High School Curriculum

Seven interdependent departments comprise academic work in humanities, mathematics, and sciences: Christian Studies, English Literature and Language, History & Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, Mathematics, and Sciences.

Explore our curriculum by choosing a department:

Christian Studies

Christian Studies is a core department at Alma Heights and is a one of the central pillars of our school. During our four-year course of studies we offer a full-orbed curriculum of studies in Bible content, hermeneutics, ethics, apologetics, and the spiritual disciplines. We seek to integrate each of these with media and cultural studies in all coursework. We could summarize the goal of our Christian Studies department by saying that we see the Bible as the self-revelation of the living God, and we earnestly desire to understand it well and to apply it to every aspect of our belief system and our activities in the world.


Bible 1

Old Testament Introduction will explore the basic literary and historical content of the Pentateuch through Histories. The Pentateuch forms the foundation for the rest of the Bible, and thus will be of particular interest to our studies. Emphasis will be placed upon developing well-rounded hermeneutical sensibilities that are able to navigate the rich complexities of God’s self-revelation in humility, faith, and worship.

Students will be directed towards reading the Bible as a cohesive story that finds its climax in the reality of God’s Kingdom come in and through Jesus Christ. As we trace the developments of God’s redemptive plan, we will take note of the macro-contours of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.

We will also examine the diverse ways in which the God-breathed authors proclaimed God’s will to their original audiences. In doing so, we will also be compelled to consider how later writers, including the apostles, drew upon themes, images, and texts from earlier writers to convey the message of God.

In addition to seeking how a text may have been intended for its original audience, we will also spend time discerning how the messages God had for His people then still apply to the people of God today. Thus we will practice reading the Old Testament through the lens of the Christ event with particular emphases on the universal kingship of YHWH and His covenantal purpose to restore all mankind to himself.

In doing so we will be reading the individual narratives of the Bible within the context of the larger story of God’s redemptive, restorative, and relational purposes brought about through the Seed of Abraham.

Bible 2

Wisdom and Prophets is an expositional course that surveys the prophetic literature of the Old Testament (divided kingdom, exilic period, post-exilic period), as well as the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Themes such as the Day of the Lord, covenant fidelity, judgement, restoration, wisdom, doubt/faith, and promise/fulfillment are explored with an eye towards original meaning and contemporary application. Parallel thematic emphasis is placed upon ethics, social responsibility, and service.

The students will become well practiced and equipped to approach the literature of the Bible in terms of its own literary, historical, and intertextual contexts. This hermeneutic equipping will also introduce students to the richness of interpreting the Old Testament through the lens of the Christ event while paying special attention to the New Testament use of the Old Testament.

Further emphasis will be placed upon the enduring themes of the true worship of YHWH, the dangers of rebellion and idolatry, and the practice of justice and love as the covenant people of God. Much time will also be spent considering the vast implications of God as Creator and King over all things, of man being made in God’s image, and of reading the individual narratives of the Bible as part of the interconnected story of God’s redemptive, restorative, and relational purposes brought about through the covenantal Seed of Abraham.

Bible 3

Gospels-Acts offers an exposition and application of the first five books of the New Testament. Students are taught how to interpret narrative as divinely inspired literature and how to distinguish between normative and descriptive history. The course surveys Luke and Acts in its Greco-Roman context, historical interpretations of messianic prophecy from Genesis-Malachi, and salvation history through OT.

Students read devotionally, and memorize some of the following: books of the NT, beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, and the Nicean Creed. Attention is given to historical context and to the theology of narrative. The history of the early church is traced as it developed in Jerusalem and expanded to Judea and Samaria, to Antioch, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Achaia, and finally Rome. Auxiliary topics include creedal theology, Christian disciplines, prayer and messianic Psalms, and the winsome proclamation of the gospel. Students memorize several portions of Scripture.

Bible 4

The class will survey the New Testament books of Romans through Revelation. To prepare for this, we will begin with the background to the New Testament, including second temple history, Jewish groups at the time of the NT, Roman history, NT theology, and other important topics.

