High School Course Catalog 2017-2018

Theatre Tech

This course will provide students with a solid foundation in all major aspects of theatre design. Instruction will focus on skills pertaining to drafting for set and lighting design. Students will make use of strategies centered on technical language, implementation, and technique. Through the course the students will understand drafting for lighting and set design, allowing the students to grow their personal design aesthetic.

Art Studio

In Art Studio students explore their possibilities of enjoying, doing, and exploring art. The Essential Question is What images, media, techniques of the artistic creative process do I enjoy the most? The Essential Skills are Persisting in Achieving Quality and Working Creatively.

Interior and Architectural Design

In this course students will explore interiors and architectural design through 2D and 3D modeling. Students will explore the idea of architecture and interior design through history and learn to recreate and adapt designs that they love and admire to create new, exciting, and thought-provoking environments using creativity, critical thought, and analysis. This course will also work towards understanding the use of sound for theatre as well as the role of the stage manager. Students will be challenged to collaborate in groups and grow as a team as well as branch out individually to explore their own strengths and areas of interest.

Classical Hollywood Film

Classical Hollywood was a glorious time in the movie industry. But do you know anything about classical Hollywood? Would you like to know more? Let’s watch a variety of movies made between the 1930s and 1960s and reflect on what they are about, how they can explain and discuss the period when they were made, and why they are important. Students will also explore the Hollywood studio system, and the difficulties for actors and writers of the time. Students may also be interested in Virginia’s class on Movie Music during Morning Mod in Quarter 2.

Protest Music

What impact can songs have on society? What are the characteristics of an effective protest song? We will take a closer listen to American songs from the past eight decades that were instrumental to labor unions, civil rights, war protests, and peace movements and study them in their social, economic, and political context. The major project will be a researched analysis of a group of songs that made a difference. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

Dance Appreciation

Dance Appreciation will introduce students to dance as a primary mode of human expression and communication. Through viewing performances, discussions, and readings we will look at dance in a variety of cultural, artistic, and historical contexts. Students will also get to explore Dance through exercises and group choreography to deepen their understanding and ability to articulate on the art of dance.

Stone Sculpture

Stone Sculpture is art done in reverse. We do the creative process by taking away material, not by adding material to something or over something. Each student will be given a 30- to 50-pound alabaster stone. They will be instructed on how to use the sculpting tools: hammer, chisels, rasps, and carbide paper. The students will start sculpting without a clear idea of what they are doing. I want them to look for and find lines and forms that are pleasing to them without trying to force an idea on the stone. The stone will give them many opportunities and possibilities to create those shapes. The students will learn to have a conversation with stone. They will practice patience and persistence as they create an abstract design with stone.

Art in the Context of Self

  Art in the Context of Self explores our personal relationship with art; how we see, interpret, and connect with art. I call this process the Illumination process: a dynamic process of understanding one’s self. We will see how art can bring a greater understanding and knowledge of oneself. This is an exhibition class, meaning that the students demonstrate the skills acquired in this class through a presentation to their peers. In Art Studio the student creates works of art of their choice in subject, media, and style. They will be supported in their creative process by the Resident Artist and other students with community, spirit, and technical expertise. In evaluating the creation of art, productivity is all that is considered. When assigning the student’s numerical grade, the technical merit of their designs or craftsmanship are not considered. Instead, merits are considered and discussed only in order to further develop the student as an artist.

Honors Art Studio

Honors Art Studio is designed to support the advanced student artist in pursuit and execution of an Honors Diploma, College Portfolio, Senior Exhibition, Senior Project, AP Art History, and/or AP Portfolio. Advanced students are strongly recommended to take this course, at the very least, in their junior and senior years. The Essential Question is Is visual fine arts the college path for me?

Theatre Ensemble

Students will become creative members of a youth theater ensemble with a goal of presenting a devised theater experience at the end of the course. Through skills-building strategies centered on theater games, improvisation, storytelling, acting, and group investigation (social issues, current affairs, and contemporary culture), students will grow in creativity, critical thought, and analysis. By working in an ensemble students will experience the challenges and rewards of working collaboratively and democratically. Experience is not necessary; however, a willingness to take risks is.

Introduction to Voice and Choral Performance

This class will introduce students to elementary vocal techniques and prepare them for choral performances. We will practice the craft of singing, which includes proper breathing and posture, among many other things. Students will use a variety of music to develop these skills while building their own performance-ready repertoires and collaborating as a choir to prepare for at least one show. In addition to group and individual practice sessions, students will learn about music theory and the art of voice.

3D Printing

In this course students will explore, learn, and understand how 3D printing works. Discussions on what this new technology can create as well as its limitations. With the use of computer-based design programs, students will learn to design and create while working within design parameters. At the end of this course students will have a good grounding in the world of 3D printing.

Digital Design

Students will learn to use professional software to visually convey information effectively. Students will learn the basics of color theory and document and photo composition as they work in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. They will use their skills to design logos, business cards, and flyers. One does not need to be an “Artist” to take this class.

2D & 3D Design

In this course students will learn how to use all the basic tools of these software programs. By the end of this course students will have an understanding of all the 2D and 3D tools our software has to offer, as well as how to use the program whilst working on individual and group projects.

