Dean of Students and Student Services Coordinator
Elizabeth Cunningham is the Dean of Students as well as the Student Services Coordinator. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and a Master of Education in Special Education at Loyola University, Elizabeth Cunningham spent over fifteen years working with adolescents and children in therapeutic day school programs and advocating for special needs students as a Due Process Hearing Officer for the state of Illinois.
The Academy offers ten Advanced Placement courses and nine Honors-level courses to students by recommendation only. Additionally, students in English courses may earn honors credit by earning a grade of at least 95% during the semester.
The Academy offers ten AP Courses:
• Art History
• Calculus AB
• Calculus BC
• Computer Science
• European History
• French Language & Culture
• English Literature & Composition
• Spanish Language & Culture
Due to their demanding schedules, most students cannot take more than four AP classes while at The Academy.
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.
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 A 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 A 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.
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 an engine of culture and society from prehistory to the present. From diverse global perspectives and through a cross-disciplinary approach to the analysis and 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 are important in the description, analysis, and comparison of these works. Preparation for the AP Art History Exam is incorporated into the curriculum.