Curriculum

Carlbrook School follows a quarter-based academic calendar, offering the high school Diploma at tri-annual graduations in accordance with Virginia Department of Education guidelines. This allows students with remedial needs to make up for past shortcomings, while students without such needs are afforded the opportunity to take advanced subjects. Carlbrook School offers advanced courses in all curricular disciplines, Advanced Placement (AP) courses in multiple subjects, and dual-enrollment courses (with subjects varying by term) in cooperation with Southside Virginia Community College.

English | Fine Arts | History & Social Sciences | Mathematics | Natural & Physical Sciences
Philosophy & Religious Studies | World Languages | Non-departmental Courses

ENGLISH

English 9
This required course is designed to develop students reading and writing skills through the systematic study of grammar and composition, both in their own writings and those of others. To increase understanding of the basics of English composition (including plot, character, theme, etc.), students are introduced to a wide range of literary genres, and are asked to analyze and differentiate between concepts, facts and opinion in a variety of contexts. Writing assignments and projects focus on all forms of composition - expository, descriptive, creative, analytical and persuasive. Prerequisite: None.

English 10
In this course students are exposed to the rich literary heritage of European and non-western cultures, including novels, plays, and poetry.  Writing assignments reflect a stronger emphasis on critical thinking and expression of ideas, as well as more sophisticated thematic analysis and interpretive techniques.  Authors may include: Dante, Cervantes, Goethe, Shakespeare, Euripides, Chaucer, Dickens, Ibsen, Joyce, Milton, Orwell, Bronte, Wells, Austen and Dostoevsky.  Prerequisite: English 9 or equivalent.

English 11
The focus of this third-level course is the examination of America’s values, conflicts and cultural heritage through the study and appreciation of American literature. Students are expected to engage in analytical and interpretative thought and are given several writing assignments throughout the term to assist in the continued development of composition skills.  Authors may include: Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Kesey, Sinclair, Crane, Fitzgerald, Emerson, Hughes, Twain, Hemmingway, Salinger, Faulkner, Steinbeck, James and Eliot. Prerequisite: English 10 or equivalent.

English 12
Intended to act as a capstone of the English curriculum, this final required course will focus on advanced techniques of composition, with the intention of assisting students in expressing themselves and their ideas clearly and effectively. Students will be expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of style, rhetoric, syntax and structure, and should be proficient in more advanced sentence and paragraph constructions. Techniques of argument and persuasion will be emphasized, as will research techniques and MLA drafting standards. Prerequisite: English 11 or equivalent.

Advanced Composition
This course is designed to prepare students for college writing. Students will improve their skills by focusing on fluency, organization, the use of supporting details, and research techniques. Prewriting strategies, drafting, revising, and editing will also be discussed. During the first term, students will develop the skills necessary to write effective personal and informative essays, while the second term will be dedicated to learning the art of argumentative writing with an emphasis on critical reasoning. Students will also review components of English grammar and become adept at employing the MLA citation format. Prerequisite: English 10 or equivalent.

*Note regarding Literature courses:    Courses offered vary by term.  Previous offerings have included African American Literature, Spanish Literature, French Literature, Indian Literature, Japanese Literature. Roman Literature, Greek Tragedies, Media Awareness, Concept of Madness in Literature, Censorship in Literature, Mythology and Folklore, Survey of Poetry, Literature of Genocide, and Performance Literature.  Some literature courses can, with prior approval, be used to fulfill specific components of the high school English requirement.

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FINE ARTS

Two-Dimensional Art: Drawing
This course will introduce students to basic studio drawing techniques, and will explore the process of artistic interpretation and personal expression through art. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of drawing tools including pencils, charcoal, oil and chalk pastels, pen and ink, and mixed media. Subject matter will include portraits, still life, landscape and abstraction. Prerequisite: None.

Two-Dimensional Art: Painting
This course will introduce students to basic studio painting techniques, with continued emphasis on the principles of art and design. Students will be exposed to the various materials available to the artist including the canvas, water-based paints and oils, and methods of application with different brushes and tools. A primary focus is the creative integration of concept, preparation, composition and color. Prerequisite: Two-Dimensional Art I.

