In 9th grade, students explore the theme of identity and learning through a variety of disciplinary lenses, asking questions like Who am I? What aspects of life create an identity? How do others see me? Does my identity affect the world around me?

Opening Intensive 

ID 110 - How Do I Learn Best?
In this three-week class, students examine the latest research about how our brains work, with a special emphasis on the adolescent brain. Students explore current theories in disciplines such as neuroscience and psychology while working with citywide partners to gain a broad view of learning. At the end of the course, they shift their focus to themselves as learners and start a learning portfolio that they use and expand upon throughout their high school experience. Students move into the first semester with shared core concepts, including a basic understanding of the neuroscience of learning; connections between learning, thinking, memory, and problem-solving; and the necessary role of failure in learning.


E 100 - Intro to Composition and Literature
This course serves as an introduction to literature and composition. Students explore the theme of identity formation through coming-of-age narratives selected from multiethnic and world literature. Course texts may include Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Gaël Faye's Small Country, Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies, and short stories from around the world. Students write creative, personal, and analytical texts, with a focus on the five-paragraph essay. They also learn key grammatical concepts and hone their vocabulary. 

History and Social Sciences

H 100 - World History
This thematic course helps students relate their own experience and identity to a global context. Investigating global systems (trade, communication, technology, culture, ideology, religion), students learn about meanings of civilization, systems of governance and power, and manifestations of citizenship. At each point, they work to connect the experience of individuals to the patterns and scale of global trends and interactions. The course covers a range of regions and historical moments, giving students a broad overview of content as well as an understanding of trends and patterns of human civilization. Through structured activities and projects, students develop their skills in writing, public speaking, crafting and delivering presentations, debate, civil discourse, and scholarly engagement.


M 100 - Mathematical and Computational Thinking I
Students use a thematic approach to understanding mathematics, built around eight central units: Financial Literacy, Travel, Census, ArtEast, Food, BioMath, Coding, and Ethnomathematics. Through project-based and City-as-Lab experiential learning, students are exposed to real-world applications of mathematical thinking, including its myriad uses along these eight central themes. Students interact with algebraic, geometric, and statistical concepts in a computational setting by using programmable calculators, spreadsheets, and introductory programming using Python. There is a focus on analyzing functions, particularly linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. Core skills are built, including work with trigonometry, systems of equations, descriptive statistics, and complex numbers. The course uses experiential projects during, and skills-based assessments after each thematic unit, and a year-end, comprehensive skills-based assessment to offer students feedback on content mastery. Problems solved are designed to reinforce planning, time management and problem-solving skills, as well as students’ tenacity and other mature habits of mind.


S 100 - Biology
This introductory biology course provides students with an opportunity to learn how to think like a scientist. They learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret information, as well as effectively communicate scientific concepts. Student-focused discussions, exploratory activities, and laboratory exercises are designed to enhance scientific literacy. Students explore a wide variety of biological concepts with clear, real-world connections, with evolution and gene expression serving as unifying themes throughout the course. Other topics explored include ecology, Mendelian and population genetics, molecular biology, and cellular structure and function.   


L 100 - Your Life
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of the Spanish language by exploring topics of interest to adolescents, including family, friendships, school life, and youth culture. Students develop cultural literacy by examining their own experience and articulating it to their peers in Spanish, and by comparing their experience to that of youth throughout the Spanish-speaking world. In class, students do most of the talking as they learn vocabulary and grammar through projects such as family histories, recipe videos, and fashion shows. Students develop their skills in reading, writing, listening to, and speaking Spanish. 

W 120 - Health and Wellness
This three-week intensive rounds out the identity and learning theme by empowering students to be healthy, safe, and active. The course integrates fitness activities (biking, hiking, walking, yoga, etc.) with health and wellness instruction, and it includes guest speakers and field trips. The first part of this two-section intensive focuses on physical development, including basic anatomy, health-related components of fitness, and nutrition. The second part addresses personal and social development, including exploration of identity, emotional health, healthy relationships, sexual health, and substance education. 

Closing Intensive: Health and Wellness