Upper School Curriculum 2016-2017
The English Department’s goal is to guide students to a greater facility for the English language, both through working on their own writing and through understanding the rhetorical and literary expression of ideas and values. Each year of study enables students to read more closely both for meaning and for style and to develop their own abilities to write with clarity, precision, and elegance.
Students will analyze increasingly college-level texts, both as singular units and in comparison with other seminal works. To the end that they may think and write more logically, students will practice logical argumentation in both class discussion and in essay writing. Students will gain insight into appropriate styles for particular tasks and also have opportunities to express their own ideas.
Students take English every year, and the areas of reading, composition, grammar, vocabulary, speaking, and listening are addressed throughout, leading to an option to take writing and literature classes at the Advanced Placement level. However, English instruction at TVS also aims to give students insights into humanity and its various cultures and to see their own roles in these contexts.
Rising 11th graders may apply to take Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition; the appropriate placement will be determined based on a student’s prior performance in English courses and the student’s application materials (including written work).
Rising 12th graders, whether they have taken the AP course or the college-prep course during the 11th grade year, may apply to take Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition; the appropriate placement will be determined based on a student’s prior performance in English courses and the student’s application materials (including written work).
The ninth grade course focuses on introducing students to different genres in American and British literature, including graphic novels, epics, poetry, fi ction and creative nonfi ction. The class serves to create a foundation for the college preparatory work students will do as readers, writers, thinkers, speakers, and listeners during their time in the TVS Upper School. Students will build on the writing process they learned in middle school and will hone their communication skills in class discussions.
Expanding on the work done in ninth grade, tenth grade English acquaints readers with classical texts. Students will read canonical works by authors such as Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Moliere, Austen and Huxley as well as newer texts such as the Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. This class promotes critical refl ection on and investigation of the texts through essay writing, Socratic style seminars, and class discussion. Writing assignments emphasize conception and composition but also stress revision. Students will continue to study vocabulary sophomore year in preparation for the SAT. Students’ daily reading assignments will vary in length.
COLLEGE PREP ENGLISH 11
Students who are enrolled in Eleventh Grade College Preparatory English will explore American literature, multi-genre writing, and critical thinking at a pace and level of rigor comparable to a university classroom. Students will read both canonical works from the American literary tradition as well as newer works by American authors, which focus on race, class, gender and place. Immersing themselves in novels, nonfi ction books, poetry and drama, students will also intensively engage in persuasive, expository, descriptive and refl ective writing with an emphasis on developing a writing voice appropriate for a variety of audiences and purposes.
COLLEGE PREP ENGLISH 12
In Senior College Preparatory English, students will turn their gaze to the global literary landscape. They will delve into multigenre works written by American and British authors as well as by authors in translation in order to gain a preliminary understanding of various worldviews and philosophies. Students will be introduced to critical lenses (existentialism, feminism, Marxism, deconstructionism) that will prepare them to meet and exceed the demands of the college classroom. A majority of grades will come from student writings, be they in-class personal responses to a particular piece or a longer analysis derived from book length text. During the fi rst semester, students will focus on analytical reading and writing skills. They will write various types of essays (expository, persona, narrative, descriptive) to express their ideas about the reading. During the second semester, they will further develop these reading and writing skills, as well as work on a weeks-long research project, thereby becoming an expert on the work that he/she has chosen.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH OFFERINGS
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION (Grade 11)
With a primary goal of undertaking intensive rhetorical-analysis work and a secondary goal of taking the English AP exam, students will focus on the relationship between content and form, dealing specifi cally with close reading, literary and rhetorical analysis, and compositional skills. In addition, a study of American literature seeks to understand our literary heritage. Admission to the course is determined by performance in prior English courses and by additional application materials. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May.
AP ENGLISH LITERATURE (Grade 12)
AP English Literature and Composition is an intensive, college-level course. Students work towards developing the following skills and knowledge: critical interpretation and evaluation of information and ideas; effective communication of ideas with others; a coherent and personal writing style; an understanding of the cultural and social values presented in the literature we study; an understanding of the various writing devices, techniques and modes; and an appreciation for literature. Admission to the class is determined by a student’s prior performance in English courses and other application materials. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May.
ENGLISH COURSE ELECTIVES
CREATIVE WRITING (Grades 10,11,12)
This foundational course is designed for students looking to learn new avenues of creative expression, or wanting to sharpen the skills they’ve already begun to develop through their love of words. We focus on three genres: the narrative essay, poetry, and short fi ction. We begin with a study of the narrative essay not just because it is the ideal starting point for developing comfort and familiarity with writing and the revision process, but also because this genre is the one in which college applications are written. Students also learn how to imagine, draft, and revise work in each of the other two listed genres, both so that they can hone their own crafts but also to become adept at close reading and the workshop method. The goal of the course is for a student to become a more confi dent writer, a skilled reader, and a literary advocate. Throughout the year, students will create a body of polished work, culminating in a fi nal portfolio. This course is open to all students in grades 10-12.
CREATIVE WRITING II (Grades 11, 12)
This is a semester-long course in which students already familiar with the three genres have the opportunity to create more complex, focused work in whichever genres are of most interest to them. The goal of this course is for a student to become a more adept writer in their chosen genre, a skilled reader, and a literary advocate. It is a student-driven course, in that students are expected to arrive with a familiarity and facility with the processes of reading, evaluation and workshopping a peer’s work. Therefore, Creative Writing I is a prerequisite. This is a course for students who are serious about their writing, and as such, relies on students being self-motivated, since they will be drafting or revising a piece at all times. This course culminates with a final portfolio and a written, in-depth reflection of one’s work.
The Fine Arts play a critical role in the development of all students at Trinity Valley School. There is consistent K-12 exposure in classes and field trips to world class museums. Students are engaged in a wide range of hands-on techniques and approaches. They develop analytical and creative problem solving abilities as we provide significant curricular opportunities in Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts. Within this structure students are exposed to creative endeavors that are essential to pre-college development for those students who will engage in Fine-Arts studies after graduation.
The Upper School Visual Arts classes begin with an introductory art curriculum that will enable them to choose from a number of advanced studio options in ceramics, photography, and traditional visual media. Trinity Valley School maintains a gallery for both student and guest artist exhibitions in the Upper and Middle School Library. Theater Arts offers both introductory and advanced theater classes that focus on all aspects of theatrical production. Additionally, there are at least three scheduled productions each year, one of which is a musical. Choral classes offer multiple levels of music study, with numerous high level performance and competition opportunities.
ART I (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
This course introduces students to the fundamental elements and principles of design, production-oriented problem solving, and studies in art history and aesthetics. Introductory experiences will be had in drawing, design, painting, and printmaking. Grades achieved in this class will be determined exclusively by the student’s effort, not talent.
ART II (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Students involved in this class will be expected to demonstrate a high degree of technical profi ciency in several media. Emphasis will be placed on presentation as well as production and, for those students so inclined, there will be an opportunity to develop and record their portfolios for college application purposes.
ART III (Grades 11, 12)
Students involved in this class will be expected to demonstrate a high degree of technical profi ciency in several media. Emphasis will be placed on presentations as well as production and, for those students so inclined, there will be an opportunity to develop and record their portfolios for college application purposes.
PHOTOGRAPHY (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Photography I is a year-long course studying the digital camera as an art making tool. The year starts with studying the mechanics of the camera and shooting assignments that are technically driven. As the year moves along, students are expected to bring creative and original thinking to their approaches. The fi rst semester ends with a self-assignment, a personally designed set of photos. The second semester studies alternative printing methods such as cyanotypes and developing a portfolio. Equipment is provided. Students should be prepared to shoot photos approximately four hours a week or more outside of class, which includes some weekend work. The School may be able to offer this course at an advanced level, as well. Students interested in this option should contact the Chair of the Fine Arts Department.
