Upper School (7-12)
Typical 12th grade math students take calculus. Calculus is open to advanced and very advanced math students in the Upper School who show exceptional mastery and understanding of Algebra and Geometry.
Typical 11th grade math students take Precalculus. Advanced Upper School math students can be accelerated if they have demonstrated mastery of Algebra and Geometry.
Typical 9th grade math students take Geometry. Advanced 8th grade and very advanced 7th grade math students who have demonstrated solid algebraic thinking skills take Geometry.
Typical 8th grade math students take Algebra. Advanced 7th grade students take Algebra with the 8th graders.
Seventh and 8thgrade math students not yet ready for Algebra complete the Math in Focus (Singapore math) program used in the Lower School.
Half of our math students complete Calculus before 12th grade and move on to a more open-ended exploration of mathematics across multiple domains, including advanced Calculus II integration, topology, graph theory, combinatorics, statistics, and the like.
Seventh to 12th grade students with a focus on either engineering or creative design learn to virtually model 3D shapes using Blender, an advanced, open-source 3D modeling application.
Prototyping is intended for 7th to 12th grade students with a focus on creative and industrial design. Students learn traditional modeling and prototyping skills, such as how to work with plasticine clay and casting molds in silicone.
The Upper School Engineering classes focus on both the practical aspects of modern engineering (including electronics) and the principles of physics behind technology (in EM kinematics). Students are introduced to and practice how to apply Ohm's Law. They work with Arduinos to create products with a distinct human objective. The interdisciplinary and core humanistic concepts of MESH™ are emphasized. The course is offered at two levels, for middle school and for high school.
Applied Logic (Programming)
Students in the Upper School with an engineering focus take weekly classes in Programming alongside a required course in Formal Logic. Typically, these students continue to learn the basics of object-oriented, Java programming using Greenfoot. Advanced students start working in either NetBeans or Eclipse IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
Computer Science is for 10th to 12th graders who intend to pursue a software engineering career and who are already (near) fluent in at least one programming language. Students learn how to implement efficient algorithms for sorting, searching, and other common programmatic tasks.
Seventh to 12th grade students with an interest in and advanced understanding of social sciences or dynamic organisms take Biology. The course is offered at two levels and begins with an emphasis on biological systems as a whole. Students then consider the preeminent principle of the field: the biological survival instinct. They investigate how the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics dictates many of the behaviors of organisms, as well as how energy flows through the environment and forces organisms to constantly be on the hunt for good energy sources. Students who have demonstrated an understanding of organic systems move on to Biology II. In Biology II, students focus on genetics and biochemistry. Students learn to use trionocular microscopes and practice DNA/RNA sequencing using our thermocycler.
Eighth to 12th grade students with an interest in the elements of the periodic table (and how the elements react under different circumstances) can take Chemistry I or II. Students in Chemistry I learn to understand the underlying periodicity of elements, the structure of atoms, and their valency properties that cause substances to react with each other. They practice stochiometry and use algebra to predict interactions between substances. Students have access to a fumehood for safely performing potentially volatile experiments. Students in Chemistry II move on to study more complex organic reactions.
Eighth to 12th grade students with a focus on engineering and fundamental science study Physics. This course places a heavy emphasis on making physics problems solvable using mathematics, logic, and heuristic methods (such as Fermi estimation). Students consider problems in the domains of kinematics and EM. Precalculus is a prerequisite for this course.
ELA (English Language Arts)
Advanced 7th to 8th grade writers can be accelerated into our 9th grade ELA class. Ninth to 12th grade students are placed in an ELA class appropriate for their proficiency level and focus in other areas of study. Students accelerated in Comparative History are similarly accelerated in ELA.
Our Comparative History courses focus on understanding the wider causative movements in human history and what has driven dramatic changes in society since prehistoric times. Students compare and contrast periods and regions throughout world history from early Mesopotamian and Indus Valley history to modern upheavels. Students examine how recent societal trends may be analogous to past historical transformations.
Eighth and 9th grade students are required to take this weekly course, which is also open to 6th and 7th graders with advanced abstraction skills.
Our Upper School art program is suitable for both visual artists and young engineers. The courses includes basic drawing skills and more highly conceptual work that incorporates a wide variety of materials, electronics, and digital media as forms of expression.
Students committed to learning an instrument are provided small group training by one of our music teachers in both composition and technique; these students are provided opportunities to practice their skills throughout the week. We also offer Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Band, and Music Production courses.
Drama focuses on the art of expressing stories on stage and incorporates a wide variety of movement, stagecraft, and improvisation techniques.
Our Performing Arts courses focus on the intersection of music, drama and movement. These classes are co-taught by drama and music teachers. In partnership with other disciplines and the Lower School, the Performing Arts students organize two performances each school year (for example, see Tramsmission, An Alternative Radio Show).