Secondary Community (7th - 12th) » Curriculum

Curriculum

Middle School Curriculum

The Hayward Public Montessori School middle school courses of study reflect an integration of California state standards, the newest research on the developmental needs of early adolescents, the Montessori philosophy, the state of the art in current learning theory, and the predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century. 

The curriculum and instruction are designed as a two-year program. The language, speech, Spanish, physical education, outdoor education, service learning, and fine arts are courses of continuous progress. The science, social studies, geography, health and math are studied by topics or concepts. 

Following is a description of the middle school courses. 

Language I/II 

The language curriculum follows the reading and writing workshop model established by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project of Columbia University. It encompasses an integrated study of vocabulary, literature, grammar and mechanics, and writing. The curriculum seeks to teach students to value reading and writing well, to self-initiate reading and writing in their own lives, and to see reading and writing as tools to change themselves and the world around them. Students read and write in a wide range of genres for a variety of authentic purposes and learn to communicate with a variety of audiences. Vocabulary and etymology are presented across the curriculum and is tested each cycle. Grammar is studied daily within the context of literature and writing. With special emphasis on critical analysis, students practice daily a variety of types of writing in response to literature. Eighth graders write two research papers and seventh graders write one research paper during the year as part of their independent study. 

Speech I/II 

Speech includes a daily communications lab that focuses on grace and courtesy, listening skills, note-taking, active participation in group discussions by articulating ideas, and making formal presentations. Students learn a variety of communication skills such as acknowledging others, using “I” messages, active listening, goal setting, and group decision making. Students also participate in activities developed from Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens; Costa and Kallick’s Sixteen Habits of Mind and The Heroic Journey. Each year the class develops a mission statement or constitution. Students are able to practice communication skills daily by working in community meetings, class committees, small group cooperative projects, and peer and cross-age teaching activities. Students individually give presentations each cycle. 

Social Studies I 

This course includes geography and history. The history curriculum focuses on the progress of people and the following topics: Structures (Governments and US Government), Forces (Revolutions), Power (Human Rights Movement), Changes (Industrial Revolution), and Balance (Peace Education and Future Vision). Students do personal and group work in these themes. The focus is on asking large questions and looking for patterns in history and integrating this information into all disciplines. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. In the spring of even years, students become experts in one area of United States or California history and present their research at the history fair. 

Social Studies II 

This course includes geography and history. The geography curriculum includes the study of the themes of location, place, movement, regions, and interaction of people and their environment. The history curriculum focuses on the history of people and the following topics: Connections (Native Americans), Exploration and Perspectives, Identity (Immigration), Systems (Economics and Economic Systems), Interdependence (Ecology and Future Visions). Students do personal and group work in these themes. The focus is on asking large questions and looking for patterns in history and integrating this information into all disciplines. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. In the spring of even numbered years, students become experts in one area of either United States or California history and present their research at a history fair. 

Pre-Algebra and Algebra 

This math course uses a curriculum that utilizes the Montessori materials to introduce concepts before practicing them abstractly. The students will have two guiding questions per cycle. Students must take quizzes for feedback and master comprehensive tests. Each year’s curriculum contains units of both Pre-Algebra and Algebra. 

Physical Science 

The physical science curriculum includes the study of Structures (Nature of Science and the Structure of Matter), Forces (Motion and Four Fundamental Forces), Power (Power, Energy, and Waves), Changes (Work and Machines), and Balance (Chemistry and Future Technology). Students do personal work and group work in these themes. The focus is on asking large questions and looking for patterns in science and integrating this information into all disciplines. Students develop long-term creative projects and make presentations. In the spring of odd numbered years, students become experts in one area of science and present their research at the science fair. Outdoor education experiences and the use of machinery are also a part of this study. 

Life Sciences 

The life science curriculum includes the study of Connections (Cells and Living Things), Exploration (Prokaryote & Eukaryote; Virus, Bacteria and Fungi), Identity (Genetics), Systems (Animal Systems), and Interdependence (Ecosystems and Future Visions). Botany is part of the curriculum at the Land Lab. Students do personal work and group work in these themes. The focus is on asking large questions and looking for patterns in science and integrating this information into all disciplines. Students develop long-term creative projects and make presentations. In the spring of odd numbered years, students become experts in one area of science and present their research at the science fair. Outdoor education experiences and the use of tools and machinery are also part of this study. 

Physical Education and Health I/II 

The physical education classes focus on team sports, individual sports, and aerobic activities. The two-fold purpose of these classes is to teach skills and to instill the importance of physical fitness. Sports include volleyball, soccer, basketball, rock climbing, bowling, swimming, tennis and track and field. Students also participate in cooperative games. All students are included in all activities. Health is the study of issues pertinent to the needs of early adolescents. Students alternate focusing on The Heroic Journey and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens; Sixteen Habits of Mind. This program has several purposes. One is to provide information about the transition from childhood to adolescence and the journey to adulthood. Another is to provide links between generations to help young people make the journey safely. A third is to create challenging and meaningful experiences, similar to those in the initiation or rites of passage ceremonies. Students explore topics such as belonging, friendships, adolescent development, stress management, self-esteem, peer pressure, drug education, sexuality, nutrition, and balanced-living. There is a time each day which students spend in personal reflection for development of their intrapersonal skills. 

Spanish 

Using the Duo Lingo and Vista High Learning Spanish curricula, the students learn to speak, read, and write Spanish. Students participate in a daily lab in order to obtain continuous practice. 

