Jackson Hole Community School

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Jackson Hole


Course Description Guide

2014 – 2015 School Year

The Jackson Hole Community School is a small independent, ninth to twelfth grade school that prepares students of diverse backgrounds for college and life beyond. We offer challenging academics, excellence in teaching, an array of extracurricular activities, and a supportive school culture. Our students are invested in their learning, value personal initiative, and make thoughtful contributions to their community.
We are a school that is committed to the highest standards of education, which will lead to a life of intellectual exploration and learning. We believe in the importance of diversity within our school, and therefore, we seek to develop a school community comprised of diverse cultural, racial, religious, and economic backgrounds. We encourage our students to be independent thinkers who embody a sense of personal integrity and an understanding of fairness and justice. We believe in a commitment to service that requires every person to be a responsible and contributing member of society. We value respect for each individual and embrace ideas and opinions that are different from our own. We encourage our students to succeed individually and to develop skills which will help them to become positive members of a team. We believe that a worthwhile educational experience that fosters continued learning requires a collaborative effort from the school, the home and the community.

The Jackson Hole Community School uses a regular A, B, C, D and F grading system with pluses and minuses. Students will also receive a percentage grade in each course. The letter grade which a student receives will correspond to their respective percentage in a particular course. Grades will correspond to the following percentages:  A+ (100%-98), A (97%-93%), A- (92%-90%); B+(89%-87%), B (86%-83%), B- (82%-80%); C+ (79%-77%), C (76%-73%), C- (72%-70%); D+ (69%-67%), D (66%-63%), D- (62%-60%); F (59%-0%). For example, a student may receive a grade of B/86% in her Geometry class, meaning the student's overall grade in Geometry is an 86%, which corresponds to a B.

All courses are graded on a semester basis. A grade of C or better is satisfactory work.  Any student who receives a grade of D or F at the end of the year in a sequential course, (e.g. Spanish I) may be asked to repeat the course or complete extra work before being allowed to enter the next level (e.g. Spanish II).  
A student who is in a full-year course and fails the first semester may be removed from the class and not be allowed to continue in the course.  He/she may be required to retake the class in the following year.
If a student fails the second semester of a full year course he or she has to pass the course in an approved summer program, online course or take an exam that shows proficiency in the subject area before being granted credit. The student would also be allowed to repeat the course at JHCS in the following year.  
A student who fails a semester course will have to repeat the course with a passing grade or pass an approved summer or online course to receive credit.  If the failure is in a sequential course then the student must repeat the subject with a passing grade or pass an approved summer or online course in order to continue in the subject area.
Academic Requirements

Twenty-two credits (22) are required to graduate with seventeen required credits and five elective credits. One credit is awarded for a passing grade (minimum 60%) in a full year course done in a particular subject. (Students must complete both semesters of a full year course in order to earn this single credit.)  In addition, requirements for athletics, community service learning, outdoor education, and the senior project must be met.  These are outlined below. All students are encouraged to be enrolled in six courses each semester during their freshman and sophomore years, five courses each semester during their junior year and their senior year. Exceptions to these courseload requirements can be made by the Academic Dean in unique circumstances. Within the required twenty-two credits, the following area distribution requirements should be met:

Required Credits

Department        Credits
English         4
Foreign Language    3
History         3
Mathematics         3
Science         3
Arts             1

Required credits necessary to graduate: 17

Elective credits necessary to graduate: 5
Total credits necessary for graduation: 22
Typical Programs of Study
Ninth Grade:
Foundations in Literature
Algebra I, Geometry

Physics (quantitative or conceptual)

Historical and Cultural Foundations
World Language
Art Requirement or Elective (art or other)
Tenth Grade:
Exploration of World LIterature
Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus

Studies in World History

World Language
Elective (art or other)

Eleventh Grade:
American Literature
Algebra II, Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus


US History
World Language

Elective (art or other)

Twelfth Grade:
American West and Magical Realism
Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, Calculus
Advanced level Environmental Science or Physics
History Elective
World Language

Elective (art or other)

Senior Project (second semester)

Departments and Programs
English Department   

At the Jackson Hole Community School, the English department curriculum provides students with a thorough background in reading, speaking, and writing about literature. The program reflects a belief in the value of reading widely and deeply in a variety of literary genres, traditional and innovative, and from several periods, Classical to Postmodern. Students are empowered to appreciate literature and make connections between the various genres and periods. From Socratic seminars to internet-hosted dialogues, class discussions allow students the opportunity to interpret the material, listen to one another’s viewpoints, and practice asserting their opinions with textual references. The department’s emphasis on the craft of writing is developed across the four-year curriculum. Through a variety of formal and informal writing exercises, students learn to compose thoughtful responses, with a special focus on the thesis-based essay. By senior year, they understand the style, usage, and mechanics necessary to articulate their ideas and learn to write in their own voice.

