Depending on an educator’s viewpoint, “Curriculum” can have many similar but functionally different meanings including: subjects comprising a course of study; specific courses and content; intended sequence of instruction; learning goals articulated across grades; planned interactions of students with instructional content, materials, resources, along withthe processes used to evaluate student learning outcomes; the total student learning experiences occurringwithin an educational process.The following description of ALL’s curriculum incorporates a little of,each of these definitions for “Curriculum.” The“Curriculum” section together with the section on “Pedagogy” and the content Common Core alignments by Grade level sections fulfils all of the above definitions.
Overview of ALL’s Curriculum Articulated through Course Offering:
ALL utilizes proprietary instructional materials that include summative evaluations (provide measures of growth and proficiency in addition to providing diagnostic data); as well as formative teaching tools (provide students with feedback that is used to improve comprehension, and provide instructors with feedback that is used to adjust and refine teaching practices). The process of completing the required assignments and exams, generates data that is evaluated and used to assess student knowledge and skill, and guide further instruction. Specific learning materials include “multi-year content streams” and single year “course” content streams. Additionally, proprietary instructional materials are provided to assist instructors and students with difficult concept and skill acquisition including: Written and graphic (display based) “Subject Content Support” resources that are keyed to specific “Challenges” and “Experts;” along with concrete models and specialized equipment (laboratory equipment, artifacts, kits) that augment lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and experiments. Technology, including internet resources is of significant value and provide for stimulating multi-media presentations. Software applications, and web based instructional support tools are made available to both students and instructors. Many assignments and activities require internet connectivity, and instructors may access the internet and exhibit the output on large format LCD displays, during lectures or whole-group discussions. Content in many subject areas is also supported with traditional texts and reference resources.
ALL’s various multi-year content streams are comprised of instructional instruments graduated by difficulty and numbered in the sequential order each item is expected to be “mastered.” Content streams are comprised of “Expert Trials” (that require mastery understanding of concepts and recall including; declarative knowledge, manipulation of constructs, and consolidation of newly introduced concepts with previously learned concepts) and “Challenge Trials” (that require the application of concepts, that require procedural knowledge and skills, and that require the transfer and generalizations of knowledge.) Multi-year content streams, cover content-subjects that are expected to be taught over two or more years; For instance, the ‘Numeric Operations” series begins with “counting” at an appropriate level for kindergarten, and ends with content that might only be seen, in a traditional educational setting, in a “College Algebra” class. The time required to complete any particular subject content stream is highly variable between students, however, there is a minimum trial-rate-per week requirement within each stream. Experience has demonstrated that over 80% of the students who have attended ALL beginning in kindergarten or the first grade, complete the Numeric Operations Series between 5th and 6th grades; some complete the series much earlier. Multi-year content streams include: Reading and Writing Series; Penmanship Series; Orthography Series; Visual Arts Series; Anatomy and Physiology Series; Conceptual Physical Science Series; Earth Science Series; Syntax and Semantics Series; Literature and Rhetoric Series; Numeric Operations Series; Political and Physical Geography Series; and Lexicon Series. In addition, an AP format option is provided for students as early as6th grade. The advanced placement option includes courses in studio arts, English language and literature, psychology, comparative government, politics, human geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics, US Government, civics, US history, world history, biology, chemistry, environmental science, electricity and magnetism, mechanics, physics, statistics, computer science, and calculus.
Series Content Stream Courses are expected to extend over multiple years, however students may progress as rapidly as they are able. In rare cases, highly motivated students may complete a series within a year, while other very bright students might require three or more years. Advanced elementary students are allowed to initiate and complete a series prior to entering Secondary School, while others might finish in secondary school. Most students entering ALL at the secondary level will initiate content series as their core prerequisite courses. Content Series courses provide a solid foundation for more advance courses and are instrumental in ensuring college and career success.
