English (four years required)
English 9 and Honors English 9
Ninth grade English primarily focuses on contemporary and world literature, from Greek drama and myths to coming-of-age fiction. Students master critical terminology for literary analyses and practice writing skills on impromptu essays and full-length critical responses. Students explore several themes relating to contemporary issues and multicultural themes that carry throughout the entire year from text to text. In addition to conventional literature, students also take time to explore different media, applying similar analytical frameworks. Short units in creative writing linked to the literary choices are also included, as are grammar reviews and vocabulary-building exercises. Students also practice research skills on projects related to several of the year's texts. The Honors English section includes all of the above along with additional works and larger, more ambitious and independent projects.
English 10 and Honors English 10
The central literary focus of this course is British literature, both canonical and contemporary. Students read many literary forms: novels, memoirs, short stories, plays, and poetry. Critical approaches practiced with readings will also be applied to visual complements: graphic novels, cinematic adaptations, live performances, and contemporary parodies. Writing in the tenth grade continues to refine skills in supporting thesis statements with specific details as students concentrate on strengthening both form and content. Prewriting, drafting, and revision are emphasized. Review and practice of grammar is an integral part of the class as is developing broader vocabulary. Students also review responsible and effective methods of library/Internet investigation, note-taking, and documentation in completing a research project involving direct experience with primary sources. The students in Honors English 10 are encouraged to work more independently, and the pace of the reading and assignments is accelerated. Less emphasis is placed on basic comprehension, more on analysis of style as many of the students prepare to move into the Advanced Placement course in Language and Composition.
This course is a survey of American literature designed to help students understand how the world of ideas can shape society. Students develop a working vocabulary of literary and rhetorical terms to aid them in examining the nuances of the texts assigned. As students sharpen their ability to ask questions and draw inferences, they see how language can reinforce content. In addition, students practice research skills by independently investigating a contemporary issue that confronts American society, gathering sources and evaluating their respective positions. They then write a thoughtful editorial that gives voice to their own informed position. As students draft and edit their own writing, they continually review the rules related to grammar and usage to produce polished essays.
AP Language and Composition
In Advance Placement Language and Composition, students learn how to read critically and how to analyze the rhetorical and stylistic devices at work in a wide variety of texts, including creative, persuasive, and expository essays. Specific to this course, students examine how writers use language as a tool to craft their message for a particular audience and to achieve their desired purpose. Students also practice research skills through reading, annotating, and synthesizing essays on a range of contemporary issues. In addition to formal analysis, students also work on developing their own voice, structuring an argument, and giving voice to the stories that have shaped them through personal narratives. A critical goal of this course is to develop strong writers who possess the tools to write effectively in college and in their personal and professional lives.
The senior English course is designed to help students read, enjoy, and analyze texts across historical periods and genres. Students practice a range of writing styles, including literary analyses, personal narratives, original poems and social satires, rhetorical critiques, professional resumes, film analysis, and formal research papers. Furthermore, students are encouraged to view writing as a process and to develop habits of revising their work. Students also continue to build personal vocabulary and grammar skills.
AP Literature and Composition
The AP Literature and Composition course is designed to provide seniors with college-level reading and writing experiences both in the amount of work required and in the high standards expected of that work. Small class sizes facilitate a seminar format: students frequently take responsibility for teaching the material by acting as discussion moderators, by sharing formal and informal written responses, through group projects, and through individual oral presentations or lesson plans. Emphasis is placed on frequent timed writing assignments, and students also prepare for the national AP exam by taking multiple choice question sets and by writing their own AP-style questions for passages and poems. Independent reading assignments and longer six- to eight-page essays also prepare seniors for college-level work.
Creative Writing / Literary Magazine (English elective, open to grades 9-12)
Students may enroll in creative writing as a full-year course for one or more years of their high school career. Taught by well-known published poet and poetry advocate Joel Long, students spend most of the year working on skills to help improve their writing, whether it is poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or drama. Through an extensive series of exercises and guest instructors, students work on honing their craft.
In the latter part of the school year, students in collaboration with their peers in the visual arts and photography, lovingly produce the school’s literary magazine, Tesserae. Tesserae is a consistent winner of the coveted National Council of Teachers of English Programs to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines, in which over 400 schools compete. Tesserae also has won the Magazine Pacemaker Award from the National Scholastic Press Association, “in recognition of general excellence and outstanding achievement by a high school magazine in a national competition.”
Social Science (three years required)
Eastern Civilizations and Honors Eastern Civilizations
Ninth grade history is a study of eastern civilizations and Eurasian geography along the ancient Silk Road(s), from Xi’an, China, the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, to Antioch, Turkey, the western terminus. Each unit of study begins circa 1200 AD, the time in which the Mongols controlled two-thirds of Eurasia. Students then travel both backward and forward in time to learn about essential ancient and modern (WWI era and current) aspects of the region. In addition to Yuan China and Turkey, students learn the history of Mongolia, Israel, Iraq, and Iran. Eastern Civ Honors students study the same countries, but they have more choice in what is studied. There are numerous debates, oral presentations, current events, and independent research projects.
The sophomore Western Civilization course is a one-year survey covering European history from the Classical World through the late twentieth century, with a particular focus on the interconnections between Europe and the broader world. The course emphasizes foundational historical habits of mind and strives to help students approach the study of history in a way that enables them to not only master content, but also to systematically analyze the significance of various historical periods. In this regard, the course stresses interpreting the European past and its legacy by examining major political, social, economic, and cultural trends. By drawing on the textbook, as well as primary sources and scholarly secondary sources, students also develop critical historical thinking and argumentative writing skills, especially the ability to compare and contrast evidence, to examine significant changes over time, and to evaluate historical interpretations.
AP European History
AP European History covers the period from about 1450 to the Cold War era and both help prepare students for a university level European history course and for success on the Advanced Placement European History exam. The course’s primary goals are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European History, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing. In order to accomplish these goals, students will critically read, evaluate, and discuss their textbook, primary sources, and scholarly secondary sources, as they work to understand the major political, social, economic, intellectual, and cultural developments of the European past. In terms of critical thinking and writing, students will apply the comparative method, assess change over time, and synthesize multiple primary sources into persuasive evidence-based arguments (DBQs). Students will frequently practice these writing skills on DBQs and on Free Response thematic essays, which will often be part of end of unit assessments. In the course of mastering the temporal history of the European past, students will also explore different historical approaches, assess divergent interpretations of the past, and develop methods of researching and evaluating historical evidence.
