An independent, coeducational PK-Grade 12 private school located in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia

Academics


The Upper School curriculum at FA challenges students to become engaged learners and engaged people, preparing them for limitless futures.

Ninth Grade

English

Ninth-graders take Introduction to Genres, which explores the master techniques writers use to create meaning in different literary genres. Students examine short stories, poetry, drama, novels, and nonfiction and use the master techniques of the genre to develop their own writing skills.

Science

Conceptual Physics is the first lab-based course at Fredericksburg Academy. This course is the backbone to future lab-based courses at Fredericksburg Academy. Students analyze motion, forces, and energy while learning to communicate these ideas verbally, pictorially, graphically, and mathematically.

Mathematics

Ninth-graders take one of the following mathematics courses:

  • Algebra I focuses on the fundamental skills and concepts required for all higher math courses. They learn to switch between graphical and algebraic thinking and explore linear relationships and equations as well as the beginning of quadratic equations.

  • Geometry teaches mathematical reasoning and problem solving by testing conjectures through deductive reasoning and proof work. Students also reinforce their algebraic skills in preparation for Algebra II or Algebra II/Trigonometry.
  • Algebra II is an exploration of algebraic functions, equations, and inequalities with an emphasis on reinforcing Algebra I concepts and building new Algebra II concepts and their applications. This course prepares students for Advanced Algebra or Pre-Calculus.
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry is the advanced analysis of algebraic functions with the addition of the trigonometric functions and their applications. This course prepares students for Pre-Calculus or Math Analysis.

History

The World History I course complements the ninth-grade English course in that students learn concurrently the techniques and strategies for analyzing historical non-fiction. Through the study of world history from 500 CE-1750 CE, students critically evaluate expository text, artifacts, art, and oral traditions, while drawing connections across region and time.

Foreign Language

  • French II focuses on the oral components of the language, and students practice listening and speaking skills every day. Oral exercises include activities on vocabulary, verb and grammar drills, listening activities, and rich online resources that accompany the text, enabling independent learning. New grammar is introduced, with emphasis on using all forms of the past tense and pronouns. Cultural studies include Paris and the surrounding region of the Ile-de-France and Versailles.

  • Spanish II emphasizes pronunciation, mastery of the basic grammatical structures, and increasing oral and aural proficiency. Students will be exposed to the past, future, conditional, and subjunctive tenses. These tenses allow students to refing the way they express themselves, and they will be expected to use them in their writing and speaking. Students will also investigate the cultural diversity and traditions of the Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Latin II focuses on developing mastery of basic Latin vocabulary, the fundamentals of Latin grammar, and a knowledge of Latin sentence structure that will enable students to begin reading passages from the ancient authors and poets. Historical context is provided by the study of daily life, slavery, religion, and mythology, and politics in the Roman Empire.

Tenth Grade

English

American Literature offers students a unique experience to examine who we are as a people as reflected in our literature. This course examines the key topical and stylistic characteristics of each major American literary movement from Puritanism through Modernism. Students continue to develop a personal voice and effective writing style through multiple and varied writing assignments, including a formal research paper.

Science

Tenth-graders take Chemistry, building on the skills learned in Conceptual Physics. Students measure and analyze chemical reactions and make connections between their macroscopic observations and molecular and atomic theory. Qualitative knowledge of chemistry models and quantitative skills enable students to utilize stoichiometric ratios, predict chemical reactions and reactivity, analyze energy changes, and predict gas behavior.

Mathematics

Tenth-graders take one of the following mathematics courses:

  • Geometry teaches mathematical reasoning and problem solving by testing conjectures through deductive reasoning and proof work. Students also reinforce their algebraic skills in preparation for Algebra II or Algebra II/Trigonometry.
  • Algebra II is an exploration of algebraic functions, equations, and inequalities with an emphasis on reinforcing Algebra I concepts and building new Algebra II concepts and their applications. This course prepares students for Advanced Algebra or Pre-Calculus.
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry is the advanced analysis of algebraic functions with the addition of the trigonometric functions and their applications. This course prepares students for Pre-Calculus or Math Analysis.
  • Math Analysis is an exhaustive study of functions and extends most of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry. Students analyze and solve problems both independently as well as cooperatively in groups. Calculators and computers are used to explore functions graphically, numerically, and algebraically.
  • Advanced Algebra is an in-depth study of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Students solidify and extend selected topics covered in Algebra II. Students have a choice of taking Statistics or Precalculus the following year.
  • Precalculus is an intensive investigation of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions that prepares students to take Calculus the following year. Students solidify and extend some of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry and special emphasis is placed on using calculators to explore the properties of functions and verify solutions.

