2022-2023 CURRICULUM GUIDE
2022-2023 CURRICULUM GUIDE
Introduction from the Head of School
Disrupting Gendered Mindsets: Capabilities Approach Program
Mission of The Ethel Walker School
History and Social Science
Ethics and Social Justice
Capabilities Approach Seminar Program
Co-Curriculars and Athletics
Content is subject to change.
“The joy of learning is as indispensable to education as breathing is to running.” —Simone Weil At Walker’s, education is understood as transforming — a venue where girls can emerge as authentic thinkers and doers, learning about the world, those around them and, perhaps most of all, about themselves. Education, literally from the Latin “the leading out,” signifies discovery, revelation, and most of all transformation. The educational philosopher Parker Palmer reminds us, “We are here not only to transform the world but to be transformed.” In the last fifteen years, educators have borne witness to three major ways in which teaching and learning have changed. Technology, and more specifically skills such as coding, transcend all disciplines. Learning has become more collaborative and interactive, rather than solitary learning and solely text-based teaching. Students today are also called upon to engage actively in original thinking, writing and research. Opportunities are emerging for crowdsourced research that allow our students to work in tandem with higher education research institutions. We are committed to developing and delivering a comprehensive curriculum which keeps pace with helping girls realize their extraordinary potential and capabilities across a host of areas, including those in which traditionally women have been underrepresented. Courses such as Honors Biochemistry where our students conduct real-world research on bacterial resistance and the discovery of new antibiotics, engineering, and public health immerse our students in acquiring skills for emergent fields. Our humanities courses, including the Visiting Writer Seminar, Creative Writing, and a full complement of electives, allow our students to become accomplished writers, whose work is published in national and international publications and platforms as well as books we produce with The Ethel Walker School Press. Arts programs range from painting, ceramics, video production, a capella singing, African drumming, and chamber music to many forms of dance and choreography as well as art history. We strongly affirm the need for our students to master qualitative skills as well as quantitative ones. Walker’s girls discover their voices in order to articulate their understanding, interrogate questions lucidly, and put forward their perspectives persuasively. As Simone Weil, one of the leading female philosophers and activists of the twentieth century, reminds us, there is joy in learning. Walker’s girls can immerse themselves in the wonder of learning, thanks to brilliant, dedicated and charismatic teachers and innovative classes and approaches. Most of all, our classrooms at Walker’s are places of wonder, discovery, play — even fun.
Capabilities Approach Program Why do female students tend to become less vocal as they progress through school despite success? Why do girls often steer clear of certain areas and disciplines? While myriad factors are at work, the key question is: What can schools do to address this disparity and support girls to fulfill their great promise and potential? The answer is— reimagine girls’ education. With the support of a prestigious Edward E. Ford Foundation Education Leadership Grant, Walker’s Capabilities Approach Program seeks to disrupt the gendered mindset into which girls are socialized. The Capabilities Approach represents the development of a constellation of skills, interwoven and foundational. The goal is functional mastery of each skill with the assumption that all girls can achieve proficiency through support and collaboration. Girls learn resilience, teamwork and the understanding of the role of failure as an intermediate stage of the learning process.
Capabilities • • • •
Fluencies: digital, financial, and rhetorical Discoveries: sustenance and sustainability Agencies: swimming, first aid, and self-defense Self-Selected Capability: a unique agency, fluency, discovery, or experience chosen by each student • International experience and paid internship Collectively, these capabilities allow for challenge and failure by encouraging girls to be confident and resilient, and to embrace a growth mindset. Digital Fluency Today, the acquisition of a wide range of digital skills is necessary across all disciplines. As early as 6th grade and up through advanced courses, students are immersed in projects that require coding. Our Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation explores with students a range of digital fluency topics including creating your digital footprint, digital citizenship, and differentiated learning styles. One group already wellestablished in these areas are Walker’s Wirecats, the first all-girls robotics team from New England to compete in the FIRST FRC World Championship.
Financial Fluency Historically, women lag behind in the acquisition of financial fluency, resulting in women owning and managing fewer assets. One way our students gain an understanding of personal finances and investing is through our signature community partnership, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. In addition to providing a very important service to the community, our girls study for — and pass — an IRS training program which allows them to prepare personal income tax returns for low income families. This real world activity is enhanced with classroom work, giving students a first-hand look at the complexities — and understanding — of personal finance and investment. Rhetorical Fluency Having the confidence and skill to speak eloquently and convincingly in front of an audience, and ensuring that your ideas are heard, are skills that all Walker’s students develop both inside and outside the classroom. Classroom work, community partnerships and affinity groups are just a few of the many stages on which you can safely test — and hone — a wide range of rhetorical skills. Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice By using the Capabilities Approach Program to enable all Walker’s students to develop a variety of capabilities, we also address divergences in backgrounds and preparation, offering a foundation for all Walker’s students to flourish as well as develop their cultural competence as global citizens. You will learn, live and grow with people of different ages, interests, nationalities, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious traditions, and political affiliations. Multiple classes and activities are offered where girls improve their knowledge and develop their desire to shape a society that is more equitable for all. Walker’s is a member of SPHERE, a consortium of 11 independent schools who collaborate on becoming and remaining culturally diverse, inclusive, and responsive environments for teaching and learning.
The Ethel Walker School is an independent, college preparatory, boarding and day school for girls in grades six through 12 plus a postgraduate year. Since 1911, The Ethel Walker School has excelled at preparing students to make a difference in the world. Members of this diverse community are dedicated to scholarship, the arts, athletics, wellness and service. The satisfaction of achievement and joy of friendship are fundamental principles as the School empowers girls to lead with respect, love of learning, confidence, courage, conviction, and integrity.
The mission of the English Department is to develop in every student, every year, in every lesson, the ability to read, write, and speak about what matters — to her — and to the world. We believe in teaching our students to write creatively, personally, and analytically with brilliance and authenticity, to read for wisdom, strength and moral citizenship, and to be able to speak truth to power. Our reading, writing, and public speaking curriculum supports that mission every day. Our assignments in these three areas of focus are all designed to hone rhetorical capabilities, and to invigorate the full joy of learning. Publishing Publishing student work here at Walker’s and in other venues is a top priority. The best way to understand the power of one’s voice is to use it in the wider world. Our literary magazine, Daemon, regular participation in national and international writing contests such as the Scholastic Writing Awards and The New York Times student contests, and our very own press, The Ethel Walker Every Woman Press, create an environment in which student voices are heard and celebrated.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ENGLISH COURSES ENGLISH 6 Grade 6 At the sixth-grade level, students learn to read deeply, to love reading, and to analyze literary works. The study of literature at our school draws upon many genres to focus largely on works about growing up and emerging into society. Texts in English 6 may include: World of Wonders, Land of the Cranes, Harbor Me, The Night Diary, Joyful Noise, and a dramatic production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other texts, including individual poems, myths, fairy tales, short stories, and essays are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of sixth grade students. Teachers will challenge students to think and to express themselves in increasingly complex ways. Students will learn oral presentation and discussion skills in class. Each student will begin to develop her authentic voice through a wide variety of writing assignments in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama units. Language mechanics, also taught in English 6, concentrates on logic, clarity, and flow, as well as on grammar and syntax. Creativity of all kinds, including explorations of literature through the visual and performative arts, will be at the heart of this course.
ENGLISH 7 Grade 7 At the seventh-grade level, students maintain their momentum and build new skills by continuing an exploration of the various genres of literature. We read a challenging collection of texts that may include: Cast Away; Howl’s Moving Castle; Poetry Speaks Who I Am; Romeo and Juliet; Good Master, Sweet Ladies; and The Outsiders. Other texts, including individual poems, myths, fairy tales, short stories, and essays, are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of seventh grade students. Teachers strive to help students truly love to read. Students will learn to present their work to an audience — aloud and in writing. Students continue to enhance their composition skills through a study of analytical writing, with an emphasis on the process of writing, not just the final product. Language mechanics, also taught in English 7, concentrates on understanding the passive voice, parallel structure, audience engagement, and logical flow. Students will read beyond the curriculum in this course. They will also have many opportunities for creative writing in a wide variety of genres.
ENGLISH 8 Grade 8 In English at the eighth grade level, independent thinking and writing play major roles, as every student is encouraged to further develop their creative and critical skills in response to literature and in preparation for secondary school. Through discussion and writing, which include analytical and personal essays designed to promote mastery of essay writing, each student is supported as they learn to express herself clearly, accurately, and fluently. In this way, student voice is at the heart of English 8. We read short fiction, novels, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Texts may include Macbeth, The Poet X, The House on Mango Street, and One Last Word, among others.
UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH COURSES ENGLISH: COMPOSITION AND LITERATURE Grade 9 Credit: 1 Writing is fundamental to success in the upper school and this course lays a strong foundation for writing in the humanities as well as an introduction to studying literature at the high school level. Students will practice writing personal essays, research papers, rhetorical arguments, and literary analysis over the course of the year. Students will read reviews, watch Moth story performances, participate in research that reflects their own interests, and analyze poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writing. Students will also engage deeply with their own writing process, identifying strengths and learning to revise and edit areas that need improvement. To help bolster their writing toolkit, students will learn grammar, vocabulary, and MLA style and citation. Students will also work to build reading habits through book circles and common course texts which may include works from our visiting writers, Shakespeare, and a selection of short fiction, poetry, and essays chosen by the instructor.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LAB Open to Grades 9-10 (Students referred by Admissions and department) Credit: 1 (Does not fulfill English requirement) This course is designed for new international students for whom English is a newly acquired language or who have not attended an American school before. It is a supplement to their core English and History courses and reinforces the skills covered in those courses. Students practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing as they complete projects and activities as well as receive one-on-one and small group support on assignments from core courses. Topics covered may include: MLA style and citation, the writing process, audience and purpose, literary terms and analysis, research tools.
ENGLISH: LITERARY GENRES Open to Grade 10 Credit: 1 In this course, students will expand their knowledge of literature and genre as they explore novels, plays, poetry, and creative nonfiction from literary traditions across the globe. They will build their lexicon of literary devices and terms as well as learn to analyze these both verbally and in writing. Students will continue to build on their foundation of writing skills and respond to each text with both personal and analytical essays. By the end of the year students will be comfortable encountering and engaging with a wide range of literature as they work toward becoming independent learners, thinkers, and writers. Works may include Much Ado About Nothing, Parable of the Sower, The Displaced, Homegoing, Du Fu: A Life in Poetry, and texts from our visiting writers.
ENGLISH: LITERATURE OF PLACE Grade 11 Credit: 1 How does the place shape a person? In this course, students will study primarily the literature of America and Americans, both of these broadly defined to include indigenous, undocumented, newly arrived, long-settled, powerful, and powerless people. Students will read and examine what it means to be a citizen, to have a voice, or to be without one, here in this country. They will write amply about who tells the story of our country and what each narrative reveals about our hopes, dreams, and values. Students will write critically and creatively on every text, and they will learn to use their own voices to speak truth to power in the form of letters to the editor, oneact plays, short fiction, poetry, speeches, and editorial or persuasive essays. Texts may include: Beloved, The Great Gatsby, Anna in the Tropics, Another Brooklyn, Sing, Unburied, Sing, as well as texts from our visiting writers, and a selection of additional short stories, poems, and essays selected by the instructor.
