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Curriculum

Walker’s curriculum combines the traditional areas of liberal arts studies — science, math, history, English, world languages, and the arts — with electives that are relevant to the world today.

The faculty, including both exciting new educators and well-tenured teachers, animate the coursework with discussion-based exploration and project-based learning.

Departments

Explore Our Curriculum Guide

English 6

Middle School

Grade 6

English

Required course for Grade 6

At the sixth-grade level, students learn to read deeply, to love reading, and to begin learning how to analyze a literary work. The study of literature at our School draws upon many genres to focus largely on works about growing up and emerging into society. Texts may include: Anne of Green Gables, The Birchbark House, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Esperanza Rising, Kira-Kira, Number the Stars, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Habibi. Other texts, including poems, fables, fairy tales and essays are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of sixth grade girls. Teachers will challenge students to think in increasingly complex ways. Students will learn oral presentation and discussion skills in class. Each girl will begin to develop her authentic voice through a wide variety of writing assignments, including analysis, persuasive essay, fiction, poetry, and personal writing. A study of grammar complements the course, with a focus on punctuation, clarity, and word use. Art, music, and creative work of all kinds will be at the heart of the course.

English 7

Middle School

Grade 7

English

Required course for Grade 7

At the seventh-grade level, students maintain their momentum by continuing to explore the various genres of literature. We read a challenging collection of texts that has previously included To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, and The Outsiders. Other texts, including poems and essays, are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of seventh grade girls. Teachers strive to help girls 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. In grammar, the girls explore sentence structure and mechanics to improve clarity in their own writing. 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

Middle School

Grade 8

English

Required course for Grade 8

In English at the eighth grade level, independent thinking and writing play major roles, as every student is encouraged to further develop her 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 she learns 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 House on Mango Street, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among others.

English 9: Literature of Growing Up

Upper School

Grade 9

English

Credits: 1

Honors level also available

Coming-of-age is perhaps the most compelling theme in literature. A young person’s trajectory from childhood to adulthood is at the heart of many of the most exciting texts, but it is also the place in which students find themselves in the ninth grade. It is the beginning of high school, the beginning of taking on challenges and responsibilities that might be inconceivable prior to this moment. In addition to reading ancient and contemporary texts about this state of change, we will examine the patterns and rituals that show the nuances of how race, class, gender, culture, family, and politics shape the experience. Students will read and write fiction, drama, poetry and creative non-fiction. They can expect to be able to write a compelling literary essay, but also to be able to work in the genres they have studied. Reading, writing, and speaking are at the heart of every English class at Walker’s; each of these skills will be honed throughout the year. Works may include: Homer’s Odyssey, Ward’s Salvage the Bones, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Wiesel’s Night, Twelfth Night, Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, poems by Rita Dove, Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Honors English 9: Literature of Growing Up

Upper School

Grade 9

English

Credits: 1

Coming-of-age is perhaps the most compelling theme in literature. A young person’s trajectory from childhood to adulthood is at the heart of many of the most exciting texts, but it is also the place in which students find themselves in the ninth grade. It is the beginning of high school, the beginning of taking on challenges and responsibilities that might be inconceivable prior to this moment. In addition to reading ancient and contemporary texts about this state of change, we will examine the patterns and rituals that show the nuances of how race, class, gender, culture, family and politics shape the experience. Students will read and write fiction, drama, poetry and creative non-fiction. They can expect to be able to write a compelling literary essay, but also to be able to work in the genres they have studied. Reading, writing, and speaking are at the heart of every English class at Walker’s; each of these skills will be honed throughout the year. Works may include: Homer’s Odyssey, Ward’s Salvage the Bones, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Wiesel’s Night, Twelfth Night, Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, poems by Rita Dove, Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

The Honors 9th grade English course will require lengthier and more challenging readings, essay topics, oral presentations, and original research. Students in honors are expected to read with interest and
intellectual curiosity.

English 10: Literature of Identity

Upper School

Grade 10

English

Credits: 1

Honors level also available

In all cultures on earth, people discover their own individual identities in the contexts familial, cultural, linguistic, religious, political, and historical. The job of the individual, in many of the greatest works of literature, is to construct, and often, to protect a self, the identity that can withstand the slings and arrows of the world outside of itself. With an eye toward introducing works from each of the continents and in a wide variety of genres, we present the students with works in which cultures reflect and are reflected by compelling individual selves.

A major poetry project prompts students to discover the poems from a place of their own interest, and we work through the challenges of poetic and cultural translation. Works may include: Shakespeare’s Othello or Macbeth, Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Sagan’s Bonjour, Tristesse, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, Roy’s The God of Small Things, poetry by Du Fu, Szymborska, Amichai, Neruda, Lorca, Akhmatova.

Honors English 10: Literature of Identity

Upper School

Grade 10

English

Credits: 1

In all cultures on earth, people discover their own individual identities in the contexts familial, cultural, linguistic, religious, political, and historical. The job of the individual, in many of the greatest works of literature, is to construct, and often, to protect a self, the identity that can withstand the slings and arrows of the world outside of itself. With an eye toward introducing works from each of the continents and in a wide variety of genres, we present the students with works in which cultures reflect and are reflected by compelling individual selves.

A major poetry project prompts students to discover the poems from a place of their own interest, and we work through the challenges of poetic and cultural translation. Works may include: Shakespeare’s Othello or Macbeth, Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Sagan’s Bonjour, Tristesse, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, Roy’s The God of Small Things, poetry by Du Fu, Szymborska, Amichai, Neruda, Lorca, Akhmatova. Students research and present a significant poetry project after a serious study of the genre.

The Honors 10th grade English course will require lengthier and more challenging readings, essay topics, oral presentations, and original research. Students in honors are expected to read with interest and intellectual curiosity.

English 11: Literature of Place

Upper School

Grade 11

English

Credits: 1

Honors level also available

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, one-act plays, short fiction, poetry, speeches and editorial or persuasive essays. Texts may include: Beloved, The Great Gatsby, The Wolves, The Roundhouse, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Americanah, stories by Melville,Twain, Lahiri, Jackson, Munro, Parker, O’Connor, Davis, poems by Dickinson, Stevens, Millay, Vuong, Diaz, Plath, essays by Rankine, Coates, Dillard, King, and others.

Honors English 11: Literature Of Place

Upper School

Grade 11

English

Credits: 1

In Advanced English: Literature of Place, students strive to advance the twin skills of reading and writing well, and to expand their understanding of American life and letters. They read many great texts of American literature and assess each one’s aesthetic brilliance and what the authors are telling us about American culture in its various manifestations through time. Students will develop their public speaking skills throughout the year. The study begins with The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as the summer reading text and then proceeds retrospectively in the following order: The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, Huckleberry Finn, poetry by Whitman and Dickinson, essays by Thoreau and Emerson, Melville’s Benito Cereno and Bartleby, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and finally they return to the present and read a variety of short fiction and poetry by contemporary authors. A concession is made to include The Tempest in this course in order to give students as much exposure to Shakespeare’s works as we can. A variety of writing assignments including analytical essays, personal response essays, and creative writing are supplemented by a reading journal in which each student records her reflections, questions and significant literary observations as she reads the texts. Students who take Advanced English will be prepared to take the AP Literature exam at the end of the year.

