List of Courses

Course Descriptions

English and Reading

Grammar 0.25 credit
Students will study grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and a variety of writing techniques in order to build writing skills. The course will also focus on building vocabulary skills to enhance students’ writing and speaking abilities.

Writing 0.25 credit
Students will learn more advanced grammar rules and structures, gain proficiency in using reference materials, and practice organizing skills in producing well-structured and organized writing assignments.

Essay 0.25 credit
Students will increase their understanding of the mechanics of writing by exploring descriptive, informative, narrative and persuasive essays. They will end by producing a researched and well organized five paragraph essay.

Research 0.25 credit
Students will learn and practice five basic skills in producing a research project: 1) Information gathering; 2) Clustering Ideas; 3) Outlining; 4) Writing a rough draft; 5) Producing the final product. Students will produce a research paper using MLA formatting and citation guide.

Reading 0.25 credit
Students will practice reading for comprehension skills in order to raise their current level of proficiency. They will read approximately 800 pages of material during the quarter and demonstrate their comprehension through written book reports.

Poetry 0.25 credit
Students will learn the basic forms of poetry while studying the works of famous and locally renowned poets. Students will develop skill in recognizing and using poetic images by creating a number of poems in the poetic styles they study.

Mathematics

Fundamental Math 1-4 1 credit
Students will take diagnostic tests to determine what topics they need to cover to prepare them for the study of algebra. Students may earn a maximum of 1 credit for Fundamental Math, 0.25 credit for each of the four topic areas – Number Sense, Whole Numbers, Numbers Less Then One, and Fractions and Percents. The topics of Fundamental Math covered by students is determined by the diagnostic tests.

Percents 0.25 credit
Students will take diagnostic tests to determine what topics they need to cover to prepare them for the study of algebra. Students needing work in percents will learn to convert between numbers expressed as percents, decimals and fractions. They will apply their calculation and conversion skills to real-world problems.

Algebra 1-4 1 credit
During the four quarters of algebra, students will move progressively through the following topics: operations on integers; variables, terms and expressions; equations; polynomials; rational numbers; multiplying and dividing rational expressions; adding and subtracting rational expressions; graphing; and systems of equations.

Geometry 1-4 0.25 credit
Students may earn a maximum of 1 credit in Geometry, 0.25 for each quarter successfully completed. In the end, students will be able to identify types of angles and angle measurements. Students will be able to identify angles with the same measurements. Students will be able to label the measurements of all angles within a pair of parallel lines and a transversal. Students will be able to find the missing angle measurement of a triangle given two. Students will be able to identify complementary and supplementary angles as well as find complements and supplements. Students will be able to find the perimeter and area of different figures (this will include conversion of units where appropriate). Students will be able to solve word problems using these concepts.

Science

Human Biology 1-4 1 credit
The Human Biology course is an exploration of human life and the inter-connectedness of the systems that make up the human body. The course also relates knowledge of the body and its workings to daily life and examines the effects of choices we make on our physical lives. Students may earn 0.25 credit for each of the major sections of the course: 1) Cells and the skeleto-muscular system; 2) Digestive, Circulatory and Respiratory Systems; 3) Excretory, Integument and Reproductive Systems; and 4) Endocrine and Nervous Systems.

Health 0.25 credit
The Health course is concerned with promoting wellness. The course covers the causes and means of preventing disease, including AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases; drug and alcohol awareness; body image and nutrition; and physical fitness.

African American Studies

Abolitionist Movement 0.25 credit
Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the development of the Abolitionist Movement in the 19th Century. They will study the causes and effects of this movement, and examine key events and the contributions of notable people to the movement.

Early Civil Rights Movement 0.25 credit
Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the development of the Early Civil Rights Movement in the post Civil War Era of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They will study the causes and effects of this movement, and examine key events and the contributions of notable people to the movement.

Early Twentieth Century 0.25 credit
Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the factors shaping the African American Experience in the Early Twentieth Century and examine the key events of the time, including The Great Migration, The Harlem Renaissance, The Negro Leagues, and Black Involvement in the Armed Forces

Civil Rights Movement 0.25 credit
Students will examine people and events in the Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1960. They will be able to explain what the Civil Rights Movement was and discuss the various events of this period. They will be able to explain the lasting results of the Civil Rights Movement and identify its impact in today’s world.

A Lesson Before Dying 0.25 credit
Students will study Ernest L. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying with a view to understanding the book’s key themes and images. In the light of their study, students will complete a research project on the death penalty.

Their Eyes Were Watching God 0.25 credit
Students will study Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God with a view to understanding the book’s key themes and images. In the light of their study, students will complete a research project on violence and abuse.

American History 1 0.25 credit
This course covers the multicultural growth of America from 1500 until 1850. Topics include the American Revolution and events leading up to the Civil War. Students will be able to express the principles on which the United States was founded and discuss whether or not those principles were, in fact, acted upon. They will also be able to articulate ways in which the past is represented in the present.

