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Curriculum

Dance Ensemble

Middle School, Upper School

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

Arts

Credits: Fall and winter season commitment

Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected during placement classes at the beginning of the year and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Ensemble members take daily intermediate level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and character. This group also has the opportunity to work with guest artists and they perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

Advanced Music Theory

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Departmental approval

The Advanced Music Theory course includes fundamentals of music theory and related aural skills, score analysis, sight-singing, and harmonic and melodic comprehension. The student’s eligibility for the course will be determined by the instructor. Advanced Music Theory moves at the pace of the AP Music Theory Course with the intent to prepare the student to participate in the AP Testing Program if the student chooses.

Web Design

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Mathematics

Credits: .5

In this course, students will learn to create, organize, and publish a website using a variety of software and coding techniques. Our first sites will be coded by hand with HTML. As students progress, they will study layout, take photos for their site, edit photos in Photoshop, write content for the site, and study fonts and multimedia.

Advanced French: Paris: Past, Present, and Future

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Prerequisite: French 4/Honors French 4 and departmental approval

This course focuses on the history, architecture, and culture of Paris from its humble Roman beginnings to present-day initiatives that look toward a sustainable future. Students will continue to hone their linguistic skills by reading historical documents, articles, and literary works (drama, poetry, and prose) as well as by analyzing maps, paintings, and photographs. Students enrolling in this course must have considerable competence in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French and a willingness to refine their French through significant independent work. The linguistic focus of this course is increased fluency, accuracy, and complexity in all modes of communication: presentational, interpersonal, and interpretive.

Advanced French: Literature and Culture of the French-Speaking Caribbean

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.

Advanced Spanish: Contemporary Life in the Spanish-Speaking World

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Spanish 4/Honors Spanish 4 and departmental approval

Advanced Spanish is for Upper School students who have completed four previous Spanish courses, or have special permission from the Language Department. As such, the course will emphasize advanced communication and listening skills. Reading at an advanced level will consist of articles of varying topics, books, poetry, and short stories relating to contemporary themes. Writing skills will be enhanced to include personal narratives with emphasis on improved grammar, which will be an integral aspect of the course. Previously learned Spanish will be reviewed and reinforced, while advanced grammatical structures will be introduced for continued growth in presentational writing. Students will also continue to learn about the many cultures throughout the Spanish-speaking world through a global citizen lens.

Advanced Latin: What is Love? Latin Love Poetry

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Latin 3/Honors Latin 3 and departmental approval

This course explores Roman ideas of love through the poetry of Catullus, Horace, Ovid and Sulpicia (one of the few female authors of the period whose work survives). Students in this course will learn about how the Romans perceived romantic relationships and how those ideas are both similar to and different from our ideas about love today. We will also examine the gendered experience of loving and being loved in the ancient world. In addition to continuing their study of the Latin language through these texts, students will work on their analytical writing through essays (in English) and creative assignments.

Short Fiction: The Form and Impact of the Short Story

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This course will take as its subject the short story form from its beginnings in folk and fairy tales to its more recent flash fiction incarnations online. How do writers bring us quickly into, and out of, a world entirely of their own creation, and leave us quite changed for our brief visit there? Students will read short stories from all over the world, including America, and students will write their own works as well.

Authors will likely include: Ann Beattie, Lucia Berlin, Angela Carter, Anton Chekhov, Lydia Davis, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Jamaica Kinkaid, Guy de Maupassant, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, and Dorothy Parker.

Looking Back: The Art of Memoir from 1900 to Present

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

This course will offer students a chance to read memoirs and autobiographies written by some of the best authors of the last century. Some in translation, but most in English, texts will include personal narratives by people who have lived exceptional or extraordinary lives, and by others whose experiences may be more familiar to us.

Students will practice the art of the personal essay, try their hand at memoir, and examine their experiences using the many forms they will encounter in the readings. The final product will be a collection of personal writings in a variety of genres.