ADVANCED ENGLISH: LITERATURE OF PLACE Grade 11 Credit: 1 In Advanced English: Literature of Place, students use advanced analysis to tease out original insights from the texts they study. Emphasis is placed on independent discovery as students engage with a variety of genres and difficulty levels. Writing includes both creative and analytical projects, including research into scholarly journal articles and some literary theory. Students also give presentations of their research and independent reading. Texts can range from ancient (in translation) to contemporary, and include poetry, plays, novels, short stories, and essays, as well as texts that blur genre lines. Recent texts include The Underground Railroad, The Great Gatsby, Monument, Hybrida, Fences, Beloved, The Tempest, Oryx and Crake, and others. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
ADVANCED ENGLISH: THE LITERATURE OF MUSIC Grade 12; Yearlong course Credit: 1 This year-long course offers students a college-level study of literature in high school. The primary goal is to facilitate the development of skills in close, critical reading in a variety of literary genres. Students will articulate this close reading and analysis through discussions, presentations, and carefully edited essays that are original, well developed, fully supported, and stylistically effective. To deepen our study we will read essays in literary criticism that address some of the formal, philosophical, historical, and cultural contexts from which our texts arose. In addition, we will engage the craft of our authors by incorporating techniques that are fundamental to their style into our own creative work. Music will be both the theme and the subject for our course of study, and for some of the texts we read, music will in fact be part of the very process of their creation. At times it will be a central metaphor, and at times this will radiate out to ideas about performance itself. Texts may include Bel Canto, A Visit from the Goon Squad, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hybrida, Benito Cereno, Crazy Brave, Hamlet, Music for Wartime, Olio, and The Carrying. Students may elect to take the AP exam in the Spring. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
THE ETHEL WALKER SCHOOL VISITING WRITER SEMINAR Grade 12; Offered both semesters Credit: 0.5 What does it mean to be a writer? How does an author find her style? The Visiting Writer Seminar is a semester-long course in which students have the special opportunity to immerse themselves in a study of one writer’s works. Throughout the semester, students read a critical mass of texts by that writer before the course culminates with the author’s visit to Walker’s. During this visit, the writer will teach master classes, conduct writing workshops, and participate in class discussion. The writer will also deliver a schoolwide assembly and a public reading to our community.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: FROM PAGES TO PIXELS Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 In this course, we will explore together the relationship between literary works and their film adaptations. What is lost, gained, or transformed as the story’s voice changes its form? How do characters and images change when we encounter them on screen instead of on the page? As film continues to demonstrate new possibilities for narrative, how might we observe and articulate the different choices authors and directors make to engage us in their art? By studying the terms and techniques used in each medium, students will be able to analyze and appreciate the techniques and talents of authors and directors alike. We will also immerse ourselves in the creative process of each narrative genre. Through creating our own short fiction, screenplays, storyboards, and films we will deepen our understanding of the craft. Each student will also compile their own list of criteria for a successful adaptation of a literary work so that they may assess the respective movie version. Possible texts include: The Color Purple, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Joy Luck Club, If Beale Street Could Talk, Never Let Me Go, and The Orchid Thief/Adaptation, Just Mercy, A Wrinkle in Time, The Devil Wears Prada, and Be Holding.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: SCIENCE FICTION AND THE MORAL IMAGINATION Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 When we think of science fiction, we usually think of an escape from the world and daily life. But the most enduring science fiction makes us think more fully about our here and now. Climate change, genetic engineering, Black futures, artificial intelligence and what makes us human, gender on other planets, interstellar economics, ethics and tech, fear and the void of space— science fiction is a premier space for our imaginations to play out thought experiments. In this class, we’ll study how authors use science fiction to ask and explore the most pressing questions for humanity. We’ll read a range of genres, but we’ll spend most of our time with novels and short stories. Though we will look back on the tradition of science fiction writing, we’ll spend a significant portion of our time with works from our present. Texts may include Stories of You Life and Others, Speculative Fiction for Dreamers, How Long ‘til Black Futures Month?, The Word for World Is Forest, Kindred, War of the Worlds, and others.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: SHAKESPEARE Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 Students will dive deeply into the work of William Shakespeare, and in the process will discover a writer who is more complex, ambiguous, troubling, and just plain fun than the images of him in popular culture. Through his life and works, the class will wrestle with questions of socioeconomic class, sexuality, race, colonization, and gender as we study his sonnets, tragedies, comedies, and histories. Students will write creatively and critically in response to the readings. Some memorization of poems and soliloquies is expected, but mostly a willingness to read challenging and immensely satisfying texts is required. Students in this seminar will also play a large role in our school-wide Shakespeare Fest.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 In this course, students will learn how to analyze the visual medium of graphic novels and explore how graphic novels have emerged as a robust literary genre since the publication of Maus in 1980. We will pay particular attention to historically marginalized voices and stories that have gained traction in this genre. Students will have opportunities for creative projects, formal presentations, and analytical writing over the course of the semester. Texts may include: Understanding Comics, Persepolis, Fun Home, They Called Us Enemy, I Was Their American Dream, El Deafo, Redbone, Banned Book Club, The Magic Fish, and Daytripper.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT Not offered 2022-23 Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 Questions about the relationship between humans and the environment have been some of the most essential throughout all of literature, from Tang Dynasty poetry to Greek pastoral to contemporary climate fiction. In our current, pivotal moment, those questions have become increasingly urgent, and in this class students will study those questions, as well as how different writers ask and answer them. Students will read a range of genres, including personal essay, poetry, science fiction, and science writing. Though the course will look back on the tradition of environmental writing, students will spend most of their time with works of our present. Possible Texts: World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil; The Essential W.S. Merwin; current issues of Orion Magazine, Black Nature, ed. Camille Dungy; All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, ed. Johnson and Wilkinson; Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich; and American War by Omar El Akkad.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: POETRY IN OUR MOMENT
Not offered 2022-23
Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 Over the last decade, poetry has resurged into daily life across the country. We turn to poetry in times of celebration and consolation, to give voice to community and identity, to post some bit of inspiration on social media, and as a rallying cry. Poetry right now is more diverse than it has ever been, both in terms of who gets to write it and the styles in which it is written. This class is a deep dive into that diversity. Students will study five books by poets representing diverging and coalescing trends and movements across the poetry landscape, plus a collection chosen by students. Students will seek to answer one guiding question: What are the ways that poetry speaks to our particular moment? Coursework will include both creative and analytical projects. Because poetry right now is wide open, the possibilities for texts are wide open, too. Possible poets include Carmen Giménez Smith, Ross Gay, William Brewer, Tracy K. Smith, Philip Metres, Victoria Chang, Natalie Diaz, Terrance Hayes, and many, many more.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: THE ART OF MEMOIR FROM 1900 TO PRESENT Not offered 2022-23 Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 This course will offer students to read memoirs and autobiographies written by some of the best authors of the last century. Some in translation, but most in English, texts will include personal narrative by people who have lived exceptional or extraordinary lives, and by others whose experiences may be more familiar to us. Students will practice the art of the personal essay, try their hand at memoir, and examine their experiences using the many forms they will encounter in the readings. The final product will be a collection of personal writings in a variety of genres. Texts may include: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Yellow House by Sarah Broom, Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Speak, Memory by Nabokov, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by R. Solnit.
ENGLISH SEMINAR: SHORT FICTION
Not offered 2022-23
Grade 12 Credit: 0.5 This course will take as its subject the short story form from its beginnings in folk and fairy tales to its more recent flash fiction incarnations online. How do writers bring us quickly into, and out of, a world entirely of their own creation, and leave us quite changed for our brief visit there? Students will read short stories from all over the world, including America, and students will write their own works as well. Authors will likely include: Ann Beattie, Lucia Berlin, Angela Carter, Anton Chekhov, Lydia Davis, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Jamaica Kinkaid, Guy de Maupassant, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, and Dorothy Parker.
The History and Social Science Department faculty seek to teach our students to be active, informed global citizens who can distinguish between observation, opinion and argument, and who can reject weak arguments and bandwagon thinking. Throughout their core courses and electives in the social sciences, students will examine the actions, forces, and systems that transform society — past and present. These investigations push them to think deeply about the human condition and recognize complexity. We are committed to arming students with basic competencies in critical reading, historical reasoning, writing, speaking, listening, and effective research skills. Learning activities and assessments encompass a variety of formats ranging from Harkness-style discussions or debates to traditional tests or documentbased questions, to videos or other presentations. All students in the junior year U.S. History course will write a full thesis paper. The graduation requirement for History is 3.5 credits. Core courses include Global Connections, Foundations of the Modern World, and United States History. Electives offered are subject to enrollment and may be offered in alternating years. Enrollment in all honors and advanced courses is subject to departmental approval.
MIDDLE SCHOOL HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE COURSES HISTORY 6: ANCIENT CULTURES Grade 6 Where do we begin? How did things start? Ancient Cultures emphasizes the beginning of early civilizations and how they relate to the foundations of society today. Through discussions about prehistory, written documents, and material remains, students identify the sources that inform the study of history. This yearlong course focuses on the study of ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and China. In each unit, students gain an appreciation for the geography, government, art and architecture, religion, daily life, and major achievements of each civilization. With a combination of individual and group work, students learn analytical and critical thinking skills while also developing collaborative skills.
HISTORY 7: WORLD GEOGRAPHY Grade 7 This course focuses on allowing our students to see how our world looks today. With the purpose of allowing our students to understand the way that geography impacts our lives, students will undertake a unit on reading and understanding maps as well as a unit on important geography terms, including the study of geography itself, climate, and vegetation. They will then study various regions, focusing on themes of geography, including themes of place, location and the movement of people and ideas.
HISTORY 8: AMERICAN IDENTITY Grade 8 This course takes as its basic question, “What does it mean to be American?” Students spend the fall learning about the foundation of American democracy, examining the ways in which the American government functions and how citizens engage in that process. In the spring, students dig deeper into the experiences of three groups who have been influential in the development of this country: Indigenous Peoples, Black Americans, and the Latinx community. Students also have the opportunity to explore groups that resonate with their own American experience. Students use a variety of sources ranging from primary documents to academic monographs to help them improve their ability to think like historians.
UPPER SCHOOL HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE COURSES GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Grade 9 Credit: 1 This course is designed to challenge students to assess the modern globalized world through the study of systems and processes that have shaped the countries and cultures that exist within it. Students will learn to work collaboratively in researching exploration, colonization, population growth and globalization. Global Connections provides students with an intensive introduction to, and ongoing instruction in, the research and writing process. Students will also develop historical thinking skills such as evidence evaluation, corroboration, and interpretation, deploying these skills not only to study the past, but to grow as critical consumers of information in the digital world.
FOUNDATIONS OF THE MODERN WORLD Grade 10 Credit: 1 Foundations of the Modern World is an inquiry-based course that investigates how ideas, individuals, and social, political, and economic forces can serve to both integrate people and proliferate differences. Building on students’ understanding of worldwide patterns of interaction from Global Connections, Foundations of the Modern World will zoom in on the world since 1500, beginning with the birth of the modern nation-state. Students will first explore how historians interpret and reinterpret the past, then move into 18th century ideas and revolutions, the causes and effects of global industrialization and imperialism, and global war and peace. The course will culminate with a research project assessing how an individual can impact the world. Within each unit, students will examine how historical themes connect to, and help explain, modern world events as they unfold. Rich content and intentional skill instruction work simultaneously throughout the year, as students engage with a variety of written, visual, and primary and secondary sources, hone their historical thinking skills through developing evidence-based arguments, and communicate their ideas through clear and compelling speaking and writing.
HONORS FOUNDATIONS OF THE MODERN WORLD Grade 10 Credit: 1 This course will cover the same content and themes as Foundations of the Modern World, incorporating more challenging readings and aiming for highly developed and nuanced writing. Assessments will largely center around document-based writing, and students will use scholarly sources to complete a final research paper. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
U.S. HISTORY Grade 11 Credit: 1 This course takes a thematic approach to the study of the history of the United States from early European/Native American encounters up through the 20th century. Extensive use of primary documents familiarizes students with voices of the past, while secondary readings offer students varying interpretations. Students study the influence of geographic features on agricultural and industrial development, foreign policy, and the character of American people. The interaction between the private life of citizens and the public world of government is examined in each unit as students consider how people seek to safeguard their way of life or to press for change and, in doing so, alter the role of government.
ADVANCED TOPICS IN U.S. HISTORY Grade 11 Credit: 1 Advanced Topics in U.S. History requires the ability to read a wide variety of texts closely, write incisively, and argue persuasively. Political and economic forces are viewed through the lens of social movements. Students explore extensive primary and secondary sources, consider the conflict and unity underlying these movements, and draw conclusions. Instead of interpreting issues and evaluating people solely through their 21st-century lens, students are encouraged to consider two questions: what did the people they are studying know and what could they have known? Students compare themes across time, identifying forces of change and of continuity at work. A close examination of the changing ways historians interpret the past illuminates how philosophical leanings affect historiography. Students write four research papers during the year on topics of their choosing. The final paper is presented to an external audience and submitted for publication. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
ADVANCED ECONOMICS Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 This course will cover an introduction to basic economic principles including, but not limited to, scarcity and choice, supply and demand, competition, incentives, markets, and price. The course will also explore macroeconomic principles such as national debt, unemployment, inflation, and money through different schools of thought. Microeconomic principles such as consumers, firms, and income distribution will also be addressed. Students will read and engage with the history of economic thought through books and journal articles. Finally, the course will relate the above concepts to current world and national economic news events. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
ADVANCED HUMAN GEOGRAPHY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 This course is an upper-level social studies course that introduces students to the patterns and processes that have shaped our understanding and use of Earth. Through studies of population, cultural patterns, cities and urban land use, and economic development, students will gain an understanding of what happens when cultures and people interact with one another and how people adjust to the land around them. The class will investigate how geopolitical policies are formed and how they affect our world today. Students will be expected to understand and analyze maps and spatial data, recognize the different regions of the world, and understand how events and processes influence one another. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: THE PROTESTS OF 1968 Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 1968 was a watershed moment not just in the United States, but around the globe. As the world experiences another moment of unprecedented social shift, this course will dive into the notso-distant past to examine the role that students played in protests in North America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. In examining the events, social movements, and lasting legacy of 1968, we will seek not only to understand the individual movements but to uncover some of the central themes that underpinned all of them.