History

World History II continues chronologically from World History I, tracking global historical themes from 1750 CE to the present day. A premium is placed on students connecting the historical narrative to current events, identifying change over time, and clearly and concisely articulating that information in writing.

With approval, tenth-graders have the option of taking AP World History. The AP World History course follows the prescribed curriculum of the AP College Board. Students continue to build their historical thinking skills through analyzing primary and secondary sources, making historical comparisons, and crafting arguments. The course examines the interaction between humans and the environment; development and interaction of cultures; state building, expansion, and conflict; creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and development and transformation of social structures in the modern world.

Foreign Language

  • French III targets the oral use of the language in all class activities. Students strive for correct pronunciation and fluency as they use creative speech, varying their use of verbs and adverbs as well as transition words. Written and aural online resources that accompany the text encourage independent learning. The Level III vocabulary centers on current issues such as immigration, social causes, and environmental concerns. The grammar emphasizes the use of all verb tenses and moods as well as the use of all pronouns. In addition to linguisstic studies, students study the regions of Normany, the Loire Valley, and Provence.
  • Spanish III introduces new vocabulary, structures, and expressions. Students expand their vocabulary to include more sophisticated terms, continue the development of their conversational ability, and master compound verb tenses and grammatical concepts, such as the pluperfect and the past subjunctive mood. Students improve their comprehension skills by reading an adapted version of Don Quijote de La Mancha. Students learn Spanish culture by participating in native celebrations like Cinco de Maya and Dia de los Muertos.

  • Latin III completes the introduction to the basics of Latin, and students begin to read selections of Roman literature. After a comprehensive review of Latin morphology and basic noun syntax, the focus shifts to the formation and use of the subjunctive mood and more complex grammatical constructions such as indirect statements. Attention will be given to development in vocabulary and the presentation of more complex grammatical constructions: deponent verbs, participles, infinitives, indirect discourse, and the subjunctive mood. Upon conclusion of the textbook stages, students engage with works of prose and poetry by important ancient authors.

Eleventh Grade

English

American Literature offers students a unique experience to examine who we are as a people as reflected in our literature. This course examines the key topical and stylistic characteristics of each major American literary movement from Puritanism through Modernism. Students continue to develop a personal voice and effective writing style through multiple and varied writing assignments, including a formal research paper.

Science

Eleventh-graders have a choice of science courses.

  • Biology is taught from the perspective that it is the chemistry, evolution, and physics of living things. From topics in biochemistry to evolution in ecology, students design their own experiments to test hypotheses and communicate their results through graphs, reports, and presentations. Students research and discuss multi-faceted and currently debated topics such as climate change and genetic engineering encouraging them to think critically and ask questions.
  • In Anatomy and Physiology, students study the structure and function of the human body with an emphasis on understanding the interconnections between the five primary systems of the body. Labs, class discussion, and real-life experiences play a critical role in this class.

  • Advanced Physics: Electricity and Magnetism is an immersive course engages students in circuit building from two directions: scientific theory and practical utility. This course is intended for students interested in technology, engineering, and computer science.
  • AP Chemistry teaches the fundamental concepts of chemistry as defined by the College Board and includes intensive and extensive lab work. This includes structure, states of matter, intermolecular forces, reactions, and using chemical calculations to solve problems.
  • AP Biology teaches the core scientific principles, theories, and processes governing living organisms, biological systems, and natural phenomena as defined by the College Board. The exhaustive lab-based nature of the course demands that students are able to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • AP Physics is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. The College Board defines this course as the cultivation of understanding of physics through inquiry-based investigations as students explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics, mechanical waves and sound, and simple circuits.

