Thomas Sumter Academy competes annually in various academic competitions at the local, regional and state levels. A few examples are as follows:
Survey of English
In English I, students continue to develop skills through structured study and independent reading of literary and informational texts. A variety of informational texts as well as four major types of literary texts—fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, and drama—are read and viewed both inside and outside of class. Through literary texts, students study the author's craft by making inferences, determining point of view, and analyzing theme and figurative language. By reading a variety of informational texts, students analyze an author's development and support of a thesis, create a variety of responses to texts, and examine the ways that bias is revealed in texts. In addition, students continue to develop and use in reading, writing, and oral communication, a knowledge of vocabulary that includes roots, affixes, euphemisms, and idioms.
High School students are a great deal more sophisticated in their use of language than they were in the lower grades. They now are expected to produce coherent and well-organized writing that includes a thesis and supporting evidence. In implementing the writing process, students compose various types of texts including informational (expository/persuasive/argumentative) pieces and narratives. They proofread and edit for the correct use of the conventions of written Standard American English, and they improve the content and development, the organization, and the quality of voice in their writing through the use of revision strategies. The ability to develop an idea thoughtfully is a skill that students will use in college and in the workplace.
In carrying out the research process, students in English I identify a topic, collect information from primary and secondary sources, and present their findings and conclusions in oral, written, and visual formats. In today's technological world, with the amount of information expanding at an unparalleled rate, students must be adept at accessing information in order to become critical, independent learners, thinkers, and writers. They must be able to determine what particular type of information they need for a specific topic, and they must know how to locate that information efficiently. Students must also be able to evaluate the validity of their sources. In addition, after incorporating their own ideas with the information they have chosen from those sources, they must be able to clearly distinguish that information from their own ideas by providing accurate and complete documentation of the sources they have used
Honors requirements: English I students will read four separate full length works in addition to the program requirements and demonstrate their understanding through research and analytical papers. The Honors student is also expected to approach the class material with a level that is commiserate with their abilities as Honor students.
American Literature offers a historical approach to American Literature, from Puritan beginnings to contemporary authors. Students will polish their critical thinking skills and application of knowledge. Students will also work to become more sophisticated writers in terms of transition, sentence structure, diction, and punctuation.
Honors students will read an extra novel and write a critical analysis of that novel each quarter.
Focusing on British Literature, English III students refine and expand their skills in language through structured study and independent reading of literary and informational works. Both inside and outside of class, they read and view a variety of informational texts as well as four major types of literary texts, fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The works will be selected from the standard literary canon of Major British Authors, including: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Shelley, Orwell, and Swift. Through literary texts, students study the author's craft by making inferences, determining point of view, analyzing theme, and figurative language. In reading a variety of informational texts, students analyze an author's development of a thesis and examine the ways that bias is revealed in texts. In addition, English III students continue to create a variety of responses to what they read and to develop and use in their reading, writing, oral communication, and a knowledge of vocabulary that includes roots, affixes, euphemisms, and idioms.
As these students increase the sophistication of their writing, they produce coherent and well-organized writing that includes a thesis and supporting evidence. In implementing the writing process, they create various types of written works, including informational (expository/persuasive/argumentative) pieces and narratives. They proofread and edit their work for the correct use of the conventions of written Standard American English, and they use revision strategies to improve such elements as voice, content and development, and organization.
In carrying out the research process, students identify a topic, collect information from primary and secondary sources, and present their findings and conclusions in oral, written, and visual formats. They must determine what particular type of information they need for a specific topic, and they must know how to locate that information efficiently. Students must also evaluate the validity of their sources. In addition, after incorporating their own ideas with ideas from other sources, they must distinguish their own ideas from those of others by providing accurate and complete documentation. In this English course, High School students assimilate and strengthen the reading, writing, communicating, and researching skills they have acquired in previous courses as solid preparation for entering college.
In Honors, English III students will read four separate full length works in addition to the program requirements and demonstrate their understanding through research and analytical papers. The Honors student is also expected to approach the class material with a level that is commiserate with their abilities as Honor students.
World Literature and Senior Composition
This course is a study of selected world authors aimed at preparing students for college. Through close textual reading and critical study, students will learn how to analyze Literature and support their analytical statements with primary support from the text. In addition to the continued practice of writing about Literature, in this course students also review all basic elements of grammar.