Four (4) credits in the English Department are required to graduate, including the completion of English 9, English 10, and English 11.  In addition, students must complete two (2) Grade 12 literature electives prior to graduation.
Foundations in Literature (1 credit)

In this introductory literature course, students will form a solid background in reading, writing, and speaking. We will investigate four main literary genres--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama--and learn how to analyze, ask questions, and construct written arguments from the reading. We will write short reflective responses as well as longer essays. Vocabulary and grammar lessons will be an ongoing focus. This course will try and parallel the subject matter in History 9, and the two humanities classes will join together for at least one research project during the year. After this course, students will know how to conduct research, identify/form a thesis statement, and write a formal essay.

Exploration of World Literature (1 credit)

English 10 is closely integrated with the 20th-Century World History course, and it will explore similar themes in a variety of ways. Throughout the course, students will read and analyze texts, examining their literary, cultural, historical, political, and philosophical significance. Active reading and class discussion will enable students to explore key concepts in the texts, connecting them to the main themes of the course, to other content areas, and to their own lives. The course also places great emphasis on writing, focusing on the following forms: reflective, narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. Each student will establish a writing portfolio in which finished pieces will be kept. In addition, each student will complete a research project. Conventions of the English language, such as usage, grammar and punctuation, along with proper documentation of sources, will be reviewed throughout the course. Prerequisite: Foundations in Literature

American Literature (1 credit)

English 11 looks to ground students in both the historical and literary importance of major American writers.  In congruence with the United States History course, authors will be evaluated as a reflection of their time period and as a part of a larger progression in American literary history.  Through the reading of plays, novels, poetry, essays, letters, newspaper columns and diaries, students will gain an understanding of the diversity of American voices.  Literary icons such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Toni Morrison, Arthur Miller, J.D. Salinger and Edward Albee will be analyzed.  The skills of comparative, argumentative and creative writing will be addressed, and students will be asked to take an inquiry approach to learning. Prerequisite: Exploration of World Literature

American West Literature (.5 credit) - Fall

Our country’s romantic notions about the American West need no introduction. Stories about dreamers abandoning their roots to go west, and/or the loner, cowboy hero “winning the West” continue to fill bookstore shelves and delight movie audiences. This course will look beyond the morality play of the mythic western and focus instead on authentic stories set in this magnificent-yet-fragile landscape. Major literary works and films that frame various issues (water/aridity, Native American relations) of the West will be explored.

Prerequisite: American Literature
Magical Realism (.5 credit) – Spring

Heavily influenced by the stormy political histories of Latin America as well as the 1920’s surrealist movement in Europe, magical realism presents the reader with a perception of the world where anything can happen. Magical realism’s style incorporates supernatural or mystical events into realistic narrative without questioning their improbability. In addition to novels, short stories, and films, we will also look at the ways postmodernism, post-colonialism, and magical realism overlap with one another.

Prerequisite: American Literature

World Language Department   

The World Language Department emphasizes the acquisition of language in meaningful ways towards functional fluency. Through the written and spoken word, world language study enables the student to appreciate and to understand a civilization or culture different from one's own. Knowledge of a world language brings students into contact with new ideas and exposes them to a more expansive view of the world. Students of all ability levels learn language through listening, speaking, reading and writing. Beginning levels focus on becoming comfortable with a world language and learning the fundamentals of the language. Upper-level courses further develop fundamental speaking and listening skills and incorporate advanced reading and writing skills. The World Language Department also encourages its students to seek out opportunities to speak in the target language through various study-abroad programs and immersion programs that are available. Students that complete a summer, semester, or a year abroad may be eligible to receive credit pending the approval of the department chairperson and the academic dean.

*Successful completion of the third level of a world language is required for graduation.  New students who wish to enter a course beyond the first year of any world language must take a world language placement exam administered by the World Language Department Chair. This exam will be used to determine the world language course most appropriate for a particular student. The World Language Department encourages all JHCS Students to commit themselves to acquiring a second or even a third language at the highest and most functional level as possible before entering the university, as there are multitudinous professional, cultural, and personal benefits that will last a lifetime.
Spanish Level 1 (1 credit)

Spanish 1 is an introduction to the Spanish language. The goal of the course is to make the Spanish language accessible for all students.  Reading, listening, writing, and oral communication will be emphasized through written exercises, role-plays, activities, music and group work. Grammatical structures such as verb conjugation (Present tense and Preterite tense), sentence structure, and the fundamental parts of speech will be taught at this level. Vocabulary will also be learned through a number of different themes, including “Describing Yourself,” “School Life,” “Hobbies,” “Travel," and "Daily Routine." The students will read a short story called “Enrique y Maria,” which will help them develop their reading skills.  Students will also be introduced to the geography of all Spanish-speaking countries along with basic historical and cultural information of these countries. Students are expected to speak in the target language and the course is conducted in Spanish.

