Every student at YMHS is assigned an advisor and an advisory group.  Participation in Advisory is required unless your advisor has exempted you from participation for other schedule needs. Examples of reasons to be exempted include: transcript credit completion, work study conflicts, CMC conflicts, service learning conflicts, etc.  


Students are required to attend and be present 75% of all available hours to earn credit- this includes morning Advisory or All School Meeting- First Fridays.  (Credit is awarded for participation in morning Advisory in the room scheduled for your advisory group that day (please know that your group may sometimes be asked to join other groups). All students present at YMHS school start at 8:30am, must be attending Advisory—this is NOT time for study hall in the large room. Students who do not meet the minimum advisory attendance requirement will not receive advisory credit for that trimester and will be on academic probation the following trimester, which may result in recommendation for change of school placement.


We take the attendance and participation requirement for Advisory very seriously. This is because Advisory is your opportunity to check in regularly with your advisor to be sure your personal learning plan is progressing.  Advisory is also your opportunity to know what is happening at our school, including special opportunities or changes in the schedule. Our experience is that students who do not attend and participate in Advisory are less successful at maintaining their learning plans and often get behind on their passages.  Attending, checking-in and communicating with your advisor is key to your success at YMHS.


Advisory also creates community at our school.  Advisory groups will spend time teambuilding and discussing issues at our school or community.  Advisory is also a time for students to get know each other and develop our YMHS community.  




10+4= 14 YAMPAH 101 required:

(New Students, students required by advisors due to academic probation)

How do I survive & find success at Yampah?

What is required of me to graduate?

Topics Include: William Glasser & Choice Theory, CES Common Principles, 14 Student Expectations, Personalized Learning Plans, Organization, Classes vs. Passages, Note Taking, ePortfolios, Finishing School & Tracking Progress, Rubrics, Presentations, Step Process, Tiers, Credit Acquisition, Grading










Yampah Mountain High School offers students the opportunity to enroll in Colorado Mountain College classes to earn high school and college credit. Unless otherwise noted, credits described in this course catalog are YMHS credits. Credit hours for YMHS and CMC are slightly different and the following conversions can be helpful: 3 CMC credits= 1 YMHS credit, 4 CMC credits=1.25 YMHS credits, 6 CMC credits= 2 YMHS credits.

Yampah Mountain High School pays for up to six CMC credits per college semester for high school juniors and seniors; freshmen and sophomores taking CMC classes must be approved by principal for school paid tuition or pay for their own tuition. All students must pay for their books, transportation (when classes are held off of YMHS campus) and course fees. Students interested in taking CMC classes must meet with our Post High School Success Advisor to begin enrollment procedures.


Students, who want to play sports at a Division 1 or 2 College/ University, must be certified through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Late in their junior year or early in the senior year, students must register with the NCAA. This is done online at the NCAA website at Rigorous college preparatory coursework is required


Interim is a week long intensive study exploration.  Students are required to sign up for one of the week long programs. Interim occurs mid-trimester. During interim students will earn a .25-.5+ class credit and have the opportunity to develop passions, build relationships and take risks by challenging themselves to a new experience.

Some interims have associated fees; these can vary greatly depending on the outing.  Some interims might be a study abroad or study out of state—these trips will have a fee that reflects the budget needs for the trip.  Every trimester there will be at least one interim offering that will have no fee.



River Rafting



Digital Film Making

College Tours


Career & Future Exploration

Winter Hut Trip

Art Exploration

National Forests Trips

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Sustainability Studies

Seattle/Portland Exploration

Glacier National Park

Studio Tours

Out of State Studies- California Service:

San Diego and San Francisco

Study Abroad

Best Friends Utah

Denver High Arts

Service Learning & Projects

Advisory Developed Interims

Senior Project Interims

 Approved Individual Proposals

Group: Hopi Trip- Homestays & Service Learning

Pine Ridge Reservation- Service Trip

Fun with Science

Wolf Sanctuary

Chicago Arts Trip




Wolf Sanctuary - Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leaders:  Rick Woolcott & Marta Parker

Activities:  1. Two days of work project at the sanctuary. 2. Visit and tour of Colorado State University. 3. Community living/cooking and cleaning at the rental home.        

Academic Expectations  1. Typed 1-2 page paper on wolves of North America. Social and Biological history, endangered status, human/wolf interaction and the political implications of wolf introduction into the lower 48 states.    

Physical Expectations:  Students need to be prepared to work hard. The sanctuary was in the direct path of the High Park fire and sustained significant damage. Work projects will be physically demanding.    

Social/Emotional Expectations:  Students will follow all YMHS behavioral expectations during the trip. Kindness, respect, honesty and flexibility are priorities. Students will also fully participate in all trip activities, both work and play.    

River Rafting - Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader: Mike Podmore

This interim trip involves a 3 day rafting trip on the Colorado River on Wednesday through Friday of interim week. The trip will be a great opportunity for developing teamwork, observing and learning about desert environments and canyon geology, as well as promoting basic river safety skills. The trip will also be a great deal of fun, and no rafting experience is necessary. This is a flatwater trip.

Students are Expected to: 1. Attend all interim planning periods (Fridays during advisory) 2.  Participate in the food buying and gear packing day on the Tuesday prior to the trip.

Academic Expectations: Reflect on your experience, share your experience with students, write up a summary of the experience and enter photos and descriptions of the interim experience on your ePortfolio.  

Physical Expectations: Be free of any illegal substances in your body, help load and unload all gear to and from the rafts each day, as well as participate in paddleboat activity.

Social Expectations:  Meet expectations regarding behavior in a wilderness setting, as well as participate in group activities.

Career & Future Exploration - Cost: No fee

Interim Leader: Donna Holley & Michael Lowe

Students will be involved in exploring careers and colleges that are of personal interest. Each student is tasked to find at least one job or profession that they are interested in learning about hands-on.  Students will contact professionals in this area, introduce themselves, and set up dates and times during the week that they will spend all or parts of those days shadowing, interning, helping out, or otherwise involved with their mentor of choice.  

Students are Expected to: 1. Attend all interim planning periods (Fridays during advisory). 2. Find at least one job or profession that you are interested in learning about hands-on.  3. Contact professionals in this area and introduce yourself.  4. Set up dates and times (during the week of October 2 thru 5) that you will spend all or parts of those days shadowing, interning, helping out, or otherwise involved with your mentor of choice.

Academic Expectations: Reflect on your experience, share your experience with students, write up a summary of the experience and enter photos and descriptions of the interim experience on your ePortfolio.  

Physical Expectations: Be appropriately dressed, be free of any illegal substances in or on your body, and arrive on time.  

Social Expectations: Be polite, helpful, and accountable for your behavior with your mentor.  If there are changes in your schedule, problems with transportation, or other unexpected circumstances you must contact your mentor immediately, apologize and reschedule your meeting times.  Adhere to all YMHS behavioral guidelines.

SW Archaeology - Cost $ see school store          

Trip Leader: TBD                

Activities:        This will be a 4-day trip to SW Colorado, near Cortez, CO.  We will be camping and hiking to a variety of archaeological locations as we learn about the Hisatsinom (Anasazi) who inhabited that area from approximately 0AD to 1250AD.  We will spend one full day touring the Ute Tribal Park, south of Mesa Verde, as well as one full day at either Crow Canyon Archaeological Center or Hovenweep National Monument.

Academic Expectations:  Students will keep journals.  They will be expected to take notes on the information presented by the guides.  They will be required to complete a one-page research paper focusing on one aspect of the trip prior to leaving.                

Physical Expectations: This trip will require students to walk on uneven terrain (trails) and camp in tents in minimally developed campgrounds.  We will be hiking with light daypacks and camping in tents each night in campgrounds.  We will be hiking 1-4 miles each day.

Social/Emotional Expectations:         Students will follow all YMHS behavioral expectations during the trip.  Students will participate in all aspects of community life;  cooking, cleaning, setting up camp, etc. Students will help plan a menu and shop for food.

Studio Tours - Cost: No fee

Interim Leader: Annalise Appel

Activities:  As a group, students will help contact local studios/artists/galleries that are of personal interest and plan a schedule to visit these studios throughout the week.  (Note: This interim will consist of 4 day trips.  No overnights!) Tours may include observations of artists in action, touring studio space, or even participating in artistic projects.  

Academic Expectations:  1.  Students will be required to keep a personal journal of reflections about his or her experiences on a daily basis.  2.  Students' final project will be to write an essay titled "What is Art?" and will be required to upload this essay into his or her e-portfolio.

Physical Expectations: Very light walking may be required.

Social/Emotional Expectations: Students are expected to participate in all activities.  Students will adhere to all YMHS behavioral expectations during the trips.


Southern California Trip - Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader- Rick Woolcott & Annalise Appel  

Activities:  Feed the homeless in downtown Los Angeles. Visit and tour the Museum of Tolerance. A day of fun at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Some beach time.      

Academic Expectations:  Read, "Freedom Writers Diary." Read selected Holocaust articles. Watch, "Schindler's List." Various topical writing assignments.     

Physical Expectations:  Participate in all trip activities. Help with the making and clean up of meals at our host home. Work hard and consistently at the Rescue Mission    

            Social/Emotional Expectations - Treat our host family with the utmost respect and kindness. Treat each other and all who we encounter with the utmost kindness and respect. Be a giver, help out without complaint; towards our host family, to the homeless, and to each other.    

Winter Cabin (Sylvan Lake)  Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader: Mike Podmore

        Activities:  You will be staying in a cabin for 2 nights in Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle. The cabin is equipped with water, heat, and limited electricity. Your group will participate in ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and cooking the meals.  After the trip your group will stop and soak in the Glenwood Hot Springs.

Academic Expectations:  Reflect on your experience, and write up a summary of the experience and enter photos and descriptions of the trip into your ePortfolio.

Physical Expectations: This trip involves some outdoor physical activities in the winter.  You are expected to try all the physical activities: ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. You are not expected to have had prior experience in all these activities.

Social/Emotional Expectations: You are expected to participate with the group in all activities. You will need to behave as a responsible group member, and meet all behavior expectations.


Avalanche Science - Cost $ see school store  

Trip Leader: TBD        

Activities:        We will study snow and avalanche science through participation in a 3-day backcountry 'hut' trip.  We will learn how to use specialized avalanche safety equipment before our backcountry excursion. We will hike (on snowshoes or skis) to a hut in the Tenth Mountain Hut System (approx 6 miles), carrying all our clothing, food, and equipment in backpacks. The hut has a wood stove for heat and a propane stove for cooking.  At the hut we will be involved in a variety of activities focusing on snow- and avalanche-science. We will spend our full day at the hut outside, skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry as we learn about snow and avalanches.

Academic Expectations:  You will keep a journal to document what you learn during the trip about snow physics, safe travel practices for winter backcountry skiing/snowboarding, and avalanche safety.  You will write a 1-2 page paper on one aspect of avalanche science after the hut trip.        

Physical Expectations:  You must be in good physical condition to participate in this trip (get in shape NOW!) We will be carrying backpacks and using either snowshoes (and carrying snowboards) or Telemark/AT ski equipment.  You will be hiking up to 6 miles to the hut, gaining approx. 2500' of elevation and hiking another 2 miles and 1,000' of elevation during our day at the hut.  You should be an intermediate or advanced snowboarder or skier to participate in this trip, or travel solely on snowshoes.        

Social/Emotional Expectations:          Students will follow all YMHS behavioral expectations during the trip.  Students will participate in all aspects of community life;  cooking, cleaning, setting up camp, etc. Students will help plan a menu and shop for food.                    

Denver Theater & Arts  Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader:  TBD                

Activities: 1. Attend all interim planning sessions (Friday AM during Advisory).  2. Brainstorm and collaborate with team members a plan and itinerary for three day trip to Denver which will include at least one theatre experience.  3.  During planning sessions contact all institutions and make reservations.  4.  Put together a budget for the trip which will include cost of travel, rooms, food and all events.  5.  Make payment for the entire cost of the trip by January 18th.  6.  Attend all events and activities during the 2013 Denver Trip.

Academic Expectations:  Reflect on your experience, share your experience with students, write up a summary of the experience and enter photos and descriptions of the Denver Theatre Trip on your ePortfolio.

Physical Expectations: Pack appropriate clothing, change of clothes and personal hygiene for the three days.  Turn-off all electronics and go to bed at the pre-established lights-out time.  

Social/Emotional Expectations: Be polite, courteous, and responsible with all the institutions you come in contact with.  If meeting times and locations are agreed upon, you must be present at those times and locations.


Pine Ridge Reservation Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader: Sally Kilton

Activities: This is a cross-cultural service learning experience that includes full immersion in the Lakota culture, participating in labor intensive projects on the reservation. Some of the projects include but are not limited to: building bunk beds, digging holes for out houses, delivering firewood, skirting trailers, and building wheelchair ramps. In the evenings activities include storytelling, and wisdom of the elders which is based on historical events. There are field trips onto the reservation to meet the people and learn more about the Lakota culture.

Academic Expectations: Reflect on your experience, present your experience at an all-school meeting in the form of a formal presentation that includes photos and descriptions of the Lakota rip on your ePortfolio.

Physical Expectations: Pack appropriate clothing, change of clothes and personal hygiene for the 6 days. Participate in all physical activities. Learn to use power tools. Follow all the rules of the trip leader and Re-member.

Social/Emotional Expectations:  Be polite, courteous, and responsible with all people and organizations encountered on this trip.  Be culturally aware and sensitive to differences between your own culture, traditions and religious beliefs and those of the Hopi.  Understand that you are a guest in a private home and behave accordingly.         

Hopi Trip Cost $ see school store  

Interim Leader:  TBD                

Activities: This is a cross-cultural experience that includes full immersion in the Hopi culture, participating in a wide range of activities that include storytelling, basket-weaving, hard-physical labor, studying indigenous plants, learning to cook traditional dishes, service learning, making Hopi crafts, and other activities not described.

Academic Expectations:  Reflect on your experience, present your experience at an all-school meeting, write up a summary of the experience and enter photos and descriptions of the Hopi Trip on your ePortfolio.  

Physical Expectations: Pack appropriate clothing, change of clothes and personal hygiene for the three days.  Turn-off all electronics and go to bed at the lights-out time.  

Social/Emotional Expectations:  Be polite, courteous, and responsible with all people and organizations encountered on this trip.  Be culturally aware and sensitive to differences between your own culture, traditions and religious beliefs and those of the Hopi.  Understand that you are a guest in a private home and behave accordingly.        


Movie-making Cost: Free        

Interim Leader: Mike Podmore & Lisa Doherty

Activities: This interim involves a school week devoted to filmmaking. Students will work individually or in groups to create a film project. The goal is to plan and complete film projects by the end of the week. Previous student projects involved skateboard movies, still frame animation films, and movie trailers.

