AP Biology

Year-long elective open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Earth’s Chemical Systems (formerly Biochem II) and recommendation of 10th or 11th grade science teacher.

This year-long course focuses on the central ideas of biology. The course focuses on fundamental principles of evolution, cell structure and function, genetics, and ecology. The curriculum is demanding its scope and its level of sophistication, with emphasis placed on the application of biological principles to explain experimentally derived data and results. Students will read a variety of materials from textbooks to online scientific journals. As an AP course, AP Biology is equivalent to a first-year college biology course and often ends with taking the Advanced Placement exam in May. It is expected that students enter the course with strong work habits, complete homework on a nightly basis, read independently for understanding, and demonstrate self-advocacy. Students should expect to spend roughly an amount of time working outside of class equal to that spent in class. Lab reports and special projects may add to this time.

View the College Board AP Biology Course Description.

AP Calculus (AB)

Precalculus and current teacher’s recommendation

The workload, pace, and content of this course is comparable to a college-level calculus course covering limits, continuity, differentiation, and an introduction to integral calculus. Topics in differential equations are also introduced. The College Board AP Calculus AB exam is administered nationally by all participating schools on a predetermined date in May. The College Board website provides the exam date and detailed description of the curriculum, which must be covered in its entirety. Students should expect a high degree of independent learning. Some colleges and universities offer college credit or advanced placement to students passing the exam at a high level. Students are encouraged to investigate these possibilities.

View the College Board AP Calculus (AB) Course Description.

AP Calculus (BC)

Calculus and current teacher’s recommendation

First-year concepts of differentiation and integration are extended to polar, parametric, and vector functions. Students master new methods for evaluating limits, evaluating integrals, and solving differential equations. Series and tests for their convergence as well as power series and polynomial approximations are studied. The workload, pace, and content of this course is comparable to a second or third semester course at colleges and universities.

View the College Board AP Calculus (BC) Course Description.

AP Chemistry

Year-long elective open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Earth’s Chemical Systems (formerly Biochem II) and recommendation of 10th or 11th grade science teacher.

This year-long, college level course expands upon many of the topics introduced in earlier courses. Students will begin with a study of the nature of matter, examining topics ranging from atomic structure to the structure and properties of matter to chemical reactions. An in-depth, experimental approach to the study of the behavior of matter will occur through an examination of reaction kinetics, equilibrium systems, and thermodynamics. Laboratory work plays a key role in the structure of the course, with emphasis placed on the application of chemical principles to explain experimentally derived data and results. While the Advanced Placement test is an important goal, emphasis will be placed on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As an AP course, AP Chemistry is equivalent to a first-year college inorganic chemistry course. Therefore, it is expected that students enter the course with strong work habits, complete homework on a nightly basis, read independently for understanding, and demonstrate self-advocacy skills. Students should expect to spend roughly an amount of time working outside of class equal to that spent in class. Lab reports and special projects may add to this time.

View the College Board AP Chemistry Course Description.

AP Chinese Language and Culture

90% or better in Mandarin IV and instructor’s permission.

AP Chinese Language & Culture is a full-year course that covers the equivalent of a second-year (or the fourth semester) of a college level course. This is an advanced Mandarin Chinese class aimed at equipping students both linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully using Chinese in the school setting and beyond. This course prepares students to demonstrate their level of Chinese proficiency across the three communicative modes: Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational, and the five goal areas: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities, as outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. This course also requires significant dedication, demanding extra student preparation and participation in class.

View the College Board AP Chinese Language and Culture Course Description.

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AP Comparative Government

Full-year elective.

The AP Comparative Government course focuses on the political institutions and processes of six different countries—China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom—and compares the ways they address problems.  Students will look at political parties and electoral systems, regimes and governments, economic and political change over time, and political culture and behaviors.  Students will connect political concepts to real-world situations and analyze data to find patterns and trends across political systems.  Students will be tasked with projects, case studies, and written assessments in conjunction with preparation for the final AP exam in May.

View the College Board AP Comparative Government Course Description.

AP Computer Science

Full-year elective. 10th-12th grades only. This course is recommended as a second math elective. Seek departmental advice if taking this course in lieu of a course in the normal sequence.

