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Curriculum

Purposeful Learning Through Inspiring Curriculum

At The White Mountain School, we believe that true education should do more than inform: it should inspire. While aligned with a college preparatory curriculum, courses here extend beyond the classroom and into the world around us. Here students can master their Spanish on our annual international service trip, or practice forest stewardship as they help to manage our 240-acre campus property, or learn to measure slopes in advanced algebra while designing their own trail projects. Ultimately, at White Mountain, it’s not about the required courses students must take that makes their educational experience special. It’s the breadth of courses they get to take.

Our teachers know that in every interaction with a student, there is a chance to motivate, mentor, and challenge; they teach here because they truly want to share their lives and passions with young people. These components of our academic program balance rigor and relevance as we prepare our students for college and, ultimately, for lives beyond formal academics.


Current Course Offerings (2021-2022)

Arts

Our Arts Department believes that every student should feel comfortable in their ability to express themselves artistically in at least one medium. Students learn to be fluent in that medium and to communicate their vision compellingly. We embrace learning as an effective, inspiring creative process for each of our students. All classes begin with periods of collaborative planning and brainstorming. We encourage and support our students so that they are comfortable taking risks in our studios, and we are excited to guide them through investigations into their own passions.

White Mountain students are curious. They step outside standard high school curricula when they research and develop their own glaze chemistry for ceramics, build their own pinhole cameras, write their own plays, and organize dance clubs and rehearsals—all on their own time. This is a creative community.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course is recommended for committed junior and senior students with a strong interest in developing as artists and creative thinkers. With the goal of preparing and submitting a strong portfolio to the College Board, students may concentrate on either two-dimensional media (based in design or mark-making) or three-dimensional media. Class time also is used for peer critiques and visits to museums, galleries, and local art studios. At the end of the year, students share their work in a formal gallery opening. The Portfolio Seminar, or permission of the instructor, is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times at different levels, including increasingly advanced levels.

In this course, students learn how to use clay to build various forms and vessels. We focus primarily on hand-building techniques, as this is the best way to get to know how clay works, but we also learn the basics of how to throw on the potter’s wheel. Students in this class experiment with pinch, coil, and slab techniques, exploring the many possibilities for surface treatments, including simple glazing. This course emphasizes the creative process of making expressive ceramic forms along with the underlying principles of design, aesthetic, and intent. Specific projects may include creating large coil pots, making luminaries from slabs, creating two-dimensional figurative sculptures, or learning how to use glazes or other decorative techniques to treat the surfaces of these artworks.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

White Mountain’s choral program provides students a creative and expressive opportunity to make music with one another. Through this course, which meets once a week in the evenings, students develop skills in listening, reading music, and performing. Students will apply musical skills as they continue to create and experience music as a musical ensemble, developing mastery of solfege, major and minor scales, and four-part harmonies.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Any and all students who play a musical instrument or sing may join this course. Music selection and instrumentation will be determined by the class’s interests and skill set. Styles will include rock, folk, and other popular music styles. The class will perform for the School twice during the semester, once midway through the course and once at the end of the semester. This class is intended to be a low-pressure, fun, and respectful environment to learn more about their instrument and what it means to play in a collaborative ensemble.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Students will explore their individual musical interests through creative projects, class discussion, and collaborative assignments. Contemporary musical topics will include but are not limited to digital audio recording, basic music theory, and modern music history. There will be opportunities to play musical instruments as well as learn music production techniques. This class is open to students of all musical abilities. No prior musical experience is required.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times at different levels, including increasingly advanced levels.

Students in this course explore the craft of photography in four parts. The first entails an overview of art history, leading into an in-depth look at photography's history, from its invention to contemporary work. Students then practice digital photography. We learn the mechanics of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), and students present an exhibit of their work. Assignments cover a wide range of subject matter: still life, abstract, portraits, action photography, and others. Toward the end of the term, students learn how to use the computer software program Adobe Photoshop, creating multilayered, composite images, and learning techniques for colorizing and retouching. Students are required to have a DSLR or mirrorless camera for this course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times at different levels, including increasingly advanced levels.

Students in this course explore the craft of photography in four parts. The first entails an overview of art history, leading into an in-depth look at photography's history, from its invention to contemporary work. Students then practice black-and-white darkroom photography. We learn the mechanics of the single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs), developing our own film and prints in this class. Students present an exhibit of their film-based work. Assignments cover a wide range of subject matter: still life, abstract, portraits, action photography, and others. A 35mm SLR film camera is welcome but not required for this course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This introductory-level choreography course investigates the endless possibilities of movement and explores the structure and creation of dance based on the elements of time, space, energy, and effort. Through guided movement exploration, personal movement exploration, dance observation, critical analysis of work presented in class, and on-screen journal writing and reading assignments, students develop and nurture their individual choreographic voice. Students are asked to open themselves to different movement styles, create their own movement studies, and learn to speak articulately about choreographic form. No prior dance training is necessary.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Suitable for the beginner dancer, this course will introduce students to dance technique and the practice of movement improvisation. Our practice will focus on modern dance technique, although ballet and social dance forms will also be explored. As the semester moves on, we will begin incorporating more improvisation into the class experience, focussing on using improvisation as a tool for choreography.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Students in this course work one-on-one with professional composers over the course of the semester to develop an understanding of music theory and skills in orchestral composition. Partnering with the non-profit Music-COMP (Music Composition Mentoring Program), students work with a clear end-goal in mind: to create an original composition that will be performed by a professional quartet at the end of the semester. The instruction in the course comes in the form of regular one-on-one and group meetings and weekly online mentoring by various professional musicians

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times at different levels, including increasingly advanced levels.

Studio Art introduces students to various fine art-making processes. Students develop conceptual and technical skills while studying many different kinds of media and how to use them safely. White Mountain’s studio art program is inquiry-driven and facilitates student work in planning and building an original body of work, rather than pre-planned instructor-driven projects. The program is supplemented with learning to present work formally through presentations and critiques and field trips to museums, galleries, and local artist studios.

In this course, students will be introduced to multiple examples of Western concert dance from approximately the mid-19th century to the present day. We will investigate how concert dance shapes and is shaped by Western culture. Through physical work in the studio, readings, viewing of dance performances, and discussion, students will deepen their understanding of the creative process and their appreciation of dance as a medium for social commentary and artistic expression.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to put on a theatrical production successfully. Students engage in script reading and annotation, stage direction and blocking, and a study of theater history. Through participation in theater games, improvisations, monologues, dialogues, skits, and short scenes, students strengthen their visual and physical presence along with other acting skills. The class culminates with a polished, public presentation of a one-act play. Some additional rehearsals during afternoons and on weekends are required. Intro to Theater, or permission of the instructor, is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: No Credit
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Extra Fee: TBD

Vocal Ensemble blends individual voice instruction with an authentic group A Cappella experience. Students in Vocal Ensemble are members of The Accidentals, the School’s A Cappella ensemble where participants learn and practice breathing techniques, vocal warm-ups, harmonizing, intonation, phrasing, and blending as a group, typically without the support of instruments. Students practice more sophisticated concepts during private voice lessons, including dynamics, diction, legato and staccato singing, and performance etiquette such as acting while singing. To receive course credit for Vocal Ensemble, a student needs to attend twice a week A Cappella rehearsals and once a week private voice lessons. Private voice lessons or A Cappella may be taken alone as non-credit options. No prior experience is necessary.