The focus of this class is on reading the text of the New Testament. Students will learn how to read the Bible in historical, textual, and canonical contexts. We will pay special attention to the theology of the Apostle Paul, Christology in Revelation, principles of interpretation, and the works of C.S. Lewis. Other areas of instruction include spiritual disciplines, application of Christian truth to life in culture, the nature of belief, ethics, apologetics, and worldview/cultural analysis.

Philosophy in Film

Philosophy in Film seeks to help students learn to enjoy movies differently and more deeply by learning how to critically evaluate them. Movies speak the language of our culture and are the parables of our day. They also communicate worldviews. These worldviews are often so artfully crafted that the ‘message’ is only tacitly known. Philosophy in Film seeks to teach students the joy of critically evaluating film by discovering true but normally implicit messages. How are morals presented, and what implied moral principles are promoted? What large-scale views of the world are assumed, implied, or defended? What cinematic devices, parallel to literary devices, are employed to present meaning to viewers? What is the difference between enjoying and evaluating movies, and how much of each ought we to be engaging in?

In this class we will focus on how various elements of philosophy are portrayed in the television show Lost. Examples include:

Time travel: is it possible? If so, what are the physics behind it?

Epistemology: how do we know what we know?

Social and political philosophy: what power dynamics govern the way we interact with one another as a society?

Ethics: what is the difference between right and wrong? Is there such a thing as weakness of the will, or do we always choose that which we think is the better option at a given moment?

Religion: what is the nature of the world beyond our five senses, and how would we know?

Elective

College, Career and Personal Skills

This is a one-year course designed to help the student explore their God given talents and seek ways to serve Him. Students will hone the skills needed to be successful in school and life. We will practice practical skills of organization and time management. We will be exploring the 7 Habits of Successful Teens. Then on to multiple intelligences, learning styles, critical reading, outlining and research skills.

Students will research a career of their choice, possible majors and colleges and prepare a formal resume for a job interview. We will be out and about exploring careers visiting several different work places with Pathways for Kids. Possible locations could be Kaiser Permanente, Ritz Carlton, Wells Fargo, Google, U. S. Bankruptcy Court and the Port of Oakland.

Occasionally, college recruiters will drop in. We will learn to do debates and write a career paper. We also will explore financial skills like banking, budgets and credit cards. Other topics will be added according to the interests of the students. All these topics will equip you to be more successful in life no matter where your path leads you.

International Student Mentoring (Study Hall)

This course facilitates English language learning and supports core academics. It especially emphasizes mastery of interpersonal communication skills. Students will also be coached in study skills that reflect the school’s view of successful students.

Students have the option to enroll in the Sevenstar Academy online ESL/ELL course, which allows them to study the English language at their own pace. Grades for this online course will be included in the cumulative grade for the year. Students will have frequent opportunities to receive help on assignments from their core academic subjects. The activities and practices of this course will assist students in their language acquisition and will empower students in both academic and social settings.

Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Social Enterprise

As an AHCS signature program, Caritas Scholars Program for Social Entrepreneurs is a year long innovative, “think and do” curriculum that connects a student’s unique skills, talents and passions with the goal of creating a project that will help make a difference in the lives of others.

Students will develop critical thinking and problem solving abilities, while developing communication, team-building, and leadership skills as they design their own service-learning projects.

By fostering active collaboration between our students and the community, they will relate major theological and philosophical ideas with real world application. They will also learn to identify and set personal goals through self-evaluation and research, create a realistic plan to execute their ideas, organize a complex process, and make confident and informed decisions about their future vocational and academic interests.

Ministry Leadership

Students will have the opportunity to serve God by serving others in different areas of ministry. This includes serving as part of the band, tech team, prayer & ministry team, etc.

The goal of the ministry elective is to bring students to a point of deeper understanding of what it means to truly follow Christ, and the sacrifice of love and effort that it takes to accomplish this. Practical skills will also be taught, such as leadership methods, vocal and instrumental techniques, sound and computer technology, and music theory.

Student Council

Alma Heights Christian values character and leadership development. Associated Student Body (ASB) provides a framework for students to learn how to effectively lead the student body in a Christ-like manner.

The leaders serve the school through planning events, retreat, spirit week, rallies, and a spring banquet. Also, the leaders take a complimentary course, Caritas, which challenges students to view their role in their community as a current and future contributor.