Spanish Level 2 (1 credit)

Spanish 2 is an Intermediate Level Spanish language course that will focus on enhancing the Four major communicative skill sets of Reading, listening, speaking, and writing. A number of new grammatical structures will be learned, as the students will work towards mastering the two “Past Tenses” (the Preterite and Imperfect), the Future, the Conditional, and the four indicative “Perfect tenses.” Level 2 students will continue to build on the structures and vocabulary previously learned in Spanish 1, and the following concepts and its uses will be reintroduced and reviewed: Prepositions, Adjectives, Adverbs, Direct Objects, Indirect Objects, Participles, Gerunds, and their various uses, syntax and sentence structure, and other fundamental parts of speech. This course places a strong emphasis on using Spanish in all classroom situations. As is the case with Spanish 1, this course approaches the acquisition of the Spanish language using a careful selection of thematic units that build off of the previous level including” “Family Life,” “School and University,” “Daily Routine” “Food and Dining,” “Travel,” “Health,” “Technology” and “Community.” In addition, students will be exposed to the cultural, political, and social issues in countries where Spanish is the primary language spoken. Specifically, students will investigate Latin American geography more in depth along with developing a profound understanding the immigration situation in the United States. Prerequisite:  Spanish 1, Placement Exam, or Teacher Recommendation for transfer students or incoming freshmen.

Spanish Level 3 (1 Credit)

Spanish 3 is an Advanced-Level Spanish course that encourages students to refine grammatical skills and verb tenses learned at previous levels. In this fast-paced environment, Spanish 3 Students will continue to learn more-complex grammar concepts (in-depth study of prepositions including “Por vs. Para,” direct, indirect object pronouns, passive voice) and complete their knowledge of verb forms (the Past tenses, the Perfect Tenses, the Subjunctive Mood). Students will be introduced to fundamental literary analysis and will read and analyze poetry, Spanish dramas, short stories, regularly write compositions, make oral presentations and watch several Spanish Language films that delve into the history and culture of Spain. This course will prepare students for entry-level standardized exams such as the AP Advanced Placement Exam,  the CLEP,  and the SAT II Spanish Language Subject Exam, as well as for future language and literature studies. Prerequisite: Spanish 2 Placement Exam, or Teacher Recommendation for transfer students

Spanish Level 4 (1 credit)

This is an advanced-level Spanish course conducted completely in Spanish. Students will delve into the complex world of Spanish and Latin American history, culture, literature, and art. Students will be expected to read various genres of literature (poetry, short stories, small novels, and works of drama), view several films, attend guest lectures, and participate in several Latino cultural activities in the community. The students will be expected to critically analyze these works and experiences through writing papers, class discussions, creative projects, and oral presentations. Certain segments of the course will serve as a preparation for university-level standardized proficiency exams such as the SAT II Spanish Subject Exam and the AP (Advanced Placement) Exams. This course is designed for very strong Spanish students who plan to further their study of the Spanish language beyond the high school setting. Prerequisite: Spanish 3 Placement Exam, or Teacher Recommendation for transfer students

Spanish Literature (SPLIT) (1 Credit)

This is an advanced-level language course that is conducted entirely in Spanish. All four of the skill areas (listening, writing, reading and speaking) will be refined to the highest proficiency standards. Students will examine various genres of Spanish and Latin American literature, continue to explore more complex grammatical themes, and will write regular essays on a variety of themes. Students will read and analyze writings by such authors as Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Octavio Paz, among others. Prerequisite: Spanish 3 Placement Exam, or Teacher Recommendation for transfer students.

Spanish Level 5 STUDY ABROAD (½ Credit or 1 Credit)

This course is designed to encourage and reward intensive study abroad experiences in Spanish-speaking countries.  The path toward true language fluency can only be achieved in an immersion based environment, which is learning in a country where the target language is spoken, living with a Spanish family, participating in daily cultural activities, and providing service in those communities. Students that are considering this option will be required to consult with the Academic Dean and the Independent Study Coordinator so that the course can be verified as an accredited course and that is aligned with the JHCS Core Curriculum. Students may receive up to one year of credit provided that the visiting institution can provide an official transcript along with a curriculum description, highlighting the various concepts that were studied. Prerequisite: Approval from Academic Dean and Independent Study Coordinator.

Mandarin Chinese (1 credit)

This course will introduce Mandarin Chinese to students who have no or very little background in the language. As an introduction to Chinese language and culture, the course will help students build a strong foundation in Mandarin. It will emphasize the four language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – so that students will be able to communicate within the scope of the course material, which will cover basic conversation topics, proverbs, and idioms. Additionally, students will study Chinese history and culture as a basis for understanding the language. Course must be taken in conjunction with Spanish.

Mandarin Chinese 2 (1 credit)

This course will build on the foundation received in Mandarin 1.  

History Department   

The History Department challenges students to critically analyze events that have occurred throughout the world and to become thoughtful, active participants in our global society. Students will learn to research and present material in a variety of written and oral forms using primary and secondary source materials and available technologies. They will learn to examine the many sides that encompass all historical issues and events by weighing arguments, examining opinions, evaluating options and judging outcomes. Moreover, students will gain a fundamental knowledge of geography and an understanding of the influence of the environment on culture and history.

The three-credit History Department requirement includes Historical and Cultural Foundations during the ninth grade, 20th-Century World History during the tenth grade, and US History during the eleventh grade.
Historical and Cultural Foundations (1 credit)

History 9 begins with an exploration of major world religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Continuing with the theme of “how people organize themselves,” the course moves to political and economic systems including an analysis of the political spectrum, democracy, capitalism, socialism and communism.  Students will apply what they learn in History 9 to events (past and present) in the Middle East, elections, and other current events.  

Studies in World History: Empires and Revolutions (1 credit)

This course will survey major episodes in World History while closely analyzing the systems of empire and causes and consequences of revolution. Through this unique study, students will be prompted to question the impacts of colonialism, imperialism and general economic domination and the relationship between these trends and national revolutions. From the Hundred Years War to the Iranian Revolution, we will study the development of nations and the creation of our modern world. Prerequisite: Historical and Cultural Foundations

US History (1 credit)

History 11 is a thematic survey of United States history from the pre-Columbian Era to the present.  Major social, political, economic, and cultural issues will be examined.  Students will critically analyze such events as the American Revolution, the Civil War, Sectionalism, Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, American Imperialism, and America’s involvement in the World Wars.  Students will need to consider the complexities of events/policies often given in US history texts.  Students will learn to utilize primary sources and to recognize bias within these sources.  Finally, students will assess their own preconceptions/biases and perhaps take a non-western perspective toward US History. This is a required 11th grade course.  Prerequisite: Studies in World History: Empires and Revolutions

Russian History (.5 credit) - Fall

This course provides students with an overview of Russian history and takes an in-depth look at a number of unique features of this culture, e.g. icons, Russian Orthodox Christianity, the Siberian peasant lifestyle, and the “golden age” of 19th-century literature.  The course begins with the rise of the Kievan state in the 9th century and continues through the rise of Stalinism in the 20th.  By following a particular country through the course of European history, students come to understand the broad forces at work during this era – from feudalism and imperialism to modernization and Marxism.  Ultimately, students will have gained access to one of the most fascinating and – from the perspective of American foreign policy – most significant cultures of our time.  The course builds an excellent foundation for the study of Russian Literature.

9/11: Causes and Consequences (.5 credit) - Spring

The terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001 and the government’s response to them have had a major impact on American society and culture.  The date is commonly used to divide recent history into two different periods:  before and after 9/11.  As citizens living with the consequences of these dramatic events, it is important for us to try to understand what may have caused them, how the world has changed in their wake, and what we might expect going forward.  In this course, students will examine the documentary evidence about the events themselves and also study the work of leading historians who sought to explain the post-Cold War realignment of nation-states even before the events took place.  We will conclude our exploration by considering the supposed trade-off between security and freedom as well as the various strategic options for American foreign policy.  Overall, the course aims to demonstrate the complexity of any historical event and to provide students with the mindset and tools needed to examine such events on their own. Prerequisite: US History

China and Japan: Modern History and Literature (.5 credit) - Spring

China and Japan currently play prominent roles in international affairs and have a major influence on world economic issues. An understanding of the history, literature, and culture of these nations will provide students the opportunity to become more informed global citizens. Using primary and secondary historical sources as well as literature, this course will explore the impact of the arrival of the Western powers, the process of cultural exchange, the transition to modernity, 20th-century conflicts, and current challenges. The course will be based on discussion and critical inquiry, and will enable students to further refine their research, writing, and discussion skills. Prerequisite: Studies in World History: Empires and Revolutions

Contemporary International Affairs (.5 credit) - Fall

This course will examine current international developments occurring across the globe and will explore the historical background of these events. Students will explore a variety of contemporary media sources as well as historical documents and will further refine their research, writing, and discussion skills. Student interest will help guide the course, and all class members will participate in the Teton County Model United Nations Conference. Overall, this course aims to enable students to understand complex contemporary events in order to help them become informed and participatory global citizens. Prerequisite: Historical and Cultural Foundations

