Curriculum Guide

explore our curriculum by selecting a subject area and grade level below.

Subject Area

Grade Level

Courses Available

6th Grade Language Arts and Literature

The 6th Grade year is a time where students move from childhood into adolescence. As such, students are immersed not only in their own "coming of age" but in the study of others, past and present. Through contemporary literature, students face challenges and confront issues through the eyes of other adolescents. Classic readings include an adaptation of The Odyssey, the original version of A Christmas Carol, and various works of Shakespeare (for young people). This edition of Shakespeare employs the original language supported by narration. 

The language arts program covers a variety of skills that help each student develop a foundation in and appreciation for the English language. Writing abilities are developed through assignments that emphasize different styles such as expository, creative, narrative, essay, and poetry. The mechanics of writing are also stressed and include spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Students begin the year writing a personal memoir reflecting on a significant event or experience in their lives. During the last part of the year, they undertake a coming of age fiction project that leads a young protagonist through a series of conflict. Throughout the year the students also continue to hone their oral skills through individual and small group presentations.

6th Grade Social Studies

The social studies program in 6th Grade is also a study of others, past and present. Integrated closely with the literature and language arts elements of the program, the students study ancient civilizations with an eye toward the influence that historical happenings and issues have on the course of history and current events. Through the study of archeology, early humans, the Sumerians, ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the students learn to analyze the elements of a civilization, including the importance of law, government, religion, and economic factors.

6th Grade Math

The 6th Grade math program continues to emphasize the importance of mathematical thinking and application. Through the use of mental math, paper and pencil, calculators, and "Hands-On Equations" manipulatives, the students tackle more complex concepts and problems. Students review the four basic mathematical operations using whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, in addition to working with ratios, proportions, and percentages. The students become more sophisticated in their study of geometry, probability, statistics (including its misuse), logic, and number theory. Essay tests are used to assess the student's ability to "think mathematically" rather than just solving an equation based on rote memorization. Students deepen their understanding of math as they are challenged to "teach" others various mathematical strategies and theories during class discussions.

6th Grade Science

Students in 6th Grade participate in a science program that provides a hands-on, discovery approach to learning science. The main objective of the program is to provide students with the opportunity to investigate and experience each of the three branches of science: earth, physical, and life sciences.

Students are taught the scientific process and perform labs individually and with partners. Topics of study are integrated with other elements of the curriculum, demonstrating to students that science is a part of their everyday living and learning experiences. Independent thinking, questioning, and innovative problem solving are encouraged. Creative expression and design are also incorporated into the curriculum.

6th Grade Latin

During 6th Grade all students study Latin. The study of the language integrates well with other areas of the 6th Grade curriculum, in particular their exploration of ancient civilizations and vocabulary development, including word origins.

Introduction to Java

Fall Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: This course is an introduction to Java, a widely used and powerful programming language. Prior programming experience is not needed. Students learn the basics of the language and how to design and write programs to solve different types of problems. Topics include: use of variables, input and output, decision-making, looping, classes and objects, arrays, and the use of methods. Students develop their programming skills daily with hands-on experience writing and debugging programs. Many of the thinking skills learned in this course are discipline-independent, and students develop valuable cross-disciplinary problem solving strategies.

Textbook: Programming and Problem Solving with Java (Dale, Weems, Headington)

Honors Advanced Topics in Programming

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: AP Computer Science A, Honors Programming & Software Design, and consent of instructor

Course Description: Having learned the foundations of and more advanced programming skills in Java, as well as programming and developing web pages and apps, students will build upon their knowledge and branch out to develop larger and more diverse real world applications. Students will examine a variety of new programming languages and development environments, ranging from low level languages and hardware-based investigations to high level languages using graphical user interfaces and specialized design tools. The course culminates with long term student-generated projects in which students propose, design, develop, and implement programming projects, individually and in teams. This course is hands-on and project-oriented and allows students to incorporate their personal interests, strengths, and background in programming. Some sections of the course are taught using a hybrid model, combining both classroom and online education techniques and tools. Students collaborate throughout the course, seamlessly adopting the roles of both student and teacher.

Textbook: TBD

Honors Programming & Software Design

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: AP Computer Science and consent of instructor

Course Description: Having learned the foundations of Java, students build on their programming skills and begin to branch out and work on more advanced applications. Students complete a unit on cybersecurity (cryptography) and then examine a variety of new data structures (collections). Students will expand their problem solving skills, study the efficiency of algorithms, and learn how to better optimize their code. Students will also learn how to design, build, and program simple web applets and mobile apps, starting with an overview of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the foundation for web based applets, apps, and programs. A mobile device programming unit follows the "web unit," introducing students to Android and/or iOS app development. Both semesters culminate with projects in which students explore and create something new in different graphical programming environments. This course is hands-on and project-oriented, and it encourages students to incorporate their interests into their programming. Students will be re-introduced to and practice both pair programming and small team software development in this course.

Textbooks: Java Methods (Litvin & Litvin) and Getting Started with Processing (Reas & Fry)

AP Computer Science A

Spring Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Introduction to Java (A- or higher) and consent of instructor

Course Description: The AP Computer Science A course is a thorough introduction to computer programming using the Java language, starting from the basics of the language (use of variables, input, output, decision-making, looping, classes and objects, arrays, methods) through more advanced programming concepts (class hierarchy, algorithm design, and advanced data structures). In addition, students develop the use of recursive programming techniques, ArrayLists, and searching/sorting algorithms. Students will also study the engaging APCS Labs package, which is an integral part of the AP curriculum. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam in May. After the AP, students choose a new programming language or environment and develop independent projects based on their skills and interests.

Textbook: Java Methods (Litvin & Litvin)

AP Computer Science Principles

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: This AP course is a multidisciplinary introduction to the use of technology, computing, and computer science in all aspects of everyday life. The main units are: creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and the global impact of technology. Students explore and learn about new technologies, conduct investigations, participate in discussions, and create content and artifacts using digital tools. This course covers issues that are of broad interest and relevance to all students and incorporates skills and knowledge that are valuable across all disciplines and fields of study, from the arts to the sciences. This is an interactive, hands-on, project-oriented course that blends diverse activities such as research, mobile technology, social media, current events, simulations, multimedia, problem solving, and gamification. Students will work individually and in groups on computational exercises and projects. The AP assessment involves creating two "performance task" artifacts during the year, in addition to taking a traditional AP exam in May.

Textbook: None

Literature and Composition

Year | Required 9th Grade

Course Description: With a strong emphasis on critical reading and writing, this year-long course prepares students to be successful students of literature. Using both classic and contemporary texts, the course engages students in the analysis of different literary genres: poetry, short story, drama, memoir, and the novel. The course provides an intensive focus on close reading and analytical writing, a review of grammar concepts, an emphasis on logical and original argumentation, and instruction in research techniques.

Representative texts include: The Odyssey, The Interpreter of Maladies, and Macbeth.

British Literature

Year | Required 10th Grade

Course Description: This year-long course introduces the concept of social difference through the lens of British literature. England, the largest empire the world has ever known, crafted its vision of inclusivity, normative behavior and culture, and power through its literary production. In this course, students explore texts from Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to Beowulf to Zadie Smith's Swing Time; by way of these explorations, the course poses questions about gender, sexuality, race, class, and religious values to help students deepen their own sense of individual identity.

British Literature Honors

Year | Required 10th Grade

Course Description: This course emphasizes more intensive and independent reading and writing than the regular 10th grade course. Representative works include Richard III, Wuthering Heights, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Students practice several modes of writing in addition to expository prose; students engage the material through both group work and oral presentations. This course stresses both cooperative learning and independent thought.

American Literature

Year | Required 11th Grade

Course Description: This year-long course focuses on developing analytical reading and writing skills through a study of selected works of American Literature. During the first semester, students explore early American philosophy and literature through the 19th century, from Puritanism to Transcendentalism. Readings include essays by Transcendental authors Emerson and Thoreau, as well as the novels The Scarlet Letter and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The second semester covers representative 20th-century authors such as T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, August Wilson, Toni Morrison, and J.D. Salinger. Students also complete a major research project during the second semester.

AP English Language and Composition

Year | Elective 11th Grade

Course Description: This college-level course offers an introduction to concepts and terms pertinent to the study of rhetoric, with an emphasis on critical analysis and argumentation. While in this two semester course, students will study works of nonfiction, persuasive essays, short works of fiction, poetry, visual art, and novels; additionally, all readings reflect a rigorous American Literature curriculum appropriate for juniors enrolled in an advanced English program. Students will complete frequent take-home essays, in-class writings, and group presentations, as well as a semester-long research project. Representative texts include Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Walden, Billy Budd, The Scarlet Letter, The Age of Innocence, The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, and My Antonia. Specific prerequisites and recommendation of 10th grade English teacher are required to enroll.

Spring Electives for Juniors: In addition to their core English class, juniors may enroll in senior spring electives if space and schedule permit. See the senior elective offerings for course descriptions.

Senior English

Year | Required 12th Grade

Course Description: The year-long senior program provides two semesters of course options. While offering some thematic variations, the fall semester electives focus on issues of identity through memoir and first-person narrative. The spring courses provide broader elective offerings around genres, topics and themes in literature. These spring electives place greater emphasis on creative, student-directed projects and research and are open to juniors if space and schedule permit. All Brentwood students must complete four full years of English, but they are welcome to enroll in additional English electives to meet their interests. Not all electives will be offered each year.

Fall Electives 

Creative Writing and Literature—What inspires great writers? How do they hone their craft? What other writers and techniques influence their work? In this course, students will engage in an exploration of creative writing through the reading and writing of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. Drawing on the work of various poets and writers, students will learn from their techniques and craft original writing, ranging from traditional poetic and prose forms such as the sonnet, the ode, or the short story, to more experimental approaches. Each week students will “workshop” with their peers and instructor, sharing their writing and soliciting feedback. Students will also have the opportunity to explore a poet or writer of interest in greater depth to consider issues of craft, style, technique, and vision. Representative works of literature include Letters to a Young Poet, Writing Down the Bones, and Flash Fiction.

Culture and Identity—This course will explore the relationship one has to one’s cultural surroundings and the impact that might have on identity and selfhood. We will study works such as Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake to discover just how complex the shaping of identity can be, especially in the face of conflicting cultural demands and expectations. Students will utilize these texts to explore their own topics and personal narratives relating to identity.

Myth, Magic, and Folklore in Literature—Through the lens of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, this course seeks to explore stories with frequent interpretations of and allusions to folklore, fairy tale and holy texts. The class will draw from the collection of Grimms' fairy tales and Bruno Bettelheim's Freudian analyses of such stories. Additionally, students will explore the theological texts and religious symbols that inspired the following, popular, fantastical works: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lloyd Alexander’s Newbery Honor- and Medal-winning The Book of Three, Susan Cooper’s Newbery Medal-winning The Dark is Rising, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. The course will also present excerpts of those works from which these texts draw, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, The Mabinogion (collection of Medieval Welsh stories), and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

Surrealist Literature—In this elective course, students will examine a variety of surrealist and absurdist texts. These will be primarily literary in nature though will also span across other disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, visual and performing arts, and sociology. In addition, this course will draw upon multicultural and diverse authors such as Franz Kafka, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, David Sedaris, and Aimee Bender. Inspired by the literature, students will analyze dream and explore existential thought both in the texts and in their own lives.

Wilderness and Identity—This course will explore nature writing as a vehicle for self-discovery, placing emphasis on personal narrative and memoir. Beginning with Cheryl Strayed's Wild, students will also revisit parts of Thoreau’s Walden and Walking; among other texts students will read and write essays that utilize the beauty and grandeur of nature as a setting of inspiration, solitude, self-reflection and contemplation. Students will read various short essays and stories by writers such as Dillard, Muir, Oates, Hemingway and Faulkner, as well as Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Visits to local parks and natural settings will be part of the course.

War and Conflict—This course explores the human experience during times of personal and political conflict. Studying texts about both international and domestic conflicts, the class will examine the impact of war on individuals, geographies, and societies. With an emphasis on personal narrative and memoir, the course will explore texts such as Redeployment, The Things They Carried, and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank to consider various historical, socioeconomic, and geographical places and how individuals take on the challenges of war and conflict. There is a strong service-learning component to this course.

Spring Electives

Banned Books—We can learn a lot about a culture by way of the texts it deems taboo. Across geographies and centuries, books have been challenged, confiscated, banned, burned and renounced. This course will explore a sampling of these texts as a way to uncover and investigate the biases and anxieties that undergird their expulsion. We will discuss the relationship between censorship and politics, religion, and culture. As a class, we will construct a syllabus that allows us to examine various types of texts (from children’s books to time-honored classics) and a range of topics (from religious intolerance to what characterizes “indecency”). Texts may include: The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger), Beloved (Toni Morrison), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey), Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov), Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell), The Satanic Verses (Salman Rushdie), Native Son (Richard Wright), and And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson).

Contemporary Literature—In Contemporary Literature, students will read an array of novels and short fiction written in the last fifty years. In the course, students will read contemporary fiction from masters as diverse as Haruki Murakami, Thomas Pynchon, and Leslie Marmon Silko. The class will discuss contemporary global events, philosophy, and culture through the lens of literature. For instance, investigations of fiction will include an exploration of post-national societies, meditations on the ethical implications of scientific advancements (cyborg culture, war by remote control), and a foray into the contemporary dynamics of socio-economic divides. The goal of the course will be to cultivate an awareness of the complexity and artistic richness of the current cultural moment.

Creative Writing and Literature—What inspires great writers? How do they hone their craft? What other writers and techniques influence their work? In this course, students will engage in an exploration of creative writing through the reading and writing of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. Drawing on the work of various poets and writers, students will learn from their techniques and craft original writing, ranging from traditional poetic and prose forms such as the sonnet, the ode, or the short story, to more experimental approaches. Each week students will “workshop” with their peers and instructor, sharing their writing and soliciting feedback. Students will also have the opportunity to explore a poet or writer of interest in greater depth to consider issues of craft, style, technique, and vision. Representative works of literature include Letters to a Young Poet, Writing Down the Bones, and Flash Fiction.

Los Angeles Fiction and Film: Hollywood Movies and Culture—This class uses books, short stories, and films to explore our city of Los Angeles. Through a series of novels and films, we will examine the city of Los Angeles, its residents and visitors, its successes and failures and, above all, its contradictions. We will also closely examine the historical representation of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class in our LA books and films. Writing for the course will include personal reflections and essays about our texts. Representative literature will include The Loved One, A Single Man, and The Big Sleep.

Modernism: 1890-1940—Pericles Lewis, a notable Modernist scholar at Yale, defines Modernism as the period of “experimental literature” that began with Eliot, Joyce, Pound, and Wolf, and evolved into a “variety of movements in modern art and literature” that spanned from roughly 1890 to the late 1930s. Lewis sees Modernism as a cultural “phenomenon,” one whose scope is vast and impactful; it’s a movement that shook the world. Modernism is a period of experimentation, ambition, rejection, and manipulation. Systems that previously imparted meaning in the world became meaningless. Anything once thought sustainable and everlasting seemed to break down. It’s easy to see this era as one full of despair; however, our goal of the semester is to understand the ways in which these writers, artists, and thinkers rejected the past—both what they rejected and how they rejected it—in favor of finding new meaning in a world nearly subsumed with chaos. We’ll celebrate the weird, the salacious, the poetic, the dramatic, the angsty, and the visionary contributions of this period. Through literature, poetry, art, and film of the period, as well as through guest lectures by various faculty members, students will be engaged in learning about this exciting cultural phenomenon. Texts include: The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway), As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner), Dubliners (James Joyce), Mrs Dalloway OR To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf), The Day of the Locust (Nathanael West) as well as poetry and short stories from William James, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ludvig Wittgenstein, Wallace Stevens, and Hart Crane.

Science Fiction and Film—This course offers a study of the genre of speculative fiction from literature to film, tracing the development of dominant themes: aliens/alienation, time-travel, "the future," and robots/cyborgs/androids in relation to humanity. The course will examine short stories and longer works such as Ender’s Game, and watch films in class and for homework to inform class discussion. Students will complete a research project involving film and literature each quarter.

