Curriculum

The delivery of the curriculum is linked to providing hands-on, real life experiences within the entire school community. Instruction includes a special focus on "the greats" - by weaving the study of great people, ideas, events and problems throughout the curriculum, we make learning more vivid, interesting and relevant to students' lives. Teaching occurs in many forms including direct instruction, cooperative learning, project-based learning and other forms of instruction that provide responsive, varied learning situations that meet the needs of each individual learner.

The project based learning includes direct emphasis on teaching enhanced science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, courses for selected students. ABT will soon become one of the few Michigan charter schools with a national STEM certification.

Our caring teaching staff consists of certified and highly qualified teachers who work hard every day to ensure that ABT students receive the finest education possible. Our low student-to-teacher ratio allows our teaching staff to personalize the learning experience for each student.

Courses

English Language Arts (PDF)
ENGLISH 7-READING, ½ credit
Students will explore language and genres through reading in a variety of media, including diverse language texts, appropriate films and novels. Students will comprehend grade-level reading material by using structural and context clues. They will recognize basic literary elements such as character, setting, plot and theme. Students will begin to develop critical and analytical skills when analyzing literature.

ENGLISH 7 WRITING, ½ credit
The writing portion of English 7 is a continuation of the writing process. There will be an emphasis on narrative, expository and descriptive writing. Students will continue to develop their vocabulary and spelling skills. The study of grammar and writing mechanics will be incorporated throughout the various units. Students will correctly write simple and compound sentences, recognize and apply the eight parts of speech, recognize and correct subject/verb agreement and master more advance punctuation skills.

ENGLISH 8- READING, ½ credit
The focus of English 8 is to reinforce and master knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The emphases in the 8th grade reading classes are twofold: to teach students to read increasing difficult materials with greater understanding and to encourage students to be life-long readers. Vocabulary development is extensive. A variety of materials are used. Students read novels, short stories, essays and poetry. Reading skills, literary analysis and higher-level comprehension work is incorporated. Classes are literature-based and thematically organized around four domains: narrative writing, expository writing, descriptive writing and persuasive writing. Students will learn specific reading strategies to strengthen and comprehension skills and will respond to literature by examining elements of plot, characterization and themes in various literary works such as novels, short stories, and poetry. Emphasis will be placed on teaching students to become independent and strategic learners and critical thinkers. To establish the necessary foundation for developing critical thinking skills, students will continue to strengthen their basic skills in the area of spelling, vocabulary and grammar usage.

ENGLIGH 8- WRITING, ½ credit
Eighth grade language arts strengthen student’s skills in following the writing process of prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading and publishing. Three types of writing (expository, creative and technical) in multi-paragraph formats expands grammar, usage and mechanics skills. Literary excerpts and reading passages from content area serve as models of good writing and as sources of discussion, study and writing topics. Students continue to develop library-research skills, following MLA research style. An emphasis on developing spelling and vocabulary skills helps students increase sophistication of sentence structure. Collaborative learning activities enable students to work cooperatively. Computer word processing enhances the writing process and becomes a useful tool in writing development.

ENGLISH 9, 1 credit
This course concentrates on the fundamental language skills of reading, writing, listening/speaking and viewing/representing in an effort to build a foundation for student success in advance high school English classes. Students’ practice both reading and writing as a process. Students perform an array of reading strategies as they work to become proficient in understanding and responding appropriately to a variety of texts. In terms of writing, students work on development of ideas, voice, and fluency as logical presentations of materials. Although direct language instruction occurs in this class, students often work with grammar and usage in their own drafts in efforts to produce error free texts. A study of the short story, poetry, drama, the epic, and the novel along with practice in literary analysis is introduced early in the course and sustained through the year. Research skills are taught incrementally.