Mathematics Department   

The Mathematics Department offers a wide range of classes that aim to instill habits of mathematical thinking, which will prepare students for further inquiry in math and for the use of quantitative reasoning throughout life. The department's goal is to help students solve problems and to interpret data graphically, numerically, orally, symbolically, and analytically. Students will be instructed to use calculators and computer software to solve problems, graph solutions, and develop spreadsheets. Furthermore, we recognize that developing the habit of questioning leads to deeper understanding. Discovery, then, is a valuable teaching tool in the learning of math. Such opportunities arise in teacher-led discussions, individual explorations, and in learning groups, which offer a natural environment for practicing mathematical communication.

Students are required to complete three (3) credits of mathematics, including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.  In addition, students are required to take at least one math course during the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades.  Graphing calculators are required for all math courses (supported models are Texas Instruments TI-83 plus and TI-84 plus).

Geometry (1 credit)

Geometry is the mathematical study of shape and space. Through this study, students develop deductive reasoning skills and the ability to express geometric patterns mathematically. Topics covered include lines and angles, polygons, circles, area and volume, and the Pythagorean theorem. Mathematical relationships and properties are analyzed, and students develop the skills to support their analysis using deductive proof. Lecture is complemented by group work, and deductive explanations are supported by discovery through guided activities. Prerequisite: a grade of C or higher in Algebra 1 or its equivalent.

Algebra 2 (1 credit)

In Algebra 2, students study the graphic and algebraic properties of functions.  This course will cover topics such as linear, quadratic, and rational functions, direct and inverse variation, inequalities and absolute value, systems of equations, complex numbers, conic sections, basic trigonometry, and exponential and logarithmic functions.  The use of graphing calculators is encouraged, and class work is frequently conducted in small groups.  Prerequisite: Geometry or its equivalent

Algebra 2 - Honors (1 credit)

This course will cover topics such as linear, quadratic, and rational functions, direct and inverse variation, inequalities and absolute value, systems of equations, complex numbers, conic sections, trigonometry, and exponential and logarithmic functions. The use of graphing calculators is required, and class work is frequently conducted in small groups. The honors Algebra 2 course covers many of the same topics as Algebra II, but concepts are explored in greater depth. Formulas and methods will be derived, and real-world applications of mathematical concepts will be emphasized.  This course is recommended for students with a strong background in mathematics who display exceptional ability in Geometry.  Prerequisite: a grade of A- or higher in Geometry (or its equivalent) and recommendation by the Math Dept.


Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry (1 credit)

Precalculus/Trigonometry covers all the topics included in the Mathematics Level II Subject Test given by the College Board. Topics covered include rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions, polar coordinates, vectors, systems of linear and nonlinear equations, matrices, sequences, series, limits, and an exploration of trigonometry. The use of graphing calculators is required.  Prerequisite: Algebra II or its equivalent

Precalculus /Trigonometry - Honors (1 credit)

Honors Precalculus/Trigonometry is designed to give a thorough preparation for college Calculus and covers all topics included in the Mathematics Level II Subject Test given by the College Board.  This course covers many of the same topics as the Precalculus/Trigonometry class but moves at a faster pace and offers a more in-depth analysis of many topics. Formulas and methods will be derived, and real-world applications of mathematical concepts will be emphasized.  Topics covered include rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions, polar coordinates, vectors, systems of linear and nonlinear equations, matrices, sequences, series, limits, and an extensive exploration of trigonometry. The use of graphing calculators is required.  This course is recommended for students with a strong background in mathematics who display exceptional ability in Algebra II.  Honors Precalculus/Trigonometry may be taken as a dual credit course through Central Wyoming College.  Prerequisite: a grade of A- or higher in Algebra II (or its equivalent) and recommendation by the Math Dept.

Calculus (1 credit)

Calculus is a year-long course covering an introduction to differential and integral calculus. Topics covered include limits of functions, derivatives, applications of differentiation, integrals, applications of integration, and curve sketching.  Additional topics may include techniques of integration, differential equations, parametric equations, and polar coordinates.  The use of graphing calculators is required. This course is designed for the student who is interested in pursuing a college major with a strong emphasis on mathematics and/or analytical thinking.  Students who successfully complete the course and are willing to do individual preparation will be well prepared for the AP Calculus AB exam.  This course may also be taken as a dual credit course through Central Wyoming College.  Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus / Trigonometry or its equivalent

Advanced Mathematical Decision Making - AMDM (1 credit)

Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (AMDM) is a mathematics course for high school seniors that follows precalculus (completion of algebra II is the minimum requirement).  It builds on, reinforces, and extends what students have learned in previous courses, and it covers a range of interesting topics, many of which have not been part of high school mathematics courses – such as statistics in the media, managing data, network graphs, and understanding credit, debt, and investments.  The course also helps students develop college and career skills such as collaborating, conducting research, and making presentations.

