Academic Program for Students 
entering 7th & 8th grades in fall 2017


 *These classes are subject to change*

Last updated 5/16/2017

What: Academic enrichment program for students entering the 7th and 8th grade in fall 2017. Students have the opportunity to strengthen existing skills and/or learn about new areas of study or interest. 

Dates: June 19 - July 21, 2017
Time: 9 am - 12 noon
Cost: $1115

All students will be enrolled in three classes. Students must choose the 3 classes that they would most like to take. Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis determined by the date your registration is received. Class size is limited. The final schedule will be given on the first day of summer school. 

Class offerings are listed below.  


Math Classes:

All math selections are self-selected (please read descriptions below). Math levels can be changed, if necessary, during the first week of summer school only.

  • Pre-Algebra: Recommended for most students entering the 7th grade. This course strengthens the student's foundation in fractions, decimals, percentages, and operations with negative numbers. Students will also learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide variable expressions.
  • Algebra: Recommended for most students entering the 8th grade. This course is for students who will be taking algebra in the fall or who have taken some algebra already, but did not study it in detail or did not fully understand it. Students will learn the distributive property, operations with variables, simplifying expressions, solving equations, basic word problems, and linear functions.
  • High School Algebra:   
    Recommended for students who have completed a solid year of algebra and who have understood the material well.
     Students will learn quadratic functions, radical equations, logarithms, solving systems of linear equations, and sequences and series. This is a good introduction to what students can expect to learn during their first semester of high school algebra.
  • Geometry: For students who have been successful in their current math classes and want to explore a new math topic. Some knowledge of algebra is helpful for students taking this class. In this class, students will explore the relationships of plane figures using traditional Euclidean postulates and theorems. Conventional symbols and vocabulary will be used to describe geometric relationships of objects in the real world.  Some hands-on activities will be included. 
  • Acting Out
    Do you have a flair for the dramatic? Have a sense of humor? Love to make others laugh or cry? Learn some basic acting skills through improvisational and theatre games. Students will also prepare and present monologues and scenes from short plays. The focus is on having fun while stretching your performing talents.
  • Adventure Stories
    Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Stories of adventure and travel take the author and reader to new places. We will study those who travel with a wealth of resources, those who travel to improve their situation in life, and those who travel as a way of life. The reader will ask an array of questions: Who are travelers? Why do people travel? How do travelers record their observations? Why is travel writing important? Through writing and class discussion, we will attempt to answer these big questions. Students will have daily reading of authors such as Steinbeck, Krakauer, Bryson, etc., and writing assignments such as developing an online travel blog that they can update long after our course ends. This course seeks to improve a student's vocabulary, grammar and writing skills. 
  • Art and Design: From Drawing to Sculpture to Architecture
    We will design and make original art works that range from drawing and painting and creating 3D sculptures to our exploration of architecture: using form and space to present a built environment. We will be inspired by Nature, the Master Designer, and famous painters, sculptors and architects. Come join us and find your own creative spark!
  • CheMystery!    
    Take a peek at the mysterious world of atoms and never see the world in the same way again! The course explores in a fun way some basic qualitative/quantitative concepts of a high school chemistry course. These concepts will be revealed to students by performing simple yet revealing hands-on lab activities on most days of the class. Students will work in lab groups and individually keep a lab notebook that includes a hypothesis, organized data collection/interpretation (construction of tables and graphs), and a conclusion of the concept presented for each activity. The course will also explore the basic organization of the Periodic Table. Concepts to be presented (as time permits) include the kinetic theory, absolute zero, physical/chemical change, acids and bases, solutions, and qualitative analysis. All of these concepts will help form a foundation for all future science classes!
  • Creative Writing   
    Students will read short stories and use those works as models to generate their own fiction. By the end of the summer session, students will have practiced writing exercises that teach a myriad of storytelling techniques: settings that create atmosphere, dialogue that builds character, figurative imagery that develops voice and plots that establish tension. During the last week, students will present their own short stories to their classmates. The skills you will learn in this class will assist you in all your future English classes!
  • Engineering: Innovation & Design Thinking   
    In this engineering course, students will learn how to use modern design tools and to apply strategies for brainstorming, collaboration, and prototyping. In the first half of the class, students will build models of bridges, measure them, test them for failures and then repeat the process - integrating the lessons learned from the first round (iterative design). Students will then have an opportunity to build a product using littleBits - a cutting-edge platform for building with electronics (fast prototyping). In the second half of the class, students will learn and apply the principles of Design Thinking to create a product for a potential customer. Over the course of these three projects/products, students will work in groups, interview potential customers, adapt designs to feedback, and complete several rounds of prototyping. 

