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 complete the reading list by studying such works as Shakespeare’s King Lear, Eliot’s Middlemarch and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. During the course of the year, students study the art of the essay. By reading and writing academic, thematic and personal essays, students master the ability to express themselves in a variety of contexts, writing and speaking clearly and powerfully. Students also practice the art of speech and debate, culminating in a senior speech.
MATHEMATICS: This college level course covers single variable calculus using a college textbook. We treat limit and other fundamental ideas and theorems in depth. Students study algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions throughout the year. Differentiation is introduced through the tangent problem; the definite integral through the area problem. Throughout the course, geometry is emphasized. Techniques of integration include substitutions, integration by parts, and use of trigonometric identities and partial fractions. We consider indeterminate forms and improper integrals. We introduce polar coordinates, complex numbers in polar form, and De Moivre’s theorem. Students working with sequences and series learn the basis for, and application of, tests for convergence. We discuss power series, Taylor and Maclaurin series, and Newton’s method. Students use a function’s derivatives to understand its behavior. Additional applications of the derivative are taken from the sciences. Using integration, students find the area of a plane region, volumes of solids and of solids of revolution, the length of a plane curve, moments, and center of mass.
Students will not be rushed through the material, but will be given time, problems and discussion sufficient for them to develop the sense, insight and formal skill that constitute true ability to do and use calculus. Limits will be treated in some depth.
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: Senior courses enable students to gain the experience of studying topics of historical significance in greater depth than is generally attempted prior to college. Writing assignments call for documentation and analysis on a level commensurate with the depth of inquiry devoted to each topic. Planned topics may include U.S. History Since the Kennedy Assassination, the U.S. Constitution and System of Government and the Life and Times of Winston Churchill.
SPANISH: Students who continue in the Spanish curriculum through 12th grade will complete this course and prepare for the AP Spanish Literature Exam. This course is the equivalent of a third-year college course in Spanish and Latin American literature. The course is taught entirely in Spanish and students enjoy and analyze literature by the following authors: Isabel Allende, Mario Benedetti, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel de Cervantes, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ana Maria Matute and Miguel de Unamuno.
JAPANESE: This course focuses on the study of Japanese language, literature and culture. The course is taught entirely in Japanese. Students develop four primary language skills to a fully functional level, integrating them into their own projects about Japanese culture. Students read The Tale of Genji, translated into modern Japanese, and works from authors such as Natsume Souseki, Yosano Akiko, Shiga Naoya, Yoshimoto Banana and Murasaki Shikibu. Students may elect to sit the AP Japanese Exam this year.
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 ABRSM 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: AP Studio Art is a portfolio preparation class culminating with the presentation of approximately twenty-nine art works to the College Board. Students may select one of three areas available for the portfolio presentation: drawing, 2-D or 3-D. Five pieces of art will be presented physically to the College Board. The others are presented in the form of color transparencies, film positives or color slides. The total body of work must hold together with a visual theme. The works will be judged on quality, concentration and breadth.
Studio Art, Option B Independent study is given regular oversight by the instructor. Each student will follow a program of work based on his or her own particular interests. This course differs only in degree from Option A.
Studio Art, Option C This option is for the student interested in a broader and more general Studio Art option than that of Option A.
Photography or Ceramics Photography is a black and white photography course that incorporates camera and darkroom techniques associated with silver print photography. Ceramics includes wheel throwing and hand building techniques such as the coil, pinch and slab methods. The class provides the groundwork for sculptural and functional directions in ceramics.
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.