High School Curriculum

On this page:

  1. Required Courses and Electives
  2. Graduation Requirements
  3. Academic Courses
  4. Academic Policies

Required Courses and Electives

Silver Oak High School courses of study reflect an integration of the current standards of educational requirements, the newest research on the developmental needs of adolescents, the Montessori philosophy, state of the art current learning theory, and the predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century.

The curriculum and instruction is designed as a four-year program in which students earn at least three hundred and twenty-five (325) credits from Silver Oak High School. The School offers a challenging curriculum. Students are expected to complete core classes with 80% mastery on assessments. Students who choose to challenge themselves in specific classes, and complete the additional projects and assignments, which may include preparation for the Advanced Placement exam, will receive credit with Honors or Gifted/Talented designation. Students who need more time, alternative assessment, or extensive coaching in any course will receive credit for the course with an accommodation designation. A rubric describing each level is included in the sample forms. 

Graduation Requirements

Students must earn forty (40) credits of English Language Arts, forty (40) credits of Mathematics, forty (40) credits of Science, forty (40) credits of Social Science, forty (40) credits of World Languages (with three years in one language), thirty (30) credits of Self-Construction, twenty (20) credits of Digital Media/Media Arts, ten (10) credits in Theory of Knowledge, twenty (20) credits for Senior Thesis/Senior Internship, twenty (20) credits of Health Fitness, twenty (20) credits of STEAM electives and five (5) credits of Business Entrepreneurship.

English Language Arts (Composition & Communication, World Literature, Multi-Cultural Literature, American Literature) 40
Mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus) 40
Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics , Environmental Science) 40
Social Studies (World Cultures, World History, US History, US Government/Economics) 40
World Languages – at least three years in one language 40
Self-Construction (PSR/Social Justice/College Counseling/Intersession) 30
Health Fitness (PE) – 5 each semester 20
STEAM Electives – 5 each semester 20
Philosophy (Theory of Knowledge) 10
Business Development (Business Entrepreneurship) 5
Art and Technology (Digital Media and Media Arts) 20
Senior Thesis/Senior Internship 20
Minimum Credits 325


Academic Courses


Composition and Communication (10 credits)

This one-year course is designed for students in ninth and tenth grade and addresses the California state content standards in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is intended to prepare students for the rigors of any four-year university English program. The thematic focus is The Individual in Society and will help students expand their vocabulary and emphasize the art of writing effectively and comprehensibly and provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill the high school English requirement. Students will develop their thinking-in-writing by practicing a variety of writing modes including description, narration, and literary analysis. Students will read, discuss, analyze, interpret, debate, write and present orally on readings from Of Mice and Men, The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Bless Me Ultima. Through the readings and in-class exercises, students will develop more sophisticated responses to literature, learning to create and support inferences about characters, moods, themes, etc.

World Literature (10 credits)

This course presents ninth and tenth grade students a study of the development of world literature from ancient times through the present. With emphasis on major authors and literary trends, all forms of literature will be covered, including poetry, prose, and drama. Discussion and written
assignments will stress insight into the works and the correlation of history, culture, literature, and other fine arts. Emphasis will be placed on critical, analytic reading skills, participation in-depth, constructive class discussion, and critical, evaluative writing.
Students will achieve mastery of all standards identified as high and medium frequency standards on the California Standards Tests, with a concerted effort to encourage mastery of low frequency standards as well. Students will read with a critical and analytical focus; identify, describe and utilize a sophisticated literary and rhetorical forms and devices; conceive, write and edit cogent essays in the autobiographical, narrative, reflective, persuasive and technical modes; communicate in speech and writing with clarity, effective style and eloquence; demonstrate mastery of standard English usage, spelling, punctuation and grammar; read at least 1000 pages per year outside of assigned class text to develop an extensive background in a diverse body of high quality literature; engage in intelligent discussion through active listening and constructive discourse; demonstrate tolerance for the points of view and beliefs of other people and cultures and demonstrate the highest level of personal and academic integrity.

American Literature (10 credits)

The American literature course is designed to prepare students in the eleventh and twelfth grades for the rigorous academic program they will encounter at a four-year college or university. Throughout the course, students learn to read challenging and engaging texts from a variety of genres and literary periods through deep reading, annotating, and questioning. They draw meaning from minor and major texts alike. Academic discourse–Socratic Seminar–is a key part of the curriculum; students learn how to use sophisticated, academic vocabulary and sentence stems in order to effectively engage in meaningful discussions about coursework. Students continue to improve their verbal communication skills through informal and formal presentations, including a major exhibition essay and presentation given at the end of each year to a panel of teachers, parents, and community members. Students participate in both informal and formal styles of writing, learn what makes writing effective, and learn how to improve their language conventions, word choice, organization, and style. They analyze text in the historical context of United States history. At the end of the course, students should be prepared to successfully accept the challenge of difficult texts and be able to write detailed, organized essays with textual evidence.

