Essential Questions for Study
In their four years together, Academy students and their teachers freely cross disciplines, cultures, and centuries. The Academy faculty deems the following questions essential because they nurture reflection and discussion on identity, expression, perspective, change, conflict, and truth—concepts that define us as individuals and bind us as a learning community.
Grade 9 Essential Questions
  • ·What groups, formal and informal, do humans create and belong to? How do groups shape identity?
  • ·Why and when did inequality among humans emerge? With what consequences?
  • ·How did the advent of agriculture alter humankind’s perspective?
  • ·Do spiritual and material pursuits result in greater happiness or wisdom for humans?
  • ·What are the notable achievements of “Eastern” and “Western” civilizations? Are such distinctions valid?
  • ·What is education? What ends does it serve? What voices and groups tend to control discussion and inquiry?
Grade 10 Essential Questions
  • How do humans create voice and identity through form and structure?
  • What can stories tell us about what it means to make sense of the world?
  • What has caused the reconception of the universe and how has humankind handled new ideas?
  • How do individuals and societies deal with extreme anxiety?
  • How do humans succeed or fail to co-exist?
  • As readers, writers, speakers, thinkers, and listeners, how do we work together in a mutually satisfying and productive way?
Grade 11 Essential Questions
  • From what sources do we derive our values and beliefs? Do we freely choose them or are we programmed by history and culture?
  • What role does national identity play in forming individual identity? What role does personal imagination play in shaping national identity?
  • What is the place of questioning authority in the American identity?
  • What is the American definition of success? What roles do convention, creativity, and fulfillment play in this definition? Are there alternative definitions? How has the drive for success shaped American history and culture?
  • What have we gained, or lost, through progress?
  • Do history, literature, and languages shape us? Protect us? Limit us? What happens when we interpret history, literature, and languages through lenses of gender, race, social class, family, community, or personal experience?
Grade 12 Essential Questions
  • What forces affect our understanding of the world?
  • How can we better understand others’ perspectives and other cultures’ values? How do we consider and evaluate the various sources at our disposal?
  • What is the role of language in global issues?
  • How do increasing globalization and accelerating technological change affect us?
  • What actions can the individual within a society take?
  • What can be expected as a result of an Academy education?