Academic Expectations:  This class is for juniors. Students will learn some of the basics concerning: storyboarding, shooting footage, and editing. Students are expected to attend everyday and work on their own projects. There will be a screening for the class films at the end of the week. Movie projects will be put into student e-portfolios.

Physical Expectations: none  

Social/Emotional Expectations:  Students need to be responsible enough to take care of equipment, and be able to work independently or in small groups.

Cedar Mesa Backpack - Cost $ see school store  

Trip Leader: TBD

        Activities:  This will be a 4-day trip to Cedar Mesa in SE Utah.  We will be backpacking for 3 days exploring Grand Gulch.  This area is famous for its abundant and well-preserved archaeological sites as well as its outstanding red rock beauty.  There is space for eight students on this trip.        

Academic Expectations:  You will keep a journal to document your learning throughout the trip.  You will complete a 1-2 page research project on an aspect of the area's archaeology prior to the trip that you will share while we are camping.         

Physical Expectations:  This trip will require students to be in good physical condition.  You will be hiking with backpacks and camping in a variety of conditions that will include the possibility of both hot and cold temperatures and hiking in a small creek.  We will be hiking between 3 and 8 miles each day.        

Social/Emotional Expectations:  Students will follow all YMHS behavioral expectations during the trip.  Students will participate in all aspects of community life;  cooking, cleaning, setting up camp, etc. Students will help plan a menu and shop for food.    





The major emphasis of ELA I  is upon the skills of communication, both written and oral. Students, as both producers and consumers of language, will receive instruction in communication by speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and researching. A focus on the fundamentals of the writing process is an integral part of the course. In addition, students will be instructed in the use of library resources and in study skills. A research project, as well as various types of narrative and expository essays, will be expected. Through the use of cutting edge ELA support software like Study Island and CO Digital Solutions  students will identify and work towards mastery of any ELA concepts and skills needed for success in current and future English classes.


ELA II will target a student's growth in the areas of reading comprehension, the writing process, oral presentations, and media literacy. The thematic focus of the course is on the human condition as it is represented in literature. Students will be able to develop an idea clearly and logically, to refine skills of reading and writing for understanding, and to apply research, study, and library skills. A research project, as well as various types of expository and persuasive essays, will be expected. In addition, a significant summer assignment will precede the start of the course. Through the use of cutting edge ELA support software like Study Island and CO Digital Solutions  students will identify and work towards mastery of any ELA concepts and skills needed for success in current and future English classes.


English 3 provides students with the opportunity to acquire a deeper understanding of literary analysis, a stronger familiarity with the research process, and a heightened sophistication in written work. Students will be guided in the writing process with an emphasis on oral and written argument, as well as analysis of images and language. A research project, as well as various types of persuasive and analytic essays, will be expected. Through the use of cutting edge ELA support software like Study Island and CO Digital Solutions  students will identify and work towards mastery of any ELA concepts and skills needed for success in current and future English classes.


English 4 continues to stress growth in analysis and close reading strategies in honing the writing process and in developing voice in speaking and writing. The curriculum emphasizes the refinement of cognitive processes, especially those of analysis and synthesis. Students are encouraged to respond both emotionally and intellectually to the literature studied, and to become more aware of the value of language as a system of creating meaning. Students will write papers and create projects relevant to class discussion and readings. Literature will be chosen from a varied list of classic and contemporary literature from a range of periods and cultures. A research project, as well as essays that emphasize analysis and synthesis, will be expected. Through the use of cutting edge ELA support software like Study Island and CO Digital Solutions  students will identify and work towards mastery of any ELA concepts and skills needed for success in current and future English classes.




Algebra I

This course covers the following topics: recursive rules for patterns and sequences; descriptive statistics; proportional reasoning; linear, exponential and quadratic functions; systems of equations and inequalities; transformations in the plane; and basic probability.  The use of technology is integral to the course, and a graphing calculator is highly recommended.  Problems are linked to real-world applications with an emphasis on multiple representations and problem-solving.  Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island, CO Digital Solutions and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.

Algebra II (Adv Algebra)

Advanced Algebra II will cover the same topics as Algebra II but in more depth and with extensions that have a greater degree of difficulty.  This course meets the prerequisites for IB Mathematics and Precalculus. Students will also be asked to complete a set of assignments that develop practices and habits of mind that are the foundation of academic or professional careers in or related to mathematics.  The use of technology is integral to the course, and a graphing calculator is highly recommended.  Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island, CO Digital Solutions and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.


Geometry includes: inductive vs. deductive reasoning, recognition and creation of proof, plane geometry, describing/applying properties of congruent and similar figures; coordinate geometry; making/testing conjectures about geometric properties; right triangle trigonometry, transformations; and the properties of polygons, circles and three-dimensional figures. Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island, CO Digital Solutions and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.

Statistics & Probability

In this course students will build their understanding of statistics and data analysis. Students will be expected to identify quantitative measures of center, overall patterns, and any striking deviations from the overall pattern and spread in one or two different data sets. This includes recognizing the effects of outliers on the measures of center of a data set.  This course is meant to help students apply their mathematics education to the real world in a variety of ways, including occupations and interpreting media information. All problem solving and data analysis questions test the ability of students to use their math understanding and skills to solve problems they could encounter in the real world. Many of these problems are set in academic and career contexts and are likely to draw from science and social science. 

Integrated Math I

The fundamental purpose of Math I  is to formalize and extend the mathematics that students learned in the previous courses and/or grades. This course deepens and extends understanding of linear relationships, in part by contrasting them with exponential phenomena, and in part by applying linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend. Math 1 uses properties and theorems involving congruent figures to deepen and extend understanding of geometric knowledge from prior grades. The final unit in the course ties together the algebraic and geometric ideas studied. The Mathematical Practice Standards apply throughout each course and, together with the content standards, prescribe that students experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject   that makes use of their ability to make sense of problems. Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.

Integrated Math II

The focus of Math II is on quadratic expressions, equations, and functions; comparing their characteristics and behavior to those of linear and exponential relationships from Mathematics 1 as organized into 6 critical areas, or units. The need for extending the set of rational numbers arises and real and complex numbers are introduced so that all quadratic equations can be solved. The link between probability and data is explored through conditional probability and counting methods, including their use in making and evaluating decisions. The study of similarity leads to an understanding of right triangle trigonometry and connects to quadratics through Pythagorean relationships. Circles, with their quadratic algebraic representations, round out the course. The Mathematical Practice Standards apply throughout each course and, together with the content standards, prescribe that students experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations.Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.

Math Foundations

The Math Foundations class is designed to assess and strengthen specific individual student needs within the high school mathematics curriculum. Through the use of cutting edge math support software like Study Island and Khan Academy, students will identify and work towards mastery of any mathematical concepts and skills needed for success in current and future math classes.

CMC Math 050

Algebraic Literacy develops the algebraic skills necessary for manipulating expressions and solving equations. Topics in the course include radicals, complex numbers, polynomials, factoring, rational expressions, quadratic equations, absolute value equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations, related applications, and math learning strategies. This course is a prerequisite for College Algebra and Statistics.



Students explore scientific investigation and learn basic biological concepts, such as the characteristics of major groups of organisms, cellular organization, and mechanisms of heredity, DNA, genetics and biotechnology.


This class studies the fundamentals of chemistry, including atomic and molecular structure, chemical equations and reactions. There is a strong focus on solving problems mathematically in this class. This course also provides exposure to historical and current issues as well as everyday applications of chemistry.


Physics is the foundation of all other sciences and describes and explains the principles by which the world operates. The first semester of this course is a thorough study of motion, forces, momentum and energy. The second semester is spent investigating thermodynamics, physics of waves including light and sound, electromagnetism and a few brief topics in modern physics. This course emphasizes conceptual understanding, lab activities and problem solving strategies.

Environmental Science & Sustainability

Environmental Science is the study of how the natural world works, how our environment affects us, and how we affect our environment. This class focuses on how interactions in the natural world can be disrupted, adversely affecting the health of both humans and ecosystems. Students will take a balanced look at state and federal policy, environmental threats versus human needs, and ideas for solutions.

Earth Science

Through the study of both Space and Earth science, students will build a solid knowledge of scientific principles that will enable success in all future classes. Great emphasis is given to the idea of thinking like a scientist and working on the skill of using data and evidence to make inferences. First semester is primarily learning about the principles of the scientific process, gaining foundational knowledge of physics and chemistry, and Space science.  Second semester is an investigation of Earth science, including plate tectonics, the atmosphere, natural disasters, and use of natural resources.

Physical Science

The main focus of this course is to build a basic understanding of the physical sciences and their relationship to our world. This course will integrate the principles of the physical world with other academic/scientific disciplines. This course will be driven by hands-on applied labs, experiences, and activities that will demonstrate the relevance of science to our everyday lives. Unifying themes in this course may include: work and energy; electromagnetic systems; sound, light, and particles; nature of matter; oceans, weather, water and climate; chemistry and life processes.



Includes the background of the U.S. Constitution, the philosophy of American government, general principles of the Constitution, federalism, civil liberties, public opinion and citizen participation, political parties, interest groups and the electoral process, and the structure and functions of the national government.


Financial Literacy and Economics is designed to introduce students to the basic principles of financial literacy and economics. Students examine topics such as income and careers, money management, debt management, saving and investing, financial responsibility, and risk management and insurance. In addition the American economic system is examined as students learn the principles of supply and demand, free enterprise, the impact of Federal budget, foreign trade, taxes, unemployment, economic growth, and the current economic crisis. Aspects of business such as advertising (marketing), negotiating skills, and entrepreneurship are also studied to provide the student with a broad, well-rounded introduction to the importance of finance.

US History

This is a history of the United States post-Civil War era to the present.  The course will focus on political, economic, and social history. The specific themes include; cultural diversity, capitalism, democracy, conflict/cooperation, geography, beliefs, nationalism, and technology.

World History

World History course lends itself to extension into universal concepts. The themes include science and technology, civilizations, philosophy and belief systems, government, cooperation and conflict, and humanities. The curriculum allows students to explore topics through problem solving, role playing, written assignments, formal tests and simulations.


This class focuses on current cultural and political geography of various regions of the world. An AP-style approach to our studies will be followed. Students will investigate human patterns of conflict and cooperation, explore what gives cultures meaning and how people interact with their environment, then apply this knowledge to develop management plans for the future. Previous classes have participated in experiential learning options, which engage youth to solve some of the world's most pressing problems by moving from awareness to action while learning to think critically, collaborate as a team member, and acquire advanced research skills.

Topics in Social Studies

These topic courses aim to explain trends and developments, as well as continuity and change through time and through individual events. The course is concerned with individuals and societies in the widest context: political, social, economic, religious, technological, and cultural. This course focuses on 20th century world history, including war, democratic and single party states, nationalist and independence movements.


Comprehensive Health

Comprehensive, abstinence-based health class explores health/wellness, decision-making, diseases, anatomy, mental health and stress. Substances: tobacco, alcohol, drugs. Sex Education: Abstinence, contraception, STDs.

Physical Education

Students become familiar with a variety of games, and activities. Concentration is on learning skills and rules of cooperative, target and net-wall games (team building, disk golf, bags, cup stacking, badminton, etc.), keeping the body in good condition and sportsmanship. Regular attendance and mandatory participation is essential

Drama & Theater Arts

Acting for the stage and film, this class will teach students acting Technique and how to establish meaningful and honest relationships on stage and on-camera through the art of active listening and responding. Learn the tools necessary to be “believable.” Develop your imaginative capacities, unleash your creative impulses, deepen your intuition, and sharpen the analytical skills necessary to “breakdown” a scene. The students’ work will be explored through improvisation and scene study from plays, film and television scripts with some videotaping and playback for critique. We will talk about what makes a good head-shot, how to create a resume and discuss how to handle oneself in an audition or interview.  We will focus on cold reads for Television/Film and Commercials as well as plays and musicals.

World Languages

Designed to introduce a world language and world culture to beginning students. Courses  covers basic grammar and vocabulary. Additionally, students will focus on comprehension and production of beginning language other than English.

Visual Arts: Drawing, Painting, Pottery & Mixed Media

  • Draw & Paint: This course is an introduction to the basics of drawing, painting and design techniques practiced in a studio environment. Work will concentrate on the elements of art and the principles of design. Color theory and basic painting are introduced and instruction includes the use and maintenance of tools and equipment. A variety of subject matter is utilized
  • Pottery: This course provides instruction in the basic techniques for creating ceramic pottery and sculptural forms. Hand built and wheel thrown techniques will be learned.  Emphasis is placed on the idea of concept and expression in clay as a medium.
  • Mixed Media:

Performing Arts: Music

This course teaches students the skills and techniques to play in a rock/pop band setting. No prior experience is necessary, and students will learn how to not only play instruments and sing, but also how to effectively collaborate with their peers to efficiently use their time and to put on a performance for a live audience.  Students are welcome to perform rock, pop, jazz, or any other genre of music that fits their preferences



Writer’s Workshop I & II

Class Description: This class is designed to help students experiment in order to find an original voice. To develop their stamina students work over the quarter towards a final portfolio of pieces in several media, which they can revise right up to the end.  The class’ focus enables students to find their own writing voice, have an opportunity to try out poetry, fiction, personal writing, comedy, short story, essay, creative non-fiction, and script writing. Students are taught how to read texts not in terms of literary analysis but in terms of their usefulness as writers, regularly work-shopping their drafts with the rest of the group and studying new techniques and processes through a variety of assignments.

Essential Questions: How do I improve my writing skills? How might I effectively express myself through the written word? How do I say (and write) what I want so that my audience will listen and remember? What is a writer’s voice, why is it important and how do I develop and use my own voice in my writing?

Writer’s Workshop III

Class Description: After introductory conversations about the various uses of writing the student will learn to use the technique of clustering to generate and organize ideas and write coherent short pieces of prose and/or poetry.  These vignettes will be the central focus of the class, yet students will also be responsible for reading and identifying work by authors that intrigue, inspire, or excite their own ideas for what and how and why to write.  The first half of the class period will be dedicated to writing exercises, the second half to reading, sharing and discussing written works.  All students must have their own writing journal.  Students who do not bring their journal (and a writing utensil) to class will be dismissed for the hour and will be counted as absent.

Essential Question: How might I use writing to advance my personal objectives?  How might I use writing to meet graduation requirements?

Writer’s Workshop IV

Class Description: Imagine that in your hands is an excellent piece of writing.  Imagine that as you hold it, the pages crinkle and you realize that the words printed on these pages share a powerful message, a point of view that needed to be expressed, perhaps a story that captures a unique meeting of interesting people in an unusual setting.  You hold this writing and a warm glow of quiet pride floods your as you let the fact that you wrote this sinks in.  You reflect on how you got here, how this piece got to where it is.  You think about the different directions the writing took at the beginning.  You remember those periods of frustration when you wanted to quit and start over.  You smile at the memory of how upset you were when your friends or teacher criticized some of the language you used.  All that is behind you.  Now you know that you are capable of expressing yourself in a powerful, effective and deeply rewarding way.  The world looks a little different to you.  You’re not sure why, but you are sure that when it comes to wrestling with an idea, a story, a message, a curiosity that grew into a serious piece of research, you now have the skill, in fact the many different and important skills necessary to take command of your powers of expression.