AP English Literature & Composition

Year | Elective

Course Description: AP Literature is a highly demanding, year-long, college-level elective for seniors who have consistently demonstrated excellence and genuine interest in the study of literature. The texts examined span several genres and historical periods from the 16th century to the present. Course work is challenging and consists primarily of critical reading and essay writing, emphasizing refinement of analysis and a growing sophistication in style. Students also engage in creative assignments, including original poetry, short stories, and “take-offs” on works studied. Students in AP Literature should be committed to the study of literature and will, through their discussions and writing, demonstrate mature and perceptive responses to their reading. Specific prerequisites and the recommendation of an 11th Grade English teacher are required to enroll.

Journalism I, II, III, IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: First year students are enrolled in I, second year in II, and so on. Journalism entails being a reporter on the Flyer staff. Students will publish six or seven issues of the school paper. Flyer staff members are responsible for covering a news beat, writing articles for each issue of the paper, and being a page assistant for each layout session, which involves working after school and on weekends during production week. Students must apply to be on the Flyer in spring during the previous school year.

Honors Journalism II, III, IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: Section Editors and the Managing Team will receive honors credit. Second year students will be enrolled in II, third in III, and fourth in IV. Students will be expected to complete all the tasks required by their editorial position. As each editorial position is a completely different job with specific responsibilities, growth potential, and job training demands, editors meet entirely new challenges in leadership and management duties. Editors are expected to write an article for each issue, give class presentations, design handbooks, participate in each editorial meeting, and attend all layout sessions, including some after school and weekend time.

Yearbook I, II, III, IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: First year students are enrolled in I, second year in II, and so on. Yearbook entails being a reporter, photographer, or designer on staff. Students are responsible for completing the spreads that are assigned to them at the beginning of the year by either conducting interviews, writing stories, taking pictures, or designing spreads during the seven deadlines throughout the year. Depending on your position, you may be required to occasionally work after school or during weekend production dates.

Honors Yearbook II, III, IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: Editors and the Managing Team will receive honors credit. Second year students will be enrolled in II, third in III, and fourth in IV. Students will be expected to complete all the tasks required by their editorial position. Editors are responsible for overseeing different aspects of projects and are responsible for making sure that their photographers, reporters, or designers are on target to completing their spreads before deadline. Editors and the Managing Team are required to attend all production dates after school and on weekends.

French II

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: French I with a grade of C- or better

Course Description: This is a year-long course that emphasizes the four main areas of language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading, and writing within a meaningful context. Students learn practical vocabulary as they read and talk about aspects of daily life in the francophone world that are also relevant to their own lives. Grammatical structures are presented with the aim of integrating them within the cultural context under discussion. Technological resources are used to help students to learn vocabulary, to correct pronunciation, to facilitate their mastery of grammatical concepts, and to develop listening comprehension skill.

Textbooks: T’es branché, Workbook, Additional readers at the discretion of the teacher

French III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: French II with a grade of C- or better

Course Description: In this course great emphasis is placed on broadening vocabulary and improving fluency and accuracy in reading and writing. Language is practiced daily through longer, more complex conversational exchanges, and comprehension is enhanced by frequent listening exercises and video clips. Study of more advanced grammatical structures is the focus of this course along with increased use of French through oral reports, compositions and cultural projects. Mastery of grammar is further exemplified and practiced by reading and analyzing authentic literary selections. Throughout the year, students get to explore and learn about French history and culture through targeted Internet activities, presentations, and movies. During the second semester, students read two short novels.

Textbooks: Discovering French, Workbook, Vive Le Taureau! (Turner & Ray), Les Yeaux de Carmen (Moscoso)

Honors French III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: French II with a grade of A- or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: Like French III, Honors French III is conducted in the target language and is intended to refine students’ proficiency in the four major areas of language study (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Particular emphasis is placed on acquiring strong reading and writing skills along with the ability to verbalize ideas in correct, idiomatic French. During the second semester, students will read Le Petit Prince.

Textbooks: D’Accord, Activity Manual, Les Yeaux de Carmen (Moscoso), Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

French IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: French III/IV with a grade of B or better

Course Description: In this course, students will learn about francophone culture mainly within the context of francophone films. The goals of this class are to develop a deeper understanding of other worldviews and ways of life, to be exposed to authentic French as it is spoken in different parts of the French-speaking world, to develop broader vocabulary, and to better understand and practice French grammar through analysis of films and related texts. During the last quarter of this course, students will study excerpts from classic French novels.

Textbooks: Face à Face

Honors French IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Honors French III with a grade of B+ or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This is an advanced level course open to students who have completed the course requirements for Honors French III with a grade of B+ or better. Although time is allotted for a brief overview of the grammar (to prepare students to take the SAT II in French, and later to sit for the National French Exam given annually in March), the main focus of the course is on the literature. The work of the class proceeds largely through a discussion of reading materials taken from an anthology of French literature spanning the Middle Ages through existentialism. During the second semester, students read a play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Textbooks: Une Fois Pour ToutesMoments Littéraires (B.G. Hirsch), Huis Clos (Sartre)

AP French Language

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Honors French IV with a grade B+ or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: AP French Language and Culture is a college-level course intended for students in their fifth year of study of French. Every effort is made to conduct the class exclusively in French. The three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) defined in "Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century" are foundational to the AP French Language and Culture course. Students who enroll in this course should already have a good command of the grammar and considerable competence in listening, reading, speaking, and writing in French. When communicating, students in the AP French Language and Culture course demonstrate an understanding of the culture(s), incorporate interdisciplinary topics (connections), and make comparisons between the target language and the native languages in real-life settings. Students are expected to take the AP French Language and Culture exam at the end of this course.

All students will be required to take the National French Exam in March.

Textbooks: AP French Preparing for the Language and Culture Examination (Richard Ladd) ISBN 978-0-13-317537-0 (Pearson) 2012, Allons au-delà! (Richard Ladd) ISBN – 9780133179538 (Pearson)

Latin II

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Latin 1A and 1B [or Latin I] with a grade of C or better

Course Description: This is a year-long course that focuses on building the students' ability to both understand and interpret what they read in Latin. In the first semester, the students complete their study of Latin grammar by studying more advanced subordinate clauses, the fine points of subjunctive use, participles, gerunds and gerundives, etc. In the second semester, the focus is on reading selections from Caesar’s Gallic Wars, while at the same time refining an understanding of grammar usage as it appears in the text. Special projects will involve research on the historical background of the Gallic Wars and on aspects of Roman military life, and both written papers and oral presentations will be expected. All students in this course are required to take the National Latin Exam (Latin II level) in March.

Textbooks: Oxford Latin Course Part III (Balme and Morwood), Second Year Latin (Jenney)

Latin III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Latin II with a grade of C- or better

Course Description: This is a year-long course. It is expected that students who enter Latin III have mastered all the basic elements of Latin grammar and have acquired a solid vocabulary base, along with a degree of ease in translating classical Latin prose. This course begins with a study of Britain through Latin texts, beginning with 19th century writings and moving back into time through texts of Roger Bacon, William Fitzstephen, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and the Venerable Bede, to end with Caesar's writings about Britain. The end of the year centers upon the person and the writings of Cicero; the private man, the lawyer, the orator and politician appear in turn through translations from selected letters and from the De Signis. While learning about rhetoric and rhetorical devices, students are asked to appreciate the fine points of the Latin language. Students familiarize themselves with the institutions and customs of Republican Rome. The students will also view the BBC production of I, Claudius throughout the year.

All students are required to take the National Latin Exam (Latin III level) in March.

Textbook: Third Year Latin (Jenney, Scudder, Baade), and various handouts

Honors Latin III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Latin II with a grade of A- or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This is a fast-paced, year-long prose reading course; its main goal is to build skill and comfort in rapid yet accurate reading of Latin classical prose. It is expected that students who enter Latin III Honors will have mastered all the core elements of Latin grammar and vocabulary used in the Oxford Latin Course. This course will begin with a study of Britain through Latin texts, beginning with the 19th century writings and moving back into time through texts of Erasmus, Roger Bacon, William Fitzstephen, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and the Venerable Bede, to end with Caesar’s writings about Britain. The end of the year will be devoted to writings of Cicero. While learning about rhetoric and rhetorical devices, students will be asked to appreciate the fine points of the Latin language. Although the focus of this course is on reading, students will be asked to become very familiar with the institutions of classical Rome. Research will delve into religious institutions and customs. Outside reading and essay writing will be assigned. The students will view the BBC production of I, Claudius throughout the year and will be expected to take the National Latin Exam in March (Level III-IV prose).

Textbooks: Third Year Latin (Jenney, Scudder, Baade) and various handouts.

Honors Latin IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Latin III with a grade of A- or better, or Honors Latin III with a grade of B+ or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This is a year-long course for students who have demonstrated a genuine interest for Latin literature, along with a broad vocabulary and a very solid knowledge of grammar. This highly demanding course focuses on Latin poetry. The students are expected to become thoroughly familiar with various Latin meters and with literary terminology connected with poetry. They will become able to scan dactylic hexameters and elegiac distich with ease. During the first semester, selections from Catullus, Ovid and Horace will be read. The second semester will begin a study of Vergil's Aeneid to be continued the following year by those students wishing to enroll in the Advanced Placement class. All poetic selections will be presented with regard to their historical and cultural contexts. Quality and in-depth analysis, rather than extensive amounts of reading, are emphasized. Essay writing is required in the second semester. All students in this course are required to take the National Latin Exam (Latin IV, poetry) in March.

Textbook: Vergil's Aeneid (C. Pharr), and numerous handouts of other poets

AP Latin

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Latin IV with a grade of B+ or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This is a year-long, college elective that prepares students for the required national Advanced Placement examination given in May. The students are expected to translate extensive excerpts of Caesar’s De Bello Gallico (Books I, IV, V, and VI) and to have read in English Books I, VI and VII. They are also expected to translate extensive excerpts from Vergil’s Aeneid (Books I, II, IV and VI) and to have read in English Books I, II, IV, VI, VIII and XII. The course centers on the general theme of imperialism. The texts are studied within their historical, political, religious, and cultural contexts. The course will also examine their impact on subsequent literature. Significant themes, central characters, and key ideas will be discussed. In addition, grammar review will be conducted. There will be frequent practice of reading Latin at sight. Essay writing and essay examinations will be required. All students are required to take the National Latin Exam (Level V) in March.

Mandarin Chinese II

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese I with grade of C- or better

Course Description: This class is an intermediate Mandarin Chinese course that focuses on helping students develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern standard Chinese, using pinyin and simplified characters. Chinese II is designed for students who have completed Chinese I or who possess an equivalent level of language proficiency. The course uses multi-media teaching materials to introduce Chinese language and culture and to provide students with strong basic skills in reading and writing Chinese characters. Special emphasis is placed on helping students establish a solid foundation in speaking and pronunciation.

Textbooks: Integrated Chinese Level 1 Part 1 Textbook and Workbook

Mandarin Chinese III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese II with grade of C- or better

Course Description: This class is a high intermediate Mandarin Chinese course designed for students who have completed Chinese II or who possess an equivalent level of language proficiency. Chinese III continues the process of introducing students to Chinese language and culture. The course uses multi-media teaching materials, along with appropriate authentic language materials, to help students develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to a high intermediate level. Mandarin will be the primary language of instruction.

Textbook: Integrated Chinese Level 1 Part 2 (Simplified, 3rd edition)

Honors Mandarin Chinese III

Year | elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese II with a grade of A- or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This class is an honors, high intermediate Mandarin Chinese course designed for students who have performed at a high level in Chinese II or who possess an equivalent level of language proficiency. Chinese III continues the process of introducing students to Chinese language and culture. The course uses multi-media teaching materials, along with appropriate authentic language materials to help students develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to a high intermediate level. Mandarin will be the primary language of instruction. Students in the course will be required to complete certain additional (and more comprehensive) reading and writing assignments than students enrolled in the non-honors version of the course. Both simplified and traditional Chinese characters will be used in class.

Textbook: Integrated Chinese Level 1 Part 2 (Simplified, 3rd Edition)

Honors Mandarin Chinese IV

year | elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese III with A- or better, or Honors Mandarin Chinese II with B or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: Honors Mandarin Chinese IV is an advanced Mandarin Chinese course designed for students who have completed Honors Chinese III or who have reached an equivalent level of language proficiency. This course will help students develop high level skills across the three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities). Its aim is to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further enhance their proficiencies across the full range of language skills within a cultural framework. Instructional materials and activities are strategically adapted from authentic sources to support the linguistic and cultural goals of the course. Students will explore Chinese literature with readings from and discussions of selected short stories and excerpts from longer works.

Textbook: Integrated Chinese Level 2 Part 1 (Simplified & Traditional, 3rd edition)

Honors Mandarin Chinese V

year | elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese IV with A- or better, or Honors Mandarin Chinese IV with B or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: Honors Mandarin Chinese V is a highly advanced Mandarin Chinese course designed for students who have completed Honors Chinese IV or who have reached an equivalent level of language proficiency. This course will help students further develop proficiency in the Chinese language while also gaining additional knowledge of Chinese culture. It will cover a wide variety of topics, including Chinese language structures and characters, Chinese customs, proverbs, holidays, social phenomena, religions, poetry, geography, as well as Chinese folklore. Students in this course will have opportunities to explore developments in contemporary China by following current events. Students will also read and discuss increasingly sophisticated works of Chinese literature throughout the year.

Textbook: Integrated Chinese Level 2 Part 2 (Simplified & Traditional, 3rd edition)

Spanish I

year | elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: This is a year-long course that emphasizes active communication in Spanish from the first day of class. The four language skills (listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing) are developed in a meaningful context as the students talk and write about themes that are relevant to their lives. Mastery of the basic grammatical structures and the Spanish verb system is emphasized as well as the close relationship between language and culture. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes of homework is assigned nightly.

Textbook: Así se dice I, workbook, additional readers at the teacher’s discretion

Spanish II

year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish I with a grade of C- or better

Course Description: This is a beginning to intermediate college-prep course designed to give students a measurable degree of communicative proficiency while complementing and reinforcing the skills acquired in Spanish I. Students who complete the required material should be prepared to discuss intermediate topics and reading material upon entering Spanish III. About 20-30 minutes of daily homework is required.

Textbooks: Así se dice II (textbook and workbook), additional readers at the teacher’s discretion, My Spanish Software online course

Spanish III

year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish II with a grade of C- or better

Course Description: Spanish III is an intermediate college-prep course designed to review and build upon the grammatical and lexical foundations of Spanish I and II, with expanded reading, discussion, compositions, and cultural activities that support and promote continued growth in Spanish proficiency. Taught almost entirely in Spanish, the goal is always to facilitate meaningful, active, and comprehensible communication.

Textbooks: Así se dice III (textbook and workbook), additional readers at the teacher’s discretion

Honors Spanish III

year | elective

Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish II with an A- or better and departmental recommendation

Course Description: While the grammatical content in honors will be much the same as the regular Spanish III class, the level of reading and writing is more advanced, and the pace of the course is faster. The course follows the same text as the regular classes and involves the students much more intimately and consistently with an online interactive methodology -- My Spanish Software -- (a sort of personal mini home laboratory complete with microphone and onscreen directions) where students must read, write, listen, and speak for each homework assignment in order to successfully complete the task. The students will prepare and give short oral presentations on cultural topics to the class; they will also read both simplified literary texts as well as unabridged works by Latin American and Spanish authors, along with short novels, stories, poems, and online newspapers. The goal is always to facilitate meaningful, active, and comprehensible communication.

Textbooks: Momentos hispanos (Amsco), Breaking the Spanish Barrier - Advanced (Conner/Folts), My Spanish Software (online interactive textbook), Exprésate 3, Lazarillo de Tormes, La dama del alba

Spanish IV

year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish III with a grade of B or better

Course Description: This is an advanced college-prep course designed to go beyond the grammatical and lexical foundations of Spanish I to III; the course emphasizes advanced language expression and comprehension. Emphasis will be on communicating in Spanish through classroom discussions, exercises, and compositions, along with cultural activities and projects to support and promote continued growth in Spanish proficiency.