Advanced Two-Dimensional Art
This course continues explorations in drawing, painting, and printmaking with increased emphasis on content and craftsmanship. Students have increased autonomy in choice of subject matter and medium with a primary focus on developing the ability to work with the elements of light, shading, and space, as well as an understanding of the problems inherent in translating what one sees in three dimensions to what one creates on the two dimensional surface. Prerequisite: Two-Dimensional Art II.

Three-Dimensional Art: Ceramics
This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts and aesthetics of ceramics, and will explore the process of artistic interpretation and personal expression through art. Students will be exposed to the various tools and materials available, and will learn basic techniques in pinching, coiling, slab-building, sculpting, wheel throwing, and a variety of low-fire glazing techniques. An emphasis will be placed on the relationships between volume, texture, and three dimensional forms in space. Prerequisite: None.

Dance
This course is an introduction to beginning movement, using classical ballet as a foundation. Students will explore jazz, lyrical and character movement, and will be introduced to theatrical components and preparation. Students will begin with specific movement and effort-based goals and vocabulary, and eventually progress to performance-based development. Prerequisite: None.

Drama
This course is designed to teach basic acting skills and techniques, and provide acting experience to students at a wide range of skill levels. Through a variety of acting exercises in characterization, improvisation, movement, pantomime, reading and voice production, students will learn about the numerous means of dramatic communication. The course will also introduce students to the arts of lighting, scene design, costuming, and technical production. A final project, comprised of drafting and performing a dramatic monologue or scene, is required of all students. Prerequisite: None.

Instrumental Music
This course focuses on the learning and performing of various jazz styles in a small group setting, while giving contextual history of the composers, their lives, their influences, and the impacts they had in the world of music. Concepts learned include but are not limited to “swing” rhythms, jazz theory (chord progressions and their notations), syncopation, and improvisation. Prerequisite: Prior ability to play musical instrument and basic music reading skills.

AP Art History
Through an interdisciplinary approach, students will explore art from pre-history through the Renaissance to modern times, drawing from both Western and non-Western cultures. Emphasis will be placed on the development of visual assessment skills and critical analysis. This curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Art History. Prerequisite: None. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

*Note regarding Fine Arts courses: Courses offered vary by term.

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HISTORY & SOCIAL SCIENCES

World History
The development of Western civilization from the ancient world through the middle ages to early modern times. Through the study of the cultural, political, social, and intellectual heritage of Western societies, students will be familiarized with the most important facts, trends, concepts, and interpretations of Western history as well as the rise and development of the ideas and attitudes which uniquely shaped the character of the West. Particular emphasis will be placed on impact of feudalism, the growth of monarchical power, the Renaissance and Reformation, the age of Enlightenment, the age of revolution, and the world wars of the 20th century. Prerequisite: None.

United States History
This course is a required survey of the history of the United States of America. The first term of the course will trace American history from the arrival of European settlers on the continent to the U.S. Civil War, while the second term of the course will focus on history of the United States from the Reconstruction era to modern times. Major themes of this course include the following: the development of the United States from a rural agrarian nation to an urban, industrialized country; the contributions of diverse peoples and cultures to the American experience; and the understanding and analysis of the shared American values of democracy, civil liberties, and freedom of expression. Prerequisite: None.

United States Government
This course serves as an introduction to both the institutions (Congress, the Presidency, and the Judiciary) and the processes (elections, media, public opinion, etc.) of American government. Particular attention will be given to the origins of democratic thought, the development and evolution of the Bill of Rights, the struggle for civil rights and equality under the law, the influence of political parties and interest groups, and the expansion of the modern presidency. Outside readings will include the texts of several landmark court cases, and students are encouraged to pay close attention to current political events. Prerequisite: U.S. History.

