Freshman English focuses on the development of the essential language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition to the study of grammar, vocabulary, and rhetorical modes, students are engaged in the reading and analysis of poetry, drama, and the short story. Instruction in the research process and the writing of a research paper constitute an additional element of the course.
In this course, students engage actively in the study of literature. Reading selections focus on major works of world literature such as Huckleberry Finn and Hamlet. Students will continue to hone critical reading, write analytical essays, and expand knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The research component involves choosing and researching poet of the student's choice and analyzing the poet's work.
This course focuses on major American writing with a primary emphasis on the twentieth century. The study of literature provides students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills while analyzing diverse works include The Grapes of Wrath, The Sound and the Fury, Beloved, Where the Crawdads Sing, and short stories by Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway, and plays by Miller, Albee, and Williams. In addition to the regular workload, students choose one author and read five of his or her novels, as well as critical essays and biography, and then they write an in-depth paper about the major themes in his or her work.
This intensive writing project provides students experience in meaningful reading, and critical analysis of literature. At the beginning of the junior year, students confer with their English teacher and select an author of focus for the year. The students spend the balance of the school year reading five of the author’s works and researching the author's life. From their reading, they devise an original thesis statement reflecting their synthesis of the author’s works. Following approval of their thesis statement, the students craft their paper, which must clearly and logically defend their thesis and be no less than fifteen pages in length. The project enhances student skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, and research while at the same time providing them a valuable independent learning opportunity. In keeping with the Gunston family traditions, the completion of this milestone is celebrated by the entire school community.
Comprehensive Academic Support and Success (COMPASS)
This course is required of all first year international students and is intended to be a supplement to grade-level English classes and prepares students for a rigorous, immersive, liberal arts curriculum. In addition to the development of English language skills, students learn time management and organizational skills. Students also gain insights into the American educational system, the college application process, TOEFL and standardized testing.
The English Literature class reads great short stories, essays, poems, plays and excerpts from novels. Students learn to recognize literary devices utilized by masters of the English language.Students are responsible for creating an ongoing collection of vocabulary words, and to practice grammar daily, with at least one of several possible online tools. In-class lectures teach students reading techniques and the nuts and bolts of essay writing. Personalized instruction, attention and support is given to each student in a weekly session in the Writing Center. Every Friday, class is devoted to TOEFL and SAT-type test practice. In this class, students gain skills to handle challenges they meet across the academic spectrum.
12th Grade Semester Electives
Seniors who meet the department qualifications may choose AP English, which is a year-long class. Those not enrolled in AP English, select a fall and a spring course from a group of college level elective courses. New course offerings are created annually to both reflect themes in the school’s sustainability curriculum and to appeal to student interest. Samples of recent courses are below.
AP Literature and Composition
An AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. (The College Board)
This course explores postmodern literature and its rebellious, yet playful relationship with modernism, pop-culture, mass media, technology, and philosophy. Primarily designed to offer students an opportunity to experience a broad sampling of postmodern American and international literature, students will also engage with and develop a personal understanding of fundamental postmodern questions about reality, sincerity, language, power, and globalization through critical analysis, research, discussion, essay writing, and presentations.
This course explores the literature of wild places and the people who seek them out. Pristine forests, winding rivers, and isolated deserts hold an important place in our cultural imagination, offering an alluring mix of solitude, danger, and freedom. Captivated by the promise of these landscapes, many artists and adventurers have pursued a life apart from society. Yet taking to the woods often presents its own complexities and challenges, raising questions about personal fulfillment and the human relationship to nature. Students will read John Krakauer's Into the Wild alongside other modern and historical texts.
Film as Literature
This course gives students the opportunity to use film as an alternative form of literature by studying how plot, character, theme, point of view etc. are used in this media. Moreover, students will learn a new set of critical tools for “reading” movies from editing and camera work to the societal implications of certain movies. This course includes the history of movies, genres, and directors along with related critical readings and discussions. Students will review and use research, presentations skills as well as writing to demonstrate their learning of how to analyze classic works of cinema.
