Course Catalog

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Art 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

Students develop a broad foundation that will support their individual journey in studio art. They make their own artistic choices, are encouraged to take technical risks and deal with artistic dilemmas. Students learn to “draw” on the computer. They improve their skills of web research and increase their understanding of art history. The ultimate goal of this course is to increase each student’s ability to shine as an artist and their enjoyment of the creative process.

The course content of sixth grade art is based on the elements and principles of art. Through a series of projects, students improve their handling of media and ability to draw. They complete additional assignments, which fine-tune their sketching skills. Several days are designated during the quarter to learn to “draw” on the computer. Students participate in several web research projects based on art history topics.

Dance 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

6th Grade Dance focuses on the basic technique and terminology of dance while maintaining the fundamental philosophy that everyone can dance. Dance class meets for 70 minutes 5 days a week. Students will learn to isolate, perform a variety of steps and combos, and the basic elements of choreography. The dancers perform what they have learned in the Middle School Creative Arts Assemblies and in the Upper School Dance Concert in March.

Drama 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

In this quarter-long course students learn the fundamental skills of creative drama.  Through story-telling techniques and introductory improvisational games, students develop a greater sense of confidence, self-awareness, and self-expression.  Students strengthen their creative thinking and public speaking skills by presenting their work to one another within group settings. The skills taught during the quarter allow for integration across the curriculum spectrum as students are able to apply their learned dramatic techniques to other class assignments, such as oral presentations, creative thinking and problem solving.

Classes begin with physical body, mind and vocal warm-up exercises that encourage spontaneous reactions and stimulate freedom of thought.  Each period focuses on different dramatic exercises that introduce various story-telling and improvisational techniques.  Students learn the power of cooperative role-playing, the importance of story content and the physical creation of dramatic characters.  The improvisational games are grouped together in an “Improv Olympics” where students challenge one another to competitive rounds of improvisation. The course culminates with a Creative Arts Assembly where the students showcase highlights from their semester.

Music 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

The sixth graders will spend a quarter singing and composing music. As they rotate through four stations, students will compose a rock band song, learn the ukulele, create an art piece while listening to music, and write songs using GarageBand. Students will have the opportunity to explore new instruments or play ones that they know. There are chances for students to sing solos, create lyrics, and perform for the class. After spending three class periods working on their songs, students will present their compositions. As a culminating activity, the class will choose their favorite pieces and these will be featured on a “demo day” for all sixth grade Creative Arts classes.

Drama 7/8 Scene Study
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

In this semester-long course students learn the fundamental skills of performing scripted scenes from plays, musicals, movies and comedy sketches. The class is designed to help students understand the fundamentals of creating believable characters by exploring physical characteristics, voices, behaviors and relationships to others. Students will learn how to break down a scene into specific beats and moments and how to find its most comic and dramatic elements. Throughout the course students will be performing a variety of scripted scenes including conflict scenes, comedy scenes, a musical theater routine, voice-over scenes, due-interpretation projects, and a lip-dub project. The course culminates with a Creative Arts Assembly where the students showcase highlights from their semester. 

Drama 7/8 Improvisation
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

In this semester-long course, students go deeper into unscripted improvisational acting. Through more sophisticated techniques, students build upon the fundamental acting skills gained in 6th Grade Drama to produce more advanced forms of improvisational acting, including short and long-term storytelling, improvised singing, improvised dancing, clowning and mask work, and improvised one act plays. The course culminates with a Creative Arts Assembly where the students showcase highlights from their semester. 

Mixed Chorus 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

This semester-long course is a performance elective for students who enjoy singing or want to improve on their skills. By the end of the course, students will have the ability to sight read music, understand reading rhythms, harmonies and music notation, and become comfortable singing for others. Students also learn to receive constructive criticism in order to improve their singing ability.

Students will learn voice control, harmony, music notation, choreography, proper breathing, pronunciation of words, and choral singing.  A variety of styles of music is introduced including:  Popular, Broadway Musicals, Traditional Spirituals, Cultural, and Classical.  Students perform for various events throughout the semester (both on campus and in the community) as well as a mandatory Holiday and Spring concert.

Steel Pan/Percussion 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

During this semester-long course, students learn rhythmic notation, understand challenging rhythmic patterns, learn proper techniques for playing percussion instruments, rehearse music written for percussion and steel pan ensembles, play in a group setting by listening to one another, follow a conductor, compose music, and perform as a group.

Student participation in percussion ensemble class includes learning techniques for playing snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, mallet instruments, accessories, concert toms, and timpani. In addition, students will learn to play music on the steel pans. Students learn to read rhythms and melodies as they perform on percussion instruments and learn by rote on steel pans. As a culminating activity, each student will compose his/her own percussion ensemble for three instruments. The class performs at various events throughout the year and concludes with a percussion ensemble performance at a Creative Arts Assembly or Holiday Concert.

Sculpture 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

In this class students will further develop their 3D technical skills as they explore a variety of art mediums such as ceramics, claymation, paper mache, sculpting with wire, mosaic tiles, paper relief and carving. Students will explore design challenges and develop spatial reasoning skills as they bring their creative ideas into physical form through additive and subtractive techniques.

Photography & Digital Arts 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

Students will explore digital photography and digital arts. Students will work both individually and in groups as they develop skills in visual composition, and learn how exposure and lighting can be used to effect the mood and meaning of a photograph. Students will also learn how to use Adobe Photoshop software to alter and adjust their images, and to create new composite images.

Painting & Drawing 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

In this class students will further develop their 2d skill set, guided by elements and principles of design. Students will investigate themes based on their life and interests, and engage in printmaking, watercolor, acrylic painting, copper repousse, and color pencil to convey their ideas. Students will also get to create an independent project in the medium of their choide.

Dance and Performance 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

This class is for students who want to dance.  Students will work on across the floor combinations, technique, strength and flexibility.  Students will be introduced to a number of dance styles which may include but are not limited to: jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, lyrical, and instrumental pieces.  Performance opportunities will be available.

Dance and Choreography 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

This class is for students who want to dance and are interested in learning more about the how, why and what of choreography. Students will learn performance pieces created specifically for this class, and will begin the process of choreographing their own works as well. The class will cover the fundamentals of choreography for a variety of dance styles. There will be performance opportunities.

Dance for Athletes 7/8
Level: Middle School
Area: Creative Arts

Dance for Athletes will explore the connection between dance and sports (both in practice and games). A warm-up and stretching routine will be created to support students’ goals, and you will learn to dance at the same time. Students will work on flexibility, strength, agility, and pattern recognition. This will be a fun class where you can combine art and athletics. Students will learn original works of choreography created for te class, and there will be performance opportunities.

English - Grade 6
Level: Middle School
Area: English

Sixth Grade English focuses on the idea of voice: students explore and develop their own voices through reading, writing, and speaking; they read, examine, and learn from the voices of authors and classmates; and they develop a thoughtful understanding of voices, perspectives, and philosophical issues from a variety of literary genres. Throughout this exploration, we’ll also consider a guiding question, shared with the Sixth Grade History course: “How do we solve the challenges we face?” We investigate through discussions, debates, written work, collaborative learning, interactive simulations, and active reading. Technology and digital media are integrated as appropriate throughout the curriculum. Students expand their overall learning strategies, including time management, organization, study skills, and self-assessment, and they practice mutual respect and compassion with their classmates.

As writers, students refine the steps in the writing process; strive for clear, precise, and effective writing; and explore several expository and creative modes. Vocabulary and grammar usage are strengthened throughout the year. As readers, they learn to engage deeply with a text, question thoughtfully, and connect what they’ve discovered to their own lives, their sixth grade community, and the wider world.

During the course of the year, we will read poetry, short stories, non-fiction, and novels, including: Seedfolks; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Dragonwings; and The Giver. Throughout the year, selections from the young reader’s version of Omnivore’s Dilemma contribute to the sixth grade interdisciplinary theme of sustainability.

English - Grade 7
Level: Middle School
Area: English

Seventh grade English emphasizes critical and creative writing, the revision process, reading, literary analysis, and study skills. Students will examine recurring themes of character, perspective and empathy.  Students practice the application of academic skills across the curriculum as they learn critical thinking and writing through discussions, projects, and self-reflection, as well as active reading and note taking. In addition, this course actively contributes to the seventh grade interdisciplinary goals of developing study skills, honing organization and time management, and practicing mutual respect and tolerance through cooperative learning.

Students learn the writing process through narrative and persuasive essays, creative writing, journal writing, and poetry, with a focus on revision through peer-and self-editing.  Vocabulary and grammar usage are strengthened throughout the year. Students begin to study character and voice through short stories written in the voice of 13-year-olds. Simultaneously, they learn about the service-learning theme of poverty by examining causes of poverty and potential solutions to the issue both local and worldwide. In the second semester, To Kill a Mockingbird provides students with a framework for ethical discussions and the opportunity to collaborate and truly embody a character in the novel through original monologues. Students analyze the relationship between place and identity through the lens of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood; they also use this text to examine the graphic novel as a literary medium.  The poetry unit focuses on interpretation, appreciation, and writing.  The culminating seventh grade project, at year’s end, integrates problem-solving, research, and presentation skills across the core classes.

English - Grade 8
Level: Middle School
Area: English

The aim of this course is twofold: to guide students toward more perceptive reading as well as more articulate writing. Similar to a writer’s workshop, students practice the craft of shaping thoughts and share aloud what they have written. Similar to a book group, students lead class discussions and present evidence that supports their conclusions.

The year begins with the students discussing and writing about various world philosophies. During the first few weeks, students also begin two year-long programs: vocabulary study and journal writing. In eighth grade English, students spend significant time exploring different genres of formal writing, focusing on thesis development, supportive topic sentences and substantial evidence. First quarter, the emphasis is on persuasive writing; second quarter, the emphasis shifts to descriptive writing, including travel writing and narratives. Prior to the annual trip to Washington, DC, students read and discuss various short stories, poetry, and soldier letters from experiences capturing both the Vietnam and Iraq wars, followed by a unit exploring various modes of peace.

Second semester begins with Lord of the Flies, with discussions regarding individual responsibility in the absence of adults. The unit culminates with a formal mock trial charging Ralph with negligence in Piggy’s death. Formal writing instruction continues in the same vein as first semester, but with an emphasis on quotation integration and concise writing in analytical essays. Similar to the first semester co-curricular unit with History class when reading our first novel, Copper Sun, we finish the year with a final collaborative unit on the decades from 1920 - 1970. Drawing from literature (including Of Mice and Men), poetry, music and the arts, students supplement their knowledge of each decade’s history with various modes to gain deeper and well-rounded understanding of each decade.

History 6
Level: Middle School
Area: History

Sixth grade history is devoted to the exploration and understanding of the guiding question, “How do we solve the challenges that we face?” By studying the ancient world, students gain an appreciation for the way groups, societies, and civilizations have identified and solved problems since ancient times. Students are encouraged to examine beneath the surface and develop their analytical thinking skills through collaborative activities, interactive simulations, active reading, written work, and class discussions. Technology is integrated as appropriate throughout the curriculum, and there is also an emphasis on reinforcing overall learning strategies, such as time management, organization, and study skills. Additionally, we spend a significant portion of time examining current affairs, particularly in the parts of the world that we study, so that our students can develop a more comprehensive understanding of life around the globe in 2015.

We begin the year with a personal history project. Students investigate the history of their first names, through interviews with their families, as well as an etymological study. They are able to practice their research skills, while also sharing some meaningful insight into their cultural background that will build connection and community with their classmates as they embark on their Menlo career. From there, we dive into the ancient world, beginning with humankind’s earliest days, moving on to the agricultural revolution and the shift from isolated, nomadic tribes to permanent settlements, before tackling the great empires of the ancient world. Along our journey, we never forget our guiding question; it sets the context through which we examine those that came before us, while also facilitating our growth and progress as a sixth-grade community and beyond.

History 7
Level: Middle School
Area: History

The course emphasizes critical writing, reading, speaking, and study skills. In course readings and writing assignments, students are guided by the thematic question, “Who has the power?” to examine issues of how power is gained, restricted, maintained, and transferred on an individual and societal level.  Students practice the application of academic skills across the curriculum as they learn critical thinking and writing through discussions, debates, and simulations; active reading and note-taking; and library research. In addition, this course actively contributes to the seventh grade interdisciplinary goals of developing study skills, honing organization and time management, and practicing mutual respect and tolerance through cooperative learning.

In the first semester, the seventh grade History class will focus on the Renaissance and Reformation, the Age of Exploration, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.  We will then explore Pre-Columbian Native American life and set sail with all of the early great explorers. During the Native American Unit, students are introduced to the research process, including data gathering, organization, and proper citation of sources, including the creation of a Native American museum. We will also study how the thirteen unique colonies were born, each with its own story. Students will also study the Great Depression and Dust Bowl and a timeline of events for the Civil Rights Movement in a short unit that provides background for their reading of To Kill A Mockingbird in their English classes. 

In the second semester, the course covers U.S. History, including the geography of North America, Colonial America, the Quest for Independence and the Revolutionary War, and an extensive unit on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Seventh graders will discover how compliant colonials with strong ties to Europe gradually changed their views and wished to become an independent nation. From Colonies to Country is an amazing story of a nation making transformation. Current events are covered throughout the year. The seventh grade culminating project integrates problem-solving, research, and presentation skills across the core classes.

Students examine the impact of geography on civilization, discuss the interaction between people and the environment, and learn to make connections between history and the world today. Essays and a research paper enhance writing skills, and students work with Kindle textbooks, primary sources, maps, political cartoons and periodicals that broaden their reading comprehension. Technology is learned and applied throughout the year, including Podcasts, PowerPoint/Keynote presentations and Noodlebib.

History 8
Level: Middle School
Area: History

Students develop historical thinking skills as well as historical understanding of the individual and collective experiences of people who make up our diverse nation. The course is designed to challenge and motivate active, confident learners through a variety of skill-building exercises. Students gain the ability to analyze historical events and grapple with the complexities of past and current events.

Eighth grade history curriculum covers the major social, economic, political (foreign and domestic), cultural, geographical, and intellectual developments in American history from 1820 through the 1980s. Year-long current events reports enhance the focus of historical themes as students learn to connect their studies to present-day events. Primary and secondary source materials (political cartoons, music, documents, pictures, etc.) are added to assist in critical analysis: formulating opinions, drawing conclusions, role-playing, and writing with authority. Students strengthen their writing skills and research skills by developing historical essays and research-based reports, which demands evidence to support their position. Students present their ideas in cooperative groups, use technology as a tool to devise and teach, enhance note-taking skills, assist in projects and individual teaching assignments. The curriculum is supplemented with a trip to Washington D.C. in the fall and a student shaped Decades Project in the spring.

Human Skills 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Human Skills

Sixth Graders explore the social and emotional aspects of strong communities and reflect on how their class can embody a strong community in order to support one another throughout their middle school experience. They practice communication skills such as active listening, perspective taking, and using an assertive voice. They reflect on their values in relation to one another and society. Students expand their ability to be introspective and reflective and learn concepts of positive psychology including optimism, growth mindset, and gratitude. Students practice identifying their own and others’ emotions and develop positive ways of managing feelings of disappointment, anger and frustration. They identify the characteristics of friendship and discuss positive strategies for handling conflict. Students review the difference between tattling and telling, in order to enlist adult support for a friend in certain circumstances. A variety of media is used to promote discussions around positive school climate and personal responsibility. Current film clips and ad campaigns are shown to teach media literacy and to explore stereotyping, prejudice and racism.

Human Skills 7
Level: Middle School
Area: Human Skills

In this semester-long course, students discuss their talents, passions and joys as well as the various stresses and challenges they may encounter. Students identify sources of strength in their lives and make action plans for self-care. Students learn about the adverse effects of various substances and the psychology of addiction. Portions of the documentary films Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In are used to spark thought and discussion related to stereotypes, prejudice, and critical consumption of media. Students explore concepts within social psychology such as “groupthink” and bystander intervention.

Human Skills 8
Level: Middle School
Area: Human Skills

In this course, students explore and discuss a wide range of topics under the broad area of human sexuality. Students identify aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships and discuss personal values concerning dating and relationships, including the topic of consent and setting personal boundaries. They review the human reproductive systems and increase their knowledge and understanding of various methods of preventing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Students further explore gender roles and stereotypes in our culture, and examine how these stereotypes affect human relationships, scrutinizing the effect of media. Students watch a variety of documentary films to expand their understanding of human sexuality. They learn the distinctions between sex, sexuality and gender and practice appropriate language in discussing these constructs. There is an ongoing focus on wellness and mental health in the course. Students review concepts about nutrition, sleep, managing stress, and identifying signs of anxiety and depression. As with Human Skills 6 and 7, students consider circumstances when enlisting adult support is warranted in order to take care of themselves and each other.

Mathematics 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Mathematics

The goal of this course is to create a solid foundation in mathematics that students will need and use in the years ahead. Emphasis is on strengthening computation skills, especially those involving fractions, decimals, and integers, and developing a thorough approach to problem-solving. Students will be challenged daily to develop mathematical habits of mind such as making sense of problems, utilizing appropriate solution strategies, communicating their methods with mathematical justification, and persevering through challenges. Organization of thinking and documentation of work are strongly emphasized. This course is designed to meet the needs of students with a variety of math backgrounds and provide challenge and engagement at all levels.

