Academics
Overview
High School (Grades 9-12)

Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry (CHAI)


Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry courses are designed to engage students in constructing meaning through authentic, rigorous study of a discipline at the college level.

These courses aim to expand students’ curiosity through the pursuit of inquiry wherever it leads and to give students an experience of the transformative power of essential questions. Students can expect these courses will require more work and time than standard courses; they will demand a great deal of intrinsic motivation and independence as well as a strong work ethic and highly developed time management skills.

CHAI students will...

Course Descriptions + Rationale

List of 10 items.

  • CHAI Art History Honors: Global Approach

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry Art History Honors college-level course is a survey of the development of artistic expression throughout history and from around the world. Students learn how people have responded to and communicated their experiences through art making by exploring art in its historic and cultural contexts. Students engage with forms and content of works of art as they research, discuss, read, and write about art, artists, art making, and respond to interpretations of art. Students develop critical analysis skills and make thematic connections among global traditions, which allows students to develop a profound understanding of representative works of art from diverse cultures, including fundamental information that places these works in context and reveals relationships among them. The curriculum includes the exploration of major museums in Los Angeles, both in class field trips and in required independent visits. This course integrates academic content with industry knowledge through the examination of various professional areas such as museum studies, art conservation, art evaluation, connoisseurship, and market trends.

    Rationale
    Without the confines of preparation for the AP exam, this course allows for truly profound understanding of works of art within historical and cultural contexts. The curriculum provides greater opportunities for in-depth critical analysis of artworks as well as more meaningful study of art historical periods and artists. Furthermore, the course affords the ability to investigate current issues in collection, evaluation, and market trends in addition to learning about careers in the arts, thus integrating academic content with industry knowledge.
  • CHAI Chemistry Honors (beginning 2019-20)

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry Chemistry Honors course takes a rigorous academic approach to college-level inorganic chemistry and also provides an introduction to quantum mechanics, molecular orbitals, phase diagrams, colligative properties of aqueous solutions, transition metals, and coordination chemistry. The entire course will include inquiry-based lab experiments where students will design many of their own lab setups and spend significant time investigating concepts. Effective written and verbal communication will be emphasized throughout the course and come in the form of lab reports, in-class presentations, and class discussions. In addition to unit assessments, students will have the flexibility to choose a topic of their interest to investigate for a long-term project that will demonstrate their understanding of the concepts through written work and in-class presentations.

    Rationale
    Due to the nature of the AP Chemistry curriculum, a significant amount of time is spent reviewing material and studying for the AP test. De-emphasizing this test preparation allows students to gain instructional time, which will be used to increase opportunities for inquiry-based, student-designed lab setups, long-term projects, and the introduction of topics in nuclear and organic chemistry.
  • CHAI Critical Race Studies Honors (beginning 2019-20)

    Course Description
    This course will place race in the foreground of United States history and will enable students to more critically interrogate the way in which race operates in the United States. The course will focus on cultural, political, and artistic movements that seek to ennoble the experience of non-white groups in the U.S., analyzing the extent to which race has both developed and operated as a social construct. Instructional techniques will include Harkness discussion sessions, mini-lectures, student-led research projects, and oral history. Students will conduct their own research into any area / discipline of their choosing in order to explore the impact, function, and role of race in that field. To do so, students will utilize both standard research methods as well as engage with advanced, theory-based materials.​ This course does not represent the redesign of AP content but instead our own original curriculum.
  • CHAI English Language and Composition Honors

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry English Language and Composition college-level Honors course requires students to read and analyze a variety of challenging texts, with a focus on nonfiction, in order to determine the author’s purpose and how the author uses language to convey his/her ideas. Students are taught to read carefully and annotate each text, taking note of structure, word choice, sentence variety, and tone. With each text students read, they consider the author’s persona, audience, purpose, and the argument he/she is making. Students analyze the effectiveness of the argument, taking note of how linguistic choices either help or hinder an author’s message. Students will read to write, using the writers explored in class as models of how to communicate effectively. By identifying and understanding the rhetorical tools in the texts they read, students are able to shape their own language and ideas in more effective ways.

