IB Courses

This intensive pre-university curriculum leads to a series of rigorous exams. The comprehensive IB program of study meets the curriculum requirements of many national systems of education. George School is one of a few U.S. boarding schools offering the IB program.

Dance Studies and Performance Art 1-6

In Dance 1, a fundamental knowledge of dance vocabulary, basic steps, and body mechanics is developed. Attention is placed on proper body alignment, movement efficiency, strength, and flexibility. Students learn to combine basic steps into movement phrases, to dance to a variety of tempos, and to work in a range of styles. The basics of dance composition are also explored, along with creative movement and performance preparation. As students progress through the dance program, there is increased emphasis on kinesthetics and the development of core strength. Movement combinations increase in length and technical difficulty as students become more familiar with adagio and petit allegro and are better able to incorporate increased use of jumps and turns. Students explore effort/shape concepts, dynamics, rhythm, gesture, and motivation in relation to dance composition and do increasingly sophisticated choreographic projects. All dance students participate in a staged performance during the course of the year, which requires rehearsal time outside of class.

Students can prepare for an IB dance exam by taking dance in both 11th and 12th grades.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Dance Studies and Performance Art 2-6 require previous dance experience and permission of instructor

String Ensemble

This is a course in musicianship for players of string instruments. Through the preparation and performance of instrumental music, students learn elements of style, expression, ensemble technique, music theory, history of music, and music literature. The role of the performer and his or her responsibility to the composer, the audience, and fellow performers are ongoing themes in this class. A varied repertoire, ranging from Renaissance music to modern compositions, is performed not only by the full orchestra, but also by the string orchestra and various smaller chamber ensembles. Each student will participate in at least three different ensembles within this single class. To participate, a student must demonstrate familiarity with his or her instrument; read music fluently; and have a working understanding of key signatures, basic rhythm patterns, and meter. There are occasional evening and weekend rehearsals and performances. Students also take field trips and attend off-campus performances.

With permission from the department, a student may prepare for the IB SL Music exam by taking String Ensemble in both 11th and 12th grades while doing additional independent work.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Audition

Wind Ensemble

This is a course in musicianship for players of wind and percussion instruments. Through the preparation and performance of instrumental music, students learn elements of style, expression, ensemble technique, music theory, history of music, and music literature. The role of the performer and his or her responsibility to the composer, the audience, and fellow performers are ongoing themes in this class. A varied repertoire, ranging from Renaissance music to modern compositions, is performed not only by the full orchestra, but also by various smaller chamber ensembles. Each student will participate in at least three different ensembles within this single class. To participate, a student must demonstrate familiarity with his or her instrument; read music fluently; and have a working understanding of key signatures, basic rhythm patterns, and meter. There are occasional evening and weekend rehearsals and performances. Students also take field trips and attend off-campus performances.

With permission from the department, a student may prepare for the IB SL Music exam by taking Wind Ensemble in both 11th and 12th grades while doing additional independent work.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Audition

Vocal Ensemble

Students in this course receive training in vocal production and sight-reading while exploring a variety of vocal styles. Singers experience a varied repertoire of music from around the world, including, but not limited to, early to contemporary classical music and a cappella and vocal jazz. The ensemble performs on and off campus. Chorale members learn the music of the Community Chorus and perform in its annual concert also. To participate, each student must be able to carry a tune, blend well with other voices, and be enthusiastic about performing. The ability to read music, while helpful, is not a prerequisite, as this is part of the class instruction.

With permission from the department and the ability to read music, a student may prepare for the IB SL Music exam by taking Vocal Ensemble in both 11th and 12th grades while doing additional independent work.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Audition

Advanced Film Production

During the second and subsequent years in the film program, students strengthen and refine their filmmaking skills and continue to develop new ones. More emphasis is placed on scripting and project planning, on targeting external audiences, on developing more sophisticated camera use and production practices, and on learning more advanced editing techniques. Collaborative effort is also stressed.

Students may take this course more than once.

