High School Curriculum
Click here for a pdf copy of the High School Schedule.
Each semester has five core periods dedicated to academic classes. Non-seniors are expected to take classes during all five periods, with some exceptions to allow students to engage in independent research, work with personal tutors or take classes outside of Harmony. First semester seniors are expected to use four of the core periods for academic classes with the extra period being used to prepared for their senior projects.
Credit for a course is awarded by the teacher to the student upon that student’s completion of the course. Teachers may use a variety of methods to evaluate students including any of the following: projects, homework, quizzes, tests, papers, and class performance. Feedback on the course is provided via teacher’s comments and during the parent-student-teacher conferences.
First semester courses are selected by the students at the first Family Meeting before the McCormick’s Creek trip. Second semester courses are selected during a Family Meeting in December. Schedules are created within a few days of course selection.
First semester morning classes (periods one through four) begin the first day following the McCormick’s Creek trip. Fifth period begins two weeks later. Short fifth periods and Exploration begin the first Monday of October, and long fifth periods and Creation resume in November. The last day of the first semester is the 2nd or 3rd Friday of December, the day of our Holiday Follies. Second semester classes begin the first day following winter break and lasts until the final day before parent-teacher conferences.
Morning short periods days are Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Morning long period days are Wednesday and Thursday. Afternoons on Monday through Wednesday are reserved for Exploration and/or Fifth Period. Thursday afternoons are for advisories or Creation. Friday afternoons we have Family Meeting.
Unless otherwise notified, school begins each day at 9:00 am. Students should be seated in their first scheduled class by 9:00 am. Morning classes continue until students are released for lunch. Students must return from lunch before 1:00 pm. Afternoon programming (fifth period, exploration, creation, or advisory) continues until 2:45 pm. Students are expected to perform their clean up jobs between 2:45 and 3:00 pm. Each student is released from school after he or she completes his or her clean up job. All students must leave the building by 5:00 pm.
High School Family Meeting
High School Family Meetings (Fridays from 1:00-2:45pm)
Possible Goals for Meetings
- Pass on important information (through “Announcements”)
- Solve problems (as a community, where the students create or help to create viable solutions)
- Plan for the future (plan, as a group, class trips, projects, activities, etc.)
- Community building skills (students learn to take responsibility for themselves and the group)
- Share joys (through “Golden Shining Moments” – with GSMs, students share a brief story of something that lifted their spirits)
Roles students can play
- Student chairperson/caller
Rules of Meeting
- Raise hands (or, occasionally go around in a circle if it is an important issue in order to get everyone’s input)
- Try not to repeat what has already been said
- Respect your classmates; make it a safe place (everyone’s comments are respected; no one is laughed at)
- Everyone tries to stay focused
- Rules for Group Problem Solving:
- The person who raised the issue goes first, describing/defining/outlining the problem
- Others may add new information
- When students speak:
- Don’t blame, just explain
- Speak from own experience only (I feel…I was)
- After problem is defined, propose solutions
- Students choose which solution to try
- Earth Science
- Algebra II
- Fundamentals of American English
- Greek and Latin Roots
- English as a Second Language
Digital Media Arts
- History of Media
- Film Production
- Game Development
- Western Civilization
- American Century
- Press Corps
Projects are an integral part of Harmony High School, just as they are throughout the school. In many of our classes, teachers evaluate students based on projects that are tailored to individual interests. We encourage students who are passionate about particular areas of a subject to pursue them, for this is what builds life-long learning. Click here to see some examples of student projects that emerged from Harmony classes.
Occasionally, a project may grow in size until it can count for a independent credit of its own. On a regular basis, students collaborate with teachers to design independent projects and credits. At times, these projects are under the supervision of a mentor. Other times, they involve self-study through books, software, or the internet.
Junior Mastery Projects
During their Junior year, Harmony students have the opportunity to pursue a Mastery Project. This project is modeled on ‘Honors’ research in college. It is a yearlong process:
- Students select an academic area in which they wish to specialize: Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Foreign Language, or Creative Arts
- The student must get a ‘green-light’ from a High School teacher of that subject area. This certifies that the student has already displayed a high degree of proficiency within that field.
