2024-25 High School Course Catalog

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I am The High School Course Catalog. Thanks for opening me.

I’d like to offer you some insider tips to keep in mind as you peruse my contents:

1.I am a vast buffet. Maybe you prefer the word smorgasbord. Either way, I offer so much that is nutritious and delicious. Please read through this menu thoroughly.

2.Teachers have offered detailed lists of their ingredients. Grade deans are here to help plan every aspect of your meal. Ask questions—as many as you need.

3.Don’t overstuff yourself. This is not an eating contest. You need time to sleep, to play, and to do the work for every class you commit to. Leave yourself some room to digest what you take in.

All right. You’re ready to dig in. Bon appétit.

I am,

Yours truly,

Cover Artwork by: Anika A., 11th grade


Arts Four courses in the arts, preferably at least one in art, one in music, and one in theater

Computer Science

No requirement, but students must gain the skills to use computers and other devices competently and navigate digital spaces ethically and responsibly

English Four years

History Four years

Language Four years of language study

Math Four years, including Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2

Rec Arts


One course or the equivalent, or one interscholastic sport, per year

Three years including one year of biology and one year of physical science

HIGH SCHOOL COURSE CATALOG 2024–2025 TABLE OF CONTENTS Art .................................................................................................................................... 4 Computer Science ........................................................................................................... 9 English .............................................................................................................................. 13 Health ............................................................................................................................... 20 History ............................................................................................................................. 22 Interdisciplinary Studies .................................................................................................. 29 Languages ................................................................................................................ 32 Chinese .............................................................................................................................. 32 Japanese .............................................................................................................................. 33 Greek 35 Latin 37 French 39 Spanish .............................................................................................................................. 42 Mathematics ..................................................................................................................... 45 Music ................................................................................................................................ 50 Recreational Arts ............................................................................................................. 59 Science ............................................................................................................................. 63 Seminar ............................................................................................................................ 70 Theater ............................................................................................................................. 77


All classes meet one double period per week unless otherwise noted. Note: Although the descriptions for many of the art electives are general, it is the teachers’ prerogative to be more specialized in their individual approaches. For instance, the Painting and Painting/Drawing courses have several sections taught by different teachers in the department, and each teacher guides the curriculum through personal aesthetic passions and interests, while taking into consideration the experiential and technical abilities of individual students in the class.

Animation (Tokmakova)

Over the course of the year, each student will conceive, design, and produce an animated film, creating sets and characters with clay, paper cutouts, drawings, mixed media, or found materials. We will, for the most part, employ traditional stop-motion techniques to shoot our films frame-by-frame, using Dragon Animation software. Students who prefer to work digitally from start to finish will, of course, be able to do so. Everything comes together during the editing stage: the images can be layered or manipulated, and the soundtrack— including dialogue, music, sound effects, or narration—is added. No previous experience necessary.

Art, Science and Nature (Arnold/Zayas)

(See Interdisciplinary Studies)

Ceramic Sculpture (Bellfatto)

Not a pottery course. We explore basic clay building techniques such as coil, slab, and pinch-pot to generate functional and non-functional sculpture. Various surface treatments are investigated: stain, slip, paint, and glazes. Students develop a body of work reflecting an eclectic variety of sources and themes: personal, historical, geometric and organic form, human and animal figure, narrative relief, and architecture.


Clay, Plaster, Paper, Wax: The Elements of Sculpture (Greenwood)

This course will explore some of the most ancient and fundamental of sculptural techniques and materials. Through select assignments and extensive independent projects we will delve into both additive and reductive processes. We will also use moldmaking to experiment with reproducing works and the potential of translating between media. In addition we will make use of different decorative techniques including polychromy, glazing, pâte-sur-pâte, and perhaps fresco.

Introduction to Architecture & Design 1


This course introduces and explores some of the basic drawing systems used to communicate three-dimensional architectural ideas within two-dimensional formats (elevations, floor plans, isometric and axonometric projections and perspective). Students progress from representing simple three-dimensional forms to drawing self-designed architectural structures and translating their architectural ideas into representative scale models.

Introduction to Architecture & Design 2


This course is an extension of Introduction to Architecture & Design 1. The course will broaden the exploration of architectural concepts and model-making, allowing students to gain greater confidence and fluency while applying the various projection and mechanical drawing systems to specific design problems. Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Architecture & Design 1

Digital Photography


This course will focus on the basics of making and understanding photographs utilizing digital processes. We will explore technical tools, concepts and philosophies essential to photography in a variety of projects with a focus on digital capture, scanning, Photoshop, and digital printing. Throughout the year we will look at photographers and other artists whose work is especially relevant to the processes and topics we explore.

Experimental & Alternative Photographic Processes


This course will dive further into the topics covered in an analog or digital photography class with a focus on printing with UV light based processes such as cyanotypes and van dyke brown. We will also experiment with other processes such as pinhole photography, emulsion lifts, transfers, and photograms. A solid understanding of how to use an SLR or DSLR camera and basic understanding of Photoshop is required. Prerequisite(s): Digital Photography, Darkroom Photography 1/2/3 or equivalent experience as determined by the instructor.


Drawing (The Department)

In this class we focus on the fundamentals of drawing. Observation, perception, composition, and the language of mark-making are stressed. Students will work primarily from observation, including: still life, works of the Old Masters, and models, in addition to other sources. Using materials such as pencil, charcoal, pastel, ink, watercolor, and colored pencils, we will explore line, tonality, volume, and texture as we gain rendering skills and develop personal artistic expression.

Failure, Art, and Sewing (Smith)

This course explores failure not as a negative outcome, but as the natural backdrop for creative endeavors in contemporary society. Students explore the shape of this failure through two intertwined tracks. In the first, students will engage in a range of art projects, focusing primarily on video and sewing. Assignments might include creating a self-portrait, making a video from found footage, creating fabric banners, presenting a manifesto, or collaborating to create an installation. As the year progresses, projects will become increasingly openended, and students will be encouraged to follow their own interests. No prior art-making experience is assumed.

As with any creative endeavor, failure is part of the art-making process. But as we complete our projects, other routes of entropy, lack, and absurdity will creep in. For example, how to talk about what we’ve made? Can we make judgments? Expanding our stage a bit, who decides which points of view are valid, and how? This leads us to our second track of the course, where students will also consider failure from a philosophical and political angle. Through readings and discussions, students will consider how concepts like absolute truth or religious certainty have become difficult to latch onto. Even the boundaries between common pairings such as true/false, right/wrong, individual/community, or male/female, have become foggy. Where do these concepts come from, and why do they no longer seem entirely sound? Or do they in fact retain their power? This ambiguous failure of the authority of absolutes is a main focus of the course. The ultimate goal is for students to develop their own understanding of, and artistic response to, the tangled gray areas between purported absolutes and certainties.


This course will explore the techniques and expressive potential of drawing the human body. Working directly from live models and, using a wide range of media, we will investigate the skeletal and muscle structures, considering form, proportion, movement, and ways of translating onto the page both what we know and how we see. Individual attention will be prioritized, so that every student may achieve a greater familiarity with the human form, and expand their personal visual vocabulary.

Drawing (Hillis, Tokmakova)

Figure Drawing with Extensive Study of the Head and Facial Expression (Arnold) (4x

per week)

In this course students will learn to draw the human figure from a live model, both dressed and nude. From short movement sketches to longer studies of a still model, students will explore the figure, including special studies of its hands and feet, using china ink, graphite, charcoal, oil sticks, etc. We will pay particular attention to the head. Students will learn to depict the head proportionally, from different angles, and in three dimensions. Drawing from a live model as well as from classical sculptures, they will learn to depict individual facial characteristics, creating a portrait. During the second semester, students will be ready to make stylized portraits (e.g. caricatures, cartoons, and anthropomorphized animals) as well as various realistic expressions. We will also explore drawing groups of interacting figures. This course will be demanding, requiring stamina, dedication, and a desire to learn how to draw realistically. Previous drawing experience is desirable but not necessary. Note: This class will meet two double periods per week.

Oil Painting: Style and Technique (Arnold)

This course covers basic painting techniques for working on primed canvas with a brush and palette knife. Students will learn the rules of composition and color contrast, the creation of texture, and varnishing. We will explore various styles from the mid-19th century to today, including Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, Primitivism, Surrealism, and Pop Art, and study paintings by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rousseau, Matisse, Picasso, Magritte, Hockney, Freud, and others. This will help students learn to recognize a particular style and also use it in their own painting. Students will be free to paint from imagination or observation, making still-lifes, portraits, and landscapes. Field trips to museums and student presentations on assigned artists will take place throughout the course.

Painting (The Department)

This course is an exploration, through a variety of painting media, of pictorial construction, color, composition, and conception.

Painting Intensive (Bellfatto) (4x per week)

See “Painting.” Offered in an intensive format of two double periods per week Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor


Painting & Drawing (The


An exploration of pictorial life—how drawing begins, its development, manifestation, and transmutation. An alchemical approach to picture making: experimentation with content in a variety of styles and media toward the development of a personal vision.

Photography 1: Basic Camera and Darkroom Techniques (Giraldo,


Learn to capture and share your view of the world through the lens of traditional black and white photography. In addition to class discussions and critiques, students will study the basics of composition and visual communication through slide show presentations of wellknown and lesser-known photographers, assignments to be completed outside of class, and in-class exercises in the analog photographic process. Taking our inspiration from the history of photography and other visual arts, we will explore a variety of processes—from those used to produce the very first photographs up through the emergence of 35mm.

Photography 2/3: Personal Style and Advanced Darkroom Techniques (Giraldo)

Already equipped with the basics of the analog photographic process, students will learn techniques in documentary photography, portraiture, and explore methods to develop personal style. Darkroom practice will include the use of new materials such as Fiber-based Silver Gelatin and Medium Format Negatives. Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Photography, or equivalent experience in black and white photography and darkroom developing, as determined by the instructor.


(The Department)

This is a broad course that examines various printmaking techniques, from relief printing (linoleum and woodcut) to intaglio (drypoint, etching, and aquatint). We will develop an understanding of these various processes by looking at printmakers throughout history and through hands-on experimentation.

Printmaking: Posters

(The Department)

This course is devoted to silkscreen design and production. We will survey poster designs ranging from 19th century Japanese playbills, Ghanian movie posters, protest posters (including the work of Sister Corita Kent), and the Pop screenwork of Warhol and Yokoo. In addition to creating our own silkscreens, including prints on t-shirts and fabric, this course works closely with the Theater Department to produce the posters for all school productions throughout the year.



We are surrounded by science fiction—portable computers, social media, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, electronic games, online journals, instant reference books, genetic sequencing, nanotech, increasingly massive datasets—built by people who know how to design, dream, and code. With computer science we can make art, crunch numbers, translate languages, and solve many human problems.

Our courses show students how to be more than just consumers or users: they will be independent creators on computers, able to control and shape the tools of today and tomorrow. Using software that runs similarly on Mac, Windows, Unix/Linux, and tablet computers, our courses teach a range of topics including programming, graphics, circuitry, web, spreadsheet analysis, logic, and other skills that are useful for doing everything from analysis to artwork to running social movements. Classes are full year and meet twice a week unless otherwise noted.

3D Design and Printing (The Department)

There is an engineer and an artist in all of us, and learning to design and print in 3D unites them both. Careful planning and measuring are used in the service of creative visions, and the process of printing failures is a way to get comfortable with the iterative design process and cultivate patience and problem-solving. Different software and approaches will be covered over the year, leaving students with a toolbox of skills. Students are also challenged to think critically about design, asking how the world can be improved for more people by coming up with better solutions to problems.

AI Machine Learning (Verdi)

What if computers could be told to learn for themselves, slurping up data like a vacuum? They are faster and able to store and process more information than ever before. In fact, we are surrounded by computer learning already! We are used to computers filtering spam, recommending books and videos, translating languages, and recognizing our voice. Drivers are experimenting with semi-autonomous cars. How do computers accomplish this? Machine Learning, a branch of computer science, is rapidly developing to use data to mimic human learning with implications across a wide range of fields from transportation to medicine to social justice. This course will introduce students to the foundations of machine learning and neural networks. They will become familiar with the trends driving the rise of machine learning; we will use pre-trained models to explore classifying images and feature extraction. We will also build and train our own models and neural networks. Through this course, students will better understand the capabilities and limitations, challenges and consequences


of Machine Learning while opening up possibilities for further studies. Prerequisite(s): Programming 1 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

Computer Animation (Caccamise/Fitzgerald)

Learn about computer-aided methods of animation with frame-by-frame animation including the traditional walk-cycle and bird flap projects. Use more advanced techniques including digital puppets within a 3D space, and explore special effects such as lightning and explosions. Additional projects may include stop motion, green screen projects, 3D movie title sequences (like the iconic Star Wars titles), music videos, and a final animated film using techniques of the student’s choosing. No prior experience is required, but attention to detail and perseverance are a must!

Cryptocurrency: Blockchains, Banks, Money, and Tokens (G. Smith)

Cryptocurrency has elicited many fierce opinions, many of them at odds. Is cryptocurrency a scam, or will it eventually help us move beyond unfair banking systems and toxic social media? Is it yet another route for the rich to get richer, or is it a way for the politically and economically vulnerable to organize and fund their work? Why increasingly do Democratic officials seem to hate cryptocurrency and Republicans seem to like it? Are NFTs or ERC-20 tokens really valuable? In the history of money and finance, how does cryptocurrency fit in? And what’s the role of government regulation?

The goal of this course is to develop informed opinions about this rapidly changing arena. The course will be evenly split between exploring the role of cryptocurrency in our larger culture and financial system, and learning about blockchains, what they are and how they work. Readings will focus on cryptocurrency techniques and applications, the anatomy and fallout of various cryptocurrency scams, attempts at government regulation of the sector, and the history of US monetary and fiscal policy. Labs will focus on contemporary programming methods that involve using pre-written chunks of code to achieve a certain goal, rather than writing code from scratch (no previous programming experience is assumed or required). The class will culminate in independent projects driven by students’ individual interests.

Intro to Computer Science (Verdi)

Are you curious about Computer Science but haven’t had the chance to explore your nascent interest? Intended for the novice, this course aims to give students an introduction to the concepts and applications of computer science. Students will learn to read, write, and debug code. They will develop a framework and practical skills in computer science that deepen their understanding of how computers work all around us. Learn the basics of programming, from Scratch to HTML and from Python to Javascript, take a tour of various languages and concepts to familiarize yourself with this area of study. This core knowledge will also offer a basis for further study in computer science. Who knows? You may tap into something you find that you really enjoy!


Physical Computing 1 (Caccamise)

Move beyond the idea that a computer is a box or a system of information retrieval and processing, and learn how to interact physically with a computer without using the mouse, keyboard, or monitor. Using a microcontroller (a single-chip computer that can fit in your hand), write and execute interactive computer programs that convert movement into digital information. Work with components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors as well as integrated circuits. Through lab exercises and longer creative assignments, learn how to program, prototype, and use components effectively. Control motors and interpret sensor data, as well as explore advanced concepts in interface, motion, and display.

Physical Computing 2 (Caccamise)

Students combine theory and practice to interface microcontrollers and transducers. We learn how to make devices respond to a wide range of human physical actions. Building on knowledge acquired in Physical Computing 1, we build projects from schematics, make programs based on class examples, and make interfaces talk to each other. Topics may include: networking protocols and network topologies, mobile objects and wireless networks of various sorts, digital logic building blocks, and digital numbering systems. Students are involved in short production assignments and final projects, and create a digital portfolio to document their work and research.

Creating interactive work relies on building a relationship between the object and the viewer.

By gathering information in the form of input, processing that into meaningful data, and outputting that contextually, new forms of engagement and interaction with an audience can be established. This class is for students who have prior experience with Physical Computing and would like the opportunity to develop their own project and spend time researching, testing, prototyping and documenting it. Prerequisite(s): Physical Computing 1 or permission of the instructor

Producing Audio Narratives (Podcasts) (Steinert-Evoy)

In 1940, Edward R. Murrow made history by doing something that now seems relatively simple. While covering WWII from London, he walked out of the recording studio with his microphone, and broadcast the blitzkrieg from the roof of the CBS building, bringing that sound straight into the homes of millions of Americans. This was considered revolutionary at the time. Standing on the shoulders of the giants of radio makers who came before us, we will learn how to capture, edit, and engineer the sounds of our bustling world and produce them into audio narratives. Through a historical, theoretical, and technical study of the craft, we will explore the different facets of this medium and use the newly renovated computer center as our home base.


Programming 1 (The Department)

Explore the science and art of computer programming. For students who want to create and modify their own computer software, this course uses JavaScript (the language of the web) and web technologies to introduce the basics of computer control and interactive websites. We use loops, variables, procedures, input, output, and branching decisions (with Boolean logic) to control graphics, sounds, and information. Expect to work with JavaScript and the “P5.js” tools to create animated color graphics that respond to key and mouse movement.

Programming 2 (The Department)

A continuation of Programming 1, for students who are becoming more confident in their ability to combine data types and complex computer routines. We look more deeply at object-oriented programming: class definitions, inheritance, methods, fields, arrays, and collections. Large projects include writing an interactive, animated project with control windows and graphics. Prerequisite(s): Programming 1 or permission of the department chair.

Robotics (Verdi)

Two years ago in September 2022, Saint Ann’s launched its first high school Robotics Club. We joined the NYC FIRST Tech Challenge League (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and have competed for two years in qualifier and super qualifier matches.

During the first half of the school year in this course, students will brainstorm, plan, and implement a new robot design for the year’s FTC competition. They will work together contributing their talents and developing new skills. Students will prepare for and contribute to the team’s two qualifying matches by designing, building, and programming a robot; creating an engaging and informative tri-fold poster to display at the qualifying matches; writing and illustrating a 15-page engineering portfolio that describes the team’s design process, challenges, improvements, and growth; participating in community outreach; finding and attending mentorship opportunities; and, attending one of the qualifiers. Participating in FIRST robotics helps students develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills. Students must be able to work well with others to achieve a common goal.

Since the format changes from year to year, there is a kick off in September announcing the current year’s challenge. The actual competitions will take place in different schools further afield in Brooklyn and Queens on Saturdays and Sundays in December and January. In the past two seasons, our club attended a qualifier on a Sunday in December and a second qualifier on a Sunday in January.



Literature and the World (9th Grade) (The Department)

The first year of high school English is a voyage, exploring novels, stories, plays, and poems from a variety of narrative perspectives, content subjects, and literary styles to expand the reader’s sense of what’s possible on the page. Ninth graders vigorously air their responses to literature, hone their essay craft, and experiment creatively throughout the year. Grammar and vocabulary exercises reinforce their reading and writing skills.

Poetry, Drama & The Novel (10th Grade) (The Department)

Sophomores encounter increasing demands on the quality of their thinking, writing, and close reading skills while they grapple with texts ranging from Elizabethan drama to Harlem Renaissance poetry to contemporary American fiction of the immigrant experience. Authors often include Shakespeare, Morrison, Fitzgerald, Akhtar, and Baldwin. In an additional class period each week, small groups of six to ten sophomores practice their analytic craft and work on individual writing skills.

