College Preparatory Curriculum

College Preparatory Curriculum

In 1957, when Lowell Whiteman founded the school, he knew that students need both a strong academic education and radical adventure. With his vision, Lowell Whiteman struck gold:  he simultaneously ensured the well-being of the school's students and the quality of its faculty. Teachers had to love the classroom and love adventure. Built into Lowell’s vision was the underlying foundation of a strong college preparatory education through strong student-teacher relationships that remains at the heart of the school today.

Steamboat Mountain School is first and foremost a college preparatory school. Philosophically, we embrace a solid liberal arts education. Students study literature, grammar and composition, math, history, geography, science, Spanish or Chinese, and art (be it film, computer graphics, or drawing and painting). We maintain our clear college prep focus. Our classes remain small, with the largest at fifteen students. We do give homework- meaningful homework that prepares students for independent work in college.

Our students think. We emphasize critical, analytical, and creative thinking.

Our students read.

They read copiously. When students graduate, they have read Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Kafka, Beckett, Wilde, Hawthorne, Twain, Faulkner. They've also read Ken Kesey, Toni Morrison, and John Barth. They've read textbooks, newspapers, non-fiction, fiction, literary criticism, National Geographic and The New York Times. They know how to read for comprehension and recall; they know how to read a poem; they know how to read a novel and an Algebra 2 text differently. They know not to believe everything they read.

Our students write.

They write essays in English, research papers in history, lab reports in science, aftermaths in calculus, and scripts in Film. Our students repeatedly face essay and short answer tests and many other forms of assessments. We expect students over the course of their four years to become confident in synthesizing, analyzing, and organizing information – in their heads and on paper.

Our students think.

We emphasize critical, analytical, and creative thinking. We require kids to show all the steps in their math homework. We require students to think through the stages of mitosis in Biology. We continue to subject our students to the challenges of the two-column proof in Geometry. Our Global Politics and Environmental Issues students are expected to do field work and produce creative and practical solutions to real world problems such as global warming, population explosion, and the need for sustainable agriculture. We, as their teachers, understand that our students will need the ability to think, clearly and patiently, in their world after high school.

Life in the academic arena at Steamboat Mountain School isn't easy for a student, but it is engaging and fun. Our academic program fosters the development of strong organizational and time management skills, confidence, and responsibility. We march at a healthy pace, and we expect students over time to become self-reliant learners, in every course from World History to A.P. Spanish to Anatomy and Physiology.