Bard Academy at Simon's Rock
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Academic Program

Ready to ask the big questions? At Bard Academy, you’ll find faculty who welcome intellectual curiosity and classmates who love to learn just as much as you do.

You’ll end up realizing there is no end—and no limit—once you start engaging in the world around you as an original thinker with a strong foundation from Bard Academy.

 

Bard Academy courses are designed and taught by the faculty of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Independent Schools (NEASC-CIS). Our professors are active scholars and artists, which means they have a stake in what they teach. They are also experienced teachers of younger students. The Academy curriculum enables students to fulfill core requirements with plenty of opportunities for more advanced inquiry.

What will your days be like at the Academy?

The Humanities

All Bard Academy students take a sequence of courses in English and social studies. In these courses, the class discussion is grounded in the reading. You will share interpretations, inspiration, and criticism, and then use writing to hone your ideas and ability to share your perspective clearly.

You’ll go beyond conventional questions about the meaning of a text or an author’s intention. Instead, you’ll learn to consider texts as scaffolds for experience and identity, as machinery for preserving cultural knowledge, as unstable records of the past, as material objects, and as expressions of imagination.

In addition, history courses will give you the opportunity to study a variety of eras and cultural contexts while developing the analytical tools to think critically about how history is framed through ideology. By examing topics such as gender relations and sexuality, industrialization, and cross-cultural encounters, you'll gain a critical understanding of how our current historical moment is both related to and distinct from our history. 

Mathematics and the Sciences

Science courses at the Academy encourage students to investigate and observe the principles of natural and physical science while building the groundwork for more advanced study in biology, chemistry, physics, and the environment.

You’ll conduct your own experiments, developing a deep appreciation of the scientific process along the way. Similarly, courses in mathematics and computer science lay the foundation for future study, while encouraging your abilities in logical thinking.

The classes invite authentic investigation of urgent problems and questions by organizing the learning process around different themes. You’ll learn scientific inquiry as both a set of skills and a critical form of citizenship. In one course, students seek to understand the causes of climate change and to imagine solutions to its challenges, while building the foundation in chemistry and physics needed for college-level study. Another course explores the science of food through hands-on learning in the campus garden, greenhouse, and in the laboratory.

You will learn to understand mathematics as a language that describes the world quantitatively, as a set of tools to solve complex problems, and as a logical and analytical way of thinking. Instead of following predetermined steps to arrive at answers, you’ll develop critical thinking skills and find your own paths to solving challenging problems. After completing the 9th- and 10th-grade math curriculum, students may go on to take calculus and advanced college-level mathematics courses.

World Languages

The study of at least one language is crucial to participating in and understanding global conversations, especially as innovations in new media and communications bring different cultures into closer contact. Bard Academy students choose between Spanish, French, Chinese, and linguistics. In each case, you’ll master the basic vocabulary and fundamental structures of the language while developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to increase your fluency.

The Arts

At Bard Academy, we believe the arts give us different ways to perceive and understand the world and our experience of it. Our courses combine theory and committed practice, supplemented by regular encounters with the best visual and performing arts in the Berkshire region.

You'll work with arts faculty who are also practicing artists. Since most of the courses are taught as half-semester courses, students learn to express themselves across many different mediums. Popular courses include music, drawing and painting, ceramics, fabric arts, sculpture, dance, photography, film, and theater. 

The campus offers an exceptional arts facility, the Daniel Arts Center, with two state-of-the-art performance spaces, an active ceramics studio with multiple kilns, multiple music practice and performance venues, a dance studio, both analog and digital photography studios, an extensive drawing and painting studio, and multiple galleries and display spaces.

The College Program

After 10th grade, all students in good academic and social standing are accepted into Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Matriculation is the process of completing your Academy studies and enrolling at Bard College at Simon's Rock. You will be asked to reflect on your time at the Academy and set goals as you move into the College program. 

What comes next?