English 12: Friendship: Tried and True

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This class will investigate the nature of friendship between women — and why it is so important to us. Students will read works from a variety of cultures and moments in time to examine what it is that tests the bonds of friendship and why some remain resilient. Texts may include: Emma, Sula, Never Let Me Go, My Brilliant Friend, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Ghost World, Cat’s Eye, The Women of Brewster Place, Swing Time, and Another Brooklyn.

English 12: Creative Writing

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Students will write poems, short stories, plays, and personal, narrative and descriptive essays, and engage in experimental writing in order to produce a portfolio of edited, polished, ready-for-publication work.

Students should expect to write every day for this course, and there will be some short readings about technique. The class will be a writing workshop, and all voices are necessary. Readings will include writers who write in their own unique ways and writers who provide useful lessons on the craft. An edited portfolio of publication-ready works is the final product of this course.

Advanced English 12: Literature and Medicine

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

“Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.”
– Hippocrates

This course will examine the role and image of the doctor, illness, and healing in literature. Students will read works by and about doctors, but will also look at poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, television, and film in an effort to reveal what it means to be ill. The course will examine how the world responds, or fails to respond, to disease, plagues, and outbreaks, and what our stories tell us about these dynamics. The very notion of the “patient,” will be explored. Authors may include Susan Sontag, Abraham Verghese, Tony Kushner, Margaret Edson, Albert Camus, Shakespeare, Nawal el Sadaawi, Sylvia Plath, Daniel Defoe, Franz Kafka, Richard Seltzer, Jane Kenyon, William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Atul Gawande, Eve Ensler, and Siddartha Mukherjee. Students can expect to conduct interviews, do research, compose their own original works, and to write analytically about each work. They will also investigate a related topic of their interest for presentation to the class.

English 12: Shakespeare

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Students will dive deeply into the work of William Shakespeare. Students investigate his influence on the literature that follows his, but the primary concern will be to read, understand, and appreciate why he is the most famous of all writers. The class will also determine why his works still resonate today and will study the sonnets, the tragedies (Hamlet, King Lear), the comedies (Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest) and the histories (Henry V, Part I, Richard III). 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.

English 12: Speaking Truth to Power is an English elective that also fulfills the ethics requirement.

This course will examine fiction, essays, poetry, plays, and other literary works that aim to reveal and improve the lives of the oppressed. The course will focus primarily on works written by and about marginalized people, but will also examine the roots of the ethical and philosophical principles behind their resistance, successful or not, in the face of injustice. How can we fight evil? What has worked? What do our stories tell us about being able to shape the world for the better? This course will also look at the social change sparked by writing and writers. Students in this course will be expected to discuss difficult issues with compassion, curiosity, and respect.   

English 12: The Other: The Immigrant Experience in Literature

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

How does one become a native? What does it mean to be from somewhere else? How do we make people feel like outsiders or insiders? We will study works in which the experience of being foreign is what most shapes the work. Works may include: Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, My Antonia, The Jungle, How the Other Half Lives, The Assistant, Brown Girl, Brownstones, Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Mona in the Promised Land, Interpreter of Maladies, Make Your Home Among Strangers, The Joy Luck Club, The Emigrants, The Sympathizer, Harbor, The Happiest Refugee, and What is the What. We will read poems, essays, and reports on how people who remain in transit talk about their experiences.

What do the stories we tell and the ways in which we tell them reveal about us, our culture, and the way we view the world? This course examines the tension between themes of alienation and community, violence and regeneration, and optimism and doomed love, through a close reading of various narrative forms. Locating texts at the intersection of theory, criticism, and historiography moves them beyond their isolation and into a conversation about social, political, and literary forces.

Students will read the work of such critics as Jim Kitses, Greg Rickman, Toni Morrison, Laura Mulvey, Richard Slotkin, and André Bazin, and use their theories as lenses through which to analyze novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, and film. Students will write papers and present their findings, but will also try their hand at various creative forms of expression. In the process, they will develop an understanding of the immediate and direct power stories have over their audiences. Ultimately, they will write a story and publish it.

Texts studied may include: Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Orchid Thief  by Susan Orlean, Fences by August Wilson, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

English 12: Writing Portfolio and Publication

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

In this course, students will write in different genres to produce a polished, professional writing portfolio (digital and print) to send off to colleges or for publication. Every student will send her works out to competitions, magazines, and other venues in order to be published and read by a global audience. Students can expect to write in class and at home for every class session. Readings will complement and support the writing goals.

English 12: I Can Hear Jimmy: James Baldwin Now

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

James Baldwin is often remembered as one of the most searing and eloquent voices of the civil rights and Black Power movements. Yet the richness and complexity of his writing is also an intricate exploration of the tensions between black and white, spiritual and political, gay and straight, isolated and communal. Perhaps because of this, his words remain as timely as ever. His words are woven into the projects of contemporary authors such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jesmyn Ward, and his work has been adapted into two award-winning films in the last three years. Baldwin wrote essays, novels, short stories, and plays. Students in this course will read and respond to samples of his work from each genre. Texts for this course include: If Beale Street Could Talk, I Am Not Your Negro, “Sonny’s Blues,” Blues for Mister Charlie, Giovanni’s Room, Going to Meet the Man, Nobody Knows My Name, Notes of a Native Son, and The Fire Next Time.

English 12: Creative Writing: Fiction and Drama

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This course is a deeper dive into the craft of two essential literary genres: fiction and drama. The best way to study craft is to write and to read daily. Students can expect to do both as they compose in response to a variety of prompts, as they play with techniques demonstrated by professionals, as they revise toward publication, and as they analyze, reflect, and write about craft. Students will learn concepts like character development, world-building, plot structure, and dialogue to create compelling narratives from perspectives that matter to them. As they learn to think like writers, what students learn will be transferable to other kinds of writing. The class will include workshopping original work and will culminate in a writing portfolio.

English 12: Creative Writing: Poetry and Personal Essays

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This course is a deeper dive into the craft of two essential literary genres: poetry and the personal essay. The best way to study craft is to write and read daily. Students can expect to do both as they compose in response to a variety of prompts, play with techniques demonstrated by professionals, revise toward publication, and analyze, reflect, and write about craft. Students will learn to wield concepts like scene, form, structure, reflection, images, rhythm, and metaphor to create experiences that deeply affect readers. And as they learn to think like writers, what students learn will be transferable to other kinds of writing. The class will include workshopping original work and will culminate in a writing portfolio.

English 12: The Ethel Walker School Visiting Writer Seminar

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .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.

The magic of this course is created in the collaborative and symbiotic exchange between the writer and the student. Learning and inspiration move from the writer to the student but also, we hope, from the student back to the writer.

During the fall semester of the 2020-2021 academic year, the class will study the works of Camille T. Dungy, award-winning poet and essayist. In the spring semester of the 2020-2021 academic year, the class will welcome American poet, editor, professor, translator, and human rights advocate, Carolyn Forché, to campus. Learn more about both authors at www.ethelwalker.org/visitingwriterseminar.

Works by both of these extraordinary authors will also be taught in many other English classes, so that students will be amply prepared to ask questions and to learn as much as possible from these writers’ visits to our campus.

English 12: From Pages to Pixels

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Many of cinema’s greatest movies are derived from books. This course explores the relationship between the written word and the movies; they both tell stories, but authors and directors make different choices to engage us in their art. Is it fair to critique a movie in the same way as we analyze a work of literature? Will we be forever disappointed in the movie version of a book we’ve loved? Can a moving picture really paint a thousand words?

