Upper School classes follow in the school-wide tradition of being multi-age, flexible learning environments. Our home-like backdrop creates a comfortable ambience and a strong sense of community. Our promise to deliver a "unique path" is keenly apparent in the Upper School where almost every student has a unique schedule. Careful planning and knowledge of our students goes into the creation of this "unique path" and it is tweaked and improved whenever the situation so warrants.
Upper School English is a heavily literature-based program predicated on the premise that avid readers become lifelong learners, good writers and able citizens. Students are divided into 4 learning levels: New to Upper School, Regular High School, Honors High School, and Advanced Placement. Each level has a tailor-made syllabus of appropriately challenging titles reflecting the classroom composition of the given school year. In addition, Upper School students participate in the school wide summer and year-long Accelerated Reader individual reading program.
Writing assignments, projects, and tests as well as discussion and live readings provide a variety of tools for measurement of student achievement. Writing focuses on the expression of insights, the use of quoted material in MLA format to prove assertions, and the development of style without compromising clarity.
Basic grammar concepts are drilled and reinforced, both in the editing of one's writing and with individualized online instruction.
A great deal of emphasis is placed on the recognition of literary elements and devices and analysis of author's purpose. It is the main objective of all classes that students mature as readers, writers, and thinkers. Curriculum is constructed in a stepping stone pattern of progressive stages. The ultimate goal is to create not simply literate graduates, but accomplished readers who appreciate great literature and are ready for the challenges and rewards of higher education.
The focuses of the Fiction Writing course are self-reflection, analytical reading, observation skills, and the habit of daily writing. Students are exposed to an array of narrative as well as strategies for developing in-depth characters and settings. In addition to excerpts from various works, the class explores George Polti's thirty-six dramatic situations, and Carl Jung's character archetypes. The goal of the course is to provide students with a framework through which to use fiction to process the events of their life.
English Language Learner Program (ELL)
ELL students learn the language through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students use a variety of materials designed specifically for ELL students to aid in the acquisition of the English language. Weekly lessons include phonics, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, writing, and academic studies in science and social studies. For students who are older and more advanced, lessons will include some TOEFL practice. Conversations, questions, and discussions are encouraged in the classroom. Teachers encourage students to share their ideas and interests and try to incorporate their interests when planning lessons.
Camelot Academy has an excellent “sheltered” English Language Learner program that has a long tradition of serving students from across the world. Students move through the levels of gaining English proficiency while simultaneously accruing credits towards a college-ready high school preparatory curriculum that gradually and methodically transitions them to all “mainstream” English classes by their senior year. Graduates of the Camelot ELL program are well prepared to succeed in competitive U.S colleges and universities.
Upper School Levels
At the A2 (Intermediate Level) the foundations for reading and writing for academic purposes are established. Students focus on organizational skills in writing & speaking, elaboration of ideas on specific topics as well as increasing the level of difficulty through oral reading and reading comprehension practice. Various aspects of writing and the writing process are addressed by applying grammatical structures, vocabulary, and spelling. As a result, students learn to provide written information about their background and immediate environment. Basic paragraph and essay structures are introduced to students. Students are taught to communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring direct exchange of information on familiar and routine tasks. The students engage in in-class exercises as well as written assignments outside of the classroom.
The B1 (Upper-Intermediate Level) is designed to assist upper-intermediate and advanced English Language Learner students in their reading comprehension, in writing for academic purposes and in vocabulary development. A variety of texts are explored as a means of understanding the structure of the English language and how the written word is used to communicate. We address various aspects of writing, applying grammatical structures and spelling. Furthermore, in preparation for future academic classes and the TOEFL examination, students gain skills in approaching varied texts and sharing their thoughts and deep analysis of what they have read. Students are taught to produce simple connected texts on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. Students at the Upper-Intermediate Level are able to describe experiences and events, hopes and ambitions and give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Vocabulary is taught through the work of our selected texts and independently through self-directed practice.
The B2 (Advanced Level) is designed to support our English Language Learner students in all their academic endeavors and to develop their skills as independent scholars. At this level students participate in mainstream ELA classes as well as the B2 class and the shift is towards preparing language learners for college level discourse. The students focus on organizational skills in writing and presentation as well building oral reading proficiency levels. The students are taught to understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions. This class heavily focuses on providing much needed support in academic research and discourse. Specially, the students are taught research methods, discerning credible sources, incorporating and commenting upon source material and how to identify bias in argument. Furthermore, the students are tasked with learning and identifying logical fallacies (advanced and nuanced language comprehension). At the advanced level, students are able to interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity approaching that of a native speaker.