    Rationale
    By removing the need for AP multiple choice and essay test preparation, more time for authentic inquiry is gained; students will be enabled to conduct a more rigorous, focused study of a particular author, genre, or movement during the school year, and teachers will be more free to select books that reflect a wide array of literature and nonfiction.
  • CHAI English Literature and Composition Honors

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry English Literature and Composition Honors college-level course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of a variety of genres of literature, enabling students to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide insight into the most profound human concerns. Each thematic unit begins with a classic work of literature, then looks at more modern, diverse, multicultural works. The choice of themes and readings is designed to educate students about today’s most important cultural, social, and political issues. It accomplishes this goal by investigating the historical context and social values each work of literature embodies, inviting comparison to the social issues of our day and our own values. In addition to challenging reading, the Advanced Inquiry course places special emphasis on the importance of student writing, persuasive and personal, while honing students’ command of the English language by improving technical skills and stylistic finesse.

    Rationale
    By removing the need for AP multiple choice and essay test preparation, more time for authentic inquiry is gained; students will be enabled to conduct a more rigorous, focused study of a particular author, genre, or movement during the school year, and teachers will be more free to select books that reflect a wide array of literature and nonfiction.
  • CHAI Environmental Science Honors (beginning 2019-20)

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry Environmental Science Honors course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course that includes both laboratory and field investigation components. Emphasis is placed on inquiry and the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. This course will also emphasize scientific writing and communication. Major topics of study include biogeochemical cycling, land and water use, pollution, climate change, population ecology and human population dynamics, energy resources use, and management, and environmental legislation.

    Rationale
    The AP Environmental Science course includes four weeks of review for the nationally administered exam. This course alleviates the need for review and instead concentrates on inquiry as a primary driver for longer-term laboratory activities, collaborative, service-oriented field work, and additional emphasis on climate change research, California water resources management, and Los Angeles specific pollution studies.
  • CHAI Human Geography Honors (beginning 2019-20)

    Course Description
    This year-long course emphasizes research and advanced inquiry. Units of study include population, migration, culture, identity (racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual), language, religion, political geography, urban geography, economic development, agriculture, industry and services, human environment, and globalization. A yearlong research project will provide students with the opportunity to learn elements of historical practice by both utilizing and analyzing primary and secondary sources and synthesizing these sources to create analytical arguments. Students are assessed using various modalities, including tests, oral presentations, and papers, including a final research paper on a country of the students’ choosing, meant to serve as a culminating, critical case study of the multitude of societal and environmental forces at play in a given society. ​

    Rationale
    The change to CHAI Human Geography will provide the opportunity to utilize a more inquiry-based model than is currently offered under the AP model. Students will be tasked with generating their own research questions meant to spark critical investigation. Closer examination of the nature of evidence will be provided, allowing students to research the ways in which evidence is created, identified, curated, and accepted or rejected. These practices will alleviate the need for the lengthy, broad review sessions that are currently required for the AP test and, in doing so, will provide students with more time for project-based learning.
  • CHAI Modern World History Honors

    Course Description
    The Advanced Inquiry Modern World History Honors college-level course requires students to investigate how individuals, groups, and societies make decisions; how they act in response to complex, global issues; and how these actions can have far-reaching implications. The course employs a case study approach that encapsulates multiple perspectives and provides students with an opportunity to understand issues through in-depth inquiry, deliberation of their own positions, engagement with diverse sources of information and technologies, and collaborative and constructive problem-solving activities. The course emphasizes patterns of development in the world’s major civilizations and the consequences of the interactions among them. Themes of the course include cultural and intellectual trends, revolution, the power of the individual, developments of political culture and organization, the impact of technology, strategies of power acquisition, change and dissent, and changing systems of social structure, power, and identity. Throughout the course, efforts are made to tie the study of the past to its consequences in the world today and to the central question around which the course is structured: How does the study of world history help us understand the world today?

    Rationale
    In order to engage successfully with others in 21st century society, students must have an understanding of complex world issues and interdisciplinary perspectives and also be prepared with the proper tools. The AP European History curriculum that this course replaces does not offer a global perspective, and the amount of content required for students to prepare for the AP exam limits the exposure to contemporary issues and global citizenship. By eliminating the need to prepare for the AP exam, students are able to expand their inquiry and dedicate more time to discussion, research, revision of writing, collaboration, problem solving, and presentation skills. Teachers can focus more on assessing students on what they can do with what they know rather than how much they know at any given time and will help them build the skills needed to live and work in an increasingly connected world. This curriculum will prepare students to engage actively in a much wider range of global issues; develop research, writing, and presentation skills; foster creativity and flexibility; and understand the impact of human choices.
  • CHAI Physics with Calculus Honors