This course refines students’ analytical skills to appreciate the techniques and talents of authors and directors alike; each student compiles her own list of criteria for a successful depiction of each work of literature so that she may assess the respective movie version. Formal written assessments therefore comprise a balanced review of the relative strengths, weaknesses, and worth of both the book and the movie.

History 6: Ancient Cultures

Middle School

Grade 6

History and Social Science

Required for Grade 6

Ancient Cultures emphasizes how anthropologists and historians study the past. Through discussions about prehistory, written documents, and material remains, students identify the sources that inform the study of history. This year-long 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

Middle School

Grade 7

History and Social Science

Required for 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 such as the concept of place, how trade affects an area, and the movement of people and ideas.

History 8: American Identity

Middle School

Grade 8

History and Social Science

Required for Grade 8

The goal of this course is to identify and examine some of the people, ideas, and events that helped shape the American identity from its earliest peoples and colonial development through the Civil War. Students will explore the changing definitions of democracy, rights, justice, and the “American Dream” in their examination of individuals and groups in early America. Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will strengthen their reading, note-taking, research, and writing skills. Students will be assessed on a combination of homework completion, writing assignments, unit tests, and projects.

Global Connections

Upper School

Grade 9

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

This course is designed to challenge students to assess the modern globalized world through the study of the systems and processes of globalization throughout human history from our first societies to the present day. 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. In lieu of a traditional textbook, the course utilizes a variety of rich texts from contemporary social scientists as well as works of literature in order to explore how greater historical movements impact the individual.

Foundations of the Modern World

Upper School

Grade 10

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

Honors level also available

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’ understandings of worldwide patterns of interaction from Global Connections, Foundations 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, primary, and secondary sources, hone their historical thinking skills through developing evidence-based arguments, and communicate their ideas through clear, compelling speaking and writing.

Honors Foundations of the Modern World

Upper School

Grade 10

History and Social Science

Credits: 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.

U.S. History

Grade 11

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

Honors level also available

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 twentieth 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.

Honors U.S. History

Upper School

Grade 11

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

(May be taken senior year if a scheduling conflict arises)

Honors U.S. History covers the same content as U.S. History at a pace and depth that is greater and more challenging for our top students at this level. This course surveys the history of the United States from early European/Native American encounters up through the 1970s. Extensive use of primary documents familiarizes students with voices of the past, while secondary readings offer students varying scholarly opinions on such issues as ethnohistory, slavery, social reform, labor, Vietnam, and globalization. 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 Economics

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: 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.

Advanced Topics in U.S. History

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Open to students who have not yet taken U.S. History; students may not take this course after having taken U.S. History or Honors U.S. History

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.

Advanced Human Geography

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

This course is a fast-paced, upper-level social studies course that introduces students to the patterns and processes that have shaped the understanding, use and alterations of Earth. 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. Topics covered include population, cultural patterns, cities and urban land use, and economic development.

Art History: Ancient Egypt to the Renaissance

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

This course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and architectural history. Students will gain an understanding of the differences between a formal and contextual analysis of a work of art, learn to formulate a thesis, and engage in both forms of analysis. Students will view the art through a lens of historical events, literature, music, and the social context of the time periods studied. This course begins by looking at Ancient Egyptian art and architecture through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia into the Renaissance. By studying great works from within these artistic periods, students will gain a better understanding of the visual art of each era and how they fit within the context of their time.

Art History: Art of Ancient Civilizations

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

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, not simply of the objects themselves, but of how they fit within the context of their time and place.

Art History: Movements in Art History

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

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.

Contemporary World Issues

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This semester elective uses a case study approach to investigating current global problems and their potential solutions including issues of poverty and hunger, human rights, environmental challenges, conflict, and migration. Students will delve into the root causes of the problems and become familiar with individuals and non-governmental organizations who are attempting to address them. Topics and areas of study could be explored based on student interest.

Don’t Sweat the Technique: An Examination of Hip-Hop’s Social, Political, and Cultural Relevance

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

Students in this class will examine the social, political, and economic circumstances that led to the creation of what has become the most powerful force in popular culture, hip-hop. We will study the ways in which hip-hop emerged as a response to a black, urban America that was being forever changed by the forces of deindustrialization and globalization – forces that are perhaps more relevant now than ever. Some of the questions that will inform our study are: How, where, and why did hip-hop emerge? How and why did hip-hop become the voice of urban youth in post-civil rights America? We will also examine hip-hop’s place in the history of American social and political commentary, particularly of the Black experience. As America and the world has changed, how has hip-hop reflected and adapted to these changes? How and why has hip-hop been able to move out of the South Bronx and into places like Simsbury while remaining relevant and authentic to the wildly different audiences from both of those locales, and what does this move say about America itself?

Inequality in the United States

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This course satisfies the Ethics requirement for graduation.

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 racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, trans oppression, and religious oppression have developed over time as well as the ways they impact each of us every day. Students will develop the language, tools, and skills to create positive social change.

International Relations and Model UN

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

The International Relations and Model United Nations (UN) course is designed to prepare students to participate in the Model UN program sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Hartford. It features a day-long trip to the United Nations in New York, a visit to the UN mission of a selected country and role-playing in a two-day conference at the University of Hartford. The content of the course will focus on the historical background of the founding of the UN, its structure and goals, and an assessment of various UN missions and programs since 1945. In addition, the course will deal with a wide range of topics dealing with international relations and how the UN has and might become involved in the future.

The New Yorker: Contemporary Culture, Art, and Politics

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

Students in this class will read and analyze the current issue of The New Yorker, a “weekly magazine offering a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, international affairs, popular culture and the arts, science and technology, and business, along with fiction, poetry, humor, and cartoons.”

Students will look at everything each week’s magazine offers, from reviews of current cinema to cartoon caption contests, comedy, and satire to in-depth essays on current events. Students will work over the course of the term to create their own version of the magazine: illustrating a front cover, reviewing current art, music, and cinema, writing profiles, short fiction and non-fiction (with a particular emphasis on analytical writing) – even drawing their own cartoons and writing letters to the editors.

Students will also pay particular attention to the way in which bias may be at work in the magazine and what role that plays in writing. When applicable, students may examine articles from other publications (ie: The National Review, The Economist, etc.) in an effort to look at issues from both sides of the political aisle.

The only text is a semester-long subscription to The New Yorker magazine.

Living at the Margin: Making Optimal Decisions Using Economics

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This semester-long course aims to apply the concepts of economics to the everyday life of the student. This will be accomplished by studying economic theory to understand how it can be applied to current events, public policy, and daily transactions. Possible topics include free trade vs. protectionism, taxes and spending, and behavioral economics, but topics can be driven by current events and contemporary political debates. The history of economic thought will also be examined through the lens of classic works from Aristotle to Adam Smith and into the 20th century with John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman. Specific periods of economic crises will be used as case studies, including the collapse of the U.S.S.R., German hyperinflation in the 1920’s, and the Asian and Celtic Tigers of the late 20th century. Case studies are vital to the study of economics because they are the “laboratory” in which economists test their theories.

