentals of drawing to recreate a personal/perceptual experience. Finally, the more abstract aspects of drawing are incorporated side by side with the more perceptually based aspects. Drawing II is offered to Drawing I students who have shown the ability to use critical thinking skills to develop works of art that display sound fundamentals. In Drawing II, III, and Advanced, students continue exploring new methods and techniques while developing a visual language and the confidence to express themselves with their artwork. Objectives: • Learn how to properly use sketches and photographs to aid your paintings/drawings • Learn how to prepare quality surfaces for finished artwork • Understand the characteristics and limitations of drawing mediums • Utilize different methods of drawing • Create finished drawings using different observational techniques • Learn about value application and control • Utilize line and value together to create form • Understand perspective and figure ground relationships • Develop abstract compositions focusing on the principles of design • Take an original idea all the way from concept to production independently (1 semester each) Studio Fee: $30
Painting I, II, III, Advanced This is a working studio curriculum designed to teach the fundamental mediums and techniques used to create finished oil paintings. Initially, students learn basic mixing and paint application on a series of black and white still life paintings. After mastering that level, students move on to a series of limited palette paintings. These are designed to increase their color vocabulary and teach them how to create the illusion of three-dimensional form on a two dimensional surface. As the semester progresses, students are asked to complete paintings using a cool palette, a warm palette and a complimentary palette. As they begin
to gain confidence in their ability, students focus on utilizing the fundamentals of painting to recreate a personal/perceptual experience. Finally, students incorporate the more abstract aspects of painting side by side with the more perceptually based aspects. Painting II is offered to Painting I students who have shown the ability to use critical thinking skills to develop works of art that display sound fundamentals. In Painting II, III, and Advanced, students continue exploring new methods and techniques while developing a visual language and the confidence to express themselves with their artwork.
Printmaking I, II, III, Advanced This is a working studio curriculum designed to teach the fundamental mediums and techniques used to create finished prints. In the beginning of the semester, students learn about the various methods of printmaking including: Monotype, LinoBlock, Stenciling, Silk Screen, Etching and Wood Block. The focus of the first semester is to learn different printmaking methods while strengthening the understanding of the language of art. Students can expect to create wall paper designs with lino-block prints, spray paint prints with stencils, vintage movie posters with silk screens, and a personal Coat of Arms.
Printmaking II is offered to Printmaking I students who have shown the ability to use critical thinking skills to develop works of art that display sound fundamentals. In Printmaking II, III, and Advanced, students continue to explore new methods and techniques while developing a visual language and the confidence to express themselves with their artwork. Objectives: • Teach basic printmaking methods and mediums • Focus on creating quality prints using each method
Objectives: • Learn basic mixing and application, including all mediums of oil paint • Learn how to prepare quality surfaces for finished artwork • Develop value control with black and white palette • Create the illusion of three-dimension form using various palettes • Learn about atmospheric perspective in landscape painting • Create mood with portraiture • Develop abstract compositions focusing on the principles of design • Take an original idea all the way from concept to production independently (1 semester each) Studio Fee: $45 • Explore color theory through mixing different color palettes • Utilize Adobe Photoshop to help with the printmaking process • Explore use of photography and collage in printmaking • Strengthen comprehension of the language of art • Develop abstract compositions focusing on the principles of design • Take an original idea all the way from concept to production independently (1 semester each) Studio Fee: $45
Sculpture I, II, III, Advanced This curriculum is designed to introduce the materials and techniques used to create three-dimensional artworks. The prerequisite for Sculpture I is Foundations of Studio Art. Students learn to create artwork from a variety of media, including clay, plaster, wood, bristol board, wire, paper and found objects. In addition to the elements of art and principles of design, students also work on understanding specific sculpture principles such as mass, form, space, light, time and location. The main emphasis of this course is the development of critical thinking skills as they apply to three dimensional art forms and to help students gain a deeper understanding of visual art.
Sculpture II is offered to Sculpture I students who have shown the ability to use critical thinking skills to develop works of art that display sound fundamentals. In Sculpture II, III, and Advanced, students contiinue to explore new methods and techniques while developing a visual language and the confidence to express themselves with their artwork. Course Goals: • Explore value, shape, color, line, texture, and space as basic principles in three-dimensional design • Utilize critical thinking skills to transform concepts into threedimensional art • Develop problem solving skills
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through the practice of artistic processes and procedure including concept, planning/sketching, exploration of materials, and construction • Define the various aspects of 3D design from a practical, logical, and aesthetic point of view • Understand the basic materials and techniques used in creating threedimensional art • Develop a vocabulary of art terms when discussing 3D art • Critically discuss (critique) their own artwork as well as the artwork of others. (1 semester each) Studio Fee: $45
Photography This curriculum is designed to introduce students to the camera and techniques used in digital photographic images. Students learn the basic functions of the digital SLR camera while documenting a wide variety of subjects, some of which are: still life, portraiture, landscape, found object, and collage. In addition to using the camera daily, students learn basic photo editing and printing techniques. The main emphasis of this course is the development of critical thinking skills as they apply to photography and to help gain a deeper understanding of the digital image.
