High School

Welcome to High School!

ASA’s High School curriculum builds on prior studies and skills developed during Middle School. Teachers instill a love of learning and prepare students for life long success. Deeper understanding is achieved when the subject matter moves from text to productive classroom conversations. Our teachers often take on the role of facilitator. They guide discussion forums that encourage students to collaborate, debate complex concepts, and analyze topics from multiple perspectives, allowing students to better absorb the material and reach more fruitful conclusions. During the high school years, students apply their increasingly impressive research and performance skills during the annual Third Quarter Presentation (3QP) that, depending on grade level, integrate content from areas such as science and social science, delve into applied science and contemporary world issues.  The 3QP sequence culminates during the senior year with an integrated CAPSTONE project.

We are sticklers for excellence in verbal and written communication. Throughout high school, students will spend hours upon hours with content experts who continually hone their skills and work with them on how to contribute meaningfully to the scholarly environment. For their senior capstone, students analyze the economic, environmental and social interconnectedness for one target of a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. They prepare a research paper, white paper, and a formal presentation.

Upon graduation, ASA students are happy, well-rounded and articulate individuals, incredible thinkers, and outstanding writers. They possess the discipline, the study habits and content knowledge; leadership qualities that enable them to pursue any course of academic study at the university level.



9th grade English is a writing-intensive course designed to cultivate students’ ability to analyze the human condition and to critically engage in meaningful texts and ideas. The specific focus of ninth-grade English surrounds the ideas of culture and identity and aligns with the ninth-grade Social Studies class, which also emphasizes culture. Through the process of reading, writing, discussion, and other activities and projects, we explore several essential questions including: How much of our own identity is culturally defined? How much of our identities do we create ourselves? How do differing beliefs and values impact individuals and society? What happens when cultures and/or groups collide? When should an individual take a stand against a group? And can the individual succeed against a larger group or culture? Advanced English is offered for qualifying students, which moves at an accelerated pace and grapples with more difficult texts and assignments.

Social Studies

Eastern Cultures provides a comprehensive overview of Africa and the Middle East with a focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Taking a regional approach, students analyze geography, history, political/economic systems, and culture. Students examine the challenges of each geographical area and seek to find regional and global connections as well as solutions. In recent years, ASA students engage in a year-long service project related to the curriculum and raised enough money to sponsor a water well in South Sudan.


Biology covers four major content areas: Cellular Biology, Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution. Students explore important concepts in Biology through a rigorous, lab-intensive curriculum. Class activities include modeling, collaborative learning, labs, and dissections.

Foreign Language– French or Spanish

Spanish I

Spanish I students will gain a foundational understanding of basic vocabulary, grammar, and Spanish-language speaking. The class focuses on the present tense of regular and irregular verbs as well as the difference between ser and estar among many other important word distinctions and usage. Students learn by interacting with each other, gaining self-confidence in this collaborative Spanish language environment. By the end of Spanish I, students can perform linguistic tasks successfully and utilize proper grammar and new vocabulary words to communicate basic descriptions of places and people, all in Spanish.

French I

In French I, students gain a foundational understanding of basic vocabulary and grammar, which focuses on the present tense of French verbs. Types of vocabulary words learned include calendar descriptions, colors, seasons and weather, classroom objects, the family, greetings and first contact dialogues, likes and dislikes, numbers, school subjects, body parts, animals, time, clothing, getting around town, and some history and culture.

Math–Algebra I or Geometry

Algebra I

In Algebra 1 the foundations of mathematical reasoning and proof are introduced. Students will begin writing formal explanations of how math works using definitions, theorems and symbols. Instructional time will focus on five critical areas: (1) relationships between quantities and reasoning with equations; (2) linear and exponential relationships; (3) descriptive statistics; (4) expressions and equations; and (5) quadratic functions and modeling.


In Geometry, instructional time will focus on six critical areas: (1) congruence, proofs, and constructions; (2) similarity, proof, and trigonometry; (3) extending to three dimensions; (4) connecting algebra and geometry through coordinates; (5) circles with and without coordinates; and (6) applications of probability.


English 10 examines The Role and Evolution of the Hero. The students will read and analyze several pieces of literature from the Classical Period, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and identify ways in which the notion of the hero has evolved to reflect the changing values of the Western world. We will focus on concise, college preparation writing, narrative and creative writing, as well as debate and organizational skills. English 10 follows the Social Studies theme The Rise and Fall of Western Civilizations and combines topics during the presentation quarter.

Social Studies

Western Civilization spans many historically significant eras, from ancient Greece to the Russian Revolution. Students study the chronology and causes and effects of the West’s most crucial events. They also analyze primary and secondary documents to construct deeper understandings of history. Debate serves a vital role of this class as students discuss controversial topics throughout history and use document-based questions and creative projects to develop critical thinking.

