Courses Available to 9th Graders

Courses Available to 9th Graders

Before you choose your classes, be sure to read through all of the offerings at GW! As you read through the course descriptions, keep an eye out for courses tagged as “Advisory Options” – this means that particular course will satisfy the advisory requirement for all freshmen. Advisory courses have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.

English

Why Honors for All

9TH GRADE ENGLISH HONORS FOR ALL
By enrolling each of our 9th graders in English 1 Honors, we are joining other Denver area high schools such as East High School, North High School, and Northfield High School in setting high expectations for every studentResearch has shown that when students are placed in a heterogenous classroom and given access to a rigorous curriculum, all students experience measurable gains in achievement.

Three years ago the GW English department aligned their English 1 and English 1 Honors classes. Students of all abilities were provided with the same rigorous and engaging curriculum in 9th grade, and outcomes improved across the board. In the years since this shift we have seen a measurable increase in 10th grade English honors enrollment. This re-calibration, paired with a passionate team of 9th grade teachers who believe in their students, made the English department a natural fit for an Honors for All course for 9th graders.

In order for this new program to be successful, it is imperative that we provide students with robust, innovative, and targeted academic support that is built into their school day. As we continue to plan for the ‘20-’21 school year, we will be restructuring our school resources to strengthen support for our 9th graders. We are committing to class sizes no larger than 25 students for our 9th grade core-contents to promote meaningful relationships between teachers and students and create an environment where teachers are empowered to differentiate their instruction. To support our teachers, we are mapping out additional time for planning, collaboration and training.

To read more about how George Washington High School is addressing inequity, please click HERE.

Course Offerings

ENGLISH
Credit Type: English
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1

This language arts course is designed to develop and challenge the student’s ability in reading, literary analysis, writing, and presenting at the high school level. Students develop strategic reading skills while investigating the literary genres of expository essay (including historical documents, poetry, short story) and the novel. Extended reading and literary selections are taken from adopted texts and the recommended reading list for grade nine. Students produce writing in a variety of formats and genres including well-developed paragraphs, literary response items, expository essays, short stories (narrative), historical documents, and technical documents. Students continue to develop skills in the correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

Mathematics

Math Placements

We will place students into a math class based on the math class in which they are currently enrolled and/or teacher recommendation.

If you are currently enrolled in:

  • 8th Grade Algebra – you will most likely be enrolled in Integrated Math 1, with an option to earn honors credit by completing enrichment opportunities to deepen your mastery of concepts learned in this course.
  • 8th Grade Algebra Honors – you will most likely be enrolled in Integrated Math 2 Honors.
  • Geometry (or its equivalent) – you will most likely be enrolled in IB Math.

If you are hoping to be placed in a different math class then listed here, or if you are currently taking a math class higher than Geometry, please email our Mathematics department chair, Joseph Bolz (joseph_bolz@dpsk12.org), so that we can ensure correct placement. If you are interested in the full listing of math courses we offer, please click HERE.

The process detailed below has worked well for GW, however we recognize that we are living and learning in extraordinary circumstances right now. We will offer a placement confirmation assessment during Ninth Grade Academy for anybody who feels they may have been mis-placed as a result of challenges associated with remote learning.

If you currently attend a public middle school in Denver Public Schools:
Your teacher will automatically send us your recommendation. That recommendation is based on the class you are currently taking.

If you currently attend a charter school, private school, or an out of district school:
As part of the online course request form, you will be asked to submit your current teacher’s email address. S/he will fill out a recommendation for a class for next year. Talk to your teacher to ensure you are both on the same page!

Science

Course Offerings

BIOLOGY
Credit Type: Science
Course Formats Offered: Grade Level and Honors
Units: 1

This course is a standards-based study of living things: origins, structures, functions, heredity, growth and development, interactions among, and behavior of living things. Content is built around major biological concepts such as biochemistry and the biology of cells, genetics, evolution, ecology, physiologic systems, and the diversity of living things. Emphasis is placed on the utilization of mathematical, analytical, data acquisition, and communication skills as well as interdisciplinary approaches to discovery. Concepts and skills are reinforced by a strong emphasis on hands-on laboratory experiences and the integration of other branches of science. Applications to society, individuals, and the utilization of technology are included, as is consideration of the impact of human activity on biological systems. There is a focus on self-directed instruction and inquiry-based hands-on labs.

