High School Course Catalog 2018-2019

Film Appreciation​

This course will approach research through the topic of Film Appreciation. Students will learn the history of film and how it has developed. Students will learn how to critique film, explore its historical placement and film’s prevalence, and discuss how their knowledge changes their overall view of the films explored.

Technical Theatre

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 in 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.

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.

Art, an Artist, and Myself​

Throughout history there have been artists like you and me. Let us find them, learn about them, and be them. We will do this in order to be more ourSelves. This is an intellectual playshop and an art studio course.

Art, mySelf…and Everyone Else​

This course explores Self and how we express and perceive ourSelf through Art. Here we will see deeper and more clearly where we didn’t know there was more to see. Here we will discover meaning where we didn’t know there was any, and/or find meaning where there is none. Here we will see ourselves plainer and simpler, and at the same time see ourselves more unique and complex. We will confront our Paradox. This is an intellectual playshop and an art studio course.

Art and my Surreal Self​

Sometimes our minds automatically go someplace surprising; sometimes in a flash of comprehension, sometimes to horror and fear, sometimes into a flight of fantasy. This art studio course challenges us to leave our rational and logical selves, our minds, and spontaneously flow from our hearts exploring our emotions, joys, and fears through imagery.

Making Music Together (for Instrumentalists and Singers)​

This is your chance to create cool harmonies, explore rhythms, try out new songs, make arrangements, practice ensemble techniques, and work on presentation skills in our new music lab! For our exhibition, the class will host and perform for an end-of-the year coffee house.

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.

Theatre Games and Improvisation​

Imagine a class where you simply play games! In this class we will explore a variety of theatre games of varying skill and complexity, with the goal being that students become adept at facilitating these games. We will also explore various fun improvisation games, also with the goal that students become adept at leading these improvisation exercises. Experience is not necessary but a desire to have fun is.

Dance Repertoire​

This class is for students who have taken a dance class either at The New School or elsewhere in the last three years. The class will be focused on learning choreography in a variety of genres: modern, postmodern, swing, Fosse-style, and hip hop will definitely be included. We will be learning two dances a week in the beginning and then slow down as we rehearse and polish the pieces for in-school and evening performances at the end of the quarter. Students are welcome to bring choreography to share as well as suggest music or genres before I start choreographing this summer.

Dance Exercise​

In this class, students will work toward group and individual fitness goals through a combination of cardio, strengthening, and stretching exercises. Dance styles will include ballet, modern, Jazzercise, Kpop, improvisation, and hip hop. Students will also have the chance to improvise and lead class.

Introduction to Voice​

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.

Honors Art Studio

In this Art Studio the student has discovered where, when, and how they find joy in doing art. The advanced student knows what they want to do, has proven their ability to persist in achieving excellence, and embodies a process of creative and aesthetic growth. The goal of the advanced student is to do work with the purpose and intent of declaring their unique selves through intellect, skill, and production.

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.

Comedic Theatre​

Let’s turn The New School on its head with a cheeky, over-the-top, Monty Python - Spamalot - Burlesque production of a classic fairy tale 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.

Introduction to 3D Design and Printing​

In this course students will explore, learn, and understand how 3D printing works, with 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.

Digital Music Composition​

Students will learn how to create music on a computer from the ground up. The course will cover a basic treatment of harmony and music theory, focusing additionally on manipulating and complementing harmonic compositional elements through sound design, use of plug-ins, mixing, and mastering, all of which will be taught through project work in professional music-production software. Students will develop a portfolio of songs they have composed, and the exhibition in this course will be a presentation of this portfolio, answering the essential question “What is my sound?”

Set Designing with AutoCAD/SketchUp​

AutoCAD is a computer software program that allows architects and designers to create 2D and 3D renderings of their work in the planning stages of a project. SketchUp, formerly Google Sketchup, is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. In this course students will learn how to use all the basic tools of these programs and be able to use these tools to design full plans for theatre set designs. By the end of this course students will have an understanding of all the features 2D and 3D tools have to offer as well as how to use the programs whilst working on individual and group projects.

Introduction to Digital Photography​

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." -Aaron Rose
In this class we will attempt to make extraordinary images with digital cameras. While we will learn how to use our cameras, how to use basic editing software, and about some of the greatest photographers in history, the goal of this course is to create high-quality images. We will work within various styles of photography (e.g. portraiture, landscapes, street, fashion, etc.) and work towards creating a public art exhibit.
NOTE: A digital camera is required for this class. The type of camera you have is not important, as long as it has manual controls. Please don't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars purchasing new equipment for this class. Many inexpensive cameras and lenses offer amazing image quality. Please contact Travis directly (tcooper@newschoolva.com) if you have any questions about equipment.

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.

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. Creativity, critical thought, and analysis are essential components of this class. 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.

Game Programming​

Computer programming languages are increasingly relevant in society, and knowing how to code is knowing how to speak the language of the future. This course will learn basic coding through scripting in C# for the Unity 3D game engine. Unity provides an intuitive user interface that makes the possibilities of computer programming approachable and exciting. Game Programming is a project-driven course, with students developing several of their own games. Each student will present his or her best game at the Science Fest in the spring.


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 also cover different filming and editing techniques that can be used to convey and limit information and emotion to our audience. Our projects will cover many different genres and give students a real sampling of different types of filming and editing techniques.

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.

Introduction to Poetry​

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Poems are awesome, And so are you! From cinquains to couplets, haiku to elegies, you will expand your understanding of English through this introduction to the fun and beauty of poetry. Together we will look at some of the ways poets express meaning in their works, and you will practice writing your own.

What is Man? Early Science Fiction​

What is Man? Where is the line between man and machine or robot? How far can you change man and still be human? As new science, inventions, and the Industrial Revolution transformed society, many 19th-century authors speculated about the future of humanity, laying the foundation for modern science fiction. In addition to Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, we will work through short stories by Hawthorne, Poe, and Twain. The culmination is a primary-source essay that analyzes the question of humanity in one of these works.

Poetry and Lyrics​

Do you enjoy reading and/or writing poetry? Ever tried writing a song text? A rap? In this class, we will flex our creativity with common themes, structures, figurative language, rhythm, and other components of poetry and lyrics. The student’s class portfolio of poems, lyrics, analyses, and reflections will form the basis of the exhibition.

Banned Books​

Freedom of expression in writing has been challenged countless times throughout human history. Depending on when and where you look, you’ll find books that have been classified as inappropriate or taboo based on their content, and others that have been seized and/or burned and their creators jailed or physically harmed. In this course, we will read and discuss literature that has been censored at some point in history. We will explore what motivates censorship and argue for the value of controversial literature. The central scholarly writing assignment​ for this course will be a primary source analysis paper involving meticulous and critical reading of a historically banned text, considering what it offers its readers thematically. As this is an honors course, assume relatively demanding reading and writing expectations as well as mature themes and topics. Essential Question: What is the value of controversial literature?

Based On A True Story​

A common way to divide literature is between fiction and nonfiction, but in reality, that line is often blurred. Of course, every piece of writing is influenced by the perspective and biases of its author, but in this course, we will be looking at texts that are indisputably autobiographical despite being marketed as fiction. We will analyze how the themes and structures of such stories can be traced back to the lives of their authors, which we will tackle by combining close reading of the texts with historical and biographical research. Essential Question: How do the life experiences of an author shape their writing?

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.

George Orwell: Politics and the English Language​

Many consider George Orwell to be one of the greatest writers in the English language. He was a novelist, essayist, and critic who chronicled and critiqued some of the most important events of the 20th century. In George Orwell: Politics and the English Language, we will study the life and literature of this great writer. First we will learn about Orwell’s life and read some of his autobiographical writings. We will then dive into his two most influential works, Animal Farm and 1984, and then finish the semester by studying his influential essay “Politics and the English Language.” Some of the projects will include the writing of an autobiographical piece in the style of Orwell, and several essays.