Mathematics

Eleventh-graders take one of the following mathematics courses:

  • Algebra II is an exploration of algebraic functions, equations, and inequalities with an emphasis on reinforcing Algebra I concepts and building new Algebra II concepts and their applications. This course prepares students for Advanced Algebra or Pre-Calculus.
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry is the advanced analysis of algebraic functions with the addition of the trigonometric functions and their applications. This course prepares students for Pre-Calculus or Math Analysis.
  • Math Analysis is an exhaustive study of functions and extends most of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry. Students analyze and solve problems both independently as well as cooperatively in groups. Calculators and computers are used to explore functions graphically, numerically, and algebraically.
  • Advanced Algebra is an in-depth study of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Students solidify and extend selected topics covered in Algebra II. Students have a choice of taking Statistics or Precalculus the following year.
  • Precalculus is an intensive investigation of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions that prepares students to take Calculus the following year. Students solidify and extend some of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry and special emphasis is placed on using calculators to explore the properties of functions and verify solutions.
  • Calculus explores the concepts and theorems of both differential and integral calculus, emphasizing creative problem-solving and interpretation of solutions. This course is an excellent foundation for taking college-level calculus.
  • AP Calculus (AB) - AP Calculus AB is a study of both differential as well as integral calculus as outlined by the College Board. Students also utilize and extend the logic and skills they had acquired in previous algebra and geometry classes to prepare fully for the AP exam.

History

Eleventh-graders have a choice of history courses.

United States History students study the growth and development of American civilization from its earliest foundations in the 17th century to the present with an emphasis on social and cultural change. After developing and exercising the writing, speaking, and presentation skills necessary for success in the course, students are also prepared to appreciate and participate in the rights and opportunities afforded by American citizenship.

AP United States History students learn the broad outline and defining elements of American History from the pre-Columbian 15th century to the beginning of the 21st century. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of primary source documents and the use of facts in composing a convincing essay in support of a carefully drawn historical thesis, the skill most essential for success on the AP exam that all students take at the end of the course.

AP United States Government provides students with an historical context for understanding modern-day American court cases, legislation, and the functioning of the federal bureaucracy. Emphasis is placed on developing the writing skills necessary for success on the AP exam that all students take at the end of the course.

Foreign Language

  • French IV centers on the study of Francophone countries and all verbs in all tenses, in particular the use of the subjunctive mood. Students use French in all class activities, with the expectation of accurate pronunciation, facility, and creative use of the language. In addition to grammatical studies, the students are introduced to French Literature through the African story, discussing in French the elements of African literature. Students watch various films the illustrate the legacy of French colonialism in Africa and the French Antilles, comparing its effects and the struggle for independence.
  • Spanish IV is designed to practice and refine the students’ speaking ability with an emphasis on more advanced grammar and conversational skills. Students read literary texts in Spanish, improving their reading comprehension and writing skills while increasing their knowledge of the culture, literature, art, and music of Spanish-speaking countries. Students learn culture through participating in traditions like Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo. They will also write their own newspaper as part of the unit about the media and research endangered species in Central and South America when covering the unit about the environment.
  • Latin IV provides an overview of ancient Roman poetry and prose with a focus on the productive and creative period from the 1st century BCE to the beginning of the 2nd century CE. Students continue their study of Latin grammar, but the emphasis is on translation, critical analysis, scansion, and figures of speech employed by the poets. The first semester focuses on poetry, where students read from a variety of authors and genres, but core selections come from the lyric, satire, epic, and love elegy genres of Catullus, Horace, and Ovid. In the second semester, the students are introduced to the works of major Latin prose authors. The course's focus will begin with the history and literature of Rome leading up to the fall of the Roman Republic through the era of the "Five Good Emperors." This course is also designed to prepare students for AP Latin.

Twelfth Grade

English

Twelfth-graders may choose World Cultures or AP Literature and Composition.

With the purpose of creating lifelong readers and graduates who value clarity of expression, World Cultures through Literature is a finishing course for our critical readers and writers. Students are given the freedom to select their units of study, which focus on the unique history, current events, and literature of four regions of the world. Over the course of the year, students review, practice, and master advanced research, writing, and critical reading skills that will carry them through college and beyond.

AP Literature and Composition is a college-level English course that requires students to analyze the ways in which authors convey complex ideas through the use of literary elements and devices in works of fiction. Through extensive writing analyzing some of the most celebrated short stories, poems, novels, and plays spanning millennia, students are required to demonstrate a mastery of tone, diction, and syntax in their analysis and their own writing.