Enduring Understanding: Effective written expression is one of two active literacies that will give you the ability to express your ideas, dreams, hopes, plans, concerns, problems, solutions and angers in a way that the world will not only know how you feel but be enlightened.

Essential Questions: What can I learn from modeling the writing of other writers, especially master writers?  How can I take my rough ideas and develop them into richly layered expressions of my own creation?  How do I turn criticism into helpful feedback that I can use to improve my writing?

Writing: Support/Lab

Support with individual writing – either for independent passages or for class assignments.  Guaranteed you’ll get a couple of tips to improve your writing.

Writing: Thesis

Support with individual writing for completing graduation and portfolio requirements.

Humanities- Cross-Curricular, includes completion of MLA Thesis Paper

Writing: Allaboutmeography...

Enduring Understanding:

You can write, especially if the subject is you. You have a story, a history, a journey, made up of many chapters, moments, and events which when they all come together produce this incredibly unique, gifted and wonderful you.

Essential Questions:

Who am I? Who are the people and what are the events that have most impacted your life?  What are the gifts and talents you bring to the world?  What are your dreams?  What makes you happy and sad?  What is your philosophy of life and/or beliefs?

Class Description:

You know you love to talk about yourself, you know your life could be a prime-time drama, you know it's part of your graduation portfolio, so let's get together and write your life story!  This is no one page and you're done, it will be a 9 week exercise in breaking down your growing up experiences, going deep, working on your writing skills and creating a final document that Stephen King couldn't put down.

In this class you will write every class period and type what you wrote as homework.  The writing will be about you, personal, thoughtful and reflective.  Your work will be edited several times for spelling, grammar and fluency.  The final project will be a completed and error- free autobiography.

Writing: It's not brain surgery!

Essential Question, " How can you effectively communicate in writing when the need arises?"

It actually can be pretty cool to put some good sentences together.  Ones that make sense, convey meaning, and are well organized.  If you've never felt that joy, you will in this class.

Writing: Creative

In this class students will create original writing.  The main focus will be short stories, long stories, and personal life stories.  We will discuss what makes a good story and experiment with different ideas, prompts, and styles.  Hopefully, we’ll write fabulous things and have lots of fun!

Writing: Eye Hate 2 Right

Enduring Understanding

You will learn how to write a simple, organized and meaningful paragraph.  Then you will learn how to combine 5 of those paragraphs into an organized, concise and thoughtful essay.

Essential Questions

How do I organize my thoughts? What is a topic sentence? What are supporting sentences? How do I write a introductory and concluding paragraph?

General Description

Being able to write a nice paragraph and a simple essay is not that hard!  This class will help take the pain out of the writing process.  If writing has always been a struggle, take this class and conquer the fear.

Writing: Non-Fiction

This focus of this class is to help you organize your ideas and to become a better writer.  We will experiment with many different kinds of writing from movie reviews, to letters to essays. It will be good prep for CSAP, ACT, MLA style Senior Paper (required for graduation), anything you have to write for any class ever, and for life in general. As the saying goes - It’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it!  Why not learn to say it well?

Writing & Communication: Photojournalism

General Description In this class we will try to take pictures relating to poverty and hunger in our valley.  While we take the photos, we will interview the people involved and try to get their story.  We will develop and print the photos, and we will display them along with the written stories which the class has uncovered.

Enduring Understanding Good photos combined with well written words can be extremely powerful.  

Essential Questions Where do we start looking in order to capture the story of hunger and poverty on film?  How do you interview and photograph people relating to this topic, and allow them to keep their dignity?

Writing & Communication: Creative Technology

Essential Questions:

How do we create meaningful stories that will translate into a visual medium?  How do we use and integrate software to produce a high quality product?  What are the aesthetic elements of visual storytelling?  How do we edit, refine and eventually distribute technology products?  How do we use the Internet to research, post, debate, contribute, distribute and evaluate?  What are effective revision and peer review strategies?  What are emerging technologies and how can we access them in a meaningful way?

Writing & Communication: Publishing, Newspaper & Yearbook

Essential Questions:

How do we put develop, produce and distribute a newspaper?  What aspects of creative design can enhance or inhibit a publication?  How do we identify and meet the needs of our reading audience?  What content is meaningful, insightful and timely for our publication?  How do we delegate and create such content in a timely manner?  How do we create effective systems to meet deadlines and produce a high quality edited publication?  What are the ethical, legal and social aspects of publishing?

 Communication: Debate

In this class, you’ll get to do something that you really like and get credit for it – TALK!  We will learn the vocabulary, strategies, and format involved in effective debating.  We will talk about issues that you choose and learn how to make powerful and convincing arguments

Communication: Media Empowerment

Essential Question: How does media affect you? Society?

Make your own video and learn critical literacy through technology working with Alec Raffin from MPower.- FULL YEAR, unless instructor (Alec) approval.

Communication: Public Speaking

Class Description: You’re taking a deep breath.  The nerves and tension are killing you but finally the moment has come.  You look up at the audience and you can’t believe that you’re about to do this.  A couple of familiar faces in the front row help a bit as you clear your throat.  Suddenly, almost without knowing it, you’re ready to rumble.  You pause for a second, take another deep breath and continue.  The words you speak are familiar, very familiar as you have practiced them a thousand times, or at least it feels like it, but this is very different.  You are addressing an audience of friends and strangers, some people you’ve never seen before, and you are sharing your point of view about something you care about and it’s working.  The words are coming out of your mouth and with it a growing sense of ease.  You are a couple of paragraphs into your speech and you pause briefly again, breathe and look up at your audience.  You're shocked that they are, yes, they really are listening to you.  Everyone is paying attention to you, really listening to what you have to say.  You continue speaking and you realize that you aren’t the same person that you thought you were.  Somewhere in your consciousness you are tickled by a profound awareness and growing possibility.  You have something important to say and you can say it in a way that people will listen, people will pay attention, people will remember what you have to say.  Move over Martin Luther King, I have a dream too.

Enduring Understanding:  Public speaking is by far the most important of the three literacies, as it is how we communicate most often with each other.

Essential Questions:  How do I overcome my fear of speaking in front of a group, especially a group of strangers?  How do changes in my speech patterns, ex: inflection, rhythm, pace, etc… affect the content of my speech?

Communication: Theater- Acting Workshop

Class Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the process of preparing an acting role for the stage, developing skill in improvisation, learning the parts of the stage and positions employed in communicating to an audience, and exploring character development. Students will be evaluated through performance of scenes presented before the class, short quizzes, and their participation in exercises and discussion

Essential Questions:

Where can I try out behaviors that are normally frowned upon as “weird,” “different,” “not-cool” and get away with it? What does it take to be an actor?  And, do I have what it takes? If, as Shakespeare remarked, “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players,” then why not learn to act? (rhetorical question).

Communication: Theater- Comedy Central

Class Description:

Students will watch and discuss a variety of comedic material: plays, movies, tv-shows and stand-up routines.  Student will be asked to comment on specific artists and performances, to come up with an hypothesis for what makes for a good comedic performance and to share their thinking with the class.

Essential Questions: What is comedy?  How is comedy generated?  What makes a good joke?  What does it take to make people laugh?  Who are some of the great comedic talents?  

Communication: Theater- Improvisational (Improv)

Class Description: Improv is different from traditional acting as the improvisational actor has no script – instead s/he has to master a set of skills. In this class, we will work on developing and perfecting these skills with the hopes of putting on a small performance before the end of the school year.

Join us as we laugh, play, and be generally frivolous in our version of Whose Line is it Anyway? The class involves learning improv skills and games.  There is the possibility of a trip and a small performance for those who are interested.

Essential Questions:

What is Improv? What are improvisational skills and how can we learn them? What are some Improv games? How can we hone our skills and put on a show?

Communication: Theatre Games

Essential Questions: What is theatre?  What is Improv? How can I overcome my shyness?  How can I come up with ideas? What’s the value of theatre if I don’t want to be an actor?

This class is about fun, playing, teamwork, and laughter.  We will learn acting skills, stage awareness, improvisation and theatre games.…fun!

Communication: Theater- Stand Up

Class Description The applause is still ringing in your ears.  The sweat on your palms has finally dried.  You’re smiling, if not outwardly, then inwardly with profound relief that so many people enjoyed you and your act.  All the practice, the many hours of practice and the disappointments when you couldn’t think of anything funny, or when everything you thought of as funny sounded pretty dumb when you performed it, all that is behind you.  People are slapping you on the back, knuckle bumps and high-fives, as you step off the stage.  All the little ideas that worked: the skits you performed, the people you imitated, the jokes you wrote and told were a hit.  You realize that you are funny, you can turn it on whenever you want to, and you also have a ton of respect for the people who make a career of this kind of work, because you are aware of how much work and pleasure—a great combination--goes into finding creative ways to make people laugh.  Perhaps your biggest sense of accomplishment is that you can bring down the house, get everyone laughing on the verge of tears without using foul language or vulgar gestures, just straight-up comedy.

Enduring Understanding: Comedy is an important element of human rapport and association.

Essential Questions:  How do I turn my zany ideas into something funny and entertaining?  

Reading: Literature Study- Poetry

Essential Questions:

What is a poem? What are the important elements of a poem? Why are some poems so appealing to us? Who are some of our favorite poets?  Why? How do you choose a poem to memorize and perform for others? Am I a poet?

Enduring Understanding: According to Wikipedia, Poetry (from the Greek "ποίησις", poiesis, a "making") is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning.  We are all poets.  Poetry is everywhere in our lives.

General Description: In this class we will focus on all sorts of poetry—from a wide variety of writers.  This will be a participatory class—you will be expected to bring in examples from your favorite poets.  We will learn about types of poetry, rhyming, memorize and perform some poems, and commit guerilla acts of poetry.

Reading and Writing: Support

Enduring Understanding: Students will understand that only by practicing reading and writing will they be able to improve in those two disciplines. Students will read, both silently and aloud, grade appropriate, high interest short stories and practice writing responses related to; main idea, inferring, fact versus opinion, paraphrasing, and personal reflection.

Essential Questions:  What is the main idea of a reading selection? What is the difference between a fact and an opinion? What is inferring? How do you paraphrase?  

Reading: Shakespeare’s Comedies

Essential Questions:  Who was Shakespeare?  How can some 500-year English bloke have anything to say that is relevant today? Does that funny talk even mean anything and, if so, how can I get to understand it better?

We will explore the answers to these and other questions by looking a Shakespeare’s life, times, and comedies.  


(required course for those having less than 3 English credits complete- recommended for all)

1984 by George Orwell

George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948.  It is his vision of how society could change over time in a negative way.  He looked at how things were developing in certain governments, which he saw becoming more and more controlling, and he took them to an extreme. The world of 1984 is futuristic, fascinating and disturbing.  It is a world that is watched over by “Big Brother’ and in which nothing that should be relied upon can be relied upon.  This is a book that shows the worst and best of human nature.  It will make you question, and it will make you think!

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

This class is based on the 2007 novel by Sherman Alexie that won acclaim for it’s humor, honesty and the accuracy with which it describes modern day racism against the Native American community.  There will be weekly reading assignments, class discussions, the occasional pop quiz to make sure you’re keeping up with the reading, as well as a review of additional material about the history and current status of Indians in America.

Essential Questions:

Full-time or part-time, what’s an Indian? What are the important similarities and differences between a person growing up in our valley and a person growing up on an Indian reservation in the United States today? What is Sherman Alexie’s (the author's) purpose in telling this semi-autobiographical story?

The Alchemist

Essential Questions

“How do you think you would act if facing the task of just survival?” “Why can’t a person practice more than one religion?” “Is the way you tell the story more important than the way the events happened?


This is an inspirational story about a shepherd boy who travels from his homeland of Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids.  

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a 2006 novel about Germans and the Holocaust, from the point of view of a young boy, written by Irish novelist John Boyne. It's a touching tale of an odd friendship between two boys in horrendous circumstances and a reminder of man's capacity for inhumanity.

Essential Questions: “How much do children understand the world around them?” “What role does racism play in today’s world compared to 50 years ago?” “How have the lessons of the Holocaust changed your life?”

The Call of the Wild

With the gentle tug of a bullwhip Jack London rips you out of your comfort zone and thrusts you headlong into the vast primordial wilderness of the Alaskan steppe.  Gold my friends!  Gold fever has struck and man will stop at nothing and risk everything to extract riches from the ground, even the rock-solid permafrost of the arctic.  Come along for a blistering, boisterous, blood chilling adventure as you bond with Buck the strongest of the strong, the fiercest of the fierce, man’s best friend turned wild.

Enduring Understanding: Classical literature, despite all attempts to pass it by, endures, and for a good reason, because it’s damn good stuff.

Essential Question:  What is the purpose of reading old stories, written in unfamiliar English, when it’s a lot easier to toss in a DVD and watch bad guys blow each other up?

Caveat For Consideration: We have the graphic novel version of the story as well for light diversion or the main attraction.

Catcher in the Rye  

is a 1951 novel by J.D. Salinger. The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion. It has been frequently challenged in the United States for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.  It’s a fabulous book for discussion and reading between the lines.  

Essential Questions: “Is the search for identity in adolescence always a painful and rocky experience?” “Why can some people form lasting and meaningful relationships/friendships, while others cannot?” “How does one protect the innocence of the world?” “What does the title of the book symbolize?”


Essential Questions: What do invisible rabbits, river-gypsies, violence, romance, catholic priests, the most magical of chocolates, mysticism, and the mysterious Vianne have to do with a small French village? How important is chocolate? Can one woman make a difference in people’s lives?

The novel Chocolat is about all of these and much more. In class, we will read and discuss the book, watch the movie, and create some awesome projects. The eating of chocolate is very likely to be involved…

Clockwork Orange

Essential Questions  “Can a violent person really change?” “What methods are used to rehabilitate violent people? “Are people of the newer generations less sensitive to violence than their parents?”

This book explores people’s conditioning to violence. The novel follows a boy named Alex through a journey of extreme violence, being jailed for his crimes and the changes that occur throughout his time in jail.  The novel also contains an experiment in language: Burgess (the author) creates a new speech that is the teenage slang of the not-too-distant future.

The Da Vinci Code

Essential Questions:

Does this book contain the truth of the Holy Grail?  What is it anyway?  What is a code and what made secrecy necessary?  Is there any truth the claims in the novel?  How can a work of fiction have such a great effect on so many people?

The Da Vinci Code is an action-packed mystery/detective story racing across France and Britain in an attempt to solve some of Western Civilization’s deepest mysteries.  It poses questions about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail, and the works of great Renaissance artists.  It’s a fun read with lots of topics to interest and explore.  To do this class, you have to be able to commit to reading the book!