We believe that the work done throughout the ASB course will equip students to develop as a person in order to live a life more fully devoted to serving the Lord throughout their lives.

ASB consists of an executive council, selected committees, and class representatives. The executive council has four members: a student body president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. The committees plan events and support school functions. The class representatives provide a voice in ASB for the class and also communicate with their fellow classmates upcoming events and responsibilities. Each position is elected by the student body in a formal election process.

English Language and Literature

The faculty of the English department at Alma Heights teach students not only how language works but also how to use it compellingly in the proper contexts. Our faculty lead students through the great books, where they will begin to carry on a dialogue with those who will encourage them to think critically and mindfully, to be attuned to the communities in which they live, speak potently and thoughtfully to the problems of their day, and recommend and nurture what is good, true, and beautiful in their world.

AP English Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition is a year-long, college-level course designed to enhance skills in writing and analysis of nonfiction literature. Students read a great variety of texts. However, the majority of reading will be nonfiction essays. This is the type of writing most frequently assigned in college courses.

Subjects will include personal experience, science and nature, politics, history, popular culture, and religion. The essays will vary in style as well, including narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative. Students read works by over 50 different authors--most of whom are American--ranging from the 17th Century to the present. In addition students will write. A lot. In many different formats. Most common will be in-class timed writing.

Whether in school or at home, students should expect to write original work at least 30 minutes every school day. Students should expect to take the AP® English Language and Composition exam at the beginning of the last month of school.

AP English Literature and Composition

This Advanced Placement Literature and Composition course aims to teach first-year college analytical writing and critical reading in accordance with requirements laid out in the AP English Course Description. Having read a rich variety of genres from a broad array of traditions and periods from ancient to modern in previous English courses, students will be prepared to engage in a close reading of poetry (epic, alliterative, mock epic, lyric, etc.), nonfictional prose (history, personal and philosophical essay, literary criticism, etc.), fictional prose (novel, short story, fable, etc.), and literature from the Anglo-Saxon to the Post-Colonial period in English literature.

Students will bend their increasingly sophisticated critical vocabulary to the explication of multivalent texts. Discussion questions accompany significant readings as a means of both preparing them to engage with the overarching themes of the text and to engage in a conversation about the rhetorical subtleties of the text.

They will also read as a means of honing their rhetorical skill—observing the sophistication and strength of powerful writing and imitating it in papers of varying length and rigor. In addition to workshops, handouts, and worksheets that guide students in close reading, analytical writing, scholarly research, and literary criticism, the instructor will guide students in improving the style, format, and substance of their writing.

Many of the writing assignments will go through a series of drafts that the instructor and other students evaluate and shape toward the incisive use of critical vocabulary, varied sentence structure that balances subordination and coordination, effective strategies for organizing and otherwise improving coherency, balanced use of general argument and concomitant illustrative detail, and proper modulation of diction and sentence structure to achieve and maintain a controlling voice.

English 1

Students will practice the forms of writing required by the content standards: Narrative, autobiographical and biographical texts, research essay, analytical and persuasive essays, response to literature essay, business letter and reports, as well as journal writing and other meta-cognitive writing tasks.

Students will read and analyze at least three core works: The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, and The Fellowship of the Rings, as well as various titles from the textbook. Students will also analyze from a variety of resources such as newspapers, magazines, professional journals, trade journals, literary and historical texts, and on-line publications.

The course will include a thorough review of the principles of grammar and punctuation, and strategies of effective writing. By the end of the course, the student will have written approximately 16-20 papers in a variety of rhetorical modes including creative, descriptive, narrative, expository, and literary analysis writing.

English 1 Honors

This course offers incoming high school students a general survey of world literature, develops students’ narrative and expository writing skills, sharpens their critical thinking skills, and introduces them to critical approaches to texts and techniques of interpretation. It teaches basic research skills, offers students opportunities to think critically and analyze arguments, and leads students through a foundational set of writing assignments: description, narrative, comparison and contrast, and literary analysis.