Prerequisite: Algebra II, preferably Precalculus.

Science Department   

The Science Department emphasizes the connection of scientific principles to the natural world.  Using lab and field-based studies, students will develop hypotheses and test their assumptions through experimentation and documentation.  They will learn to be objective in their observations, to accurately gather, record, and interpret data, and to make conclusions based upon scientific evidence.  Instructional technologies will be incorporated throughout the science curriculum as students learn to graph and input data using computer software, probes, and other analytical tools. Students will incorporate mathematics into their study of science and are encouraged to evaluate current scientific issues, technologies, and discoveries.  The department aims to instill in students an appreciation for science as an interesting and dynamic human endeavor.   

The JHCS science program is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of physics, biology, and chemistry through a progressively integrated approach.  The three disciplines will be taught through lectures, demonstrations, laboratory experiments, and a variety of performance-based activities that emphasize problem solving, critical thinking skills, and teamwork.  Students will be encouraged to work and to think independently as well as collaboratively.
Three (3) credits of science are required to graduate from JHCS. Students must take Physics in the ninth grade, Biology in the tenth grade and Chemistry in the eleventh grade.
Physics - Conceptual (1 credit)

This course is designed to be an introduction to the world of physics.  The aim is to introduce the students to the many different, interesting and fun aspects of physics such as mechanics, optics, electricity, magnetism, and atomic theory. Conceptual physics will show the concepts of physics and their relationship to the world. Students will use math to better understand the topics, and support their physics foundation. To enhance conceptual understanding of ideas in physics, technology will be incorporated into the curriculum through the use of electronic probes and data recording devices interfaced with the students’ calculators and computers to record, present, and interpret data.

Physics - Quantitative (1 credit)

This course is designed to be an introduction to the world of physics.  The aim is to introduce the students to the many different, interesting and fun aspects of physics such as mechanics, optics, electricity, magnetism, and atomic theory.  Math is the language of physics and many mathematical principles and equations will be introduced and used to further student understanding.  The course will work to blend the conceptual aspects of physics with the mathematics that defend each concept. To enhance understanding of ideas in physics, technology will be incorporated into the curriculum through the use of electronic probes and data recording devices interfaced with the students’ calculators and computers to record, present, and interpret data.


Biology (1 credit)       

In this year-long course, students will study the fundamentals of biology through an ecological approach. The course will emphasize the importance of asking questions and making observations while developing an understanding of the living world that surrounds us.  Students will develop their critical thinking skills through application of the scientific method during indoor laboratories and field experiences. Through investigations and readings, macrobiology topics such as plant and animal adaptations, evolution, and ecology will be studied, and the course will include elements of microbiology such as cell functions and genetics as well.  Students will also be asked to draw connections between what we study in class and current biological issues in Jackson Hole and around the globe.  Prerequisite: Physics

Chemistry (1 credit)

This course is designed to give the student a strong background in the fundamentals of chemistry, including the study of measurement, matter, atomic structure, chemical symbolism, nomenclature, bonding, chemical reactions, atomic theory, stoichiometry, states of matter, gas laws, and acids and bases. Students will participate in class discussions, work together on laboratory assignments, and do independent research for class presentations. Skills in the lab will be developed, as students will be able to collect and interpret data and to solve problems.   Prerequisite: Physics and Biology.  Co-requisite: Algebra II or permission by the Academic Dean and Department Head

Advanced Physics (1 credit)

Advanced Physics is a non-calculus based physics course with a heavy emphasis on using the mathematical tools of algebra and trigonometry to solve problems involving motion, force, work, power and energy.  This course will take a deeper look into the concepts of the physical world and the language of mathematics that we use to understand and explore that world.  We will use our understanding of advanced mathematical concepts to investigate Isaac Newton’s, Albert Einstein’s, Neils Bohr’s, and others’ explanations of the behind-the-scenes operation of the physical world.  We will use the tools of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry to understand these inner workings and we will come away with a good knowledge of the concepts of mechanics, waves, and harmonic motion.  To enhance conceptual and mathematical understanding of ideas in physics, technology will be incorporated into the curriculum through the use of electronic probes and data recording devices interfaced with calculators and computers to record, present, and interpret data.  This course is a challenging and rewarding leap into the world of applied mathematics.  Students will also have the opportunity to enroll in a dual credit program through CWC to gain college credit for this course.  Prerequisite: Physics and Biology or Chemistry.  Co-requisite: Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus and a recommendation from current math or science teacher

