Department Courses

English 

The English Department believes that literature and storytelling  – from sweeping epics to childhood anecdotes – influence the development of our character and how we, n turn, transform the world.  VIA English classes cultivate academic prowess by fulfilling state standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening and critical thinking, as well facilitate self-awareness and exploration of human nature.  To this end, the curriculum emphasizes developing strong analytical skills in interpreting diverse texts and media.  Students are highly encouraged to produce in addition to consume – whether through creative projects or analytical presentations.  Each semester is worth 5 credits and 40 credits of English are required for a VIA diploma for domestic students, but native language studies may be substituted for International transfer students.

English Literature I

Prerequisites:  None

English I focuses on literary analysis, building command of vocabulary by focusing on etymology and academic language, and producing diverse genres of written work that include analytical, expository and persuasive essays, as well as creative writing and poetry.  Thematically, the curriculum explores and purpose and means of education by asking students to reflect on their personal interpretations of success and true learning.  This course encourages students to take academic skills from the classroom and apply them to everyday life – whether by becoming more aware of power dynamics among peers, analyzing the overt and latent messages on billboards, or identifying historical parallels across novels and events in their own lives.

English Literature II

Prerequisites:  satisfactory completion of English Literature I or its equivalent

English II is designed to prepare high-level English students to read and write successfully at the college level.  Students will read a variety of texts and will engage with them as critical thinkers and writers.  As students read and interpret texts, they will use different means of engagement, through literary analysis, presentations, visual-based projects, and persuasive writing, to interact with texts and develop their reading and writing skills in English.  Students will also focus on learning and retaining knowledge of grammar, mechanics and vocabulary words.

English Literature 3

Prerequisites:  Satisfactory completion of English Literature II or its equivalent

English 3 is a one-year course that continues to develop students’ ability to communicate in both written and spoken forms, building on skills introduced in English I and II.  Students will consider a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, analyze their origins and contexts, and make both written and verbal presentations on these analyses.  English 3 emphasizes close reading, critical analysis, writing for specific purposes, in-depth discussion and evaluation of class discussion.  Listen and speaking for both classroom and vocational situations will be emphasized.  Reading material is chosen from American literature, including texts, novels, short stories and poetry.

ENGLISH IV

Prerequisites:  Completion of English III

English IV is a course designed to extend early English study to a college preparatory format.  Students will read a range of English works in a variety of forms and genres and analyze these works using carefully developed literary analysis that includes literary terms, understanding of thematic meaning and symbolism, and a historical understanding of the text and its content.  The course is organized into five historical and thematic units.  It begins with the literature of the Elizabethan period and focuses on the themes of idealized love, authority and social structure.  It then moves into pieces from the 17th and 18th century such as Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Issues such as authority and obedience are considered.  The third unit moves into Romanticism which is juxtaposed to Age or Reason pieces from the previous unit.  It addresses the notion of the individual, the importance of nature, and the centrality of experience over knowledge.  In the fourth unit a jump to American is made, particularly with the intent at looking at earlier themes, such as individualized love, but in the context of the modern world.  Unit five addresses issues of race and identity.

The class is centered on process-based writing that analyzes assigned texts, using a variety of modes:  in-class discussion, close text reading, short writing responses, research-based presentations and written essays.  Tests and quizzes will occur throughout each unit.  In support of the writing component, students will use concrete skills such as close reading of texts, reading of supplementary material, academic language and vocabulary, and conventions of academic writing.

AP English Literature and Composition

Prerequisites:  Minimum completion of English Literature I and II or their equivalent and permission from the instructor.

The AP Literature course is designed for students who have exceeded the standards of reading, writing, and textual analysis in previous English courses.  Students study a variety of texts, including A Doll’s House, Hamlet, Othello, The English Patient, The Sun Also Rises, The Awakening, The Bluest Eye, Mrs. Dalloway, and a selection of short stories and poetry.  Students will prepare for the AP English Literature exam by completing in-class timed writing prompts similar to those found on the exam.  Whole class discussions, Socratic seminars, reading assignments, research, literary responses and multimedia projects will be incorporated into the curriculum.

AP English Language and Composition 

Prerequisites:  Minimum completion of English Literature I and II or their equivalent and permission from the instructor.

The AP English Language and Composition course gives students the analytical tools and factual knowledge needed to pass the challenging college-level examination that proves they can think at this level.  Students will learn to assess essay and other literary materials with interpretative arguments.  They will study great writers who write non-fiction:  biography, history, science, journalism and literary criticism.  Whole class discussions, Socratic seminars, reading assignments, research, literary responses and multimedia projects will be incorporated into the curriculum

 

 ESL

 English as a Second Language (ESL)

The ESL Department supports students in acquiring reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in English while fostering healthy bicultural experiences.  Instruction may incorporate students’ native languages and always provides safe and supportive spaces for students to explore and learn about American culture and the English language.  Students study from a wide variety of tests – from grammar and vocabulary textbooks, to poetry and news articles, to song lyrics and popular TV shows, movie posters and restaurant menus.  Classes are designed to be highly dynamic, with games geared toward kinesthetic language learners and media toward visual and auditory leaners.   Completion of ESL curricula prepares students for academic and non-academic engagement in college.  Each semester is worth 5 credits each towards graduation.

