Independent Pre-K to 12 School in Atlanta

The Paideia School


The high school provides a well-rounded and challenging college curriculum which prepares students for demanding college studies with extensive offerings in English, social sciences, mathematics, foreign languages, sciences, art, music, and drama. We have chosen to offer AP courses in departments where the curriculum and rigor of courses best fit the present and future academic needs of students. One of the unique features of the high school is the rich range of elective courses offered during the two short terms sessions in January and May.

English Language, Literature, and Composition

Classic Adventure Literature

Battling the elements on mountaintops, at sea, and in steamy jungles creates stories of excitement, survival, and the human tenacity to live. In this course we will read fictional stories, personal accounts, and poetry about adventures involving settings that touch all corners of the world and extreme conditions. The works from authors such as, Verne, London, Twain, Dickey, Le Guin, and Strayed will include exploration stories of the Amazon, the Yukon, the vast sea, and infinite sky; encounters with animals such as grizzlies, leopards, and venomous reptiles become settings for the human battle between life and death. The course will focus on reading and writing, analytical essays, creative assignments, and independent projects. Assessments include participation in discussions, homework completion, and projects; tests and quizzes on the reading, vocabulary, and grammar will round out our adventures.

Multicultural Encounters
**This class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

Contact zones, border crossings, color lines—since the nation’s beginnings, American literature has been largely defined by a clash of cultures. Are we a melting pot? A salad bowl? A tapestry, an orchestra? The metaphors for our diversity never quite seem to capture the brilliance and brutality of our nation’s stories. Because multicultural American literature is frequently concerned with “claiming” America, dispelling stereotypes, and setting the historical record straight, we will spend much of our time in this course considering literary texts within their cultural contexts. Units of study will center around such historical events as colonialism, immigration, and 20th-century identity movements. We will hear from a wide range of defining American literary voices, including but definitely not limited to Sherman Alexie, Carlos Bulosan, Octavia Butler, Frederick Douglass, Sui Sin Far, and Philip Roth. Throughout, students will hone their writing, close-reading, literary analysis, and research skills through active class participation, detailed annotation, reading quizzes, formal writing and speaking assignments, and in-class tests after each unit or major work.

Environmental Literature: Walks On The Wild Side
“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”

— Karle Wilson Baker, “Good Company”

How are we shaped and inspired by our environment? How does our environment support and provide for us, and how do we in return care for it? Elemental forces such as fire and water often still our souls and quiet our minds. Why is it that we find solace in nature? The landscape around us helps to shape who we become. The environment we live in affects our culture, just as our culture affects the environment. Come explore these ideas, as we investigate different landscapes and what they mean to us. We will discuss environmental literature, from the personal to the political, and we will weave in elements of travel literature and folklore. We will read about people who discovered, explored, and loved the rugged beauty of this world, taming or being tamed by lands they called lost, undiscovered, wild, and beautiful. We will consider how the environment we live in affects our lives, and what our responsibility is to protect it. Hiking/ walking in the woods fieldtrips, journaling, and personal reflection will be a part of this class. Readings may include Thoreau’s Walden, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, John McPhee’s Encounters with the Archdruid, and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, in addition to shorter pieces. Assignments may include blog discussions, informal and formal responses to our readings, and some creative writing. From literature of discovery to awe-struck wonder to the question of conservation, our readings are designed to help you solidify your views on the natural world around you.

Coming To America – Immigration in American Literature
**This Class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

“My whole family has been having trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country.”

This one liner from comic lyricist Yip Harburg (whose parents emigrated from Russia to New York’s Lower East Side) nicely captures the ironies and tensions of the United States’ relationship with immigration. On the one hand, as a self-professed “Nation of Immigrants” we proclaim “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe fee” and celebrate the ways successive waves of immigrants have contributed to our national life. On the other hand, Harburg’s witticism undercuts our self-congratulation by hinting at some of the shameful aspects of our national narrative of immigration, especially the problem of hostility to newcomers. Reading about immigrants, the resilience and inventiveness they display and the estrangement and alienation they endure, is at least as likely to trouble us as it is to inspire us. In this course we will approach America’s literary tradition through the study of fictional and non-fiction narratives that depict the varied experiences of those who emigrated to this land and began new lives – from England, Central Europe, China, India, Mexico, the Caribbean – as well as those who fled here as refugees or were compelled to come here as slaves. Students can expect to read from such authors as Bharati Mukherjee, Bernard Malamud, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, Gish Jen, Junot Diaz, Henry Roth, Eric Liu, Olaudah Equiano, Willa Cather, Dave Eggers, T.C. Boyle, and Julia Alvarez. Students in this course can expect three or four multi-draft compositions each term. Most of the compositions will be analytical in nature, but there will also be personal and creative writing. Tests (three or four per term) will be in written format: either in-class essays or short answers. Depending on the text being studied, the reading load can be as much as twenty pages per night, or considerably less. There will be occasional vocabulary quizzes and reading checks.

The American Dream
**This Class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

Here, in this election year, the candidates can’t help but discuss the viability if not the reality of “the America Dream.” It’s strong as ever; it needs help; it’s a myth. Well, actually, no candidate wanting to be elected would say the latter. For what is the American Dream but the cultural tissue that connects us as Americans? “Any one can be president”; “try hard enough and anyone can succeed”; “in America, any thing is possible.” And so on and so on. Scott Fitzgerald in that great American Dream novel “The Great Gatsby” gives us as true a picture of this idea/ideal as any writer ever has: Dutch sailors from the old country see the shores of the new world for the first time, and for a moment, everything seemed possible. Any hope, any dream they had seemed possible. And now, three hundred years later, we’re still asking if our dreams are still attainable here in America. Writers have been considering this question almost as long as America itself has existed, and in this theme class, we’ll be looking at American through the eyes of many American writers from the nineteeth century to today. From Nathanial Hawthorne in post colonial New England to Lorraine Hansberry’s Southside Chicago family trying to move out of their cramped apartment in the 1950s to high achieving Harvard Law students to drug dealers in urban Washington D.C. of today to the lives of educated young women in Eisenhower-era women’s colleges of Sylvia Plath, we will look at this idea of America as the place where all is possible, where anyone can go from nobody to millionaire ala James Gatz, aka Jay Gatsby. Along with the literature we will consider several movies that tie into our overarching theme. Class is discussion based with 4-5 essays—critical, personal, and creative—in the fall, and 3 in the spring, along with midterm and final tests. Expect 20 pages of reading a night and 1-2 reading quizzes a week.

It’s All True - Memoir and Historical Fiction
**This Class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

“Nonfiction is the place where much of the best writing of the day is being done. Yet many writers and teachers of writing continue to feel vaguely guilty if they prefer it to fiction - nonfiction is the slightly disreputable younger brother in the royal house of literature. No such guilt is necessary. While the keepers of the temple weren't looking, nonfiction crept in an occupied the throne.” -- William Zinsser

Zinsser is on to something there. Literary non-fiction (especially the autobiographical narrative) has come to occupy an honored place in our national literary life, and we’ll study some of the best that’s out there: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life. We’ll also read shorter works of prose autobiography by the likes of Henry David Thoreau, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Richard Rodriguez, plus autobiographical poetry. However, we won’t limit ourselves to the true. The truthy will have a place, too. We’ll read novels and a play based on historical events and people: In the Time of the Butterflies – Julia Alvarez; The March – E.L. Doctorow; Inherit the Wind – Lawrence and Lee. Whether we’re reading non-fiction that claims to be true or fiction that claims to be rooted in the truth, we’ll devote some attention to the relationship of the text to the historical record. How true is the text to what really happened? How much does that matter? Students in this course can expect three or four multi-draft compositions each term. Most of the compositions will be analytical in nature, but there will also be personal and creative writing. Tests (three or four per term) will be in written format: either in-class essays or short answers. Depending on the text being studied, the reading load can be as much as twenty pages per night, or considerably less. There will be occasional vocabulary quizzes and reading checks.

The Male Voice

For males only. I used to introduce this course by saying that a gender-segregated class was new and experimental and that we were in the process of trying it out to see whether it would be of benefit to young men. Now, after offering this course for the past 13 years, the results have been satisfying, and so we continue to offer it. In this class we will read novels, plays, essays, short stories, and poems—and watch a couple of movies--that seek to express something essential about the experience of being male. We will look at the long-standing male concerns such as courage, cowardice, love, violence, and war, as well as the question of what it means to be a man.

