Today is our fourth annual Day of Giving!

Welcome to our online Curriculum and Registration Guide!

Make sure to read the 2017-18 Letter from the Dean of Academic Affairs and then please use the resources below to better understand the offerings and requirements of our academic program.

Course Requirements

Subject AreaRequirement
English Four years
Foreign Language Two consecutive years of the same language
History Two years, including Foundations of Modern Society and US History
Science Two years, including one year of life science and one year of physical science
Mathematics Three years, including Geometry and Algebra II
Fine Arts Two semesters
Human Development One quarter; required only for 10th graders (students who enroll after 10th grade are exempt)
Theology & Religious Studies One semester
Senior Thesis Full Year, Half Credit

Students are required to take five full-credit courses during any year or term. This requirement applies to all students in all years, even when students have repeated a year of high school. A course in the Fine Arts counts as a full credit course, with the exception of Chorus or Band, which may be taken as a sixth course. Human Development is also taken as a sixth course. Students who feel that the five-course load is too burdensome during any particular term must submit their request to the Academic Committee to carry a four-course load for that term. Requests will be considered only for students in extreme circumstances.

Students considering application to selective colleges should plan to take:
  • Three or more years of the same foreign language
  • Four years of math
  • Three or four years of science, including Chemistry and Physics

Course Offerings/Descriptions

Click on each department/course name to expand the description.
  • ENGLISH

    • Full year 9th grade requirement
      In this year-long Humanities English course, we empower our students to ask good questions, wrestle with problems, communicate effectively, collaborate with others, grow more aware of self and their environment, contribute to their community, and adapt to and persevere through change. As ninth graders begin their learning journeys at Holderness, they delve in this course into these Essential Questions: How do experiences of immigration, migration, dislocation, and adaptation shape ideas of what it means to be human? How do I learn best? What do I do with an idea? As they grapple with these questions, students will develop an understanding of the kinds of thinking and work writers and literary scholars do. At the core of this course are the intertwined practices of reading, writing, and thinking about literature within various Cultural Studies contexts.

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    • Tenth graders continue their study of literature through a cultural studies approach and focus on Global Literature. As they study books such as Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, and Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, they think deeply and write frequently about questions concerning their own identities in relation to global notions of self. Writing and other assignments in this year link literary study with artistic expression, connecting English class with their March Artward Bound experiential learning program.

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      If you are in Ms. Dahl's class, please buy the books above as well as the following:

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    • Building on the first two years of English at Holderness, English III develops concepts already introduced to students. American Literature is an integral part of this course with writing and discussion focused on the analysis of readings and ideas. Writing assignments begin to focus more on analysis of readings than on structure and content. The year culminates in a major paper inspired by the students’ experiences during Special Programs.

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      If you are in Ms. Barton's or Mr. Livingston's class, please order the following books:


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    • Semester-length seminar
      In this class students will practice many forms of creative nonfiction from personal narratives to fact based persuasive essays. Each class starts with a writing exercise designed to tap creativity, prompt further writing, and create a culture of free expression. Students will learn literary techniques and develop their own writing process. In addition to writing, students will also read creative non-fiction about the writing process
      .

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      Semester-length seminar
      Creative Writing is for students interested in writing poetry and short fiction. Each class starts with a writing exercise designed to tap creativity, prompt further writing, and create a culture of free expression. Students will learn literary techniques, elements of poetry and fiction, and more about their own writing process. While the bulk of the class is writing based, students will also read poetry and fiction, as well as a book and articles about the writing process. Students must be willing to take risks and be a member of a supportive community of writers. The class culminates in a writing portfolio of work and reflections done throughout the semester
      .

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      No textbook required.
      Semester-length seminar
      Throughout history, stories have been told about monsters. These creatures have been saviors, outcasts, and at times, fed on the flesh of the living. We have called them insane, Messiah, god, and demon, and murderer. They terrorize the living and sometimes they walk among us. What is a monster? Are we our own greatest enemy? Monsters have come to represent not only society’s fears, but our desires as well. They are humanity’s mirror—holding our every weakness before us for critique by their very existence. There is a rich history of conceptions of man as the monster. What is it about fear that fascinates us? How do we respond to fear and desire? How does our culture create monsters to battle oppression and repression? We will explore how these images have changed over time in response to cultural and personal crisis. How are stories told? We will consider how tales are created and what that means in the past and the present. The course would culminate in an argument relating the human experience to concepts of monsters. Possible texts: World War Z, Warm Bodies, Monster, X-Men, Frankenstein, The Yellow Wallpaper, Brave New World
      .

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      Semester-length seminar
      In this team taught class, students will work toward an understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays through performance, their own and others’. Students will learn the basics of film study and analyze the various ways actors and directors have approached Shakespeare. Students will also enhance their understanding of language, character and story through their own performance. Students do not need to have a strong understanding of Shakespeare to enjoy the class; they should, however, be willing to take creative risks and be a member of a supportive community
      .

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      Semester-length seminar
      From prehistoric cave drawings to computer-generated avatars to Bitmojis and filters on Snapchat, visual storytelling has been part of our human origin story. Reading, analyzing, and creating graphic compositions require the development of specific skills. Graphic novels are texts that embrace visual storytelling. Through careful evaluation of graphic novels, we can attempt to define notions of identity, character interaction, intertextuality, comic art, caricature through historical themes, and literary analysis. Like other English courses, this course is reading and writing intensive. Each student will complete their own graphic novel in addition to writing critical analysis of a graphic text. And we will ask the important questions: “What is considered literary? And what is not?” Possible literature studied in the course includes Fun Home (Alison Bechdel), What It Is. (Lynda Berry), Watchmen (Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, John Higgins), Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (Art Speigelman), Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Scott McCloud, and Aya (Marguerite Abouet
      ).

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    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      The course goal is to further student understanding and appreciation of the English language, particularly language used to argue and persuade. The class will study the logic of English usage, learn new words, and read writing that exemplifies precision and rhetorical force. In the first semester, content and assignments in the course will center on understanding and clarifying personal values, and weighing these against accepted societal values. The second semester will explore specific means of persuasion employed in American society. Articulate, deliberate, precise language will be encouraged and reinforced in writing assignments, oral reports, and class discussions.


      Our curriculum is designed with two factors in mind. First, it is intended to further the language development fostered in earlier grades of our school’s English curriculum and prepare students (those juniors enrolled in the class) for their final year of secondary school. Second, it capitalizes on the specific goals of the Advanced Placement curriculum. The demands of the AP program divergent from our school’s traditional curriculum—among them the focus of specific rhetorical techniques and language and the development of image analysis skills—require our enrolled students to be especially dedicated and diligent.

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    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; please see AP requirements 
      AP Literature and Composition focuses on the study of language used for artistic purposes. Students develop their analytical skills by reading poetry, novels, short stories, and plays. In addition to teaching students to appreciate the skillful use of rich, complex, evocative language, the class aims at developing students’ writing skills. Most of the writing in AP literature is analytic in nature, although some time is devoted to the college essay in September. The course is open to 12th graders and culminates in the taking of the Advanced Placement examination in May
      .

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  • HISTORY

    • Semester-length 9th grade requirement 
      All ninth grade students are required to take Foundations of Modern Society, a one–semester course in the second semester. Emphasizing fundamental historical thinking skills through diverse case studies, this course serves as a unifying academic experience for the students and is a foundation for their future studies in history. It is intentionally broad in scope and teachers employ 3-4 diverse content areas to grapple with the essential question: How do social groups form and thrive? While the specific units vary from year to year and teacher to teacher, there is a special focus on the role governments play in forming societies, the way perception of the “other” can form a group, and the way an idea can develop a group identity. There is an explicit focus on developing in each student an understanding that every source, primary or secondary, is an interpretation. To that end, teachers employ in each unit at least of two different historians’ interpretations of a historical event, several contrasting primary sources, and various visual interpretations in each unit. This course also shares a main essential question with the English I course, “How do I learn best?” and focuses on developing students’ metacognition about their individual learning processes.

