AP and Honors
This is an elective course for juniors and seniors who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry. AP Biology puts an emphasis on the following areas of study: the possible evolution of life; the use of free energy at a molecular level in biological systems for growth, reproduction, and dynamic homeostasis; transmission, retrieval, storing, and response of information essential to life processes in living systems; and the complexities of interactions among biological systems. Students will be required to engage in Socratic seminars, jigsaw group projects, presentations, and small group discussions. Interdisciplinary thinking will be strongly encouraged, with students being expected to relate the theories of molecular biology to chemical principles and to apply these theories in ecological contexts. This course is strongly recommended for aspiring scientists, engineers, and medical students. Students enrolled in this course will be required to take the AP Biology exam in May.
This course is designed for students who wish to expand their knowledge of modern chemistry beyond the two-semester introductory chemistry course. The AP students will be exposed to a much more immersive and in-depth study of chemical principles and their applications, including advanced atomic theory, the nature of the chemical bond, thermodynamics, dynamic chemical equilibria, kinetics, electrochemistry, acid-base theory, and organic and nuclear chemistry.
The course is strongly recommended for prospective science, engineering, and medical students. Students will be expected to provide detailed, in-depth, insightful analyses of the subject material through problem sets, professional-quality laboratory reports, and examinations.
This course is designed to help students become both skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts and skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Students will learn to read primary and secondary sources carefully, to synthesize materials from these texts in their own compositions, and to cite sources using conventions recommended by professional organizations such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), the University of Chicago Press (The Chicago Manual of Style), and the American Psychological Association (APA). Students in this class should be willing to work hard and challenge themselves to think clearly and express themselves at a relatively high level of sophistication.
This course is for juniors and seniors. It will be two-semesters long. The first semester will be devoted to understanding rhetoric and the various techniques authors use based on pathos, ethos, and logos. Reading and writing assignments will be structured to analyze and demonstrate certain specific techniques. The class will read Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, paired with selections from The Norton Sampler edited by Thomas Cooley. The second semester will switch over to a more thematic approach. Students will read classical and modern pieces devoted to specific themes. Students can choose for themselves which techniques they would want to apply for the first semester in order to address each theme in their assignments. A World of Ideas, edited by Lee Jacobus, has a fantastic selection of classic works suited to this purpose.Writer’s workshops will be interspersed throughout the year to help students develop ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions in their essays.
This course provides an overview of the field of psychology comparable to a college level Introduction to Psychology course. It is a two semester course intended for juniors and seniors who are interested in taking the AP Psychology test. Our sessions will explore (a) both historical and contemporary psychological thought; (b) how psychologists evaluate human behavior and mental processes; (c) the methods and procedures psychologists use to describe, explain, predict, and change behaviors and mental processes; (d) the controversies that exist within the field of psychology; (e) how psychologists contribute to analyzing and solving some of the contemporary problems that face humanity; and (f) the role of psychologists in society today.
This course is for seniors who have taken and passed US history or AP US History. This course is taught in the fall semester and is followed by AP Macroeconomics in the spring semester. Students will read all required materials in advance so that class time can be devoted to various Socratic seminars, jigsaw type presentations, small group discussions, debates, note taking & developing a word bank, viewing film clips and/or original sources, and applying concepts from the readings toward analysis of current events. Students will be expected to be active participants in class and in their own learning. Students will craft AP style essays throughout the course as well as write a research paper that ties current events with concepts studied in class.
This course is designed to prepare students for the AP test in May and introduce them to college-level study of world history. Students will be assessed in a variety of ways, including multiple choice quizzes and tests, unit exams, short answer questions, essays, analyzing primary source documents, producing geographically relevant maps, and participating in thematic, topical discussions.
Students will better understand the past by analyzing different time periods and geographical regions while focusing on specific themes. These themes include interaction between humans and the environment; development and interaction of cultures; state building, expansion, and conflict; creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and development and transformation of social structures.
Students will develop historical thinking skills including analyzing evidence; interpretation; comparisons; contextualization; synthesis; causation; detecting patterns of continuity and change over time; periodization; and argumentation. Students will be able to make distinct connections of historical events from one time period to the next to understand how the links of the past have shaped the present U.S.