English 101 - Composition (Dual Enrollment)
This is a one semester University of South Carolina undergraduate English course that focuses on grammar and essay writing. Numerous grammar exercises are assigned using the Harbrace College Handbook. The writing assignments focus on essay organization, coherence and strategy. There are seven graded writing assignments to include a (1) descriptive paragraph, (2) formal business letter, (3) descriptive essay, (4) comparison and contrast essay, (5) cause and effect essay, (6) argumentative essay which is also a research paper, and (7) the "Alien Artifact Report," a Science Fiction based essay which combines fiction writing with technical writing. The Alien Artifact paper is based on role playing with the analysis of an ordinary object recovered by "aliens," which for this project are the students themselves. Students are encouraged to be creative in writing, format and presentation, which constitute a quarter of the grade for this assignment. In addition to the seven formal writing assignments, students also maintain journals and share their journal entries in weekly sessions. There is a final exam on grammar.
English 102- Literature and Composition (Dual Enrollment)
This University of South Carolina undergraduate English second semester course follows English 101 with the introduction of the basic elements of Literature. All genres of Literature are covered, including the short story, novel, drama, and poetry. Students write critical essays on the works assigned. There are four essays and a continuation of journal writing. The elements of fiction that are covered include plot and conflict, characterization, point of view, theme, and symbolism. Poetry elements include form, voice, pattern, symbol, metaphor, simile, imagery, and musical devices. Drama includes stage elements, comedy, and tragedy. Since the novel is historical fiction based on a Civil War character, an all day field trip is normally scheduled to explore the sites and follow the troop movements of a local Civil War action to give the students a sense of that time.
Exploring the Classics
This course is an introduction to the classics of Literature, chosen primarily for their universal appeal, for Literature has always been one of the main avenues through which human beings have explored the meaning of life. As such, great Literature transcends time and place and evokes resonance in thinking and feeling men and women everywhere not only because it is thought provoking, but also because it is enjoyable and fun. It contains romance, crime, mystery, adventure and humor, joy and sorrow, generosity and cruelty, and hope as well as, alas, despair. It brings pleasure as much as enlightenment. It is a product of human dreams and aspirations, and we read it because imaginative understanding of fellow human beings enriches our own lives and broadens our horizons.
The course blends chronological and thematic approaches by placing the individual works in their historical context. It is, therefore, as much a course on intellectual and cultural history as a course on Literature. Its primary objectives are to introduce students to a magnificent literary tradition and to help them explore their own values and assumptions about the meaning of human existence. The successful student, therefore, will be able to place the works read in their historical and intellectual context and to understand the issues involved not only from one's own perspective, but also from the viewpoint of a different time and place. He or she will attain the ability to analyze plot, characters, and structure of the works under consideration and to address the author's artistic vision and literary intent.
Politics and Literature
This course is an exploration of major themes of politics through the medium of Literature. Possible course themes include revolution, war, utopia, propaganda, the Cold War and American political culture.
Creative Writing offers students opportunities to develop their interests in creating short stories, poetry, and drama. First Semester will offer students a general background in different types of writing and Second Semester will provide opportunities to delve deeper into particular areas of interest.
The course emphasizes algebraic structure, moving from the concrete to the abstract. The course of study is made up of the mechanics of the operations of algebra and the related problem solving through the quadratic formula and right triangle trigonometry. Continuing advancement of skills is stressed.
Honors requirements: Students enrolled in the Honors section of this course take it while still in Middle School.
In this course, students will develop reasoning and problem solving skills through the formulation of "proofs" and through application problems. Topics covered in Geometry include: properties of triangles, circles, lines, quadrilaterals, congruence and similarity, area, volume, circumference of solids. The prerequisite for this course is Algebra I. In some cases Geometry and Algebra II can be taken concurrently.
Honors requirements: Students enrolled in the Honors section of this course will not only move at a quicker pace, but they will also delve into more challenging problems for each concept.
This course is intended to give students the strong basis in Algebra techniques that is required for higher mathematics courses. The focus is on the following families of functions: linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, radical, and rational. With these functions students will learn the most common techniques in representing these graphically and with equations. A stress is also placed on problem solving through applied problems. The prerequisite for this course is Algebra I.
Honors requirements: Students enrolled in the Honors section of this course will not only move at a quicker pace, but they will also delve into more challenging problems for each concept.