Students may prepare for the IB Film exam by taking Advanced Film Production in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for the IB exam must participate in the IB Film seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Film Production

Advanced Theater Arts: Acting and Directing

This course, which has a specific focus on world theater, provides an opportunity for students to hone and improve the techniques developed in the Theater Arts course. To prepare for an IB theater exam, a student must take this course in both junior and senior years.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Theater Arts: Acting

Theater Arts: Design and Production

Training in theater lighting, scenery, properties, sound, and stage management allows students to prepare for the school’s four major productions throughout the year. Students are also expected to work on at least one running crew during the school year. All students undertake a theoretical design project during the second term, delving into script analysis and design theory. Students are encouraged to take this class more than once since the curriculum changes every year. Those enrolled in Design and Production for second or subsequent years are expected to take on greater leadership roles in the class, especially as peer teachers.

Students may prepare for an IB Theater Arts exam by taking Theater Arts: Design and Production courses in both 11th and 12th grades.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Advanced Theater Arts: Design and Production

Training in theater lighting, scenery, properties, sound, and stage management allows students to prepare for the school’s four major productions throughout the year. Students are also expected to work on at least one running crew during the school year. All students undertake a theoretical design project during the second term, delving into script analysis and design theory. Students are encouraged to take this class more than once since the curriculum changes every year. Those enrolled in Design and Production for second or subsequent years are expected to take on greater leadership roles in the class, especially as peer teachers.

Students may prepare for an IB Theater Arts exam by taking Theater Arts: Design and Production courses in both 11th and 12th grades.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Theater Arts: Design and Production

Ceramics

Developing a practical understanding of clay objects while taking an aesthetic approach to ceramics is the primary goal of this course. George School has an excellent studio with many potter’s wheels, and wheelwork is emphasized. Students develop skills in centering clay, throwing on the potter's wheel, trimming, and glazing. Other skills introduced in alternate years are: building with slabs or coils, pinching clay pots, creating small-scale sculptures, making clay stamps, and decorating with brushes and glaze pens. Each student’s work is exhibited with a critique at the end of each term. Classes include videos, slides, and presentations of others’ work, including artists in the field. Students are expected to complete
between four and ten pieces each term. In addition, they are expected to support classmates, to honor the work of all students in the class, and to contribute to classroom cleanup and maintenance.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB visual arts exam must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intermediate Ceramics

Students work to expand their knowledge of clay as an art medium and to improve the skills learned in Ceramics. They complete specific assignments and plan some of their own projects. Projects are more complex and require more time. Assignments might include covered pots, teapots, cups and saucers, plates, dinnerware sets and slab-built boxes. There is a great deal of flexibility within the assignments given to students and some assignments might include a written or presentation component. Craftsmanship, creativity, and an appreciation for the elements that are inherent in well-made functional pottery are emphasized in this class.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB visual arts exam must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Ceramics (must be taken at George School)

Advanced Ceramics

The advanced course builds on and perfects the techniques learned in the previous courses. Further exploration will focus on craftsmanship, creativity, and design. Students will make both functional and sculptural works. Students will utilize a variety of slips, underglazes, and glazes using more sophisticated application techniques. They will explore some ceramic art history and try different firing techniques.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB visual arts exam must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Intermediate Ceramics

Senior Ceramics Projects

In the fourth year of George School’s ceramics offerings, students are encouraged to develop a coherent body of independent work with periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process. In addition, they will try more advanced techniques such as making small editions utilizing slip-casting in plaster molds and utilizing a 3D printer designed to print with clay slip.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB visual arts exam must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: Advanced Ceramics

Materials and Methods of Sculpture

Sculpture students are introduced to materials and methods of working with three-dimensional forms, exploring the elements, principles, and aesthetic concepts integral to 3-dimensional design and to consider relationships between concept, process, materials, tools, and technical skills. This course gives a historical overview of sculpture and covers various aspects of 3-dimensional design, such as the production of simple and complex forms, subtractive work, contextual considerations, and found objects. Students are introduced to hand and power tools along with safe shop practices. Mediums and methods include plaster, clay, stone, metal, wood, casting techniques, wire forms, and welding. Regular assessment promotes a solid theoretical and practical/technical understanding of the process of making sculpture and 3-dimensional forms. This course may be taken as an IB Visual Art. Please see the IB Visual Arts description.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisites: Ceramics, Woodworking, or permission of instructor

