Non-Departmental Electives

Though dissimilar in content, the following courses are grouped together in order to clarify their place in a student’s overall
curricular plan. These classes do not fulfill any department’s graduation requirements. Additionally, not all of these courses are offered every year.

Introduction to Computer Science

In this course, students explore and build confidence with creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; critical thinking; and digital citizenship through the lens of computer science. We will cover basic programming using JavaScript, digital, the structure of the internet, and digital security and privacy. All topics will emphasize computational thinking — the decomposition of complex problems into smaller, more manageable ones — as a primary approach to solving problems. By the end of the course, students will have creative confidence with technology and come to see programming as an expressive medium and computers as a tool for creativity. The course’s curriculum provides a balance of theory and application for those who are hoping to pursue technology-related fields and those who are not.This is a one-semester course open to students in grades 10, 11, and 12.

Computer Science II: Simulating Our Natural World

In this course, we will examine how computer simulations have informed and expanded our understanding of natural phenomena from John Conway’s Game of Life to flocking behaviors to genetic algorithms. This systems thinking method eschews the typical top-down approach to problem solving for an emergent, bottom-up one. Students will not only learn how to program these computer models, but they will also think critically about the role computers play in knowledge creation and decision making. The course will culminate in students researching a natural phenomenon and building a computer simulation that appropriately describes the observed behaviors. This is a one-semester course open to students in grades 10, 11, and 12. Prerequisite: Introduction to Computer Science or permission from the instructor

Sexuality and Society

Building on past studies at Friends’ Central, this one-semester course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining important topics in human sexuality. Using the lenses of biology, history, sociology, and psychology, students explore the impact of human sexuality on the individual, community, and larger society. Grounded in the belief that our sexuality is a force for good, the course explores how healthy sexuality can be used to make the world more just, free, loving, and whole. Practical skills emphasized in this class include: keeping one’s body healthy, establishing and maintaining relationships, and making deliberate, informed choices about engaging in sexual activity. This is a one-semester course open to students in grades 11 and 12.

Wellness Courses & Additional Required Courses

All students in grades 9 and 10 will be assigned to the following semester-long courses.

Quakerism - Grade 9

This required semester-long course focuses on the basics of Quaker theology (including the principles behind Meeting for Worship) and the testimonies of truth, peace, simplicity, and equality. These concepts are tied to discussions of what it means to be a Friends school community.

Human Sexuality - Grade 9

This required class explores the basic concepts in human sexuality essential to healthy adolescent development. Sexuality education in the Upper School is taught through the lens of social justice education. As such, the values of equity, integrity, stewardship, and respect guide decisions about course procedures and content. Major topics studied include: defining and developing healthy sexuality throughout the lifespan; sexual anatomy and physiology, body image, and care of the sexual systems; gender and sexual orientation as biological and sociological constructs; developing and maintaining healthy relationships; and the key role of deliberate, values-based decision making in healthy sexuality.

Health - Grade 10

This required semester-long course focuses on many of the social issues facing students today. Designed to provide factual information on topics which include mental health, human sexuality, drug awareness, nutrition, and physical fitness, this course also helps students explore how each of these issues affects his or her own personal development and decision-making. Additionally, students will be trained in CPR/AED in either the Professional Rescuer or First Aid Course with the objective of earning their certification through the American Red Cross.