Students will begin to write short analytical pieces in the form of critical summaries, reviews, and character studies. They will also accomplish extended explication of longer works of literary merit and write an analytical research paper. In addition to the material covered in English 1, students engage in synthesis and analysis—reading subtler texts, researching more extensively, and writing more often.

This is the first in a series of four English language, composition, and literature courses offered at AHC. It satisfies the first of four years of UC/CSU required English. As a lower division honors class at AHC, it offers accelerated and extended instruction, but it does not qualify with UC for a GPA calculation of 5.

English 2

Students will continue to pursue a balanced, integrated standards-based program of literature and language study. Students will develop strategies to construct meaning from, and interact thoughtfully, with all genres of literature and non-fiction texts with an emphasis on informational texts.

Students will read and analyze at least four core works. Writing activities are informed by interactions with texts, and students will continue to use writing process activities as they compose persuasive, expository, narrative, response to literature, research essays and meta-cognitive papers. As well, students will continue to receive instruction in the conventions of written language, reading strategies, effective oral communication and research techniques.

This course will prepare students for the SAT and ACT Testing, as well as emphasize the preparation and fulfillment of CSU requirements for English.

English 2 Honors

This course further develops students’ ability to read critically, perform research, and write analytically. It offers readings in epic and dramatic works from the Classical period to the Renaissance, lyric poetry from the earliest Mediterranean examples to the Modern period, fables from the earliest examples to the more modern iterations, short fiction from the Medieval period to the twentieth century, and twentieth century novels.

Students explore the technical terms of literary criticism and rhetorical analysis and bend their increasingly sophisticated critical vocabulary to the explication of rich and rewarding nonfiction texts as well: historical narrative, personal and philosophical essays, and literary criticism. Discussion questions and study guides accompany significant readings as a means of preparing students to engage with the overarching themes of the texts and participate in a conversation about their rhetorical subtleties.

Students read as a means of honing their own rhetorical skill—observing the sophistication and strength of powerful writing and imitating it. They will write papers of varying length and rigor, including a ten page study guide on a major work of literature and a ten page research paper in MLA format, complete with a works cited page.

In addition to material covered in English 2, students engage in extended synthesis, analysis, and evaluation—reading subtler texts, pursuing further research, and writing more often.

English 3

English 3 explores American literary works from the earliest Native American works to the writing of contemporary poets, authors, and essayists. The class will learn through literary analysis of various genres and styles, and discussion of important schools of thought and how they reflect the national mood of the period. Discussion questions and study guides will be used as a means of explication.

Students will improve their writing skills in areas such as journals, essays, and research papers. Preparation for the SAT test will include expository writing and vocabulary practice. There will be a review of correct grammatical usage, sentence structure, and paragraph coherency as needed.

English 4

This English Literature course aims to teach college preparatory analytical writing and critical reading. Students engage in a close reading of poetry (epic, alliterative, mock epic, lyric, etc.), nonfictional prose (history, personal and philosophical essay, literary criticism, etc.), fictional prose (novel, short story, fable, etc.), and literature from the Anglo-Saxon to the Post-Colonial period. Discussion questions help prepare students to engage with the overarching themes and rhetorical subtleties of the text. Students read to hone their own rhetorical skill, observing the sophistication and strength of powerful writing and imitating it, and writing papers of varying length and rigor.

Students learn to write for different ends, whether it be to understand, to explain, or to evaluate. Workshops, handouts, and worksheets guide students in close reading, analytical writing, scholarly research, and literary criticism, with a goal to improve the style, format, and substance of each student's writing. Many of the writing assignments go through a series of drafts that both teacher and other students evaluate and shape. Students work on incisive use of critical vocabulary, varied sentence structure that balances subordination and coordination, effective strategies for organizing and otherwise improving coherency, balanced use of general argument and illustrative detail, and proper modulation of diction and sentence structure to achieve and maintain a controlling voice.

Speech - Apologetics

The purpose of this class is designed to expand students' ability in public speaking through the development of skills in organization of ideas using verbal and non-verbal communication, analytical and critical thinking, and self-confidence.

This will be attained through reading, formal and informal discussions such as debate, researching, outlining, and writing of speeches. Students will learn to deliver speeches in a variety of public speaking forums, including informative, demonstration, persuasive, extemporaneous, impromptu speaking and the final speech presentation.