PHOTOGRAPHY II (Grades 11, 12)
Students should be able to demonstrate a technical profi ciency of the use of a digital SLR camera and Photoshop as previously taught in Photography I. This is a year-long course studying the digital camera as an art making tool. The students are expected to bring creative and original thinking to assignments that are designed by the student and teacher together. Students are encouraged to explore techniques in photography more in depth including, but not limited to natural and studio lighting, the history of photography and photographers, and Photoshop. Students will leave the class with a professional looking portfolio of their work. Students should be prepared to photograph assignments outside of class approximately 4-6 hours per week, including weekends. It is preferred that students have their own camera equipment (digital SLR & tripod).
SENIOR PORTFOLIOS (Grade 12)
Senior Portfolios is a year-long course specifi cally designed for students that are interested in fi nalizing their portfolio and creating a body of artwork. This will be in preparation for an end of the year show in the TVS gallery or an offsite gallery. Each student is responsible for creative thinking, problem solving and critical analysis. This class requires that students demonstrate a high level of maturity, are self-disciplined and are accountable for sophisticated ideas. This class is an opportunity for students to experience a college level studio class. Art I, Art II, and a portfolio review with the instructor BY APPOINTMENT pending approval for enrollment into the class are prerequisites for the class.
STUDIES IN GLASS (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Students will study the art of mosaics, stained glass and fused glass. They will learn various techniques to create window panels, bowls, plates, decorative pieces and functional objects. Students will spend the semester fabricating their own designs and patterns, developing ideas to make work that is production – oriented. Emphasis will be placed on producing work that is well designed and technically well crafted. This class may be repeated at an advanced level provided that an A average was maintained in the previous class. Prerequisite: Art 1.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL STUDIES (Grades 10, 11, 12)
This class is a studio course with the emphasis on ceramics and sculpture. Hand building and wheel throwing will be taught throughout the semester. Students will also be exposed to the art of sculpture, building 3-dimensional projects in various materials. Some of these projects will be group oriented. Emphasis will be on technique and production skills. Students should be able to produce solutions to technical problems and communicate their ideas both visually and verbally. This class may be repeated at an advanced level provided that an A average was maintained in the previous class. Prerequisite: Art 1.
STAGE ACTING I (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
Stage Acting I is a semester course offered in the Fall. Students will use theatre games and exercises to develop the mind, body and voice --- the three tools of the actor. Basic pantomime and improvisation skills will be taught and students will perform short scenes and monologues, with emphasis on character development. Various acting styles and methods will be used.
STAGE ACTING II (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
Stage Acting II is a semester course, offered 2nd semester. A more in-depth study and practice of acting for the stage. The methods of various famous acting teachers (including Stanislavski and Meisner) will be studied and students will be given the opportunity to practice these in longer duet and group scenes. Prerequisite: Stage Acting I or Theatre Arts.
TECHNICAL THEATRE (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
Technical Theatre is a semester course offered each semester. The course is an overview of all the technical elements involved in producing a show. The course includes:
- History of Theater
- The design process
- Tools of the industry
- Scenic constructions
- Scenic Art
- Rigging and knots
- Lighting and electrics
- Makeup and wigs
- Stage management
Students in this course are required to maintain a notebook with notes from lectures, theatre terminology and quizzes. Participation is a large part of student success in this course. During the semester, students will work on TVS productions during class and are strongly encouraged to volunteer for after-school work calls. Class is limited to 10 students per semester and meets daily in the Black Box Theater.
TECHNICAL THEATRE II (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
Technical Theatre II is a one-semester course offered each semester and meets three days per week in the Black Box Theater. Class size is limited to eight students. The course offers an in-depth look at script analysis as it pertains to the fi ve core technical elements of a production. Students are required to submit fi ve projects during the semester related to each of these elements. The course also includes an ongoing ecological impact study, “From the Green Room to the Green Theatre.” Students will participate in a minimum of three fi eld trips to observe peer performances in our area and are required to write a critique for each. The course will culminate with students applying basic design and production concepts learned in class on a TVS production. Prerequisite: Technical Theatre I.
THEATRE ARTS (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
All the basic elements of putting on a theatrical production will be explored including, lighting, sound, costumes, makeup and set construction. Students will also learn various styles of theatre, how a play is structured, and basic theatre history. A great course for students who want to learn more about --- and how to better appreciate --- theatre without doing a lot of performing.
THEATRE DESIGN (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Theatre Design is a year-long course for the serous technical theater student. This course will include basic drafting concepts, rules and conventions, computer aided drafting using Sketchup and Vectorworks, and practical application of these skills on an Upper School production. Students may select which area of technical design interests them and focus on that area in the spring semester. Students will be required to start and maintain a design portfolio which will be a large portion of the overall course grade. Students are strongly encouraged to enter their design work in competitions nationwide. Students will need a personal laptop for use in this class. Prerequisites: Technical Theatre I & II.
THEATRE DIRECTING (Grade 12)
This semester course is designed to help students consider the potential power of theatre to affect positive change in the world and to teach students the basics of directing for the stage by guiding them through the process of coordinating the various elements of theatre to create a unified production. The course will conclude with students casting and directing a short one-act of their own choosing. Prerequisites: One semester of Theatre Arts or Stage Acting or special permission from the instructor.
IMPROVISATION (Grade 9,10,11,12)
This one-semester course will focus on the fundamental elements of theatrical improvisation. Through games, exercises, and short scenes, students will learn and practice the skills needed to create successful improvised performances. An especially helpful course for the actor who wants to improve concentration and focus, it is also recommended for anyone who wants to have fun while increasing the ability to be creative and spontaneous. Some basic pantomime and movement will also be taught. Text used: Improvise. Scene From the Inside Out, by Mick Napier, (Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH, 2004).
CHOIR (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
The students will gain experience in exploring different types of popular, classical, and cultural music. In addition to singing, they will learn dance steps and movements as well as adding instruments to some songs. The students will perform throughout the school and community to enrich their lives as well as those of others.
HONOR CHOIR, T-PERIOD (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Meeting three times per week, singers with advanced sight-reading skills prepare the Upper School Choir repertoire and additional chamber choir music, and perform in all scheduled choir concerts. This full-year course will receive 1/2 credit of Fine Art. Prerequisite: Teacher approval.
DANCE (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
Students participating in US Dance will explore multiple dance forms including classical ballet, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop. Ballet is the essential foundation of dance training and instruction will follow American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum to instill proper technique and alighment while enhancing strength and fl exibility. Other prominent dance forms, including jazz, lyrical, and hip hop, werve to develop teh dancer’s range of style and expression; connection of movement and form; and heighten rhythm and musicality. US Dance participants will also engage in performance and leadership opportunities throughout the school year. Pointe work is optional and may begin with teh recommendation of the instructor. Previous dance experience preferred, but not required. Dance Program credits may be used as either fulfi llment of the Fine Art graduation requirement or Physical Education graduation requirement.
The Mathematics Department of Trinity Valley believes in a strong, curricular presence as well as cross-disciplinary support to other departments, particularly science. All students in the Upper School take at least one math course every year, completing the sequence in math at a minimum through precalculus and more often through AP Calculus.
The mathematical curriculum encompasses both AP and non-AP tracks, with the opportunity to study continuous and discrete perspectives. Students can begin to accelerate mathematics as early as the seventh grade. By the senior year, students have AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB or BC, and applied probability and linear algebra options. Teachers and students have the opportunity to use technology as a tool to develop their mathematics. Building a grounded, comprehensive mathematical framework allows the focused to delve into mathematical analysis and the liberal arts student to train the mind to think logically and critically. Admission to honors and AP courses will be determined by the mentioned course prerequisites and teacher recommendations with a final determination to be made by the mathematics department faculty.
In addition to computer software, students use graphing calculators to explore, to discover, and to confirm mathematics. After studying the topic, the mathematics department recommends a uniform calculator for students to have in mathematics courses starting in Algebra II. The TI-89 Titanium ® graphing calculator will be the recommended calculator for students to have in all levels of Algebra II, precalculus, statistics, and calculus. The graphing capabilities of the TI 89 Titanium ® aid students tremendously in providing numerical and visual perspectives. The computer algebra systems of the TI-89 Titanium ® give students the opportunity to develop mathematics inductively and carry out mathematical processes efficiently in order to focus on problem solving. Exams in these courses will often have non-calculator and calculator sections to provide a balance between building skills and problem solving. This calculator is approved for use on the SAT, and all AP mathematics and science exams. In Algebra I and geometry courses students will need access to a scientific calculator. Any graphing experiences will be explored with computer software.
