Department of Education

Essential Questions Courses and College Preparation

Courses focus on big questions that encourage students to create new knowledge, practice relevant skills, and take action.


How do we stand up for ourselves and for others when faced with injustice?

This summer, English classes at BSHS will consider ways that teens and the characters in the novel Internment by Samira Ahmed resist injustice. This novel covers topics of racial, cultural and religious discrimination and ways that teenagers, like the main character Layla, fight back with individual or collective activism to construct a better world. We will also read poetry, write an essay, make digital posters, and create projects about people in history, politics or popular culture who stand up for justice. 


What does math look like around the world? 

People have been discovering and practicing math everywhere throughout time. This year, math classes at BSHS will explore the major contributions of great civilizations and how they engaged with algebraic and geometric concepts. We will solve math problems, discuss how these connect to how we learn mathematics in the United States, and create our own strategies. 


If you could create your own high school, or be in charge of your current school, what would students learn and what opportunities would they have for activities? How could the histories of the Civil Rights Freedom Schools guide you in those decisions?

Students in social studies classes at BSHS will create their own high schools that they will model off of the Civil Rights Freedom Schools. First, students will learn about how people their own age participated in the civil rights movement by attending voluntary summer schools (like Brown Summer High School) called Freedom Schools. Next, students will collaborate with each other to create their “dream high school” that looks, sounds, and feels like the Freedom Schools of the 1960s. What would students in a 2023 Freedom School learn, experience, and do that are similar to the civil rights Freedom Schools? What types of assignments would teachers give, or what clubs, activities, or sports would be available to students, and so forth? Students interested in history, social justice, and having a voice in how their own school operates should take this course.


How can electricity be used to create a more equitable world?

Squishy circuits, a homemade lightbulb, and electromagnets are just a few things we will make this summer to understand electricity.  Electricity is everywhere and an important part of the world we experience.  It is inside and around us even though we can’t see it.  It’s hard to imagine a world without electricity, yet access to electricity is not guaranteed nor equitable.  As we use more and more electricity throughout the world each day, it’s important to think about where it comes from and who has access to it.  This year, BSHS students will develop their knowledge of electricity and apply this understanding to make sense of its impact on communities.  As part of the class, each student will complete an independent project that focuses on an electricity-related phenomenon or topic they find interesting and exciting.  Students will present a science poster on the last day of BSHS to share what they learned.