MODERN MIGRATIONS Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 0.5 The movement of people has been the stimulus for the spreading of innovation and culture since the rise of agriculture. The earliest patterns of migration are heavily responsible for the ways in which our countries look and operate today. People haven’t stopped moving, though. In fact, the rise of technology has made it even easier for individuals and families to move from one place to another in our world today. One could argue that the movement of people and the culture systems they bring with them will fundamentally alter our world’s future. This course will rely heavily on current events to help students understand modern day migration patterns, the reasons for movement, and the challenges that arise when people move from one place to another. Students will use case studies to investigate the ways in which migration has political, economic and social effects on countries, and will learn both the positives and negatives associated with international migration.
ART HISTORY: ART OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS
Not offered 2022-23
This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments. Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 In this class, students gain an understanding of the cultures of ancient civilizations through the study of the objects they produced. Students grapple extensively with issues such as who decides what is art, the ethics surrounding display and repatriation, and the difference between art, artifact and cultural object. By studying the objects produced by these great civilizations, students gain a better understanding of the objects themselves and how they fit within the context of their time and place.
ART HISTORY: MOVEMENTS IN ART HISTORY
Not offered 2022-23
This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments. Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 This course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and architectural history. In this class, students view art through the lens of historical events, literature, music and social context of the time periods covered in the course. Students tackle issues such as who decides what is considered art and the ethics around restoration vs. preservation. Students begin this course by looking at the art and architecture of the Medieval world, and work their way through Post Impressionism and the Modern world. By studying great works from within these artistic periods, students gain a better understanding of the visual art of each era and how it can help us to better understand the greater context of the time.
ETHICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE COURSES All students are required to take at least 0.5 credits in Ethics and Social Justice.
WORLD RELIGIONS Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 0.5 In order to be a culturally competent global citizen, one must understand the motivations, traditions, and cultural forces that influence the globe, including religion. Though the United States is an increasingly secular state, other parts of the world are strongly influenced by their religious traditions, informing international relations, social values, and the global marketplace. This class will address the religious practices of the major world religions and the vast spectrum of beliefs within each that makes it difficult to generalize about them. To honor the living traditions that we are studying, we will not only examine but will also find ways to experience the Hindu Traditions and various Yogas, Buddhism and Meditation (or the interpretation of a Koan), Taoism and Tai Chi, Islam and Prayer, Christianity and Worship, Judaism and the study of the Torah, and native Aboriginal and American relationships to the Earth. In the midst of this quest, we will consider the way astrology, cults, New Age practices, and mindfulness function as derivatives of religious intent.
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICAL REASONING Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 Human society has always looked for answers to big questions: Why am I here? What is my place in society? How should I behave toward others? What is the nature of good and evil? This course introduces students to tracts of moral and political philosophy from Aristotle to Nussbaum. Ethical reasoning is applied to an examination of contemporary issues such as bioengineering, human rights, social justice, our relationship to the natural world, and the obligations of citizenship. Students will be encouraged to use what they are learning as a framework to develop and support their own opinions on these topics.
INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 This course will introduce students to systems of social inequality in the United States. We will investigate the structural, interpersonal and social dimensions of oppression. Course materials will explore the ways that sexism, heterosexism and racism have developed over time as well as the ways they impact each of us everyday. Students will develop language, tools and skills to create positive social change.
COLONIALISM AND THE CARIBBEAN Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 This course will explore the legacies of colonialism using Albert Memmi’s framework from the book The Colonizer and the Colonized. Students will investigate the social, cultural and economic impact of Colonialism on the present day with a specific focus on Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Students will develop an understanding of colonialism and its lasting impact on a nation politically and economically.
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 What do Greta Thunburg, Malala, Colin Kaepernick, Rosa Parks, Alexei Navalny, Aung San Suu Kyi, Socrates, and Harry Potter all have in common? What allows some people to take and hold a moral or political stand even when it threatens their life and safety? What choices do we have in the face of opposition and pressure to sit down and conform? And what can we do to strengthen our own moral compass enough to be able to change the world? These are the questions we will consider as we look at some of our heroes and role models from a wide range of disciplines and time frames. This interdisciplinary class will be different in that you, the students, will choose the role models we study and where and how they, and you, have found moral courage. Our goal is for us to develop a plan that will bolster our moral compass, our courage, and our ability to do the right thing, no matter the consequences.
THE GOOD LIFE
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 Aristotle called it eudaimonia, which is usually translated as well-being, flourishing, happiness, or fulfillment. What does it mean to live a good life? Do we all agree on what the good life is or should be? Do we need to? Philosophers, priests, economists, and sages in every generation have tried to answer the question, but overwhelmingly it has been answered by men. Do women have a different answer? We will draw upon several religious, philosophical, and folk traditions as we ask the question: what is a life worth living – today – for you? We will examine different models of the good life as we practice habits of reflection and action. We will combine personal reflection with group conversation as we will grapple with consequential thinkers and engage in a deep learning experience that prepares you for a concluding exercise in articulating your own vision of the good life.
The mission of the World Languages Department is to nurture meaningful communication, develop cultural competency, and promote multilingualism and multiculturalism. The advantages of being able to communicate in another language include increased adaptability and mental acuity as well as acting with empathy and an open mind. Learning another language advances the development of skills essential to academic, social, and personal growth. Modern language courses at Walker’s foster language acquisition by emphasizing meaningful and authentic communication in all three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. Modern language instructors deliver rich, compelling, and comprehensible input in order to maximize engagement with the target language across all three modes. In this way, learners will develop confidence and fluency communicating in the target language. Latin courses naturally focus primarily on the interpretive mode of communication. All language instruction is guided by pedagogical standards that enable language learners to set linguistically appropriate goals, identify areas of growth, and track progress. Learners will come to understand that language and culture are intertwined and interdependent, but that a shared language does not necessarily represent a shared culture. Through knowledge and appreciation of the geography, customs, history, and literature of the regions where the target language is or was spoken, learners gain cultural as well as linguistic competency. Walker’s language classes are learner-centered and collaborative, and designed to maximize engagement and meaningful communication. The interests and needs of learners constantly inform the curricula, which are designed to be relevant, dynamic, and responsive. In this way, language classes enhance learner agency and curiosity. From collaborative storytelling to the discussion of current events or classical literature, learner questions and contributions are at the heart of the learning environment. Finally, the Language Department is committed to creating learning environments that are inclusive and respectful of all the diverse characteristics of learners’ identities and experiences.
MIDDLE SCHOOL WORLD LANGUAGE COURSES Beginning in Sixth Grade, students are able to choose between French or Spanish. Once students progress through levels 1A & 1B in either French or Spanish, they are given the option of Spanish 2 or French 2 in Eighth Grade.
FRENCH 1A Open to Grades 6-7 Credit: 1 This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics, including: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; and their favorite pastimes and hobbies. Learners will also discover the many places in the world where French is spoken through music, video, artifacts, and projects.
SPANISH 1A Open to Grades 6-7 Credit: 1 This course serves as an introduction to the Spanish language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; and their favorite pastimes and hobbies. Learners will also discover the many places in the world where Spanish is spoken through music, video, artifacts, and projects.
FRENCH 1B Open to Grade 7 Credit: 1 In French 1B, learners will continue to expand their vocabulary and build upon the structures they acquired in French 1A. By the end of the year, not only will they be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity, they will also begin to develop narrative competency in multiple time frames as they talk about what they did in the past and what they will do in the future.
SPANISH 1B Open to Grade 7 Credit: 1 In Spanish 1B, learners will continue to expand their vocabulary and build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 1A. By the end of the year, not only will they be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity, they will also begin to develop narrative competency in multiple time frames as they talk about what they did in the past and what they will do in the future. 28
UPPER SCHOOL WORLD LANGUAGE COURSES Students must complete either three consecutive years of a single language in the Upper School at Walker’s or Level 3 (Latin)/Level 4 (French, Spanish), whichever comes first. Students may take Advanced twice. Students may enroll in more than one language simultaneously, schedule permitting.
LATIN 2 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 In Latin 2, students begin to go deeper with their Latin language skills, learning more challenging and sophisticated grammatical concepts. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Latin 1 and engage in the target language with greater ease. Students are assessed through reading novellas of increasing length and difficulty, and explore Roman culture through the extended world of young Roman friends, Syra, Piso and Sextus. We also explore the myths of the Zodiac and discuss the impact of those stories in the ancient world and today. Prerequisite: completion of Latin 1.
LATIN 3 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of Latin 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Latin 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to read and understand increasingly complex sentences and will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts. Novellas will explore topics in mythology and Roman history, including the story of Medusa in Medusa: Femina Potens et Fortis and the Nubian Queen Kandake Amanirenas in Kandake Amanirenas: Regina Nubiae. Prerequisite: completion of Latin 2.
ADVANCED LATIN: DIDO AND AENEAS: LOVE, LOSS AND LEADERSHIP Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This class explores the characters of Dido and Aeneas, two central figures in Roman literature. Beginning with Elissa: Dux Femina Facti, a novella about Dido, refugee queen of the Phoenician people, students explore the mythology and character of this famous female figure. From there students read excerpts of Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, a central text of Roman literature. Through a study of meter, word order, poetic device and vocabulary, we grapple with the themes of love and death, war and refugees, family and fate. In this class, we read selections of the poem in Latin and the entire poem in English. Students express themselves through analytical essays as well as creative projects. Prerequisite: Latin 3 and departmental approval.
ADVANCED LATIN: WHAT IS LOVE? LATIN LOVE POETRY Not offered 2022-23 Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This course explores Roman ideas of love through the poetry of Catullus, Horace, Ovid and Sulpicia (one of the few female authors of the period whose work survives). Students in this course will learn about how the Romans perceived romantic relationships and how those ideas are both similar to and different from our ideas about love today. We will also examine the gendered experience of loving and being loved in the ancient world. In addition to continuing their study of the Latin language through these texts, students will work on their analytical writing through essays (in English) and creative assignments. Prerequisite: Latin 3 and departmental approval.
SPANISH 1 Open to Grades 8-12 Credit: 1 This course serves as an introduction to the Spanish language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; what they want to do versus what they can or must do, as well as developing the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.
SPANISH 2 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of Spanish 1. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 1 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in complete sentences on a variety of familiar topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they were doing or used to do and what they will do. Learners will continue to develop the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts. Prerequisite: completion of Spanish 1.
SPANISH 3 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of Spanish 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts. Prerequisite: completion of Spanish 2.
SPANISH 4 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of Spanish 3. Learners will examine the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of Spain and Latin America, while reinforcing and building upon the skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to expose students to Spanish and Latin American perspectives as well as the importance of Spanish in the United States. Learners are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves fully and spontaneously in paragraph-length language on a wide variety of everyday topics as well as topics of personal or general interest. Learners will be able to formulate and support hypotheses, make arguments, and sustain narration in multiple time frames. Students will be able to negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts with confidence. Prerequisite: completion of Spanish 3.
HONORS SPANISH 4 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments. Prerequisite: completion of Spanish 3 and departmental approval.
ADVANCED SPANISH: IBERO-AMERICAN LITERATURE AND YOUTH CULTURE Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This class will explore youth culture in Spain and Latin America, and how young people express national and cultural identity and belonging. Our readings and films will explore broad themes of democracy and politics from the 20th and 21st centuries, and how discord and quickly changing societies shaped everyday life (education, work, family and friendships) in both Spain and the Americas. This class will continue to develop language proficiency and strengthen close reading skills, while allowing students to deepen cultural competency through creative projects that engage more deeply with works or themes they choose. Featured writers may include Carmen Laforet, Carmen Martín Gaite, Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda, and Mario Benedetti. Prerequisite: Spanish 5/Spanish 4/4H and departmental approval.
