Webb’s English curriculum seeks to develop a student’s life-long learning by cultivating the ability to know the experience of others while also understanding their own experiences better. Fluency in critical thinking, engaged reading, analytical writing, and articulate expression enable students to develop an acute appreciation for the intensity and depth of their experiences. Each grade seeks to develop the formal writing, creative writing, vocabulary , reading, oral language, and grammar skills of each student.
English I and Honors English I
Students will study the Foundation of World Literature with emphases on various genres. Students will write to explore, explain, convince, and create by using the five stages in the writing process. Grammar is taught within the writing process. Vocabulary development includes literary terminology and vocabulary workshop units that enhance acquisition and usage of new words in writing and speaking. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
English II and Honors English II
This course is designed to familiarize students with world literature. Close readings of the texts are coupled with an appreciation of the contexts within which these writers worked to facilitate students understanding of the universality of the human condition. While a variety of genres are studied, readings in fiction, drama, and verse are emphasized. Through close readings, students are equipped with the vocabulary of the critical reader and student of literature. Analytical reasoning, writing to express, and articulation of beliefs and thoughts are the focus of the course. Writing and grammar skills are emphasized through the writing process. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
English III and Honors English III
Students read, discuss, and write about classic works of American literature. Analytical thinking and writing are the focus of this course. Grammar and writing skills are taught through the writing process. Students complete an author study based on a self-selected American author. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
English IV and Honors English IV
This survey course looks at British literature from its beginnings to the present. Close examination of the works is coupled with historical and linguistic considerations to enable students to develop proficiency and comfort with the range of literature produced in the British Isles over the last thousand years. Student compositions frequently respond to or analyze these masterpieces. Extensive instruction and practice in writing, as well as a review of usage, enable students to become clear, concise, and correct writers. Development of an expanded vocabulary in preparation for college entrance tests is also emphasized. Through extensive class discussion, students develop an appreciation for and understanding of both their responses to literature and the reasons for those responses. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
The course concentrates on major works and authors of British and American literature from the seventeenth century to the present. In preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination, students are taught skills necessary to engage in close analysis of a text through the genres of fiction, drama, poetry, and expository writing. Close and careful readings of texts engender a greater understanding of the uses of language and a keener appreciation for the writer’s craft. Class discussions, in conjunction with writing assignments, allow students to identify and explain rhetorical strategies as writers employ them.
Students must earn 4 credits in Mathematics including credits in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II in order to meet the School’s graduation requirements. All students are encouraged to take a mathematics course every year of their high school careers.
This course teaches fundamental algebraic concepts and skills, including solutions of elementary equations and inequalities, the algebra of polynomials and rational expressions, graphs of linear functions, the arithmetic of radicals, system and quadratic functions.
Algebra II and Honors Algebra II
After a review of first-year algebra, this course covers standard second-year topics, such as complex numbers, the quadratic formula, quadratic functions, circles, polynomial equations and graphs, exponents, and logarithms. It also includes the study of matrices and arithmetic and geometric sequences. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and includes trigonometry. Admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
Geometry and Honors Geometry
Traditional Euclidian geometry is covered, with an emphasis on logical thinking, proofs, and algebraic applications. Triangle trigonometry, coordinate geometry, and transformational geometry may also be studied. The Honors section includes an emphasis on proofs and requires greater demands upon the student. Admission to the Honors section is dependent on department approval.
College Algebra & Trigonometry
This course is intended for students coming from the regular Algebra II classes and also for those students from the Algebra II Honors class who are not ready for the pace and depth of Pre-Calculus. Beginning with the theory of functions and graphs, the course proceeds to study all of the elementary functions, with an emphasis on data analysis and real-world applications. Approximately half of the course is devoted to the study of trigonometry. Sequences and series are also covered.
Pre-Calculus is an honors course designed to prepare talented mathematics students for calculus. The study of functions is the focus of the class. Functions to be studied are linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of trigonometry. Additionally, the student is introduced to polar coordinates and complex numbers, sequences and series, vectors, and parametric equations.
AP Calculus AB
This course covers the topics listed in the Calculus AB syllabus by the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. These topics include derivatives and integrals and their applications. Students in the class take the Advanced Placement examination in the spring. Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus.
AP Calculus BC
This course prepares students to take the Calculus BC Advanced Placement examination offered by the College Board. In addition to the topics included in the AB course, the following topics are also covered: further applications of the integral; parametric, polar, and vector functions; and polynomial approximations and series. Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus.
As described by the College Board, “the purpose of the Advanced Placement course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data.” Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes: (1) exploring data, (2) planning a study, (3) anticipating patterns using probability and simulation, and (4) statistical inference. Students in the class take the Advanced Placement examination in the spring. Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus or College Algebra and Trigonometry.