Texts may include: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Yellow House by Sarah Broom, Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Speak, Memory by Nabokov, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by R. Solnit.

English 12: Poetry in Our Moment

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Over the last decade, poetry has resurged into daily life across the country. We turn to poetry in times of celebration and consolation, to give voice to community and identity, to post some bit of inspiration on social media, and as a rallying cry. Poetry right now is more diverse than it has ever been, both in terms of who gets to write it and the styles in which it is written. This class is a deep dive into that diversity. We’ll study five books by poets representing diverging and coalescing trends and movements across the poetry landscape, plus a collection chosen by students. We’ll seek to answer one guiding question: What are the ways that poetry speaks to our particular moment? Coursework will include both creative and analytical projects.

Because poetry right now is wide open, the possibilities for texts are wide open, too. Possible poets include Carmen Giménez Smith, Ross Gay, William Brewer, Tracy K. Smith, Philip Metres, Victoria Chang, Natalie Diaz, Terrance Hayes, and many, many more.

English 12: Literature and the Environment

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Questions about the relationship between humans and the environment have been some of the most essential throughout all of literature, from Tang Dynasty poetry to Greek pastoral to contemporary climate fiction. In our current, pivotal moment, those questions have become increasingly urgent, and in this class students will study those questions, as well as how different writers ask and answer them. Students will read a range of genres, including personal essay, poetry, science fiction, and science writing. Though the course will look back on the tradition of environmental writing, students will spend most of their time with current works.

Possible Texts: World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil; The Essential W.S. Merwin; current issues of Orion Magazine, and Black Nature, ed. Camille Dungy; All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, ed. Johnson and Wilkinson; Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich; and American War by Omar El Akkad.

Advanced English 12: Literature and Law

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Open to Grade 12 with department approval

Credits: 1

How does literature show us justice and the law? How is justice achieved? In this course, students will read fiction, drama, poetry, and memoir that reveal through art the ways in which the law shapes the human experience. In addition to examining the way laws are written and upheld, students will discuss the ways in which authors (and other artists) depict the real effects of those words in practice. Students will have a chance to consider what we understand to be criminal behavior and its causes, policing, protesting, courtroom culture, defense, prosecution, sentencing, the prison system, and inequalities in each of these domains. Works of imagination will be of primary interest, but students will also conduct individualized research to discern the current reality of the many facets of law in actual practice.

Possible texts: Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky; My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Felon by Dwayne Reginald Betts; The Round House by L. Erdrich; An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; The Remarkable Susan by Tim Kelly; Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman; The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney; Dead Man, Walking by Sister Helen Prejean; Just Mercy by B. Stevenson; Legal Fictions by Jay Wishengrad, editor; excerpts from The Firm, The Trial, The Scarlet Letter, Bleak House, Alias Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale, Twelve Angry Men, the U.S. Constitution, le Code Penal de France, The Name of the Rose, and Just Mercy.

American Literature and Culture: LINGo

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10

English

Credits: 1

This course is designed for new international students for whom English is a newly-acquired language or who have not attended an American school before. Students explore American culture and literature through challenging and accessible choices of short fiction, drama, novels, and poetry. Each student becomes familiar with the terms and methods for literary analysis; creative writing is also an essential part of this course. Every student is coached to fluency in written and spoken English during class discussions. Students will also learn the conventions of MLA style and the writing process. Upon the teacher’s recommendation, entry into the next level of the English program is facilitated when the student is ready.

Public Health

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Students will learn about public health through a multidisciplinary approach that includes biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, history, English literature, language and culture, economics, anthropology, geography, statistics, communication, film, and visual arts. This course will center around leading health indicators that include access to health services, clinical preventive services, maternal, infant, and child health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, obesity, reproductive and sexual health, social determinants of health, and substance abuse. Course topics will include environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health policy, problem solving in public health, population dynamics, social and behavioral sciences, health literacy, community assessment, health informatics, global health, and women’s health and human rights.

Climate Change

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Students 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? Students will work towards answering these questions by examining data and resources from the fields of climate science, psychology, and media literacy.

