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Academics

HIGH SCHOOL OVERVIEW


Expanding Possibilities
Siena's high school program focuses on preparing students for admission to college and university programs.  Our high school students develop academic skills, self-advocacy and self-confidence and are provided with extensive and individualized  college counseling that supports the student and family through the entire college search and application process.  Siena encourages students to explore their interests and future career options through its annual high school internship program.
 
Engaging the Individual
With small classes averaging 10 students or fewer, dialogue between teachers and students serves as the primary teaching method.  Multisensory, hands-on, experiential learning in seminar-style classes with daily discussions form the core of Siena's approach. Teachers use technology extensively, including multimedia which play to the students' visual strengths.  The high school also incorporates an extensive guest speaker program which bolsters interest in and understanding of core curriculum.

Siena's classes include language-based learning strategies across all subject areas. Special attention is paid to developing skills in:
  • Reading (fluency and comprehension)
  • Written Expression
  • Organization and executive functioning/planning
  • Specific, structured approaches to assignments including research
  • During daily tutorial periods, students receive supplemental help in reading, writing and math. 
Strength Based Approach
Siena offers a range of electives in arts, music, engineering, foreign language, and physical education offerings.  All high school students at Siena learn Spanish.  Spanish courses are founded in vocabulary, culture and conversation, rather than focused on writing skills, thus capitalizing on the strengths of Siena students.  As students enter their final year of high school, they are encouraged to explore areas of significant interest through year-long independent projects.
 
A Collaborative Community  
Siena values an integrated curriculum. Courses in history and literature are connected thematically and topically and other subjects draw on themes and topics covered in the humanities.  For example, History 9 begins with a study of the Great Depression while English 9 students read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Concurrently, students might analyze the New Deal photographs of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and others. They may be asked to pull on English or history discussions when crafting stories in Spanish class or studying a particular artist in Art I.   Efforts are made to connect math and science courses, both vertically through a student's time at Siena and horizontally through a year's curriculum.