ENGLISH 10, 1 credit
Prerequisite: English 9
This course emphasizes continuing development of language and composition skills. Included within the study is identification of literary themes and forms, the use of effective reading strategies, and on-going development of speaking/listening and viewing/representing skills. Through use of multiple writing experiences, the students work on development of ideas, voice, fluency, logical presentation of materials and the practice of appropriate conventions of language. Composition assignments include expository, descriptive, narratives, and persuasive forms. In addition to process pieces, students perform in-class writings of various lengths. Reading for this level are both historic and contemporary, include short stories, essays, novels, dramas, non-fiction and poetry. There is a required research project.

READING HORIZONS (New), ½ - 1 credit
PREREQUISITE: Teacher Recommendation
Reading lab offers students’ instruction in word recognition and comprehension strategies and vocabulary, to help ensure students read on grade level with competence, confidence and understanding. Students are given opportunities to locate information in varied sources, to read critically, to evaluate sources and to draw supportable conclusions. Students learn how various texts are organized and how authors choose language for effects. All of these strategies are applied, using various media from all subject areas.

MYTHOLOGY, ½ credit
PREREQUISITES: English 7, English 8
In this course, students will explore language and literature through the stories and tales of Greek and Roman mythology as well as mythology from around the world. Students will become familiar with the characters and elements related to mythology and engage in discussions concerning their validity and significance. Students will participate in research concerning the early days of Greek and Roman cultures to adequately understand and comprehend the significance of this literary genre.

HONORS ENGLISH, 1 credit
PREREQUISITES: English 9, Teacher Recommendation
In this course students will explore language and literature through short stories, play poems, essays, folklore and novels. Students will read and comprehend text, have meaningful discussions about the subject matter presented, write essays and reports, complete projects, write daily journals articles and take weekly vocabulary lest. Students will be expected to critically examine the purpose and theme behind the works of many authors. Students will use background and historical information to interpret text, as well as understand and analyze societal issues that roots in our past and effects in our present. Students will analyze popular theme in American culture through literature and discuss the effects of liter and media on society. This course will require independent reading, group work and research.

AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION, 1 Credit PREREQUISITES: English 9 & 10 The course content of AP English Language and Composition is guided by the College Board’s The Advance Placement Course of Study. The course is designed for the advanced English student, or any student, who wants to earn college credit or advanced placement in college courses based upon the results of the AP examination. Students will focus on how authors use language, literary and stylistic devices, and genre elements to appeal to an audience and achieve purposes and goals as stated in the College Board’s college readiness standards. This course fulfills the graduation requirement of one credit of English for a regular diploma.

PUBLICATIONS/YEARBOOK, 1 credit
PREREQUISITE: Teacher Recommendation
Publications/Yearbook is a yearlong intensive course open to students in grade 9-12. The fundamentals and techniques of journalistic writing, editing and adverting are taught, as well, as the canons of journalistic ethics. Frequent written assignments are required. Students will have experience in news writing, peer editing, interviewing, and basic news-gathering techniques. Assessment will be based on the written assignments, quizzes, tests and classroom participation. The course will provide students with information to help them understand the particular nature of writing for periodicals. In addition, frequent writing assignments will focus on specialized journalistic writing styles such as sports writing, features, editorials and in-depth reporting. The fundamentals of layout and design, using desktop publishing hardware, and headlines writing and photo editing are taught. Students will produce a school newsletter as well as the school’s yearbook and the ABT Almanac. 

Mathematics (PDF) 

BASIC MATH, 1 credit
Students develop basic mathematical skills such as multiplying, dividing, adding, and subtracting of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Students will study the concepts of percents, ratios, and proportions. Measurement, basic geometry, and basic algebra will also be introduced. A calculator is not permitted in this course.

PRE-ALGEBRA, 1 credit
Pre-Algebra is the continuation of Basic Math. In this course students will review all the concepts in basic math such as ratio, percent, proportion, fractions, and integers. Students will also be introduced to variable expressions, equations, and the coordinate plane. This course is designed to prepare students for Transition Math or Algebra.