ADVANCED SPANISH: MODERN LITERATURE AND ADVANCED TOPICS Not offered 2022-23 Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 Students will read and interpret texts of representative Hispanic writers within the 20th and 21st centuries, but with a special focus on contemporary authors. Students will explore and analyze the poems, short stories, and essays from writers such as Juan Rulfo, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Ana María Matute, Nancy Morejón, Rubén Darío, and Isabel Allende. The course will revolve around student commentary and analysis of texts within historical and cultural contexts, thereby requiring daily oral and written participation from all students. Prerequisite: Spanish 5/Spanish 4/4H and departmental approval.
ADVANCED SPANISH: CONTEMPORARY LIFE IN THE SPANISH-SPEAKING WORLD Not offered 2022-23 Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 Advanced Spanish is for Upper School students who have completed four previous Spanish courses, or have special permission from the Language Department. As such, the course will emphasize advanced communication and listening skills. Reading at an advanced level will consist of articles of varying topics, books, poetry, and short stories relating to contemporary themes. Writing skills will be enhanced to include personal narratives with emphasis on improved grammar, which will be an integral aspect of the course. Previously learned Spanish will be reviewed and reinforced, while advanced grammatical structures will be introduced for continued growth in presentational writing. Students will also continue to learn about the many cultures throughout the Spanish-speaking world through a global citizen lens. Prerequisite: Spanish 5/Spanish 4/4H and departmental approval.
FRENCH 1 Open to Grades 8-12 Credit: 1 This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; and what they want to do versus what they can or must do. Learners will develop the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.
FRENCH 2 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of French 1. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in French 1 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in complete sentences on a variety of familiar topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they were doing or used to do and what they will do. Prerequisite: completion of French 1.
FRENCH 3 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of French 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in French 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, as well as expressing counterfactuals, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a range of unfamiliar contexts. Prerequisite: completion of French 2.
FRENCH 4 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This course is a continuation of French 3. Learners will examine the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of the French-speaking world, while reinforcing and building upon the skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to expose learners to diverse Francophone perspectives. Learners are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves fully and spontaneously in paragraph-length language on a wide variety of everyday topics as well as topics of personal or general interest. Learners will be able to formulate and support hypotheses, make arguments, and sustain narration in multiple time frames. Students will be able to negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts with confidence. Prerequisite: completion of French 3.
HONORS FRENCH 4 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments. Prerequisite: completion of French 3 and departmental approval.
ADVANCED FRENCH: LITERATURE AND CULTURE IN THE MAGHREB AND WEST AFRICA Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This course focuses on providing students with an introductory examination of French-speaking, black African literature through short fictions, literature, music and cinema from Francophone Africa. Taught in French, this course will serve to both further develop the students’ French communication skills, as well as enhance their general knowledge of the francophone Maghrebi and West African regions, through reading course materials, completing written assignments, participating in class activities, listening to contextualizing lectures, and conducting studentled presentations. While analyzing literature and films, students will be exposed to a diverse number of intersectional topics such as national and cultural identity, race and class, gender and sexuality, transnationalism and migration, colonialism and decolonization, among other topics that might emerge from our student-led discussions. Readings may include works by authors such as Aimé Césaire, Albert Memmi, Assia Djebar, Dani Laferrière, Djibril Tamsir Niane, Fatou Diome, Leïla Sebbar, Léopold Senghor, Mariama Bâ, Maryse Condé, and Ousmane Sembène. Prerequisite: French 4/4H and departmental approval.
ADVANCED FRENCH: LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF THE FRENCH-SPEAKING CARIBBEAN Not offered 2022-23 Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This course focuses on the literature and culture of the French-speaking Caribbean. Students will continue to hone their linguistic skills by engaging with some of the French-speaking Caribbean’s most important literary figures, including Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe), Aimé Césaire (Martinique), and René Depestre (Haiti). In addition to literary texts, students will examine the painting, music, history, and politics of the region. Students enrolling in this course must have considerable competence in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French. The linguistic focus of this course is increased fluency, accuracy, and complexity in all modes of communication. Prerequisite: French 4/4H and departmental approval.
ADVANCED FRENCH: PARIS: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE Not offered 2022-23 Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 This course focuses on the history, architecture, and culture of Paris from its humble Roman beginnings to present-day initiatives that look toward a sustainable future. Students will continue to hone their linguistic skills by reading historical documents, articles, and literary works (drama, poetry, and prose) as well as by analyzing maps, paintings, and photographs. Students enrolling in this course must have considerable competence in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French and a willingness to refine their French through significant independent work. The linguistic focus of this course is increased fluency, accuracy, and complexity in all modes of communication: presentational, interpersonal, and interpretive. Prerequisite: French 4/4H and departmental approval.
At Walker’s, mathematics instruction is guided by a desire to instill critical thinking and the integration of technology into classroom instruction. Our math faculty provide experiences that encourage and enable students to value mathematics, develop confidence in their mathematical ability, use mathematics to solve problems, and be able to reason and communicate mathematically. Instruction is problem-based and focuses on the practice of new skills and concrete applications. Mathematical rigor is introduced at all levels, commensurate with the course level. Our lower level courses are taught with a great deal of structure, providing a solid foundation for abstract thinking, integration, and synthesis needed in the more advanced selections. We offer regular and honors sections for every grade level; 98% of our students take a 4-year mathematics program. The traditional subjects of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry provide the theoretical background for students intending to further their education. For students who plan to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering, the precalculus and calculus courses are preparation for higher-level mathematics courses. Various teaching techniques are employed to address multiple learning styles in order to help each student find and develop her unique abilities and strengths in math. At the core of our mission is the determination to encourage our young women to find their own “unique voice” in our mathematics classrooms as students are encouraged to lead discussions, ask clarifying questions, and contribute to alternative methods of problem solving.
MIDDLE SCHOOL MATHEMATICS COURSES The Math Department seeks to meet students where they are upon entry to Walker’s Middle School in regards to their course placement. Thus, entry into Middle School math courses is not limited by grade level.
FOUNDATIONS OF MATH Department Placement Credit: 1 This course focuses on the necessary skills students need for future success in mathematics. These skills include the basic concepts of arithmetic (with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and integers), applications of measurement, informal geometry and ratio and proportion. Emphasis is placed on curiosity, collaboration and confidence, and opportunities for support and/or enrichment are prioritized. This course is enhanced by a Math Lab period that will meet in addition to routine class meetings designed to provide added support and challenging enrichment.
PRE-ALGEBRA Credit: 1 This course is for students who have completed Foundations of Mathematics or an equivalent course. Topics include further exploration of decimals, factors, fractions, integers, exponents, ratios, proportions, and percents, as well as graphing on the coordinate plane, linear equations, algebraic expressions, and solving algebraic equations and inequalities. Prerequisite: Foundations of Math or department placement.
UPPER SCHOOL MATHEMATICS COURSES ALGEBRA 1 Credit: 1 Students entering this class are expected to have studied positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, graphing of linear equations, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, and linear systems. Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or Department Placement.
GEOMETRY Credit: 1 This course is for students who have completed a full year of elementary algebra. Plane geometry relationships are developed as part of a logical system, and the student learns to write short proofs based on these relations. Algebraic and numerical applications are provided, and units on right triangle trigonometry, three-dimensional figures, and coordinate geometry are included. Prerequisite: Algebra 1.
HONORS GEOMETRY Credit: 1 This course is for students who have a strong mathematical background, good insight, and solid problem-solving skills. Plane geometry relationships will be explored in depth with algebraic and numerical applications provided. Units on congruence, similarity, polygons, right triangles, trigonometry, circles, plane and solid figures, and coordinate geometry will be included. Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 1 and departmental approval.
ALGEBRA 2 Credit: 1 This course is for students who have completed a full year of elementary algebra and geometry. The year consists of a review and extension of Algebra 1 topics including inequalities, linear equations, operations with polynomials, and application of algebraic skills through verbal problems. Additional topics include functions, exponents, complex numbers, quadratic functions, and an introduction to statistics. Prerequisite: Algebra 1 and Geometry.
HONORS ALGEBRA 2 Credit: 1 This course is for students who have a strong background in elementary algebra, including systems of equations, radicals, and quadratics. They must have demonstrated a good aptitude for mathematical reasoning. The course begins with an extension of Algebra 1 topics and continues with the study of complex numbers, quadratic functions, rational and polynomial functions, exponents, radicals and logarithms. Prerequisite: Honors Geometry and departmental approval.
INTEGRATED MATH Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 In this course students will review advanced concepts they studied in Algebra 2, explore basic statistics and probability, and be introduced to trigonometry. These topics will challenge students to solve real world problems, apply skills, and work collaboratively with peers. The course is best suited for students who need further review of topics covered in previous math courses before considering higher-level courses, such as Calculus. Prerequisite: Algebra 2.
PRECALCULUS Credit: 1 This course is for students who have a strong background in advanced algebraic topics. Students must make the challenging transition from a focus on algebraic skill building and processes to that of their application and conceptual analysis. In order to make connections and to contribute to class discussions and discoveries, students are expected to be quite proficient with a graphing calculator and to extract information from the textbook effectively. Topics reviewed and studied consist of various functions (including compositions, inverse, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic) and trigonometry. Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or Trigonometry.
HONORS PRECALCULUS Credit: 1 This course is for students who have a strong background in advanced algebraic topics and have demonstrated a good aptitude for mathematical reasoning and intellectual curiosity. Students must make the challenging transition from a focus on algebraic skill building and processes to that of their application and conceptual analysis. Precise arithmetic and algebraic skills are essential to ensure accurate data for proper analysis, and to attain a strong level of command and understanding of the concepts studied. In order to make connections and to contribute to class discussions and discoveries, students are expected to be quite proficient with a graphing calculator and to extract information from the textbook effectively. Topics reviewed and studied consist of several types of functions (including compositions, inverse, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and circular) and an introduction to limits. Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 2 and departmental approval.
CALCULUS Credit: 1 This course is a survey of topics in Calculus from limits and continuity to basic differentiation and basic integration. It is an opportunity for students to integrate ideas from algebra and geometry, and to do analytical applications of trigonometry, rational functions, compositions, and logarithmic functions. It is a course geared toward deeper understanding of the material but without the focus on preparing for the standardized testing. Prerequisite: Precalculus or Honors Precalculus.
ADVANCED CALCULUS 1 Credit: 1 The methods and techniques of differential and integral calculus are developed and applied to algebraic, trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions. Students are required to use a graphing calculator. This course is for the young mathematician looking to be challenged. Students who take this course will have the option to take the Calculus AB Advanced Placement Test in the spring. Prerequisite: Precalculus or Honors Precalculus and departmental approval.
ADVANCED STATISTICS Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 This is a one-year course that will introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. The four themes that will be focused on are in line with an AP Statistics course: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, probability and simulation, and statistical inference. Students will use technology, investigations, problem solving, and writing as they build statistical understanding. Students may choose to take the AP test in the spring. Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and departmental approval.
ADVANCED TOPICS IN CALCULUS Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 This course will build on the skills and topics introduced in Advanced Calculus 1 and introduce students to topics including but not limited to: various techniques of integration, sequences and series, polar and parametric functions and an introduction to college-level Calculus III. Students are expected to develop accurate recall of calculus topics previously covered and use multiple representations and mathematical connections in problem solving. Students will continue to learn new terminology and develop an understanding of new symbols in order to represent, solve and justify the application of higher level mathematics. Students who take this course will have the option to take the Calculus BC Advanced Placement Test in the spring. Prerequisite: Advanced Calculus 1 and departmental approval.
WEB DESIGN Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 In this course students will learn to create, organize and publish a website. We will use a variety of software and coding to accomplish this. Our first sites will be coded by hand with HTML. As we progress you will study layout, take photos for your site, edit photos in photoshop, write content for your site, study fonts multimedia.
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE Credit: 0.5 Introduction to Computer Science teaches the foundations of computer science and basic programming with an emphasis on helping students develop logical thinking and problem solving skills. We will demystify computer hardware and how it works, study networking, and touch on some of the many disciplines available in the field. Prerequisite: Algebra 2.
ADVANCED COMPUTER SCIENCE
Not offered 2022-23
Robotics at The Ethel Walker School started when a group of girls approached a physics teacher and said, “We want to build a robot.” Since then, Walker’s Wirecats robotics team has competed successfully on the regional, national, and international stage. As one of only two all-girls teams in New England, the Wirecats won their state district event in its second season and are the first all-girls team to win a New England district. The team competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) which FIRST says “combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.” By participating in robotics, students learn about teamwork and cooperation, how to build a robot, and are mentored by professionals from engineering and other STEMrelated fields.