Computer Literacy and Responsibility 

This computer literacy course includes word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and academic programs. All of these activities are integrated into all subject areas. Students also have the opportunity to use the Internet to gather data and communicate with other schools. As an elective, students explore different applications. 

Outdoor Education 

Students learn to work on and with the land. Students have the opportunity to spend two to three four-day trips to a Land Laboratory. In September, seventh and eighth grade students take part in a community building retreat which includes trust activities, group initiatives, individual challenges, personal reflection. At the school location, students plant a garden, compost, and do various horticultural projects. At the “Land Laboratory”, students work together on building projects, which integrates academic work into real-life activities, economic projects, and instruction in learning how to be stewards of the land. 

Service Learning 

During the second half of the academic year, seventh grade students spend one week as interns in a Montessori classroom and eighth grade students spend a week working in a business of their choice. The supervising teachers or adults complete an evaluation form. Students prepare a business letter stating their goals and verifying arrangements. Students do other spontaneous service based on needs and interests. During the year, students do service four times each cycle. In economics, students operate a few class businesses such as snack and delivery of catered food. For these businesses, students keep records, prepare and inventory the food, buy supplies, and sell the product. 

Fine Arts/Electives 

Students will have the opportunity to select four areas of exploration. Areas of exploration vary each year with student interest and availability of outside teaching resources. Courses may include the following: computer, photography, painting, sculpture, pottery, bike mechanics, carpentry, economics, trip planning, zine publication, creative writing, a Lego elective, and cooking. 

Cycles of Work 

The cycle format is designed to help students learn organizational, decision-making, and time- management skills. In an academic year, there are four cycles of work, each followed by an immersion week for land laboratory, internships, and testing. Each cycle is eight weeks. Students complete weekly progress reports and graphs for parents to review, sign, and return the following Monday. At the end of the fourth week, there is a product presentation and a written self-assessment of the thematic project work. At the end of the cycle, students complete a summary report that is mailed home to parents. 

Students keep a graph of the work completed each week. If an appropriate amount of work has not been completed each week, students have the opportunity to catch up in study hall on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 1:45p.m. If students have not completed their academic goals on Wednesday, they are expected to catch up on their own at home with parental support. If students do not complete their work by the end of the cycle, they may continue to work during the immersion week (Monday only). If students have not completed their work, an incomplete will be given. Students must make up the cycle work in summer school. 

Classroom Work 

The school day is divided into two kinds of work: individual work and group work. Individual work is designed to make a match between the skills, abilities, and interests of each student. There is a variety of choice in every academic area, to be completed alone or in small, self- chosen groups. Individual work is assessed individually with mastery tests that may be written or oral. There are opportunities to do modified, basic, and advanced work in most areas. 

Group work is done in randomly chosen groups in which individuals learn to work together for five weeks. These groups work together on physical tasks such as the lunch orders, physical education, and academic tasks in the thematic units, which integrate all subject areas. Individual written tests, group presentations, and self-assessments of the group process assess the thematic unit. 

Students are expected to keep up with class work and, if necessary, to do what they can at home or in study hall/after school tutoring to stay caught up. If a student repeatedly misuses class time or interferes with the work of his/her classmates, a conference is held and an action plan is set up with the family to monitor behavior until a pattern of appropriate behavior is practiced for an agreed upon length of time. 

Daily Work 

Daily work consists of “that which is not completed during the school day”. It is work that is taken home for completion (ie., math problems, literature assignments, apprentice sentences, personal reflection responses and self-assigned work). Math work should take approximately 30- 45 minutes per day. Students should read assigned texts at least 45 minutes each day and respond using the writing-about-reading strategies. Independent study work consists of research, writing, and presentation boards. 

Parents are asked to support their adolescent by providing a family schedule that allows time and space each evening for unfinished schoolwork. For concentrated learning to occur, students should study without the distractions of social media, videos games or videos. Students’ work assignments are given out at the beginning of each cycle. Thus, students know their assignments in advance so they can learn to plan ahead and avoid conflicts or late night studying. The first time a student does not complete his/her daily work or bring necessary belongings to school, he/she fills out the top of the parent communication and consults with a parent to create a plan to complete the assignment. The second time a student does not complete his/her daily work or bring necessary belongings to school, he/she fills out the bottom of the parent communication form with a plan to complete the assignment and takes it home to be signed by a parent. The third time a student does not complete his/her homework or bring necessary belongings to school, which makes the time spent in the classroom non-productive, a face to face conference is held and an action plan is initiated. 

Mastery Learning 

Mastery learning is a form of personalized learning that gives students the necessary time to master particular skills before progressing to the next level of work. The student takes on the responsibility of learning a skill versus merely accepting a low grade and never really learning the information. The teacher’s job is to break down the learning steps, to offer suggestions for internalizing the knowledge, and to give the time necessary to learn the information. According to research, the advantage of mastery learning is that it offers clear expectations, fosters mastery of a unit of study, is not competitive, and encourages student responsibility. Its disadvantage, as listed by researchers, is that too many students receive A’s. The student’s transcript indicates that courses have been completed with at least 90% mastery. The procedure is to offer information, provide learning strategies and activities, provide a variety of assessments – performance assessment with rubrics scale, quizzes, written tests, and self-assessments – and reteach and retest if necessary. Quizzes are distinguished from tests/assessments. Quizzes are to give feedback during the learning process and do not require a 90+%. Tests/assessments are given at the closure of a body of work, such as after the completion of an area of study in history, science, math, and language. Tests/assessments are always corrected, no matter what the score, for learning. In the event that a retest (or re-presentation) has to be taken, all subsequent tests/assessments will be more in-depth; therefore, certain criteria must be met before a retest/re-presentation is administered such as: reviewing previous material, completing supplemental work, and receiving additional instruction from a teacher when necessary. If the student is still not successful in mastering the material after the second test/assessment, alternative testing/assessment styles will be utilized. All test/assessment grades will be averaged to determine mastery and the students’ transcript will indicate areas where modifications were implemented. 

