Upper School Curriculum


Upper School at a Glance

Motivated by their love for learning and desire to take intellectual risks, our Upper School students strive for academic excellence. Students in grades 9 to-12 begin to take on more challenging course work and become more independent and dynamic thinkers in the classroom. Students may place into Advanced Placement (AP) courses starting in grade 10. Once in grade 11, students also have the opportunity to pursue the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma. Advisory meetings are a time for students to develop relationships with peers and faculty members and build skills essential to their personal development. Most importantly, Upper School students are the leaders of our community and often are seen spearheading clubs or activities, organizing House challenges, and presenting and leading sessions during school events.


View Our Course Descriptions
 

Please note that while this guide reflects the current and/or upcoming academic year offerings, courses are subject to change. Families are encouraged to inquire with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Sara Crucet, via scrucet@dwight.global about any specific courses or subject areas of interest. 

Extended Essay

Extended Essay is a months-long independent study that promotes high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, creativity, and communication skills. Culminating in a 4000-word essay midway through the student’s senior year, the Extended Essay provides an opportunity for independent research under the guidance of an experienced mentor or faculty member, and is terrific practical preparation for undergraduate research. Students are asked to select a topic, research it, formulate a clear research question, investigate that question, and answer it clearly and comprehensively in writing. The essay hones analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge skills, and is mandatory for all students in the IB Diploma Program.

  • IB DP Class
Creativity, Action, and Service

The “CAS” course, or Creativity, Activity, and Service, asks students to embody attributes of the IB learner profile, as caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. The three strands of the program are defined as follows: Creativity — exploring ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance; Activity — physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle; and Service — collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need. CAS is at the heart of the Diploma Program and is an IB curriculum requirement of all 11 and 12 grade students. 

  • IB DP Class
Algebra I | Grades 7, 8, 9

Introducing students to the elementary rules of mathematics is the core of this introductory year-long course where students will build a foundation for future math challenges. Through explorations into solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, simplifying exponential and radical expressions, and exploring polynomials, students will discover the awe-inspiring theories behind math, and can expect to master concepts like quadratic and radical equations, using group work, unit exams, and investigations to demonstrate their knowledge.

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra; Departmental permission required to enroll in the Honors section.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Geometry | Grades 8, 9, 10

In this year-long course, students will focus on the theorems of Euclid and the exploration of formal proofs as they strive to not just understand their concepts and properties, but to connect them to the application of numerical and problem-solving solutions. Students will progress through the study of triangle properties and into the three basic trigonometric ratios, working on problems involving two- and three-dimensional objects and the calculation of area, surface area, and volume.

Prerequisite: Algebra

  • Standard/Honors Class
Honors Geometry | Grades 8, 9, 10

In this fast-paced year-long course, students will take a deeper look into the theorems of Euclid and the exploration of formal proofs as they strive to not just understand their concepts and properties, but to connect them to the application of numerical and problem-solving solutions. Through challenging assignments and projects, students will progress through the study of triangle properties and into the three basic trigonometric ratios, working on problems involving two- and three-dimensional objects and the calculation of area, surface area, and volume.

Prerequisite: Algebra; Departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Algebra II & Trigonometry | Grades 9, 10, 11

A strong emphasis on the mathematical application of a variety of algebraic and trigonometric concepts form the basis of this year-long class, which will focus on the use of technology and inquiry-based learning and guide students toward an appreciation of how math plays out in the real world. Students can expect to explore topics such as transformations, exponential and logarithmic applications, and sequences and series. In applying their mathematical skills, students will also master many different forms of functions, including trigonometric functions, through rigorous analysis and examinations. This course will foster the confidence and understanding required to excel in PreCalculus.

Prerequisite: Geometry

  • Standard/Honors Class
Honors Algebra II & Trigonometry | Grades 9, 10, 11

A strong emphasis on the mathematical application of a variety of algebraic and trigonometric concepts form the basis of this year-long class. Students can expect to explore challenging topics including: linear functions and systems of linear equations and inequalities, quadratic functions and complex numbers, exponential and Logarithmic functions, rational and irrational Algebraic functions, trigonometric and circular functions, trigonometric Identities, triangle Problems, and more. The fast pace and focus on independent learning in this course will prepare students for further success in advanced mathematical concepts and courses.

Prerequisite: Geometry; Departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Precalculus | Grades 10, 11, 12

Understanding the theories of mathematics is crucial for achieving a rigorous, successful math education journey. In this year-long course, students will develop a core understanding of the theoretical concepts of calculus that will lay the groundwork for future learnings. We’ll cover topics like the algebra of functions (such as quadratic, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions), trigonometric functions (including definitions, identities, trigonometric equations, applications, and properties and graphs), and limits, rates, and derivatives. Students will regularly embrace technologies to reinforce the relationships they’ll discover among the multiple representations of functions, as well as to experiment and confirm their progress.

Prerequisite: Algebra II & Trigonometry

  • Standard/Honors Class
Honors Precalculus | Grades 10, 11, 12

Building on the skills students developed in the prerequisite Algebra II Honors course, this year-long class will enable students to improve their skills in analyzing problems, testing approaches, and explaining their methods, while exploring new concepts involving limits, slopes of lines, areas under curves, and kinematics problems. With compelling assignments and discussions, students will deepen their knowledge and appreciation of algebra, trigonometry, and geometric concepts.

Prerequisite: Algebra II & Trigonometry; Departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Statistics | Grade 11, 12

From collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data to exploring set theory and probability, this year-long course will set the stage for understanding the essentials of statistics. Students will progress through the basics to using descriptive statistics to effectively summarize sets of data before moving into more challenging concepts, such as making predictions based on various distribution models, regression analysis, hypothesis testing, and mathematical modeling, working on real-world tasks to make connections. Core coursework will be supplemented with an independent statistical study each student will design and implement.

Prerequisite: Two years of High School Math; Departmental permission required to enroll in the Honors section

  • Standard/Honors Class
Calculus | Grade 11, 12

This year-long introductory course focuses on the concepts and skills of limits, derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students can expect to devote time to differential and integral calculus concepts and problems as represented graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally, and to make connections between those representations, using technology to solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and support their conclusions.

Prerequisites: Algebra II & Trigonometry and Precalculus; Departmental permission required to enroll in the Honors section

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Statistics | Grade 11, 12

Based on the four themes of exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference, this year-long course is roughly equivalent to a semester of college statistics, and enforces the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Using technology, including graphing calculators, investigations, problem-solving, and writing, students can expect to build conceptual understanding as they prepare for the Advanced Placement exam.

Prerequisite: Two years of High School Math; Departmental permission required

  • AP Class
AP Calculus AB | Grade 11, 12

With a focus on differential and integral calculus concepts, this year-long course will explore limits, derivatives, definite integrals, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and more. Students will discover how to approach calculus concepts and problems when they are presented graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally, and to make connections among those representations. Rigorous coursework will help prepare students for the Advanced Placement test; this course is roughly equivalent to a first-semester college Calculus course.

Prerequisites: Algebra II & Trigonometry and Precalculus

  • AP Class
Biology | Grade 9

Understanding the basis of life and lifeforms comes from the study of biology, and in this year-long introductory course, students will explore the diversity of life, from the molecular to the community level, as they make use of the scientific method. Topics such as evolution, the interrelationship between the structure and function of living things, and human interaction with the natural environment will help students develop a solid understanding of biology, forming a framework of future studies in the fields of biology or environmental science. Students can expect exciting lab work and simulation activities as they explore ecology, organic molecules, cellular structure and function, cell division, genetics, diversity and classification of living things, and animal behavior. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Chemistry | Grade 10

The fundamental concepts of chemistry will be explored in this year-long introductory course, where students will be expected to use mathematical, analytical, data acquisition, and communications skills to develop an understanding of a variety of topics. With coursework spanning atomic theory and its relation to chemical behavior, chemical bonding, the mole and stoichiometry, molecular kinetics, energy relationships, and solution behavior, students will form a strong foundation of chemistry that will serve them well in future scientific subjects. The Honors section of Chemistry takes a deeper look into these concepts and offers more challenging assignments and projects that will prepare students for more advanced chemistry classes, including Advanced Placement and college-level courses.

Prerequisites: Biology, Algebra 1

  • Standard/Honors Class
Honors Chemistry | Grade 10

The fundamental concepts of chemistry will be explored in this fast-paced, year-long introductory course, where students will be expected to use mathematical, analytical, data acquisition, and communications skills to develop an understanding of a variety of topics. With coursework spanning atomic theory and its relation to chemical behavior, chemical bonding, the mole and stoichiometry, molecular kinetics, energy relationships, and solution behavior, students will form a strong foundation of chemistry that will prepare them for more advanced chemistry classes, including Advanced Placement and college-level courses.

Prerequisites: Biology, Algebra 1

  • Standard/Honors Class
(HS) Environmental Science | Grade 11, 12

What is the Earth composed of, and how do humans impact its biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere? Students can expect to study concepts in geology, meteorology, oceanography, climatology, astronomy, and more in the year-long course that will emphasize human interactions with the geological and environmental systems. Working both independently and within groups, students will understand the predictability of a dynamic Earth, the origin and evolution of the Earth’s system and the universe, geochemical cycles, energy in the Earth system. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Anatomy & Physiology | Grade 11, 12

What relationships exist between the structures of the human body and its functions? Students will explore those kinds of questions in this year-long introductory course to human anatomy and physiology from an integrative perspective. Understanding the mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within the human body as well as examining the structure and function of the skeletal system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, and many more will help students develop an appreciation for bodies and all they can accomplish. Students can expect engaging laboratory and simulation activities, clinical studies, models, diagrams, projects, and compelling discussions. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Physics | Grade 11, 12

Students will explore the fundamental concepts of physics in this rousing exploration into the behavior of the universe, with an emphasis on developing both a conceptual understanding of the subject as well as practicing qualitative analyses of general physics principles and models. Through guided inquiry, students will be engaged and inspired as they expound on the nature of scientific theory, incorporating all the critical components that comprise the study of physics, including algebra and trigonometry. Students can expect to hone their critical thinking skills in this year-long course as they examine the core principles of physics through rigorous work, covering such topics as kinematics, mechanics, thermal physics, momentum, waves, and electric currents and circuits. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Algebra I; Co-requisite: Geometry

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Biology | Grade 11, 12

With a focus on helping students examine the “big ideas” of biology, this year-long course involves inquiry-based investigations into a range of compelling topics, including evolution, cellular processes, energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. Equivalent to a college-level introductory biology course, it’s a fast-paced deep dive into biology’s core scientific principles, theories, and processes, as well as subjects such as genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. In preparation for the Advanced Placement test, students will perform hands-on laboratory work and virtual labs, led by inquiry-based investigations to enable opportunities for them to apply the science practices.

Prerequisites: successful completion of Biology

  • AP Class
AP Chemistry | Grade 11, 12

Expanding on the fundamental concepts of chemistry, including structure and states of matter, intermolecular forces, and reactions forms the basis of this year-long, fast-paced course, which essentially replicates a two-semester freshman college chemistry class. Structured around the six big ideas of chemistry, students will explore the seven science practices that capture the crucial aspects of chemistry and can expect to design experiments to test theories, create graphs and models to represent chemical phenomena, balance chemical equations, and more, all in preparation for the Advanced Placement exam. Hands-on lab work, high-level experiments, and rigorous classroom discussions make this course stand out from the non-AP course.

Prerequisites: successful completion of Chemistry

  • AP Class
AP Physics 1 | Grade 11, 12

With a deep commitment to helping students develop complex understandings of the foundational principles that shape classical mechanics, this year-long course is an algebra-based, college-level option that will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test. Students can expect to develop the ability to reason about physical phenomena using crucial science practices as they cultivate advanced knowledge of physics concepts including systems, fields, force interactions, change, conservation, and waves. Classroom study and inquiry-based laboratory work will aid them in developing skills to explain relationships, apply and justify the use of mathematical routines, design experiments, analyze data, and make connections across topics.

Prerequisites: Algebra II, Chemistry, Precalculus

  • AP Class
Health Education | Grades 9-12

Empowering young people to live an active, health-focused lifestyle begins with clear, science-based approaches. In this year-long course, students will explore not just the tactical ways to eat well, sleep better, manage stress, and incorporate physical activity, but the data behind why those are all crucial to living a healthy life. Students will evaluate their personal health and set specific, achievable goals, using a variety of health-focused research and approaches, including online group discussions, reviewing health products, and designing mock public service announcements about health-related topics. With a focus on equipping students to make informed decisions, this course provides a powerful foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits.

  • Standard/Honors Class
French I | Grades 7, 8, 9

Bienvenue to this year-long introductory French class! Students will embark on the exciting journey of language acquisition by studying the fundamental building blocks of French, focusing on the four key areas of world language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Extensive use of authentic materials (video, audio, images, texts) will provide students a contextualized and interactive presentation of the vocabulary and the linguistic structures, setting them up for success in future language learnings. Students can expect to work collaboratively and independently as they formulate and test hypotheses about different aspects of the French language, all the while developing metacognitive strategies to process and negotiate the meaning of new vocabulary. Consistent and relevant francophonic references and materials will further immerse students as they start their foray into French language and culture. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
French II | Grades 7-10

Using the tools introduced in earlier work, this year-long class will build on existing francophone concepts and provide students with fresh insights and understanding of French language and culture. Using many forms of francophone media, from music to film to news articles and more, students will increase their access to various French concepts while exploring more sophisticated vocabulary, grammar, and structure concepts. With a goal of helping students not just learn French, but learn to love it, students will interact with each other and the culture in new ways, applying their content language through exciting projects -- such as recording podcasts, exchanging correspondence with francophone students, creating an itinerary for a trip, analyzing modern French movies, and more. By the end of the course students will demonstrate ability in discussing current events in French, conversing or debating with French speakers, and identifying the nuances of the language. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: French I or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
French III | Grades 8- 11

Improving linguistic sophistication while also building students’ confidence in their French skills are the hallmarks of this year-long course. Students with an existing understanding of French, established in earlier introductory courses, can expect to continue communicating through the four competencies of language acquisition: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. A focus on French grammar, including the passé composé, passé simple, conditionnel, and plus-que-parfait tenses, as well as the subjunctive mood, will challenge students as they grow into the ability to discuss and debate French and francophone history, culture, and current events. Students will enjoy immersing themselves in French culture through film and readings that will anchor their projects, including an in-depth study of the classic (and beloved) Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: French II or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
French IV | Grades 9-12

Continued progression through French language concepts and culture make this fourth-year, year-long course a chance for students to sharpen their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in immersive ways. New vocabulary areas will help students as they explore increasingly complex grammatical structures. Engaging with many francophone authentic materials, including literature, videos, radio clips, podcasts, movies, music, newspaper articles, magazines, and more will drive a refreshed and authentic interest in and understanding of francophone culture, histories, and peoples. Departmental permission required. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: French III or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Introduction to Francophone Literature | Grades 11, 12

With a focus on immersing students into the important texts of French culture, this year-long course will help strengthen skills in advanced French grammar and formal vocabulary through analysis of both classic and contemporary francophone literature. By employing “thèse,” “anti-thèse,” and “synthèse” discussion and debate techniques to examine culturally-relevant themes in the texts, students can expect to heighten their understanding of both French language and culture, produce written compositions, and practice Socratic seminars to improve their active reading skills. Texts such as Faïza Guène's "Kiffe Kiffe Demain," Gaston Leroux’s “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra,” Patrick Modiano's "Dora Bruder," and Guy de Maupassant’s short stories may be studied. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: French IV or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP French Language and Culture | Grades 11, 12

Communicating clearly and effectively in French and preparing students for the French Advanced Placement test forms the core goal of this year-long course. With an emphasis on clarity and communication -- specifically, being understood by French speakers and understanding those speaking French -- will occur through students’ application of interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational French skills using real-life situations. From vocabulary to language control, from cultural awareness to communication strategies, this course enables students to hone in on the specific and practical nuances of this world language so they can be most effective. Taught almost exclusively in French, the course will also engage students in an exploration of francophone culture, including its tools, practices, and perspectives.

Prerequisites: French IV or departmental permission required

  • AP Class
Mandarin I | Grades 7, 8, 9

In this year-long course that introduces students to a range of basic Mandarin vocabulary and grammatical concepts, students can expect to form a clear understanding of the fundamental building blocks of language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. From the Mandarin alphabet and numbers to basic descriptions of people, places, food, animals, and more, this course lays the necessary groundwork for a thriving, immersive Mandarin experience. Extensive use of authentic materials (video, audio, images, texts) will provide students a contextualized and interactive presentation of the vocabulary and the linguistic structures, setting them up for success in future language learnings. Students can expect to work collaboratively and independently as they formulate and test hypotheses about different aspects of the Mandarin language, all the while developing metacognitive strategies to process and negotiate the meaning of new vocabulary. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Mandarin II | Grades 7-10

Using the tools introduced in earlier work, this year-long class will build on existing Mandarin concepts and provide students with fresh insights and understanding of Chinese language and culture. Using many forms of Chinese media, from music to film to news articles and more, students will increase their access to various concepts while exploring more sophisticated vocabulary, grammar, and structures. This course emphases spelling with the pinyin system, tone accuracy, numbers, calendar components and time, basic greetings, character writing, and grammatical structures. With a goal of helping students not just learn Mandarin, but learn to love it, students will interact with each other and the culture through in-class writing drills, engaging quizzes, conversation practices, and grammar drills, building on their ability to converse in the language. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Mandarin I or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Mandarin III | Grades 8- 11

Building on their existing skills in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Mandarin, students in this year-long course will learn to better communicate in a variety of ways as they build up a solid foundation in character writing. They’ll expand upon their base of knowledge and branch into the areas of spelling within the pinyin system and tone accuracy. Through use of technology-based learning activities, task-based projects, individual and collaborative projects, and group discussions, students will become immersed in Chinese culture while they progress into more advanced elements of Mandarin grammar and composition. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Mandarin II or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Mandarin IV | Grades 9-12

Continued progression through Chinese language concepts and culture make this fourth-year, year-long course a chance for students to sharpen their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in immersive ways. Conducted almost entirely in Mandarin, this class emphasizes class discussions, oral drills, and storytelling, while reading and writing skills will be strengthened through project-based learning activities centered around Chinese culture, including important histories, festivals, films, and present-day concerns like COVID-19. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Mandarin III or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Chinese Language and Culture | Grades 11, 12

Communicating clearly and effectively in Mandarin and preparing students for the Chinese Advanced Placement test forms the core goal of this year-long course. With an emphasis on clarity and communication -- specifically, being understood by Mandarin speakers and understanding those speaking Mandarin -- will occur through students’ application of interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational Mandarin skills using real-life situations. From vocabulary to language control, from cultural awareness to communication strategies, this course enables students to hone in on the specific and practical nuances of this world language so they can be most effective. Taught almost exclusively in Mandarin, the course will also engage students in an exploration of Chinese culture, including its tools, practices, and perspectives.

Prerequisites: Mandarin IV or departmental permission required

  • AP Class
Spanish I | Grades 7, 8, 9

Bienvenidos to this year-long course that introduces students to a range of basic Spanish vocabulary and grammatical concepts. From the Spanish alphabet and numbers to basic descriptions of people, places, food, animals, and more, this course lays the necessary groundwork for a thriving, immersive Spanish experience. Students will learn concepts behind feminine and masculine nouns, plural, negatives, present-tense verbs, and the irregular verbs “to have” and “to be.” A range of Spanish reading strategies will be introduced and students will develop an understanding of both oral and written Spanish words, including a special focus on pronunciation and intonation. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Spanish II | Grades 7-10

Using concepts from Spanish 1, this year-long course will advance students into more sophisticated levels of Spanish language understanding. From conversational topics on daily routines, shopping, and finding one’s way around to planning parties, playing sports, and participating in leisure activities, the Spanish vocabulary in this course will further immerse students in this popular and useful language, setting them up for a solid understanding of concepts and phrases. Students will cover conjugation of regular and irregular verbs, making negative statements, possessive adjectives, reflexive verbs, the preterit tense, and the immediate future -- and will use their new skills to make comparisons between their own cultures and those of the Spanish-speaking world. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Spanish I or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Spanish III | Grades 8-11

Building on their existing skills in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish, students in this year-long course will learn to better communicate in a variety of ways as they continue studying Spanish dialects, cultures, and history. They’ll expand upon their base of knowledge and branch into the areas of launching and maintaining conversations in Spanish, expressing their feelings and emotions, and exchanging opinions using conditional, future, and past tenses of Spanish. While proceeding at their own pace, students in this course can also look forward to working together towards a common goal: becoming more proficient in this important world language. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Spanish II or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Spanish IV | Grades 9-12

Continued progression through Spanish language concepts and culture make this fourth-year, year-long course a chance for students to sharpen their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in immersive ways. Vocabulary will span the areas of work, vacation, sports, society, the arts, and media as students explore increasingly complex grammatical structures with a focus on the present, past, future, conditional, and subjunctive tenses. Engaging with texts and materials from the Spanish speaking world will drive a refreshed and authentic interest in and understanding of Spanish culture, histories, and peoples. Honors section available.

Prerequisites: Spanish III or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Hispanic Literature and Film | Grades 11, 12

Drawing on a selection of films and literary works, students will use their advanced Spanish language skills to reflect in depth on themes such as science and technology, current issues, history, geography, art, film, and music. Thought-provoking short stories and other literary works, intertwined with engaging films, will provide students with many conversation strands alongside activities related to the theme of each lesson. Students are expected to possess knowledge of sophisticated grammatical concepts and vocabulary, which enable them to read works from significant Hispanic authors.

Prerequisites: Spanish IV or departmental permission required

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Spanish Language and Culture | Grades 11, 12

Communicating clearly and effectively in Spanish and preparing students for the Spanish Advanced Placement test forms the core goal of this year-long course. With an emphasis on clarity and communication -- specifically, being understood by Spanish-speakers and understanding Spanish speakers when they speak -- will occur through students’ application of interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational Spanish skills using real-life situations. From vocabulary to language control, from cultural awareness to communication strategies, this course enables students to hone in on the specific and practical nuances of this world language so they can be most effective. Taught almost exclusively in Spanish, the course will also engage students in an exploration of Spanish culture, including its tools, practices, and perspectives.

Prerequisites: Spanish IV or departmental permission required

  • AP Class
Computer Science (Python) | Grades 9-12

Understanding how computer programming can be used as a tool for problem solving is the foundation of this introductory course, where students will explore Python, one of the most widely used and versatile programming languages in the world. Through challenging and exciting coding assignments, students will discover procedural programming through Python, covering such constructs as loops, condition statements, variables, data types, lists, and functions. From challenges like code breaking to solving puzzles through simulations, this year-long course will lay a solid groundwork for students interested in coding, and serves as a launchpad for more advanced Computer Science courses. 