Supreme Court Landmarks

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: At least one semester of U.S. History

This semester-long course offers an analysis of the history and uses of the U.S. Constitution, and the way it’s been interpreted by the Supreme Court. We will consider the ideology behind the construction of the document and the varying historical contexts in which constitutional principles have been applied. By looking at certain landmark cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Schenck v. United States, Miranda v. Arizona, and Citizens United v. FEC, students will be asked to think about the various ways the Constitution has been “translated” by the Court into the everyday lives of Americans, particularly working people, women, and people of color who may or may not see their interests reflected in the language of the original document. The class will also discuss the tension between individual and collective rights and the ways in which the Constitution has been modified over the past 200 years.

Religion and Culture

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

Religion is a universal feature of human groups. All cultures seek answers to questions about their place in the cosmos: Who are we? How did we get here? What is our purpose here? While the questions are similar, the answers differ, and the ways religious beliefs manifest themselves offer a rich kaleidoscope of practices, myths, rituals, texts, and symbols to study. Knowledge about the world’s religions has become increasingly important as students prepare to act as informed global citizens in a hyper-connected and increasingly pluralistic world. Students will engage in an appreciative study of how our world’s religions function, what traits they share, the ways in which they are different, and how they help their adherents to lead meaningful, ethical lives and answer life’s greatest questions. Religions of study will include but not be limited to Indigenous Sacred Ways, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Introduction to Ethical Reasoning

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .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.

Foundations of Language

Middle School

Grade 6

World Languages

Required for Grade 6

Credits: 1

Foundations in Language is a sixth grade course designed to give students a strong understanding of English grammar, with an eye towards the foreign language study that will follow. The first semester sees students undertaking a rigorous survey of English grammar: parts of speech and their grammatical functions, followed by a study of phrases, clauses, and their syntactical functions in sentences. In the second semester, students learn the basics of Latin grammar, exploring the similarities and differences in English and Latin thought structures.

Latin 1

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the Latin language. By the end of the course, students will have a grounding in many of the inflections of Latin verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and complex sentences, a vocabulary of some four hundred words and the ability to translate basic prose passages. The linguistic elements are the most important part of the course, but students also learn about a variety of distinctive institutions and customs of the Romans such as religion and funeral customs, roads/transportation, houses, meals, family, clothing, education, names, and the city of Rome. Students will also study the geography of ancient Rome, the foundation myth of Rome, Roman monarchy, the early heroes of Rome, and Greek and Roman mythology. Students will learn about the connections between Latin and English through the study of the etymology of English words and common Latin phrases and abbreviations still used in English.

Latin 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 1 with a grade of C+ or better or departmental approval

In Latin 2, students will reinforce and add to their knowledge of Latin inflection and vocabulary. In particular, there will be an introduction to complex sentence structure, including many uses of the subjunctive. Students will practice grammatical drills, comprehension, and translation, and will begin to read sections from Caesar, Cicero and Catullus. Students will learn about the cultural and political contexts of the prescribed literature. Cultural and historical material includes the Roman Republic, government offices, Punic Wars, chariot races, gladiatorial games, baths, theater, and the calendar.

Honors Latin 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 1 with an A- or better and departmental approval

This course covers the same content as Latin 2 at a pace and depth that is greater and more challenging for our top Latin students at this level.

Latin 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 2 and departmental approval

Students will continue a review and practice of the grammar and vocabulary covered in Latin 1 and 2. Students will cover material that will make their knowledge of Latin grammar almost complete. At this level, students also begin to translate selections from Latin authors in the original language. We will read selections from Caesar, Virgil, and Cicero. In addition to the translation of the material, students examine the meter and literary style of the works, and their cultural and historical setting, including a study of the Late Republic and the early Empire.

Honors Latin 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 2 with an A- or better and departmental approval

This course covers the same content as Latin 3 at a pace and depth that is greater and more challenging for our top Latin students at this level.

Advanced Latin: Plautus and Terence: Roman Comedy

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Students will read excerpts from the plays of Plautus and Terence. In addition to analyzing and interpreting these plays, students will also explore the development of Roman comedy and its influences on later writers. Students produce a piece of art or literature which reflects the style, subject, and influences of the original works.

Advanced Latin: Catullus, Ovid, and Virgil: The Lasting Influence of Mythology in Art and Literature

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Students will read myths by Catullus, Ovid, and Vergil. In addition to analyzing and interpreting these works, students will also explore how this relates to contemporary art and literature. Students produce a piece of art or literature which reflects the style, subject, and influences of the original works.

Advanced Latin: Virgil’s Aeneid

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Students will read and interpret Virgil’s Aeneid in this course. This story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy contains an exquisite combination of mythology and current events that has thrilled students from the moment it was written. Students will explore themes of leadership, fate, and family and will examine the beauty of this epic poem through a study of the meter, word order, poetic device, and vocabulary. Students will also delve into the the politics and propaganda of the Age of Augustus and explore our own issues with empire and unwanted war. Students will read selections of the poem in Latin and the entire poem in English.

Advanced Latin: Cicero

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Cicero was a great orator, politician, and philosopher during the Roman Republic. This was a time of great social and political upheaval. Cicero’s writings give us insights into this time, his beliefs about politics, education, philosophy, and social norms. In this class, students explore these themes and Cicero’s thoughts on these issues and ideas through a close reading of surviving texts. Selections from Cicero’s letters and philosophical works will be read both in Latin and in English.

Spanish 1A

Middle School

Grade 7

World Languages

Credits: 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.

Spanish 1B

Middle School

Grade 8

World Languages

Credits: 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, they will be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity. They also will 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 1

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course introduces and develops the four basic skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Cultural topics from around the world are explored, and discussed in relation to students’ cultures. Vocabulary required for mastery includes salutations, family members, the school day, occupations, indicating location, telling the day/date/year/time, the alphabet, numbers, weather, foods, animals, parts of the body, clothing, descriptions of physical characteristics/basic personality traits, sports/pastimes, directions, places around town, the house, and question words. Verb conjugation is explored in detail to include all regular and irregular verbs in the present indicative, immediate future, formal commands, stem-changing and reflexive verbs. Other grammatical concepts studied in Spanish 1 include: definite and indefinite articles; gender and number agreement; subject pronouns; direct object pronouns, and indirect object pronouns; affirmative and negative expressions; the differences between ser and estar; idiomatic expressions with tener, hacer, and gustar; the verb ir; demonstrative/possessive adjectives; diminutives, the superlative, and comparisons; the personal “a”; and expressing likes and dislikes.

Spanish 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 1 with a grade of C+ or higher or departmental approval

In this course, students will improve communication skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They also will gain additional cultural knowledge and awareness about the areas of the world in which Spanish is spoken. This course begins with the review of basic grammar points along with more complex structures. Grammatical concepts include verb tenses of the present, the preterit, imperfect, present and past progressive, future and conditional, imperative, and a brief introduction to the present subjunctive. Additional grammatical concepts include: tener + que, por and para; saber vs. conocer; comparisons; equality concepts; hacer + time expressions; possessive adjectives; direct and indirect object pronouns; informal and formal commands; personal and reflexive pronouns; demonstrative pronouns; use of prepositions; and adjective and adverbial expressions.

Honors Spanish 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 1 with an average of A- or higher and departmental approval

This course covers the same content areas as Spanish 2, but with stronger emphasis on effective communication in all areas of the target language. Students read short stories and literary pieces by Spanish and Latin American authors, in addition to readings from the textbook. They also write more compositions.