Design and Engineering

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The advanced robotics course provides students with space and time to dive deeply into the designs initiated from the annual FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Students will focus their attention on the competition during the first four weeks of the course: programming, constructing, documenting, and marketing. Once the competition culminates, students will employ user-centered design principles to identify needs in the surrounding community; they will then work in teams to create automated and robotics solutions. Participation on White Mountain’s FIRST Robotics team, Northern Horizons Team 7416, as a co-curricular during sports block is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Do you have what it takes to create a successful small business? Students will take on the task of creating and selling artisanal products that they make themselves during this course. The class will learn how to use the tools in the School’s Inquiry, Innovation, and Impact (I^3) Lab to create products—refining skills they already have and learning new techniques. The class will set up a functional online business to sell their goods and design, advertise for, and run a craft fair where members of the local community can purchase them. Throughout the course, students will meet with and learn from local artisans and entrepreneurs as they refine their own business plans and learn about topics such as advertising, branding, market research, pricing strategies, budgeting, and laws and regulations for small businesses, along with ith other factors and best practices that affect the success of their enterprise.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

How might we use programming to collect data from the world around us? How might we inspire others through our codes? Using the language of Python and C, students will learn to design and code programs, learn computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D modeling software, and how to 3D print. Students will use circuits and electronics throughout the course to make projects. Students will learn basic loops and logic statements; they will learn circuitry, including parallel, series, and complex circuits. While this is a course in programming and circuits, it is equally a course in design. How might we design to meet the true authentic needs of another? How might we begin to see ourselves as capable of designing new and novel solutions to interesting and important problems? Students will learn to ask questions about the world around them and create solutions through user-centered design.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

How might we design to meet the true authentic needs of another? How might we begin to see ourselves as capable of designing new and novel solutions to interesting and important problems? This is a course in human-centered design, in which students will learn to ask questions about the world around them and create solutions through an approach rooted in empathy. The focus of the solutions will be physical creations. Thus, students will learn to build and make in the woodshop, learning to safely and skillfully choose the appropriate tools for a job. Throughout the course, students will work in groups on design challenges that increase in length, scope, and sophistication as the semester progresses. Working primarily with wood, we expect students to begin to understand design and creation (a.k.a. making) as a form of communication and critical thinking.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

At the core, this is a course in design and problem-solving. How might we incorporate an understanding of robotics to build novel solutions to complex problems? Through a hands-on, project-based learning approach, this course will provide students with an understanding of the current and future use of automation and robotics. Working in teams, students will implement a design thinking approach to develop user-centered needs, build prototypes, and engage in iterative feedback cycles. Topics may include motor control, gear ratios, torque, friction, sensors, timing, program loops, logic gates, and decision-making. Students will operate with small-scale robotics using Arduino, stepper motors, and hobby motors, and building with a variety of materials such as wood, aluminum, ABS plastics, and possibly fiberglass. While this fall semester course is intended to prepare students to have the confidence and competence to be skillful and effective members of White Mountain’s FIRST Robotics team, Northern Horizons Team 7416, that occurs in the winter, joining the team is not a requirement of the course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

One of our basic needs as humans is shelter. One of our basic responsibilities as humans is environmental stewardship. In this course, we will find and/or create ways of balancing both. First, we will learn the basics of architecture, including architectural renderings by hand and using technology. The class will work in teams to design a sustainable environmental classroom working under both financial and materials constraints. We will find guidance on books such as The Barefoot Architect and Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, and we will use our heads, hearts, and hands to create with care. Each team that meets the given constraints will pitch their design to the student body. The winning "design" will be constructed in the accompanying course, Sustainable Architecture II: Build, which will be offered in the 2022-23 school year.


English

Our English Department believes in the transformative, thought-provoking power of literature and its ability to build community and an understanding of the world. Our goal is to prepare students, through effective discussions, constructive feedback, and reflection, to be analytical readers and articulate writers who think critically about various literary genres and writing styles. When we share our love of literature and writing with our students of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we help them to see themselves in the texts they read. We teach students to express and explore their understanding of the world in a thorough, personal way.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course will survey African American literature from 1619 to the present, drawing on both novels and hip hop as a way to understand the evolution of African American voices in America. Beginning with Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass and ending with Janelle Monáe, Childish Gambino, and Lil Nas X, we will examine the uneasy relationship between race and writing by asking: What role has writing by African Americans played in the long fight for political freedom and equality? How has that writing changed over time—stylistically or otherwise—to reflect the different political and social needs of its historical moment?

Simultaneously, we will be examining the ways in which music, primarily hip hop, has been and is used, as a platform to reflect the public consciousness around social and political issues, as it relates to race. By simultaneously studying literature with hip hop, this course will examine the ways in which these sources respond to and interact with the "majority culture's" efforts to define race, freedom, and justice while bridging the gap between the past, present, and future.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course examines an influential movement that emerged in American literature after World War II. With the rise of the Beat Generation, authors began to explore nontraditional topics and to write in an anti-conformist style to express their beliefs. In this course, students encounter the roots of the Beat Generation, beginning with Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five. They will explore the philosophy and religious beliefs of this counterculture movement in Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and the letters and poems of Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Diane DiPrima, and others. Throughout the course, students will analyze the impact of the culture and politics of the time, the evolution of literature between 1957 and 1969, and the historical events that defined this period. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Every year, numerous stories try to catch the zeitgeist of being a teenager. Audiences have shown a clear demand for stories about young people, from soapy television dramas and reality television hijinks to bestselling young adult novels and highly lauded literature. But what do actual teenagers think of these accounts? In this class, we will look at how stories of youth and growing up are portrayed across various eras and media (e.g., literature, television, movies, advertisements) with a chance for students to reflect on their own "coming of age" via personal narrative writing. Further, students will examine stereotypes, politics, school culture, and more as the class begins to define what issues and stories speak to being a young person today.

Possible texts may include: Jandy Nelson’s I'll Give You the Sun, Justin Torres’ We the Animals, Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing Unburied, Sing, and excerpts of television shows and films.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The construction of a world can make or break a great story. Understanding the limitations of the world, societal norms, rules, inhabitants, and more can determine whether or not a book or other form of media (e.g., movies, television shows, graphic novels) is deemed “good.” From fiction novels to documentaries, how worlds are constructed and displayed can skew how we understand and interact with media. This class will explore how worlds are created, what goes into a good world, who the inhabitants of the world are, how they interact with each other, and, most importantly, the purpose of the world. Students will be working towards trying to create their own worlds that are sustainable, equitable, and functional in both a visual and literary way while grappling with the larger question of: “Can there ever be a perfect world?”

Possible texts may include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling, Einstein's Dream by Alan Lightman, and The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, with excerpts from How Long ‘til Black Future Month by N.K Jemisin and Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Orson Card.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Umberto Eco wrote, “Those things about which we cannot theorize, we must narrate.” Writing is a way of knowing the world. In this course, students are challenged to see the world from the perspective of writers. Students read and discuss classic and contemporary fiction and poetry as they build their portfolio and their skills as writers. The backbone of the class is a workshop where students both give and receive feedback from their peers. Class readings and discussions focus on particular issues associated with the craft of writing. Students may have opportunities to attend readings and performances and engage with authors outside of School. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In their freshman year, students of English encounter the myriad forms and potential power of written expression, reading works representing various cultures across time and space. The course enables students to master the rudiments of strong writing and cultivates in each student a desire and an ability to read texts carefully and critically. Assigned readings in English I often feature young people as protagonists and explore the complexities entailed in “coming of age.” These journeys become vehicles for class discussion and writing, as students practice supporting their ideas and interpretations clearly and with evidence. While students do analytical and creative writing, our ongoing emphasis is on improving skills in reading, studying, writing, critical thinking, oral presentation, and research.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Students in this course continue to hone their ability to think critically, with particular emphasis on conveying thoughts in writing with clarity and precision. Students in English II identify and study aspects of strong writing from various European authors, building on that foundation in regular writing activities. We encourage students to articulate their own questions as they read works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Conrad, Voltaire, Swift, Mary Shelley, Kafka, Ibsen, Orwell, and others. Written assessments both assist and help gauge students’ reading comprehension and analytical skills. Weekly vocabulary tests aid students in the expansion of their English lexicon. Over the course of the year, students produce at least one research paper, several comparative and persuasive essays, a multi-genre writing project, multiple oral presentations, and brief weekly journals.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In this class, students have the opportunity to explore the environmental writings of a broad range of authors from Thoreau to McKibben. Students become aware of the history of the environmental movement, learn about the people who have written about the environment, and develop a personal philosophy about the environment. Over the course of the semester, students read and respond to essays, poems, and articles. Students lead class discussions, contribute to a blog, and write about current environmental issues and events. Each week students are assigned an article to read and respond to, present a current events summary in class and respond to presentations given by classmates. The culminating activity is to write a personal environmental philosophy based on one’s own experiences and the course readings. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Journalism is sometimes called "the first rough draft of history." It is a powerful tool for investigating the world and communicating the stories we discover. This course is designed to help students write purposefully, definitively, and succinctly. It will provide practice communicating with diverse audiences and doing so with a deadline. We will also look at the purpose and history of journalism, review some of its ethical considerations, and read a variety of modern journalists' work.