Short Period Subject Courses are rigorous and can often be completed within a single year, however for some students, time-to-completion and “mastery” knowledge attainment may require more than a single year. Similar to the “Series” materials, single year courses are comprised of “Expert Trials” and “Challenge Trials” and are numbered in the sequence each level should be mastered. Expert Trials are formative “power” evaluations that flow in a continuous feedback loop. They provide fine-grained student learning outcome data as well as data on daily performance that drives the pacing of instruction, student and instructor interventions, and informs in-service teacher and instructor training needs. Trials, have a self-leveling design. Expert Trials provide objective measures of mastery knowledge. Challenge Exercises are formative evaluations of the fluid application of knowledge and its generalization.
Expert and Challenge Model Cross-content Characteristics Utilized in Series Stream Courses and Subject Courses:
- Each content-subject series has high content density
- Each content-subject series includes criterion referenced assessments with significant “depth of knowledge” demands.
- Each content-subject series includes reading comprehension questions.
- Each content-subject series includes writing (e.g., essay, short answer) questions.
- Each content-subject series includes nomenclature questions specific tothe targeted content domain.
- Each content-subject series includes problem solving questions specific tothe targeted content domain
Seminars / Colloquia / Symposia:differ in structure and procedural practices but all have instructional oversight and are supported by mentors. Learning community members for these various small group “alternatives to traditional classrooms” are selected on the basis of: passionate interest in the topic focus, ability to self-monitor, ability to sustain high motivation, academic maturity, integrity, and interpersonal skills. Initiated by student proposal.
Senior Project: Most Senior Projects require multiple years to complete. Students should attempt to complete their Senior Projects prior to the beginning of their senior year. Although it may be possible to complete a Senior Project in less than a year, students should plan on initiatingtheir projects prior to their senior year.Students may work in defined, stable groups where the work load is distributed evenly between group members; or they may work elect to work individually. Students who anticipate that they may want to submit their project for publication, must plan accordingly. It is highly recommended that ALL students begin their senior projects as early as freshman year. Senior Projects should be completed in the first few months of one’s senior year, if not before. Please consult your advisor/sponsor to develop a timeline as soon as possible. Students may elect to submit for consideration multiple projects of varying complexity. The worthiness of a project is not dependent on the time it takes to complete, difficulty, or flamboyance. Passion, creativity, curiosity, risk, and social value are characteristics of worthwhile projects.
R&D-C, Science Laboratory Project: Small groups (2-6) of students are assigned to long-term research-and-development communities (R&D-C). Each R&D-C is allotted a different laboratory project (LP) with defined outcome goals. The function of both the R&D-C and its individual members is to be evaluated (by members of each R&D-C and their supervisor). The quality of their evidenced-based-inquiry process, innovation and creativity, and the efficacy of their group dynamics will be assessed in addition to level of success in meeting the specificity of the assigned goal. Instructor and/or “experts” will provide mentoring and monitoring throughout the process, however the chief responsibility for planning and execution remains with each R&D-C members.
Mathematical Research Project Collaboration: Students work with an ALL’s mathematics instructor and a mentor to select, design, execute, and possibly publish a mathematical research project. At the culmination of the project, successful students will publically present their finding. Open only to qualifying students, 11th grade or below.
Brief Descriptions of ALL’s Proprietary Curriculum “Series” Courses:
Penmanship/ Letter Recognition/ Letter-Sound Association Series: This series is heavily layered (previously learned skills are reinforced in the process of acquiring new skills); includes whole class writing activities joined with individualized untimed Expert Trials and Challenge Exercises. This series is introduced in preschool or kindergarten for students who didn’t attend preschool at ALL. The series is generally completed by the middle of second grade if not sooner. Over forty percent of students who begin in kindergarten, will likely finish the ball-and-stick and D’Nealianprint portions of this series by the end of first grade and begin D’Nealian. Entering students are assessed for proficiency and placed at the appropriate level.
