Curriculum

Course of Studies

The following classes run through the academic year:

  • English I, II, III, or IV (3 x 50 min. per week)
  • Intermediate Algebra, Geometry with Trigonometry, Advanced Algebra with Analytic Geometry (Precalculus), or Calculus (4 x 50 min. per week)
  • Spanish I, II, III, or IV or German I, II, III, or IV (4 x 50 min. per week)
  • Physical Education (1 x 100 min. per week)

The following classes are block scheduled for 3-6 weeks:

  • Seminars in Science, History & Geography, English, or Math (see lists below) (Block schedule: 5 x 100 min. per week)
  • Fine Arts (See lists below; block schedule: 2 x 100 min. per week)
  • Performing Arts (See lists below; block schedule: 1 x 100 min. per week)
12th Grade Seminars (3-4 weeks each)

  • SCI Zoology (with lab)
  • SCI Astronomy
  • SCI Evolution and Genetics
  • SCI Physics: Optics
  • SCI Chemistry: Atomic theory
  • HIST History through Architecture
  • HIST U.S. Constitutional History
  • HIST Modern World History
  • LIT The Transcendentalists
  • LIT Russian Literature
11th Grade Seminars (3-4 weeks each)

  • SCI Embryology
  • SCI Botany (with lab)
  • SCI Organic Chemistry (with lab)
  • SCI Physics: Electricity (with lab)
  • MATH Projective Geometry
  • HIST History through Music
  • HIST European History
  • LIT Shakespeare
  • LIT Parsifal or Dante
  • LIT Bible as Literature
10th Grade Seminars (3-4 weeks each)

  • SCI Physics: Mechanics
  • SCI Chemistry: Periodic Table (with lab)
  • SCI Biology: Cell Biology
  • SCI Computer Science
  • SCI Geology
  • HIST Ancient History
  • HIST History through Language
  • HIST Asian Culture and History
  • LIT The Odyssey
  • LIT Comedy and Tragedy
9th Grade Seminars (3-4 weeks each)

  • SCI Physics: Thermodynamics
  • SCI Chemistry (with lab)
  • SCI Biology: Anatomy and Physiology
  • SCI Earth Science, Ecology
  • MATH Statistics and Probability
  • HIST History through Art
  • HIST U.S. History I
  • HIST U.S. History II
  • LIT Poetry
  • LIT American Literature
Fine Arts (6 week blocks)

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Block Printing
  • Ceramics
  • Marble sculpture
  • Weaving
  • Felting
  • Joinery
  • Basketry
  • Blacksmithing
Performing Arts (6 week blocks)

  • Chorus
  • Ensemble
  • Drama
  • Eurythmy
  • Modern Dance

Please Note: All of our courses are required. All of our courses are honors level. We do not rank students. We do not offer AP courses. We do not offer SAT or other test preparation.Transcripts will show actual courses and seminars taken, which may differ slightly from those listed.

Graduation Requirements: Except in extraordinary circumstances, noted on a student’s transcript, all students take all courses at our high school. Students generally earn 7.50 credits per year, each credit reflecting 120 class hours. Six of these credits are for academic classes. The rest are for arts and physical education classes. Transcripts may reflect credit earned while on foreign exchange, but, usually, we simply include the report or transcript of the foreign school.

Grading and Ranking Procedures: We grade from A+ (98 % or 4.33) to D- (60% or 0.67). Grades of F receive no credit but are marked on the transcript. We do not weight our students’ grades. We do not rank our students.

Courses: All academic, arts, and physical education courses are required for all four years of high school, with the exception of occasional choice in the arts. All courses are considered Honors courses. We do not offer AP courses.

Test Score Information: 100% of our seniors and juniors will take the SAT I this year. Mean scores for the SAT I for past tests are:
Critical Reading 650
Math 600
Writing 620

Please note that our school does not administer nor prep for standardized tests, SAT or other. Most of our students encounter the PSAT as a first standardized test.

School and Community Information: The Great Barrington Waldorf High School is a rigorous, college preparatory, independent, coeducational Waldorf day school. We enroll 22 students in grades 9-12 this year, and celebrate our third graduating class, of five seniors, in June. As a Waldorf school, founded on the educational principles of Rudolf Steiner, we aim to balance rigorous academic work with required fine art, practical art, and performing art classes. As a school on Main Street of a small town, we aim to integrate our school into our community, aiding community soup kitchens, a local environmentally-friendly river walk, and local community-supported organic farms, while using local resources—libraries, artists’ studios, museums and the great outdoors—to extend our small campus.

Great Barrington, a town of 9,000 year-rounders and 13,000 summer vacationers in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, straddles the Housatonic River, site of several paper mills. Approximately half our students come from southern Berkshire County; the rest come from northern Litchfield County in Connecticut and eastern Columbia County in New York. Their parents are teachers, dairy farmers, doctors, publishers, building contractors, small business owners, and paper mill employees. Many but not all are college graduates.

Our school is open to all, regardless of ability to pay. The economic range of our students is significant.