ALGEBRA I (Grade 9)
Students in this course develop algebraic skills and thinking. The following topics are explored in depth: operations with integers and rational numbers, solving linear equations and inequalities, working with exponents and polynomials, factoring polynomials, graphing linear and quadratic equations, solving systems of equations, rational equations, radical equations, and quadratic equations. Relations and the concept of function are embedded throughout the curriculum. Students receive considerable support due to small class size.
ALGEBRA II (Grades 9, 10, 11)
The initial segment of this course reviews the basic concepts and mechanics of Algebra, but at a more mature and refi ned level. Then students explore linear systems, matrices, and working with complex numbers. Technology is used as a complement to these topics after students have demonstrated understanding of the material. Then the class signifi cantly focuses on the following types of functions: quadratic, polynomial, radical, exponential, logarithmic, and rational. Specific algebraic manipulations and transformations are emphasized when appropriate. Building from work with quadratic functions and transformations, the course moves to working with quadratic relations and conic sections. After exploring these continuous perspectives, students switch to discrete perspectives of sequences and series. Application problems are developed throughout the course. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra I and one credit of Geometry.
ALGEBRA II HONORS (Grades 9, 10, 11)
Honors Algebra II is designed for students who excel in mathematics and are ready to tackle the comprehensive study of algebraic topics, functions, and analytic geometry. The course begins with a quick review of topics from Algebra I. Then students explore linear systems, matrices, and working with complex numbers. Technology is used as a complement to these topics after students have demonstrated understanding of the material. Then the class signifi cantly focuses on the following types of functions: quadratic, polynomial, radical, exponential, logarithmic, and rational. Specifi c algebraic manipulations and transformations are emphasized when appropriate. Building from work with quadratic functions and transformations, the course moves to working with quadratic relations and conic sections. After exploring these continuous perspectives, students switch to discrete perspectives of sequences, series, and basic combinatorics. Application problems are developed throughout the course that require them to explore mathematics graphically, analytically, verbally, and numerically. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra I and one credit of Geometry, with semester grades of at least “B’s” in both courses or one credit of Algebra I with semester grades of at least “A’s” in the course and taking Algebra II Honors concurrently with Honors Geometry This course is of honors rigor.
GEOMETRY (Grades 9, 10)
The geometry course at TVS emphasizes written mathematical communication, (i.e. logical and clear presentation of work, arguments, and explanations), reading for meaning, following directions accurately, organization, and a continuation of the process of “learning how to learn!” Algebra concepts will be reviewed, reinforced, and extended. Whenever possible, this will be done in the context of studying geometrical concepts. The following topics will be covered: Basic geometry terminology and postulates; Coordinate geometry; Angles and Parallel Lines; Triangles (Congruency, similarity, inequalities, points of concurrency); Quadrilaterals (classification, characteristics, congruency, similarity); Other Polygons; The Right Triangle (“Solving” right triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem, trigonometry); Circles; Area, Surface Area, Volume; and Transformations.
GEOMETRY HONORS WITH DYNAMIC AND DIGITAL APPLICATIONS (Grades 9, 10)
Geometry Honors with Dynamic and Digital Applications is a new course designed for motivated students who excel in mathematics. Through the platforms of the dynamic geometry software The Geometer’s Sketchpad and the Processing programming language, the course encourages students to explore the following curricular topics: Properties of polygons, circles, and circular regions and applying these properties algebraically; Deductive Proof; Right Triangle Properties (The Pythagorean Theorem, special right triangles, introduction to the unit circle and right triangle trigonometry); 2-D Perspectives of Area and 3-D Perspectives of Volume; and, Transformations of geometric fi gures and how these transformations connect to transformations of the graphs of functions that will be studied in subsequent algebraic mathematics courses. Assessments will consist of a combination of traditional quizzes, traditional exams, and computer labs. These assessments will require students to develop mathematics multi-representationally, as encouraged by College Board in preparation for AP Calculus and AP Statistics. Approximately 75% of the computer labs require students to support their geometric conjectures using principles of deductive proof, Cartesian proof, and classical geometric constructions with The Geometer’s Sketchpad. The remaining 25% will be explored using Processing and these labs will entail modeling applications of transformations. Because of the dynamic and digital components, a laptop computer is required for the course. Students will be required to complete a summer computing assignment to prepare them for computer explorations on day one of the course. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra I, with semester averages of at least 85 in the course.
PRECALCULUS (Grades 10, 11, 12)
This course is designed to provide the background for a sound course in Calculus and Analytic Geometry. It covers linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, circular, trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, complex numbers, vectors, matrix algebra, sequences and series, binomial theorem, mathematical induction, permutations, combinations and probability, limits, rates of change, and derivatives of algebraic functions. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed upon the ability to analyze and solve problems of varying diffi culty. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra II.
PRECALCULUS HONORS (Grades 10, 11, 12)
Honors Precalculus is designed to begin the preparation for AP calculus. Course material combines both fundamental precalculus concepts and the associated calculus topic at an introductory level. This course will provide the solid groundwork for the rigor of AP calculus. The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. This course is honors level. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra II Honors, with semester grades of at least “B’s” in the course or one credit of Algebra II, with semester grades of at least “A’s” in the course.
STATISTICS, DATA ANALYSIS, & PROBABILITY (Grades 11, 12)
In a world that is increasingly driven by technology, students are constantly presented data. In this course, students will learn to explore, summarize, and display data; design surveys and experiments; use probability to understand random behavior; and make inferences regarding populations and the effects of treatments. Gaining an understanding of the basic concepts of statistics and practicing making informed decisions regarding real data will allow students to be more equipped to intelligently operate within this quantitative world. Prerequisite: One credit of Precalculus.
ACCELERATED & ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES
ACCELERATED PRECALCULUS/CALCULUS (Grades 10, 11)
This course is designed for students who plan to give extra attention and time to mathematics study. Its accelerated nature consists of the course covering a yearlong Honors Pre-calculus course in one semester. Students begin studying calculus the second semester with the study of limits and their properties, differentiation, applications of differentiation, and basic integration. These topics shall lead to developing The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus at the end of the course. After students complete the Accelerated Pre-calculus/Accelerated Calculus yearlong sequence, they will be ready for AP BC Calculus study the following school year. The course is open to students who might not have been tracked in middle school to complete upper school BC Calculus or to students who want to learn mathematics beyond BC topics during their upper school experience. The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. Students may be advised out of the course after the first year based on assessment of effort and performance by the teacher and review by the department chair. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. Prerequisite: One credit of Honors Algebra II, with semester grades of at least “B’s” in the course.
ADVANCED CALCULUS (Grade 12)
The Advanced Calculus/AP Calculus BC continues where the AP Calculus AB course ends. Hence, the course has a prerequisite of AP Calculus AB. The course includes an extensive study of the subject matter unique to the Calculus BC curriculum (Euler’s Method, advanced integration techniques and applications, l’Hopital’s Rule, Improper Integrals, Series, Parametric, Polar, and Vector perspectives of calculus). Extended study of AB topics and additional advanced topics such as differential equations, applications in engineering and mathematical modeling are integrated throughout the course. Dynamic geometry and computer algebra investigations will be developed the entire year. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. This course is AP level. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: One credit of AP Calculus AB with semester grades of at least “B’s” in the course.