Advanced Painting and Drawing I-III

The focus of this course is directed towards creating a unique body of work in painting and drawing. In class, students will work on strengthening their painting and drawing skills while developing a unique and personal vision. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their personal interests and ideas. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to a variety of sources and materials to explore different media, methods, processes and possibilities to create art. The instructor will give brief slide lectures and conduct demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor will give individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and work outside of class. This course may be taken as AP or IB Visual Arts. Please see the AP or IB Visual Arts description.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Painting and Drawing or permission from instructor after a portfolio review

Senior Studio in Painting and Drawing

The focus of this course is to develop and complete a comprehensive body of work consisting of paintings and drawings that addresses a centralized theme with a written artist statement. Throughout the course, students will advance and evolve their aesthetic, concept, personal ideas and technical skills. Students are responsible for developing their portfolios by creating works that reflect their own individual voices. The instructor will give brief lectures and conduct demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor will give individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. The development of the student’s body of work will culminate in an independent exhibition at George School. An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this intensive class. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and to work outside of class. Prior experience with a wide range of art materials is expected to showcase an effective and high quality portfolio. This course may be taken as AP or IB Visual Arts. Please see the AP or IB Visual Arts description.

Prerequisite: Open to seniors who have taken Advanced Painting and Drawing or with permission from instructor after a portfolio review

Photography

Basic photography concepts, processes, and techniques lead students toward mastery of 35mm camera operation, exposure, and darkroom procedures. In addition to technical skills, students explore the aesthetics of photography through critiques, presentations, and written assignments. Student work is exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Assessment is based on the quality of work, effort, and timeliness. Students must have a 35mm manual camera for this course, and projects are shot outside of class time. Film and chemicals are provided; all other materials are available for purchase in the George School bookstore. Since technical difficulties may arise that require students to spend free periods in the photo lab, students taking an overload are advised against taking this course.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking photography courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Advanced Photography I-III

Technical skills acquired in Photography are further refined. In addition, experimental techniques are introduced, ranging from historic and antique processes to cutting-edge digital imaging. Students experiment with studio lighting, digital imaging, nonsilver processes, and bookbinding. Participation in class critiques is required as images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Since the curriculum changes every year, students are encouraged to take this class more than once. Since technical difficulties may arise that require students to spend free periods in the photo lab, students taking an overload are advised against taking this course.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking photography courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

Digital Imaging and Design

The art of digital imaging through the use of Adobe Photoshop is explored in this course. Students create images with 35mm Digital SLR cameras. Students focus on a theme, design, and publish a hard-cover book in the fall term based on their summer project. Students learn to edit and manipulate their images in Adobe Photoshop by participating in hands-on demonstrations and completing technical exercises. Participation in class critiques is required as images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns. The latter part of the course is focused on portfolio development as students work to develop their individual voice through the photographic medium. This course may only be taken once. Paper and ink are provided for a fee of $75 per term. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries.

This course may be taken as an Advanced Placement course in the senior year or with special permission from the instructor. Students may take this course in their junior and senior years as an IB Visual Art. Please see the IB Visual Arts and AP Studio Art descriptions for more information.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

IB SL Biology

This course prepares students for the IB Standard Level (SL) Biology exam. Lecture-format classes are combined with frequent experiments to investigate all major topics in the IB SL Biology curriculum: cells, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution and biodiversity, and human physiology. An in-class dissection of a mammal provides hands-on experience with anatomy. Information is covered in detail and at a moderately fast pace. Nightly homework typically includes reading a chapter in a college-level textbook, writing a lab report, or preparing a presentation. Occasional evening and/or weekend labs are required in order to fulfill IB lab expectations. This course includes a lengthy independent research project.

All students are required to take the IB SL Biology exam, usually offered in early May. Students must also attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB-style research project. Readings are assigned over most vacations, and students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for this class.

Open to: Juniors and seniors in the IB diploma program

Prerequisite: For 2017-18: Chemistry (B-); For 2018-19: Intensive Biology (B) or B+ in Biology taken in 2016-17 AND either Intensive Chemistry (B) or Chemistry (A-) or B+ in Chemistry taken in 2015-16. Satisfactory performance on a placement test is required for those students whose prerequisite biology class was taken somewhere other than George School.

