General Studies

Semester Courses

Global Link American South

Eighth and ninth grades
First intensive

Global Link American South is a domestic travel-exchange program to Atlanta for eighth and ninth graders. This course is a comparative look at social justice movements in the Pacific Northwest and the American South, covering topics of historical and contemporary social justice issues including the Civil Rights movement in both regions, youth-led grassroots organizations, and environmental justice. Building on our long-standing emphasis on cultural immersion and cultural competency, this program also incorporates many features of existing Global Link programs including pre-departure training, home stays, and Bring It Back activities.

Introduction to Computer Science

Seventh and eighth grades
Second semester

Students learn fundamentals of computer science, with a focus on computational thinking, programming, and design. The course emphasizes a conceptual understanding of core computer science principles and common programming constructs and their applications in practice. Development environments may include Processing, SNAP, robotics, and Arduino. This course is designed for the student who wishes to pursue further study in computer science beyond the activities integrated into other courses.

Journalism

Seventh and eighth grades
First or second semester

Students produce the Middle School newspaper. They learn journalistic writing, photography, and digital production. Students may take the course more than once and advance to more responsible positions on the newspaper staff each time they take it.

SchoolHacks

Seventh and eighth grades
First and second semesters

This course provides support for executive functioning, organization, study skills and self-advocacy. Students participate in a small group with an Integrated Learning Specialist to complete planner checks, Schoology reviews, assignment management and teacher communication. Students receive direct coaching on particular study skills related to their classwork, including note taking, reading comprehension strategies, and test preparation. Students share weekly tips using the #schoolhacks tag on Schoology and Twitter. We encourage a weekly announcement at Middle School assembly to teach what is learned and make this information more accessible to all students. A 3:1 teacher:student ratio provides the opportunity for individualized support. Class size: three students. Additional cost of $2,000 per semester required. Enrollment subject to approval of instructor.

Intensive Courses

Mobile Apps for Social Change

This course explores the broader social impact of computing. Students spend the first few days of the course exploring and understanding the needs of others, and learning how the engineering design process can be used to develop solutions to social problems. Students then work in teams to learn how to identify a specific technology need of a user group other than themselves, and develop a mobile app to solve or lessen the problem. They use the engineering design process to empathize with user needs, develop a paper design for an app, then produce a working prototype in code. Students test solutions with real users to get feedback and drive further cycles of design revision, development, and testing. The course concludes with presentations reflecting their process, their challenges, and future directions. No prior coding background is necessary.