Departments and Classes
Waynflete readies students for college-level instruction by offering challenging and fascinating courses not typically found in high schools and our dedicated faculty are given the time and resources to create immersive learning experiences around the strengths and interests of each student.
Within small and highly engaging classes, students spend their days working with primary documents and real-world research, honing their academic writing skills, exploring diverse perspectives, and engaging in lively academic discussion.
Upper School students study American history through the eyes and first-hand accounts of women, Native Americans, and black Americans. Master Mandarin Chinese, Latin, and other classic and world languages. Read philosophy. Gather and analyze complex data for real NASA research projects and state environmental initiatives. Publish a literary magazine, debate ethics in literature and film, compose electronic music, and so much more.
Writing at Waynflete
Waynflete students are known for their strong writing skills and we prioritize writing across our curriculum. Whether revising a rigorous academic research paper argued from primary sources or composing an original play to perform during the student drama festival, our students learn to use language to share their unique vision of the world.
Thinking Like a Scientist
How do you get students excited about STEM? By engaging them in real-life scientific experiments and research projects. Within Waynflete science and math classes, students measure the trajectory of meteors for NASA. Test water quality for environmental initiatives. And analyze vaccine and treatment efficacy through COVID-19 and Ebola data.
In-Depth Exploration in Elective Courses
Waynflete empowers students to select their own areas of study from an extensive array of elective courses with guidance from their academic advisor, teachers, and department chair. These focused and fascinating explorations of specific subjects spark deep learning while preparing students for college seminars. By Grade 12, every student’s academic schedule reflects their personal passions and offers a clear path to their future goals.
At Waynflete, we know study skills, personal responsibility, and executive functioning are critical to college success and we want students to develop that drive from within. Students have free periods for independent study, the freedom to chart their own course with the help of their academic advisor, and all the support they need to succeed.
Waynflete seniors spend the last month of their studies on their Senior Project: a self-directed endeavor expressing passion, creativity, and skill. Seniors present completed projects prior to commencement and the depth and diversity of the work showcases the incredible talent in each graduating class. A cookbook that combines culinary expertise and cultural influences with photography and design. The engineering and construction of a full-size working trebouchet. Whatever form it takes, the senior project is always a formative experience.
MALONE SCHOOL ONLINE NETWORK
Waynflete is a member of the Malone School Network.
As one of the just 48 schools nationwide chosen to be part of the Malone School Online Network, Waynflete is able to offer motivated Upper School students an entirely new level of academic challenge and connection by joining courses from other schools online. See how our MSON membership expands our already extensive curriculum.
Upper School English Courses
The Upper School English program focuses on literature, writing, critical thinking, and discussion skills. Students read a variety of literary genres while learning to write critical literary analysis. The reading list may be supplemented from year to year in response to student interest. Essay writing and creative writing are incorporated into every required course. Grammar is taught in the context of written work and through direct instruction. Grade 9 and 10 English courses are yearlong and thematic. They are also offered at an Intensive level. Intensive courses follow the core curriculum but allow students the chance to explore topics more deeply and independently, and with a greater focus on critical thinking and analysis. In Grades 11 and 12, students select from an array of semester courses.
English 9: Innocence and Experience
This course centers on the theme of “Innocence and Experience.” During the ﬁrst quarter, students are introduced to Western and non-Western conceptions of innocence and experience through close reading of the ﬁrst chapters of Genesis alongside creation/formation myths from other cultures and traditions. This approach provides the foundation for the remaining texts, which include Macbeth (William Shakespeare), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), Black Boy (Richard Wright), and selections from modern writers such as Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros. Students broaden their close-reading skills and their love of language through a unit on poetry. Students read and review an additional outside reading book during each marking period, either one of their own choosing or one required by the teacher. Grammar is studied and critiqued both in the context of written work and through direct instruction. This course is also offered in an Intensive format.
English 10: Confronting the Indeterminate
This course explores the nuances, intricacies, and contradictions of our world and our identities. Through literature, students confront complex ethical, social, and political questions, many of which do not have easy answers. Readings may include Kindred (Octavia Butler), Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates), Cannery Row (John Steinbeck), Exit West (Mohsin Hamid), and Hamlet (Shakespeare), as well as short stories and poetry. In addition to developing analytical writing skills, students gain significant exposure to personal essay writing through an extensive memoir project in which they reflect on the complexities of their own identities and experiences while strengthening their revision skills and exploring the stylistic elements of creative nonfiction. This course is also offered in an Intensive format.
Junior-Senior English Electives
In the ﬁnal two years of Upper School, the English Department offers a set of electives that students select based on their individual interests and strengths. Students must take at least four semesters of English electives during their junior and senior years, two of which must be literature electives. By graduation, each student must also have completed either Essay Writing or Writers’ Workshop. Not all the following electives are offered every year.
American Hubris: In Search of the National Identity
This class focuses on the question of American identity—who we are and where we are headed. Students examine the culture by acting as literary critics and cultural anthropologists who seek to understand our times. They consider a range of pointed and conflicting conceptions of contemporary American identity as portrayed in novels, films, television, and various artifacts from popular culture gleaned from the internet. Novels may include The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid; A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan; The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz; Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver; A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers; Casebook, Mona Simpson; The Free, Willy Vlautin; and Redeployment, Phil Klay. Films may include Crash, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margin Call, and Winter’s Bone. The class may also study selected episodes from television series such as The Wire.
American Exceptionalism: Common Ideals for All Except…
Early American nationality was based on shared ideals and beliefs, including a growing belief in American exceptionalism. This course examines such questions as What were the foundational tenets of the American ideal? Who was included in this experience? Who and what became the “exception”? From the first early writings of slave narratives to the critique of the American way of life, this course will investigate race, gender, and the political and social changes that have shaped our national identity. Readings may include Harriet E. Wilson (Our Nig, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black), Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin), and Kate Chopin (The Awakening), and essays by Emerson, Thoreau, and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Literature of New York City
Using a variety of genres and historical periods, this course looks at the exotic, eccentric, and energetic New York City and its compelling inhabitants. Pieces range from the 19th-century Melville classic “Bartleby the Scrivener” to the contemporary protest of Sapphire’s Push. Although the pieces are studied in chronological order, the intent of the class is to examine particular voices, themes, myths, and issues of a city that epitomizes the raw power of the American dream and its failures. Works may include titles by Henry James, Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. Students may also study the short stories of E.B. White, Grace Paley, and Philip Roth, as well as the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Frank O’Hara, and Hart Crane.
Southern Gothic: From Flannery O’Connor to Jesmyn Ward
This class explores authors who use the language of dreams, nightmares, and the supernatural to understand the dark side of real-life American history. Originally considered a lowbrow genre, the tradition of gothic fiction has allowed generations of writers to explore the social and psychological horrors of everyday life in the American South. Possible texts include Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, as well as excerpts from modern and contemporary television, including True Blood and American Horror Story.
The Vietnam War Through Literature and Film
This course focuses on novels, short stories, poetry, expository writing, and screenplays about the Vietnam War written from a variety of points of view: the soldiers, family members, war protesters, and Vietnamese citizens. Several popular films that depicted the war are discussed and contrasted with other visual images that have become imprinted on our culture’s memory—images ranging from wartime photography to the look and the iconography of war memorials, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Readings may include Greene,The Quiet American; O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Mason, In Country; Bao Ninh, The Sadness of War; Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places; and stories and memoirs such as Santoli’s Everything We Had, Kerr’s Dispatches, and Wolff’s In Pharaoh’s Army. Films may include The Green Berets, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, and Platoon. This course includes a mandatory personal interview assignment with written documentation and formal essay writing.
Postmodern Literature: Embrace the Chaos
Is it possible for a fictional story to represent the truth more accurately than reality? Can authors represent truth more effectively by reinventing traditional narrative techniques? Students explore these topics by examining postmodern literary techniques such as unreliable narration and metafiction that turn traditional narrative modes inside out and call into question that which seems true. Readings may include Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jazz by Toni Morrison, and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Other possible authors include Chuck Palahniuk, Tim O’Brien, and David Foster Wallace. Possible films include Big Fish and The Truman Show.
Women’s Literature: Voices of Self-Expression
How has the literary voice of women changed over the years? Can men be included in the dialogue? How does the evolving literature reflect women’s varying experiences? A variety of genres—including poetry, prose, and theater—guide discussions of how women’s perceptions have changed and been viewed over the past century. More specifically, the course examines how class, race, geography, ethnicity, and sexual orientation shape women’s life experiences. Students explore voices from many backgrounds, including Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as British classics such as Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.
Beyond Endurance: Voices of African American Writers
Students explore a range of thematic developments in African American fiction, theater, and poetry in the context of major cultural developments since the start of the Harlem Renaissance. Guiding questions include What makes a text a Black text? Must African American literature serve a moral or political cause? The course examines works from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s, the Black women’s literary renaissance of the 1950s and ’60s, the Black Arts of the 1960s and ’70s, and neo-slave narratives and contemporary works by African American authors. Assigned reading may include works by Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Ralph Ellison, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Claudia Rankine.
Poetry and Revolution in America
Just as America has been an experiment from its inception, so has its poetry. From the religious fundamentalism of the Puritans to the radical individualism of the 19th century, or from the feminist, pacifist, and communist doctrines of the 1960s to the postmodern experimentations of the present day, there has never been an era in which American poetry has not clung closely to revolutionary ideas. This course examines a number of American poets in depth (considering both the formal innovations of their verse and their roles in society), including Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Frank O’Hara, Sylvia Plath, and Terrence Hayes.
The Graphic Novel
Over the past few decades, the graphic novel has gone from the niche world of comic books to a varied, complex, and increasingly legitimate form of literary expression. Students trace the development of the form as it separated itself from other narrative modes and explore the themes and voices unique to graphic novels. Students are exposed to a wide range of graphic novels to learn how to examine illustration as literary style. The emphasis will be on essay writing, but students will create visual narrative writings of their own. The class will consider whether a graphic novel should be considered literature. Readings may include Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel; The Smartest Kid on Earth, Jimmy Corrigan; and Black Panther by Chris Ware, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Brian Stelfreeze.
