School Course Descriptions

High School Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

AP Biology:

AP Biology is an advanced level exploration of the science of living things. We take an in-depth look at many of the concepts learned in Bio I -- how energy is captured and used by living organisms, heredity and genetics, evolution, biochemistry, and many others. Students may take an AP exam administered by the College Board at the end of the course to potentially earn college credit.

It is recommended that students take Bio I and Chemistry prior to AP Biology. Exceptions can be made with instructor approval.

AP Chemistry:

During the year students will develop confidence, independence and proficiency at completing experiments, both when working alone or collaborating with others. Students also will develop an appreciation for how chemical principles determine the behavior and phenomena of our natural world. Students may take an AP exam administered by the College Board at the end of the course to potentially earn college credit.

Topics studied include Atomic Structure, Molecular and Ionic Structures, Intermolecular Forces, Chemical Reactions, Kinetics, Thermodynamics, Equilibrium, and Acids and Bases.

Students enrolled in AP Chemistry need a strong Chemistry background, receiving a C or better in the first-year course. Students also need a strong math background, therefore, need to have completed Algebra I as well be currently enrolled or have completed Algebra II.

AP Physics:

Advanced Placement Physics is designed to be equivalent to a first-year college physics course. Students will develop an understanding, appreciation and assimilation in the major areas of physics: Physics knowledge, Problem solving, Student attributes and Connections. Major topics of study include mechanics, fluid dynamics, waves, optics, magnetism, electricity and modern physics. Students will gain laboratory skills and an appreciation of science as a dynamic process through designing, implementing, and interpreting complex labs.

OR

Physics Honors:

In Physics we explore the natural laws of the universe from understanding how a ball flies through the air to how electric currents work.

Students need to pass Algebra 2 prior to taking Physics

AP Environmental Science:

AP Environmental Science is an advanced study of the Earth’s environment, the processes within it, and the ways humans have impacted it. Topics include ecosystems and biodiversity, populations, Earth systems and resources, land and water use, energy resources and consumption, pollution, and global change. Students may take an AP exam administered by the College Board at the end of the course to potentially earn college credit.

Students should pass Earth Science, Biology I, and Chemistry I prior to taking APES

Genetics:

In this course students will explore principles of genetics and biotechnology. They will learn how the information stored in DNA becomes real living, breathing organisms along with the genetic basis of disease. Students will also examine current biotechnologies such as recombinant DNA and genetic engineering, bioinformatics, gene sequencing, and the use of genetic technology in forensic science, and critically analyze the ethical issues and relevance of those technologies.

Robotics:

Students will engage in the study of computers and microprocessors and their applications to manufacturing, transportation, and communication systems. Topics will include computer equipment and operating systems, robotics, programming, control systems, and social/cultural impact of these technologies.

AP Calculus BC:

Pre-requisite: AP Calculus AB

Credit: 1(weighted)

This course is designed to provide advanced mathematics students an opportunity to earn college credit while simultaneously earning credit towards high school graduation. It included all topics taught in Calculus AB plus additional topics: Analysis of parametric, polar and vector functions, applications of derivatives, integrals and antidifferentiation. The course standards incorporate The College Board Advanced Placement course description syllabus. As mandated by The College Board, graphing calculators are required for this course.

Elective Course Descriptions

(These are also listed on the RHS website, under Departments)

Agriculture

Agriculture Fabrication and Emerging Technologies

Students will receive instruction in metal fabrication, including cutting, welding, and cold metalworking processes, for agricultural applications. The course will also include the investigation of emerging technologies used within the field of agriculture. Leadership and career skills will be incorporated throughout.

Applied Agricultural Concepts

Students gain positive experiences through fundamental agricultural competencies needed for rural or urban living. Areas of instruction include food production, handling, and preparation; introduction to the livestock and poultry industry; soil, soil fertility, and cultural practices; mechanical applications; plant systems and disease/pest management for shrubs, lawns, pastures, gardens, and fruit trees. The course emphasizes leadership development and participation in FFA activities. Supervised agricultural experiences will allow for enhanced learning and growth opportunities for students. Electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and metalworking lab competencies are incorporated throughout the course.