United States History
The primary goal of United States history is to establish a basis for a thoughtful engagement with American history as a whole. The course encompasses American history from the colonial period to the present. In addition to their textbook, students read and analyze primary and scholarly sources. Students develop a solid foundational understanding of the origins of the American nation and the many complexities and conflicts that forged it. In addition, the course fosters critical thinking skills related to reading, analysis, discussion and writing.
AP United States History
Advanced Placement United States History is intended to prepare students for university-level courses in American history. It also serves to provide the factual and analytic basis for success in the Advanced Placement United States History exam. In pursuit of both goals, the course requires students to master the temporal, social, cultural, economic, and political histories of the colonial American colonies and the United States. Historical concepts such as contingency, agency, and positivism are required as analytic tools. In addition, students learn to integrate competing narratives based in race, class, gender, region, party, religion and immigrant status. Chronologically, the course begins before the advent of European contact with the Americas and ends in the first decade of the 21st century. It employs a textbook, primary source materials, art, and scholarly essays to convey not only the intellectual concepts of the past but also the lived experience of each period.
Political science is a full-year elective offered to seniors or juniors through the history department. The course is divided into three subsections that correspond to the change in trimesters. First trimester looks at political philosophy and various political ideologies by examining the philosophical foundations and nature of government through the classical works of individuals like Hobbes, Plato, Machiavelli, Marx, and Rousseau, as well as the contemporary works of feminist and other critical scholars like West, Chomsky, and Foucault. Second trimester is spent examining American political institutions and the U.S. Constitution. Third trimester examines international relations and comparative politics. The class is product driven, with students participating in a variety of role-playing exercises. Students will contribute to all of the following: a mock election and presidential campaign, a mock trial and law school simulation, a mock congress as well as a set of lobbying trips during Utah's legislative session, and a variety of debates. These projects assist students in mastery of critical thinking skills, personal advocacy, and oral speaking skills. Students also master college level writing skills through weekly critiques and a research paper each trimester.
Also may be taken for science credit
The AP Psychology course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the diverse field of psychology and prepare students for the AP Psychology examination. The course explores psychological facts, principles, and theories within each of the major subfields of psychology including, but not limited to, research methodology and statistics, biological bases of behavior, learning, cognition, memory, development, personality theory, and abnormal behavior. Additionally, many topics are examined from differing perspectives within the field including behavioral, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social-cultural, and biological. In addition to extensive testing and essay writing, all students, working in small groups, are required to carry out an empirical research project of their own design. This requires an in-depth literature review of past research, formulation of a testable hypothesis, construction of an experimental research design, collection of empirical data, statistical analyses and interpretation of that data, and a final written report utilizing APA guidelines.
Mathematics (three years required)
A rigorous full-year course for ninth graders who could benefit from extended exposure to and practice with algebraic concepts. This course is also appropriate for students without extensive experience in algebra. Topics include number operations, variables, exponents, properties of numbers, solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, solving and graphing absolute value functions, finding regression lines, scientific notation, exponential functions, quadratic functions including methods of solution, manipulating polynomials, and factoring.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra I
This course provides students with a solid background in planar geometry, integrated with skills developed in Algebra 1. Topics in planar geometry include definitions, postulates, theorems, relationships between angles and lines, congruence, properties of polygons, circles, similarity, and right triangles and trigonometry. Deductive reasoning is developed through the construction of triangle congruence proofs. Discussions of three-dimensional figures include naming polyhedrons, surface area, and volume.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra 1 and Geometry
This course prepares students for the more advanced high school mathematics classes, namely pre-Calculus and calculus. It emphasizes the fundamental mathematical techniques and skills that are essential in calculus and beyond. The main objective of the course is to ensure that students gain a sound comprehension of these important basic skills. In order to achieve such understanding a certain amount of repetitive algebraic practice is required, but where possible the use of technology, projects and experiments are integrated and the students are encouraged to apply the mathematics studied.
The first and second trimesters review the structure and properties of the real number system and extend those concepts to complex numbers. A thorough investigation of the solutions of first- and second-degree equations and inequalities is combined with a study of the properties of functions and graphing. Matrices and polynomials are studied in depth. The third trimester deals with radical equations and exponential, logarithmic, and rational functions. The final topic is trigonometry.
Honors Algebra II
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Compacted Mathematics program in Middle School or sufficient score on Algebra II entrance examination
This course is designed for 9th grade students who intend to complete AP Calculus BC. The honors course covers the material in the Algebra 2 course, and additionally covers conic sections, sequences & series, and trigonometric graphs and equations. There is a greater focus in the honors course on theory and analysis rather than mechanics and solution techniques.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra II
This course invites discovery and exploration, while integrated technology and consistent problem solving strategies help the student develop strong Pre-Calculus skills. The ultimate goal of the course is to ensure that the student is well prepared for Calculus. The visualization and exploration capabilities of technology encourage the student to participate actively in the learning process, to develop their intuitive understanding of mathematical concepts, and to solve problems using actual data. Students learn how to use algebraic functions as a modeling language for real-life problems. Students have opportunities to collect and interpret data, to make conjectures, and to construct mathematical models in examples, exercises, group activities, and chapter projects. The course also focuses on encouraging students to become competent and confident problem solvers. Throughout the course a consistent approach to solving applied problems is taught. Group activities give students the opportunity to work cooperatively as they think, talk, and write about mathematics. The course starts with a comprehensive review of the Cartesian plane and solving equations and inequalities both algebraically and graphically. Polynomials, complex numbers, rational functions, and exponential and logarithmic functions are studied next. These topics are followed by a detailed section on trigonometry, systems of equations and inequalities, and matrices. Sequences and statistics are studied next, and the final topics include analytic geometry and limits, leading to an introduction to Calculus.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Honors Algebra II or teacher recommendation after successful completion of Algebra II
This course is designed for 10th grade students who intend to complete AP Calculus BC. Students will focus on graphs of functions, difference quotients, trigonometric identities and equations, vectors, polar coordinates, and parametric equations. Such topics are key to success on both the AB and BC Calculus exams. As in Honors Algebra 2, the primary focus is on theory and analysis.