Stories and Science in the Anthropocene
The times, they are a-changin.’ Funny enough, quite a bit has changed since Bob Dylan first introduced that song to the world, but just how much have the times changed since then? What does it mean to be human, living within the changes of today’s world? How about the world of tomorrow? In this course, we will look at how storytellers and scientists have examined the relationship between change and human activity, bringing comfort in the face of terrifying unknowns and an understanding of the disruptive conflicts and traumas that rapid rates of change can bring. Along the way, students will study up on the histories and philosophies of science, analyze the elements of suspense, mystery, and psychological horror in stories, and learn to listen to and contribute to conversations about the engineering of transformative stories and sciences of their own.
20th Century American Playwrights
This course explores the lives and works of writers whose work brought about profound change in American theater and dramatic performance. By reading, watching, and studying notable plays by Tennesee Williams, Arthur Miller, Thorton Wilder, Eugene O'Neill, and others, the class will look at how realistic plots, characters and themes led to a new kind of uniquely American theater. Plus, students will discuss how some of these plays are now considered the most significant works of the 20th century. Students will also engage in class discussions on the ideas and themes examined in these texts and develop these further through research, presentations, creative writing, and essays.
The Social Justice Narrative
Throughout history, powerful stories about justice and injustice have changed the way individuals and societies have understood the world, and in many cases, such narratives have changed the course of human history. Using historical and contemporary non-fiction narratives, and incorporating both text and film, this course will explore the structure and impact of the social justice narrative, as well as examine contemporary issues of social justice related to equality, gender, race, sexuality, and other issues. Through reading, writing, and a class project, students will have opportunities to explore their personal interests related to social justice.
Senior Paradigm Project
The goal of this project is for seniors to complete a summative narrative of how their years at Gunston shaped their own ‘language of values.’ In effect, we are asking students to create their own value model by examining key moments of insight in the following areas:
- Experiences—Students should identify three significant experiences at Gunston and explain how those experiences transformed or impacted them:
- Knowledge—Students should discuss how three pieces of acquired knowledge influenced them (perhaps an author they read, an historical event they studied, etc.);
- People—Students should identify three people who helped to shape their view of the world and explain how these people influenced them.
Although this is a writing project, it is interdisciplinary in scope in that it requires students to synthesize the knowledge, skills, habits, and thought processes that they acquired in their courses, athletics, and in special programs like Bay Studies.
Fundamentals of Art
This course is designed to familiarize students with basic concepts, processes, and vocabulary used in the major field of art. Classroom experiences provide students with a basic understanding of drawing materials and techniques, aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of art.
Drawing and Painting
This course is designed as a study of the techniques of drawing and painting. Classroom experiences also include instruction in the areas of aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of works of art. A wide variety of drawing and painting media are used.
A variety of pottery techniques are covered in both hand-built and wheel-thrown pottery. Students are expected to work for skills to produce a number of pottery pieces.
This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of wood sculpture including low relief, 3-D carving, waterfowl, and other wildlife sculpture. Basic concepts such as aesthetic value, historical and cultural influences, critique methods, as well as the use of tools and sharpening, are included.
This course is designed with studio emphasis. Offerings include acrylics and/or watercolor painting, modeling sculpture, drawing and graphics. Instruction provides students with background in aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of artwork. All areas include instruction in more than one technique, i.e., graphics include wood and linoleum printing, etching, mono-printing, etc. Students enrolled in this program arrange individual contracts with the instructor for their chosen area of study.
AP Studio Art 2-D
This demanding studio course has as its culminating goal the creation of a portfolio to be submitted to the AP Board for evaluation. This course directs students to advance their skills in both the investigation and the creation of visual art. The course requires a high level of independence as students must work well beyond the classroom instructional hours to meet the requirements of the portfolio.
Art History is a year-long course which focuses on the development of primarily Western Art, from cave paintings to the present.
Photo I (Beginners Photography)
This is an introduction to Photography. Students will learn basic photography principles, the history of film, and how to use a manual, film cameras. Students will learn the black and white darkroom process to develop film and prints. Student
Photo II (Intermediate Photography)
Students will take their knowledge from film cameras and apply it to the digital age. They will also learn about photographic movements. Students start by applying their darkroom process knowledge to experiment with exposure and development before moving to the digital process. In this course, students will refine their skill by learning editing techniques through Photoshop and Lightroom. Students will also start project critiques.