Deception Point 

Essential Question:  

How does reading and understanding literature impact your life?

Deception Point is a mystery and suspense thriller that combines in-depth knowledge of classified intelligence with high-tech weaponry and presidential politics in a very fast paced, suspenseful novel. It takes place on the Milne Ice Shelf in the far north, a meteorite has been discovered under the ice that contains fossils of large bugs; proof of life on other planets. NASA is there, along with four civilian scientists to verify that the meteorite and its fossils are authentic.

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Yolen tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of a young Jewish girl named Hannah who is mysteriously transported in time back to a German prison camp. She sees first hand the hardships that were suffered by her ancestors. The main theme in the novel is that we should never forget the suffering and pain so that it never happens again.

Essential Questions:

How do different cultures influence societies? How have human societies changed over time? What is cultural diversity? What problem, questions, inquiry needs to be uncovered? What is the main idea? What are the supporting details? How can I summarize key information? How can I show understanding through my reading? How can I identify the author’s point of view? What predictions can I make? What conclusions can I draw?

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert  

Essential Question:  Can this book help you to live a better, healthier, happier life?

When life is falling apart, how do you make it through?  What is the secret to a happy and contented life?  Follow one woman’s journey as she tries to figure it all out.

Fast Food Nation

Essential Questions  

Are you serious about your long- term health?  Are you willing to see some truths about what you eat?  Are you willing to change unhealthy habits?      

This is a book that will really make you think!  It takes us for an up close and personal look at what really goes into our food. From the slaughterhouse and the lab, to the restaurants, to our stomachs.  This book is not for the faint of heart.  It is real and brutally eye-opening.  This is must read if you are like me and really don’t want to know where my burger has been.

Fahrenheit 451

Essential Questions  

What is knowledge?  What is freedom of thought?  Why do we value education?

Enduring Understanding

Fahrenheit 451 is a social criticism that warns against the danger of suppressing thought through censorship.  Oppressive government, left unchecked, does irreparable damage to society by curtailing the creativity and freedom of its people.

Imagine a world where everything is sped up, where billboards are five times bigger than ours because the speed limit is so high, where everything you see from a car is a blur, where pedestrians don’t exist. A future populated by non-readers and non-thinkers, people with no sense of their history, where a totalitarian government has banned the written word.  Set in the twenty-fourth century, this book tells the story of Guy Montag, a thirty-year-old-fireman whose job is to set fires, not put them out. His job is to burn books.  

The Firm, By John Grisham

"Keeps the reader hooked... From the creepy first  chapters... to the vise-tightening midsection and  onto the take-the money-and-run finale." --  The Wall Street Journal

"Irresistible... seizes the reader on the opening page  and propels him through 400 more." -- Newsweek.

"Taut, fast and relentless... A ride worth taking."  -- San Francisco Chronicle.

Essential Questions

What is it like to read a classic page turner?  What does it feel like to not want to put a book down, or to stay up late because you just want to read another chapter?  Is the book always better than the movie?

Class Description

While this book is an intense page turner, it also has a relatively easy reading level.  Yes you will have to read the book, but you might like.  There will be discussions, and we will watch the movie.

This story is about: Young lawyer Mitch McDeere thinks he has it made when he takes job with a big Memphis law firm.  He soon realizes he made a big mistake when he stumbles into the mafia, the FBI, murder, and blackmail.  He has to run for his life.  THIS IS A PAGE TURNER, YOU WILL LIKE IT.


Essential Questions:

How do you build a community where there is no power, no close source of food, limited clean water and conventional building materials (lumber, nails, etc.), and no trees? Is necessity really the ‘mother of invention’? How can we apply the innovations of Gaviotas to our own communities and lives?

Gaviotas is the true story of a town created on the llano (a treeless plain) of Colombia. It was founded in 1971 by Paolo Lugari who assembled a group of engineers and scientists in an attempt to create a mode of sustainable living in one of the least hospitable political and geographical climates in South America. Gaviotas is a village of about 200 people in Colombia, South America. For three decades, Gaviotas - peasants, scientists, artists, and former street kids - have struggled to build an oasis of imagination and sustainability in the remote, barren savannas of eastern Colombia, an area ravaged by political terror. They have planted millions of trees, thus regenerating an indigenous rainforest. They farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every family enjoys free housing, community meals, and schooling. There are no weapons, no police, and no jail. There is no mayor. The United Nations named the village a model of sustainable development. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called founder Paolo Lugari the "inventor of the world."

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Enduring Understanding

What are the ingredients for a really good life? Would the world be better if we could somehow erase all emotions like love, hate, and fear?  What if we didn’t have to have memories of good things or bad?

Essential Questions

What makes up a happy life? Does freedom have a downside? Wouldn’t it be great of live a problem free life. Is there a downside to love?

General Description

Jonas and his community live in a world that is “perfect”. There is no war, no crime, no hate, and no fear. At age 12, everything changes for Jonas as he begins his training for his adult role in the society. He begins to learn that everything is not what is seems. He is faced with a choice about what to do with this knowledge.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a memoir of childhood that is filled with dysfunction and resilience. She tells the story of father who is brilliant when sober and destructive when drunk. Her mother is a free spirit who didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves.

Essential Questions: What is perspective? Do different people always see the same situation in the same way? What is the perception of the author? From whose perspective is she writing the book? What is the perspective that the father has on life? What is the perspective of the mother on life? Do you think they are good parents? Why? Why not? Do the children in the novel have a hard life? How? What is poverty? Do you considered them to be abused?


Essential Question, " How do you live with integrity in the midst of an unjust and selfish world?"

Enjoy with me this fun and meaningful look at friendship, loyalty and courage.  Lot's of in-class reading, great discussion and of course, the movie at the end.

Hunger Games

Enduring Understanding

Believe it or not, you can get sucked into a book, and have a hard time putting it down.  This can even happen with crazy stories about the future where teenagers are randomly chosen, sent into the wilderness, and forced to fight each other to the death on national TV.  Through literature you can sometimes escape into a futuristic world which doesn’t look that good at all.  It can help you to think about your life now and the world you live in with a greater appreciation.


Essential Questions

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone fighting against you?  What does a dark vision of a future world look like?

In the future, could a reality TV show like “Survivor” actually morph into a show about a group of teenagers sent into the wild, and forced to fight each other to the death?


Class Description

While this book is an intense page turner, it also has a relatively easy reading level.  Yes you will have to read the book, but you might like.  There will be discussions, and some online games.


Enduring Understanding: Your actions and the actions of all other humans have an impact on the planet and on all the non human life on the planet.

Essential Questions:

Is the world better off with humans in it, or would it be better off without humans?

With Man gone, will there be hope for Gorilla? With Gorilla gone, will there be hope for Man? How can we apply the teachings of this book to our study of world hunger, poverty, and population?

Class Description

What would you do if you saw an ad in the Personal section of the newspaper that read ‘Teacher seeks pupil.  Must have an earnest desire to save the world.  Apply in person.’? How can a gorilla teach you about your place in the universe? This book is a series of dialogues between Ishmael, a 700 pound gorilla, and the unnamed narrator.  Through these dialogs Ishmael ponders life, culture, and the current and future state of the human species.  This class generates in depth discussions about the importance of humans, religion, science, the environment, and the future.

The Last Lecture

Essential Question:

What would you want to say to the world, what advice about living could you give to others, what insights and wisdom would you share if you were dying of a terminal illness and only had a few months to live?

This book has swept the nation and it is all about just that.  Randy Pausch died about a month ago but not before he had the opportunity to share with us some of what he learned in his all too short, journey on earth.

The Life of Pi

Essential Questions:

“How do you think you would act if facing the task of just survival?” “Why can’t a person practice more than one religion?” “Is the way you tell the story more important than the way the events happened?”

A storytelling masterpiece.  A boy from India name Pi explores issues of religion and spirituality from an early age and survives 227 days shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean. Pi is cast adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a huge Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Lord of the Flies-

Essential Question – “Without the rules of modern society, would humans act differently?” “Is there a dark violent side of human nature that is ready to take over once the rules of society breakdown?”  

This book is INTENSE !!! Here is how the critics talk about it:

“like a fragment of a nightmare”…. “a dizzy climax of terror”…. “completely convincing and often very frightening”……  “the terrible spell of this book.”

This book is about a group of boys who get stranded on an island.  They struggle to set up a society.  It makes you ask if humans are basically good or if they have a dark violent side that can easily take over?  

It doesn’t matter if you have read this book before; you are welcome to do it again.

The Milagro Beanfield War

Enduring Understanding:

Reading about experiences is a great way to gain a perspective on your own life and beliefs.  

Essential Questions:

Why does planting and irrigating a beanfield start a ‘war’ in Milagro?

Class Description

Some called it troublemaking; others called it good citizenship. Some called it greed; others called it progress. Why is the simple act of irrigating a beanfield such a big deal in Milagro, New Mexico. This book is a great story of life in Northern New Mexico and the conflicts between local cultures and developers.   While it’s fiction, there’s a lot that seems to be true-to-life as the citizens of Milagro fight to save their way of life.  As an added bonus, this book includes some creative eco-terrorism, bad words in two languages, engaging characters, and a few miracles.

Monkey Wrench Gang 

Enduring Understanding

Reading well-written books with finely crafted sentences is one of the great joys in life.  

Essential Questions

What would you do to save something you love? When, if ever, is ‘eco-terrorism’ justified? Why do some people dislike Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell?  What is the history of those places? Are violence and vandalism justified when you are passionate enough about something? What makes the “machine” so powerful that the majority of people will follow?

General Description

Sex, Beer, Dynamite and Eco-terrorism. Read this great book by Edward Abbey about a crew of ‘eco-warriors’ who take on the forces that are bent on despoiling the West

Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

Enduring Understanding:

Students will understand what life is like for the common people in a poor country. This novel takes the reader through the life of  the main character, Rukmani,  from the day she is a 12 year old child bride to when she is an old woman. Students will understand some of the culture and customs of India and see how life is both very different, and yet on some levels, similar, to their lives in America.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: What is the setting for this story? Who are the main characters? What is the plot for the story What is the rising action and climax? What new vocabulary have you learned? What have you learned about Indian culture and customs? In what ways is Rukmani’s life different, and how is it similar, to your own?

Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz

Enduring Understanding: Let’s learn the enjoyment of reading. Find a genre that you like and begin to cultivate an appreciation of an entertaining novel.

Essential Questions: Did you enjoy the book? What was it you liked/disliked about it?  What did you learn about character development, protagonist, antagonist, setting, plot, theme, rising and falling action etc.  What new vocabulary did you learn?

Class Description: Odd Thomas is a 20-year-old nerd and short-order cook who has one distinguishing characteristic…he can see dead people.  Odd always uses his gift for good and he is stretched to the limit when an unimaginable evil is about to be unleashed on the small desert community of Pico Mundo.  We will read, write, discuss and learn about the ingredients that make a good book.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Poster-child of the psychedelic sixties, Ken Kesey, takes us into the depths of a mental ward in this classic of American literature.  The story is narrated from the perspective of Chief Bromden, a seemingly deaf and mute, giant Native American man who tells us the tale of Randle Patrick McMurphy a wild, gambling, fun-loving patient who wreaks havoc on the established order of the mental hospital by pretending to be insane.  The struggle for power that ensues makes us question the sanity of a society that could create such a place.

Class time will be devoted to reading and discussing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Class discussions will be drawn from the text and will include the over-arching theme of mental-illness

Essential Questions: What happens in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?  What is the context of this novel and why was it important then, and now?  What is mental illness?  How does a mental institution work?  Are there effective “cures” for mental illness?  Where do you stand in the debate about who is “sane” and who is “insane?” Who was Ken Kesey and what was the 1960’s counterculture all about? Who is really crazy, the rule-makers or the rule-breakers?

Do we control our technological society or does it ultimately control us?

What happens to people when they live in a completely artificial environment?  

What does it mean to be free in a world governed by a relentless but elusive machine?”

Right Behind You By Gail Giles

Enduring Understanding: Learning to enjoy a high interest book. For more reluctant readers, Right Behind You provides an enjoyable, relatively easy read focusing on issues relevant to modern teenagers.

Essential Questions: How do you make it through difficult, sometimes horrific traumas in your life? Can you ever start again? Can you ever forget? Can you ever forgive?

Book Description: Kip McFarland is living with a painful secret. If it ever gets out his life is ruined. If he doesn’t get it out he will never be able to move forward with honesty. This is the story of a young man’s journey to break free of his past.

The Secret Life of Bees

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens’ attempt to reclaim her life from a childhood of motherless neglect. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and violence, the book deals with relationships and the core impulses that drive people throughout their lives. Lily’s search leads her to the discovery of the Black Madonna and the divine feminine.

A Taste of Salt

A short, easy to read novel about youth living on the streets in Haiti, and their growing political awareness.   On his deathbed as a result of a politically motivated beating,  Djo tells his story about life on the street, his kidnapping and time spent as a slave laborer in the Dominican Republic, and his return to Haiti and his commitment to challenging Haiti’s corrupt government.  

Enduring Understanding If people from the US could empathize with poorer people of the world, there would be greater understanding, and more desire to make the world more equal.  It takes enormous courage from everyday people to rise up against dictators and unjust governments.  It takes guts to stand up and fight for your principles.  

Essential Questions:  What would it be like to be a young person living on the streets of a very poor country?

What would make you be motivated to stand up to unfair governments, even if it meant risking your life?

Touching the Void

Essential Question: “Can the quest for survival keep people alive when faced with seemingly insurmountable physical obstacles?”

This book is a wild ride of adventure, disaster, and the quest for survival.  It is the true story of two English climbers attempting to scale a 20,000-foot peak in Peru, when it all unravels.  We will also watch an amazing documentary film about this same story.  It’s a great book!

The Translator by Daoud Hari

The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world, an on – the- ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time: the brutal genocide under way in Darfur.

In 2003, Daoud Hari, a Zaghawa tribesman, was among the hundreds of thousands of villagers attacked and driven from their homes by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups. Though Hari’s village was burned to the ground, his family decimated and dispersed, he himself escaped, eventually finding safety across the border. With his high school knowledge of languages, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. In doing so he had to return to the heart of darkness and risk his life again and again to save others.

Essential Questions: What is genocide? How do different cultures influence societies? What are some of the root causes of the conflict in Darfur? How did the African farmers and Arab nomads live together before the conflict? What are the similarities to other conflicts around the world? How can these conflicts be prevented in the future, particularly in light of global warming?


Water for Elephants 

Essential Questions: “How much can a 90 year old really remember?” “What is the role of faithfulness and loyalty in your life?” “Is it moral to love someone even if that person is taken.  Even if that relationship is unhealthy?”