IB HL Biology

This college-level course prepares students for the IB Higher Level (HL) Biology exam. Lecture-format classes are combined with frequent experiments to investigate all major topics in the IB HL Biology curriculum: cells; molecular biology; genetics; ecology; evolution and biodiversity; human physiology; nucleic acids; metabolism, cell respiration, and photosynthesis; plant biology; genetics and evolution; and animal physiology. Information is covered in detail and at a fast pace. Nightly homework typically includes reading a chapter in a college-level textbook, writing a lab report, completing review sheets, studying for weekly quizzes, or completing analysis of scientific studies with data-based questions. Occasional evening and/or weekend labs are required in order to fulfill IB lab expectations. The course includes a lengthy independent research project which is required as part of the IB’s Internal Assessment.

All students are required to take the IB HL Biology exam. Students must also attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB-style research project. Readings are assigned over most vacations, and students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for this class.

Open to: Seniors in the IB diploma program

Prerequisite: For 2017-18: Chemistry (B+) and either Biology (B+) or IB SL Biology (B). For 2018-19: One of Chemistry (A), Intensive Chemistry (B+), or Chemistry taken in 15-16 (B+) together with either Intensive Biology (B+) or Biology taken in 16-17 (A-). Satisfactory performance on a placement test is required for those students whose prerequisite biology class was taken somewhere other than George School.

IB Chinese 4

Building on the fundamentals established in earlier courses, students in this course become increasingly adept at expressing themselves in culturally appropriate ways in a wide variety of situations. The focus is on writing paragraphs, reading more extensive and involved passages than in earlier courses, refining inter-personal communication skills and broadening the student’s knowledge of contemporary Chinese culture and the historical context from which the culture has evolved. Videos, Chinese websites and other media are employed to reinforce the students’ language abilities. Juniors and seniors may, but
are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Chinese 3 (B) or placement test

IB Chinese 5

The goal of IB Chinese 5 is to take students to the next level in their proficiency. In Chinese 5, students will interact much more with authentic materials—both written and audio, from literature to culture—and be expected to be even more vocal, doing presentations, debates, and leading the class in discussions surrounding these materials and topics. In terms of producing Chinese, students will explore different and more sophisticated ways of expressing themselves and learn to use more advanced structures, particularly in their writing. Students will practice the process of writing short descriptive, reflective, and interpretive essays.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: IB Chinese 4 (B-) or placement test

IB Chinese Seminar

This class is conducted entirely in Chinese and active oral participation is key. Students use authentic Chinese-language materials such as articles, short stories, videos, websites, and feature-length films to explore a variety of topics relevant to life in China today. The specific topics vary from year to year so that students can take the class more than once without repeating material, but examples include education, environmental issues, changing demographics, government and politics, international relations, pop culture, online culture, and film. Typically four to six topics are covered in a year. Students are expected to debate, lead discussions, make oral presentations, write frequent short essays, do extensive research on a topic of their own choosing in contemporary Chinese life, and communicate the results of their research in both a longer paper and a multimedia-presentation.

While students enrolled in this course are not required to take an external exam, those in their first year of the course typically prepare for the IB SL Chinese B exam, while those in their second year typically prepare for the IB HL Chinese B exam or the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB Chinese 5 (B) or placement test

IB HL English 1: American Literature

This is the first in a fast paced two-year sequence of the higher-level IB English curriculum. The first two terms cover American Literature as described above, and the third term is devoted to several works of world literature that fulfill a portion of the IB requirements. This course includes preparation for the formal oral commentary done in the senior year. Students should only select this course if they are committed to the two-year sequence. Students need to achieve at least a B to continue with IB HL 2 in the senior year. The Culminating Paper for the year requires each student to select a novel from an approved list and write an extended comparative essay relating this work to several others studied as part of the shared curriculum. This paper is required of all juniors. It can also serve as the Extended Essay for students who are IB diploma candidates.