Designed for students who have completed Algebra II, but who need to strengthen their Algebra skills before taking college-level math. Students will extend their level of mathematical skills and reasoning beyond the topics covered in Algebra II. Some topics include functions (linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, etc.), systems and basic trigonometry. This course should be effective in preparing students for taking a basic College Algebra course. A graphing calculator is required (TI-83, TI-83+, or TI-84).
This Honors course is designed to achieve proficiency in using Trigonometric functions, probabilities and in vector operations. The students will receive detailed instruction on the uses and limitations of the graphing calculator. Pre-Calculus will prepare the advanced mathematics student for further study in the areas of Probability and Statistics and Calculus by completely understanding the properties of the properties of the parabola, exponential and logarithmic functions, the polar coordinates system, complex numbers, conic sections and sequences, series, and limits.
Probability & Statistics (Dual Enrollment – Stat 201)
The course is an introductory course in the fundamentals of modern statistical methods. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, random sampling, test of hypotheses, estimation, simple linear regression, correlation, and analysis of variation. The prerequisite for this course is Algebra II. This class is a dual enrollment class with the University of South Carolina and all University prerequisites and requirements must be met.
Calculus (Dual Enrollment-Mathematics 141)
This course is in-depth study of the concepts of the limit of a function and how it relates to the derivative of a function. The student will understand and be able to take the derivative and the anti-derivative of polynomials, exponential, logarithmic, and all trigonometric functions and be able to relate them to real world problems. The prerequisite for this course is Pre-calculus. This class is a dual enrollment class with the University of South Carolina and all University prerequisites and requirements must be met.
C. Social Studies
This class is a World History Survey Course that is broken into seven units. We will touch upon time periods concerning Prehistory and The Foundations of Civilization, The Renaissance and The Industrial Revolution, through to The World Wars and Our World Today.
World Geography and Cultures
This course gives the students the opportunity to explore the world and its cultures through a variety of activities including map skills, real-life applications and problem solving, environmental issues case studies, guided reading, and current events. Students will be able to look at how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions of the world. Students are challenged to understand the relationship between the geography and the economies of all global regions and the connection between geography and history.
This course is designed to inform students about who they are as citizens of the United States and how past events have shaped the world we live in today. Students will investigate key developments in the United States from early European exploration up until the present. Along with detailed study of historical facts, this class will challenge your critical thinking and writing skills. This class may be taken as college preparatory or Honors.
American History 111 (Dual Enrollment)
This survey course in American History will cover European voyages of exploration until Civil War reconstruction. Topics of emphasis will be on cultural and intellectual trends, economic development, political progression, and diplomatic maneuvering. Throughout this class you will analyze interrelationships between each of these. Completion of this course will provide you with a secure foundation in American politics and culture, preparing you for more advanced U.S. History courses. More generally, this course will function to introduce students to historical methods and scholarly research of primary documents.
American History 112 (Dual Enrollment)
This survey course in American History will cover Civil War reconstruction up until the present. Topics of emphasis will be on cultural and intellectual trends, economic development, political progression, and diplomatic maneuvering. Throughout this class you will analyze interrelationships between each of these. Completion of this course will provide you with a secure foundation in American politics and culture, preparing you for more advanced U.S. history courses. More generally, this course will function to introduce students to historical methods and scholarly research of primary documents.
Why am I like this? This is the question we try to answer in psychology. Personality theories, human development, and how we learn are the main topics covered in this class. Psychology is recommended for the college bound student.
This course is based on a sequential study of the facts, concepts, formulas, and principles related to the study of matter and energy. Correlated laboratory activities will emphasize mathematical and problem solving skills. This course is designed for students planning to attend a four year college. Students are expected to work independently and review material daily to allow for in-depth study within class.
This is a general Biology class covering animal structure and function, plant structure and function, principles of ecology, basic Chemistry, the cell, and genetics. The laboratory investigations vary from microscope investigations to animal dissections. It also includes projects and research papers. This course may be taken for Honors.
Biology II provides extended laboratory and investigations into the internal structures, functions, and processes of living organisms and the environmental interactions of these organisms. This course refines the students' methods of scientific inquiry and problem resolution. It begins with the cell, and continues with photosynthesis, cellular respiration, reproduction, classical genetics, and current concepts of gene function, human genetics, animals, plants, and ecology. All are built on what the student has learned in previous biology classes. It also includes projects and research papers. This course may be taken for Honors.