I vary the types of writing assignments and include both informal and formal ones. The informal writing consists mostly of journal responses (blog posts) to the literature and then the occasional in-class free writing. The formal writing assignments are essays, both personal and critical. Over the years, the major works that we have read include The Kite Runner, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Things They Carried, A Lesson before Dying, and Cold Mountain. I will likely include a couple of these again and then add one or two new selections for next year.

To get an idea of the workload, when we are reading a novel, I typically assign about 25 pages of reading per night. In a typical semester, a student will write between 12 and 15 journal blog posts and will compose 3-4 essays. As for tests, I give reading quizzes, tests after each novel, and almost always have a final exam in one form or another.

Mythbusting America
**This class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

America! A land bursting with tall tales, legends, folklore, trickster narratives, and those dearly beloved stories about the melting pot, manifest destiny, and the American Dream. In this class, we will read some of the most influential contributors to American national mythology, from the Puritans and Founding Fathers to Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” and Horatio Alger’s tales of rags to riches. In turn, we will read texts that expose the fault lines and frailties of these stories as well as others that retell and revise traditional cultural narratives in order to challenge the homogeneity of our nation’s myths. Just some of the authors we will encounter include James Baldwin, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Washington Irving, Martin Luther King, Jr., Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Walt Whitman. Major texts will likely include William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Over the course of the year, students will hone their writing, close-reading, literary analysis, and research skills through active class participation, detailed annotation, blogging, and formal writing and speaking assignments.

Age and Experience

“A [human’s] purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.” (Albert Camus)

William Miller: Well, it was fun.

Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey, I met you. You are not cool.

William: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn’t.

Lester: That’s because we are uncool! And while women will always be a problem for guys like us, most of the great art in the world is about that very problem. Good-looking people have no spine! Their art never lasts! They get the girls, but we’re smarter.

William: I can really see that now. (Patrick Fugit and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Almost Famous, written and directed by Cameron Crowe)

How do we get to where we’re going? If it’s local, ask a friend; Map Quest also works wonders. If it’s the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, you can get a trip-tik from AAA, or just buy a Rand McNally map at Barnes and Noble. France and Germany for three weeks? I’m partial towards Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door Guides, though Froemmers and Let’s Go work fine. But what about closer to do we navigate our way through this wondrous, exhilarating, goofy, bizarre, painful, and ultimately tragic landscape called life? Growing up, confronting all that life presents to us—love, death, family, heroism, cowardice, evil, joy, disappointment, idealism, disillusionment—is something that no Driver’s Ed course prepares us for. But we can look to art for some clues. Not necessarily answers, but clues, ideas, options. The books we will read this year range far and wide in terms of action, place, and characters: the Africa of 19th century colonialism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; the world of rock’n’roll circa 1973 as seen through the eyes of a 15 year old journalist in Almost Famous; The Holocaust as experienced by a mute child in The Painted Bird and as experienced by a cartoonist whose parents survived it in Maus; a teenage African American girl finding herself far from her Philadelphia home in a tradition bound, mostly male and white New Hampshire prep school in the memoir Black Ice. A great Donne scholar who finds herself stricken with stage four cancer and has to confront the reality of what she’s taught as literature in the play Wit. What will unite these disparate works (and the others we’ll consider) is our attention toward their presentation of the moments where the people in them, through their own attention to the experience they gain from age, make or not make the decisions or actions that affect their entire lives. As with all literature we ask the questions, “What are they doing?” “Why are they doing what they’re doing?” “Where do they end up?” And perhaps the answers we come up with help us address and answer those same questions for ourselves. Lots of reading; lots of writing; lots of blogging; not many tests and quizzes (but the ones you have count a lot); and always discussion, discussion always, discussion, discussion, discussion.

It’s All True – Memoir and Historical Fiction
**This class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

“There's basically an element of fiction in everything you remember. Imagination and memory are almost the same brain processes. When I write fiction, I know that I'm using a bunch of lies that I've made up to create some form of truth. When I write a memoir, I'm using true elements to create something that will always be somehow fictionalized.”
-- Isabel Allende

The autobiographical narrative has long been among the most dynamic genres in our national literature, evoking the big themes of American life every bit as compellingly (sometimes even moreso) than do the novel, drama, and poetry. In this course we’ll study and discuss the work of some of our most absorbing and thought-provoking memoirists: Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tobias Wolff, and Richard Rodriguez, plus memoirs chosen by students. However, we won’t limit ourselves to non-fiction. We’ll also read from the growing body of novels, plays, and poetry that spiral out of historical events and the lives of real people: Katherine Anne Porter’s “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”, her inventive fictionalization of her near-fatal experience of the 1918 flu epidemic; Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a drama based on the Salem Witch Trials; E.L. Doctorow’s The March, an enthrallingly kaleidoscopic novel based on General Sherman’s invasion of Georgia and the Carolinas; Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, a counterhistory in which he imagines an anti-Semitic Charles Lindbergh presidency in 1940s America; and Native Guard, Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize winning collection of autobiographical poems and poems inspired by her research into a unit of black soldiers during the Civil War. Other elements of the course include film study, extensive class discussion, and a variety of composition assignments designed to help students grow as writers and thinkers in an academic setting. Students in this course can expect four or five multi-draft compositions each term. Most of the compositions will be analytical in nature, but there will also be personal and creative writing. Tests (three or four per term) will be in written format: either in-class essays or short answers. Depending on the text being studied, the reading load can be as much as thirty pages per night, or considerably less. There will be occasional vocabulary quizzes and reading checks.

Visions of Reality

This course will look into the complexity of the literary cultures of other countries. One of the ways we will do this is by reading contrasting pairs of books, one from outside the country such as A Passage to India by E. M. Forster or The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad or Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson and one from inside Midnight's Children by Salman Rhusdie or Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe or Krick?Krack! by Edwidge Danticat. Much of the strongest and most urgent writing is now coming from the world's "young" countries. These cultures need to redefine themselves now they are free of the impositions of colonialism, and literature is central to that discovery of identity. So the class is an exploration of world literature that focuses on three or four specific countries. We may read works from India, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa, The Carribean and Brazil alongside classic works of English and American literature that once “defined” those other places. Authors will be chosen from the writers mentioned and others such as Nadine Gordimer, Anita Desai, R. K. Narayan, Rabindranath Tagore, Rudyard Kipling, Graham Greene, Athol Fugard, Amos Tutuola, Bruce Chatwin and Peter Carey.

Good and Evil

When Luke Skywalker tells his father, Darth Vader, "I feel the good in you, the conflict," he gets at an idea that threads its way through literature from its inception. Some texts we'll be studying look at the loner figure trying to deal with a resident evil, like Beowulf, or its great-grandson, The Lord of the Rings. In a world in which we feel pulled between the desire for good and the seduction of immorality, other texts teach us how to behave in certain fundamental social situations. We might look at the choices afforded the medieval knight in Gawain and the Green Knight; we will think about satire (both eighteenth century and The Onion) as a way of commentating on perceived social ills; and we'll almost certainly read a nineteenth-century novel, such as Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native or Jane Austen's Emma, that is constantly aware of a community's requirements to Be Good. Religion can provide both solace and a warning if you don't behave properly, and with this in mind, we'll read the greatest book of punishments, Dante's Inferno, with an eye on John Milton's Satan in selections from Paradise Lost. The class will culminate with a spring pairing of Joseph Conrad's colonial novel Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam movie, Apocalypse Now. I'm already looking forward to hearing General Corman's words on assigning Willard his mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz: "Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil."

American Literature: Promise and Compromise
**This Class satisfies the American Literature requirement**

In 1630 John Winthrop told his fellow travelers upon their arrival to the New World that

…to do Justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God…, we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly Affection, we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others' necessities, we must uphold a familiar Commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality, we must delight in each other, make others' conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our Commission and Community in the work.

This sounds ideal (but not simplistically "Great"). And others at the time and in subsequent generations have echoed his pious pleas and promises for life in this place.~ President Obama in his fourth State of the Union Address said,

…as Americans, we all share the same proud title: We are citizens. Itís a word that doesnít just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.

