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Academics Curriculum

English

English 9/10 Regular

This course is designed to be an introduction to high school level writing, reading, and thinking. This means that you will be challenged on many different levels, not only with the work of English, but also in your ability to consistently produce work of a high level. By the end of this course, you will be able to score well on the PARCC, and confident that you are prepared for the PSAT and the SAT, and most importantly, confident in your ability to excel as a student.

9/10 Honors

This course explores the key principles of usage and writing in a variety of genres and literary analysis. You’ll read and respond in writing to a variety of literary genres, including plays, novels, short stories, and poetry. This course balances writing skills, including multi-paragraph analytical essays, SAT preparation writing, journal writing (including personal compositions and creative writing) poetry, and literary analysis. The course aligns with the Maryland College and Career Readiness standards, as well as elements of pre-AP skills and content. As an honors course, you should also expect a faster reading pace, larger volume of works assigned, independent reading, and extended research assignments.

11/12 English

This course balances writing skills, including a college application essay, multi-paragraph analytical essays, SAT preparation writing, journal writing (including personal compositions and creative writing) poetry, and a full-length MLA-style research paper. Each year alternates between American and World literature focus. Additional coursework will incorporate speaking skills, including formal presentations and various group activities, and listening skills reinforced each day in the classroom. The course aligns with the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards.

11/12 Honors

This course balances writing skills, including a college application essay, multi-paragraph analytical essays, SAT preparation writing, journal writing (including personal compositions and creative writing) poetry, and a full-length MLA-style research paper. Each year alternates between and American and World literature focus. Additional coursework will incorporate speaking skills, including formal presentations and various group activities, and listening skills reinforced each day in the classroom. The course aligns with the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. As an honors course, students should also expect a faster reading pace, larger volume of works assigned, independent reading and extended research assignments.

AP English Language & Composition

This course is designed to build your rhetorical analysis and writing skills. The course is aligned with requirements and guidelines of the current AP English course description.  Therefore, students will be expected to tackle difficult texts using close reading techniques as well as communicate clearly both in writing and speech. By the end of this course, you will be familiar with college-level writing, AP level textual analysis, and SAT testing skills. All students will be prepared to take the AP writing exam by the end of the course. At the start of each quarter you will receive a syllabus detailing the lessons to be taught and the assignments due.

AP English Literature & Composition

The AP English Literature and Composition course aligns to an introductory college-level literary analysis course. The course engages students in the close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as its use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works. Students will be both prepared for the end of course AP exam as well as success in college-level literature courses.

Social Studies

American Government

As your first social studies class in high school, American Government will be an introduction to political science and our school. We’ll explore the foundations of American government, the impact of the Constitution, and the evolving struggles of the people and the government. You’ll also develop your communication skills through regular class discussions, presentations, and focused analytical writing assignments. 

U.S. History

This class examines past events in the United States, tracing our country’s past from the end of the U.S. Civil War through the 20th century. Throughout the course, we will examine the United States’ social, political, military, and economic history. A heavy emphasis will be placed on reading and writing. You’ll develop your literacy and analytical skills. By the end of the course, you should be able to apply historical-thinking skills (sourcing, contextualization, corroborating, and close reading) to a variety of primary sources.

Honors U.S. History

The purpose of this course is to examine the past events in the United States from Reconstruction through present day. The course examines America’s social, political, economic, intellectual, and cultural history. This course also deals extensively with the work of a historian. As a result, you’ll spend significant time learning how to select historical texts and how to read, analyze, interpret, and communicate findings about the past. Primary source analysis and communication skills will be key components of this course. There will be regular class discussions, presentations, and focused analytical writing assignments. You’ll spend a substantial time engaged in the research process, culminating with a formal research paper assignment.

Modern World History

As you’re reaching the end of your high school years, many of you are thinking about college. This class, in addition to studying the histories, ideas, and regions of the world attempts to prepare you for college-level courses. We’ll be reading many articles and excerpts from books, and (rarely) using a textbook. The readings will be given to you in hard and soft copies (via our class website). The goal of this course is to open our minds to new ideas, new places, new histories, and to prepare your minds for college-level classes. There is a lot of history to cover, so instead of getting a brief overview of dates and people, you will look in-depth at case studies surrounding a theme.

Honors Modern World History

As you enter your last year of high school, I’m sure many of you are thinking about college. This class, in addition to studying the histories, ideas, and regions of the world, attempts to prepare you for college-level courses. We will be reading many articles and excerpts from books, and (rarely) using a textbook. The readings will be given to you in hard and soft copies (via our class website). The goal of this course is to open our minds to new ideas, new places, new histories, and to prepare your minds for college-level classes. There is a lot of history to cover, so instead of getting a brief overview of dates and people, you will look in-depth at case studies. In this way, our focus is less on rote memorization of facts and more on the critical thinking, research, and questioning skills you will need for history classes in college.

Mathematics

Algebra I

The fundamental purpose of this course is to formalize and extend the math that you learned in the middle grades. Because it is built on the middle grades standards, this is a more ambitious version of Algebra I. You’ll engage in methods for analyzing, solving, and using quadratic functions. You’ll experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of your ability to make sense of problem situations.

Algebra II

Building on your work with linear, quadratic, and exponential functions, you’ll extend your repertoire of functions to include polynomial, rational, trigonometric, and logarithmic functions. You’ll work closely with the expressions that define the functions and continue to expand and hone their abilities to model situations and to solve equations, including solving quadratic equations over the set of complex numbers and solving exponential equations using the properties of logarithms. You’ll experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of your ability to make sense of problem situations.

Geometry

You will formalize and extend your geometric experiences from the middle grades. You’ll explore more complex geometric situations and deepen your explanations of geometric relationships, moving toward formal mathematical arguments. Important differences exist between this geometry course and the historical approach taken in geometry classes. For example, transformations are emphasized early in this course. Close attention should be paid to the introductory content for the geometry conceptual category found in the high school standards. You’ll experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of your ability to make sense of problem situations.

Pre-Calculus

You’ll use functions, equations, sequences, series, vectors, and limits as tools to express generalizations and to analyze and understand a variety of mathematical relationships and real-world phenomena. Modeling is an overarching theme of this precalculus course, and you will expand and develop your use of functions and their properties to choose appropriate models to answer meaningful, real-world questions. You’ll build on and expand your experiences with functions from algebra I, algebra II, and geometry as you continue to explore the characteristics and behavior of functions (including rate of change and limits), and the most important families of functions that model real world phenomena (especially transcendental functions). Expanded work in functions includes polynomial, rational, radical, exponential, power, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions, and it includes operations on functions, including composition of functions.

The expanded work in precalculus with more varied types of functions will move you toward the idea of functions as input/output processes with domains and ranges. You should also move from simply thinking of a function in terms of individual inputs and outputs to start considering the behavior of a function’s values as the inputs vary over a bounded or unbounded interval.

AP Calculus AB

We’ll attempt to cover all AB Calculus topics as outlined by the College Board, and you’ll prepare for the material on the AP exam. The primary textbook is Calculus-Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic, 3rd ed. by Ross Finney, Franklin Demana, Bert Waits, and Daniel Kennedy. This course is intended to serve as both a gateway and foundation into future science and math courses. The appropriate use of technology will be encouraged. The philosophy and goals of the instructor mirror those outlined by the College Board.

Science

Biology/Honors Biology

Our overall class goal is to master the concepts of biology, focusing on Next Generation Science Standards. Our goal is to develop critical thinking skills, think like scientists, and apply knowledge in the most engaging aspects of biology in our world today. Units covered include structure and function, matter and energy in organisms, matter and energy in ecosystems, inheritance and variation of traits, natural selection and evolution, interdependent relationships in ecosystems, and human sustainability. Honors classes will be the same structure as standard class, but we will go deeper into detailed concepts, calculations, labs, and problem sets.

Chemistry/Honors Chemistry

Our overall class goal is to master the concepts of chemistry, focusing on Next Generation Science Standards. Our goal is to develop critical thinking skills, think like scientists, and apply knowledge in the most engaging aspects of chemistry in our world today. Units covered will include atomic structure and patterns, nuclear chemistry, combining atoms, reaction behaviors, thermochemistry, stoichiometry, and chemistry of our world.

Physics/Honors Physics

This year-long course in honors/regular physics will lead us to explore concepts in how the physical world works, in order to appreciate and utilize the physics all around us, whether in our art or all our other experiences. We intend to develop an understanding of the principles and processes that guide our world. These topics include motion, force, energy, orbits and gravity, electricity, magnetism, waves and sound, light, and temperature and earth applications.

We will demonstrate literacy and familiarity with key concepts in physics and we will become informed citizens and consumers. We will be able to apply physics knowledge to diverse situations and perform calculations necessary to make predictions.We will cultivate the practices that lead to success in science, whether physics or any other field.

During the class, you’ll participate in projects and lab-inquiries, cooperative learning experiences, and analyzing scientific texts.By the end of the year, you should be able to describe examples and identify applications of the topics we study.

Spanish

Spanish I

Español 1 is a beginning-level course. No prior language experience is required. This course emphasizes oral communication. You are required and expected to speak Spanish the majority of the time. There will also be an emphasis on reading, writing, and listening. We will also study cultural aspects of the language and how they relate to the global experience. You are expected and encouraged to use Spanish in their daily lives outside of class.

Spanish II

Spanish II is the continuation of Spanish I. It is one of two language classes required for graduation. The emphasis of this class remains on communication in Spanish in a cultural context, with connections and comparisons to our culture and to our language.  Connections are made to classes in other disciplines. Communication is focused on in its interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational modes all in a cultural context and using authentic material from the Spanish-speaking world. The class will be taught almost entirely in Spanish, and you’re expected to speak Spanish in class–both with the teacher and with your classmates in various group and paired activities. You’ll also begin to communicate about actions in the past and future, as the most frequently used verb tenses are explored and comparisons are made to English. Throughout the course, Spanish will be explored as a major world language which is spoken in many different countries with different cultures.

Spanish II HONORS

Students who excel in their Spanish I class are invited to take Spanish II honors. It is the same as our regular Spanish II class (described in the above paragraph), but you will be held to a higher standard of achievement. The class is conducted almost entirely in Spanish. This class lays the groundwork for our more advanced Spanish classes, and it is hoped the students who have earned entry to this class will continue with Spanish III  (pre-AP) and Spanish AP.  This course is for students who are truly motivated to really learn Spanish well!

Honors Spanish III

Spanish III is an intermediate level course conducted entirely in Spanish. It is designed to give you an opportunity to revisit and perfect previously covered aspects of the Spanish language and culture. You will also advance to a level that permits you to begin to enjoy the riches of Spanish literature, gives you greater access to Spanish media, and allows you to communicate in Spanish more freely and on a wider variety of topics in the interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive mode. The course, therefore, begins with review of Spanish one and two. The material reviewed is enriched and expanded. Each quarter you’ll examine a variety of authentic sources from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. These sources will include videos, podcasts, newspaper articles, short stories, etc.  The class will discuss current events, study Spanish songs, and make extensive use of media available on the internet. The second semester is spent as an introduction to more advanced study of the language: This introduction may include a unit on poetry and examples of literature with an ongoing emphasis on music and news reports from Spanish-speaking countries.

AP Spanish Language & Culture

This course follows the guidelines of the College Board® AP Spanish Language and Culture course and provides opportunities for you to demonstrate your proficiency in the modes of communication from the intermediate to the pre-advanced range as defined in the learning objectives in the curriculum framework. The three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational) defined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century are foundational to the AP® Spanish Language and Culture course.

Fitness/Health

Fitness

You’ll develop strategies and skills to make positive fitness and health choices.  You’ll explore multiple topics, mandated by the state of Maryland, such as: skillfulness, biomechanical principals, motor learning principles, exercise physiology, physical activity, and social physiology principles. You’ll also explore other components of a healthy lifestyle.

Health

You’ll learn how to obtain accurate information, develop lifelong positive attitudes and behaviors, and make wise decisions related to your personal health. We’ll cover the topics of mental and emotional health; nutrition and fitness; alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; family life; and sexuality education and human sexuality. Central themes are the acceptance of personal responsibility for lifelong health, respect and promotion of health of others, an understanding of the process of growth and development, and informed use of health-related information, products, and services. You will be asked to be advocates for a healthy lifestyle with your peers, family, and community.