Science

Twelfth-graders have a choice of science courses:

  • Biology is taught from the perspective that it is the chemistry, evolution, and physics of living things. From topics in biochemistry to evolution in ecology, students design their own experiments to test hypotheses and communicate their results through graphs, reports, and presentations. Students research and discuss multi-faceted and currently debated topics such as climate change and genetic engineering encouraging them to think critically and ask questions.
  • In Anatomy and Physiology, students study the structure and function of the human body with an emphasis on understanding the interconnections between the five primary systems of the body. Labs, class discussion, and real-life experiences play a critical role in this class.
  • Advanced Physics: Electricity and Magnetism is an immersive course engages students in circuit building from two directions: scientific theory and practical utility. This course is intended for students interested in technology, engineering, and computer science.
  • AP Chemistry teaches the fundamental concepts of chemistry as defined by the College Board and includes intensive and extensive lab work. This includes structure, states of matter, intermolecular forces, reactions, and using chemical calculations to solve problems.
  • AP Biology teaches the core scientific principles, theories, and processes governing living organisms, biological systems, and natural phenomena as defined by the College Board. The exhaustive lab-based nature of the course demands that students are able to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • AP Physics is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. The College Board defines this course as the cultivation of understanding of physics through inquiry-based investigations as students explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics, mechanical waves and sound, and simple circuits.

Mathematics

Twelfth-graders are eligible to take one of the following mathematics courses:

  • Math Analysis is an exhaustive study of functions and extends most of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry. Students analyze and solve problems both independently as well as cooperatively in groups. Calculators and computers are used to explore functions graphically, numerically, and algebraically.
  • Advanced Algebra is an in-depth study of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Students solidify and extend selected topics covered in Algebra II. Students have a choice of taking Statistics or Precalculus the following year.
  • Precalculus is an intensive investigation of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions that prepares students to take Calculus the following year. Students solidify and extend some of the topics covered in Algebra II/Trigonometry and special emphasis is placed on using calculators to explore the properties of functions and verify solutions.
  • Statistics students learn the fundamental concepts of probability and statistics, including data types, normal curves, and binomial distributions. Interdisciplinary work with the psychology course and experiments conducted with the student body make this course a great introduction to the study of statistics before doing research in college courses or taking statistics at the college level.
  • Calculus explores the concepts and theorems of both differential and integral calculus, emphasizing creative problem-solving and interpretation of solutions. This course is an excellent foundation for taking college-level calculus.
  • AP Calculus AB is a study of both differential as well as integral calculus as outlined by the College Board. Students also utilize and extend the logic and skills they acquired in previous algebra and geometry classes to prepare fully for the AP exam.
  • AP Calculus BC covers all topics in the AP Calculus AB course and extends the study of differential and integral calculus to include sequences, series, polar, parametric, and vector functions. This course covers approximately two semesters of college calculus.
  • AP Statistics is a study of both descriptive and inferential statistics as outlined by the College Board. This course is equivalent to an introductory, non-calculus-based college statistics course. With the aid of calculators and computers, students investigate the subject through experiments, observational studies, and statistical inferences.

History

Twelfth-graders have the option of taking AP European History or AP US Government and Economics.

AP European History Students study the narrative of European History from the 14th century to the beginning of the 21st century. Special focus is placed on constructing valid arguments through the analysis of primary and secondary sources and the use of factual evidence. Advancing new and debating established historical theses shape class discussions and anticipate the forms of writing demanded on the AP exam.

AP US Government and Economics In the first semester, students learn the historical context for understanding modern-day American court cases, legislation, and the functioning of the federal bureaucracy. Emphasis is placed on developing the writing skills necessary for success on the AP exam. Students then are introduced to macroeconomics during the second semester. The focus is on understanding the principles and forces that define the market economy and financial industry.


Foreign Language

  • French V is a college-level course. Students are expected to have mastered all previous grammatical concepts and are introduced to the passe simple, the French literary tense. In a seminar setting, students begin their study of French literature, with additional readings of the literary periods, and the art, music, and history that formed the literary movements of these eras. All lectures are conducted in French, and students are expected to take notes in French. Literary works begin with the Middle Ages, continuing into the Renaissance and then the 17th century, the Golden Age of France. The year concludes with the 18th century and the French Revolution.

  • In Spanish V, the grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are covered in more depth and at a faster pace. Few topics are new, but students are expected to develop college-level written, oral, and aural fluency. Moreover, they are to conduct research and give presentations in Spanish, express opinions in a proficient manner, and show a deeper appreciation and awareness of cultural diversity. Readings, videos, and audio files are authentic, inviting discussion of social issues while reinforcing correct use of advanced grammar and giving students a real world experience.