This novel by Sara Gruen is a must read story about a 90 year old man remembering his days with a circus during The Great Depression.  Love, morality, self worth, greed, independence, elephants, midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks are all important parts of the book!



The Phantom Tollbooth

The Tempest


History: America, Who’s your Daddy?

Everybody has a Father, some you love, some not so much but no one loves their daddy’s more than America.  Find out why you guys and girls are probably the luckiest young people in the world.  Find out about the incredibly huge men who shaped America into a global superpower and why they continue to speak to us today!

Essential Questions

Who are these Founding Fathers?  What did they believe?  What did they want for America?  Why are we still talking about them today?

Civics: Election

Essential Questions

“What do we mean by all men are created equal?” “Are the rights of women and minorities safeguarded?” “Does the US Government have too many constitutional checks and balances?” “Does the president possess adequate –or too much- power over war making and         foreign policy?”

A recently passed Colorado law requires that all students take an 80-hour course in Civics before being allowed to graduate.  Civics is the study of citizenship (the rights and duties of citizens) and government.  This 40 hour Social Studies course will meet half of the state requirement.  We will get to follow upcoming elections, and try to make the material interesting and relevant to you.  There will also be some guest


Civics: Community Organizing

Class Description:

We will begin with a look at some of the great community organizers of the past and present including Dorothy Day, Saul Alinsky, César Chávez, Huey P. Newton, Mother Jones, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Nader and Barack Obama.  We will study some of the galvanizing issues around which they organized and how they met with the challenges to their efforts from forces opposed to them.

Essential Questions: What makes for a good community?  What are some methods for strengthening community?  Why strengthen community?  Whose responsibility is it to organize one’s community?  How do you decide who is or who isn’t a part of any given community?  Who are some of the great community organizers of the past and present?  What methods of community organizing did they use?

Civics w/Foreign Policy & Geography: Current Events

Class Description

Through the reading of a variety of articles from a variety of resources we will locate, select and make use of relevant information. We will know the political relationship of the United States and its citizens to other nations and to world affairs. We will have discussions that will allow us to form and express our own opinion and the world around us.

Enduring Understanding

As a young adult it is important to understand the events in the world so that individual decisions can be made with the understanding of its effects on others. It is important to understand more about the world around us.

Essential Questions

What do I already know and what do I want to learn? What is happening in my world today and how does it affect me? How do my decisions affect other people?

SS Topics: Existentialism- What is Philosophy?

Essential Questions:

What is philosophy and how do we already use it everyday?  What is existentialism and why is it important?   Why do we think the way we do, and have people always thought this way? How do we know if something is true? What gives our lives meaning? To what extent do we choose our lives and to what extent are they chosen for us

Summary: Philosophy is about asking big questions, questions that may or may not have satisfactory answers but nevertheless affect everything we do.  In this course, we will explore the basics of philosophy by focusing on the existential “movement” of the last century, which attempted to ask big questions about existence, choices, freedom, responsibility, beliefs and death.  We will briefly review the history of philosophy and explore the roots of these ideas that are still very prevalent in our culture today.  By looking at existential themes in writing, music, and film, we will try to determine what existentialism is and what it means to our lives.

Civics: Service Learning--Faith In A Seed

Class Description: You're walking up the hill and look over at your handiwork.  The garden is taking shape and you and your friends have had a big part in making it look good.  The sun is shining and you’re happy to be outside working the earth, replenishing the soil, reconnected with the stuff that matters, the source of all life, mother earth.  Even if you spend, no, especially if you spend most of your free time manipulating pixels on a digital screen you will find these two hours a week some of the most energizing—even though they require a lot of energy.  It’s funny but true, the more energy you put into wholesome outdoor things like gardening the more energy you have.  Strange, I know, but there’s only one way to find out.  Have faith in yourself and faith in those little seeds we’ll be tossing into the ground and nourishing into healthy plants.

Enduring Understanding:  Where does the food I eat come from, and what does it take to make it grow?

Essential Questions:  Why is it important to know how to grow my own food?  What are some of the growing conditions in the Roaring Fork Valley that I have to be aware of to grow a healthy crop of vegetables locally?

History: Modern US History (Forrest Gump)

Enduring Understanding

The 60’s and 70’s were a defining two decades in American society.  Fundamental change occurred that affects your life today.  It’s important to understand the themes that run through this time so you can better navigate a very complex 21st century world.

Essential Questions

The Vietnam War, why did we get in, what were the results, and what did we learn?  

How did the Civil Rights movement and Black Power transform our society?

What did we learn about politics and our government from the Watergate scandal?

What were the enduring effects of the hippies and the Peace Movement?

General Description

With the movie as a backdrop we will explore the historic themes that run through this terrific film; the Vietnam War, the Peace Movement, Civil Rights and Black Power, the Watergate scandal and more.  Come along for a great ride through the 60’s and 70’s

Civics w/ Government: Fundamentals of American Democracy (FAD)

Class Description

High School Students are now required by Colorado Law to take a full semester of Civics. Civics is the study of citizenship and government. We will study a variety of governments focusing on the United States government and how it functions.

Enduring Understanding

A successful democracy depends on the participation of its citizens. Being active and being a responsible participant can lead to a more tolerant and peaceful world. A national and global citizen must understand how political power is used and shared around the world. Foreign Policy decisions have an effect on the rest of the world.

Essential Questions

What is Government? Why do we need Governments? Who has the power? What is a democracy? What is Citizenship? What are the rights of Citizens? What are the Responsibilities of citizens?

fulfills Civics

Geography: World Perspective

Enduring Understanding:

With the recent advances in technology and communication, the world appears to have become much smaller. Countries of the world are longer isolated, and they must work cooperatively in order to promote peace and face environmental and social challenges.  Improving your knowledge of the rest of the world (including where things are and how people live) is essential to be a productive and responsible world citizen.  According to recent studies, "Americans scored second to last (among developed countries) on overall geographic knowledge.”

Essential Questions:

Where is China?  Why is China such an important world player?

Is it true that half of the world lives in poverty?  What is it like to live in poverty?  Should the richer countries of the world share more with the rest of the world?  Do other religions of the world have much larger followings than Christianity?  How do other people live? What knowledge should we learn about other countries in order to understand them better?

Class Description

This class will involve: guest presenter slideshows, youtube videos, discussions, readings, games, mapwork, pen pals and movies.  One movie will be Slumdog Millionaire (oscar winner for best picture 2008).

SS Topics: Green Acres…it’s the place to be!

Essential Question:  Why should we care about farming and food production as long as City Market doesn’t shut down? What does it have to do with me?  Why should I care?

Join me on a historical adventure, looking at the origins, growth, problems and issues that surround farming and food production in the United States. From the single- family farm to the corporate mega-farm conglomerates. From simple, natural food to genetically engineered groceries.  It will be a wild ride!

History: Last 100 Years

Enduring Understanding

Our world has changed incredibly over the last 100 years.  Most of the things you interact with every day, were not available a century ago. It is important to realize how dynamic our world is, and how events and inventions have influenced us.  If we can learn from the past, we will be better prepared to deal with the present and plan for the future. “Those who have not learned from past mistakes are destined to repeat them.”

Essential Questions

What are the major events and trends of the last 100 years that helped to shape our world? How different is today’s world from the world of only 100 years ago?  Can history be interesting?

Class Description

The class will explore modern history.  We will look at inventions, events, and giant trends that have influenced our society, and the state of the world as we know it. We can focus on decades which students are most interested in learning about.  The class will involve: movie clips, music, discussions, and digital media projects.

Civics w/ Foreign Policy & Geography: Latin American--Focus Mexico

This class will focus primarily on the history of Mexico. We will study the ancient civilizations of the indigenous people and understand how things changed with the arrival of the conquistadores. We will study culture and cultural diversity: Sociology, anthropology, psychology, and other sciences teach us that human and societal development is a complex process. We will study the cultural exchange and human interactions and understand the impact that these exchanges have on societies. We will begin with the ancient indigenous cultures of Mexico ending with current day. We will study the current politics, cultural diversity, socio-economics and corruption.

Essential Questions: How do different cultures influence societies? How have human societies changed over time? What similarities and differences are there within and between cultures? How does the geography of the land impact societies? What are some of the current issues in Mexico? How can they be solved? What should the United States do to help?

Economics: The New Economy & Understanding Current Events

Enduring Understandings

The world is changing.  We are becoming hot, flat, and crowded.  Economies and economic thought is turning inside out.  Climate change is a reality and will affect everyone’s lives in ways you have never imagined. Human activities change and impact the global environment. We have a new president who will be facing enormous challenges in his role as a world leader.  To keep up with all this change you need to be able to find, read, and understand information from a variety of sources.  

Essential Questions

What’s going on with our economy?  How does this compare with past economic ‘downturns’? How does climate change affect the economy and how can the economy affect climate change? Where can I find credible news sources? How do I read about complex issues and understand them?

Class Description

Where do you get your news?  What is a reliable news source and how can you possibly find out enough information to really understand the issues facing our country and planet?  Why is our economy taking a nosedive and what can we do about it?  This will be an interactive class.  You will be expected to participate by finding and presenting news stories that help us understand what is going on.  We will attempt to use the Internet and other sources to gather and discuss news stories. We might even create a ‘wiki’ so that all class members will have access to articles and be able to post their comments online.

History: A Photoshop Perspective

Essential Questions

“What are some important historical images that you should be aware of, and what is the history surrounding these images?”   “Are most of the pictures you see everyday real anymore?”  “How easy is it to distort reality by digitally manipulating photographs?”

Learn how to use the amazingly powerful photo-editing program “Adobe Photoshop” while earning history credit. “ Too good to be true” you say? But it is true!  You will look at important historical images and learn the actual history behind them, and then you will change the picture through the magic of Photoshop, and create a new history for that photo.

Geography & Economics: Politics of Hunger

Class Description

Over 20,000 children die each day of hunger related illnesses.  These deaths are preventable.  This class will explore how world politics relate to world poverty and hunger. We will look at how rich countries exploit poor countries and keep them in poverty, and we will discuss steps that can be taken to make things more equitable.  

Enduring Understandings  The world is not fair.  Rich countries control most of the world’s wealth and food production.    The rich countries have too much food, while poor countries have too little.  Citizens of the U.S. should be educated on this topic in order to enact changes to make things more equal.

Essential Questions Is there enough food in the world? Why is there hunger and poverty in world of plenty? Does increasing a country’s food production decrease hunger and poverty in a country? What is the difference between “famine” and “chronic hunger”? How does scarcity of food relate to scarcity of democracy? Do richer countries and large corporations benefit from keeping much of the world in poverty and   hunger? What are steps we can take to decrease hunger and poverty in the world?

SS Topics: Powers of Myth

Essential Questions “Are there similarities in the stories that different cultures have told throughout history?”

Every culture throughout history tells it’s own stories (our culture included).  Sometimes these stories are told through literature, religion, science, and the media.  This class will look at the ongoing role of myths in human society.   We will explore the idea of myths associated with Christianity, as well as Native American myths, and even traditional myths woven into the “Star Wars” movies.  

SS Topics: Psychology 101 (Introduction)

Enduring Understandings

Human behavior is worth studying because it helps us understand ourselves and others.

Essential Questions 

What is psychology? Why do people do what they do? How can understanding psychology help your life?

Class Description

In intro to psychology will we explore the important theories and people that shaped psychology.  We will discuss theories and students will decide which ones they like the best.  We will also cover diagnosis, and determine if labels help or hurt people.  

History: Revolutions, The World’s Adolescence

Essential Questions

Who are the revolutionaries?  Why are they angry?  What do they want?  Who are they fighting?  How’s it end?  What does that revolution mean to me today?

What is it about you teenagers?  Never satisfied!  “ I want freedom, I want independence, I want to make my own decisions, I’m sick of the man telling me what to do!”  So you want to rebel?  Join the club ya little terrorists!  I mean the historic, world shaping, groaning of whole societies club. This class follows 4 world-changing revolutions: The American, The French, The Russian, and the Mexican.

Geography & Economics: The Ten Poorest Countries In the World

Enduring Understanding

We live in a global community. All of us who live on this planet are dependent on each other, and global poverty affects us all, whether we know it or not. As Americans, we must look beyond our borders and our materialistic/consumer driven society and see what life is really like for a huge percentage of the world. Only in seeing and understanding the suffering and devastating effects of hunger and poverty can we begin to recognize our part in the problem but also our part in the solution.


Essential QuestionS

What are the 10 poorest countries in the world? Where are they located? How do people live in those countries? What are the reasons for the poverty? What does the future hold for these countries? What is being done to help? What can I do to help?

Civics: Service Learning-How Do You Lend A Helping Hand?

Class description It’s the satisfaction of turning around at the end of the day and seeing a job, no matter how big or small, well done.  Whether we’re fixing fences, painting sheds, picking up litter, repairing equipment, raking grounds you will be able to step back at the end of the day with a deep sigh know that you’ve made a difference.  That and the required service learning hours for graduation will be the reward for digging deep into your generous, volunteering soul and lending a helping hand around the Yampah grounds and perhaps further afield as spring turns into summer.

Enduring Understanding: It actually feels good to give of myself and my time to help make things better for other people.

Essential Question: What are the things around school (and other public places) that need my help and attention to make our community a better place?

History: World Shakers of the 19th Century

During the 1800s there were three people who completely turned the world upside down.  What they talked about was so radical and so different from the way humans were thinking, that they completely shook up the world.  Over 100 years later their ideas are still shaking things up.  These World Shakers who you will learn about are: Charles Darwin (Evolution), Sigmund Freud (Psychology/Human Behavior), and Karl Marx (Politics/Communism)

Western Civilization, Antiquity to 1500

Enduring Understanding: What can we learn from the past? What are the themes that continue across time? How has the past influenced our present.

Essential Questions: How have modern political, religious and social institutions been developed from, and been affected by, those same institutions in the past? What can we learn from the mistakes of the past? Has the western world evolved to a better place, or are we doomed to simply repeat the mistakes of the past.

Class Description: We will tour Ancient Greece and Rome, explore the Middle Ages, and watch as the world blossoms in the Renaissance.


Spanish I (1st, 2nd & 3rd Trimesters)

Enduring Understanding- Use of the Spanish language is growing at an unbelievable rate in our country.  Knowing some basic Spanish will help you to communicate better in your school, your workplace, and your community.  Also, you can travel cheaply to many Spanish speaking countries and experience wonderfully rich cultures.  Knowing some Spanish will only make your trip that much more interesting.    

Essential Questions- What are some basic phrases in Spanish?  How do you count in Spanish?  How do you tell time in Spanish? What is some important Spanish vocabulary to know.  Is Spanish easier than English?  How do you conjugate verbs in Spanish?  

Class Description- 1T

Class will involve verbal and written practice, penpals, film clips, making a short movies in Spanish, Jeopardy, and possibly listening to some of the immigrant stories of your fellow classmates.

