Course Catalog


Twenty-eight (28) units of credit are required for graduation from Arden Cahill Academy. We require a minimum of five academic courses for freshmen, sophomores and juniors: usually one each in English, mathematics, science, social studies and a world language.

Arden Cahill Academy is willing to accommodate families wishing to facilitate a partnership with NOCCA for their student’s education; however, due to the varying requirements within each department, a comprehensive review of each program will be necessary to ensure students are able to meet ACA’s graduation requirements.

Each course in English, math, science, and social studies offer regular and honors levels. College credit options via AP and CLEP are available where noted.

Below are the descriptions of our course offerings for the 2020-2021 school year:



Students in this course study a variety of genres, including the short story, novel, poem, drama, and essay. Class assignments require independent reading (at least one novel or play each quarter) and research/writing skills and include oral reviews and individual and group oral presentations. Students write descriptive, expository, narrative and persuasive essays, develop critical thinking skills and learn peer evaluation techniques. Teachers closely monitor student progress to help students develop a sense of personal responsibility for their own work thereby helping them to accomplish the transition to high school English. Students also learn literary terminology and develop vocabulary skills in preparation for higher-level language classes and standardized tests. A summer reading assignment is a requirement for this course.

ENGLISH II Prerequisite: Completion of English I

This course is a chronological presentation of world literature. Readings range from ancient to modern literature and include eastern as well as western literature, with at least one novel-length work each quarter. Students analyze the components of various works, examine universal themes and methods employed by individual authors, increase their knowledge of literary terminology and study world literary history. Students write both in-class and out-of-class essays and take written tests. Students also continue developing vocabulary and test-taking skills. A summer reading assignment is a requirement for this course.

ENGLISH III Prerequisite: Completion of English II

Students survey literature and develop advanced composition skills and an enriched vocabulary. Readings are comprised of a variety of American Literature texts, like novels, plays, and poetry collections, students participate in seminars and presentations and compose compelling and challenging essays, mastering a variety of rhetorical forms. Emphasis is on academic writing, in particular research and argumentation. Addressing both contemporary issues and literary topics, essays are typically 750-1000 plus words long, some written in class and some outside of class. A summer reading assignment is a requirement for this course. This course will prepare students for the national AP Language and Composition exam in May.



This course is an in-depth study of real numbers and their relationship to one another, including relevant algebraic notation and symbolism. It includes operations on real numbers, polynomials, equations, factoring, functions, inequalities, rational and irrational numbers, quadratic functions, and practical applications of these concepts in related disciplines. Technical reading and writing, problem- solving, and practical applications form an integral part of the course. Students use calculators to arrive at conclusions inductively and then prove those conclusions deductively.

GEOMETRY Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra I

This course incorporates goals designed to develop higher order thinking skills through the study of Euclidean Geometry. Students learn the basic principles of plane, solid, and coordinate geometry while developing a logical system of deductive thought. Students develop skills for constructing and modeling figures they investigate. They also make conceptual and numerical generalizations about the properties of the figures they construct. Students are introduced to basic trigonometric principles as they relate to the right triangle and use laws of sines and cosines to solve real world problems.

ALGEBRA II Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra I and Geometry

Students review the concepts of Algebra I, with a fuller treatment of each topic. They also study matrices, conics, probability and logarithms. Students perform multiple operations on real numbers, algebraic expressions, complex numbers, polynomials, exponential expressions and logarithmic functions. Students will graph and find zeroes of polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. They use different mathematical models or techniques to apply knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of mathematics. They make connections among their mathematical courses and between mathematics and its growing applications in other fields. They express mathematical ideas through speaking, writing, demonstrating and modeling. To develop an understanding of the various approaches to solving a problem, students and teachers generate strategies and explore them. Students use calculators to assist them with lengthy computations, graphing functions through a variety of variable changes, and for other relevant purposes.



This is an introductory course designed to allow students to explore the basic concepts of physical science. Students are introduced to the history and nature of science. The course includes an introduction to the fundamental concepts of physics, chemistry, astronomy and earth science. Students are encouraged to explore the relationship between science and everyday life.


This is a general survey course of the discipline of biological science. It is of tremendous scope due to the nature of studying life itself from the simplest to the most complex organisms, including their molecular components and evolutionary histories over geologic time. The study of biology includes many concepts from other disciplines (most notably chemistry, physics and math) necessary to understand how living things function and interact.

CHEMISTRY Prerequisite: Completion of Biology I and a C or above in Algebra I

Chemistry is a quantitative study of matter and its structure/function relationships. This laboratory oriented course relies on mathematical models and relationships to explain and predict chemical behavior. The areas of study include applications of the metric system and the scientific method, formula writing, the periodic table, matter, energy, atomic structure, gases, liquids, solids, solutions, bonding, shapes of molecules, chemical reactions, reaction stoichiometry, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases. We place strong emphasis upon laboratory and independent thinking skills.



This course takes a thematic approach to world geography. After studying the physical geography of the world, students will study political, urban, and cultural geography. We give special emphasis to the contemporary world and significant changes since World War II. Students will learn research and writing skills.


