The upper school at Jackson Hole Classical Academy builds habits of thought in students. Through poetry, art, and music, students are encouraged to not only think about the complexity of these modes of expression, but what they tell us about the human soul. Every upper school discipline – math, literature, history, science, language, and the electives, too – uses focused class discussion to probe assumptions, provoke thought, and lead to possible answers. Students leave the upper school prepared as independent-thinking and community-minded young men and women.
Math: In the upper school math program at JHCA, students progress through pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, and calculus. As they gain mathematical proficiency, students acquire critical thinking and reasoning skills.
The literature curriculum focuses on close reading, Socratic discussions, and essay writing. Students build skills of communication and analysis. Essay assignments grow in length and complexity in each subsequent grade. Each high school student also performs a poem and delivers a short address to a school assembly. The literature curriculum at JHCA is taught hand-in-hand with the history curriculum. Students read great works of literature while also studying the historical context in which they were written. For instance, students read “The Red Badge of Courage,”
by Stephen Crane while studying the people, places and events of the American Civil War. Interweaving traditional literature and history elements in this way provides students with a holistic view of the ideas and events of a particular time and place. The connections that the students make between the literature, primary sources and historical events gives a better understanding of all three.History:
The history curriculum at JHCA starts with stories of Wyoming, of Jackson Hole, and of important American people, places, symbols and landmarks. Through classroom study – as well as excursions to local and regional resources such as The Buffalo Bill Center of the West
– students cultivate an awareness of time and recognize the effect of past events. As students progress through the history program, they broaden their understanding of world geography and build valuable map reading skills. Ultimately, JHCA students learn to critically examine one’s own heritage and culture and learn how to study a particular civilization’s world-wide impacts via both primary and secondary sources. JHCA students learn to understand the stories of history as narratives that intertwine, affecting other cultures and other times, even those of our own present experiences.
JHCA students continue their study of science in the upper school with frequent labs and intensive investigation. They learn how to set up an experiment, record data, and reason based on their observations. Students also learn the theories and formulas necessary to Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Teachers lead students to consider the ethics of science and its uses and limitations in the realm of technology. Our students advance quickly – and thoroughly – in the sciences. Our 9th
grade students, for instance, take the AP Biology Exam
, a national exam administered by the College Board
typically reserved for 11th
grade, students continue their studies in Latin
and do so in Latin I, II, III, or IV. For students that have moved to advanced Latin, they read and translate works such as the Gospel of Mark in the Vulgate, and the writings of Cicero, Catullus, and Virgil. Many of our students have placed nationally on the National Latin Exam
, an assessment sponsored by the American Classical League
, taken by students from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Upon entering the 9th
grade, students may opt for a modern language track and study Spanish. In Spanish
, students achieve marked progress in the core skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading. The Spanish program at JHCA seeks to foster fluency as well as a deep appreciation for the histories and cultures tied to the Spanish language.
Fine Arts: Students are encouraged to express themselves in the arts in the upper school. Up to 8th grade, students continue to learn theory, history, and skills in art and music. In high school, students have the opportunity to pursue their unique talents in individually directed art projects, or in instrument and voice performance electives. JHCA holds an annual event, Evening of the Arts, to which the entire Jackson Hole community is invited. The Academy Choir, accompanied by student and faculty musicians, perform a diverse repertoire of songs. The evening provides JHCA students the opportunity to showcase the wide variety of musical and art talents that they’ve cultivated throughout the year.
The High School Elective Program:
High School Students at JHCA take their core classes until 1:45 PM. At 1:45 PM, students take elective classes independently. On-campus offerings include Oil Painting: Materials and Techniques, Fine Woodworking, Keyboard, Guitar
, Voice Performance
, and more. Students also have the option to pursue electives off-campus. Students enroll in local and online classes aligned with their interests or pursue local internships in Jackson, WY. The elective program at JHCA affords students the flexibility to play competitive sports while finding a natural balance with their studies. JHCA students compete in downhill and nordic skiing, golf, hockey, soccer, football, lacrosse, and more through partnerships with the local sports clubs of Jackson Hole. More on athletics at JHCA may be found here