The writing will include some hard news stories, opinion pieces, and feature-length work. We will create feature articles that are suitable for print, and we will try to publish them as broadly as we can. We'll also have the option of preparing these features as multimedia pieces in audio or video format. Throughout the course, we will focus on the purpose and fundamentals of journalism, and we will work to become critical media consumers and persuasive, engaging communicators.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Through television, author Ray Bradbury said, "We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking." In this class, we will try to bridge the gap between the feelings a piece of media may evoke in us and an analysis of the rhetorical motives and language of media. Using a combination of visual and textual analysis skills, students will grow and deepen their media literacy to help them become informed media consumers.

Through readings, screenings, and multi-modal projects, students will interrogate how various media forms (images, journalism, television, video games, film, etc.) prompt us to feel, think, and sometimes even act in certain ways. We will explore the creative, historical, and political implications of various media sources, using different theoretical frameworks to assess how race, gender, class, and other identifiers impact our viewing and listening habits.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Murder propels the narratives and shapes the meanings of some of Western literature’s most powerful and provocative works. In this literature-focused course, students study the underlying causes and reasons for murder and the morally complex consequences. They explore various themes in each of the texts by reading, discussing, and writing in multiple genres. The reading list includes To Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, Othello, The Maltese Falcon, and In Cold Blood. Students grapple with moral issues, study the psychology of murderers, discover the importance of means, motive, and opportunity in each story, and relate the textual themes and motifs to their own lives and the world today. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Students in this course have the opportunity to write informatively and creatively about the places that they are from and the places in which they are currently situated, both literally and figuratively. They discover how places impact people and shape events, and, consequently, how places influence writing. In this class, we also read several articles, short stories, and essays that effectively take us to different places, causing us to experience the emotion, essence, and sensual nature of several distinct locations.

Writing assignments include essays, poetry, and short stories, many of which will be compiled into a class journal (“Writing our Communities”). Writings of particularly high quality may be submitted to contests or for publication. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Literary arts have long been a place to express, connect with, or resist political ideas and movements. In this course, we will explore various political eras and events alongside the poetic movements that have sprung from them. Beginning with the Harlem Renaissance, we will read from various authors in the written and spoken word exploring how poets use their craft to understand and express their identities and respond to multiple forms of injustice. Students will study the craft of slam poetry through in-class readings and writer’s workshop, building toward creating and performing original works. Students will also have the opportunity to research a movement, poet, or poetic genre of their choice to understand the broader impact and application of poetry in the political sphere.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

What is important in American culture right now? How can we authentically study what America is currently obsessed with, fearful of, in love with, or leaning toward? The National Book Foundation believes that literature is the way to engage with the different answers to those questions, and that is why they name National Book Award winners each year. Their mission is to "celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.” In this course, we will study the winning literature of the National Book Awards in order to examine the current cultural moment of America. As readers in this course, our job is to live this mission: we will be the audience that celebrates the best literature and the audience that learns to find the pulse of contemporary American culture through the heartbeat of literature.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

What if Zombies started acting during the Civil War? What if gods and goddesses helped soldiers fight WWI? What if WWII was fought with magic and dragons? For many, we understand that historical moments are fixed points in time that are just recognized to be true and accepted as fact. However, with the rise of the speculative fiction genre, history has gotten a makeover. This course will examine major historical events through the lens of fiction and ask the question of “what if?” This course allows for the voices of those who are often silenced in history to be heard, reimagined, and re-invented.

Using Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States as a textbook, students will examine the world as it is today—drawing parallels between past and present events—and grapple with the overarching question of the course: “Can re-imagining history help us to shape a better future?” Possible texts may include Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark, Flygirl by Sherri Smith, Arrowsmith by Kurt Busiek, Pride of Baghdad by Brian Vaughan, and excerpts from How Long ‘til Black Future Month by N.K Jemisin.


English Language Learners (ELL)

Our English Language Learners (ELL) Program is a rigorous college-preparatory program that prepares English-language learners (ELLs) for mainstream classes in both the humanities and sciences. Students solidify their comprehension of English by reviewing basic grammar, listening, reading, and conversational skills. They eventually learn how to analyze literature and write formal essays. Third-level ELLs are aided in honing their reading, writing, analytical, critical thinking, and discussion skills to prepare them for success in English-speaking colleges and universities.

Teachers in this program strive to nurture ELLs holistically by helping them to make connections with domestic students, supporting them emotionally as they transition to life in the United States, and encouraging them to discover their passions and become actively involved in our community.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times.

Designed for Level I (Beginner) ELL students, this course focuses on building the fundamental writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills necessary for ELL students to succeed in mainstream English classes. Students are introduced to the basics of English grammar, from verb tenses to prepositions and more. We read short stories throughout the year to become more familiar with the English language and to practice the skill of reading closely. Students also learn to compose well-structured paragraphs.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)
Notes: This course fulfills our U.S. History Graduation Requirement

This course is designed to increase students' reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills to a level that is necessary for academic success in mainstream English and history classes. These skills will be developed by reading, discussing, and writing about authentic, grade-level materials similar to those used in the English I course. Students in this course will interact with both novels and informational texts to critically examine authors' purposes. Students are expected to actively engage in class discussions, complete independent reading assignments, and write analytical literary papers.


History

Our History Department is rooted in the belief that to understand humanity and the current state of the world, we must look at what we have done and who we have been in the past. To know our world, we must be able to make sense of the ever-growing streams of information and be able to formulate the meaning of that information.

We utilize debate, Socratic Seminar, genealogy studies, and major independent projects and presentations in our studies as we teach to student interests and encourage a culture of inquiry in our classes.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

The evolving field of human geography examines the modern and historical patterns, means, and processes of human occupation in both place and space. While this class involves an introduction to physical world geography, our study is tied primarily to the unique impacts and consequences of the interaction between geography and human populations. Aided by maps and mapping tools, students study world religions, cultural patterns, and global economics to understand how those forces place and order people in spatial dimensions. We use established models and methods as tools for understanding how cities develop, how people move, and how populations shift.

While this course enables students to discover a new lens with which to understand historical events, it also benefits those who seek a deeper understanding of the modern world. Contemporary politics, economics, conflicts, and events help us understand geographical concepts in real-time. We may also have several opportunities to learn from our own local geography through selected case studies and field trips. As with all AP courses, we concentrate on the specific strategies and skills students need to succeed on the AP Exam. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In this course, we employ the lens of the academic study of religion to examine two foundational faiths of Asia: Hinduism and Buddhism. After reviewing sacred texts and historical foundations, we examine ethics, articles of faith, artistic representations, and current religious practices. Students read a selection of modern texts that address the integration of those faiths within the modern world. Finally, students use the tools they develop to research other religious practices of the region—some of which have their roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, and some of which evolved alongside the major faiths. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course will still be offered but not in 2021-2022.