Textbook: IMAGINA: Español sin barreras

Honors Spanish IV

year | elective

Prerequisite: Honors III with a grade of B+ or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This is an advanced college-preparatory course designed to go beyond the grammatical and lexical foundations of Spanish I to III; the course emphasizes advanced language expression and comprehension. Emphasis will be on reading Spanish/Latin American literature with additional classroom discussions, exercises, compositions, as well as cultural activities and projects to support and promote continued growth in Spanish proficiency. The class will be taught entirely in Spanish.

Textbooks: Encuentros maravillosos, La Casa de Bernarda Alba

AP Spanish Literature & Culture

year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish IV with a grade of A or better, or Honors IV with a grade of B or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: AP Spanish Literature and Culture course introduces students to the formal study of a representative body of texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic literature. The course is conducted entirely in Spanish. The course provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish across three main modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities). Students will further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills, with special attention to critical reading and analytical writing, and will be encouraged to reflect on the many voices and cultures. The course aims to help students to progress beyond reading comprehension to read with critical, historical, and literary sensitivity.

Textbook: Abriendo Puertas: ampliando perspectivas

AP Spanish Language & Culture

Year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish IV with a grade of A or better, or Honors IV with a grade of B or better, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: An AP Spanish Language course is comparable to a third year college course. It prepares the student for the Advanced Placement examination in May. The class focuses on the mastery of reading, listening, writing, and speaking Spanish through the practice of activities such as: reading newspaper articles and literature passages; listening to podcasts, watching short movies and news clips; writing emails and essays; creating dialogues that reflect real life situations; and formal speaking presentations about a variety of topics. The class will build the appropriate vocabulary to develop these skills.

Textbooks: Temas AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam Preparation

Spanish V

year | elective

Prerequisite: Spanish IV or Honors Spanish IV, teacher’s approval, and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This course is designed as a seminar to help students develop increased speaking proficiency in Spanish through a variety of activities. In discussing typical everyday situations, current events, short stories, movies, and issues of cultural interest, students will develop vocabulary on a wide range of topics, and will improve their pronunciation and listening comprehension skills. Assignments will include oral reports, skits, and web design projects. Students will also have a full review of grammar and vocabulary to go along with short stories.

Textbook: Lights, Camera, Spanish (B. VanPatten)

World History - Ancient & Medieval

year | required 9th grade

Course Description: In this course, students come to understand the diverse viewpoints of ancient and medieval world societies across the globe, from Asia to the Americas. We will study many different societies such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Europe, China, Japan, and the Middle East. Some units will take a more comparative approach, as with our unit on ancient belief systems, while others will focus on the impact of a specific group such as the Mongols. Primary documents, artifacts, and images are used to reveal the cultural, social, economic, and political values of each group we study. In the spring semester, students will use library resources to produce a creative, but historically accurate, Silk Road journal. Throughout the course, students will make relevant connections between the lives of these long-gone people and the experiences of modern life. The 9th Grade history course builds necessary skills for success in high school such as critical thinking, note taking, test preparation, analytical writing, primary document analysis, and research.

Modern World History

year | required 10th grade

Course description: In this course students come to understand how the world today is a product of the last 500 years of history. Through the study of events such as the French Revolution and Haitian Revolution, students will come to understand how governments rooted in the ideas of liberty and constitutionalism challenged absolutism and the divine right of kings. Advances in transportation, communication, and industry during the Industrial Revolution transformed the world’s economy from a series of isolated villages to an interconnected global world and had long-term effects on many colonized peoples around the world. Other topics that we will examine include the communist revolutions in Russia and China, the First and Second World Wars, and the Cold War. Some units incorporate simulations or role-play activities to make the learning process more experiential. Using primary materials such as images, documents, and other media, students come to understand the different international viewpoints surrounding key historical events. In the second semester, students use the library resources to conduct research on a 20th century topic of their own choosing and write a six-page research essay. The year ends with a month-long current event simulation in which students work together to solve an international crisis, reacting to real-world current events and presenting their research, reactions, and ideas through an online blog. This course builds on the skills developed in the 9th Grade such as critical thinking, document analysis, research, analytical writing, public speaking, and the use of technology.

Honors Modern World History

year | required 10th grade

Prerequisite: Straight A in both semesters of 9th Grade World History and no semester Effort or Citizenship marks below G

Course description: This course studies world history from the Scientific Revolution through major regional and global developments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to the present, including, but not limited to, Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and Africa and such topics as imperialism, nationalism, industrialization, the two World Wars, globalization, and decolonization. This course surveys this history in greater depth than the regular Modern World History course and through independent analytical work. Students are expected to read and understand both primary and secondary sources on their own, to be actively engaged in all aspects of the learning process, and to have a solid foundation for in-class analytical writing. Students will be graded on their active participation and leadership of discussions regarding a wide range of primary sources. During spring  semester, students write an analytical research paper on a twentieth-century historical topic and participate in a two-week United Nations simulation. Honors work carries with it high expectations for consistently mature effort and responsible learning.

US History

year | required 11th grade

Course description: The United States History course fulfills the goals of a survey course, covering history from colonial North America to the present. This course endeavors to provide students with the ability to evaluate historical evidence, do comparative analysis, and develop sound historical arguments based on multiple perspectives of historical events. Through the incorporation of supplemental readings on current issues, the course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the nation’s political, economic, diplomatic, and social history in order to be informed and responsible citizens.

AP US History

year | elective 11th grade

Prerequisites: An A in both semesters of regular Modern World History or at least a B+ Honors, and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course description: The AP course in U.S. History is designed to give students a critical perspective on the growth and development of the U.S. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret American history and the analysis of specific historical events. It also requires students to read and analyze primary source materials. The course covers various political and social institutions, groups, beliefs, and the ideas that make up this country’s history. The format for major examinations is essay and multiple choice, reflecting the commitment to knowledge, skills, and content, and developing the ability to analyze larger issues. The class culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement exam in May.

AP Art History

year | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class) and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: AP Art History is a one-year course covering drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, printmaking, and other media in a variety of civilizations and cultures. The course will provide a chronological, thematic, and cross-cultural framework to help students understand the nature and function of art. Students will become fluent in the language of art and will gain a better understanding of art within its historical and visual contexts. This course is writing intensive and requires several hours per week of independent preparation. The course will prepare students for the culminating AP Art History exam in May.

AP Comparative Government & Politics

spring semester | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class) and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: The study of comparative government and politics is designed to help students gain knowledge of the world's diverse political structures and practices. The focus is on the study of both specific countries and the general concepts used to interpret the political relationships found in all national politics. Six countries form the core of this semester's study; these nations are Great Britain, Iran, Nigeria, Mexico, Russia, and China. The study of both developed and developing nations allows students to review the political implications of different economies. The course culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

AP Human Geography

Year | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class) and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: Human Geography is the study of why people are located where they are across the globe. It looks at several factors that describe this distribution (from population growth factors and migration issues to agricultural and urban land use, just to name a few), all with a focus on human activity. Testing is similar to the AP exam (multiple choice and free response questions). The material is explored through researching current events, writing film reports, viewing short documentaries, and engaging in active discussions. The course culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement exam in May.

AP Macroeconomics

spring semester | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class) and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: This second semester course rounds out students' understanding of economic theory basics by focusing on the big picture: GDP, inflation, business cycles, economic growth, and the vital role played by government in stabilizing the economy as a whole. Students learn both the efficacy and the limitations of fiscal and monetary policy tools in government's attempt to manage the macro-economy. The course culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

AP Microeconomics

fall semester | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class), at least a B average in Math courses on the most recent semester grade report, and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: The purpose of this one-semester Advanced Placement course in Microeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of economic theory as it applies to the behavior of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. Topics covered include the analysis of supply and demand, consumer demand theory, production costs, productivity measurement, perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly, monopolistic competition, labor markets, and the role of government in promoting efficiency and equity. Through intensive practice, students learn to clearly and precisely express complex economic relationships. The analytical skills required for successful completion of this course are elementary mathematics and graphing. The course culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

AP United States Government & Politics

year | elective

Prerequisites: At least a B+ in both semesters in previous year’s regular-level History course(s) (or at least a B- in an Honors or AP-level class) and no semester Effort or Citizenship mark below G

Course Description: The Advanced Placement course in U.S. Government and Politics is designed to give the student a critical perspective on politics and government in the United States. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret American politics and the analysis of specific case studies. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that make up the American political system. The major examinations include essay and multiple choice questions, reflecting the commitment to assist students in their ability to write essential factual information, to demonstrate their understanding of larger political issues, and to analyze the various and complicated aspects of our political system. The course culminates with all students taking the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

Diversity Studies

Semester | elective

Course Description: The objective of the course is for students to re-think identity in terms of society. We will begin by taking a look at the self, its identity and formation. Our study will include race, gender identity, and sexual-orientation. We will look at how messages about the self can be formed through influences from family, education, and media. We will also explore our own sources of biases, conscious and unconscious. We will expand our focus by exploring the self in terms of the impact of culture, ethnicity, and society at large. Our study of society and social structure will include cultural communication styles, the dynamics of dominant and non-dominant cultures, as well as the social constructs of race and gender identity. Course materials will consist of short articles, documentaries, excerpts from various texts, among others. Student projects will include journaling, one-page reflection papers, creative projects, and a culminating project.

Ethics in Contemporary Society

semester | elective

Course Description: This is a course designed to challenge students to think clearly and act ethically when making difficult decisions. To examine, become informed, and think clearly about important issues, students will read articles and essays, respond both orally and in writing to their readings, research as much as needed to become better informed about a topic, and begin the process of formulating their own ethical foundation. Simulations and debates will bring the topics into real life focus, as will discussion and analysis of ethical dilemmas. We will also ask the students to construct a research action project that is relevant to one of the topics we have covered.

Gender Studies: Exploration of Identity & Intersectionality

semester | elective

Course Description: Gender Studies will explore the links between gender, sexuality, identity, power, and social justice. Students will identify and analyze the intersections among gender and class, race, and religion. Students will discuss the following questions: What does it mean to be a man or a woman? How do our traditional gender roles constrict us as humans within our gender? How do we move beyond the binary? How do we support and empower one another as we delve into discussions about gender, identity, and sexuality? The course will cover gender from a historical and political context. Students will read literature, have discussions, present an analysis of gender, and blog about aspects of the course.

Global Justice

semester | elective

Course description: This course attempts to familiarize students with the complex issues surrounding justice within a nation and in the international community, and to describe the inherent difficulties in resolving those issues. The inquiry begins with an investigation of global issues in the 21st century. It continues with a discussion of cultural relativism and raises the question of whether any outsider (nation, individual, or entity) has the right to pass judgment on issues of justice within the borders of a sovereign nation. The course goes on to ask students to examine and define the levels of injustice at which outside judgment and/or intervention might take place (for example: discrimination, segregation, economic unfairness, lack of civil liberties, targeting a specific group, civil war, genocide). At the center of the course is a study of the Holocaust and a chance to work with the Survivor archive from the USC Shoah Foundation. Students will then become familiar with the very recent history of attempts at international justice (Nuremberg Trials, United Nations, International Declaration of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, defining genocide as a crime), which will lead to an examination of the various methods of intervention and justice-seeking that have been attempted in recent years. The course will conclude with a review of genocides within the last 30 years (Iraq, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia/Serbia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Darfur), and how those countries have attempted to transition back to stability. Besides daily readings and written responses, the course will include a final research project dealing with the viability of a global justice system in the 21st century.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

semester | elective

Course Description: This course will guide students through the process of imagining a product or service and navigating the key initial steps to begin a business venture. Using curriculum that has been developed in the world’s leading entrepreneurs and business schools, and which now filters down to high schools, the teaching team will facilitate students’ progress from initial inspiration to the final presentation in the “shark tank” where they pitch their business model to a team of angel and venture investors. Students will learn and practice the difficult discipline of problem identification and customer development, as well as marketing, product development, customer acquisition and revenue generation. Group participation, team projects, weekend field trips and public speaking are all required components of this course.

Algebra B

Year | Required

Prerequisite: Algebra A

Course Description: This course begins with reviewing the real number system and its properties; writing, evaluating, and simplifying expressions; solving linear equations in one variable; graphing; and writing linear equations. It continues with the study of polynomials, the Quadratic Formula, the Cartesian coordinate system of two equations in two unknowns, exponents and radicals, factoring, word problems of various types, linear inequalities in one variable, and systems of linear inequalities in two variables.

Textbook: HMH Fuse Algebra I (Holt McDougal)

Geometry

Year | Required

Prerequisite: Algebra AB

Course Description: Geometry deals with points, lines, surfaces, and solids and examines their properties, measurement, and mutual relations in space. In Geometry, students are introduced to deductive reasoning and formal geometric proofs through an examination of the rules of logic as well as through "guided proofs." By exploring coordinate geometry, students see the ways in which algebra and geometry complement each other. Topics include: 1. Elements of geometry 2. Induction and deduction 3. Deduction and geometry 4. Angle relationships 5. Perpendicular lines 6. Parallel lines and planes 7. Congruent triangles 8. Similar polygons 9. The Pythagorean Theorem 10. Circles 11. Area and volume 12. Coordinate geometry.

Textbook: Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge (Rhoad, Milauskas, Whipple)

Honors Geometry

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Algebra AB in grade 8 and departmental recommendation

Course Description: In this course, designed for superior math students, deductive reasoning and formal geometric proofs are introduced. Throughout the course, geometric concepts lend themselves to algebraic applications. Although the course is Euclidean, the origins of non-Euclidean geometry are also explored. Students will develop problem-solving skills as well as logical thought processes through the analyzing of diagrams and the writing of proofs. Topics include: 1. Logic 2. Elements of geometry 3. Angle relationships 4. Congruent Triangles 5. Geometric inequalities 6. Indirect proofs 7. Perpendicular and parallel lines 8. Quadrilaterals in a plane 9. Polygonal regions and their areas 10. Similarity 11. Circles 12. Volume and surface area 13. Geometric construction.

Textbook: Geometry

Algebra II

Year | Required

Prerequisites: Geometry and completion of Algebra AB with C- or higher

Course Description: This course reviews Algebra I topics and uses them as building blocks for more advanced work. The topics include: basic concepts of algebra; linear equations, inequalities and functions; products and factors of polynomials; rational expressions; irrational and complex numbers; quadratic equations and functions; polynomials and polynomial functions; exponential and logarithmic functions; sequences and series; right triangle trigonometry; powers, roots and radicals; matrices and determinants; and probability and statistics.

Textbook: Algebra: Structure and Method Book 2 (Brown et al.)

Honors Algebra II

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Honors Geometry and departmental recommendation

Course Description: Honors Algebra II and Honors Precalculus form a three-semester sequence for students who will eventually take the Calculus BC Advanced Placement exam. Honors Algebra II begins with a review and amplification of systems of equations, polynomial functions, and quadratic relations, preparing students for advanced studies. Problem solving techniques are emphasized and refined through practical applications. Topics include: 1. Review of essentials 2. Linear functions and relations 3. Systems of linear equations or inequalities 4. Graphs in space 5. Matrices and determinants 6. Polynomials and rational expressions 7. Radicals and irrational numbers 8. Sequences and series 9. Polynomial functions 10. Quadratic relations and systems 11. Exponents and logarithms 12. Conic Sections.

Textbook: Precalculus, A Problems Oriented Approach, 6th Ed. (Cohen) online

Honors Precalculus and Calculus A

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Honors Algebra II and departmental recommendation

Course Description: Honors Precalculus completes the three-semester sequence (begun with Honors Algebra II) for students planning to take Calculus BC as seniors. Honors Precalculus is devoted primarily to the study of the trigonometric and circular functions. Particular attention is paid to real world applications of periodic functions, solution of trigonometric equations, the inverse circular functions, and traditional triangle problems. The connection between complex numbers and trigonometry is studied. Calculus A is the first course in a three-semester sequence culminating in the Calculus BC Advanced Placement examination. Calculus A begins with a brief review of functions, lines, and other precalculus topics. It continues with the study of limits and continuity and differential calculus, including derivatives of polynomials, rational functions, trigonometric functions, and implicitly defined functions. The course closes with the study of the traditional applications of differentiation to curve sketching, rates of change, and differentials. All topics are studied from the numerical, graphical, and algebraic points of view. Graphical representations are emphasized. Familiarity with the graphing calculator is assumed, although certain specialized calculator skills are taught in the course.