ALGEBRA, 1 credit
Algebra is the continuation of Transition mathematics. This course has a scope much wider than most typical algebra courses. Applications are of all topics are introduced. Exponential growth and compound interest are covered. Statistics and geometry are the setting for work with linear expressions and sentences. Probability provides a context for algebraic fractions, functions, and set ideas. Students will need a scientific or graphing calculator for this course.

ADVANCED ALGEBRA, 1 credit
Advanced Algebra takes all concepts covered in algebra and looks into their applications. This course emphasizes algebraic expressions and forms, especially linear and quadratic forms, powers and roots, and functions based on these concepts. Students study logarithmic, trigonometric, polynomial and other special functions for modeling real world situations. Students will need a scientific or graphing calculator for this course.

GEOMETRY, 1 credit
Geometry continues all the pre-geometry covered in Transition Math. In this course students will learn basic concepts, angles, reasoning and proofs, perpendicular and parallel lines. This course will investigate quadrilaterals, polygons, and triangles. Perimeter, area, and volume of basic geometric figures will also be discussed. Students will be introduced to right triangle trigonometry, coordinate geometry, and transformations. Students will need a scientific or graphing calculator for this course.

PRE CALCULUS, 1 credit
Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry integrate statistical and algebraic concepts, and previews calculus in work with functions and intuitive notions of limits. Enough trigonometry will be covered in this course to prepare students for calculus. Students will need a graphing calculator for this course.

CALCULUS, 1 credit
In this course students will discuss limits, derivatives, and integrals. This course is intended for students pursuing a career in math or science.

MATH LABORATORY, 1 credit
This course is a collaboration of all the mathematics a student can take in high school. This course looks at all the applications of mathematics in the real world. This is a project and effort based course. Students will be required to do many hands on projects and a good understanding of algebra and geometry is needed.

INDEPENDENT STUDY, 1 credit
As directed by the cooperating teacher.

Science (PDF)

PHYSICAL SCIENCE, 1 credit
This course will provide students the opportunity to learn about the properties of matter, chemical and physical changes, scientific classification, motion, force, simple machines, energy and sound. The hands on/minds on philosophy is integrated into the curriculum to provide students the opportunity to learn while doing.

EARTH SCIENCE, 1 credit
The year-long course of Earth Science focuses on the natural world around us. During the course of the year the students will discover the origins of the universe and our solar system, the content and features of our atmosphere, the causes of the weather the students’ experience, climate in the United States, features of the ocean and finally the composition of the Earth and its structure. The students will encounter a variety of instructional strategies including lecture, projects, labs and group work. In addition to the course work the students will be expected to take notes and stay organized at all times to help them be successful in the class.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 1 credit
This course focuses on Ecosystems. Students learn common ecological relationships among species, how energy flows through familiar ecosystems and general factors regulating population size. Students use reading, writing and science process skills such as reading graphs and plotting data, observing, recording data and creating hypotheses. Students perform activities and labs as they work to become proficient in understanding and responding appropriately to a variety of scientific concepts while using the scientific method. Students create models demonstrating the energy cycles, the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle. This course also focuses on the effects of agriculture and other human activities on selected ecosystems. In their efforts to practice the scientific method, students will be expected to demonstrate the process by participating in the annual science fair.

BIOLOGY, 1 credit
PREREQUISITE: Integrated Science
This yearlong study of biology allows high school students to develop increased science process skills, such as observing, making hypotheses and recording data. In the class, students will be provided the tools to construct new scientific knowledge while reflecting on scientific knowledge from previous science classes. In their efforts to practice the scientific method, students will be expected to demonstrate the process by participating in the annual science fair. Throughout the year, students will study and experiment with a variety of topics such as cells, organization of living things, heredity, evolution and ecosystems. This course includes a frog dissection.

MICROBIOLOGY, 1 Credit
Course designed to familiarize the students with the microbial world. This is an introductory course where the emphasis will be placed on bacteriology. Students will explore the clinical and environmental aspects of microbes, principles of structure, metabolism, and growth and genetics of prokaryotes. Appropriate laboratory experiences will be provided to allow students the opportunity to develop and use scientific inquiry skills. Additionally, students will also learn the mathematical skills necessary for a solid understanding of the course material. 