Filming and Editing Horror Films

One of our most basic fears is the fear of the unknown. We can control the sense of fear and suspense in our movies by controlling what the audience knows or what a character knows. A large part of our ability to do this is based on the location, angle, and movement of the camera, the lighting we choose to use, the music and sound effects, the length of our clips, and video editing effects and filters. A majority of the class will be spent learning to use Final Cut Pro to edit scenes that we will be filming in groups and as a class. We will briefly touch on some points of horror film history, as well as techniques and theater makeup.

Digital Project Lab

For students who have previously taken a digital-design OR film-editing class. Students will work together in groups to create videos, posters, and other graphic design work for the school and outside community. Students will get experience working with a client and adapting their work to fit the client's specifications. Students will gain experience in both video editing and digital design.

Study Skills and Organization

Do you want to help yourself find success at The New School and get prepared for college and beyond? Do you want to get more out of your study hall? This course will provide a time and a place for you to work, as well as individualized guidance and support for your core academic classes. We will focus on helping you develop your organization and study skills and work together to ensure you are using your time effectively.

Program Your Homework

This computers course will teach programming and digital production skills in the context of improving the quality of your work for other classes. Math problems, presentations, research papers, analysis, and other assignments can be greatly aided through the skillful application of computer tools. We will learn techniques through generic assignments and students will be free to apply them to their homework from other classes throughout the quarter.

My Story, My Self: Creating a Solo Theater Piece

All theater is at its essence storytelling. Stories can be biographical, autobiographical, based on historical or modern events, derived from universal experience and themes. Storytelling as performance may explore one, some, or all of these subjects. The one thing all solo theater has in common is that it is very hard work to create. It takes commitment, bravery, and honesty. In this course students will develop and present a solo storytelling experience that explores their stories, their selves.

Love in the Time of Cholera

This class will explore Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s landmark novel of magic realism, Love In The Time Of Cholera. Published in 1985 the novel explores love as an emotional and physical disease. García Márquez's main notion is that lovesickness is literally an illness, a disease comparable to cholera. The term cholera, as it is used in Spanish, cólera, can also denote passion or human rage and ire in its feminine form. Students will write a literary analysis of the varied themes in this beautiful book. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

Women Writers of the American South

In this course students will read, explore, and develop an understanding of the American South through the work of writers such as Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, and Dorothy Alison, among others. We will look critically at how racism, class, poverty, alienation, and religion came to define the American South of the early- to mid-20th century. Related content will include music, film, and other texts.

Shakespeare: Comedies

Romance! Mistaken identities! More romance! Four hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare remains an unparalleled genius of English literature, beloved around the world. This class will bring to life the Bard’s comic plays while exploring some of his enduring themes: love, disguise, identity, ambition, fate, and more. No previous experience with Shakespeare will be assumed. Possible texts: Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s blend of stirring romance and devastating wit has made her an enduring favorite of readers - and, in the 20th and 21st centuries, of film audiences. In this class we will examine some of Austen’s novels as social satires and love stories that straddle the end of the Age of Reason and the beginning of Romanticism while raising key questions about relationships between men and women and the path to happiness. Please note this course will be highly reading-intensive. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

Narrator & Perspective

The narrator is the lens through which we experience a novel or story. Narrators come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them trustworthy. In this course, we will read a variety of literature, told from a variety of characters in unusual situations (and sometimes told by no character at all...). We will discuss how “who’s telling the story” shapes our experience and understanding of the texts we read. Essential Question: How does the choice of narrator shape the reader’s experience of a text? (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

English B

In addition to the focus skills taught in English A, English B will introduce academic activities that focus on research methods, analytical writing, advanced reading comprehension, and independent presentations. Students will continue to concentrate on all areas of language while engaging in more challenging materials and discussions.

English A

The course English A will prepare students who do not speak English as their first language to approach high school academics comfortably and confidently. The course will focus on building effective communication skills through the four parts of language (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). This includes basic grammar structure and rules, organization and clarity in writing, expansion of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension and reflection, and improvement in pace and pronunciation. The course materials and activities will resemble those used in the TOEFL and will help introduce students to the high school classroom culture and curricula. Students will have ample time to practice speaking, work collaboratively with other students, and receive one-on-one feedback about their progress with the English language.

The Short Story

This course will examine the narrative techniques of the short story. There will be two major components to this course: analysis of mentor texts and creative writing. We will both read and produce creative short stories. We will consider the short story’s mode of plot compression and its range of styles from realism to impressionism to allegory. We will practice writing short stories for different purposes and we will engage in critical workshops to improve our writing. At the end of the quarter, we will produce a literary magazine publishing our own work. Essential Question: What makes an effective short story?

How to Grammar: Improving the Syntax and Mechanics of Your Writing

“I never really learned grammar!” Does this sound like you? If you sprinkle commas across your sentences like pepper, don’t know a coordinating conjunction from a dangling participle, and shrug hopelessly at marginal notes like “passive voice” and “fragment!!” on your papers, this is your class. Join us as we untangle the deep structure of English sentences, become initiates into the mystical rules of punctuation, and otherwise travel the path of grammar wizardry.