This course will assist students in other educational disciplines, jobs, and public speaking opportunities, and personal growth.

History and Social Studies

The History and Social Studies Department plays an essential role in developing students who understand their place in the world, their responsibilities as citizens, and the wisdom gained by learning from the lives of others in the world created and ruled by God. Studies of human culture, history, geography, economics, politics, and thought help students to be more appreciative and discerning. This department plays a key role in helping students develop core academic skills such as critical reading, researching, writing, speaking, and thinking. Required courses include Logic, World History, U.S. History, and American Government and Economics. AP U.S. History is offered on campus,and AP Art History, World History, and Micro and Macro Economics courses are available online.

American Government and Economics

The American Government course is offered at a time when students are nearing independent adulthood. An obvious advantage of the course is to gain skills needed in virtuous citizenship, including voting. Also, the rigorous study of the American Constitution is an opportunity for the student to think about the complexities of the relationship of religion and governments and approach study of American government from a Biblical worldview.

Through study, contemplation and discussion of these topics students will be prepared in making important decisions in the home, workplace, voting booth or ministry.

In the economics course, students will master fundamental economic concepts, applying tools (graphs, statistics, equations) from other subject areas to the understanding of operations and institutions of economic systems. Studied in a historic context are the basic economic principles of micro- and macroeconomics, international economics, comparative economic systems, measurement, and methods. Students will be able to apply Christian priorities to economic situations.

AP US History

AP United States History is a year-long, college-level survey of American history from the late fifteenth century to the present. It differs from the school’s regular history class in its fast pace, its greater amount of required reading, and the higher demands placed upon students to master critical thinking and writing skills.

Besides the significant persons and events of America's past, students will also learn to appreciate the following critical questions: What does it mean to be American? How has the meaning changed over the last five centuries? What, if anything, distinguishes the United States from all other countries? What role has geography played in directing American history? How have regional differences in climate, soil, and natural resources shaped this country’s political, social, and economic history? Where do American peoples live? Does America have a frontier culture? To what extent did the desire for freedom create America? Which Americans have had the most—and least—freedom, and why? How have the roles of the hegemonic white male population and of marginalized people--women, ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants--evolved over time? When and why have limitations been placed on Americans’ freedoms? What role has religious, especially Christian, belief and prejudice played in United States history?

Students should expect to take the AP United States History exam at the beginning of the last month of school.

Logic

“Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning.” (Copi & Cohen, p. 3) We study logic because we desire to think well. As students study Logic, they will learn the forms of good thinking and argumentation, and the common forms of errors in reasoning and argumentation; they will also learn to find meaning in things that they have seen many times but have never thought about. In this way, they will come to know and evaluate God’s world more consistently and truthfully.

Students will be equipped to understand and evaluate arguments set forth, explicitly or implicitly, in everyday contexts, formal and informal. These include conversations with friends and family, arguments presented by the media (in all its forms), political analysis, literature, the news, and classroom instruction of this and other classes. For example, they will learn the difference between language-based arguments, the suggestive arguments of video or language-based narratives, and the entirely non-linguistic semiotic inferences of a shopping mall.

US History

Whether through a survey of colonial through modern U.S. history, a course devoted to studying modern U.S. history, or a course preparing students to pass the AP US History exam, students learn through a United States History course about the philosophical, social, technological, cultural, religious, and political perspectives of U.S. history.

Students will obtain basic factual content necessary for understanding American history through primary and secondary sources and understand how these basic facts fit into a larger flow of events that we call U.S. History.

Students then use this knowledge to form sound judgments about people, events, social movements, and ideas and express these judgments clearly and rationally.

World History

Whether through a survey of ancient through modern history, or a course devoted to studying modern history, students learn through a world history course about their context in human history.

Students should not just be history students, completing assignments for a grade that will let them proceed to the next class where they will complete assignments for a grade that will let them proceed to the next class, and so on.

Students should be historians, with eyes equipped to read the world. Students should also be ambassadors to the world, equipped to advance God’s Kingdom with the knowledge and wisdom gained from studying world history.