Algebra II

AP Computer Science covers the course content defined by the College Board's AP curriculum and prepares students for the advanced placement exam in May. The course teaches the Java programming language and reviews and elaborates on the fundamental methods of object-oriented programming. Much of the material is based on the implementation and analysis of common data structures including arrays and array lists. Basic algorithms for sorting and searching are presented and their asymptotic behavior is analyzed. Students enhance their program design, implementation, testing, and debugging skills through frequent programming projects. Finally, they gain experience reading, understanding and modifying a substantial pre-existing program.

View the College Board AP Computer Science Course Description.

AP English Language and Composition

Eleventh or Twelfth grade full-year upper-level course

As a junior or senior year English course, AP Language and Composition focuses primarily on American non-fiction texts. The course undertakes a rigorous study of rhetoric and argumentation, mirroring the content and level of assignments found in introductory college-level composition courses. Students respond directly to a wide variety of American readings from the early years of democracy to contemporary life: letters, speeches, essays, novels, short fiction, articles, and image-based texts. In addition to the chief emphasis on non-fiction and political rhetoric, other anchor texts for the course include Fast Food Nation, Just Mercy, and The Things They Carried. The course addresses the essential questions of the American experience: What is the American Dream of success, and have all groups had an equal opportunity to pursue it? What are the philosophical underpinnings of American social and political thought, and how do Americans approach and respond to conflict in these realms? In the fall, students delve into the elements of rhetoric that authors use to influence their audiences: the classical rhetorical appeals, tropes, schemes, tone, syntax, diction, imagery, and symbolism. Spring work includes mastering the formal elements of argumentation and the researched synthesis argument essay on an issue of controversy in American society. Students use these understandings and close reading habits to improve their own writing through emulation and adaptation. The end goal is for students to use the lens of rhetoric to comprehend and evaluate any text by analyzing language with critical precision. The College Board notes that the course “cultivates the reading and writing skills that students need for college success and for intellectually responsible civic engagement.”

View the College Board AP English Language and Composition Course Description

AP English Literature and Composition

Eleventh or Twelfth grade full-year upper-level course.

AP English Literature and Composition is designed to provide students with a college-level approach to reading, writing, and critical analysis in advance of the National Exam in May. Students will examine a wide range of genres and periods, ranging from Antiquity to the 21st Century, in order to consider how and why authors create meaning in various texts. They will read poetry, prose, drama and satire, as well as philosophical works and literary theory in order to provide insight into questions of textual production, authorship, theme, and symbolism. Students will be asked to consider how certain topics, such as identity, power, trust, love, oppression, isolation, and struggle are interpreted by authors in different cultures and time periods. Moreover, they will be encouraged to reflect upon how these universal ideas relate to their own lives. Through their writing assignments and projects (including a longer research paper), members of the class will get the opportunity to engage with broad questions by means of close analysis. In other words, they will use their interpretations of specific texts as a way to think about universal dilemmas.

View the College Board AP English Literature and Composition Course Description.

AP Environmental Science

Year-long elective open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Earth’s Chemical Systems(formerly Biochem II) and recommendation of 10th or 11th grade science teacher.

The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the complexities of environmental science. This involves investigating the flow of matter and energy through the living and non-living parts of the plane; identifying and analyzing environmental problems both natural and human-made; and examining solutions for resolving and/or preventing those problems. This course promotes environmental literacy to enable informed decision-making regarding issues that impact the environment and society. Additionally, this course will help establish and build a sense of stewardship for the environment, illustrating throughout the course that one person can make a difference. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary study that draws from the biological, physical, chemical, and earth sciences, as well as social sciences such as economics, politics, and sociology. Critical thinking and problem-solving applications are emphasized. As an AP course, AP Environmental Science is equivalent to a first-year college course. Therefore, it is expected that students enter the course with strong work habits, complete homework on a nightly basis, read independently for understanding, and demonstrate self-advocacy skills. Students should expect to spend roughly an amount of time working outside of class equal to that spent in class. Lab reports and special projects may add on to this time.

View the College Board AP Environmental Science Course Description.

AP French Language and Culture

The recommendation of the student’s current French IV teacher and the upcoming AP teacher is required for entry to AP French Language and culture.

This course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement French Language and Culture Examination. The course focuses on improving listening and reading comprehension, and oral and written communication skills. Students work on achieving the fluency necessary for sustained oral discourse, creating coherent written expression, synthesizing a variety of abstract and concrete input and to reaching a deeper understanding of the culture of Francophone countries. Emphasis is placed on enhancing vocabulary, improving conversation and impromptu speaking capabilities, writing essays, listening to recordings of native speakers, reading authentic texts, reviewing advanced grammar and perfecting pronunciation. The class material is varied and includes news broadcasts and articles, original literature, films and songs in French. Students prepare oral reports regarding aspects of the culture of the Francophone world. This course requires commitment on the part of the student and will demand extra participation and preparation.