African-American Literature

 This course will explore a variety of texts, including novels, poetry, and autobiography, by African-American authors of the 20th century. We will examine, among other topics, the ways that writers have responded to the systemic injustices of racism within American society, the outsized roles that African-American artists and musicians have played in shaping American popular culture, and the ongoing challenge of defining one’s identity in a racialized world. Possible authors: Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

Mark Twain, the Making of a Legend

Even today, Mark Twain is widely regarded as America’s greatest writer. Not only was he a famous novelist, he was also a well-known journalist, satirist, travel writer, and social commentator. But how did he become Mark Twain? What experiences shaped his life? What do his early works tell us about the man and the world he lived in? In this course, we will read and discuss Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain ; several of Twain’s early essays, articles, and short stories; Roughing It; and a novel of your choice. Your final assignment will be to write a critical essay about one of Twain’s works. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

AP Literature & Composition

This class will provide you with intellectual challenges and a workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English literature course. The main objectives of AP Lit are to broaden and deepen your knowledge of literature, your critical and analytical thinking, and your writing skills. As a culmination of the course, you will take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam (required) which may allow you to earn college credit. You will read a lot of fantastic literature over the course of the year and you will produce a lot of writing, inside of the classroom and out. In-depth discussions about the novels, stories, and poems we are reading will drive the class on a daily basis.

Exploration of Women Playwrights

Women have always had a profound place in theatre; however, for the female playwright breaking through can be hard. Why is this? In this class we will explore a variety of female playwrights from the 21st century. We will experience their voices and look at the social impacts their art has had on the world of theatre. By looking at specific plays as well as background readings, students will become more engaged with works they read and be able to start exploring the voice of these exemplary women.

Literature of the Family

Every family is different, and every individual is shaped by their family, for good or for ill and often both. In this course, we will explore the architecture and dynamics of families through a variety of fiction. We will talk and write about these people, and also try to represent their experiences through art. Possible texts include Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn , Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun , Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season , William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. We will also read some nonfiction essays and short stories. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

The Bible as Literature

Familiarity with the major stories of the Bible is a key element of Western cultural literacy. How do Biblical narratives such as the fall from Eden and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus continue to impact our art, literature, and lives -- whether we believe them to be true events or not? This course will explore a wide range of Biblical passages from the Old and New Testaments as works of mythology and literature, with a particular eye toward the inspiration they have provided for later authors and artists and the ways that our culture continually reshapes our understanding of them. No previous experience with the text will be assumed.

Comedic Theatre

Let’s turn The New School on its head with a cheeky, over-the-top, Monty Python - Spamalot - Burlesque production of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast in British Panto style. Panto is a bawdy, raucous, naughty play with words and music, usually based on a fairy tale. Working from an established script, we will add our own ideas and New School flavor to create a bubbly, outrageous, and anarchic piece of interactive theatre. Students will develop skills in writing for the theatre, as well as in collaboration, rehearsal, and performance. This class will culminate in a series of performances at The New School.

Creative Writing

In this course we will create, write, and present narratives, essays, poetry, and stories as we explore this question: How do we examine and explain our lives through writing? Using established texts, essays, short stories, lyrics, music, and spoken-word poetry as a guide, we will study content, structure, and intention, thus informing our own thematic writing. Students will develop composition and grammar skills while creating imaginative writing based on their lives and experiences, and through observation of the world around them. Students will develop skills in public speaking and oratory through the use of the materials they have written.

Communicating Effectively

This course focuses on the development of individual presentation, public speaking, and teaching skills. Through in-class exercises and examples from guest speakers, filmed speeches, and political rhetoric, students will learn effective strategies and techniques of communication, with the goal of improving exhibition skills. The first set of weekly speeches will culminate in a 30-minute interactive lesson on a topic of the student’s choice. For the exhibition, each student will research an important topic he/she really cares about, then prepare, rehearse, and deliver a TED-talk style position speech.

Honors French

In Advanced French, you will deepen your understanding of French grammar, continue to expand your French vocabulary, and develop your speaking and writing skills. Both project-based and exercise-based, students will work on multiple projects throughout each quarter that result in both written and spoken presentations. Games, compositions, films, and literature will be prominent in the classroom, and students are expected to rise to the challenge. Venez profiter!   Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing; Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives; Working Collaboratively

Spanish 3

This course is designed for students who, after finishing Spanish II, want to continue expanding their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Through the readings and films presented in this class, the course reviews and refines grammar structures, expands vocabulary, and improves students’ oral and written communication skills through discussions, written reports, and presentations. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with the language elements, giving students an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the Spanish-speaking world.   Focus Skills: Communicating effectively, orally and in writing; Appreciating and understanding different perspectives; Working collaboratively

Honors Spanish

This course is designed for students that have finished Spanish II or III and want to continue expanding their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Through literature and films presented in this class, the course reviews and refines grammar structures, expands vocabulary, and improves students’ communication and interpersonal skills. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with the language elements, giving students an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the Spanish-speaking world. Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

German 1

Germany - home of the hamburger, mustard, beer, pretzels, Lederhosen, the Wall, brass band, classical orchestra, techno, and roots of the English language. Students will work on developing comprehension, conversation, reading, and writing skills in this central European language. Students will also participate inour ongoing exchange with The Global Experience e.V. and the Schillergymnasium Münst
The immersion approach, anchored in by Langenscheidt’s Geni@l Klick 1 curriculum, includes up-to-date teen themes, short animated movies, YouTube clips, Easy-German episodes, field trips, and cultural projects.  

