Upper School Curriculum by Subject

Please find the course curriculum descriptions for Upper School, organized by subject, below. ** denotes a required course. You can also view by grade.

English

List of 18 items.

  • Upper School English Overview

    Four years of English study is required in Upper School. All Freshmen take a course called Coming of Age in the World, which fosters students’ empathy for others and awareness of their own place in the world, as well as expands their perspective and prepares them for upper level courses. Sophomores take American Literature, which exposes them to the essential works of American writers, as well as traces the history of intellectual thought in America. Both courses feature much analytical writing and discussion, along with production of creative presentations and assessment of public-speaking skills. Juniors and Seniors must take six trimesters of elective choices and are required to take the Junior Writing Seminar and Senior Seminar courses in Trimester Three. These courses offer intensive writing experiences and the opportunity to produce a writing portfolio, presentation, or personal project. Alternatively, Seniors may take AP English Literature for the full year.
    Courses in the following listings which are required are denoted by a double asterisk (**). Courses are listed with required courses first, followed by electives in alphabetical order.
  • Coming of Age in the World**

    For Freshmen, the Ninth Grade year marks not only a transition to high school, but also a pivotal period in the journey toward greater maturity and perspective. Recognizing that students have a growing awareness of themselves and their place within multiple communities—family, school, world—this course seeks to foster and deepen that awareness through its emphasis on personal expression, global texts, and interdisciplinary experiences.

    In their writing, students develop creative and critical thinking skills through a variety of forms: literary analysis, narration, poetry, and persuasion. Grammar and vocabulary instruction come from a variety of contextual sources, including the personalized online platform Membean. Class discussions are at the core of the exploration of each text. Students also hone public speaking and presentation skills.

    Course texts themselves cover a range of coming-of-age, multicultural and global concerns, and literary forms. These may include, along with others, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alavarez, Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.
  • American Literature**

    This course introduces students to the essential writings that have produced the America of today. Tracing the development of values, attitudes, and artistic expressions over the past 400 years—sometimes within the canon and sometimes outside the canon—students may arrive at the present age and “know the place for the first time.” This course takes students from the Puritans to the present, with such representative writers as Edwards, Franklin, Thoreau, Fitzgerald, Hurston, Miller, and Alice Walker. Summer reading is required; the book list is made available in the Spring before the course.

    Students in Tenth Grade English practice analytical writing, not only within the context of the college essay, but in a variety of creative and design-based projects, as well. Along with much grammar and vocabulary instruction, improving technology skills plays a large role in students’ writing development and in daily classes.
  • Junior Writing Seminar** - Honors

    The Junior Writing Seminar allows students to move from more personal writing about memories, place, and people in their lives to more traditional forms of creative non-fiction, primarily in the form of a researched magazine article on a topic of the student's choosing. Along the way, students read important models of literary nonfiction as well as work with visiting writers to refine skills in these multiple expository forms. The seminar stresses the importance of revision in the writing process, and at the end of the trimester, students compile their polished essays into a portfolio that showcases their growth as writers and thinkers. Texts may include: A Writer’s Reader, ed. Donald Hall; Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg; The Little, Brown Handbook; The Elements of Style, Strunk and White.
  • Senior Seminar** - Honors

    The Senior Seminar, which begins with directed class work and leads to fully independent student research and writing, reads through three progressing and transformational ideas: the I; the I and its cultural encounter; and the greater-than-I. By studying a variety of novels, plays, and poems, students have the chance to reflect on their roles as Selves in contact with Society as they head into their college journey. By the mid-trimester, students immerse themselves in a researched study of a work of one author, leading to their final paper and a lecture or presentation; this study may become integrated with their own work in an area outside of school in the form of community service, outreach, or a journalistic endeavor. Texts may include: Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett; Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse; The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger; The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls; On the Rez, Ian Frazier; The Death of Ivan Ilych, Leo Tolstoy; Missoula, Jon Krakauer; Beloved, Toni Morrison.
  • AP English Literature

    This course follows the curricular requirements outlined by the College Board in the AP English Literature and Composition course description that focuses on building skills necessary for college-level reading and writing. The texts include works from a variety of time periods and genres, and the writing assignments include in-class essays, as well as formal process essays with several opportunities for revision. This is considered a college-level course, which means that students are asked to read and analyze challenging, provocative, dense, and sometimes controversial material.

    Students study T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, The Waste Land, a work often referred to as the centerpiece of Modernism. To read this one poem, however, and to see how the ideas are central to our own thinking, demands a detailed study of major texts, mythologies, and ideologies ranging from the Upanishads through St. Augustine and the medievals, on to Dante, and up past the Renaissance into a close cultural critique of Modernism in the early 20th century. The poem is only a dozen pages long; the course, though, spans 4,000 years. Class discussion, several major papers and a researched design project, a few tests, and AP-exam practice work are all important to this course.

    Texts: All the Pretty Horses, Antony and Cleopatra, Heart of Darkness, Paradise Lost, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Collected Poems (T. S. Eliot), The Tempest, The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, and The Bhagavad Gita.
  • African Literature - Seminar - Honors

    This course gives students a view into the literary imaginations of contemporary writers from Africa. The course covers fiction, plays, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels from such diverse nations as South Africa, Nigeria, Libya, Senegal, Mozambique, and Rwanda. Students seek to better understand the people and cultures of these African countries, the varying impact of European colonialism, the oral storytelling traditions, and the rich diversity of experiences. The course emphasizes both analytical and creative writing, as well as project-based learning. Texts include: The Fishermen, Obioma (Nigeria); So Long a Letter, Ba (Senegal); Under the Frangipani, Coutu (Mozambique); The Book of Bones, Murambi (Rwanda); In the Country of Men, Matar (Libya); Kaffir Boy, Mathabane (South Africa); and Nigerians in Space, Olukotun (Nigeria/South Africa).
  • Endless War: The Literature of Trauma - Honors

    In our modern age, war has become less a battle for territory and instead has morphed into a complicated web of differing politics, mounting pressure, ideological oppositions, and cultural conflict. Perhaps what gets lost in the uproar is the individual sacrifice made to honor and duty. This course examines the ways in which our world has shifted and grown, and how those changes are reflected through the eyes of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, especially through fiction, drama, poetry, and personal accounts. Texts include, but are not limited to: You’ll Never Know ( Soldier’s Heart); Here, Bullet; Disgraced (play); Ooh Rah; Redeployment; The Forever War; and War Torn (documentary).
  • Fiction and Film - Honors

    Students may love going to the movies, but they probably don’t yet have a real vocabulary with which to talk about, assimilate, or assess them. This course introduces some of the language of film, using many of the same analytical models that we apply to literature. We undertake this intensive study by looking at films that began as fiction—short stories, plays, novellas, myths, novels—and study the works both as literature and as film. The films and literary works cover a range of contemporary and "classic" texts from writers such as Ted Chiang, James Baldwin, Joseph Conrad, P. D. James, Daphne DuMaurier, and William Shakespeare. This class emphasizes critical writing and thinking about both literature and film, with most of the class time devoted to discussion, close reading, and critique of the texts. Students, therefore, are required to view most of the movies outside of class.
  • Fiction Writing - Honors

    Students in this course write and revise several drafts of their own original short fiction. They produce work of varying lengths and types, leading to the creation of a portfolio by the end of the trimester. Using the workshop model in which small groups and the whole class offer constructive critiques of peer manuscripts, students learn by reading and responding to their peers’ work as well as by studying the craft of fiction in the stories of a variety of short fiction writers. Texts include: The Story and its Writer, ed. Anne Charters; stories by Chekhov, Hemingway, O’Connor, ZZ Packer, and Junot Diaz.
  • Forbidden Knowledge - Honors

    This course explores various treatments of a common theme: that limits on human knowledge exist for a reason. Students investigate and evaluate in world literature the consequences of overstepping the bounds of human nature. "Forbidden knowledge" includes information, understanding, awareness, and consciousness that may be inaccessible or otherwise unattainable. These paths to knowledge are forbidden by religious, moral, or secular authorities and are seen as dangerous, destructive, or unwelcome and they are often expressed in unconventional or unfamiliar ways. Texts include: Faust, Wolfgang von Goethe; Brave New World, Aldous Huxley; Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake; Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus; Antigone, Sophocles; Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
  • The Mystery Novel - Honors

    Over the course of nearly 200 years since the mystery story as we know it came into existence, the genre has transcended its origins as a mere “whodunit” puzzle to become a remarkably adaptable form of storytelling, through which writers have explored issues such as morality, justice, law, social order, heroism, and existential confusion. And of course, at the center of each mystery is the character who is attempting to solve it, giving us iconic fictional detectives who have become better known than the works in which they appear: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Easy Rawlins, and of course, Sherlock Holmes. This course explores the mystery novel from its 19th-century roots to contemporary reimaginings of what the mystery story can be. Authors may include: Margaret Atwood, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Mosley, and Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Pilgrimage Narratives - Honors

    This course investigates the literature of pilgrimage: quest, adventure, and sojourn. Examining pilgrimage narratives—ritual, spiritual, and metaphorical—through the stories of people’s everyday lives provides students the opportunity to examine the innate human instinct of journey. Readings include theoretical, ethnographic, and narrative perspectives drawn from a variety of ancient and contemporary cultures—Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim. Texts include: Siddhartha; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Haroun and the Sea of Stories; Shakespeare’s Sonnets; Le Grand Voyage (film); O Brother, Where Art Thou? (film).
  • Russian Literature - Honors

    Russian literature extends back only a couple of hundred years, but St. Petersburg, Moscow, and even Siberia have produced a tradition that is as rich as any on earth. Epic writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky figure prominently in a course that looks closely at the history, religion, and politics of this world power. Beginning with Pushkin and concluding with late twentieth-century voices such as Brodsky and Yevtushenko, the class reads novels, poems, and plays that have become staples not only of Russian literature, but in many ways our own.
    Read More
  • Shakespeare - Honors

    This course examines carefully and thoroughly the major works of William Shakespeare. Through close and precise reading, as well as through analytical writing, students come to understand not only the specific texts, but the workings of Shakespearean comedies, histories, and tragedies as a whole. Additionally, students explore how Shakespeare’s heroes respond to the challenges placed before them. Finally, students illustrate their understanding of Shakespeare’s themes, language, and literary and dramatic devices as they edit, adapt, direct, and perform scenes from the plays in Elizabethan English.
  • Southern Gothic - Honors

    William Faulkner once said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” With the idea that the past informs not only our present but our future, this course takes a look at the desperation and disintegration of Southern traditions and aspirations. Rooted in the Modernist period, with dashes of the Gothic, Faulkner worked to create a new voice for the American South, while Flannery O’Connor exposed the failure of Southern expectations. Despite their roots in a defeated region, these writers triumphed by creating a new vision of a Southern future. Texts include: “The Bear,” William Faulkner; The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner; A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor; works from Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams.
  • Speech & Debate - Humanities Elective

    This course is for students interested in improving public speaking skills and honing their ability to craft and defend a persuasive argument. In this class students learn the fundamentals of competitive debate and the various speech categories, including extemporaneous speaking, original oratory, informative speaking, humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, and duo interpretation. Debate categories include Lincoln-Douglas Debate (one-on-one debating on a pre-determined topic), Cross Examination (teams of two), Congressional Debate (teams of two, debating policy topics from a new “docket” every competition) and Public Forum (opposing teams of two, debating over a current event). Students who enroll in this class will be expected to compete in at least two tournaments (held on most Saturdays throughout the state) in the category of their choice. These events are overseen by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). Note: Students may take this course for elective credit; it does not count towards graduation requirements in any department.
  • AP Economics - Humanities Elective

    Economics is the science of scarcity, the idea that society has unlimited wants and limited resources. The study of economics gives students a framework to understand how choices are made at the individual (consumer), business (producer), and global (policy) levels. Macroeconomics, the core of this course, studies the behavior of an economy as a whole. In this course, students build models to help them understand how a national economy works or why it doesn’t work. They look at the differing policy implications of each model to help them understand the role of government in an economic system. Students also extend their focus to international economics to understand how national economies affect one another in terms of exchange rates, the international balance of payments, and other economic relationships. Finally, students examine the pros and cons of globalization and free trade.
    Students have the option during the second half of the year to extend their studies to Microeconomics in preparation for both the AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics examination in May. Note: Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Macroeconomics exam. Text: Krugman’s Economics for AP, Krugman


    Note: Students may take this course for elective credit; it does not count towards graduation requirements in any department.

Math

List of 12 items.

  • Upper School Math Overview

    The Mathematics Department offers courses designed to meet the needs of each student at any stage of their evolution as a math student. We provide every student with a stimulating, challenging math experience in which they acquire the mathematical tools needed for successful problem solving in both routine and novel settings. All students in the Upper School must successfully complete three years of mathematics. However, nearly all students exceed this requirement and take a mathematics course during each year of high school. Technology (computers, iPads, and graphing calculators, specifically the TI-Nspire CX) is used extensively in every course in the Upper School math curriculum.

    Some courses in the CA math program carry an Honors designation. Enrollment in an Honors class assumes a very solid foundation in all prerequisite courses. In an
    Honors course, successful students are able to work efficiently, without requiring a great deal of repetition or review of prerequisite knowledge, and they delve more deeply into the course material.

    Advanced Placement (AP) courses are by definition college-level courses with college-level expectations. As with Honors courses, the pace is rapid, and a solid foundation in all prerequisite courses is assumed. The material is accessible but challenging. Students enrolling in AP courses should expect a heavier homework load than for regular classes and are expected to prepare and sit for the AP exams.
    Placement in both Honors and AP courses is based on student performance, and is made at the discretion of the Mathematics Department.

    Each course in the Mathematics Department is designed to challenge students and build their mathematical fluency and understanding. There is no single path that all students follow; rather, in consultation with math teachers, students progress through an appropriate sequence of coursework, regardless of age or grade level.

    Ninth Grade
    Almost all Ninth Graders take Math 1. The Mathematics Department meets with students whose prior course work, fluency, and interest in mathematics may suggest placement in a different course to find the best fit.

    Tenth-Twelfth Grades
    Math courses are generally sequential, with options for courses with increased levels of pace and depth available. Course recommendations are based on student interest, fluency with mathematical concepts, and ability to build understanding through investigation and practice. Teachers use class performance, readiness testing, and consultation with the department for consistency, to advise students on possible course options.

