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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 (2022-2023)

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: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

Advanced Ceramics is an opportunity for students with a background in Ceramics to progress their skills and creativity through self-driven projects, with guidance from their instructor. Students will take the hand building and wheel throwing skills from Intro to Ceramics and will use them to create several different pieces/collections throughout the course. Students will work with their instructor to come up with their own project plans each week. They will continue to explore images of ceramic objects from the past and consider how their work might fit into a larger context. They will also ask larger questions about how we interact with the objects we use, why we prefer some to others, and how best to combine beauty and utility, form and function.

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 option of preparing and submitting a strong portfolio to the College Board, students may concentrate on either two-dimensional media 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)

Students who have taken Music Composition will be able to take their music theory, compositional skills, and proficiency with music notation software to another level. While advancing their understanding and application of music theory, students will learn how to create emotional landscapes with their own musical creativity, craft ensembles of instruments and emotional music that carry the plot forward.

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

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)

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)

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)

Eco Art explores the intersection of visual arts and ecology. Students will create artwork both inspired by the beauty of the White Mountains as well as using found natural materials. A sense of place and relationship with the environment are essential to this creative exploration. Students will practice Leave No Trace principles with temporary earthworks that may be digitally documented. Students will also can experiment with drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, fibers, and sculpture as they tackle an environmental challenge of local significance and employ the tools and talents of the arts to illuminate potential pathways forward. A sense of adventure, both artistically and in the outdoors, is a plus as well as the desire (and patience) to work collaboratively.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)
Note: Prior ensemble experience or lessons on instruments

Students in this course will develop their skills as a musician in chamber music environment. In bringing previous experience on an instrument to the table, we will learn how to rehearse and perform in small ensembles, develop music literacy skills, and how to effectively use music as a form of expression within an ensemble.

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

This course will provide first-year students with exposure to and experience in the visual and performing arts at the White Mountain School. Through watching, listening, reading, experimenting, discussing, improvising, and creating, students will be exposed to how the arts function within the learning community of WMS and within the larger society and culture.

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

Ceramics is an opportunity for students to use clay and glaze to create a variety of useful and beautiful objects. Students will learn how to use handbuilding and wheel throwing skills. They will explore images of ceramic objects, art, and design from the past and present to consider how their work might fit into a larger context. They will also ask/answer larger questions about how we interact with the objects we use, why we prefer some to others, and how best to combine beauty and utility, form and function. By the end of the course, students can expect to have created at least three projects and to have honed their ability to talk about ceramics using appropriate vocabulary and specific, descriptive, and technical language.

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)

In this course, students explore the practice of creating and producing music. From hip hop to rock, singer/songwriter to jazz, students will create original pieces of music and/or perform covers and learn the technical side of digital sound engineering. The culmination of the course will be a set of songs performed and recorded by WMS students in our recording studio. This is a hands-on course for students interested in taking their musicianship to the next level. 

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

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.


College Counseling

Credits: *Required but no credits
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The College Counseling course for 11th grade students is designed to provide information and opportunities to learn about the college process. Students will complete the following assignments: A Resume, A record of Academics, Accomplishments and Achievements, “My Ideal College” survey, Research on 10-15 colleges, Initial College List, a first draft of a Personal Statement, Email confirmations and a questionnaire for Teacher Recommendations, register for the April ACT or the May SAT, Set up Common App and Naviance accounts.

Credits: *Required but no credits
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

The College Counseling course for seniors is designed to provide guidance and support during the college application process. The course ends before the early decision deadlines, so students will have completed everything necessary to apply to college by the end of October. These tasks include completing a polished response to a Common Application prompt (Personal Statement), a well-researched college list of about 10 colleges, a completed Common Application, the SAT or ACT (optional for most colleges at present), college fairs/visits and college rep visits, supplemental essays and specific college questions, decisions about Early Decision, Early Action and Regular Decision, discussions about financial aid, and applications for scholarships. Students will also keep track of decisions on Naviance.