- The student creates a project proposal and finds a mentor to aid their project. The proposal should be at least 100 hours worth of work and result in a level of knowledge/skill that both the mentor and the subject area teacher agree constitutes mastery. The mentor should be a professional from within the appropriate field.
- Four Way Meeting – By the end of the fall semester or the beginning of the spring, the student must meet with the mentor, the Junior adviser, and the subject area teacher. During this meeting, the Junior adviser explains the process and what is expected of each individual. It is the role of the mentor and subject area teacher to be sure that the project is both appropriate and challenging; it is the role of the Junior adviser to keep everything moving on track.
- At the end of their Junior year, the student present’s their project to a committee. This committee consists of their mentor, the subject area teacher, the Junior adviser, and two students of their choosing. After the presentation, the committee confers and decides whether the student has fulfilled their objectives. If not, then the student is told what he or she needs to do to complete the project. Once the project is completed to the satisfaction of the committee, Junior Mastery is conferred.
The Harmony School Senior Project is the capstone to their entire Harmony School experience. It is a rite of passage that allows students to explore their passions, to live independently, and to travel the world. During the spring semester of their Junior year, students begin to think about their projects. Over the summer and in the beginning of the fall semester they plan out the essential components:
- The Spark – Every great project begins with an idea, a dream, an ambition. For some students, this is abundantly clear. For others, this is a tremendous struggle.
- The Budget – It is not enough to want to do something; Harmony Students are taught to actually make it happen. Our students work part-time jobs, sell home-made crafts, write fund-raising letters, and much more in order to make their projects happen. Some projects cost virtually nothing; other students have worked to raise over $5000 for their trip.
- The Itinerary – For the sake of the students’ parents, as well as our own, we ask all the seniors to write up detailed itineraries. In particular when students are traveling out of town, or out of country, it is essential that there is a plan of where they will be staying and what they’ll be doing.
- The Mentor – Although the role of the mentor differs depending on the type of project, every student is expected to work with a mentor to gain the knowledge and skills that are needed to get the most out of their experience.
- The Essential Question – This question is what brings the project into focus for the student, what gives it greater depth, and what allows others to relate to it in a more meaningful way.
When the seniors have finished writing up these five components, as well as others, they present their proposal to the rest of the seniors. If the seniors think that the proposal is worthy of a Harmony School Senior Project, then Family Meeting votes on it. Once it has been approved by the Family Meeting, and once the senior has completed all credit obligations, he or she is ready to begin the project.
Senior Projects typically take over 360 hours to complete: full-time work, 30 hrs/week, for 12 weeks. During the spring semester of their senior year, seniors typically do not take regular classes at Harmony. Instead, they simply work full time on their projects. Some students travel out of state or out of the country, some as far afield as Europe, Asia, or Africa. Other students choose to stay in Bloomington to pursue their dreams.
At the end of the spring semester, the seniors return to Harmony to present their project to the whole High School. These presentations showcase their journey and experiences, and students present the evidence they collected during their project. Finally, after the presentation is over the Family Meeting votes whether the senior successfully completed their project as they presented it. We also vote whether the senior is a “responsible, contributing member of the community with a sense of humor.” This is the final step to graduate from the High School.
- Harmony encourages its students to participate in the democratic governance of the school and many of the policies in this document were initiated and voted upon by the students. However, before a student is considered a full member of the community and is able to vote on school policies, she must receive her first citizenship vote in Family Meeting.
- New students receive their citizenship voteafter they have attended school for six weeks. Students must also receive a second citizenship vote after they present their senior project in order to graduate.
- Social Dynamics Credit is based on a set of criteria designed by the students including:
- Community service and cleanup
- One-on-one interactions
- Class participation
- Participation in Family Meeting
- Teachers decide whether or not each student has earned their Social Dynamics credit at the end of each academic year. Failure to receive a Social Dynamics Credit means that the student will be on probation in the fall. Conditions of probation are individually tailored to the student.