Multi-Cultural Literature (10 credits)

In Multi-Cultural Literature students in the eleventh and twelfth grades will read and analyze contemporary literature in a variety of genres from multicultural perspectives. Novels, short stories, and poems will be closely examined, not only for their plot, character, literary devices, and thematic development, but also in light of their cultural context. Articles, essays, and other non-fiction texts will be examined for their content, rhetorical devices, and political/philosophical assumptions. Students will begin to see literature as a vehicle for understanding global issues. In addition to their study of literature, students will practice writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students will combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce clear and coherent texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. Students will utilize the writing process, with a focus on revision, to engage their reader with a well-developed voice and style, employ a logical organizational pattern, and develop their arguments with reasoning, examples, and analysis. Students will also utilize computer technology, responsibly research topics, successfully incorporate their findings into their own writing, and properly document their sources. During the second semester, students will practice self-directed learning by completing an extensive self-designed research project. Vocabulary will be developed by studying Greek and Latin roots and by examining new words in literary context. Grammar skills will be enhanced through careful revision of student writing.


Algebra I (10 credits)

This course offers a comprehensive look at algebraic concepts including algebraic foundations, functions and relations, equations, linear equations and functions, polynomials, rational expressions and functions, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, radical expressions and functions, quadratic equations and functions, absolute value equations and inequalities, and probability and data analysis. The curriculum emphasizes a multi-representational approach to algebra, with concepts, results, problems being expressed graphically, analytically, and verbally, performing operations with real numbers, applying properties of real numbers, and reasoning with real numbers. As students study each family on functions, they will learn to represent them in multiple ways- as verbal descriptions, equations, tables and graphs. Students will derive solutions based on logic and hands-on inquire based studies that are intended to give each student a strong base in all mathematics. Students will also learn to model real-world situations using functions in order to solve problems arising from those situations. Lastly, Algebra 1 sets a solid foundation for entry and completion of Geometry and Algebra 2, as it presents basic concepts that are expanded upon in later levels of mathematics.
Algebra 1 course incorporates the Common Core State Standards for Algebra 1. In addition to these content standards, the Common Core Math Practice standards are imbedded in every unit of the course. These practices rest on important processes, critical thinking proficiencies, and a growth mindset attitudes that are constantly developed while understanding the content.

Algebra II (10 credits)

Algebra 2 is a college preparatory course that expands upon concepts learned in Algebra 1 and Geometry. Reviews of algebraic and geometric concepts are integrated throughout the course. Emphasis will be placed on abstract thinking skills, the algebraic solution of problems, probability and data analysis, coordinate geometry and trigonometry and the families of functions; including quadratic, linear, exponential, logarithmic, radical and rational functions. This course sets a solid foundation for entry and completion of advanced math and other higher-level advanced math courses.

Geometry (10 credits)

Geometry brings math to life with many real-life applications. Examples of mathematics in sports, engineering, and carpentry will be shown throughout this course. Three key aspects of geometry that will be emphasized are measuring, reasoning, and applying geometrical ideas. This is a year long course presents the major skills and concepts of geometry necessary for a student to describe and measure their world. Students develop analytical thinking skills that will allow them to solve problems involving geometric figures and logical thinking, including the development and use of geometric theorems involving proof, congruence similarity perimeter area and volume with a wide variety of geometric figures. The use of the Pythagorean Theorem and trigonometric functions are also emphasized. This is a prerequisite course for Algebra II.

Pre-Calculus (10 credits)

Pre-calculus is primarily a course to prepare students for Calculus with emphasis on problem solving. Content includes polynomial and rational functions, complex numbers, sequence and series, conic sections, parametric equations, limits, and an introduction to Calculus. The Pre-calculus course will give students the background needed to facilitate a smooth transition to college-level Calculus. Pre-calculus draws from different areas within the California Mathematics Academic Content Standards: Mathematical Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Calculus. Students will become familiar with, and use graphs of polynomial functions with an emphasis on the zeros and graphs rational functions with an emphasis on asymptotic behavior. Students will evaluate patterns to find the sum and general terms of arithmetic and geometric sequences and series. Students will analyze conic sections, both analytically and geometrically and apply and graph parametric equations. Students will find the limit of certain sequences and various functions, the slope of the tangent line and the derivative of a function.

Calculus (10 credits)

Calculus is a one year course designed to meet or exceed the California State Standards for calculus. This course will prepare students for college level Calculus. The course will cover differential and elementary integral calculus at an introductory level. After achieving this solid fundamental understanding of calculus, our students will be well prepared for the rigor of college level mathematics. Topics which will be covered in “Calculus” include limits, derivatives, definite integrals, indefinite integrals, and applications of these topics. Topics will be explored graphically, numerically, algebraically, and verbally. Subtopics include products, quotients, the calculus of logarithmic functions, growth and decay, plane and solid figures, algebraic calculus techniques, and the calculus of motion.


Environmental Science (10 credits)

The content of Environmental Science provides students with an overview of their planet from the structures of the Earth itself to its surface and the atmosphere, including California geology. In this course, students will have a sound basis for understanding the science of geology, including Earth’s place in the universe, dynamic Earth processes, energy in the Earth system, biogeochemical cycles, and structure and composition of the atmosphere. Key vocabulary and concepts are stressed throughout.

Environmental Science covers the forces involved in the Earth and the Earth’s interactions with the Exosphere. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding the core concepts in Earth Science, students will participate in investigations and experimentation throughout the course. In this process, they will distinguish between hypotheses and theories, identify possible reasons for sources of error, and investigate at least one controversial societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data and communicating the findings. Students will be able to define scientific terminology in order to foster the ability to read, interpret, and understand scientific literature. They will develop and demonstrate an understanding of fundamental principles that will be applied in subsequent science courses. Students will develop an appreciation for the natural processes that occur on Earth and how those processes impact and affect the environment. Students will become aware of and be able to express themselves critically concerning the major environmental issues which affect the health of their community and the world in which they live.

Biology (10 credits)

Biology is a year-long course designed to meet college entrance requirements as a laboratory science. Students will demonstrate the ability to use scientific skills and apply biological concepts to explain living organisms at the cellular and organ/system level, their interactions with the environment, and their life cycle. The material presented in the course includes cell biology and basic chemistry, genetics, evolution and natural selection, human physiology of the human body and ecology. The Biology course is designed to give students an overview of the key concepts and theories in life science. It builds upon the concepts and skills taught in earlier science classes, and prepares students for a college level science course. Biology students will practice the scientific process to think critically about the phenomena they observe every day. They will make claims about their observations and support those claims with evidence and reasoning. And they will reflect upon and evaluate the validity of their experimental work products. The content is divided into units: cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and physiology. The cell biology unit begins by investigating macromolecules and their roles in cell processes. Students investigate cell processes with experiments and can explain using models.

 Chemistry (10 credits)

The course is designed to be a laboratory-based course in chemistry. The level of instruction is to be at a level that will provide adequate preparation for entry into a college level chemistry class. This course studies chemical reactions and the factors that influence their behavior. The major topics will include atomic and molecular structure, bonding patterns, nuclear chemistry, conservation of matter and stoichiometry, states of matter, solutions, thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, and redox reactions. This is an introductory course to College level Chemistry courses. Students will be involved in a number of different learning approaches, such as classroom work, laboratory sessions and the application of mathematics and problem solving. The students will gain a deeper understanding of familiar concepts, such as atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonds, conservation of matter, stoichiometry, gases, solutions, chemical thermodynamics, acids, bases, reaction rates, chemical equilibrium, organic chemistry, biochemistry and nuclear processes. The course is designed to help students think like scientists and to encourage students to explore careers in science. The laboratory skills developed will be critical for success in a college level class and in life. The students will be expected to not only understand key concepts, but to apply, analyze, and synthesize these concepts. These higher level-thinking skills are essential to achievement for the next academic stage.

Physics (10 credits)

This is an introductory course in the foundations of physics. This course will help students develop an intuitive understanding of physics principles, as well utilize their math training to solve problems. Laboratory learning will be a major component of the course to help students understand physics concepts as well as provide training in sound laboratory techniques. The ultimate goal of this course is to help students develop the critical thinking skills needed to solve real world problems, and to encourage an appreciation for physics and the sciences.

Social Studies

World Cultures and Geography (10 credits)

In this course of World Cultures, students take a comprehensive look at cultures around the world and how geography plays a role in cultural development and geo-political regions. In this comprehensive course, students develop an understanding of geography and its interaction with cultures around the world. Through rigorous reading, critical thinking skills, and mapping activities, students learn about the beginnings of a civilization and the developments of culture and traditions. As geography plays a role in the development and changes within a culture, this course offers opportunities to review and practice geography skills and brings opportunity of understanding the effects of geography on cultural areas throughout time. Throughout this course of study, students will develop an understanding of the values, differences, and the uniqueness of cultures around the world.

U.S. History (10 credits)

This course examines the major turning points in American history beginning with the Montessori Great Lessons, including the universe story and the study of people to modern day. In this first quarter, we will study Indigenous cultures in North America and the events leading up to the American Revolution. These events will be studied through the lens of contemporary world issues such as American identity, globalization, economic interdependence, terrorism and world cultures to enrich our understanding of international conflict and cooperation. Following a review of the nation’s beginnings and the impact of the Enlightenment on U.S. democratic ideals, students build upon the tenth grade study of global industrialization to understand the emergence and impact of new technology and a corporate economy, including the social and cultural effects. They trace the change in the ethnic composition of American society; the movement toward equal rights for racial minorities and women; and the role of the United States as a major world power. An emphasis is placed on the expanding role of the federal government and federal courts as well as the continuing tension between the individual and the state. Students consider the major social problems of our time and trace their causes in historical events. They learn that the United States has served as a model for other nations and that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are not accidents, but the results of a defined set of political principles that are not always basic to citizens of other countries. Students understand that our rights under the U.S. Constitution are a precious inheritance that depends on an educated citizenry for their preservation and protection.

World History (10 credits)

World History is a year-long required course that explores the key events and global historical developments since the Paleolithic age that have shaped the world we live in today. Modern World History covers all aspects of human experience, ranging from economics, religion, philosophy, science, and literature and the arts to politics and law, as well as military conflict. The major historical units will include the following: Early Modern Times, Enlightenment and Revolution, Industrialization and a New Global Age, World Wars and Revolutions, and the World from 1945 to the Present.

This course will illustrate connections between students’ lives and those of ancestors around the world. Students will uncover patterns of behavior, identify historical trends and themes, explore historical movements and concepts, and test theories. Students will build upon their ability to read
for comprehension and critical analysis by summarizing and paraphrasing, note taking and organization, categorizing, comparing, and evaluating information, as well as writing clearly and convincingly, expressing facts and opinions orally, and using technology appropriately to present information.

Economics (5 credits)

Students study fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity costs and trade-offs, productivity, economic systems, economic institutions and incentives. The course will also include such microeconomics concepts as market and prices, supply and demand, competition and market structure, income distribution and the role of government. Macroeconomics concepts include international trade, unemployment, inflation and deflation, and fiscal and monetary policy.

Students in grade twelve pursue mastery of economic concepts and use the tools and skills acquired in other courses (mathematics, science, and English) to understand the operations and institutions of economic systems. Just as in any other course, context is important, and students will examine the historical development of economic theory and economic systems. Students will leave this course having mastered the basic economic principles of micro- and macro-economics, international economics, comparative economic systems, measurement, and methods. Finally, students will examine current criticisms of classical economics with a particular focus on external entities and the “true cost” of resources.

Government (5 credits)

Students in grade eleven and twelve pursue a deeper understanding of the institutions of American government. They compare systems of government in the world today and analyze the life and changing interpretations of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the current state of the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government. An emphasis is placed on analyzing the relationship among federal, state and local governments, with particular attention paid to important historical documents such as The Federalist. These standards represent the culmination of civic literacy as students prepare to vote, participate in community activities and assume the responsibilities of citizenship.

Additional/World Languages

Spanish I (10 credits)

Spanish 1 is a beginning college preparatory course. By the use of formulaic language in relevant settings, students will listen, read, speak and write in the target language. Grammar is presented in a meaningful context. Class in conducted in the target language.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish II (10 credits)

The Spanish 2 course is a continuation of the previous course. By the use of created language in relevant settings, students will continue to develop their listening, reading, writing and speaking in the target language. Grammar continues to be presented in a meaningful context. Class is conducted in the target language.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish III (10 credits)

The Spanish 3 course is an intermediate course where students use planned language in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students continue to accelerate to use extended language by the end of this course. Class is taught in Spanish.

The purpose of this course is for students to acquire the Spanish language and learn about different Spanish speaking cultures through writing, speaking, reading and listening. Students will engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. They will understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between the practices, products and perspectives of the Spanish speaking cultures. Students will reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the Spanish language. They will acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the Spanish language and cultures. They will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the Spanish language and their own. Students will use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting. They will show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using Spanish for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish IV (10 credits)

The Spanish 4 course is an extensive Spanish class that reinforces the different skills/contents and linguistic tools learned in Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 including Spanish language and Latino communities using the four modes of expression: listening, speaking, writing and reading. The main goal of this course is for students to develop, on a daily basis, receptive and productive skills that will allow them to communicate extensively in Spanish.

In Spanish 4, students expand their learning using the different modes of communication at an advanced level through the use of learner-centered activities, analysis of authentic documents/texts such as songs, movies, magazines, or newspaper articles, the use of technology and analysis of Spanish literature. Students learn to create more complex sentences using different tenses and moods (present, past tense, subjunctive present/past, future, conditional) in planned paragraphs when speaking and writing, comprehending main ideas and details in authentic texts and becoming more accurate in written and oral expression.

On a daily basis, students are engaged collaboratively and individually with written, verbal, listening and reading tasks such as think-pair-share activities, small group works, reading activities, written assignments, conversations around cultural facts and listening to authentic Spanish media.

Mandarin I (10 credits)

This is a beginning Mandarin course intended for students with no prior knowledge of any Chinese dialect or written Chinese. The goal is to develop basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Mandarin and to understand the Chinese culture and customs. This course will focus on the Chinese Pinyin system: tones, rules of phonetic spelling, and pronunciation drill; Chinese characters: radicals, stroke order, structure, and the writing system. Reading and writing skills include basic sentence pattern analysis, and how to use Chinese dictionaries.

