Department of Education

Essential Questions Courses and College Preparation

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


What does it mean to be a storyteller?

How do stories show bravery, risk, connection or even the thoughts and heart of another? How can we harness the power of story to share our identities as well as to participate in and critique our communities? In what ways do those who tell stories and those who read stories bear witness? We will read and create poems, stories, songs, and videos. Some of these pieces of narrative or memoir writing that you create will be useful to you in your future college applications.


How can we use mathematics to explore inequities in our communities? How can we examine issues of income inequality and the wage gap? This summer we will analyze and interpret data to further develop our understanding of social and economic injustices and we will discuss ways we can advocate for change in our world.


How do waves influence the world we experience?

Waves are everywhere around us even though we can’t see them. They allow us to see and hear. They send information to cell phones and radios. They make it possible for x-rays to produce images of our bones. This year, BSHS students will explore the fundamentals of waves. The class will include hands-on activities and work with computer simulations. As part of the class, each individual student will be supported in completing an independent project that focuses on a wave-related phenomenon they find interesting and exciting. There are so many interesting questions to explore: How do different animals hear or see? Why are UV rays and gamma rays dangerous? How do we use radio waves to track objects and events in space? The questions you can study are endless. At the end of the course, each student will share what they have learned in the online setting. 

Social Studies: 

How have Americans utilized technology, popular culture, and social change to thrive in times of crisis in United States history?

Americans are currently turning to technology, popular culture, and the promises of social change to make sense of life during a global pandemic. Once again, “history is repeating itself” as Americans engaged in similar behaviors exactly 100 years ago during the “Roaring ‘20s.” This year, BSHS will compare and contrast life in 2020 with American life in the 1920s. Students will utilize music, literature, art, photography, film, and various texts to better understand American society following World War I and the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. We will explore the histories of the Harlem Renaissance, prohibition, immigration, and social media to discuss current and past conceptions of race, gender, and youth culture. Finally, students will share their conclusions on how studying the 1920s provides us both warning-signs and hope for the immediate future in what has been a shocking beginning to the 2020s.

College Readiness

The Future is Now

While at Brown Summer High School, students will have the opportunity to hear from BSHS alumni about their experiences in the program and how it prepared them for life after high school. Students will hear from a diverse panel of college students about their pathways to and through college. Additionally, students and families are invited to hear college admissions professionals speak about the application process, how to choose a college or university that is right for them, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while in college. These experiences are in addition to the resources and mentorship that BSHS teachers can provide throughout the summer and beyond.