The Penmanship Series overlaps with the Orthography Series. Whole class and individualized exercises are designed to: improve fine motor skills; develop application knowledge of calligraphic techniques; improve discrimination recognition between similar graphic symbols; automatize students’ handwriting (by “chunking” letter strings into phonetic units and encoding high frequency letter combinations into “muscle memory” gestural movements); and develop letter-sound associations as well as letter-symbol associations. Throughout this series, care is taken to introduce constructs in a manner that enhances retention and recall while decreasing interference. It is generally accepted that motor learning is easily automatized yet difficult to extinguish if dysfunctional to a goal (that is, bad habits are hard to break). Exercises in this series target specific skills through a strategy of holding all non-targeted (or as many as possible) variables constant while the factors that are salient to the targeted visual discrimination or motor skills are varied. A simple strategy related to this concept can be easily visualized by studying the organization of letters presented during whole-class symbol discrimination and writing exercises (e.g., oad-oce-ocu-dbpq-gy-uy-oadg-ft-vr-ij-nhk-unmwv-sz VWMNZ-KXY-HFEBA-ITLJ-UCOQG-DPR-ZS 62-5380-17-94). Other targeted procedural skills include alphabetization of words, initial sound recognition. Initial sound recognition is accomplished by requesting students to read and write words that vary across initial sounds while ending sounds are held constant (pattern words) thereby reducing cognitive load and promoting generalization (e.g., at, bat, cat, fat, hat, pat, rat, sat; an, ban, can, Dan, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van; etc.). Fine motor skill dexterity are targeted, with an emphasis on producing legible and appealing graphic symbols in print using modified ball-and-stick model and in cursive using simplified D’Nealian script as a model. Within the first week of kindergarten most students should be reading (with cadence), writing, and comprehending sentences similar to, “The fat rat sat on the cat in the flat hat.”
Orthography/ Reading and Writing Series: This series includes class-wide choral reading of lexically controlled texts aligned with formative Expert Trials and Challenge Exercises designed to expedite the transition from simple letter recognition to fluid reading with comprehension. In this series, Experts and Challenges are independently numbered.Expert Trials and The Orthography Series is horizontally aligned with prescribed whole-class reading and writing activities, and the Penmanship Series. This Orthography Series should be initiated by the beginning of the second quarter of kindergarten, if not sooner for advanced students.
The prescribed group activities,Reading and Writing Series, enables students to build large repertoires of sight words and phonetic decoding skills in a relatively short period of time, while at the same time building on previously mastered skills. It Begins with simple English language conventions such as phonetic spelling and pronunciation patterns (e.g., fat-fate, hat-hate, rat-rate, bit-bite, kit-kite, an-and, ban-band, kiss-kill, miss-mill, rat-rot-rut, rate-rote-rite, beak-bleak-streak-creak-wreak-weak); And progresses to develop deeper phonemic awareness (short and long consonant and vowel sounds; consonant blends bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, sk, sl, sp, st, sw, spr, str; digraphs ch, sh, th, wh, ng, nk; diphthongs oi, ow, ou, oo as in book, oo as in moo; and control “r”) within the context of words and simple sentences. Expert Trials introduce pattern words by initial sound (e.g., cot dot got hot not / let get met jet bet set / bun fun pun run sun / bin din fin kin pin sin tin / Ken men pen ten den hen / bag gag nag rag sag tag), progress through identification and manipulation of phonemes in structured word families (with intent of reducing the deleterious learning effects of high frequency English words exhibiting the highest rate of irregularities). Expert Trials culminate with compound words, simple morphemes, root words, and inflected words.
As students move through higher Reading and Writing Challenge levels, words from the Orthography Trials are incorporated into whole-class constructed sentences that are read whole-class choral with various vocal intonations that alter meaning and/or are associated with punctuation (e.g., Challenge Exercises require students to individually compose sentences from a restricted list of pattern words and sight words.) Higher Reading and Writing Challenge levels introduce capitalization conventions (beginning sentences, proper names and places) and punctuation conventions (declarative sentences ends with a period, questions with a question mark) are introduced and required for mastery. Yet higher numbered Reading and Writing Challenge exercises introduce parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, conjunctions) and more sophisticated sentence structures with antecedents and transitional words.