AP Calculus AB
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Calculus and teacher recommendation
A full year advanced placement elective. This course is primarily concerned with developing students’ understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. This course emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The connections between these representations are also important.
AB Calculus requires students to implement all mathematical concepts covered in previous high school classes. They must then use these concepts as tools to further their mathematical understanding. Competency in geometry formulae, rational, radical, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions is expected. The graphing calculator is used regularly to reinforce relationships among multiple representations of functions, to confirm written work, to implement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results.
The first month of calculus is dedicated to the study of limit theory. This topic leads to the two main concepts of the course: differentiation and integration. The first trimester is dedicated to the derivative. Topics include definition of the derivative using limits, the fundamental differentiation formulae, tangent lines, rates of change, related rates, optimization, and other applications. The second trimester starts with the study of approximating an area under a curve using Riemann Sums and the Trapezoidal Rule. This leads to the use of limits to find an exact area, and subsequently the definition of the definite integral. The remainder of the course addresses basic integration formulae and associated applications such as velocity and acceleration, exponential growth, and volumes of revolution. Preparation for the AP Calculus AB Examination is one of the main objectives of the class. All students enrolled in the class are expected to take the AP Examination.
AP Calculus BC
Prerequisite: A score of 4 or above on the AP Calculus AB Examination and teacher recommendation
A full year advanced placement elective for students who have successfully completed AP Calculus AB. This rigorous and challenging course is equivalent to two semesters of college calculus.
This course covers all the topics in the AP Calculus AB curriculum, and it also includes additional concepts. Calculus BC is an enhancement of Calculus AB; common topics require a greater depth of understanding. For instance, the study of limits in BC includes formal proofs involving epsilon and delta tolerance statements. AB topics include limit theory, the definition of the derivative using limits, basic derivative formulae, and applications including finding the tangent line to the graph of a function, related rates, and optimization. The remainder of the AB course focuses on finding the area under a curve using limits and hence defining the integral, basic integration formulae, and applications such as volumes of revolution. Additional BC topics include analysis of planar curves in parametric, polar, and vector form as well as advanced integration techniques, vector fields, and infinite series.
The general goals of this class are to encourage students to communicate mathematics both orally and in well-written sentences. They should be able to model a written description of a physical situation with a function, a differential equation, or an integral. Students should develop an appreciation of calculus as a coherent body of knowledge and as a human accomplishment. Technology is used regularly to reinforce relationships among the multiple representations of functions, to confirm written work, to implement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results. Through the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling, the course becomes a cohesive whole rather than a collection of unrelated topics. Classroom time allows for lectures, independent problem solving, and group work on more difficult problems. Preparation for the AP Calculus BC Examination is one of the main objectives of the class.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Calculus and teacher recommendation
A full year advanced placement elective for students who have successfully completed Pre-Calculus. The course is equivalent to a one-semester, introductory, non-calculus-based college course in Statistics. This course includes four major components. The first component introduces the principals and tools of data analysis; the goal is to use real data, so that data are not just numbers, but numbers with a context. This enables students to communicate conclusions in words and to judge whether conclusions are sensible. The strategies, not just the skills are emphasized. The second component focuses on producing data involving the design of experiments and methods of simulation. Probability and the study of randomness are addressed next, and the related probability calculations provide the basis for inference, the final component of the course. The students learn how to select appropriate models and to express their confidence in their selection using suitable probability language. The goals of the class are to emphasize statistical thinking, to foster active learning, and to present more data and concepts with less theory and fewer recipes. Important components include the use of technology, projects, and cooperative group problem solving as part of a concept-oriented instruction and assessment. Students are encouraged to build interdisciplinary connections with other subjects and with the world outside the classroom. Preparation for the AP Statistics Examination is one of the main objectives of the class.
Applications of Mathematics
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra II
Students in Math Applications focus on Personal Finance, using mathematical concepts and algorithms to illuminate lessons. Personal Finance is divided into seven units: (1) Budgeting, Banking, and the U.S. Economy; (2) Investing; (3) Retirement Planning; (4) Housing; (5) Taxes; (6) Debt; and (7) Insurance. These units are taught in the first and third trimesters. During the last weeks of the school year, students will read “current events” articles pertaining to these issues to enhance their understanding. The second trimester is dedicated to a service-learning project. Students study materials provided by the IRS and take a test to become certified volunteer income tax preparers. All students are expected to volunteer some hours during February and March preparing income tax returns for low-income people in the community.
AP Economics - Social Science Credit
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra II
The AP Economics course is a combination of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, each of which comprises approximately half the school year. Two separate AP exams are offered: AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics, and it is expected that students will take both exams. The Microeconomics portion covers (1) basic economic concepts, such as opportunity cost, incentives, and marginal analysis; (2) the nature and function of product markets; (3) factor markets, such as labor and capital; and (4) market failure and the role of government. The Macroeconomics portion covers (1) measurements of economic performance; (2) national income and price determination; (3) the financial sector, including money supply and demand; (4) inflation, unemployment, and stabilization policies; (5) economic growth and productivity; and (6) open economy, international trade and finance.
Science (three years required)
Biology and Honors Biology
This course is designed to encourage students to pursue other sciences, to integrate other disciplines into the study of life, to use laboratory techniques to solve problems, and to establish a solid foundation in biology. Topics of discussion include ecology, evolution, genetics, plant and animal anatomy and physiology, reproduction, and molecular and cell biology. Students also are instructed in proper laboratory technique, collection of samples and field data, analysis of field data, and further development of problem solving skills. Modalities of instruction include play-acting, physical and conceptual models, labs, lectures, film, active reading, and nightly homework. Each term of honors biology presents a different challenge: fall term includes a biome research paper with two field research trips; winter term includes a DNA Paper where an experiment where gel electrophoresis play a part; spring term presents the wooden kinetic model to demonstrate a biological event. The Honors section is more rigorous, emphasizing more topics of study and greater depth in each. Both the regular and honors sections will begin the year with a four-day field study of the desert ecosystem in southern Utah.
