Introductory-level courses, generally taken by freshmen and sophomores, encourage students to build a strong foundation in both skills and content. Upper-level courses, typically taken by juniors and seniors, foster advanced analytical, critical, and creative thinking skills; oral and written communication skills; and academic and personal responsibility and confidence.
English 1 presents an introduction to grammar, composition, literature. Students study the foundational elements of traditional grammar: parts of speech, phrases, clauses, and sentence structure. The writing program emphasizes paragraph construction as critical to the development of a critical essay. The literature component of the course is a genre study using selections from classical mythology, Shakespeare, poetry, short stories, and novels. Vocabulary acquisition occurs in all realms of the course.
In structure and philosophy English 2 parallels, at a more advanced level, the freshman course. Sophomores continue the study of grammar. Composition assignments begin with the paragraph and move quickly to well-developed essays analyzing literature. Students read short stories, plays (including a Shakespeare play), poetry, and novels. Vocabulary work and SAT preparation occur throughout the year.
English 3 presents a survey course in American literature with emphasis on critical analysis of individual works of literature and of their thematic interrelatedness. Students continue to hone their reading and writing skills and to develop their ability for careful analysis of character, structure, imagery, and theme. Emphasis is placed on logical development, depth, and precision in the writing process. Students regularly write full-length critical arguments, often involving several classics of American literature. Grammar work emphasizes creating clarity of communication through grammatical correctness. Vocabulary development occurs through the literature, advanced vocabulary workbook, and SAT preparation.
Senior English examines world literature from varying historical times. Students read such authors as Sophocles, Chaucer, Austen, Chekhov, and Camus; study literary movements such as Classicism, Romanticism, and Surrealism; and complete an intensive unit examining the formal elements of poetry, as manifested through poetry from the sixteenth century to the present. English IV hones the student’s ability to recognize and understand literary elements such as irony, tone, and symbolism; to work with a wide range of styles and levels of difficulty; and to place literature within a historical and artistic context. Students are expected to produce interpretive essays that are well-written, well-organized, and original in thought. Students increase their working vocabularies through a variety of approaches, and they review formal grammar and usage, with an emphasis on application to their own writing. Ultimately, students are encouraged to develop a “voice” that is uniquely their own.
A.P. English 4
The Advanced Placement version of the Senior World Literature course presents students with several more difficult works than in English 4, introduces literary theory and modes of literary criticism, and provides opportunities for a variety of analytical and creative writing. Preparation for the national Advanced Placement examination is included in the course. (Students must have an overall high school average of 88% in English courses in order to enroll; students enrolled are required to take the A.P. exam.)
This freshman/sophomore survey history course examines western history from early man to the 20th century. The course emphasizes acquisition of historical facts, recognition of cause and effect relationships, and ability to understand and interpret both specific occurrences and broad historical trends. Skills work includes note taking, outlining, doing research, writing interpretive papers, and preparing for tests consisting of various types of questions from identification to short essay.
This course explores the complex relationships existing between physical environment and culture. Lectures, readings, and class discussions address how the physical aspects of environment influence the human issues of worldwide cultures. The course examines both specific regions and global development. Map reading, memory, note taking, and writing skills are emphasized throughout the course.
United States History
U.S. History provides students with an understanding of the fundamental forces, events, and ideas which separately and together shaped the character and direction of the United States. Students develop an appreciation of democracy and the necessity for a literate, educated, and involved citizenry. The course begins with an examination of the causes for European colonization of the North American continent and finishes with an investigation of the civil rights movement.
Honors Environmental Geography
This advanced course, offered to seniors who have completed a year of world geography, explores in depth several global issues relevant to today’s world, such as world hunger, energy, overpopulation, and water rights. Organized thematically rather than geographically, the course’s curriculum is established early in the year through a process which relies heavily on student research and input. Combining studies in physical and cultural geography, economics, science, and politics, the course culminates in students’ creating original solutions to real-world problems.
Post World War II History
This senior-level social sciences elective explores world issues from 1945 to the present, with a focus on the United States and its relations with contemporary world powers. Students are expected to enter the course with a foundation in Geography, World History, and U.S. History and to bring with them an open mind and an understanding of how and why shifts of power occur, conflicts arise, and the past affects the present. Students read a wide variety of sources and write a series of responses to differing perspectives on difficult world issues.
The primary objectives of Algebra 1 are to give students a thorough understanding of the structure of Algebra and the nature of algebraic operations and to develop the powers of logical thinking. Manipulation of algebraic expressions provides the starting point from which solution of equations evolves. Using a text that emphasizes the cumulative nature of mathematical facility, Algebra 1 involves considerable practice, drill, and repetition. This course provides the essential foundation for all higher level math courses.
This geometry course presents a formal approach to Euclidean geometry. Its goals are twofold: first, to provide students with knowledge of geometric figures; second, to teach students the deductive method of thinking, taught with the aid of formal two-column proofs. Students review algebraic skills and use them regularly to solve geometric problems. Trigonometry is also introduced.
The Algebra 2 course emphasizes problem solving, real world application, and the study skills necessary to succeed in higher level math. Topics include quadratic equations, systems of linear equations, inequalities, exponential equations, and factoring of higher-degree polynomials. Students work consistently both with the standard language and symbols of math and with word problems.
Beginning with a comprehensive review of the concepts of Algebra 2, Precalculus 1 provides students with the opportunity to solidify their algebraic skills prior to proceeding to more advanced math, including trigonometry and analytic geometry. This course proceeds at a more deliberate pace than Advanced
Offered to students with a solid foundation in Algebra and Geometry, Advanced Precalculus prepares students for Calculus, either at LWS or in college. The course incorporates a functions approach to Algebra, Trigonometry, and Analytic Geometry. Students are expected to grasp concepts quickly and to apply them readily to a variety of problems.