Livestock Production Management

Course includes instruction in agricultural mechanics, with emphasis placed on the application of mechanical skills to farm power and machinery, as well as on soil and water management, supervised farming programs, and leadership training.

Turf Management

Students begin to master the duties and tasks of professionals who establish and maintain turf in public areas such as golf courses; parks; athletic fields; school, industrial, and institutional campuses; and residential lawns.

Ornamental Horticulture (Horticulture I):

Sophomores and Juniors will participate in production, maintenance, processing and distribution of plant materials. This course is designed to give students a basic background and entry-level employment skills in the following major learning areas: career opportunities, plant propagation, home gardening, lawn care, greenhouse and nursery management, flora design, and holiday decorations.


Greenhouse Production Management (Horticulture II):

A course for high school juniors and seniors, it is designed to help students develop the necessary knowledge and skills for employment and advancement in areas such as landscape design, landscape construction, and landscape maintenance. Skills such as sketching and drawing, analyzing and selecting landscape plants, purchasing and installing plants, and maintaining landscapes by watering, fertilizing, mulching, pruning, and controlling pests are introduced. Students also learn the basics of the plant production industry.


Business

Computer Applications

This course is designed for secondary students to develop and enhance touch skills for entering alphabetic, numeric, and symbol information on a keyboard. Students will develop the correct keyboarding techniques and gain a basic knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphic applications. Students will demonstrate an understanding of computer concepts through applications of knowledge.

Computer Information Systems

In this course, students in grades 10-12 apply problem-solving skills to real-life situations through word-processing, spreadsheet, database software, and through integrated activities. They work individually and in groups to explore computer concepts, operating systems, and emerging technologies. Instruction includes the use of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations. Students enrolled in this course will take a career and technical assessment defined by the Virginia Department of Education.

Economics and Personal Finance

This course will present economic concepts that help students interpret the daily news, understand how interdependent the world’s economies are, and anticipate how events will impact their lives. On a personal level, students will learn that their own human capital (knowledge and skills) is their most valuable resource and that investing in education and training improves the likelihood of their future economic success. Students learn how to navigate the financial decisions they must face and to make informed decisions related to career exploration, budgeting, banking, credit, insurance, spending, taxes, saving, investing, and living independently. Development of financial literacy skills and an understanding of economic principles will provide the basis for responsible citizenship and future financial career success.

At the completion of the course, students will take the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Exam. This course counts towards graduation requirements for an advanced or standard diploma. Students who pass the W!SE test will be certified as Financially Literate. Students achieving a standard diploma can use the w!se exam for their workplace readiness diploma requirement.

Construction

Materials and Processes Technology

Students focus on physical materials and processes as they fabricate usable products and conduct experiments. Learning experiences include career analysis as well as the use of tools and equipment related to analysis, testing, and processing of metals, plastics, woods, ceramics, and composite materials. This single-period lab course is recommended for students interested in technical careers and others wishing to improve their technological literacy.

Technical Drawing

Basic Technical Drawing

In this course, designed for students with a sound knowledge of math, students experience the basic language of industry and technology. They gain skills and understanding of the broad scope of mechanical drawing and drafting. The course is highly recommended for students who plan to study engineering, architecture, landscaping, or industrial technology in the future. An introduction to Computer Aided Design (CAD) is included in the course.

Engineering Drawing

In this course, students are introduced to the graphic language of industry for engineers, manufacturers, and technicians. The course provides greater depth in drafting problems, skills, and techniques and emphasizes interpretation of industrial prints, ability to use reference books and resource materials, and the adherence to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for drafting. An important aspect of the course is the application of Computer Aided Design (CAD) principles and applications to typical engineering and design problems. Students enrolled in this course will take a career and technical assessment defined by the Virginia Department of Education.

Architectural Drawing

Architectural Drawing provides students with the opportunity to learn more about the basic background and principles of architecture and its related drafting practices and techniques. Computer Aided Design (CAD) principles are an integral part of the instruction. Construction methods and techniques are studied and applied in the building of scale model projects. This course can benefit a future building or landscape architect, interior designer, or home builder, as well as a future homeowner. Students enrolled in this course will take a career and technical assessment defined by the Virginia Department of Education.