The Essay: Arguments That Matter​

 Essays assignments often strike fear in students. This is unfortunate, because the essay is a beautiful and flexible form for making arguments about things that matter. In The Essay: Arguments That Matter, students will learn how to bend the essay to their own needs. We will study a wide variety of persuasive essays, all with an eye to applying effective techniques to each student’s writing. Students will have a great deal of freedom to choose topics, but some forms will be required, including, for example, a “Modest Proposal”-style essay based on Jonathan Swift’s famous essay.

Tragedy: From Aeschylus to Achebe​

For some reason, humans seem to like stories that end horribly. What is the appeal of tragedy, and why are so many of the greatest works of literature—from Oedipus Rex to Romeo and Juliet to Things Fall Apart—tragic? In Tragedy: From Aeschylus to Achebe we will explore the history of tragedies. Students will read and analyze several tragedies, including works by ancient Greek playwrights, Shakespeare, and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. We will prepare and perform a version of Macbeth and see Shakespearean tragedy on the big stage. As a culminating project, students will create a tragic play, short story, or video.

Norse Mythology and ​The Silmarillion​

Odin, Thor, and Loki. Asgard, Gondolin, and Moria. Elves, dwarves, and dragons. In this seminar-based course, we will explore the world of Nordic mythology that has fascinated writers, dreamers, and thinkers for generations. During the first quarter, we will read and discuss Norse Mythology, a new retelling of the Norse myths by the award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Neil Gaiman. During the second half, we will delve into J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished masterpiece, The Silmarillion, which draws on Norse, German, and Finnish mythology to create the rich backstory behind The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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.

Samuel Beckett and His Theatre of the Absurd​

Samuel Beckett is a renowned playwright who pushed the boundaries of theatre in ways that shocked audiences worldwide. When his plays first reached audiences they were received with amusement and applause even while viewers could not fully understand what was going on. Why is this type of theatre so well-received and can we gain deeper meaning from his canon of work? Through this class we will explore the texts through readings as well as approaching them practically. We will also look at Beckett’s life and look at what he may have been trying to say with his ever-changing style of theatre.

Native American Literature​

Native Americans have been written about since the first Western explorers arrived; often portrayed as romantic savages, or simply just savages. In more recent times Native people have been italicized, their customs and beliefs fetishized, and most acutely, their experience relegated to footnotes in America’s history. In this course we will look at the North American indigenous world through the work of contemporary Native writers who challenge the assumptions and stereotypes associated with America’s first nations.

Scholarly Writing​

This class will offer additional help to students learning the method of analytical writing and help them meet The New School's expectations in preparation for the senior exhibition.

Magical Realism​

Magic and realism seem like contradictory terms. And yet, a fascinating literary movement, known as “magical realism,” began in Latin America in the 20th century and continues to thrive today. The distinguishing feature of this movement is the combination of detailed and matter-of-fact narration with surreal and even fantastical events, raising interesting questions about the nature of experience and reality. In this seminar-based course, we will read several short stories by Latin American authors such as Julio Cortázar and Jorge Luís Borges, The Life of Pi by Canadian author Yann Martel, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez.

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 Meaning

What is it that you really want to say? Did we understand what you meant? This course is designed to help you develop and hone effective communication skills. With in-class exercises, weekly projects, and examples from guest speakers and short videos, students will practice effective strategies and techniques of communication, with the goal of improving confidence and exhibition skills. For the exhibition, each student will prepare, rehearse, and deliver a short TED talk-style speech featuring at least one non-verbal mode of communication.

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

AP Spanish Prep​

This course is designed for students who want to continue expanding their knowledge of the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Specifically, the focus of the course will be preparing students for the AP Spanish language exam. The course will review grammar structures, vocabulary, and improves students’ communication and interpersonal skills.   NOTE: This is course recommended for students with at least 4 years of high school level Spanish classes.