    Courses listings followed by ** are the generally required courses. Courses are listed with required courses first, followed by more advanced courses.
  • Math 1**

    Math 1 builds on the algebraic reasoning, number sense, and spatial awareness developed in earlier math courses. Students use investigations, observations, and logic to study visual patterns and numerical relationships in figures and shapes. The course begins with fundamental geometric and algebraic definitions, and then students leverage that knowledge to study both two- and three-dimensional figures. Students take measurements of perimeter, area, volume, and surface area, and derive formulas through their acquired knowledge. Transformations allow students to explore the concepts of similarity and congruence, where proof is introduced; students gain fluency with informal, indirect, and formal methods of constructing arguments. A TI-Nspire CX calculator is required.
  • Advanced Algebra** - Honors

    In addition to covering advanced concepts in algebra, the course fosters the use and development of proper math skills so students can continue to improve their mathematical fluency. Math topics include: functions (piecewise, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, and rational), systems of equations, powers, inverses, radicals including work with complex numbers, polynomials, and triangle trigonometry. A TI-Nspire CX calculator is required. Text: Larson Algebra 2, Holt McDougal (online book is available).
  • Math 2**

    Math 2 helps students build a more complete understanding of linear and quadratic algebra. In the first half of the year, students expand on the concept of proportional reasoning to work with linear expressions, equations, and systems. Students build understanding of algebraic concepts and skills, leveraging (and expanding on) their TI-Nspire calculator skills to help model and solve linear programming problems. The second half of the year begins with a focus on functions and then moves its focus to a study of quadratic equations, from the geometric definition of a parabola to solving equations using factoring, completing the square, and the quadratic formula. An investigation of the sets of Irrational and Complex Numbers gives students the vocabulary and understanding to solve quadratic equations. A TI-Nspire CX calculator is required. Text: Larson Algebra 2, Holt McDougal (online book is available).
  • Math 2e**

    Math 2e revisits some Algebra I material at a fast pace in combination with other ideas and as extensions. Math topics include: functions (linear, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic), systems of equations, powers, inverses, radicals, and polynomials. Trigonometry is integrated throughout the course, including a study of the unit circle, as well as the laws of sines and cosines. Students also grow their abstract thinking skills as they learn about imaginary and complex numbers. A TI-Nspire calculator is required. Text: Larson Algebra 2, Holt McDougal (online book is available).
  • Math 3: Non-Linear Functions and Trigonometry

    Math 3 is a continuation of the content of Math 2. Topics include: functions (exponential and logarithmic), powers, inverses, radicals, and polynomials. Trigonometry is integrated throughout the course, including a study of the unit circle. A TI-Nspire calculator is required. Text: Larson Algebra 2, Holt McDougal (online book is available).
  • Pre-Calculus and Honors Pre-Calculus

    In Precalculus, students explore concepts that help them prepare for both calculus and statistics. The course begins with a thorough analysis of relations and functions, both algebraically and graphically. Functions of emphasis include linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic. A major component of this course is the study of trigonometry, including its real-world applications and graphs of trigonometric functions. Statistics topics include one-variable data analysis and probability. A TI-Nspire calculator is required. Text: Larson, Precalculus with limits, 3rd Ed. (online book is available).
  • Calculus

    The course includes the topics of a traditional calculus curriculum, including limits, derivatives, continuity, antiderivatives, and the definite integral, without the depth or pace of the AP curriculum. The class begins with a thorough and solid review of slope and rate of change, with significant emphasis on real-world analyses and applications, in order to define and develop the concept of the derivative. The course proceeds to cover the second fundamental concept, the integral, and its relationship with the derivative. Students apply their calculus skills to problems in business, economics, and the life, physical, and social sciences. A TI-Nspire calculator is required for this course. Text: Larson Edwards, Calculus, 9th Ed. (online book is available).
  • AP Statistics

    This course is a rigorous, yearlong investigation into the four broad areas of statistics: 1) Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns; 2) Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting a study; 3) Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability and simulation; and 4) Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses. Students solve problems and communicate quantitative results using clear, succinct writing. They learn from investigations, simulations, and lectures. Students who successfully complete the course are well prepared for the AP Statistics Exam. A TI-Nspire calculator is required for this course. Text: The Practice of Statistics for the AP Exam, 5th Ed., Starnes, Tabor, Yates, and Moore.
  • AP Calculus AB

    This college-level course closely follows the syllabus of the College Entrance Examination Board for Advanced Placement AB Calculus and is primarily concerned with developing the student’s understanding of calculus and providing experiences with its methods and applications. The course emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed geometrically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The major topics covered in the course include: functions, graphs, limits, and continuity; derivatives and their application; and integrals and their application. A TI-Nspire graphing calculator is used extensively throughout the course to analyze and graph functions, their derivatives, and their integrals, as well as to compute numerical values for a range of functions and their approximations. Student work is evaluated primarily through tests, which are designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination in May. Homework, which is extensive and regularly assigned, is thoroughly discussed during class, as are strategies for problem solving and modeling data. Text: Calculus: Concepts and Applications, 2nd Ed., Foerster.
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  • AP Calculus BC

    This course closely follows the syllabus of the College Entrance Examination Board for Advanced Placement Calculus BC and emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed geometrically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The major topics of this course include: the rigorous definition of limits and derivatives; the derivatives of parametric, polar, and vector functions; differential equations and their applications; techniques and applications of antidifferentiation; and polynomial approximations and series. The TI-Nspire CX calculator is used extensively throughout the course to analyze and graph series, functions, derivatives, and integrals, as well as to compute numerical values for series and their approximations. Primary means of assessment include quizzes, tests, and projects, and tests are designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination in May. Homework, which is extensive and regularly assigned, is a major focus of in-class discussion. Text: Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions, Larson.
  • Advanced Topics in Mathematics

    This college-level class offers students exposure to topics that apply or extend their knowledge. Topics will vary from year to year as well as within a year, allowing a student to take this course multiple times. Students will use a TI graphing calculator (particularly the TI-Nspire) and computer programs to enhance their understanding of the course. Primary means of assessment include quizzes, tests, and projects.

Science

List of 14 items.

  • Upper School Science Overview

    There is a requirement of three full years of science, including Biology, Chemistry or Conceptual Chemistry, and an elective during the Upper School years at Colorado Academy. CA offers a variety of courses to engage students, everything from basic Biology to AP Physics C to the innovative Tiny Earth Initiative, which takes students into the realm of discovery of new antibiotics from soil bacteria. No matter the topic, students are guided to observe, investigate, analyze, interpret, and present their conclusions using the scientific method.

    The Science Department strives for students to master the following skills upon completion of the science requirements in Upper School.

    Use the scientific method to:
    • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigation.
    • Make confirmable observations using all senses.
    • Design and perform experiments with a testable hypothesis, a variable, and a control.
    • Make predictions about the outcomes of an experiment based on reading and previous experiences.
    • Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.
    • Form conclusions that synthesize information and observations.
    • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models.
    • Communicate and defend the results of an experiment both orally and in writing.

    Work proficiently as a scientist:
    • Functioning independently or in collaborative groups
    • Using appropriate and safe techniques
    • Using clear and precise language, oral and written
    • Taking accurate and precise measurements using appropriate laboratory equipment
    • Researching, interpreting, analyzing, and applying current technical information from both scientific texts and supplemental sources

    Incorporate math skills and technology to:
    • Analyze situations and solve problems.
    • Solve scientific problems creatively.
    • Integrate concepts from more than one topic area of science.
    • Use laboratory data to produce graphs and charts for the analysis of experimentation.
    • Interpret and draw conclusions from data presented in graphs and tables.
    • Recognize patterns and trends and make predictions based on given information.
    • Identify and analyze the science within societal contexts and its connection to technology and its influences.
    • Explain the role of humans and the impact of personal decisions on the future of the global ecosystem.
    • Use technology to investigate the natural world, including the simulation of physical phenomena, biological processes, and scientific events.

    Courses in the following listings which are required are denoted by a double asterisk (**). Other courses are listed by discipline in order of increasingly advanced study.
  • Biology**

    In this course students get an overview of pertinent aspects of biology, including ecology, evolution, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology. Students explore the interactions between living things and the environment, the flow of energy and cycling of matter in ecosystems, patterns of inheritance, neurotransmission, reproduction, and current topics. The course is investigative in nature. Students are continually challenged to make hypotheses, test them, and make logical inferences based on data. Text: Life on Earth (iBook)

    Topics:
    • Ecology: comparative ecosystems through field study, cycles, and human impact
    • Evolution: hominid evolution and natural selection
    • Genetics: DNA structure and function, chromosomal traits and disorders, and heredity
    • Cancer and cell division: meiosis, mutations, cellular clocks
    • Neurobiology: neurotransmission, drug and chemical impacts on the brain
    • Microbiology: protists, bacteria, fungi, and immunology
    • Reproduction: male and female reproductive structures, birth control, STIs
    • Plant biology: photosynthesis and energy transfer
  • Chemistry**

    All students sign up for Chemistry or Conceptual Chemistry after taking Biology, based on science teacher recommendation. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit.

    The Chemistry course begins with an overview of atomic structure, the periodic table, naming compounds, writing and balancing chemical equations, and identifying types of reactions. Quantitative aspects of chemistry then appear, with students learning about uncertainty in measurement, chemical formulas, stoichiometry, solubility, gas laws and titrations. The year ends with discussions of energy, heat and temperature, phase changes, energy of reactions, and reaction rates. Methods of inquiry and scientific modeling are emphasized throughout, with a gradually increasing importance given to mathematical analysis of experiments and problems. Text: Chemistry: Matter and Change, Buthelezi (iBook).

    Topics:
    • Atomic structure and periodicity
    • Molecules, compounds, and chemical bonds
    • Chemical reactions: types of reactions, writing balanced chemical equations
    • Significant figures, unit conversions, and THE MOLE
    • Chemical quantities: percent composition, empirical and molecular formulas, and stoichiometry
    • Gases: properties, gas laws, and stoichiometry
    • Concentrations and properties of solutions, pH
    • Thermodynamics: calorimetry and enthalpy changes in chemical reactions
    • Chemical kinetics
  • Conceptual Chemistry**

    All students sign up for Chemistry or Conceptual Chemistry after taking Biology, based on science teacher recommendation. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit.

    In the first trimester, students acquire a solid foundation of chemical knowledge, learning the “language” of chemistry. Topics covered include elements and atoms, molecules, compounds, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, and writing and balancing chemical equations. During the second and third trimesters, this knowledge is put to use. Possible topics of study, with a heavy emphasis on working in the laboratory, include redox reactions and electrochemistry, thermochemistry and calorimetry (including the kinetic molecular theory), nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, acid-base chemistry, and fuel cells. Text: Chemistry: Matter and Change, Buthelezi (iBook).

    Topics:
    • Atomic structure and periodicity
    • Molecules, compounds, and chemical bonds
    • Chemical reactions: types of reactions, writing balanced chemical equations
    • Water and solutions: polar and non-polar molecules, solubility, moles, grams, and molarity
    • Gases: kinetic theory, and the relationships between pressure, temperature, volume, and amount of gases
    • Kinetics and thermodynamics: endothermic and exothermic reactions, and factors that affect the rate of reactions
    • Electrochemistry: electron transfer and electrochemical energy
    • Nuclear chemistry: types of nuclear decay and nuclear power
    • Forensics: using chemistry to solve a crime
  • Environmental Chemistry - Honors

    In this field- and model-based course, students frequently leave campus to explore how the environment exhibits all of the things they have learned in their Biology and Chemistry courses so far. The course focuses on how Chemistry is used to gauge the health of environments and how one can predict the course of different variables and how they might affect an ecosystem. There are several field trips during the course to supplement the inquiry-based activities in the classroom. This is a great option for anyone interested in another year of Chemistry. Texts and lab manuals provided by the teacher.

    Topics:
    • Soils
    • Water
    • Toxicology
    • Air Quality
    • Energy
    • Environmental Issues
    • Fuel Cells
    • Biofuels
  • AP Chemistry

    A chemistry course at the level of first-year college chemistry for science majors, this rigorous course builds upon the required year of Chemistry with more mathematical applications of concepts already learned, as well as additional topics in acid-base equilibrium, phase diagrams, rate kinetics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and electrochemistry. During the year, students are introduced to nuclear chemistry and organic chemistry. Woven within these topics are challenging lab exercises that become open to student design as the year progresses.
    Topics:
    • Chemical reactions, stoichiometry, limiting reagents, and percent yield
    • Chemical equilibrium
    • Properties of acids and bases, acid-base equilibrium, titration
    • Atomic structure and periodic trends
    • Molecules and bonding, bond theory, molecular structure
    • Intermolecular forces, bond enthalpy, and lattice energy
    • Chemical kinetics, nuclear chemistry, reaction rates, and integrated rate laws
    • Thermodynamics, spontaneity of chemical reactions, and the driving forces (enthalpy and entropy)
    • Electrochemistry and redox reactions
    • Organic chemistry
    • Properties of solutions
  • Physics - Honors

    Physics (Honors)/ AP Physics 1 (AP) are first-year physics courses. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit.

    An introduction to classical physics, this course emphasizes logical thinking and conceptual development. Through discussion, student-centered laboratory inquiry, and problem solving, students develop an analytical inquisitive approach to understanding the natural world around them. Topics explored include motion, forces, energy, waves and sound, electricity, magnetism, and light. Text: Physics, Holt McDougal, 2012.

    Topics:
    • Measurement and quantitative methods
    • Accelerated motion
    • 2D motion
    • Forces and Newton's laws of motion
    • Static equilibrium, internal forces, and structures
    • Heat and thermodynamics
    • Work and energy
    • Wave motion and sound
    • Electricity and magnetism
    • Electromagnetic spectrum, including light
    • Project-related skills, including engineering drawing and project management
  • AP Physics I

    Physics (Honors)/ AP Physics 1 (AP) are first-year physics courses. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit.

    AP Physics 1 is a rigorous algebra-based introductory course designed to provide the accelerated math and science student with a solid foundation in the subject. Equivalent to the first semester of a college course designed for non-technical majors, AP Physics 1 strives to develop the conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills necessary to ask and to solve physical questions both qualitatively and quantitatively through reasoning and experimental investigation. Topics include classical Newtonian mechanics, mechanical waves and sound theory, electricity, and an introduction to optics. Student-centered labs are conducted throughout the course to enhance learning and promote scientific curiosity and reasoned skepticism. Students interested in enrolling in AP Physics 1 are required to complete a placement test evaluating mathematical and problem-solving skills. Students enrolled in this course are not required to take the AP exam, although they are encouraged to do so. Students who choose not to take the exam will take a final exam. Text: College Physics, 8th Ed., Serway and Vuille.
    Topics:
    • 1-D Kinematics
    • 2-D Kinematics
    • Newton’s Laws of Motion
    • Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation
    • Work and Energy
    • Linear Momentum
    • Rotation and Angular Momentum
    • Simple Harmonic Motion
    • Wave Behavior and Sound
    • Electrostatics
    • Simple DC Circuits
    • Light and Geometric Optics
  • AP Physics C

    AP Physics C is a calculus-based, second-year physics course covering classical mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. The curriculum is designed to deepen student understanding of introductory concepts in these topics, while fostering the development of advanced problem-solving techniques. Students must be willing to undertake a university-level workload and contribute actively in a cooperative learning environment. Student-centered labs are conducted throughout the course to enhance learning and promote scientific curiosity and reasoned skepticism. Students enrolled in this course are required to take both the AP Physics C Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism exams. Text: Fundamentals in Physics, 9th Ed., Halliday, Resnick, Walker.

    Topics:
    • Kinematics
    • Newton’s Laws of Motion
    • Work and Energy
    • Linear Momentum
    • Rotation and Angular Momentum
    • Static Equilibrium
    • Law of Universal Gravitation
    • Simple Harmonic Motion
    • Electrostatics I – Coulomb’s Law
    • Electrostatics II – Gauss’s Law, Electric Fields, Capacitance
    • DC Circuits
    • Magneto statics
    • Magnetic Induction
    • Maxwell’s Equations
  • Advanced Biology - Honors

    This course covers topics at the introductory college level with an emphasis on scientific method and the techniques required pertaining to the study of living things. Students create their own lab investigations, present their results, and defend their conclusions. They explore microbiology, genetics, evolution, cell physiology, and organisms and population. Students leave this course with a deep understanding of the biological world and the best and most advanced methods with which to investigate their surroundings. The students also learn to use and apply the latest technology in the study of Biology to their own research. Students intending to take the AP Biology Exam are strongly advised to take General Physiology in 11th Grade and Advanced Biology in 12th Grade. Students may use the Tiny Earth course as a project for trimester three. Text: Biotechnology: A Laboratory Skills Course, Brown.

    Topics:
    • Solutions: % by mass and % by volume and molarity, serial dilutions, column chromatography
    • Microbiology: Making media for culturing bacteria, Koch’s Postulates studies, transformation of bacteria with a plasmid, plasmid purification
    • Genetics: Restriction digestion analysis of Lambda DNA, forensic DNA fingerprinting, GMO detection using PCR, detection of the human PV92 Aloo insertion
    • Proteomics: Protein quantitation using the Bradford Assay, SDS-PAGE of Fish Muscle Tissue
    • Independent Research: Students choose in groups of two or as an individual, a specific area of study from the first part of the year and expand on an original lab or design an entirely new research project using the equipment they’ve been taught to use. Students design everything from the original question to the procedure to the method of presentation. Each group presents after nine weeks of research to their peers to defend their findings.
  • Physiology - Honors

    The need to survive can force the body to go into overdrive: using stories about extreme conditions and survival, students explore a variety of body systems. The course ranges from the cardiovascular system to the brain and muscle systems. Using a host of laboratory activities, this course explores the inner workings of the human body. Texts: Surviving the Extremes, Kamler.

