Upper School Course Guide: 2018-2019

WDS Graduation Requirements

In keeping with our mission, WDS students pursue their passions and demonstrate a commitment to service. In their first three years of high school, WDS students gain a foundation in their core academic subjects, and select from a rich variety of electives in the arts. Senior year, students select the subjects in which they want to earn credits, and complete a semester-long individual project, guided by a faculty advisor. 9th – 12th Grade students must also complete 10 community service hours each year.

Subject Required Credits
English 4 credits (Including 12th Grade English)
Science 3 credits
Math 4 credits
History 3 credits*
Languages 3 credits (consecutive)
PE 1.5 credits
Arts Electives 6 credits
Senior Seminar 1 credit
Senior Courses Seniors must complete three additional credits of their choice during their senior year.**
Senior Project Completion of Project Required
Community Service 40 hours of Service Required (10 each year)
Total Credits 28.5
  • Full year courses that meet 3 hours each week earn 1 credit/year.
  • Full year courses that meet 2 hours or less each week earn 0.5 credits/year.
  • Single Semester courses that meet 3 hours each week earn 0.5 credits/semester.

** With the approval of Senior Advisor and Division Head, depending on post-high school plans.

WDS Upper School Course Guide

The following courses are being offered to our Upper School students for the 2018-2019 school year. Core courses are listed first and organized alphabetically by subject (English, History, Language, Mathematics, and Science) and organized by grade level. Elective Courses are listed after core courses. Electives are classes that students can select at the beginning of each semester. Elective course offerings are subject to change due to student interest and/or faculty availability. Collegian courses are courses offered in partnership with SUNY Ulster. These courses can be taken for college credit (if a student has completed three years of high school math) and for high school credit.. Students interested in our collegian program should talk to their advisor.

Semester 1 Core Courses by Grade

9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade
English World Literature World Literature Great Literature Race, Class, Gender in Lit.
History Modern World History Modern World History Oral History and the Human Experience Local Politics in Action
Language French 1 OR Spanish 1 French 2 OR Spanish 2 French 3 OR Spanish 3 French 4 OR Spanish 4
Math Algebra I Geometry OR Algebra II and Trigonometry Algebra II and Trigonometry Quantitative Literacy OR Calculus
Science Physics Physics Chemistry Chemistry

Elective Courses vary each semester. Current offerings are described by subject in the Course Descriptions section of this course guide.

Semester 2 Core Courses by Grade

9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade
English American Literature American Literature Great Literature Poetry and Journaling
History American History American History Speech and Debate Civics and Activism
Language French 1 OR Spanish 1 French 2 OR Spanish 2 French 3 OR Spanish 3 French 3 OR Spanish 4
Math Algebra I Geometry OR Algebra II and Trigonometry Algebra II and Trigonometry TBD
Science Physics Chemistry Biology Lab Science (TBD)

Elective Courses vary each semester. Current offerings are described in the Course Descriptions Section of the 2018-19 Course Guide.

2018-2019 Course Descriptions by Grade

GRADE 9 CORE COURSES

American Literature (alternates each year with World Literature)

As a survey course that builds on the skill foundation of both 7th & 8th grade “Perspectives of Composition” & “Perspectives of Literature”, this course will use a thematic approach to studying literature of the United States of America by examining and interpreting the literary developments as our nation grew. We will start with the oral storytelling traditions of the Native Americans and follow the timeline of American literature from the Enlightenment Period all the way up to Contemporary times.

This course will explore the many literary interpretations of the “American Dream,” what makes an “American,” and how the American identity has been created. In addition, we will investigate how this dream differs from person to person and how it has changed as our nation has evolved.

Student writing takes the form of personal essays, in-class essays, thesis papers, creative projects, oral commentaries and presentations. Students also continue to develop their speaking and listening skills, and work on grammar and vocabulary to enhance their writing.

American History (alternates each year with Modern World History)

In this course students will explore the diverse peoples, cultures and experiences that make up our nation’s history. Throughout the school year we will be using critical thinking and creative problem solving to explore our nation, its past, its present and its perennial problems. We will also be working to propose solutions to some of the major issues we face in modern America. This course will include units on the Colonial Era, the Founding Documents and the Civil War, Post-Reconstruction America, the Industrial Revolution as well as contemporary issues in American life.