Mandarin I (10 credits)

The purpose of this course is to ensure that 1) students will be able to read paragraphs in characters at a normal speed, 2) students will be able to converse by asking and answering questions according to Chinese custom, 3) students will be able to write short essays in Mandarin, 4) students will be able to use a dictionary to learn new words and read basic articles in the newspaper, 5) students will be able to typewrite Chinese characters, 6) students will start to appreciate Chinese literature such as Tang Poetry and Chinese idioms.

This course is designed for students who have already completed Mandarin Level 1. The course continues to develop students’ ability in reading, speaking, writing and aural comprehension, building upon the structures already acquired during Level 1. Mandarin Level 2 emphasizes the acquisition of communication competency and the use of the language in real life situations. All lessons are organized around topics and situations, and each lesson is planned with specific tasks and activities that aim to engage students in a variety of interactions.

Visual and Performing Arts

Digital Imaging I (10 credits)

In this course students will use state-of-the-art digital imaging software and concepts to create projects which integrate art, graphic design, photo manipulation, illustration, and/or digital compositing, while exercising the importance and application of creative expression and how it impacts today’s society. While students continue their skills in the use of design media, they will further recognize current and cutting edge trends in technology-based art practices through interactions with local and regional professionals as well as publish a digital portfolio that reflects industry techniques and standards.

Digital Media (10 credits)

This year long course is a beginning study in contemporary media. The class is structured around projects emphasizing the art elements of line, shape, form, color, space, and texture. It will introduce the student to the principles of design including composition, balance, emphasis, contrast, movements, pattern, rhythm and unity as they relate to typography, perspective, color theory and layout. Students will develop an appreciation of traditional artistic expression as well as an understanding of the role of contemporary media as a verbal and visual means of communication in today’s society. After a brief teacher-led instruction on hardware and software common in the industry, students work together to design, create, critique, and present digital media art projects.

Media Arts I (10 credits)

Media Arts I is a year-long course that gives students the opportunity to rely on their perceptions of the environment, developed through increasing visual awareness and sensitivity to surroundings, memory, imagination and life experiences, as a source for creating artworks. Students will express their thoughts and ideas creatively, while challenging their imaginations, fostering reflective thinking and developing disciplined effort and problem-solving skills. Students will develop respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures by analyzing artistic styles and historical periods. Students will respond to and analyze artworks, thus contributing to the development of lifelong skills of making informed judgments and evaluations. Based on the CA Visual and Performing Arts Standards; emphasis throughout the year will be on the following; perceiving and responding to works of art using content vocabulary to express their observations, applying fundamental artistic skills to their work, understanding the historical contributions and cultural dimensions of the visual arts, analyzing current and historical works of art and connecting their knowledge of the visual arts to other subject area and careers.

College Prep Electives

Theory of Knowledge (10 credits)

In Philosophy we will confront the essential questions of existence, such as What is real? Can we really be certain of anything? What is right? Is there a soul separate from the body? What is the meaning of life? Exploration of these topics will be conducted through personal inquiry, meaningful discussion, and reading the theories of the Western world’s most respected and influential philosophers. Philosophy will be organized into eight units, each spanning approximately three weeks. Drawing mainly on the primary text, Western Philosophy, students will read authentic excerpts from renowned philosophers on the topics of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics and morality, government and politics, theology, philosophy of science, and aesthetics. Students will participate in weekly Socratic seminars as a means of discussing and debating the ideas articulated in the readings, and they will demonstrate their understanding both informally and formally in writing. Students will also conduct philosophical inquiry into a topic of their own choosing and present their

Business Entrepreneurship (5 credits)

Business through entrepreneurship is a project-based college prep course where students analyze and develop a small business. Students will focus on four goals. They will learn the significance of math, reading, writing, and communicating to their future within the framework of starting and operating a small business. Students will understand how the market economy and ownership leads to wealth creation. Students learn not only the skills necessary to become entrepreneurs but also the attitudes, characteristic, and techniques in successful entrepreneurs that they will need to succeed. Finally, learn to be able to save and make future investments in order to meet their financial goals in life. Students will learn to build analytical skills through solving complex problems and making sound decisions in order to produce a viable business.

Through the study of entrepreneurship, students will learn the importance of the role of entrepreneurship in the market economy, opportunity recognition, communicate in business, ethical business behavior, social responsibility, competitive advantage and sustainability, market research and cost/benefit analysis, advertise and market products, business financials including pricing, operating costs, and projections. As students create their business plan, they will integrate academic knowledge to their own ventures, thus putting theory into practice.

