EnglishEnglish Language Arts combines the study of American and World Literature with composition instruction. Students in this course engage directly with novels, short stories, poems, and plays to hone their critical thinking skills. Throughout the course, students complete numerous smaller writing assignments that culminate in a final literary analysis paper at the end of the year. Major novels in this course include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, Beowulf, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
Humanities is a course that uses novels and other texts to study history and current events. By accessing literature as a lens through which society can be viewed, students are encouraged to ask critical questions and engage with the world around them in a more meaningful way. Depending on the area of study, Humanities can include elements of psychology, sociology, philosophy, civics, and many other topics. This course builds on reading and writing skills, as well as areas of research, debate, and media literacy. Major texts and themes in this course include 1984 by George Orwell (dealing with privacy, freedom, hypocrisy, totalitarianism, gender, sexuality, and politics) and Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall (dealing with personal choices and consequences, freedom vs. imprisonment, responsibility, personal reflection, autobiography/memoir, and bildungsroman).
College Writing directly addresses students' needs for composition instruction and skill-building. Students in this course practice a range of writing styles and genres, beginning with the college admissions essay and ending with a research paper on a social issue of their choosing. College Writing strikes a balance between "purely academic" composition that students might expect to see in a Writing 101 course and the real-world business writing and everyday skills students will need in their careers. The purpose of this course is to encourage students to see writing as a crucial form of communication, an imperative that is not simply a way to achieve grades in school. This year we have been fortunate enough to combine our essay-writing work with media elements from the Adobe Youth Voices project, and we are in the process of creating digital storytelling projects that will be presented at an Adobe Youth Voices event at the Institute of Contemporary Art this coming June.
Math Introductory Algebra
This course consists of introductory algebra topics that are mainstays in the BPS curriculum, such as writing and graphing linear equations, solving inequalities, basic statistics and probability, understanding polynomials, and manipulating exponential functions. The overarching goals of the course are to encourage students to embrace the unique language of algebra and acquire the tools necessary to succeed in advanced algebra. Students are expected to finish the course literate in the use of graphing calculators and Excel for representing and analyzing real-world data. Finally, MCAS preparation is incorporated into the curriculum for students who have yet to pass the MCAS.
The second in EDCO’s algebra series, Advanced Algebra, gears students for success in a college-level math course. The curriculum closely follows the guidelines followed by BPS with an emphasis on real-world applications of math and technological skill development. Topics include systems of equations and inequalities, conic sections, rational expressions, exponential and logarithmic functions, as well as quadratics. By the course’s end, students are expected to feel comfortable manipulating algebraic expressions and solving problems involving many steps. They are also expected to have exposure to and understanding of the topics covered on a math college entrance exam. In order to further encourage college-readiness, students are provided access to and instruction in SAT math resources.
Geometry is offered following Introductory Algebra. The geometry curriculum focuses on an examination of 2-dimensional shapes and 3-dimensional solids, especially through hands-on learning. Students are expected to complete several projects that incorporate proficient use of manipulatives such as a compass and protractor. The topics covered range from relationships within and between polygons, calculating volume of irregular solids, and trigonometry. Word problems that connect geometry to real-world situations are studied throughout the course. Similar to Introductory Algebra, MCAS preparation is incorporated into the curriculum for students who have yet to pass the MCAS.
The chemistry curriculum is centered on inquiry-based learning, wherein the student is provided myriad opportunities to explore the world around him or her through labs and activities. The core of the course is the development of critical thinking skills, as students are expected to learn to approach problems using the scientific method. The course begins with a historical examination of the growing understanding of the chemistry in our lives, and then covers chemistry curriculum standards such as atomic structure, chemical bonding, reactions and equilibrium, and periodicity.
Biology is a life-sciences course that discusses microscopic cells all the way up to food webs and complex ecosystems. In the fall, students begin with cell biology and processes. Students then move from cellular reproduction to a study of genetics and DNA, which then leads into a major unit on evolution. Following this, students study individual groups of organisms, beginning with single-celled bacteria and fungi, then moving to plants and eventually animals. A detailed study of human anatomy leads into larger questions of consumer/producer relationships and biomes, ending with a unit on ecosystems. Students participate in several classroom experiments and activities, including creating bacteria cultures and even making charm necklaces with their own DNA!
Introductory physics focuses on basic mechanics and general concepts in physics. Linear and nonlinear motion, Newton’s laws of motion and gravity, forces, energy, heat transfer, the behavior of waves and electricity are all examined.
US History in the 20th Century
Students examine the “American Century” as our nation grew from a local to a world power. The two World Wars are examined, along with the Cold War, tensions in the Middle East, and the struggle for social equality. Students are expected to connect historical events to current times and understand the evolution of the United States as a political and cultural entity.
World History II
We examine a variety of topics from the 20th century. The end of Imperialism and Colonial Powers are discussed in connection with the World Wars and Cold War. Revolutions are examined in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and we try to determine the influence of religion and culture on world events. Students are expected to connect historical events to current times and analyze how the changing world might evolve in the 21st century.
ArtMedia Arts is a digital design and media literacy course. Students learn to analyze different types of media for story, message, audience and style. They are trained to use multiple design programs from Adobe. Photoshop is used for print media, Premiere for video editing, Soundbooth for audio and Illustrator for drawing. Their work is showcased each year by Adobe at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston.
Foreign Language American Sign Language I and II are a pair of courses that not only instruct students in the vocabulary and grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) but also introduce students to Deaf culture and what life is like for Deaf individuals. Taught in tandem by a Deaf instructor and a hearing one, this course uses facets of the curriculum to inform one another: the language illuminates the realities of D/deafness while daily life helps explain Deaf culture, and so on. This course also examines the employment opportunities available to hearing individuals fluent in ASL, including the high-demand field of freelance interpreters.