Academics

Course Descriptions

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We are excited to announce that we will be reading texts over the summer that align with our year-long interdisciplinary project centered on the cultural life and artistic bounty of the African continent. Students are being asked to read one of the texts from this list and complete one of the two activities described.

Students are encouraged to borrow from a local library or order/purchase at a local bookstore or online. Our suggestion is that you investigate the titles and see what most interests you/your child and then tackle the text!

Thanks for your help and support and we try and prepare all of our students for what will surely be an excellent, varied, and rich study of the African continent for 2016-17. 

 



For a recommended supply list for academics, please click here.



English 9/10 Honors explores the key principles of grammar, usage, writing in a variety of genres and literary analysis. Students read and respond in writing to a variety of literary genre including plays, novels, short stories and poetry.  Some typical English 9/10 Honors works would include Death of A salesman, The Glass Menagerie, Jim The Boy, The Street, Fences, A Separate Peace, Metamorphosis and Greek and Shakespearian drama. This course balances writing skills, including multi-paragraph analytical essays, SAT preparation writing, journal writing (including personal compositions and creative writing) poetry, and a full-length MLA-style research paper; reading skills using works such as Jane Eyre, The Street, Medea, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Romeo and Juliet, My Name is Asher Lev, and numerous poetry and supplemental selections; speaking skills, including two formal speeches and several group activities; and listening skills reinforced each day in the classroom.

English Grades 11 and 12 balances writing skills, including a college essay for the application, multi-paragraph analytical essays, SAT preparation writing, journal writing (including personal compositions and creative writing) poetry, and a full-length MLA-style research paper; reading skills -- this year's focus is on American Literature using novels such as The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, Middle Passage, A Thousand Acres, Maud Martha and numerous poetry and supplemental selections as well as the Shakespeare plays Macbeth and King Lear; speaking skills, including formal speeches and various group activities; and listening skills reinforced each day in the classroom.


Algebra 2

This course is an extension of Algebra I and the study of functions. Students investigate the properties of functions, the algebra of functions, equations and inequalities, matrices, and systems of equations. Linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, and rational functions are studied.  Students apply advanced data analysis techniques to find, justify and use the best-fit model from all function models. Communication of the problem-solving skills used is an important part of this course.  Graphing calculators will be incorporated in each of the topics covered. The Algebra 2 course serves as a foundation for the mathematics necessary for those students going on to Pre-Calculus and/or students who are college bound.

Precalculus

Precalculus is an extension of Algebra II and the formal study of functions.  Students apply technology, modeling, and problem-solving skills to trigonometric and circular functions, their inverses, polar coordinates, and complex numbers. Students will investigate and explore the characteristics of the following functions: linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic.  Students will also sketch graphs and solve equations and inequalities involving the above functions.  Problem simulations and real-world applications are explored using multiple representations- algebraically, graphically, and numerically all aided by the use of calculators. The course is designed to prepare students for a college calculus course.

Geometry

Geometry is the course where you begin to effectively apply mathematics to the physical world. It is also where the study of higher mathematics begins. We shall study plane geometry, the logical proof, simple solid geometry, as well as the beginnings of trigonometry. Particularly we shall cover: points, lines, angles, and the two dimensional shapes which they produce. We shall focus particularly on triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles, and their particular properties (including, but not limited to, area, volume, congruency, and similarity). Additionally, we will study the proof, including definitions, postulates, theorems, and the applications of geometric figures to these logical ideas. Finally, as we proceed through the course, we shall work on building an understanding of both theoretical and applied geometry. Strong emphasis is placed on logical reasoning, justification, and spatial visualization. Algebra skills will also be integrated throughout each chapter and reinforced within the geometry exercises.

Calculus

The topics of this course include limits and continuity of functions, derivatives of functions, the definite integral, and their real-world applications. This course ties together concepts that students have studied in previous classes and introduces the concepts of calculus. The topics covered in the course are those studied in the first year of calculus in college.  Students find derivatives numerically, represent derivatives graphically, and interpret the meaning of a derivative in applications. Previously studied functions will be analyzed using calculus concepts. All concepts covered will be explored graphically, numerically, algebraically, and verbally with the aid of a graphing calculator.  The relationship between the derivative and the definite integral is developed as well. Students will model real-world situations involving rates of change using difference or differential equations. 


Chemistry Concepts

This course is focused on attaining a foundational understanding of chemistry from the structure of an atom to types of chemical reactions.  This class involves the fundamentals of the subject while avoiding some of the more complex math involved in some areas of chemistry.  This does not mean that this class has NO math.  Chemistry, like physics, cannot be understood without delving into some of the mathematical processes.

Chemistry

This course is focused on achieving an in depth understanding of atomic structure and chemical interaction.  This class covers some topics that are avoided or only briefly described during the concepts class as well as spends a great deal more time looking at and learning the math of chemistry.  In this class we move quickly and students are expected to put in the necessary work outside of class to maintain a solid understanding.


American Government

American Government course is a one credit required social studies course.  The course is designed to examine the governmental structures and functions of the national, state, and local governments of the United States.  In addition students will gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as American citizens.  Students are encouraged to think critically about the role which government plays in the lives of its citizens as well as the role which citizens may play in influencing governmental decision making.  At the conclusion of the course all students must take the Maryland High School Assessment Government Test.
 