 

Design and Engineering

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

This is a class in critical thinking and problem solving. Using a design process in a project-based environment, students will develop the programming and fabrication skills necessary to use robotics to solve challenging problems. This course expands on the learning from the introductory course. How might we incorporate an understanding of robotics to build novel solutions to complex problems? Working in teams, students will implement a design thinking approach to develop user-centered needs, build prototypes, and engage in iterative feedback cycles. They will be challenged to strategically integrate code and robotics design to solve complex problems. Through this, they will build a deep understanding of the current and future use of automation and robotics. 

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

Do you have what it takes to create a successful small business? During this course students will take on the task of creating and selling artisanal products that you make yourselves. The class will learn how to use the tools in the Inquiry, Innovation and Impact Lab to create products -- refining skills you already have and learning new techniques, software, and machines. The class will set up a functional online business to sell their goods, and will 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, laws and regulations for small businesses, and others that affect the success of their enterprise. 

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

Design Thinking is a non-linear process/mindset to solve real-world problems with user-oriented solutions, which include products and systems. Class discussions will dive deep into issues we notice in our lives, on campus, or in the greater world, imagine innovative ways to address those problems, and build actual physical or visual models of our ideas! Each student will be introduced to fabrication processes made possible with the machines and tools in the I-Lab (our campus makerspace), including woodworking, carving, 3D printing, laser cutting/engraving, CNC milling, vinyl cutting stickers, screen printing clothes, spray painting with stencils or freehand, and tinkering with electronics. 

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

At its core, this course is a study 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 in teams with small scale robotics platforms using Lego EV3 Mindstorms and Vex EXP to solve increasingly difficult challenges and design their own gamified "course" design for the final competition between teams.


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: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Advanced Literature is a course with increased expectations for reading and writing. There is an increased emphasis on critical thinking in this course, while further cultivating students understanding of writing and rhetorical arguments through reading, analyzing, and writing texts as they explore topics like rhetorical situation, claims and evidence, reasoning and organization, and style. Students are expected to participate in Socratic Seminars on a regular basis, as we read a variety of short stories and up to- 6 novels over the course of the semester. Ultimately, this course is one that will provide seniors with a guidebook of resources, tools and skills as they transition into higher level English classes.

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?

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. 

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 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?”

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

Writing is a way of knowing the world. In this course, students are challenged to express their own worlds from the perspective of a writer. Students read and discuss classic and contemporary fiction and poetry as they build their portfolio and hone their craft as writers. Woven throughout the class is a weekly small-group workshop in which students both give and receive feedback from their peers. Class readings and discussions focus on particular issues associated with the craft of writing as well as mentor texts across multiple forms and genres. Students may have opportunities to attend readings and performances and engage with authors outside of School. 

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 English II continue to hone their ability to think critically, with particular emphasis on conveying thoughts in writing with organization and depth. Students in English II identify and study aspects of multi-genre writing from a variety of works of world literature, building on that foundation in regular writing activities. We encourage students to articulate their own questions as they read contemporary global authors in conversation with socio-cultural and historical ideas and themes. Written assessments both assist and help gauge students’ reading comprehension and analytical skills. Over the course of the semester, students will produce at least one mini-LASR, formal literary essay, at least one creative writing project, oral presentations, and brief daily written responses.

Credits: 0.5
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

To frame their survey of American literature and to connect the diverse works that they study – a selection of short stories, poems, novels, nonfiction pieces and media texts – English III students discuss and reflect on several recurring conflicts throughout the course: conflicts both between different groups of Americans and between opposing ideas and values reproduced through art and literature. In this course, students develop their analytical reading and writing skills through formal and informal writing assignments, including personal reflections, rhetorical analysis, and research essays. Students are encouraged to connect and question the ideas that they encounter in literature with their own beliefs and experiences as they reflect on their role as writers and thinkers in an American institution.

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

In this class students can explore the environmental writings of a broad range of authors from Henry Thoreau to Robin Wall Kimmerer. 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 will read and respond to a curated selection of essays, poems, and narrative texts taken from the anthologies The Colors of Nature and American Earth. 