Junior/Senior Electives

All of the Feelings


This class will set out to analyze emotion. There are philosophical questions: How does a feeling differ from a mood? Is emotion irrational, or is it a form of thought? Is it possible to know something you cannot say? Then there are the feelings themselves, which we will consider in pairs. How does shame differ from guilt; pleasure from joy; anger from disgust; pity from concern; desire from longing; creepy from scary; the pain of a sting from the pain of a slap. Analyzing feelings with language is like cutting oatmeal with scissors: we can’t expect to be exact. But we will learn something in the attempt. We will read a bit of philosophy, some essays, some poetry, and five of the following texts:

Invisible Man

To the Lighthouse

The Sound and the Fury


Open Secrets

The Sun Also Rises `

The Remains of the Day

Ralph Ellison

Virginia Woolf

William Faulkner

Elif Batuman

Alice Munro

Ernest Hemingway

Kazuo Ishiguro


baby, don’t hurt me (Gear)

You know the lyrics. In Haddaway’s ’93 hit, he asks the question again and again (what is love? ) but can’t actually bring himself to a definition; all he can do is ask for mercy (baby, don’t hurt me). In her diaries, Susan Sontag writes that, “Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”

In this class, we’ll dig into a question significantly older than writing itself: what is this force that pulls people so powerfully towards each other, and why does it hurt so much? We’ll look at love in many forms: erotic love, divine love, family love, love of self, love of community. Throughout the course, we’ll keep an eye on the edge of normality: queer love, consuming love, love that kills or drives us to kill. Pursuing the matter across novels, poetry, drama, and film, we’ll ground our thinking with theorists including Freud, Foucault, hooks, Lorde, and Marcuse. Assignments will include expository writing for each major text and multiple creative projects per semester.

Major literary texts include:

Plato, Symposium | Morrison, Beloved | Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

At least one unit on queer love poetry (Hacker, Lorde, O’Hara, Rich, Vuong)

And 2–3 of the following:

Euripides, Medea | Brontë, Wuthering Heights | Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera | Binnie, Nevada

Black Literature: A Survey of the Strange and the Marvelous (Patterson)

The course examines work that transforms the facts of Black life into dark comedies, alternate histories, magical-realist texts, and transcendental narratives. Our interests range from the folklore collected by Zora Neale Hurston to science fiction as imagined by Octavia Butler to the pop art of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther comics. We will gain an understanding of the concepts of Afrofuturism and Afrosurrealism, guided by Suzanne Césaire’s idea that Surrealism is not simply an aesthetic style or intellectual theory but a way of twisting one’s antennae to pick up on the fantastic, the uncanny, and the sublime: “Be in permanent readiness for the Marvelous.”

We will read as many novels as time permits; likely delights include George Schuyler’s Black No More, Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man , Toni Morrison’s Jazz , Fran Ross’s Oreo, and Paul Beatty’s Slumberland . We will familiarize ourselves with history and social science as written by W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Margo Jefferson, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, and Greg Tate. Our favorite poets include Jayne Cortez, Harryette Mullen, and Tracy K. Smith. If we take an interest in drama, then we will look up Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Dutchman.


The course will frequently explore music and the visual arts, interrogating the work of Basquiat, Bearden, Beyoncé, André Breton, Bootsy Collins, Alice Coltrane, Frida Kahlo, Spike Lee, Prince Rogers Nelson, Jordan Peele, Boots Riley, RZA, SZA, and Kara Walker, among others. If this class were a late-night talk show, it would aspire to attract Sun Ra as the leader of its house band.

Fact and Fiction (Donohue)

What do we mean when we say that a work of fiction is realistic, or when we praise a nonfictional work for being “as gripping as a novel”? Why do we sometimes complain of fictional events, which by definition never happened, “That would never happen”? How do our minds process fictional narratives differently from nonfictional ones, and what happens when the text doesn’t tell us which mode to read it in? Can fiction depict reality as well as (or maybe better than) journalism can? What do we even mean by “reality,” and how might it ever be rendered by marks on a page?

In this elective we investigate the relation between fact and fiction. In the first semester, we read true stories, in both short and long form. Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem , Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and magazine stories by James Baldwin, David Grann, and John Jeremiah Sullivan set us up for a major true-story writing project due in December.

In the new year we turn to realism in fiction, reading three or four major works, including Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin , Rachel Cusk’s Outline, and Teju Cole’s Open City.

We’ll also read some lyric poems, divided into poets who wear fictional masks and others who seem to insist on the “reality” of their poems’ projected selves. And we’ll look at a few cases in which authors originally claimed their work was true, but were later forced to admit that they’d made things up.

Great American Novels (Khoury)

The idea of “The Great American Novel” can be traced back to an 1868 article by that title, in which a writer named John DeForest does some hand-wringing about the literary status of the young nation, casting an envious eye at the most accomplished authors of England and France. “Have we as yet,” he asks, “the literary culture to educate Thackerays and Balzacs?”

What was needed, according to DeForest, was not just a great novel by an American, or one set in America, but one that makes America itself the real subject. Such a book would “perform a national service,” he explains, by holding up a mirror to the country: “The American people will say, ‘That is my picture.’”


In the century and a half that followed, the hubris of this idea has sometimes made it the subject of mockery. In 1923, William Carlos Williams became the first author to go ahead and make The Great American Novel his book’s actual title. Five more writers have since made the same joke.

Apparently this phenomenon doesn’t exist in other countries. There aren’t heated debates and essays about “the” great Russian, or Indian, or Japanese novel. But DeForest’s quest, for the book that captures and expresses “the American soul,” persists in earnest here, with regular surveys of the top contenders for the heavyweight belt (several of which will feature on our syllabus). What makes these books “great” will of course be one of our subjects, but we’ll also have to figure out what makes them “American.” What tends to be associated with that adjective, and what tends to be excluded? And why is it always “The” rather than “A” Great American Novel? Our answers will have something to tell us not only about our books, but about the country, too.

We’ll read most if not all of the following (some of which are also great in length, so please be prepared for an occasional 30-page assignment):

Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man

Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping

Toni Morrison Beloved

James Baldwin Giovanni’s Room

Charles Yu Interior Chinatown

Tony Kushner Angels in America

Macabre Marriages/Mates (Avrich)

Once upon a time, marriage was merely a loveless contract based on wealth or status or even safety (if you were Chief Argh’s son, you married Chief Bargh’s daughter so the two clans would stop raiding and stomping on each other). Later, in the nineteenth century, love starts to come into play, but money and status are still essential qualities. People gossip about you and your betrothed, speculating on the size of your houses, acreage, and noses. Marriage is very public. But marriage is very private too. What happens when, little by little, you discover that your new husband or wife has a hidden secret or three? He sneaks out at night. She foams at the mouth. He is cruel with his fists. She drinks. He gambles. She is your sister. You have married a deviant!

This course is about books with rotten relationships at their core. We will meet men and women who are haunted and tormented by their morally and socially reprehensible spouses, creatures who are better suited to storage spaces and wax museums than connubial bedrooms. At the same time, these messed-up mates make us question the moral and social belief systems they flout; they blur the boundaries between the public and the private, between the civilized self and the dark double. We will read Pride and Prejudice, a searing, hilarious and romantic comedy of manners. We will also examine The Taming of the Shrew,


a problem play that turns the institution of courtship on its head. In Giovanni’s Room we will probe the fraught relationship between two men in Paris, one a gregarious bartender, the other a self-loathing homosexual. Sula will bring up questions about marriage, love, race, friendship, identity, and community. We may also read Their Eyes Were Watching God , Jane Eyre, and/or The Woman in White.

As well as essays and lots of creative writing, we will illustrate the books and embark on multimedia projects. We will dress up and act out scenes. As always, our method is close reading. Language is what we love.

Magical Realism (Bodner)

What do ghosts, psychics, and telepathy have to do with colonial histories and postcolonial politics? Welcome to magical realism: a genre that weaves fantastical elements into otherwise realistic settings—and exposes mechanisms of oppression in the process.

In this course, we’ll engage with many magical realist texts and a couple films, as well as the distinctive sociopolitical histories that each work addresses. We’ll begin with Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude), Jorge Luis Borges (Ficciones), and Isabel Allende (Paula), three Latin American authors who popularized the genre. What did Márquez mean when he said that “surrealism comes from the reality of Latin America”? Why does magical realism flourish in a place rife with dictatorships and political corruption? And how do magical realist elements inform the way Allende gives an account of herself in her memoir?

With this foundational understanding, we’ll spend the spring exploring magical realist authors from the United States, starting with Toni Morrison (Beloved or Song of Solomon). Our other authors will likely include Louise Erdrich, Carmen Maria Machado, Karen Russell, George Saunders, and Aimee Bender. How do racism, climate change, and technology haunt these authors’ works? What can studying the history of magical realism tell us about the proliferation of contemporary speculative fiction? Come ready to practice close reading, and expect to write creatively no matter the form.

New York City in Literature (Smith)

When the Dutch first settled in what they called “New Amsterdam,” did they know that this foothold in the New World would eventually claim to be “the greatest city in the world”? New York has certainly come a long way from Peter Stuyvesant, peg legs, and draft riots. Looking at the city so nice they named it twice through the lens of what E.B. White called “the transplant, the commuter, and the native,” this course will explore the “Noo Yawk” attitude and our city’s evolution over the past 300 years into the city that never sleeps —and always writes.

Poe, Melville, and Twain will be our tour guides for 19th century New York and Brooklyn. They’ll bear witness to the beginnings of “city” and “outer borough” culture as Manhattan


becomes “elite” and the early “bridge and tunnel” crowd is looked down upon. Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and James Weldon Johnson, among others, will show us the “birth of cool” in New York: the Harlem Renaissance and this new music on the streets, on the radio, and in the bars providing the soundtrack for New York and slavery’s first descendants to drag America into the age of social integration only hinted at in The Great Gatsby. (Wait— you really thought all those jazz musicians at Gatsby’s parties were white guys?) Meanwhile, Joan Didion and Danielle Evans, to name a few, will tell us what it’s like being a woman and a teen girl in New York. Along the way, we may stop in and hear what James Baldwin, Teju Cole, John Guare, Edwidge Danticat, Jay McInerney, Colson Whitehead, and Tom Wolfe have to say about race, class, and coming of age in New York. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, there are allegedly 8 million stories in the big city, and in New York, everybody’s got something to say. Expect frequent writing assignments, both expository and creative.

Some of the following we’ll read cover to cover; others, we’ll excerpt:


Here Is New York

Open City

Six Degrees of Separation

Bright Lights, Big City

The Fire Next Time

Krik! Krak!

Sag Harbor

Writing New York

Toni Morrison


Teju Cole

John Guare

Jay McInerney

James Baldwin

Edwidge Danticat

Colson Whitehead


Wonderful Town Various

Oddballs and Square Pegs: The Literature of Outsiders (Fodaski)

Some of us define ourselves through adherence to a group; others understand themselves in and through opposition. Some realize their “true” selves through affiliation and allegiance, while others can never feel “free” within the bounds of a rigid order. In this class, we will side with the misfit and the loner, in an effort to understand a world that, to some extent, gets us wrong.

Literature has plenty of nonconformists, and we will read some of them closely. We will also consider the role of the writer, at once insider and outsider, skirting the boundaries— perhaps collapsing them—but always, to some extent, on the fringe. As James Baldwin said, “Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.” The role of the artist, that lone traveler, then, is, according to Baldwin, “to conquer the great wilderness of himself…to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.” Through close, deep reading and frequent writing, we will attempt to make at least our classroom a vibrant, human dwelling place.


Texts and authors may include, but are not limited to, James Baldwin (Giovanni’s Room , Short Stories, and Essays), Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping ), Herman Melville (“Bartleby, the Scrivener”), Toni Morrison (Jazz), Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse), Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things), Gwendolyn Brooks (Maud Martha), and Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day).

There will be frequent writing assignments, both expository and creative.

Science Fiction (Aronson)

In addition to taking readers to other worlds, transformed versions of our world, different times, different dimensions—science fiction is perhaps the most philosophical literary genre. In its ability to play with the parameters of our existence, sci-fi sheds a special light on the great questions of selfhood, ethics, the nature of reality, the accessibility of truth. We will begin with the founders of science fiction, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, after which our main guides in this adventure of story and ideas will be drawn from the following list (I note each author’s most famous work, not necessarily the work we will read): Isaac Asimov (The Foundation Series), Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey), Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land ), Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles), Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ), Frank Herbert (Dune), Ursula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness), Stanislaw Lem (Solaris), Roger Zelazny (Lord of Light), Octavia Butler (Parable of the Sower), the Strugatsky brothers (Roadside Picnic), and Samuel Delany (Nova).

We will, of course, read a number of short stories; as all sci-fi readers know, the short story is a favorite medium of practitioners of the genre.



9th Grade Health

(The Department) (Fall semester)

Ninth grade health focuses on substance use, sexuality, and consent, and adjusting to the high school experience. We explore how we make health-related decisions, discuss prevention as a cornerstone to wellness, and examine contemporary issues in health.

10th Grade Health

(The Department) (Spring semester)

The first part of tenth grade health is dedicated to the National Council for Wellbeing’s Teen Mental Health First Aid training. Following this we will look at body image, eating disorders, and developing healthy relationships, among other topics. The class focuses on the practical application of health knowledge.

11th Grade Health

(The Department) (Fall semester)

This class looks at health as both a personal and social issue. Weaving in current events, media, and recent research, eleventh grade health tries to help students navigate their increasing independence as they prepare for adulthood. We look at bystander intervention and the creation of safer communities. This class also explores controversies in public health and covers the wide range of viewpoints proffered on hot button issues while asking students to think critically about these issues themselves.

High School Mentoring

(The Department)

(Please see Seminars)

Reproductive and Sexual Politics

(Friedrichs) (Spring semester)

In June 2022, we saw the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which ended 50 years of the constitutional right to abortion. At the same time myriad laws were introduced aiming to limit access to everything from reproductive health services, to gender-affirming care, and sex education.

But how did we get here? In fact, this situation was long in the making and this singlesemester spring elective class will dive into the ideology driving such legislation in order to explore the history and current state of sexual and reproductive politics in the United States.


We will draw from both popular and scholarly works to look at topics including:

Reproductive rights, LGBTIQIA+ politics, the criminalization of teen sex, child marriage, sexual revolutions, disability justice, maternal mortality, and more! The class will include a walking tour of social justice sites in lower Manhattan.

Note: This is a single-semester single period class which meets once a week. It is open to students in any grade and may be taken in the place of either 9th, 10th or 11th grade health, with permission of the department.



World History (9th Grade)

(The Department)

This course explores the period from the 18th century through the 20th century. From revolution to globalization, from industrialization to decolonization, we explore these and other themes in a global context with the specific goals of complicating the Eurocentric narrative and emphasizing the experiences of marginalized peoples and cultures. We emphasize intellectual histories along with political and social changes. Throughout the year, students learn to think critically and work with diverse primary and secondary sources to create both analytical and research-based essays.

U.S. History (10th Grade)

(The Department)

The objective of this course is for students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s past through inclusive narratives with the specific goal of decentering whiteness. Students will learn about Indigenous Peoples, European-Americans, African-Americans, women of all races and classes, workers, immigrants, and other groups who are usually marginalized in the U.S. historical narrative. In their final year before entering into the elective program, students continue to hone their skills as critical thinkers, readers, and writers with a greater emphasis on historiography.

American Women’s History: 1848 to the present (Schragger)

This course examines the contributions of women throughout American history, from the Seneca Falls convention in 1848 to the present day. In the fall semester, students will examine women’s history from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, focusing on topics such as women’s roles in the industrial economy, the fight for suffrage, and the development of reform movements. In the spring semester, the course will cover the mid-20th century to the present, with a concentration on 20th century women’s movements as well as contemporary issues such as reproductive rights and justice, the equal pay movement, and constitutional equality. We will look at the development of second and third-wave feminism, with a particular eye to the limits of the movements as well as the ways in which the movements became more inclusive and intersectional. Specifically, the course will examine the experiences of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women in respect to feminist movements, along with their struggle for political, economic, and social rights. Finally, this course will consistently explore the shifting notions of gender roles and the ways in which women have been portrayed in popular culture.


Women have had a diverse history of their own in America, while at the same time they have been involved in broader social, cultural, economic, and political events such as the growth of labor unions, reform movements, and wars. At times women have been central to the dynamic changes that occurred, whereas at others they have remained outside of the mainstream. This course attempts to highlight both the unifying forces and dividing factors among women.

This course will also explore the definition of “feminism,” from Mary Wollstonecraft’s treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman , through the three waves of feminism in America that began at Seneca Falls. Most recently, third wave feminism has been a diverse and often diffuse movement, and questions continue to arise about women’s positions in society, politics, and culture. We will also explore how we define what it means to be a woman, and investigate how gender identity has been studied in recent decades. We will look at the changing laws about gender, as well as the obstacles and discrimination still faced by transgender people.

Students will read both primary and secondary sources, and there will be a significant research component to this course. Readings include Major Problems in American Women’s History: Documents and Essays (ed. Mary Beth Norton), selections from The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present (Christine Stansell), America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines (Gail Collins), A House Full of Females (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (Barbara Ehrenreich), and Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present (ed. Miriam Schneir).

The Black Atlantic (Wyatt)

For over 500 years, people of African descent have traversed the Atlantic Ocean and the landmasses that form its coastline. Moving around and across this waterscape, our course will focus on the daily experiences, social struggles, multicultural traditions, and political accomplishments of these historical actors and their descendants. We will begin with an in-depth investigation into the 16th- and 17th-century origins of the African diaspora in the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe before embarking on a thematic exploration of the “Black Atlantic world” as it has developed over the centuries. Topics of discussion include (but are not limited to) race, gender, and enslavement; Black Atlantic religion; resistance, revolution, and decolonization; Négritude and Créolité; Pan-Africanism and Black socialism; racial capitalism and globalization; and a number of contemporary, transatlantic social justice movements.

The scholarship and artistry of West African, African American, Afro-Latinx, AfroCaribbean, and Afro-European people will be central to our course of study, and students will be introduced to a variety of thinkers who—across space and throughout time—have shaped the intellectual tradition of the Black Atlantic. Along with primary and secondary historical sources, we will frequently discuss works of theory, literature, music, and visual art. Potential texts include works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Sylvia Wynter, Dionne Brand, Paul Gilroy,


Léopold Sédar Senghor, Jennifer L. Morgan, C.L.R. James, Toni Cade Bambara, Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant, Tiffany Lethabo King, Maryse Condé, Cedric Robinson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Miriam Jiménez Román.

Freedom Dreams (Johnson)

This class will focus on the 20th–21st century liberation movements throughout the African diaspora. The struggles against imperialism and anti-Blackness have been present since the beginning of chattel enslavement in the West. However, there are times in history where these liberation struggles gain strong traction among those in the diaspora—and the 20th century has a series of examples and case studies of African-descended people who intentionally and actively fought to be free, sovereign, and self-determining in all aspects of their lives. Some of the areas of focus will include the Black Freedom Movement in the U.S., the anti-apartheid movement of South Africa, the Lusophone African movements to upend imperialism led by people like Amilcar Cabral and Eduardo Mondlane, and Francophone protests via literature and guerilla warfare to throw off the yoke of colonialism via the efforts of Suzanne Cesaire and Frantz Fanon. We will also look at 21st century, current day movements like the push for environmental justice from Jackson, Mississippi to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the political upheaval that is unfolding in Niger in 2024.