Topics covered include number theory, problem-solving, proportional reasoning, integer operations, data and statistics, probability, and geometry. The use of variables is woven throughout the curriculum to help prepare students for pre-Algebra.

By the end of 6th grade, students should feel confident in their abilities to reason through complex problems and be comfortable working with variables.

Pre-Algebra 7
Level: Middle School
Area: Mathematics

This Pre-Algebra course provides students the opportunity to stretch their abstract thinking, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning. Students will continue to work on documenting in organized steps and sharing verbally their thinking and solution strategy.  In addition, they will learn to defend their methods in peer review. In this course students will be presented with challenging but accessible problems, and asked to reason through them collaboratively with their peers.


Students will be introduced to formal algebraic thinking and apply algebraic concepts to their prior problem-solving strategies. Other topics include exponents, geometry (angle relationships, surface area and volume of 3D shapes), scale, ratios, proportions, percents, statistics, and probability.

Pre-Algebra (E) 7
Level: Middle School
Area: Mathematics

Topics studied include those listed in Pre-Algebra 7. In addition, students are further challenged to investigate connections between concepts and pushed towards deeper understanding and flexibility in problem-solving, through more rigorous applications.

Algebra 8
Level: Middle School
Area: Mathematics

This Algebra 1 course prepares students for the rigors of future classes by providing a strong foundation of algebraic concepts. Students will explore multiple representations of the linear, quadratic, and rational functions. Extensive treatment of the fundamental skills that underpin various relationships precedes the study of these functions. Real-life applications will be explored whenever possible. Additional topics covered include a review of operations with integers and rational numbers, solving equations and inequalities, operations on polynomials, radicals and rational expressions, factoring, functions and graphs, linear systems, and quadratics.

Students practice cooperative problem solving and learn effective communication skills that use the appropriate mathematical language to present problem solutions.

Algebra (E) 8
Level: Middle School
Area: Mathematics

Topics studied include those listed in Algebra 8. In addition, students are further challenged to investigate connections between concepts and pushed towards deeper understanding and flexibility in problem-solving, through more rigorous applications. Students are also introduced to the idea of a mathematical proof.

Science 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Science

In this course, students examine numerous physical, biological, and chemical phenomena using the scientific method. Students learn how to develop hypotheses, conduct experiments, make observations, gather data, and form conclusions based on critical analysis of results. Students strengthen their listening and public-speaking skills by sharing observations and debating conclusions with each other. They also develop their data presentation and writing expertise by recording their investigations in detailed fashion. Additionally, this course actively contributes to the sixth grade interdisciplinary goals of developing study skills, managing time and materials, and practicing mutual respect and tolerance as well as the Middle School Habits of the Heart and Mind.

Students begin the year honing their scientific observation and inference skills with an array of discrepant events. Then they apply these skills to examining different types of energy and identifying evidence of energy transfers and transformations. Through a variety of labs and demonstrations, they make discoveries about pressure, heat, and moisture that explain why ears hurt when one dives deep underwater and the appearance of Bay Area fog. Next, they apply their newfound understanding of pressure to the human cardiovascular system. Students dissect sheep hearts, measure the levels of carbon dioxide in a room after increasing amounts of exercise, and design and build their own model of the circulatory system with pumps, tubes, and connectors in the Whitaker Lab. Next, students go on virtual field trips around the world to probe for evidence to help them explain earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and fossil records. They use this evidence to mimic the creation of Continental Drift Theory and its evolution into the Theory of Plate Tectonics. Before our Service Learning Week focusing on our grade level theme, Food Sustainability, students examine sustainable food practices on a global and local scale. We end the year with a genetics unit where students distinguish between heritable and acquired traits and come up with their own models to explain inheritance. The course consistently encourages students to investigate their own interests through special project assignments and iPad use. Students are also prompted to introduce and draw connections between their experiences and scientific current events at all times.

Science 7
Level: Middle School
Area: Science
In this course, students continue to hone the science fundamentals they developed in sixth grade. They deepen their understanding of the physical, biological, and chemical world while drawing on key concepts explored in the prior year. Students use the scientific method to generate hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, gather and analyze data, and form meaningful conclusions. Students strengthen their observation, listening, writing, and speaking skills through a variety of experimental, written, oral, and visual tasks. In addition, this course actively contributes to the seventh grade interdisciplinary goals of developing study skills, improving organization and time management, and practicing mutual respect and tolerance through cooperative learning.
We will begin the year by investigating and exploring the nature of science by planning, implementing, analyzing, and communicating our own experiments. Students will apply these skills as we move into our first unit in ecology, where we will focus on understanding how different species interact with each other and how species-level interactions can shape whole ecosystems. Next, students will apply their knowledge of ecosystems to explore and model marine food webs and participate in a fieldtrip where we will learn about field science and data collection.  Then, students will use their data to examine biodiversity and we will engage in discussions and research about the importance of biodiversity across various realms of our lives. Then, we will move into exploring and understanding the difference between weather and climate and how both can be predicted. Next, students will use this knowledge to look into the debate and science surrounding global climate change and human impacts on natural ecosystems. Lastly, we will investigate neurology and electricity.  We will finish the year with a culminating project that integrates problem solving, research, and engineering.
Students will continually work towards this question: “How well can you use what you know?” There will be an emphasis on open-ended dialogue and students will be expected to go beyond Knowing by Doing. As we explore the various topics of science we will also continually ask the question: “How does science affect me in my own personal life?” While answering this question it is my hope students will become aware of the scientific issues of the day and learn how each of us is connected to the world around us. 
Science 8
Level: Middle School
Area: Science

This course asks students to continue to develop a passion for science and to build on the skills they have learned in sixth and seventh grade. Students construct meaning about the chemical, biological, and physical world by exploring and testing their current ideas, making new discoveries, and presenting their findings to peers for discussion. In eighth grade students further expand their ability to design and construct a scientific investigation; gather, analyze, and interpret data; communicate scientific processes and explanations; construct scientific models based on data; think critically, logically, and creatively; and establish the relationship between evidence and reasoning. Students strengthen their writing skills and flex their capacity to defend theories with evidence, while developing their own concepts of quality work, building communication skills, and improving analyses through examination of one another’s ideas.

Students build upon the rich content knowledge and skills established in sixth and seventh grade to delve deeper into the world of science. Throughout our studies of chemical reactions and chemistry, immunology and infectious diseases, physics of motion and forces, students use the scientific method to test their ideas about the world around them. Students then construct theories, which are tested further, analyzed by their peers, and addressed in class discussions. They will also examine controversial scientific issues and develop their skills of argumentation through organized debates. Individual topics will vary based on the questions raised by the students. Students will end the year with Innovations, a unit that challenges students to design and build contraptions for a specific purpose while exploring the intricacies and importance of design-thinking and technology.

French 6
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

French 6 is an introduction class, part of the three year program offered in the Middle School. Communication is the goal, students hear mostly French in the classroom, and from day one they converse. Students learn fundamental grammar and basic vocabulary and work with their classmates on a variety of projects and role-plays. They explore different cultures, art, geography and history of the French speaking world.

Students study the present tense of both regular and irregular verbs and the near future tense. They learn how to introduce themselves and others, talk about their families, their activities and interests, order food, and converse in a variety of other daily life situations. During the year students complete different projects, create a portfolio which they continue building through 8th grade, present and discuss current events of the Francophone world, watch French films and videos, learn songs, cook and celebrate different holidays at their monthly French café. They are encouraged to participate in Francophone cultural activities in the Bay Area and the class goes on a cultural field trip.

French 7
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

This course continues to develop the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The “immersion experience” continues and students learn to express increasingly complex ideas in French and hold more sophisticated conversations.

Each unit of study includes a corresponding activity or project, which promotes the relevancy of new grammar and vocabulary. These units are based on everyday situations according to different themes such as food, vacations, daily routine, health habits and sports, going to the doctor, visiting different countries in the world where French is spoken, and handling transportation. By the end of 7th grade students should be able to speak and write using present, future and past tenses, reflexive verbs, expressions of quantity and the partitive, as well as direct and indirect object pronouns. During the year students will complete different projects, learn songs, cook and celebrate different holidays at their French café and go on a cultural field trip.

French 8
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

This course builds on the skills learned in French 6 and 7. Students develop their oral communication, reading and writing skills. This course is taught exclusively in French. Students continue to acquire practical vocabulary and idioms and learn more advanced grammatical structures. Reading and writing increases in sophistication.

Students work with films, videos and news on the internet to improve their comprehension, read various excerpts of Francophone literature and write and illustrate their own children books. They complete different projects, make an i-movie, continue learning about the French-speaking world via current event articles and complete their portfolios. At the end of the year students have a “10 minute conversation” with their teacher, write a one-page essay and use most of the French verb tenses.

Latin 6
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

The primary goal for students is to learn to read and write basic Latin fluently while following the daily life of a Roman boy named Quintus and his family, as portrayed in the Oxford Latin Course. Quintus grows up to become the famous Roman poet known as Horace, who witnessed the collapse of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire under Augustus! Throughout the course, students explore Latin grammar and vocabulary in-depth, focusing on the various cases of nouns in the first three declensions and various forms of verbs in the present tense. In addition, they cultivate a love of language by exploring the histories of words, not only English but also the Romance Languages, and their roots in Latin and Greek. Integral to the study of language is reflection on the foundations of western civilization through explorations of Roman daily life, history, literature, geography, and mythology. In addition, each student begins to understand how he or she learns and to develop strategies for optimizing memory, for launching clear written and oral expression, and for establishing critical thinking skills.

All Latin students belong to the California Junior Classical League and have the option to participate in local and statewide conventions.

Latin 7
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

During the second year course, students work to understand and use more complex grammar and more extensive vocabulary, especially both in reading and writing. They now learn the other verb tenses, having primarily focused only on present tense in the previous year. Students continue to follow the story of Quintus, the young poet Horace, as he leaves home in the Italian countryside to pursue his education in Rome. In following Quintus’ story, students learn about historical characters such as Julius Caesar, Cicero, and Cleopatra. They refine their knowledge of etymology, especially how morphemes affect word meaning, and continue to ponder the foundations of western civilization through explorations of Roman daily life, history, literature, geography, and mythology. Each student reflects on his or her individual progress and refines strategies for improving memory, polishing written and oral expression, and deepening critical thinking skills.

All Latin students belong to the California Junior Classical League and have the option to participate in local and statewide conventions.

Latin 8
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

During the third year of study, students read complex Latin narratives fluently and are able to express themselves with greater ease and length in written Latin. They explore and reflect on how the history of words, ideas, culture, and art has shaped our modern world, especially in relation to their travels in Washington D. C. Students concentrate on further strengthening and refining their learning skills in preparation for more advanced levels of language study, especially Latin, in Upper School courses. Upon completion of this course, students are ready to enter Upper School Latin at the second level. In the spring, students finish the portfolio, which they have been building continuously since sixth grade.

All Latin students belong to the California Junior Classical League and have the option to participate in local and statewide conventions.

Mandarin 6
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

The Middle School Mandarin program is an interactive course designed with an emphasis on communication and cultural understanding. In the first year, students will learn to introduce themselves, greet people, talk about their families and pets, count in Chinese, and talk about their likes and dislikes. Discussion and exploration of Chinese culture are integrated into the curriculum and enriched by experiential learning activities like dumpling making, brush painting, crafts projects, lion dance classes, and an annual field trip. While the emphasis is on developing overall proficiency, some attention is devoted to areas like pronunciation and character writing to prepare students for success in higher level classes.

Mandarin 7
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

The second-year Mandarin course has a dual goal of developing students’ language skills in Mandarin and deepening their understanding of and appreciation for Chinese culture. Students will grow more confident in their speaking and writing, and learn to handle a wider variety of conversational situations. The themes of the units will include talking about different countries and languages, discussing food and cuisines, conversing about sports and hobbies, celebrating a friend’s birthday, and describing your daily life. While the focus is on overall communication skills and cultural competency, fundamentals of the Chinese language including proper pronunciation and character writing will continue to be emphasized. Lessons will be taught in a gradually immersive approach in order to increase learners’ exposure to authentic language input and prepare them for real life interactions with native speakers. Discussions of traditional values and practices, historical and current events, and contemporary Chinese culture will be integrated into all aspects of the class and deepened through experiential learning activities like a cooking project and an annual field trip.

Mandarin 8
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

Building on the foundation laid in the previous two years, students in their third year of Mandarin study will learn to communicate with more precision and complexity in a wider range of topics. The themes of the units will include going to the stores, discussing clothing and fashion, dining at a restaurant, talking about the weather, and making phone calls. Lessons will be taught in an immersive setting in order to maximize learners’ exposure to authentic language input and prepare them for real life interactions with native speakers. Cultural understanding and appreciation will continue to serve as the underpinning of this course, where discussions of historical and current events, traditional values and practices, and contemporary culture will be integrated into all aspects of the class, and deepened through a research project and an annual expedition to a local Chinese community.

Spanish 6
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

In this introductory level course, students will learn to speak, read, write and play in Spanish while learning about the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Students will learn to use the language with ease, both inside and outside the classroom, in everyday situations.

Students will learn about the geography, culture and traditions of the Spanish-speaking world while they build basic communication skills and gradually immerse in the language. By the end of the year, students will be able to introduce themselves; to talk about their families and friends, their communities and their school; and to discuss their likes, dislikes, interests and activities. Students will study the present tense of regular and irregular verbs. They will be familiar with ser and estar, as well as have a good foundation in vocabulary relating to sports, clothing, entertainment, emotions, weather and school life. Throughout the year, students will complete projects about famous people, places and traditions of Spain and Latin America.

Spanish 7
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

This second-year Spanish course immerses students in Spanish language and culture and continues to develop their speaking, listening, and writing skills. Students learn to express increasingly complex ideas in Spanish and hold typical conversations with each other and with native speakers. Students often choose the focus of their projects, their work partners, and the structure of their presentations. Varied learning styles are supported on a daily basis.

Students learn how to communicate in authentic everyday situations through oral and written activities. Units are real-world and adolescent focused and thematic in nature: food, shopping, celebrations, visiting the doctor, staying in shape, talking on the phone, and describing self and others. The present tense is reviewed, and the preterit tense and reflexive verbs are introduced. Spanish culture is explored through a native speaker interview project, a Day of the Dead project, a field trip, and music and art projects.

Spanish 8
Level: Middle School
Area: World Language

This third year Spanish course immerses students in Spanish language and culture and continues to develop their speaking, listening, and writing skills. Students learn to express increasingly complex ideas in Spanish and hold typical conversations with each other and with native speakers. Students often choose the focus of their projects, and the structure of their presentations. Varied learning styles are supported on a daily basis. By the end of the year students are prepared to enter level 2 or 3 in the high school.

Students learn how to communicate in authentic everyday situations through oral and written activities. Units are real-world and adolescent focused: describing feelings, telling a story, making comparisons, giving explanations, suggestions, and directions, talking about the news, and describing a problem. The present, preterit, and reflexive tenses are reviewed, and the imperfect and conditional tenses are introduced. Spanish culture is explored through a Day of the Dead project, a filmmaking project, and music and art projects.

P.E. 6 - Boys
Level: Middle School
Area: Athletics

Students are able to participate and be exposed to activities and teams at various levels of competition and commitment. Our program structure provides every student a chance to participate in structured competition or learn a sport. They are given the opportunity to learn basic skills, improve physical fitness, learn rules and tactics, sportsmanship, and to work as a team.

Students work as a team, learn sportsmanship, and develop skills needed to participate in the variety of sports and teams by structured practices and expert coaching. The sixth grade program consists of the following sports: Intramural sport offerings include Dance, P.E., Swimming, Tennis and Water Polo. Interscholastic sports offerings include Coed Cross Country, Flag Football, Girls Softball, Swimming, Boys Basketball, Girls Soccer, Coed Water Polo, Boys Soccer, Baseball, Coed Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Each student is able to pick four Intramural or Interscholastic sports per year and participate in our Cross Country Meets, Swim Meet, and Track and Field Meet.

P.E. 6 - Girls
Level: Middle School
Area: Athletics

Students are able to participate and be exposed to activities and teams at various levels of competition and commitment. Our program structure provides every student a chance to participate in structured competition or learn a sport. They are given the opportunity to learn basic skills, improve physical fitness, learn rules and tactics, sportsmanship, and to work as a team.

Students work as a team, learn sportsmanship, and develop skills needed to participate in the variety of sports and teams by structured practices and expert coaching. The sixth grade program consists of the following sports: Intramural sport offerings include Dance, P.E., Swimming, Tennis and Water Polo. Interscholastic sports offerings include Coed Cross Country, Flag Football, Girls Softball, Swimming, Boys Basketball, Girls Soccer, Coed Water Polo, Boys Soccer, Baseball, Coed Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Each student is able to pick four Intramural or Interscholastic sports per year and participate in our Cross Country Meets, Swim Meet, and Track and Field Meet.

P.E. 7/8 - Boys
Level: Middle School
Area: Athletics

Seventh graders continue to build on learning individual skills, teamwork and sportsmanship. They further develop strategies, rules, and tactics needed to participate and have success in their sport. The emphasis of seventh grade is on participation and becoming a team player.