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)

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 an array of 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 the creation and performance of original works. Students will also have the opportunity to conduct research on 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)

In this multi-modal course, students learn how to "read" in a new way that emphasizes the importance of how visual texts inform narrative structure and meaning. Using the graphic novel Watchmen as our central text, students will grapple with moral issues, discover the importance of means, motive and opportunity in the text, and relate the graphic novel’s themes and motifs to the world today. Students will compare how identity is used as a narrative tool in literature, film, and audio storytelling (i.e. songs and podcasts) to analyze how different identities have been represented and explored across genres and time periods. They will explore aspects of characterization, themes, setting, etc. through reading, discussion, and writing in multiple genres. 


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.

This course is designed to engage and scaffold students' communication skills by integrating input-output comprehension and convey information using academic writing skills to a level that is necessary for academic success in mainstream English and History classes. This course supports varying levels of English competency and scaffolds writing skills and stamina for English Language Learners. Students in this course will interact with informational texts to engage analysis and evaluation using foundations and strategies for composing sentences, paragraphs, and essays with high standards of grammar and syntax for written expression. critically examine authors' purposes. 

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

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, syntax, reading fluency and analysis. We engage in student-driven learning experiences and collaboration to become familiar with the English language. 

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

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, and TOEFL preparation. Students will engage in input-output integration strategies of listening, speaking, reading, and writing about US history timelines and historical events that impact the growth and culture of the United States. 


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)

Human geography is the study of how people interact with the world around them and how those interactions change over time. This might include changing populations, migrating from place to place, drawing political boundaries, growing industry, or cultures interacting around the world. It’s obviously a big subject and includes aspects of many other disciplines like anthropology, demographics, sociology, history, and physical geography. We’ll investigate these ideas through readings, research, case studies, and possibly some fieldwork. We will also spend time specifically preparing for the AP test in May. This course helps students discover a new lens through which to view global events, and it will help them develop a deeper understanding of the interactions between people and the planet.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

How does a civilization succeed and fail? How do innovation and error impact human history? What is a just society? World History I students grapple with central questions such as these, investigating a unique but representative set of cultures, civilizations, and movements, ranging from the ascendency of homo sapiens all the way to the brink of the Renaissance. World History I serves as an introduction to the competencies surrounding inquiry-based learning at The White Mountain School, particularly regarding research. This course provokes historical inquiry and discipline-specific skill development, with assignments and tasks designed to stretch students to begin thinking, reading, writing, and questioning as historians do.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

World History II focuses on history after 1400 and gives particular attention to the global innovations, revolutions and events that have shaped societies as they exist today. Assignments in this course 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 also uses equity and social justice as lenses through which we can analyze and understand the modern world.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

The U.S. History Course examines a wide span of time, from indigenous First Americans all the way to today. Students will use a set of essential questions to grapple with a unique but representative set of events, people, places, and concepts. The class will explore a wide array of sources, placing an emphasis on critical thinking, the authority of historical narratives, and narratives silencing or marginalized in the nation’s past. At each juncture, the class will thoroughly explore a narrative, all the while never presuming to capture the narrative. Students will continue to practice the competencies surrounding inquiry-based learning, particularly regarding historical thinking and research. All assignments and tasks are designed to stretch students to begin thinking, reading, writing, and questioning as historians do.


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)

All students complete an independent project with the Research Seminar LASR Program—the general categories of Leadership, Arts, Service, and Research demonstrate the range of projects that students choose to undertake. Students develop questions rooted in their own interests and pursue projects to craft a compelling and original answer. Assignments, checkpoints, and conferences provide the framework, feedback, and support for students as they engage in their independent work. The LASR includes a presentation to classmates and teachers at the end of the course as well as a culminating demonstration to a larger group during the Inquiry Summit at year’s end.


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 semester-long 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 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)

Algebra II builds upon students' comfort and familiarity with algebraic thinking to investigate a variety of complex functions and their anatomy. In this course, students will expand their knowledge of and finesse with algebraic functions as they solve real world problems. Learning will be rooted in collaborative investigation and problem based. While students build fluency in writing and graphing functions and evaluating probabilistic situations, they will hone skills in teamwork, application, and reflection on their own learning process. Above all else, students build confidence in their quantitative reasoning skills, to grow as people and mathematicians.