Afternoon Art Concentration

Upper School

Arts

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

The Afternoon Art Concentration is for the students who want to pursue a career in the field of the arts and need extra time to prepare and/or enhance their art portfolio for the competitive college admission process. Students will be mentored by professionals in their field of study on and off campus (depending on their field of study) in order to gain instrumental experience, expand their knowledge, and hone their skills. Each student is required to complete their projects, culminating the term with an exhibition and oral presentation to the school’s community.

3D Design: Paper, Textiles and Fashion

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 course, students will study paper, textiles, and fashion to design and create 3D projects utilizing art design concepts. Projects in papermaking and paper casting, cardboard relief, the dress in paper and textiles, papier mache, and the deconstructed book, as well as the use of handicraft techniques – weaving, crochet, and knitting, sewing (hand-stitch and sewing-machine) – used to create art, design and fashion statements will be studied. This course will reference historical and contemporary works.

3D Design: Sculpture and Pre-Architecture

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 STEAM art course has been designed to offer students a general design overview using different media to design and build 3D structures. The focus of the course is to apply the fundamentals of art and design to help students solve creative problems in a variety of media and techniques. Projects in additive and subtractive (carving) sculpture, construction, mobile, assemblage, molding and casting, as well as modelmaking, will be studied. This course will illustrate for students the endless possibilities in creating and using a reticulate as a base on which to create their designs.

Studio Art (Upper School)

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.

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

The Studio Art course is designed to accommodate students with a desire to learn about art or to continue evolving in their artistic pursuits. Students will work on a variety of media, tools, and techniques through open-ended assignments that challenge them and encourage creativity and originality. Through studio practice, application of the fundamentals of art and informed decision making, students will create a body of work that demonstrate a high level of quality and growth over time in content, technique, and process.

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 artist’s proofs and series. A brief overview of historical and contemporary prints, including the use of prints for political or social messaging as well as in POP ART, will be addressed.

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, fashion photography, staged photography, modern photography, street photography, drone photography, photojournalism, and the study of contemporary artists. Nikon DSLR cameras are supplied for the duration of the course. The course incorporates field trips for photography assignments. It will also include an emphasis on independent studies as students focus on their own interests, all the while creating an online portfolio of their best work.

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 the selection of 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. Students will study the 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.

Mixed Media and Collage

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 encouraged to open the doors to their creativity. By experimenting with different papers, media and techniques, students will discover their own personal artistic voice while focusing on composition, textures, and layers. This exploration of mixed media and collaging is supported using the grid, background treatments and various ways to transfer images, including the use of photographs and found objects to add meaning to their works. An overview of historical and contemporary collage will also be explored.

Global Awareness Through Art

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.

The arts have served historically to raise awareness about social justice issues, not just in modern times, but all throughout history. Images can be very powerful to the point of feeding into a certain status quo. Students will look at art in the context of social criticism and the call to social justice, and will examine art and social justice movements around the globe, shifting the gaze to generate change. Students will create artworks that express activism about issues they are concerned about and would like to draw attention to in the 21st century.

Graphic Publication

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.

The Graphic Publication 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. The development of this publication 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.

Drawing & 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.

Drawing is the foundation from which we develop our visual vocabulary as we hone our observational skills. Drawing from observation or from life is a critical skill to develop for anyone wanting to quickly and visually express ideas, as it trains the eye, hand and brain to translate the 3D form into a 2D illusion. In this multilevel class, whether taken for the first time or as continuation to further develop one’s visual skills, students will work in a variety of “dry media” (graphite, oil and soft pastels, charcoal, etc) and “wet media” (transparent and opaque painting including watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil) learning the necessary technical skills to communicate their ideas while continuing to strengthen their knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students will also discover the expressiveness of color and media application techniques while learning color theory. They may take this class as a repeated course in order to prepare their art portfolios for college admission and to fully develop their visual and unique language. There will be opportunities for students to work on public art projects that enhance our School community.