  • Latin V and AP Latin meet concurrently and focus on prose and poetry, examining the writings of Caesar and Vergil respectively. Students are expected to read both authors in translation as well as the historical and cultural background of Caesar’s commentaries and Vergil's Aeneid. Explaining syntax in context and identifying literary devices is practiced and refined. In the second half of the course, students translate selections from Vergil's Aeneid. The skills of literary analysis and review are developed, focusing on how to write clear and specific essays that include thorough textual support. The course also emphasizes the poetic aspects of Latin including meter, rhetorical figures of speech, pathos, and narrative. The ability to accurately and fluently translate is developed by homework preparation, in-class involvement, and re-reading after class.

Electives

Yearbook

Yearbook allows students to learn in an essentially professional setting as they produce FA’s full-color, hardcover yearbook, The Talon. Staff members are responsible for planning yearbook content, taking and editing photos, writing copy, creating and editing spreads, managing advertisements, and selling the book. The final product is a documentation of every student’s year in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools at FA. Throughout this course, staff members gain valuable experience and skills in writing, photography, design, time management, organization, leadership, finances, and teamwork.

Chorus

Upper School Chorus has three primary goals: to nurture and enhance the musical abilities and talents of its students, to create music that inspires students throughout the school, and to represent FA in the outside community. Through the performance of multiple genres and styles of music, choir members improve their knowledge of the spoken and written language of music, learn to practice, improve skills, and solve problems both independently and as part of an ensemble, and develop choral ensemble skills including blend, balance, group intonation, rhythmic precision, and vocal technique.

Studio Art

  • Studio Art introduces new students to a variety of media and creative processes. Creative self-expression is encouraged and discovered through projects and class assignments. The course allows returning students to develop advanced skills in painting and drawing, three-dimensional art, and design in preparation for more advanced art courses.
  • Advanced Studio Art students work closely with the instructor to develop an individual curriculum that best suits their interests while challenging students to grow as artists. This course helps students build portfolios and prepare them for the AP Studio Art: Drawing course offered in their senior year.
  • AP Studio Art: Drawing is a teacher-guided independent study that fulfills the requirements set by the College Board. Students work with diverse media, styles, subjects and content to build a portfolio for submission. The portfolio consists of three sections: breadth, illustrating a range of ideas and approaches to making art; concentration, showing a sustained, deep and multi-perspective investigation of a student-selected topic; and quality, representing the student’s most successful works with respect to form and content.

Theater

  • Introduction to Theater students learn the fundamentals of theater, voice, movement, and production design as well as read scripts for meaning, understanding, and evaluation. Students work together to create an ensemble and rehearse for structured performances. The class will also examine everything from improvisation rules, skills and structures to theater history to publicity.
  • Acting Ensemble provides the complete experience in theater – what it takes to produce a show from inspiration to striking the set. Students learn to research, act, design, and direct as well as learn to explore the purpose of the play. An additional goal is to provide students with the time and space for reflection throughout the process while creating a work of art. Students have the opportunity to audition for and compete in the annual Virginia Theater Association One-Act Competition in Norfolk, Virginia.

Orchestra

  • Orchestra - Orchestra gives students in sixth through twelfth grade the opportunity to explore the western music tradition while learning the art and craft of making music on a stringed instrument. Instruction on the violin, viola, cello, and string bass covers posture, reading notation, intonation, tone production, theory, style, and interpretation through ensemble experience. Students in the Orchestra class are required to have at least one year of prior instruction on their chosen instrument.
  • Chamber Orchestra – Orchestra members may audition for Chamber Orchestra, which provides students with advanced abilities the opportunity to further develop their skills. The smaller size of the ensemble allows for intensive rehearsals and individual instruction. Chamber Orchestra members are also members of the Orchestra.

Band

The Upper School Band program is designed to create complete musicians who are knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated. To achieve this, students not only work to improve their individual and ensemble performance but also develop their technique, theory, and aural skills. The proficiency they develop by doing so will allow them to perform with accuracy and communicate through their instruments with clarity. Specifically, students will have the opportunity to participate in district- and state-level events. Upper School Band students also participate in FA’s Annual Side by Side Concert, where local student and professionals collaborate to perform a collegiate level concert.

Psychology

AP Psychology students think critically and independently as they cover the history, methods, and diverse fields of psychology. Students work diligently to prepare for the AP Psychology exam through collaborative and project-based learning activities in class and are expected to work independently outside of class to review key concepts and important researchers. Students have the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of themselves as well as deepen their compassion for others. A non-AP version is also offered.