Algebra I

Using the Park School problem-based curriculum, students discover the rules, properties, and beauty of Algebra through a dynamic series of problem challenges. Topics include expressions, equations, functions, graphing linear and quadratic functions, graphing and solving systems of equations, exponents and exponential functions, polynomials and factoring, quadratic equations, radicals and radical equations, rational expressions and equations, and probability and data analysis.

Geometry

Using the Park School problem-based curriculum, students discover the rules, properties, and beauty of Geometry through a dynamic series of problem challenges. Students develop reasoning and problem solving skills that extend beyond Geometry equations to real world problems. Topics include: the basics of geometry, properties of lines, polygons, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, transformational geometry, similarity and congruence, right triangle trigonometry, perimeter, area, surface area, and volume. This course is for students who have already completed Algebra I.

Physics

Using the project-based Active Physics curriculum, students spend the first semester investigating classical mechanics and the basics of mechanical physics. Students investigate motion, work and energy as they learn about the physical laws and concepts that are foundational to the physical universe. In the second semester, the focus is wave mechanics. Students produce music as they learn how sound travels, is produced, the nature of how different materials produce different sounds.

French Level I

This course will cover beginning French in-depth, including a wide range of vocabulary necessary for daily situations. Grammar will focus on present and past tenses, as well as sentence structure and idiomatic expressions. Emphasis will be on listening to and reading the language.  In this course, we will focus on speaking and writing in the target language. Culture and history studies will include many aspects of the French-speaking world.

Spanish Level I

This course will cover beginning Spanish in-depth, including a wide range of vocabulary necessary for daily situations.  Grammar will focus on present and past tenses, as well as sentence structure and idiomatic expressions. Emphasis will be on listening to and reading the language. The central focus of this course will be listening and reading, with growing emphasis on speaking and writing. Culture and history will include many aspects of the Spanish-speaking world and the entire world in general, with a heavy push toward knowledge of world geography.

GRADE 10 CORE COURSES

American Literature (alternates each year with World Literature)

As a survey course that builds on the skill foundation of both 7th & 8th grade “Perspectives of Composition” & “Perspectives of Literature”, this course will use a thematic approach to studying literature of the United States of America by examining and interpreting the literary developments as our nation grew. We will start with the oral storytelling traditions of the Native Americans and follow the timeline of American literature from the Enlightenment Period all the way up to Contemporary times.

This course will explore the many literary interpretations of the “American Dream,” what makes an “American,” and how the American identity has been created. In addition, we will investigate how this dream differs from person to person and how it has changed as our nation has evolved.

Student writing takes the form of personal essays, in-class essays, thesis papers, creative projects, oral commentaries and presentations. Students also continue to develop their speaking and listening skills, and work on grammar and vocabulary to enhance their writing.

American History (alternates each year with Modern World History)

In this course students will dive into the history of the United States from its founding to the present by charting and researching their own history through a series of projects and class activities.  Students will research and write their personal family history and connect it to local history and the larger history of the United States. The students will join with the teacher in designing and creating a course that explores their own interests and makes history even as we study it.

Geometry

Using the Park School problem-based curriculum, students discover the rules, properties, and beauty of Geometry through a dynamic series of problem challenges. Students develop reasoning and problem solving skills that extend beyond Geometry equations to real world problems. Topics include: the basics of geometry, properties of lines, polygons, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, transformational geometry, similarity and congruence, right triangle trigonometry, perimeter, area, surface area, and volume. This course is for students who have already completed Algebra I.

Chemistry

Using the project-based Active Chemistry curriculum, students spend the first semester investigating properties and structure of matter, the scientific history behind our current understanding of the atom, and the trends in the Periodic Table. In the second semester, the focus is bonding and chemical reactions. Students will do a culminating project of their choosing as a class, such as running their own soap making company, in order to learn to value Chemistry in their own lives.

