The Academy offers eight honors-level courses and 10 AP courses. These courses are offered to students based upon teacher recommendation.
The Academy offers ten AP Courses:
• Art History
• Calculus AB
• Calculus BC
• Computer Science
• English Literature & Composition
• European History
• French Language & Culture
• Spanish Language & Culture
Due to AP course availability and scheduling conflicts, students are typically able to take no more than five AP courses during their high school career. Honors and AP courses are weighted in the GPA. Some AP courses are open to all students; several are allowed by the instructor’s approval only. In a typical year, more than 70% of the AP tests taken at The Academy are scored at ‘3’, ‘4’, or ‘5’.
The Academy offers eight honors-level courses:
• Honors Algebra 1
• Honors Algebra 2
• Honors French IV
• Honors Geometry
• Honors Philosophy
• Honors Precalculus
• Honors Spanish IV
• Honors World Religions
AP Literature and Composition is an intensive course designed to introduce students to college-level analysis, discussion, and comprehension of writing from a broad range of literature, drama, and poetry. The course challenges and develops the student’s ability to think critically, synthesize literature, and write effectively. Although this course explores a number of works from different genres, the concept of identity – how we understand it, create it, question it, destroy it, live without it – connects them all. As students delve into these topics, many others will emerge and aid us in forming a language and approach to literature.
In Art History, students explore the nature of art: its uses, its meanings, and peoples' response to it. This course’s inquiry revolves around investigating art as reflection and as engine of culture and society from prehistory to the present. From diverse global perspectives and through a cross-disciplinary approach to the analysis, interpretation of works of art and art movements, this course emphasizes the interconnectedness of art-making to societal and political shifts throughout history. Students will learn and discuss the fundamental issues and theories surrounding art production, distribution and reception and will develop an understanding of artwork in these contexts, which include issues such as gender, politics, religion, ethnicity and patronage. This course offers students the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of the history of art through readings, research, slides, videos, and museum visits. Writing skills will be important in the description, analysis, and comparison of these works. When taken as an AP course, preparation for the AP Art History Exam will also be incorporated into the curriculum.
AP Psychology is a challenging course designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. Through learning about aspects of human behavior, social interaction, communication, human motivation and emotion, and understanding the causes of psychological disorders, students in Psychology will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to their daily lives, and develop a deeper understanding of how to understand, interact and communicate with people.
AP European History covers the run of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is divided into four quarters, each quarter consisting of at least four thematic units. Each unit is followed by an exam involving ten or more short answer responses and one essay. In each quarter students write one paper on any of the units covered in class. As a way of grounding their research, students form a thesis about a principal historical event that seems preeminent throughout the quarter, for example: The Reformation for the first quarter; The French Revolution for the second quarter; the effects of industrialism or imperialism on European social and political relations for the third quarter; and the impact of World War I for the final quarter.
This advanced section of French is created to help the students get familiar with the actual AP exam format. Time in class is dedicated to introduction and practice of all the individual French AP exam tasks and additional work is assigned as homework. While being enrolled in French IV/ AP French/Independent Study, students must be enrolled concurrently in French IV: Honors Language and Culture or must have taken French IV: Honors Language and Culture as prerequisite prior to being enrolled in the AP section.
This advanced section of Spanish is created to help the students get familiar with the actual AP exam format. Time in class is dedicated to introduction and practice of all the individual Spanish AP exam tasks and additional work is assigned as homework. While being enrolled in Spanish IV/ AP Spanish/Independent Study, students must be enrolled concurrently in Spanish IV: Honors Language and Culture or must have taken Spanish IV: Honors Language and Culture as prerequisite prior to being enrolled in the AP section.
AP Calculus AB focuses on understanding mathematical concepts using graphical, numerical, and analytical methods. Students will be expected to communicate their understanding numerically as well as through the use of graphs and written explanations. Extensive use will be made of the graphing calculator, and students will take the AP exam at the end of the year for potential college credit.
AP Calculus BC is taken after successful completion of AP Calculus AB. The BC exam covers the first two semesters of college calculus. Material from the first semester of college calculus (the AB curriculum) is reviewed at the beginning of the year and is followed by the new material. Additional topics beyond the AP curriculum are often covered, such as linear algebra, fractals, and/or basic programming. This course is often taught as an independent study.
