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A High School Program for Girls Who Want to Make an Impact

“ … meeting the wants of the age … ” – Cornelia Connelly

Grades 9-12

Oak Knoll offers a comprehensive college preparatory program, meeting the demands for admission to the most selective colleges and universities. In a right-sized setting, Oak Knoll faculty employ a fresh approach to learning that strikes a unique balance between individual attention and self-direction. Your daughter will benefit from a holistic curriculum and co-curricular activities that inspire academic achievement and excellence at all levels.

As a single-sex school for young women, the program is sensitive not only to issues of gender in the curriculum and the classroom but also to leadership issues in school and the wider world. Every leadership position in the Upper School is held by a young woman — and that is by design because we know, in the spirit of our founder Cornelia Connelly, an Oak Knoll young woman perseveres “with all her might” to achieve her God-given purpose.

High School Courses

Computer Science

The computer science program emphasizes the use of various technology tools that enhance one’s ability to solve problems, record and track information, and control complex phenomena. Both required and elective courses encourage mastery of these tools, thus enabling students to reach academic objectives across the curriculum. Due to the ever-changing nature of technology, the computer science department continuously recalibrates its curriculum to account for the growing computer literacy of our students and the development of new applications. The technology department works collaboratively with students and teachers to integrate technology for all grades 7 through 12 in ways appropriate to specific goals of classes across the curriculum.

This course introduces students to an array of technologies that will assist in organizing, analyzing, and presenting information. Projects and assignments from students’ other classes provide the context for using various technologies. This class integrates skills such as spreadsheet development, graphing, file management, and desktop publishing. Additionally, class discussions and presentations address issues of cyberbullying, privacy and security, media literacy, and how to maintain a positive digital footprint. The course concludes with student presentations on a current event in technology.

This course introduces students to computer programming fundamentals. Students will design and code programs and will gain familiarity with programming concepts such as conditionals, loops and events. Students will be exposed to robotics and will include robotics in programs that they code. Learning how to test and debug a program is also a part of this course.

Students will continue to enhance their computer programming skills that began in grade 9. They will have opportunities to program with Snap using sprites, sounds, variables, math operations and logic. Projects will include creating interactive games, animations and other projects. At the end of this course, students will be ready to continue programming in AP Computer Science Principles. Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, Computer Programming will be a prerequisite for AP Computer Science Principles.

Computer Science Principles develops computing concepts and an understanding of the impact of technology in our lives. The content of this course follows the College Board requirements. While sharpening their computational thinking and problemsolving techniques, students develop programming skills and gain an appreciation for the impact of technology within economic, social and cultural contexts. Students begin to abstract programming concepts by learning to code through multiple programming languages such as Snap! and JavaScript. Advanced Placement students will complete the College Board Performance Assessment and take the AP exam. This AP course includes two portfolio submissions to the College Board. If a student misses the College Board deadline for submission of these files, she will not be permitted to sit for the AP exam in May. If this unlikely situation occurs, Oak Knoll would not grant AP credit for this course.

The Advanced Placement course outlined by the College Board provides the foundation for this class whose emphasis is on programming methodology and algorithms using a variety of data types and structures. The object-oriented programming language Java provides the context for treating these subjects. Applications develop student knowledge of algorithms, data types, and structures and provide topics for programming assignments in which students apply this knowledge. To do well on the AP exam, students should expect to program at least three hours per week in addition to the time spent during scheduled class periods.

Honors Engineering is a semester/year course that combines math, science and technology in a hands-on lab-based curriculum. This semester course introduces students to the art and science of engineering and allows students to discover the many aspects of the field. With an emphasis on problem-solving and independent exploration, the class addresses topics of 3D drawing 3D drawing, 3D printing and inventions. It introduces students to computer, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering and would suit students who are interested in pursuing STEM fields.

Creative Arts

Guided by Cornelia Connelly’s belief that the arts are essential to a well-rounded person, the creative arts department encourages and promotes the artistic development of the Oak Knoll student in the areas of dance, photography, music, and art. The required and elective courses work together to give the student a sense of the arts.

In this course, beginning and experienced students explore various dance techniques, such as modern, jazz, and lyrical. Viewing of performance clips, discussion, cultural awareness, introduction to choreography, and dance as self-expression create a well-rounded educational experience. Students participate in movement technique classes and begin to explore the creative process through dance-making skills. An understanding of the dance gesture and nuance help students decode different meanings behind the dance. Additional exploration of prominent dance historical moments enables students to fashion their own answers to the question, “What is Dance?”

This course introduces students to the history of photography and camera anatomy, using pinhole and 35mm cameras. Emphasis is placed on the manual control of focusing, the creative use of aperture and shutter speed, and printing skills. Projects are integrated with visual art processes such as collage.

This course introduces students to the art of forensics, which is a collective term for both speech and debate. Students will have the opportunity to develop, refine and master communication skills, which include public speaking skills, speech-writing, and impromptu speaking as well as dramatic, poetry, and prose interpretation.

This course explores calligraphy and lettering design and examines their function in the communication arts. Students initially learn lettering styles, techniques, and tools with the Chancery Cursive alphabet as the focus. After mastering this calligraphic style, they learn how commercial art employs type and graphic design collaboratively. At the conclusion of the course, exceptional calligraphers may join Oak Knoll’s calligraphy club, Scribes, which serves the school community by lettering signs, certificates, and posters.