At The Ethel Walker School, students learn the fundamental principles of science and the essential skills required to investigate the foundational disciplines of physics, chemistry, and biology. In addition, students are able to go beyond the basic science requirements and explore individual interests through numerous science electives. With this strong foundation, students engage in inquiry-based discovery, research-guided coursework, and studentdriven exploration of topics that are engaging and relevant to their lives. As science educators, we prepare students to think critically and to recognize bias as they explore scientific questions through student-designed lab experiments. The rich experience of hands-on labs supports individual creativity and curiosity, and allows students to engage in argument-driven inquiry, analyze data, and finally draw conclusions based on observation and experimentation. Students also gain valuable writing and presentation skills and become effective communicators as they present their findings. With the skills and content that they develop, students emerge as lifelong learners and innovators who have the confidence to tackle unfamiliar problems and the courage to be resilient as they work to design solutions to these problems. We strive to inspire future scientists as well as citizen scientists and enlightened future voters, mindful of the scientific issues that are locally and globally relevant. Each student is required to complete three years of science; Physics during 9th grade, Chemistry during 10th grade, and Biology during 11th or 12th grade. The concept of “physics first” provides students with a strong scientific foundation on which Chemistry, Biology, and all science electives are built. Most students at The Ethel Walker School go beyond the graduation requirement and take science courses all four years, and many students take multiple science electives during the 11th and 12th grades.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE COURSES ECOLOGY Grade 6 This course is designed to introduce students to the natural world around them. Students begin the year by studying the role honeybees play in their ecosystem. Students visit the apiary on campus, build their own hive box to add to the apiary, and extract honey. Students also compete in National Geographic’s GeoChallenge, a project-based competition that challenges students to design an innovative solution to a unique environmental problem. For the remainder of the year, students explore field, forest, and aquatic ecosystems inside and outside of the classroom, and the human impacts on these ecosystems.
HUMAN BIOLOGY Grade 7 This course allows students to explore the structural organization of the human body from cells to organ systems. Students are introduced to the scientific method, cell theory, cell reproduction, genetics, and the human body systems. The emphasis of this course will focus on how to be healthy and how the body keeps itself healthy. Students learn how to work both collaboratively and individually. Laboratory work emphasizes making careful observations, learning correct measuring and data collection techniques, analyzing data, and discussing errors. Lab work, dissections, study skills, and current events will be integral parts of this course.
EARTH SCIENCE Grade 8 This course introduces students to the many major topics of Earth Science, including weathering and erosion, plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, and geologic history. In addition, students will explore the solar system, stellar evolution, galaxies, and the origin of the universe. Through numerous inquiry-based labs, students will become proficient with the scientific method and gain valuable laboratory skills that include data collection and display, analysis, and interpretation. Students will also engage in many student-driven projects and develop essential research and communication skills as they explore topics that pique their interest.
UPPER SCHOOL SCIENCE COURSES PHYSICS 9 Grade 9 Credit: 1 Physics 9 is a laboratory science course in which students develop skills by conducting experiments, working collaboratively, and solving problems that allow them to understand and describe the physical phenomena of the world around them. Through this course, students will explore the major themes of cause and effect of motion; waves and vibrations; and the conservation laws of energy, momentum, and electrical charge. Each topic will be introduced through a hands-on discovery process in which students investigate scientific trends in the laboratory, discuss experimental results in class, and collaboratively develop both conceptual and quantitative models of the investigated phenomena. Through this course, an emphasis will be placed on students’ representing their understanding in multiple ways: verbally, diagrammatically, graphically, and mathematically.
CHEMISTRY Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 Chemistry is a laboratory-based course that allows students to discover basic chemical principles and understand how to use them to make sense of the world around them. The course covers the scientific method, measurement, atomic theory, nomenclature, chemical quantities, chemical reactions, aqueous chemistry, bonding, and gas laws. Students learn how to work both collaboratively and individually. Laboratory work emphasizes making careful observations, learning correct measuring and data collection techniques, analyzing data, and discussing errors. Projects each semester enable students to explore how chemistry is relevant to their daily lives. Prerequisite: Algebra 1.
HONORS CHEMISTRY Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 1 The Honors Chemistry course covers content similar to the Chemistry course with the addition of stoichiometry and acid-base chemistry. The course is fast paced and requires a sophisticated depth of analysis. As students progress through the year, their work increasingly focuses on the applications of basic concepts and involves complex, mult-istep problem solving. Lab work includes a focus on experimental design and requires more involved error analysis. This is a rigorous course with high expectations for student effort and commitment. Prerequisites: Physics 9, concurrent enrollment in or completion of Honors Algebra 2, and departmental approval.
BIOLOGY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Biology course surveys the field of biology from biochemistry, cells and genetics to evolution, microbiology, and ecology. Many of the most important topics in biology rely heavily on an understanding of the fundamental concepts from physics and chemistry which is why this course is offered after the completion of these other disciplines. Generous amounts of laboratory work allow students to develop laboratory skills that include experimental design, data collection and analysis, and proficiency with laboratory equipment. Students will work collaboratively and independently as they learn to research numerous biological topics and engage in argument driven inquiry. Through fieldwork, students will become familiar with the woodlands and ponds that surround The Ethel Walker School and will come to appreciate the biodiversity of life that exists in our community. Prerequisite: Chemistry.
HONORS BIOLOGY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Honors Biology course is designed to give students an overview of the biological sciences such as biochemistry, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, microbial biology, human anatomy and physiology, plants, animals, and ecology. The Honors Biology course utilizes a more in-depth textbook, proceeds at a faster pace than the Biology course, and requires students to integrate multiple chapters at one time in their analysis of the material. In addition, students will develop laboratory skills that include experimental design, data collection and analysis, proficiency with laboratory equipment, and error analysis through numerous inquiry-based labs throughout the year. Laboratory work in this course is more demanding and allows students to have more independence involving laboratory design. Prerequisite: Honors Chemistry and/or departmental approval.
ADVANCED BIOLOGY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Advanced Biology course is our most challenging biology course and parallels a college level introductory biology class. This course requires strong critical thinking skills and the ability to apply biological concepts to new situations and real world problems. The class is designed to cover numerous biology topics in an in-depth and hands-on manner using many forms of instruction that include lecture, flipped classroom, problem-based learning, inquiry based labs, case studies, and field work. This course is for highly motivated students who have a genuine interest in biology, are capable of self-directed and self-paced work, and possess the ability to collaborate with classmates on many different labs and projects. To allow for the completion of college-level laboratory experiments, the course meets for an additional 80 minute block each week. The Advanced Biology course will revolve around the four Big Ideas of Evolution, Energy, Information, and Interactions. Students may choose to take the Biology Advanced Placement Test in the spring. Prerequisite: completion of Honors Chemistry and departmental approval.
HONORS RESEARCH SEMINAR: FROM MICROBES TO MOLECULES Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 This course will be run in partnership with the Small World Initiative (SWI) and the Tiny Earth Network (TEN), two innovative programs that encourage students to pursue careers in science while addressing a worldwide health threat – the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. This course centers around an introductory biochemistry course in which students conduct original hands-on field and laboratory research in the hunt for new antibiotics. Through a series of student-driven experiments, students will collect soil samples, isolate diverse bacteria, test their bacteria against clinically-relevant microorganisms, and characterize those showing inhibitory activity. This is particularly relevant since over two thirds of antibiotics originate from soil bacteria or fungi. SWI and TEN’s approach provides a unique platform to crowdsource medical breakthroughs by tapping into the intellectual power of many people concurrently addressing a global challenge and advancing promising candidates into the drug development pipeline. Prerequisite: completion of Chemistry and Biology and departmental approval; possible concurrent enrollment with Honors or Advanced Biology.
PHYSICS 11-12 Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 Physics 11-12 is designed for students who enter Walker’s after ninth grade and who have not yet taken Physics. This is a laboratory science course in which students develop skills in conducting experiments, working collaboratively, and solving problems that allow them to understand and describe the physical phenomena of the world around them. Through this course, students will explore major themes of causes and effects of motion; waves and vibrations; and the conservation laws of energy, momentum, and electrical charge. Each topic will be introduced through a hands-on discovery process in which students investigate scientific trends in the laboratory, discuss experimental results in class, and collaboratively develop both conceptual and quantitative models of the investigated phenomena. Through this course, an emphasis will be placed on students’ representing their understanding in multiple ways: verbally, diagrammatically, graphically, and mathematically. Students are expected to be proficient in both algebra and basic trigonometry.
ADVANCED PHYSICS Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 Advanced Physics is our most challenging physics course that parallels an introductory algebra-based college physics course. Major topics include Newtonian mechanics, including both linear and rotational motion; waves and vibrations; and electricity and electromagnetism. Time permitting, select topics in modern physics will also be explored. This is a rigorous, fastpaced course that also includes a significant laboratory component. In collaboration with their lab teams, students will have significant license in designing experimental procedures and in analyzing and explaining their data in ways that demonstrate a strong command of the underlying physics concepts. This course assumes that students are comfortable with both algebra and trigonometry. Students enrolled in this course may choose to take the Advanced Placement Physics 1 Exam or the Advanced Placement C: Mechanics Exam, depending on their preferred math level. Prerequisite: completion of a year-long Physics course and departmental approval.
ADVANCED PSYCHOLOGY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 Advanced Psychology is a rigorous science elective which requires students to think critically, synthesize current research, and develop a deep understanding of the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Topics include: history and approaches; research methods and statistics; biological bases of behavior; behavior genetics; sensation and perception; states of consciousness; theories of learning; cognition; memory; testing and individual differences, lifespan development; theories of personality; intelligence and individual differences; abnormal psychology; treatment of psychological disorders; and social psychology. Students will conduct an in-depth literature review to be presented at the end of the school year. Students may choose to take the Psychology Advanced Placement Test in the spring. Prerequisite: completion of Biology and departmental approval.
HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Human Anatomy and Physiology course is designed to give the student an overview of all of the systems of the human body. Students will study the structure, function, and numerous disorders of each body system as well as the interrelationships among the various systems. Students will be exposed to critical thinking and clinical application questions throughout the course as they delve into actual case studies and work through these cases to reach a diagnosis. In addition, students will experience hands-on learning and develop collaborative skills through various labs, activities, and projects throughout the year. Prerequisite: current enrollment in or completion of Biology.
CLIMATE CHANGE Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 Together we will explore issues surrounding global climate change: What is it? What is causing it? Why should we care? What information can we trust? Why do some people believe it is not a concern? We work towards answering these questions by examining data and resources from the fields of climate science, psychology, and media literacy.
EQUINE SCIENCE Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Equine Science course is an intense equine biology class that encompasses the anatomy and physiology of all the systems of the horse, including nutrition, toxicology, parasitology, health management, neonatology, epidemiology, and sports medicine. Students will explore numerous case studies and immerse themselves in the world of equine medicine. Through hands-on labs at the Frank O.H. Williams Barn, students can apply the skills and knowledge of the class while they perform health and lameness exams and use stethoscopes to listen to heart, lung, and intestinal sounds. Prerequisite: current enrollment in or completion of Biology.
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 10-12 Credit: 0.5 This is a semester-long course for students who have demonstrated passion for overcoming challenges in innovative ways. Through this 100% hands-on, project-based course, students will immerse themselves in the process of engineering – defining a problem and identifying its constraints, brainstorming solutions, creating and evaluating a prototype, iterating to improve their prototype, and communicating their solution. Students will develop confidence and fluidity in this process over the course of the semester. The challenges encountered in this course will focus on different types of engineering, possibly including mechanical, electrical, civil, and environmental engineering. Students will develop skills in group collaboration and will be encouraged to make use of all of their available tools and resources. Students will be evaluated based on in-class engagement, fulfillment of project components, documentation of their unique engineering process, written reflections, and an analysis of their work. Prerequisite: Departmental approval.
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 The Advanced Chemistry course is our most challenging chemistry course and parallels a college level introductory chemistry class. Building on the foundation of Honors Chemistry, this course emphasizes the advanced topics of equilibrium, kinetics and thermodynamics. Students must be prepared for a significant commitment in both time and the level of challenge. To allow for the completion of college-level laboratory experiments, the course meets for an additional 80-minute block each week. This course fully prepares interested students for the Chemistry Advanced Placement Test in the spring. Prerequisite: completion of Honors Chemistry and departmental approval.