Advanced Topics in Mathematics
This course is designed for students who wish to pursue their study of mathematics but do not wish to take AP Calculus. It is designed as a Senior Elective. This class will be a combination of statistics topics including investigations of combinatorics, probability theory, and descriptive and inferential statistics as well as topics in Pre-Calculus. It will also include applications of topics such as Discrete Mathematics.
An understanding of the scientific method and scientific concepts is becoming essential as technology progresses rapidly. The Science Department seeks to expose each student to a wide range of science topics and laboratory techniques, as well as to emphasize analytical thinking. The philosophy of the faculty stresses the process of science; consequently, each course is lab-oriented. The required courses of study are Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Honors and Advanced Placement sections are offered when student numbers are available.
Biology and Honors Biology
This lab-oriented class introduces the human body and concepts of scientific methods. Concepts covered are the science of life, chemistry, biochemistry, the cell, homeostasis and transport in the body, cellular reproduction and genetics, nucleic acids and protein synthesis, scientific classification, plant evolution, bacteria, viruses and the immune system, fish, and mammals. The honors section is a more rigorous treatment that requires chemistry background.
The AP Biology course is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology course usually taken by biology majors during their first year. It aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology. In broad terms the topics are molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations.
This is a laboratory oriented course which introduces students to the basic concepts of general chemistry on a college-preparatory level. Concepts covered include atomic structure, chemical reactions and stoichiometry, electron behavior, bonding and molecular geometry, gas laws, solution chemistry, redox reactions, and introductory thermodynamics.
This lab-oriented course is a rigorous treatment of core chemical concepts on a freshman college level. The course is highly mathematical. Topics covered include atomic structure, introductory thermodynamics, nuclear chemistry, the behavior of electrons based on quantum mechanics, both the localized electron and molecular orbital models of chemical bonding, chemical reactions and stoichiometry, solution chemistry and solubility product constants, redox reactions and electrochemistry, gas laws and the kinetic molecular theory, the behavior of liquids and solids, and colligative properties.
This lab-oriented course is a rigorous treatment of thermodynamics, kinetics, and equilibrium and an introduction to organic chemistry. The course is highly mathematical. Topics covered include enthalpy, entropy, free energy, reaction rates, reaction mechanisms, general chemical equilibria, acid-base equilibria, pH, buffer solutions, titration, organic nomenclature, and introductory biochemistry. In conjunction with Honors Chemistry, this course is designed to be the equivalent of a freshman college general chemistry course for engineering and science majors.
The Physics course is primarily a conceptual study of mechanics, which is less much less mathematically demanding than the Honors Physics course. We apply the scientific method to study the motion of macroscopic objects and its causes. We develop and then apply scientific models that describe, explain, predict, and control the motion of such objects. Students gain an intuitive and intellectually precise understanding of core physics concepts, such as force, energy, momentum, torque, and angular momentum. The course contains numerous lessons that can be applied to everyday experience. In addition, the student’s scientific literacy improves considerably. If time allows, we briefly study other physics topics, such as electromagnetism or modern physics.
The Honors Physics course is primarily a non-calculus-based study of mechanics at the level of a freshman college course. The course applies the scientific method to study the motion of macroscopic objects and its causes. The course develops and then applies scientific models that describe, explain, predict, and control the motion of such objects. Students gain an intuitive and intellectually precise understanding of core physics concepts, such as force, energy, momentum, torque, and angular momentum. The course contains numerous lessons that can be applied to everyday experience. In addition, the student’s scientific literacy improves considerably. If time allows, we may briefly study other physics topics, such as electromagnetism or modern physics. This course depends heavily on algebra, right angle trigonometry, and basic planar geometry.
AP Physics (Mechanics)
The AP Physics – Mechanics course is a calculus-based study of mechanics. We apply the scientific method to study the motion of macroscopic objects and its causes. We develop and then apply scientific models that describe, explain, predict, and control the motion of such objects. The models include mathematical representations, many of which involve calculus. Students gain an intuitive and intellectually precise understanding of core physics concepts, such as force, energy, momentum, torque, and angular momentum. The course contains numerous lessons that can be applied to everyday experience. In addition, the student’s scientific literacy improves considerably. Finally, this course prepares the student for the AP Physics – Mechanics Exam.
AP Physics (Electromagnetism)
The AP Physics (Electromagnetism) course is a calculus-based study of electric and magnetic phenomena. The course covers, in a fair amount of mathematical detail, the accepted scientific models for such phenomena. The course prepares the student for the AP Physics – Electricity and Magnetism Exam.