Fine Arts

Art I

Art I is an introductory art course designed to foster understanding, enjoyment, and use of art in everyday living. Emphasis is placed on the elements of art and the principles of design using various art techniques and materials to create two-dimensional and three- dimensional art works. Students will engage in drawing, painting, crafts, sculpture, and/or graphic arts to express ideas and create images. They will prepare and display their artwork as part of the artistic process.

Art II

Art II is an intermediate art course for students who desire to continue to develop their artistic abilities. Instruction is designed to improve their skills, creativity, vocabulary, imagination, and artistic growth. Focus on is art history and the use of that knowledge of artists, styles, movements, and cultures as inspiration to create art works. Students will begin to use technology and electronic media as artistic tools. They will prepare and display their artwork as part of the artistic process.

Band

Students in grades 9-12 develop and strengthen skills on a band instrument of their choice, learning proper care of the instrument and becoming familiar with its technology. Music theory; ensemble skills; appropriate positions, tone production, and fingerings; and counting, reading, and performing increasingly difficult levels of music are emphasized. The course is performance oriented and may require students to practice and/or perform at times outside of the regular school day.

Chorus I

Chorus I is designed to develop the student’s vocal abilities. Areas covered in music include developing the voice, understanding musical terms, training the ear for listening, singing in harmony with the group, and learning basic choreography for specific selections. Chorus is a performance-oriented group of mixed voices organized to give singers training in a variety of vocal forms and styles. Singers will perform an assigned vocal part in unison and in simple harmony. The overall goal is to enable students to be able to read their part in choral music and to be able to perform music in an appropriate style.

Chorus II

This course forms an intermediate level chorus ensemble for men and women with good singing skills. Students will continue to develop and improve their singing techniques (breath control, posture, diction, tone production), as well as their sight-reading skills. Preparation of music for performance (of moderate difficulty, and mostly in three- and four-part settings) is a major course objective. Participation in concerts and various programs and extra rehearsals (as needed) are required. There are special dress requirements for concert appearances.

Vocal Ensemble

In Vocal Ensemble, students will acquire refined musicianship skills in individual and ensemble performance. They will also continue to develop their ability to evaluate musical performances and to articulate preferences and choices through the use of cognitive skills and analytical thinking. Competency in solo/ensemble singing and the use of foreign languages will assist students in preparing for future musical/vocal development and career opportunities. Increasing awareness of the interrelatedness of music, the arts, and other disciplines will be emphasized.

Theatre I

This course is designed to provide students with a survey of theatre arts, allowing students opportunities to experience and appreciate dramatic literature and participate in the creative processes of performance and production. The course emphasizes skill development and provides theatrical opportunities that enable students to determine personal areas of interest.

Theatre II

This course integrates and builds upon concepts and skills from Theatre I. Through various modes of expression and performance, students investigate dramatic literature, theatrical styles, and historical periods. Students will study and respond to a variety of theatre experiences that will refine their communicative, collaborative, analytical, interpretative, and problem-solving skills. Students will expand their artistic abilities and appreciation of the theatrical arts.

Technical Theatre

This course introduces students to the principles and implementation of stage design as it applies to the basics of scenic, costume, sound, stage organization and lighting design. Students will also study the methods and materials of set construction.


Advanced Acting

Advanced Acting builds upon concepts and skills from Theatre II. Through various modes of expression and performance, students investigate acting styles, character development, dramatic structure, conflict, and resolution. Students will study and respond to a variety of theatre experiences that will refine their skills Students will deepen their artistic abilities and appreciation of the theatrical arts.

Spanish

Spanish I

Spanish I is an introduction to the basic elements of spoken and written Spanish and to the cultures in which Spanish is spoken. Basic structures and vocabulary are developed through practice with the interactive processes of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. Students are encouraged to use Spanish as much as possible by communicating in real-life contexts about topics that are meaningful to them. Students develop a familiarity with the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and their relationship to our own.

Spanish II

Spanish II reviews the basic elements of spoken and written Spanish and expands students’ control and creative use of the language, as well as their proficiency in the communication processes. The history, geography, traditions, significant persons, and perspectives of Spanish-speaking cultures are explored in more depth, primarily in Spanish and in culturally accurate settings.