What is a disease? And how have both diseases and human responses to diseases shaped our history? The COVID-19 pandemic sent most humans across the world into isolation, catalyzing an economic crash unlike any we have seen since the Great Depression. Using this as the primary case study, we will explore previous pandemics and epidemics that have shaped human history. We will look at the diseases that shaped the world's religions, that spurred conquest and migration of new lands and migrations of people across the globe, and that sparked wars and changed politics. We will explore how our understanding and responses to diseases have evolved over time. We will examine how people studied, understood, and responded to diseases as a reflection of knowledge and technology. We will also examine how the responses to a disease reveal differences in our society across gender, class, race, and age. Through this look at diseases and history, we will explore how many of our human decisions have been influenced by tiny microbes that really rule the world. This interdisciplinary course satisfies a half-credit of history or science.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Journalism is sometimes called "the first rough draft of history." It is a powerful tool for investigating the world and communicating the stories we discover. This course is designed to help students write purposefully, definitively, and succinctly. It will provide practice communicating with diverse audiences and doing so with a deadline. We will also look at the purpose and history of journalism, review some of its ethical considerations, and read a variety of modern journalists' work.

The writing will include some hard news stories, opinion pieces, and feature-length work. We will create feature articles that are suitable for print, and we will try to publish them as broadly as we can. We'll also have the option of preparing these features as multimedia pieces in audio or video format. Throughout the course, we will focus on the purpose and fundamentals of journalism, and we will work to become critical media consumers and persuasive, engaging communicators.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course uses a variety of classical and contemporary sources to inform discussions of today’s social issues. Students explore the works of Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, and Marx, as well as religious-based ethical systems worldwide, applying them to examinations of issues such as capital punishment, medical ethics, environmentalism, abortion, social equity, and economics. This course asks students to grapple with questions that have inspired philosophers throughout history and continue to impact our world. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course will examine current and past systems that have cultivated and changed one of humankind's most fundamental basic needs: food. We will study the history of agriculture in the U.S. and understand why and how these systems have evolved and shifted over time. In this course, we will also come to understand the impact that agriculture has had on our natural and built environments and how these systems, past and present, have consequently shaped our diets and overall relationship with food.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

"It is increasingly clear that systemic oppression and environmental collapse are inextricably linked." –Michael Wilson-Becerril

In this course, we will study U.S. history through the context of environmental justice. We will examine the long-standing parallels between the treatment of the environment and that of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). We will study individual cases in which the natural environment has been exploited, polluted, and mistreated and, as a result, has also harmed or misplaced the individuals living there. In addition to case studies, we will also learn about the history of the environmental justice movement and its evolution over time.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The 20th century brought about significant growth in international connections and world-wide turmoil as countries learned to navigate these clashes of ideals and sharing in a global existence. The global warfare of WWI, WWII, and the Cold War marked, and the aftermath of these conflicts shaped the century, long after their conclusions. Furthermore, the aftermaths of each resulted in new ideas of collaboration and world peace and set the stage for many of the policies in place today that help to navigate in times of global struggle. In this semester-long course, students will dive into the conflict and measures of resolution that shaped foreign affairs as we know them today. Students will explore questions such as: 

  • Where did the United Nations come from, and what power do they have?

  • Why is WWII known as the “good war,” and is there any good that can come from war? 

  • Who had power, and where did it come from? 

  • Why did so many countries become entangled in these wars? 

  • What were countries really fighting about, and what was learned from it? 

Through various readings, documentaries, stories, and exploration of primary documents, students will challenge their understanding of the 20th century and begin a journey of uncovering the roots of global interconnectedness and the positives and negatives that come from that journey. This course satisfies half of the U.S. History credit requirement.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course will still be offered but not in 2021-2022.

Starting in the 19th century, this class will examine specific natural disasters in the United States and the historical context and significance of each. For each case study, we will compare and contrast three themes: 

  • Political and Historical Significance: What was the political situation of the U.S. at the time, both domestically and globally? What connections are there between each event and the politics/economics/culture of the U.S.? What was communication like from federal and local governments to local communities prior to each event? 

  • Aftermath and Humanitarian Aid: Which humanitarian actors were involved, if any? How did they approach each situation? Were there any long-term impacts on migration or relief services in the U.S.? 

  • Equity and Environmental Justice: What was the impact on traditionally-marginalized communities? How did their situation differ from others? Were there structural hierarchies at play? 

Throughout the semester, we will also be asking ourselves how climate change and human activity have influenced natural disasters and whether we can still call them “natural.” In the second half of the semester, students will spend significant time on a research project addressing a disaster event of their choosing and will present their research and an argument for how climate change and human activity impacted the event. Assessments will include reading and response questions, quizzes, reflection writing, essay writing, visual work, creative writing, and the research project. Materials will include but are not limited to: scholarly articles, book chapters, editorial and media pieces, podcasts, and documentaries. This course satisfies half of the U.S. History credit requirement.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The history of slavery is long and complicated, older than America, and still not understood enough or studied enough. The terrifying and shameful narrative of slavery—and the racism that fueled it and that remains because of it—will be our focus. The key objective of the course to recontextualize the study of slavery. We will work to learn, assemble, analyze, extend, and discover contexts for the facts of slavery in American history, the impact of slavery in American history, and the legacy of slavery in American history and the American present.

Inspired by the work of The 1619 Project—launched in 2019 on the 400th anniversary of African slaves coming against their will to what would become America—this course will not only emphasize the tools and habits of history study, but it will also provide room for creation and illumination of new authority and new understanding. The course places slavery, its consequences, and the contributions of Black Americans as central—not peripheral, incidental, or hidden—to a reconsideration of the American historical narrative. Relational and transactional, the course uses competency-based learning, student-driven inquiry, and student voice as essential features of its design.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This U.S. history elective course will investigate the events, documents, and issues relating to the presidencies of the "Founding Fathers": Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. The president—as head of the executive branch, driver of governmental policy, and quite often figurehead of American identity—provides a unique lens through which to study American history. The earliest presidents can be cast as heroic icons of American ideals, despicable villains who systematically abused human rights, or a complicated mix of both. This course will dive into that debate.

Spanning these leader's roles during the early days of the republic—including the creation of the founding documents such as the Constitution—all the way through their presidential terms, students will use discussion, primary documents, historical thinking, and research skills to discover the complexity, impact, and contradictions of the first five presidents of the United States.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course serves as an introduction to the study of the history, role, and influence of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), particularly when concerning the rights of citizens as established by the Constitution and other laws. A sampling of landmark cases will be studied and discussed, along with related historical context, to explore issues such as the freedom of speech, the separation of church and state, and the rights of privacy. Pending Supreme Court cases, and the means by which cases are argued before the Supreme Court, will also be studied.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course employs the lens of the academic study of religion to examine the three major global monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all of which trace their origins to Abraham, a “father in faith.” After reviewing sacred texts and historical foundations, we examine the similarities and differences among ethics, articles of faith, artistic representations, and current practices between those religions. Finally, students explore the intersection of those religions and how “the people of the book” have shaped—and continue to shape—the modern world. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Focusing on history prior to 1400, World History I explores the confluence of geography, religion, economics, politics, society, and culture in world history through the primary lens of sustainability. The main objective of this course is to help students develop an understanding of the myriad experiences of the people who occupy our planet and the global events and movements that have given the modern world its present shape. Students also work on study skills, map reading, research, critical thinking, and writing. Students engage in class discussions, give oral presentations, read from various texts and sources, and conduct research on particular topics. Contemporary global political issues and events are explored as they relate to our studies.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Focusing on history after 1400, World History II gives particular attention to the global innovations, revolutions, and events that have shaped societies as they exist today. In this course, assignments are designed to help students grapple meaningfully with some of the most poignant problems and questions to emerge since the Renaissance. Students learn to process and utilize historical evidence as they themselves ultimately articulate the broadest lessons of modern human history. This course uses sustainability as a lens through which to analyze and understand the modern world.