Numeric Operations Series includes “Expert Trials” and “Challenges” along with prescribed interactive lectures, need-to-know discussions (student driven, inquiry guided lectures), and Want-to-Know discussions (whole group inquiry activities). The Numeric Operations Series is a prerequisite for ALL’s advanced math and science courses. The scope of topics covered include: the six arithmetic operations, abstract concepts intrinsic to the nature of mathematics, mathematical methods of application to “real-world” problems, properties of numbers, algebraic notation, function notation, elementary algebra, linear equations with up to three variables, systems of linear equations, polynomials, probability, statistics, geometry, complex numbers, inequalities, graphing. Embedded resources, and reference materials are included. Tutoring is available. TEXTBOOK-NOT REQUIRED.
Lexicon Series: This standalone series involves the study of American-English word forms, specialty-use words, and words representing higher order constructs (vocabulary infrequently encountered in casual conversation) arranged in conceptual families along with the study of orthography. Included are: Latin and Greek morphemes, affixes; prefixes suffixes, infixes, agglutination (of morphemes), root words, collocations (word strings, fixed expressions), compound words, loan words, idiomatic expressions, irregular word forms, acronyms, inflections, word derivatives, phonemes (distinctive unit sounds), confused and frequently misused words, frequently misspelled words, phoneme-grapheme variations, specialized words and language used in various academic, social, historical, and cultural contexts. This series overlaps with subject disciplines across the curriculum. Comprehension is the reason for reading, and vocabulary plays a significant role in comprehension. Additionally: the Lexicon series is revised every few years; adding new lexical “families” and extractions from widely distributed scholarly readings; and revisions guided by item analysis output generated within MARC’s integrated environment. From its beginning, this series advances in increments from constructs with low cognitive demands to its culmination with constructs that require substantial cognitive sophistication.
Syntax and Semantics Series: This series is comprised of Expert Trials and Challenge Exercises organized in a single numbered sequence. With short writing assignment, direct instruction, and rapid formative feedback students acquire facility with standard English conventions including: parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections); inflections (plurals, comparatives, etc.); sentence types (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, imperative); tense (simple present, present progressive, simple past, past progressive, present perfect simple, present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive, future simple, future progressive, conditional simple, conditional progressive); person (first, second, third); case (subjective, objective, possessive) word order (SV, SVO, SOV, VSO, OVS etc.); Clauses and sentence structures (simple, independent clause; compound, multiple independent clauses; complex, independent clause with at least one dependent clause; compound-complex, multiple independent with at least one dependent clause). Additionally, parallel sentence structure, rhetorical devices and figurative language Exercises are included.
Visual Arts Series: Includes Challenge exercises only and cross content-subject exercises. Arranged in continuous sequence including a Two Dimensional Drawing Module, Color Studies Module, and Three Dimensional Design Module. The Drawing Module covers linear and curvilinear perspective (one point, two point, four point, spherical, and natural); relative motion and/or vantage of viewer (rotation, inclination, radiation, and all permutations); atmospheric perspective; drawing from nature; and portrait and figure drawing. The Color Studies Module covers the anatomy and physiology of color perception; color physics; and simultaneous contrast studies (in the manner of Joseph Albers). The Three Dimensional Design Module includes: scale model design (drafting); scale model materials and techniques; materials and cost estimation, fundraising, construction planning and scheduling; full scale building and finishing techniques. Full scale building to this point have all been group projects.
Human Anatomy and Physiology Series: In this series, Experts and Challenges are sequentially numbered. Experts are exclusively identification and short answer power exams; Challenge Exercises are all comprised of extended essay questions that overlap with writing and composite scoring (punctuation, spelling, grammar, and word usage) is used. The Human Anatomy Series covers various human structures and systems including: skeletal, muscular, integumentary, digestive, dental maturation, renal system, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine.
Physical Science Series includes more than 300 “Expert Trials” and “Challenges” and is a prerequisite for ALL’s Secondary School science courses. This course is designed to build a strong base for more advanced science courses. Although an understanding of algebraic relationships is necessary, emphasis is placed on conceptual models. Examples of topics covered include: Mechanics (Newton’s Laws of motion, momentum and energy, gravity, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics); Electricity and magnetism (electrodynamics, electromagnetism, circuits); Properties of waves (sound, light); Structure of the Atom (subatomic properties, atomic nucleus); Chemistry (the periodic table, chemical bonds, molecular mixing, reactions, acids, bases, redox reactions); Earth science (rocks and minerals, Earth’s internal properties, hydrology, atmosphere, weather). TEXTBOOK-REQUIRED: Students must own their own textbook and read in advance of lectures. It is highly recommended that students retain the text as a future reference.
