Senior High Courses
Morning classes (50 minute periods)
French or Spanish: Levels I, II, III
Constant participation in our small 3- 7 student classes enhances a student’s confidence and proficiency in a language. With the exception of grammatical explanations, classes are taught entirely in the target language, with correct pronunciation emphasized throughout all levels. Courses increase in complexity from basic verbal skills to reading, writing, and more complex conversation. Students may continue in their chosen language through Washington State’s Running Start program and master up to the 300 college level in their senior year.
Placement in our 9 – 12th grade math program is determined by student mastery of concepts, rather than by grade level. We offer Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus on site. Identification of why an algorithm or approach works as well as of when and how to apply it is emphasized throughout. Calculus levels I – III is available through Hillside’s participation in the Running Start program.
Afternoon Block Required Classes
Each student completes all of the following main block courses:
Literature & Composition
Each English course incorporates reading, study, and analysis of literature, development of critical skills through expository papers, and exploration of personal voice through creative writing (both poetry and prose). A thorough grounding in grammar and style strengthens the student’s literary abilities.
Ancient and Medieval Classics and Mythology
The concept of the mythic journey as an approach to literary criticism is studied in this course. Students write original stories patterned after the mythic journey. Works that are used include the Illiad and Odyssey by Homer, The Book of Genesis, Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, Beowulf, Eumenides by Aeschylus, The Divine Comedy by Dante, Iphigenia by Euripedes and The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.
In this course, students study literary texts from a variety of different influential approaches: from Historical/Biographical or Moral/Philosophical approaches to Psychological, Sociological, Formalist, Archetypal, and Structuralist ones. Furthermore, they delve into the general literary theories developed over the centuries by such figures as Aristotle, Dante, Sidney, Wordsworth, Poe, Arnold, and Derrida. Examining high level criticism exposes students to the various points of view from which one can look at a work. It encourages them to evaluate these approaches for themselves, to determine the value and limitations of each, and to begin to find writings and philosophies that speak to them in their own search for meaning.
Works studied or used as reference include the following and many more:Oedipus the King by Sophocles, The Poetics by Aristotle, The Gospel of Colonus (film based on Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus), Young Goodman Brown and The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Interpretation of Dreams and other works by Sigmund Freud, A Handbook of Critical apporaches to Literature by Wilfred Guerin et al (6th edition – used as a reference), and Critical Theory Since Plato with Hazard Adams, ed.
Class readings, literary studies and three expository papers are based on themes inherent in various Shakespeare plays. Students learn and perform scenes of their choice in order to explore the theatrical element of Shakespeare. Creative writing evolves from freestyle poetry to Elizabethan style sonnets as well as other forms. Some of the plays that are read include The Tempest, Othello, and King Lear.
Involves studying a large selection of neo-classic, romantic, realistic, symbolist and impressionist, and modernist works, and basing 3 expository papers on these works. Focus is given to identifying various moods and structures from the literature studied and developing poetry and prose in each of these styles. Authors that have been studied include: Pope, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Browning, Gogol, Mansfield, Eliot, Miller, and Borges.
Advanced Math Based Physics(with Algebra II, Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry)
Hillside’s Lab Physics is a rigorous approach to physics with a heavy emphasis on the mathematics involved. Vector algebra, analytic geometry and trigonometry are all used to reinforce the students’ understanding of both the science and math. The calculus concepts of limits and derivatives are introduced and related to various topics in physics, paving the way for more technical treatments in future calculus courses. Topics studied include vector algebra, Newton’s laws of motion, reference frames and their relative motion, rotational motion, conservation of momentum and energy, lab procedures and the proper use of lab notebooks and lab reports. Problem solving strategies are introduced early in the course and emphasized by the instructor in the discussion of almost every example problem or question asked in class.
The course involves a substantial amount of daily practice problems which the students have time to master under the guidance of the instructor during class before finishing the rest at home. Labs are a significant challenge, not only reinforcing physics concepts but time management, teamwork in an academic setting, trouble shooting, technical writing, tenacity and patient attention to detail.
We utilize computer linked motion and force sensors combined with data analysis software in a variety of demonstrations and lab projects. This sophisticated approach provides students with the background and understanding needed to pursue future studies in science and mathematics.
To keep things appropriately interesting (this is physics after all, it should be interesting), new topics are introduced alongside original audio-visual presentations including video clips and photos of rockets, rock climbers, students performing experiments, the instructor walking a tight-rope, ballistics pendulums, “high-brow” web comics, the instructor creating carefully controlled explosions in his metal fabrication shop and more.
Among trees towering 200 feet above us in the complex native forest ecosystem that surrounds Hillside, we study photosynthesis, cellular respiration, plant biology, and vertebrate biology in depth as a basis to better understand change and diversity, the interactions of life in a complex ecosystem, and community and ecological dynamics. We explore such diverse areas as the threats and solutions in our biosphere, population, and communities, and the effect of people on the environment. Through daily lab work, class discussions, and ecological games we stimulate students’ curiosity about the living world and encourage a lifelong interest in environmental discovery and stewardship.