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

Dots and Lines​

How do you organize as many people as possible to dance with people they like at prom? How do you (or Google Maps) find the shortest route to drive between two places? How do you color a map (or coloring book) so that no two regions sharing a border share a color? While these questions are all fairly different, they can all be solved by abstracting to a question about an arrangement of dots and lines connecting them. Mathematicians call such arrangements vertex-edge graphs, and the subject which concerns itself with such graphs is called graph theory. In this course we will explore the basics of graph theory and how graph theory can be used to solve the questions above and/or others like them. Specific questions answered may depend on the interests of the members of the class.

AP Calculus

This class is geared toward the AP Calculus BC test that will take place in May, so we will cover functions, limits, derivatives, integrals, and series. Periodically we will review actual AP tests from past years to prepare for the AP test. To get you ready to take the AP test, we will be moving at a steady pace. Students should expect to do work over vacations (including summer vacation) and to double their time spent on the course in the few weeks leading up to the exam.


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.

Nutritional Analysis at Fraction Boot Camp​

Are you tired of worrying whether you’ll get to use a calculator on your math test? A lot of people are scared of doing fraction arithmetic by hand, but probably because they haven’t practiced enough. In this class you will get all the arithmetic practice you need so you’ll have confidence the next time you take a math test without a calculator. To get this practice, we’ll be looking at different foods, recipes, and servings to see what fractions of your nutritional needs you’re getting as you eat.

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.

Mountain Biking​

The New School is uniquely located near Fairfax County’s Cross Country Trail, which connects south all the way to Occoquan and north to Great Falls. A short half-hour ride away is Wakefield Park, which has several criss-crossing, hair-pinning, bumpy, steep, and narrow mountain biking paths. This course will build biking competency and endurance to the point where such difficult trails can be enjoyed. As a level 2 P.E. class, it is required that students who enroll be adept at basic riding. NOTE: Students will need to provide their own mountain bikes (not road bikes) of a reasonably high quality (i.e., from a bike shop or outfitter as opposed to from a box store like Wal-Mart or Target). Finally, students should be prepared to ride in all weather conditions with appropriate apparel.

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.

Dance Repertoire​

This class is for students who have taken a dance class either at The New School or elsewhere in the last three years. The class will be focused on learning choreography in a variety of genres: modern, postmodern, swing, Fosse-style, and hip hop will definitely be included. We will be learning two dances a week in the beginning and then slow down as we rehearse and polish the pieces for in-school and evening performances at the end of the quarter. Students are welcome to bring choreography to share as well as suggest music or genres before I start choreographing this summer.


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 basketball that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be indoors much of the time stretching, running, passing, and playing basketball. Basketball 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?

Biological Macromolecules and Nutrition​

If you’ve ever tried to read nutritional labels or vitamins to see what in them is “good for you,” it can get confusing. What is real and what is just slick marketing? What are Omega 3-6-9s? Which is better for slower-burning energy--a polysaccharide or a monosaccharide? Is a calorie just a calorie or does nutritional profile matter? What are the chemical and physical properties of these molecules and how can they be used to our advantage? If you want to know what you are eating, its structure, how it works, and what it does to you, this class is for you. Essential Question: How do biological macromolecules (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) affect the body?

Chemistry in Art​

In this course, students will explore the connection between chemistry and art. We will study the atom, the periodic table, molecules, and reactions. As our understanding of the chemical world increases we will learn how it applies to color, ceramics, and tie dye!


Analog synthesizers are capable of creating the most beautiful, ugly, comforting, terrifying, familiar, and otherworldly sounds imaginable. They are also the purest expression of circuitry and electronic design we have. Students in this course will learn the physics of electrodynamics by actually listening to the flow of electrons in circuits that they design, assemble, solder together, and perform. Essential Question: How can sound be imagined as electricity, and how can electricity be manipulated to produce pleasing sounds?  