      Potential and past unit topics (at individual teacher’s discretion):
      • Collective Learning and Early Human Evolution
      • Agricultural Revolution
      • The Development of Ancient States: Rome, China, Political Philosophy
      • The Holocaust and Comparative Genocide Studies
      • New Colonialism and the Belgian Congo
      • Apartheid South Africa
      • Jim Crow America
      • Communist Revolutions
      • The Industrial Revolution

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    • Semester-length 10th grade requirement
      This semester-length required US History course is the starting point for all future historical inquiry at Holderness. The course focuses on the events leading to the drafting of the Constitution and post Civil-War Reconstruction era. These foundational topics introduce the theme of civil liberties, but notably emphasize an evolving definition of freedom and political efficacy. The essential question: What does it mean to be a US citizen? requires a reflection in civics to ground studies in the second semester. Students also work to develop an understanding that historians have various interpretations, and there is a history of debate among historians.

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      • Semester-length seminar
        In this semester long elective, students will examine and study key events and topics of the twentieth century in America utilizing films as both primary and secondary sources. In a growing digital age, where video and films have become increasingly prevalent, students need to be critical viewers and recognize the possibility for bias and see the importance of perspective and point of view. Over the course of the semester we will look at four or five main events and time periods. Each unit will consist of three main parts. First we will spend time reading, discussing, and learning about the historical context of the given unit. This will be done through the readings of largely primary source documents, but also some secondary sources. Second we will watch a major motion picture that addresses some aspect of the topic (instead of purchasing books for this class, they will be required to purchase a digital copy of the films). Lastly, students will either write an essay or conduct in-depth debate style discussions both confirming and complicating the film as either a primary and/or secondary source. One of the main questions to be answered will be, how does [said film] contribute to our study and understanding of [said topic]? 

        List of Potential Films Used: The Birth of A Nation (1915), Cinderella Man (2005), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Platoon (1986) Or Apocalypse Now (1979)

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      • Semester-length seminar
        Every facet of American society was rapidly changing at the turn of the 20th century and the modern American Identity was beginning to take shape. This semester elective will focus on the time period of 1900- 1945, primarily focusing on the how America got itself into the Great Depression and then how the Second World War, pulled America out of the Great Depression. We will look not only at the economic impacts of Depression but also the social and political impacts. Through primary and secondary source analysis, students will be forced to confirm and complicate the documents to further develop their own understandings of the time period. Lastly, we will also make connections to the 2008 Recession, the largest economic recession, since the Great Depression.

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      • Semester-length seminar
        As many survey courses are forced to address this period in a brief span of time, America in the 50s and 60s allows students to take a longer look into this formative post-World War II period. While being taught as a focused survey course, the class will particularly focus on key topics, including: the Civil Rights movement, Korean Vietnam Wars, Eisenhower and Johnson presidencies and policies, Cold War, and political radicalism. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural history of the period, including books, movies, and music. Open to qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Spring.

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      • Semester-length seminar
        American Environmental History follows American history from pre-European settlement through modern day with a focus on the environmental aspect of the various periods of the United States. Subjects would include the evolution of the American landscape, changing federal and state policy, environmental epidemics, waste disposal, industrial development, conservation, and the environmental movement. Students will primarily access this history through the many of the field’s seminal secondary and primary documents, however the course would also look to take students out of the classroom and into the environment in which it has studied, possibly including a multiple day trip in the spring. Open to qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Spring.

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        No textbook required.
      • Semester-length seminar
        During the 20th century the United States fought three wars in East Asia: the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. How did the East Asians perceive and react to the wars? How did the wars affect people's lives and societies in East Asia? How did these wars impact postwar relations between the United States and East Asia? How did race, culture, and ethnicity play significant roles in these wars? This course examines these questions by studying East Asia in these three American wars as an oral and social history. The course focuses on the human dimensions of the wars as experienced by those East Asians who fought and lived through them.

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      • Semester-length seminar
        “Without documents, there's no history. And women left very few documents behind."
         -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

        In this semester-length elective students will focus specifically on the evolution of gender norms in American history. Students will begin by considering colonial society's notions and understandings of sex, the evolution of republican motherhood, as well as the Sally Hemings affair. Special attention will be paid to the 20th century suffrage movement, the anti-miscegenation laws of Jim Crow, the feminist movement, the sexual revolution and GLBTQ movement. Students will also contemplate broader questions about the construction of history, especially without access to written primary sources, and write historiographical essays on the class sources. As a final assessment, students will create a production that examines gender norms in American society as a group.

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      • Semester-length seminar
        The two principal goals of this seminar will be to familiarize students with some of the most important aspects of the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the legacy left by the wake of such a divisive war. This course will include close examination of some of the more important historiographical debates. Topics include: sectionalism, antebellum political parties, slavery, abolition, Civil War politics, Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction. Students will use primary and secondary resources to produce a significant research paper.


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    • Open to qualified 11th grade students; please see AP requirements
      Open to qualified 10th and 11th graders, this advanced course follows the development of American government, economics, culture, and thought from pre-Columbian Native American societies to the recent events such as the attacks of 
      September 11th or the subprime mortgage crisis. Readings from primary and secondary sources, as well as class discussions, offer students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves into the origins and values of an evolving and complex American society. The course focuses on those aspects of the field of American history that have both served to build national identity as well as those that have created disunion. Understanding that reading and writing are the foundations of communication within the field, the course utilizes frequent essay assignments to encourage students to clarify and define their thoughts on selected topics and works in an ordered, well-defended fashion.

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    • Open to qualified 11th grade students; please see AP requirements
      This two year course, beginning in the 10th or 11th grade year, will prepare students for both the Advanced Placement European History Exam and the Advanced Placement US History Exam. Students must submit an application and will be vetted for admission. This course will employ a broader lens to explore historical phenomena on both sides of the Atlantic embracing the globalized approach of modern historical research. Study of the American constitution, for example, will be endowed with prior study of the Enlightenment. Students will be expected to engage in a project in the summer between the two years of the course. This course will be team taught.

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    • Open to qualified 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      This semester-length course, at full time can be taken in tandem with the following Authoritarian Societies elective to prepare students for the AP Comparative Government exam. The AP Curriculum mandates study of six core core countries. In this elective students will consider the United Kingdom, Mexico, Nigeria (three of the core countries) and India, a notable exception from the curriculum.

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    • Open to qualified 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      This semester-length course, at full time can be taken in tandem with the prior Democratic Societies elective to prepare students for the AP Comparative Government exam. The AP Curriculum mandates study of six core core countries. In this elective students will consider the Iran, Russia and China (three of the core countries) and a fourth country of relevance in that year that could be: North Korea, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Cuba or Venezuela.

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    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      Open to qualified 11th graders and 12th graders, the AP European History elective introduces students to the cultural, intellectual, economic, social, political, and diplomatic developments of European history from 1450 to the present day. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements that shaped Europe, the goals of the AP program in European history are to develop an understanding of the principal themes in modern European history, an ability to analyze historical evidence, and an ability to express historical understanding in writing. Note: this course will next be offered in 2018-2019.
    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      Open to 11th and 12th graders, this semester-long elective explores the complexity of one of the most paradoxical regions in the world. The Middle East encompasses some of the richest and poorest countries. It is the geographic foundation of the three largest world religions and is perhaps one of the most turbulent regions of the twenty-first century. This course examines the sources of today’s socio-political problems, including twentieth century imperialism, the Balfour Declaration, the Cold War, and globalization. This course seeks to determine what needs to change in order to create a viable peace in the Middle East.

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      No textbook required.
    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      This semester elective is designed for students who develop an interest in intellectual history and want the opportunity to seek further depth. By reading and studying the poetry, art, and prose literature of these two movements, we hope to understand the dynamic interaction between the rationalism and optimism of 1750-1800 and the haunted, wild Romantic ideas of 1800-1850. We will also trace the legacy of these movements in the Western tradition. Students will spend most of their time evaluating and commenting on selected primary sources from Locke to Poe.

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      In this semester-long elective course students will examine and critically analyze various methods of artistic expression from around the world. There will be a special emphasis on not only the “high” fine arts of drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture, but also of various forms of “low art” including but not limited to popular film, cartoons and other forms of artistic expression with mass appeal. The essential questions driving the course focus on understanding the historiographical significance of artistic artifacts of a culture but also examine what differentiates a piece of art from a urinal on the wall. What is art and how is it made? How does art communicate and act as a record for human experience? What can we learn about a culture through its art forms? What skills and vocabulary can help us to effectively communicate about art?

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      In this semester-long junior or senior elective students will consider the role of mass communications in politics. Each unit will consider a different aspect of the media including traditional print journalism, political cartoons, photography, radio, comedic television, and the expanding landscape of social media. Study of a particular medium will begin with case studies on how the communications technology was developed and used in various historical periods. Students will hone their analytical skills in each unit by composing an analysis of a modern example of the medium in question. With a growing public criticism of the role of the media in politics and the questions surrounding “Fake News,” this course will also focus on developing educated and inquisitive consumers of media. As a projects-based class, each unit will be assessed with students trying their hand the media form in question to comment on the a current events topic. Students should expect to engage in collaborative work, group discussions, short analytical compositions and practice real-world application of the theories, ideas and examples studied as they generate their own media.


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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      Psychology I concentrates on the study of the human mind and human behavior. It is broken down into four units:
      1. The History of Psychology 
      2. Biological Psychology 
      3. Developmental Psychology 
      4. Social Psychology
      The course is designed to give students a foundation of psychology and lead to an interest in further study of psychology. Regardless of how far students go with their study of psychology, students will have a better understanding of the human mind and reasoning behind human behavior after this introductory course.

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students
      A semester-length opportunity for continued study in Psychology. The prerequisite is Psychology I, but these two courses do not have to be taken in the same calendar year (could be taken 11th and 12th grade for example). Psychology II includes topics such as learning and memory, motivation and emotion, intelligence testing and individual differences, and abnormal psychology. The course is an opportunity to dive deeper into the different types of psychology discussed in Psychology I, such as biological, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology.

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  • SCIENCE

    • This course introduces students to essential principles of biology: cells, chemistry of life, genetics, evolutionary theory, biological diversity, and organism structure and function. Human anatomy and physiology are emphasized. Students use the framework of the scientific method to explore the living world in laboratory investigations. They are challenged to learn highly detailed material in order to gain greater appreciation for the diversity of life on earth, to understand prevailing thinking on the origin and evolution of living things, and to develop a clear sense of how Homo sapiens fit into this intricate web.

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    • Though this is a demanding college preparatory course, the teachers encourage an appreciation of the role chemistry plays in our daily lives outside of the classroom. Simply stated, chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. This course is designed to challenge students’ problem-solving skills while covering the concepts of a traditional introductory college preparatory course. Students are given the opportunity to explore the world around them through lab work, class discussions, and activities including an in-depth look at the chemistry of the food we eat and a study of the gases in our atmosphere.
    • Recommended only for students who are very strong in math and science
      This course is designed to explore the fundamental nature of matter and study its physical and chemical characteristics. Students engage in laboratory activities that reinforce the scientific method, apply knowledge to real-world applications, and integrate technology in the science classroom. The honors course differs from regular chemistry in its more strenuous mathematical component, complexity, and depth of theory studied.

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    • Recommended for students who are at the pre-calculus level of math or above
      Physics examines four basic areas of study: mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal energy, and modern physics. The objective of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to identify four unifying themes of science: scale, models (physical, mathematical, or conceptual), constancy and change, and systems.

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    • Recommended for students who are at the pre-calculus level of math or above
      The Honors Physics course is a rigorous, math-intensive introduction to the subject. The bulk of the course is devoted to the study of mechanics, or the behavior of particles subject to systems of forces, and includes topics such as one- and two-dimensional kinematics, Newton’s Laws, momentum, mechanical energy, rotational motion, gravitation, and oscillations. During the final quarter of the year students examine a variety of modern topics, particularly electricity and magnetism. The course emphasizes collaborative work and problem-solving techniques and involves frequent lab work. The course is designed to develop a solid foundation for college-level physics and to instill an appreciation for and curiosity about the complexity of the universe.

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    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Physics and AP Calculus; please see AP requirements
      AP Physics C is a demanding college-level course that requires the use of calculus. The course emphasizes collaborative work and problem-solving techniques. The course aims at covering Mechanics (one of the two Physics C AP examinations). Instruction includes video lectures and computer applets. In class, students will engage in problem sets and labs. Labs – both virtual and real – will be done on a weekly basis. This course is designed to replace introductory college physics courses designed for physics and engineering majors.

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    • Open to students who have completed the AP Physics C: Mechanics course
      AP Physics C-E&M is a second-year AP physics class that is intended to replace a college-level introductory course in electricity and magnetism. The course makes extensive use of calculus techniques in the exploration of topics such as electric fields, electric potential, capacitance, circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction. Students are required to work well both independently and in small groups, and labs involve long-term, independent projects. Due to the sophisticated conceptual material and mathematical techniques involved, it is strongly recommended that students complete AP calculus and AP physics C-M before taking the course.

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    • Recommended for 11th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      Students enrolled in the Advanced Environmental Science course are assumed to possess a broad background in biology and chemistry. Students are provided with experience in advanced field work, laboratory techniques, and laboratory investigation reporting techniques through activities focusing on local ecosystems. Students pursue, from both scientific and social scientific perspectives, the effect of human societies on the natural world. The course stresses students' responsibility for determining the quality of the environment and, consequently, their own lives. Sustainability principles are given special emphasis. Students are trained to identify and seek solutions to environmental problems. In addition to local environmental issues, students investigate the global trends of overpopulation, ecosystem degradation, atmospheric change, and loss of biodiversity.
    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry; please see AP requirements
      The goal of the Advanced Placement Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, both natural and humanmade, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study (e.g. biology, chemistry, earth science, geography), yet there are several major unifying themes that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The course takes advantage of the environs surrounding our campus for firsthand research. Students are expected to take the AP exam in May.

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    • Open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry; please see AP requirements
      The AP Biology course covers the entire Advanced Placement curriculum, fully preparing students for the AP exam. There is a comprehensive laboratory component to the course, which includes applications of recombinant DNA technologies and experience using modern lab techniques and equipment. The AP Biology course assists students in organizing biological concepts and topics into a coherent conceptual framework, helps students internalize and effectively utilize the processes of scientific reasoning, and helps them develop or enhance their interest in biology and gain a sense of the subject’s relevance to their everyday lives. Students are expected to take the AP exam in May.

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      As an introductory course in robotics the students will learn JAVA computer programming as well as problem solving strategies. This course will involve students in the development, building and programming of a Tetrix robot. Working in teams they design, build, program and document their progress. Topics include motor control, gear ratios, torque, friction, sensors, timing, program loops, logic gates, decision-making, timing sequences, propulsion systems and binary number systems. Student designed robots will be programmed to compete in a variety of autonomous and remote controlled challenges.
    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      This will be a winter/spring semester course in which we’ll learn the basics of avalanche formation and snow metamorphism. We’ll learn how weather and mountain terrain play a role in avalanches, and how to forecast avalanches and travel safely in the backcountry. We’ll do everything from basic physics problem sets to digging snow pits outside to making our own snowflakes in the lab. Each student will choose a particular avalanche forecasted region, like Mount Washington, on which to focus for an avalanche forecasting and weather project in January and February.