Textbooks: Brentwood Honors Precalculus (Schwartzman); Calculus (Anton)

Precalculus AB

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Algebra II and departmental recommendation.

Course Description: Precalculus consists of the rigorous study of functions, their properties, and their applications. In particular, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational and inverse functions are studied. Other topics include: mathematical induction, sequences and series, the conic sections, polar coordinates, and probability. Students who successfully complete this course are prepared for college freshman level courses in calculus and/or finite mathematics.

Textbook: Precalculus (Stitz/Zeager) online

Statistics

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Algebra II and department recommendation

Course Description: The aim of a non-AP statistics course is to provide students with a class in which learner-centered activities are used to discover statistical concepts, explore statistical properties, and apply statistical techniques. Current and relevant data are explored and analyzed by way of technology and through interaction with the teacher and between peers. The course focuses on the “big ideas” of statistics and will pay less attention to the details that often divert students’ understanding of the larger issues. Students are challenged to explain and interpret rather than to merely calculate. The scope of statistics includes: exploring data by studying distributions, exploring data by comparing and looking for relationships, learning how to properly collect data, studying the properties that emerge from randomness in data, and exploring basic principles of making inferences from data.

Textbook: Workshop Statistics: Discovery with Data and the Graphing Calculator (Rossman, Chance, Barr Von Oehsen)

Topics in Calculus & Statistics

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Precalculus AB and departmental recommendation.

Course Description: This course introduces students to essential themes of calculus (the limit, derivative, and integral). These topics are introduced conceptually and reinforced through discussions, graphical analysis, and real-world problems. This course also weaves in other advanced topics including linear programming, statistics, functions, and calculator skills.

AP Calculus AB

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Precalculus AB and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This course has two objectives: to prepare students for the Calculus AB Advanced Placement Examination and to further the study of mathematics. The equivalent of a one semester or two-quarter college level course, Calculus AB is designed for students who have demonstrated a facility with algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and abstract critical thinking. Topics include: functions and limits, the derivative, applications of the derivative, the integral, applications of the integral, transcendental functions, and numerical methods. Preparation for the Calculus AB Advanced Placement exam is included. Students who have received credit for Honors Calculus A may not receive credit for the first semester of this course.

Textbook: Calculus: Late Transcendentals, 9th Ed. (Anton)

AP Statistics

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Precalculus AB and departmental recommendation

Course Description: We live in an information age. Daily we are bombarded with numbers and statistics related to topics as varied as unemployment and batting averages. Making sense out of these numbers is important; indeed, it is often crucial. In addition, many college majors (in both mathematical and non-mathematical fields) require the completion of a course in statistics. AP Statistics is designed to better equip students to deal with the myriad numbers facing them daily, as well as to prepare them for the AP Statistics examination, which is representative of a typical introductory course in college statistics. The topics for AP Statistics are divided into four major themes: exploratory analysis, planning a study, probability, and statistical inference. A TI-83 calculator is required for this course.

Textbook: Stats: Modeling the World, 3rd Ed. (Bock, Velleman, DeVeaux)

AP Calculus BC

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Honors Precalculus/Calculus A and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This course is a continuation of Honors Calculus A; the combined three semesters of these two courses are roughly equivalent to one year of college-level calculus. Calculus BC covers both kinds of integrals, including a proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus; a rigorous study of the calculus of logarithmic and exponential inverse functions; differential equations, including slope field representations and Euler’s method; applications of the definite integral to calculate areas, volumes, average values, arc lengths and work; algebraic techniques of integration; calculus in polar coordinates; and power series. The course also includes preparation for the Calculus BC Advanced Placement examination.

Textbook: Calculus: Late Transcendentals, 9th Ed. (Anton)

Honors Multivariable Calculus

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Calculus BC and departmental recommendation

Course Description: This course is approximately equivalent to a two-quarter college course (see Math 32AB at UCLA, for example). The first semester consists of an introduction to vectors in threespace, vector-valued functions, and partial differentiation. In the second semester, we study double and triple integration and other topics in vector calculus. We finish up the semester with a study of some techniques of solving differential equations beyond what had been covered in Calculus BC.

Textbook: Calculus: Late Transcendentals, 9th Ed. (Anton)

Dance I & II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: This course introduces students to the fundamentals of dance technique in a range of styles. Three to four dance styles will be covered each semester and may include, but are not limited to the following: Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theater Dance, Salsa, Swing, and African Dance. Students will gain understanding of the structure of a dance class and special attention will be paid to the development of proper body alignment, coordination, and musicality. Dancers will learn dance vocabulary and will participate in the creation of a choreographed music video at the end of the semester.

Courses may be taken for P.E. or Fine Arts credit but not both at the same time.

Dance III

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Dance I or consent of the instructor

Course Description: This course is meant for intermediate level dancers to further develop their dance technique in a range of styles. The class will learn a set warm-up that incorporates stretching and core work. The rest of class will be spent working on progressions across the floor and center combinations. Students will be introduced to the principles of choreography and will begin creating their own choreographic work.

Course may be taken for P.E. or Fine Arts credit but not both at the same time.

Dance Ensemble

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Audition or consent of the instructor

Course Description: This course is meant for advanced level dancers to further develop their dance technique and receive training in preparation for auditioning for the Brentwood Dance Company. The class will have a strong focus on Jazz, Contemporary, and Ballet technique with special attention to developing performance skills. Students will perform in both the fall and spring semester dance concerts.

Course may be taken for P.E. or Fine Arts credit but not both at the same time.

Honors Dance I, II, III: Brentwood Dance Company

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Audition or consent of the instructor

Course Description: The Brentwood Dance Company is a group of highly committed student dancers. Class time is devoted to the development of dance technique and mastery of choreographic material. Each semester students will contribute to the creation of a dance performance. Class time will be utilized efficiently to prepare for this performance, but additional rehearsals will be required outside of school hours. As an honors class, students are expected to come to class focused and prepared each and every day. A contract will be given to students and parents at the beginning of each year that highlights the commitment dates and expectations for the company.

If accepted as a sophomore/junior, the course may be repeated for subsequent year(s). Course may be taken for P.E or Fine Arts credit but not both at the same time.

Honors Madrigals

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Women’s Choir or Concert Singers and audition and consent of the instructor

Course Description: Madrigals is the most advanced choral ensemble focusing on acapella music of every genre (classical, jazz, Broadway, pop). Sixteen voices (4 sopranos, 4 altos, 4 tenors, 4 basses) will perform at special Brentwood concerts/events on and off campus as well as compete in local and national choral competitions. Individual vocal competitions will also be part of the class. Students will also be given the opportunity to compose and arrange songs. Seniors will use this class to record college audition tapes as well as prepare for college auditions.

Concert Singers I - IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Audition and consent of the instructor

Course Description: Men and women in this 9th – 12th Grade ensemble focus on sight-reading with accuracy and confidence, advanced vocal technique, and stylistically appropriate performance practice. Concert Singers has a long-standing tradition of superior chamber choir performance, teamwork, and challenging projects. Repertoire will include jazz, pop, blues, rock, Renaissance motets, major works for choir and orchestra, vocal jazz, and a cappella works for professional-level chamber choirs. Students sing in multiple foreign languages. Members of Concert Singers are often asked to sing for special events and are expected to attend all extra rehearsals and performances as needed.

Developing music technique outside of the class is highly encouraged. Students who are not currently meeting with private instructors outside of school have the opportunity to meet with instructors during or after school to enhance their skills.

Honors Concert Singers II - IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: Honors students serve as section leaders, responsible for organizing, sight read leading, and teaching and rehearsing their section. Consent of instructor required.

Women's Choir I - IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Audition and consent of the instructor

Course Description: Women in this 9th –12th grade ensemble focus on blending with other voices, strengthening the female voice (including how to balance head and chest registers), and learning to sight-read rhythms and intervals. Women’s Choir has developed a tradition of strong friendship and trust among its members, and cultivates an atmosphere that helps build confidence. Repertoire will include jazz, pop, blues, rock, classical, Broadway, medieval chant, collegiate touring choir-level music, arrangements in the style of college a cappella groups, and everything in between. Students begin to sing in multiple foreign languages. Members of Women’s Choir participate in extracurricular events throughout the season, and are expected to attend all extra rehearsals and performances as needed.

Honors Women's Choir II - IV

Year | Elective

Course Description: Honors students in Women’s Choir are expected to sight-read and memorize quickly, serve as section leaders when appropriate, lead in-group activities, and contribute significantly to daily rehearsals. Practice outside of class is a requirement.

AP Music Theory

Year | Elective

Course Description: AP Music Theory tests the students' understanding of music structure and compositional procedures through recorded and notated examples. Strong emphasis is given to listening skills, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small forms, and compositional techniques. Most of the musical examples are taken from standard repertoire, although some examples of contemporary, jazz, or vernacular music, or music beyond the Western tradition, are included for testing basic concepts. The examination assumes fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology, and analysis.

Beginning Jazz Band

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Audition and consent of instructor

Expectation: The students must have basic skills on their respective instruments and be willing to practice outside of class. Skills learned in rehearsals must be reinforced outside of school to facilitate improvement.

Course Description: Students in this 9th-12th Grade, year-long ensemble develop the skills particular to jazz: knowledge of chords and progressions, techniques for solo improvisation, how to listen to the ensemble and anticipate others, as well as composing and arranging. Students in Jazz Band explore a wide range of musical styles, from be-bop, fusion, Latin, to pop and rock. Jazz Band is both a course that tackles theoretical concepts and an arts ensemble that performs at concerts and special events. Members are expected to attend all extra rehearsals and performances as needed. One written solo from the Jazz Conception text is required each quarter.

Intermediate Jazz Band

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Audition and consent of instructor

Expectation: The student must have a solid skill set on his or her instrument and a basic understanding of improvisation. Developing music technique outside of the class is highly encouraged. Students who are not currently meeting with private instructors outside of school have the opportunity to meet with instructors during or after school to enhance their skills.

Course Description: Students will be playing a variety of jazz based compositions as well as arrangements of popular songs. The course heavily emphasizes improvisation and the development of higher-level musicianship skills. Class time will be spent rehearsing as an ensemble, individually with the instructor, and as a group developing arrangements for performances. Students should be ready to work intensely to develop ensemble performance, improvisation, listening, and music theory skills.

Students in Grades 10 – 12 in this ensemble can be eligible for honors credit by learning two prewritten solos per quarter, from the Jazz Conception texts provided by the instructor at the start of the year. To maintain the honors credit, students must always come to class prepared and on time.

Advanced Jazz Band

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Audition and consent of instructor

Expectation: Students must have strong performance and sight-reading skills. Students must also have a firm understanding of improvisation and be willing to put in significant practice time outside of class. Students who are not currently meeting with private instructors outside of school have the opportunity to meet with instructors during or after school to enhance their skills.

Course Description: Students will be playing a variety of jazz based compositions as well as arrangements of popular songs. The course heavily emphasizes improvisation and the development of higher-level musicianship skills. Class time will be spent rehearsing as an ensemble, individually with the instructor, and as a group developing arrangements for performances. Students should be ready to work intensely to develop ensemble performance, improvisation, listening, and music theory skills.

Students in Grades 10 – 12 in this ensemble can be eligible for honors credit by learning two prewritten solos per quarter, from the Jazz Conception texts provided by the instructor at the start of the year. To maintain the honors credit, students must always come to class prepared and on time.

Orchestra I - IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Audition and consent of the instructor

Expectation: It is expected for instrumental students to have a minimum of two years on their instruments and that they continue private lessons outside of school.

Course Description: Students in this 9th –12th Grade ensemble focus on rehearsing and performing masterworks of the repertoire, development of phrasing and balance, and independent growth in technique. Orchestra students study the lives and works of the composers they play. The atmosphere of Orchestra rehearsals is traditionally collegial. Repertory will be film scores, Broadway, jazz, pop, classical symphony, and overtures. Developing music technique outside of the class is highly encouraged. Students who are not currently meeting with private instructors outside of school have the opportunity to meet with instructors during or after school to enhance their skills.

Honors Orchestra II - IV

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Orchestra I and/or consent of the instructor

Course Description: Students in Orchestra may audition for Honors starting in 10th Grade. Honors students in Orchestra are expected to contribute more to daily rehearsal, sight-read more quickly, perform with higher musicianship, serve as section leaders when appropriate, and lead in-group activities.

Stagecraft I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: The purpose of this course is to give the student practical, hands-on experience in theater production. This class reads, researches, designs, organizes, builds, and runs all performances. This includes the construction and acquisition of props and scenery, the hanging of lights, and an understanding of sound as it relates to theater. The students take responsibility for all aspects of production and learn the procedures in professional theater companies. In addition, students learn drafting and basic design principles for theatrical production by making scale models of an actual set. Attendance at performances and participation in weekend tech days are also required.

Stagecraft II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Stagecraft I

Course Description: This course is for the student who wishes to further his or her knowledge in the building of scenery, hanging and focusing lights, building props, scenic painting, sound design and editing, and related technical areas. Previous experience will be used to mentor to the Stagecraft I students. All students are required to read plays and related articles, spend extra hours in after school work sessions, and attend various school performances throughout the semester. Technical work will be reinforced through quizzes and a final project. Attendance at performances and participation in weekend tech days is also required.

Stagecraft III - IV

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Stagecraft II/III and permission of instructor

Course Description: The class is offered to students interested in advanced theater production skills and responsibilities. Students can pursue stage management, technical direction, publicity, box office management, and various areas of design, including set, lighting, costume, and sound. Class work centers on the needs and challenges of the productions for that semester, including dance and music concerts. The student, teacher, and production director will do an evaluation of the student. Attendance at performances and participation in weekend tech days are also required.

Honors Production I - V

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Stagecraft III or higher; leadership positions in performing art productions

Course Description: This is a class for the student who wishes to pursue more leadership roles in the area of Theater Design and Production Management. Each student is required to do any one of the following for one production per semester: design lights, sound or costumes; act as a stage manager; or act as a technical director. It is expected that the student will spend additional time after school and on weekends throughout the semester.

Acting

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: This year-long course in Acting concentrates on the development of the student actor to create truthful moments on stage. Building upon the pedagogical foundations laid by Konstantin Stanislavski, the student will explore through exercise, rehearsal, and performance the principles of imagination, sense memory, given circumstance, intention, emotional honesty, repetition, details of behavior, and relationship. First semester monologues and scenes will be taken from contemporary texts with an emphasis on storytelling. Students will begin to develop their dramatic analysis skills as they begin to probe text to find clear, simple playable actions. Second semester will concentrate on classical works and playwriting. Students will be expected to memorize monologues and scenes and prepare written work for those performances. Attendance at Brentwood School productions is required.

Intermediate Acting

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: The year-long Acting course is required.

Course Description: This year-long course is a scene study course for serious acting students who love to read and wish to delve into, and bring to life, scenes from some of the greatest plays in all of dramatic literature. Play analysis, research, costume, music, and makeup will accompany all scene study projects. A strong emphasis will be placed on freeing the voice to meet the emotional and intellectual needs of the language in these plays. Attendance at Brentwood School productions is required.

Honors Acting I, II: Brentwood Theater Company

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: One year of Acting, an Audition, and consent of the instructor; Intermediate Acting is strongly recommended.

Course Description: The Brentwood Theater Company (BTC) is an honors class by audition only for 12-16 students. It is for serious students of acting and theater and has as its focus the creative power of the ensemble. The content varies from year to year because it is geared to each specific group. The group is required to meet an extra three hours a week as well as a 15-hour intensive the week before school begins in August. Previous years have worked on August: Osage County, ensemble adaptations of Lysistrata, A Chorus Line, Winter’s Tale, Bat Boy: The Musical, Our Town, as well as original writing projects. The Brentwood Theater Company gives 2 - 4 performances per year.

Weight Training & Cardio Fitness

Semester | elective

Course Description: This course is designed to engage students in the basic fundamentals of weight training, strength training, aerobic training, and overall fitness training and conditioning. Students will learn how to set up and use free and machine weights, use the cardio machines, and participate in the different types of fitness activities throughout the unit.