From the Iron Tsar to the Man of Steel (Mellon)

This class is an examination of about 125 years of Russian history. Starting in the time of Nicholas I, the Iron Tsar, in 1825, we will trace the development of the history of Russia as it weathers most of the 19th century and half of the 20th century, culminating in the death of Josef Stalin, the Man of Steel, in 1953. Our narrators for this journey will include but will not be limited to: Engel, Figes, Stone, Tooze, Dostoyevsky, Akhmatova, Merridale, Gerwarth, and Lenin. We will also be looking at the art, music, photography and film that comes out of this period. Expect lots and lots (and lots!) of reading and many types of writing assignments, with a major research element in the second semester.

The Disenchantment of the World and its Consequences: German and French Social Thought in the 19th and 20th Century (Ackman)

In the absence of conventional (religious-metaphysical) norms, by what grounds can we secure a non-coercive social consensus? This course provides a survey of major themes and debates in modern German and French social theory over the span of the 19th and 20th centuries focusing on the so-called “foundations-crisis” that seized epistemology, metaphysics, and social critique in the modern period, so as to address the “urgent question” of postconventional normativity. In other words, we will look at the foundation of social norms after the ‘disenchantment of the world’—i.e. once societal norms and structures are no longer dictated by religion. In the first semester we will begin this study with Friedrich Nietzsche’s


anti-foundationalist critique of morality and truth and end with Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School’s vehement critique of all of modern capitalist society. The methodology of this course will be devoted chiefly to an immanent theoretical reconstruction of major texts and arguments in this tradition. Major texts for the first semester are by the following authors: Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt. Throughout the semester, we will compare and juxtapose these theorists with subaltern and postcolonial theorists like Dipesh Chakrabarty, Partha Chatterjee, Stuart Hall, and Gaytari Spivak, who took these theories and added dimensions of race, gender, and empire.

In the second semester, we turn to the same driving question but with the answers from French social theory of the 20th century, beginning with the sociological writings of Émile Durkheim and ending with a post-Marxist theory of power as explained by Michel Foucault. As students alive to the interdisciplinary character of these movements, we will not confine ourselves to any one mode of analysis but will instead borrow freely from all disciplines as the subject requires, from sociology and philosophy, history and political theory, tracing out the major lines of argument and dispute that have preoccupied some of the greatest theorists in the French intellectual tradition. This semester will be organized into four thematic units, as follows: 1. The French sociological tradition; 2. The challenge of French existentialism; 3. The emergence of structuralism; and 4. The genesis of post-structuralism. Major readings are by the following authors: Émile Durkheim, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Alexandre Kojève, JeanPaul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Louis Althusser, Jacques Derrida, Rolande Barthes, and Michel Foucault.

The Last One Hundred Years: Topics in 20th and 21st Century World History (Kohn)

In 1924, Adolf Hitler sat awaiting trial for attempting to overthrow Germany’s democratic government. Joseph Stalin rose to power casting a wary eye on Ukraine and purging his enemies one by one. Japanese Emperor Hirohito was married as tensions simmered in the Pacific. And the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed VI had recently been deposed, as intense nationalism began to mark a startling new era for the Middle East. Dictators, wars, religious conflicts: maybe not much has changed?

And yet so much has. The past 100 years have seen so much cruelty and so much prosperity. Humanity at its best and certainly at its worst. This course will track these dynamic years, starting in 1924 and continuing to 2024 in an attempt to understand how the history of this century shapes our lives today. Topics will include the rise of fascism, World War II and the Holocaust, the Cold War and the nuclear age, totalitarian states, decolonization, religious fundamentalism, and globalization. More contemporary topics may include the Russian invasion of Ukraine, conflict in the Middle East, and climate change’s effects on today’s politics and economics. Essentially, if you felt like ninth grade history ended on a cliffhanger, this is the course for you.


Medieval Buddhism (Higa)

This course will explore the richness and diversity of Buddhism, ca. 100 CE to 1600 CE. After covering the foundations of the Buddhist tradition through the teachings of the Buddha himself, we will turn to the development and spread of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in South, Central, and East Asia. Topics covered will include: Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, and the foundations of Buddhist philosophy; the forms and purposes of meditation; ethics and the structure of early monastic communities; interactions between Buddhism and indigenous traditions in East Asia; Buddhist ritual and political power; poetry and aesthetics; gender and sexuality; cosmology and landscape; Tibetan tantra; Zen controversies over enlightenment; Pure Land theories about self-power/other-power; the rise of the Dalai Lamas; and devotion to deities like Guanyin, Tara, and Amitabha.

Discussion, writing, creative projects, and experiments in practice will be required, most of them in response to a variety of primary sources. Medieval people viewed images and read texts carefully, slowly, reverently. In this class, we will do something similar, retreating from the hectic pace of the modern world to spend time with medieval religious sources and allow them to unfold before us. We will engage with several important texts: the Dhammapada , the Vinaya , the Lotus Sutra , the Diamond Sutra , the Bodhicaryavatara , the Platform Sutra , and the biography of Tibetan saint Yeshe Tsogyal. In addition to these, we will look at poetry, hymns, philosophy, ritual, visions, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, and architecture.

Postwar America: From Rosie the Riveter to the Age of Reagan and Beyond (Schragger)

This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the United States from World War II to the present. Topics covered include political milestones such as Watergate, the shifting constituencies within political parties, and the election of 2000; social developments such as suburbanization, the Civil Rights Movement, the New Left, feminism and women’s rights (including the examination of groups including NOW, Bread and Roses, Radicalesbians, the Combahee River Collective, and the Chicana Movement), the gay rights movements and the AIDS crisis, and the rise of the New Right/ neo-conservatism; economic issues such as the War on Poverty and Reaganomics; cultural and intellectual trends such as the Counterculture, the “me” generation, and other relevant topics through the present day. This course will cover foreign policy issues such as the atomic bomb and the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War, but it will have more of a focus on domestic events and trends.

The course uses both primary and secondary sources, such as Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974 (Kruse & Zelizer), Major Problems in American History Since 1945 (Zaretsky & Lawrence), Promises to Keep: The United States Since 1945 (Boyer), excerpts from books such as My Own Country (Verghese), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Ehrenreich), and articles such as “Jane Crow and the Law.” In addition, the course includes films and documentaries that relate to this time period, including The Atomic Café, Eyes on the Prize, and excerpts from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War. There


is also a substantial independent research component, and students will complete several research projects during the year.

Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars in American History (Steinert-Evoy)

In November 1990 the UN gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein an ultimatum in the form of Security Council Resolution 678: withdraw all troops from Kuwait by January 15, 1991, or face retribution by “all necessary means.” By the time of this resolution, the United States had already sent more than 600,000 troops to Saudi Arabia in the largest deployment since WWII, Operation Desert Shield. What was at stake for the United States in this conflict? How did President George HW Bush and his cabinet shape public perception about the impending war? And, how did the Persian Gulf War lay the groundwork for the post-9/11 American interventions in the Middle East?

In this elective, we will strive to answer these questions, beginning by looking at American relationships with and perceptions of the Middle East starting in 1945, using Melani McAlister’s Epic Encounters as our guide. We will read excerpts from the seminal works of Edward Said, such as Orientalism and Covering Islam , to understand and unpack the place of the Middle East in the American imagination. Next, we will explore the role of the Middle East as a front in the Cold War through Rashid Khalidi’s historical inquiry Sowing Crisis, and Steve Coll’s journalistic text Ghost Wars. This will lead to our focus on the Persian Gulf War of 1991, 9/11, and the War on Terror. We will take a multidisciplinary approach, folding in past exhibitions such as Theater of Operations from MoMA PS1, theoretical texts like Jean Baudrillard’s The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, and documentary and feature films from Laura Poitras to Werner Herzog. As scholars of the recent past, we will delve into what “Homeland Security” means to the nation and what America’s role in the Middle East means today.

Then and Now: Greek Literature and Culture Through the Ages (Stayer)

Zeus set an evil lot upon us all, to make us topics of a singer’s tale for people in the future still unborn.

–Helen, from Homer’s Iliad

Homeric epic. Athenian tragedy. The Socratic dialogue. Greek culture, from the archaic to the classical and Hellenistic eras, developed a series of literary genres that not only offer us a unique window on the ancient world, but also continue to influence art and society in profound ways today. This course proposes to closely read in translation a wide selection of these works through the dual lenses of their historical context and their artistic legacy into contemporary times. What can the gods and demigods of the Iliad teach us about war, mortality, and fatalism? About slavery and class conflict? We will consider tragedy both as an artform and as an essential democratic institution in which public values were (are they still?) hotly contested. What do Oedipus, Clytemnestra, and Iphigenia have to say about


democracy, justice, and the rights of women in the classical Athenian polis ? How have they influenced drama from Shakespeare to current cinema? And finally, is all European philosophy just “a series of footnotes to Plato,” as Alfred North Whitehead quipped (short answer: no)? We end our year interrogating the ideas of Plato and Aristotle with particular attention paid to ethics, the nature of reality, poetics, and the literary construction of the dialogues.

We’ll read: Homer’s Iliad (translated by Emily Wilson), Aeschylus’ Oresteia , Sophocles (two of Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Electra), Euripides (one or two of The Bacchae, Iphigenia at Aulis, Helen), Plato (Republic excerpts, Phaedo, Apology, Euthyphro, Ion , etc.) Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, Poetics, On the Soul, etc.), and various secondary sources.

We may read (time and interest permitting): Homeric hymns, Sappho (and other lyric), Pindar, Aristophanes, pre-Socratic philosophy, Stoic, and Epicurean philosophy.

Independent Research in History (The Department) (1x per week)

The Independent Research in History program enables students to explore a historical topic in depth over the course of the school year. Working with a mentor from the department, students will identify the significant historical questions raised by their chosen topic, and pursue them by employing various research techniques and examining a variety of sources and documents. Students will meet one period a week in class, and with their individual mentors throughout the year. Each research project may be the work of up to two students. The expectation is that students will develop their research into a significant formal historical essay, to be presented at the end of the school year in a symposium. Papers may be accompanied by a supplementary presentation of research in another medium. Note: To be considered for Independent Study in History, students need to submit a substantial research proposal to be considered for approval by the department. This proposal must be submitted to the History Department by June 1. Preference will be given to seniors and juniors.The maximum enrollment for this program is 16 students.



All Interdisciplinary classes meet four periods per week unless otherwise noted.

Art, Science, and Nature (Arnold/Zayas)

What do frogs and mushrooms have in common? What connections can be made between an amoeba and a lobster? What transformative processes occur as grain becomes bread or caterpillar becomes butterfly? And… what are the scientific foundations of these commonalities, connections, and transformations? In this course, art, science, and anthropology will intersect as students investigate the natural world through experience and theory.

Following in the steps of famed naturalists Carolus Linnaeus and Charles Darwin, students will use the intense focus and concentration required in art to make detailed observations of the structures of living things in an effort to understand the functions of these structures. Students will draw and paint mushrooms, protists, flowers, and plants, as well as various animals using several different techniques—watercolor and oil paint, pen and ink. They will simultaneously learn about the evolutionary histories, phylogenetic relationships, reproductive strategies, and embryological development of these organisms as they investigate their functional adaptations.

Laboratory assignments will require active participation in the observation and dissection of various specimens in order to help students further understand the functions and origins of biological structures. Lab assignments will also allow students to practice and improve their microscope techniques and behavioral observation methods. On the anthropological side, students will explore the roles these organisms have played throughout human history, for example by cooking root vegetables, extracting ink from squid and walnuts, and planting seedlings—all while being introduced to great artworks about nature by da Vinci, Durer, Audubon, Rubens, Van Gogh, O’Keefe and others, and while considering the ways in which these artists viewed nature. This course may be taken for Science, Art, or Interdisciplinary Studies credit.

Shadow and Substance: The Personal and Political Stories of Black Women and Femmes (Mackall)

From the time Phillis Wheatley Peters’ poems were published to the most recent Hip Hop beef, Black women and gender-expansive people have crafted personas and publicly shared personal narratives as commercial products, material for art, launch pads for movements of self-determination, and rallying cries for political action. In this course, we will think


about how the images and life stories of women of African descent have helped to expand and reshape contemporary notions of gender, freedom, and personal agency. Our guiding questions will include:

› Whose stories get told?

› Which audiences are served and how?

› If the story is good, does it matter that it is true?

› How has social media affected the usefulness of individual stories as tools for broad social and political change?

Students are expected to read independently and respond to the course materials in class discussions, regular short response essays, collaborative projects, and a substantial research project which might include written research, oral presentation, performance, or other creative expressions.

Course materials may include works by Harriet Jacobs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Margo Jefferson, Carrie Mae Weems, Cheryl Dunye, Jesmyn Ward, Saidiya Hartman, Harryette Mullen, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Christina Sharpe, Janet Mock, Legacy Russell, and others.

This course is open to ninth–twelfth grade students and may be taken for Interdisciplinary Studies credit (by anyone) or History credit (by eleventh and twelfth grade students only).

Television (Patterson)

Television is a window onto popular culture. Television is a mirror reflecting public anxieties and desires. Television is a pox on American democracy. Television is a lot of fun. This course is an arena for pursuing scholarship related to media and the performing arts, plus law, business, technology, government, sports, and American social history, especially with respect to race, class, and gender.

We will examine the pleasures and problems of TV and develop a shrewd understanding of how it laid the foundation for our contemporary digital culture of spectatorship and self-performance. Our timeline starts around 1953 (when—as seen on The Crown —the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II emerged as the first international TV event) and ends at the present day (when Americans, collectively, are streaming about two million years worth of content every month).

We will screen at least one series good enough to reward close critical scrutiny—David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, perhaps. We will study Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show and The Simpsons by way of discussing the form and purpose of satire. And we will analyze the latest hits with an eye towards exploring the culture at large.

Our screening list will be divided between a roster of influential classics (such as I Love Lucy, Star Trek, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Roots, Seinfeld , and The Real World ) and a list


of recent occasions for aesthetic pleasure and critical thinking. We will also discuss TV in relation to both electoral politics and social movements, for instance considering the NixonKennedy debates as a formative spectacle and appreciating Sesame Street as a product of the Great Society. The class aims to enrich students’ media literacy, with discussions of Marshall McLuhan, of the male gaze, of the craft of propaganda and the strategies of advertising.

The reading list is likely to include How to Watch Television News by Neil Postman and Steve Powers, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America by James Poniewozik, and “Superman Comes to the Supermarket” by Norman Mailer.

This course meets for two 90 minute periods and is open to 10th–12th grade students. It may be taken for Interdisciplinary Studies credit only.

Voices of Resistance: Decolonization Through Storytelling (Maima)

“Decolonization is about transformation. It is about challenging accepted truths and developing a different way of thinking about and seeing the world.”

What is decolonization as a theory and practice? How do the stories we tell (and how we tell them) challenge oppressive power structures and contribute to movements of resistance, healing and social change?

From Audre Lorde and Franz Fanon (Wretched of the Earth) to Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) and Alok V Menon, artists have always used narrative to speak truth to power and imagine more equitable futures. In this course, we will explore the intersections of decolonization and the art of storytelling. We will critically engage with various forms of storytelling, including literature, film, oral traditions and digital media and how they have impacted among others, environmental justice, black liberation, queer liberation, anti-war and indigenous rights movements.

Students are expected to reflect on class readings and discussions in weekly journals and two short essays. The final project will be an art project or research project in one of the mediums explored in class or as a paper. Course materials may include works by the above as well as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (Kenya), Warsan Shire (Britain, Somalia), bell hooks (United States), Edward Said (Palestine, United States), Ousmane Sembene (Senegal), Linda Tuhiwai Smith (New Zealand, Maori), Audra Simpson (United States, Mohawk) and Benazir Bhuto (Pakistan).

This course is open to 9th–12th grade students and may be taken for Interdisciplinary Studies credit only. It meets for one 90 minute period each week.




Chinese 1

(The Department)

This course is designed for students with no or little previous experience in Chinese language. In the first year, we master the pronunciation system (pinyin), recognize and write simplified characters (traditional characters can be accommodated upon request), acquire words on a variety of themes, build basic sentence structures, and explore culture.

Accelerated Chinese (The Department)

This course is designed for students who are heritage speakers and/or are motivated to do two years of Chinese in one. We use the textbook series Integrated Chinese, and students will take Chinese 3 the following year upon completion. We master the pronunciation system (pinyin), recognize and write simplified characters (traditional characters can be accommodated upon request), master essential sentence structures, focus on making conversations for functional and daily life situations, and explore culture. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the Department and Grade Dean.

Chinese 2

(The Department)

In the second year, we transition into the textbook series Integrated Chinese. Students will continue to hone their pronunciation, write and memorize characters, master essential sentence structures, focus on making conversations for functional and daily life situations, and explore culture.

Chinese 3

(The Department)

The third year of Chinese learning emphasizes mastering long sentences with advanced grammar including particles, complements, conjunctions, and clauses, conversing in more formal situations in more sophisticated language, and deeper explorations of culture.


Chinese 4

(The Department)

The fourth year of Chinese learning emphasizes building short paragraphs by connecting sentences with coherent transitions, expressing thoughts and opinions in accurate and advanced language on everyday life and social topics, as well as understanding culture with a comparative lens.

Chinese 5

(The Department)

The fifth year of Chinese learning emphasizes: elaborating and presenting, including research and original composition in lengthy, formal and fluent language; comprehending and analyzing topics in politics, economy, history, and society: and understanding culture with a comparative lens.

Chinese 6

(The Department)

In the final year of Chinese learning we finish the textbook series Integrated Chinese and read authentic materials such as news articles, poems, fairy tales, and movie scripts. This course emphasizes honing proficiency in accuracy, fluency, and complexity, as well as the mastery of native speakers’ language usages.

Chinese Conversation

(The Department)

This course is designed for students who have completed at least Chinese 3 to take in addition to their regular Chinese class to further improve their listening and speaking skills. The course eschews quizzes, and instead emphasizes not only gaining spontaneity and fluency in daily life topics, but also learning and discussing in depth about culture, history, politics, education, current events, and so on. Prerequisite(s): Chinese 3


Japanese 1


The first year of Japanese focuses on building students’ foundations in the language. While students take in the two phonetic systems, hiragana and katakana , they learn basic grammar including distinctive aspects of the language such as the use of markers. Numerous expressions and patterns that are needed to construct sentences to function in various social situations are also introduced. Additionally, students continuously explore Japanese culture and traditions from ancient periods to the current “pop” trends. Each year, students have face-to-face exposure with various Japanese artists.


Japanese 2 (Otsue)

The second year continues from the first with grammar including distinctive topics such as measurement words for various objects, equipment, animals, machines, etc., but adds emphasis on composition—students begin writing fictional stories. Students continue to learn to function in various social situations while they learn to become a culturally competent speaker of Japanese. Kanji is introduced.

Japanese 3 (Otsue)

The third year continues the emphasis on students developing all four skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading, and building on what they have learned in the previous years. In the second half of the year, a number of complex sentence patterns and formulaic expressions, including keigo, are introduced. Students are provided with extensive training to enhance their communication skills, putting emphasis on spontaneity and accuracy. Creative writing exercises are embedded in grammar exercises. The listening comprehension materials include real life dialogues. New kanji and kanji vocabulary are introduced on a daily basis.

