Academic Dean’s Update

(PC: Bruce Jeffrey)

The end of Spring Break means the beginning of course registration season in the Academic Office. As Academic Dean, I finally get to announce the exciting new courses we will be offering next year. Earlier this year, we announced an innovative schedule that will help us build upon our growing reputation as the best private school on Long  Island, and one of the best in the country, giving our students opportunities to grow in 21st century skills, explore their passions and talents, deepen understanding, cultivate virtue, and do so in a sustainable and healthy way. This coming year, instead of asking, “Why can’t we do X” we will be asking “How can we best accomplish X?” because we will finally have the time and space to innovate.


This past December, I announced the results of our November trial run in my post, New Schedule Update. We are now ready to publish the updated schedule in its final form. To see what a normal week looks like alongside the school year calendar, you may view this Google sheet. We believe this schedule will allow for a saner rhythm, deeper engagement and learning, and more opportunities for students to explore their passions and talents. The upshot we believe will be happier, healthier students who love learning and who are better prepared to meet the new demands of college admissions, where passion, creativity, and service count as much as test scores. Getting to this point was a collective effort; we are deeply indebted to the teachers, administrators, parents, and students who provided input and feedback throughout the process.

Additions to Our Standard Curriculum

Last year we added several new courses to our offerings, including courses that we will continue to develop next year like Entrepreneurship, AP Microeconomics, Computer Programming, Advanced Engineering Innovation and Design. In addition to those, we will be adding Mandarin Chinese III, a regular Calculus course, and AP Physics C. College-Level History of Philosophy, Literature of the Imagination, and Sculpture will also return after a brief hiatus. Finally, our choir, having burst at the seams this year, will split into two levels of year-round choir, one for 7-9 grade students and another for 10-12 grade students. Talented students in grades 7-9 will be allowed to audition for the 10-12 grade choir.

Our New Mini-Course Curriculum

Where the curriculum gets really exciting is in the mini-courses. I wrote about our November Trial Mini-Courses here. We learned what works best from the trial run and have begun plans to offer the following mini-courses next year:

7-9th Grade Required Mini-Courses

  • 7th Grade World Language Trial
  • 7th-8th Grade Coding
  • 7th-8th Grade Humanities Project
  • 7th and 8th Grade Lab Skills
  • 7th and 8th Grade Local Service Project
  • 7th-9th Grade STEAM in Christian Categories
  • 9th Grade Debate Competition
  • 9th Grade Healthy Habits
  • 9th Grade Character and Culture
  • 9th Grade Humanities Project
  • 9th Grade Local Service and Freshman Seminar

9th-12th Grade Mini-Course Electives

Year-Long Courses (24 weeks)

  • Internship
  • Laboratory Research Assistantship
  • Independent Research

Multiple Unit (8-24 weeks) Competition Preparation Courses

  • Ethics Bowl Team
  • Film-making Competition
  • Mock Trial Team
  • Robotics: Drones
  • Robotics: Submersibles
  • Science Bowl Team
  • 10th-12th Grade STEAM in Christian Categories Competition

Single Unit (4 weeks) Electives

  • 3D Art
  • Advanced Latin Research (Require for Latin III-AP students)
  • Advanced Mandarin Chinese Immersion (Require for Mandarin Chinese III students)
  • Advanced Spanish Immersion (Required for Spanish III-AP students)
  • African American History (Open to all; Recommended for students in AP US History)
  • Anatomy (Open to all who qualify; Recommended for students in AP Biology)
  • AP Art Portfolio (Recommended for students in AP Art)
  • Art/Art History (Open to all; Recommended for students in AP European History)
  • Astronomy (Open to all who qualify; Recommended for students in AP Physics)
  • Botany (Open to all who qualify; Recommended for students in AP Biology)
  • Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Creative Writing
  • Environmental Service Project (Open to all who qualify; Recommended for students in AP Environmental Science)
  • Ethics
  • Faith and Culture Service Project/Missiology (Required for all seniors)
  • Fashion Design
  • Faith and Science
  • Film and Fiction
  • God’s Existence and the Problem of Evil
  • Global Terrorism
  • Improv Theatre
  • History of Africa (Recommended for students hoping to take SAT II in World History or AP Exam in World History)
  • History of Asia (Recommended for students hoping to take SAT II in World History or AP Exam in World History)
  • History of Central & South America (Recommended for students hoping to take SAT II in World History or AP Exam in World History
  • Introductory Mandarin Chinese Immersion (Required for all I-II students)
  • Introductory Latin Research (Required for all Latin I-II students)
  • Introductory Spanish Immersion (Required for all I-II students)
  • Keyboarding and Music Theory
  • Leadership (required for prefects)
  • Living History/Service Project (Open to all who qualify; Recommended for students in AP US History)
  • Marine Science (Recommended for students in AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and College-Level Marine Science)
  • Money
  • Nuclear Physics and Environmental Ethics
  • Personal Essay Workshop
  • Heaven and Hell, Virtue and Vice
  • Political Theory
  • Rhetoric
  • SBU Applied Math
  • The 2016 Presidential Election


Registration for standard courses will take place on April 15. This year, we will be using an online registration form for standard courses. Students will have an opportunity to deliberate with their advisors and parents before filling out the form.

For mini-courses, rising seniors will be allowed to sign up first, followed by the rising juniors and the rising sophomores. Rising 8th-9th graders will be in put in required courses, with the exception being rising 9th graders who are not in a World Language course. Those students will be allowed to elect on mini-course after the Upper School students have registered. All rising 9th graders will also be allowed to select one elective mini-course.


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