Breadcrumb

Curriculum

Four Year Program

Freshman Year

Introspection and Identity

  • Scholarship - foundations of analysis
  • Citizenship - understanding our identity and roles in our community
  • Character - self-reflection and awareness
  • Responsibility - organizing thought and balancing expectations

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The rigorous courses and various extracurricular activities at Lake Forest Academy require students to balance their many expectations and effectively organize their lives as students. In their first year, students learn strategies to help them successfully utilize technology, take notes, and manage their time. These organizational skills help students learn to be responsible for day-to-day commitments, including coursework.

The overall freshman year curriculum emphasizes the foundations of analysis through writing, oral presentations, problem solving, and class discussions. Mathematical concepts explored in Geometry, such as perimeters, areas, and angles are accompanied by identification of cause and effect relationships in proofs. Fundamental laws of physics are experienced using demonstrations and hands-on experiments.

In Seminar, students are guided through their transition into high school and what it means to be a part of this community. In English, they are exposed to foundational techniques of writing and literary analysis. They are instructed in both English and History courses to find their voice through writing, giving them the skills to analyze and communicate effectively. While studying a language, students learn essential vocabulary and work on communicating in various tenses.

Arts courses allow students to learn introductory skills and create personal works. The range of courses available to freshmen helps them identify their own personal interests and strengths. Within these contexts, they explore who they are and how to take ownership of their learning.

Sophomore Year

Exploration and Interaction

  • Scholarship - introspection through contextual exploration
  • Citizenship - understanding our identity and looking outward
  • Character - interaction within the greater community
  • Responsibility - developing independence

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The sophomore year emphasizes a deeper level of introspection and exploration of content in the academic setting and a greater expectation of responsibility and independence in all areas of school life. Sophomores are encouraged to embrace an outward focus and begin to understand how they can engage with and have an impact on the greater community beyond our school campus.

Building on a solid foundation of analysis and organized thinking, the sophomore curriculum requires more complex levels of inquiry. For example, in World History II, students discuss why civilizations developed in certain regions, or examine how “Enlightenment” ideals affected revolutions around the globe. In Chemistry courses, students conduct lab work that builds upon concepts of chemical bonding and different states of matter to explore scientific trends and properties.

Students hone in on their storytelling and narrative skills in English class to fully capture a formative moment in their lives, incorporating the elements needed to garner audience engagement, as well as developing the authentic voice necessary for their future college essays. Students build on a grammar foundation and begin to use more conversational nuances in culturally relevant, real-life situations as they progress in their language study. In Seminar, students examine theories of moral and ethical development and apply them through a service project that examines issues of social justice.

After having completed introductory Arts courses, students may elect to pursue advanced, individual study in a visual art, or perhaps they work alongside many classmates as a member of Choir or Orchestra. As students research, reflect, and act, they begin to understand how their identity fits into a larger community.

Junior Year

Independence and Inquiry

  • Scholarship - widening the lenses of analysis and perspective
  • Citizenship - interpretation of the world around us
  • Character - developing leadership skills
  • Responsibility - working independently and initiating in-depth research

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Building upon the outward exploration of sophomore year, junior year presents students with various opportunities to bring their newly gained expanded understandings back toward a more systematic focus, developing their independence and honing in on generating a more analytical perspective. Looking at the world through a keen and developed eye, students use college-level resources and scholarly academic research databases.

They approach courses rich with methodical study and classes guided by a significant research component, such as U.S. History and AP English Language and Composition. Students in calculus, for example, deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts that complement their studies in advanced science courses. Students also take advantage of the multitude of choices available in the Sciences. For example, they deepen their understanding in Chemistry or Physics or delve into the complexity of Biology. In language courses, students expand their speaking and writing skills, and give more in-depth presentations on current events and global issues.

