Stoneleigh-Burnham Course Catalog

Explore courses by clicking on departments below.

The mission of the Stoneleigh-Burnham English Department is to teach students to read attentively, think critically, and write precisely. Starting in seventh grade and building to the IB diploma program in their junior and senior years, students engage with a wide range of literary styles and perspectives that foster a global mindset and a broader outlook on themselves and the world. In the classroom, we support independent thought and individual development through inquiry-based learning; we encourage our students to understand themselves as learners, to explore personal connections to the curriculum, and to find their own voices in discussion and writing. Focusing on writing as a process, we push our students to refine their skills in both analytical and creative assignments. Students are driven to understand the greater context in which literature is written and received, as well as the stylistic and technical choices writers make, and to use this knowledge as they articulate their own ideas in speaking and writing.

4 years required for graduation from Upper School

English Department Staff

The English Language (EL) Department prepares international students with intermediate – advanced English skills for successful work in mainstream classes at Stoneleigh-Burnham. In EL courses, students are presented with reading, writing, listening, and speaking challenges appropriate to their level of proficiency with English. Students build linguistic and cultural skills necessary to succeed in an American academic setting; to speak and write clearly, think critically and analytically, and work both independently and cooperatively. Reading selections increase in complexity of language and sophistication of content as the students approach the transition to mainstream classes. The EL Department believes that English Learners develop crucial skills and confidence in a safe, nurturing environment where each student is encouraged to celebrate her cultural heritage and explore her personal identity. In so doing, students develop strong, authentic voices in English as well as foster intercultural understanding in the SBS community. The EL Department also believes that language learning does not stop once a student has transitioned into a grade-level English course. For this reason, students who have recently transitioned may be supported through the Extension Program as available.

English Language Department Staff

The dance department is designed to aid girls in the development of kinesthetic intelligence and to provide opportunities for self-expression and communication. Dancers build self-esteem and strength. With class offerings from the beginning to advanced levels, girls discover that dance is an art form that links mind and body.

Dance Department Staff

The History Department strives to instill in our students a sense of global citizenship that will inspire them to be lifelong learners who understand both the past and its relevance to their present and future world. The curriculum has a strong international focus with the following objectives. 

  • To utilize the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme as it inspires us to think about empathy and social justice
  • To practice an inclusive approach of understanding and studying history from multiple perspectives
  • To study patterns of history and the origins of the modern world in order to give students the tools to solve contemporary problems 
  • To offer high level of support from teachers and individualized instruction 

Students are encouraged to debate the past by using appropriate source material that present and encourage an understanding of multiple points of view to create and defend logical theses. We have mapped research, writing, and analytical skills so their complexity increases with grade level. Ever present in our classrooms is the school-wide goal of helping girls to find their voices and to increase their sense of purpose, identity, and international mindedness. 

3 years required including United States History

History Department Staff

The study of language encourages students to expand their view of the world and promotes critical reflection on the relation of language, culture, and thought. Our classes foster communication, cultural awareness, and literacy. In small class settings girls have the opportunity to interact with confidence in a curriculum balancing listening, speaking, reading, and writing in all levels. Authentic materials, immersive approach, hands-on activities, and technology enhance instruction. Cultural activities offered throughout the year include art workshops, language tables, movie nights, guest speakers, and food tastings.

SBS teachers align their pedagogical approach with the IB’s Approaches to Teaching and Learning:

Teaching is based on inquiry, focused on conceptual understanding, developed in local and global contexts, focused on effective teamwork and collaboration, differentiated to meet the needs of all learners, and informed by formative and summative assessment. Teachers help students develop language learning in the areas of self-management skills, social skills, communication skills, research skills, and thinking skills.

3 consecutive years of the same language required; 4 years recommended

Languages Department Staff

The Stoneleigh-Burnham Mathematics Department believes that each and every student should be challenged to develop their mathematical interests and abilities as much as possible while at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. To this end, we maintain a curriculum with a variety of offerings at all levels so that each student may be placed in the appropriate courses from the time they enter until graduation. As a result, most of our students continue to take courses within the department beyond the minimum graduation requirements.