Workout Masters

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: This class is open to 10th-12th grade students with the approval of the Physical Education department chair

Course Description: The class will meet twice a week from 3:15 to 4:30. Any class that is missed must be made up on selected Friday mornings.  Students will be put through a combination of weight training (with emphasis on muscle endurance) as well as a cardio workout. They will learn the benefits of a solid workout routine and hopefully will develop healthy lifetime fitness habits. This class is geared towards the student who wants to work hard, develop confidence, increase self-esteem, and have fun while doing so.

Interscholastic Athletic Teams

Semester | Elective

Course Description:  Participation on a team fulfills the physical education requirement for one semester.

Physics

Year | Required

Prerequisite:  None

Course Description: This course is designed as the introduction to Science in the Upper School at Brentwood. It establishes a foundation in the major topics in physics, organized thematically to highlight connections between course content and the real world. It is a laboratory- and project-based course in which students design experiments, construct models, and interpret data to answer questions about the operation of the universe. At the conclusion of the course, students will have a better understanding of the physical world and the role of the scientific method in it. The problem solving and critical thinking skills developed through the inquiry-based investigations in this course will set the foundation for subsequent coursework in the Sciences. 

TextbookConceptual Physics (Pearson)

Honors Physics

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Eligibility for Honors Geometry or Honors Algebra II; recommendation of 8th Grade science teacher

Course Description: Honors Physics covers the same topics as general Physics. In this course, emphasis is placed on symbolic mathematics, so students in Honors Physics must have excellent mathematical and abstract reasoning skills since they work at an accelerated pace. Laboratory work is more intensive, and assessments are more comprehensive and challenging. This course is designed as a "Pre-AP" Physics course in the sense that successful completion of Honors Physics prepares students for AP Physics in subsequent years, should they choose to take it.  

TextbookPhysics: Principles and Problems (McGraw-Hill) (iBook)

Chemistry

Year | Required

Prerequisite:  Algebra I

Course Description: In Chemistry, students investigate the general nature of matter and the changes that matter undergoes. Topics include, but are not limited to: methods of scientific measurement, atomic structure and the organization of the periodic table, ionic and covalent bonding, chemical nomenclature, reactions and stoichiometry, the behavior of gases and solutions, and thermodynamics. The laboratory component of the course emphasizes techniques critical to chemistry, and includes traditional, micro-scale, and technology-based experiments. Qualitative and quantitative data collection, calculations, and analyses will accompany most labs. This course is not designed to prepare students for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry. 

TextbookChemistry (Pearson) (iBook)

Honors Chemistry

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Grade requirements of A in both semesters of Physics or B in both semesters of Honors Physics, and A in Geometry or B+ in Honors Geometry; recommendation of department.

Course Description: Honors Chemistry covers the same topics as general Chemistry but in greater depth. Additionally, combustion analyses, oxidation-reduction reactions, quantum theory, molecular hybridization, kinetics, acid-base equilibria, and electrochemistry may be included in the curriculum.  In this course, a heavier emphasis is placed on independent, higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills. It is designed for students with strong math and science backgrounds as well as a serious desire to further their studies in these areas. In the laboratory, beyond the standard expectations of collecting and analyzing data, Honors Chemistry students are expected to relate their results to the theories discussed during lecture. 

TextbookChemistry: The Central Science (Pearson)

Biology

Year | Required

Prerequisite: Chemistry

Course Description: Biology is a general survey course that considers topics related to living systems, from the simplest cells to the human animal. Having completed the Chemistry curriculum from the previous year, students gain further insight into the fundamental chemical processes governing biological functions and the role of the cell. The topics of genetics, natural selection, and human physiology are introduced, as well as subtopics in botany, zoology, and ecology.  The laboratory component of the course considers the microscopic view of life and includes an inquiry-based approach to biological principles. 

TextbookBiology (McGraw-Hill) (iBook)

Honors Biology

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Grade requirements of A in both semesters of Chemistry or B in both semesters of Honors Chemistry; recommendation of department.

Course Description: Honors Biology covers the same topics as Biology but in greater depth.  Particular attention is paid to the mechanisms involved in biological functions as well as other details important in understanding biological principles. The Honors Biology student is expected to delve deeper into concepts, work independently on inquiry-based projects, and apply statistical analyses appropriately. 

TextbookCampbell Biology: Concepts and Connections (Cummings)

AP Biology

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Grade requirements of at least an A- in both semesters Honors Biology or A in regular Biology and both semesters of Chemistry; GPA of 3.0 or better; recommendation of department.

Course Description: Advanced Placement Biology is an extensive biology course with a significant amount of laboratory work. The entire range of biology is considered from biochemistry and genetics to ecology and behavior. The information presented is intricate and detailed. In order to gain mastery of the material, students are expected to work independently, think critically, and synthesize information at a high level. Examinations consist of essay, multiple choice, and quantitative analysis questions, requiring a thorough command of material. Students are expected to model complex mechanisms, design experiments, apply statistical analyses, and predict outcomes.

TextbooksBiology, AP Edition (Cummings), CliffsNotes AP Biology (Cliffs Notes)

AP Chemistry

Year | Elective

Prerequisites: Grade requirements of A in both semesters of Chemistry or B+ in both semesters of Honors Chemistry, A- in Algebra II or B+ in Honors Algebra II; recommendation of department.

Course Description: Advanced Placement Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of a general chemistry course taken during the freshman year of college. It is intended for highly motivated students who desire to further their knowledge of chemistry with college level complexity. The pace and depth of the course require a solid background in introductory chemistry topics upon enrollment in the course. The abilities to think critically, learn independently, and manage one's time wisely are essential for success in this course. Laboratory work is designed to further develop concepts learned during lectures beyond their elementary applications, providing students with concrete situations to explore and interpret. Students are expected to critically examine the validity of their results and to formulate accurate conclusions based on the interpreted data. 

Textbook: Chemistry (Zumdahl)

AP Environmental Science

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Grade requirements of A- in both semesters of Chemistry or B in both semesters of Honors Chemistry; successful completion of or concurrent enrollment in Biology; recommendation of department. 

Course Description: Advanced Placement Environmental Science is a college-level course that introduces students to a range of topics, drawing on content from multiple disciplines such as biology, chemistry, economics, and statistics. The goal of the course is to provide students with the principles required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, to evaluate risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. Lectures are complemented with laboratory work, activities, and field trips with options to do environmental conservation work on a volunteer basis. 

TextbookEnvironmental Science for AP (Macmillan)

AP Physics 1

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Completion of Pre-calculus or concurrent enrollment in Honors Pre-Calculus or higher; recommendation of department.

Course Description: Advanced Placement Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sounds; and introductory, simple circuits. This course follows the guidelines published by the College Board, which include 25% of the course time spent on hands-on laboratory work with an emphasis on inquiry-based investigations. AP Physics 1 is the equivalent to a first semester college course in algebra-based Physics and is offered based upon student qualification and interest.

TextbookCollege Physics (Pearson)

AP Physics C: Mechanics

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Successful completion of AP Calculus AB or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus BC or Multivariable Calculus; recommendation of department.

Course Description: The subject matter of Advanced Placement Physics C is mechanics. Methods of calculus are used whenever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. The syllabus follows the guidelines published by the College Board and is similar to a calculus-based first-year college course in Physics. As required by the College Board, 20% of class time will be spent on lab-related material. This course is offered based upon student qualification and interest. The course is offered based on student interest. 

TextbookPhysics for Scientists and Engineers (Cummings)

Astronomy

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Physics and Chemistry

Course Description: This course follows an "Earth-out" progression, letting students use their own logic and observations to grasp the scientific achievements that have led to our current understanding of the known universe. The course proceeds along an historical timeline as we move outward into space, from Eratosthenes to Edwin Hubble, from flat Earth to the expanding, accelerating universe. Students will become amateur stargazers, finding the most common constellations by sight and visiting either the Griffith Observatory or the UCLA planetarium. They will learn about stellar evolution, relativity and space-time, and will be able to puzzle over the implications of dark matter and energy and what may lie beyond our understanding. The semester ends with String Theory and the evidence supporting a multiverse. 

TextbookAstronomy Today (Pearson)

Food & Nutritional Science

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Chemistry

Course description: Food and Nutritional Science is an interdisciplinary course that explores the scientific principles taking place in food preparation. The goal of the course is for students to apply concepts learned in previous science classes to the context of the kitchen. Sample topics covered include: tastes, aromas and flavors; heat diffusion in proteins; cooking with acids; emulsions and foams; viscosity of sauces; food preservation and engineering; molecular gastronomy; and food and health safety. There is an extensive laboratory and cooking component in this course that require access to a kitchen (stove and oven) and basic kitchen utensils.

Textbook: None

Forensic Science

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Chemistry

Course Description: Forensic Science is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to the major investigative techniques currently used by forensic scientists, crime scene investigators, and other law enforcement agencies. Students apply concepts learned in previous science classes to current case studies, film, and "field" investigations with the goal of deepening their understanding of the sciences through application to the real world. Major topics include, but are not limited to: observations and eyewitness testimony, evidence collection and lab processing, impression evidence, bloodstain pattern and DNA analysis, fingerprint comparisons, forensic toxicology, arson and explosion investigation, case law, and evidence admissibility in court. 

Textbook: None

Marine Biology

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Grade requirements of B- or higher both semesters of Biology or C or higher in Honors Biology and C+ or higher in both semesters of Chemistry or C- or higher in Honors Chemistry. 

Course Description: This course examines the biology of marine organisms and the abiotic (e.g., salinity, nutrients, water currents and tides) and biotic (e.g., competition, predation, symbiosis) factors that influence their distribution and abundance. Specific topics will include the evolution of adaptations to marine environments, primary and secondary production, the biodiversity and ecology of various marine communities (rocky intertidal, estuaries, subtidal, coral reefs, pelagic, and deep sea), impacts of humans on the ocean, and conservation. Laboratory sessions will involve anatomical comparisons of marine taxa (invertebrate and vertebrate), fieldwork, laboratory analyses, and multimedia presentations of project results.

Textbook:  TBD

Ceramics & Sculpture I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: During Ceramics I, students learn the foundation skills such as pinch, slab, coiling and high fire glaze application. They also have the opportunity to practice the potter’s wheel. Students are assessed by their effort and personal progress, as well as their increased proficiency. Projects are designed to build awareness and skills in craftsmanship, functionality, and aesthetics. Four to five quality projects are accomplished by the end of the semester, and students are qualified to advance to Ceramics II if they so choose. Selected projects are displayed in the South Quad, the Annual Ceramic Show, and the All-School Art Show.

Ceramics & Sculpture II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Ceramics & Sculpture I

Course Description: After successfully completing Ceramics I, students can advance to Ceramics II. In Ceramics II, projects are designed to expand on hand-building and pottery techniques. Students work with functional ware plus conceptually based projects such as souvenir boxes, masks, and animal metaphors. Assignments may vary each semester. Students are evaluated by effort and personal progress, as well as increased proficiency. By the end of the semester, students have completed four to five quality assignments and are prepared to advance to Ceramics III if they so choose. Selected projects are displayed in the South Quad, the Annual Ceramic Show, and the All-School Art Show.

Ceramics & Sculpture III

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Ceramics & Sculpture II

Course Description: After successfully completing Ceramics II, students can advance to Ceramics III where they have the opportunity to use all of the skills they have learned by concentrating on a personal series that will include a minimum of four advanced ceramic pieces. Students will choose to work within a functional or conceptual framework. Projects are graded on problem solving, craftsmanship, design, aesthetics, and originality. Formal proposals are turned in and kept on file as a record of each student’s accomplishments. It is expected that Advanced Ceramic students pursue challenging functional or conceptually based projects that reflect an excellent understanding of the principles of art and design. Selected projects are displayed in the South Quad, the Annual Ceramic Show, and the All-School Art Show.

Ceramics & Sculpture IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Prior advanced levels of Ceramics & Sculpture course

Course Description: After successfully completing Ceramics III, students can advance to Ceramics IV-VIII where they have the opportunity to use all of the skills they have learned by concentrating on a personal series that will include a minimum of four advanced ceramic pieces. Students will choose to work within a functional or conceptual framework. Projects are graded on problem solving, craftsmanship, design, aesthetics, and originality. Formal proposals are turned in and kept on file as a record of each student’s accomplishments. It is expected that Advanced Ceramics students pursue challenging functional or conceptually based projects that reflect an excellent understanding of the principles of art and design. Selected projects are displayed in the South Quad, the Annual Ceramic Show, and the All-School Art Show.

Drawing & Composition I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: No previous experience is necessary for this one-semester course. Students will learn basic drawing and design skills while developing a broader understanding of art. Working from observation, projects emphasizing line, shape and space, shading, color, and perspective will lay the groundwork for creative expression. Though specific assignments may vary each semester, craftsmanship and skill building are introduced sequentially through in-class participation. In addition to the hands-on aspects of this course, students will also learn art concepts and vocabulary while applying it to verbal and written reflections on their own work and that of their classmates. Student artwork will be included in at least one on-campus art exhibition. Students are expected to keep a sketchbook.

Drawing & Composition II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Drawing & Composition I

Course Description: This course is for students who wish to further advance their drawing skills while adding experience with painting and other more advanced media to their repertoire. Structured assignments get progressively more complex while exploring various drawing techniques, media such as printmaking, and the basics of painting with watercolor and acrylic paint on canvas. Assignments may vary each semester. Increasingly open-ended projects encourage more student “voice” and strengthen the use of visual language. Student critiques and written reflections are meaningful components of the artistic process in this class. Student artwork will be included in at least one on-campus art exhibition. Students are expected to keep a sketchbook.

Drawing & Composition III

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Drawing & Composition II

Course Description: This course is for students who wish to build on previously learned skills and to pursue more sophisticated visual and conceptual art ideas.  Assignments continue to reinforce and expand knowledge of visual space, while allowing for more personal meaning in artwork. Creative problem solving is emphasized in assignments with more student choice for exploring expressive qualities in a variety of media. Verbal and written critical skills that are used when analyzing artwork are meaningful components of this class.  Students are expected to keep a sketchbook. Student artwork will be included in at least one on-campus art exhibition.

Drawing & Composition IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Prior level Drawing & Composition course

Course Description: This course is for students who wish to further advance their studies in the visual arts. Structured assignments that are open to individual interpretations are essential components of this class. Contemporary art trends and other cultural influences are introduced to help inform student ideas. A series of individually directed artworks will comprise the second half of the semester. Analysis, in both written and verbal form, reinforces the content and understanding of the artwork that is produced. Students are expected to keep a sketchbook. Honors credit may be granted to those students in levels V and higher who complete an advanced art project with a service component.

Filmmaking I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: Introduction to Filmmaking is an entry-level course designed to expose students to all the essential skills and techniques necessary to create a film. Through a series of short video productions, students will learn the fundamentals of storytelling and how they apply to the film world, and develop the ability to create their own original film concepts. They’ll learn basic camera skills, gaining a solid understanding of a variety of different types of filming techniques, and develop a strong foundation in editing and the post-production process. Students will also learn how to apply their critical thinking skills to watching films, allowing them to analyze and appreciate the medium in a more meaningful way. Selected student work will be broadcast to the Brentwood community throughout the semester on our YouTube channel, BWS Eaglevision.

Filmmaking II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Filmmaking I

Course Description: Advanced Filmmaking is a course designed for experienced students interested in learning more about the art of filmmaking. Through a variety of hands-on creative exercises, students will develop advanced camera techniques, and continue to increase their editing skills with the aid of professional quality post-production software. Students will also learn how to create deeper and more meaningful stories, and how to explore more complex concepts and subjects through their work. The class will conclude with the production of an original short film that will be shared with the Brentwood community. This is an advanced course that requires significant time outside of class.

