Curriculum Guide

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Advanced Acting

Building on the concepts of Acting I and Acting II, this semester-long course offers more in-depth training in the areas of emotion, character development, and motivation.

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Advanced Ceramics

Advanced ceramics will allow the further development and exploration into technical skill, personal style, and aesthetic choice within the medium of clay.

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Advanced Creative Writing I

Open to juniors and seniors who have taken Creative Writing and Portfolio Development, students in Advanced Creative Writing I craft a more extensive portfolio of fiction or poetry organized around a theme or common topic.

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Advanced Digital Media

In this full year, students will expand on the technical and design skills they previously learned in Digital Illustration and Graphic Design.

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Advanced Placement Art History

The AP Art History course welcomes students into the global art world to engage with its forms and content as they research, discuss, read, and write about art, artists, art making, and responses to and interpretations of art.

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Advanced Placement Calculus AB

This course follows the syllabus for the AP exam in Calculus AB. As such, it is a rigorous, demanding course requiring a strong foundation in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and analytic geometry.

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Advanced Placement Chemistry

This course is the equivalent of a first-year college chemistry course; it covers materials in-depth and provides a deeper consideration of both the theoretical and mathematical analysis of topics.

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Advanced Placement Drawing

AP Drawing is a course designed for the serious art student who is interested in an intensive investigation of art concepts, media, and techniques after taking an introductory level art course, Drawing and Painting and Honors Portfolio.

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Advanced Placement Latin

AP Latin concentrates on the translation, analysis, and interpretation of Vergil’s epic poem, the Aeneid, and Caesar’s commentaries, De Bello Gallico.

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Advanced Placement Physics I

This course is a response to the format changes made by the College Board in 2014, and it is based on the “Six Big Ideas,” or core principles identified by the College Board.

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Advanced Placement Physics II

This course follows the first-year AP Physics course and requires many of the same skills: mathematical competence, organization, motivation, and strong problem-solving abilities.

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Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture

This rigorous and challenging course emphasizes the use of authentic Spanish for active communication, allowing students to reach advanced levels in their oral, aural, reading, and writing skills. Students engage in conversation by using advanced grammatical structures, literary analysis, cultural studies, and in-depth discussions of current events around the world.

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Advanced Topics in Computer Science

This is an advanced course in programming application and computer science intended for students who have completed AP Computer Science A and would like to explore the subject in greater detail.

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Algebra 1

Depending on their readiness, students take this course over a single year (accelerated) or over two years (enriched).

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Algebra I

A full-year course, Algebra I, is an introductory level math course and is a prerequisite for Geometry.

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Anatomy and Physiology

In this semester course, students study the anatomy (structure) and the physiology (function) of body systems in humans and other animals.

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Biome Museum

This marks the culmination of weeks of cross-curricular research, place-based learning, and exploration focused on a specific campus ecological system, such as pond, stream, wetland, forest, or farm.

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Ceramics I

Ceramics one focuses on the development of skills within sculptural and functional pottery creations to allow students to familiarize themselves with the medium of clay.

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Ceramics II

Ceramics two focuses on the unification of sculptural and functional pottery creations to allow students to pursue projects unique to his/her/their interests and art style.

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Character Education

The school’s commitment to its core values is integrated into daily life at Gill, as is a focus on character awareness and development.

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Chemistry

This course emphasizes the periodic table of elements, the formation of compounds, and reactions that occur to produce new substances.

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Community Service

Community service is a natural extension of our emphasis on character awareness, citizenship, inclusion, kindness, and respect.

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Cyber Security

This semester course will give students the ability to “determine security requirements and mechanisms,” focusing on the big 8: ethics, establishing trust, ubiquitous connectivity, data security, system security, adversarial thinking, risk, and implications.

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Desktop Publishing

Students in this semester-long course learn the basic design principles involved in print publications, including the development of a theme or motif, layout and design, the appropriate choice of a font or typeface, the appropriate placement and use of images, and the importance of proofreading for both spelling and grammar.

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Digital Illustration

Serving as an introduction to the study of digital illustration as a visual interpretation of words, concepts, and ideas, students will use a variety of Adobe software for illustration, technical drawing, composition, and implementation of created art into page layout.

