Advanced Placement

AP Biology

Open to 11th and 12th grade students who have met the necessary prerequisites.
  • 12th graders:
    • 83% or better course grade in the Honors Physics, or 87% or better, plus teacher recommendation, in the non-honors Physics course. These benchmarks include the second semester final.
    • 93% or better course grade, plus teacher recommendation, in semester elective courses or AP Environmental Science
  • 11th graders: 
    • Completion of BioChem II with a course average of 95%, or BioChem II (H) with a course average of 87%, including the second semester exam. In addition, consent of instructor and competency in English will be used when making this placement.

This rigorous, college level course demands a year-long commitment from the student and often ends with the taking of the Advanced Placement exam in May.

This year-long, biology course introduces students to the central ideas of biology. The course focuses on fundamental principles of evolution, cell structure and function, genetics, and interactions between systems. The curriculum is demanding both in its scope as well as its level of sophistication, with particular emphasis placed on the application of biological principles to explain experimentally derived data and results. Students will be asked to 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.  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 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 homework over breaks and 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.

For a complete course outline, visit 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.

For a complete course outline, visit the College Board AP Calculus (BC) Course Description.

Edit

AP Chemistry

Open to 11th and 12th grade students who have met the necessary prerequisites. This rigorous, college level course demands a year-long commitment from the student and often ends with the taking of the Advanced Placement exam in May.
  • 12th graders: 
    • 85% or better course grade in the Honors Physics plus consent of instructor, or 93% or better, plus teacher recommendation, in the non-honors Physics course. These benchmarks include the second semester final.
  • 11th graders: 
    • Completion of BioChem II with a course average of 95%, including the second semester exam, or completion of BioChem II (H) with test average of 90%, including the second semester exam Concurrent enrollment in Calculus and consent of instructor are also required.

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 and its application to observable macroscopic properties of elements and compounds to real gases to the structure and properties of condensed states of matter. 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 particular emphasis placed on the application of chemical principles to explain experimentally derived data and results. While the Advanced Placement test is certainly 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 on 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.

DO NOT DELETE THIS LINE

AP Computer Science

Full-year elective. 10th-12th grades only. Interested 10th graders must email Justin Morgan for permission. This course is strongly 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.

For a complete course outline, visit the College Board AP Computer Science Course Description.

AP English Language and Composition

Eleventh grade full-year elective.

As a junior year English course, AP Language and Composition focuses primarily on non-fiction texts from the American literary canon. 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 The Great Gatsby 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 audience: the classical rhetorical appeals, tropes, schemes, tone, syntax, diction, imagery, and symbolism. Spring work includes mastering the formal elements of logical argument 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.

For a complete course outline, visit the College Board AP English Language and Composition Course Description.

AP English Literature and Composition: The Meaning(s) of Life

Twelfth grade full-year elective.

AP English Literature and Composition provides students with a broad base for the discussion of the intersections of literature and life. The course is divided into interdisciplinary units, each approaching the problem of “meaning.” After an introductory unit in metafiction in which we experiment with the many ways in which texts, readers, and authors create meaning, we focus on three key issues:

  1. How do modern playwrights "rewrite" ancient Greek theater to give new meaning to the age-old question of fate vs. free will, how can individuals shape their legacies, and how can we atone for and be forgiven for our wrongdoings?
  2. Given the sense of alienation that characterizes our times, how can we learn to "fit" into our global or local social networks, and at what cost? What does existentialism tell us about the search for the meaning of life?
  3. How can we avoid solitude and reach out in solidarity to others in our search for a larger purpose? Will our meaning always escape us, or is it ultimately knowable? Is true meaning to be found ultimately in the search itself?

A popular saying about commitment claims: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Thus, at the beginning of the second semester students will read poetry for insights into discovering the unique ways in which poetry makes meaning and empowers us to enact meaning in our own lives and to better the lives of others. We’ll then move on to a thought-provoking unit in which students choose their own seminar style topics and research them in literature groups to find answers to their questions and move towards solving the problems that confront us in our daily lives. Students will present their findings through podcasts, anthologies, or projects in the community. Throughout the year, we draw our challenges and inspiration from world authors such as Sophocles, Camus, Kafka, García Márquez, Luisa Valenzuela, Amiri Baraka, Rumi, and Toni Morrison. Special attention is given to developing expertise in close reading as students learn to attend to a work’s structure, style, and themes to prepare them for success on the national AP Literature and Composition Exam in May.

AP Environmental Science

Open to 11th and 12th grade students who have met the necessary prerequisites.

A minimum course grade of 85% in BioChem II, including the second semester exam, as well as consent of instructor; or BioChem II (H) with a minimum course grade of 80%, including the second semester exam.