Filmmaking III

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Filmmaking II

Course Description: Filmmaking III is an advanced course for students who are serious about developing their filmmaking knowledge and skills. While Film I and II focus on the storytelling side of filmmaking, Film III delves into the inner workings of the modern filmmaker’s primary tool: the video camera. Students will learn how to manually operate every setting on the camera, including focus, exposure, white balance, ISO, frame rate, and many more. Through a series of creative exercises and short productions, students will learn how to work with different types and lengths of lenses; use professional tools like light meters and focus peaking to create the best possible images; and build dollies, tracks, and booms to add motion to their shots. They’ll also learn how to analyze scenes and situations to determine the right lighting, audio equipment, and camera blocking for any situation. On the post-production side, students will have the opportunity to become more familiar with the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite, which includes professional-level tools for color correction, visual effects, scoring, and sound mixing.

Filmmaking IV

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Filmmaking III

Course Description: Filmmaking IV is an advanced course designed to help experienced filmmakers develop their own original creative voice. Using the book “Creative Filmmaking from the Inside Out: Five Keys to the Art of Making Inspired Movies and Television” by Jed Dannenbaum, et al. as a guide, students will learn how to draw on real life observations and experience to create films that communicate with audiences on a deeper and more personal level. This course focuses on writing and concept development, and students will experience a variety of writing exercises designed to help them develop their own unique artistic identity, cinematic voice and personal point of view, and to understand the infinite possibilities for creative expression inherent in film’s many forms. Students will also complete several cinematography and editing challenges to continue to refine their creative approach and develop their technical skills. As a final project, each student will write, produce, direct, and edit an original short film based on his or her observation of, research into and direct experience with real life.

Video Editing

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: Video Editing is a hands-on course for students of all ability levels interested in the magical process of turning raw footage into a finished film. Using professional quality editing software, this class covers the entire post-production process from start to finish, focusing on the different editing techniques and approaches required to execute different formats and genres of film and video. Over the course of the semester, students will learn how to create a compelling story from uncut footage, and how to use different graphic and audio elements to create a polished and professional final product. Note: This class focuses on the post-production process, and does not include the use of cameras or other recording equipment.

Documentary Film Production

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: Documentary Film Production is an entry-level course focusing on the art of documentary storytelling. Over the course of the semester, students will learn the basic techniques used to develop documentary concepts, gather footage, and assemble media into documentary films and series. The course includes instruction on basic camera operation, interview skills, writing for documentary, archival research, and documentary editing techniques. By the end of the course, each student will have the skills necessary to create their own documentary from concept to completion.

The Writers' Room

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: “The Writers’ Room” is an entry-level writing-intensive course designed to introduce students to the art of screenwriting. Students will learn about the fundamentals of storytelling and how they apply to the film world, and the way that a screenplay is formatted to create a roadmap for a successful film project. Through reading and analyzing professional screenplays and writing their own scenes, short films and TV episodes, students will learn about the differences between writing for film, television, and online platforms, and develop the skills necessary to take an idea and shape it into a script ready for production. Students will also learn how to collaborate like a professional writing staff to generate ideas, create characters, “beat out” stories and craft dialogue. Most importantly, students will learn how to come up with concepts that ignite their own artistic curiosity and develop those ideas into authentic stories from their own unique personal perspective. Selected work from this course will be produced by students from Filmmaking III and IV. (This course does not count toward the three semester fine arts requirement.)

Digital Photography I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None, although Photo I and/or an interest in computer graphics is strongly recommended

Course Description: This one-semester Digital Photo I course will explore the fundamental tools of digital imaging. During the semester we will cover most of the Adobe CC products for creative imaging (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and InDesign). Through a series of short assignments we will touch on the wealth of image enhancement and manipulation techniques afforded by Adobe Photoshop. We will also examine how photography is used in graphic design via Illustrator and InDesign. Several small assignments will introduce the basics of scanning, printing, and compositing images. Class time will be divided between demonstrations, critiques, and work in progress sessions.  This course will introduce concepts of file management, exposure, composition, and lighting. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify and operate the controls of a digital camera and learn to manage photos on personal home computers.

Required Materials: A 35mm Digital SLR and/or a digital point & shoot are strongly suggested. 

Digital Photography II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Digital Photo I

Course Description: This one-semester Digital Photo II course focuses on gaining control of all photographic variables, while attempting various creative assignments. The use of manual camera controls is emphasized, along with the capture and processing of RAW image files.  Course assignments include: point of view, editorial portraiture, narrative storytelling, surrealism, the use of artificial light, and backdrops. Through demonstrations and one-on-one sessions with the instructor, students will improve their skills as digital photographers and refine their control of computer based digital effects. The greater part of the class will be geared toward creating an open and dynamic environment where students engage in the give-and-take of constructive feedback on their progress. More advanced techniques using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be covered throughout the course.

Required Materials: A 35mm Digital SLR and/or a digital point & shoot

Photography I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: This is a basic one-semester photography course, designed for those with little or no experience in photography. Emphasis is placed on how to manually operate a 35 mm film camera (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) along with printing black and white photographs. Formal aspects of composition are explored through understanding the elements and principals of design. The course includes demonstrations on digital and darkroom techniques along with various presentations on historic and contemporary photography. Students participate in group and individual critiques, maintain personal photo collage journals, learn digital file work-flow, view films, and visit museum photo exhibits. Upon completion of the course, a student can expect to have a fundamental understanding of both darkroom and digital photography. This includes proper and consistent exposure, development, and printing.

Required Materials: 35 mm SLR film camera with a light meter and manual setting, black & white film and photo paper. A 35 mm Digital SLR camera and/or a digital point & shoot camera are strongly recommended. (Note: the school does provide a limited number of cameras to loan.)

Photography II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Photography I

Course DescriptionPhoto II is a one-semester course intended for students who have taken a darkroom photography class and who have experience with digital imaging. In addition to continuing traditional darkroom techniques, this course will continue to cover the fundamentals of digital photography and continue to encourage the student’s aesthetic and conceptual development.

Topics to be covered include: experimental darkroom techniques, non-photographic techniques, digital cameras, intermediate Adobe Photoshop, as well as more advanced techniques such as working with layers and masks. This class, however, will not only focus on technical training but also will engage photography as a means of visual communication, emphasizing the concept of “visual awareness.” During the term, students will be encouraged to initiate and sustain a focused thematic project over an extended period of time. Class time will be used for the demonstration of new techniques, supervised digital lab and darkroom sessions, group critiques, as well as slide lectures and film screenings.  

Required Materials: Students are required to have a 35 mm SLR film camera with a light meter and manual setting, black and white film and photo paper. A digital point and shoot and/or 35mm digital SLR camera are strongly suggested.

Photography III

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Photo II (or both Photo I and Digital Photo I)

Course Description: Photography III is a one-semester course that examines creative expression in the context of traditional darkroom methods and digital imaging. It is a class about exploring concepts and visual metaphor through all forms of photography.  Composition, content, and ideas relating to portraiture, editorial, narrative, landscape, and still life will be incorporated into assignments.  Projects are designed to help students develop an independent discipline in their working habits.  Critiques are intended to provide students with a forum in which to give each other critical and constructive feedback.  Students will view slide lectures and films on contemporary photography.  The aim of this course is to immerse the student in the issues and ideas that revolve around art and photo.  This course will provide the students with an environment where they can grow as perceptive and curious image-makers.

Required Materials: Students are required to have a 35mm Digital SLR film camera. A 35mm film SLR is strongly suggested.

Photography IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Prior level Photo course (or both Digital Photo I and II)

Course Description: In this intensive one-semester course, advanced Photo IV students are encouraged to develop a personal vision and work towards the production of a photographic portfolio. Graduating seniors will be encouraged to produce a limited edition hardbound printed photo book that will become part of the school’s library and permanent collection. Students are encouraged to use any photo-based method or approach that can best serve their individual ideas and directions. Later emphasis will be on refining and editing each project, with assistance in determining a final completed portfolio of prints. Projects will investigate fashion/editorial photo, photoshop surrealistic compositing, and paying homage to famed photographers. Students will be expected to delve deeper into their work, be inventive, take risks, and challenge themselves and each other.

Required Materials: Photo materials will vary depending upon each student’s needs and interests.  35mm Digital SLR is required.

Honors Photography IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Photography III and/or AP Studio Art: 2-D Design

Course Description: This one-semester honors course is open to advanced students in photography who want to use their photographic and design skills to build community-oriented partnerships in the arts.

Along with various advanced photo/design projects throughout the semester, the main component of this honors course is The Community Arts Photography (CAP) Project. Here the student must seek-out and collaborate with a non-profit organization in order to produce a creative/artistic project for them.

Each student is encouraged to find an organization he or she wants to work with prior to the start of the course; alternatively, students may work with the Human Development Office at BWS in order to be put in contact with the different non-profit organizations with which our school is already involved (i.e. Project Gratitude, Best Buddies, Salvation Army, the Veterans Administration, etc). Students must start this course with a clear idea of what organization they want to work with, along with the ability to meet with their organization/client outside of school.

Possible CAP projects that can be produced include but not are not limited to: 

—a photo mural installed at the site of the organization
—a site specific exhibit of the people from the organization
—a photo installation (shadow boxes, vitrines, photo mobiles, etc)
—an in-depth visual/oral history book of someone at the organization
—an awareness poster campaign for the organization
—an organization logo or special event brochure

Please note: if the CAP project is not completed during the semester, Honors Credit will not be awarded.

Students are expected to have their own 35mm DSLR cameras, a thorough understanding of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, and are strongly advised to have their own computer software.

Stained Glass Design I

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: None 

Course Description: Beginning with safety precautions and an overview of course material, students quickly move on to learn the techniques involved in the construction of "Tiffany style" copper foil panels. These procedures include pattern making, glass cutting, copper foiling, and soldering. Students then study and learn to apply the elements and principles of art and design as they work to create original compositions and patterns. This process is reinforced by examples from art history, research, and the use of Glass Eye computer software. Students learn related vocabulary and use it to analyze their work and that of their classmates in both verbal and written form. After completing an initial sample project, each student designs and then builds two required concept-based copper foil panels. Ability increases with experience and by the completion of this course, students should be comfortable and competent while working with stained glass as a means of expression. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Sketchbook work and written self-reflections are also a part of the evaluation process. Students are expected to supply their own stained glass, copper foil, lead, and solder. Financial assistance is available through the Business Office.

Stained Glass Design II

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Stained Glass I

Course Description: This course focuses on applying previously learned stained glass skills to leaded glass construction. All aspects of this process are thoroughly presented. The elements and principles of art and design are reinforced and influence the creation of original compositions and patterns to a greater extent at this level. Course work is reinforced by examples from art history, research, and the use of Glass Eye computer software. Students learn related vocabulary and use it to analyze their work and that of their classmates in both verbal and written form. After completing an initial non-objective project that emphasizes the technical aspects of lead construction, each student designs and then builds another required concept-based panel that investigates abstraction of natural forms. At this stage, know-how and increased confidence allow for greater mechanical control and refined craftsmanship. Time permitting, students may use either the lead or copper foil construction style to complete additional projects. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Sketchbook work and written self-reflections are also a part of the evaluation process. Students are expected to supply their own stained glass, copper foil, lead, and solder. Financial assistance is available through the Business Office.

Stained Glass Design III

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Stained Glass Design II

Course Description: This course is for continuing stained glass design students who wish to further their experience in this medium by exploring personal design motifs, three-dimensional construction, mosaic, and/or the use of both traditional and non-traditional materials. The elements and principles of art and design continue to inform and influence the creation of original compositions, patterns, and constructions at this level. To succeed in this course, those enrolled should be extremely self-motivated, using previously acquired skills to pursue and perfect the aesthetic aspects of the stained glass construction process. Concept-based designs, research, written self-reflections, and class critiques reinforce and expand learning as the course evolves. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Sketchbook work and written self-reflections are also a part of the evaluation process. Students are expected to supply their own stained glass, copper foil, lead, and solder. Financial assistance is available through the Business Office.

Stained Glass Design IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Prior level Stained Glass courses

Course Description: At this level, those involved will use prior experience and acquired skills to further advance construction techniques in pursuit of self-expression with emphasis on concept-based aesthetics. The elements and principles of art and design are applied in more sophisticated ways in the creation of original compositions, patterns, and constructions. Projects will vary as personal themes emerge and students choose to specialize in a given style, or use experience and abilities as a springboard to new areas of exploration in this media. Issues of design and quality craftsmanship are paramount concerns as participants continue to perfect skills. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Sketchbook work and written self-reflections are also a part of the evaluation process. Students are expected to supply their own stained glass, copper foil, lead, and solder. Financial assistance is available through the Business Office.

Visual Arts Courses Level IV-VIII

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Prior level courses in chosen area of study

Course Description: This is a one-semester course, directed by the instructor, for students who wish to do advanced-level course work in a given area of study: Ceramics/Sculpture, Drawing and Composition, Photography, or Stained Glass Design. This course work is designed to help students further develop technical, conceptual, and compositional abilities as they apply the elements and principles of art and design to their chosen area of study. Specific assignments will vary and may range from a variety of individual projects to a series of related works. It is expected that these students will be highly motivated and demonstrate commitment to the subject and work that is involved. Teacher-lead conversations, individual critiques, and written reflections help to reinforce learning. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Students working at levels IV-VIII, who agree to accept additional responsibility beyond the regular course curriculum, may earn Honors distinction. These advanced responsibilities may include a service-learning component, a research project, working as a lab assistant, or other in-depth course-related work.

AP Studio Art

Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: Depending upon which portfolio is to be completed, those wishing to enroll in APSA are to present a portfolio of recent artwork to the instructor for review prior to enrolling and have completed a minimum of:
—Ceramics & Sculpture III
—Drawing & Composition III
—Photography III
—Digital Photography III

Course Description: This full-year course follows the guidelines established by the College Board. The "2-D Design," "3-D Design," and "Drawing" portfolios are offered. The "Quality," "Concentration," and "Breadth" sections of these required portfolios inform the basis of all assignments. A broad range of mediums are explored as students work to complete either two or three dimensional artworks. Prior proficiency in studio skills and techniques are essential for this course. Students are expected to have the technical abilities necessary to develop concepts and assignments, with the teacher serving as a mentor and resource. It is necessary for students to produce art both in and out of class in order to complete the 20-25 artworks each portfolio requires. During the summer prior to enrolling, students will complete four finished artworks which are due when classes begin in the fall. Submitting a completed portfolio to the College Board for evaluation in May is mandatory. By selecting to fulfill the requirements of a different portfolio, students may enroll in this course more than once. For example, a student may complete the 2-D Design portfolio as a junior and the Drawing portfolio as a senior.

Applied Psychology

Year | Elective

Course Description: The Applied Psychology curriculum, developed by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training, aims at providing freshmen a successful transition into high school. The course revolves around the training of a select group of senior peer leaders for weekly outreach sessions with the ninth grade.  In class, seniors learn how to facilitate dialogue through an activity-based model, guide freshmen through the stages of group development, adopt effective leadership strategies, and counsel younger students through a critical developmental phase.

In their freshmen outreach sessions that take place once per week during Foundations, the seniors employ these skills when introducing topics such as effective communication, stress reduction, risk taking behaviors, conflict management, diversity, and healthy relationships.

As part of Brentwood School's expansive Peer Leadership program, students in Applied Psychology will also attend a summer training retreat, lead discussions between freshmen students and parents, and provide ongoing substance free social events for the entire ninth grade.

Civic Leadership & Current Events

Spring Semester | Elective

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: In Civic Leadership and Current Events, students will discuss contemporary issues facing society and explore potential solutions. After examining attempts for social change in government, education, non-profit agencies, media/social media, protest movements, technological innovations, and business, students will develop their own projects in which they research and implement reform in their particular area of interest. Students will be granted release time on Fridays for independent work related to these projects.

Foundations

Semester | Required

Prerequisite: None

Course Description: A required class for all 9th graders, Foundations is designed to prepare students for what they will experience in and out of the classroom throughout the Upper School.  During the single semester graded class students rotate through different units focused on equity, inclusion, multiculturalism, ethics, and human development.  Throughout these units, students learn to be more emotionally intelligent while becoming increasingly aware of themselves and others by talking and listening to their peers.  Two 12th Grade teaching assistants are paired with each class, and they help mentor the students and model the communication skills this course works to develop.

Independent Study - Educational Leadership

Semester | Elective

Course Description: Students enrolled in Educational Leadership will serve as academic teaching assistants. In this capacity they will develop leadership skills and learn about approaches to lesson planning, discussions, debates, cooperative learning, communication skills, classroom management, study and organizational skills, motivation, active listening, fixed vs. growth mindset, and the zone of proximal development.