Students work as a team, learn sportsmanship, and improve skills needed to participate in the variety of sports and teams by structured practices and expert coaching. The seventh grade program consists of the following sports. Intramural sport offerings include Dance, P.E., Swimming, Tennis and Water Polo. Interscholastic sports offerings include Coed Cross Country, Flag Football, Girls Softball, Swimming, Boys Basketball, Girls Soccer, Coed Water Polo, Boys Soccer, Baseball, Coed Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Each student is able to pick four Intramural or Interscholastic sports per year and participate in our Cross Country Meets, Swim Meet, and Track and Field Meet. The seventh grade can participate on our varsity “B” teams or on a few occasions tryout for our varsity “A” team.

P.E. 7/8 - Girls
Level: Middle School
Area: Athletics

Seventh graders continue to build on learning individual skills, teamwork and sportsmanship. They further develop strategies, rules, and tactics needed to participate and have success in their sport. The emphasis of seventh grade is on participation and becoming a team player.

Students work as a team, learn sportsmanship, and improve skills needed to participate in the variety of sports and teams by structured practices and expert coaching. The seventh grade program consists of the following sports. Intramural sport offerings include Dance, P.E., Swimming, Tennis and Water Polo. Interscholastic sports offerings include Coed Cross Country, Flag Football, Girls Softball, Swimming, Boys Basketball, Girls Soccer, Coed Water Polo, Boys Soccer, Baseball, Coed Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Each student is able to pick four Intramural or Interscholastic sports per year and participate in our Cross Country Meets, Swim Meet, and Track and Field Meet. The seventh grade can participate on our varsity “B” teams or on a few occasions tryout for our varsity “A” team.

Computer Science 6
Level: Middle School
Area: Technology

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the breadth of Computer Science. Topics covered include Algorithms & Programming, Networks & the Web, Computer Graphics, and Robotics & other Embedded Systems. Developmentally appropriate tools like Scratch (block-based programming) and TinkerCAD(3D design and printing) allow students to access and develop the core concepts and skills of Computer Science without being impeded by high levels of abstraction and syntax. Projects in this course emphasize the creativity inherent in Computer Science.

Computer Science 7
Level: Middle School
Area: Technology

The seventh grade Computer Science course continues to build on the skills and experiences of the previous course. Students revisit the four realms of Computer Science explored in sixth grade (Algorithms & Programming, Networks & the Web, Computer Graphics, and Robotics & other Embedded Systems). In some areas students engage with the same tools at higher levels of complexity while in others they approach the topic from a new perspective, using the lens of a new tool. They begin to develop greater autonomy in their learning, through more open-ended projects. Students are asked to make connections to the big ideas and essential questions of other subjects and of their larger context as they find and solve problems.

Computer Science 8
Level: Middle School
Area: Technology

In the eighth grade course, we engage with more abstract elements of Computer Science. Students move from a block-based to a text-based programming language (Python) and projects throughout the curriculum become more programming-dependent. Students are introduced to concepts like recursion and object-oriented programming. They continue to develop autonomy and are encouraged to seek out both the challenges and the support that will engender a meaningful learning experience. As they leave our program, we hope that students will have begun to develop identities as creators rather than consumers of technology, and that they will be ready and excited to further explore Computer Science in the ways that best suit each individual student.

Learning Seminar
Level: Middle School
Area: Electives

This interactive program, developed by researchers at Harvard’s School of Education, will teach learning strategies directly and explicitly through the Learning Seminar. Students will develop the necessary organizational, self-advocacy, time management, planning, self-monitoring, and study skills to meet the intellectual and emotional demands of their educational journey. Mastery of the SMARTs curriculum will be reviewed through teacher assessment and student reflection. It is our hope that students will understand which strategies work best for their individual learning styles, and will feel confident in using these tools throughout their educational experience at Menlo and beyond.

Applied Science Research (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

This is a course for students interested in studying advanced topics in engineering and science, students who envision a career in science or engineering, and/or students who are curious about how things work. The first semester students will explore electric motors, atmospheric science, the engineering of space travel and a craftsmanship project. Specifically, students will build a multi-phase electric motor and launch a payload via weather balloon high above the Earth’s atmosphere into space. This course is student centered and student driven. Students have great latitude in their choice of the topics, experiments, and projects. Students will learn the design, prototyping process and how to take and analyze data in order to optimize their projects. Students will also learn how to read and write engineering and scientific papers. In the second semester, they will specialize on one topic of their choice. This can be a research an engineering project or a science project. Possible topics range from what makes a baseball curve, building 21st century prosthetics, green energy projects, to building a Tesla coil to particle physics to your idea. At the conclusion of the 2nd semester each student will write a science or engineering paper and give a final presentation at the Menlo Maker Faire.

Prerequisites: Complete Physics and Accelerated Chem with a B+ or Conceptual Chem with an A- or get permission from Dr. Dann.

Biotechnology Research (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

The course provides a unique opportunity for students with self-discipline and a curious mind to learn cutting-edge lab techniques and to put those techniques to use in a major independent project. Class time is spent mostly on hands-on lab work. The first semester involves learning techniques in cell culture, molecular biology, bacteriology, immunochemistry and protein biochemistry, as well as learning to read and write scientific papers. In the second semester, students carry out an independent research project, either here at Menlo or off-campus in an academic or industry lab, by agreement between the student and mentor. As with AP courses, students will continue their work for this class through the first two weeks of May.

Click here to view the Biotech Application.

Prerequisites: Complete Chemistry and Biology and pass an application process through Dr. Weaver. Download application form here.

Design and Architecture
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

Design…the intersection of form and function…of art and engineering. In this hands-on, project-based course you will learn how to create functional solutions to problems with an aesthetic sensibility. You will learn about Design Thinking and the important role of empathy in solving difficult problems. Creative, qualitative solutions will take precedence over quantitative solutions, and your ability to work with a team and effectively communicate your ideas will be tested. In the second semester the course will transition to architecture. Emphasis will be placed on the major architectural movements of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and you will learn about the iconic buildings and famous architects associated with these movements. The culmination of the class will be a final project that will incorporate much of what you learned throughout the year.

Prerequisites: This course is open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.

Environmental Engineering
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

This is an interdisciplinary, project-based course in the Whitaker lab on water, pollution, and energy.  Students will design, build and test innovative projects pertaining to water creation and management, pollution mitigation and eradication, and sustainable energy.  

The adventure will start with a study of water’s role in the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history and throughout the world, including our very own California.  Students will design, build and study various innovations for water lifting, storing, and distribution. The adventure continues with a study of how plants and animals survive with little-to-no water in severe desert regions and how we can use these bio-engineered solutions for human survival. Next we study the exponential growth of the human population and the increasingly negative impact on the planet. Drinking water is getting polluted, plastics are damaging our ocean ecosystems, and the planet is experiencing an unprecedented change in climate. We don’t stop there however; we prototype solutions! The final topic will be the future of energy.   Students will study all aspects of energy including production, transmission, storage, and consumption.  Students will end the year with a deep dive project into the future of water, pollution, and energy as it pertains to our very survival by innovating solutions that will keep us thriving on planet Earth.  

Throughout the course students will do hands-on projects that will help them develop a much deeper understanding of the material.  This work will force us to be creative and innovative, yet tempered with practicality.

Prerequisites: This class is open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who have a passion for innovation, solving problems and thinking out of the box. Students will be required to be trained on various tools in the Whitaker lab.

Mechanical/Electrical Engineering
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

If you like to make things and break things, then this course is for you. If you like to wow and scare the pants off people with your electrical and mechanical inventions, then this course is for you. If you are thinking of being an engineer or just want to see what it’s like to do engineering, then this course is for you. This course is divided into two semesters: one semester is Mechanical Engineering and the other is Electrical Engineering. At the end of the year you will use the skills learned in both parts of the class to develop a final project that will impress, wow, and possibly scare your classmates. The ME semester will provide you with an introduction to engineering with an emphasis on hands-on activities and projects. Topics will include drafting, CAD, dimensioning, tolerances, materials, stress, strain, fasteners, gears, bearings, and other mechanisms. You will be introduced to the engineering design process and you will learn about the role of mechanical engineers in industry. In the EE semester you will learn how to make laser trip wires (laser-photocells), timing circuits, store energy, make electronic switches (transistors), and move things (solenoids and linear motors). In addition, you will learn how to solder, make circuit diagrams and use the laser cutter. Most importantly, in both semesters, you will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in a real world setting by making cool stuff. There is little nightly homework, but instead it is expected that you put in extra time each week in the lab to work on your circuits or projects. The course will take place in the Whitaker Lab and students will be trained on the majority of the tools in the lab. Students are expected to showcase their projects at events such as the Maker Faire.

Prerequisites: Completion of Physics with a B or better or by special approval from Mr. Allard or Dr. Dann.

Neuroscience
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

Interdisciplinary Course: This course combines biology and electronics using a hands-on, scaffolding approach. This approach is three-pronged: (1) perform experiments using electrodes to detect actual neuronal activity in a living system, (2) learn the underlying biology of how that aspect of the nervous system works, and (3) build mechanical and/or electrical models.

Course Description:

It is said that understanding the human brain is one of the last frontiers; this course you will take a step toward that goal. You will take an adventure that is thought only possible in fictional writing like Frankenstein and along the way you will learn electronics, experimental techniques and neurobiology. We will explore the fascinating topic of how the brain and peripheral nervous system work by studying the electrical signals that encode neuronal messages, how sensory inputs are detected and how motor outputs are executed, and how the brain processes and creates meaning of your experience.

By building models, doing experiments and studying the biology you will investigate the following in the first semester of the class:

How do your sensory neurons collect, encode and transmit information about your environment for you?

How do your motor neurons get activated and how do they control the contraction of your muscles, allowing you to respond to your environment?

How fast do signals actually travel within neurons?

How does the nervous system “tune out” a stimulus that continues for an extended period?

In the second semester, we will examine:

How does the brain create your perception of reality?

How do medicinal and recreational drugs alter neuron function?

How does learning work and what is memory?

What is going on when things go wrong (like schizophrenia)?

Prerequisites: Completion of Physics with a B or better or by special approval from the teachers. This is a junior level course, but sophomores and seniors are welcome.

Independent Study: Design Thinking and Tool Safety
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

This is a one-semester independent study course that can be taken in the fall or spring semester. This course can also be taken as a one-week course during August before school starts. Students will learn to use all the tools in the AAW lab.

This would allow the student to be fully tool shop certified before entering an ASE course. The advantage here is that the student will have full access to all the tools right away. In addition to tool certification, students will also be introduced to design thinking as a way to plan their projects. There are only three formal class meetings for the semester plus two check in meetings per month (most likely at lunch). Students are to work on their projects for at least 3 hours per week but can work in the tool shop as best meets their schedule (including the possibility of starting in early August). Students will learn how to safely and properly use all of the tools in AAW, which include table saw, miter saw, band saw, drill press, grinders and laser cutter. The student will learn about and use the various tools in the context of several projects, which they will design and build. At the completion of this course the successful student will be certified to use the various above-mentioned tools. At the end of the spring semester, students will display their creations at the Menlo Maker’s Fair.

This course is strongly recommended as a pre-requisite for students enrolled in or planning to enroll in Engineering, Robotics and/or Applied Science Research.

Independent Study: CAD with Autodesk Inventor Pro
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

Ever wonder how parts are designed? Desired to turn an idea into reality? Excited to get a head start on an important skill for your upcoming Applies Science class? Want an awesome industry recognized certificate of proficiency? If you answered yes to any of these, then this independent study may be for you.

Computer aided design, abbreviated as CAD, is a process of using computer software to design two-dimensional and three-dimensional models. These models can be used in assembly visualization, software based simulations, models used for computer based machining (CNC), and many other applications. Upon completion of the course students will walk away with a good understanding and proficiency of Autodesk Inventor along with design principles that will empower students to create whatever their imagination can come up with. This course will also prep students to take the Autodesk Inventor Certified User exam which is an industry recognized proficiency certification. This course is recommended for students who plan on taking any Applied Science based course in the future.

Students will use all the skills learned through the study to design and build a unique project to show off their new skills. Students will meet with Mr. Brian Ward throughout the semester to discuss questions and go over progress.

Pre-requisite: Windows PC or Mac with Windows loaded via Boot Camp (or similar)

Cost: $100 (for exam fee)

Art
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Studio Art students are taught foundation level skills while exploring a wide range of art mediums and techniques. The primary focus is on learning and utilizing the Principles and Elements of Design. Students will have direct instruction in drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital art. The first semester will concentrate on 2-D art concepts while the second semester will introduce 3- D art concepts. Students will research various art movements and participate in class presentations.

Advanced Art
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Advanced Art students develop mastery of their art skills and utilization of the Principles and Elements of Design. It is encouraged that students maintain an art journal throughout the year as well as develop a portfolio of original artwork. The instructor and guest artists will give hands on demonstrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media collage, and digital art. Students create their  own challenging projects utilizing techniques they have learned. Included in the course is an overview of contemporary art history as well as major art  movements.

Pre-Requiste: Permission of the teacher and preview of student artwork.

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

AP 2-D Design is a rigorous honors level course where students complete a portfolio of 24 to 29 original artworks in a variety of mediums., including drawing, painting, mixed-media, photography and digital art. The AP 2-D portfolio is comprised of three sections. The Quality section consists of 5 of the student’s best art works submitted in their original form. The Concentration section is a body of 12 art works investigating a strong underlying visual idea in 2-D. The Breadth section consists of 12 artworks that demonstrate a variety of concepts and approaches in 2-D Design. Students are required to work extra hours outside of class and take complete responsibility in time management and project completion.

 

Pre-Requiste: Completion of either Advanced Art or Topics in Fine Art, and permission of the teacher

AP Studio Art 3-D
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

AP 3-D Design is a rigorous honors level course where students complete three-dimensional art works in a variety of mediums including clay, paper, wire, fabric and found objects. Digital 3-D art is also accepted. Art works are judged through photographs of the dimensional works from different angles. The Quality section of the portfolio consists of five dimensional art works that demonstrate mastery of 3-D design in concept, composition, and execution. The Concentration section has an estimated 10 art works investigating a strong underlying visual idea in 3-D design. The Breadth section includes 2 images each of 8 different art works that demonstrate a variety of concepts and approaches in 3-D design. As in AP 2-D, students are expected to set aside ample time outside of class hours to complete their artworks.

 

Pre-requisite - completion of AP Art 2-D

Topics in Fine Art
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Topics in Fine Art is geared toward those students who have completed Advanced Art and wish to pursue their artistic interests further as they create their own challenging projects. Topics in Fine Art parallels the AP 2-Design course curriculum and introduces students to the AP art material. The course is not an AP level course in that final review of the student art portfolio will not be evaluated by the AP Board. Quality art created in this course may be used as part of the AP art portfolio should the student elect to take AP Studio Art in the following year.  Students develop mastery of their art skills and utilization of the Principles and Elements of Design. It is encouraged that students maintain an art journal throughout the year as well as develop a portfolio of original artwork. The instructor and guest artists will give hands on demonstrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media collage, and digital art. Students create their  own challenging projects utilizing techniques they have learned. Included in the course is an overview of contemporary art history as well as major art  movements.

 

Pre-requisite: Permission of the teacher and review of student artwork.

Select Mixed Chorus (Menlo Choraliers)
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

The Menlo Choraliers is a non-auditioned group open to men and women in grades 9-12. It is a great place to form new friendships, participate in fun activities, and sing fabulous music! Students assist with choosing and rehearsing songs, and also help come up with ideas for social activities throughout the year. Our singers perform in many exciting concerts and are encouraged to participate in the yearly spring choral tour. (Past tour destinations have included Europe, South America, Canada, Cuba New Zealand, and even Disneyland.) Come sing with us!

Women’s Glee
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

The Women’s Glee (Treble Clefs) is open to women grades 9-12 , without audition. It is a great place to form new friendships, participate in fun activities, and sing fabulous music! Students assist with choosing and rehearsing songs, and also help come up with ideas for social activities throughout the year. Our singers perform in many exciting concerts and are encouraged to participate in the yearly spring choral tour. (Past tour destinations have included Europe, South America, Canada, Cuba New Zealand, and even Disneyland.) Come sing with us!

World Music
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Musical traditions around the globe are diverse, and play an important role
in the cultures that people create, love, and pass on to future generations!
This course desires to share with students the amazingly broad diversity of
multicultural music, and the issues it often explores. We will investigate
how world music can reflect upon issues of human rights, religion, politics,
and social justice, and how many view music as more than just
entertainment. During the semester, this class will cover music from Latin
America, Africa, Asia, Western Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, and
much more. No previous musical experience is necessary, but students will
be asked to approach the class with creativity and critical thinking skills.
Music is a means of human expression, and is an important connection to
our daily life.

Chamber Choir (Knights & Knightingales)
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Chamber Singers (Knights and Knightingales) gives Menlo students the chance to experience the joy of singing in a small auditioned ensemble. This course is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and is comprised of 12 -16 voices. It is a great place to form new friendships while experiencing the fun of choral performance. There are also opportunities to participate in choral festivals and competitions during the year. Students also help generate ideas for social activities and community performances. Our singers perform in several exciting concerts and are encouraged to participate in the yearly spring choral tour. (Past tour destinations have included Europe, South America, Canada, Cuba New Zealand, and even Disneyland.) Come sing with us!

Prerequisite: Complete any level of chorus or pass an audition with Ms. Linford.

