The Canterbury Episcopal School

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Academics » Upper School

Upper School

Upper School
Grades 9 - 12
The Canterbury Episcopal School provides a challenging education in the humanities, arts, and sciences. Classes at Canterbury compel students to explore and examine a recognized body of scholarship that prepares each individual for life as an informed citizen. The Canterbury educational experience is structured to develop mastery of subject matter as well as a life-long love of learning. Underlying this mission is the intention to cultivate both the mind and spirit of each student. Accordingly, The Canterbury Episcopal School experience includes the development of moral understanding and an awareness of values and viewpoints beyond the self.
Mrs. Madeleine Hoffman leads Canterbury’s Honor Council. Upper School students are appointed Honor Council representatives as stewards of the community’s commitment to the Principles of Honor that governs student behavior both inside classrooms and around campus. All Canterbury students in Grades 7-12 indicate their acceptance of the Principles of Honor by signing the Book of Honor at the beginning of each academic year.
The Canterbury community expects students to act honorably. Students who fail to do so appear before the Honor Council, and as a result, have one of their most significant learning experiences at Canterbury. We sum up our Honor Policy by saying that members of the Canterbury community will not lie, cheat, or steal.
The Honor Pledge is required of all students in academic endeavors:

 I, _________________________, have read and understood the Principles of Honor of The Canterbury Episcopal School. I hereby accept the Principles of Honor of The Canterbury Episcopal School and my responsibility to live within those Principles. I pledge to conduct myself always in such ways that reflect my commitment to the philosophy of personal and collective honor at their core.

Canterbury recognizes that one of the goals of education in independent schools is to instill in students a sense of social responsibility, justice, and empathy. Canterbury’s Chapel and Advisory system anchors the School’s values of spiritual development, appreciation of diversity, and social responsibility. Students participate in Chapel where an exploration of faith, ethics, and moral understanding are presented through liturgy. Advisory discussions may include examinations of current affairs, and participation in a division-wide service-learning program offers opportunities for students to both volunteer and reflect. Inside classrooms and out in the community, Canterbury continuously challenges students to think critically about of wide range of contemporary issues.

The Upper School at Canterbury is committed to providing students with an excellent college preparatory experience. Canterbury graduates enter college with the skills and knowledge necessary for success. An aggressive curriculum grounded by a tradition of moral development and social responsibility instills in each student scholarship and empathy necessary for life as an intelligent, compassionate, and discerning individual.
The Upper School academic program is an interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes higher order taxonomy while reinforcing objective knowledge and test-taking skills. The prescribed graduation requirements are as follows: English (4 credits), Math (4 credits), Science (4 credits), History (4 credits), Foreign Language (3 credits), Theology (2 credits), Fine Arts (1.5 credits), Physical Education (1 credit), Technology (.5 credits), Health (.5 credits), and Elective (1.5 credits). In addition to the classroom experience, a number of co-curricular activities are scheduled by the school to provide students an opportunity to explore their passions and develop the social skills necessary for success in interpersonal relationships.