Physical & Political Geography Series includes more than 290 “Expert Trials” and “Challenges” and is a prerequisite for many of ALL’s Social Science courses such as geopolitics and human geography. Students will study geosystems including the forces and processes in the natural environment including the solar system, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere, and the forces and process that alter the Earth’s surface. Additionally students will identify geographic, governmental and political subdivisions of territory on a variety of scales and cartography. Extensive use of on-line resources.
Brief Course Descriptions of Short Duration Subject Courses:
Astronomy: A survey course covering topics including the solar system, galaxies, star evolution; The Big Bang (formation of elements, background radiation); Expansion of the Universe; Age and Origin of the Solar System; Meteorites; Comets; Telescopes; Spectroscopy, Measuring Distances; Electromagnetic Spectrum; Sun’s Structure; Nuclear Fusion; Planets and moons of the Solar System; Jovian Planets; Terrestrial Planets; Earth and Moon (formation, evolution, comparison to other Terrestrial Planets); Extrasolar Planets; Mars (Atmosphere and Geology). TEXTBOOK-OPTIONAL, internet access required (provided afterschool for those without access at home).
AP Computer Science A: focus on computing skills related to programming in Java. This course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design using Java language. These techniques represent approaches for developing solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems.
Honors / AP English Language & Composition: focuses on rhetoric, non-fiction, and argumentative writing. This course requires students to develop evidence-based analytic and argumentative essays that proceed through several stages or drafts. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Additionally, students read and analyze rhetorical elements and their effects in a variety of non-fiction text forms, including graphic images, from diverse disciplines and historical periods. Students learn to discriminate between four fundamental questions concerning communication using text: What is being said? To whom is it being said? How is it being said? Why is it being said? The answers to these questions inform students’ own composition processes as they learn to read like writers and write like readers. Readings may include Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” Douglass’ Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, and King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and others. – RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOKS: Prestwick House AP Language and Composition by Douglas Grudzina; It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences by June Casagrande.
Honors / AP United States History: focuses on the development of historical thinking skills (chronological reasoning, comparing and contextualizing, crafting historical arguments using historical evidence, and interpreting and synthesizing a historical narrative) and the development of students abilities to think conceptually about U.S. history (domestically and internationally) from the 1491’s to the present, including: current issues; ; American and National Identity; Migration and Settlement; Politics and Power; Work, Exchange, and Technology; America in the World; Geography and the Environment; and Culture and Society. In this “political agenda free course” students are required to apply inquiry based investigative techniques to gain historical perspective and cultural sensitivity. TEXTBOOK-REQUIRED
Learning community: Students whose schedules include a formal learning community hour, will receive direct instruction to expand their knowledge of metacognitive behaviors and learning strategies as well as study practice and skill improvement. For approximately one month at the beginning of academic year students will attend a mini-course in Learning Theory from the Cognitive Science perspective. The course goal is to improve students’ learning skills and learning outcomes. Topics will include: Soft Skills, metacognitive behavior, the neuroscience of learning, behavioral economics, etc. Monitored practice sessions will be included. Additionally, students will develop keyboarding skills. Once they have reached a minimum speed and accuracy keyboarding threshold and they have demonstrated basic declarative knowledge and procedural metacognitive skills, they will be placed in a monitored study environment in which they will enhance their independent and group study skills under supervision.
Micro Economics: AP Microeconomics examines theories of consumer behavior, theories the “firm” (corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships) behavior and theories of profit-maximizing organizations behavior under a variety of market structures. Topics include: Functions of Product Markets; Supply and demand; Consumer choice; Production and costs; market structure; Factor Markets, Derived Factor Demand; Marginal revenue product; Hiring decisions in the markets for labor and capital; Market distribution of income; Market Failure and the Role of Government; Externalities; Public goods; Public policy to promote competition; Income distribution.