Ceramics (Upper School)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dance Workshop

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: Fall and winter season commitment

Dance Workshop is the advanced-level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected during placement classes at the beginning of the year and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Workshop members take daily advanced-level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, character, and stretch and strengthen. These classes are supplemented with weekly rehearsals for student, faculty, and guest artist choreography. Senior members of Dance Workshop take choreography classes and run their own rehearsals. Dance Workshop performs in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

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 tone 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 creates a moving presence at Walker’s.

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.

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.

Rock Band, Sundial Sound

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Each year, our campus rock band, Sundial Sound, evolves as new students join the group. Students who sing and play drum set, keyboard, guitar, bass, percussion, and other instruments collaborate as an ensemble to play classic rock and more contemporary covers. They learn how to exchange musical ideas and work together as a group towards a rock concert performance at the end of 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.

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.

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.

Music Theory

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 1

Music Theory is a two-semester course that involves the study of the laws, forms, and language of music with a focus on assimilating these skills and demonstrating them in compositional forms. The course is taught at the level of the student and progresses according to her capacity. It presents the basics of music theory, dictation and notation, and ear training before composition is introduced. The advanced student may study composition and harmony, and musical analysis.

Choir

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: 1

Walker’s Choir performs regularly at many School functions and presents two major choral concerts. This ensemble enjoys performing a varied repertoire while honing musical skills such as sight-reading and vocal production. Students interested in the Grapes a capella group must be enrolled in Choir. A full Arts credit is given for this course. It fulfills the arts graduation requirement but is not figured into the GPA.

Voce Felice

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. Voce Felice ensemble is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the end-of-the-year concert. All singers are welcome. Enrollment in choir is not required.

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.

Private 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.

Spring Musical

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: Spring season co-curricular

Prerequisite: Audition

Offered: February-May

The Theatre, Music, and Dance Departments collaborate on a full-scale musical that is presented to the community in May. Students who want to join the cast are welcome to as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. The goal of the theater department is to take the cast on an annual trip to a Broadway show. Students have taken master classes with Broadway performers, have had Q&A’s with cast members, and Broadway professionals have attended Walker’s spring musical dress rehearsals. Recent productions include Chicago: High School Edition, Hairspray, Sister Act, and Little Shop of Horrors.

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

Offered winter season

Beginning in mid-November, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Students who want to join the cast are welcome to as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. Past productions have included Twelve Angry Women, Our Town, She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers’ Edition, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, and Rope.

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.

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.

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 Fundamentals

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This course is designed to give students an overview of dance technique, improvisation, composition, and history. Students will study several techniques and history to build strength and knowledge in the art form. The study of dance composition through improvisation and design concepts will also be a focal point of the course. Recommended for students with little to no experience in dance.

Dance Composition

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Credits: .5

This course focuses on the process of choreographing original dance pieces. Students will learn composition through experimenting with the elements of movement – time, space, weight, and flow. This course is recommended for students with some dance experience through the advanced level.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 on school horses and use stethoscopes to listen to heart, lung, and intestinal sounds.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 provide 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Students may choose to take the Chemistry Advanced Placement Test in the spring.

Engineering

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: .5

Prerequisite: Departmental Approval

Engineering 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.

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, multi-step 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.

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 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.

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, discuss their results in class, and 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.

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 including 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.

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.

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.

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.

This course will include extensive studies of probability and statistics, sampling, data analysis, combinations/permutations, and notation. Students will learn real-world applications of these concepts, completing numerous projects to learn the ways in which statistics frame the way we view the world around us. This course will provide students who have completed at least math through Algebra 2 with math skills that are readily applicable to their lives.

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.

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 1 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 1 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 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.

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.

Precalculus

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or 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.

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, cosine, and tangent graphs.

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.

Algebra 2

Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Algebra 1 and Geometry

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 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 are included.

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 Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or Department Placement

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. Students 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.

Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or Department Placement

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 French 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 3 and departmental approval

Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently-motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments.