Experiential Learning 

As in all levels of Montessori education, there are opportunities for discovery and experiential learning in which participation is the goal. The areas in the secondary program where experiential learning is the goal are: career education, outdoor education, electives, and field trips/experiences. 

Multiple Intelligences 

Recent discoveries about the nature of human intelligences have indicated that we have the ability to enhance and amplify our intelligence, and that intelligence is a multiple reality that occurs in different parts of the brain/mind system. Students will take a survey of where they are on the continuum of each of the nine intelligences as identified by Howard Gardner in his book, Frames of Mind. The nine intelligences are verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, and existential. Students are asked to design their work to include each of the intelligences and reflect upon their growth in each area. 

Independent Study – Personal Topic and History or Science Fair 

Seventh grade students will do one, whereas eighth grade students will do two, independent studies a year, focusing on history or science and a personal topic. There are specific guidelines and due dates along the way. A research paper is expected. This work is to be done individually. Parents are asked to sign a form agreeing to the selection of work and materials needed for the study, to support their adolescent by taking him/her to the library, and by providing needed materials and resources. 

Outdoor Education: Land Laboratory/Erdkinder
“Men with hands and no head, and men with head and no hands are equally out of place in the modern community......Therefore the work on the land is an introduction both to nature and civilization and gives a limitless field for scientific and historic studies.....The rural atmosphere offers students a kind of ‘place apart’–a safe and healthy environment to promote their transition to adulthood.(From Childhood to Adolescence, Montessori). 

Montessori felt that economic independence was as important to the development of the adolescent as personal independence (dressing and feeding themselves) is to the development of the 3 year-old. The land gives them the opportunity to explore the entire economic cycle. The students could be responsible for not only growing, but selling, the produce grown on the land and do all the billing and accounting as well. The money could be invested back into the land or put towards other projects. 

Dr. Montessori envisioned an Erdkinder (translated as children of the land) as the best environment for adolescents to study and work. Montessori called it a “school of experience in the elements of social life.” At Land Lab, students study the ideas of permaculture and sustainable communities. Students develop a strong sense of community working together on meals, maintaining the environment, working on needed projects, and having time to participate in the change in rhythm of living in harmony with nature. Students also have time for academic pursuits and apply their knowledge of astronomy, biology, ecology, math, and geometry to real- life situations. Projects are done in groups, allowing the students to work with others towards a common goal. 

Physical Education and Personal Reflection 

Physical education is an important part of a holistic education. Students should come dressed for physical education activities on a daily basis. Students will be asked to participate in all physical activities in order to receive a credit in physical education. If a student is unable to participate for medical reasons, this needs to be documented by a note from the parents. When students cannot be actively engaged, they may walk on the track or another activity designated by the P.E. teacher. The school offers team sports based upon interest. Volleyball, basketball, soccer and track are available. 

As part of the health curriculum, students spend thirty minutes each day after lunch in personal reflection. Dr. Montessori felt that early adolescents have a quest for self-knowledge, which in turn helps adolescents develop their identity. In our hurried society, we want the students to learn to spend time reflecting on goals, reducing stress, and creating a personal vision. During this time, students will work by themselves on guided, self-knowledge activities that are recorded in a notebook as relaxing music is played. Students will participate in the Heroic Journey and 7 Habits activities and may choose creative arts projects, brain gym activities, kinesthetic puzzles, and reflective writing. 

Extracurricular Activities 

After school tutoring classes are available M, Tu, Th and Fr. Monday through Friday intramural team sports are offered from 4:30 – 5:30pm. 

After School Work Time 

After school work time is from 4:00 – 4:30, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to help students monitor their work, or re-take quizzes and tests. 



Portfolios 

At the end of each cycle, students file their completed work in a binder or digital folder. Students select representative pieces of work to prepare for their family conferences in October, March and June. At the conference, students present portfolios to their parents and utilize them to support their assessment of themselves. 

Service Learning 

Service learning goes beyond community service by including preparation, participation, and reflection. It is a method by which adolescents learn through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet a genuine community need and are coordinated in collaboration with the school and community. The adolescents participate in the planning and decision-making. It is integrated into the academic curriculum and includes time for thinking, talking or writing about their experiences. It provides opportunities to use newly acquired academic skills and knowledge in real life situations in their community. It extends student learning beyond the classroom and helps to foster the development of a sense of caring for others. 

Adolescents are going through immense physical and emotional changes. They are struggling with their sense of identity. They need opportunities for the exploration of self, their emerging interests and the immediate, wider world around them. Service learning provides projects where: 

  •  the student has meaningful contact with adults; 
  •  they can develop a sense of responsibility; 
  •  their participation makes a clear difference and they feel valued and gain self confidence; 
  •  they develop decision-making skills dealing with real problems; 
  •  they have to deal with the consequences of their decisions; 
  •  they can see the connections between the classroom and the community and apply their learning to reinforce concepts, information, processes, and skills taught in the classroom; 
  •  the students experience a variety of roles; 
  •  students cooperate with others to realize a goal and they can see the concrete outcome of their efforts; 
  •  they develop the ability to interact and work with people different from themselves; 
  •  they prepare to become contributing citizens by learning habits and skills of active 

citizenship, fostering an ethic of service; 

  •  they become aware of community needs; 
  •  they gain a sense of belonging and community membership; and 
  •  they develop empathy and a sense of caring. 