Performing Arts Advanced Placement Music Theory – Full Year This course is designed for juniors and seniors who wish to develop further their skills in musical composition and ear training. It emphasizes fundamentals of traditional harmony and counterpoint, vocalization of intervals, scales and sight singing. Melodic and harmonic dictation skills are stressed throughout the year. Students prepare to take the AP Music Theory exam given in May. Departmental recommendation required.
Music & Performance Seminar In this semester elective, student musicians develop the knowledge and skills to be independent twenty-first century musicians who are culturally, economically, and technologically nimble, while serving their community. As part of the course, students study different ways that music can be used to serve local communities. They also learn about various entrepreneurial mindsets, ideas, and skillsets. Students design their own media platform (including website), learn about recording technology (and make instructional videos about it), and use various media methods to book, and promote, off-campus performances. This course is a requirement for the Diploma with Distinction in Music.
The following Upper School courses meet twice a week for the full academic year for 1/2 credit.
Upper School Chorus
Students study a varied repertoire of choral music, including folk, pop, spiritual, classical and novelty songs. Students are encouraged to participate in small ensembles (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed) and audition for District II and All-State Music Festivals. Theory skills, sight-reading, ear training, and good vocal techniques are developed and reinforced. Performances are scheduled 2 to 3 times per year.
This performing ensemble plays a wide range of music written for steel drums. Steel Band provides a fun opportunity for students to play in a music group even if they have no previous experience. Students are expected to participate in several performances, some of which require travel during the school day. Due to Steel Band’s great popularity, participants are chosen by lottery with priority given to the 12th grade.
This is a performing ensemble that emphasizes traditional concert band material and wind literature. There are 2 to 3 performances during the school year, as well as opportunities to participate in music festivals.
This group plays a variety of music that is chosen to suit the instrumentation and varying levels of development. Performances are scheduled 2 to 3 times per year. Departmental recommendation required
This is a performing group that emphasizes traditional jazz band literature. Jazz styles such as swing, Latin and rock are studied, as well as historical perspectives of the various genres. Performances are scheduled 2 to 3 times per year. Departmental recommendation required
In addition to the above graded ensembles, there are numerous opportunities to be involved in non-graded ensembles such as: Bluegrass, Jazz Combo, Treble Choir, and Varsity Singers. Students are supported in forming their own groups as well.
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Diplomas with Distinction NYA currently offers programs of distinction in Global Citizenship; Music: Performance, Entrepreneurship, and Community; and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These programs allow students to follow a course of study where they can pursue individual passions, demonstrate exceptional achievement, and expand their learning. These programs begin in earnest in the junior year. Interested students should speak with their advisor or Head of Upper School. Students who successfully complete one of the programs of distinction are recognized at Awards Day in the senior year.
Distinction in Global Citizenship Upper School students dedicated to the study of language, increased global awareness, and service to others may submit a proposal to join our Distinction in Global Citizenship program. Studies are largely based on individual interest. In addition to the general NYA graduation requirements, students seeking this diploma distinction will: 1) Demonstrate exceptional achievement and/or near fluency in a language other than their native tongue. • This will include a minimum of 4 years study of the same language in the Upper School, preferably including AP. • Students who reach the AP level prior to senior year may include additional years of study in a supplementary language. • Additional study in an immersion program, in the US or abroad, is strongly encouraged. 2) Have a depth of understanding and appreciation for another culture. • Students will pursue opportunities for more in-depth study beyond regular coursework. • This may include study and/or travel abroad, self-designed independent study coursework with an NYA or outside mentor, collaboration with a cultural center, and/or working with immigrant, refugee, or bilingual persons.
3) Show a commitment to service in the role of a responsible global citizen. • Such service may be self-designed or completed through an established organization. • As above, this service may include study and/or travel abroad, collaboration with a cultural center, or working with immigrant, refugee, or bilingual persons, but the focus must be on service with a global emphasis. • Students must demonstrate completion of 80 service hours through a single or multiple service projects. 4) Exhibit serious study and scholarship in an area that combines language, global awareness, and service through completion of the Global Studies Seminar and a Senior Project presented in the spring of their senior year.