    Tools to be used: cardboard, hot glue, popsicle sticks, littleBits modules, rubberbands, and other household materials for prototyping. Skills to be developed: brainstorming, sketching a design, building a prototype, documenting work, public speaking, constructive feedback, team work. 
  • Forensic Science   Returning Favorite!    
    This course will focus on developing critical thinking and problem solving skills by analyzing various types of evidence that could be left at a crime scene. Some of the topics students will investigate through labs and activities include fingerprinting, ink chromatography, hair/fiber analysis, DNA and genetics, blood typing, skeletal analysis, and powder analysis. At the end of the course students will use their skills to solve a crime.
  • Fun Physics - Busting the Myths  
    Learn how to develop a question, design an experiment, and test the results using everyday supplies. This is a hands-on project-based class to help students learn Newton's laws of motion. Projects and questions may involve projects like building catapults and rockets, using simple machines to build Rube Goldberg-like mazes, and even your own car. 
  • Journalism   
    Who's telling the truth? How do we determine truth? How do we write what is true? These questions are central to understanding how the media works. In this class, we'll address these questions by learning to determine credibility and bias, learning to read images and infographics, determining purposes of texts, and developing advanced research strategies. We'll also learn how to perform an effective interview. Then, we'll take these reading and data-collecting skills and apply them to our own writing and data-reporting. Through the writing process of research, drafting, revising, and editing, we'll create multiple texts written for a variety of purposes. Our culminating activity will be publishing our own newspaper that adheres to the code of ethics of high quality journalism. By the end of this class, we will be better readers, writers, and participants in a media-rich world.
  • Know Your Novel   Returning Favorite!  
    Know Your Novel is a class designed to give students an opportunity to explore a novel in-depth. Students will participate in individual and group activities and assignments that will help them learn reading skills, note taking strategies, parts of a novel, literary terms and character development while improving their vocabulary and writing skills.
  • Language Arts   (Formerly English Basics)
    This course is intended to reinforce and build on the student's existing skills in the English language. The course goals will include work in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, writing organization, and a review of basic composition techniques.
  • Lay Down the Law   Returning Favorite!
    "You have the right to remain silent..."  Ever wonder why you have a right to remain silent? Explore this and more of your rights under the United States Constitution. In this class, you will not only learn your rights through studying famous Supreme Court cases, but you will also get an opportunity to present an oral argument of a case with your classmates. This is a great introduction to basic legal concepts and also a chance to work on your public speaking and persuasive skills.
  • Marine Biology 
    Come and learn about the major groups of organisms that live in our magnificent oceans! We will study their life processes, social interactions, and explore the diverse environments -- such as coral reefs, kelp forests, and the deep sea -- that these creatures call home. Teams of students will construct planktonic organism in order to participate in the "great critter race" and dissect a squid. We may even cook some calamari! Other activities will include examining mammal and bird skulls and using microscopes to view and sketch specialized structures of marine life. A field trip to the tidepools in Pacifica is tentatively planned during a selected low tide date in July.
  • Mindfulness and Yoga   New this year!
    Yoga can be a life tool to become a happier and more mindful person. This class is designed to demystify yoga in order to make it accessible for anyone, all ages and physical abilities. We will be exploring Yoga as 3 big concepts: Yoga as a physical practice, Yoga and wellness, and Yoga and the self. We will break down the basic anatomy of certain postures, discuss health benefits of poses, and integrate them into a fun and upbeat yoga flow where students will move for 30-40 minutes each day. In the wellness portion, we will explore the positive mental effects yoga can have on a person through lifestyle options like nutrition, meditation and interacting with nature. We will track habits and things we do every day that actually helps us avoid fully experiencing what's actually going on around us. Students will be challenged each day to sit, to practice slowing down to enjoy the moment and to feel grateful for all that is good now.
  • Multimedia Design   (Formerly Multimedia Madness)

    Unleash your creativity and develop powerful multimedia skills in this fun-filled, hands-on creative technology skills class! This course will introduce students to a number of software programs used for graphic design, video production and sound engineering. At the end of the class, students will have basic proficiency with Adobe Photoshop and Apple's Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Students will produce print designs, films, audio tracks, and a website portfolio to document their work during the class.

  • Photography as a Fine Art   Returning Favorite!  
    Photography as a Fine Art provides a comprehensive study of photography as an art form. Students will experience a variety of approaches to the medium of black and white photography. Students will create their own photographs, use pinhole cameras to get negatives and make positive images, and learn how to process black and white film and enlarge. This class will work with 35 mm cameras, film, photographic paper and chemicals during the summer session.

  • Psychology   (Formerly Psych)
    What’s it like for a teenager today? Learn specific skills based on psychological principles to cope with life’s every day challenges and to develop strategies to prepare for the transition from middle school to high school. Students will explore many topics like how to handle adults, self-esteem, personality, peer pressure, relationships, stress management, identity and decision-making. This is a practical course where students will be able to explain, compare and contrast the basic principals in the field of psychology and apply them to their own experiences. Students will practice how to take notes, journal from their personal experiences, and write a short research paper. 
  • Speech 
    This public speaking course is designed to give students an introductory overview of public speaking. This course addresses two types of class presentations: Informative and Group - both with use of Keynote or Google Slides. Students learn that preparation, presentation, pronunciation, and the performance of a speech are excellent skills to build confidence and skill in presenting material to others. Students will also practice research skills and media literacy.
  • Words Win!  
    Increasing your vocabulary will improve your reading comprehension, enliven your writing skills, and help you in all of your academic courses and standardized tests. This class aims to dramatically augment your understanding and use of words through reading, writing, word games, recorded speeches, songs, and puzzles. Come join us and learn how words win! 

   Optional Extra Courses:

  • Intro to Computer & Internet(This extra and optional 8-8:50 a.m. course can be added for an additional cost of $300.)  

    This beginners course covers keyboarding and a basic introduction to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
    No class on Monday, June 19, 2017 since schedules will be passed out to all academic students in the morning. Class will start on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.