Photo III (Advanced Photography Series)
While continuing to improve both digital and traditional techniques, students will focus on image content. The class is structured around a series of short conceptual assignments, group critiques, and class discussions. The class will develop a daily photographic journal. Advanced Photography: Series will also focus on each student's photographic style to create a personal series that represents their artistic and creative expression.
Photo IV (Advanced Photography Portfolio)
Students will take their knowledge of photography to the next level by perfecting their technique and working on a Photography portfolio. Students may decide whether it be a physical or online portfolio. Students will take previous photos and/or a photo series, and combine them into a portfolio ready to be submitted to colleges and reviewed by college admission counselors.
Foundations of Civilization
This course examines the growth of human society from our earliest beginnings to the present. Students will investigate such topics as agricultural societies, ancient civilizations, empires, trade, and migration. Focus will also be on the role of climate, geography, trade, and religion. The course is primarily project based and through their work, students will develop the skills of researching, critical thinking, and essay writing. Readings will include the major text, atlases, and primary sources.
This one-semester course examines the foundations of the American political system including an in-depth study of the Constitution and how each branch of the government acts upon its powers and checks the powers of the other branches. Students read in-depth articles from various sources, primary sources, and consult other media to gain knowledge and understanding of the foundations of the American government and to understand current issues facing the United States today. World, national, state, and local issues are addressed and students should be able to use their "political voice" to participate in in-depth discussions/debates.
AP U.S. Government and Politics
The AP U.S. Government and Politics course is designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in United States government and politics. It offers an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States, including the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples. During the year, students develop expertise regarding the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute the American political system.
AP Comparative Government and Politics
AP Comparative Government and Politics introduces students to the rich diversity of political life outside the United States. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures; policies; and political, economic, and social challenges of six selected countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Students compare the effectiveness of approaches to many global issues by examining how different governments solve similar problems. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments.
United States History
The U.S. History course at Gunston is a general survey course for eleventh grade students. The course follows the narrative of U. S. history in a roughly chronological fashion from the European discovery of America to the post World War II era. It is designed to develop critical thinking, historical argumentation, and an understanding of causal relationships in the American historical narrative. Students must also learn to discern the relative importance of historical facts and develop clear, concise essay writing abilities.
AP United States History
This course is a general survey of American history, offered to 11th grade students in preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam in U. S. History. The course follows the U. S. historical narrative from the European discovery of America to the end of the Vietnam War. It is designed to develop critical thought, historical argumentation, and a detailed understanding of the political and social development of the United States. It differs from the regular U. S. history course primarily in its quicker pace, broader scope, and more detailed examination of U. S. history.
AP European History
This course is designed for seniors in preparation for the A.P. exam in European history. It covers the time period from 1450 to present. Themes include issues in intellectual and cultural history as well as politics, diplomacy, social organization, and economics. Students will be asked to understand the events underlying these themes and to analyze and interpret these events.
Ethics (One Semester)
This course introduces students to the foundational theories of ethics and encourages the application of these theories to the global, national, communal, and personal ethical issues and dilemmas that confront the human community. The course begins from a theoretical basis, but moves quickly to the realm of practical or applied ethics using a field-based approach.
This class provides students with an introductory overview of some of the major topics and themes in the American justice system. This course is designed to teach students to understand the importance of law in building a just society, analyze historical and contemporary legal documents, identify the difference between criminal and civil law, understand basic trial procedures, and appreciate the multitudes of individuals and groups involved in the legal process.
Modern African-American History
This project-based, semester long course focuses on the African-American experience from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Students will explore the social, political, and economic discrimination/segregation of the Jim Crow South and the Great Migration of African Americans to the major cities of the North and West and their experience there. We will then look closely at the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. and the emergence of the Black Power movement led by Malcolm X in the 1960s. Finally students will use their historical knowledge to focus on the emergence of a new civil rights movements today and how they are (or are not) building upon previous movements. Throughout the course students will also study the development of a distinct African-American culture and art and how it influenced the overall American culture.
