Program of Study
Solstice Day School Mission Statement
Solstice Day School exhibits an unconditional commitment to every child, ensuring that all students experience success through the development of attitudes and skills necessary for life-long learning. We will provide the highest quality staff, meaningful learning experiences, and a vitally involved community. Our goals include achievement as well as mastery of the skills needed to become workers, parents and citizens in a democratic society.
Every department/content area at Solstice Day School has identified those expectations that they have either primary or secondary responsibility for. Upon graduation all of our students will have these competencies by completing their programs of study. These areas are indicated by the chart below.
The following are our academic, social and civic expectations.
- Access, comprehend, analyze and interpret information
- Organize and convey ideas through communication
- Define problems, develop strategies, and evaluate, modify and implement solutions
- Demonstrate the use and application of technology
The following are required courses for each student:
Individual Teacher Grading Policies
Individual teacher grading policies will be distributed to students in the first week of school.
- Grade Equivalents
All students must pass (score of 220+) the Language Arts and Math Sections of the MCAS tests to be eligible for a diploma. Any student scoring below 240 (Proficient/Advanced is 240+) will have an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) to ensure progress toward proficiency. To be eligible to receive a diploma with a Competency Determination (CD) from the state all students must complete the EPP or score in the Proficient or Advanced range on the MCAS.
All students prepare for MCAS tests by participating in their daily reading, reasoning and communication activities in their required English Language Arts and Mathematics classes. MCAS Prep classes are given to all students preparing for these tests.
Course of Studies
Students may plan a program to investigate a topic independently, especially if a need cannot be met within the regular curriculum. Such a course requires consultation with a teacher who is willing to supervise the work and permission of a therapist and the Educational Director.
No previous art experience is necessary to elect this course. Students will be introduced to basic drawing, design and color skills using a variety of tools and materials. The elements of art such as line, shape, value, color, proportion, composition and perspective are explored through studies of the figure, landscape and still-life. Journals, paper critiques, and final portfolios are important parts of the class.
Students will use watercolor, pastels, acrylics and oils, as well as, a variety of techniques and painting styles in this course. They will learn to build a painting using the abstract elements of line, form, color, space and texture. Frequent individual and group critiques encourage students to attain the knowledge and self-awareness needed to develop a personal style. Journal assignments, papers, seminars and a portfolio are important elements of the class.
Three Dimensional Studies
This course studies the way form and space relates in architecture and in traditional and contemporary styles of sculpture. Materials used include clay, paper, wire, wood, metal, plaster, and found objects. Students will be encouraged to develop their definition of sculpture as the class progresses. Journal assignments, papers, seminars and a portfolio are important elements of the course.
This class is for students who want to further develop their drawing shills. A wide variety of materials and more complex drawing problems will be explored. Students will be encouraged to experiment and develop a style of their own. A drawing portfolio, journal assignments, seminars, and critiques are important parts of the class.
This course will focus on qualities and limits of clay with an emphasis on hand building techniques. Using stoneware, students will experiment with vessel forms of bottle, bowl, and cylinder starting first with pinch pots and then coil pots. Vessels will be embellished with texture and sculpted additions. This will be followed by soft slab with use of armatures and molds, then constructing more geometric shapes with hard slab. Basic glazing and oxide decoration will be learned. Beginning wheel techniques of centering, throwing shall vessels and trimming will be introduced near the end of the semester. The class concludes with combined thrown and hand sculpture.
Each spring we celebrate our student’s talents in an Art Show and Sale. There is a large array of different works using various types of medium.
Drama / Express Yourself
This course will explore acting through creative drama, improvisation, and pantomime, as well as present well-rehearsed scenes from prepared scripts. Many styles of oral presentation will be investigated to help students in their other classes. There will be opportunities for the students to self-script their performances, and if there is student interest, video projects will be examined. Since performing is only one aspect of theater, students will experience the technical aspects of design, costuming, and lighting. There will be field trips to theaters to tour the facilities, as well as see and critique performances. Students will be graded on their group cooperation, willingness to experiment with ideas, character development, and performance, as well as on their critiques, and story development. This program is a yearlong activity culminating in a production at the Schubert Theater in Boston with other youth programs.
