Academics

Elite Scholars Program

Truly elite American colleges and universities expect the highest levels of scholarship and intellectual development in their applicants. Grier’s Elite Scholars Program provides opportunities for students to experience college-level courses approved by the College Board, fostering in students’ critical thinking, academic perseverance, and a breadth and depth of knowledge necessary in securing advanced placement in college course or credit toward a college degree.

Grier’s Elite Scholars Program identifies outstanding and ambitious students upon matriculation and throughout their academic careers; honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available to these students in all departments.

Honors students can expect to qualify for AP courses beginning in the sophomore year.

Grier offers the following 21 AP Courses:

List of 21 items.

  • AP Art History - Grade: 11 or 12

    This course is designed to meet the requirements outlined for an introductory college course in Art History. It helps students to develop an understanding and knowledge of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other art forms within diverse historical and cultural contexts. Students will examine major forms of artistic expression from the ancient world to the present day from a variety of cultures and will learn to look at works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity. Students will learn strategies of analysis, develop a firm understanding of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, and become fluent in the use of fundamental art historical terminology. Finally, although emphasis is placed on Western European art, artistic traditions beyond the Western tradition will be fully integrated in the curriculum. Students are required to take the AP Art History exam in May. Prerequisite: two years of study.
  • AP Biology - Grade: 11 or 12

    This two-semester, college-level course covers supporting biochemistry, cells, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell division, genetics, molecular biology, plant ecology, viruses, bacteria, ecology, evolution, environment science and human biology. Emphasis will be placed on learning through inquiry based labs. An intensive look at biology prepares students for the AP exam. Students will be given a summer assignment at the end of the previous year that will be due at the start of fall classes. This course meets during two class periods each day. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Honors Biology and Chemistry (preferably honors). Students should have received at least an A- in Honors Biology and at least a solid B in Chemistry. Students must evince a strong affinity and curiosity for the subject. Self-motivation and a strong work ethic are essential. Teacher recommendation is required for acceptance into the course.
  • AP Calculus AB - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    This course provides a thorough study of the elementary functions of Calculus to prepare a student for the AP Calculus AB exam. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Calculus and/or Placement Test; Teacher recommendation
  • AP Calculus BC - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    The AP Calculus BC course is designed to offer students who have completed a regular calculus course or the AP Calculus AB course an opportunity to further study calculus. All of the topics of the “AP Calculus BC” course description will be discussed. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: AP Calculus AB; Teacher recommendation.
  • AP Chemistry - Grade: 11 or 12

    The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of a first-year college general chemistry course. Students in such a course will attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course contributes to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. The AP course in general chemistry differs qualitatively from the usual first secondary school course in chemistry with respect to the kind of textbook used, the topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, and the kind of laboratory work done by students. Quantitative differences appear in the number of topics treated, the time spent on the course by student, and the nature and the variety of experiments done in the laboratory. Students will be expected to meet with this class once a week during an extra help session that will be determined by the teacher. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Honors Chemistry with a 90 or higher; Teacher recommendation.
  • AP Computer Science Principles - Grade: 11 or 12

    AP Computer Science Principles will provide a broad overview of the field of computer science. This course teaches students programming while emphasizing problem solving and logic. Most projects are open-ended and students will be working on them either in pairs or by themselves. Students will be able to critically analyze computing innovations as well as create applications that express their interests. Units include: How the Internet Works, Digital Information, Algorithms and Programming, Big Data and Privacy, and Building Apps in JavaScript. Each student prepares two performance tasks to be submitted to the College Board and they are required to take the AP Course Exam. Prerequisites: Computer Science I.

    Units Include: How the Internet Works, Digital Information, Algorithms and Programming, Big Data and Privacy, and Building Apps in JavaScript.
    Each students prepares two performance tasks to be submitted to the College Board and they are required to take the AP Course Exam.
  • AP English Literature - Grade: 12

    As an AP course, this is a rigorous college-level course and is designed to teach beginning college writing. This course follows the curricular requirements as described in the AP English Course Description. The reading is challenging; the writing is frequent and requires an independent mind. Every day, students will talk about writing and literature. In the discussions, students and teacher will address structure, style, diction, imagery, symbolism, metaphor, motif, tone, theme, syntax, and more. Students will learn how these make a work unique and will be reading from an intensive and extensive reading list. They will study British writers, American writers, and writers from all over the world. Students will read drama, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and they will read literature from the past and literature of today. In discussions of literature, they will learn the social, cultural, and historical values a work reflects and embodies. They will also learn about literary criticism and how to look at literature through different lenses, internalizing, and making their own connections. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation and a grade of 85 or higher in previous honors courses or 90 or higher in college preparatory courses.
  • AP Environmental Science - Grade: 11 or 12

    The goal of this full year course is to use the students’ knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics to deepen their understanding of current environmental issues. Subjects covered will be Environmental and Earth Systems and Ecology, Biodiversity, Wild and Human Populations, Land Use and Resources, Agriculture and Food, Water Resources and Pollution, Air Pollution, Ozone Depletion, Nonrenewable and Renewable Energy, Waste Generation and Disposal, Toxins, Human Health and Environmental Health, Global Change, Sustainability, Economics and Equity. The course will also develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that are necessary to weigh the socioeconomic costs and benefits of this type of decision-making. Research and data collection will be a large part of the class and students’ own interests will be explored. This class will prepare students for the AP exam in Environmental Science. Students will have assignments over Winter Break and Spring Break. They are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Must have earned 85 or higher in Physics, Biology, and Chemistry; Teacher recommendation.
  • AP European History - Grade: 11