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Directing

In this semester-long course, students learn how to create an artistic vision of an existing play, how to serve as the coordinator of a cast of performers, how to manage the schedule of a production, and how to be the single director of a staged performance.

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Discrete Mathematics

This introductory semester course in discrete mathematics is designed for strong math students, particularly those also interested in computer science.

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Drawing

In this semester-long course, students learn numerous skills and techniques for representational drawing, focusing on and capturing what they see and using value, shading, and contrast to create a sense of form.

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Ethics

Using a seminar format based on primary texts, students in this semester course will engage with the great debates of ethics and apply their understanding to practical, contemporary situations.

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Exercise Science

The focus of this one-semester course is to empower students with the capacity to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and services, and apply that knowledge to make informed decisions in their daily life.

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Forensic Science

This course is designed for seniors who would like to pursue advanced studies in science after successfully completing physics, chemistry, and biology.

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French II

Although this course expects students to have a solid first-year preparation in vocabulary and grammar, the class begins with an active review of previous material before leading the student into more challenging material.

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French III

This course continues to review and reinforce communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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French IV

Students continue to develop and refine their language skills through increased exposure to more advanced grammar and vocabulary.

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Grade 1 Visual Art

Building on the introduction of art elements in kindergarten, first-grade students continue to identify and describe concepts through various lessons.

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Grade 2 Language Arts

Second-grade students continue to become more independent as readers, exploring their interests through reading, building reading stamina, and applying reading strategies to maintain reading fluency.

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Grade 2 Mathematics

Students gain increasing mastery with addition and subtraction skills, working with numbers up to 1,000, using mental math strategies, and solving word problems.

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Grade 2 Visual Art

Students continue to incorporate elements of art and principles of design into each project, allowing them to develop more purpose within their artwork.

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Grade 3 Language Arts

Students continue exploring fiction and nonfiction genres, including narratives, informational texts, fairy tales, and poetry, as they become increasingly more independent as readers.

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Grade 3 Science

Beginning with observations of the sky and weather, third graders become meteorologists using weather measurement tools to predict the weather.

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Grade 3 Social Studies

The course of study begins with a unit on Native Americans and continues to European explorers and the British colonization of North America.

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Grade 4 Language Arts

Students begin the Accelerated Reader program, which encourages independent reading and the further development of comprehension skills.

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Grade 4 Mathematics

More advanced work is introduced with decimals, fractions, algebraic reasoning, and basic geometry, while also stressing mastery of skills that will enable students to thrive in later math courses: proficiency with the four operations; quick recall of math facts; and facility with estimating, rounding and judging the reasonableness of an answer.

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Grade 4 Music

Students have already explored note and rhythm reading, form, pitch, dynamics, and tempo, and they are ready for an exploration of timbre and texture.

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Grade 4 Social Studies

The curriculum includes an in-depth study of the American Revolution, the United States government, westward expansion, and immigration.

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Grade 5 French

This class is designed to introduce and expose all students in the grade to the sounds, structure, and basic use of the French language.

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Grade 5 Latin

This introductory course develops and strengthens good vocabulary and grammar skills while teaching students the fundamentals of a classical language.

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Grade 5 Makerspace

This class focuses on introducing design thinking and engineering, allowing students to tinker, collaborate, craft, and build.

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Grade 5 Spanish

The goal of this class is to expose and foster topical and functional communication and to raise cultural awareness of traditions and daily life in countries where Spanish is spoken.

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Grade 5 Technology

Students learn a range of computing skills, including keyboarding, word processing, working with spreadsheets, and creating presentations.

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Grade 6 French

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 6 Language Arts

Students study a range of literary genres, including historical fiction, science fiction, and non-fiction (memoir), as well as short stories and poems.

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Grade 6 Latin

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 6 Mathematics/Pre-Algebra

This year-long course continues the Singapore Math program, building pre-algebra skills, and focusing on conceptual understanding and application of skills to solve problems.

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Grade 6 Spanish

This is the first of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grade 6 Technology

Much of the focus of computer instruction at this level is on the Google Apps for Education, with additional projects requiring the use of Apple apps, such as iMovie and iPhoto.

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Grade 7 English

As they learn to discuss and write about increasingly complex literature, students develop critical-thinking skills in seventh-grade English.

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Grade 7 French

This is the second of two consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 7 History

Students continue to investigate early civilizations by exploring Greece, Rome, Europe during the Middle Ages, and Islamic culture.

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Grade 7 Latin

This is the second of two consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 7 Makerspace

Seventh-grade students continue their engineering and design skills and build on their previous experiences in the Makerspace.

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Grade 7 Spanish

This is the second of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grade 8 English

In  eighth  grade,  students  become  more  independent  in  their  reading,  writing,  and  thinking  skills.

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Grade 8 French

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I French course.

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Grade 8 Geometry

This is the highest-level math course offered to Middle School students and is open only to eighth-grade students who successfully completed a full year of Algebra I.

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Grade 8 Latin

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Latin course.

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Grade 8 Makerspace with Tech Ed

Projects in this class are hands-on learning opportunities that incorporate circuitry, robotics, and electronics, as well as using a variety of materials and devices to design, build, collaborate, and tinker.

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Grade 8 Science

Exploration of physics, chemistry, and evolution frames this course, with hands-on activities that challenge students to design and build, analyze, evaluate, and draw valid conclusions from data.

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Grade 8 Spanish

This is the third of three consecutive years in the Middle School language program, corresponding to the Upper School Level I Spanish course.

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Grades 5-6 Woodworking

Beginning with formal instruction of proper safety procedures and with basic drawing and design to elicit creativity and to build confidence, students discover how to use a variety of materials in different ways.

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Grades 5-8 Physical Education and Athletics

A variety of physical activities and sports are introduced in physical education classes that emphasize fitness, skill development, teamwork, sportsmanship, and cooperation, in addition to strength and conditioning.

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Grades 7-8 Drama

Drama class meets weekly and offers students the opportunity to study all facets of theater, from theater games and acting, to history and stagecraft.

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Grades 7-8 Music

This one-semester elective class is designed to give students a deeper understanding of music, while continuing to engage them in a choral setting.

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Grades 7 Ceramics

Seventh-grade ceramics teaches the basic skills of working with clay while focusing on sculptural projects and hand-building techniques.

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Grades 8 Ceramics

Eighth-grade ceramics explores how we interact and utilize clay and pottery within our daily routine by utilizing foundational ceramic techniques to create functional pottery pieces.

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Graphic Design

In this semester course, the interaction of text and image and the fundamental components of graphic communication are introduced, and students develop and hone skills in working with text and image as they create solutions to a series of design problems.

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Health and Wellness

As part of physical education, students in grades three and four have health and wellness instruction on a variety of topics, including healthy eating, the importance of physical fitness, healthy strategies for working through differences with friends, hygiene, and other developmentally appropriate topics.

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History of Ancient Rome

In this semester course, students learn about aspects of life in the ancient world, including culture, daily life, history, literature, and art.

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Honors Biology

Topics covered in this fast-paced course include ecology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, Mendelian and non-Mendelian genetics, bioethics, evolution, diversity of life, and animal and human anatomy, and physiology.

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Honors Chemistry

This course emphasizes the periodic table of elements, the formation of compounds, and reactions that occur to produce new substances.

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Honors Choir

Students who have completed the Concert Choir course and pass a proficiency evaluation are eligible to take Advanced Choir.

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Honors French III

This course continues to review and reinforce communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Honors French IV

Students continue to develop and refine their language skills through increased exposure to more advanced grammar and vocabulary.

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Honors Latin III

Students continue the vigorous study of Latin grammar and vocabulary to be able to translate increasingly complex material, including several classic heroes and begin to study original works by Roman authors, including Pliny, Martial, Catullus, and Ovid.

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Honors Latin IV

Roman literature is a diverse and exciting field, and in this course, students read diverse authors such as Ovid, Virgil, Caesar, Cicero, and others.

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Honors Portfolio Development

Honors Portfolio Development is a yearlong course for students who are serious about the practical experience of art and want to develop mastery in conceptualizing, composing, and executing their ideas.

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Honors Spanish II

This course reviews and reinforces communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Honors Spanish III

This course continues to reinforce Spanish communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Honors Spanish IV

In this course, students continue to expand and refine their knowledge and communication skills through the study of more complex vocabulary and advanced grammatical structures at a rigorous pace.