Honors / AP Environmental Science: Environmental science covers a variety of “natural world” topics including: Earth Systems: Geologic time scale, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanism, seasons, solar intensity, the atmosphere (composition, structure, weather and climate, atmospheric circulation, Coriolis effect, atmosphere-ocean interactions); Water Resources (Freshwater/saltwater; ocean circulation; agricultural, industrial and domestic use, surface and groundwater); Soil and rocks (cycle, formation, composition, physical and chemical properties, types, erosion). The Biosphere: Ecosystem Structure (biological populations and communities, ecological niches, species (interactions, keystone, diversity, edge effects, terrestrial and aquatic biomes); Energy (photosynthesis, cellular respiration, food web, trophic levels, ecological pyramids); Ecosystem Diversity and Biodiversity (natural selection, evolution, ecosystem services); Changes in the Ecosystem (climate shifts, species movement, ecological succession); Biogeochemical Cycles (Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, water). Population: Biological Population Concepts including human (Population ecology, carrying capacity, reproductive strategies, survivorship). Land and Water Use: Agriculture, Forestry (Tree plantations, old growth forests, forest fires, forest management, national forests); Rangelands (Overgrazing; deforestation, desertification, management); Mining (Mineral formation, extraction, global reserves, legislation and treaties); Fishing (techniques, overfishing, aquaculture, relevant laws and treaties); Global Economics (Globalization; World Bank). Energy Resources: Energy Concepts (forms, power, units; conversions, thermodynamics) and consumption; Fossil Fuels (Formation of coal, oil, and natural gas, extraction, refining, reserves, demand; synfuels, advantages/disadvantages of sources), Nuclear Energy (fission; fuel, electricity production, reactor types, advantages/disadvantages, safety, radiation and human health, wastes), nuclear fusion; Hydroelectric Power (Dams, flood control, salmon, silting); Energy Conservation (efficiency, CAFE, electric vehicles, mass transit); Renewable Energy (solar electricity, hydrogen fuel cells, biomass, wind, small-scale hydroelectric, tidal energy, geothermal, advantages/disadvantages). Pollution: Types, Impacts (environment, human health, economic, cost-benefit). Global Changes: Stratospheric ozone (formation, ultraviolet radiation, depletion); global warming; reduction of Biodiversity. TEXTBOOK-REQUIRED
Physics 1: is an algebra-based, inquiry-based course that covers Newtonian mechanics (work, energy, power); mechanical waves and sound; and simple circuits. Topics include: fluid statics and dynamics; thermodynamics with kinetic theory; PV diagrams and probability; electrostatics; DC electrical circuits with capacitors and resistors; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics.
Physics C Mechanics: through the application of differential and integral calculus, offers instruction in each of the following content areas: Kinematics (vector algebra, coordinate systems, displacement, velocity and acceleration); Newton’s laws of motion (static equilibrium, dynamics of a single particle, systems of two or more objects); Work, Energy and Power (potential energy, conservation of energy); Systems of particles and linear momentum (center of mass, impulse and momentum, conservation of linear momentum, collisions); Circular motion and rotation (uniform circular motion, torque and rotational statics, Rotational kinematics and dynamics, angular momentum and conservation), Oscillations and gravitation (Harmonic motion, pendulums, Newton’s law of gravity, orbits of planets and satellites).
Calculus: As with many of the classes taught at ALL Secondary School, students are encouraged to purchase the appropriate textbook several weeks prior to the beginning of class, and to have reviewed the textbook and familiarized themselves with the content, vocabulary, and general concepts prior to the first day of class. Students must own their personal copy of the textbook and have exclusive access to an appropriate graphing calculator. Minimum capabilities for a graphing calculator, used in this class, include built-in capability to: 1) Plot the graph of a function, 2) Find the zeros of functions /solve equations numerically. 3) Numerically calculate the derivative of a function. 4) Numerically calculate the value of a definite integral. Students are encouraged to retain their textbooks and lecture notes for future reference. Topics covered in AP Calculus AB include: functions, graphs, and limits; derivatives; and integrals. Topics covered in AP Calculus BC include: functions, graphs, and limits; derivatives; integrals; polynomial approximations and series.