Solstice requires four years of English. All English courses in provide strong emphasis on the important skills of composition, vocabulary, spelling, critical reading and oral presentation.
The English program in grade 9 provides the foundation for study throughout the high school years and beyond. Weekly writing assignments develop writing skills and introduce different types of essays, papers, and journals. Vocabulary development is enhanced and expanded by daily assignments, weekly quizzes, and quarterly presentations. The literature component of the 9th grade program involves the study of basic archetypes found in literature worldwide. Major literary works are selected for the students to gain an understanding of classic authors. Students are required to give oral presentations and are taught how to write research papers.
The English program in grade 10 emphasizes English Literature, and the genres of poetry and drama. There is an extensive review of English grammar and its use in classic literature. Romeo and Juliet is one of the dramatic offerings, and the emphasis is on theme, content, and design. Exploration of novels such as Dickens’ Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities, provide students with an appreciation for literary heritage and focuses on theme, content, and style. The structural elements, literary devices, and thematic content of poetry are also examined.
The English program in Grade 11 focuses on the study of the history of American Literature. The historical approach is supplemented by the study of individual American classics such as: The Scarlet Letter, The Red Badge of Courage, My Antonia, Ethan Frome, To Kill a Mockingbird, Billy Budd, Grapes of Wrath, in conjunction with contemporary literature. Weekly writing assignments as well as long term writing projects are included in the course.
The English program in grade 12 focuses on developing the student’s understanding and appreciation of the literature of the world. A chronological survey of selected writers of the world serves as the center of the reading materials. Students complete outside reading reports on a world author of their choice.
The goal of the Mathematics Department at Solstice is that all students will develop mathematical skills through knowledge, critical thinking, problem solving and investigation. Further, all students will learn to communicate their mathematical ideas and to connect them to other disciplines and the real world. All students are required to complete 4 years of math for graduation. All math courses at Solstice make appropriate use of technology and problem solving a major focus.
Applied Mathematics/Number Sense and Operations
This course is designed for students who have had difficulties in mathematics and need to fill in the gaps in their backgrounds and to refine those skills they have learned but have not mastered. The subject matter in the course will depend upon the needs of the students and will vary from year to year. Primarily the course will act as a springboard into Algebra I. Students will use real-world applications to study skills and concepts.
This course is the first half of a two-year program designed for students who need more time to understand and apply algebraic concepts. Topics included are writing, solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities; integer, rational integer and rational number operations; exponents and powers, and quadratic equations. Emphasis is on real life applications and problems as well as connections to Geometry.
This course is primarily for tenth graders who have completed Algebra I. The course presents a modern approach to the basic structure of Geometry to develop understanding of spatial visualization, logical thinking and the multiple dimensions of geometric understanding. Algebra skills will be used throughout the course. Continued use of the calculator’s functions and applications in Geometry is included.
This course is a continuation of Algebra I and Geometry. Topics covered are rational expressions, fractional equations, solving linear and quadratic equations, linear systems, conic sections, radicals, factoring, exponents and logarithms. The pace is slower and more of Algebra I is reviewed.
This is an integrated math course reviewing the basics in Algebra I/II and Geometry to better prepare the student for the transition to college mathematics. A major portion of the course will be devoted to trigonometry including basic trig ratios, identities, trig equations, inverse trig functions, and the Laws of Sines/Cosines. Many applications of these concepts will be presented. Calculator use will be explained and expected.
Four full years of Science are required for graduation. All students in grades 9,10, 11, and 12 are expected to take at least one science course each year in order to fulfill the requirement.
This course covers many aspects of Life Science. The class involves hands on activities and experiments to explore the broad topics Life Science. Topics covered: Structure and Function of cells, Systems of Living things, Evolution and Bio-diversity, Ecology. Students will be required to keep a notebook for notes and study skills.
The fundamental approach in this course is one of discovery through experimentation, observation and interpretation of results. Topics covered will include Volume and Mass, Characteristic Properties, Compounds and Elements, Force and Motion, Work and Heat, Light and Sound. Students will be required to keep a notebook for notes and study skills.
This course covers the nature of living things, their structure, function, classification, habits, heredity, and interrelationships. Topics covered include Cells and Cell processes, Genetics, Evolution, Ecology and Human Biology. There will be an emphasis on lab work and hands on activities. Students will be required to keep a notebook for notes and study skills.