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 11-12 Sophomores may be allowed to enroll in this class concurrently with Honors Chemistry with departmental approval. Credit: 1 Astronomy is a year-long course that explores the origin, structure, evolution, and fate of the universe and the objects in it. Topics studied in this course include gravitation and orbits, the Solar System and other planetary systems, the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies and their creation, and black holes and curved spacetime. Students will also study the history of humans’ understanding of our place in the universe, from the astronomy of ancient civilizations to modern-day space missions. Finally, the course will explore current questions about the mysterious presence of dark matter and dark energy, theories about the future of the universe, and the search for habitable planets and extraterrestrial life. Although the course is mostly conceptual, there is some basic problem-solving required. No prior physics courses are necessary. Students will also make periodic observations using Walker’s van Gemeren Observatory.
Not offered 2022-23
Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1 Tropical ecosystems contain some of the most diverse habitats on the planet. These systems are both unique and fragile compared to temperate systems, and are threatened by climate change and human activities. This course is designed to provide students with a general understanding of tropical ecology and conservation and to enhance student research skills. Students will be responsible for weekly readings, leading class discussions, presentations and various writing assignments, including a final project intended to increase the breadth and depth of student knowledge of evolutionary ecology in the tropics. By reading, thinking about, and discussing articles from the primary scientific literature, students will gain valuable skills in learning how tropical research is conducted, how scientific research is presented to other scientists, and how to critically evaluate scientific research for both their strengths and their weaknesses. Prerequisite: current enrollment in or completion of Biology. 52
Offered to Grades 11-12 Credit: 1
Not offered 2022-23
Students will learn about public health through a multidisciplinary approach that includes biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, history, English literature, language and culture, economics, anthropology, geography, statistics, communication, film, and visual arts. This course will center around leading health indicators that include access to health services, clinical preventive services, maternal, infant, and child health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, obesity, reproductive and sexual health, social determinants of health, and substance abuse. Course topics will include environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health policy, problem solving in public health, population dynamics, social and behavioral sciences, health literacy, community assessment, health informatics, global health, and women’s health and human rights.
The Visual and Performing Arts are an integral part of the Walker’s community. Communication, creativity, and collaboration are fundamental to all of the arts on our campus. Through the arts, students learn to take risks, push beyond perceived boundaries, and discover new ways of expressing themselves and engaging with the community. A student who has a passion for the arts can pursue after school co-curricular activities such as acting, technical theater, dance, and visual arts during all three seasons. In addition, students can participate in private voice and instrumental lessons, and perform in vocal and instrumental ensembles. There are so many opportunities for students to perform and showcase their art work. There are several main stage music, theater, and dance performances as well as art galleries throughout campus. The Arts programs emphasize both skill development and self-driven experiential learning. Courses in Digital Photography, Movie and Video Production, Studio Arts, Art History, Ceramics, Dance, Music, and Theater, as well as Independent Studies in all areas, allow students to delve into numerous art forms as they discover new ways to express themselves. All students have an Arts requirement, but often students find a form that speaks to them and they continue beyond the minimum credits. Formative assessments are used throughout every visual and performing arts class. Students are given immediate feedback throughout the lesson, which includes suggestions, options, and engaging conversations. Critical and constructive feedback from both peers and faculty measure the effectiveness of both the creative process and the final product. Arts students are taught to be leaders by choreographing, composing, curating, and assistant teaching. Students participate in arts-related community partnerships, such as Children’s Dance classes, a capella competitions, the Memory Project, and the Connecticut Inclusive Arts program. At Walker’s, we prepare students to look beyond themselves and find ways to use the arts to give back to the community and make a difference in the world.
DANCE COURSES MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCE Required for Grades 6-8 The Middle School Dance program concentrates on the development of technical skills, and the appreciation of the art form. An annual dance performance is included in the yearly activities.
Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This course is designed to give students an overview of Dance Technique, Improvisation, and Composition, and history. We will focus on several techniques and history to build strength and knowledge in the art form. The study of dance composition through improvisation and design concepts will also be a focal point of the course. Recommended for students with little to no experience in dance.
Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This course focuses on the process of choreographing original dance pieces. Students will learn composition through experimenting with the elements of movement - time, space, weight, and flow. This course is recommended for students with some dance experience through the advanced level.
THEATER COURSES PERFORMANCE FUNDAMENTALS Required for Grades 6-8 The Middle School theater classes will focus on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes will build the necessary skills for character development and stage presence through scene work, theater history, and improvisational exercises. Theater studies help students to hone public speaking skills, teach them to listen and respond effectively, foster their spontaneity and problem solving skills, help them to grow as collaborators, and give them the confidence to take risks on stage and in life.
ACTING Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 The goal of this course is to develop self-awareness, master acting guideposts, and build on previous knowledge of stage acting through the use of scenes, improvisation, and monologues. This one-semester class introduces students to basic acting techniques rooted in Stanislavski and Meisner, incorporating effective use of the voice, principles of stage movement, building a character, playwriting, story creation, and improvisation. The course is designed for students interested in exploring theater as a means of personal development and expression, as well as for those who wish to begin to study the craft of acting and/or playwriting. Students are expected to memorize lines, write journals, and be evaluated on their performances. This course may be taken more than once, so the course will be tailored to the students’ interests and needs.
MUSICAL THEATER Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 In this class, students will collaborate on scenes, songs and dances from classic works of musical theater. Students will have the opportunity to watch and learn from historic theatrical performances, as well as delve deeply into character work, song analysis, and choreography through musical theater vocal solos, duets, monologues, and scene work.
MUSIC COURSES MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSIC CLASSES & CHORISTERS Required for Grades 6-8 Middle School Music classes meet once per week within grade levels, and once per week as a full Middle School. The grade level class includes singing and choral activities, folk dancing, rhythm training, music theory, musical theater/theater exercises, sight singing, and audition preparation. There is continued emphasis on listening and skill development, as well as music appreciation. The full Middle School music meeting is called Choristers. All Middle School students participate in this choral group, which performs in the Holiday and Spring Concerts, as well as all-school Chapels.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA Open to Grades 6-8 This ensemble is for Middle School students who are interested in preparing and performing orchestral music. The Middle School Orchestra performs at Middle School concerts. This experience will prepare the musician for the Upper School Orchestra. All musicians at any level are welcome.
PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS Open to Grades 6-12; Additional fee Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and assemblies involve the Music Program, and public performance opportunities continue to expand the musical experience here on campus. Financial Commitment: Private lessons are billed through the Business Office. The Music Instruction Agreement must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned before lessons can begin. Please contact the Business Office for additional details.
GOSPEL CHOIR Open to Grades 7-12 The Gospel Choir is a lively vocal ensemble that incorporates musical styles from the spiritual, blues and gospel genres. This ensemble demands a willingness to participate in the appropriate style that this music commands. All singers are welcome.
VOCE FELICE Open to Grades 6-12 This course provides students with an opportunity to learn and improve vocal technique and to experience a repertoire of various styles. Enrollment in choir is not required. Voce Felice, a fine vocal ensemble, is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the end of the school year concert. All singers are welcome.
CHOIR Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 A full Arts credit is given for this course. It fulfills the arts graduation requirement but is not figured into the GPA. Walker’s Choir performs regularly at many School functions and presents two major choral concerts. This ensemble enjoys meeting a varied repertoire and honing musical skills such as sight-reading and vocal production. Students interested in Grapes must be part of this ensemble.
MUSIC THEORY Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 A two–semester course that involves the study of the laws, forms and language of music with a focus on assimilating these skills and demonstrating them in compositional forms. The course is taught at the level of the student and progresses according to her capacity. It presents the basics of music theory, dictation and notation, and ear training before composition is introduced. The advanced student may study composition and harmony and musical analysis.
ADVANCED MUSIC THEORY Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 This class moves at the pace of the AP Music Theory Course with the intent to prepare the student to participate in the AP Testing Program. This course includes fundamentals of music theory and related aural skills, score analysis, sight-singing and harmonic and melodic comprehension. The student’s eligibility will be determined by the instructor. Prerequisite: departmental approval.
MUSIC MAJOR PROGRAM Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 1 Credit is given to students who wish to take two private lessons a week or two music disciplines, not including Choir. A half credit is given along with grades and comments for each semester. Music majors are expected to perform during the school year.
NON-CREDIT ARTS COURSES CHAMBER ENSEMBLES Open to Grades 9-12 The chamber ensembles afford the serious musician the opportunity to perform fine works. Students must be proficient on their instrument and enjoy working in a focused, musical environment. These ensembles are called upon to perform at many functions throughout the school year. By audition.
GRAPES Open to Grades 9-12 This vocal ensemble is an a cappella singing group. Only members of the Choir may audition. This ensemble performs music from a wide range of genres. Auditions take place at the beginning of the school year and include a simple sight-singing exercise, presentation of a piece that best shows the singer’s voice and a group piece that determines vocal blend and intonation. By audition.
HARMONIOUS BELLS Open to Grades 9-12 The bell choir performs for many events on campus and can be taken as a music discipline for music majors. This course teaches a basic understanding of rhythm and note reading and allows students of all levels to perform in an ensemble. All musicians are welcome.
ORCHESTRA Open to Grades 9-12 Orchestra is open to instrumentalists who are capable of individual preparation and working toward a standard of musical excellence in a group setting. This is a wonderful environment in which to develop technique and broaden the musical experience.
AFRICAN DRUMMING Open to Grades 9-12 African Drumming is an essential part of Walker’s Music Program. The group utilizes a variety of drums, some of which were constructed from trees on the School property in Simsbury. Students study a wide array of styles and develop an appreciation for the intricate musical sounds, and variety of moods the different drumming disciplines convey and express. The tones of the instruments as well as the use of a particular rhythm open the mind to the rich world of music and enhance the capacity of each drummer. Students are encouraged to both read and hear patterns so that they engage the better part of themselves when they play together. The group often performs on campus and continues to create a moving presence at Walker’s.
ROCK BAND: SUNDIAL SOUND Open to Grades 9-12 Each year, our campus Rock Band, Sundial Sound, morphs and evolves as new students join the group. Students who sing and play drum set, keyboard, guitar, bass, percussion, and other instruments collaborate as an ensemble to play classic rock and more contemporary covers, learning how to exchange musical ideas and work together as a group towards a rock concert performance at the end of the school year.
VISUAL ARTS COURSES MIDDLE SCHOOL ART FOUNDATIONS Required for Grades 6-8 This course explores the basic modes of visual expression, which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, animation, textile arts, and ceramics. Coursework is designed to help each student develop their own identity through art, as well as self-confidence and independence. The curriculum connects with the Middle School program of study whenever possible and provides a well-rounded artistic basis for Upper School-level visual art courses.
CERAMICS 1 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. The Ceramics class will provide an opportunity for students to develop a body of work that is both conceptually valid and reflective of their artistic style. Sculpture techniques, the science of glazing, and wheel skills are taught to all levels of students, and they will be encouraged to experiment at all times. In addition to developing technique, students will design their own multi-part construction based on exploration of pottery around the world. Each student will be expected to produce work that portrays her creative powers and technical abilities.
CERAMICS 2 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This is a one-semester course for the higher level ceramics student, who has already completed Ceramics 1 and has mastered the basics of throwing pottery on the wheel. In this course, students will explore the act of combining hand-built elements with wheel-thrown pieces. Projects will include teapots, nesting bowls, water pitchers, vegetable steamers, ring holders, and citrus juicers. Students will also be tasked with using the principles of design to create an effective and attractive composition for an independently produced original piece of art, which may be either decorative or utilitarian. Prerequisite: Ceramics 1.
DRAWING & PAINTING Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. Drawing is the foundation from which we develop our visual vocabulary as we hone our observational skills. Drawing from observation or from life is a critical skill to develop for anyone wanting to quickly and visually express ideas, as it trains the eye, hand and brain to translate the 3D form into a 2D illusion. In this multilevel class, whether taken for the first time or as continuation to further develop one’s visual skills, students will be exposed to a variety of “dry media” (graphite, oil and soft pastels, charcoal, etc) and “wet media” (transparent and opaque painting including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil) learning the necessary technical skills to communicate their ideas, while continuing to strengthen their knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students will also discover the expressiveness of color and media application techniques while learning color theory. They may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission and to fully develop their visual and unique language. There will be opportunities for students to work on public art projects that enhance our School community.
STUDIO ART Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. This course is designed to accommodate students with a desire to learn about art or to continue evolving in their artistic pursuits. Students will work on a variety of media, tools and techniques through open-ended assignments that challenge them and encourage creativity and originality. Through studio practice, application of the fundamentals of art and informed decision making, students will create a body of work that demonstrates a high level of quality and growth over time in content, technique and process.
