Berkshire’s academic curriculum prepares students for college and beyond by offering a wide array of courses in Arts, Languages, History, Math, Science, and English. Our college prep curriculum is designed by Department Chairs and other academic leaders to advance our students intellectually and to help them become agile, independent thinkers. It is executed by a talented faculty that will continually challenge and inspire our students to become life long learners. Whether a student’s passion is physics, philosophy, or the performing arts, the Berkshire curriculum helps them pursue that passion as far as they are willing.
The following courses are being offered for during the 2019-2020 school year.
LEADERSHIP: POLITICS AND SOCIETY
This course examines the revolutionary nature of female leadership across time and cultures. Students examine great female leaders throughout history, looking at specific powerful women who led groups of individuals for various political, cultural, and social reasons. We explore what it means to be a leader, how our understanding of that has/has not changed over time, as well as contemporary and historical narratives that shape our understanding of how society accepted/viewed these women. We compare their accomplishments with their contemporaries--men and women--to understand whether these women were really unique as leaders in their societies and during their time.
MODERN EAST ASIA
This one-semester course examines the emergence of modern societies in East Asia during the expansion of Western imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century and the endeavors of China, Japan, and Korea to respond to the challenges of the new world order. Special attention is given to the Chinese Revolution, the emergence of Japan as a global power, the Second World War in East Asia, and the economic transformation of the Pacific Rim in the second half of the twentieth century. Students write a research essay to fulfill the requirements of the course.
U.S. HISTORY AFTER 1945
“History is not the past. It is the present.” This course looks at the American experience of the last seventy-five years and endeavors to discern the impact of the Cold War, the human rights campaigns, the environmental movement, the “culture wars,” the deindustrialization of the economy, and the “war on terror” in American culture, society, and politics. For example, we explore the historical context for expressions and terms such as ‘Give ’em hell, Harry!”, “Better dead than Red,” the “Farce on Washington,” “end poverty in our time,” “Sisterhood is powerful!”, “blue-collar blues,” “family values,” “McWorld,” and the “American Dream” through images as well as the printed word. Students write a research essay to fulfill the requirements of the course.
COMPUTER SCIENCE AND AI
This yearlong course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of computer science and artificial intelligence. Through a hands-on, multidisciplinary approach, the course teaches students to problem-solve, develop creativity, and collaborate on solutions to real-word issues using the power of CS and AI. Topics covered in this course include, but are not limited to, programming languages and systems, graphics and games design, image recognition and machine learning.
AVIATION SCIENCE (now 1st and 2nd semester)
During the first semester, students study topics including engineering, aerodynamics, airspace and weather. Students learn to safely fly drones, launch a weather balloon into the upper atmosphere, fly the School’s state-of-the-art aircraft simulator and participate in other aviation related hands-on activities. During second semester, students prepare for the FAA Knowledge Exam for Private Pilot and take that exam at the end of the semester. Topics in this semester include navigation, radio communication, aviation weather, instrumentation, and aircraft engines and systems. Additionally, every Sunday students have the opportunity to receive flight instruction at the local Great Barrington Airport. Students may elect to take one and/or both semester courses.
Virtual High School places students in the alternative learning environments that they will encounter in college and beyond, teaching them to advocate for themselves, work independently and manage their time and learning. It also offers classes not offered on campus, thereby expanding students’ curricular opportunities.
Some sample courses include:
Anatomy and Physiology Honors
Advanced Placement Computer Science
CAD: Computer Aided Design
Computer Science Honors
Genes and Disease Honors
Video Game Design
(see VHS website for full list of available offerings)