Ninth Grade Course Descriptions
Honors English I
The course will challenge the student to explore a body of World Literature via critical reading, discussion, reflection, and analysis. Guidance will be given on developing the student’s written and verbal expression as well as critical thinking and literary research. The study of literature will be supplemented with grammar and linguistic development through grammar lessons, vocabulary development, and essay composition.
Students are challenged to acquire and apply knowledge of a mathematical system based upon undefined terms, express definitions, postulates, and theorems. These items are applied to various mathematical forms to include, but not limited to, points, lines, three-dimensional objects, angles, polygons, and circles. The course further develops the student’s mathematical abilities by exploring concepts related to Algebra II and Trigonometry.
Algebra 1.5
Review of Algebra I, with an emphasis of functions; evaluating, simplifying, and factoring polynomial, rational, and radical expressions; solving and graphing linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving related word problems.
The course introduces the student to the unifying principles of biology. Interdisciplinary in nature, students learn how energy, matter, changes over time, equilibrium, classification, taxonomy, systems, interactions, measurement and models are part of the biological world. Students will use a variety of methods in laboratory work and reporting their research. A research paper will be required.
AP World Geography
This course is designed to explore the cultural, demographic, economic, political, and natural forces that shape, influence, and impact the face of the earth. Topics include natural environments, population, cultures, regions, urban areas, landscapes, and spatial interaction between neighboring regions and countries. We will investigate urban areas, landscapes, and spatial interaction between neighboring regions and countries. We will investigate six realms as a whole class, and other topics will be studied independently and introduced to the class during student team presentations. Goals are to expand knowledge of world issues, world geography, and the topics listed above which will enable the student to think critically and develop their own viewpoints and opinions.
Spanish II
The course is an introduction to advanced level language study. The student will be challenged to demonstrate competency in four primary areas: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. An emphasis upon verbal and written communication drives the curriculum. Cultural content is a pervasive aspect of the course and the student is expected to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of cultural events and traditions.
Students are introduced to several components of a healthy lifestyle. These include the benefits of exercise, nutrition, knowledge of physiological functions, and hygiene. The development and maintenance of a personal health plan for each student is a critical focus of the course. The personal health plan is geared not only towards current age appropriate activities, but fosters the development of lifelong health habits.
Music I: A Global Survey of Influential Composers of the Twentieth Century
This one-semester required high school course explores a variety of composers and their techniques. The time-frame includes 1900 to the present. Representative countries include America, Germany, Russia, France, and Greece. This course is designed to be taught in correlation with Art I as students are asked to compare and contrast these two mediums using a historical perspective. Changes in the recording industry and technology are discussed. Students compose several pieces using a variety of techniques, choose topics for discussion, and complete independent research assignments.
Art I
Art as it relates to the history of the world is the focus of this one semester course. Human interaction with art and artists from a variety of cultures and traditions is central to the overarching theme. Elements of design and principles of art are introduced, reviewed, and reinforced as is problem solving of limitations of media, time, space, and content.
In this introduction to public speaking, students learn multiple forms and purposes for public speaking. Students learn highly practical applications in real-life situations, and practice composition and performance skills.
Physical Education/Athletics
The aim of the course is to provide a positive growth experience in an athletic environment. Students are challenged daily in three domains – psychomotor, cognitive, and affective. Through various physical and athletic tasks, the curriculum seeks to instill a lifelong love of fitness and health.
Tenth Grade Course Descriptions
Honors English II
The student will be challenged to master the development of the expository, argumentative, and descriptive essay. An intensive study will introduce the student to the principles of literary analysis and the use of literary evidence to support personal theses. An independent, formal argumentative paper is required of all students. The curriculum is delivered via a study of British literature in conjunction with a concentrated vocabulary program.
Algebra II/Trigonometry
The course is designed to strengthen algebra skills and introduce higher order mathematical concepts in preparation for a study of calculus. Concepts to be mastered include equations and inequalities, polynomials, irrational and complex numbers, exponential and logarithmic functions, statistics, probability, and trigonometric functions.
The course provides the student with an in depth study of matter. Qualitative and quantitative laboratory experiences are utilized to explore the concepts presented during class discussions as well as to develop problem solving and prediction skills. Topics include scientific measurement, classification of matter, atomic theory, chemical bonding, thermodynamics, chemistry of solutions, oxidation and reduction reactions, nuclear chemistry, and acid-base theories and equilibrium.