 

Students are placed in the appropriate level ESL class based on an English assessment given at the beginning of the school year.

 

ESL I

ESL I offers beginner-level English language instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Students begin with fundamental rules of grammar, engage in simple conversation, compose basic written work, and study various media and English texts of an appropriate level. The aim of the course is to provide a positive, engaging and immersive environment for students to learn English.  This course receives UC credit.

 

ESL II

ESL II offers intermediate-level English language instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students progress to more advanced topics of grammar and are introduced to vocabulary that frequently appears on the TOEFL exams.  Students are expected to write essays that integrate more complex English syntax and to read excerpts from current news articles.  Presentation of weekly news reports and bi-weekly presentations using PowerPoint and Prezi may be required for practicing speaking and listening skills.

 

ESL III

ESL III offers advanced-level English language instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Students study college-level academic texts in English as well as diverse pop culture texts and media.  The curriculum may incorporate clips from shows to engage student interest and encourage linguistic and cultural immersion outside of the classroom.  Students are expected to give biweekly presentations and write informal essays on topics of their choice.  Test prep for the TOEFL and SAT may also be incorporated according to student need.

 

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language Department encourages students to expand their knowledge of the world through the acquisition of a new language.  Students will learn not only the skills to read, write, speak and listen in the target language, but will also learn about the history, culture and influence of the countries in which the language is spoken.  

 

SPANISH 1

This course is designed to introduce students to both the Spanish language and to Spanish culture.  Students will learn to communicate at a beginner level.  Instruction will emphasize listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in preparation for intermediate work.  Additional emphasis will be placed on speaking in the target language as much as possible.  Students will learn about the culture, customs and traditions of Spanish-speaking countries.

 

SPANISH 2 

 Prerequisites: Completion of Spanish I

This course is designed to teach students to communicate in Spanish at an intermediate level.  Instruction will emphasize listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in preparation for advanced work.  Additional emphasis will be placed on reading comprehension in the target language in preparation of college courses.  Increased instruction will take place in the native language.

 

SPANISH 3

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Spanish 1 and 2 with a C or better

The purpose of this class is for students to build and reinforce active communication skills, develop reading skills, cultural awareness and build a strong linguistic base.  Students will use their knowledge from French 1 and 2 to build more communicative skills by participating in reading, speaking, writing and listening activities.  It is important that students participate in all four language skills so that they can learn all aspects of French.  While learning French, students will also study about French culture and the cultures of other French speaking countries.

 

SPANISH IV

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Spanish 3 with a C or better

Students in the Spanish IV course will continue to expand the knowledge acquired in Spanish I, II and III.  Students will learn to address concrete, factual and abstract topics related to the immediate and external environment.  Their understanding will be shown in written and spoken manners, and often presented to an audience of readers and listeners.  Students will use diverse advanced material to further their knowledge in the language:  newspapers, magazines, novels, TV shows, and other medias.  Students will learn to compare and contrast, and support their opinions during a conversation often having to improvise in unpredictable situations.  The course will give students the necessary tools to be able to analyze similarities and differences between cultures in the target languages.

 

FRENCH 1

Prerequisite:  There are no prerequisites for this course. 

French 1 is an introductory course for students who wish to learn a foreign language.   It is intended to develop limited facility in each of the major communication skills:  reading, listening, speaking and writing.  The course introduces students to basic vocabulary and fundamental sentence structure.  Pronunciation, grammar, and everyday vocabulary are stressed as indispensable tools for comprehension and expression.  French customs, culture and everyday life are also highlighted.

 

FRENCH 2

 Prerequisites:  Completion of French 1

French 2 is a reinforced expansion of the first year program.  This course is based on the ACTFL National Standards which emphasize:  Communication, Connections, Comparisons, and Cultures.  It is intended to continue to increase the students’ ability in each of the major communication skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.  Included in this course is a further study of everyday vocabulary, regular and irregular verbs, new tenses, and other grammatical forms.  Students will also be further exposed to the history, customs and traditions of people who live not only in France, but all French-speaking countries.

 

FRENCH 3

 Prerequisites:  Completion of French 1 and 2 with a C or better

The purpose of this class is for students to build and reinforce active communication skills, develop reading skills, cultural awareness and build a strong linguistic base.  Students will use their knowledge from French 1 and 2 to build more communicative skills by participating in reading, speaking, writing and listening activities.  It is important that students participate in all four language skills so that they can learn all aspects of French.  While learning French, students will also study about French culture and the cultures of other French speaking countries.

 

FRENCH 4

 Prerequisites:  Completion of French 3 with a C or better

French 4 encourages students to become more proficient in their understanding and use of the French language and culture.  The course includes a presentation of French history and literature.  Cross curricular projects in art, history, cuisine and current events are offered in this course.