This course emphasizes the classification of matter, chemical equations, the mole concept, atomic structure and the periodic table of elements. The second semester focuses on solution, reaction rates equilibrium acids and bases, modern theories of chemical bonding. Students will be required to keep a notebook for notes and study skills.
Physics, Technology & Society
In this course Physics will be covered for the first half of the year, and Technology and Society for the other half of the year. In Physics, the class will explore the broad topics of Physics: Motion and Forces, Conservation of Energy and momentum, States of Matter, Heat and Heat Transfer, Electromagnetism, Waves and Radiation.
The other half of the year we will look at the relationship between science and technology and their impact on society. Topics investigated are: Energy in the home machines in our lives, global warming, water and conservation issues, and genetic engineering. Students will read and discuss current events in science and technology on a regular basis. Students will be required to keep a notebook for notes and study skills.
All Solstice School students are required to take and pass a minimum of three years in Social Studies courses during their four-year high school program. The minimum includes one full year of U.S. History. The Social Studies program is structured to meet the needs and abilities of all students at Solstice.
Western Civilization/World History
This course presents a background to world history with an in-depth study of the development of Western Civilization. The classical heritage of Western Man, medieval society, and the development of modern Europe will be examined. Particular attention will be given to the impact of Western political, economic, and social ideas and technological achievements on the rest of the world.
Teaching strategies and supplementary materials will be selected to match the needs and abilities of the students.
U.S. History I
U.S. History I program is the second year of a three-year sequence in Social Studies. The first semester will be a study of selected areas in the non-Western world with a concentration on the Third World areas of the Middle East and Latin America. The second semester will be an in depth study of U.S. History from the Colonial Period in 1607 to the Civil War in 1860.
Teaching strategies and supplementary materials will be selected to match the needs and abilities of the students. Students will be prepared for college and careers.
U. S. History II
The U.S. History II program is the third year of the three-year sequence in Social Studies. This course will be a survey of U. S. History from 1860 to the present, with a focus on social, economic, and political developments.
This level will provide students with a solid foundation in United States History. Teaching strategies and supplementary materials will be selected to match the needs and abilities of the students. Students will be prepared for college and careers.
Current Global Issues
This course will investigate a number of current issues of global concern. Four to six complex issues will be selected to examine in the light of current information. Attention will be given to the historical background as well. Media awareness and critical thinking regarding issue resolution will be emphasized.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH
The mission of the Solstice School is to teach high school students how to develop and maintain good health and establish a routine for fitness as a life-long process.
The goal of Physical Education and Health is to teach students how to develop and maintain good health and to create a routine for fitness as a life-long process. To accomplish this goal, Physical Education/Health class is mandatory. The physical education component will introduce students to team as well as individual sports, games, and life-long activities. The health component will explore current health issues in order to give students the information needed to make sensible decisions concerning their health. Students are required to take Physical Education classes for a minimum of 3 years.
Students are required to take Life Skills classes. Students may take one class in either 9th or 10th grade that focuses on a social skills curriculum with functional applications for solving everyday problems. Students may elect to take the second course in either 11th or 12th grade. This section focuses on college and vocational exploration. Students will explore resume writing, interviewing skills, college tours, completing of college applications, and job/career searching.
Overview of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is the state’s student assessment program, developed in response to the Education Reform Law of 1993. MCAS, along with other components of Education Reform, is designed to strengthen public education in Massachusetts and ensure that all students participate in a challenging curriculum based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
The primary purposes of MCAS are:
- To measure the performance of individual students, schools, and districts based on the state standards outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
- To raise student achievement
- To improve classroom instruction
- To determine competency in English Language Arts and Mathematics as one condition for awarding high school diplomas
Massachusetts’s students take MCAS tests in the following subjects:
- English Language Arts (ELA)
- Science and Technology/Engineering
Each MCAS test is based exclusively on the learning standards contained in Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for the content area tested.
All staff, including non-professionals, are responsible for implementing services written on a student’s IEP. They also have an understanding and knowledge of the general curriculum plus the standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, which are incorporated in the school’s educational program.