AP Music Theory
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

The course presumes a somewhat fluent level in musical reading and notation upon beginning, but the class begins with a complete review of music basics. Time is spent discovering how small patterns such as scales, intervals and triads combine to create larger units such as phrases, periods and two- and three-part form. In class, students work on sight singing and ear training; the goal is the ability to read a musical score without singing or playing out loud. Students are also taught to transcribe musical sounds into notation. Regular melodic and harmonic dictation is given in class. Short compositions are assigned throughout the year to illustrate fundamental principles being studied, and the final project is the composition of a longer piece by each student to be included in a concert at the end of the school year. Critical and analytical listening to major works from the classics of European and American composers from the Middle Ages to the present, as well as representative music of Asia and Africa, is a regular part of the curriculum.

Prerequisite: Pass an entrance exam through Ms. Linford.

Jazz Band
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

This performance-oriented class is for brass, woodwind, keyboard, and rhythm-section players who have a desire to study and play jazz music. The class focuses on performance skills, reading, improvisation, and various jazz techniques and styles. The materials are chosen from standard jazz repertoire and classic big band arrangements. The class provides an opportunity for students to develop their overall playing skills while working in an ensemble environment. The Jazz Ensemble may perform in several concerts during the school year and additional school presentations.

Chamber Orchestra
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Chamber Orchestra (Menlo Orchestra and Chamber Music Program) involves intermediate and advanced musicians who play string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. The Orchestra performs intermediate- to advanced-level orchestral literature in the classical and modern tradition, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Copland, Dvorak, Gershwin, Handel, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and living composers who write for our ensemble. Students learn techniques of rehearsal and performance; they also learn about the history and performance practices associated with pieces performed. Students learn about appropriate articulation, phrasing and interpretive techniques for each piece. The Director collaborates with students to select repertoire. Coaches from the professional community visit the Orchestra regularly to instruct musicians in various advanced techniques and to inspire students with their excellent playing. Chamber music is part of the curriculum for advanced musicians who take initiative to rehearse and perform at selected concerts; works performed have included piano trios by Brahms, Piazzola and Shostakovich, string quartets by Beethoven and Dvorak, woodwind quintets by Cowell, Milhaud and Beethoven, and brass ensembles of varying instrumentation. Orchestra may be repeated for additional credit.

Jazz Dance
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Jazz Dance is open to anyone interested in learning to dance, who loves to dance, or who just loves to move. It is highly recommended for student athletes to help them understand their anatomy, improve their flexibility and alignment and extend their range of movement. The class teaches basic dance terminology, technique, and simple combinations. Choreography is introduced in both semesters and the second semester includes class choreography by the students for the Dance Concert. The class continues to work on progressively more complex pieces in the second semester. Students in all dance classes are encouraged to audition for the performing groups: Knight Dancers, MidKnights, Knight Life and the musicals.

Advanced Jazz Dance
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

Advanced Dance includes more in depth technique work and more explosive, controlled movements that require a higher level of strength and alignment. The class works extensively on strengthening, footwork, anatomical terms and new choreography that will lead into a final number for the Dance Concert. This class requires permission from the instructor. Students in all dance classes are encouraged to audition for the performing groups: Knight Dancers, MidKnights, Knight Life and the musicals.

Pre-Requisite: Permission of teacher.

Drama
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

The first semester is intended for both the beginning student of theater and for the student who wants a more in-depth theatre experience. This course provides a brief overview for both the curious non-actor and the experienced younger actor.  The course begins with a series of theatre games and exercises intended to give the student a basic knowledge of stagecraft, ensemble work, character development, and movement for the stage.  Combining a smattering of theatre history along with an introduction to the aesthetic philosophy of theatre, students will learn an appreciation for all forms of theatre and awareness to the world of theatre beyond the classroom and it’s relevancy in today’s world. The second semester is designed to build on the practices and techniques introduced in first semester. Through monologues, scene work, and presentations, this semester provides the opportunity to study, act in, and direct various dramatic scenes from full-length plays, which are examined in detail in their entirety.  Students will learn basic technical theatre skills, with a “hands on” approach to production.

Moviemaking
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

In this class, students explore and develop their creativity through making movies. The class is individually oriented, so students of all experience levels can focus on improving their specific skill sets and creating a variety of movie projects. Through many hands-on projects, students learn and practice skills such as using lighting effectively, using various microphones and cameras, using green screens, and editing in Final Cut. Students make a variety of movies, from comedies to experimental pieces to thirty-second ads to documentaries. Students learn and practice the IDEO approach to idea development in many of their projects. This is a one-semester class offered only in fall; students who continue for the full year will be in Moviemaking II for the spring semester.

Advanced Moviemaking
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

This advanced class is for students who have mastered the fundamental skills of moviemaking (i.e., sound, lighting, camera work and editing in Final Cut) and want to put their skills into action creating quality movies. Students will develop original ideas for all their movie projects; each student is encouraged to pursue the kind of movie that interests him or her the most. Students will work with the instructor to develop individual goals for building their skills and completing projects. Students will have access to the full range of equipment and software that Menlo has as they bring to life the movies they imagine.

 

Photography
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

This is an introductory class that covers the use of a traditional 35mm film camera, lenses, and black and white darkroom printing processes through a series of hands-on projects. In the first semester, students learn to use the manual controls on film cameras and darkroom equipment in order to achieve desired results.


The second semester covers the use of digital cameras (SLR and mobile) and digital editing processes through a series of hands-on projects. Students learn to use modern SLR cameras and to edit photos with Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop software tools. Students develop practical shooting and editing skills through directed assignments and a variety of self-defined projects, which are recorded through weekly blogging. Classic themes are explored through landscape, portrait, photojournalism, conceptual and experimental photography.
Cameras and lenses are provided for use during class. Photo paper and film supplies are available for purchase in the Campus Store.

 

Prerequisite: Photography class or teacher permission.

Advanced Photography
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

This class extends the study of photography to include advanced digital SLR and mobile photography, large and medium format film cameras and alternative processes. Emphasis is placed on using the highest quality materials, producing larger prints, advanced techniques, and developing deeper understanding through student-defined projects. Students rotate through individual monthly assignments, which are done in and out of class. Each rotation features a different set of methods, goals or a new piece of equipment. At the end of each rotation, students share, exhibit and critique their results in a group setting. As homework, students maintain a weekly personal blog of their activity. All equipment and supplies are provided.

 

Prerequisite: Photography

Yearbook: Publication Design I
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

PUBLICATION DESIGN I

Students in this course are part of the yearbook staff. They collaborate with students in the Yearbook Club and any students doing independent studies to create a gorgeous 400-page book each year. New staff members learn about visual design, photography, image editing, and using software for graphic design. Because the book depends on students to create it, the staff must be productive, but the atmosphere in class is casual. It’s a fun change of pace from the usual daily schedule.

Yearbook: Publication Design II
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

PUBLICATION DESIGN II

(This class counts for an Arts credit.) In this course, students take part in designing the form and content of the annual book. They learn more about the central principles of design: shape, line, color, repetition and balance. They also dive more deeply into what makes good photography and why in yearbook photography we emphasize faces, action, context and emotion, as well as practicing shooting and choosing photos to create strong page layouts.

 

Prerequisite: Publication Design I

Yearbook: Publication Design Leadership
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

In this third-year class, open to juniors and seniors, students build on everything they learned in the first two years and add to that the challenge of managing peers, leading the staff through a year-long trek to create our book. These publications veterans have the final say in the designs for pages and the book overall. It is their responsibility to incorporate all that they have learned about design in their first two years in an aesthetically pleasing and very practical creation.

English 1
Level: Upper School
Area: English

English 1 students will work to establish their authorial voices while focusing on both reading and writing as active processes. In the fall, students will write a variety of expository pieces in order to deepen their awareness of their own opinions and values. Students then position themselves within larger cultural dialogues as we work on academic and literary arguments based on short stories, novellas, novels, and dramatic works. This practice will deepen their ability to recognize literary devices and will refine their ability to write logically and to support claims with evidence. Finally, students end the year with a focused study of rhetoric using op-ed pieces, speeches, plays, and fiction as inspiration. Students will become familiar with the fundamentals of grammar and punctuation, which they will practice throughout the year; they will also build their vocabularies through structured weekly practice.

English 2
Level: Upper School
Area: English

English 2 builds upon the foundation of English 1 in writing, reading, and grammatical instruction. Students will experience enhanced independence in crafting the structure of their writing, as well as develop greater complexity, specificity, and personal voice. Developing timed writing strategies further challenges students’ reading literacy and writing fluency. English 2’s curricular focus on American Literature produces many interdisciplinary opportunities with the History Department. Students gain an appreciation of how texts relate to the world around them and to their own lives. By spring, students will more precisely analyze how meaning is cultivated in a text, develop facility with inter-textual analysis, both within and outside of the text, and identify “cultural conversations” that emerge from our readings.

English 3: Rebels
Level: Upper School
Area: English

We’re all, to some degree, drawn to idea of a rebel. Rebels are memorable. Rosa Parks became one of America’s most important rebels by refusing to give up her seat. Mark Zuckerberg committed an act of social rebellion when he dropped out of Harvard sophomore year to focus his career aspirations on the creation of what is now Facebook. The most memorable characters we know strayed from the norm in some courageous, even noble, way: Atticus Finch’s defense of Tom Robinson, Romeo’s and Juliet’s pursuit of forbidden love, Katniss Everdeen’s refusal to play the Hunger Games the way the Game-makers envisioned.


In this course, we will explore the role of the “rebel” in society, largely through the core textual and film selections including Ken Kesey’s counter-culture classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the film The Shawshank Redemption. We will examine how the social forces at play in these works provide us with insight into the society we live in now: here at Menlo, in Silicon Valley, in the United States.

English Language (AP)
Level: Upper School
Area: English

The purpose of AP Language is to prepare students to “write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives” (AP College Board Course Description). This rigorous course focuses on nonfiction writing, and students will become more proficient and comfortable both reading and producing complex pieces from a variety of fields (science, philosophy, popular culture, gender studies, etc.) and genres (e.g. essays, research, journalism, political writing, speeches, biography and autobiography, history, criticism). Students should expect to write frequently and in a variety of modes, since the course intends to develop their own awareness of audience, purpose and composing strategies. The course avoids a thematic or chronological approach in order to focus on essential reading, writing, and thinking skills involved in the study of rhetoric and composition.

Prerequisites:

To be eligible, a student has to have earned a B+ or above in first semester of English 2

English Literature (AP)
Level: Upper School
Area: English

AP Literature is a yearlong exploration of the human psyche and consciousness on the written page and its impact on modern culture. Students will delve into a range of evocative novels, plays, poems, and short stories so as to deepen their reading and analytical skills and to gain a greater appreciation of literature. Interpretation will be honed through longer take home analytical essays, class facilitations, and sustained class discussion in which student grapple with multiple perspectives. In addition, students will work towards perfecting the craft of timed expository writing as part of their preparation for the AP and SAT exams. This course is aimed at students interested in exploring great books and taking on greater independence as thinkers, readers and writers.

Prerequisites:

To be eligible, a student has to have earned a B+ or above in first semester of English 2

Contemporary Global Literature (H)/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instuctor: Wilson Taylor

What is global literature? Why is it important, and what does it mean, to read the diverse literatures of our global contemporary? How does literature interact with historical and contemporary global issues, including the legacies of colonialism and post-colonialism? In what ways can literary narratives be political, even revolutionary? What is the legacy and responsibility of the United States in these questions and in these narratives? Through poetry, short stories, and novels by contemporary global writers — including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz, and Jhumpa Lahiri — this course interrogates concepts of personal and national identity (including questions of race, gender, religion, and language); globalization and global issues; colonialism, post-colonialism, Orientalism, and cosmopolitanism; immigration and assimilation; as well as the complex positioning of the United States in our global contemporary.

Prerequisites:

To be eligible, a student has to have earned an B+ or above in first semester AP English or permission of the instructor.

Dangerous Ideas/ 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Maren Adler

Societies are built on the assumption that their citizens will work to stay within the confines of what is considered “acceptable.” From a young age, we are taught to control our impulses–to share, follow the rules, and generally seek to better ourselves at minimal cost to others. But what if the danger lies not solely in what we do, but also in what we think or see? To what extent should society challenge, restrict, or outright preclude its citizens from access to “dangerous” ideas and who should decide? This course will take up these questions and more as we grapple with books that depict cultural, sexual and religious taboos. Students can expect to engage with a wide range of controversial novels, plays, and films (including Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Angels in America by Tony Kushner, and Suddenly, Last Summer by Tennessee Williams) all of which have been either challenged or banned. In addition to thoughtful reading and discussion of anchor texts, we will also develop our comparative analysis skills by incorporating anthropology, psychology, legal studies, and philosophy to help us understand and wade through the ethical dilemmas these texts generate.

Freak Character in American Culture(H)/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Margaret Ramsey

The label of “freak” is a culturally relative term, marbled with overtones ranging from fascination and titillation, to repulsion and hatred, and even, ironically, to camaraderie and acceptance.

In American culture, the freak show has a long, storied, and rich history, full of sociological and psychological implications. This course will explore the ways in which American artists have used the freak character as a means of critiquing, exploring, and celebrating the tension between our country’s diverse society and collective fear of “the other.” We will begin by establishing a sense for the historical and sociological context of the freak show in America and look at the freak character as depicted and promoted through the circus. Then, students will apply the theory of the freak character to more nuanced texts in which the “freak” character becomes an abstraction used to explore issues such as race, gender, sexuality, age, and disease. Material will include several theoretical and sociological texts, novels Geek Love by Katherine Dunn and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, films Freaks and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and several short stories and current articles. As this is an honors class, students should expect more reading and writing and more challenging assignments than in the regular senior electives.

Prerequisites:

To be eligible, a student has to have earned an B+ or above in first semester AP English or permission of the instructor.

Investigations/ 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Cara Plamondon

By building a course devoted to non-fiction, I hope to both broaden and challenge your understanding of what’s happening in the world around us by exploring: who’s writing about it, what they’re saying about it, why it’s important, and to enter into the conversations that emerge out of it. First, we will explore non-fiction writing through the lens of investigative journalism, reading works on various “whistle-blower” topics and viewing two “whistle-blower” films, The Insider and Spotlight, winner of the Academy Award for best film in 2016. Additionally, we will read a variety of longer social/political commentaries on relevant topics from publications including The Atlantic, Scientific American, Vanity Fair, and The Economist. As a capstone experience, you will each conduct your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choosing. Bring your opinions!

Keepin’ It Real Fake: Who Are We Really/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Jesse Brugos

How does society influence human behavior? To what extent does an individual’s biological make-up account for his/her identity? Does the pursuit of the “America Dream” lead individuals and groups to mask their true selves? This course will focus on contemporary representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the United States, and the diverse ways in which human identity is constructed. As we “read America,” students will explore their own voice and compose their own memoir. Major texts include Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Human Stain by Philip Roth, Two or Three Things I know for Sure (summer reading) by Dorothy Allison.

Magical Realism/ 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

Instructor: Tyson Morgan

In 19th-century Austria-Hungary, a traveling salesman–a true nobody–wakes up and discovers that he’s turned into a cockroach. In 19th century Russia, a bureaucrat loses his nose, only to have it reappear later as a full-fledged human being who’s distinct from him–and who’s of a higher rank than him. In 20th-century Central America, as part of a trade deal, an ocean is hauled off from its native shores. In the Civil Rights-era U.S, a young African American man discovers that he has the power to fly.

 

These are the premises of just a few of the stories we’ll read in this course. We’ll read works by several major magical realist writers–Franz Kafka, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Clarice Lispector, Gabriel Garcia Marquez–and we’ll constantly investigate what exactly magical realism is. Which political and social contexts tend to give rise to the genre? Why is the genre generally considered more serious than your typical fantasy or science fiction story–and should it be considered more serious? How has the genre crossed over to films such as Pan’s Labyrinth or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or to last year’s FX series Atlanta? And where do we see the genre going–how will it continue to help certain groups tell their stories?

 

Analytical writing will form the backbone of this course, but there will also be some low-pressure opportunities to write creatively, adapting magical realist techniques, and to reflect personally on your own position in relation to these works. Here’s our likely reading list:

 

The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka

Song of Solomon, a novel by Toni Morrison

Autumn of the Patriarch, a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood

The Hour of the Star, a novella by Clarice Lispector

Magical Realist Fiction, a short story anthology

Atlanta, a television series produced by Donald Glover

Pan’s Labyrinth, a film

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film

Seafaring Literature/ 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Jude Morris

Across history, accounts of exploration set at sea have fascinated authors and audiences alike. In addition to being a territory rich with adventure, seafaring settings enable writers to explore the boundaries of imagination, the psyche, and the human spirit.  This course surveys a variety of stories, novels, and poems set at sea, and psychological, political, and societal themes within this genre.  Primary texts: Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge), Benito Cereno (Melville), Lord Jim (Conrad), The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway), Through the Panama (Lowry), All is Lost (Redford, film), and various short stories and poems. 

The Essay Reimagined: From Criticism to Comedy 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Nick Romeo

 

The essay is a vast and sprawling genre that comprises a broader variety of forms and possibilities than most people realize. High schoolers in particular could understandably believe that essays exist exclusively as vehicles for mandated literary analysis and strained attempts to get into college. This course is an attempt to broaden students’ notion of the essay. It introduces students to the form’s varied possibilities by sampling some excellent examples from many styles and traditions. Each week we will read one or two essays, discuss how and why they are interesting or compelling, and practice writing short pieces that emulate some of the successful features of these essays. From Mark Twain to Virginia Woolf to David Hume and Bertrand Russell, the readings span the philosophical, the comic, the personal, and the frankly unclassifiable.