 

 AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE I

 Prerequisites:  None

American Sign Language I is an introductory course.  Topics revolve around sharing information about ourselves, our environment, and those around us.  Grammar is introduced in context, with an emphasis on developing question and answer skills.  Students will learn basic conversational strategies to help them maintain a conversation.  This course will include an introduction to deaf culture and history.  Expressive and receptive activities help the students rehearse what they have learned.

 

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE 2

 Prerequisites:  Completion of ASL I

American Sign Language builds on the foundational skills acquired in ASL I and expands fluency both receptively and expressively with special attention to the critical language components of ASL: non-manual signals, facial expressions and body language.  At this level, emphasis will be on the complex language demands of ASL, including syntax and expression of abstract concepts.  Extended dialogue creation, storytelling and direct involvement with deaf members of the community will be critical to this second year course.  In addition to attending one deaf event per grading period, students will be assigned reports, projects and assignments emphasizing appreciation of deaf culture.  Upon completion of this course, students will have the skills necessary to communicate effectively with and demonstrate respect for deaf individuals.

 

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE 3

 Prerequisites:  Completion of American Sign Language I and 2

The purpose of this class is for students to build and reinforce active communication skills, develop reading skills, cultural awareness and build a strong linguistic base.  Students will use their knowledge from American Sign Language 1 and 2 to build more communicative skills by participating in reading, signing, writing and listening activities.  While learning American Sign Language, students will also study about deaf culture.

 

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE 4

 Prerequisites:  Completion of American Sign Language I, 2, and 3

ASL 4 is a college preparatory course for students who have successfully completed ASL 3.  ASL 4 reviews and builds on all materials learned previously such as role shift, signer’s perspective, classifiers predicates, times, subject-object agreement, and loan signs.  Vocabulary focuses on re-telling stories, money, personal choices, formulating opinions, and decision-making.  All manual linguistic modalities are stressed in order to increase fluency and self-confidence in the target language.

 

ITALIAN 1

 Prerequisites: None

This is a beginning course for students who have a desire to learn Italian.  This course is intended to present essential vocabulary and grammar, and to develop the pronunciation, listening, reading and writing skills necessary for basic communication and comprehension.  It is also intended to help students appreciate Italian culture by comparing and contrasting foreign cultures with their own.

 

ITALIAN 2

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Italian 1

Italian 2 is a continuation of the skills, vocabulary and grammar learned in Italian 1.  It continues the introduction to elementary oral expression, listening comprehension, reading and writing.  Students master future and past tenses, reflexive verbs, the imperative mode, along with other basic structures.

 

ITALIAN 3

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Italian 1 and 2

Students will further develop their skills in Italian listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students will be able to use their language skills for advanced discussion, debates, reading and responding to longer texts and prepare them for formal writing pieces.  Students will be able to understand and narrate possible events in the present and past, using conditional, subjunctive and past subjunctive.

 

GERMAN 1

 Prerequisites:  None

This course introduces students to the German language and culture through listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture awareness.  This course will introduce students to the vocabulary and grammar covered in year one, with an emphasis on communication and the use of language in everyday situations.

 

GERMAN 2

 Prerequisites:  Completion of German 1 with a C or better

This course explores the German language and culture through speaking, listening, reading, writing and raising culture awareness.  The class will build on the vocabulary and grammar covered in year one, with an emphasis on communication and the use of the language in everyday situations.  Students will deepen their understanding of verb conjugations and grammatical concepts such as the accusative case and the past tense.  Grammar concepts introduced in year 2 include the dative case, noun-adjective agreement, the future tense, and reflexive verbs.  Interactive exercises, technology and authentic cultural realia further enhance the curriculum for an engaging and academically rigorous experience.

 

 GERMAN 3

 Prerequisites:  Completion of German 1 and 2

German 3 continues exploring the German language and culture through listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness, building upon the foundation of grammar and vocabulary learned in German 1 and 2.  The teacher presents material exclusively in German and encourages students to do so as well.  This course will heavily focus on German history, culture and literature through reading, writing, and online research.

 

GERMAN 4

 Prerequisites:  German 1, 2 and 3 with a grade of C or better

This course reviews, refines and advances the development of communication skills in German.  Emphasis is placed on practical and theoretical communication through contemporary prose, discussion of current events, group problem solving and listening comprehension.  Communication skills are reviewed with emphasis on idioms and expressions, understanding native speakers, developing a personal style of expression in speaking and writing and reading a variety of authentic materials.  Skills are reinforced with historical essay, current events, cultural trends, songs and lectures.

 

RUSSIAN 1

 Prerequisites:  None

Russian 1 is an introductory course for students who wish to learn a foreign language.  It is intended to develop limited facility in each if the major communication skills:  listening, reading, speaking and writing.  This course introduces the students to basic vocabulary and fundamental sentence structure.  Pronunciation, grammar, and everyday vocabulary are stressed as indispensable tools for comprehension and expression.  Russian customs, culture and everyday life are also highlighted.