ADVANCED STUDIO ART Open to Grades 9-12 Credit 1 A one-year college-level course with heavy emphasis on portfolio production and review. Advanced art students will produce a series of sequential visual forms while exploring in greater depth a particular visual concern or inquiry, through practice, experimentation and revision. Emphasis will be placed on the Elements of Art, the Principles of Design, materials, processes and ideas, and skill development. Students will study and discuss historical and contemporary artists to aid in their own creations and development. Students may choose to submit portfolios to the Advanced Placement Program in the Spring in any of AP Drawing, AP 2D Art and Design, or AP 3D Art and Design. The course is taught in the same physical space and time block as the Studio Art course. Prerequisite: Studio Art or other relevant Visual Arts course and department approval.
MIXED MEDIA AND COLLAGE Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. In this class, students will be encouraged to open the doors to their creativity. By experimenting with different papers, media and techniques, students will discover their own personal artistic voice while focusing on composition, textures and layers. This exploration of mixed media and collaging is supported using the grid, background treatments and various ways to transfer images, including the use of photographs and found objects to add meaning to their works. An overview of historical and contemporary collage will also be explored.
PRINTMAKING Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. This course introduces the student to the production of multiple images from a single design. Students will learn about the basic tools and materials used in a variety of printmaking techniques, understanding that printing will produce a reversed image. For this, an emphasis on creative problem-solving is essential, through research, sketching, and idea development before committing to a plate. Students will explore various printmaking techniques including, but not limited to, linoleum block printing, drypoint, image transfer, and stamping, as well as monoprint/ monotype, stenciling, and silkscreen. Students will learn about the effective use of positive and negative space, and the creation of an artist’s proofs and series. A brief overview of historical and contemporary prints, including the use of prints for political or social messaging, as well as in POP ART will be addressed.
3D DESIGN: SCULPTURE AND PRE-ARCHITECTURE Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. This STEAM art course has been designed to offer students a general design overview using different media to design and build 3D structures. The focus of the course is to apply the fundamentals of art and design to help students solve creative problems in a variety of media and techniques. Projects in additive and subtractive (carving) sculpture, construction, mobile, assemblage, molding and casting, as well as modelmaking will be studied. This course will show students the endless possibilities in creating and using a reticulate as a base on which to create their designs.
3D DESIGN: PAPER, TEXTILES AND FASHION Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. In this course, students will be exposed to paper, textiles, and fashion to design and create 3D projects utilizing art design concepts. Projects in paper making and paper casting, cardboard relief, the dress in paper and textiles, papier-mâché, and the deconstructed book, as well as the use of handicraft techniques — weaving, crochet, and knitting, sewing (hand-stitch and sewing machine) — to create art, design and fashion statements with will be studied. This course will reference historical and contemporary works.
GRAPHIC PUBLICATION: YEARBOOK Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 Visual Arts courses are offered at several different levels. Students with a passion for a particular field may register for the same course over multiple semesters. This course allows students to develop the design, writing and photography skills needed to create a thorough, interesting and dynamic documentation of the life of the School: the official school yearbook, the Pepperpot. Includes elements of art, image manipulation, design, layout, article writing, research, editing, marketing, publishing and sales. Students will have additional responsibilities and take greater leadership roles each time the course is taken.
MOVIE/VIDEO PRODUCTION & STREAMING Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This is a semester course designed to cover the two separate but related areas of: 1. All facets of movie production, including script writing, working with talent, camera work, sound, directing, locations, costume, props, and post production editing. Genres studied include shorts, feature films, documentaries, music videos. The course will involve hands-on, small team experience developing production timelines and filming with DSLR cameras after review of best-practice examples of each motion-picture type. Instruction in post-production editing techniques will be taught to allow finished products to be shown to the local community and/or entered into film showcases and festivals. 2. Work designed to create a live-streaming channel dedicated to live and recorded content centered on the Walker’s student experience. It includes aspects of studio work, live interviews, field recording, content production, show hosting, script writing and all in-front of camera and behind camera functions. The goal is to produce shows that air routinely in a published schedule that reflect the interests of the participating students and that mimic an in-house television station broadcast on a streaming platform.
PHOTOGRAPHY 1 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This semester-long course is designed to cover a broad range of digital photography techniques, principles, equipment and image subjects. A Nikon DSLR camera is supplied for the duration of the course. The course also covers areas of post production and image manipulation. It includes principles of exposure, portrait photography, landscape photography, macro photography, sports photography, food photography, black and white photography, low light photography, light painting, wildlife photography, in-class challenges, and more than 20 other topics. Over the course of the semester, independent shooting, collaborative peer critiques, and historical research will contribute to each student’s final portfolio that exhibits her individual photographic style.
PHOTOGRAPHY 2 Open to Grades 9-12 Credit: 0.5 This course is designed to follow on from the prerequisite Photography 1 and includes elements of studio photography, fashion photography, staged photography, modern photography, street photography, drone photography, photojournalism and study of contemporary artists. DSLR cameras are supplied for the duration of the course. The course incorporates field trips for photography assignments. It will also include an emphasis on independent studies as students focus on their own interests, all the while creating an online portfolio of their best work. Prerequisite: Photography 1.
ART HISTORY: ART OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS
Not offered 2022-23
This course is cross-listed with the Visual Arts and History Departments. Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 In this class, students gain an understanding of the cultures of ancient civilizations through the study of the objects they produced. Students grapple extensively with issues such as who decides what is art, the ethics surrounding display and repatriation, and the difference between art, artifact and cultural object. By studying the objects produced by these great civilizations, students gain a better understanding of the objects themselves and how they fit within the context of their time and place.
ART HISTORY: MOVEMENTS IN ART HISTORY
Not offered 2022-23
This course is cross-listed with the Visual Arts and History Departments. Open to Grades 11-12 Credit: 0.5 This course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and architectural history. In this class, students view art through the lens of historical events, literature, music and social context of the time periods covered in the course. Students tackle issues such as who decides what is considered art and the ethics around restoration vs. preservation. Students begin this course by looking at the art and architecture of the Medieval world, and work their way through Post Impressionism and the Modern world. By studying great works from within these artistic periods, students gain a better understanding of the visual art of each era and how it can help us to better understand the greater context of the time.
The Capabilities Approach Seminar augments Walker’s rigorous academic program by allowing students to transcend boundaries and horizons. The learning that takes place in Seminars challenges their assumptions about gendered mindsets and what girls can do and be, and reminds them that their potentialities are not fixed but always a moving horizon as they learn. The skills learned and the process of acquiring those skills help students take responsibility for their own learning, develop a growth mindset, and increase their confidence, self-esteem, and ability to collaborate. Over the course of their Upper School experience, students engage in four areas of capabilities that influence their learning, growth, and transformation: · Their physical relationship to the world (Agencies); · Their engagement and negotiation with the world (Fluencies); · Their experiential relationship to the world (Discoveries); and · A self-selected capability in their senior year. Seminar courses are required for graduation and complement Walker’s rigorous academic program without impinging on other study time. They are held to the same standards as all course work, done with integrity, respect, confidence, courage, conviction, and love of learning. Seminar courses appear on student transcripts with grades of Meets Expectations/Does Not Meet Expectations.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SEMINAR 6TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 6
Study Skills The Sixth Grade Study Skills Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. Students focus on study skills and executive function strategies, such as sustained attention, task initiation, working memory, planning, and organization. Students work on skills-building activities from the SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum developed by the Research Institute for Learning and Development.
Walker’s History Walker’s History is an introductory course about the history of The Ethel Walker School. It gives students an in-depth look at the origins of the campus and surrounding area, including Ms. Ethel Walker herself. Collaborating with archivists, students will be able to comb through the archives, looking at photographs, mementos, letters, etc. Each student will then create their own scrapbook that shows the history of their lives that they would like to share, thereby getting hands-on experience in creating a history of themselves.
Wellness Sixth Grade Wellness Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. This seminar is a discussion-based class where students focus on Social Emotional Learning and emotional well-being. Adolescence is a time when emotions can be confusing and overwhelming. The goal of this class is to help students recognize, understand, and manage their emotions (emotion regulation). We practice mindfulness and learn to apply its lessons to a variety of situations. Prompts are provided for journaling and discussion.
7TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 7
Study Skills The Seventh Grade Study Skills Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. Students focus on study skills and learn strategies that strengthen executive function skills, such as sustained attention, task initiation, working memory, planning, and organization. Students also work toward more advanced skills such as time management, goal-directed persistence, and metacognition.
Wellness Seventh Grade Wellness Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. This seminar is a discussionbased class where students focus on emotional well-being and social emotional learning with a particular emphasis on relationship skills. With identity as their primary focus during this period of development, students are in search of solid and meaningful relationships. Each class with a brief meditation and a check-in. Students are given writing or discussion prompts to help begin conversations related to their developing social awareness and the skills involved in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
8TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 8
Research Skills In this class, students will expand their knowledge of literary forms and describe their characteristics as they read and interpret works of literature for curricular and leisure reading. Students will also identify the criteria of literary genres and award-winning books with a focus on diversity and cross-cultural literature. In terms of research, students will learn to identify, evaluate, refine, and ethically integrate a variety of research media into curricular projects. With an emphasis on the creation of bibliographic citations, students will also begin to develop an understanding of citation formatting and development.
Speak Out: Prepping for Upper School Speak Out: Prepping for Upper School seminar allows Eighth Grade students the opportunity to work together as they become comfortable and confident with using their voice through public speaking. Throughout the trimester, students engage in intentional games to experiment with persuasive language, crowd engagement, peer support, and learning how to balance anxiety with energy. Members of the Upper School faculty and staff join students in class as guest stars to help build community. Guest stars partake in conversations with students regarding leadership opportunities, equity and inclusion on campus, Upper School public speaking classes, and college counseling. The goal for the Eighth Grade in this seminar is to prepare students to present their Eighth Grade speeches and help students gain a sense of independence through the power of their voices.
UPPER SCHOOL SEMINAR 9TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 9 The 9th Grade Seminar provides students with an academic, social, and emotional grounding to thrive at Walker’s. In this coursework, they will examine and shape their online communication skills, develop relationships in a diverse and multicultural context, and acquire tools to understand and monitor their social-emotional responses within a variety of settings. In each class, students are taught how to develop constructive feedback and deliver it to their peers, strengthening their empathic skills by recognizing and learning about the needs of others.
Digital Citizenship In this seminar, students examine the ways that information and communication technologies impact their lives as learners, family members, friends, workers, and global citizens. The class will explore key pillars of digital citizenship, including digital literacy, digital communication, digital law, rights and responsibilities, citation, and digital health and wellness. Students examine a variety of social media platforms and apps, analyze the positive and negative effects of different online behaviors, and learn strategies for becoming more responsible, efficient, and effective users of the Web and digital media. Students are expected to respect themselves, their peers, their teachers, and the learning environment, to engage actively in class discussions and activities, to drive their own learning, to strengthen their initiative and collaboration skills by working both independently and as a part of a team, and share what they’ve learned.
Social Justice In the Social Justice seminar, students explore their own identities and think about the ways identity impacts their perspective and interactions with others. Students examine social systems and concepts that provide advantages to some social identity groups and restrict access and opportunity to others. Specifically, students look at the ways that stereotypes, discrimination, prejudice and socialization affect individuals in the pursuit of justice and communities of belonging. The term concludes with students addressing the ways that they can individually take action within their own spheres of influence to create positive social change.
Positive Psychology This seminar shares the resources of positive psychology, academic support, and social and emotional intelligence to help students develop a strong sense of wellness. Activities are designed to strengthen self-awareness, emotional resilience, and self-esteem. Using tools such as the Johari Window, students learn relationship-building skills and develop social awareness. Other subjects explored include identifying signature strengths using UPenn’s Authentic Happiness Site, practicing mindful meditation, developing healthy sleep habits, stress management, and learning and memory.
10TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 10 The 10th Grade Seminar introduces students to skills necessary for their own well being and the well being of the world around them. The Seminar coursework includes Women, Health & Culture with a focus on understanding the issues related to women’s emotional and physical health; Sustainability and Sustenance with a lens to their relationship to both the external physical world and the inner spiritual world; and Coding as a means by which students can be part of fastgrowing and important technologies that are currently underrepresented by women. The skills they develop in these courses help our students to make informed choices about their own well being and the well being of the world around them.
Coding In partnership with the Connecticut Science Center, Walker’s is providing students with a handson introduction to the world of computer science. Using project-based learning, students will focus on problem solving, collaboration, and basic coding proficiencies. Skill acquisition includes proficiencies in coding languages, artificial intelligence, digital ethics, and technology across a variety of platforms, culminating in a final project presentation and establishment of a digital portfolio.