Spanish 1

Spanish 1 is a dynamic and interactive introduction to the Spanish language and culture. Through easy readings, everyday dialogues, songs and movies, the students will learn basic vocabulary and grammar structures for daily routine situations while expanding their knowledge about the culture and customs of the Spanish-speaking world.

French 1

French is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful languages, and this class will focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening basics through classroom activities. Designed for beginning students or those who have had only a minimal introduction to the language, French vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and cultural understanding are developed through written, oral, and interactive exercises.
Focus skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

Honors German

Students will work on becoming increasingly fluent in German comprehension, conversation, reading, and writing. Through our ongoing connection with the Schillergymnasium Münster and The Global Experience, students will put their language skills to work through e-mail exchanges, translating subtitles, and more. Our Langenscheidt curriculum and grammar reviews will be supplemented by readings from German history and longer German movies, as well as occasional cooking sessions, field trips, and independent cultural projects.

French 2

French is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful languages, and this class will focus on continued
reading, writing, speaking and listening development through classroom activities. French vocabulary,
grammar, pronunciation, and cultural understanding are developed through written, oral, and interactive
Focus Skills:
Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

Spanish 2

This course reviews and continues the study of grammar and vocabulary with emphasis on four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. We provide the students with a simple and interactive approach to the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Through films presented and discussed in class, we emphasize conversation and solidify the student’s communication and interpersonal skills. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with language elements. Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively


This class will cover the basics of calculus – limits, derivatives, and integrals – with in-depth looks at both the conceptual and computational aspects. The class will not be paced to the AP exam, but rather to the students’ understanding and should prepare students to either take BC Calculus next year in high school or Calculus 2 in college. Focus Skill: Making Connections and Being Aware of Context


A chaotic system is one in which a minor change can create dramatic consequences. The most common example is the so-called Butterfly Effect: that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can lead to a sequence of events which culminates in a hurricane halfway across the world. Chaos theory is the field of mathematics that explores these systems, which has broad applications in fields such as economics, population dynamics, aerodynamics, evolution, and engineering. This course will explore the mathematics of complex relationships, and should be manageable for anyone who has successfully completed Geometry. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

AP Calculus

This class is geared toward the AP Calculus AB test in May. We will cover functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals and review actual AP tests from past years. To cover the material in time we will be moving at a steady pace. Any student who falls behind must seek out the teacher or a tutor for extra help.


This class will cover the basics of Calculus – Limits, Derivatives, and Integrals – with indepth looks at both the conceptual and computational aspects. The class will not be paced to the AP exam but rather to the students’ understanding, and should prepare students to either take BC Calculus next year in high school or Calculus 2 in college.   Focus Skill: Making Connections and Being Aware of Context


This comprehensive course in geometry is designed to build logical reasoning and spatial visualization skills. The class is largely cumulative, as is all mathematics, in that we will continue to build on and use what we have already learned. Topics to be covered include deductive reasoning, lines in a plane, study of polygons with particular stress on triangles, transformations, congruence, similarity, properties of circles, constructions, areas and volumes of solids, coordinate geometry, and basic trigonometry.

Algebra 1

This most fundamental of mathematics courses covers the basics of solving and graphing linear and quadratic equations. Additionally, students will learn to factor equations, simplify radicals, and solve systems of equations. Focus Skills: Solving Problems and Making Connections and Being Aware of Context.

Math in Art

In this course you will be working on String Art and Quilting.   With String Art, we will be studying the curves and how playing with vertices affects the curvature. We will explore the geometry and algebra behind these designs. We will also go over proportions, loci and envelopes, and parametric and implicit forms for conics. The final product will be various display items of string art.   Quilts serve as a visual introduction to mathematical concepts that allow students to explore mathematics as they gain geometric insights. In this course, we will learn mathematical patterns and isometrics (translation, tatistics are the math tools used to collect, analyze and interpret numerical facts. Our world benefits tremendously from science, science relies on observation and measurement, and statistics help us understand numerical measurement. In this class, we will study a variety of statistical tools such as measures of central tendency, correlation, standard deviation and z-scores, and various tests of "statistical significance." The plan is to particularly explore the applications of statistics through the social sciences,
but this may be shifted according to the interests of the class. How do we coax cold data to reveal their secrets? Why is it said that the three types of lies are lies, damn lies and statistics? Find out in this class! 28 reflection, and rotation). We will use computers to provide additional examples of quilts and quilt designs. The final product will be an independently designed completed quilt.


This course builds on the concepts learned in Algebra 2 and prepares you for Calculus and other advanced math courses you may take in the future. Specifically, we will study various families of functions, the parametric and polar forms of representing functions and other relations, trigonometry, matrices and some isolated topics in discrete mathematics; if there is time, there will be a brief introduction to the concepts of instantaneous rates of change and limits (the beginnings of Calculus!). There will be a strong focus on viewing functions from various perspectives (such as verbal, numeric, graphical, and algebraic). Throughout the course, we will use graphing calculator (TI-84) technology to help us understand functions from these various perspectives. Focus Skill: Putting Information in Context

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 is divided into three topics: 1) the basic mechanics of Algebra -- an extension of what was learned in Algebra 1; 2) the principle of functions -- the idea that equations can be seen as mathematical “machines” which take input and create output; 3) the idea of “modeling” -- that functions can be used to represent real behavior in the world. Students will learn and review work with linear functions before expanding into quadratics, exponential, and logarithmic functions, as well as basics of Trigonometry (building on principles learned in Geometry). Algebra 2 prepares students for Pre-Calculus.