Mathematics

The Mathematics Department supports students and the classroom in the pursuit of exploring the subject of Mathematics. Through four years, we seek to provide sound teaching and support for all students, as well as challenging coursework for gifted and excelling students. As a department, we strive to develop diligent, critically thinking, and professional problem solvers who have a proper view of their gifts and responsibility as a follower of Christ. We hope to accomplish this through a balance of studying specific topics and appreciating the history of mathematics.

Algebra 1

Algebra 1 is a traditional mathematics course focusing on solving problems. Topics in this course consist of solving equations, inequalities, exponents, polynomials, systems of equations, and quadratic equations.

Students engage in these concepts through lectures, group activities, and class assignments. This class integrates real world problems into the curriculum to develop problem solving skills. Also, historical significance is included in the curriculum to give students perspective of the significance of the study of mathematics.

Throughout the history and study of mathematics, students can see the consistency of God’s creation and will study mathematicians who were followers of Christ. The evaluation of the students' understanding is conducted through homework, quizzes, and tests. These forms of evaluation are designed to challenge students and allow them to show their knowledge.

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 builds on the basic terminology, notation, concepts, and skills learned in Algebra 1 and Geometry. Students are introduced to functions, linear systems, matrices, quadratic equations, and polynomials; they then consider concepts involving radical, exponential, logarithmic and rational functions.

The course concludes with quadratic relations, sequences, series, probability, statistics, and trigonometry. The final section allows students to explore areas of mathematics that have particular relevance to further study in future mathematics courses.

Students learn through lecture, group projects, and in class assignments. Students are evaluated through homework, quizzes and tests. By the time the course ends, each student should have mastered the ideas of Algebra.

This course will prepare students to continue studying mathematics in Precalculus and Calculus in future semesters. This course will integrate the history and study of mathematics to see the consistency of God’s creation. The evaluation of the students' understanding is conducted through homework, quizzes, and tests. These forms of evaluation are designed to challenge students and allow them to show their knowledge.

AP Calculus AB

Calculus with Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry offers instruction in accordance with requirements laid out in the College Board AP Calculus Course Description. Students receive instruction in the following areas: limits, continuity, derivatives, application of derivatives, the definite integral, application of the definite integral, differential equations, and mathematical modeling.

The emphasis of the course is on understanding the concepts and developing the skills to apply the concepts to solve problems. Students learn through lecture, group projects, and in class assignments. Students are evaluated through homework, quizzes and tests.

The course will prepare students for the AP Exam through a meticulous exploration of the calculus topics. This course will integrate the history and study of mathematics to see the consistency of God’s creation.

The evaluation of the students' understanding is conducted through homework, quizzes, and tests. These forms of evaluation are designed to challenge students and allow them to show their knowledge.

AP Calculus BC

The primary objectives of this course are that students will do well on the AP Exam as well as subsequent math courses students may be taking in college. We will fulfill this goal by balancing understanding, skills, and use of technology, including using various graphing calculators, and providing students with opportunities to communicate and explain solutions to problems both verbally and in written sentences.

As students begin to use the concepts learned in class and apply them to real-life problems through in-class activities, the student begins to learn how math is a powerful tool that is used to study God’s creation. Students will also learn how math can show us something of the character of God. In Romans, Paul writes that God’s attributes are clearly seen in His creation. When we use math and science to study God’s creation, we can see these attributes--beauty, order, faithfulness, and harmony.

Geometry

In this two semester course, students begin with geometry problems involving points, lines planes, and angles to familiarize them with basic geometric terms. Using postulates, corollaries and theorems as components of proofs, they apply deductive reasoning to the solution of problems and the deductive method to writing proofs.

To further develop their logical thinking skills, they analyze if-then statements, and incorporate them into their proofs. As their foundation of definitions, theorems, postulates and trigonometric functions, expands, students analyze increasingly complex figures and polygons to determine various attributes such as similarity, congruence, the measure of angles, segment lengths, arc lengths, area, volume and density.

Students frequently review material covered earlier in the course including basic algebraic operations.