LASR

All students complete an independent project through our LASR Program. This is an opportunity for students to explore their own interests with creativity and rigor and to make a difference beyond the School. It’s our way of emphasizing that passion matters.

LASR stands for the general categories that students may pursue: Leadership, Arts, Service, and Research. While individual projects within those categories differ in their direction and emphasis, they all include significant research and writing, a presentation, and a component that adds value to the world. Students receive a High Pass, Pass, or No Pass on their LASR project.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This seminar prepares students for the significant writing and research skills that college work will require. Students enrolled in this course identify and conduct research on an academic topic of personal choice by developing research questions, cultivating research skills and strategies, evaluating and analyzing sources, synthesizing information, and writing and revising an academic essay. Throughout the course, students also focus on developing presentation skills. This is an open-topic seminar. Therefore, students will be pursuing topics about which they are truly passionate; students are expected to do some initial planning of their project the semester before and will complete a proposal as part of the course. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.


Learning Center

Academic coaches in White Mountain’s Learning Center work with students to address two types of learning needs: organization and study skills and/or identified learning difference(s). They assist students with gaining confidence, strategies, and accommodations to become successful independent learners. 

In addition to several core services, we offer the below, fee-based support courses for students. Upon reviewing a student’s application during the admissions process, these services may be part of the terms of acceptance.

Credits: Non-Credit Offering
Duration: Determined on a case-by-case basis between families, the Office of Admission, and the Learning Center during the enrollment and re-enrollment processes.

Academic Coaching provides individualized, 2:1 academic support. Students and academic coaches meet three times each week during a regularly scheduled class time as part of the academic day. This program provides a high level of support for students who are working to establish, increase, or maintain the academic skills they need to be successful. Students and academic coaches partner to determine the specific goals for the semester, including time management skills, organizational skills, study skills, classroom engagement skills, active reading skills, work completion skills, and/or writing process skills. As part of our larger program philosophy, all students develop skills to enhance self-awareness and self-advocacy.

To promote consistent and transparent communication, students and parents receive weekly feedback from all of their teachers and their academic coach. Educational testing is required for students interested in Academic Coaching and must be submitted during the admissions process. Students in Academic Coaching are asked for a minimum one-year commitment to the program. Additionally, academic coaches and the director of the Learning Center partner with students in securing testing accommodations, including extended time, separate testing, and assistive technology. The Learning Center director also coordinates the application process for securing accommodations for the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests.

Credits: Non-Credit Offering
Duration: Determined on a case-by-case basis between families, the Office of Admission, and the Learning Center during the enrollment and re-enrollment processes.

This course offers personal attention through a small-group format. Each group consists of no more than five students and meets together two times each week during a regularly scheduled class time during Evening Study Hall. This program provides consistent support and attention for students who are working to develop time management skills, organizational skills, study skills, classroom engagement skills, active reading skills, work completion skills, and/or writing process skills. Students work with their academic coach to prioritize the skills they want to develop and receive weekly feedback from their teachers and academic coach about their progress.

Educational testing is not required for this course; however, any student with educational testing must submit documentation to secure accommodations, including extended time, separate testing, and assistive technology. Our Learning Center director also coordinates the application process for securing accommodations for the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests.


Mathematics

Our Mathematics Department is grounded in the belief that mathematical literacy is an essential piece of a human toolkit for navigating post-secondary challenges. We teach students the skills and knowledge to teach themselves by providing space and time for mastery and building authentic modeling activities into our curriculum. At White Mountain, we have the freedom and flexibility to maximize individual student strengths and interests. We know that we are helping students to understand, interpret, and apply the language of mathematics when we see them—discovering answers to their own questions about the algebraic expressions, the Fibonacci sequence, or Java programming on their own outside of class.

A student who completes AP Calculus BC earlier than their senior year or who has an interest in a supplemental mathematical area will be encouraged to pursue advanced mathematics through our partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA).

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course is a full-year mathematics elective that formally introduces students to the study of calculus: the mathematics of rates, change, and accumulation. Students’ primary foci of study include limits, derivatives, and integrals, with the ultimate objective of learning how to use these skills to solve problems. We also explore how to derive the formulas that are used in the new concepts to which students are introduced and derive many familiar equations from physics and geometry. This course prepares students to take the AP Calculus AB Exam. Precalculus, or permission of the instructor, is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students work in greater depth and in new ways with the concepts and skills studied in AP Calculus AB, learning how they apply to more sophisticated function types, including parametric, polar, and vector functions. Students are introduced to and utilize several new methods of solving mathematical problems. This course prepares students to take the AP Calculus BC exam. AP Calculus AB and permission of the instructor are prerequisites for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This year-long course equips students with the basic skills of algebra: the use of variables, solving linear and quadratic equations, manipulating systems of linear equations, and solving inequalities. Students hone these abilities through daily assignments, group work, and class discussions. This course strengthens students’ mathematical and problem-solving skills and deliberately aids in developing organizational skills, written and oral communication skills, and the ability to collaborate effectively. In teaching and encouraging students to incorporate quantitative, logical analysis in their discernment processes, this course enables students to make well-informed decisions both in and outside the classroom. Students also learn how to use graphing calculators to solve problems, verify their solutions, and defend their answers.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In Algebra II, students use their background in linear functions and equations from Algebra I and their experiences in Geometry as springboards for learning about more intricate mathematical functions and relationships. This course helps students model and analyze a much broader range of phenomena, with applications in engineering, business, music, physics, finance, biology, and many other disciplines. Students build on their mathematical skillset through daily assignments, group work, student-led presentations, journals, class discussions, and presentations by the instructor. Engaging in projects such as the design of trails with varying slopes, or the building of parabolic solar ovens, students identify meaningful connections between graphical representations and algebraic principles. The course will also train students to use graphing calculators effectively in the problem-solving process. Algebra I and Geometry are prerequisites for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This class guides students through a study of the relationships existing among a variety of geometric elements in two-dimensional space. A working knowledge of these relationships enables students to solve spatial problems. We cover the following specific topics: lines and angles, areas of polygons, the Pythagorean Theorem, solid geometry, similarity, trigonometry, coordinate geometry, and properties of circles. Students are asked to identify fundamental geometric principles during the course of the year and use these principles to construct solutions to complex problems, including proofs, complex figures, and word problems. Assignments are designed with the goal of challenging each student to think more abstractly. Algebra I is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course prepares students for success in either Calculus or a different first-year, college-level course in mathematics. Students primarily engage in problem-solving and a study of mathematical functions, including function notation, inverse functions, and the graphing of function families. These concepts appear throughout the year as students learn about polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. In Precalculus, we focus much of our time on using these functions to solve “real world” problems, with a strong emphasis on effectively communicating the mathematical process and collaboratively working with peers to discuss and solve those problems. Solid skills in algebra and geometry are essential for success in this course. Algebra II is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students will learn to collect, analyze, interpret, and present numerical data. The class curriculum will follow a traditional introductory college course curriculum—descriptive statistics, probability, sampling design, and inferential statistics. Students will learn to use their TI-84 calculators to simulate random phenomena and use spreadsheets to organize and analyze data. Students will have the opportunity to design their own research, collect data, and use their new statistical skills to make conclusions.