Wilderness & American Identity 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the American wilderness. Frightened by its indifference toward human life, pioneers sought to “tame” it. Puritan settlers believed they should subdue the dark, heathen forest and cultivate in its place “a new Eden.” From the comfort of their cities, Romantics fetishized America’s wild, dramatic vistas, and nationalists celebrated the possibility of a national identity rooted in our unique American landscape. Even as the Industrial Revolution drove Americans into cities, we turned to sweeping portraits of places like Yosemite and Yellowstone to reassure ourselves that, yes, this was America, and we were all cowboys at heart. These ideas of wildness and the frontier are so entangled in the American identity that we still cannot relinquish the dream of them, even if the U.S. Census declared the frontier “closed” 124 years ago and even if less than 3% of the land in the contiguous United States is today considered “wilderness” at all. In this interdisciplinary course (part history, part ethics, part literature), we will use primarily nonfiction texts to explore America’s relationship with its own geography–how it has changed and how it hasn’t—since the project of non-native American settlement began.

Adolescence (Re)imagined/ 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Maren Adler

High school is a pivotal time, containing the messy, personal, and (yes, sometimes) euphoric rite of passage known simply as “adolescence.” Given the extremity of this developmental period, it’s no surprise that artists continue to return to the teenage experience in their work. Ironically, though, few stories about teenage life are created by actual teenagers; whether it’s Gossip Girl or Beverly Hills 90210, these narratives often struggle to portray the authentic reality of their young characters. This course therefore seeks to empower students to reclaim their experiences by exposing them to visual and written narratives about teenage life (such as The Breakfast Club, and The Perks of Being Wallflower) so that they can develop their own stories. We will begin by critically examining the stereotypes and tropes that often represent teenage life, then move into reading and viewing the novels, films, and TV shows that give voice to more traditionally marginalized teenage experiences. Throughout, we will also consider the historical and sociological forces that have impacted the American teenager throughout the last century. Students will end the course by developing a creative project about teenage life (such as a one-act play, short story, pitch for a TV show, or section of a graphic novel), so as to commemorate their own high school experiences before they graduate.

The Art of the Essay 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Whitney Newton

 

If the thought of writing another closed-form analytical essay causes you to convulse in fear, you should probably take this class. We will spend all semester experimenting with alternative essay structures, reading, analyzing, and mimicking work by some of the great essayists of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will steal the best storytelling tricks from the fiction-writer’s toolkit, and we will borrow strategies of persuasion from classical and contemporary rhetoricians. The course will be built on the workshop model, meaning that you will have to be both brave and nice: over the course of the semester, each student will courageously share his/her original work and will respectfully respond to the work of peers. Expect to be reading, writing, and critiquing constantly, but also expect to kind of sickly enjoy it.

Dystopian Fiction and Film/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Cara Plamondon

With the re-emergence of dystopian fiction as the most popular genre for young readers, students will be exposed to dystopian classics that paved the way for more contemporary authors. Students will explore the political and social climate that prompted the authors to generate their narratives and the current, cultural conversations that emerge from these texts. Literature selections include:  “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and George Orwell’s 1984. In addition, students will view and analyze mise-en-scene techniques of notable dystopian films, both classic and contemporary, by Academy Award-Winning Directors: Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men, and Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Fiction Workshop/ 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Tyson Morgan

In this course, you’ll be exposed to various forms of published fiction and try out various techniques of the craft. Most importantly, you’ll be sharing your own original, full-length stories in a workshop format. We’ll ask ourselves what makes for engaging sentences, dialogue, characterization, and plot, and how stories can take the form of legal depositions or how-to manuals. We’ll read a bit of science- and detective fiction, and we’ll also see what we can adapt from poetry and nonfiction. Expect to read and write constantly—we’ll do quite a few in-class exercises—and to feel very invested in your peers and their work by the end of the semester. Our major texts are listed below, but you’ll also be given handouts of various smaller pieces, from writers such as the following: Leo Tolstoy, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Aleksandar Hemon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, J.M. Coetzee, Raymond Carver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edward P. Jones, Ryszard Kapuscinski, and Alice Oswald.

 

Texts may include the following:

 

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat, a collection of linked short stories

Drown by Junot Diaz, a collection of short stories

Missing Person by Patrick Modiano, a short novel

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, a novella

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, essays on fiction writing technique

Lyric and Lifeline 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Margaret Ramsey

 Hip hop is a cultural force and a way of life. Our course will begin with a focused study of different elements of hip hop while exploring the early history of the genre, major “Old School” artists, and key social contexts. The second half of the course will put that background study to work as we conduct a deep dive on Kendrick Lamar’s albums (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN). Key themes in the course will include (but are by no means limited to) issues such as the relationship between self and community; the historical contexts influencing our current social and political atmosphere; youth culture; sexuality; class dynamics; economic disparity; the Black Lives Matter movement; incarceration; violence; the treatment of Black Bodies; mental health; death; and the power of intersectional art.


As there is “no text without context,” students will be challenged to understand the poetics, narratives, and implications of the tracks through a variety of supplemental materials spanning several genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, sociology, history, film, documentary). In particular, students will kick off the course with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and “The Case for Reparations.” Students will also engage in a variety of writing assignments as a means of exploring their connection to, and understanding of, the artists’ themes and implications. No prior knowledge of hip hop is required for this course, and students are afforded the opportunity to write about artists and tracks beyond the ones we study in class.

Pop Novels/ Cult Films/ 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Jude Morris

Hollywood enjoys a long history of adapting classical books to film.  Especially over the last 25 years, a good number of movies have been released that share the spirit and themes of the original novels they are based on, but completely update their story, settings, and characters into Americanized “pop culture” milieus.  The class will explore these forms of interplay between book and film, pop culture and literature, and creativity and entertainment.  We’ll read the original source novels in conjunction with their film adaptations, and study how meaning and artistic merit migrate between cultures and genres.  Primary film and book pairings include: Emma by Jane Austen and Clueless, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Edward Scissorhands, Don Quixote by Cervantes and King of California, Pygmalion by Shaw and She’s All That + My Fair Lady, and various other excerpts from novels and films.   

Science and Literature 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Nick Romeo

 

Darwin read Dickens and Dickens read Darwin. The novelist Cormac McCarthy spends much of his time reading in the history of mathematics and science. These are just two examples of the rich interchange between science and literature. This course will explore how ideas from Darwin and Einstein influenced fiction in the
20th century. We will read selections from Darwin and Einstein as well as novels by H.G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, and Cormac McCarthy.

Shakespeare/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

instructor: Wilson Taylor

“A monument without a tomb,” wrote Ben Jonson, Shakespeare is “not of an age, but for all time.” Though William Shakespeare died four hundred years ago, the Bard continues to live with us — and we continue to live in a world informed by (in some sense, staged by) Shakespeare. In this class, we will study and explore three of Shakespeare’s plays and some sonnets, considering how Shakespeare speaks both to his time and our own. Through Shakespeare’s exquisite and exhaustive language, we will engage varieties of human experience while exploring selfhood and identity, life and death, love and hate, good and evil, heroes and villains, courage and cowardice, communities and kingdoms, and beyond. Class time will include both close reading and performance, and we’ll also enjoy contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays and try to attend at least one theatrical performance. 

The Stories We Tell/ 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: English

Instructor: Jesse Brugos

Our study will begin in West Africa as we study the art of storytelling and the history of the oral tradition. We will read and listen to a variety of traditional African stories, and then, students will become Griots (storytellers) and craft their own African Tale. As we journey through the diaspora, we will examine the human experience as well as issues of race, identity, and belonging in the global landscapes. We will study a variety of genres—including fiction, poetry, film, and music in order to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of cultures, beliefs, and perspectives of people.  A study of African and Caribbean culture would be incomplete without food, so as we devour the texts, we will sample the various cuisines! Texts will include and a Course Reader (a collection of short stories, essays, and poetry) as well as independent novel of choice).  The final project for this course will be a children’s book.

Modern World History (9th Grade)
Level: Upper School
Area: History

The course begins with a look at how global trade led to an explosion of wealth and cultural production in the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, Qing China, and Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. We then examine how 19th-century world history was shaped by topics such as Enlightenment ideals, nationalism, industrialization, imperialism, and reactions against these developments. The second semester focuses on the 20th century and the continuing tension between integration in a global, mostly Western-dominated system and the preservation of local traditions. The two world wars, decolonization, and the challenges facing the world in the 21st century are major topics. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ skills in discussion, analytical writing, and conducting research.

US History (10th)
Level: Upper School
Area: History

This course examines the factors that led to America’s transformation from a relatively weak, divided, and isolated collection of colonies into the dominant nation of the twentieth century. In this course we will study the foundations of the United States; The Civil War and Reconstruction; Industrialization and Immigration at the turn of the 20th century; U.S. Imperialism; the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; the impact of both World Wars on America’s government, economy, and society; the Cold War; and the Civil Rights Movement. Readings and class activities are structured to provide students with an opportunity to hear a variety of voices, explore differing and often opposing interpretations of history, and develop the tools necessary to define and support their own point of view. Special emphasis is placed on historical thinking and reading skills, media literacy, and the careful analysis of primary and secondary sources, as well as historical writing. Course requirements include several analytical essays and an independent research project.

AP US History (10th)
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Covering the United States from the first inhabitants to the present, this course addresses social, political, economic, geographic, and cultural topics. The course considers such major themes as the evolution of American democracy, race relations, and America’s changing role in the world. Emphasis is placed on the careful analysis of primary and secondary sources and analytical writing. Long-form essays and a major research paper are required. The Advanced Placement version of this course offers a more extensive independent research project than the non-AP option. In addition, it prepares students for the AP exam each May.

Just because a student can take AP US History does not mean they should. AP courses are demanding: the bar is set high and the pace is unremitting. One way for students to frame the choice of whether or not to take AP US History is to ask, “Does the subject matter interest me enough that I am willing to put in substantial extra work all year?” Alternatively, consider these comments from prior students. According to past AP students, you should take AP US History if you…

·        “Can learn from your mistakes.”

·        “Can manage your time and keep yourself organized.”

·        “LOVE history.”

·        “Are not just doing it for the AP.”

·        “Want to improve your research and writing skills.”

·        “Enjoy analyzing documents and writing analytical essays in short periods of time.”

·        “Want a challenging but rewarding class.”

·        “Are less focused on what grade you get and more focused on what you learn.”

Modern World History (11th Grade)
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Yearlong elective. Honors option available. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification. This course also contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

The course begins with a look at how global trade led to an explosion of wealth and cultural production in the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, Qing China, and Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. We then examine how 19th-century world history was shaped by topics such as Enlightenment ideals, nationalism, industrialization, imperialism, and reactions against these developments. The second semester focuses on the 20th century and the continuing tension between integration in a global, mostly Western-dominated system and the preservation of local traditions. The two world wars, decolonization, and the challenges facing the world in the 21st century are major topics. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ skills in discussion, analytical writing, and conducting research.

Prerequisites: Open only to juniors.

Contemporary American Issues/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Citizenship & Leadership IP certification. This course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

Trying to #StayWoke? Wondering about rising economic inequality, the national debt, mass incarceration, transgender rights, immigration and the rule of law, the “gig” economy, fake news and the fate of facts, and other pressing contemporary American issues? Interested in discussing how President Trump’s agenda squares with economic justice, human rights, and the Constitution? Do you want to learn how to address your representatives with your informed views in the clearest ways possible? Or reach out to the rural, blue-collar worker who has seen his livelihood vanish overnight, and understand his world? We will consult liberal and conservative thinkers – using film, field trip, and focused readings – to understand what it means to be American in the twenty-first century.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Critical Analysis/ 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for the Leadership/Citizenship IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

The trend in the 21st century is quite clearly to push the individual more and more to take responsibility for his or her own life in a myriad areas where, in the past, experts used to just tell us what to do or think. Two obvious examples might be in medicine, where we now routinely use the internet to do research and generate questions for our doctors as well as to find other doctors for second opinions, and finance, where we are responsible for our own investment choices and for planning to make sure that we won’t run out of money in retirement because no one is going to be there to take care of us if we don’t. The trend is the same for questions of social and political importance. Perhaps even more so because talk radio – with its emphasis on simple, bold statements – can so dominate our view of the world. Yet developing an informed opinion about these issues is arguably the sole responsibility of citizens in a participatory democracy.

In this class, we will pick 5-7 social issues and through research and discussion come to two deliverables: our own opinions – which will vary for each person depending on their own assessments and values, and an understanding of and facility with the tools we need in order to be thoughtful participants in discussions of social issues. In particular, it is possible to find data to support any position. We will critically discuss how data is used and presented in order to make a case for one’s point of view. The class will be delivered by a variety of guest teachers, each of whom will be responsible for a question that is near and dear to their hearts. The final list of questions will be determined over the summer, but examples currently proposed include: Does incarceration work? Should marijuana be legal? Should governments do scientific research? What is global (in)equality and does it matter? What is the future of religion? Is recycling always good? What is good nutrition? Additionally, the final list of guest teachers will be determined over the coming months, but teachers currently considering participating include: Randy Joss, Lauren Lax, Danielle Jensen, Jamie Formato, and Matthew Nelson. 

Pre-requisites: Open to juniors and seniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Ethnic Studies 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Citizenship & Leadership IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

Ethnic/Identity Studies operates from the consideration that race and racism have been, and continue to be, profoundly powerful social and cultural forces in American society. This course focuses on the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, Native Americans, and other racialized peoples in the US. We will base our work on the concrete situations of people of color, and examine both the structural and cultural dimensions of race. The purpose of this course is to educate students to be politically, socially, and economically conscious about their personal connections to local and national history. We will focus on themes of social justice, social responsibility, and social change. The course will explore both historical content and current events, allowing students to identify broad patterns and qualities of social injustice. This course will also include an “identity” unit where students will consider concepts related to their own personal, group, and/or national identity.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors, juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Global Issues for Global Citizens/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification.

Calling all future politicians, diplomats, business persons, philanthropists, lawyers, scholars, and activists. This course, which satisfies the prerequisite for the Global Scholars Program and is available for honors credit, will prepare you to be a knowledgeable leader in an increasingly globally-connected world. You will study the Global Chessboard to understand all the stakeholders in international affairs, the United Nations along with the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, and global issues such as poverty, education, gender equality, health, environment, and development. You will participate in the HAND Foundation Youth Philanthropy Project - a unique opportunity to advocate for a cause you are passionate about in collaboration with an NGO of your choosing. Our class activities, along with guest speakers, will help us understand that there is no “one size fits all” to the vexing issues that face our planet and us.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Global Scholars Research/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: This is an honors course that satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP Certification.  This course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

By early October of their Junior of Senior year, Global Scholars commit to the certification requirement by submitting an abstract of a major research proposal to be completed at the end of the spring semester. This honors course provides a forum for the completion of this interdisciplinary research project, the final step leading to Global Scholars certification. Students will modify and advance their chosen topics, applying a global lens, and honing habits of good writing, research and presentation along the way. Students will study examples of interdisciplinary approaches relevant to them, including the conducting of ethnographic research. They will consult with outside experts, participate in and sometimes guide seminar lessons, discussions and activities.

Prerequisites: Completion of one or more Global Scholars courses AND instructor permission.

Humanities I: Art and Culture from Plato to Nietzsche/ 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Arts & Letters IP certification.

What is it to be human? Or rather, how have Western history’s influential thinkers (who celebrate the human capacity for reason) and emotional giants (who see feelings as more essential to humanity) articulated society’s shaping of what it is to be human in their philosophies, art, literature and music? This interdisciplinary course is designed with humanities lovers in mind. It will provide enthusiasts with an introduction to art and music appreciation, as well as the chance to hone college-level reading and writing skills. Each unit opens with the introduction of a philosophical lens (i.e., Plato’s aesthetic theory, Kant’s sublime, etc.,) that students then use to analyze Neoclassical and Romantic primary sources in art, music, literature, and history. In addition to standard assessments (written homework paragraphs, quizzes, and tests), in each quarter students will either write an essay that applies the philosophical theories they learn to their choice of a work of art, literature or music, or they will create a work that embodies the theory. Honors students will read a full-length work of literature, study and write book reviews of their independent reading, and contribute posts to a blog, “Timeless Solutions to New Problems,” which will apply the historical ideas or theories we study to contemporary social, political or cultural problems.

 

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Humanities II: 20thC Theories of Mind, Gender and Ethnicity/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Arts & Letters IP certification. This course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

What is it to be human? Or rather, how do late 19th- and 20th-century Western thought, literature and art define the individual, especially once philosophers acknowledge that the individual might a) be subject to irrational and subconscious forces and/or b) not be a white male?  This interdisciplinary course provides humanities lovers with an introduction to art and music appreciation, as well as the chance to hone college-level reading and writing skills.  Special attention will be given to post-colonial and feminist art and literature.  Each unit opens with the introduction of a philosophical lens (i.e., Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf and Edward Saîd) that students then use to analyze Modernist primary sources in art, music, literature, and history.   In addition to standard assessments (written homework paragraphs, quizzes, and tests), each quarter students will either write an essay that applies the philosophical theories they learn to their choice of a work of art, literature or music, or create a work that epitomizes the theory. Honors students will engage more deeply with one of the literary works, conduct research on it, write a review and organize Modernist lessons for the class.