French 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 3

This course is a continuation of French 3. Learners will examine the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of the French-speaking world, while reinforcing and building upon the skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to expose learners to diverse Francophone perspectives. Learners are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves fully and spontaneously in paragraph-length language on a wide variety of everyday topics as well as topics of personal or general interest. Learners will be able to formulate and support hypotheses, make arguments, and sustain narration in multiple time frames. Students will be able to negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts with confidence.

Honors 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. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in French 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts. Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently-motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments.

French 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 2

This course is a continuation of French 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in French 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, as well as expressing counterfactuals, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a range of unfamiliar contexts.

French 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of French 1

This course is a continuation of French 1. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in French 1 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in complete sentences on a variety of familiar topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they were doing or used to do and what they will do.

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. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; and what they want to do versus what they can or must do. Learners will develop the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.

Advanced Spanish: Modern Literature and Advanced Topics

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Spanish 4/Honors Spanish 4 and departmental approval

Students will read and interpret texts of representative Hispanic writers within the 20th and 21st centuries, but with a special focus on contemporary authors. Students will explore and analyze the poems, short stories, and essays from writers such as Juan Rulfo, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Ana María Matute, Nancy Morejón, Rubén Darío, and Isabel Allende. The course will revolve around student commentary and analysis of texts within historical and cultural contexts, thereby requiring daily oral and written participation from all students.

Honors 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 class builds upon the skills acquired in Spanish 1-4, with a focus on refining presentational writing and speaking in Spanish. Students will explore a variety of advanced topics in order to encourage discussion, debate, and argumentation. Students will enrich their knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures through a variety of authentic materials, including film, literature, and current news.

Honors Spanish 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 3 and departmental approval

Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently-motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments.

Spanish 4

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 3

This course is a continuation of Spanish 3. Learners will examine the history, contemporary life, art, and culture of Spain and Latin America, while reinforcing and building upon the skills developed in Levels 1-3. This course uses authentic literature and film to expose students to Spanish and Latin American perspectives as well as the importance of Spanish in the United States. Learners are expected to make cultural comparisons, participate in individual and group analysis, and draw conclusions about historical and current events. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves fully and spontaneously in paragraph-length language on a wide variety of everyday topics as well as topics of personal or general interest. Learners will be able to formulate and support hypotheses, make arguments, and sustain narration in multiple time frames. Students will be able to negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts with confidence.

Honors Spanish 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 2 and Departmental Approval

This course is a continuation of Spanish 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts. Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently-motivated work. This work encompasses tasks using all appropriate modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing and speaking, and interpersonal speaking. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments.

Spanish 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 2

This course is a continuation of Spanish 2. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 2 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in increasingly complex sentences on a variety of everyday topics, topics of personal interest, and studied topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they should/could/would have done, what they would/could/should do, necessity, opinions, and feelings. Learners will be able to comfortably negotiate meaning in a wide range of unfamiliar contexts.

Spanish 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 1

This course is a continuation of Spanish 1. Learners will build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 1 and engage in the target language with greater ease. By the end of the year, learners will be able to express themselves in complete sentences on a variety of familiar topics. Specific structures that learners will acquire include: what they were doing or used to do and what they will do. Learners will continue to develop the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.

Spanish 1

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

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; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; what they want to do versus what they can or must do; as well as developing the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.

Advanced Latin: Holding Out for a Hero: Virgil’s Aeneid

Upper School

Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Latin 3/Honors Latin 3 and department approval

Virgil’s Aeneid is the central text of Roman literature, and its hero, Aeneas, is at the center of the story. What makes a hero? What makes a leader? In this yearlong course, students explore Roman ideas of loyalty, loss and leadership through Virgil’s text. Through a study of meter, word order, poetic device and vocabulary, students grapple with the themes of love and death, war and refugees, and family and fate. Students also delve into the politics and propaganda of the Age of Augustus and explore our own relationship to empire and unwanted war. In this class, students read selections of the poem in Latin and the entire poem in English. Students express themselves through analytical essays as well as creative projects. Just as Aeneas’ Trojans had to work together to get to Rome, so too is collaboration an emphasis of this class, and students are expected – and assessed – on how well they work together.