Silver Oak High School Additional Requirements

Physical Education

Health Fitness (5 credits each)

Health Fitness credits can be earned in three ways.
1. A student will earn five (5) credits for each semester that he/she participates in an organized extracurricular physical activity for at least 3 hours and 45 minutes a week. A note from the instructor is required in order for the student to earn credit.
2. A student will earn five (5) credits for each semester-long Physical Education class completed.
3. A student will earn five (5) credits for each school sponsored sport played. In order to earn credit the student must attend eighty percent of practices and games/meets.

Self-Construction Classes

Personal and Social Responsibility (5 credits)

This is a year-long class for freshmen that introduces the students to the basic Montessori Secondary methodology, especially the concepts of personal responsibility and community stewardship. Students work through the “preliminary exercises” necessary to succeed in a college prep high school. They also master the skills of “Grace and Courtesy” and “Care of the Environment”. Throughout, the freshmen are guided to be the primary stewards of themselves and of the Silver Oak campus.

Social Justice (5 credits)

Throughout the school year, sophomores explore various themes within Social Justice and choose from assignments exemplifying these themes. First, students learn about themselves and their backgrounds as well as share and celebrate their differences with one another. Students are meant to develop a sense of dignity regarding their culture, religion, ethnicity and gender as it relates to their beliefs. Next, students are encouraged to develop their personal opinions regarding social issues and learn about contemporary issues affecting their community and this world. Finally, students learn about various avenues of social movement, action and change. The class culminates with the students choosing an issue, about which they are passionate, and raise awareness about it in their school community and beyond.

College Counseling (5 credits)

This is a year-long class for juniors which introduces them to the college application process. Students identify their career paths; investigate matching post-secondary educational options; analyze admission requirements and review their own transcripts to determine their readiness. The full college entrance testing sequence is presented and the students are guided through it. Financial aid strategies are also covered. By the end of the course students write their personal statements and complete their lists of “match-reach-safety” schools.

Senior Thesis/Internship (20 credits)

The over-arching theme of Senior Thesis/Internship is “The Future.”  As seniors about to graduate and embark on the next stage of their progress, the future is already something that will be uppermost in their minds.  Seniors will already be hearing a great deal from parents and extended family members, peers, teachers, and college admissions officers about their “future.”  The senior class works together to find interdisciplinary approaches to the nature and potential of the future as a basis of their work together and then work individually in their internship positions defining what questions they would like to examine more closely in their final work here at Silver Oak High School.

Senior Thesis/Internship is both a culmination and a commencement.  It represents the culmination of their work by giving students the opportunity to apply interdisciplinary and internship-based knowledge to original research.  All of what the students have learned and experienced will be brought to bear on their final papers.  Senior Thesis is also a commencement, the start of work the student may continue in the years ahead.  The goal of Senior Thesis/Internship is to afford students the opportunity to do lasting, meaningful work that they will continue to pursue at the university level.  The final paper is 25—30 pages in length and consists of a literature review that puts the student’s unique question in the context of the history of thought and current research.

Particular attention will be given to the distinction between the methods of the social sciences and those of the physical sciences.  In addition, we will be learning library procedures, techniques of computer search, compiling references, interviewing and methods for finding, evaluating, and recording material.  Students become familiar with the major writers and works within their particular area of research. Students will also work with on-sight mentors who are experts in their fields or subjects of interest.  The Senior Internship is closely coordinated with Senior Thesis to provide for one-on-one guidance with a mentor.  Students present their theses to the faculty and presentations are open to the public.

Intersession (5 credits per year)

During Intersession students must participate in community outreach, service learning and field education courses. Grading for these classes is based on class attendance and participation and completion of assigned projects. Students who do not complete the Intersession class with a passing grade will not be given any credit for that class.

Other Electives (5 credits each)

Electives are STEAM based experiential classes. Students choose these classes and are expected to participate fully. Grading for these classes is based on class participation and completion of assigned projects. Students who do not complete the Elective class with a passing grade will not be given any credit for that class.

Academic Policies

Designations, Grades, and Assessments

Silver Oak High School grades on a numerical scale. For GPA calculation and other purposes, the following chart shows the way in which numerical quarter and semester class grades convert to the standard A, B, C scale.



A+                             97-100                       4.3                     4.8

A                                94-96                         4                        4.5

A-                              90-93                         3.7                     4.2

B+                             87-89                         3.3                     3.8

B                                84-86                         3                        3.5

B-                              80-83                         2.7                     3.2

C+                             77-79                          2.3                     2.8

C                                74-76                         2                         2.5

C-                              70-73                         1.7                      2.2

.NC                            67-69                        1.3                      1.8

N.C                            64-66                        1                         1.5

NC.                            60-63                        0.7                     1.2

NC                             59 and lower           0                         0

*All courses are offered at COLLEGE PREP designation, designed ABOVE common core curriculum standards.

NC = Insufficient Evidence or Growth Towards Standard to Earn Credit. Any mark in any course that dips below the level of “C-” is considered NC and no credit towards graduation will be awarded.
Please note that we will not be using a grade of “D” or “F”.