Prerequisite: Freshman biology, chemistry
This college-level survey follows the Advanced Placement syllabus. Major topics include cellular and molecular biology, physiology, evolution, bio diversity, populations, and ecology. Emphasis is placed on history and process of science and the scientific method. Students practice science with experimental labs, dissections, and natural history observation. Students will use modern research tools including gel electrophoresis and restriction digest. The course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Exam.
The sophomore chemistry course curriculum serves as an introduction to the following chemical concepts: the nature of matter, atoms, molecules, energy, and chemical reactions. Students are taught through demonstrations, lectures, laboratory experiments, and data collection. Students will learn how to collect data using a variety of instruments such as the pH meter, balances, and calorimeters. Emphasis is on the interrelationship between technology and the fields of math, science, and history.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of chemistry
AP chemistry is a college level course for highly motivated students who have been successful in science and math. Major topics include the structure of matter, inorganic and organic chemical reactions, rates and equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. This course incorporates laboratory experiences and prepares students to take the AP Chemistry exam.
Physics I and Physics II
Physics I is an algebra-based course and physics II is an algebra II / trigonometry-based course
Both courses are based on guided inquiry and follow the guidelines of the Modeling Physics pedagogy. The methodology allows students to become active learners and helps in the development of the student's problem solving and critical thinking skills. Modeling Physics is supported by the National Science Foundation and meets the National Science Standards. Major topics include mechanics, properties of matter, waves, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and the theory of relativity. Equations, which are important in any physics course, are used as guides to thinking, rather than as recipes for plugging in numbers to generate an answer. The course is centered on several laboratory activities that lead to fundamental concepts in physics. Laboratory investigations help the student to appreciate the art of experimentation and learn important skills such as measuring, observing, and collaborating with peers. Students are introduced to a problem that relates to a physical phenomenon. They proceed to solve the problem through experimentation, analyze data, and draw a conclusion. From this, related scientific laws and theories are introduced.
AP Physics B
Prerequisite: Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in calculus, successful completion of physics II
AP physics B is a laboratory based course that is designed for students who are academically competitive, independent thinkers and learners, and can meet the criteria of its rigorous pace and expectations. These students must also display a sincere interest in mathematics and physical phenomena. The course introduces students to a broad range of physics topics. These topics include mechanics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. The material is presented at a trigonometry and pre-calculus based mathematics level. Although emphasis is placed on lectures and analytic problem solving skills, time is also invested in laboratories and hands-on demonstrations. This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics exam.
Combining biology, chemistry, ecology and politics, this class explores the relationship between humans and the natural world. It is designed to synthesize these disciplines through research, essays and discussions. In combination with the lecture component of the class, students will monitor study sites near the campus, provide research results and explore issues through discussion with professionals. Students will understand the importance of sound scientific research to assess the condition of the environment and will learn to question research data critically. The class is designed for eleventh and twelfth grade students interested in expanding their liberal arts experience beyond the regular science classes.
Also may be taken for history credit
The AP Psychology course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the diverse field of psychology, and prepare students for the AP Psychology examination. The course explores psychological facts, principles, and theories within each of the major sub fields of psychology including, but not limited to, research methodology and statistics, biological bases of behavior, learning, cognition, memory, development, personality theory, and abnormal behavior. Additionally, many topics are examined from differing perspectives within the field including behavioral, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social-cultural, and biological. In addition to extensive testing and essay writing, all students, working in small groups, are required to carry out an empirical research project of their own design. This requires an in-depth literature review of past research, formulation of a testable hypothesis, construction of an experimental research design, collection of empirical data, statistical analyses and interpretation of that data, and a final written report utilizing APA guidelines.
Robotics will be an introduction to programming class. Using Robot C programming language to introduce the students to the C++ programming language. 1st and 2nd trimesters; preference is to be given to seniors and juniors. 3rd trimester: Open to students, grades nine through eleven. No seniors. 1/3 science elective credit.
World Languages (two years of same language required)
Pleae note: The Latin program in te Upper School is in the process of being phased out. Students entering Rowland Hall in the 2012-2013 school year who want to enroll in Latin must be capable of beginning at Level III or higher. Latin will remain available in grades 6-8.
The primary objective of this course is to complete the study of most of the grammatical concepts necessary to read the works of the great Roman writers who have heavily influenced the course of civilization. In addition to the glimpses into Roman society the text provides, cultural material is introduced in English at appropriate times. The development of listening, speaking, and writing skills continues, but the emphasis gradually shifts more heavily to reading and translation in this class.
The basic objective of this course is to progress in reading, understanding, and interpreting Latin in the original. Students review vocabulary and grammar covered in previous Latin courses and finish studying usage of the subjunctive. They also become familiar with the format and types of questions asked on the Latin SAT subject test. They will become more proficient in sight-reading. In the course of the year they will learn to read poetry with correct pronunciation and in metric rhythm. Students translate the prose author Petronius and the poetry of Ovid and Vergil.
AP Latin Literature
This course is designed for students preparing to take the AP Literature exam, focusing on the syllabi for the examination on Vergil. The emphasis on proficiency in sight-reading is continued, and multiple-choice portions of previous AP exams are administered throughout the year. All lines on the AP syllabus are translated first as homework assignments and again in class. Each student is responsible for teaching at least one passage from Vergil’s epic. Test questions are largely taken from previous AP exams and are graded using the standards published for those questions.
The goal of the French program is to teach all age-appropriate material for mastery. All classes, from January of first year French, are conducted in French with English used only in translating. The end goal is to prepare the students sufficiently so that French is a language through which literature, world events, and social questions can be discussed. Students may be placed in a level higher or lower than indicated by their grade.