Independent Study - Foundations T.A.

Year | Elective

Course Description: After an application and tryout period, 10-12 seniors are chosen to be teaching assistants in the 9th Grade Foundations classes. Along with the freshmen, the TAs attend class, where they assist the teachers and support the students. They act as both members of the class and mentors to the 9th graders while they participate in and lead class activities and give their perspective in group discussions. The TAs connect with the students both in and outside of the classroom, offering insights, advice, and empathy. In this yearlong program, Foundations teaching assistants help the freshman cultivate self-awareness and social consciousness as they further develop their own. As the semester changes, and the TAs move on to a new group of students, they also remain available as contacts, mentors, and as support to those in their first-semester class.

Psychology of Personality

Semester | Elective

Course Description: The objective of this course is to explore what it means to be a human being through the combined lens of various schools of psychology and philosophy. The spirit of asking tough questions (Who am I? What defines me? How can I develop deep and meaningful relationships? How do I make the right choices?) and rejecting pre-packaged answers will fuel our exploration of the human condition and its potential. Writers and thinkers include Abraham Maslow, Irvin Yalom, Victor Frankl, as well as writings from Eastern mystics Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Lao Tzu, among others. The course will be open to insights, wisdom, and facts of life from various backgrounds and will focus on personal growth and reflection, as well as establishing a sound philosophical background of both Western and Eastern psychological and philosophical thought.  

Pre-Algebra, Accelerated Pre-Algebra

Year | Required Grade 7

Prerequisite: Math assessment

Course Description:  These courses review arithmetic skills learned in the elementary grades and expand on these skills through algebraic applications. Topics include an introduction to algebra, positive and negative numbers, rational numbers, solving equations, geometric figures, ratio, proportion, percent, order of operations, properties of number, scientific notation, problem solving, equations and inequalities, data analysis, economics, as well as statistics and probability. Many of these topics will be studied in greater depth and complexity based on the class: Pre-Algebra, or Pre-Algebra Accelerated with emphasis placed on real world application, analysis, and synthesis.

Pre-Algebra is for students who have a solid foundation in 6th grade arithmetic. They will have experienced success in their math class and work well with skill based instruction and intermittent projects. Projects include Vitruvian man ratio, the history of math, economic data project, and life timeline.

Accelerated Pre-Algebra is geared towards students with a high degree of understanding in math concepts, who explore math concepts independently, seek out challenges, and enjoy discovering math strategies. The class reinforces standard pre-algebra skills placing emphasis on applying skills through projects. Projects include Vitruvian man ratio, the history of math, economic data project, life timeline, and probability concepts including a carnival.

Textbooks: Big Ideas Math: Modeling Real Life (Ron Larson, Laurie Boswell)

Algebra A

Year | Required 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra, or by departmental consent from math assessment

Course Description: Algebra A is a year-long course which builds upon the concepts presented in Pre-Algebra, and is a pre-requisite for Algebra B in the Upper School. Topics include the following: basic operations, sets and properties, equations, polynomials, factoring, radicals, and lines. The day-to-day instruction of Algebra A is largely skills-based and student-paced, enabling students to become confident, independent learners. Emphasis is based upon the connections between the real world and algebra.

Textbooks: Big Ideas Math: A Bridge to Success Algebra I (Ron Larson, Laurie Boswell)

Algebra AB

Year | Required 7th or 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra, or Accelerated Pre-Algebra, or by departmental consent from math assessment

Course Description: This course, designed for strong math students, is intended to provide a general background in the structure and method of algebra with emphasis on problem solving techniques and acquiring solid skills. The topics are divided into the following units: basic operations, sets and properties, equations, polynomials, factoring, radicals, quadratic equations, lines, systems, exponents, inequalities, functions, and rational expressions. Emphasis is based upon the connections between the real world and algebra.

Textbook: Big Ideas Math: A Bridge to Success Algebra I (Ron Larson, Laurie Boswell)

Honors Geometry 8

Year | Elective 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Algebra AB in grade 7 with a grade of A- or higher each semester and/or by departmental consent

Course Description: In this course, designed for highly advanced passionate math students, deductive reasoning and formal geometric proofs are introduced. Throughout the course, geometric concepts lend themselves to algebraic applications. Students will develop problem-solving skills as well as logical thought processes by analyzing diagrams and writing proofs. Topics include: logic, elements of geometry, angle relationships, congruent triangles, geometric inequalities, indirect proofs, perpendicular and parallel lines, quadrilaterals in a plane, polygonal regions and their areas, similarity, circles, and geometric construction. Computer and hands-on activities and technology will be used to explore geometric concepts.

TextbookGeometry (Moise, Downs)

English 7

Year | Required 7th Grade

Course Description: This year-long course presents materials and teaches skills that will serve as the student's foundation in English throughout the Brentwood School experience. The course is divided into four major component parts: grammar, beginning with the parts of speech and moving progressively to more complex concepts; vocabulary, extending the student's vocabulary while teaching strategies for deciphering meaning and analyzing words; writing, emphasizing the formal rules of composition, while incorporating creative writing and projects; and literature, exposing the students to a variety of literary forms, including novels, plays, and units on short stories and poetry. In literature and in their writing, students will examine the theme of "power." What is power? How is it obtained and maintained? Who are the outsiders and why? The English curriculum, where appropriate, will connect to the Global Studies curriculum; for example, when students are studying Russian history in Global Studies, they'll be reading Animal Farm in English. During the Middle East unit, the students engage in a joint research project that results in a first person narrative in the voice of a Middle Eastern citizen.

Texts: Little Worlds (a short story collection); Of Mice and Men; Maus; Animal Farm; Tasting the Sky, A Long Walk to Water

English 8

Year | Required 8th Grade

Prerequisite: 7th Grade English

Course Description: English in the 8th grade year is thematically based. Focusing on the duality of human nature resulting from the “fall from innocence,” 8th grade students read and discuss texts that highlight the conflict between our innate good and evil. They will also grapple with the theme of courage, by examining and debating which characters are brave enough to take a stand against a group to stand up for their morals. Building skills is an equally important aspect of the course. There are four general areas on which we specifically concentrate: grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. Students will learn vocabulary from multiple lists; many of the words are connected to their themes and literature as well. In grammar, they will review noun functions, as well as learn verbals, and clauses.  In writing, they will build on how to write a persuasive essay, and they will mix in creative poetry and other forms of writing. In the spring, students will write a research paper on a topic of interest by building on their library, research, and writing skills.

Texts: The Crucible, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chains, American Born Chinese, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Step Up Your Grammar

French 1A

Year | Elective

Course Description: This is the first year in a two-year series where students will study the introduction of the French language. Students will practice using rudimentary French language in a range of contexts likely to be encountered in the target culture. They will engage in active communication with other students and be encouraged to express their own meaning as early and as accurately as possible. Students will learn to improve comprehension of the French language through targeted listening exercises as well as through video, film, and music exposure. They will increase their cultural understanding of the French-speaking people through Internet, projects, films, and oral presentations. Basic communication competency in reading and writing will be practiced through daily written homework assignments and reading in class. Most importantly, this course will provide students with a non-threatening and motivating environment where language acquisition and oral expression can truly take place.

Textbooks: Discovering French Today–Bleu, Premiere Partie (McDougal and Littell); Discovering French Today—Bleu; Premiere Partie, Activity Book; Pauvre Anne; Fama Va En Californie

French 1B

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: French IA

Course Description: The goal of this course is to build on the oral communication skills developed in French IA by using the French language in an expanded range of contexts. Students will acquire the ability and build confidence necessary to engage in more complex conversations on a variety of topics using present and past tenses. Pronunciation and comprehension skills will be practiced through targeted listening and pronunciation activities, viewing video clips and movies, singing songs, and recording dialogues. Students will learn to appreciate the culture of the francophone community through Internet projects, oral presentations, and videos. They will also develop greater linguistic accuracy and critical thinking in language learning through systematic analysis of grammatical structures and learn to relate them to the comparable structures in English. Stronger emphasis will be placed on expanding students’ reading and writing competence through in-class and at home readings of a variety of materials, writing daily homework assignments, and compositions.

Textbooks: Discovering French Today—Bleu, Deuxieme Partie (McDougal and Littell); Discovering French Today—Bleu, Deuxieme Partie, Activity Book; Destination France!  vol. 1 (EMC); Aventure en Normandie, vol. 2 (EMC)

Latin 1A

Year | Elective

Course Description: This is a year-long introductory course, meant to familiarize the students with the basic grammatical structures of Latin. The notion of inflected language is particularly emphasized in daily exercises. Morphology, vocabulary, and syntax are studied with constant reference to the English language, thereby helping the students with their understanding of language in general and improving their communication skills. Memorization, analysis, and deductive reasoning are particularly stressed in the exercise of translation. In addition, the students are introduced to various aspects of Roman history, civilization, and culture.

Textbook: Oxford Latin Course Part I (Balme and Morewood)

Latin 1B

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Latin IA

Course Description: This is a continuation of Latin IA. The pace is slightly faster and the grammar is more complex. All verb tenses other than the present will be introduced, in both the active and passive voice. More advanced uses of cases will be presented. Sentences become longer and include a variety of subordinate clauses.  Students continue to build reading skills and translation skills through daily practice, still relying on memory skills involved in learning grammar and vocabulary. Through the daily readings, the students keep in touch with the life of the poet Horace and are thus introduced to important aspects of the history and culture of Rome at the end of the Republic through the first century AD. The class will watch a full feature movie and derive research projects for presentation to the class. The National Latin Exam is taken in March.

Textbook: Oxford Latin Course Part II (Balme and Morewood)

Mandarin Chinese 1A

Year | Elective

Course Description: This is the first year of the two-year Mandarin program. Mandarin class is an immersion class. Students receive comprehensible input in the target language, just like how babies acquire a language: naturally, and with ease. A method of language acquisition called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) is used. It is an effective and involved way for students to acquire any language. First, the teacher introduces high frequency structures and vocabulary. Second, the class constructs an interesting story with the new vocabulary together. Last, the class reads and writes the story. Videos, songs, projects, skits, role-play, and games will be presented in the target language too. Chinese cultural lessons are selected to reflect topics from the humanities curriculum, such as the migrant experience, minority lives, dictatorship, and propaganda.

Textbook: Discovering Chinese Pro iPad/Web, Volume 1

Mandarin Chinese 1B

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese IA

Course Description: This is the second year of the two-year Mandarin program. Mandarin class is an immersion class. Students receive comprehensible input in the target language, just like how babies acquire a language: naturally, and with ease. A method of language acquisition called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) is continued. It is an effective and involved way for students to acquire any language. First, the teacher introduces high frequency structures and vocabulary. Second, the class constructs an interesting story with the new vocabulary together. Last, the class reads and writes the story. Videos, songs, projects, skits, role-play, games will be presented in the target language too. Chinese current events and cultural lessons are selected to reflect topics from the humanities curriculum, such as the courage to stand up against injustice.

Textbook: Discovering Chinese Pro iPad/Web, Volume 2

Spanish 1A

Year | Elective

Course Description: This year-long course is the first in a two-year series that emphasizes active communication in Spanish from the first day of class. The four language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) develop in a meaningful context as students talk and write about a variety of themes that are relevant to their lives. Pronunciation skills are emphasized and practiced in a safe, motivating atmosphere. Students spend 90 percent of their class time hearing and speaking Spanish. During this course, students will build a strong grammatical base which will allow them to successfully create sentences and write paragraphs. Through songs, games, and interactive lessons, students will learn how to conjugate verbs in present tense, describe themselves and their families, and create connections between their native language and Spanish. Culture of different Latin American countries will be integrated into the curriculum. By the end of this course, students will be able to handle a social interaction in an everyday situation, by asking and answering simple questions in Spanish.

Textbooks: Asi se dice, Level 1A (McGraw-Hill)

Spanish 1B

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Spanish IA

Course Description: This year-long course is the second part of the level I series. Students will continue to develop and reinforce the four language skills introduced in Spanish IA. More advanced grammatical structures and additional vocabulary are integrated through extensive oral, written, and auditory practice. Students will also read one short book entirely in Spanish, and use current events, including online resources, to make comparisons and analyze social inferences in authentic text. Additionally, students will expand upon hands-on projects developed in Spanish IA to further explore the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. At the end of the course, students take the National Spanish Exam, and are able to engage in basic conversations on a variety of topics.

Textbooks: Asi se dice, Level 1B (McGraw-Hill)

Global Studies

Year | Required 7th Grade

Course Description: Exploring vital global and human rights issues, this course will introduce students to social awareness in an age of globalization. The primary goal of the course is to develop students’ global literacy, giving special attention to the geographic, historical, economic, political, and cultural forces that produce harmony and conflict across international borders. Thematic units form links to the literature and themes in English 7. Student inquiry is guided by the essential question, “Who holds the power and why?” The course makes extensive use of current events and resources available on the Internet. Students will also be introduced to research skills. Students will also participate in a service learning project geared to promoting compassion and political action for an issue afflicting a region of the world. The course aims to inspire morally responsible citizens who understand the importance of serving the needs of others.

Textbooks: History Alive! World Connections (TCI); State of the World Atlas (Penguin)

American Government

Year | Required 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Global Studies

Course Description: This year-long civics course introduces students to the various institutions, groups, documents, and ideas that animate American democracy. Thematic units form links to the literature and themes in English 8. Beginning with a focus on historical and philosophical foundations, the course develops an understanding of the Constitution and of the political process in the context of current events. In the second semester, students will participate in simulations to give them a first-hand experience of political decision-making. Lessons in American culture and media analysis are also woven into the course. Principal resources include news media, supplemented by the textbook and primary source documents.

Textbook: Government Alive!: Power, Politics and You (TCI)

Science 7

Year | Required

Course Description: This course is a hands-on, inquiry-based experimental study of life science. Students work in cooperative groups throughout the course to enhance their learning experience. Students are exposed to a wide variety of technologies in order to facilitate their learning. Some of these include the use of personal computers (afforded by the 1:1 computer program) in the 7th grade science lab, 3D printing emphasizing creative design, and the exploration of the Makey Makeys and Tinker Tuesdays as a means of incorporating STEM based engineering concepts into our 7th grade program.

The life science curriculum provides a view of the complexities of life on a microscopic to a macroscopic level. Beginning with a foundation to scientific thought, the goal is to prepare students for evidence-based arguments. This is accomplished through studying cell biology, which encompasses cellular structure and cellular communication, pathogens, DNA, and genetics and evolution. Students are encouraged to present evidence to support and strengthen their conclusions and their understanding of the concepts they explore. Various projects allow for differentiation and deep understanding of the material. Students end the year by researching the life and accomplishments of scientists from varied backgrounds. This reinforces the concept that science is beyond the lab, beyond the classroom, and is indebted to the work of many diverse minds.

Textbook: HMH Science Dimensions Hybrid Student Resource - Module B - Cells and Heredity (DiSpezio, Frank, Heithaus, PhD, Sneider, PhD)

Science 8

Year | Required

Course Description:  “Science is all about evidence,” is one of the mantras of this course. Designed to give students a beginning knowledge of physical science and using an inquiry-based curriculum, students develop laboratory skills, scientific reasoning, and problem-solving skills. The course loosely follows the textbook chapters which consist of a series of experiments that lead students to an understanding of the atomic model of matter.

While conducting experiments, students determine the purpose, initiate procedures, observe and record data, and draw conclusions. Each experiment involves guided reasoning and requires an analysis of data for students to gather evidence to support conclusions and generalizations. Students write experimental lab reports in a laboratory notebook that ultimately functions as a second textbook. Course skills and topics include: lab procedure, experimental report writing, scientific measurement, methods of observation, distinguishing matter using extensive and intensive properties, and scientific laws versus scientific theory, separation of mixtures and composition and categorization of matter.

Students work individually, and in cooperative groups throughout the course. Projects are designed to understand the current events research project to heighten students’ awareness and connect science to real world examples. The year culminates in a lab practical in which students use their lab skills in conjunction with their knowledge of matter to identify a given unknown pure substance.

