ESSEX STREET ACADEMY
We offer core and elective courses that challenge students to develop their own ideas.
We cultivate our students to be active learners, not passive, who will graduate from our school confident in their ability to tackle any problem they encounter.
Some essential questions that will guide our analysis in both reading and writing throughout the course:
What do we learn about human nature across cultures?
Why have humans often resorted to violence during the course of history?
Are humans inherently destructive?
What are some ways people step up within an oppressive and savage situation?
Should we have faith in our future as humans?
– Why is allegory an effective tool for storytelling?
– What is the author saying about morality? (Morality = concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior)
– Why use animals instead of humans to tell a human story?
– How do allegories make us think differently about the world we live in?
– How does allegory help us explore complicated or controversial topics?
This course is a rigorous exploration of creative writing, asking students to develop both their creativity and their writing skills. This course also emphasizes the importance of social and historical context when learning about any piece of literature. Students will also hone in on different genres and styles of creative writing. Students will be pushed to read a large amount of material inside and outside of class, while investigating and imitating that material in the classroom. Students will also be pushed to revise their writing to further engage in the writing process. We are reading a tremendous amount of short fiction and will expose the students to an impressive variety of authors and styles.
Authors Being Taught in Ending:
Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, Annie Proulx, Kirsten Valdez Quade, Jhumpa Lahiri, Karen Russell, Flannery O’Connor, Langston Hughes and many others!
There are three essential questions that we will be investigating throughout the semester.
What is the benefit to the revision writing workshop model?
How can a student of literature benefit from the models of the past?
What makes a great ending? How does the ending relate to the purpose of the fiction?
9/10 Social studies – Culture and Power
The empires of ancient China and Rome invented systems of culture and power that have resonated for millenia. Similarly, in Buddhism and Christianity, each of these societies became the homes of world-spanning religions. This course examines how imperial states used culture to legitimize their authority, and how these two upstart religions threatened to undermine that authority until they could be brought under the emperor’s sway. By looking at the complex interplay of culture and power in the foundational civilizations of China and Rome, we can gain a deeper understanding of how ideas can be used to reinforce or resist authority in our own fractured society.
Cyndy 11/12 Government
Constitutional Law is an exploration of U.S. history and current events through the examination of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Students will think about important and enduring issues of U.S. Constitutional law connected to federalism, separation of powers, civil rights, due process, equal protection, etc. Constitutional Law is designed to get citizen-students thinking about their power as citizens (or soon to be citizens) and the ways they might use that power, now and in the future.
David 11/12 US History
NYC at War examines four Wartime periods in American history. Each war of study, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, The War in Vietnam, and the attacks of 9/11 will be investigated through two lenses. First students will develop a deep
understanding of the causes, events, and outcomes of this conflict. Second, students will conduct individual research about how the event was influenced by New York City and its people.
Maurice 11/12 US History
In this course, students will study how American culture evolved throughout the 20th century and how that progress made us who we are today. With the humanities (music, art, literature, and more) as our lenses, we will critically analyze how and to what extent movements, events and historical figures changed, influenced and disrupted 20th century American history and culture.
9/10 Integrated Math w/ Brittney
In this course students will make connections between geometric shapes, art and history. They will be discovering properties of specific polygons, circles and coordinate geometry. They will begin by exploring the difference between topological and geometric equivalence through the lens of 3D and 4D and then work their way back to examining shapes based on the world that we live in and can see.
9/10 Integrated Math w/ Veronica
11/12 Precalculus and Calculus w/ Sarah or Pearl
In this year-long class, similar to Functions and Applications 1 & 2, we will explore different types of functions and growth, including but not limited to: linear functions, quadratic functions, cubic functions, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, and trigonometric functions. We will also explore different series, sequences, as well as number visualizations and counting systems. Using this base of knowledge, we will investigate more sophisticated applications and iterations of these understandings—including but not limited to derivatives, integrals, and formulas used for counting in sequences.
We will make connections back to patterns explored in Algebra and Geometry, and we will dive deeper with trigonometry relationships. We will also deeply explore how different types of functions relate to one another through
9/10 Decomposition w/ Charles
Students will investigate the ecology, evolution, and behavior of the black soldier fly. These insects are mighty decomposers. Scientists and young biologists are investigating these insects as a more efficient and environmentally sound means of processing food waste. Students will learn about the niche of this insect and design and execute a number of experiments using this insect as a model organism.
9/10 Evolution w/ Mah
In this course we examine human biology and behavior from an evolutionary perspective by analyzing life characteristics, comparing our anatomy and physiology to various living species. We will also examine the relative roles of genes (“nature”) and environment (“nurture”), the biological basis of behavior, diseases and systems, and adaptations in modern science. Students will actively engage in the development of scientific thinking, become good consumers of science by way of evidence and research collection, and critically analyze as part of classroom experiences. Material covered will help prepare students to understand life as it relates to biological evolution in ways that transcends the scientific discipline to explain the human species as well as the human experience.
11/12 Chemistry w/ Liz
In this course we’ll get curious about what we observe in the world around us (the macroscopic level), the mystical inner mechanisms we can’t see (the microscopic level and smaller) and how these phenomena are represented (with symbols, equations, and models) in Chemistry. Knowing information at the atomic level helps to explain the behavior of matter on larger scales. Theoretical models are used to describe chemical behaviors of matter that are not directly measurable. By the end of this semester, students will better understand that precious metals, energy technology, and food can all be explained and manipulated through Chemistry.
11/12 Human Biology w/ Susie
Bodies is an 11/12 Human Biology class that focuses on the human body and its survival mechanisms. In this course, students will learn why organisms must maintain an internal balance and what happens something upsets that balance. They will also identify common life processes (circulation, nutrition, regulation), describe the functioning of organ systems and explain how these organs systems contribute to maintaining homeostasis. Students will also be able to explain the effect of common diseases (heart disease, diabetes, asthma) on organ systems and understand the relevance of these health problems in today’s society. Students will sharpen their scientific method skills by conducting physiology experiments on pulse, cardiac recovery rates, vital capacities, and visual reaction time, before designing their own panel project on one of these variables.
Spanish 1 is a course that will encompass elements of the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. The class will focus primarily on the language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in order to get students communicating in the target language from day 1. The course will be content rich; the products, perspectives, and practices of the Spanish-speaking world will be investigated in order to cultivate a deep and nuanced understanding of the various cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
Spanish 2 advances the linguistic skills developed in Spanish 1 by providing ample opportunities for students to read, speak, listen, and write in Spanish. Students will complete interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational tasks that will require them to actively use the Spanish language in simulated and real-life contexts. A wide range of authentic materials will be employed from the Spanish-speaking world in order to foster curiosity and to expose students to multiple varieties of the Spanish language.
French I is an introduction to French language and culture. The fundamentals of French pronunciation, grammar, and culture are presented through a balanced development of all four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The importance of communication and cultural awareness is stressed through a wide variety of activities (group/pair work, video, audio recordings, computer assignments, etc.). This course is designed for students with little or no knowledge of French language or culture.
French 2 is a course that focuses on the continued development of the three modes of communicative competence: interacting with other speakers of French, understanding oral and written messages in French, and making oral and written presentations in French. The class will continue to show greater accuracy when using basic language structures and be exposed to more complex features of the French language. Emphasis will continue to be placed on the use of French in the classroom as well as on the use of authentic materials to learn about the culture(s) of francophone countries. The importance of communication and intercultural awareness is stressed through a wide variety of activities (group/pair work, video, audio recordings, computer assignments, etc.). This course is designed for students with significant prior exposure to or at least one year of study of French language and culture.