Modern Asian History
This project based, semester long course focuses on post World War II Asia. Students will learn about the two major historical powers of the region, China and Japan, who took very different social, political, and economic courses after the war. We will focus on the various factors that led these two nations in very different directions toward the same goal. The class will also look into the emerging independence movements in Southeast Asia and how this area became a battleground in the Cold War. Finally we will focus on the Korean Peninsula and the major issues facing Asia today. In all cases the course will not only look at the history of these nations and peoples, but their culture and art as well.
Anatomy & Physiology
This is an advanced science course that focuses on the intricate relationship between structure and function of the human body. This course provides students with an introduction to the structure of body parts, how they are organized, and names of various components of the body (anatomy). In addition, it provides students with a better understanding of the major systems of the body and how these systems relate to one another in terms of organization, adaptation, homeostasis, and function (physiology). Students use inquiry and lab-based activities to reinforce concepts and dissections as an interactive hands-on approach to identify, learn, and understand the necessary components of the body and its inner workings. To ensure that course topics are constantly applied to the latest research on the human body and its function, students analyze a current newspaper, magazine, journal, or Internet article and lead a class discussion on the implications and new questions it may bring to the field. This is a project-based course and each student researches, proposes a hypothesis and designs an experiment to investigate the impact of a single factor such as a specific disease, extreme environment, acute exercise, exercise training, high altitude training, etc. on specific body systems and overall body function. If this course is taken in conjunction with AP Biology, it serves as a supplement that provides students with additional knowledge and skills to improve their performance on the AP Biology Exam and/or in future science courses in college. The knowledge gained in this course can be applied in a variety of professions in the medical field, research field, and health and fitness careers.
Biology (A Laboratory Course)
This course covers essential concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and physiology. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. A two period lab meets once a week. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem solving and develop study skills for this course and future courses in science.
Honors Biology (A Laboratory Course)
This course covers essential concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and physiology. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. A two period lab meets once a week. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem solving and develop study skills for this course and future courses in science. The student will be prepared to take the SAT II in biology.
The AP Biology course offers students a rigorous, inquiry-based approach to advance biology topics and is intended to mimic a year of college biology. The purpose of the course is to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and an understanding and appreciation of science as a process. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes—energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. Students will be prepared to take the AP Biology Exam.
Chemistry (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra 1)
The purpose of this course is to cultivate scientific literacy in everyday life and to provide a diversity of content relevant to the environmental and medical sciences. This course teaches to the strengths of students who excel in science classes which strike a balance between qualitative and quantitative approaches. The textbook, laboratory experiments, discussions and projects incorporate topics in general, organic, and biological chemistry. A student who successfully completes the course will have strengthened his or her research, analytical and critical thinking, and communication skills.
Honors Chemistry (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra 1, and Permission from the department)
This course is a rigorous and highly quantitative course with a dual purpose: to foster enthusiasm and appreciation for science, and to prepare the student for further study in chemistry. Critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, oral and written expression, and the development of laboratory skills are emphasized. Sample topics include atomic and electronic structure, the periodic table, stoichiometry, the mole, solutions, thermochemistry, bonding, gases, and kinetic-molecular theory. Descriptive chemistry and material science are also integrated into the course of study.
This advanced placement course conforms to the standards of the College Board and covers the overarching topics of the structure of matter, the kinetic theory of gases, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics and organic chemistry. The scientific method and the use of inquiry are emphasized in the learning process.
Physics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Algebra 1)
This course provides an overview of Newtonian mechanics, electricity, and magnetism and provides a starting point from which to view nature more perceptively. Students learn basic problem solving skills, how to approach word problems, and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Lab experimentation is stressed and students develop an understanding of the concepts by observing physical phenomena in the lab through instruments, as simulations on the computer, or as demonstrations in the classroom.
Honors Physics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Geometry, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry. Precalculus preferred.)
This course covers Newtonian mechanics, electricity, magnetism, simple harmonic motion, waves, light, thermodynamics, and topics in modern physics including quantum mechanics and nuclear reactions. The course content is aligned with the SAT II Physics Test. Students learn advanced problem solving skills, how to approach word problems, and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments to answer real life questions.
AP Physics C Mechanics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Calculus (may be taken concurrently), Honors Physics recommended.)
This 2-semester course is equivalent to the first semester of a typical university introductory physics course for scientists and engineers. It is a calculus-based course using differential and integral calculus. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics C: Mechanics test. Topics covered include Newton’s laws, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion, gravitation, oscillations, and special relativity. Students learn advanced problem solving skills and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments to answer real life questions.