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      This course will focus on the nervous, endocrine, immune, excretory and digestive systems. Questions such as: Why is laughter infectious? What role does emotion play in memory? How does alcoholism affect balance? How does cancer immunotherapy work? Why does diabetes affect the kidneys? And just how important is vitamin D? will be addressed through discussions, readings, lectures, videos and activities. Laboratory investigations will include a fetal pig dissection and physiology labs. This is offered as a semester course to juniors and seniors. This is a complementary course to the Anatomy and Physiology course focusing on exercise physiology.
    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      In this course, students will study acute and chronic physiological responses to exercise. Muscle, environmental physiology, practical physiology testing, energy metabolism, and cardiovascular function in response to exercise training will be emphasized in the classroom and applied to laboratory activities.

      Objectives: Students who successfully complete the requirements for this course will:
      • Have a foundational understanding of the complex nature of the human organism from a physiological perspective.
      • Understand the muscular and energy physiological demands from an inactive state to an active state.
      • Understand the acute physiological responses to exercise.
      • Understand the chronic physiological adaptations to exercise.
      • Have mastered basic physiological laboratory experiments and procedures.
      This is a complementary course to the Topics in Human Anatomy and Physiology course.

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    • Semester course; open to qualified 11th and 12th grade students; must have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry
      This semester course is designed to reinforce knowledge of ecological interactions and scientific method and to gain experience in field work. Varied ecosystems will be studied using actual data from ongoing research and will include Australian eucalypt dry forest, coral reefs, Central American cloud forests, and subtropical rain forests. Field studies will be carried out during a northern hardwood forest unit. A variety of animals and plants including green sea turtles, koalas, invasive plant species, amphibians, lionfish and coastal sharks will be studied within the context of the pertinent ecosystem. Policy implications of research and pertinent social factors will also be explored, and thus insights into the importance of application of science in developing land and marine use policies will be gained. Appropriate for any junior or senior student, this course will also provide good preparation for potential senior thesis work in environmental studies, ecology, or conservation biology, including utilizing established connections to ongoing international research.
  • MATHEMATICS

    • This is a cornerstone course designed to prepare students to investigate and master more complex, but related, concepts studied over the balance of the mathematics curriculum. Students review the language of algebra, real number operations, and approaches used to solve linear equations before engaging in an expanded study of function graphing, linear analysis, methods of solving linear inequalities, and systems of both inequalities and linear equations. Multiplication of polynomials, factoring, and solving quadratic and exponential functions, together with simplification and evaluation of radical expressions, constitute the remainder of the course.

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    • This course covers the fundamental concepts of geometry, with algebra and discrete mathematical topics woven into the curriculum. Topics include reasoning and proof, building blocks of geometric shapes, congruence and similarity, right triangles and trigonometry, transformations of figures and equations, and surface area and volume.

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    • Must have successfully completed Geometry
      In this course, students continue the study of concepts introduced in Algebra I and Geometry. Concepts such as linear functions, linear regression, data analysis, matrices, and systems of equations are introduced as important tools to explore, analyze, and make conjectures as we further develop mathematical problem-solving skills. Using real-world examples, students explore quadratic equations, polynomials, and operations of functions. Students also examine properties, applications, and graphs of absolute value, exponential, logarithmic, power, radical, and trigonometric functions.

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    • Must have successfully completed Geometry
      In this honors course, students continue the study of concepts introduced in Algebra I and Geometry. Concepts such as linear functions, linear regression, data analysis, matrices, and systems of equations are introduced as important tools to explore, analyze, and make conjectures as we further develop mathematical problem-solving skills. Using real-world examples, students explore quadratic equations, polynomials, and operations of functions. Students also examine properties, applications, and graphs of absolute value, exponential, logarithmic, power, radical, and trigonometric functions.

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    • Combines Algebra 2 (first semester) and Precalculus (second semester); recommended only for students very strong in mathematics
      This course is offered to advanced students of mathematics, covering topics in Algebra II in the first semester and Precalculus in the second in preparation for taking AP Calculus AB the following year. Major topics include linear equations and inequalities, systems of equations, functions, conics, polynomials, binomial theorem, vectors, polar and spherical coordinates, combinations and permutations, and complex numbers.

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    • Must have successfully completed Geometry and Algebra 2
      This course offers a more rigorous approach to the study of functions and to the topics needed for calculus. The emphasis of this course is on analysis through formal mathematical notation and the relation of mathematical concepts to real world scenarios. Major topics include linear, exponential, and logarithmic functions; trigonometric functions; polynomials; radical functions; mathematical limits; composition of functions; and inverses of functions.

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    • Must have successfully completed Geometry and Algebra 2
      This course is designed for students who have completed Honors Algebra 2. Honors Precalculus covers all of the topics studied in the regular pre-calculus course; however, the pace is slightly faster than regular pre-calculus so that the students will be able to cover more trigonometry and topics that will prepare them for AP Calculus. By the end of the class the students will not only be introduced to topics that are vital to understanding Calculus, such as continuity and limits, but they will also be introduced to the derivative through the limit definition.

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    • Must have successfully completed Precalculus
      Calculus begins with a thorough review of standard high school mathematics in preparation for Calculus and the SAT. The class is designed to introduce students to important Calculus topics and to prepare them for college Calculus. The course will cover the conceptual basis of Calculus including the limit definition of the derivative and Riemann Sums. It will also cover in great detail the rules for differentiation and introduce the integral. By the end of the class students will be exposed to the applications of Calculus with Related Rate and Optimization problems.

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    • Please see AP requirements
      AP Calculus is primarily concerned with developing a student’s understanding of the concepts of calculus through the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling. The course emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. Students are expected to take the AP exam in May.

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    • Please see AP requirements
      AP Calculus BC is a semester course designed for students who have completed AP Calculus AB. The course is a continuation of Calculus AB and emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The course will cover advanced integration, differential equations, sequences and series, (including Taylor Series and Maclaurin Series), polar functions, and parametric functions. Students are expected to take the AP Calculus BC exam in May.

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      Students, please contact Ms. Wolf at ewolf@holderness.org for more information.
    • Semester course; recommended for 11th and 12th graders; must have successfully completed Algebra 2
      Differential Equations is a semester-long course for students who have completed AP Calculus AB and/or BC. Students will study ways to solve differential equations graphically, numerically, and algebraically. Students will also study the real world applications of these types of equations.

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    • Recommended for 11th and 12th graders; must have successfully completed Algebra 2
      In this year-long course, students study mathematics in contexts and develop their abilities to problem solve, reason, and communicate.  Real world situations provide the contexts for mathematical investigation.  The topics include but are not limited to: logic, numeration, statistics, financial mathematics, history of mathematics, and functions.

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      No textbook required.
    • Please see AP requirements
      This is the high school equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college statistics course. In this course, students develop strategies for collecting, organizing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data, with a focus on univariate and bivariate data. Simulations and probability aid students in constructing models for chance phenomena and lead to the study of inference, where students learn to complete confidence intervals and hypotheses tests. Students use technology, such as the Ti calculator, Fathom, and online applets, to strengthen their understanding of statistical concepts. Throughout the year, students apply statistical skills learned in class to analyze data from a variety of sources, including data from our athletic teams, student-generated data, and online sources. The coursework culminate with AP exam in May.

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    • Semester course; must have successfully completed Geometry and Algebra 2
      This semester-long course will provide an introduction to methods of problem-solving and developing logical algorithms through object-oriented programming. It is designed to serve as a first course in computer science for students with no prior computing experience. Much of the course is dedicated to writing and editing computer programs intended to solve a given problem. Students will learn to write these computer programs using the JAVA programming language. The course is designed for 11th and 12th grade students who have completed Algebra 2 with a grade of B or higher.