*Additional criteria considered by teachers for permission to enroll are the following:

  • Interpretive Communication - 90% or better in reading and listening comprehension 
  • Interpersonal Communication - 90% or better in conversations and written interpersonal communication 
  • Presentational Communication - 90% or better in oral presentations and written compositions
  • Demonstration of engagement and thoughtful participation
  • Demonstration to commit to the demands of an AP curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning

View the College Board AP French Language and Culture Course Description.

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AP Latin

90% or better in Latin III or IV and instructor’s permission. 

This course follows the newly revised College Board Advanced Placement Latin curriculum designed to prepare students for the examination in May. This year students will read selections from Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum as well as Vergil’s Aeneid, reading Caesar’s Books I, IV, V, and VI and Vergil’s Books I, II, IV, and VI, in Latin, as well as extensive readings from both authors in translation. This new curriculum requires competency in both fluent reading and analysis of prose and poetry. Students will review grammar through the readings, and vocabulary is tested regularly to improve translation speed. The course includes projects, literary analysis through essay writing, as well as translation skills. This course requires total commitment on the part of each student and will demand extra preparation and participation.

View the College Board AP Latin Course Description:

https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-latin-course-and-exam-d…

AP Macroeconomics

Full-year elective.

AP Macroeconomics is a year-long, basic college level course that provides a general understanding of basic macro-economic concepts. In a time when there is so much discussion about priorities in the economy, business cycles, climate change, international trade, inflation and unemployment, this course will help students understand both how the economy functions and the alternative choices that we have. Students will gain a solid understanding of government fiscal, monetary policies, and international trade and how they impact employment, GDP, and growth. There are daily references to what is currently in the news such as the impacts of COVID, and students are constantly applying the theories to contemporary economic, political, and social issues. We will use a range of resources including graphs, charts, data analysis and videos to describe and explain economic concepts. We will also make use of resources in the community for case studies. Students will also research and present to the class on aspects of the economy.

View the College Board AP Macroeconomics Course Description.

AP Physics C: Mechanics

Year-long elective open to 12th grade students.

Physics of Our Universe (formerly Physics) and recommendation of physics teacher, plus completion or current enrollment in calculus.

This year-long college level course is an in-depth, calculus-based study of physics. It addresses the concepts of mechanics introduced in Physics of Our Universe but delves into the topics with much greater depth by employing an experimental and quantitative analytical approach to the material. Topics for study include Newtonian mechanics, the work-energy theorem, momentum and impulse, angular momentum, circular motion, rotational kinematics, dynamics and statics, and simple harmonic motion. All these topics will be covered at the calculus-based level and use of calculus in problem-solving and derivations increases as the course progresses. As an AP course, AP Physics C is equivalent to a first-semester college mechanics course. Therefore, it is expected that students enter the course with strong work habits, complete homework on a nightly basis, read independently for understanding, and demonstrate self-advocacy skills. Students should expect to spend roughly an amount of time working outside of class equal to that spent in class. Lab reports and special projects may add on to this time.

View the College Board AP Physics C (Mechanics) Course Description

AP Spanish Language and Culture

The recommendation of the student’s current Spanish IV teacher and the upcoming AP teacher is required for entry to AP Spanish Language and Culture.

This course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture Examination. The course focuses on improving listening and reading comprehension, and oral and written communication skills. Students work on achieving the fluency necessary for sustained oral discourse, creating coherent written expression, synthesizing a variety of abstract and concrete input and to reaching a deeper understanding of the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Emphasis is placed on enhancing vocabulary, improving conversation and impromptu speaking capabilities, writing essays, listening to recordings of native speakers, reading authentic texts, reviewing advanced grammar and perfecting pronunciation. The class material is varied and includes news broadcasts and articles, original literature, films and songs in Spanish. Students prepare oral reports comparing aspects of Spanish-speaking cultures with similar topics in their own cultures. This course requires commitment on the part of the student and will demand extra participation and preparation.