Open to: Juniors

Prerequisite: Literature and Composition II (B+) and permission of department head

IB HL English 1: Advanced American Literature

The content of this course parallels the content of IB HL English 1: American Literature. Additional works read are from earlier time periods and employ complex syntax and difficult vocabulary. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of the literature independently, to question and challenge the interpretations of others, and to move quickly to abstractions. The course is conducted as a seminar, requiring students to assume responsibility for facilitating discussion in addition to participating regularly. Students must prepare written reflections on each reading assignment in preparation for discussion. Essays typically range from 5 to 8 pages in length, and major projects are broad in scope, often requiring the student to synthesize ideas from several works. The Culminating Paper for the year requires each student to select a novel from an approved list and write an extended comparative essay relating this work to several others studied as part of the shared curriculum. This paper is required of all juniors. It can also serve as the Extended Essay for students who are IB diploma candidates.

Open to: Juniors

Prerequisites: AP English Language and Composition or Literature and Composition II (B+) and permission of department head

IB SL English: World Literature

Classic and contemporary world texts are examined through literature, essays, and film in this course, as students learn to evaluate secondary sources and engage in deeper readings of the texts. Such treatment prepares them for the complexity and rigors of college analysis. Students explore thematic connections that run through classic and modern works in spite of their differing cultural traditions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Atwood, Camus, Carver, Conrad, Ishiguro, Kafka, O’Connor, Olen Butler, Orwell, Shakespeare, and Sophocles. Students are expected to think independently, do close readings, and articulate their interpretations maturely and thoughtfully. Major assignments include oral presentations, critical commentaries, and essays that develop the analytical skills acquired in the junior year. Students may sit for either the IB SL or IB HL exam from this course.

Open to: Seniors

IB HL English 2: World Literature

This course fulfills the expectations of the IB curriculum and prepare students for both the IB and AP exams. Students are expected to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of literature independently and to question and challenge the interpretations of others. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to move quickly to abstractions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Austen, Chaucer, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Greene, Kafka, the Romantic poets, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Voltaire.

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: IB HL English 1: Advanced American Literature, or IB HL English 1: American Literature (B), or American Literature (B+) and permission of department head

IB HL English 2: World Literature—Writer’s Focus

This course fulfills the expectations of the IB curriculum and prepare students for both the IB and AP exams. Students are expected to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of literature independently and to question and challenge the interpretations of others. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to move quickly to abstractions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Austen, Chaucer, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Greene, Kafka, the Romantic poets, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Voltaire.

The Writer’s Focus version of the course considers literature with a view towards developing a more fully articulated understanding of the art and the craft of writing poetry, drama, and prose fiction. In addition to literary discussion, Writer’s Focus classes features workshop-style critiquing sessions. Participants in the Writer’s Focus class should be committed creative writers who are comfortable having their work read aloud and critiqued by peers.

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: IB HL English 1: Advanced American Literature and permission of department head

IB French 4

This IB course is designed for students whose interest is primarily in the contemporary French-speaking world. The class is conducted entirely in French and all students are fully expected to actively participate in class activities. Speaking and writing activities are based on cultural themes and contemporary issues are explored through movies, periodicals, songs of social, historical and artistic content, visual art, poems and short stories. Students may also work with literary texts. Review and continued refinement of grammatical structures are aimed at helping students develop their self-expression. Assignments are both written and oral. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam at the end of this course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive French 3 (C+) or French 3 (B) or placement test

IB/AP French 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding French. This class is conducted entirely in French and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP French Language exam or the Higher Level IB French exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB French 4 (B) or placement test

IB HL French Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the French language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP French 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL French B exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB/AP French 5 (B) or placement test

IB SL Global Politics

This course explores global politics through four core units: power and sovereignty, human rights, peace and conflict, and development and sustainability. It allows students to develop an understanding of political activity and processes, as well as explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course focuses on political theory, while helping students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real-world examples of events and case studies from the past decade, such as the Palestinian bid for Statehood, North Korea’s authoritarian state, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Arab Spring. It also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a wider and trans-national perspective. Students will also explore politics through a unique “engagement activity,” which requires them to combine academic research with political action to explore a political topic of their own interest. In this way, students throughout the year will be encouraged to explore the relationship between people and power, and how this manifests on the local, national, and international levels. Students will be required to take the IB examination in May.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: A US History course

IB SL Economics

This reading and writing intensive course prepares students for the standard level IB Economics exam and sitting for the exam is a requirement of the course. The major economic areas covered are microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, and developmental economics. In addition, the course considers current world economic issues with particular emphasis on the United States. Students are expected to write four papers of no more than 750 words in length each. Three of the four papers will be part of the student’s IB Economics portfolio, which will be made available to international IB examiners. Registration preference will be given to students who are pursuing the IB Diploma.