Conversation and Special Projects (A2-B2)International students who graduate from Camelot are expected to show native proficiency in all four domains of English (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing). The “Special Projects” class provides additional support for the practice and application of both speaking and listening skills. The class involves biweekly oral presentations, TOEFL practice, and the development of research skills. By the end of the class, international students are expected to demonstrate fluid use of their English under timed conditions and be prepared to succeed on the requisite pre-collegiate examinations such as TOEFL, ACT, and SAT.
Math is the most individualized of all the subjects taught at Camelot and is a course of study unique to our school. Our program is modeled after the highly successful program developed by Dr. Julian Stanley and colleagues at the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.
We begin by pretesting students (also known as diagnostic testing) to determine where current mastery ends. When the instructor establishes the appropriate starting point for a student, the course material is covered using a mastery-based approach. Students progress through the material at an individualized pace and test after obtaining teacher approval. Students are required to score 80% or better to demonstrate mastery. If less than 80% is achieved, the material is retaught/reviewd and the student re-tests before he/she moves on to new material.
There is a minimum school-year pace requirement for all math courses. Many students often accomplish more than one standard year of coursework in a school year. For each course, more than one text/curriculum is available so that we can best match a student’s learning style to the materials used.
Requires mastery of such foundational concepts as: fractions, decimals, measurement, number theory and equations, ratio and proportion, and percent. Provides an introduction to: geometry, consumer math, computing with rational numbers, probability and statistics, real numbers and the coordinate plane and similarity.
Algebra (Honors and Core option)
Algebra continues the study of algebraic concepts including operations with real numbers and polynomials, relations and functions, creation and application of linear functions and relations, and an introduction to nonlinear functions. Prerequisites: demonstrated mastery of General Math and speed memory of all math fact tables.
Geometry (Honors and Core option)
Geometry continues students' study of geometric concepts building upon algebra topics. Students move from an inductive approach to deductive methods of proof in their study of geometric figures. Two and three dimensional reasoning skills are emphasized and students broaden their use of the coordinate plane to include transformations of geometric figures. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra I.
Algebra II (Honors and Core option)
Algebra II continues students' study of advanced algebraic concepts including functions, polynomials, rational expressions, complex numbers, systems of equations and inequalities, and matrices. Emphasis is placed on practical applications and modeling. Prerequisites: Algebra I and Geometry.
Pre-Calculus (Honors and Core option)
Pre-Calculus provides students a complete study of trigonometry, as well as advanced algebra topics, analytic geometry, sequences and series, and data analysis. Applications and modeling are included throughout the course of study. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II.
Calculus develops the student's understanding of the concepts of calculus (functions, graphs, limits, derivatives and integrals) and provides experience with its methods and applications. The course encourages the geometric, numerical, analytical, and verbal expression of concepts, results and problems. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus.
Statistics topics include: descriptive statistics, graphic presentation of data, probability and probability distributions, sampling and sampling distributions, hypothesis testing (large and small samples) analysis of variance and chi-square distributions. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus.
This is a pre-high school laboratory science course intended for students new to Upper School or those who have not had a comparable science course. This course stresses basic skills that will be needed in later science courses, such as observing, inferring, measuring, graphing, dimensional analysis, the relationship between mathematics and reality, an understanding of uncertainty and significant figures, thinking critically about the subject at hand, and writing laboratory reports. Basic physical concepts such as mass, length, area, volume, density, velocity, acceleration, force, work, and power are also touched upon.
This course is a high school level laboratory science course. Human Biology focuses on the structure and function of the human body as well as human evolution and human ecology. Homeostasis is the theme emphasized through interactions at all levels. To succeed in this course, students must develop a fairly extensive technical vocabulary and must relate new information to prior information, and understand how many specific factors affect the overall functioning of the body. Human Biology students develop their capacity for critical thinking, abstraction, and concept integration.
This is a high school level laboratory science class, with the flexibility for inclusion of younger students showing exceptional science prowess. Biology is an all-encompassing study of the science of life. The course emphasizes: biology as process, biotechnology, laboratory investigations, writing about biology, and an intra-science perspective. Students focus on organizing information, thinking critically, practicing scientific methods, and representing, interpreting, and applying data.