Diving into the global scene, this course explores the power and effect of dance as a dynamic art form in our world. New and continuing students utilize various dance forms to help them gain new skills and master techniques. Improvisation and creative exercises help students formulate individual modes of expression and understand the whole creative process. Students gain an understanding of the power of dance by examining different styles through the works of various choreographers and dancers. Additionally, they discover how different religions and cultures use dance as a form of expression in our society. From literature to politics, Broadway to the Bible, students learn that dance has the potential to change the minds of both the participant and the viewer.

Through themed assignments, darkroom photography continues to teach students about camera functions, darkroom techniques, and the art of observation. Further exploration includes the use of a range of ISO films, alternative light metering, darkroom printing on various paper surfaces and sizes, the use of tripods, and composition.

Drawing is a simple and direct means of visual expression, serving as a method of notation and analysis and a way of learning to see. Accordingly, students enrolled in this course concentrate on mark-and basic drafting skills using a limited range of traditional and innovative drawing tools. The program emphasizes anatomy of form and proportion and the control of contrast, measurement, and placement. Additionally, the use of tone and line, foreshortening, and perspective enhances the student’s ability to represent the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. This course is a prerequisite for the Art Major program.

This course merges traditional and technological arts and provides the student with the means of visual creation using digital art tools. Equipped with the Corel Painter software program and a tablet laptop and stylus, the student learns the fundamentals of drawing and painting techniques as she explores the fascinating world of computer graphics. “Painter” allows the student to work in various digital media and apply a combination of diverse effects and methods. By the conclusion of this course, each student has a good understanding of the basics of drawing and digital imaging. This course is a prerequisite for the Art Major program.

This course introduces students to all the components that go into making a staged production. This involves all visual, mechanical, and auditory production aspects of theater that supplement the acting, writing, and directing. The five primary elements of technical theater are scenery, lighting, props, costumes, and sound engineering. All of these elements work together to establish the place, time period, and mood of the production, which explores the backstage world of theatre. Students will investigate several areas of production and design from both a practical and a theoretical base.

This course introduces students to vocal performance and musical staging. Classes will range from vocal master classes to setting specific songs as both soloists and groups. Students will study various vocal techniques as they build a foundation and understanding of acting and performance skills. This course covers a wide variety of music genres but will primarily focus on musical theatre and will culminate in a performance

This course is designed to integrate contemporary-style movements into the classic form of ballet. Initial emphasis is on proper Russian Vaganova and Italian Cecchetti classical techniques to promote correct usage of turn-out, alignment and épaulement. Classical movements are broken down, analyzed and incorporated with contemporary techniques to encourage freedom of expression and artistic growth. Conditioning, including floor work, yoga, Pilates and stretching, encourages the student to create a healthy workout routine and to understand the importance of cross-training as a way to avoid injury. Exercise balls, hand weights, jump ropes, and thera-bands are among the devices used in this course segment.

This course, designed for both the experienced and nonexperienced dancer, helps students master dance techniques that explore the expression of the human spirit. With a focus on modern techniques (especially those of Horton and Limon) and contemporary styles (jazz, lyrical, and ballet), the process of creative expression is filled with endless possibilities. Breathing, gesture, fall and recovery, suspension of the body in space, dynamics, and improvisational movements teach the student to move creatively, using the body as a uniquely expressive instrument. Conditioning rounds out the course with the use of exercise balls, hand weights, jump ropes, and thera-bands.

This course is designed to attract students who are interested in dance ministry and creative arts opportunities. Students use their talents to create dance programs to showcase and share with outside organizations, such as the Hackensack University Medical Center. In this class, there are essential roles for dancers and choreographers; however, there are also opportunities for rehearsal assistants, artists and crafters, videographers and photographers, costume and makeup artists, and sound and lighting technicians. Performance material, music editing, lighting, and production design are but a few of the components this course offers.

The Art Major course is an elective offering for those students who have a special talent in art and interest in pursuing a career in the visual arts. Accordingly, students pursue an indepth study of drawing, painting, mixed media, and design. Though this is a studio art course, students also hear lectures on artists, concepts, and styles and view demonstrations on art techniques. Periodic critiques, exhibition opportunities, and portfolio development are also part of the program. Throughout the course, students must keep a drawing journal that contains specific homework assignments and independent work.

This elective course gives seniors a chance to focus on individual areas of creative interest. It also allows them the opportunity to study art history and theory. At the beginning of each term, every student receives an assignment choice of five to ten advanced art projects, from which she selects two for class work and one for homework. The student researches, plans, and executes the projects for the remainder of the term. Initial research might involve reading about an art movement or studying the works and techniques of a particular artist or art form. Assignments explore a wide variety of styles, topics, and media, including computer graphics. In the first semester, as part of her classwork, each student assembles a college art supplement. During the second semester, some classes are devoted to the study of art criticism. This phase of the program helps students learn to define their own experiences in confronting a work of art. Students complete one written assignment.

Senior Art Portfolio is an honors-level course designed especially for the student who plans to pursue the study of art at the college level. In the first semester, the focus is portfolio development; the student learns the essentials of this process, using class time to produce and select works that will create a strong visual presentation for her college applications. An initial evaluation of each student’s work is followed by a customized plan that will enable her to broaden the range of her art in terms of subject matter, style, and media. If necessary, a student may devote time to completing home exams requested by some art schools. During the rest of the year, each student selects a concentration theme as a work focus. After preliminary research and consultation with the instructor, each student plans and produces a series of works centered on a specific subject. A short, concise description of her theme project accompanies the collection of work. Additionally, this course provides the opportunity for students to engage actively in the critique process. They learn terminology and the methodology of analyzing and evaluating artworks in an informed way. Reading selections on specific artists, art history, and art philosophy form the basis of class discussion and enable each student to prepare the formal statement about her work. 