Project in the Sciences​

This course offers a sound background in the scientific method and experimental design. Once students have chosen their topic/problem, they will be given the freedom to design their own experiments with faculty feedback, refining their experiment design and ensuring replicability and reliability. Students will display their results in the New School Science Fest as part of their exhibitions. Essential Question: What is the value of the scientific method in exploring questions and problems?

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.

Psych Lab​

This course will introduce you to the field of psychology through hands-on experimentation. You will develop a foundational understanding of how the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes works: you will be able to distinguish and apply various research methods, you will learn about the concepts of reliability and validity, and you will consider the ethics of using human participants in research. Ultimately, you will design your own research project, collect and analyze your own data, and display an APA-style project at the Science Fest. Essential Question: How do psychologists study the human mind?


Electricity is one of the most important blessings that science has given to mankind. It has also become an integral part of our life and we cannot think of our world without it. This course will give you a basic understanding of electron theory, conductors and insulators, electric paint, static electricity, electric field detectors, electromagnetism, electrical circuits, AC/DC current, generators, step-down and step-up transformers, electrical formulas, hazards of electricity, the need for insulation, earthing, fuses, circuit breakers, and renewable energy sources.

Forensic Biology​

Forensic crime shows are increasingly popular, and DNA evidence especially is becoming the key to cracking many current and cold cases. In addition to DNA, this class will focus on biological forensic evidence such as hair type, fingerprinting, blood typing, and even non-human evidence that can pinpoint crime scene and time of death such as pollen grains and insect larvae.   Essential Question: What can I infer about crimes from biological evidence?

AP Environmental Science​

This course will focus on preparation for the AP Environmental Science exam, including earth systems and resources, the living world, population, land and water use, energy resources and consumption, pollution, and global change. Students will be expected to perform weekly labs, measurements, calculations, and unit conversions. The full official AP course description can be found here: http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-environmental-science-course-description.pdf.   NOTE: Enrollment in this course will include summer reading, weekly reading and check-ins during Q1, and weekly study sessions in the first part of Q4 in preparation for the May exam. By enrolling, you agree that you are willing to put in the necessary time outside of class to do college-level reading and work.   Essential Question: How can we measure the interaction between human and ecological systems?

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.

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.   Essential Question: What can I infer about crimes from chemical evidence?

Chemistry of the Human Body​

This course acts as an introduction to biochemistry with a focus on organic chemistry. We will study organic structures and many types of chemical reactions. Throughout the quarter students will explore the role amino acids, DNA/RNA, and proteins play in the body.

Synthesis of Biodiesel​

Biodiesel is a renewable and clean-burning diesel replacement that is better for the environment than ordinary gasoline or diesel fuel. We will study the available fuel sources now, the chemical composition of each of them, and their impact on the environment. We will do an in-depth study of the process of synthesizing biodiesel, the underlying organic chemistry principles, and benefits of using biodiesel.


Much of classical physics is employed in the construction of bridges. In this project-driven class, students will learn about bridges from a technical standpoint, developing intuition through trial and error. Each week, students design and construct a bridge given a set of unique materials and requirements. The course will culminate with students designing and building a final bridge, with the whole school invited to watch a competition to see whose bridge can hold the most weight.

A History of Science​

Science is the study of the structure and behavior of the world through observation and experimentation. Today, scientific methods have been thoroughly established, but this is a fairly recent development. In A History of Science we will investigate the roots of science in ancient, classical, and medieval civilizations, through the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution to today. Students will engage in a project following the evolution of one scientific idea and how it changed over time (and predict how it will change in the future). Students will also develop and share Science Fest projects as part of the course.

AP Government​

This course is designed to prepare students to take the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam. This is an engaging and challenging course that will require dedication and hard work. We will explore the U.S. government from a variety of perspectives, all with the goal of understanding the U.S. government holistically and deeply. Since students may earn college credit by passing the AP Government exam, they should expect to move at a college pace. Many outside readings, class projects, and written analyses are required in this course.