AP CALCULUS AB (Grades 11, 12)
This course is equivalent to a college freshman course in first-year calculus. It covers the “AB” portion of the AP Calculus curriculum. Topics discussed include limits, derivatives of algebraic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions, implicit differentiation, The Mean Value Theorem, Rolles’ Theorem, the differential, applications of derivatives, the indefinite integral, methods of integration, Riemann sums, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, and applications of definite integrals and differential equations. Students use computer algebra systems to explore their mathematics. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. This course is AP level. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: One credit of Honors Precalculus, with semester grades of at least “B’s”, or one credit of Precalculus, with semester grades of at least “A’s” in the course.
AP CALCULUS BC (THE FUNDAMENTAL THEOREM AND BEYOND) (Grades 11, 12)
The AP Calculus BC [FTC and Beyond] is for students who have completed Accelerated Pre-Calculus/Accelerated Calculus. The first semester begins with revisiting The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students then review integration, explore the calculus of logarithmic, exponential and other transcendental functions, numerical approximations, differential equations, and the applications of integration. The second semester is dedicated to subject matter unique to the Calculus BC Curriculum (advanced integration techniques and applications, l’Hopital’s Rule, Improper Integrals, Series, Parametric, Polar, and Vector perspectives of calculus). The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. This course is AP Level. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: One credit of Accelerated Precalculus/Calculus, with semester grades of least “B’s” in the course.
AP STATISTICS (Grades 11, 12)
The purpose of the AP course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes:
1. Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns;
2. Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting a study;
3. Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability; and,
4. Statistical inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses.
The mathematics department will make recommendations for students to take this class. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium ®. Prerequisite: One credit of Precalculus, with semester grades of at least “B’s” in the course.
ADVANCED TOPICS IN MATH (Grade 12)
This year-long course introduces students to applied probability and linear algebra. During one semester of the year, students will explore the applied probability component. The other semester of the year students will delve into the linear algebra component. This course is advanced level and will be taught using a college model. Class will meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with the expectation students will complete added readings and assignments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The recommended graphing calculator for this course is the TI 89 Titanium®.
Descriptions of each component follow:
Advanced Topics I, Applied Probability – The Mathematics of Games and Games of Chance Component (Fall Semester): In this course, student will learn the important and beautiful elementary mathematics needed for rational analysis of various games and gambling activities. Among the games there will be analysis of poker, backgammon, roulette, craps, horse racing and lotteries. Students with a good understanding of algebraic perspectives and an interest in games of chance are prime candidates for this course.
Advanced Topics II, Introduction to Linear Algebra (Spring Semester): In this course, students will explore the theory and application of linear systems of equations, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, inner product spaces, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
COMPUTER SCIENCE ELECTIVES
DIGITAL IMAGES I (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
This course is an introduction to computer programming. Students will learn the basics of the Java language in the context of creating visualizations and 2D sprite-based games with animation. Projects emphasize the role of mathematics in video game design. Students will use the Processing development environment from MIT Media labs. Computer science topics include data types, using objects, declaring variables, assignment, arithmetic operators, branching structures, loops, random functions, methods, parameters, event-processing, state concepts, scope rules, and user interaction. The course is structured as a hands-on workshop centered on programming projects that emphasize computer science and mathematics principles as they apply to areas of art, visual design, games, science, and special effects. (NOTE: Formerly listed as DIGITAL IMAGES AND COMPUTER GRAPHICS I. The course is the same. Students with credit for Digital Images I may not receive credit for both.)
DIGITAL IMAGES II (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
This course builds on Digital Images and Computer Graphics I with emphasis on techniques used in 3D computer graphics while continuing to write increasingly complex code. Students will strengthen programming skills in Java and be introduced to mathematics for 3D graphics. Topics include object-oriented programming, arrays, vertices, polygons, texture mapping, 3D transformations, articulated motion, polar coordinates, and parametric equations. The course is styled as a hands on workshop with a fl exible schedule that allows students to explore various optional computer science topics such as microcontroller programming using Arduino, basic electronic circuits, Java basics, or image processing. Students are expected to participate in occasional cross-divisional coding experiences as peer mentors. Prerequisite: One credit of Digital Images or one credit of Computer Science: Graphics Programming I. (NOTE: Formerly listed as DIGITAL IMAGES AND COMPUTER GRAPHICS I. The course is the same. Students with credit for Digital Images II may not receive credit for both.)
COMPUTING, FABRICATION, AND FACILITATION (Grades 10, 11, 12)
This student-driven lab course is a student leadership development course for students wishing to get in depth experience with the 3D printer, laser cutter, microcontrollers, and other devices with the intent to develop and help teach age-appropriate projects for lower and middle school students and other places in the community. This service learning experience will help students deepen their own understanding and strengthen communication and leadership skills. Prerequisites. Digital Image Processing II, or APCS or instructor permission.
SYSTEMS AND DEVICES (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12)
This is an introduction to microcontrollers and digital representation of the physical world. Students will use the Arduino microcontroller to build a variety of projects that include servos, LEDs and sensors that interact with the physical world in various ways. Students will build circuits and use the C programming language to control them. Other activities will provide an in depth look at how binary is at the heart of all of it. Students will have a set of required projects to master basic skills using Arduino, the 3D printer and the laser cutter. Then, students have the opportunities to put these skills to creative use by creating projects of personal interest that may span areas of art, robotics, magic tricks, security or environmental sensing. Prerequisites: Digital Image Processing 1, Pre-AP Intro to Java Programming or co-requisite of APCS.
INTRO TO COMPUTER SCIENCE (PRE-AP) (Grades 10, 11, 12)
This is an introduction to computer programming in Java and an exploration of fundamental concepts of computer science such as data, logic, and computer organization. Students will learn the jGrasp IDE to write programs in Java to cover data types, variables, expressions, operators, control statements, loops, methods, Strings, and basic IO processing of fi les and use of GUI components. Students will participate in activities to explore ASCII code, binary code, truth tables, hardware and data representation. Students will have suffi cient exposure to computer science to determine if they would like to deepen their knowledge in AP Computer Science A. Preqrequisites: Digital Image Processing I or department approval or Junior standing.
AP COMPUTER SCIENCE A (Grades 11, 12)
This course is a college level introduction to computer programming in the Java language. Topics include data types, control structures, algorithms, methods and parameters, object-oriented design, inheritance, polymorphism, data structures, sorting, recursion and data representation. At completion of the course, students will take the AP Computer Science A exam that corresponds to a 1-semester college course. Senior students who have a credit in an AP Calculus class can take this course and have it count toward a mathematics graduation requirement. A student who has a credit from an AP Calculus course may opt to take AP Computer Science his/her senior year to fulfi ll the mathematics requirement. Prerequisite: One credit of Algebra II, with semester grades of at least “B’s” in the course, and junior standing.
TOPICS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE: DATA STRUCTURES (Grade 12)
The Upper School science program at Trinity Valley reflects several objectives for our students that focus on developing critical thinking skills while stimulating interest and excitement in the natural sciences. At its heart, the science sequence fosters both an understanding of and appreciation for the processes of scientific inquiry.
To instill in graduates the wide-ranging scientific literacy intimately tied to making critical decisions in a society oriented toward science and technology, all students are required to complete three yearlong laboratory classes in the natural sciences. The mandatory science sequence of biology, chemistry, and physics emphasizes both content knowledge and the ability to develop the problem solving skills necessary to understand and to solve interesting questions. Honors classes, which allow students to explore each of the core scientific disciplines with greater rigor, are available to the interested student. Interwoven into each course are numerous hands-on laboratory activities that allow students to develop experiments and to learn techniques. As students move in AP courses, they perform laboratory work equivalent to what is done at the college level. In order to ensure that students have sufficient time to complete this work, all AP science classes will meet for 7 periods a week. This double blocking of AP science courses will place extra demands on student time, particularly for those individuals taking a six-course load. Students interested in AP science courses should have thoughtful discussions with their teachers and advisors to discuss the consequences of this extra time commitment.
Please note: The Texas Recommended High School Program, guidelines used by many colleges and universities in Texas for admission and certain types of need-based financial aid such as the Texas Grant, requires four years of science. If a student is interested in applying to schools such as The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, or Baylor University, it may be advantageous to complete a fourth science course. In addition to the Texas Recommended High School Program, data seems to suggest that other admission offi ces at colleges around the country are considering or in the process of implementing a requirement of four years of science.