French Level II

This course is a follow up to French Level I. More advanced vocabulary and grammar will be studied.  Present and past tenses, as well as future will be covered.The students will work on everyday situations and create projects related to the topics studied. They will read short stories and write many conversations related to the reading or on the topics seen.The students will write conversations, dialogues. More emphasis will be placed on expressing oneself in the target language through speaking and writing. Incorporation of French art and music will be included in the study of culture and history.

Spanish Level II

This course is a follow up to Spanish Level I. More advanced vocabulary and grammar will be studied, with emphasis on higher-level reading, translations and dialogues. Present and past tenses, as well as future and conditional tenses will be covered. More emphasis will be placed on expressing oneself in the target language through speaking and writing. Incorporation of Hispanic art and music  will be included in the study of culture and history.

GRADE 11 CORE COURSES

Great Literature

Deciding what makes a specific piece of literature great is a complex issue that involves differing rationales constructed by the critics and by the popular audience. In addition, each individual constructs their own set of literary preferences and corresponding justifications that may embrace or reject the views of others. In this year-long course, we will read and discuss a variety of novels that have been deemed “must reads,” and try to determine why we must read them. Students will turn to the experts and to themselves in order to create their own definition of great literature with an educated and well-read perspective. One objective of this course is to investigate the issues each novel presents, explores, and/or ponders. We will look at why some novels have stood the tests of time and why they carry such significance for the people who have read them. Students are expected to challenge their ways of thinking about literature, their lives, and the world as it is placed in front of them on the page.

Speech & Debate

In this student-driven workshop, the class will develop skills in speech and debate through public speaking exercises and performances.  Along the way the class will watch, study and read about the great speeches and debates in history. The class will include toastmaster exercises, speech and debate exhibitions and tournaments as well as public events and addresses the students will lead.  

Algebra II & Trigonometry

This course’s objective is to provide the student with the necessary background in algebra and trigonometry to continue on to pre-calculus and calculus. Function families will be studied in depth using five representations – equation, table, graph, sequence and tile patterns – of a function as a guide. The function families that will be covered in depth are: lines, quadratics, polynomials, rational, radical, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric.  

Biology

Students spend the first semester of biology studying forest ecology. Through projects and research conducted on the Day School campus, students will explore major concepts in ecology, including food webs, energy flow, population dynamics, and the cycling of matter. We will also investigate how humans impact our local forests and identify sustainable forestry practices. The focus of the second semester is human anatomy and physiology. Students will not only explore how body systems work, they will also do research to explore how modern technology and engineering is impacting the medical world.

French Level III

This course is a follow up to French Level II. Advanced vocabulary and grammar will be studied. All tenses and grammar structure will be covered. There will be a focus on oral presentations in the target language. Multiple aspects of French culture and history, with an emphasis on literature, will be discussed.

Spanish Level III

This course is a follow up to Spanish Level II. Advanced vocabulary and grammar will be studied. All tenses and grammar structure will be covered. There will be a focus on oral presentations in the target language. Many aspects of Hispanic and World culture and history, with a sampling of fictional narrative, will be discussed.

GRADE 12 CORE COURSES

Race, Class, and Gender in Literature (First Semester)

In this course, we will read and discuss a variety of literary works and supplemental material that challenge our thinking about race, class, and gender in our personal and budding political lives. Students will exercise their ability to think aloud in discussions and engage their peer’s point of view. Students will ponder how privilege, power, and difference manipulate the world around them and write, write, and write. Some of the topic questions will be assigned, some to be announced.

Poetry and Journaling (Second Semester)

With the Senior Projects heating up, students will spend the third quarter focusing entirely on discovering, writing, and presenting poetry. Students will mimic the poetic forms, themes, and styles and learn about the wonderful poets that have shaped and challenged American and world thought. Fourth fourth quarter,  students will each teach their classmates about their passions while reminiscing about their life journeys. Students will journal daily and share weekly. At the end of the semester, all students will walk with a Poetry Manuscript and Senior Journal filled with the writings of their peers.

English 101 (not required, UCCC Collegian Course)

This course is designed in tandem with Ulster County Community College Department of English to provide high school students with college credit for English.