This rigorous, college level course demands a year-long commitment from the student and often ends with the taking of the Advanced Placement exam in May.

The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. This involves the identification and analysis of environmental problems both natural and human-made, the evaluation of the risks associated with these problems and the examination of alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. 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. The course encompasses human population dynamics, interrelationships in nature, energy flow, resources, environmental quality, human impact on environmental systems, and environmental law. 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 project 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.*

This course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement French Language 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 compositions, 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, songs and poetry 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 beyond time spent in class.

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

  • A course grade of 90% or better, with an average on compositions and oral proficiency assessments of 90% or higher
  • Demonstration of superior writing skills in both formal and informal registers
  • Demonstration of a willingness to share ideas in class discussion in an engaged and thoughtful way
  • A demonstrated willingness to commit to the demands of an AP curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning
  • Completion of a summer reading and writing packet to prepare for entrance in AP French Language in the Fall

DO NOT DELETE THIS LINE

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.

DO NOT DELETE THIS LINE

AP Microeconomics

Full-year elective. Open to all students in 10th-12th grades.

AP Microeconomics is a year-long, basic college level course that introduces the principles of economics as they apply to the functions of individual economic decision makers. The course develops students' familiarity with the operation of product and factor markets, distribution of income, market failure, and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. We will use a range of resources including graphs, charts and data analysis to describe and explain economic concepts. We will also make use of resources in the community for case studies, field trips and guest speakers. Students will also research and present to the class on particular aspects of economy.

AP Physics C: Mechanics

Open to 12th grade students who have met the necessary prerequisites. This rigorous, college level course demands a year-long commitment from the student and often end with the taking of the Advanced Placement exam in May.

85% or better in the Honors Physics course or 93% or better, plus consent of instructor, in the non-honors Physics course. These benchmarks include the second semester final. In addition, successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Calculus is required.

This year-long college level course is an in-depth, calculus-based study of physics. It addresses the concepts of mechanics introduced in Lab Science II, 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 of 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 project may add on to this time.

View the College Board AP Physics C Course Description

AP Spanish Language and Culture

The recommendation of the student’s Spanish IV teacher is required for entry to AP Spanish Language.*

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 within the thematic cultural framework of the exam. Students work on achieving the fluency necessary for sustained oral discourse, creating coherent written expression, synthesizing a variety of abstract and concrete input, and reaching a deeper understanding of the culture of Spanish speaking countries. Emphasis is placed on increasing vocabulary, improving conversation and impromptu speaking capabilities, writing compositions, listening to recordings of native speakers, reading authentic texts, reviewing advanced grammar, and improving pronunciation. The text material is varied and includes news broadcasts and articles, original literature, short movies, films, songs, and poetry in Spanish. Samples of AP test items are practiced regularly. Students prepare oral reports regarding aspects of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world. This course requires commitment on the part of the student and demands considerable extra participation and preparation beyond time spent in class.

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

  • A course grade of 90% or better, with an average on compositions and oral proficiency assessments of 90% or higher
  • Demonstration of superior writing skills in both formal and informal registers
  • 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 an AP curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning
  • Completion of a summer packet to prepare for entrance into AP Spanish Language in the fall

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

The recommendation of the student’s Spanish IV or AP Spanish Language teacher is required for entry to AP Spanish Literature.*

Please note that AP Spanish Language is no longer a prerequisite for AP Spanish Literature, and students may elect to take this class directly following Spanish IV if they meet the criteria listed below. Students will be fully prepared to take the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam in this course. In this new and exciting program, the College Board has significantly reduced the number of readings, which gives us more time to spend on each one and to get to know each text in its cultural contexts. Students will read fiction, essays, drama, and poetry both from Latin American and Spanish (Peninsular) authors who span the Medieval period to the current day, including Cervantes, Góngora, Sor Juana, Lorca, García Márquez, Borges, Neruda, and Allende. Students read the texts in their original versions, discuss them in lively classroom interactions, and learn to write critical essays. Grammar, pronunciation, oral communication, vocabulary, and writing skills are reviewed and greatly expanded through our readings and literary analysis, through field trips, singing, Internet activities, and various celebrations of Hispanic life and culture. Though this course demands commitment on the part of the student and will require considerable participation and preparation beyond time in class, it will thoroughly prepare students for college Spanish classes.

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

  • A course grade of 90% or better, with an average on compositions and oral proficiency assessments of 90% or higher
  • Demonstration of superior writing skills in both formal and informal registers
  • 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 an AP curriculum by taking responsibility for one’s own learning

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.

For a complete course outline, visit the College Board AP Statistics Course Description.

AP U.S. Government and Politics

Year-long elective. Open to all students in 11th and 12th grades.

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.

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. Students should expect to study on weekends and during holidays. 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.