The American Immigrant Experience
This course explores the voices and experiences of American immigrants through multiple genres, including novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, and films. Students will address essential questions such as What forces draw people away from their homelands to the US? What systems are in place to support or thwart the process of “becoming American”? What is the impact of race, class, culture, and language on American and individual identity? Possible authors include Jhumpa Lahiri, Amy Tan, Dave Eggers, Khaled Hosseini, Chimamanda Adichie, Frank McCourt, Sandra Cisneros, Julie Otsuka, Julia Alvarez, Edwidge Danticat, Gene Luen Yang, and Junot Diaz.
Literature of Native Americans
Through early Native American literary texts and contemporary literature that these texts have influenced, this class examines the oral tradition of storytelling and the relationship to the earth—plants and animals, rivers and rocks, and all things believed significant in the life of America’s first peoples. Readings will examine the historical fissure between the first peoples and the conquering colonial powers that existed in the early Americas and continues as a cultural and political conflict today. Readings include Black Elk Speaks by Nicholas Black Elk (Lakota), Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene), Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), and Little: A Novel by David Treuer (Ojibwe).
Beyond Endurance: Voices of African American Writers
We will examine a range of thematic developments in African American fiction, theater, and poetry in the context of major cultural developments since the start of the Harlem Renaissance. Our guiding questions will include What makes a text a Black text? Must African American literature serve a moral or political cause? We will examine works from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s, the Black women’s literary renaissance of the 1950s and ’60s, the Black Arts of the 1960s and ’70s, and neo-slave narratives and contemporary works by African American authors. Assigned reading may include works by Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Ralph Ellison, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Claudia Rankine.
Authenticity and Performance in the Digital Age
What does it mean to be authentic? Who is “the real you”? How does an online presence influence one’s “real life” identity? This course examines these questions, considering how truth and performance intertwine in the age of social media and how contemporary literature probes the relationship between authenticity and digital existence. Students read a variety of texts (supplemented with critical and theoretical perspectives), from David Foster Wallace’s short story “Good Old Neon” to Tom McCarthy’s Remainder and Miranda July’s The First Bad Man. The course draws on contemporary films and television that address the issues of authenticity and technology, such as the television series Black Mirror. Students also draw on their own experiences online and work together to create virtual platforms that promote authentic self-presentation.
Do the Right Thing: Ethics in Literature and Film
People have told stories as a means of making sense of the world since the advent of language—from the oldest prehistoric cave paintings to contemporary dinner-table tales. This class explores some of the common roots of ethical thinking and applies those ideals to literature from around the world. A unit on ancient codes—including Hammurabi’s, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Koran, and those of Western philosophers such as Aristotle, Kant, and Camus—sets the stage for identifying ethical questions in literature. Students explore how authors have posed and wrestled with these ideas through time. Readings cut across genres, time periods, and cultures—from children’s tales to contemporary African drama. Titles may include Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice; Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman; White’s Charlotte’s Web; Huxley’s Brave New World; Collins’ The Hunger Games; Beah’s A Long Way Gone; Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich; Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians; and Sartre’s No Exit. Films may include Do the Right Thing; A Man for All Seasons; Blade Runner; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Erin Brockovich; and Slumdog Millionaire.
A Fantastic Journey: Reading and Writing in Lands Beyond
Fantasy literature has moved from bit player to robust star in the literary heavens. In this course, students are challenged to investigate and analyze why fantasy holds such allure and where its roots lie. Students begin with a brief look at some essential source materials, from ancient myths to works like Beowulf, The Tempest, or Gulliver’s Travels. The class then reads extensively in the genre, beginning with a close reading of The Hobbit and going on to excerpts from The Lord of the Rings. Other works or authors that may be used include Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea and works by Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis, as well as contemporary works such as the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games. This is a class for the fantasy fan. In addition to the readings, there will be a self-designed research project and an extensive writing assignment of fantasy fiction.
Headless knights, undead Vikings, wandering mystics—far from being an age of darkness and disorder, the Middle Ages in Europe were a time of cultural exchange, innovation, and wonder. Students will read a wide range of medieval texts in translation, from tales of heroes and monsters to scathing political satires and visions of the end of the world. Students will supplement their readings with music, art, architecture, and philosophy. Our goal is to make sense of this long and complex period of human history, while asking what lessons the modern world can learn from the challenges of the past. Readings may include the Old Norse Grettir’s Saga, the Old English epic Beowulf, the Middle Welsh Mabinogion, the lays of Marie de France, the Old French Song of Roland, the mystical writings of Margery Kempe, the narrative verse of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and the poetic allegory of Dante’s Inferno.
Myth, Folktale, and Children’s Literature
What do the earliest books we read teach us about childhood, adults, animals, history, class, and gender? This course explores various representations of myth, folktales, and children’s literature, including stories that were written for adults and adopted as “children’s stories.” While some works may be familiar, students will be expected to sharpen their powers of analysis, both orally and in analytical and creative writing assignments. Works studied may include Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Animal Farm, The Golden Compass, Alice in Wonderland, The Arrival, Persepolis, Frankenstein, The Ramayana, Tintin, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, African folktales, and Boy, Snow, Bird.
Perpetrators and Victims: Literature of Genocide
How do apparently normal people subject others to atrocity and murder? How do societies promote, condone, or prevent genocide? How do individuals and countries survive emotionally, culturally, and politically? What, if anything, can be done to prevent genocide in the future? Students examine genocide from a historic and political perspective through memoir, essay, fiction, and poetry. Possible titles include This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Borowski; Imagining Argentina, Thornton; and Johnny Mad Dog, Dongala.
Using literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, this elective is designed as a sweeping introduction to the literature of the pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods in Russian writing. Course readings may include Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, and Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Students may also read selections of poems, short stories, and plays by Gogol, Pushkin, and Chekhov, as well as pieces by contemporary writers. Students read critical articles of the major texts, write analytical essays, and conduct research to learn about the political and cultural context of the literature and the writers themselves. Students should be prepared for a rigorous reading schedule.
Self and Society: 19th-Century British Literature
The 19th century in England brought with it new ideas, inventions, and philosophies that challenged the certainties of self, the belief in meaningful experience, and the relationship between men, women, and personal power. The continuing sophistication of the novel form and the advent of lending libraries allowed the novel, with its emphasis on the social changes of the day, to mirror the changing concerns of the time. This course will look at how authors viewed the tensions and questions of self in a changing world. Texts may include Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen; Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë; Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë; Frankenstein, Mary Shelley; Hard Times, Charles Dickens; and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy. The class is discussion based, with student-led discussion. Film adaptations may be viewed and analyzed after reading the texts.
The Shock of the New: Modern British Literature
The subject of this class is the fall from the Victorian ideal of progress into the complexities and anxieties of the modern era. Starting with core texts that characterize Modernism, the readings take the student through the key British writers of the 20th century. In addition to poetry, texts may include Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; James Joyce, Dubliners; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Pat Barker, Regeneration; Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange; Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go; and Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Written work may include an essay or test on each core text, weekly in-class writings, one student-taught class, and an outside reading choice and project.
Spinning the Globe: Readings from Around the World
This course seeks to investigate how our world has become smaller through the sharing of literature from around the world. From classic European writers to the diversity of contemporary authors from South America, Haiti, Japan, Africa, China, and the Middle East, students consider what world authors share in craft, style, narrative, themes, and characterization. The depth of inquiry includes contrasts/similarities of cultural and political contexts, with an eye toward expanding our own. Selected works may include In the Pond, Ha Jin; The Wall, Jean-Paul Sartre; Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy; Krik? Krak!, Edwidge Danticat; Bride Price, Buchi Emecheta; The Inheritance, Sahar Khalifa; and An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine.
Short Works of the Greats: Literature in Translation
This course is an opportunity to study the works of acknowledged greats through translations of some of their shorter stories, novels, and novellas. Many of these works were among the last creations of these writers, who refined their talents into these small gems of distinction. Close-passage analysis and attention to the subtler aspects of the works are a key feature of this course. Writings may include One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn; Love in a Fallen City, Eileen Chang; Gigi, Colette; The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka; The Wall, Jean-Paul Sartre; and Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
“What’s Up with That?”: Engaging Your World Through Journalism
Climate change, politics, immigration rights, fashion trends, sign stealing in baseball—these are all stories you can follow and develop through journalism. This class is designed to introduce students to the fundamental elements of news writing and photojournalism. Students will learn the terms and concepts of journalism, including the history of journalistic ethics. Students will write in multiple genres, including news, features, and sports articles. Classes will include discussions, workshops, group and individual meetings, writing, revising, and publishing. Journalism is a hands-on course that requires active participation and a commitment to working under deadlines for news stories and page layouts. Students will read, discuss, and analyze examples of creative journalism and recently published articles in print or online, and will also collaborate on research projects. Note: This counts as a writing class.
The goal of this workshop is to strengthen each student’s process of writing as a means of discovery and expression. Students write daily to gain practice and authority in response writing. They keep journals as a means of free writing and as a source for later papers. Contemporary essays provide models and form the basis of discussions about writing styles. Students complete extensive drafting of both personal and expository pieces, ending with a final edited draft. A minimum of four essays are written during the semester. Peer review and teacher review are integral to this process. Course readings include The Color of Water by James McBride.
The course explores personal essay modes and techniques. Through an examination of narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository models, students work to discover the importance of voice, sentence styling, effective word choice, and intention. A habit of informal writing is encouraged through nightly blog posts inspired by prompts or on a subject of the student’s choice. The class relies on peer review and workshop feedback through revision. Students practice preparing essays for submission to various outlets (all students submit at least two pieces for possible publication).
The Art of Poetry
Williams said a poem is “a machine made out of words.” Shelley said poets are “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Students in this class will do brilliant things with words and, in the process, will change the way they see the world. They will read widely, borrow mercilessly from the voices of others while looking for voices of their own, and fearlessly critique one another’s work. The class is a workshop format: readings of each other’s work and outside poems will occur daily, constructive criticism is required, and committing some poems to memory is expected. We will also study poetic terminology and learn a variety of forms and techniques through our own practice.
Do you ever have the urge to write great prose and not think about thesis statements and topic sentences? This course examines creative forms of fiction, with a focus on examining personal narratives, articles, and editorials. Looking at models of published prose, the class offers writing activities to give new ideas of both form and content. Students work on technical skills that support good writing in a workshop model of sharing pieces for class-wide feedback. A strong commitment to the writing process and a willingness to share weekly pieces with classmates are necessary.
