Guide to the Upper School 2020-2021
- Program Highlights
- Department of Humanities
- Department of Mathematics
- Department of Science
- Department of Languages
- Department of Visual Arts
- Department of Performing Arts
- Non-Departmental Courses
- Department of Physical Education
- Department of Athletics
- General Policies and Protocols
- Academic Policies
Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning
Throughout its history, Key has embraced a commitment to social justice and diversity. The Upper School program approaches diversity in myriad ways through both the explicit academic curricula—core course content representing diverse world cultures and specific electives such as African-American Literature, Voices of Protest and Literature of the Developing World and its implicit curriculum through student-to-student and student/faculty interactions and collaborations on grade level projects and in class and town meetings. The activities of specific student groups such as the Students for Cultural Awareness, affinity groups, and the Gay-Straight Alliance, also contribute greatly to this work. In support of this ongoing conversation, Upper School students and faculty also regularly attend the Association of Independent Maryland Schools and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conferences as well as the NAIS People of Color Conference.
Academic support is readily available in the Upper School, and most students take advantage of some form of extra help from time to time in their Upper School years. Of course, all teachers are available to students when the need for occasional help arises. In addition, extra help is also available through any of four labs maintained for this purpose. The Writing Lab, staffed by one full-time and one half-time learning specialist, is available to students on an appointment or drop-in basis for extra help with writing assignments or with general study and organizational skills. The Math Lab, staffed by two Upper School mathematics teachers, offers small group and individualized instruction and extra help to support students’ progress in mathematics courses. The Language Lab, staffed by Upper and Middle School foreign language teachers, offers support to students in French and Spanish. Finally, the Science Lab, staffed by Upper School science teachers, provides support primarily to students in Chemistry and Biology. In addition to student-initiated help sessions in these labs, students are occasionally referred or assigned to a lab by a concerned teacher or advisor. Lab sessions are scheduled during students’ study halls or free blocks.
The Upper School learning specialist is also a resource and support for students with specific learning profiles resulting from psycho-educational testing done outside the School. In this role, the learning specialist interprets testing reports and data, meets with students and parents to help them understand students’ strengths and needs, and conveys essential information regarding student learning profiles and accommodations to teachers.
The Upper School Library is, both physically and philosophically, the heart of the Upper School. It provides students and faculty with resources for both individual and collaborative exploration of ideas and information, including a variety of spaces, a print and periodicals collection based on the Upper School curricula, and an extensive selection of fiction titles. The combined Middle and Upper School Library collection numbers more than 12,000 volumes. During the day, the Library is the scene of quiet study or homework completion by students during unscheduled time, as well as a place for quiet consultation with teachers. In the evening, students, faculty and parents often meet in the Library to plan events or hear presentations, or for poetry readings or coffee houses. Students use computers in the Library and the adjacent Computer Lab to access course web sites and subscription databases (including Encyclopedia Britannica, JSTOR and the Oxford English Dictionary), and to conduct research and complete assignments in all disciplines. The Library is staffed by one full-time and one part-time librarian, and is open to students until 5:30 p.m. during the early fall and late spring and until 7:00 p.m.from early November to late April.
Key’s robust wireless and wired network features unfiltered high speed internet access with email accounts and storage space for each student, local and remote access to subscription databases and network folders, and intranet—the O-Zone—for course websites and additional resources. While it is advantageous for students to bring personal laptops to School, Key provides a limited number of Chromebooks and iPads for student use during the school day. Key uses Google Apps for Education to foster communication and collaboration among students and faculty. The Upper School is supported by a technology integrator.
Responsible Use Policy
“Perhaps no mandate in Key School's Mission Statement lies closer to the heart of the community than its injunction to ‘Sustain an ethical school culture that engenders an inherent respect for the dignity of every human being, recognizes that personal liberty must be balanced by personal responsibility and individual action by the needs of others, and stresses to all members of the School community the importance of trust, mutual respect, and compassion.’ The School's objective is not simply to teach children to be good students; it also bears the responsibility to encourage them to be good citizens and, over time, to internalize the core values of respect, responsibility and honesty.” From the statement on Key Culture
The use of technology can present distinct opportunities and challenges. The values and principles that underlie good citizenship are equally essential to good digital citizenship. Hence, when working with technology, members of the School community should operate with these common understandings and expect to be held responsible for their actions:
Treat one another with mutual respect and compassion; show respect for the dignity of every human being
- Words and images can be hurtful. Kind, respectful behavior applies to online as well as to personal relationships. We strive to maintain a caring community that supports the social and emotional growth of all its members
- Online and digitally formatted gossip, inappropriate or offensive remarks, texts, postings, or images can be forwarded, replicated and traced and have an unlimited lifespan and harmful effect on the School community.
- Private property deserves respect. Personal communication and images should not be posted, tagged or forwarded without permission of the subject or sender.
- Cyberbullying, the use of electronic means to harass, threaten or embarrass others, is unacceptable. Regardless of whether it takes place on campus or off, cyberbullying in the community will not be tolerated. Students who feel discomfort due to others’ online behaviors should speak with a teacher or advisor.
Balance personal liberty with personal responsibility
- The purposes of the Key School’s network are educational, to further the goals and objectives of its instructional program, and administrative, in support of the School’s business operations. Intentional violation of these purposes, whether by bypassing security measures, spreading viruses, or damaging or deleting files, will result in disciplinary action.
- The integrity and security of the School’s network, software, hardware, and equipment is the responsibility of the entire community. Attempted or actual violation of this infrastructure, whether by unauthorized access to network, physical modification of hardware, or deliberate alteration of software, will result in disciplinary action.
- The Key School network is a resource that belongs to the entire community. It should not be “littered” with mass emails, spam, jokes, or chain letters.
- Personal information should be guarded against misuse. Personal information, address,or phone number should be given only when necessary.
- Account information belongs to each individual. Once work is completed, it is vital to log off, as individuals bear responsibility for activity that occurs through the use of their accounts.
- Use of another individual’s account or personal information is unethical and a violation of trust.
Sustain an ethical school culture
- Plagiarism, whether from print or digital sources, is a form of cheating. Claiming another person's words, concepts or other creative work as one’s own can take the form of direct, word-for-word copying or the theft of the substance or idea of another’s work. It is important to cite and properly document all sources used.
- Any activity through the School network is traceable and reflects on the School community. Harassment, threats or the violation of copyrights or trademarks are illegal activities and will not be tolerated.
- Downloading, transmitting or viewing pornography or obscene materials are inappropriate behaviors that undermine School culture and will result in disciplinary action.
The Key School will monitor and encourage effective, responsible telecommunications use that supports curricular goals and students’ information needs. Inherent in the School’s program of instruction is the fostering of critical thinking and information literacy skills. They include:
- developing information search strategies;
- assessing acquired information for its appropriateness, authority and relevancy;
- evaluating the research process for effectiveness and efficiency;
- acknowledging copyright and intellectual property;
- developing an awareness of and respect for the principles of digital citizenship.
Key’s network access is designed for educational purposes. Faculty and staff provide instruction and guidance in the safe and ethical use of technology; however, the School cannot limit or control access to information or material on the Internet, nor can it predict what information students might find or generate. Therefore, the School is not responsible for materials accessed electronically.
Community service work offers Upper School students important opportunities to give back to their school, and to local, national, and international communities, and to develop important skills and values as they do so. Each grade level is expected to plan and carry out a significant community service project each year. These annual projects include both “hands-on” work and philanthropic efforts and often emerge through ongoing partnerships with Quiet Waters Park, the Hillsmere Shores Improvement Association, Anne Arundel Medical Center, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Beyond these class projects, many Upper School students participate in service projects and efforts through a variety of activities and some academic classes. Juniors and seniors may also enroll in a “Community Service Work” elective. Finally, a number of Upper School students participate in service projects and relationships that they have initiated and developed on their own.
The Upper School Outdoor Education program is a unique and extensive experiential program that is student-centered and focuses on individual growth, community building, academic integration, and supportive risk taking. Through both required trips at each grade level and an array of optional trips, students are provided with experiences that allow them to take leadership roles within a group, practice active listening and empathy, challenge them to be courageous and resilient, and work together in challenging environments. They live and work together for the duration of each trip and are dependent upon the contributions of each individual for the group’s success. These experiences help stress the “importance of trust, mutual respect and compassion” as described in the school’s Mission Statement. In addition, the program presents students opportunities for emotional and physical growth that go far beyond their day-to-day classroom experiences. They are encouraged to ask questions, create their own solutions and ideas, and explore the world around them. Through rigorous technical and interpersonal skills training, many students choose to become “outdoor peer leaders” and, in that role, mentor and lead the Middle School students on backpacking and paddling trips.
All School policies, standards and expectations regarding citizenship and behavior (see page 9 “Citizenship and Community”) are in effect on all School trips.
- The Island Odyssey takes place in early September and is a required three-day interdisciplinary trip to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation facilities at Smith and Tangier Islands. Activities include academic explorations stemming from students’ Ancient Civilizations, Integrated Science: Data and Art courses, as well as community building by living and working together.
- The ninth grade Rose River spring backpacking trip is a three-day optional, but strongly encouraged, additional wilderness experience.
- The tenth grades travels to Carderock for a three-day fall backpacking and climbing trip in the locally -famous Great Falls region outside of Washington, DC. Students learn the basics of rock climbing and orienteering as vehicles to develop communication and teamwork within the class.
- Rollin’ on the River is a four-day camping interdisciplinary trip during which students travel along the Brandywine River and assume identities— such as mill worker, quarryman, teacher, child, clergyman—from the early Industrial Revolution. This trip includes academic explorations stemming from students’ European Civilization course, science and mathematics courses, as well as community building, living and working together, and committee work. This trip takes place in late May.
- Assateague Island is a five-day camping, field biology trip to Assateague Island that includes extensive field work for Biology students, and provides opportunities for community building, living and working together, as well as committee work. This trip takes place in late May.
- Two day-long, spring field trips to Quiet Waters Park, include extensive field work in biology and ecology.
- The Senior Leadership Trip is a three-day fall camping and whitewater rafting trip in western Pennsylvania which includes seniors’ reflections on leadership and their final year at Key, as well as community building, and living and working together. All activities center on the deliberate construction of purposeful, appropriate senior leadership and a “senior year community.”
Optional Trips open to all Upper School students
- A fall day-long paddling trip on the waters around Thomas Point in Annapolis.
- A three-day winter camping trip in western Maryland at the close of semester exams.
- Multi-day summer backpacking and/or paddling trips are available, and in the past have included; a 17-day kayak journey down the length of the Chesapeake Bay, a 12-day canoe adventure on the Allagash River in Northern Maine, and a 14-day kayaking and community-service focused trip in the outer islands of the Bahamas.
Visual and Performing Arts
Upper School students enjoy a rich array of opportunities to learn skills and explore talents in the visual and performing arts. An extensive list of core and elective courses is offered in both the visual and performing arts, including Ceramics, Printmaking, Sculpture, Digital Photography, Digital Video, Drawing and Painting, Dance, Acting, Theater Production, Chamber Choir, and Music Theory. In addition, through the Activities Program, students may elect to participate in Key Theater, Dance, Chorus, and Jazz Ensemble. Annual performances/events include the Key School Consort (at the Maryland Renaissance Festival); fall and winter (musical), Key Theater productions; and spring Chorus, Dance, Key Strings, and Jazz Ensemble concerts. In addition to gallery displays throughout the year, Key’s Annual Art Show is held each spring.
The Upper School Activities Program includes a diverse and dynamic array of clubs, student organizations and extracurricular activities. Activity time is incorporated into the school day, freeing after school time for sports practices and theater rehearsals. Activities are held four days each week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. All students are required to participate in activities through first semester of senior year. Seniors are encouraged to participate and take leadership roles. Many activities are student-led, though all have faculty advisors. While some activities are perennial favorites, new activities that reflect current interests may be introduced by students and/or teachers each year. These additions keep the Activities Program fresh. Some activities meet once weekly; others meet more often. Students are introduced to the activity options at the Activities Fair, held in the opening days of the school year. At that time, students choose and sign up for their activities.
Current activities include:
- Yearbook Production
- Writing Seminar/Zenith Literary Magazine Production
- Students for Cultural Awareness
- Science Tutoring
- Jazz Ensemble
- Gay/Straight Alliance
- Power Walking
- Environmental Awareness
- Model United Nations
- Math Team
- Model Congress
- Dance Dance Revolution
- Students Against Destructive Decisions
- Peer Tutoring
Upper School students enjoy extensive opportunities for athletic team participation and physical education. All students in grades nine through eleven are required to fulfill a physical education requirement, which may be completed either through participation in interscholastic athletics, taking two or more activities denoted as fulfilling the P.E. requirement, or through an independent physical education contract and participation in an organized athletic activity outside of School.
The Athletic program at Key is integral to the School’s commitment to provide students with opportunities that broaden and deepen their diverse talents and that instill in them the value of cooperative and competitive effort. Supporting students in their quest to explore a wide range of learning experiences, the program challenges students to develop physical prowess, good judgement and a sense of responsibility. Equally important, Key students gain self-confidence and enjoy the camaraderie and the school spirit that team sports engender.
Life Skills and Student Life
- Life Skills Instruction - As part of the School-wide initiative of teaching all students important life skills, the Upper School offers students this instruction through both implicit means, embedded in existing curricula and program, and through explicit seminars. Broad Life Skills topics include Human Physiology and Development, Physical Well-Being, Self-Awareness and Regulation, Collaborative Skills, and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Implicit instruction takes place in academic courses, outdoor education experiences, the Activities Program, athletics, the performing arts, and in the myriad interactions comprising day-to-day school life. Explicit instruction—including units on Values and Decision Making, Communication, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Sexuality and Relationships, Media Literacy, and Careers and Personal Finance—takes place through a one semester “Changing Lives” course required of all ninth graders.
- School Social Worker/School Nurse - A School social worker/counselor is available to students by appointment for consultation and psychological/emotional support. Students and parents may initiate such appointments, or they may be initiated, in consultation with a student, by his or her advisor, teacher(s), school nurse, learning specialist, or an administrator. A school nurse is available to students in the event of illness or injury.
- Student/Faculty Forum - The Student/Faculty Forum is a representative body that meets weekly with the head of the Upper School to discuss matters of concern to students and/or faculty, plan initiatives and projects, plan Upper School town meetings, and consult with one another about issues of importance to the Upper School community. Four student representatives per grade level are elected at the beginning of each school year, and four members of the Upper School faculty are selected at large to serve one-year terms. Student representatives to the Forum also facilitate Upper School town meetings.
- Town Meetings - The Upper School community of students and faculty gathers two or three times each semester for an open forum on important topics of interest and/or concern to the community. Agendas for Town Meetings are established by the Student/Faculty Forum, with input from both students and faculty.
- Grade Advisory - Students plan community service and other class projects and initiatives and discuss issues of importance to their particular grade levels in class meetings led by each grade’s Student/Faculty Forum representatives. Each grade level has two class grade advisors appointed by the head of the Upper School on a rotating basis from among the Upper School faculty who oversee and attend to various aspects of student life and the student experience at Key.
- Free Blocks and Study Hall - The free block of unscheduled time is an important privilege enjoyed by most Upper School students. Free blocks also offer students important opportunities to learn and practice time management and decision-making skills. Students enjoy this privilege based on a demonstrated record of responsible citizenship, sound behavior choices, and good academic standing. Students who fail to maintain these standards risk losing their free block privileges and being assigned to structured study hall during these unscheduled blocks. In addition, all ninth graders as well as other new-to-Key Upper School students begin their Upper School careers assigned to structured study halls in place of free blocks as a means of supporting their transition to the Upper School. As their first year progresses, and as these new students demonstrate records of citizenship, behavior and academic good standing, they are granted the free block privilege as well.
- Senior Privileges - In the fall of each year, the senior class is invited to develop a proposal to the senior grade advisors and head of the Upper School for open campus privileges based on demonstrated responsible citizenship and leadership as a class. This proposal outlines the specifics of these added privileges and acknowledges and accepts the added responsibilities that accompany them. Once the proposal has been approved and seniors have submitted signed privilege permission forms, senior off-campus privileges go into effect for second semester. Senior privileges are revocable for failure to honor and abide by the terms of the proposal or any other School standards or expectations.
- Senior Projects - For the final several weeks of the senior year, all seniors embark on an extended period of independent project work. These “senior projects” may include extended community service, career exploration, focused work in the visual or performing arts, or outdoor education challenges, and they may be located just around the corner or across the globe. Seniors develop proposals for the projects beginning in the fall, and final proposals are subject to review and approval by the Upper School Academic Committee in the spring. Each year, the senior project period begins with the conclusion of advanced placement exams in May and concludes a few days before commencement, when seniors return to campus to offer presentations and undergo assessments of their project work.
- Dances - Dances offer students an important opportunity to relax, socialize and have a good time away from the pressures of the school week. Two dances are scheduled into each school year, Homecoming in October and Prom (open to all Upper School students) in May. Dances are typically organized by the senior class, and all dances are chaperoned by Key School faculty and staff. Since dances are public events for the Upper School community, students are expected to behave in ways that are appropriate to a public gathering and that honor School values of respect, civility, honesty, and responsibility.
- Student Dress - The Upper School does not subscribe to a dress code. As in all of their behavior choices, students are expected to make choices regarding clothing and dress that are consistent with School values of respect, civility and responsibility so that an appropriate and important balance may be achieved between individual freedom and the needs of the School learning community. Students whose choices of dress or clothing are not consistent with the above values will be required to change clothes.
Citizenship and Community
The process of defining, communicating and upholding Key’s core values and behavior standards provides one of the most important educational opportunities for Upper School students. Unlike some high schools, the Upper School deliberately avoids a long written list of behavioral “dos and don’ts.” Instead, the emphasis is on shared core values and standards as expressed in the Mission Statement—respect, responsibility, honesty, civility, and an appropriate balance between individual freedom and the needs of a community—and challenge students to ground their behavior choices in these values, an approach the School believes is more developmentally appropriate for high school students. The goal in this approach is to afford Upper School students opportunities to interpret, take ownership of, and ultimately internalize these important values and to develop the judgment faculties that are so critical to adult life. Lists of specific rules can achieve compliance, and at times are more efficient, but they deny high school students this important, age-appropriate opportunity to develop critical life skills.
When students make inappropriate choices and behave in ways that violate the School’s shared standards, they are held accountable through processes that are designed with these ultimate goals in mind. For less serious violations—unexcused absences from class, persistent tardiness, inappropriate dress, etc.—grade advisors at each grade level follow-up with students with conversations that emphasize the connections between the behavior and Key’s core values and assign consequences for the misbehavior. Consequences may range from a simple warning to detention after school, letters of apology, a reflective essay, and some sort of recompense through service to the community. Parents are also notified of the behavior, the ensuing conversation, and whatever consequences have been assigned.
For more serious violations—leaving campus without permission, drug or alcohol violations, academic dishonesty, for example—grade advisors bring the head of the Upper School into the process. At least one of the referred student’s grade advisors and the Upper School Head meet with the student for a conversation about the behavior as soon as possible. If in these conversations a determination is made that a serious violation has occurred, the Upper School Head refers the student to the Upper School Disciplinary Committee( DC). This important committee is comprised of three students, juniors or seniors drawn from a group of eight students appointed annually by the head of the Upper School after a rigorous application and interview process, and three faculty members drawn from among the eight grade advisors. (On rare occasions involving particularly sensitive circumstances, a Disciplinary Committee may be comprised solely of grade advisors). A student referred to the DC is accompanied in the meeting by his or her academic advisor. The purpose of this meeting is to have a conversation with the student about his or her behavior, to put that behavior in the context of our shared community values, and to make a recommendation to the Upper School Head regarding appropriate consequences. Following the meeting, the Upper School Head determines the specific consequences for the violation, then meets with the student to assign and explain these consequences. For such serious violations, consequences may include letters of apology, reflective essays, service to the Upper School Community, a suspension of the student’s eligibility for extracurricular activities, suspension (in or out of School), a period of disciplinary probation during which a student’s continued enrollment at Key is subject to review, and, in the most serious of violations, a recommendation to the Head of School to expel the student from School.
Statement Regarding Reporting Disciplinary Infractions to Colleges
The Key School does not volunteer to colleges information about minor infractions for which a student may have been suspended or placed on probation. If asked, the School will report disciplinary action resulting from violations of local, state and federal law, from acts of academic dishonesty, vandalism, or from any violation of the safety of the School community. The School will notify the appropriate colleges of a student’s separation if that student has already submitted applications to those colleges.
Policy Regarding Academic Credit and Suspension
- Students are responsible for completing all academic work missed during a suspension.
- Class work and homework that are due during a student’s suspension will be assigned a 10% penalty. This will apply regardless of when the work is completed and turned in (i.e., on time via email or immediately upon a student’s return).
- Students may not receive extensions on either work due during a suspension or due immediately afterwards. A student with an assessment scheduled the day he or she returns from a suspension, will be expected to complete the assessment on time.
Fully integrating history and English curricula is often referred to as humanities—as it is in Key’s Middle School. A central focus of the Upper School humanities program is the development of essential skills in writing essays; researching, analyzing and using primary documents; participating in classroom discussions and presentations; and collaborating on academic projects. Students are regularly asked to write essays drawing on inferences and projections based on their understanding of time periods, cultures, customs, and historical events. Teachers maintain consistency in coaching students to cultivate the clarity of their expression, the precision of their thoughts, and the originality of their voices.
Seminar discussion, which requires students to think on their feet and to make creative use of evidence from course readings and elsewhere, is at the heart of the humanities program. Humanities courses also emphasize collaborative skills through structured group projects.
The core English and history courses—Civilizations or “Civ”—are team-taught in grades 9-11 and comprise Ancient Civilizations (9th), European Civilization (10th), and American Civilization (11th). Civilizations courses not only integrate studies in literature and history, but also religion, philosophy, art, politics, economics, law, and the history of science as students learn about the significant developments in Western thought, culture, history, and literary tradition. English 12, a requirement for twelfth grade students, draws upon this same framework to deepen students’ understanding of literature. Elective courses enable students to pursue a diverse range of studies.
ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS(Grade 9; 2 credits)
Ancient Civilizations is a team-taught course that incorporates the intellectual, artistic and cultural history of early civilizations around the world. Beginning with the study of pre-historic man and ending with the rise of Christianity and Islam, the students trace the evolution of civilizations and the thoughts, values and attitudes that developed in different regions and passed into our common heritage. The students use philosophy, art, history, literature, architecture, and theater to examine how each civilization addressed the fundamental issues of social, political and religious experience. An important emphasis in the work of this course is the use of collaborative problem-solving activities, beginning with a three-day, cross-curricular “Island Odyssey” trip to Smith and Tangier Islands, during which students explore issues relating to Neolithic man. Other notable collaborative projects include the Res Gestae Project, in which students craft a biographical museum entry from an important figure from the Roman Empire, and the Greek Theatre Project, in which students perform scenes from Greek tragedies and comedies.
During the first semester, students study the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, the ancient Hebrews, and ancient Greece, reading such texts as The Epic of Gilgamesh, Siddhartha, readings from the Old Testament, and Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle. In the second semester, students study the development of Western society from classical Greece through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to the emergence of Islamic culture. Readings include selections from The Iliad, Plato, Sun Tzu, Beowulf, and Confucius, among many others.
An important focus of the course is the development of the students’ oral and written skills, both in the analysis of primary sources and in creative responses to drama, literature, history, and visual arts. Students also work on building vocabulary and strengthening their understanding of grammar. As the year progresses, students are taught to formulate responses through applying an essay-writing process in which they are asked to address various questions raised by the great thinkers and writers of these eras.
EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION(Grade 10; 2 credits)
European Civilization is a team-taught, interdisciplinary course that studies the development of European culture from the Middle Ages to the present in order to understand the relationship of Europe to the rest of the world. Beginning with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the course traces the ideas and values that have contributed to the evolution of European society. Students consider the political, social and religious issues of European culture through reading works in philosophy, literature, law, economics, and history, and by viewing works in theater and art. During the first semester, students study the Medieval period, Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution. In the second semester, students study the Industrial Revolution, the nineteenth-century rise of nationalism and imperialism, and the twentieth century wars, political changes, and the end of European imperialism. A wide-range of primary source readings are supplemented by multimedia sources. The study of literature includes sources by writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Swift, Pope, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Yeats. Some examples of works discussed are The Prince, Candide, A Modest Proposal, and Frankenstein.
The course emphasizes discussion, writing and collaborative problem-solving. Students are expected to contribute their ideas to discussions of the course readings, and to develop and defend their interpretations of these works both orally and in essays. In the Salon Project, students research an important Enlightenment thinker and act out a dinner party in character. Other collaborative projects include giving Machiavellian advice to a king, debating the effects of the Industrial Revolution through a set of interlinked blogs, and investigating the motives and effects of imperialism through a simulation game. Work in this course continues to emphasize building skills such as editing written work, note-taking from reading assignments, close reading of literary texts and historical documents, and researching.
AMERICAN CIVILIZATION(Grade 11; 2 credits)
American Civilization is a team taught interdisciplinary course that integrates the study of American literature, history and philosophy to illuminate the American experience. The course is taught in a predominantly chronological order, and each unit engages students in discussions of readings in literature, history and philosophy to identify the salient features and main issues of American life.
The course traces the evolution of Americans’ understanding of the nature and meaning of their national culture from the colonial period to the present. Work in each unit draws from a custom-designed history textbook and a wide array of primary source material, including literature, art, music, artifacts, internet archival resources, the natural landscape of the Chesapeake region, and the suburban neighborhood surrounding the School to engage students in hands-on explorations of how meaning is written, read and described.
Work in the course continues to develop academic skills in writing essays, analyzing texts, researching, participating in discussion, debating, and collaborating on academic projects used in the prior Civilizations courses at Key. In addition to its core interdisciplinary linking of the study of literature, history and philosophy, this course also collaborates with the Integrated Science: Systems class in which almost all juniors are concurrently enrolled. The students study communities, including eighteenthcentury Annapolis, as primary sources on community values. The goal of this course is to inform students of the main features of American literature, life and government, and to encourage them to apply this knowledge as thinkers, citizens and future voters.
Comparative Literature(Grade 12; 1 credit)
Comparative Literature focuses on the textual, contextual and comparative analysis of literature, examining writing from a variety of sources, periods and genres. The course builds on students’ study of literature in the Civilization programs in grades 9 through 11, shifting the focus of study to the examination of philosophical, artistic and ethical issues across genres, periods and cultures. Reading and discussion are at the heart of the course. Students write about the texts, and then discuss their writing. Students are encouraged to see literary works as artistic products whose authors’ methods can be analyzed in a variety of ways and on a number of levels. Students begin with the book and then are encouraged to formulate questions about and around the text: What are the essential questions raised by this text? How are these questions discussed, and perhaps answered, here? Who wrote this book? Why? What aspects of the culture and the time are revealed in its pages? How is this work related to others that have been studied?
Each year, students choose among three sections of Comparative Literature, each with a different reading list built around a particular theme. Readings may include texts from the Ancient to the Post-modern period, with an emphasis on exploring a plurality of voices and visions of human experience. In addition, there are “Poetry Mondays,” during which students engage in a study of selected poems from around the world. Students continue the study of composition, work on the steps of the writing process, write frequent essays, and develop a variety of responses to texts including analytical and persuasive essays, creative writing through the text, pastiche, and personal narratives. In addition to discussion, oral presentations and poetry recitations develop students’ speaking skills.
THE ART OF REASONING: AN INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC AND DEBATE(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
The goal of this course is to strengthen argumentation and critical thinking skills through an in-depth look at the structure of arguments, rhetorical techniques and common mistakes in thinking and reasoning. To accomplish this goal, the course is divided into two distinct yet connected segments. Part 1 - Introduction to Logic: An inquiry into the nature of reasoning and argument, with an emphasis on informal methods of critical thinking. Projects, assignments and exams focus on recognizing and evaluating argument forms found in written texts and visual media. Particular focus is placed on identifying and correcting informal logical fallacies while also exploring how heuristics and other reasoning patterns can influence decision-making. Part 2 - Introduction to Formal Debate: An opportunity to utilize the skills fostered in Part 1 through the preparation for and participation in formal, organized debates. Elements of this course include research, public speaking, analysis of public/political debates, and the ability to discuss controversial current events in a setting where all sides are considered.
CREATIVE WRITING(Grades 11 and 12; ½ credit)
Creative Writing is a workshop-based course in which students explore the process of using words to recreate and translate the human experience. Work is directed toward creating a portfolio of writing samples that represents the student’s best effort, during each quarter, in harnessing the strategies and concepts of writing. Through collective examination of resonant passages both from their own works and from assigned readings, the students develop a language of criticism with which to explicate and clarify their own methods and styles. Students are expected to write daily, either on assigned exercises or in revising and developing previous work. Grades are based on portfolio submissions and the quality of work throughout each quarter.
CULTURES IN CONFLICT(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
This course is designed to foster discussion of issues concerning cultural conflicts throughout the world and in our own communities. Each year the course focuses on a particular cultural conflict, using this core conflict to open questions about the nature of cultural conflicts in general. Students are responsible for completing daily reading assignments and participating actively in discussion every day. In addition to reading, the course also examines how cultural conflicts have been portrayed in Western cinema. As a final project, the students write, create and edit a short film portraying a cultural conflict, told from the point-of-view of an individual whose story is rarely told.
ECONOMICS(Grades 11 and 12, ½ credit)
This course examines the theories and practices at play in the United States economy from both microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives. It then turns to international economics, comparing traditional theories of international trade with recent trends toward globalization. The emphasis throughout is on the application of theory to the analysis of “real world” events, using articles from newspapers and magazines as well as current online journals and other internet sites. Activities include an online stock market game and student presentations. Students are expected to think independently, formulate essential questions, and conduct research in order to develop and defend their answers. Assessments include several papers, and an essay and short answer test for each of the four course units. Texts include Economics Explained by Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow, and supplemental readings selected by the instructor.
ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES(Grades 11 & 12, 10 by instructor permission; ½ credit)
There is a powerful belief in the Key School community that the natural world is highly relevant to the understanding and appreciation of ourselves, of those around us, and of the resources that we collectively steward. This belief helps to guide Key’s unique Outdoor Education program, as well as in other academic disciplines. In this course, students explore how humans experience nature, how they connect to the wilderness, and how they appreciate the natural world. The course begins with short works in an overview of the genre of nature writing and then moves into a closer analysis of some of the major works in the genre. The course introduces some of the context for contemporary ideas and beliefs about nature, as well as promotes individual appreciation and exploration of the natural world. Texts focus on wilderness, adventure, solitude, survival, environmental crisis, and stewardship. In addition to reading these texts, students generate peer-reviewed creative and analytical work along course themes.
INTERNATIONAL FILM(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
The image of an artist is often that of a solitary creator realizing his or her individual vision in isolation. However, film is both an art form and an industrial product. Though film critics often credit the director as the ‘artist’ in creating a film, the creation of a modern blockbuster may involve thousands of people, many of whom have creative input. This class begins with the question of how to read a film, focusing on the ways the interpretation of films resembles and differs from the interpretation of literature and other art forms. The students then examine the relationship of a film to its production by looking at a selection of film industries (such as Japan, Bollywood, Nigeria, Calcutta, or American independent filmmaking), watching films from each, and considering ways that each film is shaped by the industry and culture that produced it. Students read critical materials, watch video essays, and read James Monaco’s How to Read a Film and watch three movies from each industry during the semester. Students give three presentations about aspects of the chosen film industries, write an interpretive paper about films they watched, and make a short film reflecting the understandings they develop of how film expresses ideas and culture. This is a humanities class, and does not fulfill any art department requirements for graduation.
INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY (Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
The one thing all humans who have ever lived on this planet have in common is they all possess and are a part of a culture—a set of shared patterns of learned behavior. This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of cultural anthropology: the study of the traditions and customs, transmitted through learning and observation that guide human behavior and beliefs. The course begins with an indepth study of what culture is, how humans create and absorb and contest it, and the methods cultural anthropologists use to study it. The course offers an overview of the main societal features that allow people to understand culture: political and economic systems, religion, kinship, gender, and art to name a few. The course culminates with students choosing a subculture in the local area to study using the methods of participant observation and interview, producing an anthropological ethnography answering a particular cultural question. Assessments include reading, quizzes and reactions; a mid-term and final exam; and a final ethnography. Texts include Kottak’s Cultural Anthropology: Appreciating Cultural Diversity and supplemental readings selected by the instructor.
J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S THE LORD OF THE RINGS (Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling books of all time. It has been adapted into many forms and has inspired countless imitators. It has attracted a fanatical following of readers and has provoked controversy from critics. The book delves deeply into issues of morality and politics and raises questions about language and literature. This course focuses primarily on a close reading of the novel, supplementing this with essays by Tolkien and others and research into the older texts and traditions that influenced Tolkien’s writing. Students are expected to give a presentation, create a project, and write an essay.
JAPAN AND THE WEST(Grades 10-12, ½ credit)
Having consciously isolated itself from the rest of the world for several centuries before embarking on a radical course of westernization, Japan offers an excellent window into the way cultures influence one another. This class studies Japan’s cultural evolution from Commodore Perry’s “Black Ships” in 1854 through Japanese imperialism and World War II to the present, with particular attention to the interaction between Japan and the West.
The course requires some attention to Japanese history, but the central focus is on literature and culture. Against the background of Japan’s development from a feudal shogunate to a modern commercial constitutional monarchy, students investigate changes in Japan’s literature, art, film, comic books, music, etc. To help accommodate the breadth of the material, several of the assessments are projects requiring students to research some aspect of Japanese culture or history and present it to the class. In particular, each student is required to present on some aspect of Japanese history.
LITERATURE OF THE DEVELOPING AND NON-WESTERN WORLD(Grades 11 and 12; ½ credit)
This course takes students on a literary and cultural journey through parts of the world that are not covered in the core curriculum in English and history. By reading poems, stories and plays by authors from countries in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, students encounter a richness and diversity of voices that help them explore themes such as attachment to traditional customs; the relationship between nature and the community; resilience in the face of suffering; attitudes toward colonialism; expressions of emerging nationalism; and the allure of the West and the “first world.” Classes are conducted in seminar format with students presenting their interpretations of the readings and leading discussions. Students are expected to keep a journal to record their responses to the reading and class discussions. The culminating event of the course is a project in which students conduct in-depth research on an author and present them in the context of their indigenous culture. Texts include works such as: Caribbean New Wave: Contemporary Short Stories, The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories, Master Harold…and the Boys, The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, and Modern Literatures of the Non-Western World: Where the Waters are Born.
NEW MEDIA NARRATIVES(Grades 11 and 12; ½ credit)
The hero has had a long journey. Authors have worked for thousands of years to captivate readers with stories of men and women who seek adventure, overcome obstacles, and gain new understandings. Working first within the oral tradition, authors adapted their stories to text, stage, photography, and film as new media emerged with new technology. Video games, despite humble origins in the so-called “low-brow” genres of fantasy and action-adventure (or perhaps because of them), have penetrated the cultural imagination and grown to encompass a hugely lucrative industry. Fascinating questions come with this impact. What happens when you become the protagonist of someone else’s story? Where does authorship end and personal choice begin? Do video games add anything new to traditional literary archetypes, such as the hero’s journey? Do video games represent advances in science and technology, art, or both? This class looks at the video game as a new literary genre built on established traditions. In particular, students focus on the use of perspective, tone, setting, plot, and character by game designers to achieve a desired effect. Homework is devoted to reading traditional texts and playing corresponding video games, though coding for the final project takes precedence towards the end. Class time is dedicated to the discussion of texts in addition to the practice of literary craft and game design
PHILOSOPHY AND COMMUNICATION(Grades 11 and 12; ½ credit)
The conception of rationality is deeply wedded to a potentially outdated conception of literacy; humans think in words, and thinking is dominated by the written word. This course explores different means of communication and their effects on thinking. Themes include the role of different forms of literature in shaping humans’ ways of thinking about themselves and the world; the effects of different media on rhetoric and reason; and the degree to which traditional concepts of rationality are appropriate in contemporary life. Students look specifically at the way time and human individuals are depicted in different forms, and consider the effects of these depictions on people’s understanding. Students are assessed on the basis of one major paper, a number of short papers, and several projects related to the various types of media that are studied. Students are encouraged to design their own projects. Texts include such works as Plato’s Phaedrus, McLuhan’s Understanding Media, Manovich’s The Language of New Media, and Sayles’s Thinking in Pictures.
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE (Grades 11-12, 10 by instructor permission; 1/2 credit)
The development of the modern notion of science as a method for systematically accumulating, organizing and testing knowledge has been among the most important and influential developments in the history of mankind. It has led to deep understandings of the world and humans and has given people unprecedented power to control nature. It is, however, often idealized in a way that is detrimental to the actual practice of science. This course looks at abstract ideas about science such as the scientific method and investigates the degree to which the actual practice of science has conformed to these idealizations. Each student is free to focus on their particular interests in any field of the natural and social sciences. Within that field, each student investigates the history and practice of scientific inquiry and the uses and abuses of scientific knowledge. Course readings range from traditional philosophical writings to contemporary articles about the practice of science and the uses of science in society. Each student is expected to carry out research and engage in several related projects.
PSYCHOLOGY (Grades 11-12, 1/2 credit)
This course takes a historical approach to the science of the mind. The course begins with the development of core psychological concepts, then traces the evolution of these concepts as psychology becomes formalized as a scientific discipline. The focus is on the factors that lead to the acceptance or rejection of different understandings of the mind and on the social and political effects of psychological ideas. Course materials include readings from classic thinkers in the field as well as a variety of web resources. Projects include several presentations, a paper or project focusing on social impact, and an experimental design project.
SHAKESPEARE(Grades 11 and 12, Grade 10 by instructor permission; ½ credit)
This team-taught elective allows a deeper look at Shakespeare’s plays than is typically possible in Key’s Civilizations curriculum. One unit each is devoted to his histories, comedies and tragedies, reading one or more plays in each unit. Assessments include a written analysis of one or more plays, a project in which students develop designs for sets or costuming, and a performance of a scene from one of the plays that was read in class. Plays to be read might include tragedies such as King Lear or Macbeth, comedies such as Much Ado about Nothing or The Tempest, and histories such as Richard III or Henry V.
VOICES OF PROTEST(Grades 11 & 12, 10 by instructor permission; ½ credit)
Voices of Protest focuses on social and political upheaval throughout the world in the second half of the 20th century. Students study this period through the lens of dramatic literature and the playwrights who chose theater as the medium to bring about awareness of important issues and injustices. Students read plays and submit regular written responses that reflect not only where the works fit into a historical context, but also serve as reactions to their artistic and literary merits. Authors studied include Caryl Churchill, Dario Fo, Vaclav Havel, David Hare, August Wilson, Larry Kramer, and Athol Fugard among others. The course culminates in a final project in which students write a treatment of a play that addresses a social issue for which they feel there is insufficient global awareness.
The sequence of Key’s math curriculum is spiral. The language and process of problem-solving is introduced first. As students progress in competence and confidence, they confront problems that require the development of more challenging and complex concepts. Students are active participants in the learning process, and emphasis is placed on learning how to learn. Understanding central concepts is coupled with vigorous work on essential skills in a problem-solving environment. In individual and group problem-solving activities, students are encouraged to accept different kinds of solutions to the same problem. The faculty uses open-ended questions whenever appropriate to facilitate the learning process.
The mathematics program at Key is sequential, with students progressing from Algebra I to Geometry and then to Algebra II. Upon departmental recommendation, following Algebra II, students enroll either in Trigonometry and Finite Math or Pre-Calculus. Advanced Calculus (AB or BC) is offered to students who have successfully completed the Pre-Calculus course. Calculus II /III is offered to students who have successfully completed Advanced Calculus BC. Statistics may be taken as an elective following Algebra II. Students must earn a grade of C- or better to progress to the next course in the core sequence; the requirements for advanced courses are more rigorous.
The program is supported by the Math Lab, providing opportunities for students to have added help in areas they find difficult and for moving students who have special interests and abilities beyond the mainstream work of a class.
ALGEBRA I (1 credit)
Algebra I emphasizes the problem-solving skills necessary for the study of both mathematics and science. The course focuses on the language of mathematics. Algebra I helps students develop the skills and strategies necessary to approach math problems involving operations on numbers and variables. Algebra I emphasizes the change from computational mastery to higher order analysis and application. Students learn to simplify algebraic expressions and to solve a range of equations and inequalities including linear, quadratic and absolute value. Systems of linear equations and inequalities are solved incorporating both algebraic and graphical methods. Applications are introduced so students have the opportunity to explore mathematical concepts. Graphing calculators (TI-83 or TI-84) are required.
Geometry employs both teacher-guided and independent discovery-based methodologies but relies more heavily on the former in supporting students’ acquisition and ultimate mastery of core geometry skills and concepts. Focusing on the tenets of Euclidean geometry, Geometry studies the properties of and relationships between the shape and size of objects. Students investigate synthetic and coordinate geometry, studying lines, angles and polygons, the area and perimeter of two-dimensional figures, and the properties of surfaces and volumes of cylindrical and conic solids. Transformations provide a basis for the study of congruence and similarity and the nature of symmetry is explored and put to use in analyzing objects. Emphasis is placed on the proof of theorems and formulas, encouraging students to develop logical and critical thinking skills. Students learn to write formal proofs that incorporate both deductive and indirect reasoning. Using manual and computer-based drawing tools, students learn to construct basic figures and accurately draw transformations. Throughout the course, in the context of solving problems and presenting their work, students hone both communication and algebra skills to be applied in Algebra II, the next course in the core sequence. Computer-based dynamic drawing tools and manipulatives are used to illustrate concepts and investigate relationships. A protractor and four-function calculator are required./p>
Prerequisite: C- or equivalent in Algebra I OR department head permission.
GEOMETRY WITH TRIGONOMETRY(1 credit)
Geometry with Trigonometry employs both teacher-guided and independent-discovery- based methodologies but relies more heavily on the latter in supporting students’ acquisition and ultimate mastery of core geometry skills and concepts. Focusing on the tenets of Euclidean geometry, Geometry with Trigonometry studies the properties of and relationships between the shape and size of objects. Students investigate synthetic and coordinate geometry; studying lines, angles and polygons, the area and perimeter of two-dimensional figures, and the properties of surfaces and volumes of cylindrical and conic solids. Transformations provide a basis for the study of congruence and similarity and the nature of symmetry is explored and put to use in analyzing objects. Right triangle trigonometry and vectors are explored. Basic logic laws are used to introduce the concept of proof and emphasis is placed on the proof of theorems and formulas, encouraging students to develop logical and critical thinking skills. Students learn to write formal proofs that incorporate both deductive and indirect reasoning. Using manual and computer-based drawing tools, students learn to construct basic figures and accurately draw transformations. Throughout the course, in the context of solving problems and presenting their work, students hone both communication and algebra skills to be applied in Algebra II, the next course in the core sequence. Computer-based dynamic drawing tools and manipulatives are used to illustrate concepts and investigate relationships. A protractor and scientific calculator with trigonometric functions are required.
Prerequisites: B + or equivalent in Algebra I AND department head permission AND current instructor's signature
ALGEBRA II(1 credit)
Algebra II complements and expands the mathematical content and concepts of Algebra I and Geometry. Students explore and analyze linear, polynomial, power, exponential, logarithmic, and rational functions, equations, inequalities, and systems thereof. A major goal in Algebra II is for students to develop the ability to move fluidly between the symbolic, numeric and graphical representations of functions, while gleaning insights that facilitate problem solving. Students are introduced to arithmetic and geometric sequences and series, as well as matrices, basic matrix operations, and the use of matrices to solve linear systems. Throughout the year, students use mathematics to construct mathematical models of real-world scenarios and use these models to answer real-world questions. Graphing calculators and computer-based activities are frequently used to facilitate concept development as well as to aid in problem solving. Graphing calculators (TI-83 or TI-84) are required.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Geometry OR department head permission
ALGEBRA II WITH TRIGONOMETRY(1 credit)
Algebra II with Trigonometry complements and expands the mathematical content and concepts of both Algebra I and Geometry. Students explore and analyze linear, quadratic, polynomial, power, exponential, logarithmic, and rational functions, equations, inequalities, graphs, and systems thereof. A major goal in Algebra II with Trigonometry is for students to develop the ability to move fluidly between symbolic, numeric, graphic, and verbal representations of functions, while gleaning insights that facilitate problem-solving. Students are introduced to arithmetic and geometric sequences and series, as well as basic sine and cosine graphs. Throughout the year, students use mathematics construct mathematical models of real-world scenarios and use these models to answer real-world questions. Graphing calculators and online graphing tools are used frequently in the second semester to facilitate concept development as well as to aid in problem-solving. Graphing calculators (TI-83 or TI-84, no CAS) are required.
Prerequisite B or better in Geometry with Trigonometry OR B+ or better in Geometry AND department head permission AND current teacher’s signature.
TRIGONOMETRY AND FINITE MATH(1 credit)
Trigonometry and Finite Math strikes a balance between theoretical concepts and applications. A wide spectrum of topics including trigonometry, functions, probability, and statistics is covered in detail. The emphasis is on solving real-world problems using mathematical tools such as trigonometry to calculate the great circle distance between two global cities or understanding the significance of the correlation coefficient in analyzing statistical data. Graphing calculators are used extensively to help students visualize functions, explore applications, and understand concepts. Graphing calculators (TI-83 or TI-84) are required.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Algebra II OR department head permission
Pre-Calculus is an abstract course, covering the necessary material to study calculus, a cornerstone for advanced mathematics and science. It begins with the successful completion of an Algebra II course. 54 Upper School at Key Upper School at Key 55 a review of polynomial functions and progresses to more sophisticated functions (logarithms, exponentials and rational functions) to enable a more in-depth understanding of functions. Students study graphs of parent functions and how they can be transformed via translations and scale changes. An emphasis is placed on being able to visualize the graphical representation of a function given its written equation without needing to use a graphing calculator. This is followed with an in-depth study of trigonometric functions and their applications in both geometry problems and modeling of periodic systems. Emphasis is placed on the unit circle model, both as a means of obtaining fundamental identities and as a bridge to the concept of the periodic function. The study of trigonometry is followed by the study of vectors. Simple operations with vectors are learned in both rectangular representation and the polar/trigonometric representation of vectors. The course ends with a thorough review of solving systems of equations with the use of matrices, and an introduction of probability and sequences and series. Graphing calculators (TI-83 or TI-84) are required.
Prerequisite: 1.) Prerequisite B+ in Algebra II OR department head permission AND current teacher’s signature or 2.) Prerequisite B in Algebra II with Trigonometry. 3.) Prerequisite B- in Trigonometry /Finite OR department head permission AND current teacher’s signature OR B- or better in Algebra II with Trigonometry or Trigonometry or department head permission and current instructor’s signature.
ADVANCED CALCULUS AB(1 credit)
The goals of Advanced Calculus AB are two-fold. The first is the study of differential and integral calculus including limits, derivatives and integrals. It explores the material usually found in the first one and onehalf semesters of a college level calculus course. The course encourages the student to begin to acquire sophisticated techniques necessary to learn mathematics. Careful examination of examples leads the student to hypothesize various conjectures. The second is preparing students to take the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam given in May. In the spring much of the course is dedicated to studying actual released AP exams. All students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam. Graphing calculators (TI- 89) are required. Prerequisite: B or better in Pre-Calculus or department head permission and current instructor’s signature.
Prerequisite: B in Pre-Calculus OR department head permission AND current instructor's signature
ADVANCED CALCULUS BC(1 credit)
Advanced Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB. It covers differential and integral calculus at the same level of understanding as Calculus AB. In addition, it covers infinite series, power series, functions in parametric and polar form, and an introduction to differential equations. The curriculum is equivalent to the first two semesters of college level calculus. In the spring, a large part of the course centers on studying past released AP exams and taking simulated AP exams in preparation for the test in May. All students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam. Graphing calculators (TI-89) are required.
Prerequisite: A in Pre-Calculus AND department head permission AND current instructor's signature
CALCULUS II/III(1 credit)
This course is a continuation of Advanced Calculus BC. Students continue to explore differentiation and integration techniques as well as the convergence of infinite series. Other topics and applications include a review of polar and parametric functions, additional integration techniques, vector algebra, vector calculus, partial derivatives, gradients and directional derivatives, tangent planes, the chain rule in three variables, multiple integrals, and line integrals. The course offers many applications in describing phenomena in the three-dimensional world. Students are assessed through quizzes, tests and unit projects. A graphing calculator is required.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Advanced Calculus BC AND department head permission AND current instructor's signature
This course provides students with the major tools necessary to enable them to collect, analyze and draw conclusions from data found in the world around them. The course is organized around four conceptual themes: exploring data (observing patterns and departures from patterns); planning a study (deciding what to measure and how to measure it); anticipating patterns (producing models using probability and simulation); and making statistical inferences (confirming models). The course follows the Advanced Placement syllabus and, with additional review sessions, some students may choose to take the Advanced Placement Statistics exam in May. Graphing calculators (TI-83, TI- 84, or TI-89) are required.
Prerequisite: B- or better in Algebra II AND department head permission AND current instructor's signature
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SCIENCE(½ credit)
Computer science is the study of how we tell computers to “think” and function. This course teaches students about the fundamental concepts and elements of a computer language as well as how to put these pieces together to form complete tasks. Students apply these concepts and elements to scientific and mathematical problems chosen by the instructor as well as the students. The course explores the history of computer science throughout the semester to help students better understand how the field began and how it has changed over time. Students are assessed on the basis of daily homework, weekly quizzes and several projects assigned throughout the semester.
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment Pre-Calculus
MATHEMATICAL MODELING (Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
In this course, students have the opportunity to apply ideas, skills and functions they have learned in their core math courses to a variety of real-world situations. Students learn how to use linear, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic models to accurately represent data collected and predict behavior of quantities for a variety of applications. Students also explore topics through units on probability and statistics as well as financial mathematics and delve into the models that allow them to calculate payments, interest, etc. for student loans and mortgages. Students are quizzed periodically to assess the skills required for each unit while major assessments for the course are projectbased. This course aims to enhance students’ ability to verbally express their ideas and observations with the math language as well as to spark interest in furthering math skills for students through a non-traditional setting. Emphasis is placed on playing with ideas, testing those ideas, and then describing observations through graphs, equations, tables, etc.
Prerequisite: B- in Algebra II OR C in Algebra II with Trigonometry OR concurrently enrolled in Trigonometry/Finite Math
Working with students to observe phenomena in an unbiased fashion, pose increasingly sophisticated questions concerning what they see, and then seek answers to their hypotheses is the framework for the Science Department. In this process, students are encouraged to develop specific skills—critical thinking, problem-solving, working both independently and collaboratively, reading scientific material critically, and communicating effectively in both written and oral contexts. Concepts and processes in mathematics and science complement and augment each other, and the teachers in both departments meet to discuss curricular development and individual student progress and course selection.
Key’s Integrated Science Program incorporates aspects of chemistry, biology and physics into each of the student’s required science classes in lieu of teaching them separately in grades 9 through 11. Through purposeful integration, the meaning and relevance of abstract topics become evident because students apply their learning as they explore topics traditionally found in other disciplines. For example, in 10th grade Integrated Science: Energy, students immediately apply what they learn about the force of collisions (physics) to understand the behavior of gases (chemistry). Additionally, by presenting the holistic picture of science, Key teachers are able to incorporate more iterative and experimental design and engineering projects throughout the courses than previously possible in the segmented or siloed curriculum.
Advanced electives including Advanced Biology and Advanced Chemistry are offered for students who wish to pursue those subjects in college-level courses. Students are able to take AP exams in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The members of the department counsel students about options in science courses throughout their Key School career.
Integrated Science: Data(Grade 9; 1 credit)
Through a series of explorations, students experience various aspects of the scientific method from making careful, specific and quantitative observations to mathematical and graphical analysis. They see how the scientific method leads to the formation of hypotheses and theories. After exploring the foundational concepts of observation and inference, students turn their attention to quantitative data. By gathering quantitative observations about position, velocity and acceleration and using graphs and equations, the students derive Newton’s laws of motion. Using similar techniques, they look at the properties of gases and how pressure is a direct result of molecular motion and Newton’s laws at a molecular level. Next, the students cultivate Brassica rapa plants. They plant, pollinate and crossbreed their plants, keeping careful track of the occurrence of a series of traits. Students come to appreciate long-term experimentation and eventually analyze the data to rediscover Mendel’s laws of heredity. Through all of these units, we emphasize care and precision with language, how to develop well-reasoned and well supported explanations, and how, when observations do not seem to fit the general theories developed, evidence can lead to improvements and modifications of the theories—including modifications that will be investigated in the next two years of the curriculum.
Integrated Science: Energy(Grade 10; 1 credit)
In this course, students explore the many ways in which energy is transferred in the processes that make our world and universe function. After a study of gravitational potential energy, the course turns its attention to electricity. Just as mechanical energy is stored when an object is lifted against gravity, so electrical energy can be stored as a separation or concentration of charge. Students experiment with circuits in parallel and in series and with resistors. Students’ understanding of electrostatic attraction opens the door to the study of the fundamentals of atomic structure, particularly electron structure. The tendency of elements to lose or gain electrons to become more stable is one of the most important ways energy is stored and exploited. Students study those oxidation-reduction reactions by learning about corrosion, building batteries and learning about explosives. They see how those same principles are employed in biological systems through a study of cellular respiration, photosynthesis and cell structure. Students study how muscles use the energy of respiration to produce unbalanced forces and create motion, as described in Newton’s 2nd and 3rd laws. Building a device to protect an egg from a two-story drop helps students understand those laws on more than just a theoretical level. Finally, students study how energy moves through ecological systems.
Integrated Science: Systems (Grade 11; 1 credit)
The final course in the integrated program examines dynamic systems. Picking up discussions from the previous course students look at ecological systems and how the organisms competing for scarce resources find the balance to become an enduring system. They look at how disturbances in those systems cause organisms to evolve until a new equilibrium can be reached. As part of the study of evolution, students revisit the structure of DNA, looking at how it replicates, how mistakes are made and corrected, and the intermolecular forces involved in maintaining the distinctive helix of nucleic acids. Intermolecular forces feature prominently in issues of solubility and membrane structure. Solubility and acid base chemistry explains much about how elements like carbon and nitrogen cycle through the environment. Acids and bases provide yet another example of a system in dynamic equilibrium. Particularly in the case of buffered solutions, the system changes in response to various inputs. Finally, a study of conservation of momentum, wave dynamics, and simple harmonic motion allow students to do quantitative analysis of complex systems.
ADVANCED BIOLOGY (1 credit)
Advanced Biology covers the equivalent of a college introductory biology course. A variety of laboratory investigations deepen the students’ understanding of the material. In addition, students design and carry out an experiment of their own during the latter half of the year. All students enrolled in this class are required to take the Advanced Placement examination in Biology.
Prerequisite: B+ in Integrated Science: Systems OR permission of the instructor. Teacher’s signature required for all students enrolling in this course.
ADVANCED CHEMISTRY(1 credit)
Advanced Chemistry is a challenging college-level course for those students who would enjoy an indepth study of chemistry. This fast-paced and rigorous curriculum is covered in a collaborative seminar format where the students are responsible for reading the material independently and then presenting new concepts and solutions to the problems in class. Due to the breadth and depth of the material covered, this course differs significantly from the chemistry topics addressed in the core, integrated courses and emphasizes the mathematical formulation of the underlying principles of general chemistry and how they relate to each other. Students need to spend a minimum of five hours a week in unsupervised individual study. Concurrent laboratory investigations that build upon skills acquired during the core courses are an integral part of the curriculum and provide an opportunity for the students to further explore and analyze the scientific concepts under study. Topics covered include the structure of matter, stoichiometry, states of matter, chemical bonding and molecular geometry, solution chemistry, thermodynamics, quantum theory and periodicity, reaction kinetics, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. All students enrolled in this class are required to take the Advanced Placement examination in Chemistry.
Prerequisites: Completion of Algebra II and B+ in Integrated Science: Systems and Integrated Science:Energy OR with instructor’s permission and signature. Teacher’s signature required for all students enrolling in this course.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN(Grades 11 and 12; 1 credit)
This elective science course gives students the opportunity to craft a lab or field-based experiment that applies the theoretical knowledge they have gathered from Key’s core science curriculum. With careful guidance by the teacher, each student develops an essential question, research the associated topic, create a thoughtful hypothesis, write a peer-reviewed proposal, perform a carefully designed experiment, and analyze their results. This class offers a unique opportunity for students to experience the process of science, and like a true scientist, make mistakes along the way. Whereas most science courses emphasize the development of an understanding of existing theories and knowledge, the main thrust of this course is the development of the tools, skills and processes used to create that knowledge. Students engage with dependent variables, replication, reducing bias, controls, error, statistical analysis, and other aspects of the scientific process. Throughout the semester, an on or off-campus mentor chosen by the student collaborates with the student and teacher to provide specific expertise and guidance. At the conclusion of the semester, each student presents their findings and facilitates a discussion of its importance. Though challenging, this course does not require the mastery of the extensive, detailed information found in most advanced science courses. Students learn concepts as they need them and be guided through the design and implementation of their experiments.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Integrated Science: Systems OR with instructor’s permission and signature.
ECOLOGY OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY(½ credit)
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the most important estuaries in the world. It’s proximity provides students with an authentic laboratory setting for course explorations which act as a springboard to the consideration of related political, economic and cultural issues. The course poses questions such as: What are the biogeochemical characteristics and dynamics of the Bay; How does one define and quantify if the Bay is healthy and sustainable; and, What courses of action are appropriate, in both natural and social science contexts. These questions are addressed through readings such as newspaper articles on the debate between watermen and natural resource regulators, seminar discussions on topics like the effects of the Maryland Smart Growth program, laboratory investigations such as completing a comparative analysis through dissection of local aquatic species, field experiences with the South River Keepers, and research on such topics as developing understanding of analogous ecosystem issues.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Integrated Science: Systems OR with instructor’s permission and signature
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SEMINAR (½ credit)
A deep understanding of the links between the natural and social sciences is imperative in our current global society. This course challenges students to employ and integrate the perspectives, concepts, and tools of the natural and social sciences in a comprehensive exploration of current global environmental issues such as desertification, global climate change, ecosystem imbalance, and watershed pollution, and as important resources in efforts to create a sustainable world. Students select and research environmental issues, engage in laboratory and other projects, share presentations with one another, and engage in frequent class discussions, working toward a full understanding of each issue, its implications for the natural and social worlds, and its potential resolutions.
Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Successful completion of Integrated Science: Systems OR with instructor’s permission and signature.
INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY (1 credit)
This course is designed to introduce students to the dynamic and exciting field of astronomy. Through discussion, reading, interactive computer exercises, demonstrations, and observing the night sky, students acquire an understanding of the basic concepts of astronomy pertaining to the solar system and the bodies within it, as well as the universe as a whole. The course is primarily discussion and discovery-based, but lectures are also used to introduce specific topics and/or clarify some of the more challenging material. One class per month meets at night to enable the group to observe the night sky. This is a required meeting, so students should plan accordingly.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Integrated Science: Systems OR with instructor’s permission and signature
INTRODUCTION TO OCEANOGRAPHY (1 credit)
Oceanography is the study of marine environments and dynamics. More specifically, the discipline is divided into four subunits: marine geology (sediments, plate tectonics, etc.), marine biology (plants, animals, etc.), physical oceanography (currents, wave movement, etc.), and marine chemistry (salinity, thermoclines, etc.). This course focuses on learning introductory concepts and building a conceptual understanding of the interrelationships of those subunits. Class time includes interactive lectures on key concepts, discussions related to research and content case studies, labs and projects to apply information, and periodic field trips on the Bay or to area non-profits with ocean missions. As often as possible, related marine environmental impact issues (e.g., the use of marine sanctuaries in developing countries) are presented and discussed.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Integrated Science: Systems OR with instructor’s permission and signature.
This course provides a systematic introduction to the basic phenomena of the natural world. Students are provided a thorough grounding in the main concepts of classical physics and Newtonian physics, and the discoveries and theories that formed a base for the transition from Newtonian to post-Newtonian physics. The main topics in Newtonian physics are motion, force, conservation laws, and rotational motion. Simple harmonic motion, and electricity and magnetism are studied as Newtonian concepts that lead to an understanding of modern physics. Students who wish to take the Physics B Advanced Placement examination attend extra sessions to review thermodynamics, and study wave theory, optics, and modern physics. Since the approach is mathematical throughout, a thorough understanding of and comfort with mathematics up to the level of trigonometry is essential.
Prerequisite: Completion or current enrollment in PreCalculus or Calculus; AP test optional.
Key School has been committed to the study of classical languages since its founding in 1958. Today, through the study of Latin, students achieve a substantive understanding of the vocabulary and syntax of the English language. Additionally, they become familiar with some of the world’s best writers and thinkers and a body of literature that has profoundly influenced Western culture. Students also explore contemporary American culture through the lens of ancient Roman culture. Key’s Latin program aims to enable those who continue to the advanced levels to read fluently in the provocative constructs of the Latin masters. A grade of C- or better is required to continue to the next level.
LATIN I (1 credit)
First-year Latin students use the Oxford Latin Course (Second Edition), a method that stresses reading and strikes a balance between more traditional approaches to Latin and the more graded approach of most modern language textbooks. The text is a continuous prose narrative that follows the life of the poet Horace, and this, as well as separate sections appearing at the end of each chapter, integrate aspects of Roman culture directly into the learning of the language itself. Supplementing the textbook is an extensive class webpage containing interactive exercises and drills, games and other online support and links of interest. The students also engage with projects that explore connections between ancient Roman culture and contemporary culture, practice their oral skills through skits, and take the National Latin Exam each spring.
LATIN II (1 credit)
The second year of Latin continues with the Oxford Course series. Grammatical items encountered include all six tenses, uses of the ablative case, the fourth and fifth declensions, participles, relative clauses, and the passive voice. At the end of the book is a simplified version of Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis. Supplementing the textbook is an extensive class webpage containing interactive exercises and drills, games and other online support and links of interest. The students also engage with projects that explore connections between ancient Roman culture and contemporary culture, practice their oral skills through skits, and take the National Latin Exam each spring.
LATIN III (1 credit)
This course completes the presentation of grammatical material necessary for a full understanding of Latin. Grammatical items encountered include the subjective and its uses in various clauses, indirect statements, the ablative absolute, conditions, result and purpose clauses, and gerunds and gerundives. Students also read selections from a variety of Latin authors, including the poetry of Horace, Ovid, Vergil, and Catullus, and the prose of Caesar, Cicero and Livy. Supplementing the textbooks is an extensive class webpage that includes interactive exercises and drills, games and other online support and links of interest. The students also engage with projects that explore connections between ancient Roman culture and contemporary culture, practice their oral skills through skits, and take the National Latin Exam each spring.
ADVANCED LATIN (1 credit)
Advanced Latin offers a year of college-level intensive Latin study that explores the prose of Caesar and the poetry of Vergil, mirroring the current Advanced Placement areas of focus. This course requires close textual study of selected passages from Caesar's De Bello Gallico and Vergil's Aeneid. Emphasis is placed on literal translation, reading aloud fluently, sight reading, and analyzing the texts. The study of Roman cultural, social and political history is incorporated. The study of the genres—for instance, the ancient epic form of Vergil, the rhetorical qualities of Caesar—are examined. All students enrolled in the course are required to take the Advanced Placement examination.
In their study of modern languages—Arabic, Spanish and French—students learn to communicate in another language, gain a greater understanding of sentence structure and grammar, become familiar with Hispanic, Middle Eastern and French literature and culture, and increase their awareness of the world in which they live. Students in upper level courses are encouraged to converse fluently, present orally, read ambitiously, and write in creative and expository modes in the target language. Cultural studies and activities, along with periodic travel opportunities, add enrichment to all levels of the modern language study. A grade of C- or better is required to continue to the next level.
ARABIC I (1 credit)
Arabic I introduces students to the formal Arabic language used in reading and writing throughout the Arab world as well as the informal or colloquial forms distinguishing each Arabic speaking country. In addition to emphasizing the skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading in Arabic, the course also introduces students to Arabic culture, including exposure to ethnic foods, forms of entertainment and clothing, as well as the different customs and traditions of this region.
ARABIC II (1 credit)
Arabic II builds on the knowledge of formal Arabic and the skills acquired in Arabic I or an equivalent Arabic course. Arabic II students continue to learn the grammatical structures of the Arabic language, mastering the more complex grammar and vocabulary required to use the Arabic language with greater subtlety and complexity. The study of Arabic culture is also incorporated in more depth. Arabic II continues to employ the communicative approach begun in Arabic I, with more instruction and class discussion in the target language.
ARABIC III (1 credit)
Arabic III builds on the knowledge acquired in Arabic I and II, or equivalent high school courses and students move to the next level of linguistic complexity. They learn more advanced vocabulary and grammatical structures and concentrate on connectors, which enables them to use the language on a more elaborate level. Through watching and listening to Arabic programs, they learn more about the culture. Trying Middle Eastern foods is also a venue to cultural enrichment. Besides the formal version of the language, for the first time, the Arabic III student learns the colloquial or spoken dialect of Egypt. The course follows an interactive approach, where the student is an active participant in class.
FRENCH I-II (1 credit)
French I-II is designed for students beginning their study of French as well as those who would benefit from a review of material from Levels I and II of the language. All four skills— speaking, listening, reading, and writing—are targeted with an emphasis on communication. Material covered includes basic vocabulary, grammar concepts, regular and irregular verb conjugations in the present and past tenses, and French culture. Through projects, movies, theater, skits, and poetry, students discover the basics of French language, literature and culture.
FRENCH III (1 credit)
The French III students are introduced to French literature and continue to study vocabulary and grammar.Throughout the year, simplified versions of La chanson de Roland, La farce de Maitre Pathelin, and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme are read and discussed. This is part of a two-fold project on the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. The grammar includes the study and review of diverse indicative and conditional verb tenses, personal direct and indirect object pronouns and clauses with conjunctions such as si, quand, and aussitot que. Students have the opportunity to develop frequent oral presentations and to view French films.
FRENCH IV (1 credit)
The French IV class is conducted almost entirely in French. In the first part of the year, students read and discuss Le Petit Prince from Saint-Exupery. They then read literature excerpts from a variety of French writers: La Fontaine, Daudet, Camus, and Pagnol, and are exposed to French-Canadian and African authors such as Laye and Tremblay in Ensemble Litteraire. The last part of the year is devoted to reading, discussing and acting out Le voyageur sans bagage from Anouilh. Grammatical concepts are studied and reinforced with exercises from Ensemble Grammaire.French culture is explored through French films.
FRENCH V (1 credit)
The central goal of French V is to immerse students in French literature and cultivate their literary appreciation. Camus’ L’etranger, Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, Sartre’s Huis Clos and Vercors’s Le silence de la mer are read and discussed. Major essays are assigned at the completion of each book.Along with the literature, students use Une fois pour toutes, a grammar book that helps them improve their grammatical knowledge.The program is supplemented by viewing French films, France24.com and YouTube. Students have the option to take the French Language and Culture Advanced Placement Exam.
FRENCH LITERATURE AND FILM (Grades 11 and 12; 1 credit)
This class is intended to continue and maintain students’ oral and written skills in French beyond French IV. It is designed for students who have achieved a reasonable level of proficiency with the language and are eager to continue speaking and reading French. Among the course readings are Voltaire’s Candide, Vercors’s Le silence de la mer, Laye’s L’enfant noir, and poetry by Baudelaire and Senghor. Films include Indochine and Amélie, among others. Class discussions of such readings and films afford students ample opportunity to practice and further develop their fluency. In the process, students gain confidence speaking French as they also acquire an appreciation of French literature and film. Emphasis in this course is on the speaking and reading components.
Prerequisite: Completion of French IV
SPANISH I (1 credit)
In Spanish I, students begin to learn to speak and listen to the Spanish language. Basic grammar is presented as a foundation for developing conversation and simple written compositions. Students master the present verb tense including compound verb phrases to express the future. Most classwork involves conversations and dialogues in Spanish. Students explore cultural topics such as education, sports, food, and cultural aspects of Hispanic-American life. Written assignments are required each evening to reinforce grammatical concepts and vocabulary. This class focuses on communication skills and is taught in Spanish.
SPANISH II (1 credit)
In Spanish II, students continue to build reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. They engage in many interactive speaking exercises and expand their writing skills with exposure to new vocabulary, grammar and verb tenses. Through class discussions about topics such as planning a vacation, arranging a home, and health and fitness, students learn how to cope and survive in a variety of situations where a higher level of communicative ability is necessary. Students master the preterite and imperfect verb tenses and learn to narrate past events and describe personal experiences with greater variety and accuracy. Authentic materials, in addition to the cultural readings in the textbooks, are introduced to expose students to language encountered in real-life situations.
SPANISH III (1 credit)
In Spanish III, all activities continue with reinforcement of previously learned material. Additional verb tenses and grammatical forms are presented, enabling students to express needs, preferences, emotions, and uncertainty. The culture and literature of other Spanishspeaking countries are emphasized at this level, and lengthier reading materials include cultural topics such as art, music and literature (short stories and poetry). Writing and speaking activities include narration, analysis and enactment of stories, poetry, essay writing, and discussions, all in Spanish. The skills that are particularly stressed are those of expressing opinions and speaking persuasively. In addition to giving the students the opportunity to develop their speaking, reading, writing, and listening abilities, the intent is to expose them to as many opportunities as possible to explore the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
SPANISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE (1 credit)
Spanish Language and Literature continues developing students’ listening comprehension and oral and writing skills in Spanish. The course is designed for students who have achieved a reasonable level of competence from their Spanish III work and are eager to improve their mastery and performance in the language. This class is taught entirely in Spanish, and students are expected to communicate in Spanish as well. Students solidify their grammatical and structural knowledge of the language, with emphasis placed on developing vocabulary, reading authentic material, and synthesizing texts and audio clips in both writing and speaking. Students also acquire an appreciation for Spanish literature as they read, analyze and discuss a wide variety of works in three major genres: narrative, poetry and drama, including a selection of texts from the AP Spanish Literature exam. Through such literary selections, students explore themes such as honor, tradition, family values, and the roles of women in society.
Prerequisite: Spanish III
ADVANCED SPANISH LITERATURE (1 credit)
Advanced Spanish Literature prepares the students to take the Advanced Placement Spanish Literature Examination. The 38 works selected expose students to a wide variety of genres and types of discourse and enable the students to trace the history of Spanish prose from Don Juan Manuel to modern times through some of its most brilliant writers. Since the course is, for the most part, student-centered, class participation is very important, giving students the opportunity to further develop their communicative competence. Discussions may be conducted by the whole class or one or two students may guide the discussion of the work being studied. The teacher’s role is to guide the discussion from time to time, suggest ideas, and ensure that appropriate Spanish is used. The students also write essays based on the themes, characters and philosophical and psychological issues found in the readings. The skills emphasized are those of expressing opinions and speaking persuasively. In addition to giving students the opportunity to develop their speaking, reading, writing, and listening abilities, the intent is to expose them to as many opportunities as possible to explore the cultures of the Spanishspeaking world. All students in the class are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam.
Prerequisite : Spanish Language and Literature
Key School recognizes the importance of visual arts education and believes that the fullest development of each student is dependent upon intellectual endeavors in the visual arts. The Visual Arts Department encourages student artists to think visually, problem-solve creatively, and elaborate on ideas and themes. Teaching goals include the provision of a lasting appreciation for the visual arts, a broadened view of the world, an outlet for self-expression and creativity, an awareness of distinct artistic disciplines, and specific academic challenge in the study of art history, two and three- dimensional forms of art-making, video production, and photography.
ART I (Grades 9-12; 1 credit)
This is a foundation studio course in applied 2-D and 3-D composition and color theory with a component that surveys the history of Western art. Students use materials ranging from pencils to oil pastels to acrylic paints. Technical, perceptual, aesthetic, and conceptual skills are developed in a variety of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculptural techniques. One quarter of the course work is dedicated to readings, class discussions and projects focused on the history of Western painting, sculpture and architecture.
2D Studies: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Advanced Studio Concentration
2D Studies I (½ credit)
This course is intended for students who wish to further develop 2D skills introduced in Art I. The class focuses on a breadth of subjects and techniques in drawing, painting and printmaking. Students will advance their contemporary and historical awareness in each discipline. The course explores art processes and developing concepts relevant to the materials, methods, and critically informed visual thinking inherent in making visual art with two dimensional media.
Prerequisite: Art I
2D Studies II (½ credit)
2D Studies II builds on the 2D Studies I experience with greater opportunity to develop personal solutions to assignments and define their personal aesthetic using drawing, painting and printmaking. While students continue to advance their contemporary and historical awareness in each discipline, more focus is put on past art movements, echoing styles of inspiring time periods in the work they create. The class culminates with a project of choice illustrating their voice in preparation for advanced art courses.
Prerequisite: Art I and 2D Studies I
3D media: Sculpture, Pottery, Textiles, Advanced Studio Concentration
3D media I (½ credit)
The 3D Media I course is grounded in a comprehensive interdisciplinary understanding of traditional three-dimensional media which includes sculpture, ceramics and textiles. Students design and construct realistic and abstract sculptural forms using a variety of materials and tools. They examine, analyze and interpret traditional and contemporary works of art and artifacts while their understanding of the elements and principles of design are reinforced. Projected projects include, but are not limited to: clay work, cardboard creations, soap carving, and recycled art.
Prerequisite: Art I
3D media II (½ credit)
The 3D Media II course is grounded in a comprehensive interdisciplinary understanding of traditional and extended media which includes sculpture, ceramics and textiles. Cultural, historic and aesthetic aspects of these processes are incorporated, as well as experiences in art criticism. Contemporary textile and kinetic artists are continually redefining the boundaries of their practice and students will draw from age-old techniques to reflect and challenge contemporary issues in 3D media as well to redefine attitudes towards the ancient art form. Projected projects include: clay work, mobile exploration, installation, and fabric art.
Prerequisites: Art I and 3D Media I
digital arts (½ credit)
Digital Arts explores the foundations of digital imaging, graphic design and digital fabrication. Students use Raster and Vector editing software to create projects that focus on two-dimensional and three-dimensional design. Projects include advertising, product design, textiles/fashion, illustration, and 3D models. Using the creative process, students examine design problems and develop creative solutions for them. In this class, students successfully complete a digital portfolio of work that reflects both commercial and fine art themes. They will be comfortable with using the Adobe creative suite and understand a variety of file formats for 2D and 3D designs.
Prerequisite: Art I
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY I (½ credit)
Students learn the application of the elements and principles of design through the medium of photography. They learn the history of photography from the chemical revolution of the nineteenth century to the digital revolution of the twentieth century. Students learn the technical operation of the digital camera and the use of select software applications, computers and digital printers to explore the representational, creative and expressive potential of this medium. (Please note that each student is required to provide their own digital camera.)
Prerequisite: Art I
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY Ii (½ credit)
This is a continuation of the visual inquiry begun in Digital Photography I. Students continue to develop technical, perceptual, aesthetic, and conceptual skills while undertaking projects that address more advanced topics. The class concludes with the production of a portfolio that reflects both the skills and the personal style
of the individual student. (Please note that each student is required to provide their own digital camera.)
Prerequisite: Digital Photography I
DIGITAL video I (½ credit)
This course investigates the history and technique of creative filmmaking and offers students the opportunity to experience first-hand every aspect of digital filmmaking from conceptualization to distribution. Students view major examples of U.S. and international filmmaking, and learn creative problem-solving skills in brainstorming, script development and writing, storyboarding, shooting, editing, and soundtrack composition. In addition, students learn to use digital cameras, natural and artificial light systems, and sound systems, and will utilize movie software on the Apple Power Mac and iBook platforms to edit projects. These films will be aired on campus and in select regional and/or national student film festivals. Please note: each student enrolled in this course is expected to provide their own digital video camera. A conventional analog camcorder will not interface with the editing computers and, therefore, will not be acceptable.
Prerequisite: Digital Arts or Digital Photography
DIGITAL video II (½ credit)
Digital Video II expands on the lessons learned in Video I. Assignments will be more self-directed with the student making suggestions. Students will draft creative scripts, draw storyboards and take their ideas from concept to finished film using software- editing tools. Assignments may be based on popular contest ideas, such as the 48-hour film in which the filmmaker is given a prop, a line of dialogue, and a character, then chooses a genre and produces a short film based on these, though in this case students will have 48 days. Each assignment will help the student become more proficient in the use of the camera, sound equipment, lighting, directing, and editing. Students will be assessed using two rubrics, a class critique and a personal critique. Each rubric focuses on four aspects of the assignments: creative, technical, paperwork, and direction. (Please note: each student enrolled in this course is expected to provide their own digital video camera.)
Prerequisite: Digital Video I
Advanced Studio Concentration (½ credit)
This course is designed for students to sharpen their craft and choose a focus of concentration for the semester. Studio concentrations include drawing and painting, digital media (graphic design, photography and illustration), and 3D design and installation. This body of related artwork will grow using the creative process to develop a concept and plan based on research. The students’ body of work is unified by an underlying idea that has visual and/or conceptual coherence, is based on individual interest, and is focused on a process of investigation and problem-solving. All work is documented in a digital portfolio accompanied by artwork statements. It is important that students come to this class with an open mind and a need to push their creative skills. Students will critique with other classmates and teachers, meet deadlines, and have the option to prepare for the AP Drawing, AP 2D Art and Design, or AP 3D Art and Design portfolio submission.
Prerequisites: One art class from each tier (3 overall art classes) and consultation with and permission from the Upper School Art Department.
Key School recognizes the importance of performing arts education and believes the development of each student is dependent on intellectual endeavors in the performing arts. Teaching goals for the Performing Arts Department include the provision of a lasting appreciation for the performing arts, a broadened view of the world, an outlet for self-expression and creativity, an awareness of distinct artistic disciplines, and specific academic challenge in the study of music, theater and dance.
In addition to course offerings in the performing arts, students can also participate in activities such as the Upper School Chorus, Jazz Ensembles, Key Strings, Key Theater, and Key Concert Dancers. Students who participate in Key Theater stage two productions each year, including the annual musical. In addition to fulfilling graduation requirements in the performing arts, many Upper School students participate in one or more of the performing arts activities each year.
ACTING: Theory and History(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
This semester-long course introduces students to the history of performance styles throughout the world, with a special emphasis on how modern performance aesthetics evolved out of Konstantin Stanislavski's work with the Moscow Art Theatre. Students will approach Acting from a theory and analysis perspective, while achieving a better understanding of how styles and trends have changed over time. Course work will include research projects and analytical essays as well as critical analyses of acting performances in contemporary film.
ACTING: Performance and Technique(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
This semester-long course asks students to approach their study of theater arts in a hands-on, performance-based experience. Students will practice monologue and scene work as well as learning fundamental voice and movement techniques. Character creation and portraying realistic and engaging emotions are also a focal point of the course. Most course work revolves around performances and presentations executed by the students, though acting analysis and some written work.
CHAMBER CHOIR I (½ credit)
This class gives the more experienced singer an opportunity to be part of a relatively small choral group (6-12 students). The emphasis is not only on working toward a polished performance of challenging choral literature, but also on involving students in a dialogue about the music they are singing. Discussions include formal analysis, dynamics, articulations, vowel placement, and blend. To strengthen students’ ability to read melodic and rhythmic notation, daily sight-singing using Latin syllables is included. Prerequisite: Instructor approval .
Prerequisites: Instructor approval and simultaneous involvement in the Key School Chorus
CHAMBER CHOIR II(½ credit)
The majority of students who take Chamber Choir I during the fall semester elect to continue with Chamber Choir II in the spring. This second semester course is designed in the same manner as Chamber Choir I; however, a completely different repertoire is chosen. As each semester of Chamber Choir presents a new repertoire, students may begin and/or move through the sequence (Chamber Choir I, II, III, IV) during any semester.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval and simultaneous involvement in the Key School Chorus
CHAMBER CHOIR III & IV(½ credit)
For students who wish to continue their involvement in Chamber Choir beyond the first two semesters (one year), Chamber Choir III and IV are available. These third and fourth semester course offerings are designed in the same manner as Chamber Choir II and may be taken during either semester.
Prerequisites: Instructor approval and simultaneous involvement in the Key School Chorus
DANCE TECHNIQUE(Grades 10-12, 1/2 credit and/or 1/6 P.E. credit)
Students in Dance Technique learn the basics of social dance spanning the last four centuries including the waltz, the Charleston, swing, various latin dances, and dances popular through the 70s and 80s. To supplement movement, they view documentaries and films which expose them to the historical context and societal impact of the steps they are learning. They complete a mid-semester research project in which they present the origin and evolution of a relevant dance style that interests them. The course culminates with a studio performance of every dance style learned.
MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING(grades 9-12; ½ credit; fulfills non-visual arts requirement)
Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. They help us understand. They imprint pictures on our minds. The major emphasis of this course is to study, analyze and respond to various stories, fairy tales, myths, NPR podcasts, dramatic plays, short films, essays, and by listening to students’ personal stories. The goal is to instill in students the ability to pursue aesthetically and ethically rewarding lives through daily discussions and observations in their own lives and in stories. The main dramatic question will be for students to explore is “How do stories inform our lives?" Throughout the course students will have the opportunity to engage in various online and internet tools to gain a better understanding of how to communicate and connect effectively. Like all other areas of learning, the study of theater, film, literature, and radio will be broken down into more specific domains such as criticism, history, theory, and practice. The course will culminate in a student-generated project such as: create and design an original film adaption of a short story or play; a 3-5 minute podcast; or produce, direct and design an original radio segment modeled on NPR’s “This American Life.”
MUSIC THEORY I(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
This course provides both theoretical and practical experience for students who have a basic understanding of melodic and rhythmic notation. The goal is to enable students to gain further knowledge of the elements of music through a study of music theory, history, introductory composition, basic acoustics, and ear training. The study of ear training is essential to this course; through the awareness of intervals, pitch relationships, and voice-leading (as experienced directly through the practical application of singing), a student can more fully understand music theory and its applications within harmony and composition. The compositional aspect of this course gives students an opportunity to incorporate the study of music theory within a practical application, enabling them to experiment with what they are learning and hear the results of their efforts.
MUSIC THEORY II(Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
Music Theory II is designed for the student who has successfully completed Music Theory I and wishes to move more deeply into four-part composition. The course concentrates on dominant-tonic resolution as applied within: 1) first inversion use of tonic, dominant and leading-tone triads; 2) inversions of the dominant seventh chord; and 3) elements leading to the dominant triad through subdominant and supertonic triads.
Prerequisite: Music Theory I
PLAYWRITING(Grades 10-12; ½ credit*)
This course is designed to identify and investigate the tools needed to craft a stageworthy play. Through a series of reading and writing assignments each student explores conflict, character, dialogue, and plotting. Reading assignments include plays from a variety of successful playwrights. Each student is responsible for writing two ten-minute plays as well as a one-act play by the end of the semester.
THEATER DESIGN (Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
This course focuses on production elements related to design for theater. The course is divided into four units, covering scenic design, costume design, lighting design, and sound design. Students learn basic design principles while learning how to address the unique limitations of live performance. Course work includes reading plays, producing models and visual displays, and learning how to use editing and design tools.
THEATER PERFORMANCE (Grades 10-12; ½ credit)
Students who participate significantly in Key Theater productions may earn a semester credit in Performing Arts, satisfying the Performing Arts graduation requirement. Credit eligibility is at the discretion of the theater director, department chair and division head. Performing Arts credits are available to students who have been cast in major roles in at least two Key Theater productions. Additionally, a student must submit a comprehensive, seven to ten page, written reflection on their experiences, describing the processes and what artistic growth they feel they have received through their participation.
Prerequisite: At least two Key Theater productions AND permission of the instructor
COMMUNITY SERVICE WORK ELECTIVE (Grades 10-12; 1/2 credit)
This course offers students the opportunity to work for a semester with one of a number human service agencies or programs in Anne Arundel County. Students research various placement options, and with the help of the instructor, make contact and arrange their placements with agencies and service organizations. All placements must be in human service work and must put students in direct helping relationships with the people an agency or program serves. The course is scheduled into a regular block, but students meet in only one of these, biweekly, as a seminar to encourage reflection on and discussion of their experiences. Remaining course blocks afford added schedule flexibility for students whose placements have them working on weekdays. Students work a minimum of three to four hours weekly at their placements and are required to keep journals based on their experiences. The course teacher acts as a liaison with each agency or program, monitoring students’ attendance and investment in work. Grading is on a Pass/Fail basis. Assessment is based on student attendance at, and investment in, their service placement as well as the quality of a student’s journal entries and participation in seminar discussions.
LIFE SKILLS - CHANGING LIVES (Grade 9; 1/4 credit)
As part of the School-wide initiative of teaching all students important life skills, the Upper School offers students this instruction through both implicit means, embedded within existing curricula and program. Broad Life Skills topics include human physiology and development, physical well-being, self-awareness and regulation, collaborative skills, and responsibilities of citizenship. Implicit instruction takes place in academic courses, outdoor education experiences, the activities program, athletics, the performing arts, and in the myriad interactions comprising day-to-day school life. Changing Lives, a one-semester course required of all ninth graders, includes units on alcohol and other drugs, sexuality and relationships, technology, and personality profiles and career exploration.
Physical Education is an integral part of a student’s total education. The Physical Education department faculty seeks to develop in each student an awareness of personal physical fitness and to provide activities, instruction and guidance to aid each student in achieving an appropriate level of fitness. The Upper School Physical Education program is an extension of the experiences and activities performed in the previous divisions within the School.
While there are no specific required Physical Education classes in the Upper School, all students must obtain one credit for graduation. Students need 1/3 credit yearly in grades 9-11. Students may obtain these credits in one of the following four ways:
• Play two seasons of interscholastic sports in a given year;
• Enroll in the dance technique course in a given year;
• Sign-up for one activity per semester in the Activities Program that is approved for Physical Education credit in a given year;
• Create an Independent Exercise Contract with a Physical Education teacher in a given year.
In the Athletic Program, students find the balance between individual achievement and the needs of the team, between broad participation and deep commitment to one sport. The junior varsity level focuses on skill development and inclusiveness, but also places greater emphasis on preparing students for varsity level competition. At the varsity level, the primary goal is the presentation of competitive teams. Key students value intense competition and, at the same time, they honor good sportsmanship. The program seeks a level of competition that is inclusive while promoting the students’ commitment to mastering skills, understanding tactics, fostering teamwork, and developing character.
The Upper School interscholastic athletics year is divided into three seasons as follows:
- Cross Country (boys, girls)
- Equestrian Team (co-ed)
- Field Hockey (girls)
- Sailing (co-ed)
- Soccer (boys, girls)
- Volleyball (girls)
- Basketball (boys, girls)
- Indoor Track and Field (boys, girls)
- Swimming (boys, girls)
- Baseball (boys)
- Lacrosse (boys, girls)
- Sailing (co-ed)
- Tennis (boys, girls)
Attendance Policies and Procedures
Especially in a program such as Key’s that emphasizes discussion and group projects, regular and consistent attendance in classes and all School activities must be a top priority for all students. Punctual attendance at all School obligations—academic advisory meetings, activities, community gatherings, class meetings, and classes—is an expression of the mutual respect and community responsibility to which we have all committed in the Key School Mission Statement.
Please note the following important policies and procedures regarding absences and attendance:
- Absences resulting from illness, family emergency or religious observance will be excused upon parent notification to the Upper School office. Parents should call the Upper School Attendance Line at 443-321-2579 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 8:25 a.m. to notify the School of such an absence and the reason for it.
- When at all possible, medical and dental appointments should be made outside the school day. When this is not possible, parents should notify the Upper School office and explain the reason for the absence using the above Upper School Attendance phone number or email address in advance of the absence.
- Family trips, vacations, etc. should be scheduled during school breaks and holidays. When trips during school days are unavoidable, absences for such trips will only be excused if the parents notify the Upper School office at least ten days in advance and request that the School excuse the absence. Such requests must be made by email (email@example.com) to the Upper School. At the discretion of their teachers, students departing on such trips may be required to complete work or assignments in advance. Such arrangements, including any make-up work or opportunities, will only be available if the absence is excused.
- Students are expected to arrive punctually to all classes, activities and other School obligations. Teachers will establish and enforce policies regarding excessive tardiness within their courses and other activities
- At the beginning of each school day, students must arrive to School in time for their first class, other school obligation (study hall, lab appointment, etc.), or the mid-morning homeroom meeting, whichever comes first. All students who have free block(s) in their first block(s) of the day must sign in at the Upper School office upon arriving at School, even if it is before 8:20 a.m.
- Students who are absent from School for a full day or arrive at School after 12:30 p.m. may not participate in any after-school extracurricular activities on that day.
Signing In and Out of School
Students who leave campus for any reason during the school day (8:15 a.m.– 3:25 p.m.) must sign out in the log book located in the Upper School office. Students who arrive at or return to School any time after classes begin (8:15 a.m.) must sign in using the same log book. All students who have free block(s) in their first block(s) of the day must sign in at the Upper School office upon arriving at School, even if it is before 8:20 a.m. This procedure also applies to seniors at all times, including when Senior Privileges are in effect.
Policy Regarding the Use of Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco Products
Using, possessing or being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances (without prescription) while at School or any School-sponsored events or activities is strictly prohibited. Any student who violates this policy will be referred to the Upper School Disciplinary Committee and face consequences ranging from expulsion to a rigorous program of suspension, education, rehabilitation, community service, and probation if the student is to remain a member of the Upper School community.
Student Driving/Parking Privileges
Traffic and Parking
In an effort to ensure safety and prevent traffic and parking problems from occurring at the beginning and end of the school day, the following policies and protocols should be observed.
- The student parking lot may not be used for drop-off, pick-up or parent parking.
- When driving, approach the Key campus via Harbor Drive and travel up Carroll Drive toward Hillsmere Drive.
- When using the pick-up and drop-off area adjacent to the Science and Library Center, pull as far forward as possible, allowing those waiting to pull in as well. Because it is a fire emergency lane, parking or waiting on the Science and Library Center side of this lane is strictly prohibited. Park only in marked places.
- Courtesy and patience toward each other during this busy time are essential and appreciated.
- Carpooling saves time and gas, and it can significantly reduce the volume of traffic. The Key School Business Manager will assist parents with carpool formation by providing zip code lists and directory information.
- Dropping off and/or picking up children on the opposite side of any street from Key’s campus creates a very dangerous situation and is prohibited.
- Do not park or wait on driveways or lawns of Key’s neighboring houses.
- Avoid parking or waiting at the Smith House exit as doing so causes traffic flow problems and creates fire emergency dangers.
Policies Related to Student Drivers
- Student drivers must have a “Permission To Drive To Key School” form, signed by parents and student, on file in the Upper School office and a Key School Parking Sticker affixed to the vehicle’s rear window before they may drive a car to school.
- Student drivers must observe all traffic laws. Particular caution is required in the Hillsmere residential neighborhood and when driving near and on campus.
- Only eleventh and twelfth graders may park in the student parking lot and, in the lot, students may only park in marked parking places. Cars parked outside of marked spaces are subject to towing at the owner’s expense.
- After first arriving at school, students may not drive their cars until they leave school at the end of the school day (or earlier with special permission from the Upper School office).
- Students whose cars are parked in the student lot or on Carroll Drive may drop off or retrieve belongings from their cars during the school day, but students may not congregate or loiter near cars parked on Carroll Drive or other streets.
- Students may not occupy their cars during the school day (8:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.).
- Car stereos and radios may not be played between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
- Students who fail to respect these policies may lose their parking/driving privilege and face disciplinary action.
All members of the Upper School community share responsibility for care and stewardship of the campus grounds and buildings. Students must exercise this responsibility by appropriately cleaning up after themselves at lunch or other activities, in and out of doors. Further, students should not bring food and beverages—except bottled water—to their classes, study halls or activities. Teachers may make exceptions when students are involved in special projects that prevent them from eating during the regularly scheduled morning break or lunch period. Occasionally, teachers will also allow food to be served in classes for prearranged lunchtime meetings or other events.
Each year, the senior class plays a major role in designing its graduation ceremony, working with the guidance of one of its grade advisors. In this process, seniors are expected to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The Head of School presents the diplomas and the head of the Upper School awards Key School medallions;
- Each student may choose one person to speak for him or her. Such a speaker must come from within the Key School community, defined as members of the faculty, staff, administration, alumni, or student body, as well as a student’s immediate family;
- Speeches must adhere to established length guidelines and may not last more than two minutes per student;
- Individual speakers may not speak for more than three students.
Messages for Students
The Upper School administrative assistants will hand deliver messages to students in an emergency. Students should check the bulletin boards on the first floor of the Science and Library Center for other messages and announcements. In addition, all Upper School students are expected to check their School email accounts at least once daily.
Requesting Make-Up Work
Students who cannot be in class because of an excused absence are expected to obtain homework assignments by consulting course websites or contacting their fellow students and their teachers on their own via email.
Where to Go with Questions or Concerns
On occasion, parents may have questions or concerns regarding a particular class or about their son’s or daughter’s experience in the Upper School. When such questions or concerns arise, parents should raise them with the teacher or staff member most directly involved. This is usually the quickest way to resolve an issue or receive needed information or clarification. Questions about a particular class—regarding class activities, grades, homework, etc.—should be directed first to the teacher of that class. Concerns of a more general nature—about School policies, academic support, etc.—should go first to a student’s academic advisor or grade advisor. Teachers, coaches and academic advisors are the most familiar with their respective students and the contexts in which they meet them, and are eager to help with answers, clarifications and resolutions.
The Upper School Academic Committee, chaired by the head of the Upper School, is composed of the heads of all Upper School academic departments as well as representatives of the Athletic Department, Outdoor Education Department, Upper School Library Department, Academic Technology Department, College Advising Office, and the Learning Department. The Committee meets regularly during the school year to review and create academic policies and procedures, review and approve new course offerings, and respond to special requests. At the end of each quarter, the Committee will review cases of students on academic probation and recommend a course of action to the Upper School Faculty.
Academic credit is earned through the successful completion of courses. Year-long courses receive one full academic credit. Humanities core “Civilizations” courses, combining literature and history studies in grades nine through eleven, receive two credits. All one-semester courses receive a half credit. Students are expected to carry a minimum of five and a maximum of six credits each year. Exceptions to these expectations must be approved by the Academic Committee.
In addition to meeting the departmental requirements listed below, Key School students must complete a minimum of twenty-one credits. Seniors may, with permission of the head of the Upper School, take coursework at a college or university (e.g., Anne Arundel Community College) but must take a minimum of four courses, including English 12 and courses in fulfillment of any core graduation requirement, at Key School. Each senior must earn a minimum of five credits total during the senior year. (Key considers three semester hours at the college level equivalent to 1/2 credit.)
Arts (Visual and Performing)
Art I is required for all students; 1/2 credit must be in the performing arts
Includes Ancient Civilizations (9th grade), European Civilization (10th grade), American Civilization (11th grade), and English 12
Three years of one language are required or 2 years each of 2 languages
Required through Algebra II and junior year
Required through junior year. Students receive .33 credit for each year completed through 11th grade
One year of a biological science and one year of a physical science required; students entering the Upper School as ninth graders will take, at a minimum, Integrated Science: Data (9th grade), Chemistry (10th grade), and Biology (11th grade).
AP Tests and Review Sessions
All students enrolled in courses designated as “advanced” are required to take the Advanced Placement exams in those subjects. Since the curriculum in each of these courses is explicitly designed to prepare students for these exams, extra review sessions are not typically offered in these courses.
AP preparation and review sessions are offered for the benefit of all students enrolled in all AP-optional classes. Students who intend to take the exam at the end of the course are expected to attend these sessions and to complete all assigned review work. Students whose attendance or work in these sessions falls below the standard set by the teacher may be asked to stop participating in them, and they may be advised not to sit for the exam.
Course Selection Process
The courses described in the following pages are offered in the Upper School, although not every course is offered every year. In choosing courses, students need to give close attention to graduation requirements, course sequences, course prerequisites, and special departmental requirements.
Course selections for each year’s schedule must be approved by the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s), the student’s advisor, and the college advisor. Advisors counsel their advisees on the content of courses offered and the appropriateness of the selection in relation to the advisee’s goals, interests and past academic performance. The college advisor counsels students and their parent(s) or guardian(s) on issues involving college admission requirements and strategies appropriate for successful college applications.
Ninth graders are required to enroll in five courses, including the double-credit (and double scheduled) Ancient Civilizations, for a total of six credits. The typical ninth grade program includes Ancient Civilizations (2 credits), mathematics, Integrated Science: Data, a foreign language and Art I or a second language. Tenth graders are generally expected to enroll in five courses for the year, including the double-credit (and double scheduled) European Civilization, for a total of six credits. The typical tenth grade program includes European Civilization (2 credits), mathematics, Chemistry and either two languages or one language and an elective. Eleventh and twelfth graders are required to carry at least five credits each semester. All eleventh graders take American Civilization (2 credits), and mathematics and generally take Biology and a language. Of the minimum five credits seniors must earn, at least four must be earned at Key. The fifth may be obtained through taking a course via concurrent enrollment at a community college but seniors may not fulfill their core graduation requirements through such a course. All twelfth graders take English 12. The remainder of the schedules for the eleventh and twelfth graders is made up of elective choices based on students’ interests, graduation requirements and recommendations of students’ advisors and the college advisor.
No student may carry more that six credits in any semester without the special permission of the Academic Committee.
All courses described in this booklet are full-year, one-credit courses unless otherwise noted.
Student placement in courses depends on numerous factors, including placement examinations, prerequisites, grade level, grades earned in specific courses taken previously, scheduling and staffing limitations, and in some cases, a screening process within the discipline. For these reasons, a student must register for three alternatives in elective courses. When selecting courses, students should give careful consideration to second and third choices. Beyond core courses at each grade level, neither during the admission process nor at any time thereafter can the school guarantee that a student will be placed in a specific course, including advanced courses and electives. Occasionally, a course may be cancelled because of insufficient enrollment or lack of an available teacher.
Dropping and Adding Courses
Students may drop or add a course within the first two weeks of each semester. Students are required to discuss these changes with their academic advisor and parents, and follow the procedure outlined on the drop/add form available in the Upper School office. If students choose to drop a course beyond the first two weeks of the semester, “dropped” is indicated next to the course on their official transcript.
Seniors may apply to undertake a carefully planned course of independent study for academic credit. Independent study is only appropriate when a student is highly motivated and has demonstrated the capability to undertake a rigorous course of study without the structure and direction provided by conventional academic classes. Independent study is limited to one semester, one-half credit only, and must be sponsored by a member of the Upper School faculty. To be eligible for an independent study, a student must have earned a B+ or better in the last course he or she took in the department from which the proposed independent study would receive credit.
The process of proposing an independent study offers the proposing student an opportunity to demonstrate the initiative and independence required for successful independent study. For this reason, it is imperative that students take responsibility for beginning the process early, completing all parts of the proposal conscientiously, and meeting all deadlines. Late or incomplete proposals will not receive consideration.
Grades and Reporting
The Upper School year is divided into four grading periods or quarters. Grade reports, prepared and sent home following each grading period, include student grades, including component grades within course grades, as well as individualized comments from teachers. All students receive comments in first and second quarter grade reports, seniors only receive comments in third quarter reports, and grades nine through eleven only receive comments in fourth quarter reports.
All Upper School teachers use the following letter grade/numerical percentage equivalents in assigning letter grades:
- A = 93 – 100
- A- = 90 – 92
- B+ = 87 – 89
- B = 83 – 86
- B- = 80 – 82
- C+ = 77 – 79
- C = 73 – 76
- C- = 70 – 72
- D+ = 67 – 69
- D = 63 – 66
- D- = 60 – 62
- F = 0 – 59
In addition, interim reports noting student progress are sent out at the midpoint of each quarter, and as otherwise needed, for any students struggling or underachieving in courses. Interims may also be used to note exceptional progress or achievement. All students new to the Upper School, including all ninth graders, receive interims in all courses in the first quarter of the school year.
A grade of Incomplete (I) may only be assigned due to illness and only with the approval of the head of the Upper School. A student who receives an I grade must clear the Incomplete by completing all outstanding work within two weeks of the end of the grading period.
Waivers of Requirements
In rare instances, a student who is unable to fulfill a Key School graduation requirement may be granted a waiver from the requirement in a specific discipline. Such cases generally involve students with professionally certified learning profiles noting significant limitations in learning mathematics or foreign languages. Students may not receive waivers in more than one discipline. It is essential that students and parents understand the possible ramifications of a waiver for a student’s college and career options. To this end, in the event a waiver is approved, the school requires letters from the students and parents expressing their complete understanding of these ramifications.
Students will be placed on academic probation when, at the end of any quarter, they have earned grades below C- in two or more courses or a failing grade in any course. (Note: Grades in 9th, 10th and 11th grade double-credit “Civilizations” courses, which combine students’ English and history studies, are counted as two grades.) Additionally, any students in danger of not fulfilling a graduation requirement may be placed on academic probation by recommendation of the Academic Committee (see below).
The purpose of academic probation is to act as a warning to students that an expected level of performance must be maintained if they are to graduate from Key. Students placed on probation will receive written notice from the head of the Upper School and have their records reviewed by the Academic Committee. Also, students on academic probation lose the privilege of a free block and are assigned to structured study halls during one set of unscheduled blocks.
The Academic Committee will meet to review the performance of students on probation at the end of the following quarter to determine whether students should be taken off probation, continue on probation, have their re-enrollment contracts withheld, or be asked to withdraw from the School. The Committee will then report their recommendations to the faculty. The expectation is that the faculty will recommend to the Head of School that, unless there are extenuating circumstances, students whose records place them on academic probation for four consecutive quarters will be asked to leave Key. If the student remains at Key after four consecutive quarters on probation, he or she may not be able to continue at the School unless significant progress is made by the end of the following quarter. Seniors on academic probation will not be granted Open Campus Privileges until they are taken off probation, which cannot occur until the end of the third quarter.
Promotion Requirements in Languages and Mathematics
In mathematics and foreign languages, students must earn final grades of C- or better in order to be promoted to courses at the next level. Students who do not meet this minimum grade may: 1) choose to repeat, but not receive credit for, the course the following year, or 2) take the course again in a summer school program, or 3) undergo a summer tutorial arrangement approved by their teacher and head of the department. In this last case, students are required to take an exam or other assessment before the new school year begins to demonstrate they have sufficient background and ability to progress to the next level of the program.
Transcript requests should be directed to the registrar in the Upper School office. An official copy of a transcript is one that is signed by the Upper School Registrar, has the school seal affixed to it, and is sent by the registrar, or given to the student or the student’s parents in a sealed and signed envelope. Students may also request an unofficial copy of the transcript, which is not signed and has no school seal.