 

RUSSIAN 2

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Russian 1 with at least a grade of C

Russian 2 is designed to review the learned materials from the phonetics and reading chapters.  Students continue the acquisition of vocabulary, structures, and grammatical patterns necessary for comprehension of standard spoken and written Russian at the intermediate level.  This course includes an expanded discussion of Russian daily life and culture in the present and the past; choosing professions, means of transportation, using expressions of time, going places, destinations, weather, discussing sports.  Cardinal numbers are reviewed.  Verb system is in focus; past tense form aspects (imperfective vs. perfective), verbs of motion.  New cases of nouns and adjectives are added.  More attention is given to reading comprehension, listening and writing skills.

 

MANDARIN CHINESE I

 Prerequisites:  None

This is a beginning course for students who have a desire to learn Mandarin Chinese.  This course is intended to present essential vocabulary and grammar, and to develop the pronunciation, listening, reading and writing skills necessary for basic communication and comprehension.  It is also intended to help students appreciate Chinese culture by comparing and contrasting foreign cultures with their own.

 

MANDARIN CHINESE II

 Prerequisites:  Mandarin Chinese I

Mandarin Chinese II is a continuation of Mandarin Chinese I and a yearlong intermediate college preparatory level course.  It introduces simplified characters, the Pinyin system, basic grammatical structures and functional daily use.  Students will develop skills to deal with the daily related environments beyond their family and school in formal and transitional settings.  The course covers approximately 350 Chinese characters and associated phrases.  Mandarin Chinese II emphasizes the training of all four of the language skills including speaking, reading, writing and listening, as well as understanding of the socio-linguistic and socio-cultural factors that are necessary for cross-cultural communication.  The course is designed to meet the standards for Chinese language learning in five aspects:  communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.

 

MANDARIN CHINESE III

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Mandarin I and II

Mandarin Chinese III is a continuation course for students who have successfully completed Mandarin Chinese I and II.  This course focuses on developing students’ real world abilities to use Mandarin Chinese language.  It is designed to further students’ ability to speak and understand Mandarin Chinese and to develop better pronunciation, tones as well as acquiring a wide range of useful, practical vocabulary and grammar.  The key to achieve these goals is to provide students with plenty of opportunities to practice through a variety of instructions and exercises that consist of repetitions in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Most of these exercises are instructor-led or instructor-monitored student’s self-studies.  Special effort will be placed on preventing and correcting students’ common mistakes that plague English-speaking students when learning Chinese.  Students will be exposed to materials that are written for native speakers or written in such a fashion, and will also be required to study the material in details to that they can recite the materials from memory or to read aloud these materials with fluency through extensive practice.  Students will be required to summarize in detail, both oral and written forms in Mandarin Chinese, of all the subjects covered in the course.  Emphasis will also be on improving students’ pronunciation and tones, are designed to guide students to avoid common mistakes and to encourage students to overcome their avoidance of difficult but often the most intrinsic elements of the language.  Chinese culture will be taught throughout the course.

 

Mathematics 

The Mathematics Department at Valley International Academy focuses on problem-solving skills as opposed to mere memorization of formulas.  After the core courses of Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra 2, students may opt for more advanced courses such as Precalculus, AP Calculus AB and BC and other related electives.  Enshrined in all of our math classes is the goal of developing the critical analysis skills necessary in today’s world.  Student placement into math courses is determined by a placement test given at the beginning of the school year for new students and/or previous course mastery.

 

ALGEBRA 1

Prerequisites:  None

Through the study of algebra, a student develops an understanding of the symbolic language of mathematics and the sciences.  Additionally, algebraic concepts are developed and used in a wide variety of problem-solving situations.

 

GEOMETRY 

Prerequisites:    Algebra 1 with a grade of C or better; placement test

Geometry is an in-depth study of geometric concepts such as: reasoning and proof, angle relationships, parallel lines, coordinate proof, triangles, polygons, congruence, similarity, quadrilaterals, right triangles and trigonometry, 2-dimensional figures, 3-dimensional figures, circles, transformations, and geometric probability.

ALGEBRA 2

Prerequisites:  Geometry with a grade of C or better

This course expands on algebraic concepts introduced in Algebra 1.  Students will be instructed on solving equations and inequalities, factoring polynomials, sketching and analyzing graphs, working with exponents, and solving quadratic equations.  In addition, students will examine quadratic, logarithmic, and exponential functions, the application of functions to real world problems, conic sections, probability, trigonometric functions, and complex numbers.

PRECALCULUS 

Prerequisites:  Algebra 2 with a grade of C or better

This course further develops and expands upon material first introduced to the student in the Algebra 2 course.  Students begin with a brief review of functions and polynomials, and then progress to exponential and logarithmic functions, and then on to advanced trigonometry.  Key concepts of this precalculus course are the logarithm properties, trigonometric identities, and rational functions and transforming their respective graphs; the course culminates with an introductory look at limits and the definition of a derivative.  Upon completion, students will have gained the mathematical knowledge and experience necessary to enter a Calculus course.