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    • Must have successfully completed Geometry and Algebra 2; please see AP requirements
      This year-long course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data(algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design. These techniques represent proven approaches for developing solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems. The course is designed For 11th and 1 zth grade students who have completed Algebra 2 with a grade of B or higher.

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    • Semester course; must have successfully completed Geometry and Algebra 2
      This semester-long course serves to introduce students to micro- and macro-economic principles in preparation for further work in economics at the college level. The course actively seeks to apply principles of mathematics to the subject, emphasizing how one uses mathematical models to simplify economic theories and analyze economic patterns. Topics covered include decision-making and cost-benefit analysis, opportunity cost, productivity, scarcity, budget deficits and public debt, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve, GDP, inflation, elasticity of demand, competition and market structures, price ceilings and floors, benefits of trade/comparative advantage, foreign currency markets/exchange rates, and personal finance.

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    • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      This semester long course will give students an understanding of the economy as a whole. Students will look at what is happening at a national level. This course allows the student to think more about theory and abstract ideas in economics. Students will learn about the national debt, GDP in different countries, international economics, and an economy’s growth. This course is for 12th graders, who will have taken economics prior, and may be taken by 11th graders, but it is designed to be taken the year before heading to college. All students must complete summer work in advance of the course.

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    • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th grade students; please see AP requirements
      This semester long course will give the students an understanding of the basic principles of economics based on what consumers and producers do as individuals in an economy. Microeconomics consists of more math concepts for example, using the supply and demand graphs. We will look at specifics in an economy rather than the whole economy. Students will learn the basic concepts of microeconomics, different product markets and how they work, supply and demand, and the role of the government. This course is for 12th graders, who will have taken economics prior, and may be taken by 11th graders, but it is designed to be taken the year before heading to college. All students must complete summer work in advance of the course.

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  • MODERN & CLASSICAL LANGUAGES

      • The goals of the first two years of French are to develop concurrently the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose the student to the culture of the francophonic world. At the more advanced levels, the department emphasizes the development of reading and writing skills through the study of literature and current cultural texts, while continuing to provide grammar review. An Advanced Placement course is offered to qualified students with the permission of the department and the Dean of Academic Affairs.

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      • The goals of the first two years of French are to develop concurrently the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose the student to the culture of the francophonic world. At the more advanced levels, the department emphasizes the development of reading and writing skills through the study of literature and current cultural texts, while continuing to provide grammar review. An Advanced Placement course is offered to qualified students with the permission of the department and the Dean of Academic Affairs.

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      • French III is an intermediate course in French language and culture, bridging the levels of beginning language to advanced study. During the year, students continue their study of French grammar and become more proficient at interpreting, reading, speaking and writing directly in the language. Students also continue their study of French and francophone cultures around the world.

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      • French 4 continues the study of French language and serves as the preparatory year for Advanced Placement French Language and Culture. Students develop greater proficiency in the details of French language through the study of advanced grammar, readings, discussion, and composition. The goals of the course are to develop the ability to discuss one's ideas coherently and logically in spoken and written French and to deepen one's knowledge and understanding of French civilization and francophone culture through readings in French and francophone literature.

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        *
        *Please make sure the Graded French Reader is a 4th Edition.

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      • Please see AP requirements 
        The AP French Language and Culture course emphasizes continued language acquisition, communication skills, and cultural knowledge and understanding.  The course will be conducted exclusively in French, and students will practice on a daily basis their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication and expression.  The course organizes the study of literature, current events, and cultural topics under the umbrella of the six College Board designated themes: Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Global Challenges, Aesthetics and Beauty, Family and Communities, and Private and Public Identities.  Students are required to take the AP exam in May.

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        *Please also get a subscription from Canal Academie.
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      • Semester course; must have successfully completed French 4 and/or AP French Language
        This course will focus on modern literature from several if not all of the following overseas French departments: Corsica, Reunion Island, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and Tahiti. Students will research the history of the department and read selections from authors native to each department. Current political and socio-economic events from the francophone world will be incorporated into the class discussions. Readings and discussions will be conducted entirely in French. This is a semester course and is recommended for students who have successfully completed French 4 and/or AP French Language and Culture.

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      • “Amo, amas, amat,…” “Agricola, agricolae, agricolae,…” Every September for the last two millennia, legions of beginning Latin students have been introduced to the intricacies of the language that underpins much of Western thought and communication. At Holderness, first year Latin students embark upon a two-year sequence of acquiring basic vocabulary and grammar mastery designed to enable engagement with the Latin literature and authors that are read in the third and fourth years. Along the way, students are introduced to the history of Rome and to the Romans themselves. Latin is the ultimate liberal art, and the Latin-based vocabulary of the arts, sciences, philosophy, and politics of the Western world, provides a rich field of intellectual exploration in the Latin classroom at all levels of the program.

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      • In the second year of Latin, students build upon the work of the first year and are presented with more advanced grammar and training in organizing a burgeoning system of Latin declensional endings and verb conjugations. With growing reading proficiency, students are able to read selections from the Vulgate Bible as well as articles from Nuntii Latini, a weekly news summary in Latin. The year ends with an introduction to the subjunctive mood.

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      • Third and fourth year Latin are the reading years, and the focus shifts from the building blocks of vocabulary and grammar to understanding the art of translation and the world of Latin literature. At the beginning of the third year, regardless of what grammar remains to be learned, we launch immediately into reading a Latin text. Concurrent with reading, the first months are filled with ongoing review, and any new grammar not covered in the first two years is explored and learned as it arises in context in the readings. Texts read in the third year include excepts from Satyricon of Petronius (a graded reader subtitled “The Millionaire’s Dinner Party”), Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, and Ovid’s tale of Pyramus and Thisbe from Metamorphoses.

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      • Fourth year Latin is a continuation of an exploration of Latin literature. We begin the year with a number of letters of Pliny the Younger. With Pliny, we also use the Penguin translation alongside the text to examine more closely the difference between literal and literary translating. Texts for the remainder of the year vary according to student interest and have included works of Horace, Cicero, Vergil, Catullus, and Livy, as well as some mediaeval authors. Often, the year will end with an introduction to the AP syllabus of the following year.

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      • Please see AP requirements
        AP Latin at Holderness is offered to any student whose proficiency with the language has risen to the appropriate level. Successful completion of the fourth year course (or an equivalent program) and recommendation of the instructor are prerequisites for acceptance into AP Latin. See the College Board course description for more information.

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      • The goals of the Mandarin Chinese program are to develop basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose students to the culture of China. Students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese will spend time focusing on fundamental skills of vocabulary, syntax, character recognition and drawing, and tonal recognition and pronunciation. Each successive course builds on the work done in previous years, leading to linguistic and cultural proficiency in the intermediate and advanced courses.

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      • The goals of the Mandarin Chinese program are to develop basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose students to the culture of China. Students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese will spend time focusing on fundamental skills of vocabulary, syntax, character recognition and drawing, and tonal recognition and pronunciation. Each successive course builds on the work done in previous years, leading to linguistic and cultural proficiency in the intermediate and advanced courses.

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      • The goals of the Mandarin Chinese program are to develop basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose students to the culture of China. Students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese will spend time focusing on fundamental skills of vocabulary, syntax, character recognition and drawing, and tonal recognition and pronunciation. Each successive course builds on the work done in previous years, leading to linguistic and cultural proficiency in the intermediate and advanced courses.

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      • The goals of the Mandarin Chinese program are to develop basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and to expose students to the culture of China. Students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese will spend time focusing on fundamental skills of vocabulary, syntax, character recognition and drawing, and tonal recognition and pronunciation. Each successive course builds on the work done in previous years, leading to linguistic and cultural proficiency in the intermediate and advanced courses.

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      • The aim of the first two years of Spanish is to help students achieve a mastery of basic written and spoken language, and to introduce Spanish and Hispanic history and culture. The Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 courses stress vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Students and teachers use internet sources alongside the textbook to engage with real-life situations, current events and to look at the cultural differences and similarities between what we study and the students' own experiences.