Upper School Mathematics Courses
The Upper School mathematics curriculum appropriately challenges students at each level. Students in the Upper School are required to complete Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry before electing other options. Several levels of difficulty and challenge are available in each course. Accelerated courses allow students who have a strong interest in and facility for mathematics to pursue concepts in more depth and at a faster pace. Consultation with previous teachers, the student, and the Department Chair help determine a student’s placement in math.
Algebra I (Full year, 1 credit)
Algebra 1 is designed to nurture and strengthen the transition from computational to algebraic thinking. With a focus on the connection between algebraic and graphical representations, this course aims to deepen students’ ability to process and think at higher abstract and conceptual levels. Students will explore linear equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations and inequalities, the definition of a function, and characteristics of linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. Through a problem-solving approach, students will make meaningful connections between mathematical skills and life experiences. Emphasis will be placed on multiple approaches, as various strategies will be developed, analyzed, and discussed.
Algebra II (Full year, 1 credit)
This course presents the concepts of a traditional Algebra II program for students who have successfully completed Algebra I and may be taken before or after Geometry. Topics include linear, quadratic, and polynomial functions; direct and inverse variation; inequalities and absolute value; systems of equations; and simplifying and solving rational and radical expressions and equations. Use of a graphing calculator reinforces and supports skills learned in this course. Prerequisite: Algebra I or equivalent.
Algebra II Accelerated (Full year, 1 credit)
This course is for strong math students who have successfully completed an Algebra I course. The class begins by exploring sequences and series and how these topics are connected to both linear and exponential relationships. Students are exposed to topics traditionally found in rigorous Algebra II courses, including linear, quadratic, and higher-order polynomial functions; direct and inverse variation; inequalities and absolute value; systems of equations; and simplifying and solving rational and radical expressions and equations. If time permits, students will also explore exponential and logarithmic functions. Technology is used to support learning and exploration, leading to a deeper connection to the material. Prerequisite: Algebra I or equivalent.
Geometry (Full year, 1 credit)
This course covers the topics of traditional Euclidean geometry: points, lines, planes, angles, properties of parallel lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, circles, area and volume, and congruence and similarity. To gain insight into informal proofs and promote self-discovery, students explore relationships with programs such as Geometer’s Sketchpad and GeoGebra. The curriculum includes introductions to the studies of trigonometry and statistics. Prerequisite: Algebra I or equivalent.
Geometry and Trigonometry Accelerated (Full year, 1 credit)
This course considers the building blocks of planar and solid geometry, with a problem-solving approach. The course is fast-paced, allowing for exploration of concepts at greater depth. The curriculum emphasizes formal, two-column proofs and includes a short introduction to right-triangle trigonometry, as well as a solid introduction of data analysis and statistical calculations. Prerequisite: Algebra I or equivalent.
Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry (Full year, 1 credit)
This course is designed for students who have completed Algebra II but are not yet ready for Precalculus. It includes an introduction to statistical representation and measurement as well as a thorough consideration of linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, and trigonometric functions and their corresponding inverses. Included in the study of trigonometric functions are the unit circle, the six basic functions, trigonometric identities, trigonometric equations, the law of sines, and the law of cosines. Students who have successfully completed this course will be prepared for Precalculus in the following year. Prerequisites: Algebra II or equivalent and Geometry.
Precalculus (Full year, 1 credit)
This course focuses on functions and begins with general function characteristics, including notation, domain and range, operations on functions, composition, symmetry, inverse relationships, and transformations. Students review linear and quadratic functions before exploring polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions, all of which includes an emphasis on real-life applications. The second part of the course includes a study of trigonometry, both application of the unit circle and analytical trigonometry, and the laws of cosine and sine. If time allows, we include an introduction to probability and some elementary limits. Graphing calculators are required equipment for this course. Prerequisites: Algebra II or equivalent and Geometry.
Precalculus Accelerated (Full year, 1 credit)
This course focuses on functions and begins with general function characteristics such as notation, domain and range, operations on functions, composition, symmetry, inverse relationships, and transformations. Students then engage in a detailed study of polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. The second part of the course consists of a detailed study of trigonometry and some elementary limits. Graphing calculators are used to reinforce and support learning. Real-life applications are emphasized. Prerequisites: Algebra II or equivalent and Geometry.
Calculus I (Full year, 1 credit)
This course starts by reviewing material from Precalculus that will support the study of calculus topics. Students explore limits of functions, the derivatives of functions, and applications of derivatives, which include related rate problems, maxima and minima problems, and curve sketching. The second half of the course focuses on integral calculus, including applications involving the area between two curves and volumes of solids of revolution. Upon completion of this course, students have a solid grasp of calculus topics to support further study in this field.
Calculus I Accelerated (Full year, 1 credit)
Students engage in an in-depth study of the limits of functions, derivatives of functions, and applications of derivatives, including related rate problems, maxima and minima problems, and curve sketching. The second half of the course focuses mainly on integral calculus, including applications involving the area between two curves. Differential equations and the volumes of solids of revolution are explored. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be prepared to take the Advanced Placement Calculus exam. Prerequisite: Precalculus.
Calculus II Accelerated (Full year, 1 credit)
This course offers a thorough review of the techniques of differentiation and integration. Students will study applications involving surface area, length of a curve, and parametric equations. Other topics include different techniques of integration, sequences, and series, including Taylor Polynomials and Taylor series. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be prepared to take the BC Advanced Placement exam. Prerequisite: Accelerated Calculus I.
Advanced Statistics (Full year, 1 credit)
This course covers most topics included in the AP Statistics exam, with an emphasis on applications. Students examine depictions of data through graphs, correlation, and regression; data collection and sample design; randomness, binomial, and geometric distributions; and inference and significance tests on distributions, proportions, and tables. Students make extensive use of the statistics package on the TI-84 calculator. Prerequisite: Precalculus.
Upper School History Courses
In the Upper School, students take at least two years of history: World Civilizations (freshman year) and two semesters of American History (junior year). In addition, the department offers a yearlong elective in Modern European History for sophomores, as well as a wide array of semester- long junior and senior electives. Upper School coursework builds carefully upon the Middle School foundation and sharpens students’ reading, writing, and research skills. Students learn to analyze primary sources with increasing sophistication at each grade level; reliance upon textbooks is minimal. In every course, students are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and to formulate original arguments. Upper School history courses also emphasize research papers; seminar-style, student-led discussions; and the use of new technologies, including online discussions.
World Civilizations (Full year, 1 credit)
This ninth-grade course explores the major faiths of the world today—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and considers topics in history up to the early modern period. The class studies ancient Greece, Rome, the Crusades, Ming China, and Mughal India. The concepts of humanism, secularism, monotheism, monism, and pantheism are investigated as students explore the faiths and histories of different parts of the world. The analysis of primary and secondary sources, student-led class discussions, and the development of research and critical-thinking skills are stressed throughout the course. Students write a number of research-based essays, which provide opportunities to practice formulating thesis statements, documenting sources, and drafting persuasive written arguments and historical analysis.
Topics in Global History (Full year, 1 credit)
This sophomore history course focuses on examining selected developments around the world between the 13th and early 20th centuries. Students explore a variety of topics, from the history of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe through several broader ideas that are woven into the units and that allow for creating meaningful connections between countries, societies, and developments. These broad ideas include governance, cultural and social developments and interactions, economic systems, and technology and innovation. Throughout the year, students continue to practice research skills, comprehension, and analyses of primary and secondary sources, crafting arguments and supporting them with evidence in writing assignments and in-class discussions. The spring semester culminates in a research project on topics driven by students’ interests and is connected to the larger themes explored throughout the year.
US History I: The Formation of the United States, 1600–1860 (½ credit)
This course covers the history of the United States from the beginning of European colonization through Lincoln’s election in 1860. Students focus on the country’s political, economic, geographic, social, and cultural growth. The course explores the narratives of the early nation that are rooted in its founding documents, the evolving issue of slavery, and other forces that propelled the United States toward civil war. Class discussion, analytical essay writing, and close reading and annotation of primary source materials are integral to the course.
US History I: Women in American History (½ credit)
This class focuses on the history of women in the US from the colonial era to the present day. The course begins with a discussion of the role of women in US history, including Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Sojourner Truth. Students also focus on the role of women in the Civil War and the Progressive Movement, the women’s suffrage movement, women in the labor movement, and the roles played by women in both world wars and both “Red Scares.” The course culminates in an exploration of the revival of the women’s movement and concludes with an exploration of the current issues facing women today.
US History II: The United States Comes of Age: The Civil War Through World War II, 1861–1945 (½ credit)
This course begins with the national trauma of the Civil War and the failures of the Reconstruction era. Students examine the political, economic, and social changes in the country between 1870 and World War I, focusing on the growth of industry, the labor movement, immigration, the Populist movement, the Progressive movement, and the early civil rights movements. Students explore the emergence of the United States as a global power and related actions during the 1920s, the Great Depression, and entry into World War II. Class discussion, analytical essay writing, and a close reading of primary source documents are emphasized.
US History II: African American History (½ credit)
This course considers American history from the perspective of African Americans. Beginning with an examination of the West African slave trade and the origins of the Middle Passage during the 16th century, students explore key concepts and events in the racial history of the US. The class examines the development and spread of chattel and industrial slavery, the effects of emancipation and Reconstruction, the origin of Jim Crow laws, the history of the struggle for civil rights (including today’s Black Lives Matter movement), and the effects of important events in US history on African Americans. Primary and secondary sources representing a black perspective on US history will be used throughout the course.
Junior-Senior History Electives
Numerous history electives are offered to juniors and seniors. Students select courses based on individual interests. Not all electives are offered every year.