Students read, discuss, and write essays that explore contemporary social issues, and work on the skills necessary to meet the challenge of writing accurately and clearly on the college level. Students write approximately ten to fourteen essays, including three in-class essays. Emphasis is on the development of a topic, use of appropriate rhetoric (the art of effective or persuasive writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques), research, and a review of grammar. At the end of the semester, students must take and pass a writing competency test which is evaluated by a panel of instructors from UCCC. Students who pass the test receive the grade earned during the semester and those that do not will receive credit for taking a high school English course.

Civics and Activism

In this student-driven action group, the class will identify burning political issues facing our community and plan class projects to take them on.  The class will discuss, plan and carry out public awareness campaigns, rallies and initiatives to effect change in our school and wider community. Along the way the course will include lessons in civics, great leaders, speeches and historic youth movements.  Topics can include gun violence, pollution, education, workers rights, criminal justice, climate change and drug policy.

College Algebra & Trigonometry (not required, Ulster Collegian Course)

The objective of this course is to provide the students with the necessary background in basic algebra and trigonometry to be able to then continue on to the more advanced topics of the course. This course will cover equations and inequalities, linear and quadratic functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and trigonometric functions. We will cover all the algebraic components along with the corresponding graphical representations. This course will allow for high school students to complete a college level course and obtain 4 college credits.

Quantitative Literacy

The objective of this course is to educate high school students about sound money management skills and the financial process, and to help teens begin to develop behaviors that are necessary to attaining financial maturity and achieving a secure future. Skills will include analyzing loans, capital investment, percentage rates, how to compare credit card offers, etc. The overarching theme, which is explicitly connected to each topic covered, focuses on how we, as individuals, interact with the United States economic system.

French Level IV (Availability TBD)

French IV is the pinnacle of use of the French language at WDS. Students have learned all they need to regarding verb conjugations, major vocabulary, essential grammar, and so forth, and have now transcended being a French student to becoming a French speaker. In this level the focus would be on expressing oneself with the language: writing essays on critical French subject matters of debate, watching films, documentaries, listening to music and podcasts to immerse oneself into the culture’s norms, and reading and discussing Francophone literature.

Spanish Level IV (Availability TBD)

Spanish IV is the pinnacle of use of the Spanish language at WDS. Students have learned all they need to regarding verb conjugations, major vocabulary, essential grammar, and so forth, and have now transcended through being a Spanish student to becoming a Spanish speaker. In this level the focus would be on expressing oneself with the language: writing essays on critical Spanish subject matters of debate, watching films, documentaries, listening to music and podcasts to immerse oneself into the culture’s norms, and reading and discussing Spanish literature.

Senior Project Seminar

In the spring of Senior Year, Seniors complete a required independent project in three parts: a review of research and literature, a product (the tangible representation of their learning), and a 20-minute presentation to a panel of experts and the school community. The Senior Project Seminar prepares students for their Senior Project. Students explore and learn media skills and media literacy to advocate for themselves and for social change. Students also learn to explore the world through what the professionals have to say about it. Our goal is for every student to expand their ideas about what is typically seen as research, traveling beyond the hard copy and web pages to behavioral studies, oral histories, interviews, observations, shopping carts, lists, iconography, statistics, graphs, maps, and so on. Information is all around us. Students also receive support to develop the concepts and follow through on the execution of their product, and to select a WDS teacher mentor and an outside expert to guide their work and sit on their presentation panel.

College Seminar

The college process for seniors at WDS is an individualized program designed to meet the needs of each graduate. For students who wish to apply to college, we will walk through the process together while simultaneously expecting students to lead the way. We will also explore other post-graduation options for students who may not want to attend college right out of graduation. The focus of the entire college/Senior process will be on asking students to take ownership of their experience and, with support, be proactive through the application and acceptance experience. After the application submission process is complete, we will then focus on the various aspects of leaving home, campus/independent life safety, collaboration with the senior project program, financial aid, planning for graduation, and leaving home. This is an important and exciting time for each of our Seniors and the goal of this course is to provide the necessary support, academically and emotionally, for each student in every step of the process.