Open to: Juniors and seniors, with preference given to IB diploma candidates

Prerequisites: US History (A-), Foundations in US History (A-), Accelerated US History (B), or AP US History (B). In addition students must have earned at least an A- in Algebra 2 or at least a B- in Intensive Algebra 2 or a more advanced math course. Students interested in taking this course concurrently with a US History course should be in touch with the department head.

IB HL Economics

This course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics—which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets—and the economic theories of macroeconomics—which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments, and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development, and environmental sustainability. This class is the second year of a two-year Economics sequence required by the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: AP Economics or IB SL Economics

IB SL History: War, Revolution, and Peacemaking

This course prepares students for the standard-level IB History exam. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues in the history of the twentieth century including the authoritarian leaderships of Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, and Castro and the superpower tensions and rivalries of the Cold War. The course has as its prescribed subject (an IB requirement) “The Move to Global War,” which studies military expansion in Japan, Germany, and Italy between 1931 and 1941. A major historical investigation project involving intensive research and mature writing is an IB requirement undertaken in the first two terms. The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected in the seminar-style classroom format. Substantial reading is regularly assigned from college-level texts. Students are required to take the IB Examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

(Not offered in 2016-17)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: A US History course

IB HL World History: Americas Focus

This course, in combination with an eleventh grade course in US History, prepares students for the higher-level IB History exam with the History of the Americas regional option. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues of the world in the twentieth-century, with an emphasis on key elements of Canadian and Cuban history. Topics typically included are the emergence of the Americas in global affairs, the Great Depression and the Americas, Hitler’s Germany, the move to global war, the Second World War and the Americas, the Chinese Civil War, Castro’s Cuba, and Mao’s China. A major historical investigation project involving intensive research and mature writing is an IB requirement undertaken in the first two terms. The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected in the seminar-style classroom format. Substantial reading is regularly assigned from college-level texts. Students are required to take the IB Examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisites: Preference is given to IB Diploma candidates. Students must take Accelerated US History or AP US History in their junior year. (Though it is strongly discouraged, there may be unusual situations in which the department would allow a student who took Accelerated US History as a sophomore to take HL History.)

IB/AP Latin 4

Students in IB/AP Latin 4 may pursue either the Latin Literature Advanced Placement or IB Standard Level curriculum with the expectation that they will take one of those tests. The IB standard-level readings include selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 4, and selected poems of Catullus and Horace. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Latin 3 (B) or Intensive Latin 3 (C+) or placement test

IB/AP Latin 5

This course allows students to prepare for the Latin Literature AP exam or for the higher-level IB Latin exam. Higher-level IB students read extensively from Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 4, and the poetry of Catullus and Horace. Higher-level IB students read much more extensively than standard-level students do. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB/AP Latin 4 (B) or placement test

IB SL Math Studies

The topics covered in this survey course are those of the IB Math Studies syllabus, including descriptive and introductory inferential statistics; geometry and trigonometry; unit conversion; mathematical models (linear, quadratic, exponential, and rational); introductory differential calculus; sets, probability, and logic. The approach taken emphasizes the development of mathematical reasoning skills and the understanding of fundamental concepts. Most topics are explored in a real-world context. Students design and complete an independent data-based research project which also serves as the internal assessment portion of their IB grade. Solid algebraic skills and the capacity for independent work are important to a student's success.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Either of the following options: 1. Intensive Geometry with Trig (C+) or Geometry (A-), together with either Algebra 2 (A-) or Intensive Algebra 2 (C+) 2. Functions, Trigonometry, and Statistics (B+)