The Great War (½ credit)
Over a century has passed since the beginning of the Great War, which President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed to be “the war to end all wars,” but tragically, only opened the door to another, even more devastating world war a quarter of a century later. This course explores how and why the Great War changed the course of history. Historical documents, poetry, short literary works, and films are integral to the study throughout the semester. The course begins by looking at England and Germany, the two most powerful nations in the world as the 20th century began, and traces their collision course in the fateful years leading up to 1914. The focus, however, is the war itself and its consequences. Students examine the horrors of trench warfare along the Western Front. Although the course centers on the war in Europe, attention is also paid to the global reach of the war, including the participation of African troops and the impact of their experience on the subsequent rise of independence movements on the African continent. Other short- and long-term consequences of the war, including the early rise of Adolf Hitler, are also highlighted. Students in this class take turns leading class discussions and participate regularly in online discussions as well.
Headscarves and Heretics: Women and Islam in the Postcolonial Maghrib (½ credit)
Northwest Africa (the Maghrib) enjoys a cultural identity distinct from the rest of the continent. Though often considered an Arab region, the Maghrib is actually a complex mix of Berber, Arab, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and sub-Saharan African cultures. The Maghrib enjoys an overwhelmingly Muslim majority while representing the westernmost pole of the Islamic world. Today the region is undergoing massive cultural transformation. Not only did the recent Arab Spring originate within the Maghrib, but also the shifting economics, increasing urbanization, and booming population of the area have all contributed to rapid and sometimes shocking new social dynamics. This course examines two of the most dynamic modes of change in northwest Africa: the roles of women and the forms of Islamic expression. Beginning with the colonial period, the course examines the emergence of political Islam and the women’s rights movement in modern Maghribi culture. Topics will include the role of the headscarf for modern women, the conflict between traditional and political Islam, and the emergence of a new and empowered female political class. Classical and contemporary sources are considered, and students have the opportunity to correspond online with feminists and political leaders within the Maghrib.
History of Islam (½ credit)
This course offers an introduction to Islam, the youngest of the world’s great religions. Using primary sources, secondary sources, sacred texts, ethnography, literature, ﬁlm, and art, this class investigates the historical origins, the historical traditions, and the modern challenges of Islam. An attempt is made to stress the unity of Islam within the diverse ways of being Muslim. The course begins with an overview of modern Islam, focusing on how it is practiced on the edges of the Muslim world: Morocco and Indonesia. This course also looks at Muhammad as both a historical ﬁgure and a religious symbol. A discussion of the rapid spread of early Islam and the classical Islamic period follows. Students consider the role of Islam in the modern world and the effects of colonialism on traditional, non-Western modes of faith.
US History III: History of the Current Issues in the US: How Did We Get Here?(Fall, ½ credit)
This course delves into the fundamental forces, civic structures, events, and people in United States history since 1945. Students will identify critical issues and seek to understand them more fully through history. Examples will include civil rights movements, immigration, income inequality, climate change, voting rights, partisanship, issues of free speech, freedom of religion, health care, limited or expanded federal government, gerrymandering, the electoral college, and social media. Students will be asked to broaden their lens and ways of thinking about topics and events as well as to understand the perspectives of different stakeholders on various issues. The intent of the course is to support students in their learning about the past as a window to the present, to assist them in becoming skilled in determining “the truth” to the best of their ability as they delve into myriad perspectives and sources, and to give students a foundation upon which they can seek to understand other issues in society. Students are expected to be conversant about current events and will take an active role in contributing to and leading class discussions. Prerequisite: This course is open only to seniors and to juniors who are concurrently fulfilling their US history requirement.
Immigrants in the United States (½ credit)
In this course, students explore the experiences of diverse groups of immigrants to the United States, from colonial times to the present. Placing their individual and collective stories in the context of the history of America helps learners understand different struggles encountered as a result of settling in a new country, as well as the complexities of US immigration policies. The course also draws from the rich history of diverse populations and immigration to Portland to facilitate understanding of local history in national and global contexts. The class explores different aspects of immigration that America faces today and how diverse groups of people continue to redefine what it means to be American. In addition to developing their discussion and public speaking abilities, students are afforded opportunities to hone their research, writing, and reading comprehension skills.
Native American History (½ credit)
This course considers the history of the United States from the perspective of Americans Indians. Beginning with an examination of the diverse indigenous nations that inhabited North America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, our study will draw from both primary and secondary documents to facilitate students’ exploration, understanding, and analyses of key concepts and events of American Indian history. Selected topics include, but are not limited to, the devastation of disease after contact with Europeans, the violation of treaties and agreements in the colonial era, the destruction and removal of nations from tribal lands, the early reservation system and the “Christianizing” of American Indian children, the relationship and power dynamic between tribal leaders and the federal government, and the history of the ongoing struggle for civil rights. Emphasis will be placed not only on the impact of important events in US history on American Indians but also on the ways in which American Indians have influenced the country throughout their history and continue to do so today. Whenever possible, we will tie our discussions to contemporary issues ranging from national issues like the debate over Indian sports mascots to local ones like the Maine-Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Introduction to Art History (Fall, ½ credit)
This course will present an overview of topics in art history from the Paleolithic cave painting period until the contemporary era. Students will consider the aesthetic history, material culture, artistic methods, and cultural iconographies of Europe, India, and China—three very different areas of human civilization. The class will explore the art and, when possible, the major artists of these regions while investigating how different forms of artistic expression are tied to different periods of historical development. Students will be expected to read academic articles about history and art history and to compose analytical research essays for the class. A background in world history (world civilizations and modern Europe) is helpful but will not be required for this course. Prerequisite: This course is open only to seniors and to juniors who are concurrently fulfilling their US history requirement.
Introduction to Philosophy (½ credit)
Starting with the pre-Socratics, this course surveys major trends in both ancient and modern Islamic, Jewish, and Christian philosophies from roughly 300 BCE to 1900 CE. Along the way, students read and analyze the works of Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Sina, Al Gazali, Aquinas, Maimonides, Descartes, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. This course examines the nature of philosophical inquiry while stressing the ancient Greek foundation for most philosophical questions. Students learn about the similarities between Western and non-Western philosophy. To better understand the arguments of the philosophers, students are expected to do slow, careful readings of philosophical texts and to respond to these texts in analytical prose.
The Great 20th-Century Crisis: World War II, 1939–1945 (½ credit)
As the deadliest and most widespread conflict in human history, World War II represents a fascinating and complex area of study. This course provides students with a multidimensional experience of some of the myriad narratives of this monumental war through exploration of historical documents, film, and literature. Beginning with an introduction to the turbulent legacy of the Great War, students explore the rise of totalitarian regimes in Europe and Asia as well as the embattled status of democratic powers in the West. Topics discussed include Nazi racial theory, the rise of Imperial Japan, American isolationism, and the shifting role of the Soviet Union. Students are exposed to a variety of voices and narratives, including those of German civilians, Polish Jews, Japanese Americans, and members of the French Resistance. The course concludes with consideration of the far-reaching effects of the war, including the lessons of the Holocaust, the advent of the Cold War, and the implications of nuclear weaponry.
Upper School Science Courses
The Science Department offers Upper School students courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics. Scientific inquiry, creative problem-solving, mathematical analysis, and scientific writing are emphasized in the study of these disciplines. Students work in collaborative teams designing, conducting, and reporting on laboratory, field, and research investigations. Students use traditional lab equipment as well as electronic probes and sensors, graphing calculators, and computer software when collecting and analyzing experimental data. Intensive-level classes in biology, chemistry, and physics allow students to pursue topics in greater depth and require a higher level of independent problem-solving. As scientific literacy is a principal goal of the department, connections to current issues are woven into the curriculum of each course.
Biology Required course (Full year, 1 credit)
Students in Biology develop critical-thinking skills and an ability to apply the scientific method through inquiry-based and teacher-directed labs, small-group activities, and student and teacher presentations. Students learn how to use spreadsheets and graphing software for data analysis and how to write formal lab reports. Content includes experimental design; the characteristics of living things; cell structure, function, and reproduction; DNA biology; genetics and evolutionary biology; and ecology and ecosystem functions. This course is also offered in an Intensive format.
Chemistry(Full year, 1 credit)
Chemistry is designed for students who have strong algebra skills. It has a laboratory-based curriculum intended to give students a working knowledge of general inorganic chemistry. Topics explored include the properties of matter; problem-solving using dimensional analysis; atomic structure; chemical nomenclature; writing, balancing, and predicting the products of chemical reactions; the mole concept; stoichiometry; the quantum model of atoms; chemical bonding; molecular structure; acid-base chemistry; and radioactivity. This course is also offered in an Intensive format. Prerequisites: Biology for all sections; also Algebra II for Intensive sections.
Physics (Full year, 1 credit)
Physics is designed for juniors and seniors and explores motion through the use of laboratory and problem-solving activities. The course begins with a thorough study of Newtonian mechanics, including one- and two-dimensional kinematics, forces, work, energy, and momentum. Simple harmonic motion (waves), optics, electricity, and magnetism are explored in the second semester, as time allows. Strong math and problem-solving skills are required. Note: This course is also offered in an Intensive format. Prerequisites: Chemistry and Algebra II.
Environmental Science: Ecology (½ credit)
With an extensive lab and field component, this seminar-style course brings together elements of biology and chemistry to teach students how ecosystems function. Topics include organization of the environment, flow of energy and matter, biogeochemical cycles, ecological pyramids, tolerance curves, evolution, population dynamics, ecological succession, and the geologic history of Maine. This course is offered only to juniors and seniors.
Environmental Science: Current Issues (½ credit)
In this course, students learn about the underlying causes of environmental problems and are challenged to take action to bring about change. Readings are taken from current periodicals, scientific journals, and selected texts. The course also features outside speakers and field trips to local ecosystems. Students complete a research paper on an environmental issue in their own community. Topics include understanding human attitudes and behavior toward the environment, evaluating the validity of scientific claims, recognizing forms of scientific denialism in the media, land and water use, global climate change, and research into a variety of current environmental issues. This course is offered to juniors and seniors. Prerequisites: Biology; completion of Chemistry is highly encouraged.
Marine Coastal Ecology (½ credit)
Through classroom, lab, and field experiences, students examine the ecology of the major coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine. The course begins with an investigation of basic oceanography and then moves on to the ecology of rocky- and sandy-shore ecosystems. In addition to field and laboratory experiences, students participate in ongoing field studies and use a case study approach to examine a number of current ecological issues in the Gulf of Maine. Prerequisite: Biology. Open only to juniors and seniors (and sophomores, by permission)
Biology of Marine Organisms (½ credit)
This course begins with a focus on marine producers and then moves on to explore each major group of marine animals, including the biology of simple invertebrates, complex invertebrates, and vertebrates, including fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals. The course includes a significant lab component, video- and text-based assignments, and case studies that examine current ecological issues. Prerequisite: Biology. Open only to juniors and seniors (and sophomores, by permission).