Number Theory

For centuries, dreamers have pondered the secrets of our number system. In this course we will explore some of the cool facts and properties of numbers that mathematicians have discovered over the years. Among the topics we will cover will be primes, division, mathematical induction, perfect numbers, and amicable numbers, with further topics to be decided by students in the course. Written work for the course will likely be more proof-based than computation-based and throughout the course students will learn and practice various techniques for proofs.

Algebra 2 (Foundations)

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for Algebra 2 and, in certain cases, Pre-Calculus. We will focus on fortifying the basic mechanics of algebra, including working with integers, fractions, linear and quadratic equations and their graphs, radicals, roots, and some basic trigonometry. This class can take a more relaxed approach and can be a place where real transformation can occur.

Ultimate Frisbee

Our minds and bodies are intricately connected: a healthy mind makes a healthy body; likewise, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. It is through a course of Frisbee that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be outdoors much of the time--stretching, running, passing, and playing Frisbee. Frisbee is a social activity that requires personal collaboration: participation is mandatory, and we will have fun.

How Your Body Works

Research about health and disease has swung wildly over the course of our lifetimes, and what once passed as dogma (“All dietary fat is bad,” “Exercising longer and harder is better”) is now in question. We will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the major systems of the body, and discuss what various experts are saying about how to live healthy lives and protect ourselves from disease.

Court Sports

In this P.E. class, we will learn and play various sports in the gym, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, dodgeball, and badminton. The course will emphasize improvement through teamwork and strategy and will promote consistent improvement in physical health.

Dance Exercise

Students will build flexibility, strength, endurance, balance and coordination through dance-influenced exercises. While most classes will feature half an hour of stretching, half an hour of cardio and strength- building, and half an hour of learning choreography (building repertoire), individual exercises and sometimes daily routines will be tailored to the needs and goals of the students.   Focus Skill: Persisting in Achieving Quality


Our minds and bodies are intricately connected: a healthy mind makes a healthy body; likewise, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. It is through a course of soccer that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be outdoors much of the time stretching, running, passing, and playing soccer. Soccer is a social activity that requires personal collaboration: participation is mandatory, and we will have fun.

Forensic Chemistry

Forensic scientists rely heavily on DNA evidence to convict criminals, but they also use chemical analysis to piece together the details of how crimes are committed. In this class, we will examine the role of chemical evidence in forensic science using techniques such as toxicology, isotope analysis, and spectrometry. We will also analyze episodes of popular crime shows such as CSI and Bones. Essential Question: What can I infer about crimes from chemical evidence?

Comparative Ecology

What factors make a desert a desert or a rainforest a rainforest? How do energy and materials cycle through ecosystems? Why does species diversity matter? We will compare our temperate deciduous biome to other biomes around the world to answer these questions and, in turn, learn more about the ecosystem in which we live. The final exhibition for the course will be to design a field guide to species present at The New School and an interpretive nature trail explaining how universal ecological concepts apply to our local setting. Essential Question: How do ecosystems and biomes around the world compare to each other?

Does DNA Define You?

This class is about genetics, but also about your environment, including your family, where you live, go to school, and what your choose to do in life. There is an old argument that scientists, psychologists, and others have been struggling with for many years – what really defines who you are and who you will become? This argument is referred to as “Nature vs. Nurture.” We will be exploring these ideas by looking at your genetic makeup, but also how your personal world influences you.

Chemistry of Cosmetics

Chemistry is everywhere, especially in the products we use. Students will investigate the effectiveness of cosmetic products and design cosmetics themselves. This is a project-based class; thus students should be prepared to work collaboratively, independently, and be able to manage time and materials appropriately. Topics range from eyeliner to lipstick, to shampoos and conditioners and their effects on hair. Be prepared to test the products that you use every day.  

Sports Psychology

Sports psychology is the study of how our brain influences our bodies during athletic competition. Topics we will cover include motivation and enjoyment, athletic potential and performance, team dynamics, gender and sports, and injury and burnout. Students will zoom in on a specific subtopic for their second-quarter academic paper. Much of the class is devoted to practicing research, composition, revision, and citation skills in preparation for this paper, and the workload includes reading scientific studies. Essential Question: What role does the mind play in athletic competition? (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

AP Physics C: Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism

 This course will prepare students for two of the AP Physics tests: Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism. The first section deals with the workings of everyday objects, such as projectiles, springs, pulleys, and pendulums. Learning these topics helps to understand the way machines, collisions, the human body, and far more work. The second section deals with the way in which the subatomic particles that make up everyday objects interact on a more foundational level. Using this understanding has led to revolutions in electronics and sparked the digital revolution of the 20th century. Calculus is a corequisite for this course.