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      • The aim of the first two years of Spanish is to help students achieve a mastery of basic written and spoken language, and to introduce Spanish and Hispanic history and culture. The Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 courses stress vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Students and teachers use internet sources alongside the textbook to engage with real-life situations, current events and to look at the cultural differences and similarities between what we study and the students' own experiences.

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      • In the third and fourth years, students continue to expand their working vocabularies and grammatical understanding, and focus on writing and speaking with fluidity and idiomatic language. Students will study not only literary selections in Spanish, but will also use current events, pop culture, art and historical events to practice the language and increase their cultural understanding of the many Spanish-speaking regions of the world. These courses are conducted almost exclusively in Spanish.

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      • In the third and fourth years, students continue to expand their working vocabularies and grammatical understanding, and focus on writing and speaking with fluidity and idiomatic language. Students will study not only literary selections in Spanish, but will also use current events, pop culture, art and historical events to practice the language and increase their cultural understanding of the many Spanish-speaking regions of the world. These courses are conducted almost exclusively in Spanish.

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      • Please see AP requirements
        The AP Spanish Language and Culture course emphasizes continued language acquisition, communication skills, and cultural knowledge and understanding. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish, and students will practice on a daily basis their interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication and expression. The course organizes the study of literature, current events, and cultural topics under the umbrella of the six College Board designated themes: Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Global Challenges, Aesthetics and Beauty, Family and Communities, and Private and Public Identities. Students are required to take the AP exam in May.

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        Note: Students will need both a book and access to the Supersite. Please use the following Supersite access code if you are purchasing a used book: 978-1-61857-226-4

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      • Please see AP requirements
        The AP Spanish Literature and Culture course is a survey of Spanish and Hispanic literary works ranging from the 13th century to the 21st century. Students read and analyze poetry, prose, essays and theater pieces from several time periods, including such notable works as Cervantes' El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (excerpts), Lorca's La casa de Bernarda Alba, and poetry by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Students refine their analytical writing skills through comparative essays and shorter, interpretive pieces. Much of the class time is spent discussing the readings; students thus hone their speaking skills as well. The class is conducted exclusively in Spanish. Students are required to take the AP exam in May.

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  • THEOLOGY & RELIGIOUS STUDIES

    • Semester course; open to 10th grade students
      This optional term course for 10th graders seeks to examine the philosophies and practices of several major world religions, seeking to understand spirituality and religion as an important force in world culture. Students are encouraged to explore and express their personal values as they examine the various philosophies of major religions.

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    • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th grade students
      This course begins by examining the nature of ethics. What are they? How do we come by our ethical stances? Are there any ethics that are universal? Following these inquiries, students then move to an ethical inquiry of the scriptures. Which pieces of the Judeo-Christian writings are applicable to the decision making required in today’s world? The course culminates with formal debates on a variety of current ethical concerns.

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  • VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS

      • Semester 9th grade requirement
        Ninth Grade Art Experience is an experiential semester-long course for ninth graders. This course includes interactive activities and studio projects representing a variety of artistic styles and art media. It is designed to develop students understanding and appreciation of the arts through discovery, and creative problem solving and expression. This course is designed to provide students with a familiarity of how to use creative expression in a variety of artistic media while developing an understanding of the role of creativity in personal expression. It also provides students with a broader perception of the visual and performing arts.

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      • Semester course
        From auditions to performance, this course takes students through the creative process of staging a production. Depending on the season, students serve as the production staff for the school play and are responsible for the major aspects of the show. During the course, the students also study the fundamentals of acting, drama, improvisation, playwriting and analysis, storytelling and theater basics. This theater course is designed to give students an increased appreciation of and additional experience in theater as an art form.

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      • Semester course
        Stagecraft is an introductory level course for students interested in technical theater. This course would provide a focused opportunity to learn the basics of technical theater including set construction, lighting, sound design and set design. Stagecraft is a hands-on course that gets students working with the tools and techniques of theatrical production in a practical way. Students work on school productions, and will be expected to perform physical tasks such as painting, carpentry and rigging. This is a project-based course. Students will learn the terminology, history and evolution of technical theater.

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      • Semester course
        This course is a basic introduction to acting for the stage and video. Course work includes exercises and improvisations exploring awareness, relaxation, observation, the senses, voice, and physical and emotional life.

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      • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th graders; must have successfully completed Theater or have permission of the instructor
        This semester-long course is designed to give students the opportunity to create advanced work in the areas of acting, directing, playwriting, and video production. Student will acquire and develop the basic skills of acting while increasing their comfort level with performing on stage. Through monologues, scenes, and exercises, students will examine the techniques an actor uses to develop a character. Exercises include movement, sense memory, personalization, objective, beat work, and beginning text analysis. In this course, there will also be opportunities to analyze, critique, and construct meanings from informal and formal theater, video, and film. This course is open to 11th grade and 12th grade students only.

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      • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th graders
        This performance based course has students engaged with four core elements of dance: basic dance steps, combinations, theories and contexts, and projects and performance. These elements are taught through daily class warm ups, exercises and practice, and in individual and group work. Students will be moving during every class. The emphasis is on fusing physical practices and creative collaboration with social, cultural and historical context. Student athletes will work parts of their bodies while developing their individual movement language. The class will end with an original choreographed performance by each student.

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      • Semester seminar
        In this team taught class, students will work toward an understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays through performance, their own and others’. Students will learn the basics of film study and analyze the various ways actors and directors have approached Shakespeare. Students will also enhance their understanding of language, character and story through their own performance. Students do not need to have a strong understanding of Shakespeare to enjoy the class; they should, however, be willing to take creative risks and be a member of a supportive community.

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      • Semester course
        Chorus will be working on a variety of pieces written for mixed voice group singing, with the opportunity for solo and small group work. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to the large world of choral singing, both in style, genre and time period, as well as building basic music comprehension and sight-singing. They will perform a concert each semester, with many other performance opportunities including Chapel. The course is offered on a semester basis and will be graded pass/fail.

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      • Semester course
        Chorus will be working on a variety of pieces written for mixed voice group singing, with the opportunity for solo and small group work. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to the large world of choral singing, both in style, genre and time period, as well as building basic music comprehension and sight-singing. They will perform a concert each semester, with many other performance opportunities including Chapel. The course is offered on a semester basis and will be graded pass/fail.

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      • Semester course
        Students will play a variety of genres of music based on the abilities and instruments provided in the group as it varies year to year. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to a breadth of music, work on playing as an ensemble, solo/improvisation work, basic music comprehension and putting on a concert. The ensemble performs throughout the year at many school events and will have access to use of the ProTool’s recording studio. Prior individual instruction is required for enrollment in the course; This instruction does not need to have been taken at Holderness. This course is offered on a semester basis and is graded pass/fail.

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      • Semester course
        Students will play a variety of genres of music based on the abilities and instruments provided in the group as it varies year to year. The aim of each semester will be to expose students to a breadth of music, work on playing as an ensemble, solo/improvisation work, basic music comprehension and putting on a concert. The ensemble performs throughout the year at many school events and will have access to use of the ProTool’s recording studio. Prior individual instruction is required for enrollment in the course; This instruction does not need to have been taken at Holderness. This course is offered on a semester basis and is graded pass/fail.

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      • Order Your Textbook(s)
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      • Order Your Textbook(s)
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      • Semester 9th grade requirement
        Ninth Grade Art Experience is an experiential semester-long course for ninth graders. This course includes interactive activities and studio projects representing a variety of artistic styles and art media. It is designed to develop students understanding and appreciation of the arts through discovery, and creative problem solving and expression. This course is designed to provide students with a familiarity of how to use creative expression in a variety of artistic media while developing an understanding of the role of creativity in personal expression. It also provides students with a broader perception of the visual and performing arts.