AP BIOLOGY, 1 Credit:
PREREQUISITES: Biology & Chemistry
AP Biology will provide students with a good understanding of the concepts in biology and prepare them for the AP exam. Students will cover eight major themes found in the official curricula requirements of AP Biology. Students are required to read the textbook chapters listed on the syllabus and participate in laboratory experiments throughout the course. Themes include: Science as a Process, Evolution, Energy Transfer, Continuity & Change, Relationship of Structure and Function, Regulation, Interdependence in Nature, and Science, Technology, and Society.

CHEMISTRY I, II 1 credit (each)
PREREQUISITE: Integrated Science
This course will cover the fundamental laws and theories concerning the atom. Laboratory experiments are an integral part of this course. Students will take an in-depth look at atomic theory and structure, the elements, bonding, chemical reactions and stoichiometry. This course is a college preparatory class.

ANATOMY, 1/2 credit
PREREQUISITE: Biology
This semester course is an in depth study of the structure of the human body. The structures of the skeletal, muscular, digestive, excretory, circulatory, respiratory, integumentary, nervous, immune, endocrine and reproductive systems are the focus of study. Students will use models to learn the structures included in each of the 11 organ systems of the human body. This course includes dissections of cow kidneys, sheep brains and fetal pigs and may include other dissections. In their efforts to practice using the scientific method, students will be expected to demonstrate the process by participating in the annual science fair.

PHYSICS --New --1 credit (Independent Study)
PREREQUISITE: Geometry and Algebra I
An introductory laboratory course covering such topics as motion, Newtonian mechanics, energy conservation, momentum conservation, waves, sound, light, electricity and magnetism.

Social Studies (PDF)

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, 1 Credit
This course gives high school students the opportunity to learn about their government and its political components. Students will gain an understanding of the origins of democracy, its historical documents, three branches of government, voting, political parties, and public policy, which will prepare them to actively participate in a democratic society.

GRADE 7 - WESTERN HEMISPHERE, 1 credit
Students will develop basic knowledge of countries in the Western Hemisphere. They will understand culture, people, economy, climate, and governments of Western Hemisphere countries. They will be able to read and create maps, graphs, charts, and tables. Students will be engaged in several projects throughout the year.

GRADE 8 - UNITED STATES HISTORY BEGINNING THROUGH 1867, 1 credit
Students will understand the beginning of America. They will look at the countries that settled North America. They will understand the government foundations of America. Students will understand the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and The Emancipation Proclamation. Students will understand the bill of rights. They will investigate the American Revolution and the Civil War. Students will be engaged in activities and projects.

GRADE 9 - UNITED STATES HISTORY RECONSTRUCTION THROUGH THE PRESENT, 1 credit
Students will understand the challenges the US faced after the Civil War during Reconstruction, the tensions in the West, the rise of industry, and the great wave of immigration. Students will understand America’s status as a world power, involvement in World War I, the great changes of the 1920’s, the Great Depression, the world war that followed, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the main ideas of contemporary American society. Students will work independently and in groups on various projects for each time period including maps, journals, and illustrated storyboards. They will also participate in a role playing game for the tensions in the West.

PSYCHOLOGY, ½ credit
Students will become familiar with what psychology is and why it is an important subject. They will do group work and run their own experiments. Students will examine the brain and functions of each part of the brain. They will explore mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, and many others. They will explore personality and memory. Students will be creating an alter-ego puppet.

AP PSYCHOLOGY, 1 Credit
PREREQUISITES: English 9 & 10, Biology AP Psychology will introduce students to the systematic study of human behavior and mental processes. Students will be exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with the major sub fields in psychology. Students will also learn about the methodology utilized by psychologists, the core concepts and theories of psychology, the various approaches to psychology, and the biological bases of behavior including a study of abnormal psychology. 