*Note regarding all History and Social Science courses:    Courses offered vary by term.  Previous offerings have included African History, British History, Classical Studies, Cultures and Traditions of India, History Behind the Scenes, Gender Studies, Geography, International Studies, Middle East Studies, Modern European History, Native American History, Nixon & Watergate, Sociology, Survey of Humanities, and Vietnam/Cold War. Some courses can, with prior approval, be used to fulfill specific components of the high school History/Social Science requirement.

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MATHEMATICS

Algebra I
This course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the mathematical field of algebra, and provide students with the skills necessary for further study in mathematics or science. Students will learn how to solve for unknown values and variables, how to manipulate expressions and equations, solve and graph linear equations and inequalities, polynomial operations, factoring and exponents. Students will also be exposed to second-degree equations, their graphs, and the quadratic formula. Probability and statistics are introduced, and students receive basic instruction in the use of graphing calculators. Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra.

Geometry
This course will introduce topics from geometry, trigonometry, probability and statistics. Students will be exposed to Euclidean Geometry (including polygons, quadrilaterals, circles, right triangles, and special right triangles) and trigonometry (including sine, cosine, tangent, use of calculator and table for calculations, and applications of the three basic trig functions). Probability and Statistics topics include combinations, permutations, mean, median, mode, range and midrange. Students will also learn how to program graphing calculators, in preparation for Algebra II. After completing this course students will be prepared for the Geometry questions on the SAT. Prerequisite: Algebra I.

Algebra II
This course extends the skills learned in Algebra 1 and Geometry, extending the use of linear equations, inequalities, and functions to include linear systems with two variables and introduces systems with three variables. The course also expands the content of quadratic equations and functions to include quadratic inequalities and systems, as well as the complex number system. Additional topics to be covered include logarithmic and exponential functions, the binomial theorem, probability and statistics, and an introduction to trigonometric functions. Students will use graphing calculators to enhance learning. Prerequisites: Algebra I and Geometry.

Pre-Calculus
This is a preparatory course for Calculus for those wishing to develop higher-level skills in mathematics. Topics that will be covered include trigonometric functions, polynomial functions, functions and their graphs, vectors, complex numbers, polar coordinates, infinite series, and conic sections. Some specific sub-topics to be covered include transformations of functions, inverse functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric identities, and solving trigonometric equations. Students will use graphing calculators along with algebraic manipulations. Prerequisite: Algebra II.

Calculus
This course is a study of the introductory concepts of single variable calculus and is primarily designed for students wishing to pursue college study in engineering, economics, life science, mathematics, and physical science. Following a brief review of algebra and trigonometry, students are introduced to the limit concept, the derivative, and a study of techniques of differentiation. The properties of the exponential and logarithmic functions as well as the application of the derivative to these functions are then studied, followed by an examination of vectors, parametric equations, and applications of the derivative. Finally, integration is introduced and is related to the existence of antiderivatives by the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Course requires extensive use of graphing calculators. Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus.

AP Calculus
Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Calculus. Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

* Note regarding Mathematic courses:  Courses offered vary by term.  Previous offerings have included Foundations of Logic, Graph Theory, and Number Theory.

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NATURAL & PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Earth Science
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the general principles, concepts and terminology of ecology, geology and meteorology. Topics will include geologic evolution, the earth's internal structure and magnetic field, rocks and minerals, sedimentary processes, geological phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes, atmospheric structure, weather and climate, and the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the world’s oceans. Students will also be exposed to the concept of life and energy from the individual organism to the whole biosphere, plant photosynthesis, the impact of extinction on ecosystems, and the effects of the human population on earth resources (e.g. global warming, ozone destruction, pollution, deforestation and energy choices). Prerequisite: None.

Biology
This course introduces students to the basic principles of biology and the study of living organisms. Through lectures and laboratory work, students are given an understanding of cell structure and function, ecological principles, and the morphology, physiology and taxonomy of plants and animals. We explore the molecular interactions that make life possible, the flow of energy through living things, the unity and diversity of life on Earth, basic genetic principles, and the processes of evolution that inform all modern biological thought. Prerequisite: None.