Japanese 4 (Otsue)

The fourth year builds on the foundation laid in the third, but explores reading more extensively. The reading materials include news articles, stories, cultural episodes, etc., and include a number of new and old kanji. Students continue to build their vocabulary.

Japanese 5 (Otsue)

The fifth year continues with an emphasis on reading, but features texts with more complex syntax and advanced kanji vocabulary in both the formal and the informal styles. Readings cover a wide range of topics including Japanese inventions, social hierarchy, traditional arts and Zen, etc. Students will further their understanding of Japanese society and culture through discussions of history and current social issues through news articles. In addition, students will learn to express their opinions and thoughts in the formal style of writing with a stronger command of the language. In order to facilitate students’ fluency, more sentence patterns, formulaic expressions, idioms, and the use of onomatopoeia are introduced.



(Otsue) (2x per week)

Students further develop their abilities to express themselves effectively, and also explore the culture via various mediums. Students are given ample time to discuss topics like crosscultural issues, cultural and current events, etc.. On a regular basis, students are asked to conduct research and give oral presentations on a topic of their choice. As they develop their presentation skills, students learn to construct cohesive paragraphs when working on both spoken and written tasks. Prerequisite(s): Japanese 3



Greek 1

(The Department)

This course introduces students to the rudiments of Ancient Greek. Memorization of forms, vocabulary and syntax are stressed in order to facilitate the reading of unadapted Greek texts as quickly as possible. By the year’s end, students will have a strong command of basic syntax.

Intensive Ancient Greek

(The Department)

This is a fast-paced course that introduces the essential morphology and syntax of Ancient Greek. The systematic acquisition of forms and vocabulary complement the learning of simple and complex syntax. By the end of this rather ambitious year students will be able to read Ancient Greek texts in the original.

Greek 2

(The Department)

This course features review of material from Greek 1 and continues to round out the students’ knowledge of Greek forms and syntax. In the second semester, students will refine their skills through translation of selections from a variety of authors, including Herodotus, Plato, and Aristophanes, and will explore the different styles and expressions employed by each. The course is intended to provide students with the skills and confidence to move on to more intensive exploration of specific Greek texts. Prerequisite(s): Greek 1

Greek 3

(The Department)

This course emphasizes facility in reading and translating unadapted Greek authors— studying the literary forms they work in and using textual evidence to gain insight into the ancient world, while also consolidating the grammar and vocabulary acquired in earlier courses. Texts vary across region and genre, depending on the interests of participants, but the Attic dialect of the 5th–4th century BCE predominates. Prerequisite(s): Greek 2 or Intensive Ancient Greek

Greek 4: Homer, The Odyssey

(The Department)

The Odyssey, from one perspective, is a poem about coming home—not only from war, but also from wandering—but it is a story that contains within it many different, overlapping stories. As we seek to develop command of Homeric Greek, we will explore a selection of these stories. Some of these will be from Odysseus’s own crafty story-telling—like the Lotus Eaters, the Sirens, and the island of the witch Circe. Others will belong to other heroic arcs like the coming of age of Telemachus, the loyalty of Penelope, the aftermath of the Iliad, the return of Helen, and Achilles in the Underworld. Still other stories will take us beyond the world of heroes to explore broader questions about the nature of justice (in peace and war),


the roles of women in the poem (human, divine, and in-between; almighty, enslaved, and inbetween), the ends of violence, group identity and exclusion, the place of storytelling, and, of course, what it means to come home. In the spirit of the text itself, we will take each episode as it comes, and let the lessons from one lead us on to the next. And the next. And the next. Prerequisite(s): Greek 3

Greek 5: Tragedy (Siebengartner)

This class will provide a thorough examination of the genre of 5th-century BCE Attic tragedy and its playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. We will combine deep dives into the original Greek of a representative sample of works, both entire plays and excerpts from others, with the reading of all the extant plays in translation. While close reading and analysis of Greek texts will be our primary focus, we will also consider historical context, staging and performance, ancient dramatic theory, the broader function of drama in Classical Athens, and the reception of Greek tragedy in theater, the visual arts, film, and literature up to the present. Prerequisite(s): Greek 4

Greek 6: (The) Agamemnon(s) (Mason)

… With him came by far the largest, finest army, and with pride he dressed himself in shining bronze and stood superior to all his fighting men because he was the best and led by far the greatest forces.

(Iliad 2.576-580; trans. E. Wilson)

With this the Poet of the Iliad describes the son of Atreus, Agamemnon , in the Catalogue of Ships. Ancient readers from at least as early as Zenodotus (b. 330 BCE) balked, however, at the characterization of Agamemnon as the best —and so he deleted the line in his edition of the poem. A later scholar, Aristarchus (b. 222 BCE), explained that there are many ways for a hero to be the best, and he retained the line. But Aristarchus also deleted dozens of lines in the poem because he did not think they reflected well on Agamemnon. Indeed, a careful reading of the apparatus criticus of the Iliad shows that Agamemnon was a controversial, vexing figure to those early scholars. And he has remained so ever since. In this class we will try to come to terms with Agamemnon, son of Atreus. Leader of the Argives’ war against Troy, brother of Menelaus, husband of Clytemnestra, and father of Iphigenia, Orestes, Electra (and others?), Agamemnon is at the center of a web of tales that explore the boundaries of the obligations humans have to each other—to family, native land, friends, and comrades – as we strive to realize our ambitions in a competitive, brutal world. Those tales span centuries and genres, so we will read broadly to understand Agamemnon. We will read selections from the Iliad and Odyssey to place Agamemnon in his epic context. We will then move to 458 BCE, to the first play in Aeschylus’ trilogy, the Agamemnon. It is not an easy play—in language or subject matter: it will challenge our Greek and our notions of justice. But the poetry is worth


it. We will then move to 405 (?) BC, to Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis and again debate what parents and children owe each other, what each of us owes to our people. Throughout the year we will consider what others thought about Agamemnon—both moderns and ancients —and we perhaps we will end the year understanding what it really means to stand tall and proud, clad in bronze, the head of the army, the best of the Achaeans. Prerequisite(s): Greek 5

Latin Latin 1

(The Department)

This course introduces students to the basic linguistic forms and syntax of the language of the Roman world. Memorization is stressed in order to facilitate the reading of Latin literature as quickly as possible. Readings are selected from unadapted authors. The course also touches on the mythology, history, and social realities on the ground as interpreters see them.

Latin Poetry, Prose, Drama & The Novel (The Department)

Designed as a bridge between the introductory Latin course and specialized electives, this course emphasizes facility in reading and translating Latin authors, studying the literary forms we encounter, and using textual evidence to gain insight into life in the ancient world. Authors include Cicero, Ovid, Plautus, Sallust, Sulpicia, Livy, Catullus, Horace, Caesar, Vergil, and others. The course also intensively reviews Latin grammar and syntax. Prerequisite(s): Latin 1

The Aeneid: Vergil and The Latin Epic (The Department)

The Aeneid is the Roman epic that charts the mytho-historical founding of the Roman people and state. Books I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII, X and XII of the Aeneid are read in Latin, in part or in whole, and the rest of the text in English. Emphasis is on translation and textual analysis, with daily assignments for translation as well as passages for sight-reading in class. Several short critical papers are involved. Prerequisite(s): Latin Poetry, Prose, Drama & The Novel.

Latin Electives

Students who have completed Vergil’s Aeneid may rank their preferences for electives. Enrollments will depend on registration and scheduling.


Latin: Latina Ovidiana (Bissette)

After an introduction to build speaking and listening skills, this class will be conducted primarily in Latin. We will read and discuss selections from Ovid’s famous, not-so-famous, and infamous works, including Ars Amatoria, Amores, Heroides, Metamorphoses, Tristia , and Epistulae ex Ponto, considering them on their own terms and using them as points of departure to explore Ovid’s controversial, dynamic life and the fraught political moment he lived through—namely, the fall of the Roman republic and the establishment of Augustus’ principate—as well as his sometimes striking remoteness from mores of both his own day and ours. Interactive activities and games will get us speaking, reading, understanding, and writing Latin smoothly without English translation. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, it will be fun, and it will do wonders for our Latin. Prerequisite(s): Aeneid

Latin: Horatian Politics (Siebengartner)

This class will examine the political commentary of the Roman poet Horace (65–8 BCE), focusing on his Odes, a landmark work of lyric poetry, a genre most commonly thought of as personal in nature. Through close readings of a selection of these poems, we will explore how Horace navigated the tumultuous political landscapes of his time (the transition from republic to empire through a series of brutal civil wars), considering his view of the role of the poet in society, the tension between personal expression and public expectation, and the subtle art of political commentary in verse. Despite having fought after the death of Julius Caesar on the side of Brutus against Octavian (later known as Augustus) and Antony, Horace subsequently benefited from Augustus’ patronage and seems on the surface of his political odes to lavish Augustus with praise. Is this straightforward panegyric or can we read between the lines to find the sly subversiveness many see, for example, in the Aeneid of his contemporary Vergil? How did Horace’s primary philosophical influence, Epicureanism, often vehemently anti-political in nature, shape his engagement with political themes? To enrich our answers to these questions and our picture of Horace’s political poetry, we will also look at poems from Horace’s Epodes, Satires, and Epistles. Prerequisite(s): Aeneid

Latin: Seneca’s Letters on Ethics (Connaghan)

The ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales were written in the final years of Seneca’s life (62–65CE). Composed while in retirement (avoiding the dangers of Nero’s court), these letters not only reflect the culmination of Seneca’s mature thinking on ethics but also take us deep into contemporary Stoicism. Stoicism was the most popular philosophical system in the Roman Empire, and Seneca’s letters are our earliest major source for the beliefs and arguments defended within this system—and for its interactions with Epicureanism, Skepticism, Platonism, and Aristotelianism.

Seneca was not simply a philosopher but also a sophisticated writer and a powerful political player; to make sense of our reading we must consider the interplay of philosophical, literary, and political concerns. Seneca arranged these letters in a series of books which are tightly


organized, thematically complex, literary gems. We will read the first two books in their entirety, analyzing the philosophical content of each letter while also considering the themes, motifs, and lines of reasoning which recur through each book. We will look to the way individual letters contribute as parts to a larger whole, expanding and deepening concepts and ideas introduced in other letters into a dizzying and thrilling web of interrelations.

Our primary concern will be to make sense of Seneca’s Stoicism, but we will also read in translation from the Epicurean, Skeptical, Platonic, and Aristotelian traditions, as well as see how Seneca’s letters played an important role in shaping the Early Modern Period and from there contemporary trends in ethics. Prerequisite(s): Aeneid

Additional Courses

Introduction to Linguistics (The Department) (2x per week)

This class will introduce students to the study of human languages. We will ask big questions—what is language, how does language work in the brain, the body, and society, and what, if anything, can we learn about humanity by considering human languages?

We will explore topics in linguistics, from grammar (phonetics, morphology, syntax, etc.) to sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, lexicography, second language acquisition, and computational linguistics. Our focus will in part be determined by student interest. This class will be conducted mostly as a workshop and homework will be limited. That said, students will be invited to give presentations on topics that particularly compel them. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is necessary.


Accelerated French (The Department)

This course is offered to students who have successfully completed at least two years of another Romance language, and whose experience with language learning enables them to proceed at a faster pace in assimilating the usages of French. This course emphasizes aural/ oral proficiency as well as written skills.

French 1 (The Department)

This course is for students who are new at learning a Romance language, and for those who need one more year to solidify their knowledge and usage of the fundamentals. Emphasis is placed on sentence structure and oral expression. Students acquire elementary conversational skills, and vocabulary is learned through texts and review exercises. Web-based interactive exercises and activities help students practice and retain the material. Special attention is given to accurate pronunciation.


French 2 (The Department)

Students entering this level already possess fundamental skills of grammar and expression (as described in French 1). This course is designed to foster continued development in each of the four language skills: speaking, writing, reading, and aural comprehension. A variety of materials are used: a textbook and workbook to reinforce grammar and vocabulary, and short readings to encourage class discussion and serve as samples of written text. Audio materials are used in class to improve listening comprehension skills. Accurate pronunciation is stressed.

French 3 (The Department)

In French 3 the objectives are to reinforce the students’ command of basic grammatical concepts and to stress the idiomatic use of French. We place an emphasis on the assimilation of all major grammatical structures. Readings such as Saint Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince are used to expand vocabulary and provide topics of discussion. We consider questions of content and form. Topics of class discussion serve as the basis for composition writing. At the end of this course, students should be able to write coherently in French, and speak and understand the language with relative ease.

French 4: French Language & Composition (The


This course is designed to consolidate previously-acquired language skills and enable students to enjoy increasingly complex literature. While emphasis is given to class discussion and writing to improve active command of the language, it is through reading texts of various literary genres that the students will review grammar and start producing critical and creative writing. The authors studied may include, but are not limited to: Sebbar, Bouraoui, Deharme, Camus, Sartre, Lahens, and Miano.

French 4: French Language & Culture (The


This course exposes the students to a variety of materials, textual as well as audio-visual, and emphasizes communicative skills through conversation, short writing assignments, and hands-on activities. Cultural themes pertaining to life in the French-speaking world are presented through French-language films, short readings, songs, and other appropriate material. After a careful elucidation and practice of the linguistic elements necessary for exploring these themes, students are able to express themselves on the various topics introduced.


Cultural Topics in the French-Speaking World (The Department)

Designed for students who have completed French 4, this course will focus on cultural and political topics in the contemporary French-speaking world through the study of film, literature, art, music, news sources, and other media. Class discussions, reading, writing, and individual and group projects (including, potentially, plays or musical performances) will develop students’ skills in every area of expression in French while expanding their knowledge of the diverse cultures of Francophone countries in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. Special attention will be paid to idiomatic expressions and the way French is used in everyday life. Possible topics to be considered are protest movements, racism, integration and exclusion, language politics, sexual and cultural identities, religion, education, food, and fashion. Prerequisite(s): French 4

Modern and Contemporary Literature in French (The


“Qu’est-ce que la littérature?” “Qu’est-ce qu’écrire?” “Pour qui écrit-on?” These were some of the questions asked by Jean-Paul Sartre in a celebrated essay of 1947. While Sartre was not the first to ask these questions, such questions took on particular urgency for writers in French in the colonial and post-colonial contexts. From romanticism, realism and surrealism through to Negritude, existentialism, oulipian experimentalism, and the diverse contemporary scene, literature in French has assumed many forms over the last two centuries. The purpose of this course is to dig deeply into a wide variety of modern and contemporary writers in French from Europe, Africa, and the Americas. We will sample many genres— poetry, short stories, novels, plays, and autobiographical writing. In addition to reading, discussion, and oral reports, students will be invited to try their hand at creative writing, essays, and group projects. Possible authors include Nau, Flaubert, Baudelaire, DesbordesValmore, Proust, Césaire, Duras, Condé, Camus, Beauvoir, NDiaye, and Laferrière, among others. We will complement our readings with occasional forays into the world of painting and cinema. Prerequisite(s): French 4

Creative Writing in French (The

Department) (2x per week)

Designed for students who have completed French 4, this course will operate like a writing workshop and thus requires a commitment to writing frequently in French. Students will prepare a piece of writing in French for every class, which they will share with their fellow students. Commenting upon each other’s work in French will be an essential component of the class. Students will get grammatical and literary input from both teacher and peers. They will read and discuss short fiction and poetry and then “try on” the different narrative voices in their own writing. We will take inspiration from recognized contemporary and classical writers in French. Prerequisite(s): French 4


Advanced Readings in French Literature

(The Department) (2x per week)

For students who have completed all other French electives. Works are selected based on students’ interests and literary background.

French Conversation

(The Department) (2x per week)

Offered to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores with permission of the department chair, this class helps students use their acquired vocabulary and expand it to express themselves more fluently. Students build their oral/aural skills through a variety of activities—verbal games, oral reports, debates and informal conversation on topics such as politics, education, culture, everyday life, or other subjects of interest to the group. Accurate pronunciation is stressed.


Accelerated Spanish

(The Department)

This course is offered to students who have successfully completed at least two years of another Romance language, and whose experience with language learning enables them to proceed at a faster pace in assimilating the usages of Spanish. This course emphasizes aural/ oral proficiency as well as written skills.

Spanish 1

(The Department)

This course is for students who are new at learning a Romance language, and for those who need one more year to solidify their knowledge and usage of the fundamentals. Emphasis is placed on sentence structure and oral expression. Students acquire elementary conversational skills, and vocabulary is learned through texts and review exercises. Web-based interactive exercises and activities help students practice and retain the material. Special attention is given to accurate pronunciation.

Spanish 2

(The Department)

Continuing the study of grammar and building vocabulary, students read and discuss short stories relevant to Spanish culture and begin to express more sophisticated ideas in writing.

Spanish 3

(The Department)

Grammatical concepts are further reviewed and reinforced at this level. Students are introduced to more literary texts, poetry, and to articles on culture and current events in Latin America and Spain.


Spanish 4: Language & Composition (The Department)

This course is designed to consolidate previously-acquired language skills and enable students to enjoy increasingly complex literature. While emphasis is given to class discussion and writing to improve active command of the language, it is through reading texts of various literary genres that the students will review grammar and start producing critical and creative writing. The authors studied may include, but are not limited to: Allende, Bolaño, Borges, García Márquez, García Lorca, Martín Gaite, and Neruda.

Spanish 4: Language & Culture (The Department)

This course exposes students to a variety of materials, textual as well as audio-visual, and emphasizes communication skills through conversation, short writing assignments, and hands-on activities. Cultural themes pertaining to life in the Spanish-speaking world are presented through Spanish language films, short readings, songs, and other appropriate materials. After a careful elucidation and practice of the linguistic elements necessary for exploring these themes, students are able to express themselves on the various topics introduced.

Cultural Topics in the Spanish-Speaking World (The Department)

Designed for students who have completed Spanish 4, this course will focus on cultural and political topics in the contemporary Spanish-speaking world through the study of film, literature, art, music, news sources and other media. Class discussions, reading, writing, and individual and group projects (including, potentially, plays or musical performances) will develop students’ skills in every area of expression in Spanish while expanding their knowledge of the diverse cultures of hispanophone countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Special attention will be paid to idiomatic expressions and the way Spanish is used in everyday life. Possible topics to be considered are protest movements, racism, integration and exclusion, language politics, sexual and cultural identities, religion, education, food, and fashion. Prerequisite(s): Spanish 4

20th and 21st Century Literature in Spanish (The Department)

The prose and poetry studied in this course provide a comprehensive view of 20th and 21st century Hispanic letters. Through the works of Matute and García Lorca (Spain), and of Fuentes, Borges, Bolaño, Restrepo, and García Márquez (Latin America), and poetry from both regions, the course aims to stimulate the students’ interest in contemporary Hispanic literature and expand their knowledge of language and culture. Short novels by contemporary authors such as Zambra, Quintana, Schweblin, and Indiana introduce students to the present literary trends in a Latin America that lived through dictatorships, economic crises, and drug wars. Excerpts from movies that explore said conflicts are also watched and discussed. Prerequisite(s): Spanish 4


Creative Writing in Spanish

(The Department) (2x per week)

Designed for students who have completed Spanish 4, this course will operate like a writing workshop and thus requires a commitment to writing frequently in Spanish. Students will prepare a piece of writing in Spanish for every class, which they will share with their fellow students. Commenting upon each other’s work in Spanish will be an essential component of the class. Students will get grammatical and literary input from both teacher and peers. They will read and discuss short fiction and poetry and then “try on” the different narrative voices in their own writing. We will take inspiration from recognized contemporary and classical writers in Spanish such as Roberto Bolaño, Valeria Luiselli, Gabriel García Marquez, Cristina Fernandez Cubas, and Luis Sepúlveda, among others. Prerequisite(s): Spanish 4

Advanced Readings in Spanish

(The Department) (2x per week)

For students who have completed all other Spanish electives. Works are selected based on students’ interests and literary background.