Class Description- 1T & 2T

This class is a continuation of the first quarter Spanish class, but new students are welcome.  It will involve verbal and written practice, pen-pals, film clips, making a short movies in Spanish, Jeopardy, and possibly listening to some of the immigrant stories of your fellow classmates.

Class Description– 2T

This class is a continuation of the first and second quarter Spanish class.  It will involve verbal and written practice, pen pals, film clips, making a short movies in Spanish, Jeopardy, and possibly listening to some of the immigrant stories of your fellow classmates.

Class Description– 3T (For continuing Spanish I students- Instructor approval)

We will try to mix it up this quarter with more projects.  Students will make some short movies in Spanish, continue email exchanges with students in Spain, and get the opportunity to listen to some of the immigrant stories of several Yampah students.

Enduring Understandings- If you have completed 3 quarters of Yampah Spanish 1, you only have one more quarter to complete your transcript requirements.  Knowing some Spanish could open new opportunities regarding friends, work, travel and community.

Essential Questions 4Q- What has it been like for some Yampah students to be raised in another country and immigrate to the US?   How can we keep practicing so we don’t forget the Spanish we have learned?  

The Renaissance Mind – Who is da Vinci Anyway?

Essential Questions:

What is the Renaissance?  What’s so special about Leonardo da Vinci? Are we in a renaissance now?

This class will focus on gaining an overview of the Renaissance, some of its great thinkers, personalities, and artists.  We will examine this phase of human consciousness and consider the effects it has had in our lives in the present day. We will pay particular attention to da Vinci, his ideas and inventions, and maybe test some of his theories.

Language/Culture Study

Essential Questions

“Why are there so many languages in the world?” “What is culture?” “How can you communicate with another person who doesn’t speak the same language?”

Have you ever wanted to travel?  Learn other languages?  Or just be more informed about the diverse peoples of the world?  Then this class is for you!!!  This class will have a language and culture focus, and will be fine tuned by what YOU want to learn.  

Comparative Religion – The Search For God

Despite differences in time and culture, humankind has consistently believed in a divine energy that both creates and supports life. Searches have led to beliefs, and beliefs have been organized into religions. This class will explore various belief systems from the ancient to the modern.  

Comparative Religion II

Essential Questions

What are the essential beliefs and philosophies of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam? What are some similarities and differences between them? Which religion speaks the most strongly to you?

The previous class laid the groundwork for this class by focusing on ancient religions. This class will focus on the major religions of our modern world. We will examine their essential beliefs and sacred texts in order to understand and appreciate each religion in its own right.

Culture Through Movies

Movies are such a huge part of our lives and culture, but why?  What do we watch?  Why do we watch?  Do movies have any value?  We will watch movies and discuss these questions amongst others.  

Note – popcorn not included, but we’re open to suggestions!

The Middle East I; Muslims, Jews, Oil and why America is hated...-

Essential Question:

Is war and strife in the Middle East inevitable? Justified? What is behind these problems?

Together let's explore, learn and hopefully gain a little understanding to the incredibly complex issues that have made the, "cradle of civilization", such a wild and crazy place.  We will be weaving together threads of history, geography, religion and current events to gain insight into a region that you, your children and your grandchildren are going to be dealing with.

The Mess In the Middle East (II)

Enduring Understanding:

We Americans don’t live in a bubble.  What happens in this one part of the world has tremendous consequence for our lives and future. The United States, for better or worse, has played and will continue to play a crucial role in this very complex and volatile region.  

Essential Questions:

What are the problems facing the Middle East and what are their historic roots?  Why does the Muslim world hate Israel and the Jews.  Why does Israel hate the Muslim world?  Why does the Muslim world hate America? Is America part of the solution or part of the problem?

Class Description:

Through a variety of readings, videos, discussions and speakers we will be exploring the historical, geographical, political and religious issues that have influenced the region and significantly impacted our life here in America.

This class is open to all students,

including those who have and have not taken Middle East I.

Culture Through Food

Essential Questions

In what ways do eating habits differ throughout the world? How has a culture’s food preparation and eating habits been affected by geography and religion? What are some distinctive differences? Can we cook effectively in different styles? How have regional eating and cooking habits been affected by globalization?

We will explore these questions and more in this class. Students will be expected to do research, cooking, and writing to get credit for this class.


Algebra I

Trimester 1:

Topics Covered:  Unit analysis, converting between fractions/decimals/percents, scientific notation, exponents, variables and expressions, and solving equations.  

Essential Questions:  “How might we show the results of an experiment graphically?” “How can numbers (data) lie or mislead?” “Why do we have/use math formulas and rules?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?”

Trimester 2:

        Topics Covered:  Solving linear equations and linear inequalities, slope, and linear relationships represented by tables, graphs and equations.  

Essential Questions:  “How might we show the results of an experiment graphically?” “How do Algebra and Geometry relate?” “How do I find and use a method that works for me?”

Trimester 3:

        Topics Covered:  Parallel and perpendicular lines, graphing linear inequalities, and systems of equations using the three methods of graphing, substitution, and addition.  

Essential Questions:  “How might we show the results of an experiment graphically?” “How can numbers (data) lie or mislead?” “What skills do I need to prepare me for college math?”  “How can I represent real-world situations mathematically/algebraically?”

Advanced Algebra

This class will be a continuation of Algebra I. We will continue solving basic equations and improving our skills in graphical representations of data. We will review linear systems and linear inequalities, learn about functions, and start working with quadratic equations and polynomials.  This class is meant to prepare students for the next step: college math classes.    

Trimester 1:

Topics Covered:  Unit analysis, evaluating and simplifying expressions, functions and function notation, solving inequalities, absolute value, and using algebraic knowledge to write equations to model real-world situations.  

Essential Questions:  “How can relationships be analyzed with tables, graphs and equations?” “Why are relations and functions represented in multiple ways?”  “What phenomena can be modeled with particular functions?”  “Why do different types of equations require different types of solution processes?”   “How do symbolic transformations affect an equation, inequality, or expression?”  “How can I represent real-world situations mathematically/algebraically?”


Trimester 2:

        Topics Covered:  Systems of Equations using three methods, graphing systems of inequalities, multiplying binomials, and graphing quadratic equations.

 Essential Questions:  “How do symbolic transformations affect an equation, inequality, or expression?”  How can relationships be analyzed with tables, graphs and equations?” “Why are relations and functions represented in multiple ways?” “How can I represent real-world situations mathematically/algebraically?”

Trimester 3:

        Topics Covered:  Solving quadratic equations by factoring, quadratic formula, square roots and completing the square, complex number operations, and graphing polynomials.

Essential Questions: “What phenomena can be modeled with particular functions?”  “Why do different types of equations require different types of solution processes?” “How are operations and operational relationships important when solving multivariable equations?”

Geometry I

Geometry is found everywhere: in art, architecture, engineering, robotics, land surveys, astronomy, sculptures, space, nature, sports, machines, cars and much more.

Trimester 1:

Topics Covered:  Geometry basics (symbols, definitions, etc), segment addition, angles, midpoint and distance on coordinate graphs, area, perimeter, circumference and surface area.  

Essential Questions:  


Trimester 2:

        Topics Covered:  3D objects (identify and classify), triangle properties, congruent triangles, and similar triangles.

Essential Questions:  

Trimester 3:

        Topics Covered:  Parallel lines and transversals, quadrilaterals, transformations, and circles.  

Essential Questions:

Math Foundations: Numbers Sense, Fractions, Decimals, Percents oh my!!

Enduring Understanding:

Let’s lose the idea that math has to be feared and dreaded.  Fractions, decimals, and percents are used everyday in many different ways and it’s important to become comfortable with them. It is not as hard as you think!

Essential Questions: How do we use fractions, decimals and percents in our everyday life?  How does this knowledge help us move on to higher math?  


Class Description:

Using real life problems, text resources, hands-on assignments and lots of practice we will solve the mystery of these pesky math cousins.

Fun Math + duh math + mental math = Fundamental Math

Enduring Understanding

You will understand basic computation skills, fractions, decimals, and percents.  You will understand how to use these skills in real life application.

Essential Questions

What are the math basics you need to know to make it into adulthood? How do you add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions and decimals? How are they related and useful in daily living? How do you understand and apply percents to real life?

General Description

Ya hate it, you've never been good at it, but ya know you have to know a little of it.  We can do it together with minimal pain. This course will continue to help strengthen your basic skills in math.  These skills are crucial for your future independence, helping you in many real life situations.

Statistics: How to Lie with Statistics

Essential Questions

“How does data analysis help in making informed decisions?” “Why is it important that the collection and representation of data is accurate and not misleading?” “How can numbers (data) lie or mislead?”

This class will start with the basics of probability and statistics.  We will also do a lot with graphs and learn how to interpret data.  Become wise to how easily you can lie (or be lied to) using graphs.  

Personal Financial Literacy, Do the Math Dude!

Enduring Understanding

It’s a big, expensive world out there and once you leave home there’s no one looking after you.  Yikes!!  If you don’t know how to take care of yourself financially it’s going to be a long, hard life.

Essential Questions

What skills do I need to have to successfully live on my own? How do I make and follow a budget? How do I open a bank account? How do I get a loan? How do I buy a car? How do I get and keep a job?

Class Description

It’s a big and scary world out there and there’s not always a safety net to save you from absolute economic disaster.  Learn the skills you will need to find and keep a job, manage your money, and live happily ever after.

Math Foundations I

Essential Questions  “What is a number?” “Why do we have negative numbers?” “When is estimation better than counting?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?”

This class will be designed to fill in the gaps in a student’s basic math knowledge.  We will work on identifying how we visualize numbers, positive/negative numbers, place values and basic operations.

Math Foundations II

Essential Questions”What is number sense?” “When is estimation better than counting?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?”

This class will be a continuation of Foundations I. We will continue to explore basic number sense.  Specifically, we will work on fractions, ratio, proportion and percents.

Math Fundamentals, The Saga Continues

Essential Question:  What do we really need to know about math that will get us through the day to day of our life after high school?

It doesn’t get much better than this!  Get on board this fast moving train that is going to prepare you for your future with real life math skills.  This is the highly anticipated sequel to the enormously successful math fundamentals course from last quarter. Don’t be the only one of your friends to miss out!

Math Lab

This class is intended to be available to students who feel that they need more time to understand and practice the concepts that are learned in other math classes.  It can also be used as a time to create and work on independent math passages, particularly higher-level maths.

Pre-Algebra I

Essential Questions “How might we show the results of an experiment graphically?” “Why do we have/use math formulas and rules?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?” “What is number sense?” “When is estimation better than getting an exact answer?”  “How will I use this in my life?”

This class will be a continuation of Math Fundamentals I & II.  We will continue to work on number sense and work our way into ratios, proportions and percents. This class will focus more on the fundamentals needed to solve real world problems.  We will work with fractions, ratios, proportions, and percents as well as reading, creating and analyzing different graphs. This will be real world stuff that you will actually use in your everyday lives!

Pre-Algebra II

Essential Questions –“How do I find and use a method that works for me?” “Why do we have/use math formulas and rules?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?”

This class will be a continuation of Pre-Algebra I.  We will continue to work on number sense and work our way into ratios and proportions.  This will be real world stuff that you will actually use in your everyday lives!

Pre-Algebra III

Essential Questions “How might we show the results of an experiment graphically?” “Why do we have/use math formulas and rules?” “Is there always an exact correct answer in math?”

This class will be a continuation of Pre-Algebra I & II.  We will continue to work on number sense and work our way into ratios, proportions and percents.  This will be real world stuff that you will actually use in your everyday lives!  Let’s keep up the great work that you started the first part of the year

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

STEM: Construction Math

Essential Questions

“How can you keep a project within budget?” “What concepts/skills do I need to have to get a job in construction?” “How do I formulate and test a hypothesis about a construction project to accomplish a goal and stay within budget?”

This class will focus on the basic concepts and computations that it takes to be a part of the construction world.  We will break down different aspects of building such as wiring/electrical, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, etc. There will also be discussion & integration of budgeting in the construction world. This is real world stuff!  

STEM: Dome Sweet Dome

Essential Questions “How does one achieve maximum area with the least amount of materials?” “How can principles of energy and material efficiency relate to the fields of architecture, engineering and design?”

This class will explore the history and practical uses of domes.  (This relates to the greenhouse project because our greenhouse will be a 22’ diameter dome.)  We will learn about the inventor of the geodesic dome, Buckminster Fuller.   All sorts of fun things will follow; guest speakers, field trips and building models.  If you like hands on math, take this class!  

STEM: Build Your Own Bike—2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad

Enduring Understanding

Bikes are a simple, cheap and simple form of transportation that don’t require a license or constant feeding of fossil fuels to help you move from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.  They are a non-polluting form of transportation.

Essential Questions What are the basic components of a bicycle and how do they work? How can I take a non-working bicycle and make it functional? How can my bike mechanic skills help me in the rest of my life (Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance)?

Class Description

Build your own bike.  If you have an old clunker bike at home this will be a great opportunity to get it up and running.  If you don’t own a bike, we can find you one.  We will be learning the basics of bike mechanics while rebuilding and decorating your bike.  At the end of the class you will have a functioning and stylin’ ride.  

You will be responsible for buying your own supplies (chains, tires, paint, etc)—the cost may be as much as $50.  This class is limited to 8 students.

STEM: Computer Tech

Essential Question

What is the best way (for me) to use the amazing power of a computer to make my life at school and outside of school better?

This class will focus on the many different ways a computer and the internet can be used to create things, to learn things, to buy and sell things, to share things and otherwise while-away a life in front of a pixelated screen.   Actually, there are many practical and valuable uses for the computer and internet, but how do you get past all the commercial distractions and the mindless time vaporizers to find stuff that is useful to you.  Did you know that large parts of the curriculum from major universities is available for free on the internet?  Do you know what all the software that comes loaded on a computer does?  Do you know what open-source software is, how it is developed, how to get it and why it’s important to support these creative efforts?

STEM: Energy Efficient Building

Enduring Understanding

Designing and building homes that use less energy is the environmentally and economically smart thing to do.  You can save energy and $$$$ at the same time.

Essential Questions

How do we use energy in our homes? How can we lower energy use in the home? What are the elements of building design? How can we design energy efficient buildings?

Class Description

We will examine how buildings use energy (electricity, natural gas, etc.).  You will have the opportunity to visit some buildings that have been designed to minimize that use.  As a final class project you will be building a model home that will be part of our energy efficient town. We will even attempt to electrify the town, using a variety of alternative energy solutions

STEM: GIS Maps/Mapping Your World

Enduring Understandings

We can use technology to both create and answer questions about our planet.

Essential Questions

How do I use Google Earth to answer specific questions? How do I use a GIS mapping program? What types of information can I use to create a map? What should guide our decision-making about the use of natural resources? What are some of the environmental, social, and economic impacts that result when natural resources are developed and used?