This course is two-semesters long and culminates in the AP test in May. This course is primarily intended for 11th-grade students. Students will read all required materials in advance so that class time can be devoted to various Socratic seminars, jigsaw type presentations, small group discussions, debates, projects, note taking & developing a word bank, viewing film clips and artistic works, reading and analyzing primary sources of evidence, and applying concepts from the readings toward analysis of current events. Students will be expected to be active participants in class and in their own learning.
Our main textbook will be The American Pageant 14th Edition by Kennedy, Cohen, and Bailey. The course will be taught thematically with students focusing their attention on the characteristics of U.S. History divided into 9 distinct time periods (from 1491 to present day). Weekly topics will follow the basic structure of the textbook chapters (in that order – a chronological order of events in U.S. History). Each weekly topic will have supplementary readings and/or viewings from a variety of sources listed below (see supplementary materials). Students will be assessed on how they accomplish historical thinking skills, academic skills, and AP test type questions, essays, and/or tasks. Students will have a major exam at the end of each of the 9 time periods, as well as several full-length practice exams before the AP test in May.
It has always been humankind’s nature to create art. Throughout history art and architecture have served many purposes from glorifying deities, expressing our sense of beauty, to even making statements about society. Students in this course will analyze art from the Paleolithic age to today. They will discover key factors from the civilizations and time periods from which artworks were created. They will evaluate and compare works of art from different regions and/or time periods as well as works of art created by the same artist. Over 20% of the course will be devoted to artistic works and traditions created outside of Europe.
The study of economics is central to understanding how human beings choose to develop their societies. Economics also has a tremendous influence on the development of self-concept and personal freedom. It is quite interesting to look at history, sociology, government, politics, and the struggle for human rights from an economic perspective. Students will need that perspective in order to become informed citizens. Our AP Macroeconomics course is one-semester long. The course is for 12th-grade students. It is taken in the spring semester after students take AP U.S. Government & Politics in the fall. Both formal and informal assessments are built into the course. Homework may include (but not be limited by) chapter questions, preparing summaries, analyzing economic data, preparing questions for discussion, preparing arguments & positions (including evidence collecting to support one’s argument), creating charts & graphs, writing business letters to current figures in government, international business, and economics, and crafting AP style essay and/or long answer questions. There will be seven unit tests and one final exam. Unit tests correspond to the major content areas listed in the AP Macroeconomics course description (economic concepts, measurement of performance, national income & price determination, the financial sector, inflation/unemployment/stabilization policies, growth & productivity, international trade & finance). They contain multiple-choice and free response questions similar to those found on the AP exam. Every unit test will have a free response long essay. The final exam will mirror the entire AP test itself.
This course is intended for seniors who are interested in taking their literacy skills to a higher level. It is a full year course (two semesters). Students must have three years of high school English as a prerequisite. We will look at great works of literature from the 1600’s until the present and analyze their timeless themes and their authors’ craft and use of literary elements. This is a challenging course with a substantial amount of reading and writing (on par with a college-level literature course). Students will keep a literary journal throughout the year and write reflections on all units. Students will also prepare for the AP test in May and write AP style essays for homework and for in-class tests that will be timed. There is a summer reading assignment prior to the first day of class in the fall semester.
This advanced language and culture course is equivalent in difficulty to a course at the senior level in college. The course offers students an opportunity to develop four key language proficiency skills at an intermediate level: listening, speaking, reading and writing. As defined in Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, students will increase proficiency in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication modes and the five “Cs”：communication, culture, connections, comparisons and community. Developing appreciation and awareness of Chinese culture is an integral theme of this course. The course engages students in an exploration of Chinese culture, past and present. Students also gain necessary knowledge of the Chinese language by an in-depth study of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and grammatical structures. Language instruction frequently integrates a range of Chinese cultural content that exposes students to perspectives broader than their immediate environment. Mandarin will be spoken in class.
This course is often the culmination of high school math as it integrates many methods learned in previous courses. AP Calculus AB is an introduction to the mathematics of differentiable functions. The students get to know the meaning of differentiation as a method to find instantaneous rates of change and slopes of tangent lines. They learn the commonly used differentiation rules as well as special methods such as implicit differentiation and the calculation of related rates. The students learn the meaning of integration as a method to find net change and areas between curves. Then these methods are applied to the calculation of solids. With the study of differential equations, the students are well prepared for the AP Calculus test.