Chemistry
This course is an introduction to the fundamental principles of chemistry and their application to the substances that we use in our daily lives and that affect us and our environment. Topics such as atomic structure, chemical bonding and reactions, the nature of solids, liquids and gases, chemical equilibrium, thermodynamics, oxidation and reduction, acids and bases, electrochemistry and aspects of nuclear chemistry will be discussed. The laboratory will introduce students to basic experimental methods and techniques. Prerequisite: Algebra I.

AP Chemistry
Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Chemistry.  Prerequisite: Chemistry or equivalent. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

Physics
This course is a non-calculus based introduction to classical physics, with relevant applications to the life sciences. Topics will include Newtonian mechanics, conservation laws, harmonic motion, wave behavior, optics, light and sound phenomena, electricity, magnetism, Einstein's relativity theories, and an introduction to atomic and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: Algebra I. Recommended: Algebra II and Geometry.

AP Physics
This is a rigorous calculus-based course which will extend and deepen those concepts developed in the first year physics class. Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Physics. Prerequisite: Physics and Pre-Calculus; Calculus may be taken concurrently. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

*Note regarding Natural & Physical Science courses:  Courses offered vary by term.  Previous offerings have included Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, The Atmosphere, Environmental Ethics and Policy, Human Ecology, Pathogenic Microbiology, Sociobiology, and Zoology. Some courses can, with prior approval, be used to fulfill specific components of the high school Science requirement.

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PHILOSOPHY & RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Religious Studies
This course provides an introduction to five of the world's religious traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students will receive a detailed overview of each of these religions and their historical origins and contexts, and will be asked to compare and contrast them in order to find common themes and shared values. Writings of twentieth century adherents of each tradition will also be introduced. In addition to providing an introduction to the challenges of religious diversity today, the course will investigate some of the critical problems of interpretation in the academic study of religion. Prerequisite: None.

Survey of Philosophy
This course is a general introduction to philosophy and philosophical reasoning. A topicoriented approach will be used, as students survey a variety of philosophical issues, such as what we really know and how we know it, the nature of mind and its relationship to matter, the nature of religion, the foundations of morality and justice, personal identity, and free will. The disciplines of ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics will also be introduced. The course will use both historical and contemporary writings, which may include Plato, Descartes, Aquinas, Hume, Kierkegaard, Locke, Mill, Kant, Nietzche and Rawls. Prerequisite: None.

* Note regarding Philosophy courses: Courses offered vary by term. Previous offerings have included Medieval Philosophy, 18th Century Philosophy, 19th Century Philosophy, 20th Century Philosophy, Ethics and Faith, and Philosophy and Writing. Instructors may require an initial survey course as a prerequisite, or limit enrollment to students without previous exposure if there is substantial overlap in the material presented.

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WORLD LANGUAGES

Spanish I
This first course is designed to introduce the basic elements of the Spanish language. Oral and written skills are developed through the study of Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and idioms. Pronunciation, comprehension, and writing are emphasized. The goal of the course is to enable students to speak and write simple Spanish in a range of everyday situations, and prepare students for more advanced study of the Spanish language. The course also introduces students to a cultural context for the language, with focus on the Hispanic presence in Central America, South America and Europe. Prerequisite: None.

Spanish II
This is the second course for students of Spanish. The purpose of this course is to help students continue developing proficiency in the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) essential to effective communicative language learning. By the end of this course, students are expected to understand basic conversations, speak in Spanish on a variety of everyday topics, describe and express ideas in writing with coherence, engage in selected reading of Spanish texts, and demonstrate knowledge of the Hispanic world and sensitivity to its culture. Prerequisite: Spanish I or equivalent.

Spanish III
This is the third course for students of Spanish. The aim of this class is to develop and consolidate student knowledge and use of the Spanish language within an appropriate cultural context. Students will continue to develop communication skills and cultural concepts as they relate to the Spanish language and culture. By the end of this course, students are expected to possess the ability to understand spoken Spanish (aural comprehension), the ability to give and defend a short presentation in Spanish (oral expression), and the ability to understand average Spanish texts (reading comprehension). Prerequisite: Spanish II or equivalent.

