Academic Curriculum

The Middle School Curriculum

The NPA Middle School serves grades 6-8, with approximately 22 students in each of these grades. The school uses the curriculum model of the IB Middle Years Programme, which emphasizes the importance of holistic learning, skills development, communication, and intercultural awareness. The middle school is located in NPA’s Annex facility, which accommodates all of the middle school’s needs.

Under the supervision of a multi-subject core teacher at the middle school, subject teachers from the high school enter each self-contained classroom to enhance delivery of the curriculum in the areas of math, science, and language acquisition. This ensures vertical articulation for all students and allows teachers to build a foundation of student learning that allows for a smooth transition to the NPA high school curriculum.

Language and Literature: Students read literature that is appropriate to adolescent development with themes that compel students to question societal customs, hierarchies and existing cultures. They learn how to structure a strong essay and form a compelling research paper.

Language Acquisition: Students study both Spanish and French, which is the current standard at most European schools. Our existing language department at the high school is very enthusiastic about this approach and heavily involved in its implementation.

Individuals and Societies: Students develop a global understanding of world literature with an emphasis on the ancient societies that our modern society is built upon. The curriculum emphasizes ancient literature, culture, technologies, and achievements in the arts and includes a thorough reading of Greek/Roman mythology and progresses chronologically through the grade levels.

Mathematics: All students follow the IB Middle Years math curriculum, which is comprised of integrated math courses that culminate with trigonometry and pre-calculus in grade 10. The study of math is also integrated into other areas of inquiry whenever possible.

Sciences: Students study biology, chemistry and physics at a foundational level, with a strong emphasis on understanding through laboratory work, to prepare them for more advanced work in these areas at the high school.

Arts: Students have experiences in the performing and visual arts, including music, dramatic improvisation, both artistic and realistic drawing/painting, and the plastic arts.

Design/Technology: Technology is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. It is used to enhance curriculum content, and all students are provided with individual Chromebooks.

Physical and Health Education: Physical activity breaks are interspersed throughout the school day. The curriculum includes regularly scheduled physical education and health components.

The High School Curriculum

NPA’s core academic courses at the high school are offered in a sequence intended to support all students in achieving their academic potential and to prepare students for success in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme.

Standard 9th Grade Curriculum

  • AP English Language
  • Spanish II/French II
  • World History
  • Life Sciences
  • Geometry and Algebra II
  • Fundamentals of Music/Theatre/Visual Arts I
  • Fall and Spring Research Project
  • Elective

Standard 10th Grade Curriculum

  • AP English Literature
  • Spanish III/French III
  • US History and Government
  • AP Chemistry
  • Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus
  • Fundamentals of Music/Theatre/Visual Arts II
  • Fall and Spring Research Project
  • Elective

In 11th grade, all students enroll in the full IB diploma course of study for the final two years of high school. NPA offers the following IB courses:

(HL=Higher Level; SL=Standard Level)

  • English Literature HL
  • French SL/HL
  • Spanish SL/HL
  • Mandarin Ab Initio SL
  • History SL/HL
  • Philosophy SL/HL
  • Biology SL/HL
  • Physics SL/HL
  • Mathematical Studies SL
  • Mathematics SL/HL
  • Dance SL/HL
  • Music SL/HL
  • Theatre Arts SL/HL
  • Visual Arts SL/HL
  • Theory of Knowledge

In addition to the core academic courses, all NPA students must complete the Literature Seminar Series, consisting of the study of 8 classic novels, one novel studied each semester. The Literature Seminar novels, in order of study, are:

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
  • The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • Silas Marner, George Eliot
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Years, Virginia Woolf

Beyond academics, freshman and sophomore students must complete physical education and health, and all students must complete a minimum of 25 hours of community service each semester.