Ninth Grade Program (NGP)
The NGP is the first of many opportunities at Lawrence Academy for our students to see themselves as capable of thinking for themselves, and, ultimately, responsible for their own learning while being invested in the success of others.
Central to the NGP are the intellectual skills that are essential for academic success and lifelong learning: reading, writing, reasoning/creativity, speaking/listening, and study/organization. The importance of mastering the NGP skills informs ongoing curriculum development inside the NGP.
Just as important as the NGP's rigorous development of the intellect is the program's emphasis on teaching students how to open themselves to the perspectives of others, and how to develop a healthy capacity for working cooperatively. In the NGP, students are supported in becoming more conscious of who they are as learners.
Like all faculty at Lawrence Academy, the NGP teachers coach students to learn from others how to think for themselves, to remain open to possibilities, to take constructive risks, to explore options, and to make discoveries.
Students are taught by a team of four teachers—one from the arts, one from science, one from English, and one from history. Classes focus on teaching the skills using content material from the various disciplines in an interdisciplinary approach, thus encouraging students to make connections and to draw on shared experiences. The NGP offers a new approach to interdisciplinary learning by proposing that skills, not facts, unite the disciplines. Students learn that the best scientists are as creative as artists; the best artists are as analytic as historians; and the best historians are as articulate as writers.
Clicking the course names below will reveal the course descriptions.
- NGP Overview
In the NGP, students learn to think for themselves in science, history, the arts, and English—and to see that success in each discipline requires mastering a common set of skills. From the very first classes, teachers help prepare students, one skill at a time, to design and complete a six-week mastery project in May on a topic of their choice. The NGP is all about students both learning how to walk on their own intellectual legs and then better knowing where they want to go.
The team of teachers focuses throughout the year on developing skills in five areas within a carefully integrated and rigorous curriculum: reading, writing, reasoning and creativity, listening and speaking, and organizing. Participating in seminars means students learn how to direct the class discussions with their own questions—the kind of participation that teaches them, over time, how to support conclusions with evidence. By the time their mastery project comes around, they have the confidence necessary to satisfy a panel of teachers during a 10-minute mastery project oral defense.
- Ninth Grade Arts Program - 100
In conjunction with the English, history, and science programs, students receive a foundation in the skills associated with creativity and artistic expression. Students develop their ability to respect the creative space of the classroom; to experience the creative process of making art; to take risks with their thoughts, feelings, and ideas; to develop artistic voice; to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of their own work and respect the work of others; to explore playfully and spontaneously through different mediums; and to observe closely works of art and to be able to respond critically and articulately. Students leave the program prepared for meaningful and disciplined study in any of the arts — dance, music, theatre, and visual arts.
- Ninth Grade English Program - 201
In conjunction with the arts, history and science programs, the English program in the NGP focuses on developing students’ understanding of themselves as readers and writers by asking them to read literature in four genres -- short story, play, poem, and novel -- and to create interpretations which pay close attention to the text, not only using evidence to support the student's reasoning in inferences and conclusions, but also using fundamental literary terms and devices. Students express their ideas by speaking and listening in seminars and presentations as well as by writing in analytical essays, personal essays, poetry and stories. A preliminary study of formal matters in writing, such as vocabulary, grammar, usage, mechanics and style, is included in all NGP classes.
- Ninth Grade History Program - 603
In conjunction with the English, science and arts programs, the history program emphasizes fundamental history and social science skills: using the library, researching and gathering evidence and using evidence to support inferences and conclusions. Using both primary and secondary documents, there is an emphasis on reading to identify and comprehend main and subordinate ideas and to summarize the ideas in one’s own words. Writing skills include the formulation of a thesis; the ability to organize, select, and relate ideas and to outline and develop them in coherent paragraphs; and the ability to take meaningful and accurate notes from class discussions and reading assignments. Reasoning skills include the ability to analyze and synthesize and the ability to draw reasonable conclusions from information found in various sources. Special emphasis is given to helping students navigate various types of information and distinguish what comprises a valid and appropriate resource.
- Ninth Grade Science Program - 500
In conjunction with the English, history and arts programs, students improve their skills in reading, writing and reasoning in science. Consequently, the process of science, inquiry, laboratory skills, collection and treatment of data, and the creative solutions to problems are integral to the program. Students learn to identify problems and formulate hypotheses and to propose and evaluate ways to test them. They develop their observation skills and learn how to use appropriate methods and tools for gathering information. They also learn to organize and interpret data in order to make generalizations and predictions, and to design and carry out experiments. Students emerge from the program with a foundation of skills and knowledge for continued study in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences.