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High School Academics

The Girard College High School (grades 9-12) develops the individual student to be a life-long learner and a global citizen. Although a supportive environment, the high school offers our adolescent students chances for independence and individual focus. Our goal is that our students are self-aware, self-regulated and intentional learners by the time they matriculate to post-secondary education.

The high school is organized by core disciplines: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and World Languages. Several electives are offered to complement our curriculum, including African-American History, Creative Writing, Journalism, Foundations of Social Justice, Instrumental Music and Non-Western Art. Students are expected to score at the proficiency level according to our Standards-based grading system that is aligned to the Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, PA and National Standards.

In addition to the core courses and electives, our dual enrollment partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) allows students to take college level classes. The courses are transferable to most colleges provided that the student receives a grade of B or higher in the course.

Curriculum

English Language Arts

9th Grade

  • Build foundations of formal academic writing
  • Explore a variety of literary genres and types of texts
  • Cultivate effective verbal communication skills
  • Foster a love of reading and writing
  • Reflect on ourselves, our connection to others, and our worldviews through literature

10th Grade

  • Increase sophistication in persuasive, informative and narrative writing
  • Hone close reading and text analysis skills in various texts
  • Engage in student-led activities to increase verbal communication skills
  • Continue to nurture a love of reading and writing
  • Continue to reflect on ourselves, our connection to others, and our worldviews through literature

11th Grade

  • Enhance formal academic writing skills through critical essays and research papers
  • Continue to explore fiction and non-fiction literature from diverse authors and perspectives
  • Refine close reading and text analysis skills via the lenses of research
  • Continue to improve verbal and written communication skills with an emphasis on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation in the context of research
  • Prepare for standardized college entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT

12th Grade

  • Hone formal academic writing skills through writing college level research papers
  • Continue to explore more complex non-fiction and fiction literature from diverse authors and perspectives
  • Enhance close reading and text analysis skills via the lens of research
  • Continue to improve verbal and written communication skills while focusing on enhancing vocabulary, grammar and punctuation in the context of research

Math

9th Grade

Algebra I

  • Emphasize operations with real numbers
  • Develop linear equations and inequalities
  • Build foundation for relations and functions, polynomials, algebraic fractions and nonlinear equations

10th Grade

Geometry

  • Interpret and measure shapes
  • Understand relationships among shapes, their properties and the role of definitions and theorems that support them
  • Cover topics such as congruence, similarity, parallelism, inequalities and right angle trigonometry

11th Grade

Algebra II

  • Build on material covered in Algebra I with solving equations and inequalities
  • Explore quadratic, exponential and logarithmic functions
  • Continue with trigonometric functions and expands to graphs, identities and equations

Precalculus

  • Extend skills learned in Algebra II and Geometry on quadratic, polynomial, trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions
  • Introduce limits, continuity and derivatives
  • Introduce vectors

12th Grade

Calculus

  • Continue to explore limits, continuity and derivatives
  • Explore integration techniques
  • Engage students in the application of derivatives and definite integrals

Arts

9th Grade

Western Art

  • Explore art of the Western world through the study and production of Cave Art, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, The Gothic Period and more
  • Experience Art Realism/Romanticism, Impressionism/Post-Impressionism and Expressionism

9th Grade

Instrumental/Band

  • Gain an understanding of music theory, harmony, sight reading, rehearsal procedures and performances throughout the year
  • Explore creative expression, responding and connecting
  • Provide and encourage participation in our handbell choir

Vocal Music

  • Continue recording arts first introduced in 7th and 8th grades
  • Explore creative expression through music theory, performing, responding and connecting
  • Provide and encourage participation in our handbell choir

PE/Health

9th Grade

Physical Education

  • Participate in a variety of individual and team activities
  • Exposure to the enjoyment of physical activity with an understanding of the importance of maintaining physical fitness

Health

  • Explore a variety of health and wellness related topics associated with healthy living, disease prevention, human sexuality, goal setting and conflict management and personal responsibility

10th Grade

Physical Education

  • Continue a variety of individual and team activities with an emphasis on incorporating physical activity into their daily lives

Health

  • Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and reduce health-related risks while analyzing the influence of culture, media, technology and other factors on health

Science

9th Grade

Integrated Science

  • Integrate four science disciplines; earth, chemistry, physics and life science
  • Explore inquiry based learning activities and experiential learning
  • Focus on communicating with scientific evidence

10th Grade

Chemistry

  • Provide in depth exposure to the laboratory and experiential learning activities
  • Explore atomic and molecular structure, reactions, acids and bases and thermodynamics
  • Continue to focus on communicating science through evidence gathering

11th Grade

Biology

  • Explore the chemical basis for life, bioenergetics/homeostasis and transport, cell theory, genetics and the theory of evolution
  • Continue to emphasize the scientific process through laboratory work and experiential learning activities

12th Grade

Physics

  • Explore Algebra-based mechanics, electricity and magnetism
  • Continue to emphasize laboratory work and experiential learning activities

Social Studies and History

9th Grade

Modern World History

  • Explore the critical challenges facing the community, country and world
  • Explore the rise and impact of the democratic and industrial revolutions
  • Examine the major turning points in history that shapes the modern world

10th Grade

U.S. History I

  • Examine the political, social and economic forces that have influenced American society from the 1600’s to the Gilded Age
  • Explore topics including but not limited to the colonial period, Revolutionary war, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, Expansionism, the Civil War and Reconstruction.
  • Emphasize verbal and written communication

11th Grade

U.S. History II

  • Continue to examine events and transitions that shaped America
  • Explore topics after the Gilded Age including the Great War, World War II, Post-War U.S. and the 21st century current events

12th Grade

United States Government

  • Cultivate a clear understanding of the basic framework of our system of government
  • Explore the underlying philosophies and platforms that influence elected officials in America

World Language

9th Grade

French I or Spanish I

  • Develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing
  • Explore the diversity of the French and Spanish cultures across the globe

10th Grade

French II or Spanish II

  • Continue to master vocabulary and structure for oral and written communication
  • Focus more on grammar and verb tenses

11th Grade

French III or Spanish III

  • Continue to become proficient and confident speaking, writing and reading in a French or Spanish speaking environment

12th Grade

French IV or Spanish IV

  • Focus on mastering conversation by experiencing language immersion days