Digital Photography is a full-year course. The first semester is the transition point from darkroom photography into digital imaging. Students learn how the digital camera works, applying the same principles as 35mm cameras, and they master all DSLR shooting modes. Students use Adobe Photoshop and Bridge to upload and perform “digital darkroom” enhancement and editing processes. A variety of shooting assignments emphasize subject matter, technical skill mastery, use of light and personal style development. Additionally, students learn inkjet printing skills. Periodic class critiques round out the learning experience. Semester two focuses on learning Photoshop’s use of layers, tools, and Camera Raw to enhance, edit, and print images. Projects include the study of master photographers and their techniques. In the spring, students work on thematic concentration projects that enable them to project a personal vision.

This advanced yearlong class is designed for the experienced photographer. Each student creates a supplemental college portfolio and prepares photos for advanced project work and exhibition. Traditional and digital camera printing techniques are explored. Assigned projects, such as self-portraiture, are balanced with personally directed projects; and students end the year by publishing an original photo book. Aesthetics, craftsmanship, the development of a personal vision are the topics of classroom discussion.

This is a full-year advanced class in vocal performance and musical staging. Classes will range from vocal master classes to setting specific songs as both soloists and groups. Students will study various vocal techniques as they build a foundation and understanding of acting and performance skills. This course covers a wide variety of music genres but will primarily focus on musical theatre. The class will culminate in a performance at the end of each semester. This is an audition-based class.


The English curriculum helps learners acquire essential skills in speaking, writing, listening, and reading. Students learn to express and understand their thoughts and feelings in order to communicate and evaluate content, tone, and intention in spoken and written English. Through this fluid interaction with language, the learners grow in the power to use, understand, and appreciate language for intellectual, social, and emotional growth.

In English 9, students focus on epic and dramatic conventions, literary form, and the elements that writers employ in their works. Students read classic texts such as Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and examples of the Elizabethan and Italian sonnet, as well as modern poetry selections and texts which may include Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees. Throughout the year, literary analysis is encouraged through discussions and activities aimed at active reading, drawing connections, and supporting observations. The writing process is stressed through frequent assignments and several major essays which are revised and rewritten with long-term growth of the writer as a goal. Grammar and vocabulary are incorporated throughout the year.

In English 10 students sharpen their critical reading and writing skills as they read foundational works of literary fiction and non-fiction. Complementing the study of various genres such as the novel, short story, poetry, and drama, traditional expository assignments and analytic essays balance with creative assignments, small group activities, and projects. Readings may include Night by Elie Wiesel, Othello by William Shakespeare, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men, and selected short stories and poems. Listening, speaking, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skill development are an integral part of each literature unit.

This course offers an accelerated program for those students who have demonstrated mastery of all skills covered in English 9. These students move through the literature at a faster pace and are required to complete more in-depth analyses than in English 10. Honors students explore formal elements of diction, style, and structure in a wide range of literature; they then consider how these elements are vehicles for conveying theme, character, setting, mood, and tone. Students engage in and practice literary analysis in a variety of forms including ongoing reader response journals, expository essays, and shorter critical responses. Works read may include Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Fences by August Wilson and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, as well as additional selected short stories and poems.

This course surveys the American experience in literature through the use of multiple genres and themes. Moving from seventeenth century Puritanical life in New England to modern day New York, students follow the development and treatment of the female character through several texts. Similarities and differences between the readings provide ample opportunity for critical thinking and analysis. Writing takes the form of reaction essays, prompt-based essays using textual evidence and proper MLA form, as well as creative research essays. Vocabulary, grammar, and writing mechanics are incorporated regularly throughout the year. Texts include The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and In the Heights by Lin Manuel-Miranda.

The AP English Language and Composition course is designed to help students become skilled readers of a variety of texts and also become skilled writers. These goals are achieved through gaining awareness of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects, as well as the ways that writing rules and language use contribute to effective writing. In addition to studying rhetorical devices and rhetorical fallacy in selections from literary nonfiction, students compose eight chapters of an original memoir. Students are expected to read critically, think analytically, use internet sources astutely, and communicate clearly in writing and speaking for academic and everyday life. The course is organized according to the requirements and guidelines set by the College Board for this Advanced Placement course, and it teaches and reinforces skills needed to earn a qualifying score on the AP test. Texts may include A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Hawthorne’s short fiction, essays of Emerson and Thoreau, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony

Honors twelfth-grade students read world literature that encourages reflection on the themes of identity, self-expression, social justice, and community. The course’s reading selections, class discussions, and writing assignments invite students to explore issues of identity through a variety of lenses, including race, class, ethnicity and gender. They discover the links between family identity and personal identity, analyzing the role that language plays in constructing the self, as well as examining how the past sets up one’s present. Daily class discussion and frequent journal writing encourage students to relate the texts to today’s world and link the characters they read about to their own lives. Creative and expository writing assignments are an integral part of this course. Texts may include Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lisa Windgate’s Before We Were Yours, American Street by Ibi Zoboi, Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement, and Educated by Tara Westover.

The AP English Literature and Composition course aligns with an introductory college-level literary analysis course. The course engages students in the close reading and critical analysis of a variety of literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as the use of fi gurative language, imagery, symbolism, and other devices. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret a variety of literary works. In these ways, this course teaches and reinforces skills needed to earn a qualifying score on the AP test. Texts include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Ohio State Murders by Adrienne Kennedy, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. Students also study poetry from all literary periods and movements.