9th – 12th GRADE ARTS ELECTIVE COURSES
(Choice of two courses per semester)

WRITING ELECTIVES

Literary Journal: The Battering Ram (both semesters)

These courses will create the fall and spring editions of The Battering Ram literary journal. The journal’s main goal is to unite the many different schools in the greater Hudson Valley area through poetry, fiction, art, photography, and all things creative under the sun. It requires creative and self-motivated students who enjoy working in a democratic setting. Each student is assigned a role as part of the editorial board and collectively, they are in charge of the entire publishing process from raising funds to constructing the final layout to be sent to the printers.

The Woodstock Day School Newspaper (both semesters)

In this student-driven enterprise, the class will form an editorial board and then plan, write, edit, layout and publish a school newspaper, to be issued once each month.  The paper will feature news stories, investigative reports, interviews, reviews, editorials, photographs and cartoons covering school news, local news, national news, sports, food, art and entertainment.  The course will include an introduction to journalism.

MEDIA/FILM ELECTIVES

9th-12th Grade Media Arts (both semesters)

In this class, students will learn the art of filmmaking. This class will build upon key concepts such as genre, storytelling, composition, critical viewing, peer discussion, etc. We will delve deep to expand the student’s production skills. Students will work in assigned groups for each film project and have specific crew roles such as Director, Cinematographer, Writer, Editor, etc. Students will continue to learn how to use professional video, sound and editing equipment. We will also continue to submit student films to festivals throughout the year as well as making films for our 8th annual WDS Film Festival held at Upstate Films in Woodstock.

  • 9th grade / Intro to Filmmaking
  • 10th grade / Script Writing & Directing
  • 11th grade / Short Film & Portfolio Development
  • 12th Grade / Advanced Media Arts
The Story of “American Film” 9th-12th grade  1 Semester  (Q 1&2)

In this 1st semester class, we will screen movies and discuss the filmmakers that pushed the cinema into new and exciting directions. We will spotlight films that had an impact on artistic, technological, and historical developments, as well as the cultural and political climate that shaped them. We will also focus on the important, but often overlooked contributions of women, people of color, and LGBTQ filmmakers. We will learn to understand cinema as both a visual and narrative art form. Students should expect to analyze, research, discuss, write, and present on the language of film.

Media Lab 9th-12th grade 2nd Semester  (Q 3&4)

In this class, we will explore ways that media creation can empower, inspire, and give students a voice.  Using various mediums such as photography, digital music creation, photoshop, graphic design, etc. we will focus on making art, self-expression, culture jamming, etc. This class will have an emphasis on digital photography and students will help design and produce the WDS yearbook. We will also have special guest artists visit our class throughout the year and plan to take some photo field trips.  

MUSIC ELECTIVES

Advanced Ensemble (full year requirement)

Advanced Ensemble is the premier performance based music ensemble at Woodstock Day School.  In this year long elective we learn pieces for performances throughout the school year, including the Winter Concert, Spring Concert and Soundout fundraiser concert.  The group requires a strong background on an instrument and an audition for entry/placement in the fall. We will work on learning pieces using variety of methods including written notation, by rote, and improvisation.

STUDIO ART ELECTIVES

Advanced Studio Art (fall semester)

Advanced Studio Art is an  Upper School art class in which students will have a more intensive study of drawing and painting techniques, as well as explorations in three-dimensional form.  Projects will be geared toward building artistic skills as well as creating pieces of artwork that would meet the requirements of a college emissions portfolio.

Mixed Media Concepts (spring semester)

Students will create multi-directional compositions with a variety of materials.  Using a combination of conventional drawing and painting surfaces, as well as created, found, and unconventional surfaces, students will have an in-depth exploration of technique while exploring their artmaking in a unique way.  

Ceramics I, II, III (both semesters)

Ceramics is a course that seeks to enhance the clay-working and pottery-throwing skills of students. They will spend significant time working in our ceramics studio and will have their work featured in art shows throughout the semester. Course level is determined by teacher assessment.

OTHER REQUIRED CLASSES

Physical Education: Full Year Requirement (9th-11th)

All Upper School students will engage in physical education twice a week, learning a variety of new sports and techniques to help keep them active and healthy as well as increase their physical skills.