Educate the powers of observation through a study of polarities.
As freshmen dive into the new experiences of high school, they are also plunging into physical and hormonal changes of adolescence, and newly into the realm of abstract thinking.
Students’ experiences of inner polarities provoked by these changes are reflected back to them in the carefully chosen school curriculum.
For example: In physics, students study the polarity of heat and cold; in environmental science, the drama of plate tectonics; in the history of the theater, tragedy and comedy; in art, black and white drawing and printmaking.
Students are challenged to exercise powers of exact observation—in the sciences, to describe and draw precisely what happened in the experiments and demonstrations; in the humanities, to recount clearly a sequence of events or the nature of a character without getting lost in the confusion of details.
The objective is to train exact powers of observation and recollection so that the students can experience the steadiness of their own thinking in the often-confusing world around them.
Our school day begins at 8:40 with a ninety-minute Morning Lesson period. There are nine four-week-long Morning Lesson Blocks in each academic year. In ninth grade, the nine blocks are:
- Economics of Climate Change
- History through Art
- World Revolutions
- Number Theory: Permutations and Combinations
- Comedy and Tragedy: History of Human Development as Seen through Theater
- Biology: Comparative Anatomy and Physiology (lab science)
- Chemistry: Organic Chemistry (lab science)
- Physics: Thermodynamics (lab science)
- Environmental Science: Environmental Science (lab science)
Beyond Morning Lesson, all ninth graders also study:
- two trimesters of English Composition and Literature
- one trimester of Social Studies: Eastern History and Financial Literacy
- three trimesters of Spanish or Mandarin
- three trimesters of Algebra I or Algebra II
- three trimesters of Music (Orchestra, Choir, American Music or World Percussion)
- three trimesters of Art (six weeks each of Black and White Drawing, Black and White Printmaking, Blacksmithing, Media Arts, Practical Skills and Farming)
- three trimesters of Social Sustainability
- three half-trimesters of Personal Sustainability
- three trimesters of PE (three one-hour periods per week)