Spanish 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 2 and departmental approval

In this course, students receive a review of grammar with special emphasis on structures that are particularly problematic. There is a more sophisticated approach to writing and self-expression in the language. The focus of the course continues to be effective communication with more emphasis on developing writing and speaking skills along with reading and listening comprehension. Students investigate current events of the Spanish-speaking world and make cultural connections to authentic material. Grammatical concepts include: a review of the present, preterite, and imperfect tenses; reflective verbs; possessive adjectives; comparisons and superlatives; direct and indirect object pronouns; present progressive and past progressive. New grammar concepts include: all perfect tenses including present and present perfect of subjunctive; subjunctive versus indicative; subjunctive with impersonal expressions; to express wishes and hopes, and with expression of doubt and emotion; future tenses; and por vs. para.

Honors Spanish 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 2 with a grade of A- or higher and departmental approval

This course covers the same content areas as Spanish 3, but with stronger emphasis on effective communication in all areas of the target language. Students read additional short stories and literary pieces by Spanish and Latin American authors. They also write more compositions of a greater length.

Spanish 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 3 or Honors Spanish 3 and departmental approval

In this course students will learn about the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of Spain and Latin America, while reinforcing and building upon communication skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to expose students to Spanish and Latin American perspectives. Students are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. Students will use their advanced language skills to express their ideas through presentational and interpersonal activities that promote effective oral and written communication.

Honors Spanish 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Honors Spanish 3 and departmental approval

In this course, students will learn about the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of Spain and Latin America, while reinforcing and building upon communication skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to illustrate Spanish and Latin American perspectives. Students are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. Students will use their advanced language skills to express their ideas through presentational and interpersonal activities that promote effective oral and written communication. This course is more rigorous in pace, content, and expectations than Spanish 4.

Spanish 5

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 4 or higher and departmental approval

This course is designed for students who want to strengthen their speaking and writing abilities. The focus of this course is on conversation and composition writing with topics pulled from the textbook as well as those suggested by students. Students are given the opportunity to sharpen their conversation skills by presenting arguments in class debates, giving oral presentations and putting together theatrical productions. Students are asked to write journal entries and compositions weekly. Students are expected to watch Spanish television and listen to Spanish music as often as possible. Students are also expected to overcome any barriers created by grammatical struggles by reviewing these points for homework.

Advanced Spanish

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course will focus on the literary genre of Magical Realism through the work of various Latin-American writers. Magical Realism engages the usual devices of narrative realism, but with an added element: the supernatural is an ordinary matter – an everyday occurrence – integrated into the rationality of literary realism. This style of writing predominated the literary “boom period” in Latin America, reflecting the political and social climate in the 60s and 70s. Students will read a number of short stories written by “boom writers,” along with the novel Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), written by Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

French 1A

Middle School

Grade 7

World Languages

Credits: 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.

French 1B

Middle School

Grade 8

World Languages

Credits: 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, they will be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity. They also will 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.

French 1

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will be able to present information about themselves and others, ask and answer familiar questions, express likes and dislikes, give advice, and communicate about everyday life including family, hobbies and pastimes, school, community, and health. Vocabulary includes salutations, common interrogatives, telling the date/time, numbers, the alphabet, colors, family members, professions, weather, foods, parts of the body, clothing, physical characteristics and personality traits, sports and hobbies, geography, and classroom objects. Grammar includes the conjugation of regular verbs in -er, -ir, and -re; common irregular verbs; the present, near future, and recent past; definite and indefinite articles; the partitive; gender and number agreement; adjectives and their placement; adverbs and their placement; negation; forming questions with est-ce que; and expressions of necessity. Students will explore relevant topics in French and Francophone culture (e.g. body language, eating habits) and discuss these in relation to their own culture.

French 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 1 with a grade of C+ or higher or departmental approval

This course is a continuation of French 1. Students will be able to conduct conversations on a variety of familiar topics, meet basic needs such as making a reservation, expressing preferences, summarizing information, talking about the past, and making plans for the future. Vocabulary includes technology, measurements and quantities, money, musical genres and instruments, mode of transportation, daily routines, and nature and the environment. Grammar includes a revision of the present tense; the passé composé and the imparfait; être vs. avoir; reflexive verbs; savoir vs. connaître; the future; tonic pronouns; indirect and direct object pronouns and their order.

Honors French 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 1 with a grade of A- or higher and departmental approval

This course covers the same content areas as French 2, but with a stronger emphasis on effective communication in all areas (presentational speaking/writing, interpersonal speaking, interpretive listening/reading) of the language. Students can also expect to engage with more challenging materials in the language.

French 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 2 and departmental approval

This course is a continuation of French 2. Students will be able to participate with confidence in conversations on a variety of topics, describe people, places, things, and experiences in various time frames, express opinions, support a point of view with argument and evidence, give and follow detailed instructions, make suggestions, and research and present a topic of interest. Vocabulary includes travel, art and literature, media, extended family, types of housing, education, health care, and citizenship. Grammar includes a revision of present, past, and future tenses; the plus-que-parfait; the subjunctive; que and lequel; the verbs penser, croire, and espérer; and relative pronouns.

Honors French 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 2 with an A- or higher and departmental approval

This course covers the same content areas as French 3, but with a stronger emphasis on effective communication in all areas (presentational speaking/writing, interpersonal speaking, interpretive listening/reading) of the language. Students can also expect to engage with more challenging materials in the language.

French 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 3 and departmental approval

This course is a continuation of French 3. Students will be able to communicate effectively and at length on a wide range of topics, research, present and exchange detailed information on topics beyond their field of interest, clarify misunderstandings and ask for clarification, understand speech and text on unfamiliar topics, and write detailed compositions in various time frames. Vocabulary includes social media, social challenges, colleges and universities, legal rights, politics, and French and Francophone history and culture. Grammar includes a revision of all tenses; passive forms; direct and indirect discourse; the past conditional; the participe présent and the gérondif; faire vs. laisser; and the causative.

Honors French 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 3 with an A- or higher and departmental approval

This course covers the same content areas as French 4, but with a stronger emphasis on effective communication in all areas (presentational speaking/writing, interpersonal speaking, interpretive listening/reading) of the language. Students can also expect to engage with more challenging materials in the language.

Advanced French: Francophone Caribbean Literature

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: French 4/Honors French 4 and departmental approval

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.

Foundations of Mathematics

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

Students will explore practical as well as theoretical mathematics. Basic math and computational skills, problem solving, patterns, estimating, and mental math are emphasized. Topics include decimals, integers, fractions, exponents, ratios, rates, proportions, percents, measurement, graphing in the coordinate plane, and an introduction to variables, equations, inequalities, and geometry.

Pre-Algebra

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

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 integers, and solving equations and inequalities.

Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 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.

Honors Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

This course is for students who have a strong background in arithmetic facts and skills, and in elementary algebra, including positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. They must have demonstrated a good aptitude for mathematical reasoning. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, algebraic fractions, graphing of linear functions, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, systems of equations, variations, and the quadratic formula.

Geometry

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 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.

Honors Geometry

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 1 or departmental approval

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.

Algebra 2

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or departmental approval

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 graphs, and an introduction to statistics.

Honors Algebra 2

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 1 and Honors Geometry or departmental approval

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.

Trigonometry

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or departmental approval

This course consists of a review of advanced algebraic topics as well as an exploration of basic trigonometry. The algebraic topics include quadratic functions and their applications, composite and inverse functions, exponents, radicals, and logarithms. The study of trigonometry consists of right triangle and general triangle relationships and applications, the unit circle, and sine and cosine graphs.