This laboratory course will begin with an overview of scientific method, measurement, and lab safety. The remainder of the material will focus on atomic structure, properties of matter, and chemical reactions. This course is designed for students planning to attend a four year college. Students are expected to work independently and review material daily to allow for in depth study within class.
Environmental Science is the study of the components of our surroundings, both living and nonliving, and the interactions of these components. This course is designed to help the student gain a greater understanding of many of the more specific concepts incorporated in this broad definition, including air, water, soil, geology, human ecology, succession, and our relationships as humans to the components of this environment. The study of the environment is not cut-and-dried. It is instead very dynamic, subject to opinion and heated debate, new interpretations, and often, misleading information. This class will help the student sort out all the different aspects of the environment
This course examines the physical world and the laws and principles that describe it. The many topics covered are to be understood at a conceptual level through discussion and equations and also at a practical level through lab experiments and projects. There is a heavy emphasis on problem solving and on the mathematics behind the principles. The topics include: mechanics, energy, light and sound, magnetism, electricity, quantum physics, and modern physics. The prerequisites for this course include Algebra II. Successful completion of Trigonometry is strongly recommended.
Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Dual Enrollment)
This course examines functional anatomy and physiology of the human body, including the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. The principles of Anatomy and Physiology are demonstrated by students through microscopic studies, animal dissection, and physiological experiments.
Human Anatomy and Physiology II (Dual Enrollment)
This course examines functional anatomy and physiology of the human body, including the cardiovascular, endocrine, excretory, reproductive, digestive, and respiratory systems.
E. Foreign Language
In addition to the languages listed below, other language options are available through our language lab, which provides the student the most recent technology for language development.
Spanish I is designed as an elementary introduction to the language; pronouns, nouns, and verbs in their forms and usage are taught to help students acquire a working vocabulary and an understanding of basic grammatical structures. This course places emphasis on developing basic conversational proficiency through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the Spanish language. Students also learn the culture and geography of various Spanish-speaking countries.
Spanish II focuses on a review of grammar principles and provides a more complex structure of the language, expanding the grammatical and cultural themes presented in the first level. This course is designed to increase the student's language skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The student will review the present tense and study the preterit and imperfect tenses and should be able to recall and recognize these tenses in written and oral work. The student will learn the future tense and study adverbs, diminutives, comparatives and superlatives.
Spanish III provides a complete review of grammar with practice and reinforcement, introducing advanced verbs and their usage. Students continue to study Geography, History, Literature, Art, and customs.
Students write compositions in Spanish on a given topic. The subjunctive mood is introduced to the students in this course. The student should be able to recognize and identify the verbs that require the use of the subjunctive and will be able to produce oral and written sentences using the subjunctive. This is an Honors course.
In Spanish IV, students will make use of more sophisticated grammar structures and read selections from Spanish Literature, including selected works by Federico Garcia Lorca, Miguel de Cervantes, Ana Maria Matute and other well known Spanish and Hispanic authors past and present. The emphasis will be on more complex sentence structure and additional verb tenses. Students will hone their speaking skills and gain further ability in expressing themselves in a variety of situations. Students will be expected to demonstrate advanced oral and written proficiency. This is an Honors course.
This one-year course is designed to acquaint students with the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing French at an introductory level. The focus is communication in French, incorporating understanding of Francophone cultures, connecting with other disciplines, comparing native language to French, and participating in multicultural communities. The course provides practice in correct use of basic vocabulary and language structures to enable students to function effectively within realistic settings. This is a computer-driven language lab course.
A second-year French course,which is a continuation of French I, with emphasis on acquiring basic level of proficiency in the language and understanding of the culture of France and the Francophone world. Speaking French, students work with dialogue, vocabulary and grammar exercises, authentic documents, video segments, and Web activities devoted to French and Francophone language and culture. This is a computer-driven language lab course.
This one-year Honors course is designed to achieve a greater degree of proficiency in the French language. It will further the ability to communicate in authentic oral and written context and increase the ease and confidence with which the student uses the language in the community. Connecting with other disciplines and comparing the native language to French will be stressed, expanded, and developed. It will promote a better understanding and appreciation of the Francophone cultures. This is a computer-driven language course.