Spanish Conversation

(The Department) (2x per week)

For juniors and seniors who have completed at least Spanish 3, this course develops communicative proficiency. Placing special emphasis on practical vocabulary and enhancing interactional use of the language, we try to build each student’s self-confidence and facility in speaking Spanish. Accurate pronunciation is stressed.



Required Courses

Algebra 1 (8th Grade)

(The Department)

In Algebra 1, students learn to generalize the laws of arithmetic and perform the four operations on variable expressions. They develop their ability to model and solve word problems by assigning variables to unknown quantities and determining the precise relationship between constant and variable terms. Students apply the laws of equality in order to solve a wide variety of equations and proportions. In the process of graphing the solution sets of linear equations on the Cartesian plane, students gain familiarity with the concepts of slope and intercept. They find simultaneous solutions to systems of equations and apply factoring in order to find the roots of quadratic equations. All of these activities promote both arithmetic and algebraic fluency.

Geometry (9th Grade)

(The Department)

In Geometry, we study the world of points, lines, and planes. We cover topics that include the analysis of congruent and similar triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem, angle sum and area formulas, and theorems concerning the relationship between chords, secants, and tangents of a circle. We solve problems and explore geometric situations intuitively; we also investigate geometry as a formal system, where we begin with a small set of postulates and then build up a Euclidean geometric system by deductively proving further results. With this balance, we uncover mathematics the way it often plays out historically, where bursts of intuition drive knowledge forward, and then formalization solidifies known results into a cohesive whole.

Algebra 2

(The Department)

The Cartesian plane provides a setting for examining transformations such as reflection, translation, and scaling. Parallel and perpendicular lines are analyzed using the concept of slope. Functions are examined both algebraically and graphically, as are systems of equations and inequalities. Students also work in a purely algebraic setting, solving equations, manipulating algebraic expressions, working with higher-degree polynomials, expanding binomial powers, and examining rational expressions. The challenge of solving quadratic equations leads to such techniques as factoring, completing the square, the quadratic formula, and the discovery of the complex numbers. Note: This course is open to sophomores and above. Freshmen may take it with the permission of their grade dean and the department chair.


Sequential Electives


(The Department) (Fall semester)

Beginning with trigonometric functions and triangle solutions, we move on to identities, equations, angle formulae, and the practical applications thereof. Last, we cover the graphs of all the trigonometric functions including inverses and period, amplitude, and phase shifts. In conjunction with the spring semester course Analysis, this course is a prerequisite for Calculus. Prerequisite(s): Algebra 2


(The Department) (Spring semester)

This course is a rigorous approach to polynomial and exponential functions; sequences and series; vectors; and some analytic geometry. Emphasis is on the mastery of proofs and creative applications to practical problems. In conjunction with the fall semester course Trigonometry, this course is a prerequisite for Calculus. Prerequisite(s): Trigonometry


(The Department)

They use statistics to decorate their articles. They use statistics as a club in the battle for what they believe intuitively to be correct. That is why [they] often believe that you can prove anything with statistics, an obscene and ludicrous position, but one which is the natural out-growth of the way that they themselves use statistics. What I wanted to do was teach people instead to use statistics as a sword to cut toward the truth.

In this class, we will design and perform experiments, analyze and visualize data, build models, play and study card games, run simulations, summarize data, and write chunks of code (absolutely no prior programming experience is expected). We’ll see how probability underlies our understanding of science, grapple with uncertainty, and become fledgling data scientists. This class will be partially project-based, including a substantial (individual) endof-the-year project of your choosing. Prerequisite(s): Algebra 2

Advanced Statistics

(The Department)

This course will delve deeper into the world of statistics. Students will refine the techniques learned in the first year of Statistics and will continue to discuss the derivations and ramifications of the formulas used. Students will formally explore the realm of regression, touching upon various types of non-linear regression analysis. Throughout the year, students will be analyzing large data sets, often as parts of independent projects. Other topics can include: hypothesis testing, various types of sampling distributions, Bayes’ theorem, probabilistic analysis, the central limit theorem and confidence intervals. Prerequisite(s): Statistics


Calculus (The Department)

This is a rigorous calculus course with heavy emphasis on proofs, derivations, and creative applications. Limits, derivatives, integrals, and their technical applications are covered. This course will include an early use of transcendental functions and will require a working knowledge of trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, and rational functions.

Prerequisite(s): Trigonometry and Analysis

Further Explorations in Calculus (The Department)

In this class, we will continue the exploration of calculus with advanced integration techniques, such as integration by parts, partial fractions, and trigonometric substitution. We will study applications such as arc length, perimeter, measurement of surfaces, areas of regions on polar coordinates, and differential equations. We will reexamine integration with a more rigorous treatment than we took in Calculus. In addition, we will take ideas from calculus and use them as stepping stones towards extensions and explorations in more advanced areas.

For example, we will delve deeper into the convergence and divergence of sequences and series, leading us to a discussion of the Taylor and Maclaurin Series. We will study how the concept of infinitesimals leads to exciting results in physics and harmonic analysis, as well as offer insight into the local behavior of various curves that we may have taken for granted. We may examine special functions and number sets, such as the Weierstrass function, the Bernoulli numbers, and the Cantor set. We may use the idea of volumes of rotation as a way to begin talking about repeated integration and multivariable calculus.

Prerequisite(s): Calculus 1

Additional Electives

Advanced Problem Solving (The Department) (2x per week)

This course is designed for students who love solving math problems, and it is especially appropriate for students intending to take part in the school’s math team. We focus on mathematical topics not typically covered in the standard curriculum. Topics such as number theory and modular arithmetic, polynomials, geometric loci, probability, functional equations, algebraic and trigonometric identities, geometric inequalities, divisibility, three dimensional geometry, complex numbers, recursions, infinite series, quadratic forms, and abstract algebra are explored through a series of problems, often selected from various mathematical contests. The problems in Advanced Problem Solving tend to focus on clever tricks and creative thinking beyond what is typically required in a classroom. Through problems, the objective of the course is both to be more familiar with said clever tricks and also to have wider exposure to mathematics beyond our standard curriculum. We meet twice a week, once to work on problems and a second time to go over the problems together as a class. This schedule is occasionally altered when we tackle a math contest as a class.


Advanced Euclidean Geometry

(Totten) (One semester only, fall/spring TBD)

You are a pilot 50 miles to the south of a ship on the open ocean, of which you are in pursuit. It has a heading of 80 degrees, and you know your relative speed. How do you plot an intercept course? With Apollonian circles, naturally.

This course builds on the concepts of first-year Geometry and goes deeper, exploring topics (such as those of navigation) only developed in the past several hundred years. Our study will begin with the many figures associated with the triangle: orthic and medial triangles, the Euler line, the Fermat and Gergonne points, the Feuerbach circle, excircles and Simson lines. Special topics regarding circles—coaxial pencils, the radical axis, harmonic division and Apollonian circles—will be covered, and will lead into an introduction of transformational geometry with an emphasis on Steiner’s inversion. Throughout the course there is considerable practice of the ancient Greek method of mechanical drawing, the compass and straightedge construction. Prerequisite(s): Geometry

Linear Algebra

(Aroskar) (One semester, fall/spring TBD)

Linear algebra is the common denominator of mathematics, with uses in pure as well as applied branches of mathematics. In itself, it is a profoundly enriching field of study that has also developed into a universal tool. While linear algebra is broadly the study of structurepreserving operators on linear (vector) spaces, these concepts are extremely useful in a variety of disciplines ranging from physics and engineering to economics and computer science. In this introductory course, we will study matrix algebra and learn to solve linear systems in several variables. There will be an emphasis on topics useful in other disciplines and various applications will be discussed. We will also aim to gain a deeper understanding of abstract vector spaces and linear transformations by exploring interesting examples and examining isomorphic structures. Proficiency in concepts and skills from Algebra 2 will greatly benefit students taking this course. Prerequisite(s): Algebra 2


(Aronson) (One semester only, fall/spring TBD)

Formal logic, a discipline created by Aristotle, has applications in a variety of disciplines including philosophy, mathematics, physics, computer science, and linguistics. One might, in fact, argue that logic is relevant to any endeavor that involves reasoning. This course begins with a consideration of arguments of English and the question: What constitutes a good argument? We then focus on the symbolic system known as sentential logic and the more powerful symbolic system known as predicate logic. In both cases, students learn to translate arguments of English into symbolic arguments and to evaluate such arguments using the aforementioned systems. This is a proof intensive class. Prerequisite(s): Geometry


Numerical Methods

(Kaplan) (One semester, fall/spring TBD)

Mathematical and engineering developments have enabled us to analyze and represent all manner of phenomena including planetary motion, the progression of infectious diseases, economic trends, weather forecasting, and scheduling of air traffic. Despite the existence of detailed models to describe so many processes, exact analytic solutions are impossible to find in most real-world applications. In order to understand the behavior of these disparate systems, we are forced to turn to accurate—although inherently approximate—numerical methods. In this class, we will learn the basics for using iterative techniques to solve these otherwise-intractable problems. We will investigate curve fitting of data, derivatives, integrals, and solutions to differential equations. Concepts from Trigonometry and Calculus will be used, but previous knowledge of these fields is not required. No prior experience with programming is needed—we will pick up coding skills as we implement the algorithms we develop. Prerequisite(s): Algebra 2

Advanced Topics in Mathematics (Hanisch) (2x per week)

Among the various branches of higher mathematics are analysis and algebra. Too often in advanced coursework, perhaps as a result of the natural tendency towards specialization, sharp yet artificial boundaries are placed between them. Indeed, prominent mathematician John Stilwell lamented, “Algebraists do not discuss the fundamental theorem of algebra because ‘that’s analysis’ and analysts do not discuss Riemann surfaces because ‘that’s topology’.. ”

This course aims to remedy this by providing a unifying study of the deeper aspects of both analysis and algebra. The topics we cover will be influenced by the students, and may include the foundations of our number system, leading into ring and group theory, some set theory and logic, probability theory, and the foundations of calculus. This latter topic should appeal to students who have taken or are currently taking calculus, as well as those who will take calculus in the future. Prerequisite(s): None. Although first year calculus is not strictly a requirement, students should have some familiarity with the fundamental ideas of calculus, or at least be willing to learn a good deal on their own concurrently.

Independent Research in Mathematics (The Department)

Students work one-on-one with a mentor on a focused research project. Topics are to be determined by interest and inclination of the student.

Note: Students must submit a research proposal to the department chair by June 1 to be considered for Independent Research in Mathematics. Proposal guidelines can be picked up in the High School Office or in the Mathematics Department.



All music courses meet two periods per week unless otherwise noted.

Performance Study and Ensembles

The Music Department will offer the following large ensembles based on student needs and interests. It is recommended that students interested in large ensembles choose two. Please consult with your current instrumental teacher if you need to know more about any group.

The Music Department is committed to helping students thrive in our ensembles. Students enrolled in any ensemble are required to practice regularly outside of class. The Music Department provides additional support to individual students by offering a Music Resource Room where students can practice with the help of a teacher during the school day, and we offer a wide-ranging list of private lesson options for those students who wish to support the ensemble experience by studying privately.

Large Ensembles

Brass Choir * (horns, trombones, trumpets)—Pickering

Symphonic Ensemble (string, winds, brass, percussion)—The Department

High School Chorus Asbury

Jazz Performance The Department

Wind Ensemble (bassoon, clarinet, flute, horns, oboe, saxophone, trumpets)—Henderson/ Raia

*requires audition/approval of director

Advanced Percussion Techniques (The Percussion Section) (Lin)

This class builds skills required to play in a percussion section of the larger Saint Ann’s ensembles. Advanced study of timpani, bass drum, crash cymbals, snare drum, triangle and various other percussion instruments is emphasized. Later in each term, students are invited to play in the percussion section of any number of the larger ensembles like the Brass Choir or Symphonic Ensemble. Percussion ensemble music compliments percussion section work.


Bach Ensemble: The Study of the Vocal and Instrumental Chamber and Solo Music of J.S. Bach and His Contemporaries

(Gilbert/The Department)

We will work on many aspects of Baroque interpretation, performance practice, style, ornamentation, tempi, the relationship and interdependence of words and music, and any other topics that come up in the rehearsal and preparation of repertoire. We will explore Bach and his contemporaries from the bottom up, paying close attention to the power and influence of the bass line in these great musical works. Keyboard players will learn how to interpret and realize a figured bass and will learn how to play the portative organ. Limited to advanced vocalists and instrumentalists. Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor

Brass Choir

(Pickering) (3x per week)

The Brass Choir is an ensemble for advanced brass players. Musical and technical skills are cultivated through the study and performance of major brass ensemble compositions representing a wide variety of styles. The Brass Choir will perform in multiple settings during the year including assemblies, choral/instrumental concerts, and graduation. Brass Choir will also be combining and collaborating with Symphonic Ensemble and Chorus to perform major orchestral works. Ensemble members are encouraged to take private lessons/seek outside practice assistance. Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor

Chamber Players

(1x per week)

This class is for students interested in the challenges and rewards of playing chamber music. Chamber Players groups are organized based upon enrollment. Duos, trios, quartets, or quintets will be coached once a week and each semester culminates with a performance.

Because of the skills required to perform chamber music, students are strongly encouraged to take private lessons/seek outside practice assistance. An audition is required for all students who will be participating in the chamber music program for the first time; students currently participating will be placed at an appropriate level.

Creative Improvisation Ensemble (Elliott)

For all musicians who wish to explore the infinite through improvisation. Dedication to at least one instrument is required. We will work as a collective. Creating structures for musical improvisation is a kind of architectural practice. Free thinkers and those who like to work outside of “the box” are encouraged. We will explore collaborative creation, performance practice, and philosophies of music.


High School Chorus (Asbury)

High School Chorus is open to anyone who loves to sing. The chorus sings repertoire from a variety of genres and styles, spanning 500 years of Western music. Chorus will also be combining and collaborating with Symphonic Ensemble and Brass Choir to perform major orchestral works. No previous singing experience is required.

Jazz Performance

(The Department) (3x per week)

We will learn and perform jazz standards and contemporary pieces. Students will explore essential styles of jazz, develop approaches to improvisation, and improve ensemble skills. Students will explore how jazz musicians think about chords and scales and develop a practice that strengthens these skills. All instrumentalists are welcome. Reading skills are required. Jazz Lab sessions will provide an opportunity for each student to develop a practice and an individualized learning program. Performance opportunities—and collaborations with other disciplines—occur throughout the year. Jazz requires dedicated engagement with one’s instrument, and therefore private lessons are encouraged

Jazz Techniques

(The Department)

A class in jazz improvisation and ensemble playing. Instruction in basic scales and chords provides a vocabulary for improvisation. Students are introduced to the jazz repertoire. All instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome. Note: Interested students should prepare an audition demonstrating a grasp of major and minor scales and chords. Students in this class are encouraged to take private lessons/seek outside practice assistance.

Rock Band

(The Department)

Students in Rock Band will play repertoire from the rock genre. Along with discussing the history of rock and the social impact of this music, we will attempt to historically contextualize each piece we play. In addition to using common forms of music notation, the class members will look at developing ear training skills and seek to employ their ears when learning tunes. Basic music theory will be discussed and tunes will be analyzed using music theory concepts based on the historical development of rock music styles. Improvisation will be utilized and supported with music theory as well. Style elements of the sub genres of rock music will be explored.

We will also explore what it means to play this music with conviction and in ways that represent each artist’s approach to playing, singing, and song writing. Goals include deepening the musician’s abilities to play in an ensemble setting and develop listening skills. In addition we will take time to look at caring for our instruments and cultivate an understanding of how to use equipment in a band setting. The students also will have opportunities to perform in school concerts. Students will be expected to prepare by listening


to the repertoire and working on parts outside of class. Prerequisite(s): proficiency on one instrument and an appreciation for the genre

Symphonic Ensemble

(The Department) (3x per week, 1 double period and 1 sectional)

Symphonic Ensemble is an ensemble which combines all of the orchestral instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion) to perform symphonic repertoire in various styles. We will perform in the winter and spring choral/instrumental concerts. High school musicians (and advanced middle school players) will meet for one double period and one sectional. This course will include intensive sectional coaching, as well as full ensemble playing. As an advanced course, daily practice is a requirement for this class. Repertoire will be chosen to the level of the players (some pieces may be just for winds), and will give everyone the unique experience of playing larger scale orchestral music in a community of dedicated musicians.

Symphonic Brass

(The Department) (1x per week)

This class is for brass players interested in playing orchestral music in Symphonic Ensemble. Brass players will be placed together in one tutti rehearsal period a week of Symphonic Ensemble.

Vocal Study and Ensembles

(Clark/Eagen) (3x per week, 2x per week plus HS Chorus)

Everyone has a voice, but HOW do you want to use it and WHAT do you want to say? In Vocal Study, we explore the beauty of the unamplified singing voice and cultivate our unique singing sounds to express our deepest feelings. In a small group setting, you will take turns receiving individual voice instruction to learn vocal technique and develop your individual sound; you’ll also work together with your classmates as a small ensemble, akin to a cappella singing or one-on-a-part harmony singing. We will attend to the use of breath, vowel production, diction and use of the body and support as an instrument.

Students are encouraged to explore a wide variety of styles, including American Art Song, English, Italian, German, and French Song, American Musical Theatre, and operatic arias. Students are also welcome to bring in songs in other styles that interest them. In the pursuit of developing a strong, well-rounded background as a singer, this class may be taken all four years of high school. The class culminates in mid-year and year-end performances of solo, duo, and small ensemble repertoire. Note: No audition required. Students in Vocal Study and Ensembles also participate in High School Chorus.

Wind Ensemble (Henderson)

The Wind Ensemble combines woodwind and brass instruments. We develop musical and technical skills by studying compositions from a wide variety of styles, composers, and time periods. Students are encouraged to take private lessons/seek outside practice assistance. Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor


Instrument Instruction

Advanced Guitar


This course is designed to enhance performing skills on the guitar through the study of popular, jazz, and classical pieces. Prerequisite(s): Guitar 1 or permission of the instructor

Bassoon (Henderson)

The bassoon is a relatively rare instrument that can play music from the Renaissance to the present. It is most commonly heard in orchestra, chamber music, and new music. In this course students will learn the fundamentals of playing the bassoon with the goal of creating a beautiful sound and building solid technique that can be used in any musical setting.