Precalculus

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 1 and Trigonometry

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.

Honors Precalculus

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 2

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.

Honors Calculus

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Precalculus or Honors Precalculus

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.

Advanced Calculus 1

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Precalculus or Honors Precalculus

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.

Advanced Calculus 2

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Advanced Calculus 1; departmental approval

This course will build on the skills and topics introduced in Advanced Calculus I and introduce students to topics including but not limited to: various techniques of integration, sequences and series, and polar and parametric functions. This class would serve those students who have completed Advanced Calculus I prior to their senior year. Students are expected to be able to apply and understand the theory behind advanced mathematical topics. Students who take this course will have the option to take the Calculus BC Advanced Placement Test in the spring.

Advanced Multivariable Calculus

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Mathematics

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: Advanced Calculus 2 and departmental approval

This course will extend the study of calculus to functions with several variables. It will additionally cover topics that are not currently included in a traditional high school calculus course but may be included in a college-level calculus course. Students will explore topics including but not limited to partial derivatives, double and triple integrals, vector fields, and integration over curves and surfaces.

Statistics

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and departmental approval

Open to Grades 11-12, and sophomores with approval of instructor.

Topics will include: probability & statistics, sampling, data analysis, combinations/permutations, and notation. This class is best suited for students who are looking for a fourth year of math that would provide them with real world and applicable math skills.

Introduction to Computer Science

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: Open to students who have completed Algebra 2

This course focuses and engages the entire discipline of computer science. We will demystify computer hardware and how it works, use computer software, and explore design, coding and implementation. Students will problem-solve, develop software, and come to understand how computers, people, and society interoperate. Our goal is to build quantitative reasoning skills and a basis for future survival and exploration in our advancing world.

Advanced Computer Science

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Mathematics

Credits: .5

Open to Grades 11-12, and sophomores with approval of instructor.

Advanced Computer Science aims to introduce students to a broad array of concepts in computer science. Students will use the Javascript programming language to explore complex problem solving, algorithm design and implementation, and coding their own program. Topics include number systems, the internet, data visualization and various programming concepts such as variables, loops, arrays, object, formal logic, and processing.

Advanced Statistics

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 2 or departmental approval

Advanced Statistics will closely mirror the content required in AP Statistics with some time dedicated to give students two distinct opportunities to conduct real research in areas that are meaningful to them. The course will begin with descriptive statistics, and the organization and analysis of both univariate and bivariate data. The emphasis will always be on why we can make a specific generalization and what makes the generalization or description valid based on the data. Included in descriptive statistics will be methods of organizing and presenting data as well as methods of analyzing data, with an emphasis on linear regression, measures of strength for that correlation, Pearson’s r, the coefficient of determination, measures of center, measures of spread, skew or symmetry, and standard deviation about the least squares line. To prepare students for inferential statistics, the course will investigate probability and the laws of probability which students will use to simulate real-world situations. Finally, the course will cover inferential statistics, the formal hypothesis testing procedure, and all of the myriad tests that are expected even at the introductory level. A paper and oral presentation will substitute for both exams, giving students a true ability to determine the viability of statistics in areas where they might have interest. Students will be empowered to answer questions in ways that they were never able to prior to a course in statistics. They also will have the ability to critically read and evaluate the analytical process employed by others, recognizing good research, and pointing out flaws in poor research. Students who take this course will have the option of taking the Advanced Statistics Placement Test in the spring.

STEAM in Action 6

Middle School

Grade 6

Science

Required for Grade 6

This course introduces the basic concepts of coding, robotics, and engineering in an interactive environment fostering collaboration, creativity, and communication. Students will develop coding skills through the Scratch programming language, focusing on sequences, loops, and conditionals as well as exploring through their own projects. Students will further apply their programming skills through challenges utilizing Dash robot. Students also will engage in hands-on projects to gain an understanding of fundamental concepts in civil engineering, such as tension and compression, and how these forces are at work in various structures. Finally, students will explore environmental engineering through projects on environmental cleanup, water contamination, waste disposal, air pollution, and alternative energy sources.

STEAM in Action 7

Middle School

Grade 7

Science

Required for Grade 7

This course builds on the skills in coding, robotics, and engineering developed in STEAM in Action 6. Through this hands-on, project-based course, students will continue to develop coding skills through the Scratch programming language, focusing on functions, variables, and “for loops” as well as exploring their own project in animation. Students will further apply their programming skills through challenges utilizing Sphero robot. Students also will engage in projects to gain an understanding of fundamental concepts in mechanical engineering, such as mechanical advantage, and what that means for simple machines.

STEAM in Action 8

Middle School

Grade 8

Science

Required for Grade 8

This course builds on the skills in coding, robotics, and engineering developed in STEAM in Action 6 and 7. Students will apply their knowledge of sequences, loops, conditionals, functions, variables, and “for loops” by developing their own game apps in the Scratch programming language. Students will also build coding skills in HTML and CSS, culminating in a project on website design. Students will further apply their programming skills through challenges utilizing LEGO Mindstorms. Students also will develop projects to gain an understanding of fundamental concepts in electrical engineering, such as circuits and electric power.

Ecology

Middle School

Grade 6

Science

Required for Grade 6

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Human Biology

Middle School

Grade 7

Science

Required for 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

Middle School

Grade 8

Science

Required for 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 also will engage in many student-driven projects and develop essential research and communication skills as they explore topics that pique their interest.

Physics 9

Upper School

Grade 9

Science

Required for Grade 9

Credits: 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 and discuss their results in class. Students will then formalize their observations through the guided derivation of the quantitative relationships that govern our world, with a strong emphasis on conceptual understanding. Through this course, students will build skills in quantitative problem-solving, experimental design, data collection and organization, construction and interpretation of graphs, clear and concise scientific writing, and analysis of scientific error.

Honors Physics 9

Upper School

Grade 9

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental approval and concurrent enrollment in Honors Geometry or a higher level math course

Honors Physics 9 explores similar topics as Physics 9, but is faster paced and requires deeper synthesis between content areas and greater depth of analysis. This course has a heavier emphasis on algebraic problem-solving, and the set-up of these problems requires a deep understanding of the underlying physics concepts. Laboratory work is more demanding and allows students to have more independence concerning experimental design. This is a rigorous course with high expectations for student effort and commitment.

Chemistry

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 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.

Honors Chemistry

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Physics 9 and concurrent enrollment in Honors Algebra 2 or departmental approval

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 multistep 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.

Advanced Chemistry

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Honors Chemistry and departmental approval

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 level of challenge. To allow for the completion of college-level laboratory experiments, the course meets for additional 80 minute block each week. This course fully prepares interested students for the Chemistry Advanced Placement Test in the spring.

Engineering

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

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.

Astronomy

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Sophomores may be allowed to enroll in this class concurrently with Honors Chemistry with departmental approval.

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.

Biology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Chemistry

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.

Honors Biology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Honors Chemistry and/or departmental approval

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 indepth 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.

Advanced Biology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Honors Chemistry and departmental approval

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 Advanced Placement Test in the spring.

Climate Change

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 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

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Current enrollment in or completion of Biology

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.

Honors Research Seminar: From Microbes to Molecules

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and Biology and departmental approval (Possible concurrent enrollment with Honors or Advanced Biology)

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 advances promising candidates into the drug development pipeline.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Current enrollment in or completion of Biology

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.