Advanced Environmental Science (1 credit)

Environmental Science is a full-year course covering environmental principles and problems that focuses on educating students to become discerning and actively engaged citizens regarding a range of environmental dilemmas.  The topics covered in the course include ecosystems and ecological principles, population dynamics, energy, renewable (water, soil, air, sun, ecosystems) and nonrenewable (geologic, fossil fuels, nuclear) resources and their management, conservation biology, land use, agriculture and pest control, pollution (water, air, land, solid waste, hazardous waste) and its prevention, environmental health, global changes (climate, ozone depletion), restoration and remediation, environmental policy, sustainable development, and environmental planning.  While traditional methods, such as labs, essays, and discussions, will be essential to the learning process, off-campus site visits, guest lectures, and individual investigations will also be incorporated.   Prerequisites: Physics, Biology, and Chemistry

Astronomy (.5 credit) - Fall

This study of Astronomy will begin with a look into the sky we see and how it can be studied. The history of Astronomy and earliest observations of the heavens will be discussed leading to telescopes, how they work and have furthered our knowledge of the sky. The course will then begin with our solar system, and the celestial bodies that inhabit it. It will then move outward to study the stars, their physical characteristics, evolution and death. The course will then cumulate with a broader view of the universe as galaxies are studied as well as the birth and evolution of the universe as a whole is studied. Course will be primarily lecture/discussion based and will have 2 night labs to observe the stars and planets. Students will also have presentations throughout the semester on various recent developments in astronomy. Prerequisite: Physics

Intro to Engineering, 3D Design, and Construction (.5 credit) - Spring

This course will introduce students to the basics of engineering and construction. It will be a project-based course where students will be asked to use materials to build structures and models to accomplish various tasks. Students will also be using computers to model and create various designs using 3D printers. Their geometric designs will then be integrated into construction projects to complete more complicated tasks.

Arts Department   

The Arts Department provides visual and performance classes in which students learn foundations of artistic technique.  Arts are a vital component of each student’s educational experience.  Students learn the structural elements of art, the cultural, historical, and social significance of the arts, and the skills needed to communicate through form and image.  Through the making of art, they gain a conceptual understanding of a variety of mediums and an aesthetic awareness.  Students will learn to judge the works of others, to work collaboratively on projects, and to challenge and extend themselves intellectually and emotionally as they discover the artistic process.  Coursework will include out-of-class work and may include field-trip experiences, guest lectures, and historical perspectives.

In order to graduate, students are required to complete one (1) full credit of art.  
Performing Arts

The Performing Arts curriculum provides students with an introduction to drama, dance, and music through participation, creation, observation, and discussion.  The performing arts are an essential component of a well-rounded education, as they specifically address concentration, collaboration, the senses, imagination, kinesthetic awareness, verbal and non-verbal expression, emotion and the intellect.  The performing arts can provide an interdisciplinary entry point into literature, history, current events, and world cultures; they can also give students the opportunity to express their ideas, concerns, and creative impulses.

Theater 1 (.5 credit) - Fall

This course introduces students to the American theater tradition, teaches them theater games, and helps them to develop basic acting skills.  The students will practice improvisational acting and create multi-disciplinary performance pieces integrating text, movement, and music.  After studying a major guidebook to acting, each student will perform in a “duet” with a partner.  The class will then study a play by a major American writer.  At the end of the semester, students will perform scenes from that play for the school community. This introduction is open to students of all experience and ability levels; students who work hard and play creatively will leave the class with a dramatically improved command of the essentials of stage performance.

Theater 2/3 (.5 credit) - Spring

This course builds upon the knowledge and skills learned in Theater 1.  In addition to more advanced work with improvisation and theater games, participants will engage in an intensive study of a prominent acting technique or theatre style (e.g. Greek tragedy, Stanislavski, Meisner, Brecht).  The bulk of the semester will be spent exploring, rehearsing, and staging a complete play.  Through this process, students will learn advanced on-stage skills, theater ethics and etiquette, and the art of collaboration.  In the latter part of the term, additional rehearsals will be scheduled after school and on weekends in preparation for our performances before a community-wide audience.  Prerequisite: Theater 1 or permission of the instructor

Jazz Band (.5 credit) - full year commitment, 2 hours per week

Jazz Ensemble offers a solid foundation in musicianship and performance. Through a varied repertoire, musicians will hone their individual technique, learn to take solos and back up others, and perform as a cohesive ensemble. Fundamentals of musicianship, including sight-reading, melodic interpretation, and chord theory will be emphasized as well. Performances throughout the year will provide students with consistent goals to work toward and feedback for improvement. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