 

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission. Completion of Humanities I is not required.

Ideology (Modern Political Thought)/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification.

Why do political conversations and disagreements engender such strong feelings? Why do so many of us avoid political conversation entirely? How can we best talk about politics with those who disagree with us? The purpose of this course at the juncture of history, philosophy, politics, and psychology is to answer these and related questions by examining the often unexpressed or unconscious views and feelings that frame analyses of current affairs. We will do this, first, by studying the history and continuing development of the world’s major ideologies, such as liberalism and conservatism, including ideological ideals, obstacles, and explanations of social reality. We will also examine the distinct assumptions about democracy, freedom, and human nature that each ideological ism contains. Finally, we will apply our knowledge of ideology to understanding major current events.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Introduction to Law/ 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Citizenship & Leadership IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

The Introduction to Law course has several purposes.  First, the course introduces some of the basic concepts, theories and vocabulary related to criminal and civil law and the legal system of the United States. Second, it analyzes some of the core underpinnings of the American political system, specifically constitutional law and the interaction between the government and its citizens regarding civil liberties and rights.  Third, it provides students an opportunity to learn practical information and “survival” skills that can provide a road map to our law-saturated society. Finally, the course will allow students to think critically about the legal issues, laws and public policies that affect the world they live in. The course involves substantial reading and writing. Students also participate in trial simulations, debates, and have opportunities to work with legal professionals.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors, juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Modern Political Rhetoric/ 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Bad Hombres & Deplorables

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars and Citizenship & Leadership IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

Calling all of you “bad hombres,” “deplorables,” and “nasty women” along with “makers and takers,” “gang-bangers,” “red-necks,” “Feminazis,” “yuppies,” “Jesus freaks,” “commies,” and “robber-barons.”  America has experienced increasing political gridlock since the 1990s, and has hit new levels of extremism since the 2016 presidential election. Political rhetoric, the art of political persuasion, has contributed substantially to the gridlock in Washington and the nation as a whole. In this class we will: study the modern history of political rhetoric (of comedians, religious leaders, activists, and politicians); learn how to package political ideas in their most persuasive form; practice rhetorical strategies with each other and another school; and engage in civic advocacy.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Philosophy/1S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

“You must have an open mind for this class! - you’ll be constantly questioning everything that relates to your everyday life.”

— Example Student Testimonial

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Arts & Letters IP certification.

First Semester Philosophy–The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates) In this course we examine such questions as:

- What is the meaning of life?  The purpose of life?  Who decides and how do we do so?

- What is the connection between my mind and body (and soul?)? What does it mean to be an “authentic” person?

- How do I know whether God exists? Can this be proven? What is the role of belief and faith in examining this issue?

- What is art? What is good art?

- What do I know and how can I know it?

- How does language frame our reality?

- In what way am I truly free to choose what I do? What factors influence my choices, i.e. advertising, nature & nurture, my DNA, etc.?

- What is “fairness”?  How can we maintain a just and fair society? What does it mean to behave ethically?

In exploring these and other issues the student will learn the approach taken by some of the greatest thinkers throughout history. Likewise—and more importantly—the student will learn to think critically about issues and arguments as well as to develop their own position on many of the topics.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Philosophy/2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Arts & Letters IP certification.

In this course we examine such questions as:

- What is the meaning of life?  The purpose of life?  Who decides and how do we do so?

- What is the connection between my mind and body (and soul?)? What does it mean to be an “authentic” person?

- How do I know whether God exists? Can this be proven? What is the role of belief and faith in examining this issue?

- What is art? What is good art?

- What do I know and how can I know it?

- How does language frame our reality?

- In what way am I truly free to choose what I do? What factors influence my choices, i.e. advertising, nature & nurture, my DNA, etc.?

- What is “fairness”?  How can we maintain a just and fair society? What does it mean to behave ethically?

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.  

Swords & Ploughshares/ 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

History and Theory of Non-Violence

 

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

Students will investigate horrendous evils and abominable acts in history, art, and film; and pose the question: How can we end such things in our world? We will first explore perspectives of human nature. Then, we will look at wars, psycho/sociopaths, genocide, and evil deeds in light of psychological, philosophical, and historical research. For instance, the Jewish Holocaust will figure significantly into our study with Philip Zimbardo’s seminal text, The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil and Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. Finally we will study Just War Theory to determine if international conflict is morally justifiable, and explore theories of non-violence, especially in collective action, asking together: Can all war, conflict, and violence be overcome through non-violent means (especially in an age of global terror)?   

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

The World Economy Since 1700 1S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification.

This course introduces students to the emergence and development of the modern world economy from its beginnings in the agricultural and industrial revolutions. We will study legal and economic changes that dramatically increased farm output in Western Europe and the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries; varieties of modern economic growth; the long period of instability in the early 20th century; the postwar boom; urbanization; globalization, and the rise of modern China. The course will combine concepts from several academic disciplines including history, geography, economics, statistics, and moviemaking. Students will learn to collect economic data from a variety of sources (academic scholarship, government publications, and current journalism), analyze it in historical perspective, synthesize it and present it in a visually compelling way.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

Theory and Practice of Leadership 1S and/or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: This course is a REQUIREMENT for the Leadership/Citizenship IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement. Honors option available to juniors and seniors. 


The first half of this yearlong class will introduce you to the latest theories on leadership and the diverse set of skills that effective leadership requires. We will also look at real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful leadership and decision-making to help you see how those theories play out in the real world. Moving into the second half, the focus will shift from the classroom to the local community as you identify a leader and an organization you would like to learn from. Seniors Projects and May Term will provide an opportunity for an intensive off-campus internship in which you shadow a leader and perform your own case study.

Pre-requisites: Open juniors and seniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

U.S. Foreign Policy 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification. This course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

The United States has long had a twin reputation for idealism and self-interest in its international relations. This course will introduce you to major theories of international relations and themes related to the history of U.S. foreign policy, as it has been debated both by Americans and members of the international community. The course will begin by addressing Henry Kissinger’s question, “Does America need a foreign policy?” The course will then focus on diplomatic and military relations with foreign countries as well as topics such as immigration, economic relations, missionary activity, and links between foreign policy and domestic politics. Special attention will also be devoted to neighborly relations with Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. While this course is a History course that emphasizes primary and secondary source readings, in-class writing, and the completion of an independent research project, it will also cover concepts from political science, economics, literature, and communications.

Prerequisites: Open to seniors and juniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

War and Peace: the Modern Middle East/ 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: Honors option available to juniors and seniors. This course satisfies a requirement for Global Scholars IP certification. When taken in the spring semester, this course contains a research component that satisfies Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

What is it with the Middle East? The whole region seems to brim with conflict over territory, ethnic strife, and diplomatic conundrums. Some suggest the combustibility of the region is a result of European imperialism (politics), and others point to the centrality of the oil market (economics). Still others identify religious difference (social/cultural factors) as the culprit as. On top of this, the complex combination of forces in play is only half of the problem for anyone trying to understand the Middle East. There is also the problem of how to navigate the different assumptions and biases that have influenced Western understanding (and misunderstanding) of the Middle East over time. This class is designed to face both of these challenges head-on. Students who take this course will explore key events in the history of the modern Middle East, develop a nuanced picture of the forces at work today, and try to imagine what is possible in the future. They will also sharpen primary source analysis skills, expand their argumentative writing toolkit, and conduct independent research.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors, and sophomores with instructor permission.

AP Economics
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: This course does not satisfy Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

 

The fall semester looks at microeconomics—how individuals and companies make decisions. Students examine basic market theory and consumer decision making. The bulk of the semester covers the theory of the firm. Topics include perfect competition, oligopoly, monopolistic competition and monopoly. The role of government is also considered. The semester ends with a brief overview of the history of American economic history. The second semester is the study of macroeconomics—how the nation’s economy functions. The course looks at how to measure the size of an economy, unemployment and inflation. Most of the semester is spent on understanding the tools the government has at its disposal to manage the economy. The unit on international economics includes trade and currency exchange rates. Keeping up with current economic events is an on-going part of the course.

Prerequisites: Complete Honors Pre-Calc or earn a B+ in Analytic Pre-Calc or earn an A in Principles of Pre-Calculus. Open to seniors, and juniors on a space-available basis.

AP Government & Politics
Level: Upper School
Area: History

Note: This course does not satisfy Menlo’s three-year History graduation requirement.

 

This introduction to American and politics is the equivalent of Political Science 101 at many universities and colleges. The course examines the enormous power and control various governments have over their citizens and what affects this has on politics in general. It is designed to help students understand not only the nature and function of government, but also their relationship to it. Students are given an introduction to constitutional theory, analyze the institutions and policies of the United States, and debate the current issues affecting their lives as Americans.

Prerequisites: Earn AT LEAST an A- in U.S. History or AT LEAST a B in AP U.S. History. Open to seniors, and juniors on a space-available basis.

Analytic Geometry and Algebra
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

A primary goal of the freshmen math program at Menlo is to shape a student’s conception of what it means to study mathematics. We want students to shift from thinking of their teacher as a sole locus of knowledge, to thinking that mathematics is a subject in which each student can construct his or her own mathematical understandings. To that end, the AG&A class is, by choice, textbook free. Within each unit of study, students are given daily problem sets from their teachers. New definitions are explained in the context of new problems. Students spend little to no time “taking notes” in a traditional sense. Class time is devoted to students solving problems and engaging in meaningful discussions about these problems, either with a nearby peer, in a small group of peers, or, sometimes, as an entire class. Because any study materials the students have are in large part self-created (they must work through the written problems, rather than reading a textbook author’s solution), we find that the materials are both relevant and meaningful. Topics studied include but are not limited to: systems of equations, angles in a plane, properties of quadrilaterals and regular polygons, properties of parallel lines, problem solving with circular sectors, triangle congruence, polygon similarity, right triangle trigonometry, coordinate geometry, transformations, graphing lines, and finding volumes of solid figures.

Prerequisites: Placement into this class happens via departmental placement test,  or via completion of IGA.

Analytic Geometry and Algebra (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Honors Analytic Geometry & Algebra covers the same course content as the non-honors course. Students move through basic principles and new concepts quickly, spending less time gaining basic practice, and more time engaging with larger multi-step problems. The Honors Analytic Geometry and Algebra course is as much a course in mathematical problem-solving as it is a course in traditional Euclidean geometry.

Prerequisites: Place into this class via departmental placement test.

Integrated Geometry and Algebra
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Integrated Geometry and Algebra is designed for students who enter the ninth grade needing additional review and practice in foundational algebra skills. Although the focus of the first several units is on developing mechanical proficiency, we expect students to move beyond basic procedural competence to develop a strong conceptual understanding of the material. In addition, students will learn how to document their work and how to study effectively for assessments in mathematics. Beginning in the second quarter, the curriculum is integrated with geometry through examination of the following topics: finding slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines, determining points of intersection by solving linear systems, manipulation of radicals and application of the Pythagorean Theorem, solution of Pythagorean inequalities, absolute value as a measure of distance, transformations of graphs of equations (lines, parabolas, and absolute value graphs), and the use of proportions in solving problems involving triangle similarity and right triangle trigonometry. An emphasis is placed on the development of problem solving strategies through applications of algebra to physical science, geometry, and finance. Connections to the ninth grade Physics curriculum are made through units covering mechanics and wave phenomena.

Prerequisite: Place into the class via departmental placement test.

Algebra 2
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

This course introduces students to several topics in secondary mathematics: Functions and their transformations, Inverse Functions, Inequalities, Quadratics, Polynomials, Exponentials, Logarithms, Probability and Combinatorics, and Sequences and Series. Emphasis is placed on process, depth of understanding, and the development of mathematical intuition, not on memorization of rote facts. Students are encouraged to use mathematical methods that are meaningful for them.

Prerequisites: Completion of AGA or AGA (H) or completion of IGA plus recommendation from IGA instructor to take Summer Geometry plus successful completion of Summer Geometry.

Algebra 2 (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

This is an Honors course in Algebra 2. Topics studied include those listed for Algebra 2 plus a thorough treatment of rational functions, principles of end behavior as a precursor to studying limits, radian angle measure and trigonometric functions and their transformations. Problem Sets are designed to challenge students depth and flexibility of understanding, in addition to their mathematical creativity.

Prerequisites: Recommendation from freshmen math instructor in conjunction with the department chair.

Principles of Pre-Calculus
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Building on the algebraic skills acquired in previous classes, this course attempts to deepen and strengthen students’ conceptual understanding and computational fluency. We extend and reinforce key algebraic concepts in the definition, application and manipulation of polynomials and rational functions, refining students’ graphical skills and exploiting technology as an aid to visualization and as an invaluable tool in tackling more complex problems. The heart of the course is devoted to a thorough presentation of the elementary transcendental functions: exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and inverse trigonometric functions. During the second semester students also explore some topics from discrete mathematics including sequences, series, elementary counting techniques and probability.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra 2.

Analytic Pre-Calculus
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

This course offers rigorous preparation for the traditional calculus sequence. Students refine their computational skills, extend their ability to exploit appropriate technology, and practice communicating their insights in written and oral form. After a brisk review of the unifying concept of function, students explore the algebraic complexities of polynomials and rational functions and discover new applications of the exponential and logarithmic functions. Emphasizing careful derivations, students then embark on a sophisticated study of the trigonometric functions and their applications. Students prepare to tackle calculus by exploring limits. During the second semester students will also spend time studying advanced topics selected from areas such as conic sections, linear programming, series, vectors, matrices, and probability and statistics.

Prerequisites: Recommendation of Algebra 2 teacher.

Pre-Calculus (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Pre-Calculus (H) is an honors level pre-calculus course. It is aimed at the independent learners who are comfortable with handling symbolic language and abstract thinking challenges. Students work together in small groups in an effort to discover new concepts and explain new ideas from multiple perspectives. The course is aimed at honing the individual student’s mathematical creativity and providing a broad base of skills prior to taking calculus courses and higher. Students begin the year by engaging with contest level math problems that address many of the topics from Honors Algebra 2. In addition to extending previously studied topics such as transformations of functions, quadratic maximization, graphing rational functions, and exponential and logarithmic functions, the course includes a thorough introduction to limits and the definition of the derivative, an extension of trigonometry including trigonometric identities, the Law of Sines and the Law of Cosines, parametric and polar functions and their graphs, an exploration of methods of proof, and a thorough treatment of vectors and matrices.

Prerequisites: Recommendatoin from the A2H instructor.

Intro to Calculus w/Applications
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

One of the most beautiful and powerful branches of mathematics, calculus has long been the preeminent tool of scientists and engineers. In recent decades it has emerged to play a key role in the study of biology, medicine, economics, and finance. This course introduces students to the elements of differential and integral calculus, placing particular emphasis on applications drawn from the management, social, and life sciences. Students will sharpen (and develop a new appreciation for) their pre-calculus skills as they master and learn to apply derivatives, integrals, and the fundamental theorem of calculus. The focus is kept on conceptual understanding as students develop and apply new algebraic, numerical, and geometric skills. During the second semester the course also provides brief introductions to more advanced topics in mathematics, including partial derivatives, differential equations, and infinite series.

Prerequisites: Completion of Analytic Precalculus, or completion of Principles of Precalculus with a B or higher, or permission from the department.

Statistics
Level: Upper School
Area: Applied Science & Engineering

Statistics is an application of mathematics for understanding the connections in business, the world around us, and the factors that affect change and consideration of options. Students make substantial use of the TI-83 calculator and Fathom statistical software. The course is designed to equip students with many skills:

• Quantitative literacy for use throughout their adult lives.

• Participation advantages for effective and efficient public policy debates.

• Evaluation skills for personal productivity in areas of insurance, health matters, banking, mortgage, leasing, and various other economic matters.

• Analysis of economic trends, predictions, and estimations. Students are exposed to the newspaper and various forms of media and the critical skills required for accurate interpretation and full comprehension of articles that require statistical thinking.

• Designing experiments based upon statistical findings, conducting polls, evaluating scientific claims, and presenting data. Students also examine a large number of case studies, both to appreciate the breadth and power of statistical techniques and to understand the widespread misuse of statistical ideas.

Prerequisites: Completion of Algebra 2.

AP Calculus AB
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

AB Calculus is a rigorous mathematics course that prepares students for the AP Calculus (AB) exam. We encourage students who have been successful with the previous pre-calculus course to consider an AP math class the following year. AB Calculus can be thought of as a turning point in a student’s study of mathematics, as the course demands a highly developed ability to think abstractly and aptly draw on skill sets developed in previous courses to tackle the calculus tasks before them. Teachers are dedicated to encouraging the development of a self-reliant learning style with strong inductive, deductive, and abstract reasoning skills to serve students well in a collegiate environment.

Prerequisites: Recommendation from Analytic Precalculus instructor or completion of Honors Precalculus.

AP Calculus BC
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Beyond becoming prepared for the Advanced Placement examination, students in this course will be expected to acquire a deep understanding of the mathematics of single variable calculus. Topics studied include but are not limited to: the historical development of calculus, and its philosophical implications upon key topics in the history of both science and mathematics; the topics in single variable calculus as defined by the college board’s AP BC Calculus test; advanced Math Projects in areas of student interest.