    Topics:
    • Neuroscience: brain and transmission of impulses
    • Cardiopulmonary: high altitude and underwater pressure effects on heart and lungs
    • Immunology: Study of epidemiology, how our body responds to infection and disease, blood composition
    • Digestion: metabolism
    • Muscular/skeletal system: kinematics, energy use, design, and movement
  • The Science of Climate Change - Honors

    This lab-based course is designed as an introduction for students to understand the impacts of climate change. Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. We will investigate what role we as humans play and what can be done to mitigate it. Prerequisites are Biology and any level Chemistry. Texts and lab manuals provided by the teacher.
    Topics include:
    ● Environmental capacity
    ● Biogeochemical cycles
    ● Ocean acidification
    ● Our carbon footprint
    ● What is climate, and how does it differ from weather?
    ● Human Impacts on the environment, short and long term
  • Sustainable Energy - Honors

    In this lab-based course, students investigate the origins of energy resources and how these resources are developed, conserved, and used. With an understanding of these energy concepts and the underlying science, how can people creatively and efficiently meet our their energy needs today and well into the future? Can one design and build a comfortable solar shower? Can one design and build a model home with a minimal carbon footprint and minimal utility bills? Not only do students fabricate these, they explore fossil fuels, solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources and the positive and negative aspects of each of them. This course provides a better understanding of how alternative energy resources can become a bigger piece of the energy puzzle and how one can directly affect one’s own environment and future well-being.
  • Tiny Earth - Honors

    CA has been given the opportunity to be part of the Tiny Earth Initiative, a group dedicated to discovering antibiotics created by soil bacteria. The program, designed by professors at Yale University and the University of Wisconsin, offers an unusual opportunity for collaborative research. Colorado Academy is one of the few high schools involved; most of the other participants are colleges and universities. The course involves students in designing their own research project that might potentially uncover a unique antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium. The beginning of the project involves learning the protocols to be used to create the research: primarily, to learn the basics of working with bacteria in a sterile environment and the extraction process for retrieving an antibiotic. The end product is a presentation and a journal article. If all goes well, students are asked to present at the annual Microbiology Conference

Social Studies

List of 24 items.

  • Upper School Social Studies Overview

    Upper School students are required to take three years of Social Studies. The Freshman course, titled Global Perspectives in the 21st Century, helps students gain perspective on the modern global society through exploring humankind’s past and points of view. The Sophomore course, U.S. History, takes students in depth to major themes of American history and culture through the lenses of literature, historical writing, music, art, film, poetry, architecture, and the U.S. political economy. Juniors and Seniors may choose three trimesters of study from among the many social studies electives offered which span subjects from many continents, time periods, and philosophical threads throughout history.

    The Social Studies program in the Upper School emphasizes the acquisition and development of the following skills:
    • student agency and curiosity
    • analytical thinking that results in critical reading and writing
    • clear and creative expression of ideas across formats
    • inquiry and research involving primary and secondary sources
    Courses in the following listings which are required are denoted by a double asterisk (**).
  • Global Perspectives in the 21st Century**

    Global Perspectives is a world history course that purposefully draws connections between the past and the present. In other words, the study of the past provides students with the necessary context for understanding the wider world and their place in it. Each trimester has a broad theme that reflects enduring, universal issues: globalization, human rights, and the environment. Students engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources aimed to reveal the unity and interdependence of society, help develop a sense of self and appreciation for cultural diversity, attain an understanding of social justice and human rights, as well as cultivate ways to promote peace and actions for a sustainable future in different times and places.
  • United States History**

    This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary considerations of American culture. Students draw from a wide range of primary and secondary sources that emphasize thematic depth over breadth. Topical in nature, this course examines issues ranging from Native Americans’ relations to the land and European conquests of America, to the development of American civic life and political culture and the ongoing African-American struggle for freedom and equality. Students also study immigration as a (threatened) constant in national life and labor, the distinctions between mass culture and popular culture, the promise of American life, the pervasive sense of American exceptionalism that permeates our culture, and our unquestioned faith in the value of popular government. Students examine these themes through literature, historical writing, music, art, film, poetry, architecture, and political economy in the United States. This course places special emphasis on persuasive, analytical writing. Accordingly, each student composes at least one library-based paper over the course of the year.
    Topics:
    • Founding
    • Colonies
    • Revolution
    • Constitution
    • Jeffersonian Republic
    • Jacksonian Mass Democracy
    • Manifest Destiny
    • Civil War
    • Reconstruction
    • Gilded Age
    • Empire and Expansion
    • Progressivism: Theodore Roosevelt
    • Woodrow Wilson
    • Roaring ‘20s
    • Great Depression and FDR
    • WWII
    • 1950s
    • 1960s
  • The American Inner City: Race, Culture, and Conflict - Honors

    During the latter half of the twentieth century, politicians, journalists, and scholars argued that U.S. cities entered a state of crisis. Crime, poverty, depopulation, violence, racial and ethnic tension, and fiscal insolvency threatened to make American cities unlivable. What are the origins of this post-WWII “urban crisis?” Did an urban “underclass” cause the urban crisis, or is an underclass a result of structural factors that caused and exacerbated the American urban crisis? How did the urban crisis affect people’s everyday lives? How did it shape the politics and economies of postwar American cities? What were its structural causes and effects? What discourses about race, class, and gender did various intellectuals, politicians, and journalists use to explain social life in postwar American cities?

    To uncover the core of both policy and academic debates, student analysis of the urban crisis draws upon notions of race, class, and gender to understand what went wrong with post-WWII cities and how best to fix these problems. Using the epic crime drama, The Wire, plus journalism, history, and sociology, this course examines both racial and class dynamics of the American urban crisis. Students examine the ways people’s ability to exercise agency over their lives is often compromised and limited. What is the dialectical relationship between individuals’ agency and the structural constraints that shape political, economic, and social possibilities within post-war cities? What can The Wire teach about cities, racism, and class relations in modern America? These are some of the questions this course addresses.
  • American Prohibition: War on Alcohol, Drugs and Crime - Honors

    This course examines the causes and consequences of the various wars on crime and illegal drugs that federal and state governments declared throughout the twentieth century, from the prohibition of alcohol and the “reefer madness” scare of the 1920s/1930s through the contemporary era of mass incarceration via what critics label the American prison-industrial complex. The United States currently imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other nation in the world. About 500,000 people are currently in U.S. jails and prisons for nonviolent drug offenses, and two-thirds of this incarcerated population is African American or Latino. Students explore the long struggle over whether to classify illegal drug use as a public health or law enforcement issue, including the FBI’s early war on marijuana and heroin users, the drug legalization movement that gained steam in the 1960s and 1970s, and the “Just Say No” formula of the Reagan administration.

    Readings cover topics such as the national panic over juvenile delinquency by urban and suburban youth in the 1940s and 1950s, the politics of “law and order” in the 1960s and 1970s, and the ways in which the “war on drugs” and the mass media have shaped episodes such as the crack cocaine epidemic and anti-gang policing crackdown that escalated in the 1980s. The class also addresses other features of drugs and crime in American law, politics, and popular culture, such as the anxieties about child kidnappers and sex molesters that led to the “Three Strikes” policy in California and other states. Finally, students also analyze the shift away from rehabilitative notions of delinquency, toward charging teenage law-breakers as adult criminals, and the pervasive racial inequalities in policing and the criminal justice system.
  • The Aztecs and Their Legacy - Honors

    The legacy of the Aztecs echoes in contemporary urban and cultural traditions today. An empire as vast and complicated as Rome, the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City), amazed the Spaniards upon arrival in 1519, some thinking they had walked into heaven. Students explore the art, history, and culture of the Aztecs and their rise and fall as documented from the Spanish and indigenous perspective. The cast of historical characters includes the Emperor Montezuma, “La Malinche,” Hernán Cortés, Cuauhtémoc, and the legendary Quetzalcoatl. Texts: The Aztecs, Townsend;
    Malinche, Esquivel
  • The Cuban Reality: Past, Present, and Future - Honors

    Cuba is on the verge of profound change as U.S.-Cuban ties are being revived after more than 50 years of isolation from the U.S. From the Cuban government’s perspective, the Castro revolution liberated the people from western imperialism. Conversely, the United States viewed Cuba through the lens of the Cold War when they formed an alliance with the former Soviet Union. We will analyze the complexities of Cuban culture, history, internal politics, and foreign policy. Using both past and current events to understand the richness of this fascinating island, we will delve into both primary and secondary readings that enrich our understanding of this island nation. The course culminates with an optional Interim trip to Cuba to experience first-hand the country, its history, the language, and the people.
  • The Cultural History of Hip Hop - Honors

    Cash Rules Everything Around Me: The Cultural History of Hip Hop
    On the short list of cultural constants in the modern American experience is a veritable fountain of musical creativity which can be traced to this country’s African-American communities. No less fascinating is the degree to which that seemingly limitless innovative energy is first imitated by whites, co-opted by the corporate sector, and ultimately globalized by forces well beyond the inventive impulses from whence it came. How far we’ve come as a people from “Taking the ‘A’ Train” to get to Sugar Hill in Harlem, to “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang. But the creativity doesn’t begin and end with the music. Like the hep cats of jazz and the rock stars before them, members of the hip hop community continue to leave their mark on how we speak, dress, and even participate in the political processes that come with global citizenship.
  • The Cultural History of Jazz - Honors

    In the Mood: The Cultural History of Jazz
    This course is anchored by the premise that no truly American art form is more integrally linked to this country’s history in the 20th century than jazz. The beauty of jazz music is that like any genuine artistic movement, it defies classification while transcending well-established social, economic, and even political barriers. As the history of this music and its global impact would be impossible to compress into one trimester, the emphasis in this course is akin to a sort of primer, designed expressly to pose some of the relevant questions surrounding this wonderfully rich tradition. Living in a major metropolitan area affords students the opportunity to get off campus and experience the music rather than simply reading about it and listening to recordings.
  • The Cultural History of Rock 'n' Roll - Honors

    Johnny B. Goode: The Cultural History of Rock 'n' Roll
    Much in the same way that the American experience would never be the same in the aftermath of the World War II, neither would its musical ear. The 1950s ushered in an entirely new genre of music that quickly supplanted the popularity so long enjoyed by the country’s jazz musicians. And yet for all its readily apparent differences in instrumentation and theory, a good many of the “ingredients” that went into making jazz a truly American creation can be found in rock music’s past. If it is true that the music of a people provides some sort of lens through which to gaze into a collective soul, what social, economic, and political stories might one find in a close examination of this musical form?
  • Gender Studies - Honors

    This class explores how forces within society—e.g., family, media, school, science—help to create, regulate, and reinforce gender. Through a combination of reading, writing, film-viewing, discussion, and independent research, students investigate how gender overlaps and interacts with other aspects of identity—such as race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, political affiliation—all the while calling these categories into question. Though focused primarily on the United States, this class also explores the way people across the globe “do gender,” ultimately leading students to a more nuanced understanding of the impact this aspect of identity has upon the society in which we participate and in their own day-to-day lives. Text: Gender Through the Prism of Difference, eds., Zinn, Hondagneu-Sotelo, Messner, and Denissen
  • History of the Cold War - Honors

    We Will Bury You: A History of the Cold War
    In the final third of a trilogy of courses on global conflict in the 20th century, students’ attention turns to the on-again, off-again relations between the sovereign states of Russia/USSR and the United States of America and their respective evolutions into the de facto heads of an almost Orwellian global polarity. To quote former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “There was nothing cold about it; this was a hot war.” Though a bit daunting for a trimester course, students attempt to unravel the various events that inform this troublesome span of nearly all the decades of the previous century. The course closes by considering the legacy of this period and how it might continue to offer lessons for current circumstances.
  • Landmarks of World Architecture - Honors

    This class examines major works of world architecture from historical, cultural, religious, and engineering standpoints. Students learn about landmarks with regard to their composition and structure, and also in terms of the historical context in which they were built, considering questions about leadership, funding, belief systems, state development, and labor. They also look at buildings in the modern day, analyzing how and why form and function have changed or stayed the same. Possible case studies include the Taj Mahal in India, the Alhambra in Spain, the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, the Forbidden City in China, the pyramids of Egypt and the Golden Gate Bridge in the U.S.
  • Modern China - Honors

    This class traces the development of China from the late dynastic period to the present day. In just over one hundred years, China has shifted from empire to republic to communist state to state-controlled capitalism—while also becoming the second largest economy in the world. How and why has China gone through such massive transformation in the modern era, and in what ways do these changes inform geopolitics today? The class begins by examining Chinese national identity through the lens of important cultural and historical practices, before taking on the nation’s evolution through the phases mentioned above. Careful attention is paid to the various applications of nationalist doctrine under imperialist, republican, and communist regimes. The final weeks of the class examine contemporary challenges faced by China: the One China initiative, trade wars with Western countries, civil rights movements, population concerns, income inequality, and political corruption.
  • Oil - Honors

    Black gold, petroleum, Devil’s tar, fossil oil, Pennsylvania crude...these are but a few of the nicknames given to oil. This class takes on the history of the resource in the modern era, from the first successful drilling and discovery in the nineteenth century to the present day. Students examine the many uses of oil, its locations around the globe, the emergence of major oil companies, the increasing tensions between oil-consuming and oil-producing countries, influence on the environment, and finally, potential changes to oil production and usage resulting from new technologies and alternative energy sources. This is very much a global study of oil, tracing its impact on the world economy, geopolitics, social interactions, and environmental policy.
  • Politics in the Age of Obama and Trump - Honors

    Few predicted Donald Trump’s electoral victory in 2016. In the wake of his election, the stock market rallied, women across country lodged public protests, the #MeToo movement surged, and racial violence shook America’s moral conscience. Rules have been jettisoned. Customs and mores have shifted. Caught in a state of political and cultural transition, America is grappling with unique challenges that correlate with the 2016 election. To put these changes in proper context, this course begins with the 2008 election and examines the Obama administration. Was the 2008 election a repudiation of the Bush administration? Did American politics shift back to the left? Why did Donald Trump emerge victorious in 2016? To what extent can we attribute ensuing cultural shakeups to the election? This course attempts to answer these questions by examining key flashpoints from 2017, the forces of societal change, and the impact that both common and famous had on the country’s changing identity.
  • Punishment, Politics, and Culture - Honors

    This seminar examines the nature and limits of punishment, as well as its place in the “American story.” Students examine this concept through sociological, legal, historical, and political lenses, while focusing their sights on three critical questions: What is punishment and why do we punish as we do? What can we learn about politics, law, and culture in the United States from an examination of our practices of punishment? What are the appropriate limits of punishment?
    Punishment involves the imposition of pain in a calculated and deliberate manner. To acknowledge this fact places the subject of punishment in relation to significant political and ethical issues, e.g., how do we deploy political and legal power in defining the limits of freedom? What justifies legal restrictions on our punishment? Is punishment necessary for redemption? What are the responsibilities of those who punish in relation to those subject to punishment?
  • Supreme Court: History, Conflict, and Law - Honors

    The Supreme Court typically has the final word on the meaning of the Constitution. Using the Constitution and the Federalist Papers as their guide, the justices navigate their way through complex questions of law. We start by examining the idea of a constitution. What is it? How should it be interpreted? What application does a constitution have during a war on terror? This course introduces students to the intricacies of the United States judiciary. Students explore the limits of free speech rights, search and seizure, criminals’ rights, equal protection, and due process of law. Finally, the course concludes with a mock supreme court, debating the constitutionality of a current issue facing the Supreme Court.
    Topics:
    • U.S. Supreme Court: Basis of authority
    • The Court as a defender of liberty
    • Sexual freedom
    • The irony of equal protection
    • The Roberts Supreme Court
    • Dynamics within the Supreme Court
  • Vietnam - Honors

    This course explores the historical background, impact, and legacy of a defining war in American History, the conflict in Vietnam. It examines why the United States became involved in Southeast Asia, the way it sought to achieve its objectives, and the impact it had on Vietnam and the Vietnamese. The course also devotes attention to the effects of the war on America’s domestic politics, society, and culture. Students work on multimedia research projects and examine video clips of media reporting on the Vietnam conflict. This course encourages critical thinking in historical analysis and instructs students how to utilize technology in research projects. Students are exposed to primary source materials that document the escalation of the conflict, including recently declassified audio recordings of President Johnson developing U.S. policy. A series of films is shown to the students in the evenings as part of the class discussion of the impact of the war on the American mind. Texts: Vietnam: An epic Tragedy, 1945-1975, Max Hastings; The Vietnam War (documentary), Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
  • War on Terror- Honors

    This course examines the terrorism in the late 20th century and the events that led to the 9/11 attacks. Students learn about the ideology and belief system of jihadist radicals, including al Qaeda and ISIS. They also examine the response to 9/11 by the Bush Administration, including the decision to send American troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. Students study the foreign and military policy of the Obama administration as they struggled to contain and suppress the spread of radical Islamic terrorism. Students also learn about the experience of American soldiers as they served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Texts: The Forever War, Dexter Filkin; The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright; War, Sebastian Junger.
  • World War I - Honors

    By the early years of the 20th century, the complex system of alliances between the major powers of Europe that had, with notable exceptions, provided for relative stability was beginning to show alarming signs of strain. For many heads of state, these signs—growing ethnic tensions in the Balkans, instability in Russia, saber-rattling in Berlin to name a few—required the drawing up of plans for what increasingly seemed like the inevitability of war. Students in this course attempt to dissect this “War to End All Wars,” the multi-dimensional causes, the expansive territory involved, the principal decision makers, and the lasting effects of this first truly modern war. Though a mere blip on the screen of Europe’s lengthy history of war-making, few other four-year periods in the 20th century have said more about what western civilization had become.
  • World War II - Honors

    As the last in a potential sequence on the contemporary history of Europe, students attempt to unravel the causes and consequences of the last of the truly international political and military conflicts instigated by Europeans. Clearly, the “Great War” was not the “War to End All Wars”; in fact, it may have merely been the first phase of what is more appropriately called the 40 Years War. The ink used to formalize the results of the contentious deliberations at Versailles was barely dry before the boom of the 1920s gave way to the despair and destitution that accompanied historic, worldwide economic collapse. Exactly how those holding the reins of political power in Europe responded to this colossal downturn went a long way to determining the course of events in the 1930s, perhaps chief among them the rise of National Socialism in Germany and Hitler’s eventual invasion of Poland. Unfortunately, the hard-won victory of the Allied Forces over their Axis foes produced an entirely new Cold War, pitting former allies, the United States and the Soviet Union, against each other, while indirectly embroiling all of Europe’s traditional powers.
  • AP European History

    This course is designed as a survey of European history from 1425 until the dawn of the 21st century. Although a survey, each of the units introduces students to in-depth analysis of the major interpretive themes of European history which encompass the major categories of historical analysis: political, social and economic, and cultural and intellectual. The course emphasizes the mastery of content and the chronological sequences that organize it. In addition, however, students are encouraged to think critically and interpretively, to address questions of causality, to comprehend multiple interpretive perspectives, to engage in comparative analysis, to think “historically,” to write persuasively and with reference to evidence, and to analyze primary source documents in ways that create synthetic narratives (as historians do).