Social Studies

Course Offerings

GEOGRAPHY AND CIVICS
Credit Type: Social Studies
Course Format Offered: Grade Level and Honors
Units: 1

This course is divided into two semesters. In Geography students will study themes of geography related to understanding Earth as the home of humans. The units of study set the stage for human life. Students will understand these broad concepts and apply them to specific areas of the world where they apply. At the end of the course, students should be able to explain the broad theme being discussed and show their understanding by applying that theme to a specific area of the world. The teacher should use current case studies to allow students to practice the application of concepts. Civics teaches students how to develop research skills, formulate positions and engage in appropriate civic participation to address local, state and national issues or policies through understanding purposes of and limitations on government foundations, structures and functions. Students also analyze how public domestic and foreign policies are developed at local, state and national levels and compare how policy making occurs in other forms of government.

World Languages

Placement for World Language

If you have already taken one or more years of a world language, we will place you into a higher level based on number of years you’ve taken the language and/or teacher recommendation.

The process detailed below has worked well for GW, however we recognize that we are living and learning in extraordinary circumstances right now. We will offer a placement confirmation assessment during Ninth Grade Academy for anybody who feels they may have been mis-placed as a result of challenges associated with remote learning.

If you currently attend a public middle school in Denver Public Schools:
Your teacher will automatically send us your recommendation. That recommendation is based on the class you are currently taking.

If you currently attend a charter school, private school, or an out of district school:
As part of the online course request form, you will be asked to submit your current teacher’s email address. S/he will fill out a recommendation for a class for next year. Talk to your teacher to ensure you are both on the same page!

Course Offerings

FRENCH 1
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1

This course focuses on the introduction to the spoken language, learning to produce sounds and learned utterances, understanding what is heard, and the ability to use familiar speech patterns. There is an emphasis on proficiency-based development of listening and speaking skills, with an introduction to reading and writing skills. Language content is related to meeting novice survival needs. Basic grammatical concepts within culturally appropriate settings are introduced. This course differs from the standard level French 1 course in that grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are covered at an accelerated pace and in a deeper way. 

SPANISH 1
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1

This course introduces the Spanish language through the development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills at college level. It also examines the cultures of Spanish-speaking people throughout the world. At the end of the first year, students must demonstrate mastery of at least four verb tenses. Grammatical concepts are taught and used in real situations. The class is conducted mostly in Spanish and requires that students be independent, highly motivated, and take initiative for mandatory language goals.

MANDARIN
We do not currently offer Mandarin at GW, but we are looking at the possibility of partnering with other area high schools to pursue a college level mandarin class for advanced students. On the course request form you will have the opportunity to indicate if you would be interested in taking a college level course if there are enough students.

Performing Arts

Course Offerings

INTRO TO PERFORMING ARTS
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This survey course will provide a hands-on introduction to the variety of performing arts at GW such as theatre, choir, speech, and debate, movement, and instrumental performance. Students will focus on performing process, self-awareness, physical/vocal control, and the ability to offer and receive criticism. Emphasis is on the preparation aspect of performing rather than on performance, although performance in class is a requirement. Throughout the year, some written work is required. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.


ADVANCED CHOIR
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1
Prerequisites: Previous choir experience

This course is designed to provide the opportunity for students to acquire and use advanced musical skills in a vocal ensemble setting. Advanced Choir provides students with accelerated and demanding standards-based instruction in vocal technique, music theory, music appreciation, ear training and music history. Students enrolled in this course sequence are expected to perform at a level of intellectual and musical endeavor and with a degree of effort beyond that which is expected of students in music classes not so designated.


BEGINNING PIANO
Credit Type: Fine Art
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This course offers students the opportunity to develop musical talent and interest through the introduction of basic keyboard skills and keyboard literature. Students enhance their music experience and create other avenues of artistic expression for personal enrichment.


BEGINNING GUITAR
Credit Type: Fine Art
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

Beginning Guitar provides students the opportunity to play simple melodies and accompaniments on a guitar. Students learn music theory, history, and development of the modern guitar, literature, and guitar performance techniques.


BAND / INSTRUMENT ENSEMBLE
Credit Type: Fine Art
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1
Prerequisites: Ability to read music and proficiency on a band instrument

Students develop their music literacy and performance techniques through the study of band repertoire with emphasis on rehearsal disciplines and musical interpretations. Culminates in public performances. Enrollment is subject to audition or director’s approval. Honors credit requires an audition at the beginning of the year.