The junior year curriculum widens the breadth of Advanced Placement offerings, encouraging students to conduct their studies by means of the logical inquiry required of college courses. Aside from academic independence being paramount to research, juniors are encouraged to take on leadership roles, whether through interest-based study in the fine arts or well-being initiatives in Seminar. LFA students emerge as beacons of inquisitive thought, critically analyzing the world around them, and eager to lead their peers into active engagement.

Senior Year

Connections and Creation

  • Scholarship - critical analysis and exploration
  • Citizenship - connections through a global lens
  • Character - taking on leadership roles and striving for self-actualization
  • Responsibility - being active role models in academic and extracurricular groups

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In the senior year, students continue to define themselves and their place in the world. As they explore global connections within their curricular and extra-curricular experiences, they are also encouraged to assume roles as active leaders within all aspects of campus life. Throughout their studies here, students take ownership in their learning. By their senior year, students are often designing much of their educational experience through the numerous curriculum offerings in every department.

In addition to AP courses, a rich selection of elective courses leads students to do extensive analysis of real-world situations and investigate connections to ever-evolving global issues. Several of these classes, including Le monde francophone and AP Environmental Science, also include a travel component which offers an unparalleled experiential learning opportunity built into the curriculum. Chromatographic research and methods or exploration in Principles of Engineering are only two of the many paths of scientific study available to students their senior year.

History electives allow students to delve deeper into topics such as the Holocaust, Indigenous Peoples, and Global Affairs. Whether students pursue goals set in AP English Literature and Composition or want to explore Modernism or Gothic Literature in an English elective, they become stronger writers, readers, and students of the world. In the Arts, seniors are leaders in terms of skills and artistic thought. They are encouraged to be creative within a given medium while continuing to learn and refine advanced skills. In Seminar, the college process is the primary focus.

With a rich variety of personalized experiences behind them, seniors are looking forward to what the future holds. At the close of their senior year, students are ready to embark on their college career as inspired global citizens.

Academic Requirements


Academic Requirements

Students normally take five or six courses each year. At least four of these courses must be from the liberal arts disciplines of English, mathematics, science, history, and foreign language. The Academy’s minimum graduation requirements are as follows (18.5 credits total):

  • English: four years (one each year at LFA)
  • Mathematics: three years
  • History, Science, Languages: three years in at least two of these disciplines and two in the third, including at least two full year lab sciences. All students must take either World History II or Advanced Placement World History and either U.S. History or Advanced Placement U.S. History.
  • Fine Arts: three semesters for incoming freshmen and two semesters for any incoming sophomore, junior, or senior

Students need at least two additional full-year credits to meet the minimum graduation requirements (one of these must be from the areas of math, science, English, history, or languages) and must also fulfill the requirements of the Athletic Department and Seminar Program. All students are assigned to a seminar group, with whom they are required to meet every cycle.  

Students who successfully complete LFA’s ESL program are encouraged, but not required, to study a language in addition to English while they are at LFA.  

Advanced Level and Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

LFA’s Advanced level and Advanced Placement (AP) courses have the distinction of being our most challenging academic programs. Students planning on applying for admission to an Advanced level or AP course need to position themselves by performing well in their current academic course. The decision to apply for entry into an Advanced level or AP course should be made in consultation with the LFA advisor, the parents, and the individual academic department. Admission to Advanced level and AP courses is decided by the appropriate department in conjunction with the Dean of Students. The respective department head should be approached for further information. LFA does not weight grades for Advanced level and AP courses in computing a student’s GPA. Students enrolled in AP courses are not required to take the AP exam. Although it is strongly encouraged, it is not mandatory. Students are responsible for paying any exam fees. 

Independent Study

Lake Forest Academy believes in the concept of Independent Study for interested, qualified, and mature students. To assist our students in acquiring the techniques necessary to work independently outside the framework of standard courses, and to encourage and cultivate intellectual curiosity, LFA offers students the opportunity to construct and pursue an approved independent course of study. Refer to the student handbook for specific guidelines and criteria.