BIOLOGY (Grade 9)
The ninth-grade Biology course at TVS is designed to transform students into biologically literate citizens through the study of living systems. The course covers modern biological concepts ranging from the molecular and cellular level to the organismal and population level. Major topics include cellular and molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, evolution, human anatomy and physiology, and human health and nutrition. Laboratory work is a fundamental part of the curriculum.
HONORS BIOLOGY (Grade 9)
Honors Biology is designed for students who excel in the sciences and are interested in taking AP science courses in the future. The origin of life on earth and evolutionary theory are integrated into class discussions throughout the year. In addition to the topics covered in the non-honors course, this class will emphasize the following:
1.) Controlled experiments (special emphasis is placed on inquiry using the scientifi c method including the use of probeware, microscopy, dissection and cutting-edge biotechnology equipment);
2.) Human Disease Pathology (including infectious disease, genetic disease, cancer, and substance abuse);
3.) Book excerpts and Selections from current popular journals (Time, National Geographic, etc.) – including assigned writing work related to these readings; and
4.) CPR and First-Aid Training.
Eighth grade students interested in taking Honors Biology must apply for admission to the class during the course selection process. This application, coupled with a critical thinking assessment administered during the spring of the eighth grade year, will be used by the science department for placement into the course.
CHEMISTRY (Grade 10)
In this introductory course, students investigate the structure and properties of matter. Classroom lectures are complemented by associated laboratory activities, which allow students to collect data, analyze it, and reach a meaningful conclusion. Students become familiar with the basic aspects of nomenclature, structure, bonding, periodicity, and elementary reactions of inorganic chemistry.
HONORS CHEMISTRY (Grade 10)
Honors Chemistry expands upon the regular chemistry offering at Trinity Valley in several ways. Although the topics covered in both courses are similar (atomic and molecular structure and nomenclature, stoichiometry, quantitative analysis of the states of matter, basic thermodynamics, and the major classes of reactions of inorganic chemistry), the Honors course examines each topic in greater mathematical depth as well as spending signifi cant time helping students to build useful mental models of molecular phenomena. Students also learn the importance of clear, concise writing in demonstrating conceptual understanding of chemical and physical principles. Finally, the course considers the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry, using nonfiction readings to demonstrate the critical importance of chemical discoveries in a cultural context. Students interested in enrolling in Honors Chemistry should speak both to their current biology teacher and to the Honors Chemistry instructor as teacher recommendations by a student’s current math and biology instructors will be used by the science department for placement into the course.
PHYSICS (Grade 11)
This introductory course is the culmination of the three-year science requirement, providing a strong background for later college courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. Major concepts and principles discussed leverage skills learned in algebra, geometry, and precalculus. The topics covered include mechanics, gravity, electricity, optics, and sound. Emphasis is placed on investigative laboratory work and the development of problem solving skills. Precalculus is a co-requisite. Students must enroll in physics in the junior year unless they enroll in an AP science course in grade 11 or are taking Algebra II in the junior year.
HONORS PHYSICS (Grade 11)
While the Honors Physics course explores the same topics encountered in the standard physics class, the pace of the course is significantly quicker and all subjects are investigated in more depth. Additionally, content including rotational dynamics, magnetism, and modern physics is integrated into the course. Emphasis is placed on comprehensive laboratory activities and an intense development of problem solving skills. A student must be enrolled in the honors precalculus course or higher to be considered for the class. A student must successfully complete the Honors Physics course to be eligible for enrollment in AP Physics C. Students must enroll in a physics course in the junior year unless they enroll in an AP science course in grade 11 or are taking Algebra II in the junior year. Students interested in enrolling in Honors Physics should speak both to their current chemistry teacher and to the Honors Physics instructor as teacher recommendations by a student’s current math and chemistry instructors will be used by the department chair for placement into the course.
SCIENCE COURSE ELECTIVES
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE I (Grades 11, 12)
The Environmental Science I elective at Trinity Valley is a semester long course open to juniors and seniors for the fall and the spring semesters. The course is offered to students wishing to use scientifi c methodology to objectively explore environmental issues. The course will provide students with a conceptual framework to better understand the complex and dynamic interrelationships of Earth’s natural systems, and consequences of changes to these systems, both natural and human-induced. Themes explored throughout the course include Earth Systems and Resources, the Living World, Population Dynamics and Land and Water Use. For each theme, students will be able to critically assess how human value systems infl uence decision-making associated with environmental problems. They will also be expected to participate in laboratory and fi eld investigations and “real-world” project-based assignments, both of which are integral to the course.
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE II (Grades 11, 12)
The Environmental Science II elective at Trinity Valley is a spring semester course open to juniors and seniors who wish to extend their knowledge of the systems explored in Environmental Science I. Themes explored throughout the course include an extension of the themes explored in Environmental Science I with the addition of Energy Resources and Consumption, Pollution and Global Change. Students will be expected to continue their field investigations and their “real-world” projectbased assignments from. Environmental Science I is a prerequisite for this course.
METEOROLOGY (Grades 11, 12)
In this one-semester course, students investigate basic meteorological principles in order to understand the climate phenomena that affect our daily lives. By studying the aspects of the physical environment that we collectively call weather, such as forms of condensation and precipitation, air pressure and winds, weather patterns and severe weather, students develop an appreciation for the way that climate changes impact their daily lives as well as the planet as a whole.
SCIENCE ADVANCED PLACEMENT ELECTIVES
AP BIOLOGY (Grades 11, 12)
This is a second-year course taken by students who have had a year of chemistry, a year of biology, have shown some special interest in life sciences, and are inclined to pursue science in college. It is the equivalent of first year, introductory college biology for science majors. Main topics include biochemistry, cellular structure, energetics of metabolism, biosynthesis, histology, heredity, evolution, anatomy and physiology, biodiversity (including botany and zoology), and global ecology. Major themes include science as a process, homeostasis, energy transfer, the relationship of structure to function, health, disease pathology, evolutionary theory, and the interrelationship of biology and society. Special emphasis is placed on advanced laboratory work, including PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA Fingerprinting and the use of computerized probeware. Students are required to take the AP Exam in May. Note that all AP sciences meet 7 periods per week, meaning that students will utilize their free period twice a week to complete work in AP Biology. Students should carefully consider the added time commitment of the course when planning their academic schedules.
AP CHEMISTRY (Grades 11, 12)
Students who have done above average work in first-year chemistry have the opportunity to take AP Chemistry as a second year course. It is taught at the level of freshman college chemistry, and all assessments mirror the best practices of the finest college courses throughout the country. Many of the topics covered are the same as those presented in the first-year course, but the level of sophistication is much higher. Additional concepts covered in AP Chemistry include reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, and all aspects of chemical equilibria. The associated lab activities mirror the college lab experience and emphasize detailed lab work requiring students to record and analyze data while reinforcing chemical principles with extensive time devoted to developing skills in technical writing. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Students should expect 30 minutes to 1 hour of homework each night in the class. Note that all AP sciences meet 7 periods per week, meaning that students will utilize their free period twice a week to complete work in AP Chemistry. Students should carefully consider the added time commitment of the course when planning their academic schedules.
AP PHYSICS C (Grade 12)
CALCULUS OR HIGHER The Advanced Placement Physics C course is meant to provide students with a modern introduction to college-level work in both mechanics and electricity and magnetism. Students will thoroughly explore the fundamental principles of classical physics from an atomic perspective, allowing students to leverage skills learned in chemistry. All students take both the AP Physics C Mechanics and E&M exams at the conclusion of the course. Extensive laboratory work and introductory computer modeling using the python programming language are integral to the course. Because of the advanced mathematics needed for the class, students must be concurrently enrolled in AP Calculus AB or higher to take the class. In addition a student must have completed the Honors Physics class as an additional prerequisite for the course. Students should expect 30 minutes to 1 hour of homework each night in the class. Note that all AP sciences meet 7 periods per week, meaning that students will utilize their free period twice a week to complete work in AP Physics C. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Students should carefully consider the added time commitment of the course when planning their academic schedules.