Music Theory (.5 credit) - Fall

Music theory is a wonderful way of understanding what you hear and play on a deeper, more satisfying level. It allows music to become an experience that engages the entire rational and emotional mind, rather than simply the aesthetic sense. It also serves to improve musicianship in a very concrete way: understanding how music works strengthens the ability to create melodies, harmonize them, and improvise within harmonic frameworks. This course will pair traditional musical analysis on increasingly complex levels with composition assignments that allow students to apply their knowledge of musical relationships. Students should expect nightly homework as well as larger composition projects using Sibelius software. This course is open to all students regardless of experience.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts curriculum at JHCS provides all students an opportunity to study the aesthetic appreciation, criticism, history and production of visual arts.  This discipline-based approach to art is an essential component to a well-rounded education.  Through a multi-disciplined curriculum, students will learn about the integrated nature of the arts into all subject areas such as math, science, social studies and the other humanities.  They will also learn formal art technique in a variety of media (2-D and 3-D) to be used in their own artistic expression.     

Introduction to Visual Arts (.5 credit) - Fall

This visual arts course focuses on art through the centuries and in different cultures. Students will explore the craft of art, learning to grind paint and make charcoal. Students will also be introduced to a variety of mediums, styles and techniques including drawing, painting and sculpture.

Visual Arts 2 - Advanced Drawing and Painting (.5 credit) - Spring

In this course students will begin by sketching and drawing with charcoal and pencils, focusing on line, gesture and values. Once this foundation is built , we will explore the world of color and paint using watercolor, pastels and oils. Our subject matter will include portraits, clothed figures, and landscapes.

Visual Arts 3  - Mixed Media (.5 credit) - Spring

In this course students will be exposed to a variety of mixed medias including clay, collage and encaustics. We will also explore the world of installation and public art, working as a team to create a work of public art in the community.

Photography 1 (.5 credit) - Fall

In this one-semester course, students will be introduced to a variety of photographic techniques, beginning with creating cyanotypes and functional pinhole cameras.  The students will then learn how to implement the black-and-white photography process through shooting and processing film and printing images in the darkroom at the Center for the Arts.  Students will also have opportunities to experiment with dodging and burning prints and using contrast filters to improve the contrast and light in their images. After black-and-white photography, color photography and digital photography will be introduced.  The course will conclude with student-designed final projects that involve photographic techniques of their choice.  Throughout the course, students will be introduced to the work of a variety of famous photographers, and each student will have a chance to teach the class about a photographer of his/her choice.  

Photography 2 (.5 credit) - Spring

This semester-long course will enable students to refine darkroom skills, become more familiar with camera operations, and delve into the world of digital photography while photographing topics of their choice.  Digital photography will be a focus of the course, and students will experiment with using software to manipulate their images.  Students will also have opportunities to study photographers of their choice and develop their ability to look at art analytically through class critiques and exposure to published articles.  Lastly, students will get a glimpse of what it is like to be a curator through matting and hanging their images. Prerequisite: Photography I

Architecture 1 (.5 credit) - Fall

Architecture 1 explores concepts in architecture and the American built environment through readings, discussions and creative design. Students study our constructed world and its relationship to the ideals we share as a culture including the American Dream, commercialism and community. Students also learn to articulate their own ideas through spatial drawing, collage, and 3D models and are encouraged to create an alternate vision of our built world that better serves and inspires our culture.

Architecture 2 (.5 credit) - Spring

Architecture 2 focuses on recurring cultural themes in historical world architecture and broadens students' understanding of the role social ideals have played in shaping the man-made world.  The evolution and meaning of architectural styles are also explored within the context of the fundamentals of architectural design. Creative projects, investigated through spatial drawing, collage, and 3D models, reinforce students' abilities to use design and abstraction as problem solving tools.  As a final project, students collaborate as a community to design a town and its public buildings. Prerequisite: Architecture 1

Independent Study


Independent study options are available for students who have an unusual need or interest in a particular subject area at a time when directly pertinent courses in that area are not available. The purpose of a student participating in an independent study course at JHCS can vary widely, but primarily such a direction results from a student’s need to fulfill JHCS graduation requirements or to supplement his/her learning in a particular area.  Independent study is not available to replace or to supercede courses already offered by JHCS.  If a student needs to take an independent study course, he/she must submit a proposal in writing using the appropriate form, which can be obtained from the Director of Independent Study.  The Director of Independent Study and the Academic Dean must approve all proposals.  The teacher of the subject area in which the student wishes to take an independent study course may be consulted, as well.  A student should have a solid understanding and/or interest in the subject area. For more detailed information regarding independent study, please refer to Appendix C: JHCS Independent Study Guidelines in the 2014-2015 Parent-Student Handbook.

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