The High School offers a culminating experience to an MCDS college-preparatory education. Recently accredited as an IB World School, MCDS offers students the opportunity to participate in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, an internationally recognized pre-university program which provides an exceptional pathway to colleges and universities around the country and world. Students continue to develop independence of thought and action, reflected in seminar-style classes and increasing autonomy in student learning. Through a carefully sequenced program, our college advisor guides students to successfully apply to the institutions that best match their strengths and goals.
ENGLISH: Students continue to work on meeting the goals of IB English, began during Eleventh Grade. Students work towards completing their IB requirements, which include submission to an external IB examiner of a class presentation, an oral commentary, and a written essay, and a pair of exams in May. Specific texts read by students in 2013-14 are Phillip’s Crossing the River, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Bishop’s poetry, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Melville’s Benito Cereno, and O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE: Theory of Knowledge students explore the essential knowledge issues explored in Eleventh Grade by exploring “four ways of knowing”: emotion, reason, language, and sense perception. By the end of the course, students understand the different perspective and the ideological and personal assumptions, including their own, that underlay human knowledge, can think critically by analyzing causes and limitations of knowledge, and have developed a framework to take personal responsibility for answering different knowledge issues.
MATHEMATICS: Continuing from 11th grade mathematics, students use differentiation to discover the local and global extreme values of functions, and to intelligently graph various functions. Topics include the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, the Mean Value Theorem, the indefinite integral, first order separable and first order linear differential equations, the definite integral, and infinite series. Applications of the definite integral include the area of regions in the plane, volume and surface area of solids, length of curved lines, work, moments and center of mass. Students learn the principal techniques of integration. Understanding and technical skill go hand-in-hand. The textbook for the course is Dale Varberg’s Calculus, or similar college level textbook.
In IB Biology II, students use statistical calculations including the Chi Squared test to determine probable methods of inheritance and apply their theoretical work in the laboratory by analyzing genetic ratios in corn plants and exploring agarose gel and polyacrylamide (SDS-PAGE) gel electrophoresis as techniques for analyzing DNA and protein sequences. In addition, students explore the creation of transgenic life and grapple with the ethics of creating and patenting genetically modified organisms. IB Biology II students apply their studies in ecology to an independent laboratory experience in the prairie surrounding the MCDS campus. In their study of evolution students analyze phylogenic relationships as suggested by cladograms derived from both morphological and biochemical evidence and apply the Hardy Weinberg principle to calculate allele, genotype, and phenotype frequencies in a given population. Studies in Anatomy and Physiology include digestion, circulation, respiration, the immune response, the urinary system and homeostasis, nerves, muscles and movement, reproduction, and fetal development. During this unit students draw critical connections between their current work and their previous studies of cellular processes and biochemistry.
This is a lab-intensive course in which students refine their inquiry skills through laboratory work; developing appropriate methodologies to address a research question, selecting appropriate statistical methods for processing numerical results, operating digital lab probe technology, and supporting their claims with both qualitative and quantitative data.
HISTORY: IB History Standard Level/Higher Level (SL/HL) is a two-year course integrating U.S. and 20th Century World History. The IB curriculum stresses depth over breadth, so students spend considerable time on the topics that will be examined and less time on the topics that are part of U.S. history but not covered on the IB exams. SL and HL topics are included in both years, and students need not make a decision about whether to take the SL or HL exam until the end of grade eleven. In IB History students develop: an understanding of history as a discipline, including the nature and diversity of its sources, methods, and interpretations; an understanding of the present through critical reflection upon the past; an understanding of the impact of historical developments at national, regional, and international levels; an awareness of their own historical identity through the study of the historical experiences of different cultures.
SPANISH: This course is taught entirely in Spanish and further develops the functional communicative skills and prepares students for the IB Spanish Literature Exam. This is an intensive course where students engage themselves in composition, conversation, and literature. Students analyze literature by authors including Isabel Allende, Mario Benedetti, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel de Cervantes, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ana Maria Matute and Miguel de Unamuno, and Federico García Lorca.
JAPANESE: In 12th grade, students are primarily focused on preparing for their IB assessments while further developing speaking skills. In addition to doing practice tests and oral presentations, students will continue to read and react – in written as well as spoken form – to selections related to IB themes such as “Science and Technology” and “Health.” A variety of materials, from Genki to cookbooks to Japanese for Communication, a curriculum guide published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, are utilized. Students in 12th grade have the chance to participate in the exchange program with our sister school by hosting a student and/or studying at the school.
MUSIC: Classes cover music history particular to the first half of the twentieth century. Students take the AP Music Theory Examination during this year. The class uses the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music curriculum as the basis for theory instruction and for preparation for practical exams. The course integrates aural, sight-singing, written, composition, and analytical skills in the development of the student’s approach. The course progresses to include twentieth century scales, choral structures, and compositional procedures through analysis and original composition as well as an insight into contemporary music styles.
ART: (IB Visual Arts Course, Eleventh and Twelfth Grade)
This two-year IB Visual Arts Course gives serious high school juniors and seniors the opportunity for a focused, first-hand experience in working with various traditional and experimental art techniques and approaches to enhance their own creations. The technical training offered by this course emphasizes proficiency with various drawing, painting, sculptural techniques and tools, the creation of real and illusionary forms, and the production of well-crafted works of art. Students also continue to observe the work of various artists from different times and cultures through slide presentations, reproductions, museum and gallery trips, and visiting artist lectures to explore the immense power of arts and motivate their own artistic voyage.
TECHNOLOGY: High School students receive instruction in information technology and computer use. Technology retains its supplemental role during High School. Building on knowledge gained in Middle School (particularly in the fields of word processing, spreadsheet use and presentation software applications), students learn to use technology to present information. Finally, students develop the ability to collect information using academic databases. These skills enable them to confidently pursue independent academic projects.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION: The PE program is made up of specific units, many of which coincide with the sports seasons offered in our competitive sports program. The year begins with a water sports unit during which students enjoy the Yahara River by canoeing and kayaking. Other units throughout the year include fitness conditioning and assessment, soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, team handball, floor hockey, softball, archery, cross country and track and field. Events enjoyed on our state-of-the-art track and field facility include 50- and 100-meter dashes, mile runs, long and high jump, hurdles, relays, shot put, discus, and javelin.
Students develop the confidence and motivation to participate in organized and individual physical activities. Daily classes emphasize lifelong fitness, leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and strategy in both team and individual sports.
Optional school-sponsored, after-school, competitive sports for High School students include boys and girls crew. Additional sports will be added in the coming years based on student interest.