There is a lot of talk these days about education reform with a focus on increasing student performance (on standardized tests, in particular) in math and science. The belief is that with this emphasis our nation will once again be a formidable competitor on the world stage. To that end, policymakers from across the country are indiscriminately cutting arts and humanities programs. The dichotomy is striking, and the message is clear: if we are to be better mathematicians, we can’t be great artists. If we want scientists, then we can’t waste our time debating the “fluff” of humanities. In her book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Martha Nussbaum writes, “When practiced at their best, these subjects [math, science, and social science] are infused by the spirit of the humanities: by searching critical thought, daring imagination, empathetic understanding of human experiences of many different kinds, and understanding the complexity of the world we live in.” She continues, “The ability to think well about a wide range of cultures, groups, and nations in the context of a grasp of the global economy…is crucial in order to enable democracies to deal responsibly with the problems we currently face as members of an interdependent world.” Put simply, a humanities education focuses on humankind: our development, our culture, our diversity, and our commonality. With an exposure to a wide range of study, students develop an overall appreciation for learning along with the skills necessary for life creating a strong foundation for any field one pursues in college and beyond. A humanities education is the educational equivalent of looking at the world through a kaleidoscope versus a peephole. Why a humanities education? As we see it, full self-development with an understanding of the connections between multiple disciplines is what a humanities education is good for and what a democratic society needs.

An Humanities Approach: Holistic Education

We experience holistic lives, so why split up education into isolated disciplines? A Humanities approach to education is interdisciplinary and blurs the distinctions between subjects so that students experience continuity in their study, and gain the ability to view topics from multiple angles. Students learn to make connections between ideas, thus enabling them to solve problems, some of which require multiple attempts and suggestions. In his Five Minds of the Future, world-renowned scientist and educational researcher Howard Gardner writes, “While it is obviously important to monitor and take into account scientific and technological advances, the leader must have a much broader purview… A full life, like a full organization, harbors multiple disciplines.” We want our students to pursue full lives in CORE.

Our Humanities approach to education integrates subject matter connected to a theme. Each unit builds on the on the skills and understandings of the unit before it, so that by the end of each grade-level, students have a depth of knowledge about the content.  In addition, each grade-level builds on the one before it, so that students learn to see the broader connections between cultures and time periods, giving them a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of Human societies.  In CORE, students receive a four-year experience that will lay the foundation for the rest of their educational journey. Click on the grade level for more information about the themes and content.


Unit One Unit Two Unit Three Unit Four
World Cultures
Aboriginals of Australia The Making of Mexico The Cradle of Civilization is Africa 5000 Years of Chinese History
Western Civilization
Virtue in Ancient Greece The Rise of Christianity The Rise of the Roman Empire The Enlightenment
American Studies
The Individual and the Collective Success and Meritocracy Race as a Device Gender Inequity
Modern Thought
Individualism Existentialism Language Post-Modernism
CORE 9 - World Cultures

Unit 1 – Aboriginals of Australia

Unit 2 – The Making of Mexico

Unit 3 – The Cradle of Civilization is Africa

Unit 4 – 5000 Years of Chinese History

CORE 10 - Western Civilization

Unit 1 – Virtue in Ancient Greece

Unit 2 – The Rise of Christianity

Unit 3 – The Rise of the Roman Empire

Unit 4 – The Enlightenment

CORE 11 - American Studies

Unit 1 – The Individual and the Collective

Unit 2- Success and Meritocracy

Unit 3 – Race as a Device

Unit 4 – Gender Inequity

CORE 12 - Modern Thought

Unit 1 – Individualism

Unit 2 – Existentialism

Unit 3 – Language

Unit 4 – Post-Modernism