In between the declaration of these lofty sentiments stand nearly three centuries of struggle, otherwise known as reality. Fulfilling the ideals of Winthrop and his successors has been difficult. The country has continually found ways to make concessions to lesser ends. Writers along the way have kept track of the process, recalling the promise and noting the effects of compromise. We will track this enduring struggle across the literary history of this country in the poetry and prose of the nation's most profound thinkers and provocative writers from the early seventeenth century to the early twenty-first century. Directed discussion will be our primary means of discovery. A fair amount of writing will abet our learning. Expect a handful of tests each term, and four out-of-class papers in the fall and three in the spring. Revisions will be a part of the writing process.

Modern Languages

Language 1 and 2

In the first two years of language study, equal emphasis will be placed throughout the courses on the four basic skills of all language learning: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Attendance is crucial and thirty to forty-five minutes of study per night is considered the minimum for satisfactory progress in beginning languages. New skills in the language can only be built on a firm foundation of previously mastered material. Both language 1 and 2 classes continue through Short Term A.

Language 3

These classes will cover the same material as the honors level language courses, but will proceed at an appropriate pace for opportunities to review and master the material. Students will be recommended for Language 3 as a result of previously identified language needs in our foundation language courses. The class will utilize carefully designed teaching methods, which take into consideration individual learning needs. Instruction will proceed at a more deliberate pace than the honors level class, with many opportunities for practice and reinforcement of new material, and varied methods of assessment.

Language 3 H

Building on skills from the first two years of study, third-year language courses expand on grammatical structures and vocabulary to broaden and enhance communicative skills. Students write analytical and creative essays and participate in substantial classroom discussions on topics ranging from culture to literature to current events. After completion of this level, a student may move on to an advanced level course.

Spanish 4

Students in Language 3 non-honors can advance to Language 4. In this class, all of the language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) will be extensively reviewed and practiced. Vocabulary previously covered will be reviewed and expanded. A variety of topics will be presented and discussed. Students will review grammar and will be introduced to more advanced concepts. There will be an emphasis on speaking and expressing opinions about the important issues of today and the students' own personal experience.

Spanish 5

Students in Language 5 will be summing up their language learning experience. They have covered a great deal of vocabulary and grammar by this point, and they will continue to practice and advance those skills throughout the year. Finally, they will finish their high school experience by creating a portfolio emphasizing major points of their language journey.

Cultural themes in Spanish

This course is designed for students who have completed level 3 Honors and are eager to continue expanding their knowledge of language, literature, and culture. Students will be encouraged to speak confidently through a variety of individual and collaborative presentations. In addition, the course will help students develop grammatically accurate and coherent writing using a methodical approach. We will analyze literary texts and films with pre-viewing and vocabulary building activities beforehand leading to comprehension and analysis questions. Students should be prepared to write short pieces of around 300-500 words in a variety of styles, including descriptive, argumentative, and creative. The Spanish course may include the following topics: cultural fusion, environment, myths and legends, and rights and responsibilities.

Advanced Topics in Spanish Expression

Seminar in Spanish Expression is an intensive conversation and composition course that focuses on improving students' ability to express themselves in the target language. In addition to a communication-based text, we will use newspapers and other Internet resources to expose students to a variety of materials produced by native speakers from many different countries. The class discussions and activities will be based on different themes such as family and friendship, media and technology, childhood and generational differences, travel and transportation, and nature and the environment. Students will be expected to use the target language for readings, discussions, presentations, papers, and journals. Students write journal entries each week. There will be 2 or 3 written tests, three 2-3-page papers and 2 or 3 oral presentations each term. Participation is very important. Advanced grammar will be reviewed weekly, but students are expected to have a good working knowledge of grammar prior to taking this class.

Advanced Spanish Civilization and Culture

In Civilization and Culture, students will study the historical, social and cultural aspects of two countries: Spain and Mexico. We will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining the study of literature, art, music, and film within the context of each country’s history. Grammar, the history of the language, and geography will also be incorporated. Readings, lectures, and discussions will be entirely in Spanish. Participation is very important. Students should expect reading quizzes, short answer tests, oral presentations and essays, and mini projects.

Cultural themes in French

This course is designed for students who have completed level 3 Honors and are eager to continue expanding their knowledge of language, literature, and culture. The course will help students develop grammatically accurate and coherent writing using a methodical approach. Students will write short pieces of around 300-500 words in a variety of styles, including descriptive, argumentative, and creative. In addition, students will be encouraged to speak confidently through regular podcasts and short Power Point presentations. We will analyze literary texts and films with pre-viewing and vocabulary building activities beforehand leading to comprehension and analysis questions. The French course focuses on different francophone countries and cultures, including Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.

Advanced French Civilization and Culture

In this course students will examine the historical, social, and ideological aspects of the French-speaking world through an interdisciplinary approach combining the study of literature, the arts, and film within the context of the culture’s history. Term I will focus on France. Term II will focus on Haiti. Students read historical and literary texts. They are expected to study vocabulary, and answer questions, and be prepared to discuss them in class. There are regular tests, and students are asked to write two 2-3-page papers per term. Advanced grammar is taught weekly. Class time is spent discussing the readings or grammar. Students do at least one oral report or project per term.

Advanced Topics in French Expression

Seminar in French Expression is an intensive conversation and composition course that focuses on improving students' ability to express themselves in the target language. In addition to a communication-based text, we will use newspapers and other Internet resources to expose students to a variety of materials produced by native speakers from many different countries. The class discussions and activities will be based on different themes such as family and friendship, media and technology, childhood and generational differences, travel and transportation, and nature and the environment. Students will be expected to use the target language for readings, discussions, presentations, papers, and journals. Students write journal entries each week. There will be 2 or 3 written tests, three 2-3-page papers and an oral presentation each term. Participation is very important. Advanced grammar will be reviewed weekly, but students are expected to have a good working knowledge of grammar prior to taking this class.


Algebra I (A1)

Algebra I is a standard first-year algebra course. It is offered in the high school as needed.

Introduction To Algebra 2 (IA2)

Introduction to Algebra 2 covers the majority of the Algebra 2 curriculum at a slower pace, but with greater attention to student mastery of the most important topics. The course continues through one hour of each short term.

Algebra 2 (A2)

Algebra 2 covers more advanced algebra topics, such as linear functions, quadratic functions, rational expressions, logarithms and exponents, simultaneous linear equations, roots of equations, coordinate geometry, and complex numbers. Elementary trigonometry, probability, and statistics are also part of the Algebra 2 curriculum. The course continues through one hour of each short term.

Algebra 2/Trigonometry (A2T)

Algebra 2/Trigonometry is offered to a limited number of ninth graders on recommendation of the high school math department. In order to prepare students to go directly to Precalculus (S), this course covers the material in both Algebra 2 and FTG course in one year. The course continues through one hour of each short term.

Geometry And Trigonometry (GT)

Introduction to Functions, Trigonometry, and Geometry covers the majority of the Functions, Trigonometry, and Geometry curriculum at a slower pace, but with greater attention to student mastery of the most important topics.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Algebra 2

Functions, Trigonometry, And Geometry (FTG)

Functions, Trigonometry, and Geometry covers mathematical functions, with an emphasis both on understanding their nature and learning techniques for applying them. It includes a study of trigonometry and geometry.

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or Introduction to Algebra 2 with teacher recommendation.

Discrete (CP)

Applied Mathematics focuses on applying mathematics to real world problems. Topics covered will include linear programming, critical path methods, decision trees, probability distributions and quality control. Students will create a business entity from the ground floor using multi-criteria decision-making techniques. Activities, projects and hands on learning activities are conducted using a variety of approaches but make heavy use of the computer and the IPAD.

Prerequisite: FTG or Intro FTG with teacher recommendation.

Intro to Precalculus (IPC) (H)

Introduction to Precalculus covers the majority of the Precalculus (S) curriculum at a slower pace, but with greater attention to student mastery of the most important topics.

Prerequisite: FTG or Introduction to FTG with teacher recommendation.

Computer Science (H)

This course will introduce students to computer science and the Python programming language.