Outdoor Education

Our Outdoor Education Department furthers the mission of our School by enhancing students’ relationships with the natural, human, physical, and spiritual environments that surround them. Utilizing experiential methods, we equip students with the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity required to facilitate safe and enjoyable outdoor experiences in a variety of topographic settings.

Through Field Courses and extended outdoors trips, students are aided in nurturing a love for the outdoors, developing a lasting concern for the earth’s ecosystem, and personal self-discovery. We help students achieve proficiency in LNT (“leave no trace”) camping, various modes of wilderness travel, first aid, and other backcountry skills. A focus on small-group dynamics and healthy student interactions also plays a crucial role in this process. With our instructional programs, we provide a venue for each student to participate in outdoor sports at an ability-appropriate level. Our department also provides students with the opportunity to seek out a leadership role by becoming a student assistant or a student leader within our Field Courses and sports programs.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course combines independent projects, classroom theory, and outdoor practical skills and application. Students will examine what leadership means by studying the leadership curriculum designed by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Students will learn the fundamentals of leadership development by practicing different styles of effective leadership and communication, decision-making techniques, conflict resolution, and individual and group development. During the course, students will examine themselves as leaders to identify their own unique leadership style. Students will be given the opportunity to learn and implement outdoor leadership skills such as safety and risk management, environmental awareness, group management, and develop their own technical skills.

This course will focus on practical application, where students will have the opportunity to put to use a variety of new teaching and facilitation methods while leading local groups. One required weekend overnight backcountry trip will be student-designed and facilitated as a culminating experience.


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Our Philosophy and Religious Studies Department enables students to wrestle thoughtfully and critically with questions of morality, spirituality, and personal identity. As an Episcopal school, we encourage an affirming and academically informed discourse about what students regard as having ultimate meaning and purpose and about what virtues ought to be espoused and cherished.

Courses afford opportunities to encounter the Judeo-Christian and other faith traditions, using the wisdom of the ages to inform students' ever-evolving understanding of themselves, their relation to others, and the mysteries of the spiritual realm. Along with this emphasis on self-discovery, students practice what is entailed in thinking and reasoning philosophically: to analyze assertions and arguments with a simultaneously open and skeptical mind and to articulate others' viewpoints charitably.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course examines an influential movement that emerged in American literature after World War II. With the rise of the Beat Generation, authors began to explore nontraditional topics and to write in an anti-conformist style to express their beliefs. In this course, students encounter the roots of the Beat Generation, beginning with Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five. They will explore the philosophy and religious beliefs of this counterculture movement in Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and the letters and poems of Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, Diane DiPrima, and others. Throughout the course, students will analyze the impact of the culture and politics of the time, the evolution of literature between 1957 and 1969, and the historical events that defined this period. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This class explores restorative justice, truth and reconciliation, negotiation and mediation, and other conflict transformation practices. It looks at how communities can and have transformed conflict and restored right relationships, along with times that they have failed to do so despite their best intentions. It also explores the relationship of spirituality, art, and religion to conflict transformation.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In this course, we employ the lens of the academic study of religion to examine two foundational faiths of Asia: Hinduism and Buddhism. After reviewing sacred texts and historical foundations, we examine ethics, articles of faith, artistic representations, and current religious practices. Students read a selection of modern texts that address the integration of those faiths within the modern world. Finally, students use the tools they develop to research other religious practices of the region—some of which have their roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, and some of which evolved alongside the major faiths. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course uses a variety of classical and contemporary sources to inform discussions of today’s social issues. Students explore the works of Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, and Marx, as well as religious-based ethical systems worldwide, applying them to examinations of issues such as capital punishment, medical ethics, environmentalism, abortion, social equity, and economics. This course asks students to grapple with questions that have inspired philosophers throughout history and continue to impact our world. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In his essay “The Pleasures of Eating,” writer and environmental activist Wendell Berry says that eating is “the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.” Food ethics is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to examine that connection by analyzing how food is grown, distributed, consumed, and perceived.

What does it mean to be a “food citizen”? What role do humans play in food systems? How can we collectivize around issues of food access and insecurity? How does food tether us to a place? In this course, we will study topics of food justice as we interrogate how the choices we make about food reflect our beliefs about our spiritual, environmental, and personal wellness. We will use novels, non-fiction essays, poetry, visual art, and more as pathways into studying different community traditions around food and as case studies of the various roles food can play in society. Students will have the opportunity to independently select research topics, such as animal rights, environmental policy, or framing trends, to deepen their understanding of various branches of food ethics.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This class explores how various faith and ideological traditions practice contemplation (meditation, prayer, pilgrimage, mantra, etc.) and how their practices have adapted, grown, and shifted throughout the course of history.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course employs the lens of the academic study of religion to examine the three major global monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all of which trace their origins to Abraham, a “father in faith.” After reviewing sacred texts and historical foundations, we examine the similarities and differences among ethics, articles of faith, artistic representations, and current practices between those religions. Finally, students explore the intersection of those religions and how “the people of the book” have shaped—and continue to shape—the modern world. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.


Science

Our Science Department encourages students to be informed, responsible, and active citizens in their communities. Scientific inquiry, the integration of technology, laboratory and/or fieldwork experiences, and cooperative learning permeate our science curriculum.

Our Science Department offers learning experiences in which students question, hypothesize, and experiment while also building foundational knowledge in the core science disciplines. We maintain that a foundation in science and scientific thinking develops curiosity, prepares students for the future, and encourages thoughtful stewardship of the natural world.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Advanced Environmental Science students cover a wide range of topics, including environmental ethics and policy, forestry, water pollution, scarcity, population, food, agriculture, toxicology, air pollution, and conventional and renewable energies. This class may prepare one for the AP Exam, however, students should discuss this with their instructor on a case-by-case basis.

This class is a combination of lecture, discussion, labs, and field trips. Students are exposed to an extensive breadth of information in this course. However, they also get depth in areas where they can do independent research, such as conducting labs on the carbon stored in our campus trees, the particulates in the air they breathe, or the water quality of a local spring or river. Students also participate in various field trips, including to a forest plantation, the regional landfill, the recycling transfer station, a wastewater treatment plant, an organic, cage-free chicken farm, and a wood chip power plant. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course will still be offered but not in 2021-2022.

Marine sciences involve studying saltwater and the biotic and abiotic factors that influence and live in it. Three-quarters of the Earth is covered in saltwater, and yet this is an understudied science. In this course, we will strive to learn about the oceans, currents, estuaries, deep ocean, polar extremes, coral reefs, and open seas. Our work will be focused on a broad understanding of the oceans with deep dives into niche topics that spark interest in our students. The class is expected to complete a week-long lab during fall Field Courses. This lab will be our jump-off point for independent research into one area that sparks curiosity in each student. Biology and chemistry are prerequisites for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This exciting course—ideal for prospective medical students, outdoor enthusiasts, or any student who enjoys hands-on learning—integrates an extensive study of human anatomy and physiology with backcountry first aid, evacuation, and injury prevention. This course is offered in partnership with SOLO Schools, the original school for wilderness emergency medicine. We examine the structure and function of different organ systems and then explore how to address injuries and problems with those systems in a backcountry setting. In this course, students fulfill the role of either patient or rescuer in weekly scenarios. Much of the learning happens through these experiences and the discussions that they generate.