IB SL Calculus

The fundamentals of differential and integral calculus are covered in this course. Topics include limits; continuity; understanding derivatives as functions, slopes, and rates of change; derivatives of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions; analysis of graphs; optimization; related rates; rectilinear motion; anti-differentiation; the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus; integration by substitution; and applications of integration to area, volume, rectilinear motion, and accumulation problems. Topics in statistics introduced in SL1 are reviewed and extended. These include discrete random variables and normal distributions. Students complete an IB mathematics portfolio in this class. Each day in class the homework is reviewed and questions are answered. New concepts are presented with examples, in preparation for the next night’s homework. Student input and questions drive class discussion. Strong algebraic and graphing skills are assumed. While students are not required to take the IB exam, they are welcome to do so.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: One of the following options:
1. Precalculus (B)
2. Advanced Precalculus with Discrete Math or IB HL Math 1: Precalculus

IB HL Math 2: Calculus

This course covers all calculus topics included in the IB HL Mathematics core syllabus plus the topics from the HL Calculus option. Throughout the course, problems are considered from graphical, numerical, and analytical perspectives with an aim toward developing students' ability to shift easily from one perspective to another. There is an emphasis on learning to understand, use, and appreciate the value of the precise technical language (definitions, theorems, etc.) of mathematics. Students learn to discern situations in which technology can be a helpful tool in the solution of a problem. Graphing calculators are used extensively. Students are required to complete an IB portfolio. The pace is intense. Students are expected to work as mathematicians do in that they are asked frequently to try problems without having been explicitly taught how to find the solutions. Excellent algebraic, graphing, and organizational skills are assumed, as is a very good understanding of trigonometric functions and a working knowledge of the statistics covered in IB HL Math 1. All students are required to take either the IB HL Math exam or the IB SL Math exam. (Students are also able to take the AP Calculus (AB) exam if they so choose as the course covers substantially more calculus than the AP Calculus (AB) course.)

Students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for class.

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: IB HL 1: Precalculus (A)

IB HL Mathematics

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: Advanced Precalculus with Discrete Math (B+) and AP Calculus (B)

IB HL Further Mathematics

This course surveys a broad range of post-calculus mathematics topics. The aim is to introduce advanced concepts to students who intend to major in math or computer science, or whose studies will involve higher mathematics in a pure or applied context. The topics include advanced geometry, linear algebra, abstract algebra, sequences and series, calculus-based theoretical statistics and probability, number theory, and graph theory. These topics cover and combine the three cores of mathematics as it is currently studied: analysis, algebra, and geometry. Algebraic structure is emphasized as a
framework for abstraction and as a thread tying together the topics studied. The expectations and approach of this course are similar to those of IB HL 2 Calculus with a greater emphasis on proof writing at an advanced level. Excellent algebraic, graphing, and logical reasoning skills are assumed, as is a strong understanding of differential and integral calculus. All students are required to take the IB Further Math HL exam. (Students are also able to take the IB Math HL exam if they so choose).

Students may be required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for class (depending on their background).

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: IB HL Math concurrently or AP Calculus (A-) and the recommendation of the department. Students who satisfy the prerequisite with AP Calculus are urged to take the BC exam.

IB SL Physics

This course prepares students for the International Baccalaureate Standard Level exam, as well as algebra-based physics at the college level. Substantial time is spent in the laboratory. Covered topics include mechanics, thermal physics, waves, electricity and magnetism, circular motion and gravitation, atomic, nuclear and particle physics and energy production. Students in this course will participate in the Group 4 Project, which is a weekend long, interdisciplinary scientific research project. Students must have mastered multi-variable algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, exponents, and operations using a graphing calculator. Additionally, students should be familiar with vectors and mathematical modeling of data. Weekly or biweekly lab experiments are performed during class and the results are analyzed in lab reports. All students must also complete a 10-hour independent research project. Students are assigned approximately five to seven hours of homework per week. All students enrolled in the course are required to take the IB exam.

Note: students who took regular physics as sophomores in the school year 2015-2016 are eligible for IB HL Physics in the school year 2017-2018. However, they will need to commit to a substantial amount of self-study in preparation.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Physics (C) or B in Physics taken before 2016-17
Corequisite: A precalculus course

IB HL Physics

This course prepares students for the International Baccalaureate Higher Level exam, as well as algebra-based physics at the college level. Substantial time is spent in the laboratory. The topics covered in this course are broadly the same as those in IB SL Physics with the addition of quantum physics. Concepts are treated in more depth and with more mathematical rigor. Students in this course will participate in the Group 4 Project, which is a weekend long, interdisciplinary scientific research project. Students must have mastered multi-variable algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, exponents, and operations using a graphing calculator. Additionally, students should be familiar with vectors and mathematical modeling of data. Weekly or biweekly lab experiments are performed during class and the results are analyzed in lab reports. All students must also complete a 10-hour independent research project. Students are assigned approximately five to seven hours of homework per week. All students enrolled in the course are required to take the IB exam.