Astrophysics (1 credit)
This course is offered to seniors who are interested in studying the physics of the universe and its components. The curriculum uses a combination of laboratory activities, problem-solving techniques, research projects, online data sources, computer-charting software, and field trips as tools for exploring the dynamic field of astronomy. Topics include the motions of celestial bodies, electromagnetic radiation, stars and stellar evolution, black holes, pulsars, relativity, and other topics in cosmology and modern physics, including the origin and fate of our universe. Note: This course is open to seniors only. Prerequisites: Physics and Precalculus. At least one previous Intensive-level class is strongly suggested.
Advanced Biology: (1 credit)
This course is designed for seniors with strong science skills. Topics include a review of general biology and inorganic chemistry, an introduction to organic and biochemistry, macromolecules, enzymes, nutrition, the cell, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis. Special topics during the first semester include the lab identification of carbohydrates, protein modeling, the hormone insulin, and diabetes. In the second semester, the class will study DNA biology, genetic and infectious diseases, evolution, and population genetics. Special topics include the study of the flu and HPV viruses (also coronaviruses), the evolution of sexual reproduction and human races, and antibiotic resistance. Readings include material from Biology, Neil Campbell; Genome, Matt Ridley; and Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond.. Laboratory experiments include college-level and Advanced Placement investigations. Note: This course is open to seniors only. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry. At least one previous Intensive-level class is strongly suggested.
Biotechnology: Lab Techniques and Ethical Considerations (½ credit)
This class scrutinizes contemporary issues in science by examining them through the lenses of prominent moral principles and theories. Students explore the ideas of autonomy and informed consent by looking at several infamous examples where both have been violated. The class examines the field of consumer genetics (ancestry sites and private gene testing) and the use of genome sequencing for personalized medicine. Students conduct lab work where they extract their own DNA and look at the different variants for a few particular genes that exist within the population of the class. Students read many case histories as well as opinions written by those most active in the ﬁeld. This course is open to seniors only.
Upper School World Languages
The Upper School world languages program offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels in French, Latin, Chinese (Mandarin), and Spanish. The sequence of courses in each language is designed to develop high-level linguistic competence, critical thinking, and cultural literacy.
Chinese I (Full year, 1 credit)
In this course, students learn about the sociocultural context and gain a working knowledge of Chinese (Mandarin) by focusing on pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, grammatical structures, and written characters. Students learn simplified Chinese characters but are introduced to elements of traditional characters and radicals as a means of familiarizing themselves with the roots and history of the written language. The main text used is Easy Steps to Chinese 1: Simplified Characters Version, which is accompanied by a character practice and skills workbook. Students learn how to read and write approximately 150 Chinese characters. Interactive websites, dedicated Chinese character software, and more traditional audiovisual tools are used in this course. Elements of Chinese culture are also integrated into the curriculum.
Chinese II (Full year, 1 credit)
Students in Chinese II build on the foundation of first-year Chinese. Oral presentations, dramatizations, and expository writing exercises are used more frequently to help students become more competent communicators. In this course, the main text used is Easy Steps to Chinese 2: Simplified Characters Version. Various interactive websites are used to reinforce classwork, enhance students’ mastery of pronunciation, and elevate their aural comprehension skills. By the end of the year, students will have developed a vocabulary of approximately 500 characters. Prerequisite: Chinese I or equivalent.
Chinese III (Full year, 1 credit)
In this course, students continue to expand their vocabulary and grammatical repertoire using Easy Steps to Chinese 3: Simplified Characters Version as the primary text. Interactive websites are used to reinforce classwork and strengthen oral and aural skills outside class. Oral presentations, dramatizations, and writing exercises help students become stronger communicators. Elements of Chinese culture are integrated into the curriculum. By the end of the year, students will have developed a vocabulary of approximately 850 characters. Prerequisite: Chinese II or equivalent.
Advanced Chinese Electives
Chinese IV (1 credit)
This full-year course offers an approach to fluency through all four of the linguistic skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course focuses on the practical use of Chinese in the context of everyday activities. Students will work to significantly expand their vocabulary and rigorously apply a wide range of advanced grammar patterns to engage in in-depth discussions on topics and themes that are relevant to high school students. Students read and analyze texts, write and edit short compositions, participate in roundtable discussions, and engage in various forms of creative expression. The main text for this class is Integrated Chinese Level 1, Part 2, by Liu Yuehua and Yao Tao-chung. Interactive websites and audio recordings are also used to enhance and reinforce skills. Prerequisite: Chinese III.
Living and Studying in China (½ credit)
In this course, students study the vocabulary and grammar structures necessary to navigate life in China as a college or graduate student. Using Integrated Chinese Level 2 and A New China as the main texts, students learn the conversational skills necessary to manage daily tasks and confront common issues faced by college students in China, such as discussing and navigating student housing both on and off campus, choosing classes and a major to enhance future job opportunities, conducting transactions at the bank, going on a job interview, and discussing personal budgets and expenses. Websites, online tools, and other authentic readings supplement the main text in this highly practical course. Prerequisite: Chinese IV.
Chinese Legends and Chengyu (½ credit)
In this course, students focus on adaptations and selections from well-known works in the Chinese literary and folk canon. Using the Tales and Traditions series, students deepen their cultural understanding and expand their linguistic skills as they read and discuss a selection of traditional Chinese fables, legends, and myths. In addition, students learn several well-known Chengyu (four-character idioms), which deepens the cultural nuance with which students can communicate. Conversation, writing, and reading skills continue to be emphasized. Prerequisite: Chinese IV.
French I (Full year, 1 credit)
This course teaches the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on dialogue. Role-playing and skits are used as tools to increase oral competency. Writing practice includes short-answer responses and short descriptive pieces. Students work from a basal text, which provides a variety of supplemental activities and reading selections.
French II (Full year, 1 credit)
Students build on the foundations of French I and enhance their corpus of vocabulary and grammatical form while developing the four primary linguistic skills. Written work includes students’ original narratives. Students work from a basal text. Additional short stories are used to develop further reading skills. Prerequisite: French I.
French III (Full year, 1 credit)
In this course, students continue to develop and hone their skills through in-depth grammar study, vocabulary acquisition, and extensive reading and writing practice. Students work from basal texts and supplementary literary readings, including short works by such authors as Maupassant, Gascony, and Kessler. Prerequisite: French II.
Advanced French Electives
Students who have completed French III may select from a variety of electives. Students must take Advanced French Grammar and Composition as a prerequisite to other electives unless granted a waiver by the department chair. All advanced electives are conducted in French. Not all electives are offered every year.
French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition(Full year, 1 credit)
This full-year course offers an approach to fluency through all four of the linguistic skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students broaden and deepen their current understanding of grammatical structures while learning new structures that allow them to add complexity and abstract thought to their verbal and written expression. Each unit introduces an aspect of cultural life along with thematic vocabulary, giving students the opportunity to practice and play. They read and analyze literature, write and edit short compositions, participate in debates and roundtable discussions, and engage in various forms of creative expression. Through online and in-class collaboration, students are exposed to authentic contemporary language and culture in context. The course also includes weekly discussion and feedback based on podcasts from France and elsewhere. Prerequisite: French III.
French History Through French Literature (½ credit)
Students in this course travel through time to examine various pieces of literature that relate to French history. The course begins with the French Revolution in 1789 and explores France’s place in history and in literature. Students move through the centuries, exploring selections from works by Voltaire and the philosophes, La Declaration des Droits de l’Homme from the French Revolution, naturalist and psychological novels from the 19th and 20th centuries, and iconic works associated with surrealism, existentialism, and absurdism. Through these works, students explore how the French lived, progressed, and played a major role in European and world history. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
La France contemporaine (½ credit)
This non-literature course is designed to hone oral skills and acquaint students with contemporary French issues as well as French views of events in the United States and the world. Films, magazine and newspaper articles, short stories, and written and audio internet sources enable students to review and refine grammar structure while examining contemporary French ideas and opinions. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
Découverte du monde francophone (½ credit)
This literature course is designed to acquaint students with the written works of authors from areas outside France where French is spoken. Students explore the historical, social, and cultural contexts that produced a variety of rich francophone literary traditions. Students watch and discuss films and read representative works from authors from North and Central Africa, Vietnam, Quebec, and the Caribbean. Selected prose and poetry by representative authors such as Camara, Condé, Bâ, Hébert, Leclerc, Kien Nguyen, Nha Ca, Bey, Chraïbi, Sebbar, and Césaire are studied. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
French Literature and Film (½ credit)
In this course, students explore a broad selection of French and francophone literature through readings, discussions, and films. By delving into selected works by authors such as Jean Giono, Marcel Aymé, Edmond Rostand, and Molière, students expand their French skills through analysis, critique, and discussion. Films are used to reinforce and support each piece of literature, to develop students’ listening comprehension, and to foster and heighten in-class discussion. Grammar and structure work are also emphasized throughout the semester to help students review, refine, and develop their writing and speaking skills. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
Les femmes écrivains (½ credit)
This course explores the contributions of women to France’s illustrious literary history. From the classic Enlightenment-era epistolary novel to the postcolonial coming-of-age novel of the 20th century, this class examines the themes, politics, and styles of female writers of France and the francophone world. The readings and discussions are supplemented with films, contemporary media, and short historical texts. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
Maupassant (½ credit)
In this course, students focus on the life and work of a major
19th-century writer: Guy de Maupassant. After familiarizing themselves with the historical background of 19th-century France, students delve into Maupassant’s philosophical beliefs and vision of society and analyze his writing style. Readings may include Une Vie, Bel-Ami, and Pierre et Jean, as well as a variety of his short stories. Students explore themes of social class, the role and vision of women and children, and views of love and marriage. Students compare and contrast Maupassant’s writings and films of his work. Class discussions, formal presentations, and essays are the primary methods used for skill development and assessment. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
La littérature française I–IV (½ credit each)
This series of semester-long historical survey courses exposes students to representative works of French literature, including novels, plays, and poetry. Each course focuses on works from a particular epoch, beginning with the 16th and 17th centuries. Students build vocabulary, expand reading and writing skills, and develop critical-thinking skills as they move through discussions of plot, character, and theme. Each course stands alone; none is a prerequisite for another. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition.