*Additional criteria considered by teachers for permission to enroll are the following:

  • Interpersonal Communication - 90% or better in conversations and written interpersonal communication
  • Presentational Communication - 90% or better in oral presentations and written compositions
  • Participation and homework - 90% or better in participation and homework assignments
  • Demonstration of engagement and thoughtful participation
  • Demonstration to commit to the demands of an AP curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning

View the College Board AP Spanish Language and Culture course description:

https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-spanish-language-and-cu…

AP Statistics

Full-year elective. This course is intended as a second math elective and cannot be taken in lieu of a course in the normal sequence until the senior year. Even seniors are strongly encouraged to take their regular math course concurrently.

Algebra II

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 simulation
  4. Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses

Successful AP statistics students have good quantitative reasoning, good reading comprehension, clear written communication and consistent study habits. Students will be challenged to think critically about data, to use statistical methods with a deep level of understanding, and to write persuasive responses to real-world questions. A graphing calculator will be the student’s constant companion.

View the College Board AP Statistics Course Description.

AP U.S. Government and Politics

Full-year elective.

The AP U.S. Government and Politics course challenges students to analyze and interpret the intentions of the various institutions that comprise the American political system and the U.S. government. The practical and theoretical understanding of policy-making and power as it pertains to Constitutional principles, federalism, political parties, interest groups and the media, and individual rights and liberties serves as the foundation of the course. Students will explore concepts through projects, case studies, and written assessments in conjunction with preparation for the final AP exam in May.

View the College Board AP U.S. Government and Politics Course Description.

Art | AP Art History

Upper School elective. To receive the AP Art History designation on a transcript, students must take both semesters of the AP Art History course. Students who only take the fall or the spring semester will have “Art History” on their transcript.

The College Board has completely redesigned this course—only 250 images! The new curriculum is organized around the following units: Global Prehistory; Ancient Mediterranean; Early Europe and Colonial Americas; Later Europe and Americas; Indigenous Americas; Africa; West and Central Asia; South, East, and Southeast Asia; The Pacific; and Global Contemporary.

The course has two primary goals: first, to teach students to visually analyze works of art; and, second, to teach students to understand works of art within their historical context—i.e., its intended use, audience, and role in a particular society, sociopolitical concerns, gender issues, patronage, function and setting.

The AP Art History course is the equivalent to a beginning college course. The material and concepts covered, as well as the time required for reading and research, will reflect this designation. The AP Exam is in the spring. Students who do not take the AP Art History exam are required to take a final exam.

“After taking this class, you will never look at the world in the same way.”

View the College Board AP Art History Course Description.

Music | AP Music Theory

Upper School Full-Year elective. Open to 10th, 11th, & 12th graders only.

There are no prerequisite courses for AP Music Theory. However, students should be able to read and understand musical notation and have basic performance skills with voice or an instrument.

AP Music Theory is a college-level course designed to cultivate an understanding of music and how it is structured. Students will analyze performed and notated music and explore the concepts of pitch, rhythm, form, and musical design. Although this course will focus on music theory that is based on Western European notation, it is just one of many ways of listening and writing music, so other styles and genres will be studied for context and comparison. Students will prepare for the AP Music Theory exam in May, and their final project will be an in-depth study of a piece of music and attendance at a live performance of that piece in the Seattle area. Please note: Although there are no official prerequisites for AP Music Theory, prospective students should be able to read and understand musical notation and have basic performance skills with voice or an instrument in order to successfully keep up with the rigor of this course.

Spanish Literature and Culture

Completion of Spanish IV

  • This course has a new focus on Latin American literature

Literature is a window that allows us to look inside ourselves to better understand our feelings, attitudes, ideas, and opinions. This window also opens to the outside to perceive different and unknown worlds.

In this course, students will study a variety of literary works by authors from Latin America and the oral traditions of this extensive region, thus exploring a diversity of perspectives that reflect the feelings and thoughts of people from different cultures of the Hispanic world. Occasionally, students will also read selected works from Spanish authors. The readings include legends, short stories, poetry, drama, and literary works addressing current events.

Through these readings, students will have the opportunity to discuss relevant topics such as justice, solidarity, family relationships, and examine fictional characters that live in unconventional worlds. These topics will also serve as a starting point for students to gain confidence in the art of writing in the Spanish language through compositions, poems, essays, letters, and other types of writing.

Students may elect to take this class directly following Spanish IV if they meet the criteria listed below.

  • A course grade of 90% or better, with an average on compositions and oral proficiency assessments of 90% or higher
  • Demonstration of a willingness to share ideas in class discussion exclusively in Spanish in an engaged and thoughtful way
  • A demonstrated willingness to commit to the demands of the curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning