High School Academics

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In the spirit of Brown School’s mission, the high school at Brown School continues to foster the development of mindful, global citizens through a variety of course offerings.

We work with each student to establish personalized goals and develop a program that meets their educational, occupational and personal objectives. While taking into account individual strengths, interests, aptitudes and needs, students and faculty will be able to work together to supplement the basic graduation requirements with the most fitting electives for each student’s success.

Graduation Requirements (grades 9-12)

  • Math – 3 credits
  • Science – 3 credits
  • Social Studies – 4 credits
  • English – 4 credits
  • Language – 2 credits
  • Fine Arts – 2 credits
  • Physical Education – 4 credits
  • Health – ½ credit
  • Technology – ½ credit

Math
Instruction is differentiated and individualized for each student in order to best support his/her goals. The topics covered will depend on each student’s math ability. In the 9th grade, topics range from Pre-Algebra through Algebra 1 up to Geometry. In 10th grade, students are typically ready for Geometry or Algebra 2/Trigonometry. 11th grade is often Algebra 2/Trig or Pre-Calculus. Many students complete their three required credits at Brown School and then opt to get additional credits through completion of math courses at SUNY Schenectady.

Science
In 9th and 10th grades, students will take either Biology or Chemistry. In the 2022-23 school year, they will be taking Chemistry. Students who have already taken the course offered may take another course through SUNY Schenectady. Students will earn their third required credit through a course at SUNY Schenectady.

Biology

  • High school Biology will equip students to address the following essential questions as identified within the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS) and the Next Generation Science Standards:
    1. How do organisms live and grow?
    2. How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next? How can individuals of the same species and even siblings have different characteristics?
    3. What evidence shows that different species are related?
    4. How and why do organisms interact with their environment, and what are the effects of those interactions?

Chemistry

  • High school Chemistry is designed to give students a basic understanding of chemical principles. Upon completion of this course, students should have the skills and content necessary to succeed in college-level science courses. The Core Concepts of Chemistry include Matter and its Interactions, Motion and Stability, Energy and Waves. Each core idea is further broken into chemical principles with the guidance of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Social Studies

Global Studies (Grade 9)
The primary aim of Global Studies is to build students’ historical thinking skills while examining the diverse civilizations that helped shape the world we live in today. Students learn the essential building blocks of civilization, key early empires, and the major social, political, military, economic and cultural events that contributed to modern nations. Emphasis is placed on analyzing sources and evidence, making historical connections, and identifying basic causes and effects of events in history. While verbal and written expression, study skills, and reading comprehension are critical to this course, expectations are tailored for learners in the classroom on an individual level.

US History (Grade 10)
United States History is the story of a great experiment in representative democracy. In this class, students study the structure and function of our government as well as the history of the United States from Colonial America to the present day. The objective of the course is to provide an in-depth understanding of the basic principles and cultural heritage that support US democracy so that students can become informed, dedicated, and committed participants in government. Students are expected to complete a research paper, participate in classroom discussion, examine primary sources, and engage in classroom debates. Emphasis is placed upon the development of critical thinking skills, the analysis of primary and secondary sources, and both thematic and document-based writing.

Government (Grade 11 – one semester)
Participation in Government is designed to provide students with a practical knowledge and understanding of the study of American government and its direct connection to its citizens. It is important for students to connect with the democratic process as citizens of the United States. Students will be able to apply knowledge of the US Constitution and demonstrate their understanding of how the American system of government functions on the local, state and national levels as well as its impact on individual citizens. Students will also be able to demonstrate their understanding that US citizens have both rights and responsibilities in order for our government to maintain order in our society.

Economics (Grade 11 – one semester)
Economics is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of economic principles, systems, and activities in order to fully participate as a citizen in the U.S. Free Enterprise System. This focus is on the basic principles concerning production, consumption, and distribution and services in the United States and a comparison with those in other countries around the world. The impact of a variety of factors including geography, the federal government, economic ideas from important philosophers and historic documents, societal values, and scientific discoveries and technological innovations on the national economy and economic policy is an integral part of the course.

The above sequence allows 12th graders the opportunity to complete Social Sciences courses at SUNY Schenectady during their senior year.

English
9th-11th grade English
Through the use of different texts and with different levels of mastery in mind, English will both stress close reading, annotating, critical analysis of canonical texts and learning to seamlessly transfer the fruits of such analysis to fluent, formal critical writing. Students will write in a variety of forms to explain, inform, analyze, entertain, reflect, and persuade.

To become college and career-ready, students will experience works of exceptional craft and thought, whose range extends across genres, cultures, and centuries, offering profound insights into the human condition and serving as models for the students’ own thinking and writing. Students will also engage in more subjective, imaginative and informal writing which will take the form of creative writing.

Readings vary year to year based on interest and ability. Texts that have been included in the curriculum in the past include The Odyssey, Fahrenheit 451, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, My Fair Lady, The Awakening, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The House on Mango Street, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Tempest.

Students will continue to build and improve upon their communication skills. This includes a strong focus on the organization and development of effective writing, grammar, mechanics, vocabulary (Wordly Wise), and spelling. Vocabulary and grammar concepts will be presented weekly, internalized via creative assignments. Online programs will also be utilized to develop writing mechanics and grammar.

Due to the range of grades in this class, assignments will be modified and/or graded accordingly.

12th graders take ENG 123 – College Composition and ENG 124 – Literature and Writing at SUNY Schenectady for their fourth credit in English.

Language
Language credits will be earned through coursework at SUNY Schenectady. Students have the opportunity to take Spanish, French, or American Sign Language. Many students enter the ninth grade with one credit from their middle school language course(s).

Fine Arts
Students are required to earn 2 credits in Fine Arts. They earn 1 credit for each full year of Visual Arts class at Brown School, or they may earn 1/2 credit per 3-credit course at SUNY Schenectady in the areas of music or art.

Visual Arts
The High School art curriculum will give students the opportunity to learn basic to advanced drawing and painting skills, discover new art styles and artists, and have in-depth discussions about the social impact of art. Students will also choose an independent study, focusing on the artwork and art styles that interest them the most. They will be encouraged to express themselves visually and discuss their process with their peers.

Physical Education
The curriculum for high school Physical Education stresses the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Teamwork, cooperation and sportsmanship are emphasized. The students will explore a variety of sports and athletic opportunities throughout the year. Credit may also be earned through fitness logs, courses at SUNY Schenectady, or participation in sports outside of school.

Health
The high school health course addresses the continuum of health promotion, risk reduction, and the prevention and management of health problems. It is intended that our students will become creative contributing members of society who will enjoy a positive lifestyle in a safe environment. Curriculum content areas are physical activity and nutrition, diseases, substance awareness, violence prevention, mental health, human sexuality, and current health issues.

Technology
The technology curriculum is a work in progress. Some current high school students have taken a course taught by our former IT director. We did not offer a technology course in the 2021-22 school year. We are discussing opportunities to offer a course on campus again in the future, but are also open to pursuing the option of a course at SUNY Schenectady fulfilling the technology requirement for high school graduation.