Prerequisites: Recommendation from Precalculus instructor.

AP Statistics
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

This course prepares students for the AP examination in statistics. The course covers many topics including: an overview of the same material as the non-AP course; advanced topics in probability, more extensive treatment of regression, applications of simulation and statistical modeling, and several additional topics in statistical inference; extensive practice with AP-style open-ended case studies.

If you believe ignorance is bliss, you will find this course upsetting. Learning statistics may render you skeptical of claims that you read in the news or hear from friends. You may wonder if one can ever really be certain about anything. In other math classes, there are clear right and wrong answers. In AP Statistics, the validity of an answer hinges on the clarity and logic of one’s argument.

AP Statistics is the study of data in the face of variation. Questions we ponder include: Could a result be due to chance? Could results be biased? How can you guess what will happen in the future and how confident can you be of that guess?

Prerequisites: Recommendation from A2H or Analytic Precalculus teacher , or completion of Honors Precalculs.

Advanced Topics in Math (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Mathematics

Advanced Topics in Mathematics is designed to provide students who have completed the traditional calculus sequence with the opportunity to continue their mathematical studies, deepening and broadening their understanding and preparing them for the possible further study of mathematics. Topics covered may include multivariable calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, topics in discrete mathematics, and calculus-based probability theory.

Prerequisites: Completion of Honors Precalculus plus either concurrently enrolled in BC Calculus or have completed BC Calculus.

Conceptual Physics
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

This is a conceptual course designed to prepare students for chemistry, biology, and subsequent science courses. This class will focus on fundamental science study skills to give students the tools necessary to succeed in future science courses. The course develops students’ ability to understand concepts, observe phenomena, collect and interpret data, and present and write succinct and coherent lab reports. Problem-solving is introduced with careful attention paid to mathematical understanding. Students collect, graph, and interpret data regularly, often using digital probes interfaced with computers in the laboratory. The course teaches skills and content through a combination of lecture and hands-on experiments and demonstrations. Topics studied include waves, sound, light, mechanics, heat, and electricity & magnetism.

Enrollment in Integrated Geometry and Algebra is required for Conceptual Physics.

Physics 1
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

The freshman physics course is a conceptual course designed as a preparatory course for chemistry, biology, and subsequent science courses. While concepts are stressed, the course involves the use of algebraic equations at a basic level to develop problem solving skills. The course develops students’ ability to observe phenomena, collect and interpret data, and present and write succinct and coherent lab reports. Students collect, graph, and interpret data regularly, often using digital probes interfaced with computers in the laboratory. The course teaches skills and content through a combination of lecture and hands-on experiments and demonstrations. Topics studied include waves, sound, light, heat, mechanics, and electricity & magnetism.

Conceptual Chemistry
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

This course provides a strong foundation in chemistry by favoring application of essential principles over broad coverage of topics. The goal of the course is to build critical skills and interest in the nature of materials through observation of familiar materials and their properties. We will conduct some more involved laboratory studies to link fundamental concepts with common applications of how things work. In addition, the course will focus on organic and biochemistry to prepare students for success in biology. This course is for students who learn best when given time to process and apply material, spending time discovering the significance of basic concepts rather than rapidly addressing new ideas.

Prerequisites: Open to all Sophomores.

Accelerated Chemistry (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

Accelerated Chemistry is a demanding introduction to the foundations of matter and its behavior. Topics include fundamentals as well as modern atomic theory, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, and thermodynamics, drawing upon skills and knowledge gained in physics. In order to cover a broad range of topics and include real-world applications, new topics are introduced quickly and mastery is built through problem-solving and laboratory investigation. Laboratory activities explore increasingly complex systems with numerical techniques where applicable. The course includes a detailed foundation in organic and biochemistry to prepare students for biology. This is a course for students with good analytical skills, curiosity about nature, and desire to apply knowledge in complex ways.

Prerequisites: Earn an A- in freshman Physics.

Biology
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

Biology uses chemistry as a launching point to start students on a journey from microscale to macroscale. Topics explored include biochemical molecules and digestion; cell and organelle structure and function; human physiology and reproduction; genetics and molecular biology; a biotechnology unit that utilizes modern laboratory techniques and explores bioethics; ecology; and evolution. The biology faculty works closely together to develop ways to encourage deeper thinking in our students. This work has resulted in an academically challenging and exciting course that is in a constant state of evolution as the team brings new ideas and approaches to the teaching of biology.

Prerequisites: Completion of Chemistry.

Advanced Topics in Biology (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

Advanced Biology is designed to represent a year of college laboratory biology. The goal of the course is to provide students who enjoy biology an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the process and content of biology. Topics studied include cellular energetics, molecular genetics, plant science, developmental biology and physiology (with an emphasis on systems not studied in Biology, such as immunology, and neurobiology). Considerable emphasis is placed on the development of skills in experimental design and interpretation. Students will learn advanced modern laboratory techniques (such as chromatography, spectrophotometry, microarrays, antibody assays and microscopy). Students should expect regular reading, from both a traditional textbook and other sources such as scientific journals.

Prerequisites: Earn an B+ in Biology or have their Biology teacher’s permission.

Anatomy & Physiology
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

Human Anatomy and Physiology is a course that includes an in-depth study of the eleven body systems that maintain homeostasis from anatomical, physiological, and histological perspectives. The structure and function of the body’s systems will be investigated using microscope investigations, laboratory exercises, and dissections designed to give the student hands on experience with different tissues and organ systems. Additionally, students will be exposed to topics such as medical careers, medical ethics, healthcare and health insurance, as well as what it is like to live with a chronic condition. This course culminates with a visit to the Division of Clinical Anatomy at Stanford University where students will have access to interactive digital resources, physical models, and cadaver specimens. This course will be extremely beneficial to those students seeking a future in health-related fields, however any student would benefit from taking this course as a way to gain a better understanding of how their bodies are designed and the best way to take care of it.

Prerequisites: Complete Chemistry.

AP Chemistry
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

AP Chemistry is a challenging and exciting course which provides an in depth understanding of chemistry. At the end of the course, students are prepared to take the AP Chemistry Exam. AP Chemistry probes deeply into the nature of matter and its changes on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels. Topics include the structure of matter, chemical bonding and orbitals, quantum mechanics, and the role of energy and entropy in reactions among others. The course promotes a qualitative (i.e. descriptive) understanding of chemistry and has a substantial quantitative (i.e. using math and numbers) component as well. The focus of AP Chemistry is on problem solving. There is little to memorize; instead, students master the concepts and learn to apply them to solve many, many problems. In the lab, students learn to be independent as they devise their exact procedure in many of the labs. This course is ideal for those who enjoy the many challenges of science.

Prerequisites: Earn a B+ in Accelerated Chemistry, or earn an A in Conceptual Chemistry and have Conceptual Chemistry teacher’s permission.

AP Physics 2
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

 

AP Physics 2 is a college-level course in physics designed for students interested in studying physics as a basis for more advanced work in the life sciences, medicine, geology, and related areas, or as a component in a non-science college program that has science requirements.  Credit for advanced placement for the AP Physics 2 course provides the student with an opportunity either to have an accelerated college program or to meet a basic science requirement; in either case, the student’s college program will be enriched.

The course includes topics in both classical and modern physics. A knowledge of algebra and basic trigonometry is required for the course; the basic ideas of calculus may be introduced in connection with physical concepts, such as acceleration and work.  Understanding of the basic principles involved and the ability to apply these principles in the solution of problems are the major goals of the course.  The lecture stresses the concepts of physics. The labs develop skills of experimentation, observation, analysis, and use of lab equipment including computers.  Problem-solving emphasizes mathematical and analytical skills as applied to physical laws and concepts.

The course seeks to be representative of topics covered in similar college courses, as determined by periodic surveys. Accordingly, goals have been set for coverage of six general areas:  mechanics, fluids, kinetic theory and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, and modern physics.

 

Prerequisites: Rising sophomores: earn an A in Physics and have Physics’ teachers permission. Rising juniors and seniors:  earn an A- in Physics both semesters or have Ms. Jensen’s permission.

 

AP Physics C
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

AP Physics C is a course for students who are truly interested in how the universe works at a deep level. We will study classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including a full treatment of Maxwell’s equations. We will develop problem-solving techniques using calculus and differential equations and will do in-depth lab investigations of to test theory against experiment. This course will prepare the student for both the Mechanics and  Electricity and Magnetism Physics C AP exams. In general, this course is an excellent preparation for students who intend to start a major in the physical sciences or engineering.

Prerequisites: an A in Physics or an A- in AP Physics 2 or special permission from your teacher.  Simultaneous enrollment in BC Calculus.

Environmental Science
Level: Upper School
Area: Science

Did you know that Cape Town, South Africa is set to be the first major city to run out of water by April 2018? Did you know that the 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive season on record, costing the United States approximately $280 billion dollars in damages? Have you heard of the term environmental injustice  – the majority of those housed near toxic waste sites, congested highways, and landfills are disproportionally people of color in the United States – meaning those populations are subjected to higher air, water, and soil pollution? Many project that by the year 2050 wars will be fought over resources such as clean water and food shortages due to major drought and other natural disasters. The study of environmental science and the need for environmental activism, policy, and reform are paramount to the continued success of our species. Your generation more than any other will see a slew of new environmental issues crop up and will be responsible for solutions for lasting change.  Become a part of this vital and exciting conversation.

This class will be highly interdisciplinary, pulling from geology, earth science, chemistry, biology, history, political science, and current events. Through field trips, lab activities, and outdoor field research we will study the environment and our impact on it, and use critical thinking skills to propose solutions to some of the most important issues of our time.

Foundations 1 French
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes limited or no prior experience with the language. Students will acquire the speaking, writing, and listening skills to be able to understand and use in informal scenarios using common expressions and basic phrases. The course is conducted primarily in the target language and often incorporates authentic materials. At the end of the course, students will be able to talk about familiar scenarios in basic detail :

  • Introduce self and others
  • Create questions about self and about others in the present tense on varying topics
  • Describe self, others, activities
  • Express actions, activities and events in the present tense
  • Discuss own likes, dislikes as well as those of other people
  • Create informal, interpersonal conversations that are culturally appropriate
  • Use and understand appropriate vocabulary for informal settings
Foundations 2 French
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes control of vocabulary and shows no significant, fossilized errors in Novice level material. Students will continue to develop the topics of Level 1, working to enhance acquisition of speaking, writing and listening skills necessary to understand spoken and written material in the target language. The course is conducted primarily in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to talk about familiar scenarios in increasing detail:

  • Express needs
  • Express feelings and reactions to less tangible situations.
  • Express and understand less concrete ideas.
  • Deal with most situations likely encountered while traveling.
  • Describe events, experiences, dreams, hopes, and ambitions.
  • Talk about family, school, and social settings.
  • Demonstrate understanding of culturally appropriate behavior.
  • Give brief explanations for opinions and plans.

Pre-requisite: C or better in Foundations 1 or department placement

Intermediate French
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes control of vocabulary and grammar structures learned in previous levels. The class is designed to strengthen the grammar skills students have acquired, to introduce new advanced grammar, and to lay down the foundation for the interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational skills needed to succeed in advanced language classes. Students continue to use authentic materials such as newspaper articles, documentaries, movies, music, etc. The class is conducted primarily in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to write, to speak, and to orally comprehend familiar (formal and informal) scenarios in great detail and will be able to understand the main ideas in complex texts on concrete and abstract topics:

  • Express themselves in both written and oral communication
  • Demonstrate understanding of spoken and written material in the target language beyond textual comprehension.
  • Connect their own knowledge about the world with the material that is presented to them.
  • Develop critical thinking skills, cultural competency, and understanding of the language from a native speaker’s viewpoint.
  • Interact with a degree of spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers possible without strain for either party.
  • Produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain viewpoint on a topical issue giving advantages and disadvantages of various opinions.

 

Pre-requisite:  C or better in Foundations 2 or department placement

Upper Intermediate French
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Note: This course has an honors option.

This level assumes control of vocabulary and grammar structures learned in previous levels. The class is designed to strengthen the grammar skills students have acquired, to introduce new advanced grammar, and to lay down the foundation for the interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational skills needed to succeed in advanced language classes. Students continue to use authentic materials such as newspaper articles, documentaries, movies, music, etc. The class is fully conducted in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to write, to speak, and to orally comprehend familiar (formal and informal) scenarios in great detail and will be able to understand the main ideas in complex texts on concrete and abstract topics:

  • Express themselves in both written and oral communication
  • Demonstrate understanding of spoken and written material in the target language beyond textual comprehension.
  • Connect their own knowledge about the world with the material that is presented to them.
  • Develop critical thinking skills, cultural competency, and understanding of the language from a native speaker’s viewpoint.
  • Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers possible without strain for either party.
  • Produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain viewpoint on a topical issue giving advantages and disadvantages of various opinions.

NOTE: Upper Intermediate requires an independent learner who is ready to explore new language topics more quickly, to begin using these more advanced concepts in real-life situations, with a strong control of concepts learned in levels 1, 2 and Intermediate, and few or no fossilized errors in expression.

Pre-requisite: B or better in Intermediate or department placement

Adv Seminar Topics French
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Note: This course has an honors option.

This course is designed for incoming students who are fluent or semi-fluent in French and/or for students who have completed Upper Intermediate French or French AP and wish to maintain their speaking, reading and writing skills. The course offers a unique opportunity to explore the many facets of Francophone cultures around the world, and to build solid linguistic competency.

This course is extremely innovative as it uses a non-traditional method, with French feature films as the point of departure for the vocabulary and grammar structures, cultural points, reading selections, writing and communication activities presented in the textbook.

This French language and culture course is conducted entirely in French.

Pre-requisite:  Permission of current instructor

AP French Language and Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is intended for students who wish to develop proficiency by integrating the use of a variety of authentic materials with the four language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course follows the same guidelines and descriptions of the College Board. The level of rigor and expectations of student knowledge is “to be comparable to advanced-level (fifth and sixth-semester or the equivalent) college/university French language courses.” Students who enroll must have a reasonable command of the target language and a basic understanding of the cultures of French-speaking peoples. The class is conducted fully in French, and it is designed to be an in-depth review and fine-tuning of the concepts and skills developed over previous years of study.

Pre-requisite: A- or better in Upper Intermediate or Adv Seminar Topics (with honors option) and permission of current instructor

Japanese 2
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students with three years of previous study in middle school. On the placement test, we look for sufficient mastery of novice level vocabulary and expressions taught in level I (greetings, family, hobbies, dates and time, inviting friends, making appointments), word order with time and location, alternative questions, measure words, and the ability to compose a handwritten paragraph, minimum of 120 characters on topics such as self-introduction, hobbies and making appointments. Students also need to be able to communicate orally at the Novice mid level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors. Students entering this level will be familiar with Japanese word processing. This class and all subsequent levels are conducted in Japanese.

Japanese 3
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students who have completed Japanese 2 and for exceptionally strong students with three years of previous study in middle school. On the placement test, we look for sufficient mastery of beginning intermediate vocabulary and expressions taught in Japanese 1 and 2, and the ability to compose short paragraphs: minimum of 250 characters handwritten essay, on topics such as places, school life, directions, and food. Students also need to be able to communicate orally at the Intermediate Low level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors. Students entering this level will be familiar with Japanese word processing and major Japanese national holidays. This class and all subsequent levels are conducted in Japanese.

Japanese 4
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students who have completed Japanese 4. Students entering this level must demonstrate adequate proficiency of intermediate vocabulary words, expressions and grammar from the Integrated the Adventure in Japanese textbooks 1 and 2. Students in this level receive intensive review and practice of intermediate-level grammar and language functions. Students are expected to be able to communicate at the Intermediate Mid level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors by the end of the year.

AP Japanese Language and Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

AP Japanese Language and Culture is for qualified students who are interested in completing studies comparable in content and difficulty to a full-year course at the second-year college level. Students will read, discuss and analyze texts and media dealing with arts, geography, social and environmental problems, literature, social and cultural practices of the Japan. Students also review the linguistic functions and grammatical structures of intermediary Japanese. Speaking, listening, reading, and writing of Japanese will be practiced and developed further within a cultural framework. Emphasis will be on language as an expression of culture and a medium of communication.

Latin 1
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Latin I introduces us to the world of the ancient Romans. We study the Latin language, culture, daily life, and religion, and we look at English words that derive from Latin. We also do a little speaking.

Latin 2
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

In Latin II we continue learning Latin grammar, history, culture, English derivatives, and we study the Roman Forum in detail.

Latin 3
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Latin 3 continues your study of grammar and syntax at the intermediate level, using Ecce Romani II as our primary text. You will continue to build a larger Latin vocabulary and you will solidify and expand your understanding of Latin in preparation for advanced reading ability. As you build your reading proficiency, you will explore further Roman history, culture and society and its impact on modernity.

Latin 3 (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Latin 3H takes up where Latin 2 left off. We will continue covering the basics of Latin Grammar & Syntax, along with a healthy dollop of cultural background—especially mythology, history and the influence of Latin on English.

Prerequisites: Earn and A- or better in level II and get permission of their current instructor. 

Latin 4
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Both a postlude of Latin 3 and a prelude to the AP, this course offers a chance to read some of the lively Latin not covered by the AP. We will also look at some Roman History and the influence of Roman Civilization on modern life.