Anatomy and Physiology
This lab-oriented class is a thorough treatment of the human body. Concepts covered include organization of the human body, chemistry, cells, cellular metabolism, tissues, skin, skeletal system, special senses, blood, circulatory system, immunity, the lymphatic system, male and female reproduction, pregnancy, growth, development, and genetics. It includes the dissection of animals in order to better understand how the body’s systems work in concert.
The Webb School believes that the study of foreign languages is essential to gain insight into other cultures, to develop the ability to communicate with other peoples, and to recognize a common humanity. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing in foreign languages are acquired through a variety of methods. Foreign language classes are proficiency-oriented, with activities based on true-to-life contexts to which students can relate.
This course gives the student a solid foundation in Latin grammar and vocabulary, as well as an introduction to Roman civilization and culture. The primary emphasis of the course is to develop reading skills in Latin while learning declensions of nouns, adjectives, and pronouns, and conjugation of verbs in the present system, both active and passive. Basic spoken Latin is used as a tool for enhancing understanding. Culture topics include Roman mythology, Roman art, and Roman history up through the Flavian Dynasty.
This course continues the development of Latin vocabulary and the Latin-English relationship. More complex grammatical concepts, such as the perfect system, the subjunctive, and irregular verbs are studied. Reading Latin becomes more intensive and sophisticated. Culture topics include heroes of the ancient world, numismatics (coins), and European history up through the Renaissance, specifically as it pertains to Latin and Latin pertains to it.
This course completes the study of the grammatical elements of the Latin language (such as the supine and the passive periphrastic) and then transition to reading unadapted stories by the historian Livy concerning early Roman legends. Emphasis is also placed on a study of Roman architecture and on developing the skill of forming evidence-based arguments based on reading.
Honors Latin IV
This advanced course is for students with a firm background in the foundations of Latin who are interested in further study of the language and literature. Prose composition and other grammatical exercises are used to review the structure of the Latin language, but the majority of study centers around reading the works of Cicero and Vergil. While reading Cicero, students learn the canons of rhetoric and the principles of oratory. While reading Vergil, students study the principles of Latin poetry and rhetorical devices.
AP Latin V
This course prepares students to take the advanced placement exam in Latin and is only for highly-qualified students. The course uses Vergil's Aeneid as the basis of study; students read large portions of the work in Latin and the entire work in English. The exam tests the students' ability to read Latin at sight, to translate a prepared passage from the syllabus, to explicate the grammar of a passage, to discuss themes and motifs, and to analyze the structure of and interpret a familiar passage.
French I, Spanish I
Students are introduced to the language, with vocabulary and basic structures demonstrated in context to encourage communication. The primary objective is to help each student attain an acceptable degree of proficiency in the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
French II, Spanish II
Students at this level acquire a command of the four basic skills of the language. Increased emphasis is placed on the ability to communicate in realistic situations. Cultural readings survey life in the French- and Spanish-speaking worlds.
French III, Spanish III
Students in the course are able to communicate at a functional level. Grammatical structures are reviewed with increased emphasis on expanded vocabulary. Literary and cultural readings provide insight into understanding other people.
Honors French IV
Students at this level continue to develop their abilities in the four proficiency areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Fostering fluency in written and oral activities, course materials include articles, interviews, and video tapes from contemporary sources. Students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge of their own cultures and to develop an understanding of French culture. Students in these courses may prepare for the Advanced Placement tests.
Honors French V
Students at this level continue to develop their abilities in the four proficiency areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The curriculum is based primarily on French feature and documentary films. Students deepen their knowledge and understanding of French culture. Students in these course may prepare for the Advanced Placement tests.
Honors Spanish IV
Students continue to develop their abilities in the four proficiency areas – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Emphasis is placed on a comprehensive grammar review combined with literary and cultural readings. Students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge of their own cultures and to develop an understanding of the cultures of their target languages.
Honors Spanish V
Students continue to develop their oral and writing abilities through the study, discussion, and interpretation of authentic literary texts. Students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge of Spanish literature and culture. Students in this course may prepare for the Advanced Placement test.
World History I and II
This is a two-year course for ninth and tenth grade students. World History I, required for ninth grade students, traces the development of global societies from pre-history through the Renaissance. World History II, required for tenth grade students, concentrates on modern world history through the World Wars and to the recent past. Emphasis in both courses is placed upon the development of research and writing skills, critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, and effective expression of ideas.
U.S. History and Honors U.S. History
This course is a survey of American history from the pre-Columbian period to the recent past and is primarily for juniors. Students acquire in-depth knowledge of the major themes of American political, social, cultural, economic, and diplomatic history. Writing skills are emphasized. The Honors section requires greater demands upon the student and admission to the Honors section is dependent on departmental approval.