French I is designed to give students an understanding of basic sentence structure. This sentence structure will include direct and indirect object pronouns and elementary negations as they fit into usage with the three basic first-year verb tenses: the present, the passé’ compose, and the future. How to form questions with the above tenses will be included. The three verb families will be taught extensively as well as a wide variety of irregular verbs. Vocabulary will include everyday nouns from a variety of situational settings. Examples include clothing, food, household items, and destination. This vocabulary will be taught in conjunction with definite, indefinite, relative pronouns, the partitive, and contractions. Students will also learn adjective agreement and placement. Through the above-mentioned vocabulary, the class will study cultural aspects of the Francophone world and geography. By January of every year, the class will be taught entirely in French, and the students will be required to use only French in the classroom.
All classes of French II are in the target language. French I material is reviewed for the first six weeks after which the following tenses are introduced and practiced: the imperfect, the conditional, the pluperfect, the past conditional, and the present participle. As well, a variety of prepositions requiring the infinite are taught. In conjunction with all of these tenses “si clauses” are taught. A great deal of oral practice through skits, class drills, and extra credit activities in class emphasize the use of these tenses. Idiomatic expressions are sprinkled throughout the year with the bulk extensively taught in the later part of the year. Vocabulary builds up throughout the year. Francophone cultures are taught through films, lectures, and some readings. Adverbs are added as well.
A review of French II takes place during the first trimester. The passé simple and subjunctive tenses are introduced at the end of the first trimester and studied in the second trimester. Relative pronouns, y, en, and increased idiomatic expressions are added. In the third trimester, beginning readings are introduced through magazine articles, La Chevre de Monsieur Sequin, Le Petit Prince, and Asterix comic books. This is in preparation for the literature class.
French Literature is composed of two one-year revolving courses so that students who prefer to continue literature for a second year rather than take AP may take two years of literature without rereading anything. Essay writing and discussions of philosophy are principal components of the course. Students study the following works:
L’Etranger Albert Camus
Cyrano de Bergerac Edmond Rostand
Huis Clos Jean-Paul Sartre
Selections from: Les Aurores Montreales (Monigue Proulx), Lettres de Mon Moulin (Alphonse Daudet), Contes Choisis (Guy de Maupassant)
Poetry by Jacques Prevert, Rimbaud, and Verlaine
Film Study: “Les Amis du Chambon,” Au Revior, Les Enfants”
AP French involves an intensive review of all grammar from preceding years and an intensive study of idiomatic expressions and specialized vocabulary. Students can expect independent reading, newspaper and magazine article reading, essay writing, and recording work. The class will take many sample AP tests.
If students begin their language study in high school, then the Spanish I program consists of present tense, preterite, and simple future (regular and irregular verbs), vocabulary, idioms, and special cultural topics that present opportunities to apply grammar and introduce students to speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Students then continue with the subsequent levels of language study.
At this level the focus is on a systematic development of the four language skills of listening for comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing to reinforce the structure of the language. The goal is to move students toward “communicative competence.” These four language skills are presented within the context of everyday life and the Spanish-speaking world (including the US.) and its culture. The classroom format for Level I includes the following: interactive activities, oral question and answer segments, short dialogues, skits, etc. The students are expected to speak in Spanish during the class period with infrequent exceptions from 3rd trimester of Level I. The grammatical structures for simple present and past are presented along with basic vocabulary and idioms. All grammar will be sequenced throughout the language levels. Mastery of this material is essential for progression to the next language level.
The focus continues to include the four language skills (listening for comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing) with an increased emphasis on the more complex grammatical structures. This course includes a review of the simple present and past as well as the progression to the imperfect past, the future and conditional, and the compound structures of present perfect and past perfect. Grammar is used as a tool to achieve communication competence. In addition to similar teaching techniques (interactive activities, question and answer segments, and so forth) students at Level II have the opportunity to increase their language learning through participation in conversation topics and projects. For example, students have the opportunity to do an interview of a native speaker and later in the year participate in an interdisciplinary study of and presentation on a South American country. At this level, students are expected to be speaking in Spanish during the class with infrequent exceptions.
This course continues to introduce students to the Spanish language with more advanced grammatical structures and vocabulary, while continuing to review past structures learned in previous Spanish classes. Communication is stressed by focusing on the four language learning skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish. Students will continue to develop an appreciation and understanding of the Spanish-speaking world and its varied traditions and histories, particularly through various reading texts (short stories, poetry, and articles on cultural aspects).
This advanced course offers a review of many of the difficult grammatical structures learned in previous classes. Special emphasis is placed on reading, writing, and classroom discussion. Students will read a variety of Spanish and Latin American literature (plays, short stories, novels, and poetry) by a variety of authors including Federico García Lorca, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez Alejandro Casona, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, and Ana María Matute. History and cultural texts are also used, including Carlos Fuentes’ El espejo enterrado. Students also read and discuss various articles on Hispanic and U.S current affairs and are given many opportunities to hear a variety of native accents through authentic materials such as podcasts and Spanish-language websites. Classes will periodically receive visits from native Spanish-speakers from the community. Students will continue to learn about culture through music and film. Finally, they will participate in local community service using Spanish. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish.
This course is an intensive review of the Spanish language, from basic through advanced material. The further development of the four language learning skills will continue to be stressed in preparation for taking the AP Exam in May. Students will acquire a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Spanish-speaking world and its varied traditions and histories. They will continue to read, interpret, and discuss works of literature as well as current affairs. A variety of authentic materials are used throughout the school year, including podcasts, websites (BBC Mundo, El País) and Américas Magazine. Students will also participate in a variety of advanced projects, presentations, skits, as well as local service opportunities using Spanish. Classes will receive visits from native Spanish-speakers. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish.
Rowland Hall introduced Mandarin Chinese to its world language offerings in 2009 in recognition of our ever changing global society. Mandarin Chinese has been embraced by the Rowland Hall community and plans are on track to offer AP Mandarin Chinese in the 2013-2014 school year.