AP Statistics covers the same material in a typical college-level introduction to statistics course. This class can be split into four unequal parts: analysis of patterns in data and display of data, collection of valid data through well-developed plans, usage of probability to anticipate data distribution (there is order in the universe!), and employment of statistical inference (how confident we are about a particular hypothesis). Students will take the AP exam in May for potential college credit.
AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to the techniques and methods of computer programming as well as to the history and theory of computer science. This class will be taught using the Java language, and students may receive college credit by performing well on the cumulative AP Computer Science Principles test. Students participating in this class have the opportunity to perform many in-class programming activities and labs, as well as to work on larger thematic projects that may include writing a text-based video game, writing scientific programs drawing knowledge learned in previous science classes, etc.
Honors Algebra I builds upon the knowledge students have gained in previous classes and lays the foundations for rigorous mathematical studies. Topics are covered at an advanced pace and include but are not limited to: the Real Number System, absolute value, equations and inequalities, graphing, linear and quadratic functions, systems of equations, exponents, polynomials, radicals, and rational expressions.
Honors Algebra 2 continues the rigorous study of algebra at an advanced pace with a focus on the analysis of functions, including polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Emphasis is made on solving, graphing, transforming, and modeling these functions.
Honors Geometry is designed to meet the needs of students who are capable of studying geometry in greater depth and at a faster pace. The course focuses on plane and solid geometry. Students will develop deductive reasoning skills to solve problems and write complex proofs, will learn a logical approach to problem solving, and will improve their ability to communicate both concrete and abstract ideas. Topics explored include: basic definitions, lines, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, polygons, solids, congruence, similarity, proportion, trigonometry, fractals, three-dimensional coordinates, transformations, and formulas for perimeter, area, surface area, and volume.
World Religions seeks to introduce students to some of the primary foundational elements of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Jainism. To this end, students will approach work with five aims: 1) to become familiar with a broad outline of each tradition’s historical circumstances; 2) to explore a portion of each tradition’s sacred texts; 3) to understand the roots and “core” of each religion so as to better identify corruptions within the tradition; 4) to engage the way in which each tradition defines the word “community” as a means of exploring its approach to ethics; and 5) to understand the way that the tradition expresses its faith tenets through the arts.
This course introduces philosophy’s fundamental questions and varied thinkers’ approaches to these inquiries through primary texts, secondary sources, and discussion. Rather than providing a full survey of philosophy in all its forms, this course is designed to introduce philosophical thinking in general. A thematic – rather than historic – approach will be taken to explore some of philosophy’s fundamental questions: Is knowledge possible? What is this world? Does free will exist? Is there a God? If so, why is there evil? Can we make sound moral decisions? To approach these questions, the primary branches of philosophy – epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics – will be examined through classical writings and contemporary application.
French IV, a course conducted almost exclusively in French, is designed as an advanced level course in which students continue to cultivate their speaking and writing skills, as well as to expand their proficiency in listening and reading comprehension. The emphasis in French IV is on encouraging and enabling each student to function independently in French. During the course of studies in French IV, students will be exposed to a variety of French texts in original French press (in print and on line), French radio podcasts, video segments in original French, and Francophone cinéma. Students will also participate, in French, in daily classroom discussions and debate, and will complete compositions in French as part of their grade. The French IV curriculum includes a review of all main grammar points. The choice of a college-level textbook supports the transition toward college level instruction.
Spanish IV, a course conducted almost exclusively in Spanish, is designed as an advanced course in which students continue to cultivate their speaking and writing skills, as well as to expand their proficiency in listening and reading comprehension. The emphasis in Spanish IV is on encouraging and enabling each student to function independently in Spanish. During the course of studies in Spanish IV, students will be exposed to a variety of original Spanish texts in original Spanish press (in print and on line), Spanish radio podcasts, original video segments, and Spanish films. Students will also participate, in Spanish, in daily classroom discussions and debate, and will complete compositions in Spanish as part of their grade. Spanish IV curriculum includes a review of all main grammar points. The choice of a college-level textbook supports the transition toward college level instruction. Students will also engage in a series of projects throughout the school year.
Honors Precalculus continues the rigorous study of algebraic topics at an advanced pace in preparation for calculus. First semester will focus on trigonometry while Semester Two will include the study of polar graphs, vectors, conic sections, sequences, series, and probability. Students successfully completing the class should be ready for AP Calculus AB.