    The course covers the main themes of European historical development and emphasizes the major interpretive problems associated with those themes. Each unit presents those problems and engages students in the critical-thinking skills necessary to come to provisional solutions to them (which are evaluated according to the standards of the profession and the modes of expression appropriate to them). This is a full-year course divided into three trimesters, consisting of approximately nine chapters of material each trimester. Each unit or chapter asks students to encounter major historiographical issues, factual content, primary source documents, and thematic essays. All of these correspond to the format of the Advanced Placement European History exam and the four curricular requirements.
    Topics:
    • Confronting the rationale behind studying the history of a continent
    • Europe of the late Middle Ages
    • Renaissance & Reformation
    • Europeans and the New World
    • The Rise of the Nation-State
    • A Scientific View of the World
    • Absolutism as a political construct
    • The French Revolution
    • The Industrial Revolution
    • The Revolutions of 1848
    • The Rise of “isms” in Europe
    • The Colonial Age and the Scramble for Africa
    • World War I
    • The Inter-War Years
    • World War II
    • The Cold War
  • AP Human Geography

    This course is a human (cultural) geography course presented thematically rather than regionally. The approach is spatial and problem oriented, with case studies drawn from all world regions. It is a highly accessible Advanced Placement course; while rigorous at a college level, it is one in which virtually all CA Juniors and Seniors could meet the challenges of the curriculum. The seven broad areas of study are Geography: Its nature and Perspectives; Population and Migration; Cultural Patterns and Processes; Political Organization of Space; Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use; Industrialization and Economic Development; and Cities and Urban Land Use.

    Examples of specific topics include: impact of technological innovation on transportation and communication, industrialization, and certain other aspects of human life; struggles over political power and control of territory; problems of economic development and cultural change; consequences of population growth, changing fertility rates, and international migration; conflicts over demands of ethnic minorities, the role of women in society, and inequalities between developed and developing economies; the role of climate change and environmental abuses in shaping human landscapes on Earth; and explanations of why location matters to agricultural land use, industrial development, and urban problems. Students who want to be more geoliterate, more knowledgeable and engaged in contemporary global issues, and more multicultural in perspective should consider this course. Students should be able to read at a college level, compose well-constructed essays, analyze various forms of geospatial data, and be actively involved in every class. Text: Landscapes of Human Activities, Bjelland, et al.

Global Languages

List of 20 items.

  • Upper School Global Languages Overview

    Three years of the same global language are required in Upper School. The Global Language program in the Upper School emphasizes the acquisition and development of the following skills:

    • Communication is at the heart of second language study, focusing on the linguistic and social knowledge required for effective interaction. “Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom” encompasses the ultimate goal to communicate in meaningful and appropriate ways.
    o Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
    o Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
    o Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

    • Cultures
    o Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices, products, and perspectives of the culture studied.

    • Connections
    o Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
    o Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.

    • Comparisons
    o Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of the language and the concept of culture through comparisons of the language and culture studied and their own.

    • Communities
    o Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
    o Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

    Please look at the course descriptions which follow to find out more about the Upper School Global Languages curriculum.
  • Chinese I

    In this engaging, proficiency-oriented language-learning course, students master the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Mandarin Chinese while also discovering Chinese culture. Students are introduced to the pinyin system of Romanization (standard in mainland China) and use the Simplified character set (also standard in mainland China) when reading and writing. While Chinese is a demanding language to learn, key strategies and techniques are covered to help students become more effective language learners. In addition to activities related to the course textbook, an abundance of authentic materials, native voices, and real-life language applications are woven into the course experience. By the end of the year, students are able to express basic information about their daily life, family, and preferences, both orally and in written Chinese characters, as well as perform common life tasks in a thoughtful and culturally appropriate way. Text: Integrated Chinese, Vol 1, 4th Ed., Cheng and Tsui.
    Read More
  • Chinese II

    Building on the skills and vocabulary students acquired in Chinese I, this course challenges students to perform more complex tasks pertaining to travel and engaging with a larger community of Chinese speakers. Similar to Chinese I in its structure and expectations, this engaging, proficiency-oriented language course emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Mandarin Chinese, while also stressing cultural awareness. Students use the pinyin system of Romanization (standard in mainland China) and the Simplified character set (also standard in mainland China) when reading and writing. In addition to activities related to the course textbook, an abundance of authentic materials, native voices, and real-life language applications are woven into the course experience. Text: Integrated Chinese, Vol. 2, 4th Ed., Cheng and Tsui.
  • Chinese III

    Building on the skills and vocabulary students acquired in Chinese II, this course guides students in performing important tasks for independent living at college, including nurturing friendships, talking about schoolwork, and managing finances. Similar to Chinese II in its structure and expectations, this proficiency-oriented language course emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Mandarin Chinese, while also growing students’ cultural awareness. Students are expected to use Simplified characters for all reading and writing assignments. In addition to activities related to the course textbook, an abundance of authentic materials, native voices, and real-life language applications are woven into the course experience. Text: Integrated Chinese, Level 2 Part 1, 4th Ed., Cheng and Tsui.
  • Chinese IV

    By the end of this course, students are increasingly comfortable using the language to express themselves more fully in speaking and writing. They give presentations to their classmates and write longer compositions. Students also are able to increase the degree of comprehension while listening to and reading Chinese. To further both of these goals and to improve accuracy, students add to the sophistication of their vocabulary and polish their use of grammar to communicate more effectively. In addition, Chinese IV focuses more on history, politics, and current events. Students have the opportunity to connect to Chinese-speaking cultures through music, essays, literature, photographs, art, authentic materials, and videos. Text: Integrated Chinese, Level 2 Part 2, 4th Ed., Cheng and Tsui.
  • AP Chinese Language and Culture

    Students study second-year college-level material to prepare for the Chinese AP exam in May. Emphasis is on interpersonal skills, interpretation of spoken and written Chinese, and knowledge of Chinese culture. Students use a variety of resources to explore the history, geography, arts, current events, and pop culture relative to thematic units. Students show mastery in a variety of ways, including participation in in-class discussions, writing analytical essays, creating projects, giving presentations, and taking traditional tests. Text/resources: Integrated Chinese, Level 2 Part 2, 4th Ed., Cheng and Tsui; Barron’s AP - Chinese.
  • French I

    The French curriculum allows students to acquire basic practical vocabulary and fundamental grammatical structures while building cultural awareness. Goals include, but are not limited to, learning to ask and answer simple questions, describe people, express likes and dislikes, and narrate a short sequence of events. The culture and geography of French-speaking countries are also stressed. Students learn to comprehend spoken French through frequent exposure to authentic material via the audio and video program, where emphasis is given to understanding the meaning of unfamiliar words through context. By the end of the class, they are able to communicate basic information. Students can expect in-class oral paired activities and nightly assignments. Text: Espaces, Vista Higher Learning.
  • French II

    French II continues the study of language by providing numerous practices to increase linguistic skills and vocabulary acquisition. The course also emphasizes structures needed for effective communication in most common situations. Classes include a variety of activities designed to increase fluency in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. Students perform skits, create dialogues, and conduct interviews of their peers. Finally, students write paragraphs and respond in writing to oral, visual, or written cues, using appropriate grammar and syntax. Work is done both individually and in pairs, providing students with opportunities to use the language in a variety of ways. Assessments of student progress encompass, but are not limited to, written tests and quizzes, oral interviews, compositions, and daily participation. Text: Espaces, Vista Higher Learning.
  • French III

    The primary linguistic goal of Level III French is to allow students to express themselves in increasingly more precise, detailed language. Special emphasis is also given to reading comprehension and written self-expression. Through projects, oral presentations, and written reports, students explore the cultural background of the French-speaking world as well as contemporary daily life in France. Strong focus is given to practical language use, building reading skills, expanding vocabulary, and establishing a firm grammatical foundation in French. Assessments of student progress encompass, but are not limited to, written tests and quizzes, oral interviews, compositions, and daily participation.
  • French IV: Intermediate Conversation and Composition

    French IV combines a review of French grammar and an expansion of vocabulary with an introductory study of Francophone literature and culture. French IV focuses on developing students’ written, oral, and aural skills so that they may begin to use French at a high intermediate level of proficiency. Students learn about contemporary life in Francophone countries; they also explore some of the literature that has shaped the French identity via authentic texts of Francophone authors.
  • French: Advanced Seminar - Honors

    Students who complete this yearlong course explore French and Francophone culture, art, literature, and civilization through a variety of readings from authentic sources written for native speakers. Students explore the educational system in France and French-speaking countries from pre-school to university, including the French national baccalauréat exam, through videos, articles, and movies. Students learn about French culture and civilization through the study of various French artists and their works, researching art media, movements, and artists, and culminating with an examination of philosophies and definitions of art. Students read one of the oldest versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” then compare it to a recent French film version, and read a few chapters from The Count of Monte Cristo, then watch the acclaimed miniseries starring Gérard Depardieu.
  • AP French Language and Culture

    Students who enroll in this college-level French language course already have a good command of French grammar and vocabulary and have competence in listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The AP course provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in each of the three modes of communication: Interpersonal (spoken and written), Interpretive (audiovisual, written, and print), and Presentational (spoken and written). This course is structured around six themes: Global Challenges, Personal and Public Identities, Science and Technology, Beauty and Aesthetics, Contemporary Life, and Families and Communities. Each theme includes a number of contexts for exploration which address essential questions for the 21st century. This structure creates an interesting, meaningful context in which to explore a variety of language concepts with authentic material (audiovisual and print). This course concludes with a national exam, the Advanced Placement French Language & Culture Examination.
  • Spanish for Heritage Speakers I & II - Honors (second year)

    This course is designed to offer students whose home language is Spanish an opportunity to study Spanish formally in an academic setting in the same way native English-speaking students study English language arts. Many native/heritage students are partially bilingual and vary in their language skills, and this course is designed to expand their command of the Spanish language with further development of their reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills; vocabulary building; preparation in basic principles of composition and grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, accents, paragraph organization; and study of Latin American and Spanish literature and culture, with selections from novels, myths, short stories, plays, and poetry. Class is conducted entirely in Spanish. Students study current events and analyze the political and socio-economic issues facing the Spanish-speaking world. Students are expected to participate orally through class discussion, debates, and presentations. Writing assignments for this course focus on developing creative, analytical, and persuasive writing skills. The differences between formal and informal language, both oral and written, are stressed throughout the year. This course may be taken for two years and is a prerequisite for heritage speakers to take Advanced Seminar, AP Spanish Language, and AP Spanish Literature.
  • Spanish I

    The Spanish I curriculum allows students to acquire basic practical vocabulary and fundamental grammatical structures while building cultural awareness. Goals include, but are not limited to, learning to ask and answer simple questions, describe people, express likes and dislikes, and narrate a short sequence of events. The culture and geography of Spanish-speaking countries are also stressed. Students learn to comprehend spoken Spanish through frequent exposure to the “real-life language” of native speakers via video programs and other resources, where emphasis is given to understanding the meaning of unfamiliar words through context. By the end of the class, they are able to communicate basic information. Students can expect in-class oral paired activities, group communicative exercises, and nightly assignments.
  • Spanish II

    The primary goal of Level II Spanish is to ensure that students acquire more vocabulary and grammatical constructs for practical communication in everyday situations. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the acquisition skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students still mostly use isolated words, lists, memorized phrases, and some personalized recombination of words and phrases; however, they begin to use these with more ease and attention to detail. They become increasingly comfortable speaking and writing in the present tense and begin using the imperfect and preterit tenses to narrate events in the past. Cultural topics are interwoven throughout the year, so that students come to appreciate the dynamic relationship between language acquisition and cultural competence. Written and oral assessments, short compositions, and an emphasis on daily classroom participation and preparedness play a key role in building skills. Additional resource materials such as short novellas, films, and online sources supplement the textbook.
  • Spanish III

    Reinforcing the basic language skills learned in the first two years, Spanish III students participate in progressively more challenging conversations and are presented with more complex reading and writing material. Students produce longer and more detailed pieces of writing, both in and outside of class. They also continue to practice the receptive skills of listening and reading through use of technology, in-class discussions, frequent reading assignments, and videos.
    We supplement the main textbook with readings from other sources, such as a book of Mexican legends for the Summer reading, a short novel in Spanish, and other authentic materials. In addition, we view two educational feature-length films in Spanish to further students’ access to authentic spoken language and to build confidence in discussion. In Spanish III, discussion and writing builds students’ repertoire of vocabulary while improving their syntax and the accuracy of their grammatical structures. Although students complete a thorough review of verb tenses and other grammatical topics at this level, it is also a year of learning many new verb tenses
  • Spanish IV: Intermediate Conversation and Composition

    By the end of this course, students are increasingly comfortable using the language to express themselves more fully in speaking and writing. They give presentations to their classmates and write compositions of varying lengths and styles. Students are also able to increase their degree of comprehension while listening to and reading Spanish. To further both of these goals and to improve accuracy, students add to the sophistication of their vocabulary, polish their use of grammar to communicate more effectively, and add new verb tenses to their useable language. In Spanish IV, students connect to Spanish-speaking cultures through music, essays, literature, photographs, art, the internet, current events, authentic materials, and films.
  • Spanish: Advanced Seminar - Honors

    Students who complete this yearlong course have had intensive and nuanced practice in all areas of language acquisition (speaking, reading, listening, and writing) and have broadened their knowledge of Spanish and Spanish-speaking cultures through a variety of authentic sources written for native speakers. During this course, students are asked to speak and write authoritatively and insightfully in Spanish about each of the year’s themes. The thematic focus may include: Culinary Diversity of the Spanish-Speaking world; Children’s and Young Adult Literature; Film and Fiction in Latin America and Spain; Latin American Protest Music; Underground Theater; and Visual Art, among others. Topics are offered on an alternating year basis, so students may elect to take the course a second year and study a different set of themes. This course may be taken by eligible language students either before or after the AP Language course.
  • AP I Spanish Language and Culture

    In this college-level class, students continue to master their skills in Spanish. This course emphasizes using language for active communication, reading increasingly complex texts, and developing more sophistication and accuracy in speaking and writing, while exploring the culture and literature of the Spanish-speaking world. Students use a variety of resources to explore the history, geography, arts, current events, and science/technology related to six global thematic units. Students demonstrate mastery in a variety of ways, including participation in class discussions, writing analytical essays, creating projects, giving presentations, and taking practice AP tests. There is also a cursory review of grammar and vocabulary related to daily life, and frequent practice to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam.
  • AP II Spanish Literature

    AP Spanish Literature is comparable to a college-level Introduction to Hispanic Literature course. It is based on a required reading list. The works on the list are of literary significance and represent various historical periods, literary movements, genres, geographic areas, and population groups within the Spanish-speaking world. The objective of the course is to help students interpret and analyze literature in Spanish. Students demonstrate their communication skills by analyzing real situations through reading and listening comprehension assessments. In addition, this course provides students with literary techniques to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the different cultural components of Spanish Literature. Text: Azulejo, Wayside Publishing.