Throughout the year, we filter Western Civilization through the lens of social classes, beginning with a look into the American social class structure. Students gain a deeper understanding of social class issues and how they have affected Western Civilization throughout history, and how they still affect us today. We also evaluate Karl Marx’s theory of history, analyzing its application to different eras of history.

Chemistry -10th grade

Chemistry students develop particle models to investigate and understand interactions at the microscopic scale. Models are adapted to fit observed chemical behavior as the interactions become more complex. Topics include kinetic molecular theory, gas laws, phase transitions, the role of energy in chemical interactions and bonding, stoichiometry, atomic structure, the Periodic Table, and nuclear chemistry.

Foreign Language – French or Spanish

Spanish II

Spanish II focuses on enhancing students’ communication skills, helping them to gain self-confidence as they rely on themselves and classmates, and expand risk-taking in real-life communicative situations. Spanish II students learn to speak and write in the past tense and understand the difference between preterit and imperfect tenses. Students narrate past events applying the appropriate difference between preterit and imperfect.

French II

French 2 students practice the present tense by incorporating reflexive verbs to describe their daily lives. Students learn to communicate about events in the past by using the passé compose and the imperfect tenses. They will be able to use vocabulary related to daily lives, health, communities, story-telling, and French/Francophone culture. Students read a short novel and complete a Cultural Research Project in this year. The main goal is to strengthen abilities in French listening/written comprehension and speaking/written production.

Math – Geometry or Algebra II


In Geometry, instructional time will focus on six critical areas: (1) congruence, proofs, and constructions; (2) similarity, proof, and trigonometry; (3) extending to three dimensions; (4) connecting algebra and geometry through coordinates; (5) circles with and without coordinates; and (6) applications of probability.

Algebra II

In Algebra II, instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) polynomial, rational and radical relationships; (2) trigonometric functions; (3) modeling with functions; and (4) inferences and conclusions with data.

English – Standard College Prep Track

Building the American Dreams is the theme for English 11 and U.S. History 11. Each literary work and historical period selected for these college-prep courses relates to the unique ways people from different backgrounds and eras view and access the American Dream. These works are challenging and thought-provoking, and each work builds on the other to help present a picture of the ways that people have realized or failed to realize the American promise.

English – Advanced Placement

The theme for the AP courses, English Literature and Composition and AP U.S. History, is Growing Up American: The Search for Truth. Each literary work and historical period selected for these courses relates to the way growth of America as a nation mirrors the growth of a person. Individuals grow from birth, where they declare their existence, to adolescence, where they begin to test the limits of the world, to young adulthood, where they learn what is and is not right, to adulthood, where they begin to assess their larger impact on the world.

Social Studies

Students concentrate on the social, cultural, and economic impact of significant historical events and their influence on our nation today. In addition to strengthening their understanding of various authors, texts, and traditions in American history, students improve their capacity to analyze, discuss, and write well-researched historical arguments.

Social Studies – Advanced Placement US History

Students conduct a close examination of problems and topics in American History through reading specialized writings by historians, assessing historical evidence, and presenting their conclusions persuasively in multiple formats. Students analyze and interpret primary sources including maps, documents, statistical representations, and visuals. Students also examine the many interpretations of historical events and their influence on our nation today.


Physics students engage in constructing, interpreting, and applying the physical laws they develop in laboratory investigations to better understand their Universe. Topics include kinematics, dynamics, circular motion, an in-depth study of projectile motion, momentum, energy and conservation laws. The Modeling Method of Instruction, which ongoing research has shown to substantially improve student conceptual understanding, is used extensively in this course.

Foreign Language – French or Spanish

Spanish III

Spanish III students continue to hone their linguistics skills through class discussions and interactions with classmates. The goal is to improve their ability to create with language, expand risk taking in real-life communicative situations, and gain greater insight into the varied perspectives offered by the study of the Hispanic culture. Students increase their ability to communicate about future plans and hypothesize with wishes and doubts by learning the subjunctive mood. Students learn and apply the rest of the tenses in Spanish.

French III

In French 3, students increase their abilities in the four main communication competencies: reading, listening, speech and writing. In the beginning of the year, a short review is given on present tense and past tenses. We then learn to use the futur simple, the conditionnel, the subjonctif, and hypothetical clauses. Students practice their language skills in units relating to vacations, French regions and cuisines, the environment, future plans, and more. There is a Cultural Research Project in the fourth quarter. Students can earn honors credit by demonstrating an ability to use higher level skills with the acquired content knowledge.  