    The curriculum of AP European History traces the history of Europe from the Renaissance of the 14th century to the modern age. Students practice skills such as the analysis of historical materials, the writing of document-based and free response essays, and multiple choice testing. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: A grade of 80 or higher in previous honors courses or 90 or higher in other History courses and/or teacher recommendation.
  • AP French Language - Grade: 11 or 12

    The Advanced Placement French Language course is a specialized class designed for students who have successfully completed Level IV French or Honors Level III. In this class, students will continue to explore the culture of the French speaking world by examining the six themes addressed on the AP French exam. Students are expected to speak solely in French and to participate in class discussions of the readings so that they can hone their interpersonal and presentational communication skills. Students are required to take the AP Exam in May. Prerequisites: French IV or Honors French III and teacher recommendation, or placement test.
  • AP Macroeconomics - Grade: 11 or 12

    AP Macroeconomics emphasizes economic principles as applied to the economy as a whole. The topics are presented to meet the curriculum standards tested on the AP Exam as designed by the College Board. Lessons include basic economic concepts common to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics; an analysis of national income and its components, economic indicators including gross domestic product (GDP), the inflation rate and the unemployment rate; the financial and banking, monetary and fiscal policies, exchange rates and international finance, globalization and world trade.
  • AP Microeconomics - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    AP Microeconomics is an Advanced Placement level course that analyzes the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system as we try to answer a central economic concern: how do we make choices in the face of scarcity – unlimited wants and limited resources? Topics of study include but are not limited to: economic reasoning, supply and demand, consumer behavior, firm behavior, public welfare, market structures, economic inequity, and government regulation. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Algebra II (grade of 80 or higher).
  • AP Music Theory - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    This intensive course is designed to develop musical skills that will lead to a thorough understanding of music composition and theory. Students will be required to read, notate, write, sing and listen to music to develop their aural, composition, analytical and performance skills. Upon completing the course, students will be prepared and are required to take the AP Music Theory Exam. Students going to college will be able to apply for credit or placement into advanced theory classes, depending on the individual colleges’ AP policies. Prerequisites: Some prior knowledge of music theory is recommended though not required. Must have experience on an instrument or voice.
  • AP Physics 1 - Grade: 11 or 12

    AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based introductory college level physics course, first semester. This inquiry based class will encompass kinematics 1D and 2D, dynamics, circular motion, simple harmonic motion, impulse and momentum, work and energy, rotational mechanics, electrostatics, simple DC circuits and sound waves. The class will emphasize learning physics through inquiry labs. Students will be expected to meet with this class once a week during an extra help that will be determined by the teacher. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation required.
  • AP Physics 2 - Grade 11 or 12

    AP Physics 2 is an algebra-based introductory college level physics course, second semester. This inquiry based class will explore fluids, thermodynamics, electrical force, electric circuits, magnetism, electromagnetism, geometric and physical optics, quantum physics and nuclear physics. Students will be expected to meet with this class once a week during an extra help that will be determined by the teacher. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: AP Physics 1; Teacher recommendation.
  • AP Portfolio (Studio Art: 2-D Design) - Grade: 11 or 12

    The teacher assists in the final preparation of a student’s portfolio for students interested in attending post-secondary programs where portfolios are a prerequisite to admission. The completed portfolio will show skills in all areas and mediums of art as required by the College Board assessment standard, fulfilling all college admissions portfolio requirements. Prerequisites: 2 years of study and sketch book review.
  • AP Psychology - Grade: 11 or 12

    The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental process of human beings and other organisms. Students are exposed to psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. Students also learn about the ethics and research methods psychologists use in their science and practice. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Biology, Anatomy, or Chemistry, Intro to Psychology or Abnormal Psychology.
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture - Grade: 11 or 12

    The Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture course provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in each of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. As such, the AP Spanish course has been designed to provide advanced high school students with a rich and rigorous opportunity to study the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. The course is centered on six themes, which we explore throughout the year: families and communities, science and technology, beauty and aesthetics, contemporary life, global challenges, and personal and public identities. The course is taught exclusively in Spanish. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Spanish IV or equivalent, teacher recommendation, and/or placement test.
  • AP Statistics - Grade: 11 or 12

    Course Overview: This class uses a college-level text with computer applications for college-bound students who are interested in the study of basic statistical methods. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: Trigonometry and/or Placement Test; Teacher recommendation.
  • AP US History - Grade: 10

    This course is a chronological survey of American history from pre-Columbian times to present times using textbook, video/movies, literature, original documents, and group discussion. There is a heavy emphasis placed on writing exercises. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: A grade of 80 or higher in previous honors courses or 90 or higher in other History courses and/or teacher recommendation.
  • AP World History - Grade: 12

    AP World History is a college-level survey course that broadly reconstructs global history from antiquity to the modern age. AP World History is a comparative study of Western, and non-Western civilizations. AP World History places an emphasis on the cultural, social, economic, political and intellectual themes that have shaped our world. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Prerequisites: A grade of 80 or higher in previous honors courses or 90 or higher in other History courses and/or teacher recommendation.
Top students preparing for the most competitive college and universities are expected to take five or more AP courses before graduation. Those enrolled in AP courses are required to take that national College Board exams.

Recently at Grier

  • Average AP scores exceeded the national average of 2.9 by more than one full point.
  • 46% of the exams received a grade of 5; 74% earned a grade of 4 or 5, far higher than the national average.
  • Grier Elite Scholars achieved an SAT composite score of over 1350. On the SAT subject tests, the average score was over 700.
  • Nine students in recent years have received recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Program; one student has been named a National Merit Scholar.
  • University scholarship offers to the graduates of the Class of 2017 totaled $5 million.
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Grier School

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Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177