Computer Science/Engineering & Design

List of 17 items.

  • Upper School Computer Science/Engineering & Design Overview

    Beyond STEM, Computer Science/Engineering & Design require innovative ways of thinking, creating, and integrating technology with the real world.

    Computer Science & Computational Thinking: Computer Science is a valuable asset to every student’s formal education. The impact of computer science has been felt in nearly every discipline. Students today should not just consume technology, but be able to understand, control, and make the technology work for them. The four cornerstones of Computational Thinking are decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms. These powerful problem-solving principles can be integrated into any discipline and prepare students for the types of problems that are often encountered in the digital world. Learning the foundations of programming and computational thinking gives students an essential tool for turning innovative ideas into reality.

    Innovation & Design: Throughout human history, progress has been associated with innovation. Today, more than ever, we have direct access to the knowledge and the tools that enable us to readily bring innovative ideas to fruition. The skillful use of the Design Thinking process, in conjunction with technical design skills, allows students to see and understand real-world problems more clearly and to use their imaginations in creatively developing impactful solutions and implementing them in the world.

    Design & Fabrication: 2D and 3D design software and modern fabrication technologies, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and other computer-controlled machines, give students the opportunity to readily design, evaluate, test, and produce their own inventions with relative ease. Using essential design and engineering methods in combination with fabrication tools enables students to create playful designs and implement future solutions for needs within our community and the world.

    Physical Computing: Physical computing, sometimes in the form of robotics, is the integration of computer science with mechanical design to create functional systems that can sense and interact with people and the environment. By using both software and hardware to sense and respond to the analog world, almost anything is possible in terms of the amazing and innovative projects that can be devised, designed, and constructed. Physical computing takes a hands-on approach to designing, building, and implementing systems that incorporate microcontrollers such as Arduinos or small computers such as the Raspberry Pi.

    Two Trimester credits of Computer Science/Engineering & Design are required for graduation. These courses may utilize elements from any of the following: Computer Science & Computational Thinking; Engineering Design; Digital Design & Fabrication; and Physical Computing.

    Courses are listed below from introductory level to more advanced levels.
  • AP Computer Science Principles

    This AP course introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can influence the world. With a unique focus on creative problem solving and real-world applications, AP Computer Science Principles prepares students for college and career. This course introduces students to the central ideas of computer science, instilling the ideas and practices of computational thinking. The curricular framework for this course includes: Creativity, Abstraction, Data and Information, Algorithms, Programming, The Internet, and Global Impact.
  • Audio Engineering

    Department of Music and Dance:
    In this course, students explore sound and music and the methods and technologies used in recording, synthesizing, manipulating, and sharing it. They investigate, learn, and apply professional multi-track studio recording techniques, learn industry-standard Pro Tools digital audio software, and learn how to use virtual instruments to design sound and to record, produce, and share their own music and that of others. All students finish the course with a digital portfolio of music projects that they have recorded and produced. This course also touches upon the production of soundtracks for video and the acoustics of recording and live performance. For those looking to explore this field with greater depth, this course can be followed by a third trimester of independent study and more advanced personal projects.

    (Cross-registration/credit with Computer Science/Engineering & Design and Visual & Performing Arts Department.)
  • Data Analytics with Excel, SQL & Tableau

    This course gives students exposure to and practice with a variety of analytical tools to help them study, visualize, and understand data. This class challenges students to investigate, manage, analyze, and explore data as a means to support a broader story or conclusion with an emphasis on the variety of perspectives/insights that data can illuminate. After refining basic data-analysis skills in Excel or Google Sheets, students build a foundation of skills in SQL to enable them to run queries and pull data, which can then be visualized and reported upon in Tableau (a leading business intelligence software tool). It concludes with a capstone project that allows students to explore, study, and build visuals and analysis to support a final presentation about a topic of their choice (including crime, health-care, sports, business, environmental issues, marketing, or social justice issues).
  • FabLab: Intro to Engineering Design

    In this hands-on, project-based course, students learn and practice using the engineering design process to design and make things—to take a design idea, devise a plan, and fabricate a functional, finished product. Along the way, students receive a comprehensive orientation to the CA Innovation Lab and essential training in the safe and appropriate use of all of the lab’s fundamental tools and other specialty tools as needed. The first half of the course is focused on manual skill and the designing and fabricating of projects by hand. In the second half of the trimester, students apply and build upon these skills within the digital realm, using 2D CAD software and the laser cutter/engraver to design and precisely fabricate their original, functional designs.
  • Flight

    Students build and analyze a number of aircraft that may include hot air balloons, gliders, and RC quadcopters, and they investigate and analyze the natural phenomena that affect their performance. They learn the anatomy and physics of fixed-wing aircraft and lighter-than-air aircraft, and then design, build, and fly their own custom aircraft. Finally, students use all that they have learned to design, build, and test their own custom RC quadcopters. At the end of the course, students leave with a functional RC aircraft, respectable piloting skills, all of the necessary accessories, and the knowledge of how to modify it, repair it, and fly it on their own. A fee of $300 is required to cover part of the expenses for a quadcopter racing drone kit and radio transmitter. Financial assistance is available through the Admission Office for those who qualify.
  • Introduction to Computer Science

    This engaging introductory course introduces students to the vital discipline of Computer Science. Students develop awareness of important computer science principles, such as programming, software-hardware interaction, and conceptual and formal design models. Programming topics covered include basic control structures (sequence, loops, branching), variables, abstraction, and simple array processing. Students develop strong computational thinking skills that they can apply in many other disciplines such as robotics, mathematics, science, music, and art. Each student completes a well-planned and designed programming project.
  • Introduction to Statistics and Data Science

    Students in this trimester course use spreadsheet programs and statistical analysis software (R) to explore data sets. They manipulate and summarize real-world data, using advanced spreadsheet techniques to answer relevant questions and present their findings with graphical displays of data, including box plots, scatter plots, histograms, and normal probability plots. Students consider distributions of data, using one-variable statistics to describe center, shape, and spread of data sets and to identify unusual features of data sets. Students build, interpret, and compare statistical models. Upon completion of this course, students are well prepared to interpret charts and draw conclusions from statistics they encounter in the media, and they have experience building models and analyzing data sets using spreadsheets and R.
  • Performance Innovations

    Department of Theater:
    This full-year course is intended for motivated students who are passionate about the Arts and interested in using the Innovation and Computer Science Labs to create and highlight performance art. The full-year course gives students an opportunity to develop and focus their own personal artistic personalities. Students create and showcase a performance piece before Winter Break. In so doing, students become proficient in woodworking. One more major project is presented in the Spring. Students learn to program in Python and become proficient in robotics to create reactive and expressive art. To provide context for “outside-the-box” artistic self-expression, students also engage with the historical context, events, and ongoing artistic impacts of two renegade, fiercely independent artistic movements. Guest and faculty speakers provide steady input. Students may engage with local performance artists in the Denver area and on one overnight field trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. After completing this class, students may take advanced Computer Science courses, effectively pursue their passions in the art studio, and fabricate solutions to complex problems.
    (Cross-registration/credit between Computer Science, Engineering & Design and Visual & Performing Arts Departments)
  • Python for Biologists

    Remember, from Ninth Grade Biology, the number of amino acids coded by a small section of a strand of DNA? Each of the 46 strands of DNA, stretched out, would be six feet long, and all together, DNA codes for more than 20,000 proteins. Talk about data! How do biologists find patterns or mutations in all of that? That is where science and programming meet—in a field known as Bioinformatics. This trimester course introduces students to that connection through a combination of biology and Python. Python, a coding language that is both easy and fun to learn, will be the pathway into understanding the critical connection between coding and science. Students learn basic Python control structures such as loops, sequences, and branching, all within the context of DNA codes and patterns.
  • Robotics Playground

    In this project-based course, students design, build, and program working prototypes of autonomous and interactive electronic systems (i.e., robots) using the Raspberry Pi. Students design, build, and program simple electronic systems and then grow their expertise by designing and building incrementally more advanced and interesting projects. While there is some focus on basic electronics and the physics behind the sensors and actuators that connect students’ designs with the world, the greatest amount of time and emphasis is on working in teams to intentionally design, build, program, test, and refine robots of interest to each student.
  • Visual Design & Algorithmic Art

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Students enter the world of visual expression, computational creativity, and Design Thinking to create something out of nothing and bring ideas to life. They explore laser cutting, 3D modeling, augmented reality, coding, and various art media to create two-dimensional imagery and three-dimensional sculpture, as well as explore functionality and beauty to express their personal voice. Students embrace happy mistakes and take risks. They tackle big ideas by breaking them into smaller steps, and learn to represent concepts with visual accuracy. This class emphasizes the connections and integrations between studio art, computer science, and engineering to develop epic projects. Students speak with and learn from professionals in the field through presentations and visits. After completing this class, students can take advanced computer science courses, effectively pursue their passions in the art studio, and fabricate solutions to complex problems.
    (Cross-registration/credit between Visual and Performing Arts Department and Computer Science & Engineering Design Department)
  • 3D Digital Design & Fabrication

    In this course, students expand upon their 2D design knowledge and skills and begin working with 3D design and fabrication techniques. They learn to how to design and 3D print models and prototypes, create 3D scans of physical objects, use digital sculpting tools, and learn to incorporate 3D models into larger designs, both functional and artistic. Students become proficient with SolidWorks 3D modeling software as a tool for planning and simulating 3D models and assemblies, and they use Aspire CAD/CAM software and the 3D CNC mill to design and fabricate their own large-scale functional designs. Students may choose to explore digital sculpting, jewelry design and metal casting, welding, and projects that integrate a variety of tools, methods, and media. At the end of the course, students leave with finished projects, as well as a digital portfolio with all of their design work and photos of finished products.
  • AP Computer Science A

    This course covers the Advanced Placement Computer Science A curriculum and focuses on the Object-Oriented Programming language of Java. Topics include the essentials of OOP, classes, methods, graphics, input/output statements, if statements, loops, strings, recursion, one- and two-dimensional arrays, searching, and sorting. The emphasis of this course is on problem solving, software engineering, and ethics. Students learn systematic ways of breaking down problems and writing well-documented programming code. An introductory programming class is highly recommended before taking this course. This class covers material typical in a first-semester college Computer Science course.
  • Advanced Computer Science and Data Structures

    This course covers advanced programming topics with an emphasis on data structures (sets, maps, stacks, queues, lists, and trees), and algorithm efficiency (Big-O). In addition, students examine advanced programming algorithms, such as sorting, searching, and recursive arrays. Students enhance their knowledge of Java and advance their programming skills to a higher level. The class includes selected computer science topics, such as digital electronics, assembly language programming, cryptography, and machine learning. Only students with an advanced level of programming experience should enroll in this course. The course covers second-semester college-level material beyond the AP Computer Science A course.
  • Engineering Design Lab (Thoreau's Cabin)

    In general, this course is for students who wish to take their engineering design and fabrication skills to the next level. With a focus on the design, analysis, and building of larger scale structures and vehicles, students take on new design challenges (e.g., bridges, human-powered vehicles, medieval siege weapons, such as catapults and trebuchets, etc.), use new tools and processes (e.g., welding, metalworking, digital fabrication, etc.), and learn and practice the application of principles of engineering mechanics and physics in the design and evaluation processes. This class is repeatable with subsequent trimesters focusing on the development of projects and skills of the student’s choosing.

    This year’s iteration of the course is Into the Woods: Building Thoreau’s Cabin. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thoreau stated that going to live at Walden Pond was an experiment and that he was going there to live “free and uncommitted.” In this one-trimester, hands-on class, the experiment is an investigation into both the best ways to design and build a replica of Thoreau’s cabin, as well as the role and benefit of a rustic retreat from the complexity of the modern world. Students explore 19th-century timber framing techniques, as well as other accessible methods of constructing simple homes and structures, en route to designing and constructing a replica of Thoreau’s cabin on the bank of Woody’s Pond. This course may be an ideal accompaniment or follow-up to the Tenth Grade American Literature experience.
  • Topics in Computer Science

    This course is intended for highly motivated students with a strong programming background who are interested in advancing their programming abilities beyond an introductory level. Furthermore, students should desire to engage in independent learning. This project-based class does not focus on any particular programming language or topic but allows students to pursue applications of computer science in different areas of interest.

Visual & Performing Arts

List of 37 items.

  • Upper School Visual & Performing Arts Overview

    The extensive program in the Visual and Performing Arts at Colorado Academy allows students to discover, practice, polish, and present their chosen art form from beginning steps to portfolio and public performance levels. The four areas in which students may explore and refine their art and craft are: the Department of Theater, which includes acting, directing, and technical theater; the Department of Visual Arts, which includes studio art, digital photography, digital video, digital art and design, and architectural drawing; the Department of Music and Dance, which includes choir, dance, instrumental ensembles and orchestras, and audio engineering; and the Department of Graphic Design and Publication, which includes yearbook. Private instruction is available in both vocal and instrumental music for students of all skill levels; however, private music lessons do not receive arts credit. Departmental requirements are two full years (six trimesters) of arts classes during Upper School; AND at least one trimester of arts credit each year (even if the student has already completed six trimesters of arts).
    It is recommended that students fulfill as much of the arts requirement as possible during their Freshman and Sophomore years.

    Please look at the course descriptions below to find out more about the Upper School Visual & Performing Arts curriculum.
  • Acting/Scene Study I

    Department of Theater:
    This class is the prerequisite for all other courses in the department—three trimesters equal one year of credit. This class teaches the rudiments of acting, with a focus on teaching young actors how to work moment-to-moment, to be truthful in an imaginary situation, and to put their attention on the other person. It is the training ground for all advanced work. 
  • Acting/Scene Study II (III, IV)

    Department of Theater:
    This course takes the groundwork established in first year Acting to a more advanced and mature level of understanding and practice. Process-oriented, these trimesters are a focused training component of the theater program. When appropriate, this class may culminate in a public (after school) performance.
  • Acting for the Camera

    Department of Theater:
    In this course students develop techniques to use the camera as an acting partner while retaining the ability to focus on other actors during the scene. Actors use imagination and emotional preparation training integral to stage performance, while learning the skills necessary for working with challenging edits, the non-linear timeline of film and TV production, an on-camera director, and the unique demands and environment of a studio setup. Students also prepare for on-camera auditions and monologues to equip them to navigate demo-reels, social-media based web-series, and professional film, TV, and commercial production.
  • Musical Theater

    Department of Theater:
    This workshop-style course offers students a focused study of the techniques used in musical theater performance. It is intended for anyone who is interested in learning how to perform in the musical theater style, using songs from shows ranging from Oklahoma! and West Side Story to Hamilton and Dear Evan Hanson. Students are encouraged to choose repertoire within their range and according to their interests. The course is a progressive training ground for advanced work in the annual musical presentation.
  • Technical Theater I (II, III, IV)

    Department of Theater:
    The objective of this course is to introduce students to the tools and protocol of mounting a major production, as well as to provide them with solid working experience from plans on paper to hands-on construction on stage. Students are trained in the aesthetics of lighting and scenic design, as well as in the knowledge of operating equipment safely and mastering a basic reading of ground plans, elevations, and computer-generated design.
  • Performance Innovations

    Department of Theater:
    This full-year course is intended for motivated students who are passionate about the Arts and interested in using the Innovation and Computer Science Labs to create and highlight performance art. The full-year course gives students an opportunity to develop and focus their own personal artistic personalities. Students create and showcase a performance piece before Winter Break. In so doing, students become proficient in woodworking. One more major project is presented in the Spring. Students learn to program in Python and become proficient in robotics to create reactive and expressive art. To provide context for “outside-the-box” artistic self-expression, students also engage with the historical context, events, and ongoing artistic impacts of two renegade, fiercely independent artistic movements. Guest and faculty speakers provide steady input. Students may engage with local performance artists in the Denver area and on one overnight field trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. After completing this class, students may take advanced Computer Science courses, effectively pursue their passions in the art studio, and fabricate solutions to complex problems.
    (Cross-registration/credit between Computer Science, Engineering & Design and Visual & Performing Arts Departments)
  • Theater Practicum

    Department of Theater:
    Practicum is a hands-on training class in some aspects of the production. With a theater advisor, practicum students arrange their course of study, which must total enough hours to fulfill a trimester of work for credit, but may include work on one or multiple shows and events, including stage management, lighting, sound, scene painting, props, stage crew, program or poster design, musical accompaniment, box office management, and ushering.
  • Studio Art I

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Studio Art I classes offer a strong foundation in the traditional disciplines of the visual arts: drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Emphasis is placed on the use of the elements of art and principles of design, growth in technical skills and creativity, and the ability to think critically about one’s own work and the work of others.