I: Les 16ème et 17ème siècles
Sixteenth-century France saw the arrival of the Renaissance, when writers challenged medieval dogma and gave birth to new literary forms. Writers such as Rabelais reflected the humanist passion for knowledge and beauty and exalted the ideal of the individual. By contrast, the 17th century was le grand siècle, and absolute monarchy and grandeur were personified by Louis XIV, the Sun King. Classicism, with its emphasis on order, reason, and clarity, replaced the lyricism and individualism of the 16th century and the mystery, emotion, and drama of the Baroque style. Students explore the social, philosophical, and literary ferment of these two centuries through close study of works by 16th-century writers such as Rabelais, Ronsard, Du Bellay, and Montaigne. Representatives of 17th-century literature include Descartes, Corneille, Pascal, Molière, La Fontaine, and Racine.
II: Le 18ème siècle
The Age of Enlightenment was characterized by an unfailing faith in the power of reason to effect improvement in human civilization. In French letters, the idea of individual freedom and equality was expressed by l’éveil de l’ésprit philosophique, a movement that questioned all forms of authority, including absolute monarchy. Alongside the sociopolitical essays of the philosophes and the emergence of a new French middle class, the prose novel and short story became significant literary genres. Students read selected essays, stories, and plays by writers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Beaumarchais, and Marivaux.
III: Le 19ème siècle
French writers of the 19th century rejected the classical era’s emphasis on order and clarity and the philosophes’ adherence to reason, espousing instead the concepts and movements of romanticism, naturalism, Parnassianism, and realism. Through the study of 19th-century novels, plays, and poetry, students discover the romanticists’ call for social and creative freedom, the naturalists’ objective depiction of real life, and the realists’ depiction of protagonists from different levels of society, even the very lowest. Students read selected novels, plays, and poetry by Lamartine, Hugo, de Vigny, Balzac, Baudelaire, Maupassant, Zola, Sand, Rimbaud, and Verlaine.
IV: Le 20ème siècle
In a century marked by two world wars, many writers questioned traditional social values. They experimented with new literary styles and reassessed the role of the novelist. In 1945, in Les temps modernes, Sartre proposed the concept of “littérature engagée,” arguing that the writer must be committed primarily to politics and social commentary. Students explore this period of social and cultural revolution by reading selections of science fiction, the Theater of the Absurd, and la Négritude, which includes francophone writers from the Americas and Africa.
Seminar in Translation (½ credit)
In this course, students read original works and works in translation to explore the fundamentals of translation. Which elements of the story must be preserved, and which can be left out and it still be considered the same story? Students read, analyze, and compare texts and produce their own translations. Translations are workshopped in class. Prerequisite: French IV: Advanced French Grammar and Composition
Latin I (Full year, 1 credit)
This course introduces students to the most basic elements of Latin and language study. Before each foray into Latin grammar, students study its counterpart in English grammar. This course introduces the accentuation system and the Roman alphabet before beginning with the basic functions of the Latin noun and the case system. By year’s end, students learn the first and second declensions and the present, imperfect, and future of all four conjugations, as well as several irregular verbs. Skill development includes a mastery of vocabulary, morphology, syntax, and pronunciation. The main text is Lingua Latina per se Illustrata
Latin II (Full year, 1 credit)
In the second year of the Upper School Latin program, students continue to work from Lingua Latina per se Illustrata. Students translate longer passages and learn more advanced grammar, including ablative absolutes, indirect statements, and subjunctive clauses. At the end of the year, they read passages from Latin authors.
Latin III (Full year, 1 credit)
Students in this course continue with their study of classical Latin’s vocabulary, morphology, and syntax. This course deepens students’ understanding of Latin grammar and broadens their mastery of basic Latin vocabulary. Topics include relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, participles, ablative absolutes, and indirect statements. Elements of Roman history, culture, and literature are also integrated into the curriculum. Students read longer passages of authentic Latin and discuss the meaning and nuances of the texts within their own cultural and historical contexts.
Advanced Latin Electives
Students who have completed Latin III may select from a variety of semester-long electives. Not all electives are offered every year.
Catullus (½ credit)
A lyric poet of great power and feeling, Catullus was the author of
116 poems that range from satire to hymns on topics from love to hate. He belonged to a coterie of writers called novae poetae, or the new poets, who greatly inﬂuenced the next generation of Roman authors, including Vergil and Horace. Class participants translate a large number of his poems and work on understanding this modern ancient poet. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Horace (½ credit)
In this course, students learn about the poetry of Quintus Horatius Flaccus. Readings include poems that constitute the basis for Horace’s continuing fame in modern times. The Odes are highly sophisticated lyrical poems that were greatly inspired by Greek models like Pindar, Alcaeus, and Callimachus. Throughout this course, students translate and analyze a collection of these poems and familiarize themselves with the usage of standard vocabulary, poetic meters, and the historical and literary backgrounds of Horace’s work. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Ovid: Metamorphoses or Ars Amatoria (½ credit)
The department offers separate courses on two great works of the Roman poet Ovid: Metamorphoses and Ars Amatoria. Drawn from many well-known Greek and Roman myths, Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of mythological stories written in the author’s unique and creative style. Within these myths, the study of transformation and literal metamorphosis is essential to a thorough understanding of the story. In this course, students translate and discuss some of the more prominent transformation myths, which may include “Apollo and Daphne,” “Pyramus and Thisbe,” “Baucis and Philemon,” and “Pygmalion.” In the second course, students explore such questions as Is falling in love an art? A skill? A game? Are there rules? Through translating, reading, and discussing various selections from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, students examine the concept of love in ancient Roman society. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Cicero: Pro Caelio or In Catilinam (½ credit)
The course’s goals are to develop an appreciation for Cicero’s prose style and to synthesize students’ grammar and vocabulary through the study of one of these two great works: In Catilinam or Pro Caelio.
In Catilinam: In the fall of 63 BCE, during the consulship of Cicero, Rome’s most famous orator, Lucius Sergius Catiline plotted to murder the Senate and overthrow the Republic. Assisted by assassins, brigands, and scofflaws, Catiline nearly succeeded, but he was foiled by Cicero. In his best-known and most widely read oration, Cicero delivered a lively and trenchant speech to the Senate and alerted them to the impending coup, thereby saving the Senate and turning the clandestine insurrection into open civil war.
Pro Caelio: In 56 BCE, Marcus Caelius was facing various charges, including murder and poisoning. Cicero and Crassus came to his defense (Cicero being motivated by a personal vendetta against the Clodius family, which was instigating the lawsuit). Cicero’s so-called defense of Caelius spends little time on any actual facts but instead veers into a humorous character assassination of Clodia, the manipulative and powerful woman with whom Caelius had a romantic affair. Students in this course learn the foundations of classical rhetoric and analyze Cicero’s deft use of the tricolon, anaphora, chiasmus, synchysis, litotes, hyperbole, homoioteleuton, and anadiplosis. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Livy: The Punic Wars (½ credit)
The Punic Wars were the defining conflicts for the future of the Roman Empire. One of the most feared and respected Punic leaders the Romans faced was Hannibal Barca, the famed general from Carthage (in modern-day Tunisia). Students translate and read selections from later books of Ab Urbe Condita, which contain tales of elephants crossing the Alps, brilliant battle tactics, and the expansion of the Roman Empire during the Punic Wars. Students translate and read selections from Livy’s work, and they explore the triumphs and defeats of the Punic Wars in which Rome battled Carthage. Students also discuss Livy’s representation of the three Punic Wars and their impact on the next period of Roman history. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Caesar: de bello Gallico (½ credit)
In this course, students read selections from Caesar’s de bello Gallico, his own account of his campaigns in Gaul. Through wise leadership and sturdy determination, Caesar fought his way through the Gallic region north of Rome and into Britain. With militaristic successes throughout the region, he enlarged the empire with various conquered lands, adding thousands to Rome’s growing population. Students focus on analyzing the intent and military strategies of the various campaigns and discuss the commentary as propaganda. Students also explore the wars fought between Caesar’s Roman troops and their surrounding enemies through translating selections of his work, reading supplemental articles, mapping his journey, and discussing his purpose. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Vergil’s Aeneid: Book II (½ credit)
In this course, students read Book II of Vergil’s Aeneid in its entirety. Book II is the only ancient source for a description of the fall of Troy and the infamous Trojan horse in Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis! Vergil describes with great pathos the destruction of the city, the death of its king, Priam, and the innumerable losses suffered at the hands of the Greeks. Students discuss Vergil’s use of poetic tropes to enhance the suffering of his characters and also compare Vergil’s sense of heroism with the Homeric models from the Iliad. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Vergil’s Aeneid: Book IV (½ credit)
In this course, students focus on Book IV of Vergil’s Aeneid. Touted as Vergil’s best work of characterization and drama, Book IV depicts the love affair between Aeneas and Dido, queen of Carthage. Through heartfelt descriptions and wrenching dialogue, Vergil weaves a fragile portrait of love. In this work, Vergil poses his most difficult questions: To what extent must the individual sacrifice for the good of the commonwealth? Can personal love outweigh the needs of the common? With translation, analysis, and discussion, students delve into the mind of Vergil and the relationship between Aeneas and Dido. Prerequisite: Latin III.
Pliny: Epistulae (½ credit)
This course focuses on the Epistulae, a collection of letters written by Pliny the Younger to the emperor Trajan during Pliny’s time as the governor of Bithynia in 103 CE. The letters detail the daily routines and the responsibilities of a Roman governor as well as important historical events, such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the suppression of Christianity (considered a dangerous cult at that time). Prerequisite: Latin III.
Latin Prose Composition (½ credit)
This course begins with the most basic Latin prose styles and develops students’ command of grammar and syntax as they think deeply about Latin prose. Through the study and emulation of the prose styles of Caesar, Cicero, Livy, and Sallust, students develop their own Latin prose style while employing the many rhetorical devices available to the classical author. Students write simple sentences in Latin and gradually move on to more complex translations of English prose. Issues of more vernacular interest are also addressed in the advanced part of this course. Prerequisite: Latin III. Open to juniors and seniors only.