Honors Calculus 1
This higher level math course examines fundamental qualities of sequence; relationships and limits; rational, irrational, and transcendental functions; derivation and integration. Students learn to work both independently and collectively in their efforts to solve difficult mathematical problems. The course encourages students to apply their knowledge from previous math courses as they build their understanding of Calculus.
Advanced Placement Calculus 2
Open to students who have completed a full year of calculus, this course provides a theoretical and in-depth examination of the basic topics of Calculus 1: functions, sequences, limits, derivatives, and integrals. Students move at an accelerated pace, contribute to a course blog, are expected to complete a significant amount of work independently, and are also encouraged to work with each other to find solutions to advanced problems. Preparation for the national Advanced Placement Calculus examinations (AB and BC) plays a significant role in the course.
Students’ introductory lab science course, Biology explores the organization of life. Students study basic organic molecular structures and the elementary chemicals of life, cellular physiology, genetics, cell division, reproduction, and embryology. The course also surveys plant structures, ecology, and evolution. Skills work includes careful reading of scientific language, precision in lab work, organization, memorization, and test preparation.
This course covers general chemistry from a theoretical and quantitative approach. Generally taken by juniors, chemistry begins with the study of atoms and molecules as the building blocks of matter. The course progresses to include such topics as elements and compounds, energy and phase transformation, quantum mechanics, and the atomic basis for the Periodic Table. Laboratory work provides students with the opportunity to study basic scientific procedure and to conduct experiments that provide practical applications for theoretical concepts. Students are expected to apply their solid study skills to memorizing, analyzing, and interpreting scientific information.
Human Anatomy and Physiology
A junior/senior elective open to students who have completed Biology and Chemistry, this course provides a concentrated introduction to the biology of human beings, its organs and organ systems. It emphasizes the interrelationships of body organ systems, homeostasis, and the complementarities of structure and function. Students are encouraged to assimilate information independently while also participating in class discussion, dissection, and extracurricular research. Anatomy and Physiology fosters an understanding of the complex relationships between form and function; retention of information is essential to the problem-solving focus of the course.
Advanced Placement Environmental Science
An advanced study course for juniors and seniors who have completed a year of Biology and of Chemistry, Environmental Science students think critically about environmental issues affecting our world today. Topics include water quality, forest management, climate change, and alternative fuel sources. Students’ mastery of specific biological and chemical information is coupled with an emphasis on analytical thinking and problem solving for real-world environmental concerns. Students write frequently, field work accompanies course reading and discussion, and preparation for the national Advanced Placement examination occurs throughout the year.
Generally made up of students simultaneously enrolled in Calculus 1 or 2, this college-level course introduces several branches of physics, including mechanics (Newtonian physics), heat, light, and relativity. The course demands of its students the ability to merge creative and logical thinking in an effort to solve both practical and theoretical problems in a variety of realms of modern physics.
French 3-5 (A.P.)
In all levels of French the four basic language skills are presented as being interdependent: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Students are called on as they progress to perform in all of these areas of the language with increasing ease and fluency. Introductory levels focus on pronunciation, vocabulary acquisition, and grammar. The intermediate levels emphasize grammar, speech, reading, and composition. At the advanced level the study of French literature also plays a significant role, and students write full-length literary analyses in French. Students at all levels are introduced to French history, customs, and culture. Advanced Placement French V also prepares students for the national Advanced Placement examination in French Language.
Spanish 1-5 (A.P.)
In elementary levels of Spanish, the emphasis is on the development of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Intermediate courses cultivate the application of grammar and vocabulary to broader communication, and reading for comprehension is stressed through selections of Hispanic literature and civilization. Developing fluency in reading, writing, speaking and listening, mastering advanced grammar, and working intelligently with Hispanic literature and culture are primary objectives of the highest level course. Advanced Placement Spanish V also prepares students for the national Advanced Placement examination in Spanish Language.
This course moves students from computer literacy to fluency over a broad range of current software systems. Areas of study include Windows, Internet Explorer, MS Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, as well as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, and Windows Movie Maker. Single assignments may consist of the use of three or four programs at once. The course also includes discussion of ethical issues arising from the use of technology in academia and the workplace.
Computer 2 Graphics/Yearbook Production
This course is available to all students who have a solid foundation in MS Office. Students learn advanced computer concepts related to publishing both in print and on the web. Combining tenets of graphic arts with technological skill, students work with page layout, design, writing, and photo editing techniques. Given our increasingly digital world, these skills will aid students in college and beyond.
Students in Art 1 are introduced to basic media and technique used in creating works of art. Students learn to “see” as artists. Art history and “the language of art” are important aspects of the class that help students to understand the “who” and “why” of the visual arts.
Building on their artistic foundation and talents, students in this course work in specific areas of artistic concentration. Technique is further developed while artistic language, aesthetics, and creative expression become the focus. Students are encouraged to push through barriers to create unique and professional-quality finished products, be they metal sculptures, oil paintings, or ceramics.
A senior elective, this course introduces the fundamental principles of script writing and film production. Students examine classics of the genre as part of their learning process. With the aid of state-of-the-arts cameras, computer software, and green screen technology, students write, direct, act in, edit, and produce their own films. Collaboration, creativity, technical skill, and attention to detail are emphasized.The year culminates with a showing of the class films, which range from short pieces to full-length features.