Students will learn about object-oriented programming, algorithms, and data-structures. Assignments will include a variety of programming challenges and student selected projects. No previous programming experience is required. This course will emphasize abstraction as a precursor to coding. Students will make use of many pre-written packages and their documentation. Depending on student interest and aptitude, the class may branch beyond Python and write Apps for the Android platform. This course is open to juniors who wish to double-up in math and to all seniors subject to instructor approval.

Calculus and Statistics Modeling (H)

Calculus and Statistics Modeling will cover calculus concepts (differentiation and integration) and statistics topics (data analysis and inference) by exploring and modeling real-world data and phenomena. Spreadsheets, statistical software and IPAD apps will be utilized.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Precalculus (H) or Precalculus (S)

Precalculus (S)

Precalculus, a Seminar level course, will cover functions, trigonometry, graphing, solving complex equations, limits, and advanced problem solving. The course will emphasize theory and explore each topic in depth. Prerequisite: A2T or FTG with teacher recommendation.

AP Calculus – AB or BC (S)

These Seminar-level courses will cover basic concepts and methods of derivative and integral calculus. Students will be prepared to take the related Advanced Placement exam in May. The BC course covers substantially more material and therefore, moves at a faster pace than the AB course. Prerequisite: Both AB and BC are open to students who have completed Precalculus and have the recommendation of their teacher. Success in Calculus is highly correlated with success in Precalculus. The calculus courses continue for one hour in Short Term A.

AP Statistics (S)

AP Statistics presents four major themes in statistics: exploratory analysis, planning data production, probability, and statistical inference. Exploratory analysis of data makes use of graphical and numerical techniques. Methods for valid data collection through surveys and experiments are explored.

Probability is studied to anticipate how data should be distributed under a given model while statistical inference investigates the reliability of conclusions from empirical results. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Precalculus (H), Precalculus (S), or Calculus and Statistics Modeling (H) with teacher recommendation.

Vector Calculus (S)

This Seminar-level course explores a variety of advanced topics in mathematics. These may include introductory topics in abstract algebra and topology, mathematical analysis of sound and images, and the mathematics underlying modern physics. Computers will be used frequently, allowing students to tackle a wider range of problems. Prerequisite: AP Calculus (AB or BC)

Data Science (S)

Data Science serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary and emerging field of data science. Students will learn to combine tools and techniques from statistics, computer science, data visualization and the social sciences to solve problems using data. Central threads include the data science process from data collection to product, tools for working with both big and small datasets, statistical modeling and machine learning, and real world topics and case studies.

Prerequisite: AP Statistics and AP Calculus and Data Analysis with R (Short Term course) and approval of instructor

Social Studies

Topics in World Civilizations is required of all 9th graders and serves as a survey of world history. Special emphasis is placed on connecting the past with the present in all areas studied. For example, when Africa is studied, we progress from Ancient Africa to modern day. Each part of the world is studied, with the respective units lasting six to eight weeks. Students are required to take notes daily and to keep a class notebook. Three writing assignments are required: a short paper, a major paper and a book report. In addition, three or four objective exams will be given during each term, as well as an all-essay final exam.

US Politics is a one-hour short-term course required of all 9th graders and serves as a brief survey of US government. US Politics will go beyond the basics and look at the many forces that influence the US federal government (media, lobbyists, money, elections and citizens). This course takes a brief look at all three levels of government, with a focus on the three branches of the federal government. US Politics requires a few short writing assignments and one test.

US History and Government is a required course for 10th grade students and will survey American history and government from colonization through the present. US History and Government will introduce major themes and interpretations along with information on events. Historical research and writing will receive special emphasis, with each student writing essays and at least one long research paper interpreting a primary document. Tests will include both multiple-choice and discussion questions. The course will continue through both short term A and B as a one-hour class. With some additional work, students will be prepared for the US History SAT II test.

Perspectives On Issues In The Developing World

This class will examine the issues confronting developing nations from initial European contact to the present time. Patterns of European conquest and colonization, independence movements and the modern problems of political instability and economic developments within these countries will be the historical focus of the class. Mastering World History by Norman Lowe will be the text of the class. This text condenses the material into shorter sections than a traditional history textbook. This class will also be designed to help students develop into more consistent students with regular homework assignments that will be graded on a weekly basis. Group activities in-class will be an important aspect of this class in addition to regular class participation, homework, and Unit Tests.

Introduction to The African American Experience

Where there is oppression, there is resistance. This theme has characterized the experience of African Americans throughout the Diaspora. This course will explore the experience of African American cultural heritage and how it has influenced American culture. This will be accomplished by using an interdisciplinary approach that includes works of history, fiction, poetry, and essays. Students will have an opportunity to engage the topics and issues through readings, group discussions, field trips, video, music, and lecture.

Royals, Republics, and Revolutions

Europe has remade itself repeatedly in modern times. Focusing on England, France, and Russia we will look at the Old Regime monarchies and the dramatic social and political changes that altered the societies and governments of those countries. Starting out by studying the nations individually and the forces and factors that determined the form of their political systems, we will then use a wider lens and look at European wide movements such as the Renaissance, Reformation, unification movements, and the industrial revolution. Looking at upheavals such as the English, French, and Russian revolutions, World War I, and World War II we will trace the events and conflicts which have defined European political and cultural life until the present day.

Modernization: Political and Social Change

What does it mean for a country to be modern? How does a state create and foster social change?

Modernization movements have taken hold over many developing nations. Starting in the early 1800s, countries that found themselves ‘behind’ the western standards of a modern society began to develop their own efforts to organize political, economical and social change. Some of these changes destroyed national cultural traditions and lifestyles, while others allowed for more opportunities for democracy and nationalist movements. In this class we will look at 3 different countries that went through their own state sponsored social change and evaluate the impact and success of each. First, we will explore the Japanese push to abandon the Samurai and feudalist society to a modern, western culture. We will discuss the political and economic policy, but more importantly focus on the social changes that were mandated by the government and the direct impact it had on traditional Japanese culture. Our study of Japan will then move to assess the military and nationalist movements post-WWI and WWII during the reign of Emperor Hirohito.

Secondly we will examine the political and social change in the Ottoman Empire. While ethnic Turkish movements, like the Young Turks Revolution, sought to allow for democratic and western ideals, it also brutally suppressed other ethnic and nationalist movements in the Empire throughout WWI. Lastly, we will cover China and the early student movements for social change after WWI. We will dive into the student movements of 1919 and the push for democracy and rise in nationalism. Our course will end with an in-depth exploration of Mao’s Communist China and the impact it had on politics and personal relationships. We will read about Mao’s own social agendas for the youth of China and how it impacted generations of people. Our focus will be the rise of communism as a political movement and the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a social one. We’ll read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and discuss his commentary about state enforced modernism. Other course requirements will include nightly reading, quizzes, tests, and 2 short papers throughout the year.


This course offers an introduction to the problems, methods and concepts of psychology, the science of behavior. Major topics will be the history, methods and ethics of the discipline, biological foundations, perception, motivation and emotion, learning, memory and thinking, individual differences, intelligence, personality, social behavior, behavioral disorders and their treatment, and change. Students will learn about these topics by studying how psychologists identify and study a range of human problems, including how others can shape what we think, feel and believe; the psychological processes that contribute to bias, prejudice and discrimination; human sociability and aggression; the use and abuse of drugs; sexual orientation and behavior; and diagnosis and treatment of abnormal thinking, emotions and behavior. Readings will include the textbook, a book on psychological misconceptions, and reports from periodicals. Written work will include tests, one approximately every three weeks, quizzes, a final examination, and a six- to eight page research report. Students will be prepared to take the AP Psychology exam, though this is optional.

Anarchism, Socialism, and Communism

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Marxism and other revolutionary theories have lost their political power. While these theories no longer inspire hope among those seeking change or fear among those resisting it, they are still worth studying for the visions of equity and justice they offer, for their critiques of the economic and political systems which they challenge, and for the perspective they provide on the intellectual environment which gave birth to them. This course will survey the ideas of nineteenth-century anarchists, socialists, and communists, and the movements that they spawned from the end of the French Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet system. Readings included selections from the works of William Godwin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Pietr Kropotkin, and George Bernard Shaw, and Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station, the classic scholarly account of the utopian socialists, and Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin.

