Curriculum Overview (7-12)
The English curriculum offers separate writing and literature classes giving students the chance to delve into both fields of study with greater depth and rigor. Literature courses explore poetry, drama, short stories, and novels, ranging from the classical to the contemporary. Meanwhile, writing courses work intensively on composition strategies, grammar skills, and vocabulary development. Students learn and practice strategies for writing sophisticated, varied, and expressive sentences, cogent paragraphs, and clear and insightful essays in a variety of modes. The years of taking writing and literature courses provide students with an exceptional foundation for the reading and writing demands of college.
From Pre-Algebra to AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics, the mathematics curriculum focuses on computational accuracy, mathematical communication, and practical applications. Using technology-based instruction, traditional lecture, cooperative learning, self-discovery, student-run presentations, and engaging real-life problem solving, students develop a deep understanding of concepts as well as critical thinking skills. At every level, the mathematics department creates an academically focused, supportive, and appropriately rigorous curriculum, enabling students to reach their fullest potential while preparing them for their future mathematics studies.
The goals of the science curriculum are to develop strong analytical, critical thinking, and science skills. Students move through challenging courses building skills and knowledge as they progress through two years of life and earth sciences in junior high followed by a minimum of three years of high school science including physics, chemistry, and biology. Pinewood also offers multiple science electives and Advanced Placement science courses. All science courses aim to engage students in active learning through regular labs, group activities, field trips, science writing, experimental design, projects, and reading.
The social studies curriculum is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of contemporary domestic and global issues as well as the historical forces which shaped the present. Additionally, the curriculum prepares students for success in college by emphasizing research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Department courses provide a strong foundation in United States History, World History, and United States Government, and teachers continually relate historical material to contemporary issues. Simultaneously, students are taught to engage in research using primary and secondary sources, to write research and thesis papers with proper documentation, and to hone their debate, presentation, and analytical skills. Project-based learning and service learning opportunities are integral components of a number of social studies courses.
An appreciation of world cultures is at the heart of Pinewood’s modern language curriculum that offers students the opportunity to become proficient in either French or Spanish. Students learn that effective communication is the key to understanding, relating to, and respectfully engaging with other cultures. To that end, total language immersion is practiced at every level, and students are encouraged to use their French or Spanish language skills in and out of school in order to solidify their knowledge and broaden their cultural experiences. The goal of the modern language program is to prepare students to successfully communicate in either French or Spanish as they become thoughtful, engaged citizens in the ever expanding global society of the 21st Century.
Visual and Performing Arts
The Visual and Performing Arts program focuses on creating competent, confident musicians, artists, and communicators. The theater and music classes give students many opportunities to participate in onstage performances as actors, musicians, singers, or members of the technical support staff. Students can participate in full-stage plays and musical performances as well as tour with Pinewood’s award-winning choirs. The visual arts curriculum encourages experimentation and helps young artists communicate their unique voice, develop proficiency in various media, and appreciate art history and contemporary art.
The computer science curriculum prepares students for the 21st Century by providing them with foundational knowledge, concepts, and critical thinking skills in a project-based learning environment. Students engage in active learning through collaborative as well as individual projects. Knowledge, concepts, reflections, problem solving and analytical skills are practiced in all classes. Digital citizenship and digital footprint, content creation and curation, coding, and programming are key components of the curriculum. In addition to the required computer science courses in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades, electives for upperclassmen are offered to challenge the advanced students.
Communication courses at Pinewood establish a solid foundation for effective presentations through public speaking, news reporting, opinion and editorial writing, structured speech and debate, and an annual record of the school news, events, and community.
Physical Education and Health
The goal of the physical education program is to engage students in a variety of activities that will contribute to the development of a positive attitude toward physical fitness and a life-long habit for healthy living. Through fitness activities, and individual and team sports, Pinewood’s physical education classes help foster self-confidence, sociability, teamwork, and sportsmanship. In addition to the required physical education courses, Pinewood encourages all students to particiapte in the school’s interscholastic athletics program.
Health is a two-week course given during the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade years. Pinewood health classes aim to promote healthy choices by teaching the skills necessary for weighing options, making decisions, and developing behaviors that lead to a positive lifestyle. Students assess their attitudes and behavior patterns and evaluate the impact their lifestyle choices have on their communities and their own well-being. Topics suit the developmental needs of each grade.