The Social Studies curriculum is designed to help students develop critical thinking and analysis skills and abilities to express their insight both verbally and in writing. Students study physical and human geography, micro and macro economics, government, and ancient and classical World, modern European, Asian, and United States History. Reading, researching, and writing appropriate to grade level and ability are taught in a sequential way so that by the senior year students are well prepared to confront the complexities of the world and the nation. They are also prepared for analysis, critical thinking, and research and writing skills that are required in the more rigorous college curricula.
Students in the Upper School experience a minimum of five courses in history, with select electives offered as well. Advanced Placement courses exist in at least three areas, and college bound essay writing is emphasized throughout.
ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL WORLD HISTORY (Grade 9)
This full-year course investigates a variety of topics including the geography, history, government, economics and culture of various ancient world civilizations. We begin with the dawn of civilization in the fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and end with the emergence of the modern world, mid-1600s. The goal of these investigations is to learn to think critically about the world and obtain the skills and knowledge to become active global citizens. History is the story of our shared human past as well as the regional and temporal divergences in these pasts. This course considers both change and continuity starting with the earliest civilizations and culminating on the dawn of the modern era. In one portion of the course, students will analyze trends and key events across a broad geographical and temporal spectrum from Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, pre-Columbian America, Vedic India and dynastic China. In addition, this year-long course surveys political, religious and cultural developments in the western world from the emergence of the Greeks, through the end of the Thirty Years War (1648). Other major periods include the rise and fall of Rome, the distinct European culture in the Middle Ages which blends Classical, Christian, and Germanic elements, the Renaissance and the Reformation. While some people and dates will be important markers of change, this course focuses on broader themes such as empire, revolution, identity, the development of ideas and the rise and fall of civilizations. Students will develop the historical skills of understanding historical causation, recognizing patterns of continuity and change over time, comparing, contextualizing, and forming arguments with the appropriate use of historical evidence. Students will also interpret primary source documents and learn how to synthesize evidence. Each student will complete a major research project.
MODERN WORLD HISTORY (Grade 10)
Fulfilling the Trinity Valley requirement for the sophomore year in social studies, this course involves examinations of significant African, Asian, and Middle Eastern History elements from recent centuries along with a lengthy survey of Western Civilization since the 1500s. African study will examine the slaves trades, both Atlantic and Indian Ocean, and proceed through the era of colonialism to an examination of the problems faced by African nations today. Middle Eastern studies begin with the Ottomans, proceed through the Palestine/Israel conflicts and conclude with recent events out of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Egypt. Asian studies encompass overviews of India since 1763, China since 1839, and Japan since 1868. European study will involve an overview of the Reformation, heavy focus on Tudor-Stuart England, ancient Regime France through the Revolution and Napoleon, the rise of Russia, Germany and Italy, and the British Empire. The issues behind both World Wars and the Cold War will occupy the final weeks of the school year. Students will practice world geographic knowledge as fundamental to an understanding of political and economic events and trends. The complexity of evaluation material will gradually increase through the year in expectation of analytical and cognitive development, culminating in a sampling of Advanced Placement questions. Although the textbook is an established secondary work, students will examine primary source documents with a view to understanding their significance to, and proper role in, historical understanding.
MODERN WORLD HISTORY HONORS (Grade 10)
This course will investigate a variety of themes, including the political, economic, social, cultural and beliefs systems of various world civilizations as well as the interaction of these civilizations with their physical environments from the 15th to the 21st century. The overarching goal of these investigations is to learn to think critically about the world and obtain the skills and knowledge to think like a historian. Students will learn to craft historical arguments from historical evidence, evaluate the relationships between multiple historical causes and effects, construct models of historical periodization, compare and contextualize multiple historical developments within one society and between different societies and interpret and synthesize diverse interpretations of the past as revealed through both primary and secondary sources. We will seek to understand a broad sweep of civilizations from the Americas to East Asia and from the Age of Exploration to the Age of Globalization. While some people and dates will be important markers of change, we will focus on broader concepts such as empire, revolution, identity, and the development of ideas. This course will ensure that students have the requisite knowledge and skills to take the Advanced Placement exam in World History in the spring if they so desire.
UNITED STATES HISTORY (Grade 11)
United States History is a survey of the American experience from the Colonial period to the present. The course covers significant events in detail and concentrates on helping students develop good analytical skills. Students receive direction on essay writing, oral presentations, and research.
20TH-CENTURY WORLD CONFLICTS (Grade 12)
A study of the political motivations behind, demographic factors involved within, tactical and strategic issues across and weapons technology impacting upon, selected civil wars and international conflicts worldwide. The Boer War and late colonial conflicts, Chinese Civil Wars, Mexican Civil War, World War I, Russian Civil War, Irish Civil War, Spanish Civil War, World War II, Cold War confrontations, Nigerian Civil War, Indo-Pak Conflicts, and Middle Eastern Wars involving Iran will be the possible topics. Because the governments of China, Iran, Nigeria, Britain, Mexico and Russia will be touched on, this course may be of benefit to students independently studying for the College Board’s Advanced Placements Examination in Comparative Government and Politics.
BRITISH HISTORY (Grade 12)
A one-semester elective for seniors, British History begins with earliest times and continues as far chronologically as time will permit. Emphasis is placed on the evolution of concepts influencing constitutional and cultural developments, the geography of Britain, and the events and personalities that have shaped the history of today’s United Kingdom. Students will read articles and watch videos on various aspects of the subject. Assignments will include completion of a map of the British Isles and an oral/written report on English shires. Receiving special attention are the origins of the monarchy and the Parliament, the concept of the rule of law, and the shifting balance within England’s constitutional system.
CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Grade 12)
The course provides an in-depth study into the work of Supreme Court Justices throughout the last 75 years in the area of civil liberties. Judicial interpretation of the Bill of Rights and the significance of the 14th amendment are central to the discussion. Students will study areas of law by reading both majority and dissenting opinions from an assortment of court cases. Students will also participate in several moot court exercises. Admission to the course will be determined by the social studies department faculty.
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS (Grade 11, 12)
Presidential Politics is a one semester senior elective offered every four years in conjunction with the U.S. Presidential election. The course, offered in the fall, will guide students through an intensive study of the final days of a Presidential race and the transition that follows. In addition to a daily analysis of the campaign, students will become well-versed in the major issues confronting our nation. Prerequisite: Completion of AP U.S. History or AP American Government and Politics or being registered this fall for either course is a requirement. There also will be a summer reading requirement. See Mr. Kenny for further information.
ECONOMICS (Grades 11, 12)
Economics provides an introduction to the study of the principal ideas, concepts, and theories of macroeconomics. Students should develop an understanding of what the economy is and how various economic policies impact the overall economy. The course will examine the global economy and how it affects the economy of the United States. The European Union, NAFTA, and the emergence of China and India as major participants in world trade will also be investigated. The course is designed to prepare students to become financially literate adults. Students should understand how to become financially responsible citizens with regard to the use of credit cards and through investment opportunities in the financial markets.
GOVERNMENT (Grades 11, 12)
A junior/senior level one-semester course, Government emphasizes the history and meaning of the U.S. Constitution and the workings of the American government. Political theory, Constitutional debates, the court system, Congress, the Presidency, and civil rights are major topics of consideration. Discussions will also focus on current affairs and contemporary issues.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT ELECTIVES
AP UNITED STATES HISTORY (Grade 11)
AP United States History is a chronological and interpretive study of the subject from its pre-Columbian backgrounds to the present. Students study the methods and meanings of history in general and the major political, economic, diplomatic, social/cultural, and constitutional trends and themes in United States history in particular. Attention is given to historiography and to the analysis and interpretation of historical documents. Students are expected to develop skills in writing critical essays, drawing conclusions from primary sources, and answering analytical multiple choice questions—all skills that must be exhibited on the AP exam. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Admission to the course will be determined by the Social Studies Department faculty. For required summer reading assignment, see Dr. Shelton.