AP U.S. History
This course surveys the historical development of the United States and requires the student to display expertise in tests modeled after the Advanced Placement Examination. Particular attention is paid to such major themes as revolution, sectionalism, manifest destiny, imperialism, and reform, in addition to political, social, economic, and diplomatic events. This course is designed to provide students with a learning experience equal to most college American history surveys. Admission to the course is dependent upon departmental approval.
AP Modern European History
This is a full-year course open to seniors. Students gain in-depth knowledge of the major people, events, and ideas in all aspects of European history – political, social, economic, and intellectual – from the Renaissance to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Students are required to do extensive reading in primary and secondary source material and extensive writing to analyze historical documents and use them to interpret major themes in history. Students are required to take the Advanced Placement Examination in the spring quarter. Departmental approval is required for enrolling in this AP course.
Issues in Democracy
This is a semester course required for graduation. This course is offered for seniors and some juniors, depending upon availability. The course examines the background of the United States’ government and how it currently functions. Contemporary events furnish material for class discussion and enhance concepts found in the textbook. The course also focuses on the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.
This course focuses on microeconomics and macroeconomics. The course requires departmental recommendation and is open to juniors and seniors.
Students examine in detail many facets of the factors that shape humans’ personalities and activities in this semester course.
The unique and universal aspects of eight major world religions - Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Primal Religions-are the focus of this semester elective.
Social History of Rock and Roll
This semester course looks at the origins of this musical genre, its influences (rhythm and blues, jazz and swing, country-western, gospel, and pop music) and the cultural climate and social trends of the last seventy years of the twentieth century, which birthed and shaped this music.
This special English program for international students includes a survey course in United States history from early exploration to the present; and classes in English conversation, vocabulary, grammar, composition, and literature. Students in this program attend regular math classes appropriate to their grade levels. ESL students are mainstreamed into regular Webb classes after one or two years of study in the ESL program. There are three levels in our ESL program. International students are placed in the level appropriate to their abilities.
The English program for international students with levels of proficiency ranging from limited to advanced consists of study at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. ESL students are classified as Level I, II, or III second language students at the beginning of the fall semester.
This course meets as two classes, a literature class and a grammar class. It is a survey of genres, grammar development, vocabulary development, and writing with the five stages of the writing process. The English as a second language learner will acquire communication skills by writing, speaking, listening, and reading.
Like ESL I, this course meets as two classes, a literature class and a grammar class.The ESL II student will continue developing communication skills by reading, writing, listening, speaking, and understanding with an added focus of preparation for the TOEFL exam.
The ESL III student will continue mastering the English language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. ESL III will reinforce the skills being taught in the grade appropriate mainstream English class. An added focus is placed on TOEFL preparation in this class. This is a night class, taught on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, with a check-in appointment with the ESL teacher on Fridays.
In order to develop creative thinking and artistic passions of its students, The Webb School requires each upper school student to take one semester of Fine Art each year. 50% of those credits must take one semester of Fine Art each year. 50% of those credits must be in a performance-based class.
This introductory hands-on studio course also provides the student with brief historical and social perspectives on the development of art. The first half of the semester includes projects that emphasize the artist/period of study and the fundamental elements of composition. The second half of the semester concentrates on the introduction and development of drawing skills.
Art II continues and expands upon the skills introduced in Art I. The studio projects incorporate a wider variety of drawing and painting media and the student is introduced to three-dimensional techniques. During the second half of the semester, students create the script, sets, and puppets for a performance of their original productions. Prerequisite: Art I
This is an individualized portfolio course for the student who is seriously interested in developing as an artist. Students may be guided through painting, printmaking, photography, videography, and/or sculpture. Students are required to keep a detailed sketchbook/journal and complete a series of finished work based upon a clear vision and concentrated investigation. Prerequisites: Art I and Art II
AP Studio Art
By taking this college level studio art course, you are making an important statement that you are seriously interested in the practical experience of art and wish to develop mastery in the concept, composition, and execution of your ideas. AP Studio Art is not based on a written exam, but on your personal portfolio of work that expresses a variety of concepts, techniques, and approaches and demonstrates versatility in your creative abilities. Above all else, the work you produce should clearly represent your own personal statement or approach to the interpretation of a given problem. The 2-D Design Portfolio requires a minimum of 24 works of art that reflect issues related to 2-D design. These works may include traditional as well as experimental approaches to 2-D design. Drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, and collage are all appropriate means for expressing design principles.