Precalculus

Pre-Calculus is designed for students interested in pursuing a math related curriculum in college. Topics include functions, series, sequences, matrices, complex numbers, conic sections, polar and parametric equations, linear regression, vectors, applications of trigonometry, and an introduction to Calculus.

Since this course is designed to prepare students for Calculus, the focus will be on problem solving using mathematical models to represent real world situations. A more in depth use of the graphing calculator will be introduced to students throughout the curriculum.

As the course advances, students discover how math can be used as a tool to study God’s creation and learn more of His attributes--His order, beauty, and faithfulness.

Sciences

The Science Department exists to guide students in their exploration of the natural world in the particular fields of Biology, Chemistry/AP Chemistry, and Physics. In each of our courses, students not only learn scientific terms, biological processes, and procedures for solving chemistry and physics problems, but, more importantly, students learn how to think like a scientist. In higher-level science courses, AP Chemistry and Physics, the scientific method takes a prominent role in the class. Students are required to make observations of particular phenomena, ask relevant questions based on their observations, carefully plan a procedure, conduct the experiment, and correctly document their study.

AP Chemistry

This AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. For most students, the course enables them to undertake, as a freshman, second year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or to register in courses in other fields where general chemistry is a prerequisite.

This course is structured around the six big ideas articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by the College Board. [CR2] A special emphasis will be placed on the seven science practices, which capture important aspects of the work that scientists engage in, with learning objectives that combine content with inquiry and reasoning skills.

AP Chemistry is open to all students that have completed a year of general chemistry with a grade of at least a B who wish to take part in a rigorous and academically challenging course.

Big Idea 1: Structure of matter
Big Idea 2: Properties of matter-characteristics, states, and forces of attraction
Big Idea 3: Chemical reactions
Big Idea 4: Rates of chemical reactions
Big Idea 5: Thermodynamics
Big Idea 6: Equilibrium

Biology

Biology is a laboratory science course that is required to graduate from Alma Heights Christian School. The first semester of this course focuses on the fundamental principles of cell biology and genetics. Cell biology encompasses the topics of biochemistry, cellular respiration and photosynthesis. The study of genetics include cell division, heredity, and how genetic information is decoded.

In the second semester, special attention is given to human anatomy and physiology. The major organ systems explored are skeletal, muscular, integumentary, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, excretion, respiratory and immune system.

The topics are addressed through lecture, discussion, class activities and laboratory exercises. Labs are scheduled once a week and proper laboratory procedures are practiced. Students learn scientific writing skills by maintaining an accurate laboratory notebook.

This course is designed to help students to think scientifically and examine current biological issues from a Biblical perspective.

Chemistry

This Chemistry course aims to teach Chemistry as a general overview of concepts in accordance with requirements laid out by the California high school chemistry standards.

This general chemistry course will touch on the five traditional areas of study in chemistry: Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry where they will learn how to explore atoms and molecules, the building blocks of what we see around us.

It also explores the basics of chemical theory and practices where they will learn and understand structures and changes in matter, molecules, atoms, and chemical reactions and how these things react with one another. The students will use stoichiometry to understand how atoms and molecules behave.

To aide in learning, students will be expected to perform regular reading and participate in class discussions. Grading will be based on tests, quizzes, labs, participation, projects, and homework assignments.

Physics

Physics is taught based on Modeling Instruction developed by Arizona State University. Instruction is organized into modeling cycles that engage students in model development, evaluation and application in concrete situations –– thus promoting an integrated understanding of modeling processes and acquisition of modeling skills.

Major topics covered are kinematics, mechanics, energy, electricity, magnetism, light, and sound. Students learn how to study the natural world from a Biblical perspective -- that this earth was created by an orderly God, thus, we should study the natural world expecting to find order.

Students will also learn the philosophy and history of modern science and realize the limits of scientific inquiry and intelligently interact with scientific inquiries of their day.

Visual and Performing Arts

The Visual and Performing Arts Department is committed to helping students discover their God-given creative talents and inspire audiences with their performances and exhibitions. Alma Heights provides them the tools and skills for creative expression and critical thinking.