In summary, service learning has great potential for both young people and society now and in the future. 

 

 

High School Curriculum

Required Courses and Electives

Silver Oak High School courses of study reflect an integration of the current standards of educational requirements, the newest research on the developmental needs of adolescents, the Montessori philosophy, state of the art current learning theory, and the predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century.

The curriculum and instruction is designed as a four-year program in which students earn at least three hundred and twenty-five (325) credits from Silver Oak High School. The School offers a challenging curriculum. Students are expected to complete core classes with 80% mastery on assessments. Students who choose to challenge themselves in specific classes, and complete the additional projects and assignments, which may include preparation for the Advanced Placement exam, will receive credit with Honors or Gifted/Talented designation. Students who need more time, alternative assessment, or extensive coaching in any course will receive credit for the course with an accommodation designation. A rubric describing each level is included in the sample forms. 

Graduation Requirements

Students must earn forty (40) credits of English Language Arts, forty (40) credits of Mathematics, forty (40) credits of Science, forty (40) credits of Social Science, forty (40) credits of World Languages (with three years in one language), thirty (30) credits of Self-Construction, twenty (20) credits of Digital Media/Media Arts, ten (10) credits in Theory of Knowledge, twenty (20) credits for Senior Thesis/Senior Internship, twenty (20) credits of Health Fitness, twenty (20) credits of STEAM electives and five (5) credits of Business Entrepreneurship.

Academic Courses

English

Composition and Communication (10 credits)

This one-year course is designed for students in ninth and tenth grade and addresses the California state content standards in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is intended to prepare students for the rigors of any four-year university English program. The thematic focus is The Individual in Society and will help students expand their vocabulary and emphasize the art of writing effectively and comprehensibly and provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill the high school English requirement. Students will develop their thinking-in-writing by practicing a variety of writing modes including description, narration, and literary analysis. Students will read, discuss, analyze, interpret, debate, write and present orally on readings from Of Mice and Men, The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Bless Me Ultima. Through the readings and in-class exercises, students will develop more sophisticated responses to literature, learning to create and support inferences about characters, moods, themes, etc.

World Literature (10 credits)

This course presents ninth and tenth grade students a study of the development of world literature from ancient times through the present. With emphasis on major authors and literary trends, all forms of literature will be covered, including poetry, prose, and drama. Discussion and written assignments will stress insight into the works and the correlation of history, culture, literature, and other fine arts. Emphasis will be placed on critical, analytic reading skills, participation in-depth, constructive class discussion, and critical, evaluative writing.

Students will achieve mastery of all standards identified as high and medium frequency standards on the California Standards Tests, with a concerted effort to encourage mastery of low frequency standards as well. Students will read with a critical and analytical focus; identify, describe and utilize a sophisticated literary and rhetorical forms and devices; conceive, write and edit cogent essays in the autobiographical, narrative, reflective, persuasive and technical modes; communicate in speech and writing with clarity, effective style and eloquence; demonstrate mastery of standard English usage, spelling, punctuation and grammar; read at least 1000 pages per year outside of assigned class text to develop an extensive background in a diverse body of high quality literature; engage in intelligent discussion through active listening and constructive discourse; demonstrate tolerance for the points of view and beliefs of other people and cultures and demonstrate the highest level of personal and academic integrity.

American Literature (10 credits)

The American literature course is designed to prepare students in the eleventh and twelfth grades for the rigorous academic program they will encounter at a four-year college or university. Throughout the course, students learn to read challenging and engaging texts from a variety of genres and literary periods through deep reading, annotating, and questioning. They draw meaning from minor and major texts alike. Academic discourse–Socratic Seminar–is a key part of the curriculum; students learn how to use sophisticated, academic vocabulary and sentence stems in order to effectively engage in meaningful discussions about coursework. Students continue to improve their verbal communication skills through informal and formal presentations, including a major exhibition essay and presentation given at the end of each year to a panel of teachers, parents, and community members. Students participate in both informal and formal styles of writing, learn what makes writing effective, and learn how to improve their language conventions, word choice, organization, and style. They analyze text in the historical context of United States history. At the end of the course, students should be prepared to successfully accept the challenge of difficult texts and be able to write detailed, organized essays with textual evidence.

Multi-Cultural Literature (10 credits)

In Multi-Cultural Literature students in the eleventh and twelfth grades will read and analyze contemporary literature in a variety of genres from multicultural perspectives. Novels, short stories, and poems will be closely examined, not only for their plot, character, literary devices, and thematic development, but also in light of their cultural context. Articles, essays, and other non-fiction texts will be examined for their content, rhetorical devices, and political/philosophical assumptions. Students will begin to see literature as a vehicle for understanding global issues. In addition to their study of literature, students will practice writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students will combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce clear and coherent texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. Students will utilize the writing process, with a focus on revision, to engage their reader with a well-developed voice and style, employ a logical organizational pattern, and develop their arguments with reasoning, examples, and analysis. Students will also utilize computer technology, responsibly research topics, successfully incorporate their findings into their own writing, and properly document their sources. During the second semester, students will practice self-directed learning by completing an extensive self-designed research project. Vocabulary will be developed by studying Greek and Latin roots and by examining new words in literary context. Grammar skills will be enhanced through careful revision of student writing.