    Trimester 1: Emphasis on Two-Dimensional Design through drawing (pencil, pastel, charcoal), and through mixed-media techniques such as ink, paint, and collage.

    Trimester 2: Emphasis on Painting and Printmaking through a variety of media and techniques, including watercolor, acrylic, encaustic, monoprint, relief, and intaglio, with drawing for preparation. Taking drawing first is recommended, but not required.

    Trimester 3: Emphasis on Concept-Based Art through an open studio setting. Artists are given concepts to pursue and the choice to solve the challenges two-dimensionally or three-dimensionally. 
  • Studio Art II

    Department of Visual Arts:
    During the three trimesters, Studio Art II provides an in-depth study in the traditional disciplines of the visual arts: drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Students work toward the following goals: individual growth in technical skills in the use of the media presented; the development of evaluative and critical-thinking skills from participation in regularly scheduled critiques; and growth in creativity and original style. In addition, students expand their knowledge of the work of contemporary artists and art movements. 

    Trimester 1: Understanding Graphics - Advanced two-dimensional design, life drawing foundation, pencils, pastel, charcoal, pen, and ink. Students explore drawing and painting techniques in media of their choice.

    Trimester 2: Image as an Outgrowth of Media - Emphasis on painting and printmaking, with work in one or more of these areas: painting, collograph, woodcut, monoprint, or intaglio, with drawing as preparation.

    Trimester 3: Exploring Expression 2D or 3D - Advanced two-dimensional or three-dimensional design; artists solve challenges in a variety of media, drawing, painting, mixed media, or sculpture.
  • Studio Art III

    Department of Visual Arts:
    The course of study at the Studio Art III level is focused on the development of a personal vision, reflecting the student’s individual artistic concerns and the pursuit of technical excellence in chosen media. This course requires that each student take creative risks, inform his/her work with an understanding of the major contemporary art movements, and include research into a particular artist’s or group of artists’ work. Emphasis is on an analytical approach to the solution of aesthetic problems. 

    Trimester 1: Emphasis on Experimental Media in two dimensions, including drawing, painting, and mixed media.

    Trimester 2: Emphasis on Experimental Media in two and three dimensions, including painting, printmaking, relief and intaglio processes, additive or reductive sculpture in plastic, ceramics, metals, or fibers.

    Trimester 3: Independent Topics - With permission of the instructor, students may design independent art projects in a variety of media.
  • Advanced 2D Art

    Department of Visual Arts:
    This course gives artists the opportunity to choose a concentration in drawing, painting, or mixed media. They explore complex approaches in their chosen medium that strengthens and develops their individual artistic voice. The artists work to build technical skills, while deepening their sense of personal expression. They practice analyzing and verbally articulating the impact of their own work as well as supporting the work of their peers. 
  • Ceramics

    Department of Visual Arts:
    This class affords students the opportunity to explore a variety of hand-building methods, including coil, slab, modeling, and molding. Every student also gains experience using the potter’s wheel to create ceramic objects. Students learn how to apply several surface treatments and glazes to their projects, as well as a basic understanding of the kiln-firing process. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to initiate their own ideas, use creative problem solving to create unique works, and explore traditional and contemporary ceramic practices.
  • Digital Art & Design

    Department of Visual Arts:
    This course explores imagery, text, and color in digital media using Adobe Creative Suite programs, including Illustrator and Photoshop. Students use all aspects of the artistic design process to explore illustration, vector graphics, pixel graphics, and image manipulation. These foundations can lead to more advanced digital art forms such as photography, graphic design, including poster and logo design, animation, website design, and more.
  • Visual Design & Algorithmic Art

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Students enter the world of visual expression, computational creativity, and Design Thinking to create something out of nothing and bring ideas to life. They explore laser cutting, 3D modeling, augmented reality, coding, and various art media to create two-dimensional imagery and three-dimensional sculpture, as well as explore functionality and beauty to express their personal voice. Students embrace happy mistakes and take risks. They tackle big ideas by breaking them into smaller steps, and learn to represent concepts with visual accuracy. This class emphasizes the connections and integrations between studio art, computer science, and engineering to develop epic projects. Students speak with and learn from professionals in the field through presentations and visits. After completing this class, students can take advanced computer science courses, effectively pursue their passions in the art studio, and fabricate solutions to complex problems.
    (Cross-registration/credit between Visual and Performing Arts Department and Computer Science & Engineering Design Department)
  • Introduction to Architectural Drawing

    Department of Visual Arts:
    In this introductory course, students explore the basic skills that are important in standard building design. The students practice axonometric drawing, perspective drawing, observational drawing, and drafting skills. They discover how all of these skills can assist in learning how to use computer-aided drafting software in designing unique spaces that have a personal aesthetic. 
  • Digital Photography I - Intro to Digital Photography

    Department of Visual Arts:
    In this class, students investigate the nature of photography as an important field of artistic practice, conceptual knowledge, and technological procedures. Essential skills and techniques focus on the DSLR camera, studio lighting, and post-production using Adobe Photoshop. This material practice is supported with historical and critical studies of the work of practicing photographers and visual artists. Students deepen their understanding of the history of photography and how photographers effectively construct images. Students must provide a journal. 
  • Digital Photography II - Intermediate Digital Applications

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Photography II is an expansion of Photography I. Students build on a solid foundation in traditional and contemporary photography, using complex analog and digital material explorations and artist investigations. In-depth personal and group projects emphasize refined photographic practice through still work, as well as multimedia crossovers in the digital world. In their critical and historical studies, students will further expand their understanding of historical and contemporary photographers to enhance their own knowledge of the past and how it informs their own photographic practice. Students must provide a journal.
  • Digital Photography III - Advanced Digital Applications

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Photography III builds on the knowledge and understanding, skills, values, and attitudes gained in the Photography I and II courses. The course further develops students’ digital media understanding of photography through deeper and sustained investigations of photographers’ conceptual and material practice in increasingly independent ways.

    Students continue to hone their camera and computer skills to produce personal and group projects which demonstrate a sophisticated level of technical and artistic proficiency. Critical and historical investigations of photographs and their image makers lead students to increasingly accomplished understanding of how photography invites different interpretations and explanations. Students must provide a digital camera, SD card, and journal.
  • Digital Video I

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Digital Video I introduces students to visual language, cinematic grammar, and the basic elements of camera operation and lighting. Students are asked to respond to questions and micro-themes with creative projects. Examples are 30-second commercials, short narratives, and video journalism. With an overview of the entire production process, attention is given to the fundamentals of exposure and control of the image. Students complete at least two individual and two small group projects. Video cameras, computers, and editing software are provided.
  • Digital Video II

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Digital Video II builds on Digital Video I. Digital Video II is a three-trimester experience that brings the entire conceptual process from storyboarding to final cut into focus. The art, theory, and craft of editing is explored in detail, as well as the marriage between visual imagery and sound design. Students are exposed to advanced editing features, such as filters, color correction, keying, and matting. In Digital Video II, the creative laboratory continues to explore the potential for video as Fine Art, utilizing micro-themes, but also affording students “independence” for deeper, more substantive creative projects. Digital Video II continues to investigate the uses of pedestrian video such as journalism, sports documentary, music videos, and other established genres.
  • Digital Video III

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Digital Video III is for students who have completed three trimesters of Digital Video II. This class provides advanced instruction in editing workflow, compression, and video output. Students continue to build technical proficiency while designing their own production and production schedules. Students also complete an essay or mini-documentary on a film director or video artist of their choice. 
  • Digital Special Effects: Adobe After Effects

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Students learn the basics of manipulating and creating raw digital effects, from title sequences to light sabers and beyond. The driving force behind this digital manipulation is Adobe After Effects. Beginning with the understanding of keyframing, students learn that “digital stitching” can replace the sky, generate “handmade” titles, and eventually add 3D objects to real-time video. This is for the video student who enjoys editing and may be taken a second time, graduating to more advanced special effects
  • Visual Arts Portfolio Prep Class

    Department of Visual Arts:
    Portfolio Prep is a prerequisite for the Senior Portfolio Class. Students meet during regular art/photo/video/ceramics classes. Students prepare for the rigors of the Portfolio Class and review, edit, organize, and determine the direction they want to pursue in the development of their work. They begin to shape their artist’s statement and solidify the philosophy and intent of their work. This class prepares the student by developing investigations in artists’/filmmakers’ practice and material experimentation for their application for the Senior Portfolio admittance review. Students petitioning for Senior Portfolio interview with visual arts faculty. They identify and demonstrate their medium of concentration.
  • Visual Arts Senior Portfolio Class

    Department of Visual Arts:
    This advanced-level course is designed to provide students with a professional-style portfolio of work across studio arts, photography, ceramics, filmmaking, and/or digital video production. Students develop a collection of work and artist’s statement that best represents their individual perspective and technical proficiency. Crafting an artist’s statement solidifies the philosophy and intent of the work. Through peer critique, discussion, and reflection on historical and contemporary art, students choose pieces for inclusion in final portfolios. Opportunities to visit Denver-area galleries and artists are available. The class culminates in an exhibition and/or screening for each student.
  • Concert Choir

    Department of Music & Dance:
    Concert Choir is a non-auditioned, mixed (SATB) choir that sings a wide range of challenging repertoire. Student ensembles receive valuable training in musical literacy and theory; understanding, performing, and appreciating various genres and cultures of vocal music; and developing vocal production and technique. Performing for an audience is the primary focus, as performances provide an experience that cannot be reproduced in the classroom and serve as the means by which the skills learned in class are evaluated. All performances are required in order to receive credit for this course.
  • Chanteurs

    Department of Music & Dance:
    Chanteurs is an audition-based, 16-20 voice mixed (SATB) choir for advanced students who demonstrate superior musicianship and place a high dedication to choral singing in their lives. The ensemble sings a wide range of challenging repertoire with a specific emphasis on also singing a cappella and jazz. All members strengthen existing sight-reading skills and proper vocal technique and are strongly encouraged to participate in the CHSAA and Colorado All-State audition process. This is a specialty group which meets outside of the regular schedule and does not receive arts credit.
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  • CA Ambassadors

    Department of Music & Dance:
    CA Ambassadors is an audition-based performance ensemble featuring voices accompanied by a rhythm section. The group’s focus is studying and performing rock and popular repertoire in a show choir setting. Instrumentalists are expected to read chord charts and standard music notation. This group is featured at events both on campus and in the community. Student attendance is required at all rehearsals and performances. Students must be enrolled in choir, rock/pop band, or jazz band for at least one trimester during the current school year. This is a specialty group which meets outside of the regular schedule and does not receive arts credit.
  • Dance Techniques and Practices

    Department of Music & Dance:
    This course offers foundational training in terminology, technique, and studio practices of a variety of styles. Through dance, students have the opportunity to develop artistic habits and gain physical flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. Students are encouraged to foster their own creative process and expression of self through choreographic prompts. All classes have an opportunity to perform if they would like to do so. 
    • Trimester 1: Emphasis in Contemporary Styles – This class works predominantly with expressive movement, utilizing a fusion of several dance genres including ballet, lyrical jazz, modern, and hip hop.
    • Trimester 2: Emphasis in Tap Dance – This class explores tap techniques as they relate to all styles of music, including pop, rock, rap, musical theater, big band, and jazz. Students work on rhythm, musicality, and articulation of sound in feet, while building speed of movement.
    • Trimester 3: Emphasis in Musical Theater and Tap Dance – This class explores all styles of dance utilized in Broadway shows. The focus is on physical style, storytelling, and techniques as related to different time periods, locations, and characters.
  • Vertical Dance/Site Specific Dance Study

    Department of Music & Dance:
    This class explores the adventurous and stunning nature of site-specific and vertical dance. Students begin on the ground with basic movement concepts and practices, and gradually move to practicing vertically. In addition to vertical, they explore site-specific dance–dancing in unexpected locations that lend new interpretation and possibility to choreography. Vertical dancing is done using climbing gear, including top rope, harness, and grigri belay devices. When ready, students experiment with outdoor locations, such as suspended on a building wall, tree, or rock wall.
  • Advanced Dance Company

    Department of Music & Dance:
    This is two-trimester class for an Intermediate/Advanced performing ensemble. Only students who have gone through the application process and have been approved may enroll in the Company. In this group, students practice and explore multiple styles of dance and choreography to create pieces of repertoire to be performed throughout the school year. Dancers enjoy increased opportunity and emphasis on student-generated choreography and individual expression. In addition, they explore ways to utilize dance as a means of giving back to the community. Students are asked to think critically, creatively, and ethically while combining service, choreography, and performance. The Company meets during a scheduled school block; however, occasional additional rehearsals may be scheduled as needed, with an eye to the dancers’ schedules and other commitments. 

    Students must have mastered foundational techniques of ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, or tap and have the ability to collaborate and work well with others. While it is not required to be in the Company both trimesters, it is encouraged. If a student is not ready for Company work at the start of the school year, the student may train through Dance electives and reapply.
  • Academy Jazz

    Department of Music and Dance:
    This is an audition-only performance group. Students learn creativity and discipline through the study of a range of jazz styles. Emphasis is placed on understanding music theory as it relates to chord structures and progressions as well as improvisation. There is at least one outside performance, and students are required to attend all performances.
  • Jazz Ensemble

    Department of Music and Dance:
    Jazz Ensemble is a performance group. Students will learn creativity and discipline through the study of a range of jazz styles. An emphasis is placed on understanding music theory as it relates to chord structures and progressions as well as improvisation. Students are required to attend all performances. Students must audition or have previous participation in an instrumental ensemble.
  • Orchestra

    Department of Music & Dance:
    This class focuses on the educational components of playing in an orchestra, including music history, music theory, instrumental technique, and ensemble skills. Students encounter a range of “classical” music, explore different, pertinent musical eras, and apply different performance techniques to challenging and fun pieces. Students are required to attend all performances. Students should have previous experience on the instrument to be played; private lessons are strongly recommended.
  • Rock Ensemble

    Department of Music and Dance:
    Rock Ensemble is a performance group. Students learn creativity and discipline through the study of a range of rock and popular music styles. Emphasis is placed on understanding music theory as it relates to chord structures and progressions. Students are required to attend all performances. Students must audition or have previous participation in an instrumental ensemble.
  • Audio Engineering

    Department of Music and Dance:
    In this course, students explore sound and music and the methods and technologies used in recording, synthesizing, manipulating, and sharing it. They investigate, learn, and apply professional multi-track studio recording techniques, learn industry-standard Pro Tools digital audio software, and learn how to use virtual instruments to design sound and to record, produce, and share their own music and that of others. All students finish the course with a digital portfolio of music projects that they have recorded and produced. This course also touches upon the production of soundtracks for video and the acoustics of recording and live performance. For those looking to explore this field with greater depth, this course can be followed by a third trimester of independent study and more advanced personal projects.

    (Cross-registration/credit with Computer Science/Engineering & Design and Visual & Performing Arts Department.)
  • Graphic Design & Publication: Yearbook I-III

    Department of Graphic Design & Publication:
    Throughout this course, students plan, design, and produce CA’s yearbook, Telesis, which is distributed to over 1,000 members of the school community and is always on display in the Admission and Headmaster’s offices for visitors and prospective students. Yearbook students design the cover and endsheets, plus over 200 pages of layouts, take and place over 1,500 photos (each with a caption), write engaging and informative copy, coordinate the five major sections (student life, arts, people, sports, and academics), oversee approximately 100 Senior boxes and meet monthly deadlines to tell the story of CA as it occurs during the year.

    Students learn the industry-standard program, eDesign, and use it to create and carry out a yearbook theme through spread design, photography, and copy writing. In the spring their work is entered in the statewide Colorado High School Press Association (CHSPA) yearbook contest, in which students may win awards for photos, layouts, or copywriting. 