The history program encourages students to sort out the myriad facts of history in order to concentrate on the larger issues that require a rational, open-minded examination and evaluation of the political, economic, and social conditions in our increasingly interdependent world.

Through primary documents, research, oral presentations, and essay writing, students examine people, technology, and events involved in the development of early cross-cultural and trade connections that are the foundations of our modern world. In addition, students develop both the form and content of a formal research paper, a tool that serves them in History and other disciplines.

This course introduces students to the history of the modern era. Major themes addressed are world trade, geographic expansion, political and social change, industrialization, and international relations. Focus also includes using and analyzing appropriate primary sources, chronological analysis, and a research paper.

This course introduces students to the history of the modern era. Major themes addressed are world trade, geographic expansion, political and social change, industrialization, and international relations. Students assess primary and secondary sources in depth while using historical reasoning skills to analyze the complexities of events. Focus includes document-based questions, chronological analysis, and a research paper.

Through the interpretation and analysis of primary and secondary sources, students take a global approach to the study of world history by tracing the evolution of several major themes: world trade, geographic expansion, political and social change, industrialization, and globalization. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking research projects and essays. Students will sit for the national AP exam in May.

This survey course highlights themes of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, focusing on twentiethcentury United States history. Examination of primary sources and interpretive readings enhances the analysis of key developments from 1900 to 1990. The course emphasizes research and essay writing as primary skills.

This survey course highlights themes of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, focusing on twentieth-century United States history. Examination of primary sources and interpretive readings enhances the analysis of key developments from 1900 to 1990. Students use case studies from Harvard University Business School’s Case Method to analyze and understand historical events critically. College-level reading, active engagement, and the use of historical reasoning skills in presentations and essay writing are primary skills.

The Advanced Placement United States History course offers those students who show strong aptitude and interest in history an opportunity to address in depth the problems and artifacts in American history. Advanced placement students become adept at evaluating historical events in order to provide their own interpretations and conclusions. Students must show a willingness to read voluminously, think creatively, and participate actively. This course also meets the requirement for United States History Survey.

This semester course provides a basic introduction to the principles, methods, and techniques of empirical social research as preparation for lifelong inquiry. Emphasis is on qualitative and quantitative research approaches, sampling, measurement, strengths and weaknesses of various data collection methods, analysis, ethics in research, and research communication. A comprehensive research proposal in your area of interest is the primary document produced and assessed in Research Methods and Data Analysis.

This semester course provides an introduction to the principles and applications of microeconomics and macroeconomics as well as the importance of understanding different economic systems. The course will focus on economic decision-making processes of the consumer, business firms, and the government. Students will also learn how to think like an economist. Through problem solving, research, and application of concepts, students will make connections between economics and everyday life. Economic decisions impact us every day. Students will understand how they engage in economic decision-making each day considering scarcity, limited resources, tradeoffs, and opportunity costs. On a larger scale, students will analyze the fundamentals of the U.S. Free Enterprise System, various economic systems used Internationally and understand the impact each country’s economy has on the global economy. This course will also focus on the structure and function of financial markets, the role of government in regulating markets as well as goods and services, and using economic decision making to manage personal finance.

This course treats the major political, social, economic, and cultural developments in Western Europe from the Renaissance to the present. As with all advanced courses, students taking AP European History learn to think historically, a skill which involves the ability to create arguments and draw conclusions from historical evidence, to understand cause and effect and correlative relationships, continuity and change over time, and to recognize diverse interpretations of the past.

This semester course will introduce students to both political life outside the United States as well as within. The course will begin with a solid grounding in US Government topics including the workings of Congress, Presidency, Supreme Court and foreign policy. Then the focus of study will shift to the comparative government and politics of the following core countries: China (PRC), Russia, Great Britain, Nigeria, Mexico and Iran. The major themes to be studied are: Introduction to Comparative Politics; Sovereignty, Authority and Power; Political Institutions; Citizens, Society and State; Political and Economic Change and Public Policy. The course will allow students to compare the political structures and policies, as well as the economic, social and political challenges of the countries. Students will also examine how different governments approach and solve these issues and evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches and their outcomes.

This semester course introduces students to the study of behavioral and mental processes of humans and other animals. The focus of study in this class is the history of psychology, the different theoretical approaches that explain behavior and the various fields within psychology. This course is open to seniors who meet the placement criteria.

This is a semester-long course. As citizens of our local and global communities, it is our responsibility to make thoughtful, informed decisions about our role and purpose in life, especially when facing dilemmas that may impact those who are less fortunate. This course invites students to think deeply about the human experience and their role in it. In Humanities, students will explore the fundamental “big” questions of life. Philosophies of various great thinkers will be considered as will religious traditions from around the world. Through these lenses students will gain exposure to engaging modern and classic texts commonly used in college courses. In addition, students will evaluate case studies, participate in simulations, and contemplate the expression of human experience in music, film and art.


Oak Knoll’s mathematics curriculum aims to meet a wide range of student needs and offers courses that challenge all students at a level appropriate to age, mathematical ability, and interest. The mathematics program is comprehensive with each course logically building upon the skills acquired and practiced in prior mathematics courses. The training received through mathematics courses provides growth in independent thinking, logical reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving. The math program structure is blended, self-paced, and mastery-based. Students access new content through teacher-created videos, learn at their own pace within each unit of study, and progress when they demonstrate mastery. (Currently implemented in the course progression in all levels through Algebra II.)