Class Description

Learn to use a GIS (geographic information systems) program to create and analyze maps and data. You will learn to use Google Earth to examine landforms and our impact on the planet.  You will also learn to use a GIS mapping program to look at world population and climate trends.  It’s not as boring as it sounds!!  You get to use computers to produce all sorts of colorful maps while learning about some pretty cool technology.


Earth Science: Bipolar Science

Enduring Understanding

What happens at the poles does NOT stay at the poles. What happens in your home geographic region does NOT stay in your home geographic region. The Polar Regions impact our lives on a daily basis—and our lives impact the poles.

Essential Questions

How do the Polar Regions act as weather generators? What is life like in the arctic and Antarctic?  How are they the same?  How are they different? What is the geography of the Polar Regions? The planet is heating up.  How will that impact the poles and what does that mean for us? How do scientists study Polar Regions?

General Description 

This class will cover a wide range of topics related to science in general and polar science in particular.  We will be looking at the similarities and differences between the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  The topics will include geography, meteorology, biology, human history, and exploration of these regions. We will also look at how our daily lives might be impacting the Polar Regions and what the long-term impacts on our lives might be.

Earth Science: Environmental Philosophy & Literature

Essential Question

What is Environmentalism? Are we are environmentalists? Who were the first environmentalists? How do we assess use or abuse of our environment?


Essential Questions

What is earth?  How has she evolved?  

Earth Science: Inconvenient Truth

Essential Questions

What is the truth about climate change and global warming and is it an inconvenience or an opportunity?  How can people reduce the adverse effects of environmental problems on our global ecosystem?

Our climate is changing—that’s a fact that most of the world has come to recognize.  How much of this change is due to human activities and how much is just…change…a natural part of earth’s systems?  How do we know it is changing?  What kinds of changes are happening now and what can we expect in the future?  How do my actions play a role in those changes?  What can I do to shape the future for a healthy planet?  

In this class we will be learning about the latest and greatest in climate research through a variety of experiments and activities and, perhaps, a few field trips and/or guest speakers.  You will be asked to examine your own choices and opportunities as you investigate climate change.

Earth Science: We Care Solar

Class Description

WE CARE Solar promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication, and bloodbank refrigeration using solar electricity.  In this class you will be working with an instructor from Solar Energy International to construct 2 ‘solar suitcases’ (portable solar lighting kits) that will be sent to clinics in Nigeria.  You will learn about solar electricity and actually build the lighting systems from components.

Enduring Understanding

Women die in childbirth as a direct result of inadequate and/or unreliable electricity in medical clinics in Nigeria (and other developing nations).  Solar energy is one means of providing them with a more reliable source of electricity for lighting and communication.

Essential Questions Why does Nigeria have one of the highest rates of mother mortality during birth? How does solar electricity ‘work’? What are the components of a solar electric system?What skills do I need to build a solar electric system?

Earth Science: Renewable Energy- Wind & Solar

Class Description

In this class you will be learning about renewable energy generation with a focus on solar and wind power.  Besides learning about the basics of electrical generation we will be learning about how those technologies can be applied in developing countries to provide people with electricity.

Enduring Understanding

Electricity can change lives. Renewable energy technologies are one way to provide our world with sustainable sources of electricity.

Essential Questions

How do we make electricity from the sun?

How do we make electricity from wind?

How can electricity change  people’s lives?

How can we use these technologies to bring the ‘gift’ of electricity to developing countries?

Earth Science: Renewable Energy & Solar Cars

Essential Questions

How can we create electricity from the sun? What design features do we need to consider when designing a model solar car? Are solar cars (real cars) a practical alternative to our current cars? If solar is our future, what do we need to do to make it happen?

In this class we will be learning about electricity—how to make it and how we use it.  We will look at how electricity ‘works’ and how to generate electricity using renewable sources (sun and wind).  The class will be mostly hands-on—building, researching, and doing ‘stuff’.  We will be designing, building, and racing solar cars (small ones) as a class project.

In this class we will learn about photovoltaic electricity (solar electricity) and how it works.  Then you will design and build a small model solar car.  We will race these cars and do some design modification to get to the fastest design possible.

Earth Science: Natural Hazards

What is the difference between a hurricane and a monsoon?  What is a tornado or a hurricane and what causes them?  Why are some regions more prone to experiencing these storms?  Have you ever felt an earthquake?  What parts of the world experience earthquakes on a regular basis? The earth is a perilous place--learn to live with the ‘natural hazards’ of our planet.  

In this class you will learn about hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes by focusing on current news and using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) computer programs to create and manipulate maps about some of these hazards.

Earth Science: Climate & Meteorology

What’s the difference between climate and weather?  Learn about the world’s climate regions while studying the local, daily weather patterns.

Earth Science: Colorado Landforms

Earth Science: Water is Life

Earth Science: Eco-Schools--Transportation

Earth Science: Trash

Earth Science: Green Building

Life & Earth Science: Food Production- Can We Feed 9 Billion?

Class Description

Every day there are more people on this planet.  We are projected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050.  We all need to eat.   Almost 1 billion people go hungry every day right now—how will we feed an additional 2.5 billion?  In this class we will examine what it takes to produce food for the world and how we may need to change techniques, diets, and more if we want to be able to sustain food production in a world of 9 billion.  

Enduring Understandings

In 2050 there will be approximately 9 billion people on this planet.  What will it take to feed a world with 9 billion people?

Essential Questions

How many people are we feeding now?  How do we do it?

What will it take to feed 9 billion people a nutritionally sound diet?

Will we need to change what and how we eat?  

What technologies will we need to develop?  

Life & Earth Science: Global Supermarket

Essential Questions

How does my choice of food affect the global ecosystem?  What is the history of world food production and consumption?  What should guide our decision-making about the use of natural resources?

In this class we will examine a variety of topics around the theme of 'food'. We will look at the origins of agriculture and attempt to discover how we have evolved from small-scale farming to corporate farming (agribusiness).  We will also examine the interconnection between food choices and climate change.  If all this isn’t enough, we be cooking and eating our way through a variety of cultures.

Earth & Physical Science Topics: Avalanche Science  (class & trip)

Class Description

Avalanches kill or injure backcountry users each year.  They are not ‘mysterious and unpredictable’.  With the right tools and knowledge, you can make predictions about slope stability and evaluate your riding options. The purpose of this class is to provide tools that will enable the participant to become a more educated user of the backcountry.  You will learn the basics of snow science and avalanche hazard evaluation as a tool in planning backcountry excursions.  The class will include a 3-day backcountry hut trip.  There will be a charge for the hut trip ($85).

Enduring Understanding

With knowledge of terrain, snowpack history, and human behavior, backcountry travelers can make reasonable predictions that will allow for safe travel through avalanche terrain.

Essential Questions

What terrain factors do I need to consider when evaluating avalanche hazard? How can I use knowledge of snow and the history of the snowpack in evaluating avalanche terrain? What should I have in my pack when I venture out in the winter? How can I minimize my risk and still have fun when traveling in the backcountry in the winter? Are avalanches really ‘wild and unpredictable killers’?

Life Science: Anatomy (Human)

Enduring Understanding

The human body is an amazing thing.  It’s your body—you should know and understand how all those systems work and interact.

Essential Questions

What are the systems in the human body?  What are their components and functions? How do these systems interact? What happens when something goes ‘wrong’?  How do our bodies compensate?

Class Description

This class will cover the basic systems in the human body—musculoskeletal, digestive, nervous, reproductive, etc.  We will be creating life size drawings that will include all of these systems.

Life Science: Anatomy II (Human)-- Human Nutrition

Enduring Understanding

The human body is an amazing thing.  It’s your body—you should know and understand how all those systems work and interact.  

You are what you eat.

Essential Questions

What are the systems in the human body?  What are their components and functions?

How do these systems interact?

How does what I eat affect my body?

How has our fast-food lifestyle affected our physical and economic health?

What types of foods should I eat each day?

Class Description

We will be continuing our overview of human anatomy.  We will use this core knowledge to examine human nutrition and how what you eat and what you do affect your body. We will watch the movie Supersize Me and, look at our own food buying and eating habits, and examine the science behind nutrition.

 Students are welcome to join this class even if you didn’t take it 2nd quarter.

Life Science: Botany

Enduring Understanding

Botany is the study of plants and includes plant structure, function, systems, and ecology.  Green, growing things (plants) provide the essential life support systems for our planet.

Essential Questions

What is a plant?  What are the unique features that make a plant a plant? What are the parts of a plant and what are their functions? How do plants grow? How do plants make energy? How are plants classified?  What is the difference between a vascular and a nonvascular plant?  Why does this matter? How do plants reproduce?

General Description

Botany is the study of plants and includes plant structure, function, systems, and ecology.  In this class we will be studying all aspects of the plant world; their structure, function, classification, and relationships between plants and other living things.  We will be using the greenhouse as well as conducting some experiments and doing research to learn about plants.

Life Science: Integrated Science/Greenhouse Gardening

Class Description

Learn how to garden indoors and outside while planting a maintaining Yampah vegetable gardens.  Get dirt under your fingernails. We will be working in Yampah greenhouse and outside creating growing beds and a compost pile.

Enduring Understanding

You can grow food.

Essential Questions

How do you build a greenhouse? How does a greenhouse work? What do we want our greenhouse and garden area to look like? How do we build outside gardens? How do we make a bear-proof compost pile? What can we grow in our greenhouse? What can we grow outside? What do we need to do to maintain our greenhouse and outside gardens?

Life Science: Grow Ur Own

Essential Question

What food grows in our area?  What does it take to grow food in our area?

This class will travel to nearby organic farms to work—we will be harvesting and working at the farms.  In addition, we will work with Jerome Osentowski of the Colorado Permaculture Institute to design a greenhouse for our school.

Life Science: Horticulture I (TPP)

Class Description

Learn about a variety of plants and what they can be used for: eating, healing and decorating in and out of doors. Explore career opportunities in a variety of fields that involve the use of plants.

Enduring Understanding

With knowledge of plants students can make healthy choices for the rest of their life and learn how to support themselves

Essential Questions

What is horticulture?

What do I want to know?


Life Science & Health: Supersize Me

Enduring Understanding

What you eat has a direct impact on your lifelong health (what you put in your mouth will come back to bite you in the butt!).

Essential Questions

What types of foods do I eat each day? Is Ramen really the breakfast of champions? How has our fast-food lifestyle affected our physical and economic health? What types of foods should I eat each day?

Class Description

We will be looking at what you eat and how it affects your health and pocketbook.  We will watch the movies Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation, look at our own food buying and eating habits, and examine the science behind nutrition.

Life Science & Health: Yampah’s Biggest Loser

Essential Question

What are the benefits to our future wellness by practicing good nutrition now?"

Come join with Rick on an 8-week adventure of healthy nutrition!  Let's take a look at the unhealthy habits, the consequences down the line, and if you choose, try to do some things differently for two months.  You can do anything for 8 weeks!  Loads of guest speakers, great readings, and lively discussion on a very relevant topic!

Life Science: Dirt (Agronomy)

Life Science: Evolution

Life Science:  Worms Ate my Garbage (Decomposers)

Life Science: Invasive Species

Physical Science: Not-So-Simple Machines

Class Description

Machines are devices that help us do work.  You will learn about the 6 basic ‘simple machines’ and then be challenged to combine them into one ‘complex’ machine.  This class will be very hands-on—you will be designing and building a variety of machines for a variety of purposes.  You will be expected to participate in all activities and complete your machines.

Enduring Understanding

Simple machines are types of machines that do work with one movement. There are 6 simple machines; the inclined plane, the wedge, the screw, the lever, the pulley, and the wheel and axle. Complex machines are two or more simple machines working together. Machines make work easier by changing the size or direction of an applied force.

Essential Questions

What are the 6 simple machines? How do machines use energy to do work? How can you combine machines to create complex machines designed for a specific purpose?

Physical Science: Toast

Enduring Understanding

Electricity can be produced from a variety of sources.  Each one has specific environmental costs and benefits.  By knowing those costs and benefits we can make decisions about how we will use electricity each day.

Essential Questions: How much electricity does it take to make a piece of toast?  

What sources can we use to make that electricity?  What are the environmental costs/benefits for each of those possible sources?

Class Description

How much electricity does it take to make a piece of toast (or power your lights, charge your ipod, run your stereo….)?  Where does that electricity come from?  In this class you will learn the basics of electricity and how we use it each day.  You will learn how electricity is generated, conduct audits of how and where you use electricity, and learn about renewable energy sources. What happens if you burn that toast and throw it away??!!

Physical Science: Toast Lab

Class Description

How much electricity does it take to make a piece of toast?  Where does that electricity come from?  In this class you will learn the basics of electricity and how we use it each day.  You will learn how electricity is generated, and learn about renewable energy sources.  The focus of the class will be the creation of human-powered electricity generators.  We will also have speakers and field trips.  This class can be taken with the morning ‘Toast’ class or can be taken by itself for science credit.  

Enduring Understanding

Electricity can be produced from a variety of sources.  Each one has specific environmental costs and benefits.  By knowing those costs and benefits we can make decisions about how we will use electricity each day.

Essential Questions: How much energy does it take to make the electricity to make a piece of toast? How much electricity does it take to make a piece of toast?  

What sources can we use to make that electricity?  What are the environmental costs/benefits for each of those possible sources?

Can we generate that electricity by human-powered machines (hand cranked tools, bicycles, etc.)?  

Physical Science: Newton’s Laws

Physical Science: The Periodic Table

Physical Science: Are You Smarter than a Neanderthal? (Tools and Technology)

Physical Science: Motors and Magnets

Physical Science: Solar Cars

Science Investigations: Science Experiments

Essential Questions

“What are some of the characteristics of matter; the properties of air; the behavior of chemicals; the forms of energy; the effects of heat; the properties of light, sound and electricity; and the principles related to forces and motion on earth and in space.

In this class we will be conducting a broad range of simple scientific experiments in order to increase understanding of scientific principles.  We will learn more about the topics list above, and we will utilize class discussion to hopefully promote real understanding.  Students will create a simple “Write-Up” for each experiment done in class.



Art Around the School

Essential Questions:

What is a mural and how do we create one?  What is the value of art in our environment?  How can we create exciting and dynamic pieces of art that capture the soul of Yampah?

The plan is to make at least one mural and to create a large, interactive sculpture – my idea is a giant tree.  Come prepared to create and have fun.


This is a hand building class (not a throwing class).  We will work to master the different hand building techniques and to create a variety of original pieces of artwork.  This class is limited due to the size of the room – 14 maximum.  

There is a $15 for materials


Essential Questions

“Why is it important to know basic domestic skills?” “Are domestic skills becoming a thing of the past?  Why or why not?”

This elective class will teach student the basics of crocheting; including how to make basic stitches, how to read simple patterns and eventually creating finished products.