Students may be required to participate in a wilderness first responder (WFR)-based Field Course as part of this course. Additionally, students are required to become certified in CPR, and there are one or more opportunities to do so during the school year (outside of regular class time). Students who are 17 years old (or who will turn 17 before June) and who successfully pass both parts of the final exam earn certification as Wilderness First Responders. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

This course will push the boundaries of your imagination through an exploration of our wondrous universe, from the hidden worlds of our own solar system to mysterious and distant black holes. Additionally, students will be engaged in the construction of astronomical models and observation technology. A fieldwork component will be included, with students engaged in nighttime viewing activities, with a focus on deep space objects.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course introduces students to the life sciences and the unique ethic of sustainability. Students view cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution through a lens of systems and interactions. We also explore the concepts of ecology and symbiosis as themes for understanding biotic communities at every level. Students collect and analyze both laboratory and field data and also work on experimental design. When possible, we examine and discuss contemporary environmental and bioethical issues, providing a real-world context for the course material.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course will still be offered but not in 2021-2022.

This course explores the physical world through reasoning, mathematics, and experimentation. In short, this is a course on critical thinking and problem-solving. Students will evaluate physical phenomena and their effects, relying on calculus to derive important relationships. The topics explored include: kinematics, force, gravity, energy, momentum, torque, and rotational dynamics. The concepts and theories examined in class will be explored through demonstrations and hands-on experiments.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students encounter the elements of the periodic table—a beautifully elegant summary of all that we know about the behavior and structure of the elements that comprise our world. Early in their exploration of the periodic table, students study chemical reactions. By carrying out experiments, collecting and analyzing data, students discover how the forces of equilibrium, stability, and energy drive those chemical reactions to create the world we inhabit. Students’ coursework enhances their problem-solving skills and will help them experience how chemists use numbers to describe what they observe. This course provides students with a solid background in chemistry to instill an understanding of equilibrium, acids and bases, chemical bonding, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Biology is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Notes: This course will still be offered but not in 2021-2022.

What is a disease? And how have both diseases and human responses to diseases shaped our history? The COVID-19 pandemic sent most humans across the world into isolation, catalyzing an economic crash unlike any we have seen since the Great Depression. Using this as the primary case study, we will explore previous pandemics and epidemics that have shaped human history. We will look at the diseases that shaped the world's religions, that spurred conquest and migration of new lands and migrations of people across the globe, and that sparked wars and changed politics. We will explore how our understanding and responses to diseases have evolved over time. We will examine how people studied, understood, and responded to diseases as a reflection of knowledge and technology. We will also examine how the responses to a disease reveal differences in our society across gender, class, race, and age. Through this look at diseases and history, we will explore how many of our human decisions have been influenced by tiny microbes that really rule the world. This interdisciplinary course satisfies a half-credit of history or science.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course will begin with a look at the history and evolution of the scientific discipline. We will discuss and use the scientific method in our class and lab work and emphasize the importance of scientific measurement and the unit-analysis problem-solving method. We will cover one and two-dimensional, rotational, and planetary motion; Newton’s laws; work, energy, and power; and gravitation, electricity, and magnetism. In all of our studies, we will make every effort to use relevant examples of where and how physics happens in the world around us. Throughout the course, we will emphasize comprehension of concepts through application. Students will have the opportunity to design their own investigations related to topics we are studying as a class and to pursue projects on topics of their own choosing.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In an increasingly globalized world, ingredients can travel thousands of miles before arriving on our plates. The environmental consequences of food production are undeniable, and efforts to eat locally are at the forefront of the sustainability movement. But what does it mean to eat locally, and is it possible to grow food in our own backyard?

This semester-long course will be split into two distinct components: hands-on farming in the warmer months and a multidisciplinary classroom-based component in the colder months. Students will have the unique opportunity to work as a team to take over the School Farm’s day-to-day operations in the experiential component. Students will learn practical farming and business skills as they decide what seasonally appropriate vegetables to plant, learn how to tap maple trees, weigh the pros and cons of raising chickens, and ultimately how to turn all that work into a profit. In the classroom-based component of the course, we will explore topics in various methods of food production, food justice, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), global commodities, food economics, and much more, all through the lens of sustainability.

This course may be taken twice, once in the fall and once in the spring.


Sustainability Studies

Founded in 2001, our Sustainability Studies Department was the first such department at the secondary-school level in the United States. Our discipline helps students become informed, thoughtful, and active stewards of the changing ecosystem. Focusing on integral aspects of global sustainability—economy, natural environment, social equality, and personal wellbeing—we introduce students to two ways of thinking: 

  • Systems Thinking: Encourages students to see connections between the biological world and human society toward creating solutions that satisfy both human and environmental needs.

  • Seventh-Generation Thinking: Encourages students to consider the lasting impact that today’s actions may have on generations to come.

The White Mountain School integrates sustainable practices into daily life through community service, recycling, and job programs; through our Sustainability Club; through international development work; and our School’s organic farm and compost program. Sustainability topics are also infused across the curriculum—they are integrated into first-year biology, sophomore world history, and junior English. Juniors and seniors also have the opportunity to choose at least one upper-level elective course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Advanced Environmental Science students cover a wide range of topics, including environmental ethics and policy, forestry, water pollution, scarcity, population, food, agriculture, toxicology, air pollution, and conventional and renewable energies. This class may prepare one for the AP Exam, however, students should discuss this with their instructor on a case-by-case basis.

This class is a combination of lecture, discussion, labs, and field trips. Students are exposed to an extensive breadth of information in this course. However, they also get depth in areas where they can do independent research, such as conducting labs on the carbon stored in our campus trees, the particulates in the air they breathe, or the water quality of a local spring or river. Students also participate in various field trips, including to a forest plantation, the regional landfill, the recycling transfer station, a wastewater treatment plant, an organic, cage-free chicken farm, and a wood chip power plant. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

The evolving field of human geography examines the modern and historical patterns, means, and processes of human occupation in both place and space. While this class involves an introduction to physical world geography, our study is tied primarily to the unique impacts and consequences of the interaction between geography and human populations. Aided by maps and mapping tools, students study world religions, cultural patterns, and global economics to understand how those forces place and order people in spatial dimensions. We use established models and methods as tools for understanding how cities develop, how people move, and how populations shift.

While this course enables students to discover a new lens with which to understand historical events, it also benefits those who seek a deeper understanding of the modern world. Contemporary politics, economics, conflicts, and events help us understand geographical concepts in real-time. We may also have several opportunities to learn from our own local geography through selected case studies and field trips. As with all AP courses, we concentrate on the specific strategies and skills students need to succeed on the AP Exam. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In this class, students have the opportunity to explore the environmental writings of a broad range of authors from Thoreau to McKibben. Students become aware of the history of the environmental movement, learn about the people who have written about the environment, and develop a personal philosophy about the environment. Over the course of the semester, students read and respond to essays, poems, and articles. Students lead class discussions, contribute to a blog, and write about current environmental issues and events. Each week students are assigned an article to read and respond to, present a current events summary in class and respond to presentations given by classmates. The culminating activity is to write a personal environmental philosophy based on one’s own experiences and the course readings. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Students in this course have the opportunity to write informatively and creatively about the places that they are from and the places in which they are currently situated, both literally and figuratively. They discover how places impact people and shape events, and, consequently, how places influence writing. In this class, we also read several articles, short stories, and essays that effectively take us to different places, causing us to experience the emotion, essence, and sensual nature of several distinct locations.

