High School Summer Program Courses

Featuring three academic courses: Learning Strategies core course, Writing Class, and an Elective

Learning Strategies Seminar is the core academic course that provides a foundation for all other courses and activities in the summer program. This course is required for all students enrolled in the High School Summer Program except those in this Social Pragmatics Track in Putney, who will be enrolled in College Living and Academic Strategies.

Students will explore the "science" behind learning—from how our brain processes information to why factors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and learning differences affect how we learn. The course will also reveal the "art" of learning by integrating a variety of learning strategies that can improve each student's ability to learn, including the use of technology. The course will also cover such important areas as perception, attention, emotion, memory, and motivation, as well as how we communicate what we learn through speech and writing.

The Writing Class covers the basics of good writing: coherent thinking, expressive presentation, individual style, and use of appropriate language.

Students may choose from three different offerings: 

General Electives provide students the opportunity to apply what they learn in both the Learning Strategies and the Writing classes to more conventional academic offerings. Course content is intentionally varied. These courses are true electives, and students are encouraged to enroll in a course that might not ordinarily be available in a typical high school curriculum.

General Elective courses for 2016 will be announced in December. General Elective courses available in 2016 included:

  • Digital Photography
  • Drawing
  • High School Math: Algebra II Preparation
  • High School Math: Pre-Calculus Preparation
  • Sports & Culture
  • Technology for Learning
  • Theater
  • Vermont Field Biology

Academic Prep

Academic Prep is offered four evenings each week. This provides a structured time for students to review the class work of the day and/or prepare the work required for the next day or for the final class project. Students are able to work alone, in groups, or with individual faculty tutors. Academic Prep is also a time to gain expertise in the use of Assistive Technology.

High School Summer Program Required Courses 

Learning Strategies Seminar (Required for all students except those in the Social Pragmatics Track in Putney):
This class orients students to elements of goal setting, organization of time, materials, project planning, strategic learning, self-advocacy, and meta-cognition through a highly interactive hands-on curriculum. Students will be encouraged to consider their own learning styles and diagnoses as they study brain-based research about learning. The use of technology will be discussed, and the skills of active reading, note-taking, test taking, and summary writing will be introduced. Students will practice these skills and make an oral presentation focusing on their individual learning profiles.

College Living and Academic Strategies (Social Pragmatics Track only):
This course will help to prepare students for the demands of living on a college campus and attending college classes. There will be four prongs to this course: interpersonal communications, emotional well-being, physical well-being, and study skills. Throughout the three weeks, students will work toward creating a portfolio for college success. Students will consider their own learning styles and diagnoses and determine their strengths and areas for improvement. Once the strengths and areas for improvement are identified, students will use this information to consider long-term goals. Students will engage in discussions and projects about becoming socially involved, tactics for success with academics, and more. During the last week of the course, students will complete their portfolios and present them to the class.

Writing Classes (Students will select one course from the options listed below):

Research and Writing
For students who are comfortable with the basics of writing, this course introduces students to the requirements and expectations of college-level writing. Students will learn how to structure and develop essays for college, including how to write research papers with in-text citations and lists of sources. Research & Writing will focus on active reading and on opportunities to research and write the research essay. Students will write two or more essays. The first essay will be a description of and reflection on one or more personal adventures of special significance. The second essay will concentrate on an investigation and analysis of a journey of historical importance.

Building Confidence as Writers
For many people, producing writing on a deadline is a challenge. This course is designed for students who find it difficult to generate effective writing in an academic setting in spite of their honest efforts to do so. By focusing on structure, process, and self-understanding, students can develop strategies and approaches to increase their success. High interest topics and assignments are designed to engage students and to encourage them to find meaningful connections to their writing.

Writing the Effective Essay
Writing that is clear, honest, concise, and persuasive is a general requirement for academic success at the college level, and it is what colleges look for in application essays. Students will be introduced to the goals and structures of personal and persuasive writing and will work to develop a personalized and strategic approach to their own writing process. Using prompts typically found on college applications, students will write an essay that can be used as a model for their own college application essay.

General Elective Course Descriptions (Students will select one course from the options.  2017 General Electives to be announced in December):

These elective courses provide students the opportunity to apply what they learned in both the Learning Strategies/College Living and the writing elective in a content class. Subjects vary widely and offer students the chance to take a course that interests them.  We strongly suggest that student choose their elective based on personal interest in order to engage them more readily in the program as a whole.