Double Bass


This course is designed for the beginning and intermediate double bass player. The course work focuses on developing performing skills and good double bass playing technique through the study of recognized method books, classical pieces, popular music, and jazz. The students are provided an opportunity to focus on skills and repertoire specific to their instrument through the study of solo and ensemble literature with the goal of playing in an ensemble setting. Tone production, technique development, basic bowing technique, and maximally effective practice strategies are the focus of class assignments. Prior string playing experience is a plus. Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor

Percussion: The Drum Set (Lin)

This class will teach the fundamentals of drum set playing. This includes developing a sense of time, sound production and proper technique. These goals will be achieved through the use of various playing styles which include; Rock, Funk, Jazz, Soul and Pop music. This class also includes ear training, an essential component that enables students to learn various rhythmic idioms from both past and current recordings.

The Art of the Oboe Reed (Scheele) (1x per week)

This course will introduce oboe players to techniques that will allow them to both adjust and make their own reeds. Students will start by learning basic knife and scraping techniques so that they can be self-sufficient when wanting to make changes to their reed. Once students are confident in these techniques, they will learn how to make an oboe reed by studying the different stages of the process (tying, scraping, finishing). Students will be provided with the tools necessary to achieve these goals. By learning how to make their own reeds, the students will have more autonomy over their overall sound, intonation, and comfort while playing the oboe. Prerequisite(s): for oboe players


African Drumming (Vann)

This class builds hand percussive techniques and knowledge of West and Central African rhythms. Advanced study of djembe drum, DunDunba, Sangba, Kenkini, conga and various other percussion instruments is emphasized. We will be working towards each student knowing multiple parts on various percussive instruments. We will explore the link between drumming, dance, and song, as well as popular music’s connection to traditional rhythms and patterns. We hope to perform for a school event. Students may also be asked to play for West African dance classes.

Theory, Composition, and Music Technology

Composition Studio (Elliott)

Open to all music creators who wish to share work, explore new approaches, sharpen technique, and engage in a broad conversation about musical philosophy. We will explore instrumentation, notation, setting words to music, and electronic techniques. For guidance and inspiration we will study the works of creators from a variety of traditions. Our goal will be to produce live performances, recordings, and archival materials for sharing our work. Collaborations are welcome. Experience with production and notation software is useful but not required.

Music & Computers 1 (Langol)

This class explores the use of electronic keyboards, computers, and software in making music reflective of various musical idioms. Our focus is on understanding the bigger concepts around recording and making music with current music technology in contemporary musical idioms. Students are introduced to MIDI editing and sequencing using industry standard music production tools. An overview in the music production skills such as sampling audio and drum programming is provided along with opportunities to apply these ideas to individual music making projects. This class is for the student with no experience or a beginning knowledge of using music technology. In addition to advancing skills as music technologists, students will be exposed to fundamentals of music theory and various compositional methods as required. Music making is examined through various styles and through the lens of popular musical idioms spanning hip hop, EDM, rock and pop.

Project work will apply these ideas, as will the musical desires of each student. Previous experience with composition is desirable, though not necessary.


Music & Computers 2 (Langol)

This advanced class continues to explore ideas and solidify skills established through previous music and computers lab experience. Each semester different sets of plug-ins and a variety of sound design techniques are used to facilitate a deeper understanding of sound design and synthesis. An understanding of how sound works is established while discussing basic recording techniques and effects processing. The foundational knowledge and skills needed to understand current music production techniques are covered through the year.

Sampling techniques going back to Musique concrète–spanning the beginnings of hip-hop to J. Dilla up to the present—are studied and applied to musical projects. A number of approaches to using drum machines and drum programming are further developed in an effort to open up creative options. Contemporary musical genres from hip hop to EDM are pulled apart structurally and technologically in order to see what makes this music work while providing a framework for students to examine their own creative process. All of this may be looked at through the exposure to the history of electronic music making in all musical idioms up to the present day.

Time for the pursuit of individual personal musical goals is provided in a guided learning environment. Avenues for strengthening harmonic knowledge, keyboarding skills and ear training are provided and encouraged throughout the course. Prerequisite(s): Music & Computers 1 or adequate middle school Music Lab experience, and permission of the instructor

Musician’s Practice/Theory Fundamentals (Elliott)

This is a class for any musician—instrumentalist, singer, composer, improviser—who wishes to develop fundamental literacy. We will study pitch, rhythm, and all aspects of musical language. What are intervals? How do keys work? Why do some instruments have transposed parts? Musicians from every tradition use pitch and rhythm to express themselves. In this exploratory musical laboratory students will build their fundamental musicianship through ear training, harmonic exploration, instrumentation, and all manner of useful musical skills. This class is for anyone who wishes to build skills in performing music of all kinds. We will look at notation systems, learn how chords work, and explore arranging and composition.

Music Scoring for Multimedia (Langol)

This class targets the ideas around electronic music composition specifically for film, dance, puppetry, theater, and animation. Open to students with advanced skills, an interest in performance/composition, and a facility with music making software, this workshop/class allows students with experience in MIDI and sound processing to realize their creative ideas using the myriad tools of the music lab. Software technology enables composers to achieve unprecedented variety and richness in manipulating recorded sound to create original compositions in support of other art forms that include film and dance. Exploring various


compositional approaches and various electronic music making methods opens a door to endless musical and sonic possibilities. The development of listening skills and musical analysis are employed in the course work and these become an important part of utilizing compositional methods and style. Prerequisite(s): Music lab experience, facility on an instrument, and permission of the instructor

Songwriter’s Toolbox (Eagen,


This class will give you the tools you need to pen and perform that song you’ve had on a loop in your head for years but never shared with the world. Throughout the year we will concentrate on the art of lyric and melody writing, as well as introduce the students to harmony, rhythm and arranging. You’ll gain many practical tools for your toolbox, including the fundamentals of music notation and the ability to play a few essential chords and chord progressions on piano and guitar. As we listen to and analyze the structure of songs we love, we’ll explore the role of songwriters in history from blues to Tin Pan Alley to MTV and beyond. Throughout the year, you’ll have informal chances to workshop and share your songs, and at the end of the course, you’ll record your original songs and direct your own live performance or music video. If you are an experienced songwriter you will spend the year deepening your craft; however, no formal musical training or experience is required to take this class. All students who are eager to write, sing, play and perform their own songs and those of their classmates are welcome.

Music Literature

Music History


Where does music originate? How have humans made and conceived music through the ages? As we pursue questions about the origins of music we will consider music as a fundamental expression of culture. By considering the context for musical expression and performance practice, we will discover the ways that a group’s music reflects its cultural foundations. Students will develop critical listening skills through an exploration of the elements of musical languages manipulated with dazzling invention and imagination by musicians through the ages. This class is recommended for any student who wishes to broaden their experience and knowledge of musical traditions.


Opera (Clark)

Opera, “the extravagant art,” traditionally involves forces larger than any other form of theater, We will engage with opera from the ground up, from the earliest works of Monteverdi through contemporary pieces. Classwork involves reading from key opera scholars, as well libretto reading, audio listening, and video watching. (We will also take occasional peeks into the scandalous lives of the great composers and opera stars.) Class participation has traditionally involved some opera field trips, so “outings TBA.” There has never been a better time to dive into this fascinating art form!

Women In Music

(The Department) (1x per week)

This class will journey through the contributions of women in music by exploring works of past and living composers and by examining the changing roles and attitudes towards women composers and performers. A performance oriented course, the class will spend time learning and preparing works for a special evening performance dedicated to showcasing too-often under-celebrated women in music. Students are also welcome to perform their own compositions at the concerts. The class hopes to collaborate with other departments and take field trips to hear rehearsals and performances by female composers around the city.




(The Department)

This course will prepare the students for both the physical and mental aspects of basketball, and is open to all skill levels. Students will learn basketball vocabulary, explore strategies, and raise their overall basketball IQ. Students will have a chance to implement their skills in half and full court games during class time.

Challenge Course

(The Department)

Students are faced with challenges through group activities and will set individual as well as collective goals. Team work, leadership, and trust building are major components of this class. We will explore horizontal and vertical climbs on our climbing wall and learn various climbing and belaying techniques.

Flag Football

(P. Zerneck)

This course introduces the rules and fundamentals of flag football. Emphasis is placed on proper techniques of throwing, catching, offensive and defensive concepts, and teamwork. Students will work through skill drills and play games during the class period.

Floor Hockey

(P. Zerneck)

This is an enjoyable and exciting class for all skill levels. Students improve hand-eye coordination and knowledge of the game through drills and games. Hockey fans and nonhockey fans alike will enjoy the good natured competition offered in this course.

High School Gym/Park

(P. Zerneck)

If you enjoyed your middle school “Gym/Park” class, then this class is for you. A variety of sports and physical activities will be offered. Based on the availability of indoor and outdoor facilities, you will play games like capture the flag, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, wiffle ball, basketball, and volleyball. Individual fitness activities may be offered in the fitness room as well.


Karate 1 (Magnes)

Students learn the fundamental punches, kicks, and blocks of traditional karate, combining these techniques in the practice of kata and sparring. Some self defense applications are covered, although the primary emphasis of the course is on karate as a sport and martial art. A gi (karate uniform) is supplied by the school.

Karate 2/3 (Magnes)

In this class we cover material for the color belt ranks, with increased emphasis on free fighting and street defense. Prerequisite(s): a minimum of one year training in the Saint Ann’s martial arts program.

Parkour Fitness

(Benney, Bolton)

This class will incorporate both the technical aspects and the physical rigor of Parkour to create a challenging and adventurous workout. Perfect for students interested in gymnastics, dance, and athletics, this “boot-camp” style of exercise class will focus on upper body strengthening, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and agility. It will take place in the 10th floor apparatus room and gym, and at various outdoor locations depending upon the weather.

Physioball Fitness

(The Department)

Using large physioballs, this class teaches different exercises designed to increase flexibility, enhance coordination, develop strength, and improve cardiovascular fitness. The emphasis is on core (abdominal and back) strengthening and conditioning.

Pilates Conditioning (Lattimer)

The Pilates method of body conditioning is a unique system of stretching and strengthening exercises developed over 90 years ago by Joseph Pilates. It strengthens and tones muscles, improves posture, enhances flexibility and balance, and unites body and mind.

Racquet Games (Stevenson)

Racquet Games is a course for all skill levels. The units will include badminton, pickleball (the fastest growing sport in the United States), and table tennis, depending on gym availability. Beginners learn the games by working on fundamental stroke technique; more advanced players polish their skills while improving game strategy. All students participate in exciting singles and doubles matches.


Running (The Department)

A course to help people with little or no running experience; experienced runners are also welcome. Strength training, warm up, cool downs, and stretching exercises are taught, along with techniques to improve form and increase speed. Injury prevention is discussed as well. Weekly running routes change from week to week and vary in distance and intensity.

Table Tennis

(Carr, Stevenson)

Game to 11? Let’s rally. Join table tennis to learn how to play or to improve your skills. This full year class will introduce you to the basic strokes, how to add spins, scorekeeping, strategy and more.

Ultimate Frisbee

(The Department)

Ultimate offers a fun, exciting alternative to traditional sports. Students incorporate throwing, catching, and teamwork into a framework of speed and finesse.

Urban Cycling

(Benney, Carr)

Get outside. Ride a bike. See Brooklyn from a new vantage point. This full-year class will emphasize safe cycling and group riding procedures. Students will learn basic bike maintenance in addition to building cardiovascular endurance. Students should already feel comfortable riding a bike. Bikes and helmets will be provided, or students may provide their own equipment. Note: All bikes must have hand brakes.

Weight & Fitness Training


This course introduces the student to the merits of weight and fitness training. Workouts will include free-weight, body weight, and cardiovascular exercises. Other areas to be explored include flexibility (through stretching) and the value of aerobic training.

Workout of the Week (W.O.W.)

(The Department)

This class is a group exercise class which incorporates a variety of workouts. Each class will be unique and will make use of different equipment including, but not limited to, dumbbells, suspension trainers, physioballs, BOSUs, and resistance bands.


Yoga Beginner/Intermediate (Scheele)

This course introduces the ancient discipline of personal development that balances body, mind, and spirit. Students learn a series of physical postures and proper breathing as well as meditation and other practical methods for relaxation that promote health, alleviate stress, improve skeletal alignment, and increase muscular strength and flexibility. Students may opt to register for this course in future years rather than taking the Intermediate/Advanced yoga class.

Yoga Intermediate/Advanced (Scheele)

Students explore more vigorous and dynamic yoga sequences and breathing techniques. Practice will incorporate conscious breathwork, vinyasa flows, sun salutations and balance postures. Classes are mainly flow-based, but may focus on a specific intention or on a series of asanas (poses) to reach an apex pose and will allow students to release stress while building strength and gaining flexibility. This yoga class is ideal for those who have practiced yoga for long enough to already be familiar with the asanas. Prerequisite(s): One year of yoga or permission of the instructor.

Interscholastic Sports (The Department)

The recreational arts requirement may be fulfilled through full-season participation as a player on a junior varsity or varsity team. Emphasis is placed on developing and fostering athletic standards of excellence through participation and competition. All team sports require a significant commitment to practice and game schedules. Saint Ann’s is a member of the Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (ACIS), and the girls’ teams also belong to the Athletic Association of Independent Schools (AAIS). Teams include baseball, basketball, gymnastics, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, and volleyball .



All courses meet for a full year unless otherwise noted.

Biology Courses


(The Department) (required)

Biology is the scientific extension of the human tendency to feel connected to and curious about all forms of life. It takes us to the wet, wild world inside a cell, and nudges us to take a close look at the stripes of a zebra or to plunge down to the dark regions at the bottom of the sea where albino crabs move with unhurried pace over the soft, cold mud. This course covers vital topics in this field such as cytology, genetics, biochemistry, taxonomy, evolution, botany, and ecology. This is a dense, grand tour of the most definitive aspect of this planet.

Advanced Biology


This is an intense and rigorous immersion in a comprehensive study of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, botany, evolution, and anatomy and physiology. Lectures and discussions are supplemented with occasional in-depth labs and articles from journals such as Nature, Science, and Scientific American. The only way to cross the ocean of information, enjoying the fast pace and laboratory work, is to be a bonafide biophile! Note: Students are expected to have a thorough grasp of ninth grade biology topics. The class meets one seminar period each week in addition to regular class time. Prerequisite(s): Biology and Chemistry

Neuroscience (Kaplan)

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a founding neuroscientist from the turn of the 20th century once said, “As long as our brain is a mystery, the universe, the reflection of the structure of the brain, will also be a mystery.” Cajal was one of the first scientists to discover the cellular structure of neurons and synapses, the fundamental unit of the nervous system. In this course, we will cover the progress that has been made in the last 120 years toward understanding how neurons control and define us. In addition to detailed cellular neurobiology, we will learn about the organization of the nervous system as a whole, the nervous systems of other animals, and a few other topics including some neuropathologies. Prerequisite(s): Biology


Genetics (Harbison)

We are in the midst of a scientific revolution fueled by new technologies and understanding of genetics. At the same time, there are myriad things we don’t know. We can find our ancestors, make glow-in-the-dark animals, and treat diseases with mutated viruses. The future is both bright and terrifying, like something out of a science fiction novel.

In this class, we will explore different topics in genetics and perform experiments both hands on and computationally. Topics may include: heredity, genetic counseling, fundamental molecular genetics, CRISPR, genetic testing, evolution, genome-wide studies looking to identify genes responsible for things like schizophrenia or depression, and the ethical considerations of genomics, including the misapplication of genetics in eugenics. In sum, genetics is a key component to modern biology and a fascinating field that affects our lives on a daily basis. Prerequisite(s): Biology

Infections and Immunology (Levin)

Do you know how a patient’s genetically edited T cells are able to vanquish the patient’s own cancer? Can CRISPR technology be used to combat globally devastating diseases like malaria? How does our body fight the most microscopic of microbial infections? This course, an investigation of health and disease through the lens of the immune system, will answer these questions and many more!

We will begin our study where the immune system begins: in the bone marrow. After examining the development of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, we will explore the roles each one plays in human physiology. Next, we will narrow our focus on innate and adaptive immunity, learning about B cells and T cells, and using the microscope to visualize various cell types. We will study the mechanisms of vaccines, immune deficiencies, and diseases of autoimmunity, as well as the genetics and ethics of bone marrow transplants. The semester will conclude with an investigation of novel cancer immunotherapies, including CAR T cells, checkpoint inhibitors, and more. For the second half of the year, we will study globally significant infections including (but not limited to) malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, syphilis, cholera, HPV, dengue fever, and COVID. We will focus on the health impact of these diseases on under-resourced populations and learn about vital contributions to global health care by organizations like Partners in Health. We will also study current research on therapies, ranging from the simple (mosquito nets, soap) to the complex (genetic engineering). Our learning will be supplemented with readings from The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, articles from scientific journals like The New England Journal of Medicine, and works of literature. Prerequisite(s): Biology


Chemistry Courses

Chemistry (The Department)

This is a broad, sweeping, fast-paced survey course introducing students to the fundamental principles of chemistry, and to the basic techniques a chemist uses. Topics include stoichiometry, atomic and molecular theory, basic atomic and molecular structure, and gas laws, and may also include thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, and acid-base chemistry. Students develop facility working with calculators and become intimate with the Periodic Table.

Laboratory work is an integral part of the course, both in illustrating principles presented in lectures and in providing experience conducting qualitative analysis. Note: This course is open to sophomores and above. Freshmen may take it with the permission of their grade dean and a science department chair.

Advanced Chemistry (Velikonja)

Advanced Chemistry is designed to give students the experience of an intensive collegelevel course in which they will hone their ability to think critically about chemical phenomena. We will discover why some chemical reactions happen while others don’t, how quickly reactions happen and how far they will proceed (thermodynamics, kinetics, and equilibrium). We will also revisit, and explore in greater depth, some of the topics from first year Chemistry including stoichiometry, gas laws, and bonding. Additionally, we will discuss applications of chemistry such as electrochemistry, buffer systems, and solubility. The rapid pace of the course requires independent learning and preparation on the part of the students, and weekly labs add to the time commitment. Advanced Chemistry is for those who seek a deeper understanding of matter, relish wrestling with equations, and who find chemical reactions exocharmic. Prerequisite(s): Chemistry

Organic Chemistry (Fiori)

Organic molecules are everywhere. They make up our bodies, our clothing, the medicine we take, and the food we eat. This course is an introduction to the astounding complexity of these molecules and the diverse chemistry they participate in. We will focus primarily on the basic principles necessary to understand the structure and reactivity of these ubiquitous organic molecules. Students will learn to think like organic chemists. We will explore how differences in electronegativity, the presence of lone electron pairs, and resonance structures influence reactivity. We will analyze the symmetry of molecules and learn how to see molecules in three dimensions. Students will use chemical techniques and spectroscopy to determine the structure of unknown organic molecules. Additionally, we will learn to use our chemical knowledge to design routes to make complex molecules from simple starting materials. Throughout this course, we will draw on examples from daily life to illustrate the


important chemical concepts we are studying. Weekly labs will introduce common laboratory separation and purification techniques and allow students to have first-hand experience performing the reactions they study in class. Prerequisite(s): Chemistry

The Chemistry of Food and Cooking (Velikonja)

Have you ever tried to make homemade whipped cream and wound up with butter, or wondered why egg whites turn white when heated? This course is about the chemicals in foods and the processes that take place in the kitchen. We experiment with many chemical processes from crystallization (a.k.a. candy making) and emulsification (mayonnaise). We explore food spoilage and learn how humans have exploited it to produce yogurt, cheese, bread, and beer. We also investigate some of the unusual chemicals in food, from beneficial elements (selenium in Brazil nuts) to harmful compounds (cyanogens in apple seeds), learn about trends in food (such as gluten-free and vegan cooking), and explore some of the cultural context of foods (including what makes something a “staple” food). This course includes many topics not covered in Chemistry while exploring the applications of some Chemistry concepts. The class consists of lectures and labs (many of which will produce edible results!).