Spanish IV-V
This is the fourth course for students of Spanish. Based on a multimedia and communicative approach, students continue development of oral and written skills with systematic acquisition of vocabulary and selective grammar review, with the objective of fluency. As in previous courses, discussion, readings and writing will focus on the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Prerequisite: Spanish III or equivalent.

AP Spanish Language
Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Spanish.  Prerequisite: Spanish IV-V or equivalent. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

French I
This first course is designed to introduce the basic elements of the French language. Oral and written skills are developed through the study of French vocabulary, grammar, and idioms. Pronunciation, comprehension, and writing are emphasized. The goal of the course is to enable students to speak and write simple French in a range of everyday situations, and prepare students for more advanced study of the French language. The course also introduces students to a cultural context for the language, with a primary focus on France and its colonies. Prerequisite: None.

French II
This is the second course for students of French. This course will help students continue to develop proficiency in the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) essential to effective communicative language learning. By the end of this course, students are expected to understand basic conversations, speak in French on a variety of everyday topics, express ideas in writing with coherence, engage in selected reading of French texts with understanding, and demonstrate knowledge of French history and sensitivity to its culture. Prerequisite: French I or equivalent.

French III
This is the third course for students of French. The aim of this class is to develop and consolidate student knowledge and use of the French language within an appropriate cultural context. Students will continue to develop communication skills and cultural concepts as they relate to the French language and culture. By the end of this course, students are expected to possess the ability to understand spoken French, the ability to give and defend a short presentation in French, and the ability to understand average French texts. Prerequisite: French II or equivalent.

AP French Language
Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in French. Prerequisite: French III or equivalent. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

Latin I
Intended as an introduction to the basic features of the Latin language, this course will introduce students to Latin grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Particular focus will be given to the relationship between Latin and the etymology of the English language through the study of ancient linguistic roots, with the main objective being to increase students’ knowledge of the origins of language and enhance students’ understanding of multiple and varied forms of communication. Prerequisite: None.

Latin II
This is the second course for students of Latin. Students will continue to enhance their knowledge and understanding of Latin grammar, syntax and vocabulary through a variety of reading, writing, and oral exercises. By the end of this course, students are expected to engage in selected reading of Latin texts with understanding, and demonstrate knowledge of Roman history and sensitivity to its culture. Prerequisite: Latin I or equivalent.

Latin III
This is the third course for students of Latin. Through composition, students are expected to master more complex grammatical concepts. Particular emphasis is on reading classical Latin texts, with students engaging in selected readings from Caesar, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil and other writers. Prerequisite: Latin II or equivalent.

AP Latin: Vergil
Curriculum is based on the national standard established by The College Board, and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in Latin: Vergil. Prerequisite: Latin III or equivalent. Requires approval from the Dean of Academics.

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NON-DEPARTMENTAL COURSES

Fitness Training /Nutrition
This course is designed to build strength, stamina, flexibility and endurance through individual and group activities such as cross-country running, aerobics, weight training, calisthenics, soccer, touch football, basketball, softball and volleyball. Cooperation, sportsmanship and team work are emphasized. Students will also receive information regarding the role of nutrition in promoting, maintaining and improving health.

Film Analysis and Appreciation
This course is designed to educate students on film history and the filmmaking process while introducing them to this medium as not only an art form but also as a source of social influence. Students will examine the artistic qualities of a selected group of films including dialog choice, movement, camera angle, and the various aspects of filmmaking as well as their impact on the viewer. Prerequisite: None.

SAT/ACT Preparation
This course provides intensive SAT/ACT preparation incorporating materials (including texts, workbooks, sample tests and CD-ROMs) from Kaplan Test Prep, the College Board and Princeton Review. Focus will be on general SAT/ACT content review, standardized testing strategies and remedying specific math or verbal deficiencies as determined by our analysis of an initial diagnostic SAT/ACT exam given to all students at the beginning of the process. Students will also take several full-length SAT practice exams under test conditions so as to be able to track their progress and identify continued strengths and weaknesses. Prerequisite: high school junior; must be eligible to take the SAT/ACT on next testing cycle.

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