Economics of Globalization

The purpose of this course is to examine the roots and impact of Globalization. We will review possible definitions, look at the historical forces and analyze what Globalization means in the developed and less developed world. This course will analyze the varying perspectives on Globalization and why there are so many differences of opinion on its impact. While there are many ways to look at Globalization, this course will focus on the key economic forces driving Globalization and how this has impacted currency markets, trade, access to goods, relations between nations and the most recent economic crisis. This course will use multiple college texts and requires two 5-7 page papers.

Stealing Fire – History & Culture

This seminar will study three different historical periods with an emphasis on the cultural links and ideas that connect them. We will start with the Archaic and Classical periods in Greek history using the book, Classical Greece and the Birth of Western art. We will analyze select pieces of art and architecture that illuminate the culture of the two time periods in Greece. We will then turn to study some of the myths from the Greek culture. We will focus ultimately on the myth of Prometheus who stole fire from the gods and overreached his status in the world’s hierarchy. We will look at a number of aspects of Prometheus’ story, including how and why it emerged at this particular time. The course will then move to the reemergence and adaptation of Greek classical ideas in the history and art of the 18th century. Here the focus will be on France and its cultural, intellectual, and historical influences on the countries surrounding it. After studying this era in French history, we will finally turn to the tensions that arose as intellectuals contested the predominance of French culture. These tensions will inform our study of the early 19th century. We will take back up the story of Prometheus and the theme of man’s impulse to overreach his status through the study of some of the Romantic writers including Mary Shelley’s work Frankenstein ;or, The Modern Prometheus, while also studying the culture and history of the Romantic period. Included in this part of the course will be the film adaptation of the Frankenstein story.

Second semester we will turn to WWII to explore and reflect on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in yet another attempt by man to challenge our boundaries. We will not only study the history of the decision to drop the bombs, but also the impact of the bombs viewed in both American and Japanese culture and film. The class will explore the post-nuclear cultural impact in Japan as represented in films such as Godzilla. We will then read By the Bomb's Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age. Here we will consider how the Promethean myth plays out once again in the use of such an explosive device. Finally, we will investigate Abstract Expressionism, an art movement that grew out of the WWII and post WWII experience in America. We will discuss the impact that this period had on the many artists that created an American art movement. According to Russian abstract artist Kandinsky, “the more frightening the world becomes…the more art becomes abstract.” Students will be required to do the assigned reading, write academic papers and take tests. The reading will be assigned weekly and will fluctuate according to the difficulty levels, the papers will require a synthesis of ideas and authors’ points of view and the tests will be objective in nature.

Caste, Class and Empire

This class will seek to analyze and understand class in England and caste in India. It will take a look at how the two societies impacted each other during the colonial and post- colonial period. The first semester will focus on class by taking a look at the work of historians as well as writers of fiction who concentrated their efforts on class in Great Britain. We will read books by Orwell, Lawrence and Shaw. Included in this semester will be a look at the Roma culture in England. Where did they originate from and what might connect them to India? We will also take a look at coal mining and the impact it had on families through three periods including a contemporary analysis. Once establishing the power of class in Britain we will turn outward towards the empire. We will end with a study of the British Empire and its impact on both the life of English citizens as well as the influence it had on the people and states it dominated.

Second semester we will turn to an in depth study of India. We will start with the origins and the impact of religion and the caste system on Indian society. We will read the Ramayana. The Ramayana is one of the great stories of India. It is filled with adventure and all kinds of lessons. Then we will look at how colonization changed the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent. We will follow the history of the Independence movement taking a close look at both the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. Included in this study will be the establishment of Modern India and Pakistan. We will mirror the first semester by reading both history and fiction. We will read a personal narrative about the caste system as well as a few short stories that address the lives of both Pakistani and Indian immigrants to America. There will also be a few carefully placed films including a Bollywood week. Students will be required to do the assigned reading, write academic papers and take tests.

Modern America: History and Politics
This course examines the American experience in the last 50 years with particular attention to major social issues and political responses to them. Topics include poverty and welfare, women's history, McCarthyism and the Cold War. Reading in primary and secondary sources most nights. There are several papers each semester, including one long personal profile of a woman. Essay tests. This class encourages participation. The workload is probably average for an upper level honors course.


The concept of “civilization” has come to represent the pinnacle of human sophistication in culture, politics/governance, society, as well as science and technology. Simultaneously, it implies a set of ideas according to which all other communities—the so-called “uncivilized”—can be judged, suggesting a right and a responsibility to make the world better according to the standards of “civilized” people. What does it mean to be civilized? How far does the mandate to bring civilization to the rest of the world extend? What happens when two communities with opposing ideas about civilization meet? These are the central questions for this course.

This is a cross-disciplinary course that explores the problems and the possibilities that the concept of civilization has created over several millennia of human history. Students will examine these ideas in a critical discussion-based setting centered on readings in history, philosophy, science and literature—from the ancient world to the present day. Readings will include: Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, and Bartolomé de las Casas In Defense of the Indians. We will read, analyze and discuss the evolution of civilizations, examining in particular the written sources. While the course will pay appropriate attention to classical European sources—for example, the rise and fall in succession of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman civilizations, stressing the role of the Roman Empire in transmitting both classical civilization and the Christian religion to Europe—we will also examine closely philosophies of East and South Asia, as well as Africa and the Americas. The course will spend a great deal covering the Modern Age and our contemporary society.

Religion and Modern Society

In this seminar, we will explore what religions and, in particular, Judeo-Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist traditions have to say about the most pressing issues we are facing in the world today. Is religion at odds with the seemingly neutral ethos of liberal democracy and rights? What do religious beliefs and moral concepts imply about issues related to feminism, racism, and pluralism? What is the relationship between religious convictions, morality, and law, and the role of religion in political discourse? Special emphasis will be placed on selected political and economic problems—sexuality and marriage, bioethics, capital punishment, the environment, and war. We will anchor our work in an understanding of key religious texts such as the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian New Testament, the Koran, and selections from different schools of Buddhism, as well as articles from influential media sources, some seminal books, and scholarly publications. Moreover, we will ground our studies by looking at the relevance of these traditions in recent history in promoting women’s empowerment, in espousing human rights, and in securing more just social and economic conditions for those suffering from poverty. We will tackle the writings of major religious thinkers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im, Cornel West, Stanley Hauerwas, and Liberation Theologians and explore the roots of religion not simply as a conservative discourse, but as a major part of progressive traditions. Assessments will include quizzes, some writing assignments, and a longer paper on a relevant topic that a student gets to choose in conversation with me. Given that we will be investigating key religious, political, and social issues, active participation in discussions is important.

Elections and Public Policy

An election year is a great time to look closely at how our government operates and the political processes involved. This course is designed to give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. The course will include both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples. We will discuss the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. politics. This course requires a substantial amount of reading and preparation for class. Students are expected to think and write critically and to keep up with events in the news. Current events provide concrete connections for the topics studied. Participation in class discussion is expected.



Ecology, human genetics, evolution, and botany are the primary topics covered in Biology I. Students are required to complete homework on each chapter, as well as to write three News Summaries each term. In addition, students perform lab and class activities. Most tests cover one chapter. All 9th grade students take this class, which is the foundation for more advanced biology and environmental science classes.


Chemistry is required for all 10th grade students and serves as a yearlong introductory course to the field. Topics covered include laboratory skills and safety, atomic theory, periodic table and periodic trends, chemical reactions and balancing equations, molecular structure, moles and molarity, gas laws, and acid/base theory. Lab activities are scheduled throughout the year. Homework is assigned for each chapter and includes reading and problem solving. Although many laboratory assignments are completed in class, lab reports and other homework depend on independent study time (up to 30 minutes of study time daily). Each test is on one to two chapters of material from the textbook. There are about 10 chapter tests, two final exams, and the occasional quiz.