Mandarin Chinese I
This beginning Mandarin Chinese course is intended for students with no prior knowledge of any Chinese dialect or written Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect and is the national standard language of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). This course will introduce the Chinese Pinyin romanization system: tones, rules of phonetic spelling, and pronunciation; Chinese characters: creation and evolution, stroke order, structure, the writing system, and calligraphic techniques. Reading and writing skills are introduced and students develop basic skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Mandarin Chinese II
Students continue to develop and master the essential linguistic skills requires for listening, speaking, reading and writing. The structure of the class focuses on learning the basic grammar and vocabulary elements by studying language in authentic contexts using simplified Chinese characters and Pinyin. Oral/aural drills, role-playing skits, group activities, conversation, multi-media resources, and realia are used to reinforce individual and collaborative effort. Students also develop an introductory understanding of the history and culture of China.
Mandarin Chinese III
Students will further develop the four essential linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing by expanding the grammatical structures and vocabulary studied in Chinese I and Chinese II. The ongoing mastery of vocabulary and grammar introduced at each level is essential for future success in Chinese. Oral/aural drills, oral presentations, role-playing skits, question and answer practice, conversation, compositions, group activities, multi-media resources, and realia are utilized to reinforce grammar concepts and sentence structure. Individual and collaborative efforts are essential factors for the development of proficiency. Students also continue to explore the history and culture of China.
Mandarin Chinese IV
This advanced course will further develop the four essential linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing for students. We will emphasize the grammatical structures while expending the vocabulary studied before. The topics will move to more abstract subject matter. In addition to spoken style, more written style expressions are gradually introduced in this level. Chinese history and culture are also integrated.
Physical Education (two years required)
The physical education program is designed to encourage all students to strive for and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives. To that end, Upper School physical education is that phase of a student’s education concerned with the teaching of physical skills, acquiring knowledge of all aspects of physical fitness and the development of fitness and positive attitude through activity. The curriculum also promotes the “fun” aspect of participation in physical activities and provides enjoyment through involvement in a variety of individual and team sports.
The physical education program at Rowland Hall has two primary components: (1) physical education classes, which include instruction and skill development in a number of lifetime activities (team and individual sports) as well as basic fitness and (2) interscholastic athletics.
Physical Education Requirements - All students in grades nine and ten are required to participate in physical education classes or on an athletic team during each trimester. Alternative arrangements, such as a deferral, may be granted to a student who has scheduling conflicts or to juniors who intend to continue with an interscholastic team during the senior year. Student evaluation is based on active participation including proper dress for the activity, a display of good sports citizenship, appropriate behavior and a respect for others in the class (75% of grade); ten percent of the grade is determined by the students’ ability to perform sports specific skills and on the improvement shown in this area during the trimester; and fifteen percent of the grade is calculated based on performance on a written or oral test over the information taught during a unit of activity.
A trimester course that meets physical education requirements for all students. Students in this one-trimester course will acquire skills in a number of sports activities that promote fitness and the importance of a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime. Course curriculum is developed each trimester based on the interest and skill level of the participants, as well as availability of facilities, class size and teacher expertise. A potential list of activities includes volleyball, flag football, soccer, basketball, team handball, modified lacrosse, softball, floor hockey, weight training, tennis, golf, bowling, badminton, Pickleball, Ultimate Frisbee, circus arts, adventure education, and other recreational games.
A trimester course that meets physical education requirement for all students. Students in this one-trimester course participate in an organized, systematic program of weight training three times per week as well as a rigorous running, jumping, and flexibility regime twice per week. Regular fitness testing is incorporated in an effort to give students feedback on their progress in all areas of fitness (strength, flexibility, speed, explosive power, endurance). Students will develop an individual fitness plan in conjunction with a regularly scheduled classroom component centered on discussion of all aspects of fitness and the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
Fine Art (one and 1/3 years required)
Studio Art I, Studio Art II
The goal of these sequential studio art classes is to provide understanding of and experience in a variety of art media and techniques. Studio Art I and II offer opportunities for students to learn and explore drawing, painting, printmaking, assemblage, sculpture, computer design, and color theory through a variety of projects. Each class strives to create a challenging and positive environment that places concepts, materials, tools, and understanding in the hands of the student. Students actively explore both two-dimensional design and three-dimensional construction including group projects such as installations. Art historical perspectives are continually reinforced as are issues presented through contemporary art. Collaboration with other disciplines is embraced when appropriate.
Advanced Topics (11 or 12)
Advanced Studio Topics, a class taken in the junior or senior year provides a challenging year-long academic study of the visual arts. Students enrolled are introduced to a wide variety of art making media in a structured environment. They are challenged to find individual solutions to projects that meet the criteria of well rendered, well conceived, thoughtful artistic study and practice. The resulting student works demonstrate a year of technical and conceptual achievement, and in some cases provides the individual artist a foundation on which to pursue more self-guided discovery in AP Studio Art Grade 12.
AP Studio Art (12)
AP Studio Art is a class offered to art students in grade twelve who are thinking seriously about careers in visual art and the pursuit of Visual art at the university level. Students are challenged to find individual solutions to projects that require a growing level of creativity, and confidence. The goals of this one year of AP Studio Art are twofold: to prepare motivated students for the Advanced Placement Studio Art exam and submission of a comprehensive portfolio of work in May, and to provide the serious student of art a rich and rewarding experience that provides a better understanding of the demands made by strenuous studio practice and consistent production of work.
The goal of this class is to introduce students to three-dimensional design using clay as a medium. Students are introduced to both wheel techniques and hand building including coils, slabs, and pinch pots, and master the concept of each technique to feel comfortable using them interchangeably to solve problems posed in class. In learning about a new method (hand building or throwing), the class is introduced to an historical background of the origin of this method. Students learn about cultures from around the world, different clay artists, new ceramic terms, properties of clay and glaze, the firing process, and equipment used in the studio. The balance of this learning is achieved through hands-on projects where students make pieces of their own and are required to apply these new techniques.