Math – Algebra II or Pre-Calculus

Algebra II

In Algebra II, instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) polynomial, rational and radical relationships; (2) trigonometric functions; (3) modeling with functions; and (4) inferences and conclusions with data.


This course is designed to develop an abstract understanding of a variety of mathematical topics including polynomial functions, trigonometry, conic sections, vectors, matrices, systems of non-linear equations, rational functions, and logarithmic functions.


The English 12 curriculum, (Un)Dress, explores various social issues and subjects through the metaphor of dress. Most of us are handed down belief systems from parents, teachers, religious leaders, friends and mentors about a variety of subjects (education, relationships, money, religion or spiritual beliefs, race, gender, sexuality, language, technology, etc.) that shape our ideas about how to interact with others and our world. This curriculum challenges seniors to explore their beliefs through the study of literature (novels, memoir, stories, poems) and other informational texts (audio, video, photographs, advertisements, journalism, etc.) in an attempt to examine what they believe, why they believe it, and what it means to be human. Together, without judgment, we will address, undress, and redress our beliefs and explore how to articulate them in a variety of forms (letters, essays, papers, projects, audio/visual presentations, stories, poems, and class discussions) to persuade, defend, inspire, and educate others.

Social Studies

Economics students study how the individual affects their economic system and how that system affects the individual. This class discusses how markets work and how prices are determined through individuals in an open market. It examines different economic systems function and the advantages and disadvantages of these systems. It also addresses how those systems function on a national scale and are interpreted. Inherent in the study of economics is the study of how politics and government affect one another.

College Prep United States Government

College Prep American Government studies the functions of government and how they apply to the citizen day to day. This course covers the major features of the United States government, emphasizing the real world implications of policy and the policymaking process.

AP United States Government and Politics

AP® United States Government and Politics is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system, with an emphasis on policymaking and implementation. This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Exam.

Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science is a multidisciplinary exploration of Earth’s natural systems. This course requires students to synthesize knowledge from a broad range of scientific fields, including Geology, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology, into a comprehensive understanding of Earth as a single interconnected system. Topics covered include resource management, changes in natural systems, human impact on the environment, and sustainable solutions.

Foreign Language – French or Spanish

Spanish IV

In Spanish IV, student review and refine essential grammar to incorporate higher levels of sophistication into their communicative abilities. Students become familiar with colloquial and idiomatic expressions as they continue to perform linguistic tasks and collaborate with classmates in real-life situations to expand their language skills and confidence. Spanish IV students gain greater insight into the varied perspectives offered by the study of the Hispanic culture. The course culminates with a mini presentation of their Capstone Project in Spanish.

Spanish IV Honors

In Spanish IV Honors, students practice all the essential written and oral grammar and further develop their understanding through a variety of reading selections, including literary, historical, cultural and journalistic pieces. Students also learn colloquial and idiomatic expressions. Spanish IV Honors culminate the year with the presentation of their Capstone Project in Spanish.

French IV

French IV students maintain and develop their existing French language skills. All previous skills are reviewed, including the present, past, future, conditional, subjunctive and hypothetical clauses. Students expand their ability to understand and communicate by exploring the plus-que-parfait, the conditionnel passé, the futur antérieur, and the passé simple. Students read Le Petit Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry. They must complete their Senior Capstone in the target language during fourth quarter. Students can earn honors credit by demonstrating an ability to use higher level skills with the acquired content knowledge.  

Math – AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB, Post AP Calculus II, Quantitative Reasoning

AP Statistics

The topics for AP Statistics course are divided into four major themes: exploratory analysis, planning and conducting a study, probability, and statistical inference.

AP Calculus AB

This is a standard college Calculus course. Differentiation and integration involving polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions with practical applications are a major part of the course content.

Post AP Calculus II

Calculus II is a continuation of AP Calculus AB. The focus of the content is on techniques and applications of integration. A large portion of the curriculum is also devoted to the mathematics of infinite series.

Quantitative Reasoning

The abilities to interpret and reason with quantitative information – information that involves mathematical ideas or numbers – are crucial aspects of literacy. These abilities, often called quantitative reasoning, or quantitative literacy, are essential to understanding issues that appear in the news every day. The purpose of this course is to help students gain skills in quantitative reasoning as it applies to issues encountered in subsequent coursework (e.g. college), careers, and daily life. There is no escaping the importance of mathematics in the modern world. However, for most people, the importance of mathematics lies not in its abstract ideas, but in its application to personal and social issues. Whatever your interests – social sciences, environmental issues, politics, business and economics, art and music – mathematics can provide an opportunity to better understand these topics, as well as make you a more aware and better-educated citizen.