AP/Honors European History
The course surveys the major trends, events, and personalities in European History from 1450 to the present. The student will explore history through a variety of mediums. This includes the study of political institutions, diplomacy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics. The first semester focuses upon the Renaissance through the Congress of Vienna. The second semester examines the period from 1815 to the present.
World History
The course will examine the historical, political, social, religious, and economic developments of world history from the Middle Ages through the Reformation.  Regional studies include Europe, East Asia, and Africa.  The student will be challenged to demonstrate a comprehensive view of history as evidenced through an understanding and appreciation of cultural events that include historical and political developments, art history, and literature.
Spanish III
The course is a continuation of the four skills introduced in Spanish II. The student will develop the ability to express abstract concepts such as desires, doubts, possibilities, and conditional actions through the use of conditional tenses and the subjunctive mood. An emphasis is also placed upon commands and use of the past tense. Cultural content is enhanced through a variety of mediums and evidenced by the student’s submission of several compositions pertaining to cultural and personal topics.
Comparative Religious Ethics
This year-long course is designed to introduce students to the foundations of the major religions of the world. Students will explore the history, theology, forms of worship, and traditions of many world religions. Emphasis is placed upon comparing and contrasting religions.
Eleventh Grade Course Descriptions
Honors English III or AP English Composition
The course concentrates upon the mastery of the expository and argumentative paper. Intense vocabulary review is a crucial component of the curriculum. In addition to the required reading list, students are expected to read a minimum of three books from the same author en route to fulfilling the critical paper requirement. The “Critical Paper” is a formal essay in which the student demonstrates the ability to analyze themes across several literary works and synthesize those themes with a personal and independent thesis.
Honors Pre-Calculus
The course covers a variety of mathematical topics that strengthen, deepen, and expand the necessary skills for a high level study of calculus. The student will be challenged to demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in applying previous mathematical knowledge to the field of calculus. Course content includes solving equations and the coordinate system, functions, trigonometry, discrete algebra, limits and continuity, slopes, tangents, derivatives, and applications of derivatives.
Mathematical Applications
Math Applications answers the question, “When am I ever going to use this math?”  Students learn skills to manage their personal finances, make informed financial decisions, and excel at their jobs.  Student comments:
“I learned that math is actually useful and is used in the real world.  I now understand how paychecks and loans work, which should be very helpful in my future.”
“It’s nice to learn math that you know for sure is going to help you in the future.  It definitely makes math seem a lot more useful.  I kind of like it!”
“I have learned to budget and think ahead with my money, and to not spend more money than I have.”
“This class has taught me to be smart with my money and how money in the adult world works.”
Honors Physics
The course challenges the student to apply mathematical concepts to the study of natural phenomena. The student will examine the tools and processes of measurement and mathematics as they relate to motion, energy, force, light, and relativity. Course content includes rectilinear motion; Newton’s Laws; vectors and two-dimensional motion; kinetic and potential energy; electrostatic and gravitational force; thermal energy; circuits; magnetic force; light and optics; and particles and waves.
Honors American History or AP American History
The course surveys the major trends, events, and personalities in American history from Reconstruction to the present. Students will be challenged to examine historical trends and documents and relate them to contemporary political and social institutions. As preparation for both the SAT II and the Advanced Placement Course, students will explore history through a variety of mediums. This includes the study of political institutions, diplomacy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics.
Honors Spanish IV
The course consists of an advanced study of literature and culture. Grammar, tenses, and moods are reviewed. The student will develop an extensive knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions evidenced through written and verbal expression of complex topics. Fluency is developed through direct methodology and is enhanced by situational exercises, discussions, and weekly compositions.
The course examines the nature of religion, faith, and community as universal phenomenon. Through the study of myth, legend, and history, the student will explore the ancient roots, beliefs, and texts of both Western and non-Western religious traditions. The student will be challenged to search for those keys that give meaning to the spiritual quests and commitments of contemporary society.
AP Computer Applications
This course is required and designed to provide students with the working knowledge of computer hardware as well as the main software applications associated with Microsoft. Students will be introduced to the inner workings of the computer including the hard drive, and related components. Students use a variety of software tools including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to create and modify solutions to various problems and demonstrate proficiency in the use of multimedia programs by creating projects incorporating text, audio, video and graphics. Final projects provide the foundation for the 11th grade author study and the Senior Thesis.
Juniors may enroll in Advanced Placement courses pending approval from the Head of Upper School.
Twelfth Grade Course Descriptions
The senior year is composed of an English requirement and a selection of other courses from Honors and Advanced Placement offerings as well as electives in a variety of departments.  A Senior Thesis/Capstone Project is a culminating requirement for Canterbury seniors; English teachers advise seniors’ choices.
Honors or AP English IV
The course focuses upon advanced expository and argumentative skills. Special attention will be given to the college essay and preparation for the SAT I and II. Major literary works lie at the heart of the curriculum (Hamlet, Oedipus Rex, Heart of Darkness, etc.). Supplemental reading selections will be determined at the discretion of the instructor.