Our goals for our students include the following:

  • To see themselves as competent and self-confident mathematicians.
  • To appreciate the abstract beauty of mathematical theories and to use appropriate mathematical vocabulary to express themselves.
  • To make real-life connections to applications of mathematics, in particular, to develop a sense of financial literacy applicable to their own lives.
  • To develop math stamina, the ability to take time to wrestle with difficult problems.
  • To make appropriate use of technology in the study of mathematics.

3 years required including Algebra 2, 4 years recommended

Mathematics Department Staff

The Stoneleigh-Burnham instrumental and vocal music program welcomes each student at her level and helps her continue to grow as a musician. From beginner through advanced, through a wide variety of musical styles, students are encouraged to explore and develop their love of music. SBS has been recognized as a pioneer in girls’ music education for its award-winning vocal, jazz and classical groups and for instituting a course in rock band. Whether you want to begin an instrument or continue a passion, the Stoneleigh-Burnham music program has a rich variety of offerings to meet individual needs.

Music Department Staff

Rhetoric is the ancient art of argumentation and discourse. People often disagree with each other, and this course will lead students down the path of civil discourse. By exploring the nature of shared and unshared assumptions, students will be able to engage in debate and persuasive speaking intelligently and politely. Students will use logical arguments based on inductive and deductive reasoning. They will learn to create an emotional reaction in an audience. They will also learn to project a trustworthy, authoritative, and charismatic image. When writing speeches, students will keep in mind the speaker, the content, and the listener. Listening skills will be stressed.

This course is required of all 10th graders.

The mission of the science department at Stoneleigh-Burnham School is to provide each of our students with the tools, confidence, and knowledge to tackle scientific questions. We encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and reflection through hands-on inquiry. Laboratory investigations incorporate experiment design and technology applications. They also build collaboration and communication skills. We stress the practical application of classroom science to the real world, and draw deliberate connections between the various science disciplines.

3 years required for graduation (two courses must be lab science); four recommended

Science Department Staff

Stoneleigh-Burnham provides information technology resources to facilitate and enrich our community’s educational, workplace, and residential experience. Students have access to three computer labs, as well as many additional computers situated throughout the school. All academic computers are networked, allowing access to printers and the school’s email/messaging system. Our in-school network is available for academic purposes during all class and study hall hours.

Students who wish to bring their own computers to Stoneleigh-Burnham are encouraged to do so. All students who intend to use the student wireless system must register their computers with the Technology Department and comply with all applicable rules and regulations.

The Technology Department makes an effort to assist students with personal computer issues and, as necessary, help to arrange for outside service and repairs. The school will provide virus protection for all student-owned computers.

This course is required of all 9th graders.

Technology Department Staff

Drama is a long-standing tradition at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Students explore theater through practice, performance, and design, and thus gain experience in all areas of theatrical production. In the main stage play each year, students act, direct, design the set, and help to run the technical aspects of the production. Acting classes are offered from the beginner level to the advanced.

Theater Department Staff

Studying the visual arts is an interactive hands-on learning experience where students learn the basic concepts and skills that are common to all visual arts disciplines. Students develop their problem-solving skills by learning how to design and execute a piece, assess it, and refine it. In the beginning-level classes, the focus is on developing the skills and concepts of the discipline, which will enhance a student’s ability to express herself in the visual arts. In the upper level classes, emphasis is placed on learning how to critique, analyze, and interpret art while undertaking more complex and meaningful studio projects. Art making affords an outlet for personal expression and adolescents may explore and express things they cannot communicate in words.

Our curriculum supports the needs of students by offering them many opportunities in the arts. A conscious effort is made to introduce the work of women, female-identifying, POC, and international artists as examples in the classroom. We draw from contemporary work as well as historical references. The artists who exhibit in the Geissler Gallery are often women, and each gives a gallery talk to the student body about her experience and life as an artist. We also offer assistance in portfolio preparation to seniors for college admission.

After completing our required one-trimester visual arts foundation course, Design & Color, students are eligible to take electives in Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Digital Photography, Printmaking, and Weaving. We also offer a course in design that culminates in the production of the school’s Yearbook.

2 trimesters of the arts are required each year

Visual Arts Department Staff