HONORS PRECALCULUS

Prerequisites:  Algebra 2

Honors PreCalculus is accelerated, coving all topics in the regular PreCalculus courses, then advancing through a basic introduction of the concepts of limit, Instantaneous Rate of Change and Definite Integral.  Students will acquire the ability to complete work on the practical application of these ideas.  In addition, students are provided with more thorough practice with elementary sequences, series and summation notation.

AP CALCULUS AB

Prerequisites:  Precalculus with a grade of C or better

The goal of AP Calculus AB is to educate students on the fundamental concepts of a first semester college calculus class.  The course will include a review of the major algebra and trigonometry concepts of calculus.  Students will learn to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: graphical, numerical, analytical, or verbal and they will understand the connections among these representations.  Students will understand the meaning of the derivative in terms of a rate of change and local linear approximation and they will learn to use derivatives to solve a variety of problems.  They will study the meaning of the definite integral both as a limit of Reimann sums and as the net accumulation of change and will be asked to use integrals to solve a variety of problems.  The students will be taught the relationship between the derivative and the definite integral as expressed in the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.  Students will learn how to model a written description of a physical situation with a function, a differential equation, or an integral.  The course will include the use of technology, most specifically the graphing calculator, to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and verify conclusions.  Through this introductory study it is our hope that students will develop an appreciation of calculus as a coherent body of knowledge and as a human accomplishment.

 

AP CALCULUS BC

Prerequisites:  AP Calculus AB with a grade of C or better

The purpose of the course is to continue the AP Calculus AB course into multi-variable, differential equations and applications of calculus.  The goal is to learn the material and prepare for the Advanced Placement BC exam in May.  Topics will be explored using Advanced Integration techniques, differential equations, basic numerical analysis, series expansions and applications of calculus to the sciences.

STATISTICS

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2

This course is designed for those students who wish to complete an additional semester towards a fourth year of mathematics but who are not ready to move onto PreCalculus.  Topics to be covered in Statistics:  organizing data; frequency distribution; graphical representation of data histograms; mean, median and mode; variance and standard deviation; mean variance; Chebyshev’s theorem; empirical rule; quartiles and percentiles; counting; exclusive and independent events; intersection and union of events; random variables; discrete and random variables; factorials, combinations and permutations; binomial probability; Poisson probabilities; normal distribution; population and sampling distribution.

TRIGONOMETRY

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2

This course is designed for those students who wish to complete an additional semester towards a fourth year of mathematics but who are not ready to move onto PreCalculus.  Topics to be covered in Trigonometry include:  functions; graphs of functions; symmetry, transformation of functions; acute angles; right angles arc length, angular speed; six trigonometric function identities; proving identities; laws of sine and cosine; sum and difference formulas; double and half angle formulas; complex numbers; vectors;  polar coordinates; polar graphing; logarithms and exponentials.

 

Physical Education 

The Physical Education department offers courses that improve students’ long-term physical and mental health, and introduces sports to students for both their enjoyment and their social development.  Students are expected to collaborate, compete, set goals, challenge themselves, and abide by the established rules of the game.  Two years of physical education is required for graduation.

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 

This course improves students’ physical health as well as their understanding and enjoyment of several athletic sports.  Students are expected to use the exercise facilities, including running track, to improve their health and to build or maintain muscle strength.  In addition, students learn about and competitively play basketball, soccer, American football, baseball, badminton, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, tennis and other sports.

 

PHYSICAL FITNESS

This elective course focuses on optimizing students’ physical health through strenuous exercise.  Students are expected to set their own goals and to work toward achieving them through running, lifting weights, and performing strength-building exercises.

 

 Science 

The Science department offers courses that will prepare students for college laboratory science.  Extensive and rigorous laboratory work is a significant part of each science course.  Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of key scientific ideas and to answer scientific questions through experimentation.  All course provide students with opportunities to develop skills in forming hypotheses, interpreting data, and drawing conclusions.  A strong emphasis is placed collaboration.

 

BIOLOGY 1 

Prerequisites:  None

This is a laboratory science which is designed as a general overview of basic biological principles including cytology, energetics, nucleid acids and cell division, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, microorganisms, plants and animals, and human biology.  Instruction includes lectures, discussion, video, demonstrations, and laboratory lessons.

 

CHEMISTRY 

Prerequisites:  Algebra 1

Chemistry is a laboratory science designed to discover and analyze chemical principles.  There is a great deal of laboratory work and mathematical calculations involved in the course.  All college-bound students as well as students planning a career in science, engineering, or health sciences should elect to take chemistry.

 

PHYSICS 

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology and Chemistry required; Algebra 2 or higher suggested

Physics is the foundation of all sciences.  The study of physics includes the topic of motion, momentum, energy, thermodynamics, forces, electricity, light, waves and magnetism.  Physics requires sound laboratory technique and mathematical calculations.