This is an upper level laboratory course. in which students study the social implications of environmental science. For example, they examine the issue of resources, look at a variety of solutions, and see how they play out on a local, national and global scale. The goal of the course is not to tell students what to think but to provide them with the tools to draw their own conclusions.
This is an upper level laboratory course. Course prerequisites include: completion of Biology and at least 2 high school level math courses. Chemistry is an advanced Physical Science discipline focusing on the atom and its makeup, stoichiometrical and quantitative relationships between atoms and molecules, kinetic theory and gas laws. Students focus on organizing information, thinking critically, practicing scientific methods and representing, interpreting and applying data.
Anatomy & Physiology (taught in alternate years)
This is an upper level honors laboratory course. Course prerequisites include: completion of Biology, and at least one other high school science course. Students study the structure and function of the human body. The theme of homeostasis is referenced throughout. To succeed in the course students must do more than develop a large technical vocabulary. They must be able to correlate the information they learn and use it to describe accurately and in detail overall body functions.
Physics (taught in alternate years)
This is an upper level honors laboratory course. The prerequisites include Chemistry and all of Chemistry's prerequisites. The course focuses largely on an algebra-based look at Newtonian mechanics, including the study of motion, forces, the impulse-momentum mechanical view, the work-energy mechanical view and a study of oscillations. Electromagnetism, light and thermodynamics are also touched upon.
Foundations in Social StudiesThis is a pre-high school credit course provides a broad overview of the social studies disciplines of history, politics, economics, and geography, largely through the lens of current events topics. The goal of the course is to provide a strong base of knowledge to prepare students for the rest of their Upper School social studies coursework, while also developing the oral and written communication skills, active reading, and critical thinking that is essential to the study of the social studies.
In Civics students learn about the institutions and processes of government at the local, state, and national level, with a particular emphasis on the role of the citizen in a democratic society. In 2017-18, this course was offered in an extended class period that provided greater opportunities for students to venture out into Durham and Raleigh to interact with political leaders, policy makers, and activists. In-depth research on a public policy issue of choice is also a key element of the curriculum. Class discussion and debate develop the communication skills essential to a democratic society, and a strong emphasis is placed on disagreeing productively and understanding perspectives different from one’s own.
This survey course in United States history covers topics ranging from the first successful English settlement at Jamestown through the early 21st century. Most class reading consists of primary source documents that expose students to the voices of the people who have both driven and witnessed historical events. Students will come to understand history an active process of interpreting evidence and drawing conclusions, skills that will not only make them historians in their own right, but competent citizens as well.
ELL US History is offered in alternate years. The course takes a thematic approach that builds academic vocabulary and strives to make relevant connections for its participants.
World History is a survey course that covers many of the major developments in the history of human civilization. Emphasis is on the central ideas that have driven cultural change over time. Topics include the beginnings of civilization, the philosophical and political contributions of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the emergence of monotheism, Eastern religions and philosophies, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, industrialization, colonization and imperialism, and major developments of the 20th century such as democratization and economic globalization. Primary source documents make up the majority of reading for the class, as students approach history as a living process of interpretation rather than a static body of knowledge. Expository and argumentative writing makes up a significant portion of coursework.
ELL World History is offered in alternate years. The course takes a thematic approach that builds academic vocabulary and strives to make relevant connections for its participants.
The Spanish program at Camelot targets a balance between rigorous expectations and building communication skills for real-world contact with Spanish speakers. The curriculum is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference, a globally-accepted measure of language proficiency. Spanish 1-4 are offered yearly, and additional courses are offered as need arises. Grammar and vocabulary are presented through topical units and are relevant to each unit's communicative goals. These goals are shared with the students at the beginning of each unit, and they actively participate in finalizing our vocabulary lists with words that they want to know in order to achieve our goals. Levels 1 and 2 focus on common personal topics, such as school, family, food, the home, clothing, weather and family trips. Levels 3 and 4 expand to more communal and global topics, such as health, city landmarks, environmental issues, the media and professional life. Goals of the Spanish program are to prepare students with a solid framework on which to build fluency, to expose them to other perspectives and to inspire them to explore the Spanish-speaking world. To this end, every few years we try to offer an extended immersion trip that includes a homestay, local school visits, community service and sightseeing.