Physics 11-12

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 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 and discuss their results in class. Students will then formalize their observations through the guided derivation of the quantitative relationships that govern our world, with a strong emphasis on conceptual understanding. Through this course, students will build skills in quantitative problem-solving, experimental design, data collection and organization, construction and interpretation of graphs, clear and concise scientific writing, and analysis of scientific error. Students are expected to be proficient in both algebra and basic trigonometry.

Honors Physics 11-12

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Chemistry, Honors Math placement and departmental approval

Honors Physics 11-12 is designed for students who enter Walker’s after ninth grade and who have not yet taken Physics. Honors Physics 11-12 explores similar topics as Physics 11-12, but this course goes much further into each topic than the regular-level course. It is also much faster paced and requires deeper synthesis between content areas and greater depth of analysis. This course has a much heavier emphasis on algebraic problem-solving, and the set-up of these problems requires a deep understanding of the underlying physics concepts. Student proficiency in both algebra and basic trigonometry is necessary. Laboratory work is more demanding and allows students to have more independence concerning experimental design. This is a rigorous course with high expectations for student effort and commitment.

Advanced Physics

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of a year-long physics course and departmental approval

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, fast-paced course that also includes a heavy 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 Physics 1 Advanced Placement Test.

Advanced Psychology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and departmental approval

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, life-span 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.

Tropical Ecology

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Current enrollment in or completion of Biology

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 research proposal required for the field aspect of the course.

Middle School Dance

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 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.

General Enrollment Dance

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Fall, winter, and spring season

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.

Dance Ensemble

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Prerequisite: Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected by audition 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.

Dance Workshop

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Prerequisite: Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Workshop is the advanced-level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected by audition 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.

Performance Fundamentals

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 6-8

The Middle School theatre classes focuses on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes build the necessary skills for character development, scene work, and theatre history.

Acting

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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, including 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

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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 scene work, song analysis, and choreography. This class includes visits from industry guest speakers; the class will take theatrical field trips.

Winter Play

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: Winter season co-curricular

Prerequisite: Audition in November

Offered: November-February

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Past productions have included Good Help is so Hard to Murder, Haiku, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, Rope, and an original Shakespearean adaptation, The Food of Love.

Spring Musical

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: Spring season co-curricular

Prerequisite: Audition in February

Offered: February-May

The Theatre, Music, and Dance Departments collaborate on a full-scale musical that is presented to the community in May. Recent productions include Seussical, The Boyfriend, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Godspell, Illyria, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Sister Act, Beauty and the Beast, and Hairspray.

Music Classes & Choristers

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 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 theatre/theatre 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.

Music Lessons

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Additional fee

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and assemblies involve the Music Program, and public performance at these events is encouraged.

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

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

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.

Group Voice

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

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.

African Drumming

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

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.

Choir

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 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. All singers are welcome.

Chamber Ensembles

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

By audition

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.

Grapes

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

By audition

This vocal ensemble is an a cappella singing group. Only members of the Choir may audition. This ensemble performs music from the folk, pop, jazz, and Broadway 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.

Harmonious Bells

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

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.

Group Keyboard

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

This course provides beginner to intermediate piano students with an opportunity to improve their keyboard skills. The classes allow each student to progress at her own pace. Students are invited to participate in recitals at the end of the year. All musicians are welcome.

Music Theory

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 1

A two–semester course that can be taken as a lesson or as a credited course. 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. The advanced student may study composition and musical analysis.

Music Major Program

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 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.

Orchestra

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

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.

Art History: Ancient Egypt to the Renaissance

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

This course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and architectural history. Students will gain an understanding of the differences between a formal and contextual analysis of a work of art, learn to formulate a thesis, and engage in both forms of analysis. Students will view the art through a lens of historical events, literature, music, and the social context of the time periods studied. This course begins by looking at Ancient Egyptian art and architecture through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia into the Renaissance. By studying great works from within these artistic periods, students will gain a better understanding of the visual art of each era and of how they fit within the context of their time.

Art History: Art of Ancient Civilizations

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

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, not simply of the objects themselves, but of how they fit within the context of their time and place.

Art History: Movements in Art History

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This course is cross-listed with both the Visual Arts and History Departments.

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.

Ceramics (Middle School)

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7

Arts

This course is an introduction to ceramics for students in the 6th and 7th grade. Students will develop and refine their skills in the area of hand-building and wheel-throwing. They will explore a variety of decorative techniques on the clay surface as well as with the finished surface of their pottery. To increase their understanding of ceramics, students will become familiar with a working vocabulary of clay terminology.

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.

3D Design (Fall)

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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 has been designed to offer students a general design overview using paper and paper pulp to construct and build 3D projects utilizing art design concepts. The focus of the course is to concentrate on applying the basic elements and principles of art to help students solve artistic, creative problems in a variety of approaches and media. Projects in paper making and paper casting, cardboard relief, paper dress, relief drawing, papier mache, and book art/deconstructed books will be studied. A sketchbook is required for all students to be used in class and for homework assignments. This course references historical and contemporary works.

3D Design (Spring)

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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 art course has been designed to offer students a general design overview using different media to construct and build 3D projects utilizing art design concepts. The focus of the course is to concentrate on applying the basic elements and principles of art to help the students solve artistic, creative problems in a variety of approaches and media. Projects in additive and subtractive sculpture, carving, construction, mobile, assemblage, molding and casting, as well as modelmaking will be studied. A sketchbook is required for all students to be used in class and for homework assignments. This course references historical and contemporary works.

Drawing

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5 per semester

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 course may be taken for a full year or single semester.

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 drawing skills, students will be exposed to a variety of “dry media,” learning the necessary technical skills to communicate their ideas, while continuing to strengthen their knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission.

Graphic Publication

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Fall Semester (can be extended for extra credit into Spring Semester)

Credits: .5

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, film, 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

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This is a semester course designed to cover all facets of movie production, including script writing, working with talent, camera work, sound, directing, locations, costume, props, and post-production editing. Nikon DSLR cameras will be supplied for the duration of the course. Genre types will include shorts, feature films, documentaries, music videos, and comedy sketches. 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.

Painting

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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 able to explore different “wet media” with processes such as transparent and opaque painting including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil. Students discover the expressiveness of color and paint application techniques while learning color theory. They will also be introduced to the ancient medium of encaustic painting. The focus of this course is on color, scale, and composition and how these are fundamental elements in the development of their visual concepts. Students may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission, as well as to work on public art projects that enhance the School community.

Photography- Digital Image

Middle School

Grade 7

Arts

This course is designed for 7th graders as an introduction to manipulating digital images in creative projects. The course includes collage making, photomosaics, stop motion animation, macro photography, and photo sculptures.

Photography- Digital Media

Middle School

Grade 8

Arts

This 8th Grade course is designed to follow on from the 7th Grade Digital Image course and is an introduction to aspects of digital photography, web-page construction, portfolio compilation, digital design, story-board creation, slide-show production and video production.

Photography 1

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: Photography 1

This course is designed to follow on from the prerequisite Photography 1 and includes elements of studio photography, green screen photography, street photography and drone photography. DSLR cameras are supplied for the duration of the course. The course will generate proficiency in Adobe Creative Cloud Lightroom and Photoshop techniques and will incorporate 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.