ORCHESTRA
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1
Prerequisites: Ability to read music and proficiency on a string instrument

Students develop their music literacy and performance techniques through the study of string repertoire with emphasis on rehearsal disciplines and musical interpretations. Culminates in public performances. Enrollment is subject to audition or director’s approval. Honors credit requires an audition at the beginning of the year.


DANCE 1
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This course is designed to provide an introduction for students to become acquainted with basic dance fundamentals. Students will explore a variety of dance forms and focus on building a foundation for further dance studies.

Visual Arts

Course Offerings

DIGITAL MEDIA FOUNDATIONS
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $20/Semester

Digital Media Design and Production courses teach students the fundamentals of graphic design and production and provide students with the opportunity to apply these principles to printed media, digital presentation media, and interactive media. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.


DRAWING AND PAINTING 1
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $20/Semester

Students create a portfolio of drawing and painting art work demonstrating the investigation and exploration of underlying visual ideas, topics, and themes. Students will create a series of projects that use a variety of media and technology to exhibit a personal narrative through strategic research and planning. Students practice critical analysis through formal and informal critiquing of artwork, peer, and self assessment. During the first six weeks students define their personal style and explore the concepts of composition with a focus on the principles and elements of design. Students will complete a body of work by using a variety of drawing and painting materials to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge, techniques, and art making skills.


CERAMICS 1
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $20/Semester

Students learn basic and fundamental ceramics and clay skills, including knowledge of the studio environment, techniques using clay and glaze materials, researching and developing artistic expression, culminating in the creation of high quality clay projects. Students spend the majority of class time working on clay projects practicing and demonstrating the sequence and clay process. Assignments foster a skill set that develops creative and critical thinking. Hand building techniques, practice using clay equipment, and working with a variety of clay surface designs will be explored. Insights into cultural, including Korean, Japanese, English, Greek, Italian, Central and South American, etc. and ancient uses of ceramic materials will be introduced. Students will receive individual assessment criteria and details for each project. Sketchbooks/folders are required and will be used by all students to record sketches, evaluate art work through self and peer critiques, research new techniques, and develop ideas to gain the knowledge needed to construct a series of original clay projects that exhibit a personal narrative.


DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY 1
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $20/Semester

This is a basic yearlong course in photography designed to offer experiences with digital cameras and introductory experience in Adobe Creative Suite. Various camera settings will be learned to offer greater creative and technical control. This course builds the foundation for visual literacy regarding both form and content of photographic images. Students will be introduced to the elements and principles of design as they relate to photography and graphic design. Students will learn compositional techniques and a range of processes with digital media. Students also learn to examine images critically through weekly critiques. Digital processing techniques will be utilized using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. This class requires a time commitment outside of school to be successful.


YEARBOOK STAFF
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $20/Semester

This course is designed to produce a bound publication that covers, with photos and copy, the academic high school year. In addition to learning all the skills necessary for production, students accept financial responsibility and work within a budget. 

Career Connect

 LEADERSHIP AND ETHICS / PRINCIPLES OF BUSINESS
Credit Type: Career Technical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This course surveys an array of topics and concepts related to the field of business. Students will be introduced to business concepts such as banking and finance, the role of government in business, consumerism, credit, investment, and management. The course provides a brief overview of the U.S. economic system, small businesses, and corporate organizations. This course also expose students to the varied opportunities in administration, accounting, management, and related fields. Students will also engage in the study of ethical principles and the application of those principles to situations relevant to decision-making in the professional and business worlds. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.


FOUNDATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY
Credit Type: Career Technical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

Foundations of Technology prepares students to understand and apply technological concepts and processes that are the cornerstone for the high school technology program. Group and individual activities engage students in creating ideas, developing innovations, and engineering practical solutions. Technology content, resources, and laboratory/classroom activities apply student applications of science, mathematics, and other school subjects in authentic situations. Each unit is listed below along with the Learning Cycles for the unit. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.


AP COMPUTER SCIENCE PRINCIPLES
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Advanced Placement
Units: 1

This course introduces students to the central ideas of computer science, instills ideas and practice of computational thinking, and engages students in activities that show how computing changes the world. The course is rigorous and rich in computational content, includes computational and critical thinking skills, and engages students in the creative aspects of the field.  The course covers the “big ideas” of computing, such as creativity, abstraction, data, and information, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and global impact of computing. 