 

AP BIOLOGY 

Prerequisites:  Completion of Biology; approval of instructor

In this course, the exercises are beneficial for students to understand molecular/genetic biology, physiology and life science.  They help students develop analytical skills and hypothesis testing ability.  The lab experiments include mitosis and meiosis with bead simulation, photosynthesis with elodea, paper chromatography, and DPIP and animal/plant dissections.  The course also experiments with bacterial growth, using E.coli and growth inhabitants such as metal and cleaning solution.  It tests genetics of Drosophila melanogaster, and students develop a chi-square and also learn its mating behaviors.

 

AP CHEMISTRY 

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1 required; Chemistry recommended

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. For some students, this course enables them to undertake, in their first year, second-year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or to register in courses in other fields where general chemistry is a prerequisite. For other students, the AP Chemistry course fulfills the laboratory science requirement and frees time for other courses.

AP Chemistry meets the objectives of a good college general chemistry course. Students attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course contributes to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic.

 

AP PHYSICS C: ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM 

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1 required; Physics recommended

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism is an Advanced Placement science course about electromagnetism.  Methods of calculus are used wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems.  It is the equivalent to an introductory college course in electricity and magnetism for physics majors.  The course, taken along with courses covering other areas, such as mechanics, waves, thermodynamics, and modern physics can help prepare students for the SAT Subject Test in Physics.

 

AP PHYSICS C: MECHANICS 

Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1 is required; Physics recommended

AP Physics C: Mechanics is an Advanced Placement science course that studies Newtonian mechanics.  Methods of calculus are use wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. It is the equivalent of an introductory college course in mechanics for physics or engineering majors.  The course, taken along with courses covering other areas, such as electricity and magnetism, waves, thermodynamics, and modern physics can help prepare students for the SAT Subject test in Physics.

 

HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Prerequisites:  Completion of Algebra 1 and Biology

Human Anatomy and Physiology explores the systems comprising the human body by emphasizing physiological mechanisms and a thorough understanding of how anatomical structure fits function to provide an integrated view of the human body.  Through classroom lecture and discussions, text readings, laboratory exercises, examinations, student research and deliberation of health issues, students envision and appreciate the inner workings of the human body.  This rigorous science course, recommended for those students pursuing a college major in the biological sciences or health care field.  The course has a significant laboratory component, including an anatomical dissection of a cat, cow eye, brain, cow heart and kidney.  The course covers all eleven systems of the human body in depth.  Case studies, including diseases specific to individual body systems, genetic disorders, and current health-related issues are key to integrating knowledge through application.
Social Sciences 

The Social Sciences Department offers courses that focus on the major events, ideas, figures, groups, movements, inventions, and wars that have led us to the modern world.  Students examine American and international cultures, governments, civilizations, geography, current events, economies and more.  Within these courses, students are challenged to think critically about their global, national and local communities, and to become informed, thoughtful, responsible citizens of the world who participate in and contribute to society.

 

WORLD HISTORY 

Prerequisites:  None

The focus of this course is the chronological progression of events in world history. Students will develop a global view of the relationship between today’s cultures and those of the past, as well as an awareness of cultural similarities, differences, and achievements.  Content will also include geographical location and influence of classical civilizations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

 

UNITED STATES HISTORY 

Prerequisites:  Completion of World History

This survey course in American history covers the Colonial era through the present day, with particular attention paid to political, social and economic progress in the United States.  Students are expected to think critically and independently, to challenge their assumptions, and to understand the modern world by searching through the past for causes and effects.

 

A.P. UNITED STATES HISTORY 

Prerequisites:  Teacher approval; Completion of World History

The A.P. United States History class summarizes the entirety of American history with college level depth.  It begins with the age of exploration to understand European motives and means for colonization.  It then compares and contrasts the American colonies’ geography, socio-economic structure and politics.  Students analyze the reasons why the American Revolution was successful and why America chose its constitution.  The class will then look at the important economic, social and religious changes in Ante-bellum America, showing why the Civil War was virtually inevitable, Then, the class will consider laissez-faire capitalism’s impact on social structure, involving disputes between labor and capital, the growth of suburbs and the marginalization of the American farmer and Indian.  Students will consider Progressive and New Deal regulation alongside the development of American Globalism in the twentieth century, culminating in the victories over fascism and communism.  Finally, the course outlines social structure and social protest in the post-war world, giving emphasis to the welfare state, Civil Rights victories, environmentalism, feminism, civil rights and politics.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT 

Prerequisites:  Completion of World History and US History

American Government is the study of the structure of the United States government, the role of the citizen in a democratic republic, the significance of political parties and lobby groups, and the differences between the national government and state’s and the state and local government’s powers.  Students read a variety of primary and secondary sources related to the U.S. government and are required to complete outside articles and text readings including the Federalist Papers.

 

ECONOMICS 

Prerequisites:  Completion of World History and US History; taken with Government

This one semester course introduces basic economic concepts in capitalism, including the principles of supply and demand, free market competition, private and public ownership, and capital accumulation and investment.  Students are expected to analyze, discuss, and write about differing interpretations of capitalist theory and their present-day applications to the U.S. and global economies; furthermore, students must consider the roles of government, labor markets, income inequality, and trade.