    Course Description
    This Advanced Inquiry course takes a rigorous academic approach to Classical Mechanics as well as select topics in Electricity and Magnetism (E&M). Throughout the course, calculus is used as an analytical tool to solve realistic problems. Each unit includes a significant amount of time working on hands-on projects and labs. The course features multiple comprehensive projects that integrate relevant engineering concepts into the curriculum including 3D-printed rocket design, fabrication, and analysis; balsa wood bridge design, fabrication, and analysis; and a series of independent E&M projects. This course emphasizes scientific writing and communication in the form of lab reports, in-class presentations, short reflection papers, and class discussions. The class is designed to engage students to move beyond the textbook to real-life applications while gaining experience with high tech tools (3D printers, high speed video, and more) and becoming more proficient at technical writing and communication.

    Rationale
    Due to the nature of the AP Physics curriculum, a significant amount of time is spent reviewing material and studying for the AP test. De-emphasizing this test preparation allows students to gain approximately 10 weeks of instructional time, which will be used to increase the amount of time spend on labs and hands-on activities as well as introducing some topics in Electricity and Magnetism into the curriculum.
  • CHAI Technology & Ethics in the Information Age Honors (beginning 2019-20)

    Course Description
    This Advanced Inquiry college-level course is designed to provide students a foundational study of how computers and the internet work followed by an in-depth study of the economic, emotional, social, and political implications of our world in the information age. Initial work will be focused on core technology concepts such as digital content, networks, the web, and digital security. The class will use that foundational knowledge in developing critical analyses of emergent and recent technologies. Part of this foundation will include learning the basics of computer programming and how such skills impact global and local markets. Students will explore the impacts of Big Data and how corporations and governments use that stored information. The course culminates in an individualized, self-selected mini-capstone research project consisting of a formal research paper and presentation summarizing their research.

    Rationale
    The nature of the College Board’s AP Computer Science Principles curriculum and its broad design prevents students from studying particular topics in depth and limits teacher feedback on Board-required specific and time-consuming performance tasks. Recovering time spent on those tasks as well as AP test preparation allows students to gain weeks of instructional and work time that will be used to deepen their knowledge and critical skills.

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  • Mission-Driven Innovation: Redesigning AP Courses

    From the Summer 2017 Issue of "The Good" Magazine
    By Carolyn LaGaly, High School Principal
    The Good - Summer 2017 IssueIn a community of inquiry, innovations in teaching and learning are always underway and reflected in changes both big and small. Indeed, our commitment to provide the best program for students compels change when we feel that a current offering falls short in some way. Thus, in an exciting and dramatic new initiative, the high school has committed to eliminating roughly half of the currently offered 25 Advanced Placement courses and replacing them with Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry (CHAI) classes beginning in the fall of 2018.

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is CHAI?
    • CHAI is an acronym for Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry. CHAI courses are a result of our process to replace those Advanced Placement courses that do not serve the school’s community of inquiry model with our own advanced courses that will cover roughly the same subject areas as the APs in question but allow for more discussion and inquiry and prioritize engagement, depth, and quality over quantity.

    Is Campbell Hall getting rid of AP courses?
    • No, the school will continue to offer those AP courses that serve the school’s mission of inquiry and replace those that do not.

    Why is Campbell Hall replacing some AP courses and not others?
    • Some AP courses serve the school’s mission of inquiry well and are being retained. Those that are being replaced do not allow for the level of discussion and inquiry, engagement, depth, and quality to which Campbell Hall is committed.

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Dr. William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College

It’s clear that the Campbell Hall faculty spent a great deal of time constructing the new Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry program. Each year the Harvard Admissions Office considers applicants from thousands of secondary schools and other academic experiences. As part of our whole-person admissions process, we consider all information we have for each applicant. High-school transcripts and standardized tests are two components of this larger review and provide a common measure that allows some comparison among applicants from very different backgrounds and academic institutions. The fact that your faculty has been so excited about creating this new program will no doubt lead them to approach the coming years with renewed enthusiasm. Students are always inspired by teachers who care deeply about what they teach.”

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Campbell Hall is an independent coeducational day school for grades K-12, located in Studio City, CA. We are affiliated with the Episcopal Church and its 500-year history of academic excellence, and are also one of the most religiously and racially diverse schools in southern California.

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