Algebra I is designed to give students the requisite skills that provide a foundation for all future mathematics courses. Topics from Pre-Algebra are reinforced and covered in more depth. Students learn how to solve and graph both linear and quadratic equations, and to use these equations in application and modeling settings. Emphasized skills include factoring, laws of exponents and radicals, and operations with polynomial expressions. The curriculum investigates systems of linear equations and inequalities in various ways, including graphing and modeling.

Euclidean geometry is the basis for this course which begins with points, lines, planes, and space, all of which are the building blocks of geometry. Students analyze congruency of triangles, polygons, the Pythagorean Theorem, similar polygons, circles, areas, parallel lines, volumes, and coordinate geometry. Various algebraic skills and concepts are integrated throughout the course. Formal proofs are explored throughout the year.

HO Geometry is a comprehensive geometry course which offers a more rigorous and in-depth approach to the topics covered in Geometry, which include deductive reasoning skills, further exploration of relationships within triangles and transformations. Formal proofs are a key emphasis throughout the course. Computer software may complement selected topics.

The Algebra II course builds upon the algebraic functions developed in the Algebra I course. The topics explored in Algebra II include an in-depth study of quadratics, radicals, absolute value functions, and rational expressions. Focus is on methodology and the reasons behind the steps used to solve various types of equations and inequalities. Students also learn about conic sections, exponential and logarithmic functions, polynomials and complex numbers with an emphasis on application and word problems. The course draws connections between parent functions and their transformed graphs.

HO Algebra II and Trigonometry is a comprehensive second-year Algebra course with a more rigorous approach to topics covered in Algebra II (see above). Additionally, course work includes an introduction to trigonometry, including radian measurement of angles, the unit circle, right triangle trigonometry and basic trigonometric graphing. A graphing calculator is required.

This course continues the study of algebraic and geometric topics as preparation for the Pre-Calculus course. The class includes analysis of various types of equations and inequalities (linear, quadratic, radical, rational, exponential, and logarithmic) as well as systems of these equations and inequalities and the algebraic and graphic approaches to solving them. The introduction to trigonometry begins with the six trigonometric ratios in right triangles and expands these concepts to the six trigonometric functions using the unit circle. Basic graphing of the sine and cosine functions is included.

In Pre-Calculus, students begin by exploring the transformation of graphs of functions and examine in detail polynomial functions of higher degree and their graphs. A comprehensive study of trigonometry follows which includes discussion of trigonometric equations, law of sines, law of cosines, solutions of oblique triangles, sum/difference/double/half-angle formulas, identities, and trigonometric transformations. The course also explores exponential and logarithmic functions and series and sequences. A graphing calculator is required. Upon completion of this course, students may take the SAT Subject Test, Math Level I or Level II. Please consult the Department Chair for further information about the subject tests.

This course prepares students who would like to take the AP Calculus course. Key topics are functions (including their properties, graphs, inverses, and applications), inequalities, analytical geometry, graphs of rational functions, sequences, and series. This course includes a comprehensive study of trigonometry and its application. An introduction to limits completes this course. A graphing calculator is required. Upon completion of this course, students may take the SAT Subject Test, Math Level II. Please consult the Department Chair for further information about the subject tests.

This is an introductory calculus course designed to provide a foundation in the theories and principals of calculus and some of their applications. Students will study properties of limits and continuity, and differential and integral calculus. Students must have a graphing calculator. This course does not prepare students for an AP examination in calculus.

This course is equivalent to a one-semester college calculus course. Students who enter this course must possess a solid understanding of all Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trig, and Pre-Calculus topics. The course begins with a summer packet which reviews various concepts from prior courses. The study of limits and continuity from both a graphic and algebraic vantage point follows. An in-depth analysis of differential and integral calculus techniques with an emphasis on interpretation and applications completes this course. Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam in early May and should expect to spend an average of one hour daily on homework and review in preparation for class. A graphing calculator is required.

This course is equivalent to one full year of college calculus and is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of calculus. Students who enter this course must possess a strong background and understanding of all concepts covered in Algebra I, Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra II and Trigonometry, and Honors Pre-Calculus, as well as advanced mathematical insight. The course begins with a summer packet which reviews many of the topics from prior courses and requires the student to read new material and answer appropriate questions. The school year starts with an in-depth study of limits and continuity and then proceeds directly to differential calculus. Topics are analyzed in both an algebraic and graphical approach. Concepts in integral calculus, including those dealing with polar coordinates, parametric equations, vector-valued function, and series and sequences, will round out the year. In all areas of study, the emphasis is on interpretation and applications of the concepts. Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam in early May and should expect to spend an average of at least one hour daily on homework and review in preparation for class. Students must have and know how to use graphing calculators.

This full year course is equivalent to one semester of a college level Statistics course. Students taking this course must possess a solid understanding of all topics in Algebra 2 in addition to the necessary problem-solving skills and analytical thinking ability acquired in a Pre-Calculus course. This course focuses on four main themes: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Students will be collecting and drawing conclusions from data using technology and writing. Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam in early May. Students must have a graphing calculator with statistical capabilities.

This full year course is a practical introduction to statistical methods, the examination of data sets and operations research. Topics include descriptive statistics, elements of probability theory, commonly occurring distributions (binomial, normal, etc.), hypothesis tests, confi dence intervals, correlation, regression, analysis of variance, and multi-criteria decision making. Computer soft ware will play a central role in analyzing a variety of real data sets collected during the course. A graphing calculator is required for this course.