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 is offered through our partnership with Global Online Academy. In this course students learn to differentiate and integrate functions of several variables. We extend the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to multiple dimensions, and the course will culminate in Green’s, Stokes’ and Gauss’ Theorems. The course opens with a unit on vectors, which introduces students to this critical component of advanced calculus. We then move on to study partial derivatives, double and triple integrals, and vector calculus in both two and three dimensions. Students are expected to develop fluency with vector and matrix operations. Understanding of a parametric curve as a trajectory described by a position vector is an essential concept, and this allows us to break free from 1-dimensional calculus and investigate paths, velocities, and other applications of science that exist in three-dimensional space. We study derivatives in multiple dimensions, we use the ideas of the gradient and partial derivatives to explore optimization problems with multiple variables, and we consider constrained optimization problems using Lagrangians. After our study of differentials in multiple dimensions, we move to integral calculus. We use line and surface integrals to calculate physical quantities especially relevant to mechanics and electricity and magnetism, such as work and flux, and we employ volume integrals for calculations of mass and moments of inertia. We conclude with the major theorems (Green’s, Stokes’, Gauss’) of the course, applying each to some physical applications that commonly appear in calculus-based physics.

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 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 & Wellness

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)

In this course we will go over fundamental skills of the outdoors with the goal being for each student to feel comfortable and confident in this type of environment. More advanced skills may come into play depending on student interest and course content. Along with outdoor education this class will be delving into what it is to be a leader as well as refining your leadership skills. There will be many instances where each student will get hands on leadership training while they are the leader of certain activities or debriefs. Communication, mock scenarios, and open discussions will be a large part of this class.

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

Throughout this team-taught course, students will first build their foundational knowledge of identity by exploring cultural identifiers. Students will be able to better understand how their individual experiences with health and justice bring several perspectives to the classroom environment. Students will then begin to expand their understanding of health, wellness, and safety at The White Mountain School, while considering the numerous ways that justice/injustice can manifest in these facets of life and development. Units will cover topics such as stress and sleep, mental health and self-awareness, digital citizenship and social media, substance use, and healthy relationships. We will make use of the Community Handbook to understand its role in life at the School.


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)

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)

Famed ethicist James Rachels explained that "philosophy is about questioning whole ways of life." In this course, we will use Rachels' Elements of Moral Philosophy as a core text to examine a variety of ethical frameworks and philosophies as they have developed and been grappled with over time. Student-driven class discussions will serve as a cornerstone for academic inquiry, collaboration, and socratic thinking throughout the course. Students will also explore an ethical dilemma or question of their choice in a term research paper that uses theory to develop a response that determines, as Rachels says, where "the weight of reason rests."

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 the way 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, nonfiction 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 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: 0.5
Duration: Half-Semester (One Quarter)

In this course, students will focus on three main concepts associated with climate change: the mechanisms that drive climate change, the measurable effects of climate change on our planet, and strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Students will explore these topics through hands-on labs, research, discussion, and at least one formal debate. This elective course will culminate with students giving a Ted-Talk style presentation on a policy or technology-based solution to one or more problems associated with climate change. 

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

In this course students will learn about how natural resources are cultivated and used to meet basic human needs such as energy, food, and shelter. They’ll investigate the management of these resources by studying environmental law and policy, conducting research, and exploring the local resource systems such as “The Rocks” estate which is a piece of public land managed for multiple uses for over 100 years. One of the main threads of this course will be studying social ecological systems. Students will select an environmental management issue to focus on and develop a multimedia project explaining the issue, identifying stakeholder groups, and proposing a solution as a capstone to their course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

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)

As we all have learnt sooner or later in our lives, the human body is somewhat fragile. Luckily, we humans tend to be caring with each other and instinctually lend out a hand to our fellow humans in need. However, our intentions to help others are only as good as the skills we possess to assist them properly. In this course you will be given the opportunity to learn and hone first aid skills for remote locations. We will start with a review of what is that makes a human body and how is that our bodies function, then we will get an in-dept tour of the body systems. Finally, we will move on to learning and practicing the steps and protocols as first responders. As an important appendix to this course, we will use a few of our final lessons to learn the basics of Risk Management. Because there is no better first aid than the one that is not required. Another component of this class is the Wilderness First Aid course by SOLO. This course will take place sometime towards the end of the semester. Upon satisfactory completion, you will earn a WFA SOLO certificate.