Mathematics

Algebra I (10 credits)

This course offers a comprehensive look at algebraic concepts including algebraic foundations, functions and relations, equations, linear equations and functions, polynomials, rational expressions and functions, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, radical expressions and functions, quadratic equations and functions, absolute value equations and inequalities, and probability and data analysis. The curriculum emphasizes a multi-representational approach to algebra, with concepts, results, problems being expressed graphically, analytically, and verbally, performing operations with real numbers, applying properties of real numbers, and reasoning with real numbers. As students study each family on functions, they will learn to represent them in multiple ways- as verbal descriptions, equations, tables and graphs. Students will derive solutions based on logic and hands-on inquire based studies that are intended to give each student a strong base in all mathematics. Students will also learn to model real-world situations using functions in order to solve problems arising from those situations. Lastly, Algebra 1 sets a solid foundation for entry and completion of Geometry and Algebra 2, as it presents basic concepts that are expanded upon in later levels of mathematics.
Algebra 1 course incorporates the Common Core State Standards for Algebra 1. In addition to these content standards, the Common Core Math Practice standards are imbedded in every unit of the course. These practices rest on important processes, critical thinking proficiencies, and a growth mindset attitudes that are constantly developed while understanding the content.

Algebra II (10 credits)

Algebra 2 is a college preparatory course that expands upon concepts learned in Algebra 1 and Geometry. Reviews of algebraic and geometric concepts are integrated throughout the course. Emphasis will be placed on abstract thinking skills, the algebraic solution of problems, probability and data analysis, coordinate geometry and trigonometry and the families of functions; including quadratic, linear, exponential, logarithmic, radical and rational functions. This course sets a solid foundation for entry and completion of advanced math and other higher-level advanced math courses.

Geometry (10 credits)

Geometry brings math to life with many real-life applications. Examples of mathematics in sports, engineering, and carpentry will be shown throughout this course. Three key aspects of geometry that will be emphasized are measuring, reasoning, and applying geometrical ideas. This is a year long course presents the major skills and concepts of geometry necessary for a student to describe and measure their world. Students develop analytical thinking skills that will allow them to solve problems involving geometric figures and logical thinking, including the development and use of geometric theorems involving proof, congruence similarity perimeter area and volume with a wide variety of geometric figures. The use of the Pythagorean Theorem and trigonometric functions are also emphasized. This is a prerequisite course for Algebra II.

Pre-Calculus (10 credits)

Pre-calculus is primarily a course to prepare students for Calculus with emphasis on problem solving. Content includes polynomial and rational functions, complex numbers, sequence and series, conic sections, parametric equations, limits, and an introduction to Calculus. The Pre-calculus course will give students the background needed to facilitate a smooth transition to college-level Calculus. Pre-calculus draws from different areas within the California Mathematics Academic Content Standards: Mathematical Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Calculus. Students will become familiar with, and use graphs of polynomial functions with an emphasis on the zeros and graphs rational functions with an emphasis on asymptotic behavior. Students will evaluate patterns to find the sum and general terms of arithmetic and geometric sequences and series. Students will analyze conic sections, both analytically and geometrically and apply and graph parametric equations. Students will find the limit of certain sequences and various functions, the slope of the tangent line and the derivative of a function.

Calculus (10 credits)

Calculus is a one year course designed to meet or exceed the California State Standards for calculus. This course will prepare students for college level Calculus. The course will cover differential and elementary integral calculus at an introductory level. After achieving this solid fundamental understanding of calculus, our students will be well prepared for the rigor of college level mathematics. Topics which will be covered in “Calculus” include limits, derivatives, definite integrals, indefinite integrals, and applications of these topics. Topics will be explored graphically, numerically, algebraically, and verbally. Subtopics include products, quotients, the calculus of logarithmic functions, growth and decay, plane and solid figures, algebraic calculus techniques, and the calculus of motion.

Science

Environmental Science (10 credits)

The content of Environmental Science provides students with an overview of their planet from the structures of the Earth itself to its surface and the atmosphere, including California geology. In this course, students will have a sound basis for understanding the science of geology, including Earth’s place in the universe, dynamic Earth processes, energy in the Earth system, biogeochemical cycles, and structure and composition of the atmosphere. Key vocabulary and concepts are stressed throughout.

Environmental Science covers the forces involved in the Earth and the Earth’s interactions with the Exosphere. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding the core concepts in Earth Science, students will participate in investigations and experimentation throughout the course. In this process, they will distinguish between hypotheses and theories, identify possible reasons for sources of error, and investigate at least one controversial societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data and communicating the findings. Students will be able to define scientific terminology in order to foster the ability to read, interpret, and understand scientific literature. They will develop and demonstrate an understanding of fundamental principles that will be applied in subsequent science courses. Students will develop an appreciation for the natural processes that occur on Earth and how those processes impact and affect the environment. Students will become aware of and be able to express themselves critically concerning the major environmental issues which affect the health of their community and the world in which they live.