AP English Literature
A college level course intended to prepare students to bypass the college freshman English requirement, this course will examine a wide range of fiction, nonfiction, journalists, political essays, and biographers with an emphasis upon close examination of the texts and critical analyses. Special attention will be given to the writing of the college essay.
AP Calculus AB
This survey course covers both differential calculus and integral calculus. The course includes derivatives of algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and inverse trigonometric functions. Analysis of series and sequences are introduced.
AP Biology
This course is taught with an emphasis on preparation for the end of the year AP exam. It includes review of material, study skills, writing skills, test decoding, and specific lab experiences suggested by the College Board along with other practices needed in order for students to do well. College level texts, AP materials, and a cross disciplinary approach to learning material is used. The course encompasses biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental sciences. Major biology concepts are covered. Field experiences are required.
AP Environmental Science
Emphasizing the preparation for the AP exam, this course includes a review of economic and social sciences, test-taking and study skills. Labs support the practical use of information discussed in class.
AP Chemistry
This year long course focuses primarily on inorganic chemistry. Students are introduced to a deeper understanding of basic chemical principles and their place in the everyday world. Calculations and the application of mathematical principles to chemistry are stressed. The course is preparation for the Advanced Placement exam.
AP Physics II
AP Physics II is a seamless continuation of Honors Physics I, its prerequisite. It is designed so that a student taking AP Physics II may opt to take in May any of the three AP physics exams: AP Physics B Exam, AP Physics C Mechanics Exam, or AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism Exam. Its co requisite is AP Calculus I, so that as the course progresses, the problems become more and more calculus-based. AP Physics II features calculus-based kinematical equations of simple harmonic motion, applications of the mirror and lens equation, and calculus-based expression of waves and wave mechanics. Its heart is a 3-column approach to gravitational fields, electrical fields, and magnetic fields, using the three analogies of force, potential, potential energy, work, power, torque, and dipoles. Covered along the way are electrical circuits, both DC and AC, and electromagnetic kinematics and dynamics.
This elective course is designed for those students who may have an interest in the general field of medicine, sports medicine, physical therapy, or physical education. Topics include human systems, human disease, evolutionary systems, movement, and processes such as respiration digestion and nerve impulses. Art is an integral component of this course as well.
AP Psychology
In the study of AP Psychology learners will engage in class discussion, write essays in and out of class in response to discussion and readings, and participate in online labs and in-class demonstrations. Students will present psychology articles and stories from various media to the class.  Students will also write a research paper and a book report, and complete AP exam preparation and practice activities. AP tutorials will be held once a week beginning in the spring. Some of the topics are development, learning, memory, language, intelligence, biology and behavior, sensation and perception, psychological methods, and psychological disorders.
Economics is a conceptual survey course of both macro and micro concepts in one semester. The students are introduced to the major debates within the economists’ community on such issues as monetary and fiscal policy, labor questions, and the economic impact of regulations. Particular emphasis is placed on the works of John Maynard Keynes and Fredrick Hayek. The culminating project in the class is to present economic/public policy issues as framed by the Copenhagen Consensus Institute the students deal with the tradeoff between limited financial resources and desirable social and economic policies.
This one semester course examines the governments of the United Kingdom, Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, and Iran. The impact of international and transnational organizations on nation states is analyzed. This course is required of all seniors in Model UN.
This one semester course focuses on the major philosophers and schools of thought. Students use both print and non-print sources to explore terminology and main techniques used in formal and informal logic. Students are introduced to methods of philosophical inquiry, and learn to make connections between reason and feeling between cultural and intellectual traditions. Students will present, in writing, an extended argument on a topic of philosophical significance.
AP Art History
This course covers the major works in all media from the Paleolithic Period to Post Modernism. Students will learn the relation between movements in art history, both western and non-western, and their cultural contexts. Basics of art criticism are introduced. Students will be expected to critique the major works of art in history.
AP Spanish V
The course consists of an advanced study of literature and culture. Grammar, tenses, and moods are reviewed. The student will develop an extensive knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions evidenced through written and verbal expression of complex topics. Fluency is developed through direct methodology and is enhanced by situational exercises, discussions, and weekly compositions.
The debate program has two distinct elements: Policy Form Debate and Model United Nations simulations. The Format of Policy from debate requires that the students research and prepare on a resolution that changes every month. The students participate in Dallas area tournaments approximately once a month. Policy Form Debate requires the student to speak clearly and distinctly to a “lay judge;” therefore the student must be able to present both convincing arguments on complex issues within four minute time limit. Model United Nations requires a variety of skills from resolution writing, speaking, and negotiating. Canterbury competes in the North American Invitational Model United Nations sponsored by Georgetown University and at least one other simulation each year.
Since the change in design, the themed yearbook has won acclaim and recognition at district and state competitions. The yearbook staff attends summer camp where they plan the yearbook theme, learn layout, and photography techniques. Yearbook is open to Upper School students via an interview and application process.