The Midterms​

Midterm elections, which take place halfway through a presidential term, are often overlooked and marked by low voter turnout. However, these elections--which will take place this November--often decide what is possible in the second half of a president's term. Many are predicting a "Blue Wave" this year, with Democrats taking power away from Republicans throughout some or all of Congress. This class will test those assumptions, follow key midterm elections, analyze political strategies, and explore policy agendas being promoted by political parties and various candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.

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.

America’s Women​

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)

Black History​

The experience of Black Americans is not only historically unique, but an integral component of the American experiment, one which particularly demonstrates both the fragility and the determination behind the American dream. This course will study the history of Blacks in America beginning with their migrations during the colonial era. Students will examine the impact of the institution of slavery, the discrimination of the Jim Crow era, and the conflicts of the early 1900s as Blacks began to pursue political and social equality. The course will culminate with the Civil Rights movements of the mid-twentieth century. Scholarship skills will also be a primary focus of this course.

Reconstruction and Jim Crow​

Following the American Civil War, the Union victors endeavored to “reconstruct” the devastated South. In essence, Reconstruction intended to help Southern states rebuild following their defeat and to help newly-freed blacks to establish lives which included economic independence and political participation. Under certain conditions, the states of the South rejoined the United States government while federal programs assisted former slaves. As the federal government retreated from its involvement toward the end of Reconstruction, the South introduced new state constitutions and effectively returned its politics and society to its pre-war state. This course will examine the sequence of events that initiated the long, oppressive era of Jim Crow, as well as discuss its long-lasting effects.   NOTE: It is highly recommended that you have taken the Civil War Era course before you enroll in this class.  

Discussable Dilemmas​

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!  

The Story of America​

This class will delve into different times and topics of American History. We will start with the settlers and colonial times and continue from there following the timeline of America.  

Social Movements through Music​

Music has always been a social tradition. The function and sounds of music have changed throughout the centuries, though perhaps never as rapidly as in the 1900s. With advancements in technology and growth in mass media, music mobilized social changes and provided a medium for the expression of minority groups. People used music to articulate social ideas and demands and to consolidate revolutions. In this class, we will investigate these social transformations through the lens of music.  

Architects of Internet Culture​

There are no rules on the internet. This openness is a great attraction, but it is also alienating; people need norms to contextualize behavior. Many social-minded startups in the late 1990s and early 2000s attempted to create virtual villages through chat (AOL Instant Messenger), websites (Geocities, MySpace), and blogs (LiveJournal, WordPress). While most of these early options are no longer widely used, the second generation of web communities (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) have come to dominate. As technology becomes more enmeshed in our daily realities, this dominance carries with it wide-ranging influence beyond the digital world. This course will study the evolution of various internet cultures and the guiding principles of their founders, focusing on the growing relevance of the online world in the real world. Exhibitions will take the form of a research paper answering the essential question “How is real world culture being changed by the internet?”

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World​

This course will examine the rise and fall of empires through the lens of languages. Based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Ostler, Empires of the Word studies the movement of peoples and cultures, especially through wars, trade, and religious crusades, by investigating how languages originated, changed, grew, or died. We will look at ancient Mesopotamia, Asia, and Europe, as well as the Americas. This course will rely heavily on reading.  

Psychology of Language​

Perhaps the most incredible human feat is one that we all accomplish: learning our native language as an infant, without any direct instruction. How does natural language acquisition happen? Furthermore, what is going on in our brain when we process and produce language? How do we adjust our language in various social situations? How did humans develop the remarkable ability to communicate with such complexity in the first place? What happens when something interferes with language acquisition? In addition to exploring these questions, this course serves as an introduction to the basic concepts of linguistics—including phonology (sounds), morphology (the makeup of words), and syntax (grammar)—using the English language as a case study.   Essential Question: How does the mind create language?