Anatomy and Physiology

In this course we will take a human approach to studying biology. Anatomy (the science of structure and the relationship among structures) and Physiology (the science of body functions) will provide an introduction to the structure and function of the human body through a systems approach. The first semester will be spent looking at the different levels of organization within our bodies as well as how we move and how we control our movements. The second semester we will study the cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems. Assessment will be based on chapter tests, quizzes and lab reports. This course will be lab intensive.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science is an introduction to and a broad survey of the science of crime scene investigation. This course is designed to be interactive and informative. It will draw on your past science classes. We will be learning about and using many of the tools that professional crime scene investigators use and we will hear directly from visiting local and national forensic experts. There will be a weekly lecture followed by lots of time in the lab learning practical and realistic crime solving techniques and skills and the science behind them. There are three tests per term and a final. Each test covers from 2 to 6 chapters. Most of the 60 labs for the year are 1-2 days each and are done in class. Write-ups of labs are usually started in class, but completed outside of class time. The textbook is a college level introductory text. There are no prerequisites for this course, but an open mind is helpful. Grades will be based on lab activities, weekly quizzes (on readings and guest lectures), unit tests, several projects, and frequent practical demonstrations of crime scene analysis. Knowledge of CSI TV shows not needed.

Make: Mechanics

With the increase in availability of CNC and rapid prototyping we have entered a new age of personal making. The sort of hobby makers that used to litter garages with circuit components in the 70’s now have plastic filament from 3D printers strewn across their floors. This class works in that tradition. MAKE is an on-level science class that will combine a number of other disciplines to teach students the basics of mechanics and manufacturing. This class will be very hands on, requiring students to learn and use power tools, computer modeling software and 3D printers. The content of the course will range from traditional topics like solid and triangle geometry and the physics of simple machines to more esoteric topics like 3D printing technologies, joining, and paper-craft. The homework load for this class will be pretty light, but there will be time spent out of class working on projects. Those projects will for much of the assessment for the course, with other assessments taking the form of content quizzes and presentations. There isn’t a single textbook for this class, so much of the external resources will be pulled from different sources. If you are interested in taking a science course that surveys a variety of topics all with the purpose of teaching you how to build things with your hands, this is the course for you.

Chemistry II

This is an honors-level course in chemistry that continues where the 10th grade Chemistry course left off. New topics will include chemical kinetics, reaction rates, solutions and solubility, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry. We will use the same book as Chemistry I, but class lectures will often cover the material at a higher level than the book. There will be about 5 or 6 chapter tests per term and a comprehensive final exam at the end of each term. Students will do about one lab per week in addition to a longer lab project each term. This course, along with Chemistry I, will prepare students to take the SAT II test in Chemistry. Students planning to enroll in AP Chemistry should not enroll in this course.

Biology II

In this course we will take a molecular approach to studying biology. We will begin term 1 with biological molecules and move on to a consideration of respiration, photosynthesis, and molecular genetics. Term 2 will include a review of animal physiology and human anatomy. As an honors course, students will be expected to have a good knowledge of 9th grade biology, the ability to read and process a college level text and the ability to understand abstract concepts. Assessment will be based on 5-6 exams covering 1 or 2 chapters, biweekly quizzes and lab reports. This course will prepare students for the SAT II Biology subject test.

AP Chemistry

This class is equivalent to a first-year college course in general chemistry. Inorganic chemical concepts are studied in depth. College-level laboratory exercises are performed to supplement the lecture. Students enrolled in this course must have a high interest and aptitude in both chemistry and math as indicated by an A or A- in previous chemistry and math courses. There will be about 8 tests per term covering approximately 20 chapters over the course of the year. The textbook used is a college level chemistry book. To be successful in this course, on average, one hour of studying is recommended per night. AP Chemistry continues for two hours through Short Term A and it is expected that all students take the AP Chemistry exam in the spring

AP Biology

AP Biology is equivalent to a college-level introductory course. The topics and prerequisites are similar to those in Biology II Honors. However, the material in AP Biology is covered more rapidly and in greater detail, and requires a deeper level of conceptual understanding and time commitment. Students should have a high interest in biology to enroll in the course and should be mature enough to work independently and responsibly. The tests usually cover several chapters, and some of the labs require students to come in on their own time. This course continues for one hour in Short Term A. Prerequisite: Grade of A in FTG or successful enrollment (B or higher) in Precalculus or calculus.

AP Physics 2

AP Physics 2 is an algebra based survey course designed to provide an introduction to physics topics. In particular the course will focus on topics of mechanics including: kinematics, dynamics, energy, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electrostatics, DC circuits, RC circuits, magnetism, induction, optics, quantum physics and nuclear physics. The course will have a significant amount of time spent on labs, approximately 40% of class time, in order to gain hands on experience with the lecture topics. Each lab will have a short write-up associated with it. Homework will be assigned and collected weekly, with tests given approximately every three weeks. Aside from understanding fundamental concepts of physics, one of the goals of this class is to prepare students to take the AP Physics 2 exam in the spring. This exam is one of two exams given in the spring designed to replace a full year survey course at a major university. Unlike the AP Physics C course, this course does not require a student to have taken or currently be taking calculus. Mathematical topics will include extensive algebraic manipulation, use of trigonometric functions and matrix operations. Also unlike the AP Physics C course, this is a survey course, meaning each topic will be introduced but not explored in significant depth.

AP Physics C

This course is designed to approximate the content of a single semester introductory course about mechanics, typically taken by students majoring in physics or engineering. The previous AP Physics course, AP Physics B, was similar to a survey physics course taken by life-science majors. AP Physics C has a narrower scope but greater depth and mathematical rigor. It requires the student to concurrently be taking (or have taken) AP Calculus, and calculus topics will be introduced in this class as needed for the material. The goal of the course is to learn the material presented in preparation to take the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam in the spring. The course will use a combination of reading from the book, in-class and virtual labs, and other directed study to teach the topics of Kinematics, Newton's Laws, Energy Methods, Systems of Particles, Circular Motion and Oscillation. During short term the course will cover non-test topics of circuits, electricity and power. Homework will be done on a weekly basis, and labs on a bi-weekly basis.

Humans and The Environment: Measuring, Analyzing, and Evaluating Our Impact On The Planet (S)

In this course students will identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, and evaluate the risks associated with these problems, as well as potential solutions. Themes to be covered include: population, resource use, water, energy, and food. Students will perform extensive field studies, design and conduct group experiments, and evaluate case studies. Students use a college-level text, as well as articles from scientific and popular journals, and will complete 14-16 news summaries during the year. Assessment will be based on written exams, quizzes, lab practicals, and lab write-ups. While this course is not specifically designed to prepare students for the AP exam, those students wishing to take the exam may do so with some additional preparation. This course continues for one hour in Short Term A and is open to both Juniors and Seniors.

Visual Arts

Beginning Drawing And Painting
In the first half of this class, students will learn basic technical elements critical to drawing-line, tone, composition, proportion, and value. Students will utilize their developing skills to create descriptive and imaginative imagery on paper while experimenting with a variety of media. During the second half of the year students will study the fundamentals of color through painting principles, methods and materials. Students will learn to create and organize forms, colors, textures, and tones in tempera, oil and acrylic paint. Throughout the year students will work from still-life setups, the figure, and landscape. Beginners are welcome.

This intermediate class is designed for the serious student to begin to discover and develop a personalized expression through drawing and printmaking. Printmaking offers many options for rich visual effects and experimentation with drawing. Students will expand their drawing experience while exploring the tactile, process oriented mediums of linoleum, monoprints, collagraph, copper plate etching, chine colle, solvent transfer, screen printing, and polyester lithography. Prerequisites: Beginning Drawing and Painting or Design and Drawing.

Advanced Drawing And Painting
This class is designed for the serious junior and senior student interested in continuing to develop more advanced drawing, painting, printmaking and mixed media skills, techniques and ideas. During the first semester students will work from direct observation creating drawings and paintings of self-portraits, the human figure, interior and exterior spaces, and the complex still life. During the second semester, students will develop a small body of work based on a self-initiated theme. The primary purpose of this class is for students to develop greater technical skills while developing personal imagery. A student must feel comfortable working independently and be able to maintain focus. Prerequisites: Beginning Drawing and Painting. This class is for juniors and seniors only.

Portfolio Development

This class is designed for seniors only, to provide focused time to work on a college art portfolio. In the first half of the year students will have the opportunity to work in class on college portfolio requirements for specific college art programs. Students will learn how to document their work, develop a presentation of their work for the college process, and create a personal artist statement. In the second half of the year, the students will work on their senior art show presentations. A student must feel comfortable working independently.


This class introduces students to basic techniques of hand building, including pinch, coil, slab and mold techniques. Finishing techniques and methods of surface design including stenciling, photolithography transfer, sgraffito, and glazing are covered. Sculptural and functional ideas are explored throughout the year. All levels welcome.