Seneca: Epistulae Morales (Spring, ½ credit)
In this course, students will read selections from Seneca the Younger’s philosophical works. Seneca was tutor to Nero, supporting the rise of this Roman emperor by serving in his administration and writing his early speeches. Retired after ten years of service, he wrote what would become the final literary work of his life: his moral epistles. In these letters, Seneca explores some of the most important questions of our existence: How do we live an ethical life? What, if anything, is worth sacrificing for our principles? What is death, and how do we live with the knowledge that we will die? Is over-exercising a problem? While reading the letters and grappling with these questions themselves, students will read selections from other ancient Stoic philosophers, learn about the broader philosophical landscape of the early Roman Empire, and consider the resurgence of popularity of Stoicism in self-help guides of the 21st century. Prerequisite: Latin III. Open to juniors and seniors only.
Spanish I (Full year, 1 credit)
Students in Spanish I develop proﬁciency in the four linguistic skill areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course emphasizes the importance of communicative competence through activities such as role-playing, rhyming, storytelling, and skits. Writing exercises include short-answer responses and descriptive pieces in the present tense. The student text Vistas is the primary resource, along with active collaboration on the class Google website. Online tools such as Quizlet, VoiceThread, Explain Everything, and Audioboo are also used to increase proficiency and understanding
Spanish II (Full year, 1 credit)
In this second-year course, students expand their oral, listening, reading, and writing skills through storytelling. Students learn to express their ideas in the present, past, and future tenses and begin to delve into advanced structures, consolidating and building on the foundation established in Spanish I. Using VoiceThread and SoundCloud, students demonstrate their growing skills through oral presentations and dramatizations both in class and on the web. They also continue to improve their writing skills through expository and creative writing exercises. Students use multiple resources to help them learn, including a basal grammar text and workbook, online study sites, and an anthology of readings from the fantastical to the autobiographical.
Spanish III: Culture, Conversation, and Media Studies(Full year, 1 credit)
This course is designed to review and refine skills learned in Spanish II while weaving in more advanced grammatical structures in the context of cultural readings, dialogues, music, films, shorts, and short literary pieces. Students will focus on the development and practice of the World Language “5 Cs”—Communications, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities—to enable students to “churn and play” with the language. Texts include Breaking the Spanish Barrier 2 and selected short readings, legends, news articles, and Spanish and Latin American shorts. Students demonstrate their growing oral skills through presentations and dramatizations in both class discussions and on the web (using VoiceThread and Extempore) and develop writing skills on shorter written reflections and summaries. Students will work on a year-long guided project in the target language with monthly opportunities to present to their classmates. Both the midyear and final exams will be communicative in nature and project based. Prerequisite: Spanish II.
Spanish III Intensive(Full year, 1 credit)
At this advanced-intermediate level, students will build on and reﬁne grammatical and communicative skills, moving beyond situation-based proﬁciency to more sophisticated expression and analysis. Emphasis is placed on acquisition of complex structures necessary for higher-level communication and literary analysis. Texts include Imagina and selected literary and journalistic sources as well as Spanish and Latin American films. Students demonstrate their growing oral skills through presentations and dramatizations both in class and on the web (using VoiceThread and Extempore) and develop writing skills through traditional and web-based expository and creative writing projects. Prerequisite: Spanish II.
Advanced Spanish Electives
Students who have completed Spanish III may select from a variety of electives. Students must take Advanced Grammar and Composition as a prerequisite to other Spanish electives unless granted a waiver by the Department Chair. All advanced electives are conducted in Spanish. Not all electives are offered every year.
Spanish IV: Connections, Communities, and Cultures(Full year, 1 credit)
This yearlong course is designed for students who wish to continue expanding and reviewing vocabulary and refining grammar structures in a conversation-based setting beyond Spanish III. Students will be encouraged to “churn and play” with the language and to experience language through the study of cultures, while making connections and comparisons to their native language and developing communication skills in the target language. Activities will include student-led dialogue, authentic readings about current events around the Spanish-speaking world, advanced listening selections, and written communication with a focus on contemporary cultures in the Hispanic world. Students will also explore and practice the three key Spanish verb moods: the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive. Students will work on a yearlong, student-selected cultural investigation in the target language and develop it throughout the year, presenting to classmates periodically. Prerequisite: Spanish III.
Spanish IV Intensive: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition(Full year, 1 credit)
This full-year advanced course offers an approach to fluency through all four of the linguistic skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students work to broaden and deepen their current understanding of grammatical structures while learning new structures that allow them to add complexity and abstract thought to their verbal and written expression. Each unit introduces an aspect of cultural life along with thematic vocabulary, giving students the opportunity to practice, churn, and play. Students read and analyze literature, write and edit short compositions, participate in debates and roundtable discussions, and engage in various forms of creative expression. Through online and in-class collaboration, students are immersed in authentic contemporary language and culture. The course also includes weekly discussion and feedback based on podcasts from Spain and elsewhere. Prerequisite: Spanish III Intensive.
Actualidades hispanas (½ credit)
This course offers a non-literary approach to language study. Students explore real-time sociopolitical issues in Spain and Latin America and gain an international perspective through which to examine those same issues in the United States. Expansion of vocabulary and development of higher-level speaking and writing skills are stressed through frequent in-class discussion and debate, blogs, and student-generated web pages and news broadcasts. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
La realidad irreal(½ credit)
This course explores the notions of reality and fantasy in contemporary South American literature. Students delve into a selection of works that illustrate different facets of the peculiarly Latin American notion of Realismo Mágico and are given an opportunity to question their own preconceptions about how they see the world. Class discussion, presentations, role-playing, and composition are integral to the class. In keeping with the style and inspiration of the course’s texts, students also become virtual online journalists, posting regular news bulletins on topics and themes from the texts. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition
El cine español (½ credit)
Through the medium of the cinema, students explore the development of modern Spanish society from the 1930s to the present as it passed rapidly through periods of civil war, dictatorship, and socialism to full-fledged democracy. Students analyze and evaluate the cultural changes that have taken place and what it means to be “Spanish,” focusing on the national and individual effects of civil war, the Franco legacy, and the modern Spanish Constitution. Class discussion, written responses, student videos, and web-based interactive projects, all conducted in Spanish, are the vehicles for instruction and assessment. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
Lorca, su poesía y teatro (½ credit)
A study of Federico García Lorca, the famous 20th-century Spanish poet and playwright, begins with selected poems from his Canciones, Romancero gitano, Poemas de cante jondo, and Poeta en Nueva York. The class then explores several of his plays, including Yerma, Bodas de Sangre, and La casa de Bernarda Alba. Students move through discussions of theme and style in Lorca’s works while practicing and honing their close-reading skills and sharpening their critical-thinking abilities. Active participation and collaboration on the class Google site are required in this class, and other online tools such as VoiceThread, Audioboo, and Explain Everything are used to develop proficiency and understanding. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
La novela mexicana (½ credit)
This course examines the novel form that grew out of the Mexican Revolution and charted the rise and demise of the hopes and dreams of the Mexican revolucionarios. Students analyze the different literary styles and recurring themes presented in works by representative authors including Azuela, Fuentes, Esquivel, Pacheco, and Poniatowska, and they deepen their understanding of the Mexican experience. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
Voces caribeñas (½ credit)
This course offers a survey of narratives, including short stories, essays, and memoirs, by representative Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Colombian, and Venezuelan writers. Students explore such themes as race, gender, politics, colonialism, exile, and cultural identity. Literary works are supplemented by film, music, and visual art that reiterate themes studied in the texts. Prerequisite: Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition.
Conversaciones, culturas y temas avanzados (Fall, ½ credit)
This semester-long elective is designed for students who wish to strengthen their overall proficiency in Spanish, improve oral skills in different communicative situations, and acquire a more profound understanding of Hispanic cultures. The course will also provide exposure to the other language skills (reading and listening comprehension, writing, vocabulary acquisition, sociocultural competence), which are integral to developing speaking fluency. Students will continue to learn how to express themselves in Spanish in both formal and informal settings while discussing a variety of topics, including science, sociology, films, music, performing arts, politics, and literature. Students will practice building strong arguments, structuring oral presentations, and self-correcting during a conversation. Prerequisite: Spanish IV or IV Intensive.
Upper School Visual Arts Courses
Foundations of Art is a prerequisite for all other visual arts classes, as it provides a basic understanding of both two- and three-dimensional design principles while exposing students to a wide variety of media and processes. In addition, students learn visual arts vocabulary that is used throughout all the upper-level visual arts electives. After completing Foundations of Art, students can choose from more specific studio disciplines, which include drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, applied design, and book arts. Digital imaging is woven into several of these disciplines.
Foundations of Art (½ credit)
This course explores the basic principles of the visual arts through introductory experiences in design, drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Foundations of Art is designed to help students of all abilities develop their creative and perceptual skills. The concepts and vocabulary learned in this course serve as a common body of knowledge for all other visual arts electives.
Visual Arts Electives
Ceramics 1 (½ credit)
This course emphasizes the development of hand-building and modeling techniques with clay while providing opportunities to learn about a variety of surface treatments and glazing options. Work may be functional, sculptural, or a combination of both. Students will be exposed to the work of ceramic art and artists, both contemporary and historical. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.
Ceramics 2 (½ credit)
Students will build on the hand-building skills they learned in Ceramics 1 and will also be introduced to throwing on the wheel. Work may be functional or sculptural and may combine hand-built and wheel-thrown techniques. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art and Ceramics 1. Open to juniors and seniors only.
Drawing: Skills & Exploration (½ credit)
In this course, students will work in both black and white and color. While observational drawing and the principles of composition will be emphasized, students will also complete work that is imaginative, abstract, or experimental. A variety of media will be used, including pencil, black-and-white charcoal, pastel, colored pencil, and India ink. This course is excellent preparation for Painting: Skills & Exploration, Creative Printmaking, and Advanced Studio. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.
