Sky Islands’ Academic Program:
All students take teacher-taught courses in math, science, social studies, language arts, and various electives. Our classes are aligned with AZ State standards, are integrated across the program, and feature environmental and community-based projects.
- Earth Science 1— structure, forces, and cycles of the Earth, biogeochemical cycles, oceans, weather and climate/change, plate tectonics, pollution, risk and human health.
- Earth Science 2— physical and chemical properties of Earth materials, geology, gem and mineral formation, the periodic table and the nature of chemical reactions.
- Ecobiology 1— biodiversity and complexity of life forms and biologic ecosystems, includes history and nature of science.
- Ecobiology 2— animal ecology/interdependence, in-depth study of the animal world, including evolutionary theory, classification and taxonomy, biologic adaptations, and biotic interactions.
- Earth/ Space Science 1— study of Earth and space science, origin and evolution of the Earth and solar systems, stars and galaxies, physical laws of motion and energy.
- Earth/ Space Science 2— nature of scientific inquiry, planetary geology and geologic timescales, changes to the biosphere in geologic time.
- Cell Biology 1— cells and cell theory, plant cell biology and genetics, chemical and physiological processes of living systems.
- Cell Biology 2— food biology, health, nutrition, and metabolism in humans as they relate to global food production, current agricultural practices and farming methods worldwide.
- Algebra 1— provides an introduction to the use of abstract mathematical modeling of real world situations through the use of linear equations, inequalities, functions and systems, polynomial creation and manipulation, quadratic and exponential equations and functions, probability and statistics. This class, in conjunction with geometry, provides a comprehensive preparation for the HS AIMS math test.
- Geometry— explores the real world through the mathematical lenses of shape, figure and dimension; topics covered include logic, reasoning, and proof, measurement, polygon and figure analysis, trigonometry and 2 and 3 dimensional Cartesian graphing. This class, in conjunction with algebra 1, provides a comprehensive preparation for the HS AIMS math test.
- Algebra 2— provides a thorough preparation for the algebra required by calculus classes and/or college; topics covered include exponential and logarithmic functions, linear equations, functions, inequalities and systems, quadratic and higher degree functions, complex numbers, conic sections, trigonometry and intermediate probability.
- Number Theory— investigates all aspects of the ADE HS math standards using foundational and intermediate number theory; topics covered include set theory, data analysis and statistics, exponential growth and decay, number bases and systems, logarithms, serial and sequential analysis, probability, and discrete mathematics.
- Economics— examines the modern world through the lenses of personal finances, foundational economic theory, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and global economics. This class meets the ADE HS graduation requirement for economics credit.
Social Studies Courses:
- U.S. History/ Arizona History— trace the growth of the United States as a nation by studying the economic, social, technological, and political turning points; focus directly on the events leading up to and forming the 20th century; identify the forces that led to Arizona statehood; develop historical research skills, particularly points of view and perspective.
- World History/ Geography— study the world in transition, comparing and contrasting the development of empires and nation-states; identify core ideas and theories and their impact on historical change; focus directly on the forces leading up to and forming the 20th century; examine environmental issues from a global view and develop historical research skills; interpret the world, regions, and places in spatial terms.
- Government/Civics— describe the development of American democracy and the structures of forms of government; analyze Constitutional rights and responsibilities of citizenship; focus directly on the rise of political parties in the 20th century, and the factors that influence contemporary elections and policy-making, and global governance.
Language Arts Courses:
- Integrated Writing— provides a focus on learning to read closely, to pay better attention to word usage and sentence structure, and developing habits of concentration across a range of texts; students will increase vocabulary and learn to cite and reference various texts.
- Language Arts 9— southwest stories: develop a strong foundation in core language arts skills–reading, writing, speaking, research, and grammar–by examining and creating regional fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
- Language Arts 10— global voices: expand core language arts skills by exploring the literature of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe and the exchange between literature and culture.
- Language Arts 11— critical dialogues: analyze how media, technology, rhetorical (persuasive) techniques, and satire influence contemporary society and how we can use these tools to read critically and write effectively.
- Language Arts 12— language arts capstone: study, develop, and practice real-world writing, editing, and speaking skills; present polished literary work in a variety of formats, including in print, online, through performance, and as art.
- Building with Earth— travel to sites around southern Arizona where earth structures have been built, study the design and ecology of earth buildings; learn about principles of permaculture. Taught in conjunction with Drafting and Design.
- Drafting and Design— draw plans for different models of structures and provide written structural notes using manual and Autocad methods. Taught in conjunction with Building with Earth.
- Sociology— understand how society works, develop critical thinking skills and engage in social issues that affect our lives; create and take part in an action research project about a social issue.
- Integrated Science/ CEDO Trip— in-depth look at our regional ecosystem, including the geology, ecology, history and culture, and conservation of the Sonoran Desert region from Tucson to the Sea of Cortez; culminates in a two week-long trip to CEDO Intercultural in Puerto Penasco, Sonora in summer 2013 to study local ecology, history, and conservation efforts. Taught in conjunction with Beginning Spanish.
- Beginning Spanish— learn Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and develop basic conversational ability using the Total Physical Response/ TPR method. Taught in conjunction with Integrated Science.
- Basin and Range Adventures— learn team-building, survival skills, and develop environmental leadership abilities in the National Outdoor Leadership School/ NOLS tradition; study and take part in the historic Arizona Trail; includes short out-of-doors hikes and longer backpacking trips.
- Physical Education— with staff approval
- Languages— with staff approval [two semesters required]
- Special topics— with staff approval