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• In the fall of the junior or senior year, students will take the Global Studies Seminar. This course will allow students to work cooperatively, share their experiences, learn from one another, and determine how to connect and pass on what they have learned with the NYA community. • As a culminating step in seeking the Distinction in Global Citizenship, students will prepare a senior capstone project which demonstrates a high level of competency in each of these areas. • Students will bear the responsibility to design, implement, and present this project with the support and guidance of the capstone mentor. • Successful completion of the project, with approval of the capstone committee, is a requirement to earn the Distinction in Global Citizenship.
Distinction in Music:
Performance, Entrepreneurship, and Community NYA musicians have the opportunity to challenge their talents and lay the groundwork for lifelong involvement in music and service. The program allows students to pursue a course of study where they can develop high levels of musicianship while serving in the local community. It is based on the assumption that music can take on even more meaning when it is used to help others and strengthen community. The curriculum will require students to take ownership of both their program and their learning. It will also develop entrepreneurship and skills in media relations and business that will serve their lifelong musical and service endeavors. In addition to the general NYA graduation requirements, students seeking this diploma distinction will:
• Service projects could include offering lessons or workshops; student service internships; organizing and presenting fundraising/service performances; etc. • Students must demonstrate completion of 80 service hours through a single or multiple service project(s). 3) Perform publicly: • Students will perform a minimum of 4 personal recitals on campus. • In addition, students will complete at least 1 annual 2-day tour. 4) Demonstrate the ability to promote themselves and other musicians:
1) Demonstrate exceptional achievement in music: • Exceptional achievement in music will be defined and evaluated by the program coordinator. • This will include a minimum of 10 semesters of music ensembles at NYA (ensembles at other high schools, 317 Main Community Music Center, or other music centers may also be accepted). • In addition to music ensembles, students will pursue a minimum of 4 semesters of private music lessons. • Musical standards such as intonation, note accuracy, tone, rhythm, articulation, and dynamics will be assessed, as well as qualities unique to each student’s musical goals (i.e. lyrical clarity or complexity, improvisation techniques, arranging proficiency, stylistic nuances, etc.). 2) Have an appreciation for the importance of community and a commitment to service through music: • Such service may be self-designed or done through an established organization.
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• In the junior or senior year, students will take the Music & Performance Seminar. • Students will create a personal media platform, including a webpage and press kit. • Musicians in this program will create a 12-minute professional level recording. 5) Participate in an individual mentorship with a professional musician: • To further develop skills and awareness, students will engage in monthly meetings with a professional musician who will serve as the mentor.
Distinction in STEM:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Students interested in building foundational skills in preparation for STEM-related college studies and beyond may seek to pursue the Diploma with Distinction in STEM. Recognizing that STEM fields range greatly, this distinction is designed to allow students to follow their passion while learning how all STEM disciplines are linked and mutually functional. In addition to the general NYA graduation requirements, students seeking this diploma distinction will: 1) Complete coursework in all areas of STEM including: • A minimum of 4 credits in mathematics, including AP Calculus AB, and 4 credits in science, including a minimum of one AP science credit, in the Upper School; • 1 semester of Computer Programming; • 1 semester of Profiles of Engineering and Computer Aided Drafting; and • At least 2 of the following: AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics, Advanced Physics, or AP Calculus BC. 2) Demonstrate exceptional achievement in STEM-related coursework: • Students will complete a minimum of 2 or more AP credits in STEM disciplines. • Students will maintain a minimum cumulative STEM GPA of 3.5. 3) Show commitment to STEM disciplines beyond the classroom: • Students will participate in a minimum of 6 semesters of Math Team and/or Robotics Club. • Students may seek approval to satisfy a portion of the activity requirement by completing an approved enrichment program at another institution or summer facility. 4) Exhibit serious study and scholarship in STEM disciplines and global citizenship through completion of the
Senior Innovations Seminar with a STEM focus and a Senior Project presented in the senior year. • In the junior or senior year, students will take the Senior Innovations Seminar. This course brings together STEM, interdisciplinary collaboration, project-based learning, and global citizenship by having students work in groups over the course of a semester to solve realworld problems of a social, political, scientific, and/or economic nature. Students work in multi-discipline groups utilizing design-thinking and inquiry, case studies and brainstorming sessions, and research methods and communication skills, all while learning that teamwork is critical to the process of developing a sustainable and realistic solution to complex problems. This course
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is designed to include aspects of independent study in addition to collaborative learning opportunities, both within the project groups as well as with the entire class. • As a culminating step in seeking the Distinction in STEM, students will prepare a senior capstone project which demonstrates a high level of competency in one or more of these areas. • Students will bear the responsibility to design, implement, and present this project with the support and guidance of the capstone mentor. • A key part of the projects undertaken by students is collaboration with other organizations, businesses, students, or community members. • Successful completion of the project, with approval of the capstone committee, is a requirement to earn the Distinction in STEM.