No previous programming experience required

  • Standard/Honors Class
Business & Entrepreneurship | Grades 9-12

Small businesses are the backbone of a thriving economic system, and in this course students will explore the essential skills and theories needed to launch a small business -- and, crucially, to understand how to bring it to scale. Students will personalize their studies by focusing on a business of interest and tackling the components of a startup that interest them most, from business development to accounting systems to market research and more. This course was developed specifically to give students an opportunity to diversify their understanding of business and set them up for future success in the field. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Economics | Grades 9-12

In this engaging introductory course, students will understand the foundational principles of economics, including how local economies develop and the concepts of supply and demand. They’ll explore ideal pricing and resource allocation, develop awareness of how different economies interact to form a global marketplace, and discover how economics forces individuals to make choices -- and how those choices then govern our behaviors. Students can also expect to explore concepts related to personal finance, the stock market, and wealth management, ending the term with a firm grasp on local and global economies and on how economics governs our individual lives and the decisions governments make. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Psychology | Grades 9-12

In this year-long introductory course to the study of human behavior and thought processes, students will tackle the theme of “Making Sense of Ourselves and Other People.” Students will explore the universal questions in life, such as “How can I tell if somebody likes me?” or “What causes prejudice in the world?”, and can expect to launch an understanding of the methods and approaches of psychology. Grounding our explorations will be the core areas of social, cognitive, developmental, biological, and individual differences. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Environmental Science | Grades 11, 12

New course offering for the 2021-22 school year — description coming soon.

  • AP Class
AP Music Theory | Grades 10, 11, 12

New course offering for the 2021-22 school year — description coming soon.

  • AP Class
English 9 | Grade 9

The fundamental skills of reading, analyzing, and responding in writing to both informational and literary texts forms the core of this year-long course. With a focus on engaging texts, including relevant, contemporary works, students will build knowledge and develop the tools they need around organization, style, and content in order to analyze an author’s intent and strengthen their own writing. Students can expect to compose narrative, expository, and argumentative works while also improving their skills in grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
English 10 | Grade 10

In this year-long course, students can look forward to lively, relevant readings and discussions to help them progress their writing, reading, and analysis skills using more advanced texts and literary concepts. Rigorous writing assignments will continue to help students evolve their literary analyses to texts while they also improve in the fundamentals of organization, style, and content and further hone their critical thinking and writing abilities. Continued lessons on grammar and mechanics will help students up-level their writing skills as we explore more advanced compositions. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
English 11 | Grade 11

Through advanced approaches to reading, analyzing, and responding in writing to contemporary and classic texts, students will continue improving literacy skills in this year-long course that will prepare them for the challenges that await them in English 12, college-level English courses, and beyond. While the fundamentals of grammar, mechanics and vocabulary will continue to be developed, students are expected to leave the course with demonstrated understanding of the concepts of quality writing and literary analysis, tackling increasingly advanced texts that relate to the world around them. The focus will be on refining analysis and writing skills as they relate to organization, evidence use, and focus. Students will also develop communication skills (speaking and listening) in both synchronous and asynchronous discussion, presentation, and peer feedback. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
Modern World History | Grade 9

Through the frameworks of communities, networks, and production and distribution, students will study the three most recent eras in human history as part of this year-long course that serves as the ideal follow-up to Ancient World History. Explorations include the First Global Age, when the world shifted from regional to global networks; the Age of Revolutions, including Enlightenment and its resulting political revolutions, including the Industrial Revolution, European Imperialism and Colonial Responses; and the pivotal events of the 20th century, including two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and decolonization. Students will consider how all these events are interconnected, and how modern advancements in technology drive further change, using engaging class work and discussions. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
(HS) United States History | Grade 10

Understanding the evolution of the United States from its beginnings as a colony to its height as a global superpower begins with this year-long course, where students will focus on the social, political, and economic aspects of U.S. history. Segmented into three themes (the developing nation; forces of change; the road to modernization), coursework will focus on critical moments of change, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of globalism, and more, through diverse lenses and examinations of race, gender, and class. Students can look forward to vibrant debate and discussions as they use relevant materials, including primary and secondary sources, to analyze their own place within history and develop key critical thinking skills. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP United States History | Grade 10

From pre-Columbian civilizations to its height as a global superpower, the history of the United States is complex and vast, and this year-long course will cover the ideals upon which the U.S. was founded in addition to its influence on the rest of the world. Students can expect to deeply analyze both primary and secondary sources as they discuss and debate history, becoming empowered to engage in government as informed citizens through their understanding of the historical development of the economic, social, and political systems. Challenging and fast-paced coursework will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

  • AP Class
US Government & Politics | Grade 11

From the founding of the country to its present day, the complete story of American government and politics will be examined in this year-long course as students explore the founding ideals of the nation and their lasting influence on politics and government through in-depth research, discussion, and debate. Students can look forward to becoming empowered and informed citizens as they develop an understanding of the structure, historical development, and functions of government. Honors section available.

