Art (S): This course covers a wide variety of artistic features – drawing, painting, sculpture and more.  Students will tap in to their own culture and heritage and learn how artists throughout history have created art.  Students will learn to use a variety of art materials, including Acrylic paint, clay and glazes.  All projects will be taken home at the end of each section.  Students will be exposed to various components of technology.  Students will be provided with the materials to complete the curriculum.  Students have the option of paying for the end-of-the-semester project that will be taken home.

    Drama (S):  Introduce students to the basic skills and disciplines of acting and performance production.  Students will learn techniques related to scene work, monologues, improvisation, movement, stagecraft, blocking, directing, and various aspects production.  Participants in the drama elective will also be exposed to and study various plays, basic theater history, and famous playwrights.  Throughout the semester, students will apply what they learn by performing individually and in groups in front of audiences both in and outside of the classroom.

    Speech/Debate (S): This introduction course into Speech & Debate is designed to improve your self-confidence as well as lifelong skills through public speaking, argumentative and critical thinking techniques.  A variety of speeches will be introduced as well as rhetorical strategies for effective debates.  In addition students will critique and analyze well known speeches and speeches delivered by their peers.

    Poetry/Creative Writing (S):  In this semester course, students will be exposed to different types of poetry and poetic devices including figurative language, beat, and meter. Students will have exposure to poets and their different techniques. Creative writing will also be incorporated in the semester. Students will explore different ideas and methods to create stories as well as developing stronger writing skills.

    Film Literature (S): We LOVE movies! In this class, students will watch great films featuring fascinating characters whose stories will capture their attention and ignite their imagination.  We will discuss how themes in film connect to themes in literature students are reading in their Language Arts class, and to their lives today. Students will practice drama and speech techniques to help them bring characters and their stories to life in our classroom.  Finally, students will learn how to critically evaluate a film for merit.

    Concert Choir (Y): In chorus, you will learn how to read music using the Kodaly Solfege System while you prepare songs for performance.  Students will perform in community concerts, festivals and school events.

    Beginning Band (Y): This is a beginning band class for students interested in learning trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, flute oboe, clarinet, or saxophone. Students will develop basic skills necessary to perform on a wind instrument.  Daily home practice is required. 

    Concert Band (Y): This band is for students with one or more years of experience.  Students will be introduced to rhythm, tone production, articulation dynamics, and expression. Course will focus on the skills necessary for music reading.

    Symphonic Band (Y): This auditioned band will perform advanced middle school band music.  Students will be introduced to rhythm, tone production, articulation, dynamics, and expression. The Symphonic Band will perform in community concerts, festivals and school events.

    Jazz Band-(Before School) (Y): Jazz Band members must enroll in an elective band class.  Students will explore the art of improvisation taught through various musical styles including swing, Latin/samba, rock, and funk.  Students will also learn about jazz articulation, section and ensemble playing and intonation.  Jazz Band is an auditioned group comprised of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, bass guitar, piano and drum set/aux percussion.
    **Performances are integral part of the learning process. Dates will be announced at the beginning of the school year. There are some school instruments available for student use.  Parents may also rent or buy an instrument.


    Spanish 1 (Y): Students will learn to speak, understand, read and write Spanish and learn about the Hispanic world. Vocabulary units, grammar lessons, chapter quizzes and tests as well as other assignments will prepare students to read, write and speak in Spanish. Based upon semester grades, student performance/academic excellence, and a course exit exam, students may accelerate into the Spanish 2 course at the high school level.  This course does not count towards the classes needed for your high school.

    World Languages (S): This exploratory course is an introduction to four major languages spoken around the world and in our country.  It will give the student a flavor for the foreign languages taught at Vanden High School (Latin, German, French and Spanish) as well as give them an understanding of the multifaceted role of language in communicating on a global scale.


    Drafting/CADD (S): Students will be introduced to sketching, lettering, how to measure, how to draw in isometric, oblique, 1, 2 and 3 view drawings, dimensioning. Students shall design and construction a bridge and building and launching a Rocket. CADD (Computer Assisted Drafting/Drawing) will also be introduced.  An understanding of fractions and math is essential for this course.  Careers in technology will also be explored.  This is an excellent stepping stone for the high school Engineering CADD program.

    Computer Programming (S): This course introduces students to the fundamentals of computer programming with an emphasis on applications of math concepts and the use of code to control modular robots using the user friendly C/C++ interpreter Ch. Students start with basics of how a computer works and then explore programming in Ch to solve real life problems, including robot control. Students write computer programs with graphical plotting and animation in an integrated development environment (IDE). Through computer programming based problem solving and engaging activities, such as generating random numbers for applications in math and gaming, and challenges involving tasks for multiple modular robots working together, students develop critical and computational thinking skills. A grade of “C” or better is required in math and ELA.

    Wood Technology (S): Students will be introduced to a variety of basic hand and power hand tools, as well as stationary power tools.  Safety will be covered in depth.  Students will construct a series of more difficult projects requiring the use of many tools, such as routers, drills, miter saw, table saw, jointer, planer, drill press, jig saw, and sanders, etc.  Finishing procedures will also be covered.  Upon completion, a project of the student’s choice may be made.  Emphasis will be placed on Common Core Standards, organization, quality and pride in workmanship.  Math, Science, Social Science, and Language Arts skills will be reinforced throughout the course. Students will be provided with the materials to complete the curriculum.  Students have the option of paying for projects and materials that will be taken home.

    Tech Lit (S):  Students will acquire 21st century skills as they investigate robotics, programming and introductory electrical engineering.  Virtual and physical Linkbot robots will be used with C/C++ in a supportive Integrated Development Environment.  We will join the world-wide Arduino movement to learn basic circuitry through the Arduino microprocessor through a variety of projects.  We will host remote and physical experts in the tech fields to share about their jobs and the experiences that led them to their field.


    *Design Publications (Yearbook) (Y): In this course students will gain skills in one or more of the following areas: page design, advanced publishing techniques, copy writing, editing and photography while producing a creative, innovative yearbook which records school memories and events. Students gain useful, real world skills in time management, marketing, teamwork, and design principles.

    *Robotics (Y): The Golden West Middle School Robotics teams, the RoboStangs, build and program their own robots to complete a specific task each year. Each team must work together through all stages of the process, from concept designs to competition. Within each team, students will be assigned to particular duties (which can sometimes overlap): designer, builder, programmer, or driver.  If selected for the team, you will be notified and enrolled in the robotics elective. Robotics ALSO meets for an hour after school 2-3 times a week, therefore students and parents must arrange transportation (there is a late bus when robotics ends for bus riders). All parts, computers, and required materials will be provided to students.

    *Leadership (Y): Leadership is an activity-based course designed to develop skills in planning, implementing, and evaluating projects for the school and our community as a whole.  The goal of this class is to develop student leaders that positively represent the voices of the school, and the community, both on and off campus.  Students will develop skills and behaviors of good leadership, including: goal-setting, time management, communication skills, and self-awareness. These techniques will be studied and applied in a real world setting as students carryout the business of student government, while promoting a positive school environment for all students, through various school projects such as dances, spirit days, rallies, and fundraising events.