The course will cover the operation of the American democratic system and the various influences on the system. Among topics covered are the constitutional underpinnings of the system, political participation, political culture, the influence of interest groups, PAC’s and political parties, and the workings of the courts. It is comparable to one semester of college-level political science study, designed to prepare the student for the College Board Placement examination in American Government in May.


This course is a survey of the history of the United States from the Revolution to the present. It stresses society’s racial, ethnic, and religious diversity; the organization of the economic system around free enterprise; the American political system built upon constitutional and representative government; the essential elements of conflict and cooperation in American development; the great influence of geography on our interaction with the environment; the expression of the national destiny in social and political concerns within a religious and ethical framework; encouragement of technological and scientific innovation by American society; and the integral part that art, music, and literature play in society. This course will prepare students for the national AP U.S. History exam in May.

PSYCHOLOGY Prerequisite: Biology

Psychology AP is a college-level, introductory course that is designed to be a survey of the field of psychology. The purpose of the AP course in Psychology is to introduce the systematic and scientific study of subjects such as biology of the brain and nervous system, learning, intelligence, human development, motivation and emotion, psychological disorders and therapies, personality and social psychology. Students will study the major core concepts and theories of psychology. They will learn how to do research and how to apply what they have learned to their own lives, to recognize psychological principles when they encounter them. Studies include critical thinking, readings in the subject, writing and the ethical standards that govern the work of psychologists. The course will prepare students for the national AP Psychology exam or CLEP in Psychology in May.



This course focuses on skills required for usage: listening, reading, speaking and writing. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to participate in simple conversations using the present tense and the near-future construction as well as understand the use of the passé composé when other speakers employ it. The student will also be able to write a paragraph using the same verb tenses. With the aid of a dictionary the student will be able to read short stories written in these tenses.

FRENCH II Prerequisite: Completion of French I

This course begins, after a brief review of French I, with an in-depth study of the passé composé verb tense. Then the course continues its study of the French verb with the reflexive verbs, in both present and passé composé followed by the conditional, the future and the subjunctive tenses. The course includes a study of French pronouns, the uses and positions of adverbs and adjectives, and numerous complex sentences with only one dependent clause, usually introduced by well-known simple conjunctions. Teachers direct conversation to ensure correct grammatical usage.


This course focuses on four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, plus a general introduction to the geography and culture of the Hispanic world. We use a multi-media approach based on current textbook materials and their ancillaries. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to participate in simple conversations using the present tense and the near-future construction as well as understand and use basic everyday vocabulary and respond to classroom commands. The student will also be able to write a paragraph of about fifty words, using the same verb tenses. With the aid of a dictionary the student will be able to read short stories written in these tenses.

SPANISH II Prerequisite: Completion of Spanish I

This course is a continuation of Spanish I and further develops the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It emphasizes expansion of structure, acquisition of vocabulary, and developing listening comprehension skills. Spanish is the language of the classroom. The student must be able to use the language in a meaningful context. Course content and activities include direct conversation to ensure correct grammatical usage.



Fundamental visual art experiences designed for students with interest or facility in art expression. Topics of concentration include projects in drawing, painting, color theory and art history. Photography is an option for instructor-monitored independent study.


Main areas covered are concert band music, rehearsal techniques and history of music styles played. Activities will include rehearsal (possibly before and/or after school) and performance of band and orchestra music, all concerts and extra rehearsals, festivals and graduation. Each member of Band III must play either a solo or in an ensemble for the LMEA solo and small ensemble festival. We require participation in performance activities.


Students explore basic techniques in acting, major developments in drama, major playwrights, the evolution of theater as a culture, and critical analysis of the art. They develop collaboration, critical thinking, and social skills. The purpose is to establish communication through performance. Students perform formally and informally and prepare for further learning.


This course is designed to teach students the basic elements, principles, processes, materials, and inherent qualities of visual and performing arts. Students will examine a broad range of methods and will conduct critical analyses of the creative processes involved in the various art forms including visual and performing arts. Students will reflect on the connections between society and the arts. Students will also develop perceptual awareness and aesthetic sensitivity as well as a foundation for a lifelong relationship with the arts.



This class is designed to develop strength, coordination, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. Students will participate in activities such as basketball, volleyball, cabbage ball, soccer, and track and field to help with development of large muscle groups.


This class is designed to develop strength, coordination, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. Students will participate in activities such as basketball, volleyball, cabbage ball, soccer, and track and field to help with development of large muscle groups.


The Health program is designed to encourage and promote lifestyles based on the importance of wellness through vigorous activities and good health habits. Topics shall include, but are not limited to the following:

a) Health risks and their relationships to the quality of life and longevity, b) Physical activity, c) Healthy eating/being a literate consumer, d) Cardio-respiratory conditioning, e) Stress coping techniques, f) Basic physiology, g) Sex education, h) Teen dating violence, i) CPR/First Aid, j) STD’s, k) Conflict Resolution, l) Suicide Prevention, and m) CADA-Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse.



This project-based business course develops student understanding and skills in such areas as business law, economics, financial analysis, human resources management, information management, marketing, operations, and strategic management. Through the use of projects, students acquire an understanding and appreciation of the business world. In addition to learning about the business world, students also will take their first step toward becoming a part of their local business community by shadowing and arranging for local business owners to come in as field visitors. During the last week of the semester, students will prepare to CLEP in Principles of Business in May.