Prerequisite: One trimester ceramics
Students explore in greater depth various ceramic forming techniques, glaze preparation, and kiln firing methods in order to resolve basic technical problems. Students have a chance to demonstrate a sense of individuality in their own work and learn to respect their uniqueness and that of classmates. Students will refine analytical skills to critique work of their own and other ceramic artists. They learn terminology that is adequate to discuss and write about works of art. Students develop and expand their visual arts knowledge and skills to express their ideas imaginatively. Students are exposed to various ceramic works (through slides) and develop a base for making informed aesthetic judgments. Students develop ceramic skills by demonstrating proper procedures for preparing, forming, drying, and decorating clay. Techniques used in constructing clay pieces consist of soft slab, hard slab, coil, pinch, wheel-thrown, and combinations of two or more techniques.
The goal of the Graphic Design class is to allow students to practice and develop knowledge in a wide range of digital and conceptual design skills. The emphasis is on designing as a process with focus on using the computer as a tool to create original design work. Students will work with digital photography, vectors, product designs, and print layouts. In addition to designing their own work, experiences are provided to promote the understanding of the history and tradition of graphic design.
Advanced Graphic Design
The Advanced Graphic Design Class incorporates skills developed in previous graphic design classes with advanced techniques in animation, video, and production. In addition to furthering students design skills, the class operates as a graphic design studio, creating print, video and digital work for the Rowland Hall community.
The photography class teaches the basic skills necessary to produce quality black and white photographic prints. Students will expose, develop, and print their own photographic prints in the darkroom and go on short field trips to take photographs. In addition to technical acuity, the students will be led to an appreciation of the history of photography and become articulate about the impact ideas have in their daily lives.
The Advanced Photography Class incorporates digital photography, Zone System theory, master printing and portfolio production techniques. Students in the advanced class are expected to produce a final portfolio and to participate in critiques.
Yearbook class is primarily a laboratory for the production of a high school yearbook. The staff of the yearbook will be required to plan, design, write, photograph, edit, and publish the Hallmark. Students will be required to work individually and in teams to complete required pages before deadlines.
Instrumental Music/Jazz Band
Prerequisite: Instructor permission
In this class students will develop a better understanding of jazz through both performance and study of jazz styles and musicians. During rehearsals band members are provided the opportunity to improve their skills in reading and interpreting music notation, improvisation, and articulation of musical notes and phrases. Evaluation of students is based on a combination of elements including quality of performances, behavior, and focus in rehearsals, and occasional written quizzes and exams on various music/jazz topics and skills.
Chorus serves three main purposes: to provide an opportunity for students who wish to perform as part of a choral group, to provide music for various school functions, and to help students develop and expand their vocal and other musical skills. Through the study and performance of choral music of many different periods, styles, and degrees of difficulty students learn how to sing with accuracy, expression, and style. Skills such as singing the correct pitch, proper vocal tone, correct breathing and posture, knowledge of music terms, balance and blend, diction, and proper rehearsal and performance behavior are all included. Students also gain an appreciation for performers of all types of music, become critical listeners, and more informed music consumers. Performances over the course of the school year may include music department concerts, chapel services, fine arts concerts, region festivals and competitions, and the traditional Candle and Carol service.
Theatre at Rowland Hall in the Middle and Upper School is production driven, with each term offering one or more theatre productions for students to participate in. Any student who wishes to be in the production may do so, simply by enrolling in the class.
Musical Theatre (Fall Term)
The class and the production are open to any student in the Middle or Upper School. Participants in musical theatre can expect to do a lot of singing, acting and dance. Auditions and casting for lead roles occurs in the spring, (late April / early May) allowing students placed as leads to work with privately engaged voice teachers over the summer. This is not a requirement, but most leads choose to return to school in September confident in their ability, having done so. Students new to theatre, students new to Rowland Hall, and students with beginning or intermediate level skills are cast in the ensemble.
• Musical theatre requires a significant commitment on the part of the student. Participants should have a schedule that permits them to attend after school rehearsals each day.
• Both theatre and sports are reliant on every member of a team being present. For those heavily involved in a sport, attempting to do both sports and the musical (and balance school work) is not practical.
Ragazzi (6-12, Winter Term)
Ragazzi undertakes non-musical productions – drama or comedy. The class and the production are open to any student in the Middle or Upper School. Casting for roles occurs during the first two weeks of class / rehearsals. Students are placed in roles based on ability, experience, their availability and the needs of the production.
• Ragazzi requires a significant commitment on the part of the student. Participants should have a schedule that permits them to attend after school rehearsals each day.
• Both theatre and sports are reliant on every member of a team being present. For those heavily involved in a sport, attempting to do both sports and the musical (and balance school work) is not practical.
Rag and Bone Theatre (Spring Term)
Rag and Bone Theatre is a Middle School only company. Any student may participate; beginning, intermediate and advanced level actors. Rag and Bone theatre undertakes plays designed for a very young (elementary age) audience. Casting for roles occurs during the first two weeks of class / rehearsals. Students are placed in roles based on ability, experience, their availability and the needs of the production. There are no after school rehearsals.
• Given there are no after school rehearsals – participants must have a schedule that permits them to be present during class and not called away to attend sports or other outside interests.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Students audition for admittance into the Conservatory in the spring trimester
Rock Paper Scissors is an Upper School only collaborative theatre company - open to any student. Class + rehearsals are after school; this and a short turn around time from beginning to performance, just six weeks, suggest students with busy lives, engaged in other after school activities, may not be good candidates for participation in Rock Paper Scissors. No audition is required. Casting assignments are made based on students' previously demonstrated abilities with an eye towards presenting each participant with role that will challenge.
• Given class and rehearsals meet only after school – participants must have a schedule that permits them to be present and not called away to attend sports or other outside interests.
Stage Crew is a class designed to introduce students to the intricacies of working backstage in a theatrical, musical, or dance performance. Students receive hands-on learning in lighting and sound, deck (stage) crew, and stage management. As a hands-on class students can expect to engage in physical work that from time to time includes some heavy lifting of staging and set pieces. Beginning members are assigned to deck crew and may rotate to lighting or sound after fulfilling one term on deck. There is an expectation (requirement) that stage crew students make themselves available to attend and assist in rehearsals and performances, dependant on the staffing needs of a show.