Chemistry and other sciences
Hillside students take Chemistry (as well as any of the sciences listed below) through the Washington State Running Start program, in which seniors attend community college courses and simultaneously earn both high school and college credit for their work.
Participation in this program in their 12th grade gives our students access to college level laboratories, curriculum and resources, and prepares them for their transition to colleges and universities the following year. Sciences available to Hillside students through Running Start include 100 level survey courses (which do not require advanced mathematics) through courses at the 200 level in the following areas:Astronomy, Botany, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Geology.
Because the student takes a full academic year (three quarters) of college coursework (up to 15 credits per trimester) through Running Start, s/he has the time to fulfill the prerequisites needed for most 200 science level courses, and can take them in the second or third trimester (depending on the course).
Through study of primary sources including art, music, literature, politics, and philosophy, students are challenged to analyze, to think critically, to look beneath the surface of a work, to find and evaluate the ideas and point of view it expresses—as well as to develop an understanding of the perspectives of others. Students explore the frames of reference of cultures and individuals and are encouraged to look beyond simple answers to explore the complexity of character and motive in history. Preparation, writing and revision of two research papers help to train students for comparable college work. The culminating activity—based on each student’s research of an historical character—is the scripting and dramatization of a meeting of minds where students engage each other’s characters in conversation and respond to questions from an audience.
Western Civilization: Ancient through Renaissance
A survey of ancient, medieval, and renaissance history, this course traces the roots and development of civilization’s ideas, creations and problems. Using original source materials such as art, music and texts, we look at the evolution of western attitudes toward the individual, religion, government, and the nation-state. Sources that are used include: The Apology of Socrates by Plato, Aristole, Horace, the Bible, Old English Poetry, Chaucer, Utopia by More, The Prince by Mackiavelli, John Dowland and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare.
Western Civilization: Modern World
A survey of the history of the modern world, this course traces scientific and political revolutions and their practical and philosophical backgrounds as well as their expression in the contrasting styles of classical and romantic art, music and literature. We explore nationalism as both an ideal and a source of conflict. We study the economic systems of capitalism and socialism and their consequences and critics. We debate colonialism, 20th Century conflicts, the Cold War, and current problems. We discuss the possibilities of conflict resolution through alternatives such as those adopted by Gandhi or the village of Le Chambon. Original sources include: Tartuffe by Molière, Leviathan by Hobbes, Candide by Voltaire, Communist Manifesto by Marx, Night by Weisel, and Let Innocent Blood Be Shed by Hallie.
United States History
We discuss and debate themes of independence, both person and political, the ongoing tension between freedom and security in government, and the meaning of America. Diverse roots of American political ideas and archetypes are reviewed through sources from the Bible to John Locke. Students learn to apply methods of historical inquiry. After studying primary sources, they take roles and debate Independence, the Constitution, the causes of the Civil War, and US policy in Vietnam. Music history becomes another avenue for understanding. In one unit, we examine how Rock ‘n’ Roll is a unique American amalgam of African and European traditions arising from a creative response to tragedy and loss.
There are several overlapping areas of emphasis: drawing and painting, design and composition, sculpture and crafts. Perspective and landscape are introduced. Drawing and painting include exploration of still lifes, the figure, and portraiture. Tone and line are realized using a wide variety of wet and dry media.
Line drawings from nature are used to compose paintings in watercolor, then oil paint, in a stepped exploration of dry and wet media. Principles in composition and design are studied and used in calligraphy, logo design, and commercial design oriented problems.
Students meet once a week to explore dramatic improvisations. Through these explorations, students learn how to handle emotions within the context of relationships and ethical issues.
Includes four periods a week of supervised, non-competitive physical activity. Hillside Student Community School offers a fencing club after school as a competitive sport open to the broader community.
Afternoon Block Electives
Taken in the month of September and again from May to June
Elective courses are determined by the students and teachers each year and draw upon community artists and resources. Mostly ungraded, these courses encourage student participation in a wide range of experiences. These have included, but are not limited to, the following:
- Abstract Algebra
- Appropriate Technology
- Auto Mechanics
- Classical Greek
- Community Service
- Computer Keyboarding
- Creative Writing
- Drawing and Painting
- Film Making (computer editing)
- Linear Algebra
- Rock Climbing
Hillside drama teaches students a true discipline of self control and teamwork combined with profoundly creative self expression. Through classic plays, students are immersed in natural sciences, history, dance, music, literature, language and philosophical discussion. In the process of finding and developing a character, each student discovers his or her own motives and learns to delve beneath the surfaces of human communication.
Recent productions include:
- Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Physicist
- Nicolai Gogol’s Inspector General
- Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth
- Mikhael Bulgakov’s Black Snow
- Tim Supple’s Grimm Tales
- Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot
- William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It
For information concerning this year’s production, please see the calendar.