Roller Coasters

Amusement park rides are designed to simulate danger, make your adrenaline flow, and bring your heart to your throat! However, these rides are firmly based on the laws of physics and a huge amount of number crunching happens during the design of any ride, with safety of the passengers first and foremost in the mind of the designer. In this course we will be studying the design aspect of common rides. At the completion of this course, which includes written, oral, laboratory, and field experience activities, you will have an enhanced understanding of the following laws and concepts of physics on the macroscopic scale: measurement of distance and time, kinematics, work, power, energy, force, rotational motion, and frictional forces.

Environmental Chemistry

How do we know if an ecosystem is healthy or not? To complement biological surveys, there are many ways chemistry can give us a glimpse of the status of ecosystems. This course will explore chemical analysis of air, water, and soil, and what can be inferred from chemical results. We will also explore other environmental chemistry topics such as how CFCs destroy the ozone layer, how acids leach from coal mining operations, and how carbon capture and storage works in the fight to slow climate change. Essential Question: How can I gauge the health of ecosystems through chemistry?

AP Chemistry

The AP Chemistry course provides students with knowledge and skills through guided inquiry labs. This curriculum will be based on learning content relevant to today's technology and problems, and preparation for an exam that assesses students' understanding of models of the particulate nature of matter. This course is meant only for students who have passed at least one, and preferably several, chemistry classes. Students will be expected to do some work before and after quarter 2 and 3 to maximize their chances of passing the AP test.

Survival Science

If you woke up one day without the conveniences of modern society, how long would you last? Additionally, if you had to battle science-fiction monsters, what types of strategies would you use to stay alive? In this class, students will get to learn about survival science, and then apply what they’ve learned in a hypothetical competition for survival. As a class, we might also do the Zombie Blood and Guts Run and go on a camping trip.

Chemistry of Fireworks

We all have experienced the colorful and impressive fireworks displays at Fourth of July celebrations and other events. These displays pack a lot of chemistry into those “Ooooo! Aah!” moments. In this course we will learn more about the history, construction, shapes, and colors of fireworks. We will particularly go over oxidation and reduction reactions which make the fireworks explode into those beautiful patterns. We will also investigate the topics of firework safety and environmentally friendly fireworks.

Optics of Lenses and Mirrors

This course will be geared towards understanding the physics behind the human eye and corrective lenses, cameras, microscopes, telescopes, periscopes, etc. This involves the study of reflections, refractions, illuminations, and geometry in the optics of lenses and mirrors: ray diagrams and equations, interference, diffraction, and polarization.


Drones are becoming more prominent in our culture and more varied in design with each passing year. Aside from the now ubiquitous quadcopters, there are rovers, crawlers, hovercraft, and countless other designs. This course will discuss how drones work from both a mechanical and electrical standpoint, building and testing several drones in the process.

Plants and Society

Plants affect all aspects of our lives. We eat, take medicine, give our sweetie a corsage for prom, wear clothes, bounce a rubber ball, and make packaging or cosmetics, all using plant materials we grow. Plants provide jobs, oxygenate the Earth, deoxygenate the Potomac River, and interact with us in our daily lives in many ways. We will explore the world of plants and the world of people at the places these two intersect.   Essential Question: How do societies affect plants around them and how do plants of a particular area affect the society that uses them?

Invertebrate Zoology

When most people imagine an ordinary animal they might think of a lion or dog or panda, perhaps even a snake or a frog. But most animals are unlike these. In fact, 99% of all animals are invertebrates - they do not have backbones. On land, 80% of all animals are insects. Although invertebrates are the most common animals on Earth, they are not paid much attention. In this class we will study this silent majority, learning about their widely differing forms and why they have been so successful.

Plagues and Society

How did the Black Plague change the world? Who really can take credit for “inventing” vaccines? How did the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s illuminate social inequalities? This course will use a selected text to explore the plague, smallpox, HIV/AIDS, and if time, a disease of the class’s choice. We will examine biological, sociological, immunological, religious, cultural, and technological impacts of major disease outbreaks. This is a research paper course.   Essential Question: What are the biological and social implications of widespread disease?

Readings in American Political Revolutions

Political revolutions are fueled by crisis and America has a history of crisis. From colonial Americans fighting in Lexington and Concord, to John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, to the Stonewall Riots in New York or the actions of the Black Panthers, America has experienced large and small scale revolution in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. This course will trace the intellectual, social, and political foundations of some of the most well-known revolutions in American history

The History of Food in America

Based on the popular course from MIT, taught by professor Anya Zilberstein, "this course will explore food in modern American history as a story of industrialization and globalization. Lectures, readings, and discussions will emphasize the historical dimensions of—and debates about—slave plantations and factory farm labor; industrial processing and technologies of food preservation; the political economy and ecology of global commodity chains; the vagaries of nutritional science; food restrictions and reform movements; food surpluses and famines; cooking traditions and innovations; the emergence of restaurants, supermarkets, fast food, and slow food. The core concern of the course will be to understand the increasingly pervasive influence of the American model of food production and consumption patterns." (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

The Supreme Court

In this course we will explore the creation, evolution, and impact of the Supreme Court on American society. We will analyze and debate landmark Supreme Court cases and study how these cases shape the experiences of young Americans. Course readings will come almost exclusively from Supreme Court case briefings and opinions.