Advanced Theatre Arts

Advanced Theatre Arts is designed to build upon past theatre experiences and enhance skills. The class will cover ensemble work/team work, movement, voice, scene and play analysis, scene work including an emphasis on objectives, obstacles, and acting techniques, improvisational skills, dramaturgy, career paths and theatre history with an emphasis on performing the classics. During the first semester, students in Advanced Theatre Arts will produce and perform a Christmas production. During the second semester, students will each become an expert on a particular Shakespeare play and do the work of a director and dramaturge in planning for that play.

Art Foundations 1

Alma Heights visual arts program offers students comprehensive art experiences with detailed explorations in the classics such as drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpting, and graphic design. Students will assemble and create works of art by experiencing a variety of art media and by learning the principles and elements of art and design. In addition to gaining confidence and proficiency in working with a variety of mediums, students will learn about the history, analysis, and interpretation of art.

Students will also be introduced to career opportunities that utilize art skills and will learn to appreciate the importance of the arts in relation to cultures.

Choir

This music course offers students the skills and the opportunity to engage in holistic, communal worship of our Creator. By studying music theory, music history, and choral singing, students will pursue knowledge as listeners and excellence as musicians. Students will also undergo training for sight singing, ear training, and healthy vocal technique. They will explore the development of music through history. They will perform music at various school events and chapels. They will attend the ACSI Musicale in the spring, where they will explore a variety of choral repertoire and work under a master choral director. Students will also be given the opportunity to perform in ministry settings. Other topics may be added according to student interest.

Photography

This class is designed to challenge students who are interested in the field of photography. The book we will be using is "The New Photography Manual," will cover photography in a broad sense with a few key points especially highlighted. Class time will be discussion based and will work towards giving students hands-on experience with digital cameras and lenses. Throughout this class there will be photo based homework and projects that will be assigned to each student and the student's work will be displayed at a local art show at the end of the semester.

Theatre Arts

Drama has been used for centuries to communicate truths through story, just as Jesus did through his parables. The Theatre Arts class teaches compassion, empathy, communication, and respect for others through the development of the specific skills related to drama. Designed to teach the basics of stage performance and technical theatre, it is a hands-on, project driven class in which student participation is vital. During the first semester the focus is on performance. Students will learn improvisation, movement, blocking, voice production and articulation, ensemble work, character analysis, character development, and acting technique. The semester final will be a performance of scenes or a one-act play assigned by the teacher. The second semester is focused on technical theatre; students will study the playwright, set design and the designer, lighting, sound, costume, makeup, props, the director and producer, stage plays, musical theatre. Students will create a technical theatre project that will be the final project of the semester. Students in semester two will be required to participate in the school’s Spring production either as an actor or in some kind of crew or technical role. The history of theater will be integrated throughout both semesters.

World Languages

The World Languages Department strives to equip our students with the linguistic and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in a world of increasingly interconnected peoples. We believe that the study of world languages and cultures increases global awareness and gives students the ability to understand, empathize and respond effectively to issues they encounter. This awareness prepares them as they learn to work and relate with people from different cultures who speak different languages.

Spanish 1

In Spanish I students develop skills in writing, speaking, reading, and hearing comprehension of Spanish. Grammar lessons include present and preterite tense verb conjugation, prepositions, demonstratives, and object pronouns. To develop students’ listening and speaking fluency, they are exposed to realia in the target language. Students also learn common phrases of modern Spanish that are used by natives and that may not be found in Spanish textbooks. Assignments are designed help students develop basic grammatical literacy while introducing them to cultural and biblical themes.

Spanish 2

Spanish II has been designed to assist those students who seek to attain proficiency in the reading, writing, speaking, and listening of the Spanish language and who have successfully completed two semesters of Spanish I or its equivalent. Heavy emphasis is placed on learning vocabulary and grammatical concepts in theory as well as in practice. To develop hearing comprehension, students watch short videos which present the vocabulary terms or the grammatical concepts which are being introduced at that particular time in the language curriculum.

Spanish 3

The goal in Spanish III is to build on the vocabulary and grammatical foundations established in Spanish I and II so that the student may be able to learn and use more sophisticated verb forms (i.e. the subjunctive tense) and continue to expand his/her vocabulary. Skills in reading, writing, and speaking proficiently are equally emphasized in an integrated approach.