Spanish III

In Spanish III, students continue to develop their proficiency in the communication processes by interacting with other speakers of Spanish, comprehending oral and written messages in Spanish, and using Spanish in oral and written presentations. Students enhance their knowledge of the history, geography, traditions, perspectives, and significant persons of Spanish-speaking cultures, use Spanish to experience literature and the arts, and explore ways in which their knowledge of Spanish and Spanish-speaking cultures can enrich their lives.

Spanish IV

Spanish IV enhances students’ creativity and expands their written and oral skills. In this course, students use Spanish to engage in discussions and create compositions and oral presentations in order to compare and contrast cultural elements in the Spanish-speaking cultures.

Spanish V

As an immersion course, Spanish V provides students with an opportunity to use Spanish in a variety of contexts. Students read literature, deliver presentations, write creatively, discuss social issues, and explore how their knowledge of Spanish and Spanish-speaking cultures can enrich their lives and careers.


French

French I

French I introduces the French language and the cultures in which French is spoken. Students develop a basic ability to communicate in the language by listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Additionally, students acquire a familiarity with French-speaking cultures and their relationship to our own. Students also learn to use accurate and culturally appropriate vocabulary and structures through their exposure to a variety of resources, including culturally authentic materials.

French II

French II reviews the basic elements of spoken and written French and expands students’ control and creative use of the language. Students continue to develop their communication skills in all four language areas—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The art, music, history, geography, traditions, significant persons, and perspectives of French speaking cultures are explored in more depth, primarily in French and in culturally accurate settings.

French III

French III expands students’ control and creativity in French in culturally accurate settings. Students use French to enhance their knowledge of history, geography, traditions, perspectives, and significant persons of French-speaking cultures. They also continue to explore French literature, art, and music, as well as to create their own spoken and written works.

French IV Honors

French IV continues to expand students’ control of and creativity in French. Students use French to study in depth the history, geography, traditions, perspectives, and significant persons of French-speaking cultures. Students read literature, study art and music, write compositions, and prepare oral presentations.

French V Honors

As an immersion course, French V provides students with an opportunity to use French in the same context as, and with the same perspectives of, French native speakers. Students read more complex literature, perform plays, watch and listen to media targeted to native speakers, write creatively, and discuss social issues and current events. Students who successfully complete this course will be prepared for advanced French study in college.


Other Electives


Psychology:

This course consists of a study of the basic concepts, theories, and methods used in the study of sociology and psychology. The main objective of the course is to enhance students’ awareness and understanding of sociological and psychological principles and to teach students to apply these principles in everyday life.

Journalism:

Introduces the student to the fundamental elements of writing, news, mass media and photography. Students will learn the terms and concepts of journalism, including the ethics of journalism, understanding of the principles and practice of journalism. Class will include discussions, workshops, group and individual meetings, writing, photography, videography and revising.

Leadership:

Students will work together to become better leaders in all aspects of our lives.

The goals and lessons in the class have been developed based on leadership research studies as well as texts geared toward developing teen leaders. We will explore ourselves, our values, and our aspirations and let those areas drive our learning. Knowing yourself is the key to being the type of leader you are meant to be.

Creative Writing:

We are going to write together in a low-stakes environment. We are going to discover passions and curiosities. The goals and lessons in the class have been developed based on many modern styles of writing and my training as a writer and a teacher. We will explore ourselves, our values, and our aspirations and let those areas drive our learning. Knowing yourself is the key to being the type of person you are meant to be.

Intro to Health and Medical Sciences (Health Sciences)

This high school course introduces students to a variety of healthcare careers as they develop the basic skills required in all health and medical sciences. In addition to learning the key elements of the U.S. healthcare system, students will learn terminology, anatomy and physiology, pathologies, diagnostic and clinical procedures, therapeutic interventions, and the fundamentals of medical emergency care. Throughout the course, instructional activities emphasize safety, professionalism, accountability, and efficiency for workers within the healthcare field.

Course Objectives

Throughout the course, you will meet the following goals:

  • Build health science skills that can create the foundations for a health science career

  • Use health science protocols to identify patient needs and appropriate standards of care

  • Identify the organization, purpose, and outcomes of a variety of health care delivery systems

  • Examine the human body to explain its organization, functions, diseases, and disorders