General Studies

Courses in this department:

Big Data and Analytics

First semester

Have you ever wondered how websites like Netflix and Amazon know which products to suggest to you next? Or how the NBA uses past performance to inform recommendations for athletes? This course will explore questions such as these by using programming and statistics concepts to understand big data and analytics. Topics will include data visualization, program efficiency, probability and randomness, artificial intelligence, and data structures. This course will use Python as a programming language, in order to access the extensive graphing and statistical tools of the Pylab library. In addition to programming assignments, students will also complete short math, reading, and writing assignments relating to data science concepts. This course is cross-listed in both Mathematics and General Studies subject areas. Prerequisite: Computer Science I or permission of instructor.

Computer Science I

Second semester

Students explore fundamentals of computer science, including computational thinking, programming, and data structures, and then apply them in practice. Topics include variables, functions, loops, conditionals, arrays, algorithm design, and the software development process. Students learn Python, a common language for scientists and web developers alike. Work products include interactive apps and simulations. At the end of this course, students will be well-prepared for Computer Science II. This course is intended for students with no prior experience. Students with some prior experience may enroll in Computer Science II.

Computer Science II

First semester

Students develop solid understandings of fundamental programming constructs, including data types, methods, loops, conditionals and arrays, using Java as a development language. Various parts of the software development process will be covered, including planning, writing, testing and revising. Students will create various applications incorporating the fundamental constructs they have learned, as well as user interaction, file processing, and complex algorithm design. At the end of this course, students will be prepared for Computer Science III. Students may take this course with some prior experience, for example, a summer or online course, or independent work on personal projects, or Computer Science 1. Students with significant prior experience may wish to enroll directly in Computer Science II.

Computer Science III

Second semester

Students pursue advanced study in computer science, applying knowledge gained in earlier courses to solve more complex problems, using Java as a development language. Topics include object-oriented design, advanced data structures, searching, sorting, and graphical user interfaces. Students work both individually and in teams to gain experience with different stages of the development process, including planning, writing, testing, and revising. Prerequisite: Computer ScienceII or equivalent prior experience with instructor permission.

Feminism: Effects of Sexism and Advocacy

Student-led course
First semester

This course provides an opportunity for students interested in the issues of sexism and feminism to become involved in discussions and advocacy on this topic on a regular basis. In this course, we frequently volunteer for groups working on women’s issues and learn about organizations in the field of sexism and feminism. Students also learn how to contact government officials through calling and letter writing campaigns in order to express their views on these subjects. Learned skills include facilitating discussions, corresponding with organizations, and advocating for the issues that students are passionate about. As a student-led course, the day-to-day focus of the class is determined by the students.

Global Link

Tenth – twelfth grades
Second semester

The principal objectives of the course are to build students’ capacities to respectfully immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture and to actively engage their host community in a self-driven process of intellectual exploration. Using contemporary and historical examples from the communities they will visit on Global Link, students enhance their abilities to live in a new culture, to act as ambassadors and global leaders, and to bring artifacts and stories of their experiences back to the school. Students meet two times per week and receive credit for out of class work including actual cultural immersion. Prerequisite:Concurrent participation in Global Link.

Innovation and Design Studio

First semester

This course challenges students to design their own semester projects focused on research, advocacy or entrepreneurship. It combines students’ own interests, skills, and talents with support and structure to develop unique works, new skills and learning, or a deep focus in a particular field. Students learn strategies for creative thinking and problem solving, practice professional skills in project management, and create and execute their own personal passion project.

Journalism I, II, III, IV

Year-long class
Students learn journalistic writing, photography, digital newspaper production skills, and advertising sales. They write news stories, editorials, feature stories, and headlines. They learn about photojournalism using a digital camera and about newspaper layout using desktop publishing software. With these skills they produce the school newspaper. As students advance each year, they develop more journalism and leadership skills and fill more responsible positions on the newspaper staff. Lead photographers or graphic designers may receive fine arts credit for this course with instructor approval.

Literary Magazine

Seventh - 12th grades
Second semester

Students create the school's literary magazine still life, collecting submissions and evaluating text and artwork for publication. Students discuss and research various types of writing and artwork. Skills learned include digital photography, image scanning, and computer layout. Students enrolled in Yearbook earn Fine Arts credit.

Social Entrepreneurship

Student-led course
First semester

Students design, create, and operate their own business that addresses a need in the Seattle community. The class is student-led, with an advisor but no teacher in the traditional sense. Students are called on to think creatively, problem solve, and evaluate their methods as they go. There are no graded assignments or assessments of knowledge - all work students do in this class is done to further the objective of the course: to create and run a successful business. Social Entrepreneurship is intended for students who are interested in a new and interesting approach to learning, enjoy self-directed group work, and would like to see their work do something real for the community. It is recommended for eleventh and twelfth grades but is open to all students.

Student Skills Seminar

Student Skills Seminar is for students who face challenges in the area of executive function, organization and study skills. Students will receive direct coaching support from Learning Services staff two periods a week, and have two periods a week of supervised study hall. Enrollment subject to approval of instructor. Not for credit.


This class introduces layout, design and photography. Students acquire advanced skills in appropriate computer applications to create and publish the school’s yearbook. Students enrolled in Yearbook earn Fine Arts credit.