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Introduction to Physics

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of and appreciation for physics while preparing them for higher-level science and mathematics courses.

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Kindergarten Science

The curriculum encourages the natural curiosity of young learners while introducing them to the science skills and tools to investigate the world around them.

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Kindergarten Visual Art

Students are introduced to the elements of art (line, shape, space, value, color, texture, and form) and learn about well-known artists and the unique styles they use to emphasize elements.

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Latin III

Students continue the study of Latin grammar and vocabulary, translate increasingly complex material, and further their exploration of Roman culture and society.

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Latin IV

Roman literature is a diverse and exciting field, and in this course, students have the opportunity to read authors such as Catullus, Ovid, Virgil, Caesar, Suetonius, and others.

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Latin V: Literature and Composition

The Romans used literature not only to record and maintain information and ideas but to express their understanding of the world around them and to express their ideas and beliefs about their society.

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Leadership

This semester seminar-style course will explore and evaluate different leadership styles and theories.

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Makerspace Classes

Stocked with art supplies, building materials, several 3-D printers, Arduino boards, and other technology resources, the Makerspace hums with activity before, during, and after the academic day.

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Music Laboratory

Music Lab is a one-semester, repeatable course in which student musicians will advance their existing musical skills and develop new ones.

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Painting

In this semester-long course, students learn about the unique qualities of different types of paint, including watercolor, acrylic, and oil.

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Photography I

This course serves as an introduction to the historical, technical, and aesthetic responsibilities of digital photography.

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Photography II

Students continue discussions of the historical, technical, and aesthetic responsibilities of digital photography.

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Precalculus

A prerequisite for Calculus, students master topics that include recognizing parent functions; graphing functions (polynomial, rational, logarithmic, and exponential); solving quadratic equations and inequalities; solving systems of equations using matrices.

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Preschool Mathematics

Hands-on activities introduce young learners to numbers and foundational mathematical concepts, including less versus more, part versus whole, and same versus different.

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Programming II - Java

This year-long course is designed for students who have computer programming experience and are interested in a rigorous introduction to object-oriented languages.

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Related Arts

Specialized teachers in art, library, music, science, technology, and Spanish comprise the Related Arts faculty.

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Robotics and Engineering I

Students in this semester course are introduced to the principles, history, and social implications of robotics and experience a hands-on introduction to robotics and engineering, enabling students to combine the skills of a mechanical engineer, project manager, and programmer.

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Room to Grow

Middle School at Gill St. Bernard’s fosters students’ growing independence, understanding that preteens and adolescents are naturally driven to explore and experience the larger world.

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Sculpture

This semester course helps students develop an understanding of the interaction of forms in space.

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Singapore Math

Our math curriculum, based on the Singapore Math approach, begins in early childhood, and extends through the second year of Middle School.

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Sociology of America

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and effects of human behavior through the study of groups, organizations, and societies.

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Spanish I

This course stresses proficiency in all four skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—and provides an understanding of basic grammatical structures and patterns of communication.

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Spanish II

This course reviews and reinforces communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spanish III

This course reviews and reinforces Spanish communication skills through the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities.

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Spotlight on Science

In addition to standard, honors, and AP courses for physics, chemistry, and biology, the Upper School Science Department offers many elective courses.

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Spring Unit

For over 50 years, the Spring Unit has been the inspiration for the school’s motto, Schola Mundus Est: “The World is Our Classroom.”

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Spring Unit Program

Held at the end of May, the Middle School Spring Unit Program allows students to immerse themselves in a subject outside of the core curriculum.

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Statistics

This course uses both a theoretical and experimental approach and provides students with a solid foundation in introductory statistics.

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STREAMS

Students in fourth through sixth grade take part in STREAMS, a yearlong program that brings together work in sustainability, technology, research, engineering, agriculture, math, and service.

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Studio Art

This semester-long, entry-level course provides an overview and introduction to the visual arts using a variety of art tools and materials.

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Urban Sociology

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of cities: the origins, the nature of urban life, and the diversity.

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Web Design

Students in this semester course learn to plan, design, and code effective Web pages using basic and advanced features of Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML).

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