Prerequisite: successful completion of U.S. History

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP United States Government & Politics | Grade 11

An intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system, this year-long course emphasizes policy-making and implementation and includes the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics, and analysis of specific moments in history. Students should be familiar with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics, and can expect to examine a variety of theoretical perspectives on government behaviors and outcomes while analyzing and interpreting relevant data. Engaging debate and coursework will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

Prerequisite: successful completion of U.S. History

  • AP Class
European History | Grade 12

From the basic chronology of modern European history to the major milestones, including the Renaissance through the post-Cold War era, this year-long course explores the political-diplomatic, social-economic, and intellectual-cultural histories of Europe. Through thought-provoking class discussions, group projects, and independent study, students will draw connections between historical developments throughout the continent, studying both general European history as well as major events in Britain, France, Spain, Russia, the German states, and the Italian states. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP European History | Grade 12

From the basic chronology of modern European history to the major milestones, including the Renaissance through the post-Cold War era, this year-long course explores the political-diplomatic, social-economic, and intellectual-cultural histories of Europe. Centered around seven themes -- Interaction of Europe and the World, Economic and Commercial Developments, Cultural and Intellectual Developments, States and Other Institutions of Power, Social Organization and Development, National and European Identity, and Technological and Scientific Innovation -- this course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test and lead them through thought-provoking class discussions, group projects, and independent study as they draw connections between historical developments throughout the continent.

  • AP Class
AP World History: Modern | Grade 12

An immersive examination of the events throughout history that shaped the world, from 1200 CE to present day, this year-long course is set at a fast pace and offers exciting academic challenges for students preparing to take the Advanced Placement test. Students will develop higher-level thinking skills and examine sophisticated themes in history, drawing connections between them and seeking to understand the major events of the world and their impact on our lives today.

  • AP Class
IB DP Business Management | Grade 11

Students cover a wide breadth of material, including business organization as an environment, accounting, and finance, human resources, marketing, operations,and business strategy. Students investigate the purpose of businesses and advantages and disadvantages of various organizational structures. The financial portion of business is introduced during the accounting and finance unit, in which students learn not only how to build the three basic final accounts but also how to conduct ratio analysis while analysing the meaning behind these calculations. In the marketing unit, students categorize and discuss many intuitive concepts, and assess the fit of marketing mix to a good or service.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP History I | Grade 11

History is an exploratory subject that fosters a sense of inquiry. It is also an interpretive discipline, allowing opportunity for engagement with multiple perspectives and opinions. Studying history develops an understanding of the past, which leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of humans and of the world today. The Diploma Programme (DP) history I course focuses on Euroepan and Asian historical topics spanning from 1850- 1945. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Economics | Grade 11

Economics is an exciting, dynamic subject that allows students to develop an understanding of the complexities and interdependence of economic activities in a rapidly changing world. At the heart of economic theory is the problem of scarcity. While the world’s population has unlimited needs and wants, there are limited resources to satisfy these needs and wants. As a result of this scarcity, choices have to be made. By focusing on the six real-world issues through the nine key concepts (scarcity, choice, efficiency, equity, economic well-being, sustainability, change, interdependence and intervention), students of the DP economics course will develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will encourage them to act responsibly as global citizens. Students produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on published extracts from the news media using the key concepts as a lens. 

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Biology | Grades 11, 12

This course is the first half of the intensive two-year IB Diploma Programme Biology course that is very similar to an introductory college-level biology course. Higher Level, compared to Standard Level will cover topics at a greater depth and faster pace and is suited to students who may be considering a career in science or medicine. All students are welcome to take Standard Level. Students rigorously engage in a detailed exploration of biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, biostatistics, and the human body systems. Students also spend a significant amount of time linking the various biological concepts they learn to relevant global issues such as nutrition, health, and the politics of the food and drug industries. Students are encouraged to challenge many of the established paradigms and to examine the discipline from multiple perspectives. Students complete a multiplicity of formative and summative assessments, quizzes and exams, critical thinking problems, data interpretation, and several laboratory investigations.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Language B | Grades 11, 12

IB Language B is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and intercultural understanding to enable them to communicate successfully in an environment where the language studied is spoken. Language B is a language acquisition course designed for students with some previous experience of the target language. Students further develop their ability to communicate through the study of language, themes and texts. There are five prescribed themes: identities, experiences, human ingenuity, social organization and sharing the planet.   Both language B SL and HL students learn to communicate in the target language in familiar and unfamiliar contexts. The distinction between language B SL and HL can be seen in the level of competency of the student.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Physics | Grade 11

Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. The sciences are taught practically. Students have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. The investigations may be laboratory based or they may make use of simulations and databases. Students develop the skills to work independently on their own design, but also collegiately, including collaboration with schools in different regions, to mirror the way in which scientific research is conducted in the wider community. Students study a mathematical treatment of simple harmonic motion, electricity and magnetism and magnetic induction, thermal physics, nuclear physics, and and introduction to quantum physics.