Robotic Engineering (One or Two Semesters; Prerequisite: Algebra 1)
This course will cover introductory robotic engineering including design, construction, and programming. Students will work in teams to build robots to solve specific challenges. They will learn problem-solving techniques in a group setting while drawing on topics in science, technology, engineering, and math to complete their projects.
AP Environmental Science (A Laboratory Course, Prerequisite: Biology, Permission from the department)
This course will allow students to scientifically explore our surrounding world, with particular focus on the environment. As such, students can expect to further develop their five senses, all the while adhering to the rigor of scientific methods. Designed for two semesters, this course is equivalent to a one-semester introductory college level course in environmental science--it will conform to the standards of the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program and cover the topics provided by the AP Environmental Science course description: The Principles of Sustainability (and the role of humans within these), Energy & Ecosystem Dynamics on Earth, Biodiversity, Species Interactions & Population Control, Natural Resource Management, Sustaining Environmental Quality & Climate Change. All along, students will also be exposed to the ethics, politics & economics of environmental science. Students will be prepared to take the AP Environmental Science Exam.
Ecology of the Bay
Students learn about the biggest estuary in the United States and the problems that it faces. The biological and physical features of this watershed and how this can be preserved are explored. In order to appreciate the sheer beauty of what is on their very own doorstep, students take a closer look at the Chesapeake Bay starting off with what it was like when Captain John Smith entered its waters in the 1600’s. Students uncover an ecosystem that was and what it is today. With this understanding students learn about the problems that the Bay is faced with today and how humans impact its health. Students do a problem analysis of the Gunston School property and design solutions that will have long term effects on the Bay. There are also opportunities for the students to be field and citizen scientists participating and collaborating with larger research teams.
This course is a project-based, lab science course focused on exploring, defining, and understanding sustainability through hands-on inquiry on Gunston’s campus and the surrounding region. There is also an emphasis on climate education. By the end of this course, students are be able to think critically about the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of human activities and systems. Students participate in several ongoing research and restoration projects on Gunston’s campus and help to drive forward campus sustainability efforts. Students become familiar with emissions quantification methods and sustainability reporting tools, including certification programs for individuals and businesses. Students also learn various strategies for organizations to decrease their environmental footprint and to market those activities to meet the demands of an emerging consumer base.
Wellness (One Quarter in Grade 9)
This course covers topics in nutrition, personal hygiene, substance abuse, human sexuality, first aid, and functions of various human systems such as the heart and kidneys. In addition, articles in the journal Current Health are read and discussed. Outside lectures and films are also used.
Algebra I/Honors Algebra I Modern elementary algebra provides an introduction to the basic structure of algebra. Equations, polynomials, inequalities, and problem solving are an integral part of the curriculum. The textbook provides themes that illustrate real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, and multicultural connections.
Geometry/Honors Geometry (Pre-requisite: Algebra I/Honors Algebra I) This course incorporates the use of spatial visualization, deductive reasoning and algebraic skills with work in the field of coordinate geometry. Postulates and theorems are studied to understand the deductive process of devising proofs. While this course emphasizes formal geometry topics, it also shows the student connections between geometry and the real world by developing multi-step thinking and logical reasoning.
Algebra II/Honors Algebra II (Pre-requisites: Algebra I and Geomtry/Honors Algebra I and Honors Geometry)This second-year course in algebra reviews elementary algebra and continues with a study of linear and quadratic functions, irrational and complex numbers, and trigonometry. Real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, multicultural connections, and connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
Trigonometry (Pre-requisite: Algebra II/Honors Algebra II) This one-semester course involves the study of: trigonometric and circular functions; right and oblique triangle trigonometry; graphs of the trigonometric functions; trigonometric identities and formulas; inverse trigonometric functions; and solving trigonometric equations. Graphing calculators will be used throughout the course.
Advanced Algebra (Pre-requisite: Algebra II/ Honors Algebra II)This one-semester course extends the student's knowledge to topics not generally covered in a traditional Algebra 2 course. The course includes the study of: variations and proportions; conic sections; systems of linear and quadratic equations; sequences and series; counting principles with probability and statistics; matrices and determinants; and exponential and logarithmic functions with applications. Graphing calculators will be used throughout this course.