Women’s History

Fifty years ago, a new kind of history was born. For the first time, scholars realized that an important part of history had been neglected: the experiences of women. This course will retell the familiar stories of American history as they were experienced by women while analyzing the evolution of female identities and roles in the United States. We will discuss how women influenced, directly or indirectly, trends in American society, politics, and culture and examine how their experiences differed due to class and race. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

AP United States History

AP United States History explores the central conflicts of American history beginning with pre-Columbian peoples and continuing until the post-Cold war era. Themes of the class include diversity and the American identity, economic and political transformations, and social movements. The class will require serious devotion, and a lot of time will be spent reading and writing. The purpose of the class is to facilitate college-level skills which include persuasive, analytical writing and high-level discussion. Students will take the AP exam in the spring and potentially receive college credit.

Women’s History

Fifty years ago, a new kind of history was born. For the first time, scholars realized that an important part of history had been neglected: the experiences of women. This course will retell the familiar stories of American history as they were experienced by women, while analyzing the evolution of female identities and roles in the United States. We will discuss how women influenced, directly or indirectly, trends in American society, politics, and culture and examine how their experiences differed due to class and race.

Civic Activism

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” In this course we will read and discuss writings on
citizenship. Our final objective will be to identify a problem in our community, develop a strategic plan to
address the problem, and implement the plan. This exhibition will help us master our communication,
public speaking, and strategic planning skills.

Model United Nations

"One of the main lessons I have learned during my five years as Secretary-General is that broad partnerships are the key to solving broad challenges. When governments, the United Nations, businesses, philanthropies and civil society work hand-in-hand, we can achieve great things." -Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. This class will study the inner workings of the U.N., critique its effectiveness in the world and conduct simulations to hone our negotiation and political skills. This class will also participate in Model U.N. events with other schools.

America’s Immigrants

For over four hundred years, people of different nationalities, races, and ethnicities have immigrated to America, each affecting American culture to varying degrees. This course will examine the causes for each group’s immigration, both forced and voluntary, as well as their reception upon arrival and the unique impact of each group on the development of American culture. The roles of nationality, race, and ethnicity will be considered within the context of contemporary periods, and we will discuss how these roles influenced the different groups’ acculturation and assimilation.

The Criminal Justice System

This survey course will examine all aspects of the criminal justice system. It will first examine the due process clause of the Constitution. We will then learn the role of the judicial system at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Students will also examine and analyze how the judicial system has determined the applicability of forensic science in the investigation, prosecution, and defense of crimes. Finally, we will look at the role of the media, law enforcement, and human biases as we examine how our society balances fairness and justice.

Complex Questions Related to American Democracy

This class will start with an introduction to American government. Discussions on weekly questions related to American democracy will take place in addition to writing prompts. Some topics discussed will include crime sentencing, the role of government in education, our justice system, and much more! (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

The Civil War Era

No period in American history endured more hostility at home than that of the Civil War. The story of the Civil War began two decades before the first shot at Fort Sumter with years of ideological conflicts throughout America. This class will be an in-depth study of the twenty years from 1845 to 1865. Emphasis will be placed on the coming of the Civil War, the secession crisis, and on both the military and nonmilitary events of the war years. Special attention will be given to the objectives behind each side’s struggles and the multiple “freedoms” for which the war was fought.

Social and Political Philosophy

Social and political philosophy is the branch of philosophy that deals with the relationship between the individual and the state, the nature of justice, and the optimal forms of government and society. This class will explore some of the major texts in philosophy on these issues, from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Likely texts and authors: Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics; Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marx, and others. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

The Psychology of Happiness

The purpose of this class is to give the student an introduction to the area of psychology with a focus on happiness. This focus is also known as “Positive Psychology.” At the conclusion of the class you will have a very good introductory-level knowledge of the field of psychology and attendant issues and be well prepared to continue your education in psychology/social work at a university. The curriculum will be pulled directly from an introductory-level college course. Movies, TED lectures, and documentaries will be used throughout this course. It is highly recommended for students who have already taken a psychology class.

Introduction to Philosophy

Why are we here? How do we know that a fact is true? What does it mean to be an “I”? How should we determine right from wrong? What is the best kind of government? What is consciousness? These are some of the questions at the heart of philosophy. This class will introduce some of the enduring philosophical questions and grapple with the answers given by some of the best-known philosophers. The contemporary philosophical novel Sophie’s World will serve as a starting point for the discussion, to be deepened by readings from a range of ancient and modern authors.

Search and Destroy: The Origins of Punk

“Despite all the amputation, you could dance to a rock and roll station” - It has been said that the Velvet Underground’s first album sold only a couple of thousand copies, but everyone who bought it went out and formed a band. In this class we will track the history of punk from its gritty, druggy New York City origins to its tremendous explosion as an anti-social phenomenon in the U.K. The course will focus on the music, first and foremost, with support from various articles, books, and films. Be prepared to experience the thrilling, dangerous world of punk rock, where teenage kicks weren’t so hard to find with the likes of Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Buzzcocks, The Fall, Joy Division, and more.