Painting: Skills & Exploration (½ credit)
Students will build on the color knowledge they gained in Drawing: Skills & Exploration while learning how to manipulate paint. Topics will include the relative strength of pigments, color mixing, opacity, transparency, composition, quality of edges, and a variety of application and blending techniques. While acrylic paint will be the primary medium, watercolor may also be included. Subject matter may be observational, abstract, or non-objective. Prerequisites: Foundations of Art, Drawing: Skills and Exploration.
Alternative Photographic Processes (½ credit)
This course will explore and adapt historical photo processes to contemporary image making. Inkjet and toner transfer methods will be examined, and students should expect to work with some combination of digital imaging, the photocopier, the ultraviolet light box, and the printing press. Students will explore techniques as well as the aesthetics of photographic imagery, including subject matter, narrative, composition, light, focus, and the role of cropping. Historical and contemporary purposes of photography will be examined. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art. Open to juniors and seniors.
Creative Printmaking On & Off the Press
Students will explore the many creative opportunities that are available to the printmaker. Techniques will include monotype/monoprint, relief, etching, silkscreen, and collagraph, with variation in materials, ink types, and supporting processes that can vary from drawing and carving to painting and digital imaging. Students will print by hand and use printing presses. The class includes both technical instruction and non-objective, abstract, observational, personal narrative, or social justice content. Students will have the opportunity to work with singular imagery or in serial formats. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art and Drawing: Skills & Exploration.
Sculpture (½ credit)
This course explores thinking and creating in three dimensions, using a variety of media that may include plaster, cardboard, wire, found objects, and wood. In addition to the elements of art and principles of design, students also work on understanding specific sculpture principles, such as mass, volume, space, light, time, and location. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.
Real-World Design (½ credit)
In this class, students explore the principles of design in contemporary, real-world applications. Using graphic design, architectural design, and industrial (product/furniture) design, students work in both two and three dimensions. Assignments include manual and digital work while referencing modern art and design history. Focusing primarily on matters of form and function, the class also examines the use of design as a communication tool in contemporary society. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art. Open only to juniors and seniors.
Advanced Studio (½ credit)
This course offers the advanced art student an opportunity to work on skill development and formal thinking and to develop creative solutions to aesthetic and conceptual challenges. While the course emphasizes visual image making, it’s not necessarily limited to strictly two-dimensional work. A variety of techniques and materials (both traditional and experimental) and colors are used. Subject matter may vary greatly, from the observed to the constructed to the imagined. Most important, the class focuses on different ways to think about the how and why of making art. Students taking the course should feel confident about their drawing skills. Prerequisites: Foundations of Art, Drawing: Skills and Exploration, and one other studio art course. Open only to juniors and seniors.
Upper School Performing Arts
The Upper School performing arts curriculum includes a range of offerings in dance, music, theatre, and production technology. These include formal semester classes, yearlong ensembles, and other electives.
Acting (½ credit)
This class introduces students to the art of acting. Students discover the “actor’s instrument” by tuning up the body, voice, and imagination with a variety of exercises. Students prepare for self-expression, character creation, improvisation, and scene analysis, and explore different acting styles and techniques to add variety to their palette of artistic choices. Students expand their cultural literacy by reading plays, studying theater history, attending productions, and making observations on everyday life through journal entries. This is a nonjudgmental classroom in which risk-taking and mistakes can be made freely and the necessary “play” can take place.
Music Theory and Composition (½ credit)
Students study music theory through its practical applications in composition and performance. Starting with the fundamentals of pitch, rhythm, and score reading, the course quickly moves through scales and modes, intervals, chords, form, harmonization, and part-writing. Course requirements include reading and workbook assignments, frequent composition projects, and assessments in ear training and notation. There is no prerequisite for this course, though it is assumed that students have a strong interest in music study.
Real-World Performing Arts (½ credit)
In Ancient Greece, the performing arts were a platform for civic debate. The performing arts, or storytelling with word, music, and movement, were seen as a necessary part of a democratic society. From Sophocles to The Laramie Project, and Bob Dylan to Kendrick Lamar, stories rise from artists needing to share their particular truths and hoping they serve as catalysts for change. This semester-long experiential class will focus on the power of the performing artist as activist and agent of change. Students will take on many roles: historians and critics; interpreters of existing monologues, scenes, dances, and songs; and creators of a multi-arts performance piece designed to spark action. Note: This course is open to 10th – 12th graders only.
Students may enroll in one of the following yearlong ensembles.
Acoustic Roots Ensemble (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
This class is open to students who are interested in playing guitar, banjo, ukulele, or dobro in an ensemble setting. A minimum of eight students is needed for the ensemble, and students must provide their own instruments. In addition to building technical skills on their instruments, students will expand their understanding of music theory, develop music-reading skills, and explore music from a range of acoustic genres. The ensemble will also have opportunities for formal and informal performance and may collaborate with other music ensembles
Band (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
Band is open to all Upper School wind, brass, percussion, and bass players. Students provide their own instruments. The group explores traditional band repertoire as well as various styles of jazz music including swing, shuffle, funk, jazz-rock/fusion, ballad, Latin, and rock. In addition to building technical skills on their instruments, students expand their understanding of music theory and develop their music-reading skills. There is also a strong emphasis on developing improvisational skills. In addition to formal concerts in the winter and spring, the Band performs at school events. Members may audition for Maine Music Educators Association All-State and District 2 festivals and ensembles.
Chamber Ensemble (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
Chamber music is an intimate form of music-making with no conductor and with one player to each unique line of music. Students work with a coach to explore small ensemble repertoire, with special emphasis on balance, tuning, stylistic interpretation, and individual leadership as the music demands. All string and wind players are welcome. Repertoire will be selected and adapted for the specific instrumentation available for two formal concerts per year, the Waynflete Invitational Chamber Music Festival, and additional informal performances. Members may also audition for Maine Music Educators Association All-State and District 2 ensembles.
Chorus (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
Chorus is open to interested students who share a passion for choral singing. No prior experience is required. The curriculum emphasizes building a cohesive community, vocal training, part singing, stylistic interpretation, music literacy, and musical understanding. Singers will explore music from various styles, cultures, and traditions, including contemporary a cappella and musical theatre. The concert season consists of Winter and Spring concerts, additional performances for the school community, the New England Youth Identity Summit Kickoff Program, and collaborative performances with musicians from other ensembles and/or schools. Members are also eligible to audition for Maine Music Educators Association All-State and District II honor choirs.
Dance Technique and Composition (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
Open to all interested dancers, this class is also geared toward students whose athletic commitments preclude them from participating in Danceflete Collective during Upper School PE time. Students develop and improve their dance technique and expand their skills as choreographers and contributors to a creative choreographic process. Barre, floor, and center work will be emphasized to develop and refine technique, increase flexibility, and build strength and stamina. Compositional tools will be explored through short studies and longer solo and group projects. Students will have the opportunity to create and perform in new works for the Winter and Spring Dance concerts.
Jazz Combo (Full year, two days a week, ½ credit)
Jazz Combo is limited to nine players and comprises students who demonstrate a superior level of commitment to jazz performance and musicianship. Jazz Combo membership is by invitation and will be determined in September. Repertory consists of contemporary jazz arrangements from a range of styles that provide opportunities for students to develop improvisational skills. The Jazz Combo participates in the Maine Music Educators Association Jazz Festival and competes at the State High School Instrumental Jazz Festival, if invited.
Other Performing Arts Electives
Cocurricular Theatre (Fall, Winter, Spring, ¼–½ credit)
One theatrical production is staged during each season. The program includes a range of genres (comedy, drama, musical, student-written, one-act) and represents diverse playwrights. Actors and stage crew members receive academic credit for participating in these cocurricular productions.
Danceflete Collective (Fall, Winter, Spring, ¼ credit)
Danceflete Collective is offered each athletic season during the physical education block. Members receive performing arts credit if they complete two seasons in a single school year.
Production Technology (Fall or Spring, two days a week, ¼ credit)
This class is open to all students, and is also the prerequisite for students who wish to serve as crew heads for Upper School theatrical productions. The class provides an overview of all technical theatre elements. Students will learn how to work as a part of a team to design, create, and build the lighting, sets, costumes, sound, and props for a play. Students will also learn to create the environment in which a play resides while developing backstage skills and applying workplace safety procedures and production guidelines that help make a show successful. This class will include an introduction of the theory and process of costume design and construction. The costuming component of the class includes design terminology, play analysis, measurement, hand and machine sewing, and basic alterations.
Upper School Athletic Philosophy And Program
Waynflete believes that student-athletes benefit greatly from learning to balance the challenges of their academic and athletic schedules. For this reason, students are required to participate in either interscholastic athletics or physical education classes during all three seasons. Options for Upper School students include participating at the varsity or junior varsity level in a wide range of sports, choosing from a variety of physical education options, or developing an individualized athletic program.
Waynﬂete offers varsity or junior varsity team sports for boys and girls during all three seasons. The programs stress developing sportsmanship, skills, and team strategies. All athletes who try out for a varsity sport will be added to either a varsity or junior varsity team. Freshmen teams are ﬁelded if numbers allow. Fall sports meet two to four weeks before the school year begins. Practice for competitive teams is held during and after the school day. Varsity and junior varsity teams have practices and/or games scheduled Monday through Saturday.
Physical Education Options
Physical education options are geared toward students who have athletic interests other than interscholastic competition. They are an integral part of the school’s athletic program. There are several options to choose from. These change each season and have included dance, intramurals, weight training, and yoga. They take place on Tuesdays and Fridays and conclude in time for students to take regularly scheduled transportation home.
Individualized Athletic Program
The third choice for Upper School students is individualized athletics. This allows a student to pursue activities of special interest that the school does not offer. Activities vary and have included competitive downhill skiing, dance, fencing, ﬁgure skating, and others.
Proposals for individualized programs must be submitted prior to the start of the season and approved by the Athletic Director, the Upper School Director, the student’s advisor, and parents. Waynflete encourages ninth graders to participate in either interscholastic athletics or physical education classes as part of their transition to Upper School.
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“Every component of Waynflete’s Upper School program is carefully thought-out to prepare students for success after graduation. We offer a challenging, college-preparatory curriculum that is rooted in a holistic, supportive, student-centered educational experience.”
Waynflete Upper School Director