Current Events​

This class will cover the latest current events in the world. It is designed to promote students’ cross-curriculum academic language and argumentation skills. Weekly units centered around a news topic will be the focus. Students will read, discuss, debate, and write about each weekly topic, using newly taught vocabulary words.  

20th Century World History​

In 1900, most countries were ruled by kings, queens, and emperors. Airplanes had not yet been invented, and the telephone was a relatively new invention. By the year 2000, millions of humans would be flying around the world and some were even rocketing to the moon. Two world wars would convulse the planet, but rights for women, minorities, gays, and other oppressed groups would be won through difficult struggles. While democracy spread, so too did Communism, terrorism, and crime. Colonies gained freedom but many dissolved into impoverished countries riven by civil wars. In 20th Century World History, students will take a deep dive into the century that changed everything. We will study developments that transformed the world and the United States. Students will complete a project where they follow and analyze a trend, such as health, women’s rights, crime, or education, over the whole course of the 20th century.

New York in the 1970’s​

In this class we will explore the cultural phenomenon that was New York City in the 1970’s. Through literature, film and theatre we will gain an understanding of why NYC was and is considered the arts capital of the world. More keenly, we will look at the underground belly of New York and the subversive art and artists that thrived in this world, such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith and Philip Glass. We will discover why the saying, “only in New York” is so often used to describe this great city. From punk to disco to hip hop, from Broadway to off Broadway, uptown and down, we will travel back in time to this seminal era in New York City’s history.

Migration: Out of Africa, Around the World​

Movement is a defining trait of humans. Some 80,000 years ago, more or less—it’s complicated and still controversial—a group of Homo sapiens left Africa and traveled the world, eventually making nearly every part of the planet their home. More recently, travel by ship, train, and plane has made migration easy and commonplace. Today immigration has become a hot-button issue in the U.S., Europe, and around the world. In Migration: Out of Africa and Around the World, we will examine early migrations and the intermingling of several homo species, especially H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. We will then study the factors that cause groups and individuals to move from place to place. Finally, we will research and publish migration stories from the recent past to the present.

The History of Ancient Rome​

The history of Ancient Rome is all around us, yet few people have a clear understanding of how a small Italian village grew to become a thriving republic and then a great empire that continues to influence world language, culture, and civilization today. In this course, we will read and discuss SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by noted British historian Mary Beard. We will also do several short research papers and projects on aspects of Roman history and culture that particularly interest you.

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness​

For thousands of years, people have sought to understand the human psyche through stories, songs, and literature. More recently the field of psychology has developed as a scientific approach to gaining insight into human thoughts and feelings. Much psychology research has focused on what is wrong with people—mental illness—but not as much on what is right. Positive psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing. In our class we will complete a brief overview of psychology and then dive into techniques to feel more positive emotions, engage in life, build relationships, find meaning, and pursue personal goals. Students will come away from the course with many tools to live a flourishing life.


Economics is defined as the study of the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth. How do we study economics, and how do we solve the ethical dilemmas that economic activity entails? In Economics, students will investigate specialization, barter and money, banking and investment, and the role of the government in economics. We will run a stock market simulation over the course of the quarter, as well as a Game of Life simulation where students make economic decisions over the 90-year lifetime of an avatar they create. We will end the quarter with a debate about the pros and cons of globalization.  

The Mexican Revolution​

Have you ever heard of Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata? If you haven’t, you have probably seen their faces on posters or murals, perhaps at a Mexican restaurant or Cinco de Mayo celebration. These are the great heroes of the Mexican Revolution, a complex and bloody conflict that convulsed Mexico between 1910 and 1921. In this course, you will learn what caused the revolution, its similarities to and differences from other popular revolutions around the world, how it affected the United States, why it ultimately failed, and how its history continues to haunt and enchant Mexicans and Americans today.

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?


Course Catalogue 2018-2019 (PDF)

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