Academics
Curriculum Guide

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Extradepartmental Electives

Woodberry offers several elective classes that fall outside the established academic departments. Though each of these courses is unique, all generally offer students the opportunity to dig deeper into a unique subject or topic. 


  • Extradeparmental Electives_Design and Editing for Literary/Arts Publications

    Design and Editing for Literary/Arts Publications is a course designed to teach the fundamentals of magazine production to new editors appointed to the editorial staff of The Talon. All new editors will be introduced to the basic principles of design (e.g. proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast) and the use of typography in desktop publishing with Adobe Creative Cloud, with an emphasis on Photoshop and InDesign. Editors will help solicit works of art and literary content for the magazine and will assist in managing review boards to select works for publication. Through review sessions, new editors will be taught how to use artistic criteria to evaluate digital and film photography, graphic art, and other artistic works through composition and visual storytelling. New editors will shadow and collaborate with senior editors to learn the art of literary evaluation and the editing of poetry and prose with authors. This is a trimester course in which editors re-enroll and continue to work on more complex individual and collaborative projects. Permission of the instructor required. No prerequisite.
  • Extradeparmental Electives_Design and Editing for Literary/Arts Publications (Honors)

    Honors Design and Editing for Literary/Arts Publications is a production course designed to support senior editors appointed to return in leadership roles for The Talon. A returning editor’s primary responsibility is collaborating with staff on the editing, design, and production of the fall and spring magazines. The division of duties is negotiated by the senior editors themselves. Returning editors will familiarize new staff with the basic principles of design (e.g. proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast) and the use of typography in desktop publishing with Adobe Creative Cloud with an emphasis on Photoshop and InDesign. Editors will be responsible for overseeing new staff members to solicit works of art and literary content for the magazine and will manage review boards to select works for publication. In review sessions, these editors will model how to use artistic criteria to evaluate digital and film photography, graphic art, and other artistic works through composition and visual storytelling. Editors continue their study of the art of literary evaluation and the editing of poetry and prose. This is a trimester course in which editors re-enroll and continue to work on more complex individual and collaborative projects. Permission of the instructor required. Prerequisite: One full year of Design and Editing for Literary/Arts Publications.
  • Extradepartmental Electives_ Economics and Personal Finance

    This class endeavors to make students aware of an economic model based on open trade and capitalism. Students will also learn fundamental financial decision making and risk assessments. Students who complete the class will meet the Commonwealth of Virginia graduation requirement in personal finance/economics. The course will cover the basics of financial math, personal finance and micro/macro economics.

    The math segment will involve calculating simple and compound interest, the 'Rule of 72,' annual percentage rates on borrowed money, net present and future value annuities, and amortization. Students will be required to set up cash flows and determine depreciation. The personal finance segment will make students aware of their role as a consumer and the basic economic concepts related to product prices and consumer spending. Students will demonstrate knowledge of savings, investing, credit and debt management. Students will demonstrate knowledge of risk assessment and purpose of health, auto, life and casualty insurance to ameliorate risk. They will demonstrate knowledge of income, sales, property and other taxes. Students will be asked to make a personal budget and to plan and meet short- and long-term financial goals. They will be made aware of stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate investing, and their risks. The economics segment will introduce broad topics such as money supply, taxes and tariffs, the role of Congress and the Federal Reserve in fiscal and monetary policy, how supply and demand regulate prices, and supply and the regulatory environment. Students will understand monopoly, oligopoly, and excess production capacity. They will demonstrate knowledge of market equilibrium, price and quantity controls, and elasticity. They will understand profit, loss, accounting vs. economic profits, and the concept of an efficient market. The boys will demonstrate knowledge of gross domestic product and the consumer price index as a measure of economic performance, the costs of inflation, the impact of employment/unemployment, and the business cycle. Students will demonstrate understanding of the global economy with regard to deficit and/or trade surplus, currency exchange markets/rates, international trade agreements, current account balances, and capital flows.
  • Extradepartmental Electives_Engineering Design

    This project-driven class will challenge students to solve problems across the fields of mechanical, electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering. From designing buildings to constructing medical devices, students will gain hands-on experience while working as a team to meet project goals. The course instructor brings substantial engineering and project development experience to the creation of new projects each year. Students are evaluated by the success of their projects, and by the process they undertake in developing those projects. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
  • Extradepartmental Electives_Journalism

    Journalism introduces students to the fundamental skills needed for print, video, and multimedia journalism, with a focus on writing and television broadcasting. Class time is spent developing the tools and strategies needed to produce print, online, and video stories, with some periods set aside for lecture and discussion on key topics. The class also introduces students to the basics of journalism ethics and law. It will feature several field trips to news organizations and campus visits by working journalists. 
    The first trimester is spent largely learning the basics of written storytelling. The stories students write get progressively longer and more complex as they grow more comfortable with identifying storylines and interviewing subjects. During the winter and spring students continue to write on a regular basis but also add in video shooting and editing skills. 

    The course is designed to be taken as a year-long elective. If students are only able to take the class for two trimesters, they may do so after consultation with Mr. Geiger. During some periods the students will work with the Advanced Journalism students on the production of a television news show.

    The class is open to old boy fourth, fifth and sixth formers. The course is perfect for students who are interested in taking a more active role at WFSPN.
  • Extradepartmental Electives_ Advanced Journalism

    Advanced Journalism produces a biweekly broadcast of a Woodberry-focused television show. Students in the course will write scripts, serve as anchors, operate cameras and production equipment, and report/prepare advance stories for the broadcast. 
    The course will operate at a high level and fast pace. Students must be strong writers and able to quickly learn video production and editing skills if they are not already familiar with them. Students must be able to take ownership of their work, meet deadlines without constant prodding and supervision, and operate independently. 

    The course will also include field trips and visits with working journalists. 
    Prerequisite: Open to fifth and sixth formers who have completed journalism with a B or higher. Students may also enter the course without taking journalism if they receive permission from the instructor. This permission will be based on extensive extracurricular experience with WFSPN or The Oracle, as well as teacher recommendations, if requested. 

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