Physical Education, Health and Wellness, Driver Education

Benefitting from a whole-child approach to physical education, health, and wellness, students learn about and continue their journey on the Path to Wellness. The department promotes a physically active lifestyle, providing opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction. Students participate in a variety of movement experiences integrated into health-fitness concepts. 

This semester course introduces students to fitness through supervised sessions of injury prevention warm-ups, strength and body conditioning, and team and individual sports. Students practice movement experiences, building a positive relationship with recreational games, studio fitness concepts and activities to promote a lifetime of fitness. Students tap into their critical thinking skills and resilience by engaging in Project Adventure challenges.

The quarter course is designed to help the student condition and tone the body. The program incorporates floor work, yoga, stretching, and Pilates theories, including extensive abdominal work and breath and posture alignment exercises incorporating exercise balls, hand weights and bands.

This year long course meets three mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., fulfilling the PE requirement for the year. Students are introduced to basic yoga poses, Pilates principles, gentle stretch techniques and meditations as they incorporate the body, mind, spirit connection to lifestyle fitness choices.

This year long course meets three mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., thus fulfilling the PE requirement for the year. Students are introduced to strength and conditioning fitness concepts. Students are also introduced to a wide range of activities to promote lifetime fitness.

This quarter course promotes the development of the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective well-being of the student. Students participate in a variety of movement experiences integrated into health fitness concepts. Students will engage in strength and body conditioning through various physical and mental practices. 

This year long course meets three mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m. Students are introduced to basic yoga poses, Pilates principles, gentle stretching techniques and meditations as they incorporate the body, mind, spirit connection to lifestyle fitness choices.

This year long course meets three mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m. Students are introduced to strength and conditioning fitness concepts. Students are also introduced to a wide range of activities to promote lifetime fitness.

This course flows from an integrated Path to Wellness which includes physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, communal, social justice, and environmental factors. Topics include mindful eating, mindful relationships, and mindful living and behaviors. Content includes the integration of wellness and mindfulness into all aspects of the student’s life. This includes the analysis of nutrition information, mental and emotional health, the Female Athlete Triad, sleep, stress, goal setting, resilience skills, and the reproductive system. This course also offers in-depth case studies of the danger of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. This course also covers the dangers and lifelong effects of drug and alcohol use.

This quarter course focuses on driver safety skills and rules, driver privileges and penalties, the development of suitable attitudes towards driving, defensive driving techniques, and an understanding of the effects of drugs and alcohol on driving. The primary purpose of Driver and Traffic Safety Education is to save lives and reduce motor vehicle accidents. The goal is to instill knowledge of the laws and regulations of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code. Students take the New Jersey State Knowledge Test.

This semester course engages students in a variety of wellness experiences centered on values-based principles. Critical thinking, self-reflection, and problem-solving are key skills. Students engage in meditation and mindfulness as they explore the importance of emotional health and wellness. Through discussion and analysis of the issues, students are empowered to pursue all aspects of wellness throughout the life cycle. Issues explored can include mental and physical wellness, healthy relationships, suicide prevention, equity, and inclusion. The course includes self-defense, CPR, and first aid. 


The science curriculum enables students to develop a deep understanding of the natural world through empirical inquiry and to recognize the importance of these fields in an age increasingly governed by science and technology. Students collect and interpret data in order to develop and confirm scientific theories that explain the natural world. The curriculum is designed to provide a systematic, logical progression of the sciences. The physics course in ninth grade draws heavily upon every day experience and simple experiments, as it moves from concrete observations to abstract models and formulas. These formulas provide applications of and reinforcement for the algebra skills that ninth graders are learning or have learned in their math classes. The tenth grade chemistry curriculum highlights the power of scientific reasoning by leveraging abstract models of atoms and molecules to demonstrate the predictive power of chemistry’s core principles in many different settings and experiments. Together, the physics and chemistry curricula form the foundation of our modern molecular biology program in eleventh and twelfth grades.

This course follows the logical, sequential development of the introductory concepts of physics. Techniques include hands-on exploration, concept development, and real-world application. Topics include motion in one-dimension, forces, momentum, energy, work, waves, light, electricity, and atomic and nuclear physics. The laboratory program reinforces the topics and gives students practical experience. Students use laptop-based detectors and other audio-visual resources for labs as they gain facility with Excel for data analysis.

This course provides a rigorous study of physics principles and their mathematical foundation. The learning cycle approach of exploration, concept development, application, and problem-solving requires proficiency in algebra. Additional topics to those covered in physics include two-dimensional motion, optics and electric fields. The laboratory program reinforces the topics and gives students practical experience. Students use laptop-based detectors and other audio-visual resources for labs and gain facility with Excel for data analysis.

The framework of this course is based on the application of chemistry in everyday life. It follows a logical, sequential development of the major principles of chemistry and leverages the foundation laid in physics. Areas of focus include the study of matter and atomic structure, the elements, the periodic table, compound formation, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gas laws, solution chemistry, acid-base chemistry, and an introduction to organic chemistry. A unit on biological chemistry prepares students for subsequent courses in biology. Emphasis is on inquiry, critical thinking and problem-solving. All laboratory work supports theory gained in the classroom and students learn important techniques of chemical safety and use of laboratory equipment and instruments as they record and report scientific data. Calculators and laptop computers are essential for homework, laboratory data collection, data analysis, and graphing results.