AP MACROECONOMICS (Grades 11, 12)
AP Macroeconomics is a year-long course that will provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the principles, theories and methods of macroeconomics analysis. The course will provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the methods of modern macroeconomic management of the economy and will prepare them for the advanced placement exam in May. The course will also prepare students to become financially literate as consumers, investors, and citizens of the modern global economy. Specific topics will include investment in the stock and bond markets of the world, the strategic use of credit and an understanding of tax efficiency as it relates to long-term investments such as IRA and 401K pension plans. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May.
AP GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS (Grades 11, 12)
AP Government is a full-year course open to juniors and seniors. It furthers the TVS mission to develop wide constructive interests and intelligent citizenship. Understanding and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution, its history and principles, are a major focus. Students are introduced to trends and data analysis related to such topics as voter behavior, election results, focus groups, long-term political and social trends, demographic composition, and public policy. Data are presented in the form of graphs, charts, and tables to provide experience in analyzing and interpreting political trends. Current affairs and interaction among the three branches of government, the bureaucracy, and the press are analyzed. The court system and civil rights are topics receiving major consideration. Admission to the course will be determined by the Social Studies Department faculty. For required summer reading assignment, please see Mr. Kenny. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May.
AP PSYCHOLOGY (Grades 11, 12)
The objective of Psychology is for students to understand the methods used by psychologists in their practice and in scientific study. The course is designed to introduce students to the history of psychology as a science, research methods used by psychologists, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, cognition, learning, motivation and emotion, developmental psychology, personality, intelligence testing, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. Special emphasis is placed on psychological experiments of the twentieth century in order to discover the role of ethics in psychology. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May.
The study of world languages at Trinity Valley School reaffirms the school’s mission to develop intelligent citizenship as the students strive to become leaders of the future. As the global community becomes closer, the study of Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish each contribute to the development of a student who understands other peoples.
The TVS world language offerings give modern language students an opportunity to communicate with other members of the global community. As all TVS students have studied Latin in seventh and eighth grades, some choose to fulfill their graduation requirement in Upper School by further mastering the Latin classics, works that underlie the school’s historic humanities curriculum. All students develop an appreciation of diverse cultures through reading and through a variety of field trips and cultural explorations as they progress through three years of the same language in Upper School. The study of multiple languages is possible.
Spanish is taught four days a week in grades K through six. Exploratory Chinese is taught at the elementary level once a week. At the seventh grade level students may choose Chinese or Spanish. Latin is a requirement in seventh and eighth grades. In grades nine through twelve the student is required to study Chinese, French, Latin or Spanish for three years.
CHINESE I (Grade 9)
An introductory Chinese course is offered for the student who has had no previous experience with the language. Students learn basic communicative functions while listening, speaking and Chinese characters are emphasized. The school’s ability to offer this course may be contingent on the prevalence of student interest. Students who have completed 8th-grade Chinese or Chinese I may not enroll in this course without recommendation from the Head of Upper School and the World Language Department Chair. From year to year, TVS will reevaluate the viability of offering Chinese 1 in Upper School based on student interest and staffing priorities. TVS students who have been enrolled in the Middle School Chinese program will matriculate to Chinese 2 in the Upper School. Rising 9th graders are welcome to demonstrate an interest in an Upper School offering of Chinese 1 so that the Language Department and Upper School Administration can make the most informed decision, but students may need to enroll in a second preference for their language study or Upper School students who are just beginning their study of Chinese may need to be willing to take Chinese 1 through an online parter.
CHINESE II (Grade 9)
Students who have completed 8th Grade Chinese or Chinese I will continue their study of Chinese in this course. Students will complete the basics of listening, speaking, reading, writing, typing and culture. Prerequisite: Chinese I or eighth grade Chinese
CHINESE III (Grade 10)
In this course students develop their listening, speaking, reading, writing and typing skills at the intermediate level through exposure to Chinese arts, history and society. Students will work toward oral proficiency through conversation, discussion and oral presentations. Prerequisite: Chinese II
CHINESE IV (Grade 11)
Chinese IV is designed for students who have taken Chinese III. The goal of this course is to improve and enhance students’ skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing with an emphasis on developing their communicative skills in order to have conversations on a range of topics relating to daily life. Through various projects and activities the students will further their understanding of the Chinese language and culture. At the end of the course, students will be able to achieve Intermediate- Mid Level according to ACTFL Chinese Oral Proficiency Interview guidelines. Prerequisite: Chinese III
FRENCH I (Grade 9)
French I is an introductory course for the student who has had little or no exposure to the French language. Students learn basic communicative functions while listening and speaking skills are emphasized. Students will also be introduced to Francophone cultures. The fi rst year will be primarily a face-to-face class. The subsequent years may include a blended online model with instructor support.
FRENCH II (Grade 9)
Students who have completed an 8th grade French course or French I will enroll in French II. This course will introduce the student to more advanced grammatical structures and continue to place emphasis on listening and speaking skills. Students will learn more about Francophone cultures through readings and other authentic material. Writing skills are also emphasized. Prerequisite: French I or 8th-grade French
FRENCH III (Grade 10)
Students complete the development of intermediate grammar skills while beginning to develop advanced communication skills in preparation for advanced French. Much emphasis is placed on oral expression. Magazine articles and French literature are used to develop listening and reading skills. Prerequisite: French II
LATIN II (Grade 10)
Students who have completed 8th-grade Latin will continue their study of Latin in this course. The goal is to prepare the students to read and study Latin literature. Following a careful review, students learn all remaining Latin grammar and syntax. The literature includes excerpts of Caesar, Livy, Ovid, and many more authors. Prerequisite: Latin I or eighth-grade Latin
LATIN III (Grade 10)
The goal of Latin III is for the students to become critical readers of Latin prose. This course develops the ability to read and analyze antique Latin prose. The students will look beyond the basics of grammar, form and vocabulary to begin exploring genre, fi gures of speech, tone and cultural context and relevancy. Prerequisite: Latin II
LATIN IV (Grade 11)
The goal of Latin IV is for the students to become critical readers of Latin Poetry. The emphasis of the course is not only upon achieving competence in reading Latin poetry but also on the refinement of critical analysis of the texts and on expanding textual interpretation. Students will be expected to prepare translations and to participate in class discussions as well as learning to compose critical essays that deal with both the translation and textual analysis of the works read. Prerequisite: Latin III
SPANISH I (Grade 9)
For the student who has had no previous experience with the language, an introductory course is offered. Students learn basic communicative functions while listening and speaking skills are emphasized. Students who have had 8th-grade Spanish or Spanish I may not enroll in this course without recommendation from the Head of the Upper School and the World Language Department Chair.