Honors Latin 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 2 and departmental approval

Learners who are interested in earning Honors credit are required to complete independently-motivated work. This work encompasses interpretive reading tasks that involve deeper and more sustained engagement with Latin texts. Additionally, learners who wish to earn Honors credit will be held to higher expectations on assessments.

Latin 3

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 2

Latin 3 begins with the final stages of Latin grammar: the subjunctive. Through an adapted telling of the Odyssey, students become comfortable with this final frontier of grammar. Students also begin to develop analytical skills from reading one cohesive text over a whole semester. Once the subjunctive is mastered, students move on to authentic Latin authors, beginning with Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. From there, students read excerpts of Catullus, Horace and Ovid, preparing them for the more challenging Latin texts of Advanced Latin. At this point, students learn how to write essays analyzing Latin texts, exploring the language on a level deeper than the grammatical. Students will interpret texts on a sophisticated level, using their knowledge of the cultural context as well as their language skills.

Latin 2

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Latin 1

In Latin 2, students begin to go deeper with their Latin language skills, learning more challenging and sophisticated grammatical concepts. In this class, students go from being students of Latin to translators of Latin, and they begin to understand the nuances and artistry of the language. Students are assessed through reading passages of increasing length and difficulty. Through the readings, students learn about myths and legends of the ancient world, and assess how we can learn about Roman culture from studying the stories they told.

Latin 1

Upper School

Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Credits: 1

What is Ancient Rome, and why do we care? In this first year course, students will learn about the ancient world through geography, mythology, history, archaeology, and, of course, language. Students will master the foundations of Latin grammar, including the core grammatical concept of inflection. Through short readings, plays, and cartoons, students will become comfortable interacting with Latin prose. Collaboration is a core component of the class, and students will also learn about how best to work together in large and small groups. Special attention will also be given to the context of the ancient world. Students will learn about Roman families, houses, and urban and rural domestic life. They will also explore Roman religion and mythology, including the Olympians and the myths that shape many of the stories we tell today. Finally, students will explore the architecture of the city of Rome, and imagine themselves among the streets of the Eternal City.

Moral Courage

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

What do Greta Thunberg, Malala, Colin Kaepernick, Rosa Parks, Alexei Navalny, Aung San Suu Kyi, Socrates, and Harry Potter all have in common? What allows some people to take and hold a moral or political stand even when it threatens their life and safety? What choices do we have in the face of opposition and pressure to sit down and conform? And, what can we do to strengthen our own moral compass enough to be able to change the world? These are the questions students will consider as they look at some of our heroes and role models from a wide range of disciplines and time frames. This interdisciplinary class will be different in that you, the students, will choose the role models to study and where and how they, and students, have found moral courage. The goal is to develop a plan that will bolster our moral compass, our courage, and our ability to do the right thing, no matter the consequences.

Colonialism and the Caribbean

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This course will explore the legacies of colonialism in the Caribbean. Students will investigate the social, cultural, and economic impact of Colonialism. Course materials will specifically explore Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Students will develop an understanding of colonialism and its lasting impact on a national both politically and economically.

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 has 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.

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.

The Good Life

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

Aristotle called it eudaimonia, which is usually translated as well-being, flourishing, happiness, or fulfillment. What does it mean to live a good life? Do we all agree on what the good life is or should be? Do we need to? Philosophers, priests, economists, and sages in every generation have tried to answer the question, but overwhelmingly it has been answered by men. Do women have a different answer? Coursework will draw upon several religious, philosophical, and folk traditions as students ask the question: what is a life worth living – today – for you? Students examine different models of “the good life” as they practice habits of reflection and action. Students will combine personal reflection with group conversation as they grapple with consequential thinkers and engage in a deep learning experience that prepares them for a concluding exercise in articulating their own vision of “the good life.”