Sustenance and Sustainability This seminar provides students with direct engagement and negotiation with the natural world. Sustainability refers to the human relationship to the natural world and our stewardship, care, and nurture of the planet we call home. Sustenance refers to the ways in which we internalize these relationships through mindfulness, connections, and spirituality. Together, these capabilities allow students to engage both physically and spiritually with the world around them and develop skills that have been credited as defining the American experience.
Women, Health & Culture Women, Health & Culture is taught by Walker’s Director of Health Services. Using a medical model, comprehensive analysis of issues related to the health status and health care of women is presented. Knowledge of health concerns of particular importance to women are shared to aid in maintaining wellness, as well as the identification and early treatment of common physical illnesses. All students will be instructed in American Red Cross Child and Adult CPR as well as the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). [Note: A nominal fee will be charged to students’ accounts for these certifications.] Women, Health & Culture is designed to aid students in becoming critical thinkers about health and wellness issues facing young people and It is expected that they will be knowledgeable about current events that affect young women.
11TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 11 The 11th Grade Seminar introduces students to the important capabilities of Financial Literacy, College Counseling, and Self Defense. Each of these topics has students looking toward the future, both short term and long term, as their skills and agency evolve.
Personal Finance Historically, women have had less opportunity to manage money or invest. As students graduate from high school and move out into the world, it’s imperative that they possess an understanding of personal finance in order to make informed decisions that will affect their financial futures. The Personal Finance seminar offers students an opportunity to be introduced to the concepts of managing personal finances including earning, spending, saving, investing and philanthropy. Students conduct hands-on activities including budget development and the creation of an investment portfolio. Students in the Personal Finance seminar will also take and pass the IRS certification to become a personal income tax preparer in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program. Training for the VITA program is conducted as part of the coursework.
College Counseling In the second semester, the College Counseling Seminar focuses on learning skills and producing materials relevant to the college search and application process. Students are introduced to SCOIR, our online college preparation tool, and learn how to explore their interests, majors, and colleges. Other topics include standardized testing, the college essay, interviewing, resumes, scholarship and financial aid, and college visits. All juniors attend a college fair in April as part of this course. Students exhibit mastery in the following areas: SCOIR worksheets, short presentations, questionnaires, a preliminary college search, a first draft of a college essay, an extracurricular activities resume, and securing teacher recommendations.
12TH GRADE SEMINAR Required for Grade 12 The 12th Grade Seminar brings a Walker’s student’s learning to its apex. Each of the seminars builds upon the learning acquired during the previous years, deliberately utilizing that learning in new contexts.
College Counseling Senior-year college counseling is a continuation of the work begun in junior year. This seminar focuses on completing and submitting applications, organizing application deadlines and requirements, connecting with admissions representatives, reviewing types of financial aid, and managing post-application requirements. In addition to actively participating in class, students are evaluated based on completion of the following: creating a final list of colleges, filling out the common application suitable for submission, turning in the deadlines and application requirements worksheet, and meeting with college admissions counselors on Walker’s campus.
Self-Selected Capability Learning a self-selected capability is the capstone experience of the Walker’s Capabilities Approach Program. This seminar highlights students’ ability to show how they have mastered their own learning by choosing something they want to learn, developing a learning plan, learning it, and then teaching it to others, all in a structured context. Once they have mastered their capability, they will then teach it to other students in the Lacuna program in February. This experience will provide students with a clear understanding of both their newfound capability and the complex cognitive processes they engaged in to learn it, positioning them well to continue their lifelong quest for learning.
Senior Speech Seniors have the privilege of addressing the entire school on a subject of their choice to exhibit their mastery of public speaking and reflect on their development and learning while at Walker’s. They will use Seminar time to draft, rewrite, and rehearse their Senior Speech, which will be offered at a Morning Meeting or Assembly during the school year.
College Prep Workshops, speakers, and panel discussions cover topics such as personal health and safety, decision making, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, and adjusting to newfound independence, as well as an understanding of the resources that are available to students at the college level. Students will reflect on how social media and mobile devices have changed since they began high school and explore ways that these technologies can impact their lives in college. This course is designed to prepare students for the transition from Walker’s into a college or university setting where much more independence is expected.
All students are required to participate in an afternoon co-curricular during each of the three seasons (fall, winter and spring) during the academic year. Each student will select from a variety of offerings every season, and the student must participate in at least one team activity per year. Membership on two seasons of dance companies will fulfill the team requirement. Fall
Cross Country (T) Crosstrain Dance Classes Dance Companies (T) Field Hockey (T) Riding (T)^+ Soccer (T) Volleyball (T) MS Skill Development MS Soccer
Basketball (T) Dance Classes Dance Companies (T) Personal Fitness Riding (T)^+ Robotics Skiing (T)+ Squash (T) Swimming (T) Winter Play (T) Yoga MS Basketball MS Play
Dance Classes Golf (T) Lacrosse (T) Hiking Personal Fitness Riding (T)^+ Softball (T) Spring Musical (T) Tennis (T) MS Skill Development
Note: Co-curriculars are subject to enrollment. (T) Team credit +
Additional fees apply Riding will count as a team sport if the student works at or competes in at least one show AND completes assigned barn hours during that season. Varsity riders must represent Walker’s and show with a Walker’s trainer in at least two shows (IEA or USEF) that season. Participation in riding lessons will not fulfill the team requirement.
CROSSTRAIN Open to Grades 10-12; Grade 9 students with permission; Priority by seniority Fall season Credit: Athletics Students will learn and practice the techniques that have made cross training a popular style of workout option throughout the world. Students will practice proper weight-lifting techniques and learn different ways to enhance their cardiovascular abilities.
PERSONAL FITNESS Open to Grades 9-12; priority by seniority Winter and spring seasons Credit: Athletics This course is designed to teach the basic components of fitness and to assist a student in designing an individual workout program. Students will develop greater understanding of the role fitness components play in managing overall health-related fitness. Activities include fitness assessment and work on both aerobic and strength training equipment.
HIKING Open to Grades: 9-12 Spring season Credit: Athletics Students will take hikes into the woods extending from our school campus and beyond, into the beautiful rural countryside. In addition to regular physical exercise, hikers can expect to learn about and sketch the flora and fauna of our natural environment here in Connecticut. Stewardship of this landscape, pressing ecological concerns, and our human position within the natural world will be discussed on our daily walks together.
YOGA Open to Grades: 9-12 Winter season Credit: Athletics Students will explore yoga postures, philosophy and learn the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Activities will include yoga, dance and movement. Students will explore yoga postures and poses called asanas and move through vinyasas, sequences created to address specific areas of the body and state of mind. The physical practice will help increase flexibility and strength. Pranayama, or breathing techniques, will be taught and practiced to help with stress reduction and nourishing the body. Yogic philosophy and history will also be included, as well as an introduction to meditation. Some types of yoga that will be explored include vinyasa, restorative, gentle, Yin, and Kundalini along with others.
DANCE Open to Grades 6-12 Fall, winter, and spring seasons for beginner to advanced levels Credit: Athletics Dance classes at all levels are offered throughout the year with ballet, modern, jazz, and composition offered each season. Other dance forms including tap, contemporary, and hip-hop, are also offered each season.
ATHLETIC TRAINING Open to Grades 9-12; an interest in Athletic Training is helpful Fall, winter, and spring seasons Credit: Athletics Students will learn and practice different wraps using ace bandages, different tape jobs and what they are used for, wound care, proper stretching and foam rolling techniques. They will assist the athletic trainer with every day training room tasks, such as preparing ice bags and heat packs for athletes, stocking med kits, filling ice chests and water jugs, and laundry. The athletic training option is Monday through Saturday, due to weekend competitions.
AFTERNOON ARTS CONCENTRATION Open to Grades 10-12 The Afternoon Art Concentration is for the students who want to pursue a career in the field of the arts and need extra time to prepare and/or enhance their art portfolio for the competitive college admission process. Students will be mentored by professionals in their field of study on and off campus (depending on their field of study) in order to gain instrumental experience, expand their knowledge, and hone their skills. Each student is required to complete their projects, culminating the term with an exhibition and oral presentation to the school’s community.
DANCE WORKSHOP Open to Grades 9-12 Fall and winter season commitment Credit: Athletics Dance Workshop is the advanced-level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected during placement classes at the beginning of the year and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Workshop members take daily advanced-level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, character, and stretch and strengthen. These classes are supplemented with weekly rehearsals for student, faculty, and guest artist choreography. Senior members of Dance Workshop take choreography classes and run their own rehearsals. Dance Workshop performs in the annual Winter Dance Concert.
DANCE ENSEMBLE Open to Grades 6-12 Fall and winter season commitment Credit: Athletics Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected during placement classes at the beginning of the year and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Ensemble members take daily intermediate level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and character. This group also has the opportunity to work with guest artists and they perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert.
GENERAL ENROLLMENT DANCE Open to Grades 6-12 Fall, winter, and spring seasons Credit: Athletics These classes are open to students at any level of dance from beginner to advanced. Students take classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and composition. Winter dance also counts towards the team sport requirement as it includes a performance.
WINTER PLAY Open to Grades 6-12 Winter season Credit: Co-Curricular Beginning in mid-November, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Anyone who wants to join the cast is welcome to, as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. Past productions have included Twelve Angry Women, Our Town, She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers’ Edition, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, and Rope. By audition.
SPRING MUSICAL Open to Grades 9-12 Spring season Credit: Co-Curricular The Theater, Music, and Dance Departments collaborate on a full-scale musical that is presented to the community in May. Anyone who wants to join the cast is welcome to, as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. The goal of the theater department is to take the musical cast on an annual trip to a Broadway show. Students have taken master classes with Broadway performers, have had Q&As with cast members, and Broadway professionals have attended Walker’s spring musical dress rehearsals. Recent productions include Chicago: High School Edition, Hairspray, Sister Act, and Little Shop of Horrors. By audition.
MIDDLE SCHOOL THEATER PRODUCTION Open to Grades 6-8 Winter season Credit: Co-Curricular During the winter months, cast members rehearse a theatrical production to be presented to the community in early March. Anyone who wants to join the cast is welcome to, as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. Past productions have included Into the Woods Jr., The Haunting of ChipLake Lodge, The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree, The Hobbit, Wonderland and Robin Hood. By audition.
Walker’s Community Partnerships Program allows students to understand the critical role that service organizations play in making a positive impact on our community — and ourselves. We cultivate community engagement rooted in the belief that serving with others across differences and toward a common goal is the best way to build communities where everyone benefits. Walker’s students gain worthwhile skills and broaden their perspectives as they provide valuable services. Some initiatives are ongoing, while others change each year in response to student interest. Highlights include: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): Since 2017 our students have been IRS trained to be personal income tax preparers for low-income filers in the greater Hartford area. To date, our students have secured more than $600,000 in tax refunds and credits for families in our community. Horizons at The Ethel Walker School: Ours is the nation’s first allgirls Horizons program, providing six weeks of summer enrichment for underserved students who attend Hartford public schools. Walker’s students serve as teaching assistants to more than 100 girls in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Habitat for Humanity: Each year during spring break, Walker’s students participate in new home construction as part of this international program. Most recently these service trips have been in West Virginia and Texas. Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund: Walker’s students participate in writing and delivering testimony related to specific bills for this nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which advocates for women and girls, especially those who are marginalized. Self-Directed Partnerships: Upperclasswomen design self-directed service projects in areas that align with their interests. As an avid dancer, one student designed a creative movement class for children ages three through seven with special needs. SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center: As sidewalkers and instructors, Walker’s students help children with disabilities experience the joy of horseback riding.
English: Each semester
History: Three years including Global Connections, Foundations of the Modern World, and U.S. History (or Advanced)
Mathematics Science World Language
Ethics & Social Justice: One semester-long course
Visual & Performing Arts
World Languages: Three consecutive years of the same language in the Upper School
Math: Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, at least three full years of Math in the Upper School
Participation in Choristers Participation in the Seminar Program Participation in the Assembly Workshops Participation in the Lacuna Program Delivery of an 8th Grade Speech
Science: One year each of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Visual & Performing Arts: Three semesterlong courses including at least one Visual Arts course and one Performing Arts course; one course must be completed in 11th or 12th grade NON-CREDIT GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS Co-Curriculars: Every season, every year Capabilities Approach Seminar Program: Grade-level thematic seminars Lacuna: Every year Self-Selected Capability & Senior Speech: To be completed in the 12th grade year Community Partnership: One community partnership program each year
230 Bushy Hill Road Simsbury, CT 06070 www.ethelwalker.org