Star Wars : Creativity, Culture, Capitalism

In 2001, nearly 400,000 people in the UK listed “Jedi” as their religion on the census. In 2019, entire Star Wars-themed park sections will open at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This course will examine the Star Wars franchise as a touchstone of popular culture and a powerful economic force (ha ha) over the past forty years. From tie-ins and toys, to cosplay and fanfic, to the advent of the blockbuster economic model in the film industry, we will explore the myriad ways that George Lucas’ vision continues to transform our world.

End of Enlightenment

The modern world is rooted in an ideology that broke the hold of the Dark Ages by acknowledging and developing the human capacity for reason, proof, and empowerment. The 18th and 19th centuries saw world-changing breakthroughs in society and science, and it seemed inevitable that Enlightenment thinking would deliver greater prosperity, opportunity, and quality of life for all. Two world wars, the Depression, fascism, and other features of the 20th century gave lie to the promise of the Enlightenment, however, and we still grapple with progress in a world where the reality of humanity’s actions seemingly cannot match its loftiest ideals. In this course, students will research and discuss historical events and philosophy, attempting to diagnose maladies of the collective psyche in answering the Essential Question, “How does the Enlightenment influence our culture, and how relevant does it remain in today’s world?” (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

Death and Dying

We fear what we don’t understand. The best way to ease our fear of the greatest unknown is to learn about the process of dying. What care systems are available to the dying? What are the processes, industries, and laws involved in body dispositions and funerals? What are the ethical issues involved in dying? How can we best support the bereaved ? What can we do to make our deaths easier for our loved ones?

Prehistoric Humans

Thousands of years ago, humans did not have writing systems. They did not keep records of their customs or beliefs, leaving anthropologists to piece together their stories using the remains of their civilizations. This class explores early human progress and how humans developed, eventually creating the advanced societies that preceded today’s world. This class will investigate the existence of these societies on every continent, as well as the ways in which early humans lived their daily lives. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

Developmental Psychology

Understanding human development usually takes a lifetime. We learn a great deal from our own experience, but we are rarely able to observe more than a few individuals over long periods of time. This course will allow us to examine the cognitive, emotional, moral, linguistic, and psychosocial aspects of growth and development over a human lifespan, from conception, through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, to death. We will examine historical theories and current arguments relevant to this area of psychology. Coursework will include reading psychological studies, projects that emphasize research, critical and scientific writing, and presentations. Essential Question: What happens to humans as they grow? (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

Fair Trade?

Where do your food and clothes come from? Can the people who grow your food and make your clothes earn enough to live on? Are our shopping habits and manufacturing methods sustainable? These are some of the questions involved with the global fair-trade movement. We will learn about the farm-to-store journey of a t-shirt. We will also visit several local fair-trade stores and talk with their owners to find out where their products come from and how fair-trade marketing improves their suppliers’ lives. The exhibition will involve comparing the economic and social impact of a cheap fashion item to a similar fair-trade item. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)

Discussable Dilemmas

This class offers a series of discussable dilemmas designed to promote students’ cross-curriculum academic language and argumentation skills. Weekly units centered around a social or civic dilemma will be the focus. Students will read, discuss, debate, and write about each weekly topic, using newly taught vocabulary words.

Thinking Clearly: Logic, Research, and Cognition

Pseudoscience, psychobabble, fake news, and conspiracy theories: we live in a world full of what the great science communicator Carl Sagan called “baloney.” Even the flat-Earth believers seem to be on the rise, with Shaquille O’Neal publicly joining their ranks this spring. How do we sort out truth from fiction? In this class we will examine some recent examples of popular but misguided beliefs, and the reasons why it’s so hard for people to escape from them, while honing our skills in logical thinking and critical evaluation of sources.

The Influence of Latin

Why study a dead language? Good question. At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched 1.7 million square miles across Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa. Five major European languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian) are directly descended from Latin; you may be studying one of these in school...Meanwhile, Latin (and Greek) have become the lingua francas of the sciences. Government, law, and theology are riddled with vestiges of the Latin language. Over 60% of English words have Latin roots! Studying Latin will turbo boost your English vocabulary and make you a better speller - money back guarantee*.   *I don’t have the authority for this offer.

Macroeconomic Trends and Global Finance

The relative success of modern populist movements all over the world has signaled a resistance to neoliberalism in general. These movements have been characterized by a mixture of legitimate critiques and widespread misunderstandings about economics. This course will explore fundamental themes of economics as they relate to global labor markets, price theory, government regulation, and various mechanisms related to the management and understanding of global economics. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)  

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Looking back at history, why did some civilizations prosper and conquer, while others struggled or disappeared? Were some people smarter or more talented than others? If not, what explains it? Jared Diamond tackles these questions in his groundbreaking work of science and history, Guns, Germs, and Steel. In this course, we will analyze Diamond’s arguments and evidence, and we will compare them to the work of other authors, both past and present. (Scholarly Writing: Research Paper)


What were the Americas like before the arrival of Columbus? How has our understanding of this world changed in recent years? We will explore this fascinating subject by reading and discussing 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles Mann. As we go, we will consider important questions and areas of research across a range of disciplines, including history, genetics, archeology, and anthropology. Your final assignment will be to write a research paper about one of these areas of research or a particular pre-Columbian culture.


Course Catalogue 2017-2018 (PDF)

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