    Yearbook I Staff Members write copy, create yearbook pages, and photograph CA people and events. Yearbook II Student Editors oversee the photography, copy, and layout of yearbook pages. Yearbook III Lead Editors lead a team of student editors and staff, assign tasks, and edit finished pages. Some weekend workdays may be required. Yearbook cameras are available for student use, but the use of personal digital cameras is encouraged.

Athletics/Physical Education

List of 2 items.

  • Athletics - Competitive

    Two trimesters of athletics are required in Freshman and Sophomore years.
    One trimester of athletics is required in Junior and Senior years.

    The Department of Athletics encourages student-athletes, regardless of past experience, to try a competitive sport option. Previous experience or skill is not required; however, a commitment to the team, effort, and a positive attitude is! Students are encouraged to exceed the minimum requirement.  Students are encouraged to play at least one CHSAA-sanctioned sport during their time in Upper School.

    The Upper School athletic program (Grades 9-12) offers students various choices in establishing healthy lifetime activity patterns in coordination with a highly competitive interscholastic athletic program. Goals for all students include, but are not limited to, success against outside competition, building a strong sense of self-worth, learning lessons in human relations and collaboration, developing the ability to lead and follow, gaining specialized training in varied athletic skills, developing a mastery of sport-specific skills, cardiovascular conditioning, and demonstrating good sportsmanship.

    CHSAA- Sanctioned Competitive Sports Options

    Trimester 1
    Cross Country - Co-Ed
    Field Hockey - Girls
    Golf - Boys
    Soccer - Boys
    Tennis - Boys
    Volleyball - Girls

    Trimester 2
    Basketball - Boys, Girls
    Ice Hockey - Boys
    Swimming/Diving - Girls

    Trimester 3
    Baseball - Boys
    Golf - Girls
    Lacrosse - Boys, Girls
    Soccer, Girls
    Tennis, Girls
  • Athletics - Non-Competitive

    Two trimesters of athletics are required in Freshman and Sophomore years.
    One trimester of athletics is required in Junior and Senior years.

    The Upper School athletic program (Grades 9-12) offers students various choices in establishing healthy lifetime activity patterns in coordination with a highly competitive interscholastic athletic program. Goals for all students include, but are not limited to, success against outside competition, building a strong sense of self-worth, learning lessons in human relations and collaboration, developing the ability to lead and follow, gaining specialized training in varied athletic skills, developing a mastery of sport-specific skills, cardiovascular conditioning, and demonstrating good sportsmanship.

    Independent Athletic Credit: Students already participating in athletic programs outside of school may complete a “Petition for Athletic Credit” to determine whether their programs meet the requirements to receive credit. Students must have participated in the activity for a minimum of 3 consecutive years before the request is made. The activity must include a competitive or public performance piece/date. Independent credit is only given up to a maximum of one trimester in any one school year.

    A student may take any dance class in the curriculum for athletic credit for one trimester per year. A dance class may also be used to fulfill an art credit, but it cannot count for both types of credit during the same trimester.

    Credit for managing a CHSAA-sanctioned team is granted on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by both the Head Coach and the Director of Athletics. There is a maximum of 2 managers per team, and daily attendance at all practices and games is required. Specific team and program responsibilities will be outlined by the Head Coach of the program.

    Non-CHSAA-Sanctioned Club Sports & Non-Competitive Sports

    Trimester 1
    Climbing **
    - Every student in climbing is required to have climbing shoes. Students have the opportunity to learn how to climb and belay in a safe manner. They have a chance to hone their skills in a variety of environments and challenge themselves both mentally and physically. Participants are encouraged to compete in weekend Colorado High School Climbing League Competitions. Students may only enroll in this class one time per school year. (Co-Ed)

    Sports Performance **- This course is designed to aid in the development of health and wellness in each student with a structured plan designed to enhance strength, speed, mobility, and energy systems, while also developing moral and educational characteristics. (Co-Ed)

    Student Athletic Trainer - Students are instructed in all aspects of athletic training/sports medicine. Students participating in this program are required to assist the sports teams during all practices and assigned games, the specific number of which will be determined. Students may only enroll in this class one time per school year. (Co-Ed)

    Ultimate Frisbee - Competitive Club Sport. (Co-Ed) Team plays in Altitude Youth Ultimate League.

    Trimester 2
    Climbing ** - This course is designed to aid in the development of health and wellness in each student with a structured plan designed to enhance strength, speed, mobility, and energy systems, while also developing moral and educational characteristics. (Co-Ed)

    Racquetball - Competitive Club Sport. This is a lifetime sport offered for novice to intermediate players. Competition varies from year to year from intrascholastic matches to outside meets with high school and college club teams. All equipment is provided; fee required to cover court rental, eye guards, and team shirts. Practices are off campus at Englewood Rec Center. (Co-Ed)

    Student Athletic Trainer - Students are instructed in all aspects of athletic training/sports medicine. Students participating in this program are required to assist the sports teams during all practices and assigned games, the specific number of which will be determined. Students may only enroll in this class one time per school year. (Co-Ed)

    Sports Performance ** - This course is designed to aid in the development of health and wellness in each student with a structured plan designed to enhance strength, speed, mobility, and energy systems, while also developing moral and educational characteristics. (Co-Ed)

    Yoga - A mind and body practice, yoga helps to build strength of muscles and bones, increases mobility and flexibility in the joints, develops the ability to focus and reduce stress through breath work, and increases stability, balance, and coordination. Yoga classes include time for active asana (posture) practice, mindfulness, breathing techniques, games, and relaxation in a safe and supportive environment. (Co-Ed)

    Trimester 3
    Climbing ** - This course, offered during the academic day but offering athletic credit, instructs students on the essential skills to be a rock climber and leader. Students learn to move on the rock, but also learn essential safety and risk-management skills that prepare them for taking their passion for the sport to the wilderness. The course involves working out on CA's new state-of-the-art climbing wall, but also offers a window into wilderness philosophy and adventure. Students may only enroll in this course one time per school year.

    Sports Performance** - This course is designed to aid in the development of health and wellness in each student with a structured plan designed to enhance strength, speed, mobility, and energy systems, while also developing moral and educational characteristics. (Co-Ed)

    Student Athletic Trainer - Students are instructed in all aspects of athletic training/sports medicine. Students participating in this program are required to assist the sports teams during all practices and assigned games, the specific number of which will be determined. Students may only enroll in this class one time per school year. (Co-Ed)

    ** Sports Performance is offered in several blocks during the school day, as well as after school, in all three trimesters. Climbing is offered after school in trimesters 1 and 2 and during the school day in trimester 3.

Experiential Education

List of 5 items.

  • Upper School Experiential Education Overview

    CA’s Experiential Education Program is a hands-on, feet-on, and minds-on way to study geology, history, geography, anthropology, and natural history and to learn about environmental stewardship. CA offers outdoor trips as part of the curriculum, through Interim, as well as optional outdoor adventures for students throughout the school year. As part of our philosophy to develop inquisitive minds and reflective citizens, Colorado Academy faculty and staff offer experiences, both domestic and international, that challenge students emotionally and physically. These opportunities to encounter personal success as well as experience failure are instrumental in creating authentic learning situations that are vital elements of a CA education.

    CA offers a variety of domestic and foreign travel opportunities and exchange programs. Our goal is to nurture dynamic thinkers and active citizens of the world with our exchange programs with schools in Scotland, Greece, and Spain and annual spring and summer travel options that have taken students to China, the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Cuba, and Iceland. Upper School Exchange Programs include Hutchesons’ Grammar in Glasgow, Scotland; Pierce College in Athens, Greece; Colegio Virgen de Europa in Madrid, Spain; as well as a Sister School Program with St. Patrick's School in Nordette, Haiti in partnership with The Road to Hope.

    While the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols that we must implement currently prevent us from engaging fully in our Travel and Exchange Program, when it is once again safe to travel, we plan to restore our programming. Our Director of Global Travel and Exchange is creating virtual opportunities for our students to remain connected to peers in other countries, as we believe that global awareness and cultural competence are more important than ever. Below are examples of Upper School experiential and travel opportunities that we have offered in recent years.

     
     
     
  • 9th Grade Experiential Education

    Curricular Activity:
    Interim - Each spring, students in Upper School participate in weeklong Interim trips designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that broaden their skills, test their abilities, and sharpen the awareness of the world in which they live. Whether they engage in artistic pursuits, service learning trips, or wilderness expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains, students and CA alumni often describe this program as one of their favorite CA memories.
    • A weeklong immersive experiential program that includes the arts, outdoors, physiology, community engagement.
    • Promotes community building through small group interactions and cross grade interactions.
    • Provides challenging, hands-on experience.
    • Promotes student leadership through trip planning and execution.
    • Fosters grit and resilience through physically and psychologically challenging activities.
    Examples of past Interims include: Kayaking the Western Slope, Exploring the Canyonlands, Shoshoni Yoga, Blacksmithing, Ceramics in the Wild,  Archaeology in the Four Corners, Toy Shop, Gourmet Heaven, and more. In a typical year, 30+ Interim choices are offered.

    Recent Experiential Education Optional Local Activities:
    Trip ratings range from easy and moderate to difficult and from beginner and intermediate to advanced skill levels. These excursions are published annually, offered on weekends throughout the school year, filled on a first-come, first-served sign-up basis, charge a nominal fee, and are usually led by CA faculty and staff.

    South Platte River Fly Fishing
    Fishermen explore Colorado’s rivers and streams and get a lot of skill practice in patience and attention to detail. Students learn about watershed dynamics, fly-fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, and fish behavior. They learn to cast a fly rod, manage a line, hook and land trout, and take part in a quintessential Western sport.
    Additional Skills:
    • foster patience and attention to detail
    • bond with classmates outside of the classroom

    Rifle Mountain Park Climbing
    Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America. Rifle is approximately three hours west of Denver, near the town of Rifle, Colo. On this trip, students receive instruction on technical skills, climb spectacular sport routes, camp, and cook meals together. No prior experience is necessary.
    Skills:
    • learning climbing movement and terminology
    • learning belaying principles
    • understanding the construction and strength of climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and helmets
    • encouraging responsible risk taking and the benefits of challenge
    • fostering teamwork through effective belaying, coaching and support
    • learning about belay and climber safety checks and effective communication

    Eldorado Hut
    The Eldorado Hut is located five miles west of Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colo. The path into the hut winds through aspen forest for the first mile and gradually zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. At the hut, views from the south window include a panorama of Bald Eagle Mountain and the 14,421-foot Mount Massive. Only one mile from the hut is fun glade skiing on Mushroom Mountain, and after returning from a tour, participants fire up the wood-burning sauna to finish off a great day in the Colorado backcountry.
    Additional Skills:
    • learning winter travel skills
    • providing opportunities for cross-grade interactions
    • promoting the principles of self-care (hydration, hypothermia, nutrition, pacing, etc.)
    • providing a novel experience
    • learning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals
    • learning to build a minimal fire
    • observing winter weather patterns
    • identifying avalanche terrain, snow instabilities, and how to travel safely in the backcountry

    Ice Climbing in Lake City
    The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice-climbing site in a beautiful natural gorge near Ouray, Colo. There is even a special area just for beginners. Home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, it has been called the best place in the world to develop ice-climbing skills. This trip is designed for beginners, and no prior climbing experience is necessary.


    Recent Exchange Programs

    Colombia: Spanish Language & Culture Immersion
    With Colombia’s turbulent past rapidly receding, the nation is in the midst of a boom. Economic growth, safety, and stability are on the rise in all corners of the country, and visitors are joyously rediscovering the remarkable diversity and warmth of this gateway to South America. This hybrid exchange and travel program allows students to connect with the Colombian people, from shadowing high school peers in the capital Bogotá to exploring Afro-Indigenous traditions in the Caribbean port town of Cartagena. Two weeks after returning home, with Spanish still fresh on their tongues, students have the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.

    Colegio Virgen de Europa , Madrid, Spain
    CA students are paired with Madrid students to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. This exchange encourages students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. CA students travel in the fall and host in the following spring.

    Recent Optional Travel Programs

    Chinese Cultural and Language Immersion: Shanghai, Fujian, and Taiwan
    The heart of this trip is for deep, authentic cultural immersion. Students see the underlying structures, traditions, and perspectives that shape the people and culture of China as they travel through the modern mega-city of Shanghai, to the traditional Tolou villages of Fujian, and finally to the aboriginal communities of Taiwan. Students are provided with countless opportunities to go beyond the standard tour sites and use their Mandarin language abilities to communicate with the local Chinese and Taiwanese people.

    French Language Immersion with Homestay: Paris, Avignon, and Carcassonne, France
    Students fly to Paris and enjoy four days of major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château de Versailles. They then travel to Avignon for three days to explore the area that inspired so many Impressionists, including a visit to Cézanne’s studio. Finally, in Carcassonne, they meet their host families, spending a week with them, including excursions to the beach and a local cave. Students also volunteer at a camp for elementary school children, teaching them English.
     
  • 10th Grade Experiential Education

    Curricular Activity:
    Interim - Each spring, students in Upper School participate in weeklong Interim trips designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that broaden their skills, test their abilities, and sharpen the awareness of the world in which they live. Whether they engage in artistic pursuits, service learning trips, or wilderness expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains, students and CA alumni often describe this program as one of their favorite CA memories.
    • A weeklong immersive experiential program that includes the arts, outdoors, physiology, community engagement.
    • Promotes community building through small group interactions and cross grade interactions.
    • Provides challenging, hands-on experience.
    • Promotes student leadership through trip planning and execution.
    • Fosters grit and resilience through physically and psychologically challenging activities.
    Examples of past Interims include: Kayaking the Western Slope, Exploring the Canyonlands, Shoshoni Yoga, Blacksmithing, Ceramics in the Wild,  Archaeology in the Four Corners, Toy Shop, Gourmet Heaven, and more. In a typical year, 30+ Interim choices are offered.

    Recent Experiential Education Optional Local Activities:
    Trip ratings range from easy and moderate to difficult and from beginner and intermediate to advanced skill levels. These excursions are published annually, offered on weekends throughout the school year, filled on a first-come, first-served sign-up basis, charge a nominal fee, and are usually led by CA faculty and staff.

    South Platte River Fly Fishing
    Fishermen explore Colorado’s rivers and streams and get a lot of skill practice in patience and attention to detail. Students learn about watershed dynamics, fly-fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, and fish behavior. They learn to cast a fly rod, manage a line, hook and land trout, and take part in a quintessential Western sport.
    Additional Skills:
    • foster patience and attention to detail
    • bond with classmates outside of the classroom

    Rifle Mountain Park Climbing
    Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America. Rifle is approximately three hours west of Denver, near the town of Rifle, Colo. On this trip, students receive instruction on technical skills, climb spectacular sport routes, camp, and cook meals together. No prior experience is necessary.
    Skills:
    • learning climbing movement and terminology
    • learning belaying principles
    • understanding the construction and strength of climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and helmets
    • encouraging responsible risk taking and the benefits of challenge
    • fostering teamwork through effective belaying, coaching and support
    • learning about belay and climber safety checks and effective communication

    Eldorado Hut
    The Eldorado Hut is located five miles west of Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colo. The path into the hut winds through aspen forest for the first mile and gradually zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. At the hut, views from the south window include a panorama of Bald Eagle Mountain and the 14,421-foot Mount Massive. Only one mile from the hut is fun glade skiing on Mushroom Mountain, and after returning from a tour, participants fire up the wood-burning sauna to finish off a great day in the Colorado backcountry.
    Additional Skills:
    • learning winter travel skills
    • providing opportunities for cross-grade interactions
    • promoting the principles of self-care (hydration, hypothermia, nutrition, pacing, etc.)
    • providing a novel experience
    • learning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals
    • learning to build a minimal fire
    • observing winter weather patterns
    • identifying avalanche terrain, snow instabilities, and how to travel safely in the backcountry

    Ice Climbing in Lake City
    The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice-climbing site in a beautiful natural gorge near Ouray, Colo. There is even a special area just for beginners. Home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, it has been called the best place in the world to develop ice-climbing skills. This trip is designed for beginners, and no prior climbing experience is necessary.


    Recent Exchange Programs

    Colombia: Spanish Language & Culture Immersion
    With Colombia’s turbulent past rapidly receding, the nation is in the midst of a boom. Economic growth, safety, and stability are on the rise in all corners of the country, and visitors are joyously rediscovering the remarkable diversity and warmth of this gateway to South America. This hybrid exchange and travel program allows students to connect with the Colombian people, from shadowing high school peers in the capital Bogotá to exploring Afro-Indigenous traditions in the Caribbean port town of Cartagena. Two weeks after returning home, with Spanish still fresh on their tongues, students have the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.