Senior Seminar in Art and Culture

This is an advanced level course tracing the history of man from prehistoric times to the modern era. Each major culture is explored (e.g. The Egyptians, The Romans, The Greeks, etc.) through the perspectives of anthropology, sociology, the arts, and cultural developments as well as looking at the key figures and philosophical and political issues and developments for each era. Frequent written analysis is required.  

United States History

The United States History is a one credit required social studies course. The course explores our national heritage both past and present.  Emphasis is placed on the social, political and economic trends that have shaped and continue to shape our nation's development. In addition students will explore the experiences and the contributions of the many ethnic and/or minority groups of our nation. An integral part of the course will focus on the interpretation and analysis of both primary and secondary sources.


Spanish I
Spanish one is a beginning-level Spanish course; therefore, no prior knowledge of Spanish and no prior experience studying a foreign language is required or expected. 

The course is taught with an emphasis on communication in many cultural situations. Connections are made with courses in other disciplines and with cultures where Spanish is spoken, and on-going comparisons are made between the culture of Spanish-speaking countries and that of our own country. Comparisons are also made throughout the course between Spanish language and English. 
As the class progresses, students speak in Spanish more and more--both with the teacher and with their classmates in many group and paired activities. Students receive a great deal of practice with communication in the Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational modes. Throughout the course, Spanish will be explored as a major world language which is spoken by millions of people. At the same time, the importance of Spanish in the United States will be explored and emphasized.   

Students are encouraged to use Spanish in their daily lives outside of class.

Spanish II

Spanish II is the continuation of Spanish I. It is one of two language classes required for graduation. The emphasis of this class remains on communication in Spanish in a cultural context, with connections and comparisons to our culture and to our language. Connections are made to classes in other disciplines. Communication is focused on in its interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes.  The class is taught mainly in Spanish, and students are expected to speak Spanish in class--both with the teacher and with their classmates in various group and paired activities.   As the course progresses, a greater emphasis is  placed on written Spanish. Students will also begin to communicate about actions in the past and future, as the most frequently used verb tenses are explored and comparisons are made to English. Throughout the course, Spanish will be explored as a major world language which is spoken in many different countries with different cultures.

Besides the textbook, extensive use  of resources on the internet from a wide variety of Spanish-speaking countries is used. Students are encouraged to use Spanish in their daily lives outside of class.

Spanish II Honors

Students who excel in their Spanish one class are invited to take Spanish II honors. It is the same as our regular Spanish II class, but topics are covered in more depth, and students are held to a higher standard of achievement. The class is conducted almost entirely in Spanish. This class lays the groundwork for our more advanced Spanish classes, and it is hoped the students who have earned entry to this class will continue with Spanish III and Spanish AP.
Students are encouraged and expected to use Spanish in their daily lives outside of class.

Spanish III
Spanish III is an intermediate level course conducted entirely in Spanish. It is designed to give students an opportunity to revisit and perfect previously covered aspects of the Spanish language and culture and to advance to a level that permits them to begin to enjoy the riches of Spanish literature , gives them greater access to Spanish media, and allows them to communicate  in Spanish more freely and on a wider variety of topics. The course, therefore, begins with review of Spanish one and two. The material reviewed is enriched and expanded. Each quarter the students will read a variety of short stories, plays, newspaper articles and poems from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries,. The class will discuss current events, study Spanish songs and make extensive use of media available on the internet. The second semester is spent as an introduction to more advanced study of the language: this introduction includes a unit on poetry, examples of literature,  with an on-going emphasis on music and news reports from Spanish-speaking countries.


In Spanish III, students are given a great deal of training and coaching in writing clear and coherent compositions in Spanish, putting into practice the grammatical structures presented in class. Culture plays a major role in Spanish three.  Connections will be made between the culture of the Spanish-speaking countries and our country. Connections will also be made to courses in other disciplines. Spanish will be explored as a major world language that ties together a great number of very different countries. In addition, the status of Spanish as the second most widely spoken language (and most studied second language) in the United States will be explored. Contemporary  culture  of Spanish-speaking countries will be explored by a daily study of music, by a regular study of current events using newspapers and televised news shows, videos, and a sampling of films from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries.
Students are encouraged and expected to use Spanish in their daily lives outside of class.

Spanish AP (Spanish Language and Culture, fourth year)
This course follows the guidelines of the College Board® AP® Spanish Language and Culture course and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in the modes of communication from the Intermediate to the Pre-Advanced range as defined in the learning objectives in the Curriculum Framework. The three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational) defined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century are foundational to the AP® Spanish Language and Culture course.
The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is conducted exclusively in Spanish. The work in the class is equivalent to a third year college class. Central to the course is the overarching principle as stated in the Curriculum Framework: When communicating, students in the AP Spanish Language and Culture course demonstrate an understanding of the culture(s), incorporate interdisciplinary topics (connections), make comparisons between the native language and the target language and between cultures (comparisons), and use the target language in real- life settings (communities).



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"I had never been in a place, let alone a high school, where everyone is like a big group of friends that support each other day by day as they expand their artistic and academic capabilities."
Robert Mantegna
Robert Mantegna, Theatre Production

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