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      • Semester course
        This course is a hands-on computer art course with strong emphasis on communication and design careers. This course seeks to link the eye of the artist with the power of the computer. Students will work with Adobe Creative Suite, focusing on Photoshop and Illustrator to develop both Raster and Vector images. Students will learn basic image manipulation, logo design, promotional poster design, t-shirt design, and the skills of commission works from a client. Other design opportunities will be offered depending on student interest and client requests. Students will learn the foundation of Design as a career and utilize the elements and principles of design to ensure quality outcome. This course is an opportunity for students to experience real life design career skills that allow them the opportunity to develop commissioned designs that benefit the community and display their creative skills. Lastly, students will learn to respect their own ideas and artistic expressions and those of others as they analyze and evaluate design lessons. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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      • Semester course
        This art course deals with art in its 3-Dimensional form. This is a semester long course in which a variety of mediums will be explored, which may include textiles, ceramics, paper mache’, metal wire, found objects and more. Students will participate in a wide range of experiences using additive or subtractive sculptural techniques designed to build artistic and creative confidence and to develop quality work. The importance of good craftsmanship and a professional approach to studio practices will be emphasized along with the experimental and imaginative manipulation of form and content. Increasing emphasis will be placed on subjectivity, content and conceptual development in student work. Example lessons include, but are not limited to, figurative sculpture, found object sculpture, architectural construction, public or nature artworks, and more, dependent on student interests. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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      • Semester course
        Student artists in the Studio Practices course will experiment with a variety of media to create visual art during the semester long course. The elements of art (line, shape, space, color, value, texture, and form) are applied in two-dimensional Drawing, Painting and Design lessons. Students will begin to apply the principles of design, (rhythm/ movement, balance, proportion/ scale, variety/ unity, emphasis, contrast and repetition) in their art expression. The development and application of artistic techniques and skills are emphasized. Students will express their ideas by using art as a form of communication. A wide range of mediums are used in this course including, but not limited to, value pencils, charcoal, ink, cut, torn paper & found objects, water color, pastels, color pencils, and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Students will develop the confidence and ability to evaluate and discuss their own work and the work of others. As students work toward an appreciation and understanding of art, they will relate visual arts to various historical and cultural traditions. Students will learn to respect their own ideas and artistic expressions and those of others as they analyze and evaluate works of art. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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      • This intermediate course is a study of the principles and elements of art using a variety of studio media to explore compositional possibilities on a two-dimensional surface or three-dimensional space. The elements of design are like a palette of possibilities that artists use to express themselves. The principles of design help guide artists in making decisions about how to organize the elements on a picture plane or in physical space in order to communicate content. In order to think critically about visual design, this course will begin with a practical approach to solving visual problems while introducing the vocabulary of visual terms and visual analysis. Through structured studio experiences, students will learn the intrinsic qualities of various media and develop an understanding of compositional strategies, technical skills and design processes. The importance of good craftsmanship and a professional approach to studio practices will be emphasized along with the experimental and imaginative manipulation of form and content. Increasing emphasis will be placed on subjectivity, content and conceptual development in student work. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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      • Semester course
        This advanced course is a study of the principles and elements of art using a variety of studio media to explore compositional possibilities on a two-dimensional surface or three-dimensional space. The elements of design are like a palette of possibilities that artists use to express themselves. The principles of design help guide artists in making decisions about how to organize the elements on a picture plane or in physical space in order to communicate content. In order to think critically about visual design, this course will begin with a practical approach to solving visual problems while introducing the vocabulary of visual terms and visual analysis. Through structured studio experiences, students will learn the intrinsic qualities of various media and develop an understanding of compositional strategies, technical skills and design processes. The importance of good craftsmanship and a professional approach to studio practices will be emphasized along with the experimental and imaginative manipulation of form and content. Increasing emphasis will be placed on subjectivity, content and conceptual development in student work. Students will develop Final Portfolios that will be assessed after each lesson and at the end of the semester with the guidance of specific grading rubrics and group critiques.

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      • Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders and 9th graders by request
        The goal of this course is to teach photography as a visual language, with an emphasis on expression and communication. This full-year, full-credit course covers the history of photography, theories of composition and design, techniques of camera use, print development, presentation, and critical evaluation. A lighting studio equipped with electronic strobes is available to photography students for portrait and still life photography, as well as for videotaping and postproduction editing. Digital imaging and printing using Photoshop are also offered as an adjunct to analog darkroom processes. A separate darkroom for mural-scale enlarging and printing is available to advanced students. Photography is offered to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders and 9th graders by request.

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      • Must have successfully completed Photography
        In Advanced Photography, students continue the creative exploration of this expressive medium through work with small, medium, and large format cameras, printing, and extensive use of electronic and experimental lighting. Work is done in both analog and digital photographic media. Students have input into the thematic development of the course. They are asked to combine writings with image-making and research in order to prepare a college-level portfolio. This course can be taken for one or two years. It is offered to 11th and 12th graders who have successfully completed the introductory course in photography. Course content is adjusted to the level of the class and individual students.

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      • Must have successfully completed Advanced Photography
        In Advanced Photography, students continue the creative exploration of this expressive medium through work with small, medium, and large format cameras, printing, and extensive use of electronic and experimental lighting. Work is done in both analog and digital photographic media. Students have input into the thematic development of the course. They are asked to combine writings with image-making and research in order to prepare a college-level portfolio. This course can be taken for one or two years. It is offered to 11th and 12th graders who have successfully completed the introductory course in photography. Course content is adjusted to the level of the class and individual students.

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        Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
      • Must have successfully completed Advanced Photography II
        In Advanced Photography, students continue the creative exploration of this expressive medium through work with small, medium, and large format cameras, printing, and extensive use of electronic and experimental lighting. Work is done in both analog and digital photographic media. Students have input into the thematic development of the course. They are asked to combine writings with image-making and research in order to prepare a college-level portfolio. This course can be taken for one or two years. It is offered to 11th and 12th graders who have successfully completed the introductory course in photography. Course content is adjusted to the level of the class and individual students.

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      • Semester course
        This semester course is open to all students interested in working with clay. The primary focus of the class is learning how to create pottery using the potter’s wheel. Students learn to throw bowls, cylinders, and forms derived from cylinders. Students learn to trim their pots. Methods used to glaze pots are also taught. Students are introduced to the equipment in the ceramics studio and its care. Students learn some of the technical terms and their meanings. Finally, students explore a variety of books and catalogs about ceramics, and see videos of famous potters.

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      • Semester course; must have successfully completed Beginning Ceramics
        These semester courses are open to all students who have completed the prerequisite ceramics course. Classes are tailored to each student, focusing on individual interests. Ceramics students are expected to increase their technical proficiency, explore a diversity of forms, and employ a variety of glazing techniques. Students learn terms and definitions in order to become more familiar with the technical aspects of ceramics. They are introduced to a number of resources in the library, and see videos of famous ceramic artists.

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      • Semester course; must have successfully completed Intermediate Ceramics
        These semester courses are open to all students who have completed the prerequisite ceramics course. Classes are tailored to each student, focusing on individual interests. Ceramics students are expected to increase their technical proficiency, explore a diversity of forms, and employ a variety of glazing techniques. Students learn terms and definitions in order to become more familiar with the technical aspects of ceramics. They are introduced to a number of resources in the library, and see videos of famous ceramic artists.

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      • Semester course; open to 11th and 12th graders
        In this semester-long elective course students will examine and critically analyze various methods of artistic expression from around the world. There will be a special emphasis on not only the “high” fine arts of drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture, but also of various forms of “low art” including but not limited to popular film, cartoons and other forms of artistic expression with mass appeal. The essential questions driving the course focus on understanding the historiographical significance of artistic artifacts of a culture but also examine what differentiates a piece of art from a urinal on the wall. What is art and how is it made? How does art communicate and act as a record for human experience? What can we learn about a culture through its art forms? What skills and vocabulary can help us to effectively communicate about art?
  • OTHER COURSES

    • Human Development is a quarter-long course covering topics such as human sexuality,reproductive anatomy, gender roles and identity, sexual orientation, birth control, and teen pregnancy. In addition to the human sexuality component, the course discusses the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Human Development is a pass/fail course.

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    • Senior Thesis is an experiential educational opportunity designed to provide our seniors with the platform to develop their intellectual curiosity while researching and delving into the exploration of a topic of their choice and an essential question. While the question is central, it is the educational journey the students take to answer that question which is most important. Included in that journey are the four key components to Senior Thesis listed below which are connected to their topic and essential question.
      • Research & Assignments
      • March Experience
      • Final Project
      • Seminar Presentation
      As early as the summer before the senior year, students begin thinking about potential topic areas that will guide their research. At the same time advisors, parents and Holderness School Alumni Relations staff begin looking for volunteers who will mentor seniors during the experiential research part of the program. In autumn the seniors begin to develop their research plan and finalize their March experience. In winter and spring the seniors complete their research and present their findings to the Holderness community during Commencement Week.

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  • SUGGESTED COURSES: GRADE 9

    SubjectCourse
    English Humanities English
    Foreign Language French 1 or French 2
    Latin 1 or Latin 2
    Mandarin Chinese 1 or Mandarin Chinese 2
    Spanish 1 or Spanish 2
    History Foundations of Modern Society (required semester course)
    Science Biology
    Mathematics Algebra 1
    Geometry
    Algebra 2 (for students who have successfully completed Algebra 1 and Geometry)
    Visual & Performing Arts Ninth Grade Seminar in Art (required semester course)
    Semester Course Electives

    (suggested for students who have already completed biology, or who prefer to take biology in grade 10)
    Studio Practices
    3D Design - Sculpture (completion of Studio Practices recommended)
    Beginning Ceramics
    Intermediate Ceramics (for students who have successfully completed Beginning Ceramics)
    Theater
    Band (may be taken in addition to five academic courses)
    Chorus (may be taken in addition to five academic courses)
  • SUGGESTED COURSES: GRADE 10

    Students are required to take five courses each semester, plus Human Development for one quarter. Students may propose to take more or fewer classes by writing a formal proposal to the Academic Committee.
    SubjectCourse
    English English 2
    Foreign Language French 2 or French 3
    Latin 2 or Latin 3
    Mandarin Chinese 2 or Mandarin Chinese 3
    Spanish 2 or Spanish 3
    History US History 1 (semester course)
    US History 2 Seminar (semester course)
    AP US History (for qualified 10th and 11th graders)
    Advanced History of the West (for qualified 10th and 11th graders)
    Science Biology
    Chemistry (for students who have successfully completed Biology)
    Honors Chemistry (for students who are very strong in math and science)
    Mathematics Geometry
    Algebra 2 (for students who have successfully completed Geometry)
    Algebra 2/Precalculus (for students who are very strong in math)
    Theology & Religious Studies World Religions (semester course)
    Human Development Human Development (required quarter course)
    Semester Course Electives in Visual & Performing Arts Studio Practices
    Advanced Studio Practices (for students who have successfully completed Studio Practices)
    2D Graphic Design
    Beginning Ceramics
    Intermediate Ceramics (for students who have successfully completed Beginning Ceramics)
    Intro to Acting
    Theater
    Music History
    Creative Movement for Athletes
    Band (may be taken in addition to five academic courses)
    Chorus (may be taken in addition to five academic courses)
  • SUGGESTED COURSES: GRADE 11

    Students are required to take five courses each semester. Students may propose to take more or fewer classes by writing a formal proposal to the Academic Committee.
    SubjectCourse
    English English 3
    AP Language & Composition*
    Foreign Language French 3, French 4 or AP French Language and Culture*
    French Culture (semester course—for students who have successfully completed French 3)
    Modern Francophone Literature (semester course—for students who have successfully completed AP French)
    Latin 2, Latin 3 or Latin 4
    Mandarin Chinese 2, Mandarin Chinese 3 or Mandarin Chinese 4
    Spanish 3, Spanish 4 or AP Spanish Language*
    History AP US History* (for qualified 10th and 11th graders)
    AP US/AP European History: Advanced History of the West (for qualified 10th and 11th graders)
    AP Comparative Government & Politics I: Democratic Societies* (semester course)
    AP Comparative Government & Politics II: Authoritarian Societies* (semester course)
    The Modern Middle East (semester course)
    Enlightenment and Romanticism (semester course)
    Art History (semester course)
    Political Media (semester course)
    Psychology 1 (sesemester course)
    Psychology 2 (semester course)
    Science Chemistry
    Honors Chemistry
    Advanced Environment Science (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    AP Environmental Science* (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    AP Biology* (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    AP Physics C* (for students who have successfully completed AP Calculus)
    Topics in Human Anatomy and Physiology (semester course—for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    Exercise Physiology (semester course—for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    Snow Science (semester course)
    STEM: Robotics (semester course)
    Mathematics Algebra 2
    Precalculus (for students who have successfully completed Algebra 2 and Geometry)
    Advanced Precalculus (for students who seek a fast-paced course in preparation for AP Calculus)
    Topic in Mathematics
    Differential Equations
    Calculus
    AP Calculus AB*
    AP Calculus BC*
    Introduction to Computer Science
    AP Computer Science*
    Economics (semester course)
    AP Macroeconomics* (semester course)
    AP Microeconomics* (semester course)
    Visual & Performing Arts All courses are available to 11th grade students
    Theology & Religious Studies Theology and Ethics (semester course)
    *Please see AP requirements
  • SUGGESTED COURSES: GRADE 12

    Students are required to take five courses each semester. Students may propose to take more or fewer classes by writing a formal proposal to the Academic Committee.
    SubjectCourse
    English English 4 Seminars
    AP Language & Composition*
    AP Literature
    Foreign Language French 4 or AP French Language and Culture*
    French Culture (semester course—for students who have successfully completed French 3)
    Modern Francophone Literature (semester course—for students who have successfully completed AP French)
    Latin 3, Latin 4 or AP Latin*
    Mandarin Chinese 3 or Mandarin Chinese 4
    Spanish 4, AP Spanish Language* or AP Spanish Literature*
    Protestas (semester course)
    History AP US History*
    AP US/AP European History: Advanced History of the West*
    AP Comparative Government & Politics I: Democratic Societies* (semester course)
    AP Comparative Government & Politics II: Authoritarian Societies* (semester course)
    The Modern Middle East (semester course)
    Enlightenment and Romanticism (semester course)
    Art History (semester course)
    Political Media (semester course)
    Psychology 1 (sesemester course)
    Psychology 2 (semester course)
    Science Chemistry
    Honors Chemistry
    Advanced Environment Science (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    Physics or Honors Physics (recommended for students who are at a Precalculus level of math or above)
    AP Environmental Science* (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    AP Biology* (for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    AP Physics C* (for students who have successfully completed AP Calculus)
    Topics in Human Anatomy and Physiology (semester course—for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    Exercise Physiology (semester course—for students who have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry)
    Snow Science (semester course)
    STEM: Robotics (semester course)
    Mathematics Precalculus or Advanced Precalculus (for students who have successfully completed Algebra 2 and Geometry)
    Topic in Mathematics
    Differential Equations
    Calculus
    AP Calculus AB*
    AP Calculus BC*
    Introduction to Computer Science
    AP Computer Science*
    AP Statistics*
    AP Macroeconomics* (semester course)
    AP Microeconomics* (semester course)
    Visual & Performing Arts All courses are available to 12th grade students
    Theology & Religious Studies Theology and Ethics (semester course)
    Senior Thesis Required semester course
    *Please see AP requirements


Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness NH, 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257