Writing assignments include essays, poetry, and short stories, many of which will be compiled into a class journal (“Writing our Communities”). Writings of particularly high quality may be submitted to contests or for publication. This course is open to juniors and seniors or younger students with the permission of the instructor.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

One of our basic needs as humans is shelter. One of our basic responsibilities as humans is environmental stewardship. In this course, we will find and/or create ways of balancing both. First, we will learn the basics of architecture, including architectural renderings by hand and using technology. The class will work in teams to design a sustainable environmental classroom working under both financial and materials constraints. We will find guidance on books such as The Barefoot Architect and Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, and we will use our heads, hearts, and hands to create with care. Each team that meets the given constraints will pitch their design to the student body. The winning "design" will be constructed in the accompanying course, Sustainable Architecture II: Build, which will be offered in the 2022-23 school year.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In an increasingly globalized world, ingredients can travel thousands of miles before arriving on our plates. The environmental consequences of food production are undeniable, and efforts to eat locally are at the forefront of the sustainability movement. But what does it mean to eat locally, and is it possible to grow food in our own backyard?

This semester-long course will be split into two distinct components: hands-on farming in the warmer months and a multidisciplinary classroom-based component in the colder months. Students will have the unique opportunity to work as a team to take over the School Farm’s day-to-day operations in the experiential component. Students will learn practical farming and business skills as they decide what seasonally appropriate vegetables to plant, learn how to tap maple trees, weigh the pros and cons of raising chickens, and ultimately how to turn all that work into a profit. In the classroom-based component of the course, we will explore topics in various methods of food production, food justice, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), global commodities, food economics, and much more, all through the lens of sustainability.

This course may be taken twice, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In his essay “The Pleasures of Eating,” writer and environmental activist Wendell Berry says that eating is “the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.” Food ethics is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to examine that connection by analyzing how food is grown, distributed, consumed, and perceived.

What does it mean to be a “food citizen”? What role do humans play in food systems? How can we collectivize around issues of food access and insecurity? How does food tether us to a place? In this course, we will study topics of food justice as we interrogate how the choices we make about food reflect our beliefs about our spiritual, environmental, and personal wellness. We will use novels, non-fiction essays, poetry, visual art, and more as pathways into studying different community traditions around food and as case studies of the various roles food can play in society. Students will have the opportunity to independently select research topics, such as animal rights, environmental policy, or framing trends, to deepen their understanding of various branches of food ethics.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

"It is increasingly clear that systemic oppression and environmental collapse are inextricably linked." –Michael Wilson-Becerril

In this course, we will study U.S. history through the context of environmental justice. We will examine the long-standing parallels between the treatment of the environment and that of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). We will study individual cases in which the natural environment has been exploited, polluted, and mistreated and, as a result, has also harmed or misplaced the individuals living there. In addition to case studies, we will also learn about the history of the environmental justice movement and its evolution over time.


World Languages

Our World Languages Department helps students develop fluency in language skills and a greater appreciation for other cultures. We believe that learning a new language should be meaningful, fun, and useful beyond the walls of the classroom.

Each school year, our students have opportunities to practice their language skills in authentic settings through community service travel to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic during Field Course study. We also have a long-standing relationship with a school in Nevers, France, and in alternating years, White Mountain students and French students participate in an exchange program for two weeks.

We know that we are reaching our teaching and learning goals with students when we see them pursuing foreign language study and travel in their LASR projects, during summer vacations, through collegiate study, and in professional post-graduate work.

Students may complete their study of French through online study arranged by The White Mountain School. Please email Mike Peller for more information.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)
Notes: This course may be taken multiple times.

Descripción de la clase en español

¡Bienvenidos al curso de Español Para Heritage Speakers! Tal como se demuestra en el mismo título del curso, esta clase pretende reconocer y apreciar la situación particular de los alumnos que vienen de ambientes hispanoparlantes y están motivados a seguir desarrollando sus capacidades expresivas plenamente. La clase ha sido creada para estudiantes que han crecido escuchando y hablando español en sus entornos. Tendrán una capacidad nativa/casi-nativa para entender y hablar, pero necesitan la oportunidad y el apoyo para fomentar sus habilidades de leer y escribir con fluidez y corrección en español.

Aprovechamos la gran riqueza de las experiencias y herencias de los alumnos para explorar temas de identidad, cultura, justicia social y actualidad en el mundo hispanoparlante incluyendo la comunidad latina en los Estados Unidos. La clase está diseñada para permitir que cada alumno pueda explorar y profundizar según sus intereses personales con el fin de acabar el curso con más confianza y fluidez lingüística, así como un conocimiento, entendimiento y un aprecio más grande para su cultura.

Los estudiantes del curso tendrán que venir preparados para dar el 100% de su esfuerzo, aceptando retos con el idioma y empujando sus límites para crecer. Eso dicho, reconocemos que cada estudiante vendrá con sus propias aptitudes y habilidades, por lo tanto, se implementarán unos procesos regulares de autorreflexión para crear sus metas personales.

¡Felicidades, están comenzando otra etapa en el viaje para llegar a ser completamente bilingües!

 

Class Description in English

Welcome to Spanish for Heritage Speakers! As demonstrated in the course title itself, this course aims to recognize and appreciate the unique situation of students who come from Spanish-speaking backgrounds and are motivated to continue to develop their expressive abilities to the fullest. We created the course for students who have grown up hearing and speaking Spanish in their homes and communities. Students enrolled in this course should have a native/near-native ability to understand and speak Spanish but need the opportunity and support to further their ability to read and write fluently and correctly in the language.

We draw on the richness of students' experiences and heritages to explore issues of identity, culture, social justice, and current events in the Spanish-speaking world, including the Latine community in the United States. The course is designed to allow each student to explore and delve deeper into topics according to their personal interests. The ultimate goal is for students to finish the course with more confidence and linguistic fluency, as well as a greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for their culture.

Students in the course should come prepared to give 100% of their effort, accepting challenges with the language and pushing their limits in order to grow. That said, we recognize that each student will come with their own skills and abilities; therefore, regular self-reflection processes will be implemented to create their personal goals.

Congratulations, you are beginning another stage in the journey to becoming fully bilingual!

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course introduces students to the Spanish language, building a vocabulary of common terms and instilling comprehension of basic verb tenses and grammatical structures. Students take their initial steps toward mastery in reading, writing, speaking, and listening to conversational Spanish. Through textbook work, supplementary readings, creative projects, and field trips, students gain an appreciation of the language, life, history, geography, and culture of Spanish-speaking people.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Expanding upon the knowledge acquired in Spanish I, this class facilitates students’ ongoing mastery of the fundamental language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Students are introduced to comparative linguistics through the culture, values, and aspirations of the Hispanic world. In Spanish II, students will be expected to complete one project per semester on a cultural, bio-regional, historical, or creative topic of their choice.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In their third year of Spanish instruction, students achieve intermediate-level proficiency in the four language skills. Supplementary project work and classroom presentations enhance students’ exposure to the culture and history of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Hispanic North America. Spanish III classes are primarily conducted in Spanish; by the end of the year, students have learned and reviewed most of the grammatical structures within the Spanish language. As in Spanish II, students in this course are expected to complete one project per semester on a cultural, bio-regional, historical, or creative topic of their choice.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Students in this course experience increased immersion in the Spanish language and culture. Material is thematically and linguistically integrated to provide a review of the main structures of the language. Students study the ethnic origins of Hispanic culture in Europe and the New World: religion, family and traditions, revolutionary movements of the twentieth century in Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean, education, and urban life. Students in Spanish IV read works by Hernán Cortés, Ana María Matute, Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, and Nicolas Guillén, among others. We also sample art from the pre-Columbian era, including Goya, Picasso, and Lam in this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course is offered to students who have completed Spanish IV and have demonstrated a desire to achieve fluency in Spanish. Students primarily study literature by Spanish-speaking authors in this course. Supplemental writing assignments help students perfect their Spanish grammar and improve their vocabulary. Verbal skills are practiced daily, as students are expected to communicate with the teacher in Spanish throughout the year. Each student completes several projects designed to improve their understanding of Hispanic cultures. Students have opportunities to customize the curriculum and prepare for the SAT Subject Test and/or the AP Exam.