Precalculus (Pre-requisite: Honors Algebra II) This course builds a solid foundation of pre-calculus skills and concepts. The students develop techniques to represent real world problems as mathematical models. The topics include trigonometry, functions, polynomials, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, and conic sections. Connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
Calculus I (Pre-requisite: Precalculus)This course is an introduction to concepts of calculus such as limits, derivatives, integrals, approximation, continuity, asymptotes and methodology of analysis of functions. The emphasis is put on the development of skills in mathematical modeling with applications in business, physical, social, and life sciences.
AP Calculus AB (Pre-requisite: Precalculus)This is the first course of calculus which begins with a basic review of graphing and trigonometry, and then moves on to the fundamentals of calculus. The topics include limits, derivatives, integrals, exponential and logarithmic functions, and areas under curve. The student will be prepared to take the AP exam.
AP Calculus BC (Pre-requisite: AP Calculus AB) As set forth by the College Board: Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB and is primarily concerned with developing the students' understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. Topics include derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling.
AP Statistics The purpose of the AP course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data . Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes:
1 . Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns
2 . Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting a study
3 . Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability and simulation
4 . Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses
Introduction to Music
This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic concepts, historical eras, and vocabulary in the major field of music. Instruction will focus on fundamental elements of music and notation, critical listening, and historical/cultural influences. Students will have opportunities to explore the piano, the guitar, and music composition.
The Middletones, Gunston’s a cappella group, is open to all grades and levels of experience
Beginning piano students focus on reading music and the basics of keyboard technique and theory. Instruction includes five-finger position, understanding dynamics and accidentals, and playing scales and block chords. Intermediate piano students continue to develop musicianship through appropriate repertoire and skill exercises. Instruction includes the use of extended position, pedaling and expression, and playing more complex chord structures. All student pianists will participate in music department recitals.
Beginning guitar students focus on reading music and the basics of guitar technique and theory. Instruction includes the use of first position for the left hand to play basic chords and melodies, with both classical fingering and modern picking styles. Intermediate guitar students continue to develop musicianship through appropriate repertoire and skill exercises. Instruction includes the use of second position for the left hand, playing bar chords, and varying right-hand technique. All student guitarists participate in music department recitals.
Contemporary Ensemble I
The class looks at diverse styles of music. Together we will develop an exciting array of pieces, possibly giving an informal performance at the end of the semester. We will work on some conventionally notated works but will also introduce other contemporary approaches such as improvisation, providing a space to continue their music practices, refine their skill, and learn to work as a band. Students gain an opportunity to explore interests, furthermore acquiring a more in-depth understanding of music. Students will be required to perform in the winter performance.
In the ukulele orchestra class, students learn to read staff notation and tablature, as well as chord and bass charts. Students learn necessary tuning, basic chords, and how to improve or challenge their music skills. They learn how to analyze and listen to music genres and eras. Students also learn how to play together as a group with pre-selected songs for the class.
Students will learn the fundamentals of audio production and engineering by examining the four elements of Audio Production: Composition, Recording, Mixing, and Mastering. Emphasis will be on arranging, microphone placement, tracking, beat creation, midi programming, editing, and mixing. Students will be using a digital audio workstation (DAW) called Reaper.
Students become acquainted with the history of the theatre and various significant plays. Areas of technical production such as make-up, lighting, costuming, and set design are studied. Students learn basic theater principles in stage movement, voice, diction, and pantomime. Study the history and vocabulary of theater. Practice techniques to overcome stage-fright and develop self-confidence. Concentrate on improvisational techniques and acting skills for in-class performance and video projects
AP Computer Science A
The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP Computer Science A AP Exam. In doing so, students become proficient with the Java programming language. Students use Integrated Development Environments to have a better understanding for what it is to code professionally. This prepares each student for further studies in the computer sciences along with preparing them for any real-world coding applications.