SOCIOLOGY, ½ credit
Students will understand the basic knowledge of sociology. They will explore in depth topics relevant to adolescence, such as drugs, suicide, sex, alcohol, and runaways. They will be required to be involved in a community service project. They will examine crime and the justice system for teens. Students will also understand prejudice. Students will be working in groups and running their own experiments.

MICHIGAN HISTORY, 1/2 credit
Eighth grade students will learn about Michigan history. Students will learn about the land, climate, inhabitants, population, culture, history, economics and current events affecting the state. Students will gain knowledge and comprehension through problem solving, analyzing, compiling information and evaluating various aspects of Michigan history through research and discussion. Students will develop an appreciation for the history of Detroit in it's transition from frontier land to factories. This education and appreciation will be enhanced by field trips. The "Living Story" program presented by the Detroit Historical Museum dealing with Detroit's involvement in the Underground Railroad will be studied extensively. 

WORLD HISTORY, 1 Credit
This course focuses on the study of people and nations that have shaped our world. Student s will examine the story of humanity—how people lived on a daily basis, how they shared ideas, how they ruled, and how they fought.  The human journey will begin at the first civilizations around 3000 B.C., and will end at the 20th Century. By studying the past, students will gain an understanding of people and events that have shaped the world we live in today. 

ECONOMICS, ½ credit
Students will be introduced to the fundamental economic concepts of scarcity and choice, opportunity costs and trade-offs, productivity, economic systems and institutions. Students will then study micro economic concepts such as: markets and prices, supply and demand, competition, and the role of government. Each student will be required to complete a project of research and give an oral presentation using visual aids.

AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY,½ Credit
This course presents an overview of the historical, social, political, economic, and cultural factors that have helped shape the experiences of African Americans in the United States. Students will examine the broad range of experiences of African Americans from the close of the Civil War to the present. Students will explore both the relationship of blacks to the larger society and the inner dynamic of the black community. Particular attention will be given to Reconstruction, the migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, and the political machinations of the African American community.

Business (PDF)

ACCOUNTING, 1 credit
Accounting has often been referred to as the "language of business". Students learn accounting procedures and concepts as they are used in business. Opening and closing accounting records, journalizing, posting, and preparing reports and accounting statements are learned for different kinds of businesses. Students also begin learning computerized automated accounting systems.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, ½ credit
Students will learn how to prepare direct, indirect, and persuasive letters; memorandums, short reports, resumes and directives in proper business format. Problem solving in a business environment will be stressed. Students will develop skill in telephone communication and interviewing.

INTRODUCTION TO MARKETING, 1 credit
This course prepares the student for entry-level careers in retail marketing. Students complete competencies in merchandising, sales promotion, store operations, finance and inventory control, human resources and functions of retail marketing. Students will learn critical thinking skills and discuss how the slightest marketing decision can make or break a retail company.

BUSINESS MATH, 1 credit
Students will solve business problems including: discounting, mark-ups, payroll, interest, financing charges, depreciation methods, metric system conversion, conversion, taxes, and many other real-life problems. Students will be challenged to do higher-level thinking by solving story problems that have multiple questions.

BUSINESS LAW, ½ credit
Students are introduced to the foundations of our legal system. Through reading and studying actual cases, as well as daily news events, students will learn the impact law has on the business world. Students will gain a basic understanding of our court system by visiting a local district court and by talking with a local law enforcement officer. Other topics include: contracts, ethics, legal rights and responsibilities under the Constitution, and research into legal careers. Each student will be required to complete a project of research and give an oral presentation using visual aids.

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS,
This is taught as a skill rather than a course credit. Computer applications are woven throughout the ABT curriculum in all classes. Students continue their development of computer skills by using intermediate skills in computer basics, electronic communications, Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Power Point, and Access. Students will be able to produce business letters, create tables, format reports, create spreadsheets and graphs, demonstrate desktop publishing skills, and basic software multitasking. Awarded in conjunction with curriculum "Project Based Learning".