    Colegio Virgen de Europa , Madrid, Spain
    CA students are paired with Madrid students to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. This exchange encourages students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. CA students travel in the fall and host in the following spring.

    Recent Optional Travel Programs

    Chinese Cultural and Language Immersion: Shanghai, Fujian, and Taiwan
    The heart of this trip is for deep, authentic cultural immersion. Students see the underlying structures, traditions, and perspectives that shape the people and culture of China as they travel through the modern mega-city of Shanghai, to the traditional Tolou villages of Fujian, and finally to the aboriginal communities of Taiwan. Students are provided with countless opportunities to go beyond the standard tour sites and use their Mandarin language abilities to communicate with the local Chinese and Taiwanese people.

    French Language Immersion with Homestay: Paris, Avignon, and Carcassonne, France
    Students fly to Paris and enjoy four days of major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château de Versailles. They then travel to Avignon for three days to explore the area that inspired so many Impressionists, including a visit to Cézanne’s studio. Finally, in Carcassonne, they meet their host families, spending a week with them, including excursions to the beach and a local cave. Students also volunteer at a camp for elementary school children, teaching them English.
  • 11th Grade Experiential Education

    Curricular Activity:
    Interim - Each spring, students in Upper School participate in weeklong Interim trips designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that broaden their skills, test their abilities, and sharpen the awareness of the world in which they live. Whether they engage in artistic pursuits, service learning trips, or wilderness expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains, students and CA alumni often describe this program as one of their favorite CA memories.
    • A weeklong immersive experiential program that includes the arts, outdoors, physiology, community engagement.
    • Promotes community building through small group interactions and cross grade interactions.
    • Provides challenging, hands-on experience.
    • Promotes student leadership through trip planning and execution.
    • Fosters grit and resilience through physically and psychologically challenging activities.
    Examples of past Interims include: Kayaking the Western Slope, Exploring the Canyonlands, Shoshoni Yoga, Blacksmithing, Ceramics in the Wild,  Archaeology in the Four Corners, Toy Shop, Gourmet Heaven, and more. In a typical year, 30+ Interim choices are offered.

    Belize: Environmental Field Studies
    This science-focused Interim is an opportunity for students to participate in meaningful, multi-day biological research projects in Belize. As time permits, other activities might include snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and rainforest exploration. This Interim is open to Juniors and Seniors and is the culminating event for a technical science writing course taught during the third trimester as a Junior/Senior writing seminar. The journey begins exploring the Mayan ruins of Caracol, the Belize Wildlife Sanctuary, and the research taking place at the Belize Zoo. The heart of this experience is the four days spent at a remote research station, conducting scientific research and contributing to ongoing research projects. Probable topics include marine gas exchange, coral conservation, competition among marine species, and algae farming by damselfish.

    Recent Experiential Education Optional Local Activities:
    Trip ratings range from easy and moderate to difficult and from beginner and intermediate to advanced skill levels. These excursions are published annually, offered on weekends throughout the school year, filled on a first-come, first-served sign-up basis, charge a nominal fee, and are usually led by CA faculty and staff.

    South Platte River Fly Fishing
    Fishermen explore Colorado’s rivers and streams and get a lot of skill practice in patience and attention to detail. Students learn about watershed dynamics, fly-fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, and fish behavior. They learn to cast a fly rod, manage a line, hook and land trout, and take part in a quintessential Western sport.
    Additional Skills:
    • foster patience and attention to detail
    • bond with classmates outside of the classroom

    Rifle Mountain Park Climbing
    Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America. Rifle is approximately three hours west of Denver, near the town of Rifle, Colo. On this trip, students receive instruction on technical skills, climb spectacular sport routes, camp, and cook meals together. No prior experience is necessary.
    Skills:
    • learning climbing movement and terminology
    • learning belaying principles
    • understanding the construction and strength of climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and helmets
    • encouraging responsible risk taking and the benefits of challenge
    • fostering teamwork through effective belaying, coaching and support
    • learning about belay and climber safety checks and effective communication

    Eldorado Hut
    The Eldorado Hut is located five miles west of Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colo. The path into the hut winds through aspen forest for the first mile and gradually zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. At the hut, views from the south window include a panorama of Bald Eagle Mountain and the 14,421-foot Mount Massive. Only one mile from the hut is fun glade skiing on Mushroom Mountain, and after returning from a tour, participants fire up the wood-burning sauna to finish off a great day in the Colorado backcountry.
    Additional Skills:
    • learning winter travel skills
    • providing opportunities for cross-grade interactions
    • promoting the principles of self-care (hydration, hypothermia, nutrition, pacing, etc.)
    • providing a novel experience
    • learning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals
    • learning to build a minimal fire
    • observing winter weather patterns
    • identifying avalanche terrain, snow instabilities, and how to travel safely in the backcountry

    Ice Climbing in Lake City
    The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice-climbing site in a beautiful natural gorge near Ouray, Colo. There is even a special area just for beginners. Home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, it has been called the best place in the world to develop ice-climbing skills. This trip is designed for beginners, and no prior climbing experience is necessary.


    Recent Exchange Programs

    Hutchesons’ Grammar School,Glasgow, Scotland
    This exchange program includes a two-week homestay experience with a Scottish family and attending regular classes at Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Students also participate in a variety of activities with their host families, such as exploring the Scottish countryside. CA families host the Scottish students for approximately two weeks in the fall.

    Colombia: Spanish Language & Culture Immersion
    With Colombia’s turbulent past rapidly receding, the nation is in the midst of a boom. Economic growth, safety, and stability are on the rise in all corners of the country, and visitors are joyously rediscovering the remarkable diversity and warmth of this gateway to South America. This hybrid exchange and travel program allows students to connect with the Colombian people, from shadowing high school peers in the capital Bogotá to exploring Afro-Indigenous traditions in the Caribbean port town of Cartagena. Two weeks after returning home, with Spanish still fresh on their tongues, students have the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.

    Colegio Virgen de Europa , Madrid, Spain
    CA students are paired with Madrid students to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. This exchange encourages students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. CA students travel in the fall and host in the following spring.

    Recent Optional Travel Programs

    Chinese Cultural and Language Immersion: Shanghai, Fujian, and Taiwan
    The heart of this trip is for deep, authentic cultural immersion. Students see the underlying structures, traditions, and perspectives that shape the people and culture of China as they travel through the modern mega-city of Shanghai, to the traditional Tolou villages of Fujian, and finally to the aboriginal communities of Taiwan. Students are provided with countless opportunities to go beyond the standard tour sites and use their Mandarin language abilities to communicate with the local Chinese and Taiwanese people.

    French Language Immersion with Homestay: Paris, Avignon, and Carcassonne, France
    Students fly to Paris and enjoy four days of major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château de Versailles. They then travel to Avignon for three days to explore the area that inspired so many Impressionists, including a visit to Cézanne’s studio. Finally, in Carcassonne, they meet their host families, spending a week with them, including excursions to the beach and a local cave. Students also volunteer at a camp for elementary school children, teaching them English.

    Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
    In 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake stuck the town of Canoa, Ecuador, basically leveling it. Repairs and community rebuilding are still taking place. The trip there encompasses a variety of service components, along with working in the local elementary school, assisting teachers with English lessons. Although there is much work to be done, the town is located on the coast, and the accommodations are on the beach, with direct access to the Pacific Ocean. Surf lessons, Spanish lessons, and hikes are part of the experience. Students have the opportunity to experience a rural coastal town in a part of the world that they probably wouldn’t normally visit. They enhance their Spanish skills, help another community that desperately needs it, and hopefully, learn about themselves and their role as an active citizen of the world. Students also study the biology and unique ecosystems that exist on the Galapagos Islands, where the foundation of evolution and natural selection began.
  • 12th Grade Experiential Education

    Curricular Activity:
    Interim - Each spring, students in Upper School participate in weeklong Interim trips designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that broaden their skills, test their abilities, and sharpen the awareness of the world in which they live. Whether they engage in artistic pursuits, service learning trips, or wilderness expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains, students and CA alumni often describe this program as one of their favorite CA memories.
    • A weeklong immersive experiential program that includes the arts, outdoors, physiology, community engagement.
    • Promotes community building through small group interactions and cross grade interactions.
    • Provides challenging, hands-on experience.
    • Promotes student leadership through trip planning and execution.
    • Fosters grit and resilience through physically and psychologically challenging activities.
    Examples of past Interims include: Kayaking the Western Slope, Exploring the Canyonlands, Shoshoni Yoga, Blacksmithing, Ceramics in the Wild,  Archaeology in the Four Corners, Toy Shop, Gourmet Heaven, and more. In a typical year, 30+ Interim choices are offered.

    Belize: Environmental Field Studies
    This science-focused Interim is an opportunity for students to participate in meaningful, multi-day biological research projects in Belize. As time permits, other activities might include snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and rainforest exploration. This Interim is open to Juniors and Seniors and is the culminating event for a technical science writing course taught during the third trimester as a Junior/Senior writing seminar. The journey begins exploring the Mayan ruins of Caracol, the Belize Wildlife Sanctuary, and the research taking place at the Belize Zoo. The heart of this experience is the four days spent at a remote research station, conducting scientific research and contributing to ongoing research projects. Probable topics include marine gas exchange, coral conservation, competition among marine species, and algae farming by damselfish.

    Recent Experiential Education Optional Local Activities:
    Trip ratings range from easy and moderate to difficult and from beginner and intermediate to advanced skill levels. These excursions are published annually, offered on weekends throughout the school year, filled on a first-come, first-served sign-up basis, charge a nominal fee, and are usually led by CA faculty and staff.

    South Platte River Fly Fishing
    Fishermen explore Colorado’s rivers and streams and get a lot of skill practice in patience and attention to detail. Students learn about watershed dynamics, fly-fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, and fish behavior. They learn to cast a fly rod, manage a line, hook and land trout, and take part in a quintessential Western sport.
    Additional Skills:
    • foster patience and attention to detail
    • bond with classmates outside of the classroom

    Rifle Mountain Park Climbing
    Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America. Rifle is approximately three hours west of Denver, near the town of Rifle, Colo. On this trip, students receive instruction on technical skills, climb spectacular sport routes, camp, and cook meals together. No prior experience is necessary.
    Skills:
    • learning climbing movement and terminology
    • learning belaying principles
    • understanding the construction and strength of climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and helmets
    • encouraging responsible risk taking and the benefits of challenge
    • fostering teamwork through effective belaying, coaching and support
    • learning about belay and climber safety checks and effective communication

    Eldorado Hut
    The Eldorado Hut is located five miles west of Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colo. The path into the hut winds through aspen forest for the first mile and gradually zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. At the hut, views from the south window include a panorama of Bald Eagle Mountain and the 14,421-foot Mount Massive. Only one mile from the hut is fun glade skiing on Mushroom Mountain, and after returning from a tour, participants fire up the wood-burning sauna to finish off a great day in the Colorado backcountry.
    Additional Skills:
    • learning winter travel skills
    • providing opportunities for cross-grade interactions
    • promoting the principles of self-care (hydration, hypothermia, nutrition, pacing, etc.)
    • providing a novel experience
    • learning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals
    • learning to build a minimal fire
    • observing winter weather patterns
    • identifying avalanche terrain, snow instabilities, and how to travel safely in the backcountry

    Ice Climbing in Lake City
    The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice-climbing site in a beautiful natural gorge near Ouray, Colo. There is even a special area just for beginners. Home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, it has been called the best place in the world to develop ice-climbing skills. This trip is designed for beginners, and no prior climbing experience is necessary.


    Recent Exchange Programs

    Hutchesons’ Grammar School,Glasgow, Scotland
    This exchange program includes a two-week homestay experience with a Scottish family and attending regular classes at Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Students also participate in a variety of activities with their host families, such as exploring the Scottish countryside. CA families host the Scottish students for approximately two weeks in the fall.

    Colombia: Spanish Language & Culture Immersion
    With Colombia’s turbulent past rapidly receding, the nation is in the midst of a boom. Economic growth, safety, and stability are on the rise in all corners of the country, and visitors are joyously rediscovering the remarkable diversity and warmth of this gateway to South America. This hybrid exchange and travel program allows students to connect with the Colombian people, from shadowing high school peers in the capital Bogotá to exploring Afro-Indigenous traditions in the Caribbean port town of Cartagena. Two weeks after returning home, with Spanish still fresh on their tongues, students have the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.

    Colegio Virgen de Europa , Madrid, Spain
    CA students are paired with Madrid students to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. This exchange encourages students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. CA students travel in the fall and host in the following spring.

    Recent Optional Travel Programs

    Chinese Cultural and Language Immersion: Shanghai, Fujian, and Taiwan
    The heart of this trip is for deep, authentic cultural immersion. Students see the underlying structures, traditions, and perspectives that shape the people and culture of China as they travel through the modern mega-city of Shanghai, to the traditional Tolou villages of Fujian, and finally to the aboriginal communities of Taiwan. Students are provided with countless opportunities to go beyond the standard tour sites and use their Mandarin language abilities to communicate with the local Chinese and Taiwanese people.

    French Language Immersion with Homestay: Paris, Avignon, and Carcassonne, France
    Students fly to Paris and enjoy four days of major attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Château de Versailles. They then travel to Avignon for three days to explore the area that inspired so many Impressionists, including a visit to Cézanne’s studio. Finally, in Carcassonne, they meet their host families, spending a week with them, including excursions to the beach and a local cave. Students also volunteer at a camp for elementary school children, teaching them English.

    Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
    In 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake stuck the town of Canoa, Ecuador, basically leveling it. Repairs and community rebuilding are still taking place. The trip there encompasses a variety of service components, along with working in the local elementary school, assisting teachers with English lessons. Although there is much work to be done, the town is located on the coast, and the accommodations are on the beach, with direct access to the Pacific Ocean. Surf lessons, Spanish lessons, and hikes are part of the experience. Students have the opportunity to experience a rural coastal town in a part of the world that they probably wouldn’t normally visit. They enhance their Spanish skills, help another community that desperately needs it, and hopefully, learn about themselves and their role as an active citizen of the world. Students also study the biology and unique ecosystems that exist on the Galapagos Islands, where the foundation of evolution and natural selection began.

Library & Research

List of 2 items.

  • Upper School Library & Research Overview

    The Upper School (Raether) Library provides resources and services that support the varied needs of the community; instruct students in library skills; and promote reading for pleasure as well as research and investigation. Library services are integrated into the curriculum and foster collaboration between teachers and library staff. Library and research skills and information sessions are integrated into students’ regular class and departmental studies through instruction in context (just before a research paper, author study, etc.) to maximize relevance and timeliness. Our print and electronic collections house an extensive array of resources that not only support the Colorado Academy curriculum, but also help students develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.

    Please look at the grade levels below to learn about topics. 
  • 9th-12th Grade Library & Research

    Digital Citizenship
    Students:
    • Learn how to use digital technologies responsibly
    • Understand the positive and negative roles digital media play in their lives
    • Understand the definition of cyberbullying and know how to avoid it
    • Understand all of the different types of online relationships
    • Understand the consequences of oversharing online

    Use of Research Tools
    Students:
    • Use the library catalog and databases to locate print and electronic resources in the school’s collection
    • Use CA LibGuides to access project-specific resources
    • Generate useful, efficient search terms and use various search strategies to conduct queries that lead to narrow, focused results
    • Know the difference between Fiction and Nonfiction and how to locate books on the shelves by call numbers
    • Know the difference between a website and a database
    Source Selection, Documentation, and Organization
    Students:
    • Closely evaluate Internet resources to ensure they contain reliable, factual information
    • Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information to meet specific research goals
    • Know when to discard/abandon sources as research needs change
    • Work with a librarian for individualized assistance on the research process
    • Understand the difference between direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summaries and use all three correctly
    • Know the difference between primary and secondary sources
    • Understand what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and why it is bad
    • Use NoodleTools to build citations for a variety of source types
    • Use appropriate in-text citations in writing
    • Follow the rules of copyright and fair use when using multimedia sources
    News Literacy
    Students:
    • Understand what it means to be a responsible news consumer
    • Distinguish between legitimate news and fake news
    • Be able to use various tools to evaluate internet sources
    • Be able to gauge reliability and credibility of news reports (broadcast, print, internet, etc.)
    • Know the difference between fact and opinion; recognize bias
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