Physics Courses


(The Department)

This course provides a systematic introduction to the main principles of classical physics such as motion, forces, fields, electricity, and magnetism. We emphasize the development of conceptual understanding and problem solving abilities using algebra and trigonometry. Familiarity with trigonometry is highly helpful, but not required. The class includes a laboratory component. Note: open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, or freshmen with permission of grade dean and instructor.

Astronomy (Kandel)

This course will provide a rigorous tour of the objects and events that comprise the Universe. We will study the formation of stars and planetary systems, the interaction between galaxies and supermassive black holes, and the cataclysmic physics of the first few moments following the Big Bang. We will dabble in xenoscience, the study of extraterrestrials; we’ll discuss necessary and sufficient conditions for life, and means of detecting—and eventually exploring—exosolar habitats. We will peruse theories of the size, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe, and discuss multiverse theories that spring from quantum mechanics, inflation theory, and even more exotic philosophical riffs. “Hard” sci-fi (science fiction that relies on plausible science) will be utilized to vivify concepts and catalyze debates. Students will emerge with knowledge of the mind-boggling diversity of the contents of the Universe,


as well as familiarity with the underlying laws of physics, and a sense of how science progresses in the face of seemingly intractable problems. For example, we may study the red supergiant, Betelgeuse, tracing its evolution—and eventual explosion and collapse—while noting the methodological breakthroughs that allow us to tell such a bizarre (and true!) story.

Physics: Mechanics and Relativity (Kandel)

Mechanics and Relativity is a physics course that emphasizes deep problem solving, along with the philosophical and historical dimensions of the subject. Because we focus our efforts on mechanics (though we briefly discuss thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and optics), we can go into far greater depth. Students strive for a sturdy grasp of physical theories, utilizing diverse modes of thinking: qualitative reasoning, pure intuition, rigorous analysis. We consider the big questions: Where is the Earth in relation to the cosmos, how is it moving, and do its local laws generalize to the Universe? There are wonderful stories behind all of these, in which theories rise and fall, and human beings struggle to overthrow the mental constraints of their forebears. We study the astronomers of the Ancient Greeks, the Copernican Revolution, and the beautiful contributions of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein.

In all of these realms, we not only tackle daunting problems, but we bring attention to the problem-solving process itself, to gain insight into our own learning processes; and we consider the wider philosophical implications. For example, does the unprecedented accuracy of Newtonian predictions threaten our belief in free will? Does the very concept of Laplace’s demon imply that the future is predetermined? We employ mathematical methods to describe trajectories, orbits, and the strange physics within a spinning spaceship. By the end of the year, we are forced to question many of our deepest assumptions as we tackle the paradoxes of Special Relativity and the implications of the Big Bang model!

Analytical Physics (Pelzer)

This second-year physics course builds on the material from a first-year Physics course with an emphasis on deeper, more complex problems, and covers new topics such as fluid dynamics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and particle physics. The course focuses on problem solving and mathematical methods. This class will serve as a prerequisite for Electricity and Magnetism. Prerequisite(s): Physics

Electricity and Magnetism (Yaverbaum)

This course is an in-depth, calculus-based, proof-driven study of oscillations, waves, electric fields, magnetic fields, and radiation. Its purpose: Derive the speed of information. Prerequisite(s): Analytical Physics. Note: Calculus is recommended as a prerequisite and second-year Calculus is recommended as a corequisite. These requirements can be waived only with approval from the student’s Analytical Physics teacher and their math teacher.


Additional Courses

Art, Science, and Nature


(See Interdisciplinary Studies)

Environmental Science


Discussions around climate seem to happen daily: endless news reports about the hottest day/ month/year on record, climate strikes and art vandalism, devastating natural disasters across the globe, even debates around gas stoves and the effectiveness of recycling. Environmental issues are getting more airtime than ever before. But what does the climate crisis mean for us in New York City, the US, and the world as a whole? How can we change our perspective from “climate doom” to practicing radical hope for our future?

In this course, we will break down the past and current relationship between humans and the planet, focusing on solutions and climate resilience. Topics will include environmental science (ecology, biodiversity, human impact, climate change), environmental justice (its history, triumphs, and resistance), how the arts can play a role, and space to explore topics that interest you. Scientists, artists, philosophers, historians, musicians, authors… Come one, come all!

Forensic Science

(A. Jackson)

Do you like crime shows or have an interest in criminal investigation? While many of these shows have become popular in recent years, they do contain an element of factual investigative techniques. Forensic science is the application of science that can be applied in criminal cases. Forensic science is used to examine physical evidence that can be used to establish connections between suspects, events, and circumstances. The individual characteristics of a crime scene requires forensic science to be a combination of all branches of science. The ultimate goal is to provide students with an overview of this field of science with an emphasis on crime scene procedures, blood spatter, fingerprinting, and pathology through lectures, labs, and case studies.


Independent Science Research

(The Department) (1x per week)

The Independent Science Research Program grants students the opportunity to design experimental strategies to explore personally perplexing questions of science: What would happen if...? Why is it that...? How does...? Research objectives are as unique and varied as the investigator. Topics are multidisciplinary, ranging from biology and chemistry to the physical fields.

Independent Science Research is a cooperative endeavor between a student or several students and their chosen mentor. Saint Ann’s science teachers, as well as auxiliary research investigators, serve as advisers. Students will be matched with potential mentors based on mutual research interests and expertise. Research work proceeds at a pace stipulated by the project as well as the ambition of the research team. Research groups are expected to meet regularly, i.e. every week. After completing a year of exploration, students summarize their projects in a formal research paper. In the spring, discoveries are made public though a poster session and oral symposium. Note: This course bears one half credit. Prerequisite(s): Students MUST submit a research proposal to the Science Department by June 1 to be considered for approval by the department. This program will be limited to 14 projects. Proposal guidelines are available in the Science Office and High School Office.



Acting for the Camera


We will practice various acting techniques on-camera and explore how our performances change and shift depending on the various elements unique to this medium. The first half of the year will be focused on script analysis and audition prep by working on scenes from films and television shows that are currently on air. The second half of the year will focus on producing our own short film. The script will be generated in class and all aspects of the film’s production (filming, sound, editing, and of course acting) will be done by the students and you will learn some of the skills necessary to be an independent filmmaker.

American Education


What is the purpose of ‘school’? What does it mean to be educated? Who has constructed these ideas and who have they served? In this course, we’ll start by looking at the foundation of American schooling. Who established schools? Who were they for? Why? We’ll then start to think about how school has evolved (or stagnated) as schooling expanded, and we’ll seek to trace who and what was the catalyst for educational change. We’ll close by understanding our own education and the role Saint Ann’s plays and has played in the larger educational ecosystem.

Art Journal

(Adili) (Spring Semester)

The Art Journal is a yearly publication celebrating the vigor and creativity of our school’s artistic community. A team of editors and associate editors will meet weekly to collaborate on production of the journal—which will publish work created that year by high school students, faculty, and staff, in any genre or medium. Anyone with a passion for visual art, photography, or book design and layout is welcome. Note: Because the work is heaviest in March and April, students should expect to give several extra hours a week during this period.




In this seminar we will learn all about birds, from behaviors to morphology and from peregrines to house sparrows. We will spend as much time as reasonable outside watching birds (especially in the early fall and late spring)—there’s a lot to see in Brooklyn Bridge Park! When it’s too dark and cold to go out we will learn about bird bodies and habits, about migrations and invasive species. Join me to learn to look and listen anytime, anywhere—your journey on planet earth will never be the same.

Blacks in Media from the 20th Century

(Taylor) (Fall semester)

Movie buffs welcome! The course will explore and examine Black representation in films beginning in the 20th century in the US. Along the way, we will discuss the history that informed these representations and engage in discussions regarding the real life implications of these cinematic depictions. A diverse selection of films will offer students a rough chronological and historical lens to view each piece. Students will be encouraged to engage in thoughtful conversations regarding the complex intersections of Black identity and how they are (or not) portrayed in film. In the end, students should walk away with a better historical and cultural understanding of Black representation in film.

Chinese Music and Classical Chinese Dance

(Qiu) (Fall semester)

In this single semester seminar course, students who are interested in learning classical Chinese dance will learn the choreography of a traditional piece. They will then perform it at the Chinese Lunar New Year assembly. Students who play an instrument or like to sing will collaboratively learn a Chinese song and then perform it at the Lunar New Year performance. Commitment: students can choose to participate in dance or music (or both) in consultation with the teacher.

Creative Nonfiction Writing: Storying the Self (Becker)

This is a seminar for creative writers who are interested in exploring nonfiction as an art form. We will read and interpret essays, articles, and journalism in order to understand what good nonfiction is and how it is crafted. We will study the writings of great essayists to discover how the form works to create universal meaning from personal stories. Creative writing will consist mostly of exercises and short pieces aimed at putting into practice what is being illuminated in the readings. Creative nonfiction writing requires both self-discovery and discovery of something outside the self. In order to write meaningfully about the world, we must be fully engaged with it through deliberate thought and through focused exploration. How do we take our lives—our experiences and memories—and distill them into a story? In this seminar, we aim to find out.


Experimental Composition (Spann)

Experimental music, electronic music, noise, sound art, electroacoustic music...These genre identifiers abound in both DIY subcultures and art institutional settings, but they are fluid and hard to define. With this in mind, students will come together with a shared love for strange and hashtag-defying music to share works in progress and develop their own creativity and compositional ability. Weekly seminars will consist of student presentations of finished and unfinished work for group analysis, feedback, and discussion. While this is not a project-based or technical class, semi-weekly exercises and prompts will be given to foster less conventional approaches to composing with sound. Knowledge of music theory or notation is not required, nor is specialization in any one particular instrument. Our mini projects and exercises will be supplemented with short readings and listening materials to engage with musicians working under modes such as musique concrete, electroacoustic music, electronic music and sound art, with a focus on local and living artists.

Reading and listening materials will include: Halim El-Dabh, Maryanne Amacher, Matana Roberts, DJ K-Swift, Miss Tony, Odwalla1221, Beatriz Ferreyra, Sarah Hennies, Elysia Crampton, Eliane Radigue, Aki Onda.

The Art of Fly Fishing (Rumage) (Spring semester)

An introduction and overview of the practice, science and rich literary history surrounding fly fishing. Readings will range from Sir Isaac Walton to Hemingway, with an emphasis on 20th century artists and practitioners. The biology of aquatic life—in particular, the lifecycle of the mayfly—complements the technical instruction of casting and presentation.

High School Literary Magazine (English Department)

The High School Literary Magazine is created by a board of students and faculty advisers whose goal is to find and publish excellent high school writing. The Board, which includes 18 to 20 staff members and a few high school editors, meets once a week during a seminar period to discuss submissions and decide which to include. Editors (and staff members who are interested in helping out) also produce the magazine itself, finding student artwork, preparing selections for layout, designing, and composing the final publication.

Because the work is heaviest in February, March, and April, students should expect to give several extra hours a week during this period.


High School Mentoring (Friedrichs/Garber-Browne)

High school mentoring is a program for juniors and seniors interested in working with middle school students. Interested students complete a letter of interest and attend a series of trainings and check-ins throughout the year in order to participate. The mentors then meet regularly in small groups, along with a health teacher, to plan monthly sessions for eighth graders. These sessions occur in the 8th graders’ regular health classes and provide an opportunity for the younger students to hear from a fellow teen who is not so far removed from their own experiences.

Mentors will also be able to become involved in UMS GUST and community meeting. Additionally, mentors who are not yet trained will have the opportunity to become certified in teen Mental Health First Aid.

Interested students should contact Meli Garber-Browne prior to registering.

Hong Kong Action and Taiwanese New Wave: The Cinema and Politics of Precarity (Flaherty)

In the past year I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Hong Kong and Taiwan. In both I was thrilled by the energy, the culture, the bustle. But I had the not unusual reaction of a modern tourist: it doesn’t look like the movies. Where in Hong Kong was the neon drenched, shabby noir look of a Wong Kar-Wai film? Where in Taiwan was the measured, mournful pace of an Edward Yang movie, delineating intimate stories across a newly opened political space, on the verge of modernity? Therein lies a tale. The seminar will examine how Hong Kong and Taiwan gained their special status, became wealthy, and flourished in both a shadow and space of freedom. And how in the late 20th century it produced two of the most dynamic and fascinating cinematic movements of recent times. And what do these times mean as China both threatens and consolidates its claim on both places? There will be history, literature, current events, and a lot of movies. There will be no assignments—but a requirement of energy and engagement as we dive in.

Mock Trial (Hill/Oppenheim) (Fall


The Mock Trial Seminar is designed to teach students about the legal trial process and the skills needed to be effective courtroom advocates. The seminar operates on a “learn by doing” principle, in which students actively practice techniques of effective persuasion. The skills of thinking on one’s feet, preparing arguments and analyzing fact patterns are emphasized. The first semester is devoted to learning and perfecting courtroom rules of evidence and procedure in order to prepare the students for the New York State Bar Association Mock Trial Competition against other NYC schools in the spring. Students work on practice cases to gain facility with preparing direct and cross examinations, making objections, introducing evidence, and learning trial procedure. Attendance and engagement are critical to forming


a cohesive team for going to trial. Note: Although the seminar is first semester only, extra meeting times during the beginning of the second semester in late January and February will be required as the competition approaches.

Numbers for Good (Khogiani-Nguyen)

This seminar will explore the financial workings of impactful nonprofit organizations through several case studies. Students will gain a foundational understanding of three important nonprofit financial reports: the balance sheet, income statement, and budget. Learn to analyze different parts of these reports and glean insights into the good work some local and national organizations are doing. No previous accounting knowledge required—just curiosity and a desire to understand the numbers behind making a positive impact.

Philosophical Ethics (Aronson)

On the one hand, we need to know how to live. Are lies permissible? Kant: Never. Mill: Yes, if the aggregate duration and intensity of pleasure-states is maximized for all affected parties. Aristotle: The question is not whether it is permissible to lie but whether it is desirable to be the sort of person who tells lies. Nietzsche: If you have to ask—probably not.

On the other hand, there is much we do agree on. (Murder is wrong; thieves must be punished.) But what can justify this knowledge? According to Judaism, Christianity, Islam— God. According to Plato and Kant—reason. According to Hume—feeling. According to Nietzsche—we need a critique of justification itself.

This course considers the central paradigms of Western ethical thought, beginning, as indicated above, in Ancient Greece and reaching into the modern era. Be ready to think hard about the nature of right and wrong, good and evil.

Poetry Writing Workshop (Skoble)

Poetry is a craft as well as an art. Poems don’t happen, they are made. In this workshop we learn how to use the tools of poets. We take poems apart to see how they work, and we put things together to see if they work. Construction and experimentation, exploration and imitation are the processes we use to help us create poems. The poetry workshop is open to all, including dancers, thespians, musicians, athletes, and astrophysicists. We meet one double period each week to share our efforts, to read and discuss, and, of course, to write.

Producing Audio Narratives (Podcasts) (Steinert-Evoy)

(See Computer Science)


The Ram (Donohue/Patterson)

For more than 30 years, student journalists at The Ram have sought answers to interesting questions. Why doesn’t our school mandate community service? What’s up with all the construction? Why did we buy that new building? What’s Alex Darrow’s favorite movie? How did the robotics team boot up? Does GUST still serve its purpose? Where’s the best bacon-egg-and-cheese in the Heights? What actually is a Saint Ann’s “Steamer”?

Join us as we produce a monthly newspaper. Mandatory staff meetings, for all editors and staff writers, will take place once a week during the Monday seminar period. Writing staff size will be capped at 20. Expect to make a serious time commitment, as all writers will contribute to every issue.

We are also eager to commission work from illustrators and photographers. No need to sign up here; please reach out to editors in fall.

Student Internship in Technology @ Saint Ann’s (The Department)

This elective seminar will allow students to explore the realm of either Information Technology or Computer Science in an educational environment. The focus of the seminar will be different based on which area you are interested:

1. Information Technology—the primary focus will be on technical support, students will also learn how to manipulate and work with large datasets in database and spreadsheet applications, become familiar with network and wireless protocols and architecture, and work towards eventually being able to perform certain technical support tasks, under the supervision of the Technology Department staff. This will require one to two periods per week, scheduled in periods where the student and their mentor are mutually available.

2. Computer Science—the focus will be on helping design, set up, implement and run the new maker-space located in the computer center. Students will be individually trained on devices and equipment, under the supervision of the Computer Science department.

3. Digital Literacy Teacher’s Assistant—In this role, students will co-teach sixth grade Digital Literacy, a once weekly class. Students will co-facilitate the sixth grade class, which is about coming of age in an increasingly data-driven world. Sixth graders will examine how digital technologies and the media impact how we are informed and make decisions and how to stay safe online and create authentic and positive digital identities. Teacher’s Assistants will co-facilitate class content and support with classroom management.


Vanderpump SCHOOLED: A Sociological Exploration of Reality Television (Frey)

Is reality television simply an inane, shallow way to pass the time, or is it a wildly underrated tool to more deeply understand human behavior? In this seminar we will get to the bottom of it! We will be analyzing shows like Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives, Survivor, and Big Brother from a scholarly perspective, using books and articles as tools to analyze the human and the manufactured as well as the implications of the medium as a whole.

Yearbook: Send the Story of Your High School Life to Your Future Self (Venable)

Calling all photographers, artists, designers, and bookmakers! Come be a part of a collaborative process that weaves together the images and memories of a year in the life at Saint Ann’s. Bring your artistry and dedication and help make a book that will be cherished by the whole community. Senior editors will learn InDesign, Photoshop, how to produce photo shoots, the basics of book publishing, and practice their leadership skills, while working with staff photographers. Staff photographers will spend the year recording the faces, places, and memories on 35mm film as well as printing in the darkroom. Note: Editors are expected to meet twice a week during the Wednesday and Friday seminar periods. Staff is expected to attend one or both days each week from September through the end of March. Prerequisite(s): Two years of photography or portfolio review. Open to Juniors and Seniors.



All theater classes meet one double period per week (90 mins) unless otherwise noted.

Acting (Victorson, Lamazor)

This acting class emphasizes character study, acting technique, and relaxation exercises. Time is devoted to a wide array of imagination exercises, poetry, sense memory, and to improvisation, games, and storytelling. We will explore and read plays aloud together in class and ensemble work is encouraged and developed. Scenes and monologues focus on discovering the individual actor’s personal relationship to the role and to the text. Actors learn how to break down scripts and understand beats and actions. Ibsen, Shaw, Stoppard, Wilson, Brecht, Mamet, Nottage, Genet, Churchill, Williams, Shepard, Lorca, Kushner, Hall, Wilder, Jacobs-Jenkins, Ruhl, Wilde, Shakespeare, Washburn, and many more fascinating friends await you. With ingenuity, artistry, authenticity, we will imagine, invent and innovate in order to share our work with our community. We may take class trips to see great plays.