Printmaking

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .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, and stenciling. They 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 will be addressed.

Studio Art (Middle School)

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of art for the 6th grade and a reinforcement of these skills for our 8th grade, in order to prepare them to advance to the next level in the upper school. Middle School Art students are guided through a variety of media, art processes, and concepts. They learn how to organize their thoughts and ideas into cohesive visual expressions.

Studio Art (Upper School)

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5 per semester

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.

Open to Grades 9-12; full year or single semester

This class 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 demonstrate a high level of quality and growth over time in content, technique and process.

Afternoon Art Concentration

Upper School

Arts

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

The Afternoon Art Concentration is geared for the students who want to pursue a career in the field of the arts and need this 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.

Girl Talk

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Wellness

The Girl Talk program is part of the Middle School Wellness Program and meets once a week for eight weeks with girls from our Upper School. Girl Talk is part of a national program with a very simple premise: high school girls mentor middle school girls to help deal with the triumphs and trials of the early teenage years.

Library and Information Studies

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

In the Library and Information Studies 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 emphasis on the creation of bibliographic citations, students will also begin to develop an understanding of citation formatting and development.

Digital Life

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

In the Middle School “Digital Life” Seminar, we explore how mobile digital devices, the Internet, and social media impact the ways that we live and learn. Regardless of one’s individual technology use, we are all citizens of a digital era, and we feel the effects of the devices around us and the ways that information spreads. Through class discussions and activities, we reflect on the ways that we are both more connected and also disconnected because of technology. We also discuss the ways that social media impacts our identity, relationships, and future opportunities. By giving these topics careful thought now, our middle schoolers will be able to manage their digital lives well in the years ahead.

Social Justice

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

Middle School Social Justice is rooted in building communities of belonging, as students work to understand identity and stereotypes through introspection and perspective. Students explore the many ways identity is formed by reflecting on their own identities, assumptions, stereotypes, prejudice, and bias in the world.

Study Skills

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

The Middle School Study Skills Seminar meets once a week for eight weeks. The curriculum is designed to improve study skills and test-taking strategies within the context of the class curriculum. Students participate in skill-building activities designed by SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum.

Digital Citizenship

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars

We examine the ways that information and communication technologies impact our lives as learners, family members, friends, workers, and global citizens. The class will explore some key pillars of digital citizenship, including digital literacy, digital communication, digital law, rights and responsibilities, and digital health and wellness. Students will 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, 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, to share what they’ve learned, and to always credit others’ work when used.

Presentation Skills 1

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars

Speaking persuasively to an audience has never been more important. Public speaking teaches ninth graders to stand and deliver. It also teaches them the valuable skill of listening and assessing. Students learn to weave the three classic modes of argument (logos, ethos, and pathos) with fact, value, and policy into a persuasive argument. Critical to the process, in addition to practice and revision, is learning how to give constructive feedback on the content and performance of her peers’ speeches as well as to solicit and absorb it for her own. Voice volume and quality, pacing, eye contact, and physical presence are assessed and practiced.

This course teaches students how to integrate media and slides into their presentations by building on the public speaking component of the curriculum. High standards for the design and use of Powerpoint and Keynote teach students that an effective slide presentation does not sit alone; it requires the manipulation of those slides by a skilled presenter. Students learn how to interpret and design graphs and charts using the basic math language of Microsoft Excel.

Students are evaluated on their preparation for class and their participation in and response to feedback. The emphasis on speaking in front of an audience is reinforced throughout the curriculum. Ultimately, students must deliver speeches for formal assessment.

Social Justice

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars

In the Social Justice course, students are asked to 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 community. The term concludes with students addressing the ways that they can each take action within their own spheres of influence to create positive social change.

Wellness

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars

The Wellness course is based on concepts from positive psychology, and social and emotional intelligence to help students develop a strong sense of well being. 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 activities include identifying signature strengths using UPenn’s Authentic Happiness Site and practicing mindful meditation. Additional topics include healthy sleep habits, stress management, and learning and memory. Grades are based on in-class activities as well as independent journaling. A significant part of the grade is based on class citizenship, including participation in class discussions and consistent demonstration of active listening skills and respect for others.

Women, Health, & Culture

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars

Women, Health, & Culture is a semester-long seminar course 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 in this course. A broad spectrum of topics is explored. Knowledge of health concerns of particular importance to women are shared to aid in maintaining wellness, as well as assisting in the identification and early treatment of specific physical illnesses. All students will be instructed in American Red Cross Child and Adult CPR as well as use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Women, Health, & Culture is designed to aid students in becoming critical thinkers about health and wellness issues facing young people today. It is expected that they will be knowledgeable about current events that affect young women. After class discussions on a specific topic, a short in-class opinion essay may be required. Class participation is an important part of this course.

Junior Project

Upper School

Grade 11

Seminars

Junior Project is designed to provide an opportunity for each student to pursue an in-depth study of an area of interest outside of the traditional classroom. Typically, the projects include a two-week internship and require students to keep a journal detailing their experience. Recent projects have included community service in Costa Rica, shadowing a cardiologist at a local hospital including observation of surgical procedures, developing and tracking an online marketing and sales strategy, working for a gubernatorial campaign during the fall election season, interning with a sea turtle conservation group, and coaching a youth sports program.

Students are expected to organize and plan their project, and write and submit a proposal for approval. Students research an area of interest and write a brief paper prior to their project experience and keep a daily journal during the project. The off-campus supervisor of each student evaluates her work and submits a reference letter. Students create a poster to display during the Junior Project Poster Symposium. Students prepare, rehearse, and revise a presentation about their project to be assessed by faculty members. Students have the option to give their presentation before the School community.

Junior Project grades are issued in the traditional A-F scheme and appear on the report card and transcript independent of Seminar grades. As with Seminar grades, Junior Project grades are not included in the GPA calculation.

Personal Finance

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars

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. In this course students will explore a variety of topics including make/spend/save/give, earned and unearned income, loans and credit cards, interest, personal income taxes, and investing. Students will study for an IRS exam that will allow them to complete personal income taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

College Counseling – Grade 11

Upper School

Grade 11

Seminars

Required for Grade 11

Throughout the semester, the college counseling class focused on learning skills and producing materials relevant to the college search and application process. Students are introduced to Naviance 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. Students attend a college fair in April. Students will be evaluated based on completion of the following: Naviance worksheets, short college presentation, junior questionnaire, preliminary college search, first draft of college essay, extracurricular activities resume, and securing teacher recommendations.

College Counseling – Grade 12

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars

Required for Grade 12

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 a common application suitable for submission, turning in the deadlines and application requirements worksheet, and meeting with at least three college admissions counselors in the fall on Walker’s campus.

College and Beyond

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars

Workshops, speakers, and panel discussions cover topics such as managing your finances, personal health and safety, decision making, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, 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.

Seminars

The Seminar Program at Walker’s allows students to explore a wide array of topics over the course of their four years in the Upper School. Digital citizenship and public speaking are among the cornerstones of the program as are the development of awareness of the world around us and the empowerment of girls to effect change through the understanding of social justice. In this program, students develop financial literacy, communication, and leadership skills along with heightened level of confidence as they gain new skills and acquire information. Juniors meet regularly with the college counseling office during these class blocks and in the spring semester, seniors are enrolled in a course to learn about what life will be like in college.

 

Junior Project