Serious students who have taken one year of Ceramics previously and want to explore more advanced techniques and concepts in their work take the class again for Advanced Ceramics credit.

Digital Design

This course is designed to provide a survey of the role of the computer in contemporary art and design and as a tool to produce an artistic image. Students will learn computer illustration techniques, image manipulation, graphic design visual literacy, and the principles and elements of art in composition. Students will receive basic training on the primary types of software and peripherals with which digital artists and designers must be familiar. Students will be encouraged to develop creative approaches to projects coupled with increased technical proficiency.

Jewelry And Small Metals

Students will learn to create jewelry and/or small metal sculptures using a variety of fabrication techniques, including forming, soldering, riveting, etching, casting and basic stone setting. This class will emphasize strong design skills when planning and sketching project ideas. Students will have to be able to practice proper safety procedures when using the tools and equipment and must be prepared to put in the time and effort needed to finish pieces to a high level of craftsmanship. Prerequisites: permission of art teacher

Photography 1

Photography 1 is an introduction course and a requirement for all first year photography students. Students will learn the use of a 35mm camera and its functions, how to develop and print black and white film and learn creative darkroom techniques. Second semester, students will learn the fundamentals of digital photography, Photoshop and related software. Students are expected to develop a thorough working knowledge of both the aesthetics and technical components of both black-and-white and digital photography. A student may take Photography 1 only once.

Photography 2

Photography 2 is a course designed for those students who excelled in Photography 1 and are serious about continuing their photographic education. This course is project-oriented with each student delving deeply into photographic techniques and aesthetics. Students work more independently than they did in Photography 1 and special attention is paid to technical detail and concepts. Students will work in both film and digital. A student may take Photography 2 only once. Prerequisite: Photography 1: At least a B+ or permission from the teacher.

Advanced Photography (3 & 4)

This course is for the most highly motivated students who are in their 3rd and 4th year of photography. Students provide assistance in areas of the classroom/lab while pursing independent projects with guidance from the instructor. Since these students are at a more advanced level, this course teaches them to go through the process of developing their ideas, implementation, problem solving and follow through. Students will work on portfolio development, presentation and creating an artist statement. Seniors will spend second term on their senior show. Advanced students also assists in mixing chemicals, hanging shows and maintaining equipment.

Prerequisite: Photography 1 & 2. At least a B+ (or permission from teacher)

Art Intern/Assistant

This is an opportunity for a student to be an intern/assistant in an art class for any periods in any term. This could be in an elementary art classroom and might involve working with young students and /or assisting the teacher with classroom tasks or it could be in an upper level art classroom and involve cleaning and organizing materials, mixing paint, loading the kiln, helping with displays or any other activities needed to help the classroom run more smoothly. Working as an Art Assistant may provide up to 20 hours of credit towards fulfilling the internship requirement. This is open only to juniors and seniors.


Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble focuses on classical music and composers drawn from the orchestral and chamber music repetoire. Students are introduced to many different style periods (such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary) through performance practice and historical context. Instrumentation includes flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, and concert percussion. The Wind Ensemble performs annually for Grandparents' Day, as well as on four band concerts throughout the year. Practice outside of class is necessary. Participation in enrichment activities sponsored by the Georgia Music Educators' Association is encouraged, including District and All-State Band, as well as Solo & Ensemble Festival. For a special performance early in the second long term, the Wind Ensemble joins with the Jazz Ensemble to form a full Concert Band.

Jazz Ensemble

This instrumental organization studies and performs jazz literature of all styles and eras for big band and combo. Included are historical and cultural aspects of the music. Music theory and technical exercises are presented to improve the students' musicianship and abilities as improvisers. Practice outside of class is necessary. Enrichment activities are available to accelerated students through the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and other organizations. Since there is a prescribed instrumentation, acceptance into this ensemble is only by audition. For a special performance early in the second long term, the Wind Ensemble joins with the Jazz Ensemble to form a full Concert Band.

Chamber Orchestra

This course is a study of a wide variety of literature for the string orchestra. Emphasis is placed on advanced skill development, and is geared to performance. This course focuses on ensemble playing, listening skills, personal technique and an understanding of theory and historical styles. The orchestra performs a minimum of three concerts a year. Students are encouraged to participate in appropriate enrichment opportunities, such as private lessons, All-State Orchestra, AJCO, EYSO, ASYO, MYSO, and other community orchestras. Rehearsals and performances outside of school hours will be required. Outside practice is essential.

All students are welcome to audition for one of the two Chamber Orchestras at Paideia. Interested students are required to audition for the director.

Music Theory

Music Theory is a year-long academic course for students who posses some basic knowledge of the fundamentals of music. A traditional study of harmony in both 18th and 19th centuries will be explored, as well as ear training (sight singing and aural dictation) and compositional techniques (four-part writing and figured bass). This class will be evaluated with homework, chapter tests, quizzes and pop tests, sight singing, dictation and the semester exam in the AP format. Students who take this course will be expected to take the AP Music Theory Exam at the end of the year.

This class is open to seniors who have completed their academic graduation course requirements. Junior acceptance into the course will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The High School Chorus

This yearlong performing ensemble is open to all High School students. Students will study vocal technique, ensemble singing, music theory, and music history. Previous choral experience is not required. Students will receive class voice lessons by professional singers/voice teachers twice a month. The Paideia Chorus will perform highly diverse repertoire spanning the gamut of musical styles and will combine with the Paideia Chorale to perform one large-scale choral work at some point during the academic school year.

The Chorale (10th, 11th, 12th Graders)

This yearlong performing ensemble is available by audition to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students will study vocal technique, ensemble singing, music theory, and music history. The Chorale will perform highly diverse repertoire spanning the gamut of musical styles. One large-scale choral work will be performed at some point during the academic school year. This group will sing highly diverse, difficult repertoire spanning the gamut of musical styles. Students will receive class voice lessons by professional singers/voice teachers twice a month.


Film I

In this class students will write, direct and edit their own short films. Through the use of digital cameras and computers the students will get a glimpse of what it is like to be a filmmaker. The first film you make will be silent, as you will learn to use the camera to tell a story. For the second film you will be able to add music to your final product. We will look at how music enhances films and the effects it has on the viewer. Then you will write and direct a scene using dialogue to convey your character development and plot. The next film you direct will be written by one of your fellow classmates. You will also be required to act in the films you are not directing as well. We will also watch films to compare editing styles, cinematography, characters development and plots throughout the year.

Advanced Film

In this class students will write, direct and edit their own short films. Through the use of digital cameras and computers the students will get a glimpse of what it is like to be a filmmaker. The first film you make will be silent, as you will learn to use the camera to tell a story. For the second film you will be able to add music to your final product. We will look at how music enhances films and the effects it has on the viewer. Then you will write and direct a scene using dialogue to convey character development and plot. The next film you direct will be written by one of your fellow classmates. You will also be required to act in the films you are not directing. We will watch films throughout the year to compare editing styles, cinematography, character development and plots. More advanced film students will work on detailed assignments. Students will write scripts based on songs, locations and characters. The script writing process will be more detailed for those students in Film III as will the requirements in filming.

Acting Workshop

This class is an introduction into Drama. We start off working on improvisation games, which leads to different scenes that are created from Improv. You will create a Choose your own Adventure Scene, where you have a tree diagram of your play and different options for each pathway. You will create a Scary Tale. You'll take the story of a fairy tale and try and make it as creepy as you possibly can. Then we will work on monologues and the audition process. In the second term you will write and direct your own scripts as well as other students’ scripts.


During the first term students will study a variety of plays and playwrights, while working on their own full length play. We will workshop these plays over the course of the term. We will read plays from Ibsen, Chekhov, Sheppard, Pirendello, Letts and more. During the second term the focus will be on screenwriting. We will read a variety of screenplays, as well as watch the films from those scripts. Students will also work on writing a full length screenplay as well. Students should only take the class if they are ready to write, and write a lot. Students can take this course by semester. It does not have to be a full year course.

Acting: Scene Study

In this course the main focus will be scene work. Students will work on a variety of scenes throughout the year. They will range from 12 line scenes, to silent scenes, to scenes from different plays. The scenes will be from Proof, Doubt , Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Waiting for Godot and more. We will spend more time of developing characters, dissecting the scenes and working on blocking. It is much more focused than the Acting Workshop.