Latin 5
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

In Latin 5 the emphasis is on reading original sources. Students also do research and give seminars on the material we read: the lives of the authors, the political/social scene at the time, and the literary genres. We start with a play by Plautus, and then move to prose by an author the class chooses. Of course, no Latin experience would be complete without the poems of Catullus. How much we read is a group decision. If there is time we delve into Ovid’s Metamorphoses or his Ars Amatoria. The main textbook is nodictionaries.com, so there is plenty of flexibility.

AP Latin Vergil
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course follows the AP Vergil syllabus in preparation for the exam in May. We read Vergil’s Aeneid and explore the history, meter, and figures of speech associated with the text. We also review Latin grammar: verbs first semester and nouns second semester. Finally, as time allows, we practice reading unseen passages from various authors.

Prerequisites: Earn an A- or better in level III (H) or IV and get permission of their current instructor. 

Post AP Latin (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

The purpose of this course is to expose students to more authentic and unabridged Latin literature beyond the AP syllabus. Since the AP Latin Literature is no longer offered, this is actually a golden opportunity to read authors other than Catullus and Horace, Ovid, or Cicero and/or to choose with the students the works by these or other authors. They will also continue to review and improve their grasp of Latin grammar and spend time composing in Latin, hopefully both prose and poetry.

Prerequisites: Get permission of their current instructor.

Mandarin 1
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This is a class for students with no previous experience in Mandarin and may also be the appropriate class for a student who has had some previous study of basic grammar, but who does not yet demonstrate written mastery, or who has not studied in a predominantly Mandarin-speaking classroom. This is also a class for students who are weak in pinyin or tones. This class will be conducted mostly in Mandarin toward the end of year.

Mandarin 2
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students with three years of previous study in middle school. This may also be the appropriate class for a student who has some previous study in weekend Chinese school. On the placement test, we look for sufficient mastery of pinyin dictation, pronunciation and tones, novice level vocabulary and expressions taught in level I (greetings, family, hobbies, dates and time, visiting friends, making appointments), word order with time and location, alternative questions, measure words, and the ability to compose a handwritten paragraph, minimum of 120 characters in topics such as self-introduction, hobbies and making appointments. Students also need to be able to communicate orally in the Novice mid level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors. Students entering this level will be familiar with Chinese word processing and major Chinese holidays. This class and all subsequent levels are conducted mostly in Mandarin.

Mandarin 3
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students who have completed Mandarin 2 and for exceptionally strong students with three years of previous study in middle school. This may also be the appropriate class for a student who has some previous study in weekend Chinese school. On the placement test, we look for sufficient mastery of pinyin dictation, pronunciation and tones, beginning intermediate vocabulary and expressions taught in Mandarin 1 and 2, and the ability to compose short paragraphs: minimum of 250 characters handwritten essay, on topics such as weather, directions, and food. Students also need to be able to communicate orally at the Intermediate Low level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors. Students entering this level will be familiar with Chinese word processing and major Chinese holidays. This class and all subsequent levels are conducted mostly in Mandarin.

Mandarin 4
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is for students who have completed Mandarin 3. Students entering this level must demonstrate adequate proficiency of intermediate vocabulary words, expressions and grammar from the Integrated Chinese Level1 Part1 and Part 2 textbook. Students in this level receive intensive review and practice of intermediate-level grammar and language functions. Students are expected to be able to communicate at the Intermediate Mid level of the ACTFL student performance descriptors by the end of the year.

AP Chinese Language and Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

AP Chinese Language and Culture is for qualified students who are interested in completing studies comparable in content and difficulty to a full-year course at the second-year college level. Students will read, discuss and analyze texts and media dealing with arts, geography, history, literature, social, and cultural practices of the Chinese-speaking world. Students also review the linguistic functions and grammatical structures of intermediary Chinese. Speaking, listening, reading, and writing of Mandarin will be practiced and developed further within a cultural framework. Mandarin will be the primary language of instruction. Emphasis will be on language as an expression of culture and a medium of communication.

Prerequisites: A- or better in level IV and permission of current instructor.

Advanced Seminar Topics in Mandarin
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is intended for students to expand and deepen their understanding of language structures, vocabulary, applications, and the social and cultural realities of the world in which they live.

This is a student-centered, cross-curriculum, project-based class.  Skills and content learned in English, History and other disciplines will also be reinforced.  Topics covered will be relevant to current events and historical and cultural topics in the Mandarin-speaking world.  Possible topics for projects may include but are not limited to: persuasive speech, inter-textual analysis, Muslims in China, the Chinese/Asian perspective on World War II, and attitudes surrounding gastronomy and food-related topics.

Some of the topics will be taught and evaluated by visiting instructors from within the department. The course’s communicative approach aims to continue developing students’ oral and written proficiency, and listening and reading comprehension skills.

 

Prerequisites
This course is designed for students who are fluent or near fluent in Mandarin and/or for students who have completed Mandarin 4 or AP and wish to enhance their speaking, reading, listening and writing skills.  Students entering this level are expected to be able to communicate at or above the Intermediate mid-level of the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

Foundations 1 Spanish
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes limited or no prior experience with the language. Students will acquire the speaking, writing, and listening skills to be able to understand and use in informal scenarios using common expressions and basic phrases. The course is conducted primarily in the target language and often incorporates authentic materials. At the end of the course, students will be able to talk about familiar scenarios in basic detail :

  • Introduce self and others
  • Create questions about self and about others in the present tense on varying topics
  • Describe self, others, activities
  • Express actions, activities and events in the present tense
  • Discuss own likes, dislikes as well as those of other people
  • Create informal, interpersonal conversations that are culturally appropriate
  • Use and understand appropriate vocabulary for informal settings
Foundations 2 Spanish
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes control of vocabulary and shows no significant, fossilized errors in Novice level material. Students will continue to develop the topics of Level 1, working to enhance acquisition of speaking, writing and listening skills necessary to understand spoken and written material in the target language. The course is conducted primarily in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to talk about familiar scenarios in increasing detail:

  • Express needs
  • Express feelings and reactions to less tangible situations.
  • Express and understand less concrete ideas.
  • Deal with most situations likely encountered while traveling.
  • Describe events, experiences, dreams, hopes, and ambitions.
  • Talk about family, school, and social settings.
  • Demonstrate understanding of culturally appropriate behavior.
  • Give brief explanations for opinions and plans.

Pre-requisite: C or better in Foundations 1 or department placement

Intermediate Spanish
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This level assumes control of vocabulary and grammar structures learned in previous levels. The class is designed to strengthen the grammar skills students have acquired, to introduce new advanced grammar, and to lay down the foundation for the interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational skills needed to succeed in advanced language classes. Students continue to use authentic materials such as newspaper articles, documentaries, movies, music, etc. The class is fully conducted primarily in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to write, to speak, and to orally comprehend familiar (formal and informal) scenarios in great detail and will be able to understand the main ideas in complex texts on concrete and abstract topics:

  • Express themselves in both written and oral communication
  • Demonstrate understanding of spoken and written material in the target language beyond textual comprehension.
  • Connect their own knowledge about the world with the material that is presented to them.
  • Develop critical thinking skills, cultural competency, and understanding of the language from a native speaker’s viewpoint.
  • Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers possible without strain for either party.
  • Produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain viewpoint on a topical issue giving advantages and disadvantages of various opinions.

NOTE: Level 3 Honors requires an independent learner who is ready to explore new language topics more quickly, to begin using these more advanced concepts in real-life situations, with a strong control of concepts learned in levels 1 and 2 and few or no fossilized errors in expression.

Pre-requisite: C or better in Foundations 2 or department placement

Upper Intermediate Spanish
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Note: This course has an honors option.

This level assumes control of vocabulary and grammar structures learned in previous levels. The class is designed to strengthen the grammar skills students have acquired, to introduce new advanced grammar, and to lay down the foundation for the interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational skills needed to succeed in advanced language classes. Students continue to use authentic materials such as newspaper articles, documentaries, movies, music, etc. The class is primarily conducted in the target language. At the end of the course, students will be able to write, to speak, and to orally comprehend familiar (formal and informal) scenarios in great detail and will be able to understand the main ideas in complex texts on concrete and abstract topics:

·        Express themselves in both written and oral communication

·         Demonstrate understanding of spoken and written material in the target language  

          beyond textual comprehension.

·        Connect their own knowledge about the world with the material that is presented to them.

·        Develop critical thinking skills, cultural competency, and understanding of the language             from a native speaker’s viewpoint.

·        Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with                  native speakers possible without strain for either party.

·        Produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain viewpoint on a  

        topical issue giving advantages and disadvantages of various opinions.

NOTE: Upper Intermediate Spanish requires an independent learner who is ready to explore new language topics more quickly, to begin using these more advanced concepts in real-life situations, with a strong control of concepts learned in levels 1, 2, and Intermediate, and few or no fossilized errors in expression.

Pre-requisite:  B or better in Intermediate or department placement

AP Spanish Language and Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is intended for students who wish to develop proficiency by integrating the use of a variety of authentic materials with the four language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course follows the same guidelines and descriptions of the College Board. The level of rigor and expectations of student knowledge is “to be comparable to advanced-level (fifth and sixth-semester or the equivalent) college/university Spanish language courses.” Students who enroll must have a reasonable command of the target language and a basic understanding of the cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples. The class is conducted fully in Spanish, and it is designed to be an in-depth review and fine-tuning of the concepts and skills developed over previous years of study.

Pre-requisite:  A- or better in Upper Intermediate or Adv Seminar Topics (with honors option) and permission of current instructor

AP Spanish Literature and Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

This course is designed to introduce students to the formal study of a representative body of Peninsular and Latin American literary texts. The course follows the same guidelines and descriptions of the College Board to “provide students with the learning experience of equivalent to that of a third-year college course in Peninsular and Latin American literature.” Students will study in panoramic mode and chronological order Hispanic literature from the 14th through the 20th century. Emphasis is given to careful and close reading, identifying themes, searching for symbols, and making connections. Equal emphasis is given to developing clear writing and analytical skills. Class is conducted in Spanish.

Prerequisite: Permission of current instructor.

Adv. Seminar in Spanish Lang & Culture
Level: Upper School
Area: World Language

Note: This course has an honors option.

This course is intended for students to expand and deepen their understanding of language structures, and the social and cultural realities of the world in which they live. Topics covered will be relevant to current events and some of the topics will be taught and evaluated by visiting instructors from within the department. The course’s communicative approach aims to continue developing students oral and written proficiency, and listening and reading comprehension skills. Students will:

• Examine and discuss aspects of culture and society.

• Discuss and explore new ideas with issues related to the Spanish-speaking world.

• Research a topic of their interest to deepen their understanding.

• Work collaboratively in groups or independently.

Pre-requisite: Permission of current instructor

Introduction to Computer Programming
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

This course, intended for students without significant programming experience, surveys the field of computer science and teaches the rudiments of computer programming using the Java programming language. We begin with a thorough discussion of the elements of procedural programming: variables, types, expressions, statements, decision structures, looping, parameters and methods. By the end of the course students should be competent beginning programmers and have a solid understanding of the programming process and its complexities. The object-oriented nature of Java allows students to deal with new levels of abstraction, and the extensive Java class hierarchy enables beginning students to complete unusually ambitious projects, including game programs with keyboard and mouse input and graphical output. This course is appropriate for students who are new to programming or who already have had some programming experience. Students from all grades may take this class. Freshmen may be admitted if they have demonstrated particularly strong math skills or modest programming experience. Each student is expected to bring his or her laptop to class every day. Menlo may help students acquire laptops where necessary.

Prerequisites: Earn a B or better in current math class or get permission of Mr. Steinberg. Incoming freshman must be entering Analytic Geometry & Algebra Honors or get permission of Mr. Steinberg.

AP Computer Science
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

This course uses the AP subset of the Java programming language to teach the elements of data structures and algorithm design while aiming to make each student a competent programmer. Extensive discussion of linked lists, binary trees, and other topics in elementary data structures is included. We also study classical algorithms for sorting and searching. At the end of the course students should be able to design and implement a medium-sized program, code in a well-structured fashion, and decompose problems into manageable modules. Students are prepared to take the Advanced Placement exam. This course is intended as a follow-up course for students who have done well in Introduction to Computer Programming or an equivalent class taken elsewhere. Our experience is that very strong mathematics students (those concurrently taking Pre-Calculus Honors or AP Calculus BC) are able to jump directly into this class with the help of the optional “computer camp” we offer each summer during the week before the start of the school year. Each student is expected to bring his or her laptop to class every day. Menlo may help students acquire laptops where necessary.

Prerequisites: Earn an A- or better in the Intro to Computer Programming course or be concurrently enrolled in Pre-Calculus Honors or AP Calculus BC or get permission of Mr. Steinberg.

Advanced Topics in Computer Science (H)
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

For more advanced students of computer science, Menlo offers students the opportunity to practice with new programming languages (typical units of study might include Scheme, Python, C, C++, and/or Objective-C), to gain practice with more advanced data structures and algorithms, and to become familiar with a broad selection of topics in computing, including hardware, the Unix operating system, artificial intelligence, and computer graphics. Working in teams and exploiting tools such as version control software, students will also have the opportunity to collaborate on a variety of ambitious programming projects. This course is for students who have successfully completed AP Computer Science. Topics vary from year to year. The course may be taken more than once. Each student is expected to bring his or her laptop to class every day. Menlo may help students acquire laptops where necessary.

Prerequisites: Complete AP Computer Science or get permission of Mr. Cesarotti or Mr. Steinberg.

Introduction to Journalism
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

JOURNALISM I: Introduction to Journalism

Journalism today is not what it was even 10 years ago. Student journalists today need to be able to write and use sources and evidence well, and they also need to be able to shoot video and craft stories for a short-attention-span audience. Many journalists today need to also be entrepreneurs, creating their own audiences and developing business plans that can sustain their work. Students in this course will learn and practice all the skills needed. They’ll also have the chance to get their work published in The Coat of Arms online and in print as soon as the quality is approved by students editors; all students will be expected to be publishing by the second semester, if not sooner.

Skills learned in this course will serve students in higher-level journalism, yearbook, and moviemaking courses; the course is a prerequisite for underclassmen seeking to take Journalism II.

Advanced Journalism
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

JOURNALISM II: Advanced Journalism

 

Students in this class will be members of The Coat of Arms staff, publishing both print and online work. They are encouraged to pursue stories that interest them and engage their audience. The staff of The Coat of Arms is responsible for attracting and keeping an audience of their peers, exploring new ideas and directions all the time and using data analysis to help determine what is effective. Yet this doesn’t mean student journalists will ignore the important role they play in a community, pursuing investigative journalism and informing their audience. The staff is challenged to continually build their communication skills in written, photo and video media. The Coat of Arms is a student-run publication, and it’s ultimately what the students on the staff make it. (Note: Journalism II and Journalism III meet together, in the same room at the same time.)

 

Prerequisite: either completion of Journalism I or previous CoA staff membership, or rising junior/ senior standing.

Journalism Leadership
Level: Upper School
Area: Electives

JOURNALISM III: Journalism Leadership

 

Journalism Leadership is only for newspaper editors. Such students get a unique leadership experience. They must steer the print and online editions of The Coat of Arms, and they must manage their peers on the staff as well. Because of this, students are graded not only on the content they contribute to CoA but also on how well they perform as leaders and managers. Leadership coaching is provided to help them develop and hone these skills. (Note: Journalism II and Journalism III meet together, in the same room at the same time.)

 

Prerequisite: Journalism II & permission of the instructor

Menlo IP Capstone Seminar H 1S or 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: Menlo IP

This course is a REQUIREMENT for any IP certification.

Menlo IP provides students with meaningful opportunities to be knowledge creators and autonomous learners who can forge new ways to distinguish themselves in their studies during their high school years. Students can opt to shape interesting, thoughtful, distinctive academic explorations in four broad Fields of Study. View IP program requirements here.

The IP Capstone Seminar is required for Civic Leadership, Citizenship and Community Engagement, and Arts & Letters IP students. The course will offer support, guidance, and inspiration for your capstone project. Our approach will be skills-focused rather than content-focused, meaning that you will develop and hone the skills needed to successfully envision, produce, and complete a long-term project of your design. Examples of skills we will learn include: design thinking principles in the initial stages, pointers for effective research, advice for contacting professional experts or setting up internships and field visits, advanced practice in written and oral communication skills, and check-ins for staying on track. Students will be expected to meet a series of benchmarks at various stages of your project. The seminar will also provide opportunities for collaboration and sharing among students. Creative group activities, lively discussions, outside speakers, off-campus site visits, TED talks, and pertinent reading will provide inspiration for your project.

Musical Theatre 2S
Level: Upper School
Area: Creative Arts

This course is for the student that is interested in Musical Theatre – both on and off stage. Students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural impact of the Musical Theatre art form in both world and American history and it’s effect on society and culture by studying world-class playwrights, lyricists, and composers.

The class will rehearse, perform, direct, and stage various scenes from the Musical Theatre genre. All are expected to both perform and direct/produce presentations and activities both in-class and “on-stage”.  Audition technique and skills associated with Musical Theatre: singing, acting, movement and production with the use of correct terminology and vocabulary will be explored. 

 

Pre-requisite:   Drama