This Honors course is designed to raise the level of proficiency in all areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This course requires extensive study and preparation and will broaden the knowledge and command of the language. The focus is increased fluency and communication at a more abstract and complex level for use in the global community. Students will continue to expand knowledge of previously introduced language structures, vocabulary, culture, history and literature.
F. Fine Arts
This course is for those students that are seriously interested in performing and learning about Drama. The course will cover a variety of acting components: recognition and use of terms, analysis of scripts, characterization and performance. The students will work with costumes and perform on stage.
The General Sound - Choir
Students audition for this choir every year. Students will master and perform a challenging repertoire of music and experience singing in a mixed choir every day. They will expand upon the basics of musicianship and broaden their vocal technique. Seasonal concerts, contests, and assemblies are considered part of the student's grade as is the student's participation in daily rehearsals.
Art education is an experience for everyone to understand and enjoy. We offer a unique opportunity for each student to interpret visually his/her personal vision, ideas, feelings, experiences, and knowledge of the world. Art provides the student an opportunity to be creative. Instruction is varied. Problems and projects are introduced for the entire class, small groups, and individuals. The student's abilities to make decisions and work independently and responsibly are aspects of the learning environment in the art room. We also feature, at selected intervals, lectures, demonstrations, and visual education.
This studio course addresses the basic elements of fashion design. Assignments introduce the design processes of trend and fabric research, storyboarding compiling, color story, design innovation and the 2-D to 3-D development of creative ideas. In this studio course, students are introduced to professional standard sewing techniques and apparel construction. Through assignments, the techniques are applied to produce finished garments.
Journalism offers students the opportunity to learn, study, and practice Journalism. This class is for students who are interested in becoming staff members of the student newspaper. Students will learn the basics of all areas of Journalism and will need to pass a series of assignments and tests in order to become staff members of the news magazine. Students will be responsible for selling advertisements to local businesses and participating in fundraisers. This class will require out-of-class time to complete projects. Responsibility, good communication skills, and solid writing skills are important.
Students in Yearbook class work mostly independently to complete the yearbook for the current year. Students supervise picture taking, design the lay-out of each page, and write copy using Adobe InDesign computer programs to create digital publications. Students also solicit advertisements and raise money for to pay for production of the yearbook, sell the yearbook, and distribute the yearbook
This course offers the basics of Photography. The student will learn the elements of photo composition and the effects of light in the photography process. Aspects of the digital camera and how to make quality prints will be learned and practiced throughout the year. It is a process oriented course which requires both in and out of class work.
Computer Applications is designed to provide an understanding of computer processing with minimum proficiency in computer operations. Students will work with all programs within Microsoft. Units include, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, PowerPoint, practice file management, keyboarding speed, and desktop publishing techniques. Prior computer experience is recommended.
This course is an introduction to the Visual Basic programming language and is intended to be general enough to apply usefully to other programming languages. Topics covered in this course include: a brief history of computing, how the computer operates, overview of Visual Basic, using Next, If, For, Do and other operations, graphics color and sound, sequential access files, sorting and searching, and general programming principles that can be easily applied to other programming languages. Prerequisites for this course include a general knowledge of typing and the basic use of a computer.
H. Career Development and Directed Research
The SAT is a standardized test used by colleges to evaluate candidates. The test measures a student's ability to understand and process elements of mathematical and verbal reasoning. The scores have proven to be an indicator of collegiate success. This course is designed as an 18-week preparation for the SAT. The first nine weeks cover Writing and Citical Reading areas and the second nine weeks is devoted to Math. The student will take four "real" SAT tests throughout the course. (two Verbal and two Math). There is heavy focus on each of the following areas: Vocabulary, techniques for each specific question type, and learning theory concepts to improve overall test-taking abilities
The Teacher Cadet program is designed to allow the student an opportunity to explore the world of Education. Each Cadet is assigned to a classroom teacher, and under their supervision, students are able to work daily in the classroom getting practical, hands-on experience. All aspects of teaching are covered in this year-long course including curriculum design, testing, discipline, and classroom management. The Cadet keeps a daily journal of experiences. There is an Honors track in this course, wherein students research and write about the major movements in education theory as well as completing the other coursework.
Directed Senior Research
Seniors have the ability to take a directed course of study, which allows them to explore a specific area of interest. Under the guidance of a TSA faculty member, the student will research and write a dissertation on their topic, which can range from a problem or issue in their favorite area of study to exploring career development issues in their anticipated college major.