SPANISH II (Grade 9)
Students who have completed 8th grade Spanish will continue their study of Spanish in this course. This course deepens the students’ knowledge and exposure to Hispanic culture through the presentation of new and essential vocabulary and grammatical structures. Emphasis is placed on conversations. Prerequisite: Spanish I or 8th grade Spanish
SPANISH III (Grade 10)
This course develops the intermediate levels of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The course emphasizes acquisition of advanced vocabulary in cultural and conversational settings, the introduction of advanced grammatical concepts and in depth study of Hispanic countries. Prerequisite: Spanish II
SPANISH IV (Grade 11)
This course continues to develop language skills especially through the study of Spanish art and the reading selections of literature. Emphasis is placed on advanced grammatical structures, creative composition, discussion of style, as well as literary and art analysis and criticism. Prerequisite Spanish III
ADVANCED PLACEMENT ELECTIVES
AP CHINESE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (Grade 12)
AP Chinese Language and Culture covers the equivalent of a third-year college course. This course places an emphasis on communication both oral and written communication. Students will continue to learn language control and other communication strategies in real-life situations. Students will further their study of the Chinese culture through the use of authentic materials. Interpersonal, interpretive and presentation skills will be practiced throughout the course in preparation for the AP Chinese exam. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: Chinese IV
AP FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (Grade 12)
This course covers the equivalent of a third-year college course in advanced French composition and conversation. Students will work on improving their proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing in the French language. This is accomplished through an extensive review of grammar, use of idiomatic expressions, writing of compositions, listening exercises and the reading of literary excerpts. Resources will include authentic material from the Francophone world from newspapers, magazines, news sources and French radio and television. These will be used to further develop language skills and the students’ understanding of Francophone countries. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: French IV
AP LATIN (Grade 12)
This course is equivalent to a third year university course. Students read in Latin selections from Vergil’s epic poem The Aeneid. Close reading of the Latin, detailed examination of Vergil’s literary technique and translating Latin poetry at sight receive particular emphasis. Students read the entire poem in English. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Prerequisite: Latin IV
AP SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (Grade 12)
This course covers the equivalent of a third-year college course. Students will work on improving their proficiency across the three modes of communication. The course focuses on the integration of authentic resources including online print, audio, and audiovisual resources; as well as traditional print resources that include literature, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles; and also a combination of visual/print resources such as charts, tables, and graphs; all with the goal of providing a diverse learning experience. It is assumed that students have previously been exposed to advanced language structures in the courses leading up to the AP Spanish Language and Culture course; however, review of the mechanics is done within the contextual framework of each unit as needed. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP subject exam in May. Pre-requisite Spanish IV
ETHICS (Grade 9,10,11,12)
This course introduces some questions in moral philosophy, of the normative, metaethical, and applied kind. That is, we will be interested (i) in philosophies that aim to establish ways of discriminating between right and wrong action; (ii) in philosophical explications of moral thinking itself; and (iii) in the examination and analysis of particular moral situations. It will also serve as an introduction to philosophical writing. Students will practice critical reading and writing, interpretation, and argument. The course will be in equal parts discussion and lecture. Students will be expected to read carefully the material assigned, and to respond to peers with whom they will often disagree about the most pressing matters of moral philosophy. The course is a seminar, and that makes certain claims on the student: to prepare for each class, and to be willing to speak. We will be reading from Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism, Henry Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics, and a few contemporary papers, e.g. Thomas Nagel’s “War and Massacre”, John Taurek’s “Should the Numbers Count?”, Philippa Foot’s “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives”, Bernard Williams’ “Internal and External Reasons”, and others. The formal components of the course grade will be (i) class participation; (ii and iii) two shorter essays; and (iv) a final longer essay.
ETHICS II: PHILOSOPHY OF ART (Grade 9,10,11,12)
Students in this course will explore the philosophy of art, which is the philosophical branch concerned with art, taste, and beauty. Specifi cally, students in this course will investigate questions such as: What is art, in general? What is beauty, and what is its relation to moral goodness? Ugliness? How do we apprehend beauty, and what causes our apprehension? On what sorts of grounds do we come to prefer some art and dislike other art? The course will also explore some questions specifi c to mathematical beauty and particular art forms; we will read poems and stories, look at visual art, and listen to music. Representative philosophical readings include Plato’s Republic and Plotinus’ Enneads (I.6), Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Leo Tolstoy’s “What is Art?”, Susan Langer’s Problems of Art, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment; two shorter essays are: Ted Cohen’s “On Consistency of One’s Personal Aesthetics” and Arthur Danto’s “The Artworld”; stories, poems, and music will be chosen on a weekly basis from a number of options. There will be weekly writing assignments and one longer essay. Since class will regularly include discussion, vocal participation will be assessed.
RELIGION IN CULTURE (Grade 10,11,12)
Religions play a formidable role in cultures throughout the world. This is a one-semester elective for 10th-12th graders that focuses on the academic study of religion and its many manifestations. Students will be introduced to religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. At the center of this course, however, are discussions surrounding effects that religions have had on contemporary and past celebrations, conflicts, social movements, political systems, and much more. Students will further their research, writing, and presentation skills by working in groups and independently on projects to explore fundamental—but by no means obvious—questions like “what is religion?” and “how can it be studied academically?” An academic understanding of religion in general will provide a critical and necessary jumping off point for in-depth investigations of the role of religious traditions, practices, and beliefs in a variety of contemporary cultural contexts. This is a non-traditional course; most weeks, students will be required to meet 2-3 times/week in person, and they will do independent & group work and use our Course Blog for discussions the other 2-3 times/week. Students will help decide topics we cover, readings, and the overall daily structure of the course.
SENIOR PROJECTS (Grade 12)
Senior Projects are designed to encourage seniors to assume greater ownership of their program during their final semester at TVS and to imagine ways that they can take initiative for their own learning. As well, the Senior Project opportunity encourages seniors to imagine ways they can put their passions and skills to the service of the broader community. This course allows students to pursue academic or service-oriented interests on or off campus in place of one elective course. For example, a senior might pursue an off-campus internship, study with a teacher on a particular topic, complete a community service project, or somehow pursue other intellectual interests. Students interested in pursuing a Senior Project must submit a completed application by the specified fall date. The project must be approved by the Senior Project Committee and satisfactory completion of a final presentation before the Committee in May is required for graduation. Senior Projects will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.
SERVICE-LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY (Grade 9,10,11,12)
This is a new one-semester course for Upper School students who wish to develop meaningful, effective, and sustainable service opportunities in Fort Worth and with our partners in Swaziland. This includes—but is not limited to—students who are interested in participating in the Trojans Abroad Program to Swaziland (Spring Break 2017). In this course, students will become “social innovators”: they will use their passions to find and discuss a variety of social problems and design possible solutions based on local needs and resources. Students participating in the Swaziland trip will research the Mbabane area and will work with Swazis to discuss needs and solutions. We will all work with people in Fort Worth as well, so that all students have opportunities to carry out their service projects to earn service hours while developing critical 21st century skills and— most importantly—improving our communities. This is a non-traditional course; most weeks, students will be required to meet 2-3 times/week in person, and they will do independent & group work and use our Course Blog for discussions the other 2-3 times/week. Students will help decide topics we cover, readings, and the overall daily structure of the course.
SPEECH & DEBATE (Grade 9,10,11,12)
This course focuses on creating effective communication skills through practicing various types of speech and debate. Topics include research, organization, adapting to an audience, topic selection, reasoning, and evaluating the discourse of others. The speech portion of the course will include the development and presentation of persuasive and informative speeches, and focus on argument construction, presentation, and refutation.
YEARBOOK I (Grade 11,12)
Yearbook I students cover sports events, photograph fine arts productions, capture candids and write copy for all school events provided for on the ladder. Yearbook I students will envision and communicate theme, select photographs on the school yearbook. Yearbook I students will support Yearbook II staff in completing the above tasks, write and edit the majority of copy, and serve as staff photographers as needed. All Yearbook I and II staff members will be graded on the degree to which they meet the challenges of yearbook production in the following areas: Print & Photographic Media Literacy, Newswriting and Information Gathering, Document Production and Distribution Advertising, Standards and Ethics, and Professionalism in Work Relations. Advisor approval is required for admission into this course. The yearbook advisor will describe the application process to students each spring.
YEARBOOK II (Grade 12)
In addition to completing the tasks and meeting the goals of Yearbook I students, Yearbook II students assume responsibility for the design and completion of the Trojan Walls annual commemorating their final TVS school year. Yearbook II students will envision and communicate theme, select photographs on the school yearbook, construct computer layouts and page designs, and be responsible for the final content that comprises the Trojan Walls. Yearbook II students oversee the Yearbook I staffers in covering sports events, photographing fine arts productions, capturing candids, and writing copy) and they likewise complete such assignments during peak production periods. All Yearbook I and II staff members will be graded on the degree to which they meet the challenges of yearbook production in the following areas: Print & Photographic Media Literacy, Newswriting and Information Gathering, Document Production and Distribution Advertising, Standards and Ethics, and Professionalism in Work Relations. Advisor approval is required for admission into this course. The yearbook advisor will describe the application process to students each spring. Prerequisite: Yearbook I