Major Courses

NOTE: Because afternoon sessions are required for additional course work, students in courses marked with an asterisk (*) do not take an afternoon minor course (exception: see Minor Courses, SAT Preparation).

Academic Writing

This course is for students who wish to develop their skills in writing, research, and discussion. Students gain experience with the kinds of writing they will be required to do in high school and college, including research papers, persuasive essays, and literary analyses of short stories. They concentrate on writing strong thesis statements, developing focused paragraphs, and analyzing texts. Techniques such as free-writing, peer editing, and note-taking are given special attention. Weekly reviews of grammar and punctuation rules are important components of class work, as are exercises designed to hone each student's writing style.

Creative Writing

In this course, students explore and experiment with different forms of creative writing, including fiction, personal essays, and poetry. They are encouraged to develop their own ideas as they produce a portfolio of creative work. The class offers group work and one-on-one instruction, as well as teacher and peer editing, throughout the course. Assignments often are individualized in response to the needs and interests of each student. Students read a variety of works in order to discuss good writing and to facilitate experimentation in their own writing.

College Writing*

For students who wish to prepare for future AP English courses, this advanced writing class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Students learn the fundamentals of rhetoric and engage college-level texts. They study argumentative and analytical prose techniques while furthering their synthesis skills. The course is designed to prepare students for the rigors of an AP English language and composition course.

English as a Second Language

For international students who would like to spend the summer improving their English language skills, we offer ESL levels ranging from beginning to advanced. A test is given at the beginning of the session to ensure each student's placement in the proper level. Classes are designed to provide practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Discussions, skits, role playing, and videotaped performances complement traditional forms of instruction. Numerous class trips to nearby points of interest provide students with an opportunity to learn more about local and US culture while improving their English outside the classroom, and special field trips provide fun learning experiences with the entire group of ESL students. Course fee: $500.

Beginning Chinese

This introductory Mandarin Chinese course focuses on the basic skills of language acquisition: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Students are immersed in the Chinese phonetic system (Hanyu Pinyin Romanization). The class includes simple grammatical structures and simplified writing characters, as well as daily conversations through drills, songs, and Chinese social media. The goals are for students to learn approximately 150 Chinese words, including self-introductions and greetings; to be able to engage in simple conversations; and to understand more about Chinese culture, history, philosophy, and customs. The course is designed for students with little or no previous study of the language.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Using literature, library research, experiments, and group projects, the class studies human behavior from a psychological perspective. How does the mind work, and how does it influence our behavior? Are there differences in the way people learn? The topics students consider include such traditional areas as learning, memory, development, personality, the biological basis of behavior, and psychotherapy. Newer areas of psychology are chosen from among forensic (criminal) psychology, health psychology, the psychology of terrorism, and gender psychology. The practical application of psychology to everyday life is a major focus of the course.

U.S. History*

This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. This intensive study moves chronologically through the American past, seeking to give students an understanding of the unique historical experience of the United States as it developed from an agrarian society to an urban-industrial, global power. Classes often are conducted as seminars, with special reports, short papers, and course materials fully utilized. Readings from eminent historians, along with appropriate films, allow varied perspectives.

War in Film and Fiction

This writing-intensive course teaches the fundamentals of historical writing, including the construction of a thesis, analysis of primary and secondary source materials, and development of a cohesive essay. The course examines how a variety of nations interpret war in various ways that both reflect and shape their respective cultures in history and in the present. Using fictional literary works and films on war as the framework for our study, students gain the analytical and writing skills needed for advanced high school (and college) work.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Every day, you make many economic decisions. Do you buy what you want or what you need? Why should anyone care if the stock market drops 500 points or the price of oil doubles? At its core, economics is the study of how society chooses to use its limited resources. This course investigates the concept from the microeconomic perspective (individual behavior and business decisions), which can benefit students going forward in math and studies that require analytical thinking, as well as the macroeconomic perspective (growth, inflation, trade, and employment), for students who might have an affinity toward political science and history.

Algebra I*

This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course, including the following topics: properties of mathematical systems; solution of equations and inequalities; solution of equations that involve square root and absolute value; graphs of linear equations and systems, slope and intercepts; graphs of inequalities; operations on polynomials and on rational and irrational expressions; and solution of quadratic equations by factoring and by the quadratic formula. The solution of word problems is an integral part of the course.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Its objective is to develop geometric ideas logically, using deductive and inductive reasoning and direct and indirect proof. Topics covered include the properties of triangles and other polygons, parallel and perpendicular lines, congruence and similarity, circles, and the properties of solids. Prerequisite: Algebra I.

Algebra II*

This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course (excluding trigonometry). The topics covered include review of Algebra I, functions and relations, linear functions, systems of linear equations and inequalities, quadratic functions and complex numbers, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational algebraic functions, irrational algebraic functions, and quadratic systems. There is an emphasis at the end of each chapter on solving word problems using mathematical models in real-world applications. Students are required to have a Texas Instruments graphing calculator (TI-Nspire). Prerequisite: Algebra I.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course and is designed to prepare the student for high school Advanced Placement AB or BC calculus. It entails a detailed study of the elementary functions: polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and trigonometric functions. Special emphasis is placed on the graphs of these functions to gain insight into their behavior. Students are required to have a Texas Instruments graphing calculator (TI-Nspire). Prerequisite: Algebra II.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Students are introduced to basic biological principles and the methods used in science. Homework and lab work are designed to encourage students to interact with the material and to understand how experiments are used to further our understanding of interrelationships between organisms and their environment.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Study includes background skills, atomic theory, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, the mole concept, and many additional topics. Lecture, discussion, problem solving, laboratory work, demonstrations, and group work are included in the presentation of the various chemical concepts. Recommended: Algebra II.


This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course. Designed for strong science and math students, the course gives an understanding of the basic principles of motion and forces that govern the universe. Emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving techniques, mathematical reasoning, and data analysis. Prerequisite: Algebra II.


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