High School Program Courses & Electives

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

The program is a demanding one and is divided into four parts:

Academic Courses

The Learning Strategies course provides a foundation for all other courses and activities in the summer program. 

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, plus 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 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.

The General Elective courses include:    

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.

Weekend Group Activities

Saturdays and Sundays provide an opportunity for students to leave campus to participate in well-planned group programs. These excursions are more than fun experiences. They also teach students how to handle themselves in larger groups.

Weekend Activities
During the first weekend of the program students will go on a trip to Six Flags to enjoy the rides and thrills of the park on Saturday. On Sunday there will be a day of fun with a carnival on campus, a barbecue and a tour of the night sky and stars at the end of the evening. During the second weekend, everyone will go white-water rafting and will choose from various activities, such as hiking a local mountain, taking part in circus arts, bowling or other such programming.

Afternoon Activities

Afternoon Activities are an important part of the full program. They provide a balance to the day and a chance for each student to try some new kind of engagement. Students are asked to sign in for an activity for each of the three weeks of the program.

In Putney, these include:

  • Basketball
  • Ceramics
  • Digital Photography
  • Discussion Group
  • Farm to Table Cooking
  • Fencing
  • Gaming
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Horsemanship
  • Poetry
  • Rocks & Ropes Climbing
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Training Your Dragon, assistive technology
  • Yoga
  • Walking

High School Summer Program Required Courses 

Learning Strategies Seminar (Required for all students): 

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 diagnosis, 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 his or her individual learning profile.

WRITING CLASSES (Students must select one writing option)

E • Research and 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 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.

F • 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.

G • Writing Effective Essays

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.

Elective Options 

These elective courses provide students the opportunity to apply what they learned in both the Learning Strategies and the writing elective in a content class. Subjects vary widely and offer students the chance to take a course of their interest.

I • Theater, Improv and Acting

Students in the theatre elective will experience play making through improvisation. Students will learn how to harness their artistic voice and turn their ideas and opinions into performance that makes a statement! The students will work as an acting company functioning in various roles as an actor, writer or stage hand.  We will be working with theatre games from the beginning of the course. As a group we will define areas of interest to explore and create scenarios and characters to work with.  We will add and refine material to our play, which will culminate in a public performance at the end of the program.

J • Technology for Learning (Assistive Technology)

Do you wonder how you can use technology to help you become a better student?  Have you ever been told you should try Dragon or Kurzweil, but haven’t known where to begin? Is reading and spelling challenging for you? In this course you will learn about three of the assistive technologies used at Landmark College: Kurzweil 3000 (text-to-speech), Inspiration (concept/mind-mapping), and Dragon NaturallySpeaking (speech-to-text). Additionally, we will present other technology options including OneNote and many free options such as Readability, WebNotes, StudyBlue flashcards, Wunderlist, LeechBlock and ToDoist. You will learn through a process of classroom discussion and activities, small-group interaction, hands-on training, homework assignments, and a final evaluation. This course will present you with a solid foundation for pursuing AT upon returning to your high school or going on to college.

K • Poetry Workshop: Reading & Writing Poetry 

The poetry workshop encourages students to express their creative flair, as they read and explore the poems of well-known writers and write their own original poetry. Students will explore the many forms, subjects, and themes of poetry, and will write their own poems with attention to personal and artistic expression. At the end of the course, students will revise their written work and produce a Portfolio/Booklet.

L • Drawing Class

This course is an introductory course in drawing, but will also provide continued instruction for seasoned mark makers. Emphasis is on strategies, methods, and techniques for translating three-dimensional form and space onto a two-dimensional surface using the language of line, value, and the illusion of depth and texture. Mark making and its expressive and descriptive qualities will be examined.

M • Vermont Environments and Biology

Learn about local wildlife, plants, and ecosystems, along with other basic concepts of ecology. Take field trips to local areas, such as streams, rivers, wetlands, mountains and meadows to study ecosystems and to practice scientific observation. Students will keep a field notebook, do a simple a field project and will be expected to hike over varying terrain.  Weather permitting, students will observe a biologist in the field netting and banding wild birds.

N • Digital Photography

Students who choose this elective should bring a digital camera with a minimum resolution of five megapixels. Preferably, but not essential, the camera should also have the ability to control shutter speed and aperture. This introductory course in digital photography is designed for students with limited or no experience in the art of photography. Through instructor demonstration and field experiences, students will learn to master the skills of basic camera operation, digital processing and print development.

O • Algebra II Prep

This course is intended for higher level math students preparing to take Algebra II this fall. Specific content includes the study of algebraic functions, their graphs and trigonometric basics. Building a strong foundation of mathematical knowledge, this class is designed to develop student's critical thinking and problem solving skills, helping them to prepare for Algebra II.

P• Pre-calculus Prep

This course is intended for higher level math students preparing to take pre-calculus this fall. Students will review and be introduced to the concepts necessary for a smooth transition into pre-calculus.

Q • The Sixties: A Decade that Changed America

This course is an introduction to the significant political, social, and cultural changes in the United States in the 1960s, one of the most turbulent times in our history.  These studies will serve as a transition into college-level courses in the humanities. Students can expect to explore this fascinating period in history through films, reading, writing and discussions.