Biology (10 credits)

Biology is a year-long course designed to meet college entrance requirements as a laboratory science. Students will demonstrate the ability to use scientific skills and apply biological concepts to explain living organisms at the cellular and organ/system level, their interactions with the environment, and their life cycle. The material presented in the course includes cell biology and basic chemistry, genetics, evolution and natural selection, human physiology of the human body and ecology. The Biology course is designed to give students an overview of the key concepts and theories in life science. It builds upon the concepts and skills taught in earlier science classes, and prepares students for a college level science course. Biology students will practice the scientific process to think critically about the phenomena they observe every day. They will make claims about their observations and support those claims with evidence and reasoning. And they will reflect upon and evaluate the validity of their experimental work products. The content is divided into units: cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and physiology. The cell biology unit begins by investigating macromolecules and their roles in cell processes. Students investigate cell processes with experiments and can explain using models.

 Chemistry (10 credits)

The course is designed to be a laboratory-based course in chemistry. The level of instruction is to be at a level that will provide adequate preparation for entry into a college level chemistry class. This course studies chemical reactions and the factors that influence their behavior. The major topics will include atomic and molecular structure, bonding patterns, nuclear chemistry, conservation of matter and stoichiometry, states of matter, solutions, thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, and redox reactions. This is an introductory course to College level Chemistry courses. Students will be involved in a number of different learning approaches, such as classroom work, laboratory sessions and the application of mathematics and problem solving. The students will gain a deeper understanding of familiar concepts, such as atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonds, conservation of matter, stoichiometry, gases, solutions, chemical thermodynamics, acids, bases, reaction rates, chemical equilibrium, organic chemistry, biochemistry and nuclear processes. The course is designed to help students think like scientists and to encourage students to explore careers in science. The laboratory skills developed will be critical for success in a college level class and in life. The students will be expected to not only understand key concepts, but to apply, analyze, and synthesize these concepts. These higher level-thinking skills are essential to achievement for the next academic stage.

Physics (10 credits)

This is an introductory course in the foundations of physics. This course will help students develop an intuitive understanding of physics principles, as well utilize their math training to solve problems. Laboratory learning will be a major component of the course to help students understand physics concepts as well as provide training in sound laboratory techniques. The ultimate goal of this course is to help students develop the critical thinking skills needed to solve real world problems, and to encourage an appreciation for physics and the sciences.

Social Studies

World Cultures and Geography (10 credits) 

In this course of World Cultures, students take a comprehensive look at cultures around the world and how geography plays a role in cultural development and geo-political regions. In this comprehensive course, students develop an understanding of geography and its interaction with cultures around the world. Through rigorous reading, critical thinking skills, and mapping activities, students learn about the beginnings of a civilization and the developments of culture and traditions. As geography plays a role in the development and changes within a culture, this course offers opportunities to review and practice geography skills and brings opportunity of understanding the effects of geography on cultural areas throughout time. Throughout this course of study, students will develop an understanding of the values, differences, and the uniqueness of cultures around the world.

U.S. History (10 credits)

This course examines the major turning points in American history beginning with the Montessori Great Lessons, including the universe story and the study of people to modern day. In this first quarter, we will study Indigenous cultures in North America and the events leading up to the American Revolution. These events will be studied through the lens of contemporary world issues such as American identity, globalization, economic interdependence, terrorism and world cultures to enrich our understanding of international conflict and cooperation. Following a review of the nation’s beginnings and the impact of the Enlightenment on U.S. democratic ideals, students build upon the tenth grade study of global industrialization to understand the emergence and impact of new technology and a corporate economy, including the social and cultural effects. They trace the change in the ethnic composition of American society; the movement toward equal rights for racial minorities and women; and the role of the United States as a major world power. An emphasis is placed on the expanding role of the federal government and federal courts as well as the continuing tension between the individual and the state. Students consider the major social problems of our time and trace their causes in historical events. They learn that the United States has served as a model for other nations and that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are not accidents, but the results of a defined set of political principles that are not always basic to citizens of other countries. Students understand that our rights under the U.S. Constitution are a precious inheritance that depends on an educated citizenry for their preservation and protection.

World History (10 credits)

World History is a year-long required course that explores the key events and global historical developments since the Paleolithic age that have shaped the world we live in today. Modern World History covers all aspects of human experience, ranging from economics, religion, philosophy, science, and literature and the arts to politics and law, as well as military conflict. The major historical units will include the following: Early Modern Times, Enlightenment and Revolution, Industrialization and a New Global Age, World Wars and Revolutions, and the World from 1945 to the Present.

This course will illustrate connections between students’ lives and those of ancestors around the world. Students will uncover patterns of behavior, identify historical trends and themes, explore historical movements and concepts, and test theories. Students will build upon their ability to read
for comprehension and critical analysis by summarizing and paraphrasing, note taking and organization, categorizing, comparing, and evaluating information, as well as writing clearly and convincingly, expressing facts and opinions orally, and using technology appropriately to present information.

Economics (5 credits)

Students study fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity costs and trade-offs, productivity, economic systems, economic institutions and incentives. The course will also include such microeconomics concepts as market and prices, supply and demand, competition and market structure, income distribution and the role of government. Macroeconomics concepts include international trade, unemployment, inflation and deflation, and fiscal and monetary policy.

Students in grade twelve pursue mastery of economic concepts and use the tools and skills acquired in other courses (mathematics, science, and English) to understand the operations and institutions of economic systems. Just as in any other course, context is important, and students will examine the historical development of economic theory and economic systems. Students will leave this course having mastered the basic economic principles of micro- and macro-economics, international economics, comparative economic systems, measurement, and methods. Finally, students will examine current criticisms of classical economics with a particular focus on external entities and the “true cost” of resources.