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.

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 and is cross-listed with both the Ethics and Social Justice Departments.

This course will introduce students to systems of social inequality in the United States. Students 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.

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.

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 of the objects themselves and how they fit within the context of their time and place.

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.

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 Juniors and Seniors 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 the question: 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.

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.

U.S. History

Upper School

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 20th century. Extensive use of primary documents familiarizes students with voices of the past, while secondary readings offer students varying interpretations. Students study the influence of geographic features on agricultural and industrial development, foreign policy, and the character of American people. The interaction between the private life of citizens and the public world of government is examined in each unit as students consider how people seek to safeguard their way of life or to press for change and, in doing so, alter the role of government.

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.

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’ understanding of worldwide patterns of interaction from Global Connections, Foundations of the Modern World will zoom in on the world since 1500, beginning with the birth of the modern nation-state. Students will first explore how historians interpret and reinterpret the past, then move into 18th century ideas and revolutions, the causes and effects of global industrialization and imperialism, and global war and peace. The course will culminate with a research project assessing how an individual can impact the world. Within each unit, students will examine how historical themes connect to, and help explain, modern world events as they unfold. Rich content and intentional skill instruction work simultaneously throughout the year, as students engage with a variety of written, visual, and primary and secondary sources, hone their historical thinking skills through developing evidence-based arguments, and communicate their ideas through clear and compelling speaking and writing.

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.

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.

English 12: The Ethel Walker School Visiting Writer Seminar

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5 per semester

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.

English 12: 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: 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: 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: Writing Portfolio and Publication

Upper School

Grade 11, 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: 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: Shakespeare

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Credits: .5

Students will dive deeply into the work of William Shakespeare and investigate his influence on the literature that follows him. 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 Shakespeare’s 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.

Advanced English 12: Literature and Medicine

Upper School

Grade 12

English

Open to Grade 12 with department approval

Credits: 1

“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 write analytically about each work. They will also investigate a related topic of their interest for presentation to the class. Students will have the opportunity to take the AP Literature exam in the spring.

Advanced English: Literature Of Place

Upper School

Grade 11

English

Open to Grade 11 with department approval

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 how place can shape literature. Students will develop their public speaking skills throughout the year. Though the course focuses heavily on American literature and identity, it is not confined by it. Texts may include The Underground Railroad, The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, The Death of a Salesman, Fences, Beloved, Oryx and Crake, and The Tempest, as well as a variety of poetry and essays. A variety of writing assignments including analytical essays, personal response essays, and creative writing are supplemented by shorter, more frequent responses, often on discussion boards. Students who take Advanced English 11 will begin preparation for the AP Literature exam and will continue preparations in Advanced English 12. Students are encouraged to wait until 12th grade to take the AP Literature exam.

English 11: Literature of Place

Upper School

Grade 11

English

Credits: 1

Advanced 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, and Americanah; stories by Melville, Twain, Lahiri, Jackson, Munro, Parker, O’Connor, and Davis; poems by Dickinson, Stevens, Millay, Vuong, Diaz, and Plath; and essays by Rankine, Coates, Dillard, King, and others.

Honors English 10: Literature of Identity

Upper School

Grade 10

English

Open to Grade 10 with department approval

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 an identity that can withstand the slings and arrows of the world outside of itself. We present the students with works by authors from various continents 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, Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Tagore’s A Wife’s Letter, Chopin’s The Awakening, Wharton’s Sanctuary, Woolf’s The Death of the Moth, Allende’s House of the Spirits, Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles’ film Central do Brasil, Roy’s The God of Small Things, Morrison’s Sula, and poetry by Giovanni, Mistral, Du Fu, Szymborska, Amichai, Neruda, Lorca, and Akhmatova.

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 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, and poetry by Du Fu, Szymborska, Amichai, Neruda, Lorca, and Akhmatova.

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, students 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, and Bronte’s Jane Eyre.