Textbook: Introductory Physical Science, 8th Edition (Science Curriculum Inc.)

Physical Education 7

Year | Required 7th grade

Course Description: Physical Education is taught in a mix of single-gender and co-ed classes. 7th grade Physical Education is a character-building program that focuses on developing elements of responsibility, confidence, trust, sportsmanship, and developing personal fitness skills while learning about aspects of health and nutrition. These tools are building blocks that enable students to challenge themselves and develop a healthy lifestyle. The basic skills of each sport are taught to develop a solid foundation for athletic participation culminating in team and individual competition. There is a fitness component that is incorporated throughout the year, which increases cardiovascular fitness, core strength, and an appreciation for the value of personal wellness. Field sports, court sports, team challenges, personal fitness, yoga, and swimming are all part of the curriculum. There is also an additional human development unit rotated in each year.

Physical Education 8

Year | Required

Course Description: Physical Education is taught in a mix of single-gender and co-ed classes. 8th grade Physical Education is a continued exploration in character-building program that focuses on developing elements of responsibility, confidence, trust, sportsmanship and continuing development of personal fitness skills. These tools are building blocks that enable students to challenge themselves and their classmates. The basic skills of a variety of sports are taught to develop a solid foundation for athletic participation culminating in team and individual competition. There is a fitness component that is incorporated throughout the year, which increases cardiovascular fitness, core strength, and an appreciation for the value of personal wellness. Field sports, court sports, team challenges, self-defense, yoga, and swimming are all part of the curriculum. There is also an additional human development unit rotated in each year.

Human Development I

Fall Semester | Required 7th Grade

Course Description:  The Human Development courses are designed to provide an environment in which Middle School students can openly learn, reflect upon, and discuss ideas pertinent to their development as human beings.  Through a group process interaction we seek to bring about an awareness of intellectual, physical, emotional, and social-emotional well-being. The courses will give students opportunities to reflect on common dilemmas adolescents experience in their daily lives. Students will identify and integrate personal and school core values into their decision-making and communication, as well as develop a sense of responsibility about actions, thoughts, and feelings. Overall, the courses will aim to increase student knowledge of important personal, social-emotional, and wellness issues in order to enable them to make better and healthier choices.  The Human Development courses will allow students to focus, in intimate groups, on many aspects of individual development including, but not limited to, making healthy choices, self-respect, peer pressure, drug and alcohol awareness, puberty and adolescence, body image, human reproduction, social media, and cultural awareness and sensitivity. 

Human Development II

Spring Semester | Required 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Human Development I

Course Description: The Human Development courses are designed to provide an environment in which Middle School students can openly learn, reflect upon, and discuss ideas pertinent to their development as human beings.  The 8th grade Human Development builds upon the insights gained in 7th grade, and offers the opportunity to explore issues in further depth.  Through a group process interaction we seek to bring about an awareness of intellectual, physical, emotional, and social-emotional well-being.  The courses will give students opportunities to reflect on common dilemmas adolescents experience in their daily lives.  Students will identify and integrate personal and school core values into their decision-making and communication, as well as develop a sense of responsibility about actions, thoughts, and feelings.  Overall, the courses will aim to increase student knowledge of important personal, social-emotional, and wellness issues in order to enable them to make better and healthier choices.  The Human Development courses will allow students to focus, in intimate groups, on many aspects of individual development including, but not limited to, making healthy choices, self-respect, peer pressure, drug and alcohol awareness, puberty and adolescence, body image, human reproduction, social media, and cultural awareness and sensitivity.  Additional components of the course are human sexuality, nutrition, and conflict resolution.

Text: It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini

Middle School Dance Company

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition.

Course Description: Middle School Dance Company is a class designed for students who are passionate and dedicated to dance and movement.  Students will study classical and new forms of movement (such as ballet, jazz, break dancing, and contemporary). Students will have a chance to experience traditional forms of movement (i.e.: African) and pop dance (i.e.: hip hop).  The history and cultures that surround each of the dance styles is studied. In addition to investigating dance technique, students will explore choreography, costuming, lighting, and set design. Multiple opportunities will be provided to create their own dance pieces and share them with the Brentwood School community.  Students will perform both their own works, and the works of professional dancers. Live and recorded performances, as well as guest artists, will further students’ understanding of the diaspora of dance.

Drama

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: The art of drama is an exploration and communication of the human experience. From improvisation to character study to playwriting, this class will tap into the creative side of each student and help them develop their own innate abilities as storytellers. Students will develop the ability to relax, to trust, to expand their capacity for empathy, and to analyze creative work with a critical eye. Students will build confidence on stage through playing theater games, performing scenes from plays, and writing original scripts. This class will work collaboratively as an ensemble to learn skills and participate in a performance at the end of the semester.

Semester themes include: monologue, improvisation, playwriting, scene study, storytelling, and pantomime. 

Jazz Band

Year | Elective Middle School

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition

Course Description: Never lose the groove to find a note.  Jazz Band is aimed at students who want to focus on improvisation while playing a wide range of upbeat material from Duke Ellington to Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keyes. This elective is primarily for intermediate to advanced ensemble and rhythm section players with proficient knowledge of their instrument.  Incoming students are expected to be able to read basic music notation.  Jazz Band fosters a collaborative environment where students build musical relationships, and learn to work as an independent ensemble.  With student lead music suggestions, Jazz Band works through both original and standard arrangements. In addition to performing at both winter and spring Concerts, Jazz Band will play for the middle school community at daytime “Jams” throughout the year.  In the course of learning, Students will make deep connections about how music has been a part of cultural movements and technological advancements of the 20th century. This course will give students a richer understanding of their instrument and prepares them for the upper school music program.

Movement

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description:  Movement explores the fundamentals of dance forms, space, time, and levels.  In order to explore these concepts, an eclectic mix of dance styles such as contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and break dancing, which are a few of electric dance styles will be explored. With focus on choreography, students will gain a deeper understanding of how to design a dance. Learning about tools and viewing live and recorded performances, will help students build on their knowledge to successfully create a well-choreographed dance. Students will create small pieces throughout the semester, which will be developed into a final piece that will be performed for the class. Students will explore creative movement with props.  Improvisation, live and recorded performances will be conducted to understand these concepts. Students will perform in the winter or spring dance recital, at the end of the semester.

Middle School Singers

Semester | Elective

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition

Course Description: From the tiniest whisper to the loudest roar, singing energizes one’s soul. For students who love to sing and want to immerse themselves in a dynamic vocal group, MS Singers provides a unique journey, exploring every aspect of being a vocalist. Working closely with Rhythm Section, this class will incorporate unique arrangements within a wide variety of musical genres. This course will engage singers in a process of how to warm-up vocally, and read music notation for the voice. Students will get the opportunity to work in both large and small groups, as well as collaborate with paired-down student accompaniment or full band. In addition to performing at both winter and spring concerts, MS Singers will sing at daytime “Jams” throughout the year as well as visit CALVET to engage and connect with the veterans. MS Singers will prepare students for meeting future musical challenges including singing in an Upper School vocal ensemble.

Music 101

Year | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Whether a student is a complete beginner or has some experience, this elective is a perfect starting place for a musical journey at Brentwood. Music 101 provides the opportunity to have fun playing in a group as well as honing one’s skills through individual study. Students will learn basic music theory on an instrument of their choosing while engaging with music notation. This class works through both original and standard arrangements of contemporary material. In addition to acquiring skills on an instrument, students will make deep connections about how music has been a part of cultural movements and technological advancements of the 20th century. This course will give students a foundation to continue learning music, and audition for an intermediate, or advanced music ensemble.

Music 102

Year | Elective Middle School

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition or teacher recommendation

Course Description: Music 102 is a great opportunity for students to gain more confidence and control of their instrument. This class is designed to propel intermediate musicians toward increased proficiency. Students will deepen their understanding of music theory, and learn the stylistic subtleties of their chosen instrument. Playing as a group, musicians will delve into the intricacies of various genres while learning to read music notation. Music 102 works through both original and standard arrangements of contemporary material. In addition to acquiring skills on an instrument, students will make deep connections about how music has been a part of cultural movements and technological advancements of the 20th century. This course will give students the ideal push toward being a proficient player, and prepare them for a more advanced ensemble.

Orchestra

Year | Elective Middle School

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition

Course Description: From Mozart to Muse, and ABBA to Zeppelin, this class combines the elements of a traditional orchestra with musical ideas from popular, world, and classical genres to create unique performance experiences. This elective is primarily for intermediate to advanced ensemble and rhythm section players with proficient knowledge of their instrument. Incoming students are expected to be able to read basic music notation. Orchestra is a chamber group that incorporates a variety of instruments to produce one-of-a-kind arrangements that challenge and inspire. In addition to performing at both winter and spring concerts, Orchestra will play for the Middle School community at daytime “Jams” throughout the year. Students will experience reading music, and making connections about how music has been a part of cultural movements and technological advancements of the 20th century. This course will give students a richer understanding of their instrument and prepare them for the upper school music program.

Rhythm Section Workshop

Year | Elective Middle School

Prerequisite: Enrollment by audition

Course Description: From Mozart to Muse, and ABBA to Zeppelin, this class combines the elements of a traditional orchestra with musical ideas from popular, world, and classical genres to create unique performance experiences. This elective is primarily for intermediate to advanced ensemble and rhythm section players with proficient knowledge of their instrument. Incoming students are expected to be able to read basic music notation. Orchestra is a chamber group that incorporates a variety of instruments to produce one-of-a-kind arrangements that challenge and inspire. In addition to performing at both winter and spring concerts, Orchestra will play for the Middle School community at daytime “Jams” throughout the year. Students will experience reading music, and making connections about how music has been a part of cultural movements and technological advancements of the 20th century. This course will give students a richer understanding of their instrument and prepare them for the Upper School music program.

Middle School Theater Company

Year | Elective

Prerequisite: The MSTC is an advanced-level study of theater, and admission is by audition.

Course Description: In this advanced theater class, students will work collaboratively as a working ensemble to perform shows in front of their school community. Class time is used to explore the dynamics of an ensemble, to learn skills appropriate to the content of the upcoming production, and to rehearse for performance. In addition to studying advanced acting techniques, students will actively engage throughout the entire production process by writing original material, directing, stage management, and production design. Ensemble members must be available to rehearse occasionally after school and perform on weekends.

Past productions include Alice in Wonderland, Voices of the 60s, and The Monster Plays.

Digital Art

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Students will learn and develop the fundamentals of digital image manipulation using Photoshop. A wide range of open-ended projects will allow students of all levels to explore real life applications to digital artwork. Learning how to make a magazine, and applying the principles of design to create a poster are some of the skills students will gain during this course. Project critiques will allow students to develop their ability to analyze, describe, interpret, and evaluate artwork throughout the course. By the end of the semester, students will have the ability to use digital art as a medium of personal expression.

Filmmaking

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Filmmaking is an entry-level course designed to expose students to all the essential skills and techniques necessary to create a film. Through a series of short video productions, students will learn the fundamentals of storytelling, how they apply to the film world, and develop the ability to create their own original film concepts. Students will learn basic camera skills, gain a solid understanding of a variety of different types of filming techniques, and develop a strong foundation in editing and the post-production process. Learning how to apply their critical thinking skills to watching films, students will analyze and appreciate the medium in a more meaningful way. Selected student work will be broadcast to the Brentwood community throughout the semester on our YouTube channel.

Mixed Media Studio

Semester | Elective 8th Grade

Prerequisite: Studio Art

Course Description: Considered the “next level” course after having taken Studio Art, this course allows students to further develop their artistic skills and knowledge through a multi-media approach. Students will explore a variety of materials and techniques such as glass fusing, glazing bisque ware pottery, sculptural compositing with found objects, and exploring linear perspective in a tri-dimensional realm (reverse perspective). Throughout this course, students will develop their art making practice by engaging in critiques using discussion as a critical tool for artistic and personal growth.

Sculpture

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: This course has a basis in three-dimensional form focusing on sculptural concepts, materials and design-inspired products.  Students will explore a variety of media such as paper, clay, wire, plaster, tape, mixed media assemblages, and more. Introductory ceramic techniques are covered, which allows for future foundational skills in Upper School Ceramics courses. Multiple techniques ranging from relief, life casting, coil building, additive and subtractive sculptural pieces will be explored. Projects offer the opportunity to develop traditional and backwards-by-design methods of creating. Students will develop and implement ideas by practicing creative problem solving and craftsmanship approaches. As every student works at a different level, progress is measured based on a personal level of mastery.

Studio Art

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Studio Art is the “entry level” art class for the Middle School visual art program. Students will study many drawing, painting, and design skills at a more sophisticated level. The hands-on nature of this class lays the groundwork for many techniques used in a variety of art media. Students will learn and implement concepts including art elements and design principles, collaboration, and how to communicate ideas visually. A cross-cultural approach to art-creation is emphasized by discussing how the diverse environments that are home to different artists, influences their art work and helps them create unique cultural meaning. Students will refine their critical reasoning skills to effectively write and talk about art in the art-making practice and class critiques. As every student works at a different level, each individual is encouraged to excel at his or her own rate and progress is measured based on a personal level of mastery.

Debate

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Beginning with an emphasis on cogent and persuasive public speaking skills, this semester elective will cover basic rules and techniques used in various styles of debate including, parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, and policy debate. From learning the essential components of arguments to executing such arguments in constructive and rebuttal speeches, students will engage in class debates with peers concerning social, political, and economic issues such as: Should steroid users be admitted to the baseball Hall of Fame? Should junk food be banned in school? Particular emphasis is placed on growth and development of speaking skills through SPAR debates, argument creation, and case building. Interested students are encouraged to join the debate team to represent Brentwood School at league tournaments against other independent schools.  Enrollment in this class is not necessary to compete on the Middle School Debate Team.

Public Speaking

Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: The goal of this course is to teach students how to communicate effectively to a wide range of audiences in a variety of formats. From interpersonal exchanges and group discussions to prepared speeches (for example: the speech to inform, to entertain, to honor, to demonstrate) students will practice the skills necessary to inform others of ideas: listening attentively, speaking clearly, thinking critically, researching carefully, and writing logically. Effective communication also requires appreciating different points of view with patience and sensitivity. At the end of the course, each student will deliver a TED talk about a personal passion or salient issue to a larger audience.

Creative Coding for Your World

Fall Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: Think about the games kids play and the applications they use on their computers. How are they created, and how do they work? The students of this course learn how to create and control their own computer games and simulations. Past projects included: digital pets, a board game, and a ‘horse race,’ and more. This course serves as an introduction to students to the use of computer programming, to design and define their world. Besides being empowering and generating tenacity, confidence and curiosity, successful completion of the course coding projects fosters the following invaluable life skills: creativity, collaboration; problem-solving; approximation; and iterative thinking. Students go beyond being consumers of content on the computer and become creators! The programming language used in this course is Logo as assembled in the creative environment of MicroWorldsEx.

Software: MicroWorldsEx

Robotics Innovation Design

Spring Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: From Wall-E and EVE, to R2-D2 and C-3P0, robots reflect and capture our imaginations. Using various materials and equipment, students design, create, and program all sorts of interactive robots. Creations vary from year to year depending on what the students wish to make. Projects and challenges include making shoebox monsters, fortune tellers, dancing stick figures, Harry Potter ferocious monster books and more. Students bring their robots to life by creating mechanisms using servos and motors, and programming distance and light sensors, and LEDs wired into either a Hummingbird Robotics board, or a Lego EV3 brick. Throughout the semester, students showcase their creations for the community during lunches and assemblies. Past assembly demonstrations have included a dance off, a parade, a soccer penalty kick contest, bowling, and the hokey pokey. Possible programming environments include Scratch, Mindstorms, Microsoft MakeCode, and JavaScript. No programming or robotics experience is necessary; this is an introductory course.

Yearbook

Fall Semester | Elective Middle School

Course Description: The yearbook elective entails being a reporter, photographer, or designer as a part of the East Campus yearbook staff. Students will complete the spreads they are assigned by conducting interviews, writing stories, taking pictures, or designing spreads. Middle School yearbook students will interface with the Upper School yearbook editors to meet deadlines. Depending on the position and assignment, the student may be required to occasionally work after school or during weekend production dates.