Government (5 credits)

Students in grade eleven and twelve pursue a deeper understanding of the institutions of American government. They compare systems of government in the world today and analyze the life and changing interpretations of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the current state of the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government. An emphasis is placed on analyzing the relationship among federal, state and local governments, with particular attention paid to important historical documents such as The Federalist. These standards represent the culmination of civic literacy as students prepare to vote, participate in community activities and assume the responsibilities of citizenship.

Additional/World Languages

Spanish I (10 credits)

Spanish 1 is a beginning college preparatory course. By the use of formulaic language in relevant settings, students will listen, read, speak and write in the target language. Grammar is presented in a meaningful context. Class in conducted in the target language.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish II (10 credits)

The Spanish 2 course is a continuation of the previous course. By the use of created language in relevant settings, students will continue to develop their listening, reading, writing and speaking in the target language. Grammar continues to be presented in a meaningful context. Class is conducted in the target language.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish III (10 credits)

The Spanish 3 course is an intermediate course where students use planned language in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students continue to accelerate to use extended language by the end of this course. Class is taught in Spanish.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish IV (10 credits)

The Spanish 4 course is an extensive Spanish class that reinforces the different skills/contents and linguistic tools learned in Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 including Spanish language and Latino communities using the four modes of expression: listening, speaking, writing and reading. The main goal of this course is for students to develop, on a daily basis, receptive and productive skills that will allow them to communicate extensively in Spanish.

In Spanish 4, students expand their learning using the different modes of communication at an advanced level through the use of learner-centered activities, analysis of authentic documents/texts such as songs, movies, magazines, or newspaper articles, the use of technology and analysis of Spanish literature. Students learn to create more complex sentences using different tenses and moods (present, past tense, subjunctive present/past, future, conditional) in planned paragraphs when speaking and writing, comprehending main ideas and details in authentic texts and becoming more accurate in written and oral expression.

On a daily basis, students are engaged collaboratively and individually with written, verbal, listening and reading tasks such as think-pair-share activities, small group works, reading activities, written assignments, conversations around cultural facts and listening to authentic Spanish media.

Mandarin I (10 credits)

This is a beginning Mandarin course intended for students with no prior knowledge of any Chinese dialect or written Chinese. The goal is to develop basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Mandarin and to understand the Chinese culture and customs. This course will focus on the Chinese Pinyin system: tones, rules of phonetic spelling, and pronunciation drill; Chinese characters: radicals, stroke order, structure, and the writing system. Reading and writing skills include basic sentence pattern analysis, and how to use Chinese dictionaries.

Mandarin I (10 credits)

The purpose of this course is to ensure that 1) students will be able to read paragraphs in characters at a normal speed, 2) students will be able to converse by asking and answering questions according to Chinese custom, 3) students will be able to write short essays in Mandarin, 4) students will be able to use a dictionary to learn new words and read basic articles in the newspaper, 5) students will be able to typewrite Chinese characters, 6) students will start to appreciate Chinese literature such as Tang Poetry and Chinese idioms.

This course is designed for students who have already completed Mandarin Level 1. The course continues to develop students’ ability in reading, speaking, writing and aural comprehension, building upon the structures already acquired during Level 1. Mandarin Level 2 emphasizes the acquisition of communication competency and the use of the language in real life situations. All lessons are organized around topics and situations, and each lesson is planned with specific tasks and activities that aim to engage students in a variety of interactions.

Visual and Performing Arts

Digital Imaging I (10 credits) 

In this course students will use state-of-the-art digital imaging software and concepts to create projects which integrate art, graphic design, photo manipulation, illustration, and/or digital compositing, while exercising the importance and application of creative expression and how it impacts today’s society. While students continue their skills in the use of design media, they will further recognize current and cutting edge trends in technology-based art practices through interactions with local and regional professionals as well as publish a digital portfolio that reflects industry techniques and standards.

Digital Media (10 credits)

This year long course is a beginning study in contemporary media. The class is structured around projects emphasizing the art elements of line, shape, form, color, space, and texture. It will introduce the student to the principles of design including composition, balance, emphasis, contrast, movements, pattern, rhythm and unity as they relate to typography, perspective, color theory and layout. Students will develop an appreciation of traditional artistic expression as well as an understanding of the role of contemporary media as a verbal and visual means of communication in today’s society. After a brief teacher-led instruction on hardware and software common in the industry, students work together to design, create, critique, and present digital media art projects.

Media Arts I (10 credits)

Media Arts I is a year-long course that gives students the opportunity to rely on their perceptions of the environment, developed through increasing visual awareness and sensitivity to surroundings, memory, imagination and life experiences, as a source for creating artworks. Students will express their thoughts and ideas creatively, while challenging their imaginations, fostering reflective thinking and developing disciplined effort and problem-solving skills. Students will develop respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures by analyzing artistic styles and historical periods. Students will respond to and analyze artworks, thus contributing to the development of lifelong skills of making informed judgments and evaluations. Based on the CA Visual and Performing Arts Standards; emphasis throughout the year will be on the following; perceiving and responding to works of art using content vocabulary to express their observations, applying fundamental artistic skills to their work, understanding the historical contributions and cultural dimensions of the visual arts, analyzing current and historical works of art and connecting their knowledge of the visual arts to other subject area and careers.