Honors Chemistry follows the chemistry curriculum in greater mathematical rigor and depth while adding topics as appropriate throughout the year. This fast-paced course requires independent work and significant problem-solving capabilities. Students will be expected to extend what they learn in class to solve more difficult problems outside of class. All laboratory work supports theory gained in the classroom and students learn important techniques of chemical safety and use of laboratory equipment and instruments as they record and report scientific data. Students use scientific calculators and computers for homework, laboratory data collection, data analysis, and graphing results.

Biology helps us understand the science of living things. By focusing on specifi c, real-world examples, this class connects students in practical ways to various levels of biological study from the molecule and cell to the organism and ecosystems. Topics include characteristics of life, cell organelles, cellular transport, cell reproduction, DNA synthesis, ecology, taxonomy, evolution and organisms. Laboratory activities provide opportunities to explore the material and to develop a genuine appreciation for the scientifi c method as it is applied to biological questions.

This course takes a rigorous approach to the study of the organization of all living things from the molecular and cellular level to the organismal and ecological level. The class covers the various areas of life sequentially, moving from the micro to the macro-scale. Topics may include water, biological macromolecules, diff usion, cellular organization, mitosis, meiosis, genomics, comparative anatomy and physiology, evolution, and both population and community ecology. Laboratory activities complement the coursework and help students cultivate a working understanding of the material

Advanced Placement Chemistry is a first-year college chemistry class which incorporates a university textbook and university-level laboratory experiments. The course is designed for students interested in science, math, or science-related careers and who want to gain a thorough qualitative and quantitative understanding of the major principles of chemistry. Areas of study include measurement systems, periodic table, structure of the atom, compound formation, chemical reactions, mole, stoichiometry, gas laws, thermochemistry, electrochemistry, kinetics, equilibrium, and acids and bases. Laboratory experiments are correlated with classroom concepts and enable students to learn chemical safety, analytical techniques, use of laboratory equipment and instruments, and scientific data reporting and recording. Students use scientific calculators and computers for homework, laboratory data collection, data reduction, and graphing. All students in this course must take the AP examination.

Advanced Placement Biology is a first-year college biology class which incorporates a university text and university-level laboratory experiments. The course uses both traditional and inquiry-based instructional strategies to promote the development of in-depth conceptual understanding and the ability to make connections between various concepts. This rigorous course stresses comprehension of biological principles and concepts and is designed for students deeply interested in life science. Areas of study include the organization and chemistry of life, energy transfer through different systems, genetics, mechanisms of evolution, evolutionary history of biological diversity, the form and function of plants, animals, and ecology, and the interactions of life. All students in this course must take the AP examination.

Advanced Placement Physics C is a first-semester, calculus-based college physics class which incorporates a university textbook and university-level laboratory experiments. The course is designed for students interested in science or science-related careers who want to understand physics principles and concepts. Areas of study include one- and two-dimensional motion, energy, momentum, rotational motion, vibrations and waves, sound and light. Laboratory experiments are primarily self-directed and integrate classroom concepts and data analysis techniques with an emphasis on experimental uncertainty and laboratory design. All students in this course must take the AP Physics C: Mechanics examination.

Environmental Science is a college-level course focusing on the study of ecology, energy, resources, population and pollution. Interdisciplinary in nature, this course uses basic concepts from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and geology to examine environmental problems. Students research the scientific aspects of environmental issues and debate the ethical, economic and political ramifications of these topics. Laboratory activities such as water sampling, quantification of biodiversity, soil analysis, oil spill remediation and invertebrate inventories complement each segment of the course. Students also research the status of many environmental issues and discuss what strategies might be implemented to address these problems.


Faith is to be “believed, celebrated, lived, and prayed. It is a call to integral Christian education” (General Directory for Catechesis, no. 122). To help “foster a faith commitment that engenders a joyous personal relationship with God in addressing the challenges of the world” (Goal 1, Holy Child Network of Schools), every student takes four years of Theology, during which students develop critical thinking skills and gain a basic understanding of Catholic theology that is rooted in scripture and tradition.

An introduction to the theology program, students explore the core beliefs and rituals of the Catholic tradition as it is lived and celebrated at Oak Knoll. Students then learn about the mission and history of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and its founder, Cornelia Connelly. Finally, students study Scripture, in particular the Old Testament. Through the lens of morality, students explore the themes of creation, covenant, community, and salvation history.

In Theology 10, students study the New Testament by exploring the historical Jesus and his world, themes in the gospels, and the development of the New Testament Church. The course continues with a study of the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Students will learn about Church history through several themes, including the origins of Catholic beliefs and the spread of Catholicism worldwide.

Students begin Theology 11 with an examination of Catholic social teaching. Grounded in Scripture and Tradition, students gain a basic understanding of how people and Creation should be cared for in a just society and world. Upon understanding how the world should be, students then learn about how their decisions do or do not contribute to a just society. Upon completing these introductions to Catholic social teaching and morality, students address their moral decision-making process and investigate current moral and ethical issues.

Theology 12 consists of two major units: twenty-first-century Catholic identity and the identities of members of the world’s religious communities. In the first unit, students consider what it means to be Catholic in today’s world. In addition, they reflect on their own identities. In the second unit, students explore the world’s religious traditions, including, but not limited to, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, and what it means to identify as members of these communities.

World Language

This course offers beginning students the basic tools of writing, reading, and conversation. Grammar and vocabulary are introduced in the context of real-world language experience. Role-playing and real-life contexts are integral to this course.