 

A.P. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS COMPARATIVE 

Prerequisites:  U.S. History

A.P. Government and Politics introduces students to the rich diversity of political life outside the United States.  The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures; policies; and the political, economic, and social challenges among six selected countries:  Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China and Nigeria.  Additionally, students examine how differing governments solve similar problems by comparing the effectiveness of approaches to global issues.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

A.P. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS UNITED STATES 

Prerequisites:  U.S. History

This course will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States.  This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples.  It requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

A.P. WORLD HISTORY 

Prerequisites:  Strong skills in English and History

This course teaches students to trace the destiny of nations over centuries and to make broad comparisons.  The future leaders of America must know their planet well enough to think for themselves about its politics and culture.  The A.P. World History course gives students the analytical tools and factual knowledge needed to pass a challenging college-level examination.  Students will learn to assess historical materials and weigh interpretive arguments about these materials as presented in historical scholarship.  Students will prepare for university-level work, but with the individualized attention that is possible in small classes, and with a year rather than a term of preparation.

 

A.P. EUROPEAN HISTORY 

Prerequisites:  Strong skills in English and History

This course follows the lead of the AP test described at AP Central.  It covers European history, mostly after 1500.  It prepares students for questions about European politics, religion, technology, social structure, etc. and asks students to compare and contrast European countries’ development before and after the French and Industrial Revolutions.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

A.P. MACROECONOMICS 

Prerequisites:  One semester of Government

This course begins with fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity costs, production possibilities, specialization, comparative advantage, demand, supply, and price determination.  Major topics include measurement of economic performance, national income and price determination, fiscal and monetary policy, and international economics and growth.  It is equivalent to the introductory course of macroeconomics at the college undergraduate level.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

A.P. MICROECONOMICS 

Prerequisites:  One semester of Government

This course gives students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system.  It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets and includes the study of factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

A.P. HUMAN GEOGRAPHY 

Prerequisites: World History

This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of the Earth’s surface.  Students learn to employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences.  Students also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications. Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

PSYCHOLOGY 

Prerequisites:  None

Introduction to Psychology offers a survey of topics: history and theories, biological bases of behavior, research and statistics, consciousness, motivation and emotion, personality, social psychology, learning, memory, abnormal psychology, treatment and disorders, sensation and perception, development and personality.  Students are expected to take chapter notes, understand and apply psychology terms and concepts, design and conduct their own experiments, and deliver presentations on self-selected topics.

 

A.P. PSYCHOLOGY 

Prerequisites:  Teacher approval

Students are introduced to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals.  Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology.   Students also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

 Visual and Performing Arts 

The Visual and Performing Arts Department recognizes the value of creative expression and the need for students to explore the world of beauty that can be found in the arts.  Students will learn to express themselves through various kinesthetic activities such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing and performing.

 

INTRODUCTION TO STUDIO ART 

Prerequisites:  None

Students will be introduced to basic skills in drawing, 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art-making and learn the fundamental elements and principles of design.  Students will produce art work which demonstrates these fundamental elements of fine art and design, individual creativity and problem-solving ability.  They will learn to make critical assessments about artwork through the process of critique.

 

A.P STUDIO ART DRAWING 

Prerequisites:  Introduction to Studio Art

The A.P. Studio Arts portfolio is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art.  A.P. Studio Art is not based on a written exam; instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year.  The A.P. Studio Art Program consists of three portfolios:  2-D design, 3-D design, and Drawing – corresponding to the most common college foundation courses.

 

ART HISTORY

 Prerequisites:  None

This two-semester survey course will look at art as it was created from prehistoric to modern times.  An understanding of art through criticism, historical time periods, artists and their importance will be explored.  Students will be creating their own artwork using different art techniques, media and materials to both understand why art if created and how to express themselves.  The students’ experience will culminate with a final portfolio and art showcase.

 

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Prerequisites:  Introduction to Art or Computer Graphic Design

Digital Photography is structured to be an advanced exploration of the expressive, aesthetic, communicative principles of digital photography as an art form.  Students delve deep into the principles of design and visual communication while creating works of art in the photographic medium.  Students will push the possibilities of the digital darkroom through their work in Adobe Photoshop.  As a continuing exploration students will study the history of photography with an emphasis on 20th century photographers.  Through their artistic photographic production students will explore the societal impact of the captured image.  Finally, students will engage in cross-curricular study through an exploration of social justice and the images that have communicated them to the world.

 

COMPUTER GRAPHIC DESIGN

Prerequisites:  Computer background

This semester course is a study in contemporary media.  The class is structured around projects emphasizing the art elements of line, shape, color and texture.  It will introduce students to the principles of design including rhythm, balance, proportion, emphasis, unity and variety.  Students will develop an appreciation of traditional artistic expression as well as an understanding of theories of contemporary media as a verbal and visual means of communicating in today’s society.  Applications used will include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe, Indesign, and Adobe Premier.

 

THEATRE 1

 Prerequisites:  None

This course will provide students with an introduction to acting, singing, stage design and stage production techniques.  Students will begin by playing a series of theatre games, move to improvisations, and then perform professionally scripted and student-written monologues. Through musical theatre reviews and musical repertoire, students engage in reflective and critical thinking; this will lead to their understanding and growth within the theatre field.

Students will study the major historical periods of theatre history from ancient Greece to the 21st century.  They will delve into the social and cultural implications, costuming, and staging.  By the end of the course, students will have gained an appreciation for the art of theatre, a respect for working within an ensemble of artists, and an understanding of the variety of approaches which an actor may take.

 

CHOIR

 Prerequisites:  None

This course will guide students through the basics of vocalization, vocal performance, sign-reading, ear-training, and choral performance.  They will learn fundamental music theory and put the theory into practice through sight-reading exercises, interval training and aural assessments.  Students will learn to read music in both clefs and understand structure, melody, harmony and counterpoint.  Students will work on a musical repertoire that ranges from classical through modern, with songs in various languages, from various cultures in 2 – 5 part harmonies.  Students will grow in musicianship as they work together to perform musical pieces that are dynamically sound and emotionally expressive.  Students are required to perform at the Christmas Concert and the Spring Festival of the Arts.

 

MUSIC APPRECIATION

 Prerequisites:  None

In Music Appreciation, students will critically think about why we like the music that we do, and the role music plays in our lives.  Through the exploration of the musical elements, the development of music, its historical icons and the new  music/technology, students will find connections between the music of the world  and the music they identify with.  After listening, performing and creating, students will come to have a deeper understanding of the value of music and the excitement and expression that are associated with listening to, writing and performing music.

 

Electives 

ACCOUNTING

Prerequisites:  10th, 11th and 12th graders

This year-long course will enable students to understand the language of business, the recording of financial transactions and their interpretation, the synthesis of business procedures, the provision or skills needed for keeping financial records, and practice in setting up accounting systems.  Computerized accounting, investments and an introduction to taxes are also included in the curriculum.  This course is recommended for students who plan to enter college and major or minor in business administration, accounting, marketing, international business, etc.

 

A.P. COMPUTER SCIENCE A

Prerequisites:  Prior computer experience; Approval of teacher

A.P. Computer Science A emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with an emphasis on problem-solving and algorithm development and is meant to be the equivalent of a first semester course in computer science.  It is also includes the study of data structures and abstraction.  Students will be prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

 

CREATIVE WRITING

Prerequisites:  None

This workshop course will allow students to hone their creative writing skills by composing original works in the areas of short story, poetry and children’s literature.  Through the use of selected literature, professional models and student examples, students will learn a variety of techniques to prepare themselves for these writing challenges.  An additional emphasis in the course is oral expression, with the understanding that students learn through the sharing of their writing and ideas.

 

CRIMINOLOGY 

Prerequisites:  None

This is a social studies elective that explores the following aspects of criminal behavior in contemporary American society:  crime typology, criminal investigation, criminal demographics and trends, victimology and social response to victims, social deviance and labeling theory, social process theories of crime causation, and social structure theories of crime causation.  Material in the course will be examined through the lenses of socioeconomics, psychology, physiology, political science, sociology, anthropology, statistics and law.  Students will identify the nature and field of criminology, including key terms and concepts.  Students will develop a deeper understanding of the competing and overlapping theories that comprise a nuanced approach to causation.

 

ENTREPRENUERSHIP

Prerequisites: Open to 11th and 12th graders

Entrepreneurship provides a background in business concepts including how to start a business, conduct market research, analysis, and legal issues.  Students will explore the elements of business risk, human resources, and will understand the social and ethical responsibility associated with the business atmosphere.

 

FILM AS LITERATURE

Prerequisites:  None

This course is aimed at enriching the experience of textual literary study and expository, critical, and analytical writing through the medium of film.  The blended course of study will be designed around film genres and their elements.  In addition, each unit will explore a variety of central themes common to both film and literature.

 

 FINANCE

Prerequisites:  Two years of English and one year of Algebra

This course will introduce the student to money management and financial planning with a particular emphasis on how the money market works and its connection to the institution of banking.  Basic principles of financial management and banking will be covered in this one-semester course.  An objective of this course is to help the student acquire an understanding of financial principles and to see both the domestic and international effects of these concepts in a global context.

 

SPORTS IN LITERATURE

Prerequisites:  Completion of English 1 and 2, taken in addition to a standard English course

This semester course will help students analyze, investigate and study from a literary perspective, the unique phenomenon of participatory and competitive sports in the world.  Specific attention will be paid to the parallels that exist between professional and amateur sports, as well as their effect on our everyday lives.  Students will learn about the history, development and major figures within the selected sports areas.  Students will study all perspectives of the literary perspective to develop a wide perspective of opinions, themes, observation, and social commentary related to sport.  While developing analytical and writing skills, students will be asked to formula ideas of this distinct genre through numerous writing, oral and research assignments.