American History II 0.25 credit
Students will study the major events in American history spanning 1850 through 1920, including the Civil War, the Reconstruction, and World War I and its causes. Students will be able to discuss the actions and consequences of the Civil War and the steps taken during the Reconstruction. They will be able to articulate the events leading up to World War I and explain the events, actions and consequences of that war.

American History III 0.25 credit
Students will study the major events in American History spanning 1930 through 1960, including World War II, the Holocaust, Post-War America, and the Cold War. Students will be able to explain the causes and effects of World War II and discuss the effects of genocide. They will be able to explain life in Post-War America and the origins of the Cold War.

American History IV 0.25 credit
Students will examine the major events in American History from 1960 to the present, including the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Era of Social Change, and the United States in Today’s World. Students will be able to explain the causes and effects of the Civil Rights Movement. They will be able to discuss the lasting effects of the War in Vietnam and articulate the climate of change that has persisted for the last 50 years. Finally, they will be able to speak from America’s history to articulate a view of the place of America in today’s world.

Global Studies

World Geography I 0.25 credit
Students will be able to list and explain the five themes of geography and discuss the meaning and importance of Human Geography. They will be able to discuss the history and importance of Latin America and parallel Western Europe with the rest of the world.

World Geography II 0.25 credit
Students will be able to discuss the importance of Eastern Europe and articulate an understanding of the historical influence of Southwest Asia. They will be able to discuss the history of Africa and parallel East Asia with the rest of the world.

Global History I 0.25 credit
Students will be able to explain the emergence of early civilization and discuss the lasting effects of major ancient empires. They will be able to explain the impact of the Renaissance on Europe and the immense effects of the Reformation.

Global History II 0.25 credit
Students will be able to explain the lasting effects of the Scientific Revolution. They will be able to discuss the causes and effects of the French Revolution. They will be able to articulate the impact of the Industrial Revolution and discuss the effects of Imperialism on Africa.

Global History III 0.25 credit
Students will be able to discuss and explain the causes and lasting effects of World War I. They will be able to discuss the impact of Imperialism on Latin America and be able to articulate the immense effects of the rise of dictatorships Europe.

Global History IV 0.25 credit
Students will be able to discuss and explain the causes and lasting effects of World War II. They will be able to discuss the meaning and impact of the Holocaust, and will be able to discuss the role of Europe in today’s world.

Vocational Studies

Computer Applications 1 credit
Students may earn up to 1 credit in Computer Applications, 0.25 credit for each quarter. The course centers around the Microsoft Office suite of programs and each quarter unit features a different application. In the first unit, students are introduced to the components of the microcomputer and the history of computing. They learn and master keyboarding skills, and then learn the features of the Word program. In the end, they create a business, presentation, or academic document of their choice. In the second unit students are introduced to the electronic spreadsheet and learn the features of the Microsoft Excel program, including the use of mathematical, financial, and statistical functions and information sharing. In the third unit, students learn the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation program and design programs that include still pictures, sound, and linked movie clips. In the fourth unit, students learn the concept of a relational database.

Social Studies

Consumer Education I 0.25 credit
Students will be able to give a basic definition of the economy and explain how the economy works. Students will begin to choose a career path and will learn budgeting skills.

Consumer Education II 0.25 credit
Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the need to establish and maintain good credit. They will understand when and how to borrow money. They will appreciate the need for home and auto insurance. And they will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various housing options.

Government I 0.25 credit
Students will be able to discuss the origins of the American government and explain the principles of government. Students will understand and discuss various aspects of the U.S. Constitution. And students will be able to articulate various types of political behavior.

Government II 0.25 credit
Students will be able to compare and contrast differing political systems. They will be able to discuss various aspects of the Illinois State Constitution and the origins of local government. And they will be able to articulate ways in which they can participate in state and local government.

Electives

Vincent Gray Academy offers a number of elective courses, courses over and above those that are strictly required. While some of these courses are additional topics in a required curriculum area, others feature skill building in distinctive areas.

Parenting Skills 0.25 credit
Students will understand what is needed for healthy child development, beginning with safe and healthy pregnancies. They will be able to understand child growth and development – physically, emotionally, intellectually and psychologically. And they will be able to apply healthy parenting skills.

Study Skills 0.25 credit
Students will learn skills for reading more effectively. They will learn and practice strategies for test preparation. They will learn strategies for effective use of textbooks and other educational materials. And they will practice the art of summarization.

Psychology 0.25 credit
Students will understand the meaning and nature of psychology. They will be able to discuss and explain the stages of childhood and adolescent development. They will understand and be able to explain the aging process.

Employment Skills 0.25 credit
Students will practice research into various career paths. They will be able to develop a personal career plan. They will be able to compose a personal resume and apply various interview skills.

Conflict Resolution 0.25 credit
Students will look at sources of conflict and conventional ways of dealing with that conflict by examining their own culture and that of others. Students will learn to resolve conflicts in responsible and constructive ways. These skills will be practiced in class with the goal that they be used throughout life.

Public Speaking 0.25 credit
Students will learn and practice various forms of speaking before audiences. They will study and apply techniques for effective communication and will become proficient at using visual aids.

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