Decoupage and other Crafty Arts

Essential Questions

“How can art be used to express oneself?” “Why is art important in society?” “How can students at YMHS use materials that are cheap and readily available to express themselves through arts and crafts?”

We will be learning “the poor man’s art” of decoupage. Basically, you cut out pictures; you glue the pictures onto an object; and then cover the object and pictures with a few coats of glue to protect it.   We will start the quarter by decoupaging the protective plates that are around the light switches throughout the school.  Other projects will include decorating the kitchen door and whatever else your imagination can handle!


Awake your inner artist! Draw! Draw! Draw!  The hope of this class is to show you that if you can see, you can draw.  Good drawing is about capturing what you really see – not what you think you see.  We will do some basic drawing techniques and will use exercises from the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. 

Mural Painting

“Living your life creatively is the highest form of art.” –Renick Stevenson, YMHS Artist in Residence.  Design and paint mural boards for our hallways & community.  Beautify our school or neighborhood and leave a lasting memory for students to enjoy in the future.

Essential Questions:

“How can art be used to express oneself?” “Why is art important in society?” “How can students at YMHS use this mural to express our values?”


Black & White Photo I

Enduring Understanding

Black and white photography can produce beautiful and powerful images.  To find success, the photographer usually has to give adequate attention to light, composition and creativity, while understanding the developing process.

Essential Questions

“How does a non digital camera work?”  “How can you make a working camera with a shoe box?”  “What makes some black and white photographs more visually pleasing than others?”

Class Description

This class will focus on the Basics of black and white photography.  Students will learn how to use a camera, shoot film, develop negatives, make prints, and mount prints.   In addition to learning how to make the process work, we will be emphasizing how to make visually pleasing photos.

First ten students to pay $15 are in the class.  

This class is for students who have not previously taken Photo I

NOTE: If you have taken this class before, and you  want to work more independently, you should sign up for the class and we can arrange a time to work into your schedule.


On Stage/Performance Music

Essential Question: Do you want to be a rock star?

Let’s jam together while learning performance techniques

Prepare for Battle of the Bands, our graduation ceremony or other performances.

Vocals & Piano

Song, music, theory

Classical Guitar & Notes

Solo classical guitar and note playing


. Basketball

Essential Questions         

“Why is exercise important to a healthy lifestyle?” “Can exercise actually give you more energy?”

Get outside or go to the rec. center, run around, shoot some hoops, talk some trash, laugh, have fun.   

Cross Country Skiing

Enduring Understanding

Winter lasts a long time. X-country skiing is a lifelong sport that anyone can do. Anyone can walk   Cross-country skiing is walking with long boards attached to your feet.  

Essential Questions

How do I stay upright while sliding on the snow on two skinny boards? How can I get exercise in the winter? Why do people do this sport? How do I prepare for cross-country skiing?  What do I need to have with me to have a safe and enjoyable time outside? How do I cross country ski?

Class Description

Learn how much fun you can have when you strap two boards to your feet and go sliding around on the snow.  If you can walk you can cross-country ski.  Have some fun.  Get some exercise.  Learn a new sport. We will spend afternoons sliding merrily along on cross-country skis at the Spring Gulch Nordic Area near Carbondale.


Destination Backpacking

We will meet during class times before the trip to learn about the geology, archaeology, and ecology of the area near our trip  We’ll read some great essays about the area by a variety of writers.  We will also learn about general backpacking skills—planning a backpack trip, equipment selection and use, and Leave No Trace camping techniques.  The class will continue to meet after the trip to create a group final project.

The backpack trip is limited to 6 students.  

If you want to take the class but not do the backpack trip, please speak with me first.


Essential Question

Why is hiking so darn good for you?  Where can you get outside to get some exercise?

We’re going hiking.  All you need is a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes, a water bottle, and the urge to get ‘out there’.  We will visit a variety of beautiful locations in the valley. Limit: 20


Essential Questions

What clothing and equipment do I need to learn to kayak safely? How do I paddle a kayak? What do I do if I tip over? How do I stop a kayak and get to shore when I’m going downstream in the current?

We will spend time at the pool learning to roll our kayaks before we head to a pond and then the river to practice skills.  You must have insurance to participate in this class.  

There is a limit of 6 students for this class.  Please talk to Susy before you sign up.

Nice Little Hikes

General Description

It is a great time to get out and enjoy some fresh air and exercise.  Hiking is a great way to explore the area around Glenwood Springs.  We will be doing a hike each Thursday afternoon.  Most hikes will be around 2 hours long and you will see some beautiful places.

Enduring Understanding

Anyone can walk.  Hiking is walking.  Therefore, anyone can hike.  We live in an area with incredible access to great short hikes.  You should go on a hike.

Essential Questions

How do I prepare for a hike?  What do I need to have with me to have a safe and enjoyable walk? How do I decide where to go for a hike? Where can I go hiking within ½ hour of Glenwood Springs?

Physical Education (General)

Essential Questions          

“What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle?” “Can you be truly healthy without exercise?”

Get out there are get some exercise!  Ball sports, walking, running, hiking…let’s do something active!  We will have some fun and live healthier while we’re at it! You don’t have to be good at sports, it is for fun.  Basketball, Volleyball, Capture the Flag, Newcomb, Corn Toss, Soccer, the group of students that day gets to choose.

Random Acts of Outdoor Education

Class Description

We will continue to get outside on Thursday afternoons.  We will go on hikes in and around Glenwood Springs until there is snow on the ground.  Then we will try some snowshoeing and maybe some cross country skiing.

Enduring Understanding

Anyone can walk.  Hiking is walking.  Snowshoeing is walking with big things on your feet.  Cross-country skiing is walking with long boards attached to your feet.  Therefore, anyone can hike.  We live in an area with incredible access to great short hikes.  You should go on a hike.

Essential Questions 

How do I prepare for a hike/snowshoe/cross country ski?  What do I need to have with me to have a safe and enjoyable time outside? How do I decide where to go? Where can I go hiking within ½ hour of Glenwood Springs?

River Guiding I

Enduring Understanding

Rafting is a fun thing to do locally, with many job possibilities. Knowing how to row a raft safely and having a lot of practice will increase your enjoyment on the river, and help you get a job in the future.

Essential Questions

“What are the main safety concerns when guiding a raft?” “How do you rig and steer a stern frame?” “What are the main topics that should be covered in a safety talk to customers?”  “Why do boats float?”  “What is it like to row a small one person raft with nobody aboard to give you instructions?” “What kind of skills and knowledge are necessary to be river guide?”

Class Description

Each class we will take a raft down the Colorado River from Grizzly Creek to Two Rivers park.  Students will take turns guiding the raft every day.  There are also opportunities for guided Shoshone trips.  You need to come to class dressed to get wet and have appropriate clothes for that day’s weather.

Students in this class are required to pay $15, have insurance, and have a parent fill out the river guiding permission form.  

Only 8 students can participate each day.  

This class is for students who have not previously taken River Guiding.

Rock Climbing

Class Description

Get outside, climb some rocks, and get some exercise. New students are welcome, no previous experience required.   Why not try it, and get some exercise? Let’s get out of the building and climb some rocks.  Dependent on season the climbing will take place outdoors or indoors at the Glenwood Community Center, the Carbondale Community Center, and CMC Spring Valley Gym.  Participants in this class 1Q will have the option of participating in the Climb for Life, a 4 day rock climbing event in September near Salt Lake City; other quarters may involve other overnight trips.

Enduring Understanding

There are many aspects of Rock Climbing that can provide meaningful lessons throughout your life.  Learning how practice, patience, and persistence can eventually lead to success is one example.  Learn how to climb safely, and you can enjoy rock climbing throughout your life.  

Essential Questions

“What does it feel like to practice and eventually succeed in something you previously could not do?”  “What does it feel like to push your body and your mind in order to achieve success?”  “Are you the type of person that needs to get outside and be active once in awhile?” What is involved in basic rock climbing, and how can it be done safely?” What does it feel like to practice and eventually succeed in something you previously could not do?”  “What does it feel like to push your body and your mind in order to achieve success?”

Students in this class are required to pay $20, have insurance (AVAILABLE FOR $60), and have a parent fill out the rock climbing permission form.  

Only six students can participate each day.


Essential Question

What is the favorite team sport around the world? How does soccer support team building?  How does soccer support personal health & wellness?

Soccer can be played almost anywhere… the games builds coordination and cardiovascular conditioning. And, it's just plain fun.  Any level is welcome to participate!

Weight Training

Enduring Understanding

Childhood Obesity, Juvenile Diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle make it crucial that we take our health seriously.  We only have one life, let's make it the best we can. Exercise is crucial.  It needs to become a part of your lifestyle!

Essential Question

How do you get fit? How do you stay fit? What are the benefits of weight training? How do you intend to keep yourself healthy and fit for the rest of your life? "Can fitness become a consistent part of one's life schedule?

General Description

Let’s get in shape and stay fit for the future! Conditioning and fitness, both strength and cardio. It's a lot of fun, come join us!

max 7-8 students per section


Essential Questions

“What does it feel like to get in touch with your mind, body, and spirit through Yoga?”  “Can stretching and toning your body really relax your mind, and make you feel better about yourself?”

Stretching, Strength, Balance, Relaxation.  This is a cool fun thing to do.  Yoga makes your mind and body feel good.  Why not give it a try?  If you have any doubts, talk to people who have tried it.

Limit: 20

Yoga and Swimming

Class Description In this class we will do Yoga outside (as much as possible), and then go to the pool and swim for exercise. You do not need to know how to do yoga or to know how to swim in order to take this class.  During swim times we will try to improve our strokes, our endurance, and our comfort in the water. During yoga times we will improve our strength, balance and flexibility.

Enduring Understanding Being comfortable in the water, and knowing how to swim are important life skills that will open up many opportunities throughout your life.  Swimming is great exercise.  By improving our Stretching, Strength, Balance, and Relaxation we feel better.  Yoga makes your mind and body feel good.

Essential Questions

 “What does it feel like to get in touch with your mind, body, and spirit through Yoga?”  “Can stretching and toning your body really relax your mind, and make you feel better about yourself?”  “How hard is it to learn how to swim, or improve your swimming?”


Card Games; Brushing Off the Dust

Essential Question: Can we learn from games?  

Forget X-Box, Nintendo Wii, PS2, PSP, PMS.  Put down the joystick and go old school with a deck of cards! Learn some traditional American favorites and the probability mathematics behind these games: Spades, Hearts, Cribbage, Gin Rummy, Shanghai, etc.  A great way to earn credit and get the chance of lifelong enjoyment

Homework & Academic Support

Essential Questions How do you stay on track to graduate?  What can you do to keep on top of your schoolwork?

Do yourself a favor.  Don’t wander the path in the afternoons or waste time playing video games while you fall further behind in your schoolwork.  Sign up for this credit earning class and get your coursework done before you drown!

Internships @ YMHS

Essential Questions What are my interests?  How can I learn from others? How do I gain work experience?

Yampah internships are available on-site at our school for students with a variety of interests.  If you are interested in technology-computers, greenhouse-horticulture, music, sound-lighting, art, building or transportation maintenance, early childhood education or business/office work, please talk to your advisor about the possibilities. Many of our students that have completed internal internships have gone on to get a job in the field they worked in, this is a great way to enhance your resume! On some occasions paid positions have become available at YMHS for students that have completed one of our internships successfully.

This class may be repeated.

Post High School Success

Essential Questions What are my career and college goals after high school? How do I go to college? What do I need to do to be prepared for college?  

We all know that students who go to college have more opportunities than those who don’t-- so be that graduate that has the world to choose-- go to college! For some students how to make college or career training after school a reality is a mystery.  Sometimes it seems like college is unattainable or not affordable. Luckily, there are an abundance of opportunities and support for all-- come to Post-2 and find out!

This class will help you plan for you short-term and long-term goals after high school graduation. During the class you will research possible post-high school educational and career options. You will develop a resume, reference list and college essay. You will also research financial aid and scholarship options.  

This class may be repeated, students are encouraged

to take this class in their Junior and Senior years.

The Secret Passage

The alarm goes off and as you rub your eyes you realize the bus will be at your house in twenty minutes.  Instead of cursing the morning and fighting the urge to roll over you flash on... yes, you flash on your passage.  That's how good it can be.  Your mild interests, your nagging curiosity, your hobby, those things you've always wanted to do but haven't had the time for, all of these and more can be a source of high school credit once you've learned how to write a passage.  Even better, imagine heading off for the day to meet someone who is doing something you've always wanted to learn how to do, you're going to spend the day in a studio, a store, a shop or office, garage or garden learning the best way you know how to learn: hands on.  The Secret Passage is not only your way to getting credit for doing well the things you are interested in, it is also one of the best ways to learn a lot and by far it's the best way to get out of bed in the morning.

Class Description: Students in this class will participate in a fun exploration of a wide variety of their own interests.  As they clarify their current interests they will sketch a draft passage and begin preliminary research or work on the passage.  The remainder of the class will be a balance between completing the passage the student has created and occasional class discussions on the relevance and possibilities of self-designed curriculum.

Enduring Understanding: We learn best those skills and we remember best that knowledge that we are personally interested in.

Essential Question: What topics are of great enough interest to motivate me to design (with some help) and complete a 30 hour independent study project based on my interests? How do I take something I'm curious about and turn it into something I enjoy doing and earn high school credit at the same time?

Test Taking Strategies

Essential Question How can an understanding of study skills and tips help improve your performance?

We all know taking tests isn’t all that fun.   But they are a fact of life and so why not learn some useful and practical ways to maximize your scores!?  It’s all about GROWTH.  Showing that you grew or improved your scores on the CSAP and NWEA can get you credits for your transcript.  

Learn be ready for whatever school or the job place throws at you.  Tests and assessments happen regularly in school and job placement.  Learn some tricks of the trade to help improve your scores and lower your stress.

Student Advisors

Essential Questions How do I balance individualism and community responsibility? How do we accept & learn from each other? How should we resolve conflict?  What is restorative justice? What does a great school look like? What norms & culture do we want to promote? How do we want our school to be perceived? How we are part of a greater community?                                                                                            ALL STUDENTS WELCOME!

What Color is Your Parachute?

Class Description: This class is designed to help the student explore his or her career interests, and take a closer (than normal) look at areas of potential interest.  Through a wide variety of exercises and conversations the student will examine personal strengths and those things that align with what he or she is good at, has a knack for, including one’s hobbies.  This class is also designed to lead into internship opportunities later in the year.  However, regardless of your interest in internships, this class will give you a clearer picture of what makes you a unique, irreplaceable and valuable person.

Essential Questions: What is it that I want to do with my life? What are my passions? What am I good at? What kind a career might work best for me?

Work Study or Independent Study

Essential Questions: Can I learn on the job?  How do I balance work and other responsibilities? What is my work ethic?

All work study, whether volunteer or paid, must be approved by the student’s advisor. A work agreement between the school and the employee must be obtained for any studies scheduled during school hours.