In 9th Grade students’ begin to face increasing academic demands and raised expectations as their grades will now count towards university acceptance. At the Community for Learning we focus on providing a supportive school environment that will help students reach their potential in their first year of high school. In project management classes they continue to learn to manage their time, to take notes and to develop strong study habits, skills which are all necessary for academic success. Adolescence is a time of great change; students in 9th grade continue to grow physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively. Throughout these changes we seek to support ninth-grade students by providing a caring learning environment and individualized attention to academic needs, helping them make a smoother transition to high school.
The 9th – 12th Grade math program features interwoven strands of algebra and functions, statistics and probability, geometry and trigonometry, and discrete mathematics. In the 9th Grade program we develop the student’s ability to make sense out of real-world data through use of graphical displays and summary statistics. We also develop the student’s ability to recognize important patterns of change among variables and to represent those patterns using tables of numerical data, coordinate graphs, verbal descriptions, and symbolic rules.
Students gain confidence and skill in using linear functions to model and solve problems in situations that exhibit constant (or nearly constant) rate of change or slope. They are expected to use vertex-edge graphs to represent and analyze real-world situations involving relationships among a finite number of elements, including scheduling, managing conflicts, and finding efficient routes. Students develop confidence and skill in using simulation methods (particularly those involving the use of random numbers) to make sense of real-world situations involving chance.
In ninth grade Language Arts teachers take into consideration the special needs students have in transitioning from middle school to high school. Teachers attempt to meet the unique needs of these students by using curriculum concepts such as thematic organization, teaming among teachers, appropriate grouping, and interdisciplinary efforts. The yearlong theme in ninth grade Language Arts, explored through various novels and short stories is “Good and Evil in the World”. Adolescents often see the world in black and white. This theme is a good way to explore the shades of gray in the world. At the ninth grade level, teachers focus on reading and writing experiences that are developmentally appropriate: vocabulary instruction that compares connotation with denotation and identifies word meanings using sentence structure (grammar), reading instruction that focuses on inference and the difference between interesting and important information in informational text, and character development and more complex figurative language in narrative and poetry. Students are taught to analyze text to evaluate the credibility of information sources and determine the writer’s motives and to evaluate logical argument. Writing focuses on comparing multiple ideas and perspectives to extend thinking through writing. Skills in analytical evaluation and assessment of writing become more nuanced, and editing skills are specific and clearly delineated. Inquiry skills are focused on questioning as a research technique and evaluating sources of information.
The 9th Grade Biology program has three major concepts for the focus of instruction: (1) the structures in all living things occur as a result of necessary functions. (2) Interactions of organisms in an environment are determined by the biotic and abiotic components of the environment. (3) Evolution of species occurs over time and is related to the environment in which the species live.
Biology students should design and perform experiments, and value inquiry as the fundamental scientific process. They should be encouraged to maintain an open and questioning mind, to pose their own questions about objects, events, processes, and results. They should have the opportunity to plan and conduct their own experiments, and come to their own conclusions as they read, observe, compare, describe, infer, and draw conclusions. The results of their experiments need to be compared for reasonableness to multiple sources of information. They should be encouraged to use reasoning as they apply biology concepts to their lives.
Good science instruction requires hands-on science investigations in which student inquiry is an important goal. Teachers should provide opportunities for all students to experience many things. Students should investigate living organisms from each kingdom. Laboratory investigations should be frequent and meaningful components of biology instruction. Students should enjoy science as a process of discovering and understanding the natural world.
The 9th Grade World History and Geography program begins with an in depth study of the Reformation and the Renaissance. Students will research the factors that led to the Italian Renaissance and the characteristics of Renaissance thought as well as the processes and events that led to the Protestant Reformation. Next students study the era of exploration and expansion, looking at the evolving worldviews of the time period that led to the colonization of the “New World”. Finally students will study the major European monarchs between 1500-1800 in terms of justice and equality for all citizens. They will analyze the factors that led to the American and French Revolutions and whether these factors exist today in other parts of the world.
In Geography students will trace the spread of the Renaissance through Europe of the fourteenth century. They will research the European countries that were affected by the Protestant Reformation and they will plot the routes of various explorers during the Renaissance. Students will also study the areas of colonization in the New World.
Throughout these units of study students will also be introduced to different economic factors that came into play in the time period. They will discuss the commercial revolution, the economic theory of mercantilism and the triangular slave trade. Finally students will look at what taxes are and why they exist.
Our ninth grade sociales program complements the social studies program that focuses on Universal History. It begins with a prehistory unit in which students study the age of the earth, prehistoric man, and the theory of man’s evolution. Afterwards, we study Mesopotamia, where we analyze how the natural resources played a key role in its development. We follow this with a study of Fenicia, and then we go on to Egypt. The main themes covered in this unit are art and religion and the correlation between them. Finally we go on to study the Hebrew people and India. We observe their values, and their transformation up to today.
The study of geography is connected to the themes students study in history. They begin studying earth’s geographical evolution and the role of geography in the development of the various civilizations studied. Students will compare and contrast the different civilizations and will make connections between the physical geography and the modern day political geography of these countries. Finally, the unit will culminate in a geography project in which students apply what they have learned to design travel options that will meet a variety of interests and needs.
Throughout these units students will discuss and analyze the different economic factors and their key role in each culture and civilization. Some of the topics are the following: administration of state funds, law of supply and demand, etc.
In Civics, students will acquire a global understanding of human rights, how they are reinforced, and the different international organisms that work on their behalf.