College Prep Electives

Theory of Knowledge (10 credits) 

In Philosophy we will confront the essential questions of existence, such as What is real? Can we really be certain of anything? What is right? Is there a soul separate from the body? What is the meaning of life? Exploration of these topics will be conducted through personal inquiry, meaningful discussion, and reading the theories of the Western world’s most respected and influential philosophers. Philosophy will be organized into eight units, each spanning approximately three weeks. Drawing mainly on the primary text, Western Philosophy, students will read authentic excerpts from renowned philosophers on the topics of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics and morality, government and politics, theology, philosophy of science, and aesthetics. Students will participate in weekly Socratic seminars as a means of discussing and debating the ideas articulated in the readings, and they will demonstrate their understanding both informally and formally in writing. Students will also conduct philosophical inquiry into a topic of their own choosing and present their
findings.

Business Entrepreneurship (5 credits) 

Business through entrepreneurship is a project-based college prep course where students analyze and develop a small business. Students will focus on four goals. They will learn the significance of math, reading, writing, and communicating to their future within the framework of starting and operating a small business. Students will understand how the market economy and ownership leads to wealth creation. Students learn not only the skills necessary to become entrepreneurs but also the attitudes, characteristic, and techniques in successful entrepreneurs that they will need to succeed. Finally, learn to be able to save and make future investments in order to meet their financial goals in life. Students will learn to build analytical skills through solving complex problems and making sound decisions in order to produce a viable business.

Through the study of entrepreneurship, students will learn the importance of the role of entrepreneurship in the market economy, opportunity recognition, communicate in business, ethical business behavior, social responsibility, competitive advantage and sustainability, market research and cost/benefit analysis, advertise and market products, business financials including pricing, operating costs, and projections. As students create their business plan, they will integrate academic knowledge to their own ventures, thus putting theory into practice.

Additional Requirements

Physical Education

Health Fitness (5 credits each) 

Health Fitness credits can be earned in three ways.
1. A student will earn five (5) credits for each semester that he/she participates in an organized extracurricular physical activity for at least 3 hours and 45 minutes a week. A note from the instructor is required in order for the student to earn credit.
2. A student will earn five (5) credits for each semester-long Physical Education class completed.
3. A student will earn five (5) credits for each school sponsored sport played. In order to earn credit the student must attend eighty percent of practices and games/meets.

Self-Construction Classes

Personal and Social Responsibility (5 credits) 

This is a year-long class for freshmen that introduces the students to the basic Montessori Secondary methodology, especially the concepts of personal responsibility and community stewardship. Students work through the “preliminary exercises” necessary to succeed in a college prep high school. They also master the skills of “Grace and Courtesy” and “Care of the Environment”. Throughout, the freshmen are guided to be the primary stewards of themselves and of the Silver Oak campus.

Social Justice (5 credits)

Throughout the school year, sophomores explore various themes within Social Justice and choose from assignments exemplifying these themes. First, students learn about themselves and their backgrounds as well as share and celebrate their differences with one another. Students are meant to develop a sense of dignity regarding their culture, religion, ethnicity and gender as it relates to their beliefs. Next, students are encouraged to develop their personal opinions regarding social issues and learn about contemporary issues affecting their community and this world. Finally, students learn about various avenues of social movement, action and change. The class culminates with the students choosing an issue, about which they are passionate, and raise awareness about it in their school community and beyond.

College Counseling (5 credits)

This is a year-long class for juniors which introduces them to the college application process. Students identify their career paths; investigate matching post-secondary educational options; analyze admission requirements and review their own transcripts to determine their readiness. The full college entrance testing sequence is presented and the students are guided through it. Financial aid strategies are also covered. By the end of the course students write their personal statements and complete their lists of “match-reach-safety” schools.

Senior Thesis/Internship (20 credits)

The over-arching theme of Senior Thesis/Internship is “The Future.”  As seniors about to graduate and embark on the next stage of their progress, the future is already something that will be uppermost in their minds.  Seniors will already be hearing a great deal from parents and extended family members, peers, teachers, and college admissions officers about their “future.”  The senior class works together to find interdisciplinary approaches to the nature and potential of the future as a basis of their work together and then work individually in their internship positions defining what questions they would like to examine more closely in their final work here at Silver Oak High School.

Senior Thesis/Internship is both a culmination and a commencement.  It represents the culmination of their work by giving students the opportunity to apply interdisciplinary and internship-based knowledge to original research.  All of what the students have learned and experienced will be brought to bear on their final papers.  Senior Thesis is also a commencement, the start of work the student may continue in the years ahead.  The goal of Senior Thesis/Internship is to afford students the opportunity to do lasting, meaningful work that they will continue to pursue at the university level.  The final paper is 10—12 pages in length and consists of a literature review that puts the student’s unique question in the context of the history of thought and current research.

Particular attention will be given to the distinction between the methods of the social sciences and those of the physical sciences.  In addition, we will be learning library procedures, techniques of computer search, compiling references, interviewing and methods for finding, evaluating, and recording material.  Students become familiar with the major writers and works within their particular area of research. Students will also work with on-sight mentors who are experts in their fields or subjects of interest.  The Senior Internship is closely coordinated with Senior Thesis to provide for one-on-one guidance with a mentor.  Students present their theses to the faculty and presentations are open to the public.

Intersession (5 credits per year)

During Intersession students must participate in community outreach, service learning and field education courses. Grading for these classes is based on class attendance and participation and completion of assigned projects. Students who do not complete the Intersession class with a passing grade will not be given any credit for that class.

Other Electives (5 credits each) 

Electives are STEAM based experiential classes. Students choose these classes and are expected to participate fully. Grading for these classes is based on class participation and completion of assigned projects. Students who do not complete the Elective class with a passing grade will not be given any credit for that class.