PERSONAL FINANCE, 1 CreditStudents will about planning and management of their personal finances. Topics include owning and financing a home, minimizing taxes, investing goals and strategies, budgeting to match income and expenses, developing a savings plan, controlling expenses and credit usage, determining life, health, home and auto insurance needs, and planning retirement. Students will develop their own personal budgets based upon their future expectations. Students will research college costs, costs of owning an automobile, and costs connected with living on their own.

Electives (PDF)

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, MATH (STEM), 1 credit, ADMINISTRATION AND TEACHER RECOMMENDATION: Grade 8, High School

An activity oriented program for selected students designed to challenge and engage students in project based learning centered around a rigorous academic curriculum. Eighth grade students will be introduced to the design process in the Design and Modeling course. Using design briefs, students create models and documentation to solve problems. Selected high school students will use sophisticated three-dimensional modeling software to improve existing products, invent new ones, and communicate the details of the product to others in the Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) course. In the Principles Of Engineering (POE) course high school students will participate in activities, projects, and problems to explore the wide variety of careers in engineering and technology and examine various technology systems and manufacturing processes. The Digital Electronics (DE) (new) course uses computer simulations to teach students about the logic of electronics as they design, test, and construct circuits and devices.

Music (New), 1 credit
The Brass Methods is comprised of 6 – 12th graders. This beginning ensemble at the high school is for those students who recently moved into the district, did not, for whatever reason, begin in instrumental study in 6th grade, or who want to improve on a secondary instrument. Beginning brass meets one period a day each week for 45 minutes. Any student at The Academy of Business and Technology is welcome in Beginning Band.

Beginning Woodwind Methods is comprised of 9 – 12th graders. This beginning ensemble at the high school will prepare the student with the knowledge and ability to establish a rewarding percussion program in a primary or secondary school. Explorations into the performance techniques and literature for all instruments of the woodwind family will be the focus of the course.

Beginning Percussion Ensemble is comprised of 9 – 12th graders. This beginning ensemble at the high school will prepare the student with the knowledge and ability to establish a rewarding percussion program in a primary or secondary school. Explorations into the performance techniques and literature for all instruments of the percussion family will be the focus of the course, including snare drum, timpani, the mallet keyboards (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone), and various percussion "accessory" instruments. A variety of techniques for each instrument will be discussed, and the musical interpretation of excerpts, etudes, solo, and ensemble literature will be explored. Course projects will include class demonstrations and performances, research in solo and ensemble literature, and percussion ensemble performance techniques. However, percussion ensemble requires private lessons.

Beginning Chorale is comprised of 9th – 12th graders. This beginning ensemble includes the study of quality repertoire in the diverse styles of choral literature appropriate in difficulty and range for the students. Chorus classes provide opportunities for performing, creating, and responding to music. Students develop the ability to understand and convey the composer’s intent in performing music. Students will be expected to perform basic sight-singing skills and rhythmic abilities by the end of first semester. Their grade will be based on ability, participation, improvement and individual willingness to make the choir one of excellence.

Fundamentals of Music: This class is for all students with no previous musical background, or those who need a refresher and are not able to participate in any of the ensembles. Fundamentals of Music begins by providing the student with a basic knowledge of music notation, e.g., rhythm and melody. Once this has been accomplished, students learn about the building blocks of the tonal system: major and minor scales, intervals and rudimentary harmony and form. Assignments are geared to reinforcing material that is discussed in class and in the text, and increasingly encourage creativity as the semester progresses, through composition of short melodies and eventually songs. Throughout the semester we do group (not individual) practice in rhythm, ear-training and sight-singing.

Music Appreciation: In music appreciation, all students will be educated in the basic fundamentals of music and how to be aware of them in the music of today’s (and yesterday’s) world. Students do not need to have a musical background in order to succeed in class, but all students must have a general interest in the topic and a desire to learn. Any student is allowed to join.

SPANISH, I,II, 1 credit
Students spend some time strengthening Spanish vocabulary, speaking and writing skills. Gradually more emphasis is placed on vocabulary and conversation with daily themes and the past tense. There is a continued deepening of understanding of Hispanic cultures.