Note: students who took regular physics as sophomores in the school year 2015-2016 are eligible for IB HL Physics in the school year 2017-2018. However, they will need to commit to a substantial amount of self-study in preparation.

(Course will not be offered until 2017-18.)

Open to: Seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Physics (B). IB diploma candidates may also enroll with an A- in Physics taken in 2015-16.
Corequisite: A precalculus course

IB SL World Religions

In International Baccalaureate (IB) World Religions, students study a number of living world religions in an inquiring, open-minded, and empathetic way. The scope of the course is both broad and intensive, beginning with a survey of five world religions (including but not limited to: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The class will then move into a focused study of two in particular (to be selected from among those previously mentioned), at the discretion of the teacher.  World religions are studied in such a way that students will acquire a sense of what it is like to belong to a particular religion and how that influences the way in which the followers of that religion understand and act in the world, and relate and respond to others. The experiential dimension to learning is of great importance in a course like this and so field trips and visits from outside speakers are included.  Students will be prepared for an internal oral assessment and for the IB World Religions SL exam.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Final grades of B+ in at least two courses in English, history, language, math, or science in the year preceding that in which IB World Religions is to be taken or enrollment in the full IB Diploma Program.

IB Theory of Knowledge

This yearlong course is required of all IB diploma candidates. Others may take either the full course or the first term of it as a religion elective.

This is a synthesis course that examines some of the ways in which we acquire knowledge and understand the world around us. Students explore perception, reason, and language as basic means through which we understand our experience. The course also examines different areas of knowledge, such as mathematics, science, history, morality, politics, aesthetics, and religion.

The course structure frequently employs the Socratic method to challenge students to analyze philosophical issues and to reflect on their own intellectual experiences. Students read a rich variety of texts and essays that raise religious, moral, aesthetic, and ethical questions and write reflective journal entries often in response to the reading. Each student in the course must prepare an oral presentation and submit a 1,200- to 1,600-word essay on one of ten theory of knowledge questions prescribed by the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Final grades of B+ in at least two courses in English, history, language, math, or science in the year preceding that in which IB ToK is to be taken or enrollment in the full IB Diploma Program.

IB SL Environmental Systems and Societies

This lab-driven, transdisciplinary course prepares students for the IB Environmental Science exam. Students use systems thinking to explore ecosystems, energy and nutrient transformations, population dynamics, biodiversity, and the issues of global warming and pollution management. Students also investigate a range of environmental value systems with reference to specific environmentally-related decisions made locally and globally. Students should expect to work knee-deep in water or trudge through thick meadows, rain or shine, because field work is central to understanding the environment. All students in this class are expected to take the IB exam and to attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB project. Students are expected to own their own closed-toed shoes appropriate for wading into a stream. Rain boots are preferred.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for the course.

This course fulfills the life science requirement.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Biology (B-), Intensive Biology (C+) or IB SL Biology (C)

IB Spanish 4

This course focuses on strengthening students' communicative skills in all four language areas—listening, speaking, reading and writing—as well as developing greater cultural awareness. A variety of media, including films, documentaries, web-based resources, songs, articles and literary selections, are used to build vocabulary, enhance listening skills, stimulate discussion, improve grammar, achieve greater linguistic proficiency, and make connections with a variety of Hispanic cultures. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and all students are expected to actively participate in class activities. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required, to sit for the IB Language B Standard Level exam at the end of the course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 (C+ ) or Spanish 3 (B) or placement test

IB/AP Spanish 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Spanish. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP Spanish Language exam or the Higher Level IB Spanish exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB Spanish 4 (B) or placement test

IB HL Spanish Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the Spanish language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP Spanish 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL Spanish B exam or the AP Spanish Language exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB/AP Spanish 5 (B) or placement test