  • IB DP Class
AP Calculus BC | Grade 11, 12

Using the foundation of calculus concepts from AP Calculus AB, this year-long course will enable students to further explore more challenging and sophisticated calculus concepts, such as additional methods of integration, Polar Coordinates, and Infinite Series concepts. Due to the rigorous coursework, this class is roughly considered to be the equivalent of the first three semesters of a college Calculus course, and will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

Prerequisites: Calculus, AP Calculus AB or Departmental permission

  • AP Class
English 12 | Grade 12

To help prepare for the challenges that await in college-level English courses and beyond, students in this year-long course will continue improving literacy skills through advanced approaches to reading, analyzing, and responding in writing to contemporary and classic texts. While the fundamentals of grammar, mechanics and vocabulary will continue to be developed, students are expected to leave the course with demonstrated understanding of the concepts of quality writing and literary analysis, tackling increasingly advanced texts of different genres that relate to the world around them. The focus in English 12 will be on building increased independence in reading and analyzing complex texts while making connections between classwork and their own lives. Honors section available.

  • Standard/Honors Class
AP Computer Science A | Grades 9-12

Once students have explored Python concepts in the introductory Computer Science course, it’s time to discover Java! Students will develop an understanding of object-oriented programming based in Java, and can expect to cover programming constructs such as classes, encapsulation, polymorphism, inheritance, and complexity of an algorithm. Rigorous challenges and experiments will help prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

Departmental permission required

  • AP Class
AP Psychology | Grades 9-12

Psychology as an academic discipline is immense in scope, and in this year-long course, students will scientifically and systematically study human behaviors and mental processes, engaging with diverse readings and analyzing data in preparation for the Advanced Placement test. Through rigorous examinations into the facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the subfields within the science of psychology — including human development, cognitive processes, social behavior, and more — students will pay particular attention to the ethics and research methods practiced in the field.

  • AP Class
AP Microeconomics | Grades 9-12

How does a free market economy work? What individual business decisions drive supply and demand, and how do government regulations affect production of goods and services? In AP Microeconomics, students will gain a deep, thoughtful understanding of economic concepts as they apply to the behavior of individuals. Students can expect an exploration of how the actions of millions of consumers influence the allocation of resources, using data to analyze, describe, and explain sophisticated concepts. Engaging discussion and rigorous coursework will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

  • AP Class
AP English Literature and Composition | Grades 11, 12

Both classic and contemporary texts, including titles like Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and Fences by August Wilson, will serve as tools for students to engage in close readings and critical analyses of literature. In this year-long course, developed using the knowledge and skills from previous courses and prior exposure to literary techniques and texts, students will hone their close reading skills from three lenses: experience, interpretation, and evaluation. Rich poetry and short story texts will support students as they develop solid understandings of the variety of genres, periods, and cultures represented in literature, while rigorous writing exercises will spark them to make connections between great literature and the world around them. This course aligns with an introductory college-level literary analysis course, and will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test.

  • AP Class
AP English Language and Composition | Grades 11, 12

Developing awareness of how language works and how to use it to effectively communicate will serve students well throughout their lives, and in this year-long course, students will read and analyze a broad range of challenging, diverse texts to continue developing skills in language and writing. Through close reading and frequent writing exercises, they’ll bring a greater awareness of language structures and strategies to their work and can expect to strengthen their own abilities to compose engaging, compelling prose. Thoughtful assignments and discussions will encourage students to think deeply about their writing goals, and a variety of projects will help them improve their time management skills. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement test in this subject.

  • AP Class
IB DP English A Literature 1 | Grade 11

This course is the first half of the rigorous IB English A Literature Higher Level course. Readings focus on authorial choice with respect to narrative voice, style, structure, and themes. The syllabus may include Roberto Bolano’s Amulet, Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Amelie Nothomb’s Fear and Trembling, William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. While reading, students are also writing constantly, in both short and long contexts, during homework and in-class assessments. Ultimately, they produce the IB Literature Essay, a 1500-word paper closely analyzing one of the texts. Students must also complete a variety of writing tasks — including reflective statements, responses to texts, creative pieces, self-assessments, and others — for the IB Learner Portfolio. In addition, their verbal-expression abilities are sharpened and assessed through full-class and small-group forums.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Analysis and Approaches | Grade 11

This course is designed for students who need mathematics in college for areas such as chemistry, economics, and business. The class emphasizes algebraic methods, giving students the opportunity to develop strong real-world and abstract mathematical problem solving skills. During the year, students will build on the skills while deepening their knowledge of trigonometry and algebra, and are introduced to differentiation and integration of simple functions. Students use these calculus skills to solve problems involving kinematics as well as problems involving gradient of functions and areas under curves.

  • IB DP Class
Multivariable Calculus

New course offering for the 2021-22 school year — description coming soon.

Theory of Knowledge I | Grade 11

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a unique course available to all grade eleven Dwight students. TOK is a compulsory course for full IB diploma students. In this course, students examine the nature of knowledge, learn to question assumptions, and develop a broader understanding of the world in which they live. Students display their understanding in a TOK exhibition assessing the ability of the student to show how TOK manifests in the world around us. The exhibition is an internal assessment component; it is marked by the teacher and is externally moderated by the IB.

  • IB DP Class