United States Civics: The American Civics Act (House Bill 2064) requires that students, beginning in 2017, pass a civics test based on the United States Immigration and Naturalization civics questions. Civics covers topics such as: Terms of office for elected officials; US economic system – free market economy, USA symbols, USA territories, Articles of Confederation; The Declaration of the thirteen united States of America; Constitution of United States of America (governmental structure, amendment process); Bill of Rights (1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. 2. Right to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia. 3. Restrictions on the quartering of soldiers. 4. Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. 5. Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy, compensation for eminent domain seizure. 6. Rights of accused persons – a. speedy, b. impartial jury, c. informed of charges, d. confront witnesses, e. compel witnesses, f. assistance of counsel to appear, 7. Right of trial by jury, 8. Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments. 9. Non exhaustive natural rights. 10. Powers reserved to the states ); rule of law; branches of government; checks and balances, separation of powers; federal and state law process; bicameral legislative system; names of President, Vice President, state representatives, state senators, governor, mayor; Month and years of presidential elections; order of succession; Cabinet-level positions; party system; city, state, and country capitals; Duties and responsibilities of citizenship. TEXTBOOK-NOT REQUIRED
Chinese Language and Culture: is series of course indicating level of students’ proficiency. Course numbers do not represent the number of semesters or years the student has studied the language. They indicate the proficiency level. This series of courses lead to the AP which may be taken at any time the student deem prepared.
Chinese Language and Culture: is equivalent to an advanced course in Mandarin Chinese and focuses on developing the ability to understand spoken Mandarin and the facility to speak such that a native speaker of Mandarin can readily understand. Students are expected to demonstrate competence in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication as speakers, listeners, and observers. This course weaves the learning of the spoken language with appreciation for the cultures of native Mandarin speakers. This course includes the following: 1) Contemporary Chinese society including: regional and national; values, cuisine, ethnic and cultural diversity, transportation, population density, climate and weather, holidays, recreation, geography, economics. 2) Regional, national, and international current affairs. 3) Historical and contemporary; significant persons, contributors and contributions to philosophical, government institutions, visual and performing arts, folk arts and ritual customs. 4) Role and participation in the modern, industrialized global community.
Comparative Literature Workshop: This course enables students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively. Reading selections drawn from diverse genres, disciplines, historical periods, and cultures are assigned prior to in-class discussions. Students are expected to read carefully and critically analyze each selection. Comprehension is assessed with short writing assignments and Expert Trials. Students will learn to appreciate the many ways writers provide meaning and enjoyment through structure, style, theme, figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. This course will improve reading and writing skills in a variety of contexts. Students learn to identify an author’s purposes and intended audience as well as appreciate the way conventions and language contribute to effective writing. Students read selections from primary and secondary sources and analyze and synthesize these texts with their own compositions. Student essays proceed through several drafts. With each draft, students receive instructor and peer feedback. In addition to critical reading skills development, this Workshop covers expository, analytical, and argumentative as well as personal and reflective writing skills development.
English Literature and Composition: requires critical analysis of selected readings on the basis of structure, style, theme, and use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. Representative works from various genres may be represented in the form of poetry, drama, novels, short stories, expository prose, etc. Students are expected to secure their own copies by purchasing them on-line, purchasing reading packets from the office, or downloading free copies. Students are also expected to have read and ruminated over the designated readings prior to in-class discussions. This course requires not only a substantial about of reading but a significant amount of writing. Writing assignments focus on the critical analysis of literature and will include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. Student essays will: demonstrate the sophisticated use of exacting vocabulary with accuracy and connotative effect; include a variety of sentence structures with subordinate and coordinate constructions; have logically organized structures and use techniques such as repetition transitions, and emphasis; balance generalizations with supportive details; will demonstrate an effective use of rhetoric including such as controlled tone, consistent voice and achieve clarity and impact through parallelism and antithesis.
Comparative Government and Politics: Students learn to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across six countries; Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China, and Nigeria. In addition, students will analyze and interpret data and develop objective generalizations based on facts. Topics include: Introduction to Comparative Politics; Sovereignty, Authority, and Power; Political Institutions; Citizens, Society, and the State; Political and Economic Change; Public Policy. Emphasis is placed on broad trends that allow comparison, rather than on details that are unrelated to broad trends and large concepts. Upon completion of this course students are expected to: Compare and contrast political concepts, themes, and generalizations; Describe and explain typical patterns of political processes and behaviors and their consequences; Compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries to derive generalizations; And analyze and interpret basic data relevant to the aforementioned governments and political systems. Students will be asked to explain and apply key concepts based on supporting documentation.
Chemistry: Students learn concepts and gain competence solving chemical problems. Topics include: Atomic theory; the Standard Model; transformations of matter; concept that atoms build elements; how laws and chemical and nuclear relationships arise from the atomic nature of matter; molecules and their specific ratio of atoms; pairs of elements and the type of molecules they form; Chemical analysis;the mole; Electron configuration models; Coulomb’s law; Periodicity of elements; Dalton’s Model; Conservation of physical and chemical processes;chemical and physical properties, atoms, ion, molecules and the forces between them;physical properties dependent upon the spacing between atoms, molecules, ions and the forces of attraction between them;modeling the gaseous state with mathematical equations;forces of attraction between particles used to determine macroscopic properties;dipoles, electronegativity, intermolecular forces, electrostatic forces, chemical bonds, covalent bonds, ionic bonds, metallic bonds; Lewis diagrams and VSEPR models; Bonding in the solid state: ionic solids, metallic solids, Covalent network solids, Molecular solids; Changes in matter; rearrangement, reorganization of atoms, transfer of electrons; Balanced chemical equations, reactants, products; Quantitative information derived from stoichiometric calculations; balanced chemical equations; Chemical reactions classified by reactants and products, synthesis, decomposition, acid-base, oxidation-reduction reactions; Chemical and physical transformations; evidence of a chemical change; endothermic, exothermic, galvanic; electrolytic cells; Rates of chemical reactions; Concentration or pressure of reactants, phase of reactants, temperature, solvent; Elementary reactions mediated by collisions between molecules; elementary reactions; catalyzed reactions; Thermodynamics; thermal transfer from one system to another, kinetic energy of atoms and molecules; Conservation of energy in chemical systems, phase transitions, chemical reactions; Calorimetry; Bonding and energy, potential energy of atoms and ions, net energy of reactions; Electrostatic forces between molecules, atoms, ions; intermolecular interactions; potential energy and molecules; Chemical processes driven by enthalpy or entropy; Thermodynamically favored chemical processes; Gibbs function; Formation and breaking of Bonds; Chemical equilibrium;Reaction quotient; Equilibrium constant; Le Chatelier’s principle; pH and aqueous solutions controlled with buffers.
PE, Preferred-Elective: Various physical education, Preferred-Electives including swimming, weight training, the highly competitive and hazardous Ultimate Flying Disk rivalry, basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. Preferred electives may only be accessed by students who are meeting their educational and behavior obligations.
Statistics: The course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. There are four themes in the Statistics course: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Students use technology, investigations, problem solving, and writing as they build conceptual understanding. Each student must purchase their own graphing, statistics calculator or its equivalent. Graphing calculators with statistical capabilities should include: 1) standard statistical univariate and bivariate summaries through linear regression; 2) Graphical capabilities should include common univariate and bivariate displays such as histograms, box plots, and scatter plots. The utilization of graphing calculators and computers are integral components of the AP Statistics course and any student without an appropriate calculator will be at a severe disadvantage. Two calculators may be used during the exam.
How Courses and Curricular Materials are Continuously Improved and Developed: Each instructional series is reviewed for instructional and evaluative effectiveness and refined yearly. Each item within each series is analyzed, against the appropriate cumulative data stored in MARC’s integrated environment, relative to item difficulty, discrimination power, and item characteristic curve. Instructional concept modules (groups of Experts and/or Challenges aligned with a specific concepts within a subject) are evaluated for ceiling and floor effects. Revisions are guided by this output. This process is continuous throughout the year, however revisions are only introduced at the beginning of the next year.