High School Curriculum

The Harbour School High School is a vibrant and exciting place, where students may choose from a smorgasbord of classes to reach the required targets in a way that best addresses their own interests and aspirations.

More importantly however, it prepares them for these experiences by focusing on the real-world applications of their subjects, often in an interdisciplinary way rather than siloing subjects.  The school also provides the opportunity for students to take on additional challenges such as advanced placement courses, concurrent university courses, and independent study modules.  This curriculum is supported by our advisory model and exceptional teacher-to-student ratio, which gives students more individualized support than would be possible in a traditional classroom setting.

 

Both Single-Subject & Interdisciplinary Coursework

The Harbour School views subjects as interconnected, and our interdisciplinary coursework reflects that.  Many subjects are offered as single-subject, such as Forensic Chemistry, Dystopian Literature, Advanced Mandarin, Documentary Photography or Psychology of Adolescence. Many others are offered as interdisciplinary, exploring a subject from many sides and taught by two teachers from different academic disciplines.  Elements of science rely on mathematics just as engineering can draw insight from art, and students take problem-solving and cooperative learning strategies from one subject to another.  We believe that an interdisciplinary approach fosters creativity and innovative thinking, skills that will serve our students well in the real world.

Sample Interdisciplinary Courses

STEAM Week and Arts Interim

Sandwiched between Terms 1 and 2, STEAM week provides an in-depth dive into a topic related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and/or Math.  Although these credit-bearing mini-courses vary from year to year, students may find themselves choosing from topics as diverse as “Cooking with Biology,” “Subaquatic Hong Kong,” “Economic and Sustainable Living Project,” “Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear,” or “Toy and Game Design.”  Between Terms 2 and 3, our Arts Interim presents another week of mini-courses with a more artistic bent that might include courses such as “High Tech Fashion,” “Pirate Hunters,” “Abandoned Hong Kong” or “Crafting a Murder Mystery.”

Below you will find the original plan and final product of a sustainable side table created by our students during this year's STEAM week. This side table was made from scrap wood and PET plastic bottles. 

Advisory Model

At the start of every academic year each student is assigned an academic advisor to mentor them, help curate their module choices, and generally support them on their independent educational journey.  Mentors help empower students to cultivate their personal interests and extracurricular activities, and work in close collaboration with subject teachers.  The advisory model, in addition to the school’s student-to-teacher ratio provides each student with the attention and support they need to flourish.

Project Development During a Global Pandemic

Students often struggle to understand the relevance between the content they are learning at school and how it relates to the real world. At THS, project based learning is a powerful teaching methodology used to reiterate classroom concepts by applying them to real world problems.

Using the Real World to Teach Math

High school mathematics used to be all rote memorization and pencil-to-paper equations disconnected from the real world. When it comes to calculus, one may wonder, “When am I ever going to use this in real life?”
 

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