- The student’s compliance with probation is evaluated before Thanksgiving break. Successful compliance results in the student gaining his Social Dynamics Credit and going off probation. A failure to comply is addressed either by the Student Advisory committee, the staff or in Family Meeting.
Conduct and Conflict Resolution
- At the beginning of each year, students are required to pledge and sign a drug oath – promising to refrain from using or possessing illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco on school property or during school time. Failure to uphold this pledge will be dealt with by the program coordinators and the head of school and can result in probation, loss of privileges, or expulsion from the school.
- All Harmony students are expected to accept and follow the Harmony Ethos. Click here to learn more about it.
- Failing to follow the ethos and other behavior deemed disrespectful to the community can result in the student being required to meet with the Student Advisory committee. Such behavior can also result in probation and/or the loss of a social dynamics credit. The resolutions of Student Advisory and the conditions of a probation are created on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to the specific needs and issues of the individuals involved.
- Students are required to attend school each day with the only excused exceptions being illness, injury, transportation emergency, family crisis, or a per-approved appointment or educational event (birthdays, work, fatigue, moodiness, histrionics and laziness are not acceptable reasons for tardiness or absence).
- If a student finds out that she must be late or absent at a future date, she should inform her teachers ahead of time.
- If a students knows he must be late or absent in a future week, he should also inform the other students of this during the next Family Meeting.
- Students who unexpectedly realize they will be late or absent must call the high school number before 8:50 am (or as soon as possible) and explain what happened.
- Students arriving late to school must sign in when they arrive.
- If a student accumulates more than seven tardies or absences during a semester, or more than three tardies or absences during any two week period, that student may be required to attend Student Advisory committee to address their absenteeism.
- Students who experience fever, nausea, diarrhea, chronic coughing or other flu-like symptoms during school will be isolated and sent home.
- Students should not come to school until they have been free of fever or other flu-like symptoms for at least 24 hours.
- Whenever Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) calls off school due to snow or other inclement weather, Harmony School is also closed. However, we start and end school on time even if MCCSC starts school late or ends early due to the weather.
- Students who live in other counties are excused from school if the public schools of their county have been closed or delayed due to weather.
- There are a number of community-building events scheduled throughout the year including the McCormick’s Creek camping trip, rolling skating events, ice skating events, all-school meetings, the Halloween party, the Christmas party, the Holiday Follies, the Spring Trip, and all-school picnic.
- We strongly encourage all students to attend and participate as they form a vital part of what gives Harmony its strength and uniqueness.
- A Harmony student may invite someone from another school system to shadow at Harmony provided that the following requirements are met:
- the Harmony student asks and receives permission from all of his teachers; and
- the Harmony student asks and receives permission from the of students during Family Meeting.
- No one other than shadowing students, parents and alumni in good standing may visit between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
- All visitors must sign in at the office when they arrive.
Harmony High School has the following requirements for graduation:
Each student needs to have completed a total of 27 core academic credits with:
- 8 in Language Arts
- 7 in Mathematics
- 6 in Science (with 2 in life science, 2 in physical science and 4 labs)
- 6 in Social Studies (with 1 in World History, 1 in US History and 1 in US government)
We also recommend:
- At least 4 credits of a single foreign language. This is an entrance requirement for Indiana University
- For students who are thinking of continuing to college, we recommend they take at least 1 college class (usually IU or Ivy Tech). If not, the student should do an internship instead.
Each student must receive one Social Dynamics Credit for each year at Harmony. (Social Dynamics are detailed under the “Unique Policies” tab.) This is based on a set of 5 criteria designed by the students, including:
- One-on-one interactions
- Community involvement
- Family Meeting
Each student needs to receive two citizenship votes (one their first semester, and one after they present their Senior Project). This vote is taken by the High School Family Meeting and asks:
- “Is this student a responsible, contributing member of the community with a sense of humor?”
Each student needs to successfully complete and present their Senior Project. This project takes approximately one semester’s length (360 hours) to complete and culminates in a written and oral presentation for the whole High School.
Read more about Harmony’s Graduation Ceremony here.