The Mandarin program at Camelot targets a balance between building communication skills for real-world contact with Mandarin speakers and gradually introducing them to Chinese characters and the written language. The curriculum is aligned with the Integrated Chinese series of textbooks, which is a nationally recognized curriculum used by many college Mandarin programs including UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C State. Mandarin 1-3 are offered yearly. Mandarin 1 focuses entirely on Pinyin, an intermediary phonetic language designed to teach non-native speakers tones and Chinese pronunciation. Level 2 focuses on introducing the students to the Chinese characters, building on the vocabulary and grammar studied in Level 1. Levels 3 expands more into survival Chinese, dealing with asking for directions, ordering food, going to the hospital, and bargaining. The goal of the Mandarin program is to provide students with a solid foundation to ease the transition to a college Mandarin class.
In Latin Levels I and II, students develop a fundamental knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax. They practice translation and composition while also learning about Roman history and culture. English vocabulary based on Latin roots is encountered and discussed throughout each course. Higher levels of Latin focus on literature and composition, reinforcing grammar knowledge and conventions along the way.
Starting from kindergarten, the main motivation behind teaching physical education is to promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity in order to help improve or maintain a fitness level beneficial to one’s health. The learning experiences from physical education also help to promote developmental needs. Students become independent, confident, self-controlled, resilient; develop positive social skills; learn to take leadership; accept responsibility for their own behavior; learn to cooperate with others; set and seek out personal goals; and, ultimately, improve their academic performance.
The units covered in physical education class will range from cooperative games, invasion games, target games, net/wall games, fielding games, and health education. MAPP physical education classes focus on basic motor skills and learning to work together to achieve a specific task. Middle Grades and Upper School, primarily, work on on skill development in addition to learning the history, rules, and tactics of each game/activity. Knowledge and skills are assessed before and after each unit for Middle and Upper School students.
Upper School Drama emphasizes the active exploration of dramatic forms and techniques. Drama is a social art form. Constructing, performing, and analyzing drama involves a collective experience through social interaction.
Respect for the performer is stressed. “A good actor is a good audience”. This concept is especially essential in setting up a safe environment for the students to be able to express themselves creatively, without judgement. By communicating in both their real and imagined worlds, students develop proficiency in listening, speaking, questioning and negotiating. Through the process of “stepping into the shoes of others,” students develop and express empathy.
Students who say “yes” to learning, to trying new idea and approaches, and committing to the work and discipline of Dramatic Arts will grow personally and develop acting skills as well as life skills in a positive and dynamic way.
The Camelot Academy art program provides students with the opportunity to experience and engage in multicultural, educational and creative activities. Our program encourages artistic development and creative problem solving, as well as the ability to appreciate a large variety of art forms. At Camelot, we strive to create a climate of possibility. Each art project is an opportunity to teach our students not only about different art forms but also to help them dream and imagine the possibilities. Research shows that having a strong art climate is beneficial not only in core studies but also to social emotional development. It is our goal to help facilitate learning in all subjects through the visual arts.
Music Performance Classes at Camelot Academy
The Upper School Music classes vary from year to year, based on student interest. Each class has no more than 8 students, and there is no formal audition process, so there is always a wide variety of backgrounds, interests and experience. We typically offer at least one vocal and one instrumental performance group.Members of the instrumental classes should have some knowledge of written music, although it is not required, especially for percussionists. Tab charts are created for guitar, bass and mandolin players who are more used to that notation.
As for the music played, it also varies year to year. There is a conscious effort to choose songs from different styles and genres, and to pick material geared to the abilities of the students, ideally in a way that stretches them without being so difficult that they lose interest. Rarely is an existing musical arrangement used, because of both the make-up of the groups, but also because of the emphasis on each student as an individual. This is especially true in the instrumental classes, since we do not assign instruments, but always use the instruments that the students already play. This makes for some unusual challenges and instrumental combinations, but usually music is found and arranged that compliments the musicians well.
Each year begins with performances at the Academic Fair in November, and ends with 3 important events. First, in late April there is a recording session at Overdub Lane, a professional recording studio in Durham. Each group records at least 2 of their songs, and the tracks are made into CD’s. Second, all groups perform at the “Evening of the Arts,” performing a selection of songs from the semester. Lastly, there is an End-of-Year performance scheduled at a local performance space for only the Music Performance groups. At this 2 hour performance all the groups can perform everything they’ve worked on for the entire year.
Recent Cross Disciplinary Elective Classes Offered for Credit
Entrepreneurship and Non-Profits
Art Through History