This is a performance-based, semester-long, introductory course. The first quarter will concentrate on learning the fundamentals, and the second quarter will focus on actual project creation.Students will learn the process of making effective short digital movies, create an experimental, short fiction, and/or documentary video, operate a camera, become familiar with editing software, become proficient in at least one version, write a script, learn effective editing, and document and post at least one Webb School event.
Pottery students develop their artistic abilities in clay. They move from hand-worked creations and slab constructions to various projects thrown on the wheel. Time is also spent learning to create raku pieces.
Photography I is designed to provide students with the basic technical skills necessary to use photography as a means of expression. Students learn to use a 35mm camera, develop and print black and white film, and manage a darkroom. Students provide their own cameras and complete four projects over the course of the semester.
This course allows experienced photography students to continue to progress as artists and to cultivate cohesive bodies of work they feel exhibit their abilities as photographers. Alternative processes, such as photogram, pinhole, solarization, and double exposure are explored.
This semester course is designed to heighten students’ understanding of verbal and nonverbal communication patterns and of communication conflicts and the ways to resolve them, and to increase listening skills. A primary focus is on public speaking and the basic types of speeches from informative to persuasive to declamations and orations.
For a semester, students cover topics relating to the American trial court system, both civil and criminal, including the nature and scope of litigation, rules of evidence, and effective communication in advocacy. Reviewing past mock trial competitions and engaging in class discussions and role-playing exercises help develop the students’ analytical skills and effective communication skills, laying the groundwork for each student’s successful participation in the annual mock trial competition each spring.
From basic theatrical vocabulary to the complexities of scene work and performance, students gain a heightened awareness of all facets of theater and an enhanced confidence in their abilities as performers. Prerequisite: Speech.
The Webb Players
The Webb Players perform two full productions each year. Students who participate with the Webb Players, either as a member of the cast or tech crew, receive a semester of Fine Art credit.
Students learn to read and sing music from a variety of periods as they work to prepare and perform as an ensemble. The December Service of Lessons and Carols and the spring concert are highlights of the year.
Strings I also serves as Webb’s String Ensemble, featuring the violin, viola, cello and bass. The class is open to all students in grades 6-12 and no previous experience is necessary. Strings I is an orchestra class which teaches basic string techniques, music reading and musical terms through daily ensemble practice. Reading and performance skills are stressed in preparation for Strings II. This ensemble performs concerts each semester, most during school hours. Students must provide their own instruments. Limited cellos and string bass are loaned free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
Strings II & Strings Orchestra
Strings II and III allow student to continue their study of the violin, viola, cello or bass. Strings II is open to students who have completed Strings I. Strings Orchestra is open to students who have completed Strings II. In addition, new students with prior experience may begin in either of these courses with the approval of the instructor. In these courses, students develop more advanced string techniques. Reading and performance skills are stressed in preparation for more advanced orchestras. The students in each course perform as an ensemble each semester, primarily during school hours. Students must provide their own instruments. (Rental instruments are available for a nominal fee.)
This semester introductory course is designed to equip the student with the necessary skills to play the piano. Students learn notation, scales (major and minor), key signatures, harmonization, transposition, and repertoire (both solo and duet).
Students spend a semester continuing to develop the skills begun in Piano I.
Guitar is an introductory course designed to familiarize students with the acoustic guitar and to use that knowledge to explore music basics. Students learn scales and modes on the instrument and are encouraged to select songs that they wish to learn. In the process of adapting and learning a popular song and receiving one-on-one instruction, they learn basic chord structure, strumming rhythms, and melody. Students must provide their own acoustic guitar.
Music Theory is the study of the many styles of music and the grammar of music, including the complexities of rhythm, melody, harmony, and form. That knowledge will give the student a greater understanding of the music that he or she listens to and performs.
Beginning with Pythagoras and moving forward chronologically, the class studies classical music of western civilization from 900 A.D. to the present. The history of notation, music theory, and great masterpieces are the foci. Time is also spent on the classic music of other cultures.
Additional Fine Arts offerings
Students may also participate in Studio Band and take private voice and instrumental lessons. However, academic credits are not offered for those programs.
Physical Education credit for the upper school may be earned through interscholastic athletics or selected physical activities offered through the Webb Activities Program, (WAP). Students are involved in physical activity every semester that they attend Webb. The School encourages all of its students to participate in the School’s athletic program.
Wilderness Instruction and Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.)
This three-tiered, three-year program is designed to complement the mission of the School by fostering high moral character and leadership, while equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead others in safe, environmentally friendly outdoor activities. The capstone experience involves a student planning and leading a three-day outdoor experience. A student earns one credit per tier/year completed.