Dance Ensemble II (9, 10)
Training one's technical skill continues to be the focus. This class prepares students to find a place in the Upper School program even if dance has not previously been their primary focus. Students execute full pieces of mature choreography. Choreography is provided mostly by the teacher. Students are expected to provide substantial phrases of choreography and create public informal showings to explore choreography as a medium. Execution of complex and intricate technical steps are primary. Structured improvisation and compositional assignments are used only to support the goal of performing and choreographing not as a means for performance.
Dance Ensemble III (10, 11)
Dance is a universal language, an expressive and vibrant art with the capacity to unify the physical, mental, social, emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual. This dance course builds dance knowledge and skills in technique, improvisation, choreography, artistic expression, performance, history, culture, life skills, and connections to other curricular areas. Students continue rigorous technical training and begin to improvise within complex structures and without structure to find their own creative voice. Students create their own pieces of choreography in collaboration with peers and with the guidance of the teacher.
Dance Ensemble IV (11, 12)
Dance is a universal language, an expressive and vibrant art with the capacity to unify the physical, mental, social, emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual. This dance course builds dance knowledge and skills in technique, improvisation, choreography, artistic expression, performance, history, culture, life skills, and connections to other curricular areas. This a performing company where production and performance are the main focus. Leaders are elected to take charge of many simultaneous choreographic, production, and administrative projects.
Ethics (one trimester required)
This survey course is an inquiry into ethical theories, both historical and applied. Students analyze, discuss, write, and reflect about moral dilemmas and situations within the context of a wide range of topical issues. Students also examine everyday ethical conflicts and how as individuals we make choices about how we ought to live and act. Students are encouraged to articulate their own views and engage in conversation with others to honor and appreciate differing viewpoints. To explore the implications for personal and social responsibility, ethics students are required to complete a 20/20 term paper with a reflection and analysis component.
World Religions (one trimester required)
This course surveys some of the major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, by exploring the history, tradition, worship, belief and praxis of these various traditions. It will also consider the similarities and relationships among these traditions in order to gain an appreciation for the richness of each. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of these world faiths through lectures, videos, class discussion, research, writing, and an occasional visit to a place of worship. Students will also have the opportunity to encounter different religions through personal interviews and worship experiences.
Health Education (three trimesters required)
Health classes provide students with a solid base of information on which to make life decisions filtered through the lens of values provided by individual families. The information provided is thorough and up-to-date, and discussion is open. Questions are encouraged and entertained insofar as answers are appropriate to the direction of the class, the maturity level of the students, and aid in dispelling common myths or stereotypes. The courses stress a holistic approach to health and the importance of personal responsibility as it relates to choices regarding health care, disease prevention, and healthy lifestyle. Service is an important component of the class and acts as a vehicle by which students can apply core concepts.
Health: Skills for Transition (9th grade)
Skills for Transition is the first of a three-part series of health courses geared toward providing students with the skills necessary to make positive decisions regarding their personal health during the transition from Middle School to Upper School. The ninth grade class will focus on personal responsibility with respect to self and others as it addresses the following topics: consumer nutrition including the New Food Pyramid, how to read the labels on products in the store, various preservatives, hidden ingredients, and artificial ingredients; substance abuse including the effects of drugs on one and one's society, the safe use of legal over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and scientific information regarding various illicit drugs and their effects on one's body; human sexuality with regard to positive relationships, abstinence, teen pregnancy, basic contraception, and alternate sexualities; and finally, violence prevention and safety including conflict management and resolution, anger management and, knowing and escaping unsafe environments. The development of inner directed, motivated decision-making skills is the goal of the health curriculum.
Health II: Healthy Lifestyles (10th grade)
The Healthy Lifestyles course is geared toward and required of all sophomores. The course covers the following: positive self-esteem, physiology of stress, stress management, depression and suicide, coping strategies, principles of exercise and fitness, sleep and dreaming, gender roles, abstinence, sexual respect, contraception, abusive relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, communicable diseases, chronic disease, disease prevention and positive life choices. A key strand that flows through all of the topics is the importance of one’s personal responsibility for one’s own choices and actions.
Health III: Adolescent Issues (11th or 12th grades)
Adolescent Issues is a required course taken during the junior year. The course covers general life skills for college, reproductive anatomy, fetal development, identity development, positive relationships, and maintenance of healthy relationships, escaping abusive relationships, responsible sexuality, abortion, HIV/AIDS, rape/date rape, body image, and available community resources. The following are discussed using gender and cultural theory: issues of power and control, gender construction/performativity, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender issues, social binaries, body image/disorders, violent masculinity, and the influence of pop culture and media on all of the above.
Advanced Placement Courses
Rowland Hall offers a full range of AP courses, and every graduate of the school in recent years has taken at least one AP course (average of two APs for four-year graduates). Juniors may take no more than two AP courses, and seniors may take no more than three AP courses, without making a written request to the academic department chairs committee, and receiving that group’s approval. Students enrolled in AP courses must take the corresponding AP exam(s) in May. The AP courses offered by the school are detailed in the curriculum subject areas and listed below:
AP Language and Composition
AP Literature and Composition
AP United States History
AP European History
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Latin Literature
AP Studio Art
AP Music Theory
Yearbook class is primarily a laboratory for the production of a high school yearbook. The staff of the yearbook will be required to plan, design, write, photograph, edit, and publish The Hallmark. Students will be required to work individually and in teams to complete required pages before deadlines.
Student Council is an academic elective course that teaches fundamental leadership skills of planning, organizing, scheduling, goal setting, decision-making, time management, and leadership styles. Students put these skills into action by developing and maintaining the student activities calendar including morning meeting, assemblies, dances fundraising, service projects, and student elections. The student council class is based on the philosophy that leadership skills can be learned, and that leadership talents should be encouraged and developed.
Debate prepares students for competition and travel on the local and national level in team debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, student congress, and a number of individual speaking events (i.e. impromptu, extemporaneous, oratory, dramatic, and humorous interpretation). Students use nationally selected topics, as well as chosen topics, to develop their public speaking skills, learn rules of rhetoric and argumentation, develop critical thinking skills, learn about philosophy and the workings of policy making, master research skills, and develop a genuine sense of advocacy.