At Walden, academics are only the beginning of our commitment to educating our students.
Apprenticeship and Application Curriculum
Middle School: Grades 7th & 8th
The main goal of this educational period is to build upon the strong foundation established during elementary school. Students continue to develop a sense of independence, self-reliance, and confidence both educationally and socially. Emphasis is on oral and written forms of communication, including a significant increase in writing, editing, research, analytical and critical thinking. Middle school is an introduction to all major subject areas: algebra, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, world history, and American history.
In middle school, students practice skills and gain the conceptual knowledge needed for their next phase of learning. It is here that the fire is ignited and the passion is uncovered. Encouraging individual expression of interests and talents, students leave this phase with a strong sense of self.
Middle School Language Arts
Middle School Mathematics
Middle School Social Studies
Students in Middle School Social Studies research the origins of human beings in Africa and the ancient and classical civilizations that flourished in the Mediterranean area. They study the religions, governments, trade, philosophies, and art of these civilizations, as well as the powerful ideas that arose in the ancient world and profoundly shaped the course of world history. During this course, students become familiar with the evolution of the concepts of personal freedom, individual responsibility and respect for human dignity and look at the growth and impact of centralized state power as it refers to early civilizations.
High School: Grades 9th through 12th
(Depending on enrollment)
The student, parent/guardian, primary teacher, and guidance counselor decide upon an individualized curriculum to meet all the requirements for a high school diploma. Students are encouraged to enroll in the most rigorous curriculum for their specific needs, often an Honors or Advanced Placement curriculum. High school students continue to engage in all Walden activities, providing students with numerous opportunities to give back through community service. Group projects, collaborative learning, and forming strong positive peer groups are an integral part of the high school curriculum. With the purpose of extrapolating data, problem solving, and application of knowledge in real life situations, each student will choose a community project or mentorship that, once established, they see through to graduation. It is during this period students learn the importance of commitment and discover that they can make a difference.
The language arts program is designed to expand each student’s ability to communicate effectively through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Using a variety of literature-based strategies, Walden encourages each student to incorporate these skills in all areas of the curriculum.
- literary and informational texts
- non-fiction stories
- basal literature series
- research using the library, internet, and our school community
This approach enriches the content of all subjects across the curriculum. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are focus points from which all concepts are taught.
Students, working with a wide variety of literary and informational materials, demonstrate increasing proficiency in reading comprehension and the ability to:
In acquiring these skills the student develops and uses:
- decoding skills;
- spelling and grammar rules;
- increased vocabulary;
- understanding of the writing process (revision and editing of drafts);
- skills associated with effective speaking and listening.
Our mathematics curriculum focuses on everyday situations and problems to further mathematical understanding, and develops the ability to explain and justify answers. Our program:
- allows students to see the importance of math in everyday life;
- provides the opportunity for each student to become confident in their mathematical abilities;
- helps each student develop a repertoire of problem solving strategies;
- helps each student to communicate mathematically, both verbally and in written form;
- gives students the ability to explain their thought process and provide reasons to support their answers.
Mathematics instruction uses an inquiry-based methodology. Students are guided to find patterns, make connections, and find personal understanding of mathematical concepts. They are challenged to understand the "why" behind their ideas and explain the process they used to find an answer.
Science is taught through hands-on, inquiry-based, engaging activities. Appropriate discussions of theory and concepts are carried out in a variety of formats. In addition, laboratory experiments, field trips and group science projects are used to integrate relevance into coursework. Experiential learning is key to Walden's science curriculum.
Science topics include:
- problems of the environment
- technology in helping humans to investigate and adapt to their environment
- special aspects of human growth and development
- matter and atoms and their interactions
- physical science (the interactive forces between objects)
- life processes
- earth and its resources
- interaction of forces
- waves and light
- electricity and magnetism
- cellular biology
- genetics and its relationship to human development
- bacteria, viruses, protists, fungi, plants, animals, and their development
- chemical bonding
- acid vs. base
- periodic trends
Students successfully demonstrate the ability to:
- research, analyze, and present scientific data and information in a variety of appropriate formats;
- understand and use the scientific method to solve real-world problems;
- work cooperatively in groups;
- develop an ecological awareness in order to protect our world's resources.
Our social studies curriculum is designed to not only inform but to encourage students to analyze what they are learning, to recognize the similarities between civilizations, and to relate the principles and lessons from history to their own lives.
All courses provide historical contexts and in-depth studies of specific periods in history as well as a look at the changing geography of each region and the development of government. Students will also look at major events and key individuals in history and government and analyze the impact on society and our developing world.
Social Studies topics include:
- Current Events
Students develop knowledge and skills including but not limited to:
- Possessing basic knowledge and ways of thinking drawn from many academic disciplines
- Expressing ideas in written form
- Reading reflectively and critically
- Analyzing their own opinions on social issues in addition to the opinion of others
- Becoming motivated to participate in civic and community life as active and informed citizens
Artistic expression is an integral part of the WCS educational experience. Our approach to art integrates elements of math, science, and history, as we believe that art is a part of every day life. All students participate in a four-year art curriculum which builds upon itself, culminating in a deep understanding and appreciation of all forms of art.
Classes include: Art History, Art Appreciation, Art Critique, Studio Art, Technique 1 2 & 3, Dance 1 2 & 3, Drama, Playwriting and more...
The purpose of our physical education program is to instill the belief that health, nutrition, and physical activity are integral to a well-balanced life. Our physical education program is non-competitive, yet challenges each student to continuously improve their physical strength and endurance. All students participate in a four-year physical education curriculum.
Classes include: Tennis 1 2 3 & 4, Endurance Training, Weight Lifting, Basketball, and more...
High School Class Descriptions
8th Grade Honors/English I
In this class, students learn the tools to take their reading beyond mere comprehension and into the world of critical thinking. The projects and assignments move beyond summary and into analysis. Through the building of vocabulary and extended reading, students learn the building blocks they need to continue into upper-level high school English classes as well as college. This class focuses on individual interpretation rather than research. It uses response papers, longer extended essays, and group projects to form cohesive and comprehensive arguments.
In English II/III, students analyze literary texts to better understand their social and cultural implications. Students learn how to develop their own close readings and interpretations of the texts. They are also introduced to formal literary criticism. This class develops these ideas through research and creative based projects.
English II Honors
Through the course of English II, students apply the literary elements they have already grasped to readings and discussions of literature. Students are expected to begin developing their own close-readings of texts, and use creative projects such as short films, mix CDs, visual art, and stories and essays to respond to texts. They engage in literary discussion both creatively, through their own analysis of others'. They are expected to write critical essays featuring their own analysis of literary works and to be able to discuss those analyses in class. Essays go through multiple drafts and students workshop each others projects. The goal of English II is to move the basic analytical skills learned in English I to more complexity and to incorporate multiple genres into literary study.
English III Honors
English III introduces research with the aim of considering larger cultural implications of literature and literary study. Students read and respond to literature through response papers, and they also read critical essays of their texts in order to both learn how literary criticism is constructed and to understand how ideas found in texts apply to the world around them. They use their skills of literary analysis, their grammatical foundation, and frequent writing assignments to build their own body of work. Further, they learn to lead class sessions, present on texts, and communicate their own writing process.
Public Speaking and Debate
This course is designed to help students overcome their fear of public speaking, while improving their oral communication and listening skills. Students learn proper research techniques in gathering information as well as being able to construct an engaging speech. The class also introduces the proper methods for debate.
Students learn the skills necessary for success in Algebra I. Topics include elementary algebraic equations, inequalities, and polynomials and graphing, as well as review and maintenance of basic math skills. These skills include computation with whole numbers, decimals, integers and rational numbers, solving equations, ratio and proportion, and working with percents. Additionally, students are introduced to informal geometry, probability, statistics, and problem solving. In this class students learn the basic skills and rules of math. This class gives students the ability to do multiple problems that include multiple steps. Students also work on modeling real life situations by learning the relationships between words and mathematical symbols.
Algebra 1 Honors
In this course, students learn to go beyond math as numbers and operations and instead begin to view the world in terms of algebraic thinking. Topics include first-degree equations and inequalities in one and two variables, relations and functions, direct and inverse variations, polynomials and factoring, rational and irrational expressions, and quadratics. An emphasis is placed on real world applications as well as problem solving. Students learn many transferable skills as well as gain a strong foundation for future math courses.
Algebra 2 Honors
Students continue their study of algebra. Topics include systems of equations, logarithms, exponents and radicals, complex numbers, polynomials, sequences and series, probability, and matrices. Students are pushed to view problems in multiple ways and to use various problem-solving techniques. The course emphasizes seeing math in the world and everyday life as well as understanding theory and proof.
Students concentrate on learning new vocabulary, relationships between concepts, and communicating mathematical ideas. The skills students learn through proofs teach the foundations of logic. Students study lines, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, trigonometry, transformations, area, volume, and circles. In this class, students explore the world around them using new and old mathematical skills and concepts with an emphasis on understanding and application.
Students begin the first semester with rigorous, in-depth study of geometry, emphasizing basic concepts and properties; methods of proof; angle relationships; triangles, quadrilaterals, and other polygons; perpendicularity and parallelism in the plane and in space; congruence and similarity of geometrical figures; circles and spheres; and areas and volumes. Topics in the second semester include, but are not restricted to, transformation geometry, geometric probability, and an introduction to trigonometry. Relevant aspects of algebra, general probability theory, and geometric constructions are integrated in the curriculum throughout the course. This class allows students to apply the skills and tools they have gathered over the last several years to physical objects. Students concentrate on learning new vocabulary, relationships between concepts, and how to share their mathematical ideas. In this class, students are expected to examine the world around them using new and old mathematical skills and concepts.
This course focuses on the study of functions and their real world applications. Students explore polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions as well as conics and parametric equations. Students use applications in various realms including geometry, probability, and statistics. Emphasis is placed on understanding and problem solving. By the end of this course, students are ready for a college-level calculus course.
Biology 1 Honors
Students taking this course learn information based in the life sciences. The curriculum helps to expose students to a wide variety of classroom, laboratory, and field experiences fundamental to the life sciences, enabling them to think critically, learn technical skills for solving biological problems, and to communicate biological information both in oral and written formats.
Chemistry 1 Honors
Students taking this course focus their learning on chemical sciences. The curriculum exposes students to chemical and laboratory analysis as well as real world uses for the information learned. There is a strong focus on hands on learning using 3-D models, labs and projects to help solidify the concepts covered during classroom discussions.
Physics 1 Honors
Students taking physics focus their educational experience with hands on and classroom discussions. The curriculum includes, but is not limited to, motion, forces, sound, electricity and magnetism. Students are introduced to higher critical thinking skills and methods. Students use higher-level math abilities gathered from courses such as Algebra 2 and Pre-calculus/ Calculus courses. This course requires a high level of dedication to master all concepts.
M/J Integrated Science Honors
Students taking this compilation course cover basic concepts to help build their science skills and knowledge. This course has portions of life, chemistry, physical and environmental sciences. This course helps to build critical thinking, logical problem solving and universal science skills. This class is vital for the preparation of well-rounded students entering into a more advanced high school curriculum. | close
Employing the five themes of geography, students acquire and organize information about place, people, and culture. They develop a sense of where they are in time, space, and culture.
The primary course content pertains to the study of government institutions and political processes and their historical impact on American society. Content includes, but is not limited to, the functions and purpose of government, the function of the state, the constitutional framework, federalism, separation of powers, functions of the three branches of government at the local, state and national level, and the political decision-making process.
In this course, students are challenged to learn about complex issues in the community and the world. Students investigate an issue in the community through various means and learn firsthand through interaction with community members. Students have the opportunity to serve those around them while engaging in meaningful learning experiences. An emphasis is placed on reflection and problem solving using the "What? So what? Now what?" model. In the second semester, after a broad view of organizations in the community, high school students have the opportunity to focus on a specific issue through an internship with an organization.
The purpose of this course enables students to understand their connections to the development of civilizations by examining the past to prepare for their future as participating members of a global community. Students use knowledge pertaining to history geography economics political processes religion ethics diverse cultures and humanities to solve problems in academic civic social and employment settings.
The primary content emphasis of this course pertains to the study of United States history from Reconstruction to the present day. Students are exposed to the historical, geographic, political, economic, and sociological events, which influenced the development of the United States and the resulting impact on world history. So that students clearly see the relationship between cause and effect in historical events, students have the opportunity to review those fundamental ideas and events, which occurred before the end of Reconstruction.
AP English Literature
Students enrolled in AP Literature focus almost exclusively on reading and responding to texts. At this level, students are expected to be able to synthesize literary arguments and research papers under the guidance of the instructor, and to communicate those arguments in words. The course assumes students are already familiar with most literary terms and devices, or if they are not, that they understand how to familiarize themselves with that knowledge. Classes consist of group discussion and projects and in class time to work with instructor on research, writing processes, and analysis. The course will culminate in the AP in English Literature exam.
AP Language and Composition
In AP Language and Composition, students study the formal rhetoric of writing. This class focuses the students" ability on dissecting non-fiction and argumentative writing to better understand how formal and informal argument is made. Classes consist of formal and informal writing, reading and discussing others" formal and informal writing, and extended projects. This class culminates in the AP Language and Composition exam.
AP Calculus is the culmination of high school mathematics! Students use everything they have learned in algebra, geometry, and precalculus in order to study the world in new and exciting ways. Students investigate limits, differentiation, and integration through functions that they represent in four ways: graphically, numerically, algebraically, and numerically. In May, students take the AP Calculus AB exam. This college-level course aims for students to develop an appreciation and appetite for the beauty inherent in calculus as well as to prepare students for upper level mathematics, science, and engineering courses in college.
Students learn how to examine data and use mathematical processes to interpret it and pull out important details. Students are also required to examine how statistics can be used and be taught how to take a critical look at how others use statistics. Along with this, students spend time preparing for the AP exam.
AP US History
The AP U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. Students learn to assess historical materials and their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. The AP U.S. History course helps students develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.
The purpose of this course is designed to teach students concepts and processes of the national and international economic systems. Studies include currency, banking, and monetary policy, the fundamental concepts relevant to the major economic systems, the global market and economy, major economic theories and economists, the role and influence of the government and fiscal policies, economic measurements, tools, and methodology, financial and investment markets, and the business cycle.
AP United States Government and Politics
AP United States Government and Politics gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also familiarizes students with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. After successfully completing this course students know important facts, concepts and theories pertaining to U.S. government and politics; they understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences, and be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to U.S. government and politics.
AP Comparative Government and Politics
The AP Comparative Government and Politics course introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings. This course aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global and economic changes. After successfully completing this course' students: are able to understand major comparative political concepts, themes and generalizations; have knowledge of important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia; are able to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries.
In AP Psychology, the students learn the history, approaches, and research methods of the field. The class covers many topics including the biological aspects of psychology, sensory and cognitive processes, stress and health, abnormal and social psychology, and human development. The structure of this class is specific to the AP Psychology exam but also incorporates key concepts pertinent to everyday life.
Students have a clear understanding of how they are being assessed through the use of rubrics. We value the rubric and view it as an authentic assessment tool to measure student's work. The rubric's scoring guide gives a clear evaluation of strengths and areas needing improvement.
- Offers specific criteria and score
- Used with weekly assignments
- Includes teacher feedback and comments
- Negative comments and marks on assignments not used
Tests are incorporated into the evaluation process at WCS, however, the student's growth is not solely dependent on test results. Tests are just one of the many instruments used to measure student growth.
- Incorporated into WCS' evaluation process
- Not used as sole measure for students' growth
Observation, Feedback, Class Discussion
Small, personalized class setting allows WCS teachers to develop an authentic relationship with each student. As a result, the teacher is able to easily assess and engage each student in areas of strength and areas of growth.
- Tangible, hands-on interaction between teacher and student
- Immediate feedback is reinforcing
- Classroom allows for an interactive process of learning and growth
- Curiosity is encouraged
- Student feels safe to share and learn, providing more opportunities for growth
- Review and feedback at the end of each semester with parents, students, and teachers
- Reflection of growth discussed and goals that are student-driven and not group-driven to strive for are set each semester