Acting Intensive (Lamazor)

This class is open to committed students of acting. The acting roles and characters that you will play in this advanced course will excite and enlighten you! We will create an ensemble that plays /works on collaborative, devised performance pieces and full-length plays in addition to a wide range of scenes, monologues, stories, songs, and poetry. Material will be tailored to students’ needs and desires. Students may direct their fellow actors in scenes or creative projects, on occasion. Imagination, empathy, adventurousness, curiosity, humor, and love will be our guiding forces. We will focus on specific acting techniques, games, improv, and vocal / movement work/ play for film and stage—and on creating innovative, authentic, fun, and fierce work for a new, LIVING theater horizon. Playwrights and poets that we encounter may include: Tina Howe, Derek Walcott, Enda Walsh, Suzan Lori-Parks, Eugene Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, Rita Dove, E.E. Cummings, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Walt Whitman, Lynn Nottage, Pablo Neruda, William Shakespeare, Ross Gay, Ann Washburn, Samuel Beckett, Federico Garcia Lorca, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Ruhl, Maria Irene Fornes, Anna Deavere Smith, and Annie Baker. This class functions as a true and joyful company of actors. Bring your focus, dreams, verve, and goodness to your art. This is a class for actors who want to try on many, extraordinary acting roles and dive into many genres of theater! We will learn from inspiring guest artists and take exciting class trips to experience transformative plays in NYC. We will share / perform throughout the year in different sites, indoors and outdoors! ACTORS, now is a Great Time To Go For It! Prerequisite(s): Permission from the instructor


Actor’s Voice

(Osborn) (1 period per week)

The wonderful world of dialects, speech, and vocal production awaits you. Funny voices, accents, and more are explored in this class in which the vocal side of acting is stressed. Poetry and contemporary and classical texts are used, and we work on several class projects including improvisation and scene and monologue work. Past years’ material included The Importance of Being Earnest, Riders to the Sea, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harry Potter, and The Enchanted . We incorporate relaxation techniques, voice building, and breathing to help actors deal with the demands of auditions and performance. This dynamic and practical class is tailored to the specific needs of its students.

African Dance (Mackall)

African Dance is an exciting survey of the techniques and traditions of dances from the African Diaspora with a special emphasis on the dances of West Africa. Classes are accompanied by live drumming. Note: Participation in the High School Dance Concert in March/ April is a requirement of this class and requires attendance at Sunday and after school rehearsals during the second semester in the period leading up to the concert.

Challenging Films and the Art of Cinema

(Dobski) (2 double periods per week)

A film might be considered challenging simply because its characteristics are unfamiliar to the viewer. It might be from a different culture, or time period, or its pacing might be unconventional. Perhaps its photographic style is innovative. The subject matter might be important, but disturbing. Perhaps the narrative is non-linear and requires effort to comprehend. Perhaps there is no narrative at all. These characteristics certainly could be obstacles in understanding or appreciating a film, or puzzles to be resolved. In this course, we will seek to resolve puzzles. To understand the art of motion pictures, the history of film technology will be introduced, discussing the development of equipment and techniques for the recording and presentation of film images. While consistently screening unique, outstanding, and uncommon films, we will simultaneously be addressing the analysis of the formal elements of cinema.

Our survey will include works from the avant-garde (Maya Deren; Michael Snow; Andy Warhol); cinema vérité documentaries (Nikolaus Geyerhalter; Frederick Wiseman); US and international feature films (Leni Riefenstahl; Djibril Diop Mambéty; Spike Lee; Elim Klimov; Victor Erice).

Readings will be from various texts and professional journals. Students will post short opinion pieces in Classroom weekly, and also conduct research in order to write essays on selected topics. Based on the films we have been studying, the final project of the year may be an artistic endeavor (painting, playwriting, poetry, music, culinary art, sound design, a zine) or a research project which culminates in data and/or an essay. All final work will be presented to the class.


Costume Production

(Bevans, Shand)

Come explore costume design and construction as you create costumes for our productions, collaborative pieces and personal projects. All experience levels are welcome as assignments will offer a range of technical skills. In addition to focusing on construction techniques, such as hand and machine sewing, students will have the chance to explore skills such as patternmaking, draping and topics such as fashion design and the intersection of art and costume and costume history. Through videos, articles, and podcasts, students learn about the wide-ranging world of textile crafts—from the history of New York City’s costume shops and the Garment district, to the rich traditions of cloth, construction, and its many makers around the world. Participation on a costume crew for one of the mainstage productions will give each student an opportunity to deepen their construction practice, while working together to help run all aspects of wardrobe, hair and makeup for the show. In late May we celebrate student costume creations at our Annual Clothesline Show. Note: All costume students are required to work on one costume crew for a production which will require time outside of class.

Dance/Choreography 1

(The Department)

The class focuses on developing students’ individual choreographic voices through improvisation and the creation of short movement studies. Class begins with a warm-up that integrates different techniques from ballet to African dance to yoga. Students are exposed to different choreographic approaches through studying video and attending performances live or virtually. In addition, they have the opportunity to work with professional choreographers, learning pieces, and taking direction. Dances created both individually and collaboratively are performed in class throughout the year. Dances developed in association with the instructor are eligible for performance in the student dance concert. Both new and experienced dancers are welcome. Note: Participation in the High School Dance Concert in March/ April is a requirement of this class and requires attendance at Sunday and after school rehearsals during the second semester in the period leading up to the concert.

Dance/Choreography 2/3

(The Department)

This class continues the study of Modern Dance technique, improvisation, and composition through solo, duet, and group forms. Emphasis is placed on movement textures, dynamic qualities, partnering, and weight exchange to convey emotional meaning. Formal compositional elements such as symmetry, groupings of multiple bodies in space, and rhythm are investigated. In collaboration with the teacher, student choreographers are encouraged to develop their own work for the dance concert. Students have the opportunity to take direction from professional choreographers during workshops and attend field trips to notable dance performances. Note: Participation in the High School Dance Concert in March/April is a requirement of this class and requires attendance at Sunday and after school rehearsals during the second semester in the period leading up to the concert.


Dance/Choreography 4

(The Department)

We continue our study of dance technique, improvisation, and composition. Emphasis is placed on the development of the individual artistic voice through complex, expressive dances incorporating solo and group aspects, examination of multimedia techniques, and the use of juxtaposition and collage to expand dramatic possibilities. Students have the opportunity to learn pieces and take direction from professional choreographers. Dances developed in association with the instructor are eligible for performance in the student dance concert. There is a potential for field trips to notable performances. Note: Participation in the High School Dance Concert in March/ April is a requirement of this class and requires attendance at Sunday and after school rehearsals during the second semester in the period leading up to the concert. Prerequisite(s): Dance/Choreography 1, Dance/Choreography 2/3, and permission of the instructor

High School Videography

(Akbari, Mirabella-Davis)

The course is designed to give you an inspiring foundation in both film theory and production. You will develop the skills to tell your own stories through the art and technology of digital filmmaking as you practice camera direction, screenwriting, directing actors and the art of editing. Working in groups, you will write, direct, shoot, and edit a sync-sound short using digital cameras, advanced sound equipment and the Adobe Premiere Pro editing software. Films from this class will be screened and celebrated as a part of our end of year film festival.

Moving Image 1

(Akbari, Mirabella-Davis)

This is a filmmaking course in beginning 16mm film production and black and white cinematography. Working individually, you will write, direct, shoot, and edit your own 5–7 minute short black and white film. With special focus on silent films and the language of visual storytelling, this class will explore groundbreaking work from directors past and present from around the world. You will learn the origins of motion picture film technology, and will engage in hands-on work with 16mm cameras, film stocks, lenses, exposure, lighting and linear editing, as you cut and splice your film together by hand. Films from this class will be screened and celebrated as a part of our end of year film festival. Note: This course is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and it requires constant participation and work outside of class time, including one or more weekend film shoots.


Moving Image 2 (Akbari, Mirabella-Davis)

Drawing from jewels of classic and contemporary cinema, this class is an advanced, auteur film production course that covers directing, cinematography, screenwriting and editing, with emphasis on writing and recording dialogue. You will individually write, direct, cast, shoot and edit a sync-sound, color digital short film. The course will delve deeply into narrative structure, advanced digital camera technology, directing actors and the art of non-linear editing using the Adobe Premiere Pro software. Films from this class will be screened and celebrated as a part of our end of year film festival. Note: This course is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and it requires constant participation and work outside of class time, including one or more weekend film shoots. Prerequisite(s): Moving Image 1 and permission of the instructor.

Moving Image 3 (Dobski)

In this advanced 16mm film production and color cinematography course, students begin by refreshing their skills shooting 16mm black and white reversal stock, demonstrating their proficiency with exposure, focus, and camera movement, as well as demonstrating their skill using lenses and other film technology. Typically, students shoot two to three assignments in black and white first semester. When ready, students move on to study light and color, shooting 16mm Ektachrome color reversal for their next assignment. Finally, students develop a treatment for a very short narrative film, and a storyboard which is then photographed using color negative. The footage is transferred to a high-definition file, and editing takes place with computer software. This final project will have a non-synchronous soundtrack including an original score, and may include a voice over or sound effects. Throughout the year, students may collaborate with the Music Scoring for Multimedia course in creating music for their short projects. The year will culminate with a film screening in mid-May. Prerequisite(s): Moving Image 1 and 2 and permission of the instructor.

Performance Art (Barnett)

In this class, students cultivate an improvisational technique that encourages personal storytelling, spontaneity, and abstract thinking. Students work on individual and collaborative projects. There is a focus on interactive site-specific theater (performances, ‘happenings,’ or installations set outside the traditional stage). Past work has taken place in parks, street corners, storefront windows, in the lobby of school, and the lobby of a hotel. Projects have taken the form of scavenger hunts, dance parties, and games. Given the role of technology in art (and life!) today, this class also offers an opportunity to experiment and explore formats other than live performance. Through trips, screenings—both virtual and inperson—as well as lively discussion, the class learns about the role of performance in history and contemporary culture. This is a course for students with or without previous experience in theater. It is a class for visual artists and dancers interested in working with text, and writers wanting to transform their ideas into physical life. The class also benefits those who feel nervous when speaking in public.


Play Production (Kaluza/Wyron)

Each member of a production staff, from the director to the stagehand, has specific duties and skills. Students in this class learn techniques for running a smooth and professional show, taking on the responsibilities for our theatrical projects and productions. Topics covered are construction, maintenance and set-up of props, reading and taping-out scale ground plans, writing cues, calling light and sound cues, and more. This is a course for advanced tech students committed to our theater and productions. Students with an interest in stage management, props mastering, as well as light, set, and sound design are encouraged to enroll and to deepen their experience of backstage work; the vital, unseen, component of the theater. Note: All students are required to work on at least one production, which will require time outside of class. Prerequisite(s): One year of Technical Theater, or permission of the instructors.

Playwriting (Aya,


This course invites students to cultivate their voices as playwrights by generating dynamic material through scaffolded exercises and close readings, paying special attention to character development and structure. Students develop their writing practice by reading plays, discussing peer drafts, and preparing scripts to share with collaborators and audiences. Weekly writing assignments and discussions lead to a festival of new student plays in March. Time management and focus are key components of this class that relies on the collaborative efforts of the writing workshop. The remainder of the year is dedicated to experiments in playwriting and gaining familiarity with contemporary plays.

Playwriting Intensive (Aya,


Playwriting intensive is an investigation into playwriting strategies, movements, and motivations. Plays will be approached from all angles. Students should have experience writing plays, and an eagerness to sharpen their commitment to the craft. In addition to exercises, there will be an emphasis on close reading and critical discussion. From the study of contemporary plays to theoretical texts, this intensive workshop encourages students to challenge their preconceptions, and grapple with wide-ranging theatrical concepts. The workshop culminates in a festival of new work that will offer students opportunities to collaborate and experiment with content, form, and presentation. Note: The festival requires a major commitment of time and energy during the final three weeks of school. Prerequisite(s): At least one year of High School Playwriting and permission of the instructors.


Puppetry and Practical Effects for Film & TV (Rodriguez)

Movie magic often includes puppetry and savvy camera tricks. For example, did you know that Grogu (a.k.a Baby Yoda) is a puppet? Even the blockbuster Barbie movie used practical effects whenever possible. While CGI effects are always advancing, some of the most infamous film and TV effects were created through old-fashioned practical effects and puppetry! In this class we will explore the many ways in which puppetry and practical effects function to create fantasy in filmmaking.

We’ll begin the year by creating our own Muppet-style puppets and mastering “monitor technique” for professional film and TV work. We will then delve into specific practical effects for film, such as perspective, puppetry and prop mechanisms, and editing. Taking inspiration from such pioneers of puppetry as Lotte Reiniger, Jan Švankmajer, Ray Harryhausen, and even Jim Henson, we will culminate the year by creating our own puppet movie using the skills we’ve learned. Students will have the opportunity to build puppets and props, write scripts, construct sets and backdrops, design lighting and sound, and even edit the footage. Collaborations with the film, tech, and music departments will take place throughout the year to imbue our puppet films with the latest techniques and technologies from across departments. Our puppet creations from the year will also be incorporated into our community-wide Puppet Parade in the spring.

Shakespeare Workshop (Lamazor)

In a daring and delightful Shakespeare Workshop ensemble, actors will learn about themselves, each other and our shared humanity. They will discover that iambic is a very human and natural form of speaking. It creates movement, music, urgency. The rhythm is a beating heart. Ensemble members will love speaking Shakespeare’s words as Hamlet advises The Players to do:

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines.

Truthfulness will be our acting “thing,” and “the play’s the thing,” of course, as well. And the JOY of acting a wide range of fascinating roles in Shakespeare’s greatest plays, exploring/ learning sonnets and speeches as actors, coupled with improvisation, vocal, breathing and movement exercises, imagination and word games, storytelling, and exciting and energizing acting techniques will also make up our artistic, adventurous agenda. Try on a crown. Draw a dagger. Fall in love. Hold up a mirror. “Exit, pursued by a bear”! Explore what might make us tick, what transcendence might feel like and why the challenges and creativity in Shakespeare are fierce and fun for actors to take on. In the springtime, the ensemble could bring their work / play to audiences in different sites, indoors and outdoors! Some POP- UP SHAX sharings may also surprise. Dream the dream! Step into the wooden O! This is a class for everyone. No experience necessary. (Bring your heart!)


Student-Directed Plays (Lamazor)

We begin by exploring fascinating texts while wearing a director’s hat! Fun and focused on-the-spot directing and acting exercises, creative assignments and prompts using a wide variety of plays, scenes, poems will bring insight and experience as directors, devisers, daring dreamers of dramatic art! You will collaborate with each other, pitch ideas to one another, coach and direct each other. We will take class trips to see groundbreaking and great works of theater! You will become comfortable and confident putting your storytelling ideas into play with empathy, artistry, and energy. Readings IN CLASS may include seminal works such as Peter Brooks’ The Empty Space, Anne Bogart’s A Director Prepare s, What’s The Story, SuzanLori Parks’ Elements of Style, Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares, Maria Irene Fornes’ Conducting a Life, Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting. There will be no assigned reading homework. As you dream, devise, and dive deeper as directors, you will choose a short play that inspires you to conceptualize, cast, direct, rehearse, and produce to share with our community in an imaginative, authentic mode. You will seek to inspire / learn from the actors that you direct. You will ask important questions, provoke a response in your audience. At year’s end, you will also have a wide-ranging set of notes, blueprints for future devised pieces, directing projects, and plays that matter to you. We will engage with directing as a process and practice in the past, present, and future. Storytelling as a director of theater and film is not to be underestimated, undervalued. We will reveal why the practice and art of the director is exciting/essential, for (and as) humans and artists.

Technical Theater (Kaluza/Wyron)

Technical Theater is both a practical and a theoretical course that serves as an introduction to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating theatrical productions. With particular focus on scenery, lighting, audio, and props, students practice creating and experimenting with technical elements as a way to tell stories. This practice ranges from the design process (working out ideas and translating them into something that can be shared with others) to the implementation—with hands-on experience with power tools, lighting gear, sound equipment, and software for programming lighting and sound effects and cue sequences. Students work side-by-side with their teachers, developing basic stage construction skills, building flats and platforms, creating props, and painting. We welcome and encourage students who wish to further develop their technical skills to apply for a position running a production. Note: This class will not meet as a weekly class, but instead will be scheduled into one of the student’s free periods during the week.


Theater Games: The Actor’s Playground

(Victorson) (1 period per week)

Part clown, part creative dance, part improv, part theater games—all together in a room/open space/rooftop/gym or street. We will PLAY and play fiercely with hoops and balls and funny hats as we find characters, stories, dances, and songs that engage the energy between and around us. Bring your vulnerability, your willingness, your fear and your feistiness as we seek our fun and our funny as an ensemble. Field trips to local playgrounds, sandboxes, puddles, and climbing trees will be an essential part of this class. No previous theater experience needed but curiosity about how to play as part of an ensemble is required.



Period A




Advanced Biology

Organic Chemistry


Forensic Science

Analytical Physics


Non A/B

Electricity and Magnetism

Art, Science, and Nature (Interdisciplinary)

Chemistry of Food and Cooking

Period B




Advanced Chemistry

Analytical Physics

Environmental Science

Mechanics & Relativity


Infections and Immunology



Period C (English)

All of the Feelings (Rutter)

baby don’t hurt me (Gear)

Macabre Marriages/Mates (Avrich)

Magical Realism (Bodner)

Science Fiction (Aronson)

Period D (English)

Black Literature (Patterson)

Fact and Fiction (Donohue)

Great American Novels (Khoury)

The Literature of Outsiders (Fodaski)

New York City in Literature (Smith)

Period C (History)

American Women’s History (Schragger)

The Black Atlantic (Wyatt)

Freedom Dreams ( Johnson)

Gulf Wars (Steinert-Evoy)

From the Iron Tsar to the Man of Steel (Mellon)

Period D (History)

German and French Social Thought in the 19th & 20th Centuries (Ackman)

Greek Literature and Culture (Stayer)

The Last 100 Years (Kohn)

Medieval Buddhism (Higa)

Postwar America: From Rosie the Riveter to the Age of Reagan and Beyond (Schragger)

Non C/D (History credit)

The Personal and Political Stories of Black Women and Girls (Mackall)




Helpful Hints:

Each line of section 1 must include an English and History class; one that meets in C period, and one that meets in D.

NO REPEATS (i.e. you may not list the same class twice)

Every class you choose must be a class that you are prepared to take, it is possible that you will receive any course you list.

In section 2 rank all courses listed above in order of overall preference. Don’t worry about what period it meets or which department it is in.

Section 1: Period C Period D 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice Section 2: Humanities Ranking 1 4 2 5 3 6







Saint Ann’s School 129 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-2705 T 718-522-1660 | www.saintannsny.org
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