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: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students explore the world of chemistry through project-based learning. Students will synthesize and test a biodiesel in the green chemistry module, compare effectiveness of different brands of antacids for the medicinal chemistry module, and design and conduct a scientific investigation to practice the collection and analysis of data. This course provides students with a solid background in chemistry to instill an understanding of chemical bonding, rates of reaction, titrations, stoichiometry, and more. Biology is a prerequisite for this course.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students will be introduced to earth science through project-based learning. Content such as the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and radiometric dating will be explored through the lens of scientific investigations. Students will ask questions, conduct research, design experiments, and collect and analyze data about earth systems. Through this class, students will become more knowledgeable about the physical world that we inhabit, and also become skilled in the processes of science.

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

In this course, students will investigate physics through project-based learning. In addition to exploring physics content such as kinematics, projectile motion, impulse/momentum, and inclined planes, students will be engaged in engineering and design practices. For the Mission to Mars module, students will design a "lander" complete with parachute and crumple zone, and modify their designs based on collected data for terminal velocity and impulse. In another module, students will design bows and arrows to effectively launch projectiles, comparing their expected data against experimental data. After completing this course, the students will have a solid foundation of physics concepts, in addition to transferable critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Biology is a prerequisite for this course.

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

This quarter-long course will bring together two distinct components: hands-on farming skills and a multidisciplinary classroom-based component. 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. Each student will adopt a small farm plot for which they will research, plan, plant seedlings, transplant, maintain and harvest. Each week students will have readings that lead into discussions about many aspects of the modern food system, from regenerative agricultural practices to food aparthieds. 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. 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 incorporating animals into the farm, and ultimately how to turn all that work into a profit.

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.

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

Heritage language learners are those individuals who are proficient in English and who grew up speaking another language at home; they can communicate, to some extent, in more than one language. The main purpose of the Hispanic Heritage course is to build upon the language knowledge that students bring to the classroom and advance their proficiency in Spanish for multiple contexts. This course will focus on building vocabulary, acquiring, and effectively using learning strategies, and strengthening composition skills in Spanish. Cultural projects and readings reinforce learners' understanding of the multiple issues related to the Hispanic cultures in the USA. Taught exclusively in Spanish, this course is designed for heritage or native speakers only. 

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

This course introduces students to the Spanish language and culture, 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, and creative projects, 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. This course will be conducted 100% in the target language. We will work together to create an environment of Comprehensible Input, an environment in which students can understand the majority of what is being presented despite not always knowing the vocabulary or grammar. The focus will be on listening and reading comprehension while oral and written expression will be encouraged as students become increasingly confident in their language skills. In this specific environment, students are asked to bring an open-mind and welcoming attitude to class in order to establish a safe and fun learning environment in which everyone can feel comfortable to practice and strengthen their emerging skills. Through small group conversations, class discussions, games, readings, listening activities and more– students will deepen their language competencies and gain a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures where Spanish is spoken. 

Credits: 1.0
Duration: Full Semester (Two Quarters)

Spanish 3 is designed to review basic concepts such as vocabulary, present tense, informal/formal commands, as well as the past tense. In this course students will build upon their existing skills to further develop abilities in the four basic communication competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as allow them to gain a deeper cultural awareness and understanding of the Spanish-speaking world through the use of authentic materials such as videos, maps, songs, supplementary readings, and creative projects.

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 continue the steps toward mastery in reading, writing, speaking, and listening to conversational Spanish. Through textbook work, supplementary readings, and creative projects, students gain an appreciation of the language, life, history, geography, and culture of Spanish-speaking people.

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 semester. Each student completes several projects designed to improve their understanding of Hispanic cultures.

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