While continuing to emphasize listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, this course introduces more complex grammatical structures and continues to build vocabulary. Students review all the elementary topics as they move into the intermediate level of language study. By the end of the course, students can distinguish between present, past and simple future discourse.

These courses prepare the student to communicate effectively with a native speaker using correct grammar, appropriate vocabulary, and target pronunciation. Students continue to develop their reading and writing skills and are asked to read text and process spoken language not just for understanding but for analysis.

At this level, students should be able to understand television programs, print media, and other authentic resources. As a natural outcome of this exposure to real language students will gain proficiency in all linguistic skills. Students experience more AP-like and pre-AP activities.

In this advanced course, students discover the richness of Hispanic culture and society. Linguistic skills will be enhanced through authentic materials, such as literary excerpts from prominent Hispanic writers, playwrights or poets which provide a historical and cultural framework. Students are also exposed to current events and trends in Spanish speaking countries through news articles and radio programs or podcasts. Television and film are also a vital part of this course as they bring to life the themes studied and expose students to the various ways in which Spanish is spoken. Students will continue to develop their language skills while they deepen their cultural awareness and appreciation. This course is available as enrollment permits. This senior level course is an alternative to the AP option.

This course examines the various factors that form the Francophone culture. Reaching far beyond the traditional French hexagon, students will discover how art movements, societal trends, and historical events intertwine to reflect and influence thinking. Topics might include visual and performing arts, current events, film, modern music, major historical eras, French territories, Francophone countries, and their relationship with France. When creating the course program, the instructor defers to the diverse interests of the students, which results in a dynamic and co-constructed curriculum. Students reinforce their French proficiency as they think about what culture means generally and how it influences, or, in some cases, is influenced by, received ideas. This course is offered as enrollment permits. This senior-level course is an alternative to the AP option.

This demanding program is for students who have completed four levels of language study and are very passionate about the language. AP students must take the College Board Advanced Placement exam. The AP curriculum is a skills-based course grounded in six themes: science and technology, global challenges, families and communities, beauty and aesthetics, contemporary life, and personal and public identities.

In Latin I, students begin to understand basic structural and lexical patterns of the language through reading. Declensions, conjugations, roots, and affixes are introduced as a means to translating texts. Although Wheelock’s Latin serves as the main text, abridged versions of some of Ovid’s Metamorphoses provide supplementary reading. Students also discover Roman culture and civilization.

This course continues its emphasis on the rich texts of ancient Rome. Students learn grammar and vocabulary as a means for appreciating the readings and gain increased sophistication in understanding the syntax and literary devices of Roman authors. Modified and original versions of primary texts strengthen students’ translation skills and help them explore aspects of Roman culture.

Students complete their knowledge of the structure of the verb systems and begin to focus more intensely on literary style and rhetorical devices in poetry and prose. More complex reading of the classics will help students uncover the historical and cultural traditions of Ancient Rome.

Text-based translation and textual analysis are the focus of this advanced course. Although a variety of Roman authors are encountered, emphasis on one prose writer and one poet will help the student gain a more thorough knowledge of literary devices. This approach is intended to introduce the students to the type of linguistic and literary analysis required in the AP exam and in college courses. The choice of authors will vary by year. Students also continue their study of the cultural and historical roots of Latin.

Students in this advanced reading course will delve into the works of major Roman poets and writers who helped shape literary sensibilities in the western world. Through the various works, students will grow in their appreciation and knowledge of Roman culture, mores, and history and will develop an understanding of the Roman authors themselves. This course is available as enrollment permits. This senior-level course is an alternative to the AP option.

In this highly advanced course, intensive training in classical literature is accompanied by linguistic analysis of the structure of Latin. Students train for the AP exam by translating selected passages as literally as possible, learning to explicate specific words and phrases, and discussing the author’s modes of expression and general themes. Students also write critical interpretations of the works translated and scan verse. The AP Latin exam covers selected passages from Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Virgil’s Aeneid and various sight readings.

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Centers for Learning

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The Writing Center

The Oak Knoll Writing Center provides the opportunity for students from all grade levels and disciplines to meet with qualified and trained tutors to get feedback on their written work. The Writing Center provides assistance with assignments ranging from the college essay to seventh-grade theology projects. Students can also visit the Center for enrichment activities to enhance various aspects of their writing skills, such as crafting a thesis, quotation integration, and writing powerful conclusions.

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Roundtable Discussions

Oak Knoll offers several ways in which students can participate in meaningful discussions. On the Pulse, our History roundtable, is a forum where adults and students can discuss national and international current events; and the French, Latin and Spanish roundtables offer students a chance to practice speaking with other students and teachers in a relaxed and fun setting.

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Math Lab

The Math Lab is a resource for all students in grades 7 through 12. This dedicated space is staffed by members of the math department, whose aim is to assist and support students of all levels. The Math Lab offers students the opportunity to stop in during a free period or a study hall to ask homework questions, clarify a concept from class, or review for a test. It provides an environment in which the students can practice skills, improve their understanding of specific procedures or concepts, preview upcoming material, and generally build confidence in their mathematics ability.

Remote Learning Day
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Due to the weather forecast and winter storm warning, Oak Knoll School’s campus will be closed on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, and will operate on a virtual learning schedule.

Upper School runs from 8:10 to 12:30. Students should check their email from Mrs. McGroarty for more information.

Lower School students in PreK to grade 2 brought home materials from teachers for optional review and enrichment and may also log in to Clever to access all learning apps. Teachers of students in grades 3-6 will post snow day assignments on the Homework grid on Clever by noon.

All after-school activities have been canceled.