JROTC

LEADERSHIP AND EDUCATION TRAINING
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This JROTC course prepares high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens. The program promotes graduation from high school and provides instruction and rewarding opportunities that benefit the student, community, and nation. The JROTC program is a cooperative effort on the part of the Army and the Denver Public Schools to provide secondary school students opportunities for total development. JROTC does NOT recruit for the Armed Forces, conduct combat skills training, or require a service obligation. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.

Physical Education

Athletic Season Waivers

Athletic sports that are sanctioned by the Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education and meet the criteria below may exempt a student from the physical education graduation requirement. No grade or credit will be given for athletic participation and such exemptions will not reduce the total number of hours required to earn a diploma. Both semesters of the physical education requirement may be exempted by athletic participation. The following criteria govern physical education exemptions:

  • The student must maintain academic eligibility for the entire season.
  • One full sport season is required to exempt a student from five semester hours (5 units) of PE requirement.
  • A student must be a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior to qualify for the exemption. Seniors who have not yet met the physical education requirement are not allowed to take this exemption and must enroll in a physical education course.

Course Offerings

TEAM AND LIFE ACTIVITIES
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This class engages students in an introduction to high school physical education by teaching the techniques and fundamentals in a variety of team and individual sports. Students demonstrate competency in motor skills and movement patterns to perform a variety of physical activities. After passing this class, students are able to exhibit the ability to cooperatively participate in various team and individual sports, demonstrate the ability to perform aerobically for 20-45 minutes and understand the basic skills necessary to participate in lifelong activities.


FITNESS FOR LIFE
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This class engages students in individual programs to increase personal fitness in both health and skill related fitness components. Students learn proper techniques when using weight resistance exercises while using the Matrix machines. There is an emphasis on understanding proper nutrition and fitness goals will encourage fitness for life.


FITNESS AND CONDITIONING
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

Students improve in all physical fitness areas. This includes resistance training, plyometrics, core strength, and endurance. There is a focus on increased knowledge in nutrition, anatomy, physiology, and basic kinesiology.


BODYWORKS (WOMEN ONLY)
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This class engages and introduces students to various types of exercise/fitness methods to maintain all around wellness and to increase personal fitness in both health and skill related fitness components.


ADVANCED STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
Credit Type: Physical Education
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

This course is taught in the Exercise Physiology Lab and can be taken to satisfy either a PE credit or a Science Elective. There are many “hands-on” activities. This is a co-curricular course designed to benefit students who choose to continue their inquiry into this field while in college. 

Specialty Courses

AVID
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1
Prerequisites: Application required
Activity Fee: $15/year

AVID targets students in the academic middle – B, C, and D students – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation. Not only are students enrolled in their school’s toughest classes, such as honors and Advanced Placement, but also in the AVID elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students. As a course that satisfies the advisory requirement for all freshmen, this class will have a focus on learning how to advocate for oneself, organization, leadership, teamwork skills, and community building.


SPEECH AND DEBATE
Credit Type: Fine Arts
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1
Activity Fee: $100/semester

This course trains students for forensics competition on the local, district, state and national levels. Students are trained in the art of argumentation, interpretation, and extemporaneous speaking. In cross examination and Lincoln/Douglas debate competition, students constantly write new cases, research new data, and test out new strategies and new opponents every week. In extemporaneous speaking competitions, students must, on a weekly basis, upgrade their research skills by keeping current with the news and editorial weeklies. Not only do they need to keep current with national and international events, but they also face new challenges each week with the constant changing of questions and opponents. 


COLORADO UPLIFT
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Grade Level
Units: 1

Colorado UpLift exists to build long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth. Students become better leaders and develop character qualities and skills necessary to lead a successful life. This class will challenge students in areas such as goal achievement, future planning, positive choices, and becoming more vocal to name a few. This class goes off campus to serve elementary students and involves community service on most block days. Students are graded on things like presentation skills and the ability to respect and gain the trust of classmates.


STUDENT LEADERSHIP
Credit Type: Academic Elective
Course Format Offered: Honors
Units: 1

Student Leadership at George Washington High School is a year-long commitment to improve the school community and the community at large through many forms of service. The members represent the student body and work together on all projects or issues that come before Student Leadership. Students should expect to spend time outside the classroom to work on school initiatives.