College Prep Designation

Silver Oak High School offers a challenging curriculum. All core classes are taught at a “College Prep” level. Therefore, students are expected to complete classes with an eighty (80)% mastery of the material on major assessments. The general rule is that quizzes or formative assessments are for feedback and tests or final assessments are for mastery. A student receives an incomplete as a grade until mastery is reached. All class work must be completed before taking the test on related material. Students’ grades are based on individual work, group work, classroom participation, and assessments. Please refer to an individual teacher’s study guides and rubric for grading information.
The requirements are:

1)Class work completion rate at least 80%
2)Tests for Mastery at 80% or higher with no retest needed
3)High Quality Work

Gifted and Talented Designation

At the freshman and sophomore levels there are options for students to do the coursework at advanced/in depth levels. This choice is made for an entire semester and is a commitment upon which the student enters. The requirements are:

1)Attendance, Individual Work – at least 90%
2)Tests for Mastery at 90% or higher
3)Highest quality projects
4)Takes on additional in depth projects approved by teacher
and shared with the class.

Honors Designation

At the junior and senior levels there are options for students to enroll in a core curriculum course at an Honors Level. Enrollment in an Honors class is designated for the entire year and is a commitment upon which the student enters. The requirements are:

1)Attendance, Individual Work – at least 90%
2)Tests for Mastery at 90% or higher
3)Highest quality projects
4)Takes on additional in depth projects approved by teacher
and shared with the class.

Receives an additional .5 point per grade towards the GPA.

AP Placement Test Prep and Support Guidelines

At Silver Oak High School we afford students a variety of opportunities to prepare for an AP exam in the following ways:

• Students mentor with a teacher who has expertise in the field of the AP exam.
• Students are enrolled in the respective class, with AP extension assignments required.
• The college counselor works closely with students to determine their chosen universities’ specific departmental AP requirements for admission.
• Students are given the option of internet courses specifically tailored to preparing for specific AP exams.
• Students are provided with additional curricular materials, which support exam preparation.

We are dedicated to supporting students who are interested in taking Advanced Placement Exams as part of a larger commitment to their future success in college.

AP Support Guidelines

1. Students are enrolled in the college prep class during the first quarter.
2. By September 30th (or February 15th for 2nd semester classes), students who are interested in taking the AP test in that subject will sign up with their teacher’s and parents’ permission. Students will need to have met the criteria for Honors work to be eligible:
3. The faculty will design supplemental AP materials for each student. This supplemental work will be the student’s AP work for the course.
4. Silver Oak High School will not be a testing site for the AP exams.

It is important to note that…

• Colleges look favorably on students who have the initiative to look for AP outside their school’s course offerings.
•. Silver Oak High School classes are rigorous and focus on a student’s deep understanding of subject area. The Silver Oak High School profile indicates that the school supports students to prepare for the AP exam in addition to their regular class work.

Advanced Placement Exam (AP)

About 50 years ago the College Board devised a standardized test, the AP exam, as part of their Advanced Placement Program. Since then, in response to complaints about poor college preparation, many public and some private schools devised classes designed specifically to pass these exams. However, a recent study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Virginia has found that it is questionable whether these courses actually prepare students for success in college. Quoting Philip M Sadler of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard University Gazette reports that “AP courses do not contribute substantially to student success in college.”

At Silver Oak High School we will NEVER “teach to the test.” We recognize comprehensive, standardized testing as only one kind of evaluative tool and one which often emphasizes skills, such as short-term memory, that do not support the long-term academic goals of the student. The Harvard study found that “the best predictors of success in college science courses to be high school classes that… value depth over breadth.” Classes at Silver Oak High School do value depth over breadth. Silver Oak High School students are evaluated in ways that address multiple intelligences and give a more complete appraisal of the student’s mastery of the subject. Our curriculum and methods emphasize analytical writing, participation in seminar, and creative problem solving in a group setting that require our students to explore their subjects in greater depth than that of typical AP courses. Typical AP courses prepare students for an exam. Preparing students for future success in college and life is our primary goal.

Classroom Ambiance

As the environment of the classroom is expected to be calm and peaceful, the students are expected to use appropriate volume and tone. All members of the community are to respect each other’s personal space. It is expected that the students be prepared for class by having their class work/ homework done and by bringing the necessary books and materials to class on time. As a part of the Montessori high school, students are expected to participate in all classroom activities. Care and maintenance of the classroom is a community responsibility.

Class work/Homework

Academic excellence is an important pillar of the Montessori high school. Parents can keep track of student’s progress through the PowerSchool online program. A student, parent, or teacher can call a conference at any time deemed necessary. Students are encouraged to complete missing work during individual work time.