Theater Tech Assistant

This role will help with the technical aspects of the theater and black box. They will help run assemblies, work on building sets for the plays, setting a rep lighting plot for the black box, as well and more. You will learn how to use the sound and light board as well work with power tools. It will be a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

Elective Courses


This course will take place in the Fitness Center and it will introduce students to basic strength training techniques and enable them to identify major and secondary muscle groups being contracted. Students will gain an understanding of different training strategies/techniques and be able to set up an individual regimen or program. Cardiovascular training including aerobic, low/high intensity, low/high duration, circuit and interval training will also be included in this course. Students will study, learn, and use spotting techniques, other safety procedures used in the Fitness Center and in any other physical activities. This elective is not open to athletes who are planning to play winter sports.

The Forum (Journalism)
This year long course is for students interested in reporting, writing, and editing news stories, features, editorials, and opinion columns and in learning the basics of publication production and management. Those enrolled will work on the school’s monthly student newspaper, The Forum, the on-line edition of the Forum, and several video broadcasts. Class sections will be divided between the on-line and print version of the Forum with many of the newer students to the program joining the on-line edition. Reporters, newswriters, sportswriters, arts and entertainment writers, all-purpose writers, editors, critics, designers, computer specialists, photographers, managers, and fans of the First Amendment are welcome. We will attend a one-day journalism conference at UGA in October and a weekend journalism conference at the University of South Carolina in March.

This elective counts towards the AMD requirement.

Yearbook staff is responsible for planning and executing the 336-page yearbook and 48-page supplement. In early fall a theme is chosen, and decisions are made as to how that theme will be carried throughout the book, starting with the cover. A series of eleven to twelve deadlines are met, starting in late October and going through early March, when the book must be completed. Then work begins on the supplement. Yearbook staff works closely with our school photographer Danny Lee and Herff Jones, the yearbook publisher. We submit pages using Adobe InDesign CS6. Staff coordinates with coaching staff, faculty, students and senior parents for each section of the book. Much of fall term is spent working on dedication pages and photographing school events for the Candids and Traditions sections. Yearbook is similar to being on a sports team, with “practice times” and “game days”, and outside class time is required in order to meet our deadlines. Interests and skills that come into play involve all elements of design, layout, fonts, cropping, photography and proofing. A keen interest in design is necessary and it is helpful, but not required, if you take a design class before you join yearbook. This elective counts toward the AMD requirement.

Study Hall

Study Hall is available on a semester basis each period. Students may not have more than one period of study hall in a term. Students are free to work in the library, computer room, or to visit in the commons during this period unless they have “restricted” study hall as first-term freshmen or by request of teachers, parents or advisor.

Cross-Age Teaching

There are many wonderful opportunities to work with younger children in home base classrooms, art, science, math, music, and physical education. Students who sign up for this elective will work with individual home base classrooms throughout the elementary school. Students may sign up for this elective on a semester basis. Depending on the type of work done in the home base classrooms, students may be approved for internship credit. This elective is open to Juniors and Seniors only.


This elective course is for students who like to tinker and build. Students will work with each other to design and build robots. The class will be organized around projects chosen to fit the interests and experience of the students. Members of the school’s robotics team may work on the team’s robot. Other projects may include building robots to compete against each other in various challenges, or using robots to solve a real-world problem. As students work on their projects, they will learn and apply some concepts from electronics, mechanics, and computer programming.

Science Lab Assistant

As a Science Lab Assistant, the student will help a science teacher through lab preparation, supplemental course instruction and in-class tutoring. A limited number of positions are available upon recommendation by a teacher. The assistantship may be done on a semester basis. Under current policy, high school student-teaching assistantships do not earn internship credit.

Technology Assistant

A large part of the success of the computer program at Paideia has been the willingness of students to take an interest in the operation of the computer labs and the school-wide network. Responsibilities include assisting people in finding software or other materials, helping newcomers use the computers, answering questions, and maintaining and installing equipment. The assistant may use free time to work on his/her own assignments from other classes and the assistantship may be done on a semester basis.

Library Assistant
Students willing to take an interest in its operation can contribute to their own knowledge of the library--what it contains and how it works--as well as its smooth functioning. Responsibilities may include assisting others in locating materials and using equipment, shelving books and magazines, repairing them, and varied clerical duties. They may also include special assignments depending on interest--assembling bibliographies for classes, arranging displays, etc. The assistant may use free time to work on his/her own assignments from other classes. This course may be taken on a semester basis.

Peer Leadership

This is a year-long course.

Peer Leadership is a course for which seniors are selected to work together cooperatively both in groups and in partnerships. The class meets five days a week led by the two teachers; the seniors meet once a week with their ninth grade groups. The partners are responsible for planning the sessions and development of their own group in concert with all the others. Their goals include helping the younger students feel more comfortable and confident in their academic and social life, and encouraging them to talk more openly to each other in order to build trust and friendship in their class. As part of this process, the seniors respond to journals from the ninth graders. Seniors also exchange journals, as this program is designed to reflect itself.


The Paideia high school internship is a component of a larger, school-wide initiative designed to strengthen the community stewardship ethic and deepen learning through volunteerism and civic involvement. The internship serves different purposes for the 3 constituent groups involved: high school students, community agencies, and Paideia. Students learn first-hand about social/environmental issues, gain experience beyond the school environment, and experience personal growth and expanded self-awareness. Community agencies benefit from expanded capacity, potential staff recruitment, and increased visibility. Through this program, Paideia is able to support/engender contributions to the broader community, strengthen our resource network, and nurture a service ethic in the school body. The internship is a graduation requirement; students must complete 60 hours of service. Short-term internships are worth 30 hours of internship credit, with the exception of on-campus service, which is worth 20 hours.

The internship operates as an independent study course; credit is awarded for completing the service hours, keeping a journal which is submitted with an essay, and attending a lunchtime reflection session. Please visit the Paideia website regularly for details regarding the internship process and a list of potential community partner agencies, and see the Civic Involvement folder on your First Class desktop for time-sensitive volunteer opportunities.

Urban Agriculture Internship

Topics covered include: building soil fertility, growing, harvesting, managing a flock of chickens and food justice. Interns will also learn about the Georgia planting calendar and how to use greenhouses for season extension. Interns will work on projects at our school’s farms and gardens, as well as outreach projects in under-served communities around town. We will also visit and work at other innovative urban farms around town and get to know the farmers.

Inside, interns will get time in the kitchen learning how to use seasonal ingredients to create simple and delicious dishes. If time permits, we will also learn basic food preservation techniques, including a class on ‘How NOT to die from Botulism’.

Anyone interested in Urban Agriculture can apply but students who have participated in the year-long Urban Ag internship program will be given priority for the short term internships. Students will also need to keep a daily journal and turn it in to Lisa Fierman with an essay if they want to earn internship credit. For more information, please contact Tania Herbert:

In addition to two semesters, Paideia has two 3 1/2 week short terms a year: one in January and the other in May/June. During short term, students generally take fewer courses that meet for longer periods during the day. Short-term courses offer a learning opportunity where students can…

  • study a topic in greater depth and intensity than is possible in a long-term class
  • take a class outside of a traditional academic offering or department
  • take team-taught classes by different teachers throughout the school
  • take an interdisciplinary course
  • have classes that provide hands-on learning experiences
  • try out a new skill or improve an old one
  • meet graduation requirements such as: PE, Art, Music or Drama, or Internship
  • explore personal creativity and academic passions

Below is a sampling of recent short-term courses:

  • Astronomy
  • Green Home Design
  • Earthshock
  • Fish!
  • Planet Earth
  • Independent Study: Pollinators
  • 3D Modeling/Animation
  • Coding Computer Games
  • Primitive Living
  • Sexuality
  • aRt Class
  • Robotics

Robotics student

“We gather in our hive every day, rubbing antennae, to make each other smarter, more attuned, more moral, more aware - we make each other better people. The collective wisdom of a group can emerge when the climate is right. Kids think thoughts they have never thought. I want to welcome and kindle the individual sparks into a collective conflagration, so that young people are not afraid of testing themselves and their ideas out in the open.”

Paideia high school English teacher