AP Computer Science Principles
The objective of this course is to teach a wide array of computing concepts to students on an introductory level. Students learn about computational thinking and how computers change the world. Students develop their problem solving skills of computational thinking by using everyday practices found throughout many other studies. This approach to the instruction of computational thinking helps students of all backgrounds learn and appreciate the studies of the computer sciences. This course uses scenarios of everyday life across multiple professions to help emphasize the impact that computers and computing have on society. Students learn the implications of technology and have the opportunity to theorize and examine the futures of computing.
Topics in Computer Languages
Topics in Computer Languages is a year long course that includes subject matter across multiple computer science disciplines. This course emphasizes coding as the primary discipline taught and uses the Python programming language. Outside the scope of coding students also learn about three dimensional modeling for uses in 3D printing, architecture modeling, virtual reality and introductory game development. The final section for this course is exploration in which students discuss the future of computers, debate computing ethics, understand digital footprints, learn networking, build computers and work in digital electronics such as Arduinos and lower level analog circuitry. Instruction is through problem solving, discussion and current events whenever applicable. Upon completion of this course students have a solid understanding of a variety of computer science disciplines and be prepared for both the advanced placement (AP) principles and Java.
Introduction to Computer
The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP Computer Science A AP Exam. In doing so, students become proficient with the Java programming language. Students use Integrated Development Environments to have a better understanding for what it is to code professionally. This prepares each student for further studies in the computer sciences along with preparing them for any real-world coding applications.
This course is designed for students beginning the study of the Spanish language and culture. As much as possible, the course is taught in Spanish and immerses the students in the Spanish language. The course - emphasizes reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students master the basic vocabulary and grammatical structures that allows them to continue the study of Spanish at the next level.
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study. The course is conducted primarily in Spanish. Students review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking.
Honors Spanish II
This accelerated course is designed for highly motivated and talented students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, listening, and reading comprehension.
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year of study. The course is conducted mostly in Spanish. Students review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with emphasis on speaking, writing, listening, and reading comprehension.
Honors Spanish III
This accelerated course is designed for highly motivated and talented students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year of study and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of language in class is mandatory. Students review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, listening, and reading comprehension.
This course is designed for advanced students of the Spanish language. The primary means of furthering students' language skills will be through the reading and study of Latin American and Spanish literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. Genres include short stories, drama, poetry, and may also include excerpts from novels. Students are required to research and present biographical information on each author they read. Emphasis also be placed on major historical and political events, which may influence the various authors and literary pieces they will read throughout the year. While listening and speaking skills are emphasized, reading and writing skills take on a greater importance. The class is conducted almost exclusively in Spanish.
Honors Spanish IV
This course is designed for advanced students of the Spanish language. The primary means of furthering students' language skills is through the reading and study of Latin American and Spanish literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. Genres include short stories, drama, poetry, and may also include excerpts from novels. Students are required to research and present biographical information on each author they read. An emphasis is also placed on major historical and political events, which may influence the various authors and literary pieces they read throughout the year. While listening and speaking skills are emphasized, reading and writing skills take on a greater importance. The class is conducted almost exclusively in Spanish.
This course follows a blended learning model and is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the third year of study. The course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Students review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge to improve and develop interactive interpersonal communication, receptive interpretative communication, and presentational productive communication. The study of the hispanic culture in the class aims to provide the students with the skills to discuss cultural perspectives in the hispanic world. By reading and listening to current news of the hispanic world students expand their global awareness.
AP Spanish Language
The AP Spanish course is the most rigorous in the Spanish department. This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. The main purpose is to prepare students to take the AP exam. The exam requires a wide range of knowledge and vocabulary and a high level of fluency in writing and oral abilities. The course is designed to help the student demonstrate his/her skills in the following areas of communication: interpersonal (interactive communication:, interpretive (receptive communication), and oral presentation (productive communication). The text is Una vez mas. Students must understand that this is a college level course. Thus, it requires more time, commitment, and energy than any other course. In addition, the student must be prepared to spend a minimum of one extra hour every day of the week to do work outside of the classroom. The student has the responsibility of meeting deadlines on all projects, homework, and to seek extra help if necessary.
Chinese Language & Culture
Comparative Government & Politics
Computer Science A
Computer Science Principles
English Literature & Composition
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism
Physics C: Mechanics
Spanish Language & Culture
Studio Art: Drawing
Studio Art: 2-D Design
Studio Art: 3-D Design