Students should use their individual work time each week productively. Teachers will monitor this time. Students should spend ninety (90) minutes in undistracted (ideally supervised) study/reading time each night. Parents should monitor Internet usage, social networking, emailing, IM, games, etc. during this time. The ninety (90) minutes of study time is an average time needed – some students may need more time if they have difficulty reading complex material or have added advanced work. If homework time is excessive, then please have the student keep a log and contact the head of school so difficult areas can be addressed. Also, consider using the audio support for reading material that is provided if that can be helpful.

If a student does not complete his/her class work/homework for a particular class, on time, then he/she is not prepared for class. In any class, the first time an assignment is late, in a class, in a semester, a verbal warning is given; and the parents are notified. The next time in a semester that a student does not complete his/her class work/homework on time, the parents are notified and a conference is scheduled with the student to assess the problem and determine a plan. The plan WILL include placing the student on a daily study guide, with the requirement that the student report to the individual teacher each day for time management monitoring. In addition, this plan MAY include seeking extra help from the instructor or obtaining a tutor, among other options.

 If students miss classes, they should refer to the study guide for assignments and make an agreement with the teacher to complete missed work.

Absence Policy

An absence is time away from highly interactive classroom activities of lessons, dialogue, group work, etc. and cannot be made up. Please note that each college prep subject requires four (4) hours of in-class coursework each week. Therefore, multiple truancy letters may result in the loss of academic credits.

Excused Absences*
Student Illness
Student Medical/Dental Appointment
Funeral Services
Religious Holidays
Court Appearances

Unexcused Absences**
Unverified Absences
Leaving campus without permission
Personal reasons
Cutting Class

* A doctor’s note must submitted to the office, for absences due to illness, of more than three (3) consecutive days. Doctors’ notes are needed to verify medical, therapeutic and dental appointments. A note from the court clerk is required for court appointments.

Parents/Guardians must clear absences, within 24 hours, immediately following an
absence. After this time frame, the absence will remain unexcused. Students who are absent three days in one quarter without an excuse will receive a truancy letter.

** Students will receive an “NC” grade for any work that is due during an “Unexcused Absence”.

Late Arrival

Attendance will be documented daily, by each advisor, on PowerSchool. Each student needs to check in with his/her advisor upon arrival. Students arriving after 8:45am need to first check in with the office and then proceed to class. A parent needs to call the school before 9:00am if the student is going to be absent. After four tardies, an alert will be sent to parents and a conference will be held with students and parents to discuss measures to ensure that the student arrives at school on time. Please note that each college prep subject requires four (4) hours of in class coursework each week. Therefore, multiple tardies may result in loss of academic credits.

Early Dismissal

Students who need to leave before the end of the school day (4:00pm) should be aware that they will receive an “absence” for the classes missed. Students are expected to make routine medical/dental appointments before or after school hours. Keep in mind that Friday is a minimum day, and therefore Friday afternoons are the best times to make medical appointments. Upon leaving school, parents must sign their students out on the sign-out sheet located in the office. If the student is driving him/herself, a parent will need to inform the school prior to the student leaving early.
If a student leaves campus without checking out with the office, the absence is considered as truancy and cannot be excused. When students are returning from medical/dental appointments, they must check back in at the office before going to class.

Year – Long Classes

Each class meets for approximately thirty-five (32) weeks, each week accumulating four (4) hours, adding up to one hundred forty (128) hours per semester. For each individual class, students who have a combination of tardies and absences of more than twenty-five (25) hours (20% of class time) will receive an incomplete in that class for that semester and will need to make up the missed work in order to graduate.

Semester – Long Classes

Each class will be approximately sixteen (16) weeks long, each week accumulating four (4) hours, adding up to one sixty-four (64) hours per semester. Students who have a combination of tardies and absences from class of more than twelve (12) hours (20% of class time) will receive an incomplete in that class for that semester and will need to make up the missed work in order to graduate.


All intersessions are three (3) or four (4) days long, so students must participate in two (2) of the three (3) days or three (3) of the four (4) days to earn credit.

Group Work

There is group work required for each academic class. It is each group member’s responsibility to take an active part in his or her group’s activities. Students who fulfill their obligations and participate in the activities of their group will receive credit for the group’s work.

Group projects should be completed in class for freshmen and sophomores. This allows the teacher to assist the students in planning, delegating, and implementing the work in an effective and efficient way. By junior and senior years, students will have practiced the necessary skills to do group work outside of class, if so desired.

If there is difficulty with group members participating in a project, then the faculty member will be consulted for a plan of action.


Assessments are given at the closure of bodies of work. Assessments may include written tests, project work, or group presentations. All assessments will be taken or presented on the day scheduled. Major assessments must be mastered with at least an 80%. A retest/re-present will be offered for all freshmen and sophomores who do not reach mastery. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the teacher for retaking a test/re-presenting a project. A student, who needs to retake a test, in order to master the material, needs to do so outside of class time, unless the student and teacher agree to an in-class time.