This course is for tenth grade students seeking advanced studies in English language arts. Students who successfully pass the course will be prepared to enroll in AP English language and composition during their junior year and AP English literature and composition in their senior year. In this course, students focus on effective expression through the study of classic world literature. They will gain the confidence, knowledge, and ability to prepare and deliver an effective message in a variety of ways for different audiences. Students will learn how to conduct an interview, use visual aids during a speech, and give a speech on an academic topic. Emphasis is also placed on refining listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing skills, and academic vocabulary. An honors course is intentionally rigorous. Students must complete more assignments than they would in the regular level English II including a substantial creative writing project which will take the entire school year to finish and involve multiple occasions for peer review and revision. All 10th-grade students take the PLAN test (designed by the ACT organization) at the end of the year. It is recommended that students in the Honors English II course also enroll in AP World History.
This is a course for high school juniors who are interested in challenging themselves with college level work. We fully expect that students who enroll in this course would move onto taking AP English Literature during their senior year. Students will write essays that mirror those found on the AP English Literature exam. Honors American Literature is designed to be a companion to United States History or AP U.S. History, that is also taken during a student’s 11th grade year (but the social studies courses are not an official co-requisite). Students will systematically improve their reading comprehension, literary response & analysis, writing skills (persuasive and creative writing), classical rhetoric (applied to both speech and writing), storytelling, giving presentations for different audiences, and advanced vocabulary. Students will explore the American experience and perspective through folktales, poetry, literature, culturally & historically significant essays and speeches, and cinema, radio, and television. There will be a recurring theme of American Identity and American Ideals discussed throughout the course. The course content follows major historical periods in American history. The course will end with a major research paper in which students must combine their historical and literary knowledge.
This is an advanced level Chinese language course designed for high school students who have passed both AP Chinese and our Chinese IV course and/or have equivalent proficiency. This course is intended to further develop their language and literacy skills and understanding of traditional Chinese culture beyond the AP level. Students will read a variety of genres and texts including short stories, poetry, novels, fiction and nonfiction works, and analyze them in different aspects. They will understand historical influence, consider the philosophical and cultural stance of the authors, and draw inferences. Students will expand their vocabulary while focusing on the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will also gain exposure to traditional Chinese written language and culture. They must demonstrate research techniques and an ability to write with an understanding of audience and purpose. During this year-long course, students will produce a range of writings including reading logs and journals, character studies, speeches, creative pieces, and different kinds of essays such as compare and contrast, analytic, expository, narrative, reflective, persuasive, and research. The assignments will be challenging to non-native speakers of Chinese, but not impossible to accomplish. This course will bring advanced level non-native speakers of Chinese closer to literacy. All the course materials will also be in Mandarin Chinese. Students will engage in class discussions, debate, have lectures, keep a writing and/or reflection journal, have comprehension question homework, have vocabulary development homework, write their own original poetry, make class presentations, have group work and/or group projects, and conduct research.
This is an advanced level Chinese language course designed for high school students who have either passed our Chinese V course or have equivalent proficiency. This course is intended to further develop their language and literacy skills and understanding of traditional Chinese culture beyond the AP level. Students will read a variety of historical and literary genres and texts including Chinese legends about key figures, poetry, novels, fiction and nonfiction works, and analyze them in different aspects. The course progresses along historical lines, following the major dynasties of China. Students will learn about historical influences, consider the philosophical and cultural stance of various authors, and draw inferences. Students will expand their vocabulary while focusing on the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will also gain exposure to traditional Chinese written language and culture. We will read two full Qing Dynasty novels this year in their original language. This will be quite a challenge (similar to English literature students reading Shakespeare). Students must also improve upon their writing skills. They will demonstrate an ability to write with an understanding of audience and purpose. They will produce a range of writings including reading logs and journals, character studies, speeches, creative pieces, and different kinds of essays such as compare and contrast, analytic, expository, narrative, reflective, persuasive, and research. The assignments will be challenging to non-native speakers of Chinese, but not impossible to accomplish. This course will bring advanced level non-native speakers of Chinese closer to literacy.