At Chrysalis, state-certified teachers use advanced methods and real-world applications to increase interest, learning, and retention.

“I have referred families to Chrysalis. Without a doubt, our families have loved the school.”
– Referring Educational Consultant 

artArt

We offer a comprehensive art experience through the detailed exploration of learning new techniques and processing skills as they relate to artistic expression. Students explore their skills with drawing and painting, ceramics, mixed media, and fibers and textiles.

Students gain confidence and proficiency through working with a variety of mediums not limited to photography, printmaking, fibers, watercolors, acrylics, oils, graphite, or digital art. They also learn more about art history, criticism, production, and aesthetics.

The emphasis of these courses is based on skill building and experimentation, enabling students to better understand materials and the creative process.


biologyBiology

Students develop a foundation in biological principles by exploring the fundamental processes and science that shape modern biology. To enhance learning and retention, teachers focus on a student’s inquisitive nature and how the science applies to real-life scenarios – lessons that endure beyond the classroom. The first three quarters are dedicated to building a knowledge framework, and the last quarter is devoted to studying living systems through dissections and research.

The course is modeled after the philosophies of the National Research Council outlined in the National Science Education Standards, the Montana Content Standards Framework and the Montana Common Core Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects. Modern Biology by Holt, Rinehart and Winston is the text for the course.


chemistryChemistry

This is an introductory chemistry course that includes hands-on laboratory activities. The course fosters experiences that help develop a foundation of knowledge, including algebraic skills, for further studies in science.

Course goals are threefold:

  1. Students will learn the facts, formulas and principles of introductory chemistry.
  2. Students will learn the fundamental concepts that underlie the facts, formulas and principles of introductory chemistry.
  3. Students will learn and practice skills that are integral in critical thinking and problem-solving.

This course was developed from Chemistry: Connections to Our Changing World (2000), second edition, published by Prentice-Hall, Inc.


historyHistory

World History

World History is a year-long required course that explores the key events and historical developments that have shaped the world we live in today. Students discover connections between our lives and those of our ancestors around the world. Using the course textbook, primary documents and current events, students study all aspects of the human experience: economics, science, religion, philosophy, politics and law, military conflict, literature and the arts.

U.S. History

Throughout the year, this course surveys American history from the pre-colonial period to the present day with an emphasis on the 20th century. Using the course textbook, primary documents and current events, students learn about various political, social, religious and economic developments that have shaped and continue to shape the United States and its citizens.

American Government

Students gain the necessary knowledge of the United States government that enables them to effectively participate in American civic life. Topics covered:

  • Fundamental constitutional principles
  • Organization of government at the federal, state and local levels
  • Rights and responsibilities of citizenship
  • Policy-making process
  • Political parties and elections
  • Comparative government and foreign policy
  • American economic system

mathMathematics

Typically, students at Chrysalis are enrolled in Algebra I, Geometry or Algebra II, which are all teacher-led courses. Each of these subjects is taught in a classroom setting and includes assigned homework, quizzes, and tests. All lessons are taught on an interactive SMART Board, which provides advantages like allowing students to better visualize mathematical concepts and manipulate figures. Every lesson is saved daily and is available in printed form to accommodate students with an individualized education program (IEP) and those who may need to miss class.

Courses such as Pre-Calculus, Calculus and AP Calculus are also offered and, depending on class size, may also be held as a teacher-led course. However, students choosing to tackle higher-level math usually take these courses independently – sometimes for college credit – under the supervision of the math teacher. Students may also set up daily meeting times with teachers to receive one-on-one instruction.

Algebra I

Aligned closely with Common Core standards to provide students with common skills that are applicable to nearly any school district or private school in the country.

This is an introductory course focusing on algebraic concepts and skills and their applications to real-life situations. Students are encouraged to think about the geometrical and numerical meaning of what they are doing. Major topics include:

  • linear equations
  • linear inequalities
  • ratios
  • geometric concepts
  • statistics and probability

Students will be introduced to the technological innovation using online graphing calculators and computer software. The graphing calculator is used to solve problems, evaluate expressions, analyze data and visualize algebra.

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge: Students should have either passed a pre-algebra course or have sufficient preparation for a high school level Algebra 1 course. This course was not designed to provide remedial instruction in math.

Geometry

Aligned closely with Common Core standards to provide students with common skills that are applicable to nearly any school district or private school in the country.

Geometry is the study of geometric concepts using Algebra 1 math. Technology (graphing calculators and software programs) is used to explore and demonstrate geometric concepts when appropriate. Visualization skills are used for plane and three-dimensional objects. Major topics include:

  • basic geometric concepts
  • reasoning and proofs
  • angles and parallel lines
  • triangles
  • quadrilaterals
  • circles
  • congruency and similarity
  • transformations of area
  • surface area
  • volume

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge: Students must have Algebra One skills as well as General Math through the 8th grade.

Algebra II

Aligned closely with Common Core standards to provide students with common skills that are applicable to nearly any school district or private school in the country.

This course will study, model and apply linear, quadratic, logarithmic, exponential and trigonometric functions along with probability and sequences/series. The course is an extension of the graphical, numerical and symbolic aspects of Algebra 1 along with the geometric relationship studied in Geometry. The graphing technology is used throughout the course. This course also covers the foundations of trigonometry. This is a recommended course for students planning on attending a four-year college.

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge: Algebra I & Geometry

Pre-Calculus

This course brings together and extends those concepts of Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2/Trig including functions (polynomial, rational logarithmic, trigonometric and exponential), analytic geometry, vectors and an introduction to limits/derivatives. Successful completion of this course prepares students for AP Calculus.

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or course equivalents.


personalFinance

Personal Finance

Personal Finance is a course designed to help students understand the impact of individual choices on occupational goals and future earnings potential. Real world topics covered will include income, money management, spending, and credit, as well as saving and investing. Students will design personal and household budgets; simulate the use of checking and savings accounts; demonstrate knowledge of finance, debt, and credit management; and evaluate and understand insurance and taxes. This course will provide a foundational understanding for making informed personal financial decisions.

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge: Students should have basic high school math skills. Word processing and basic spreadsheet skills are recommended.


physicalSciencePhysical Science

This course studies the nature of physical science and how human activities have affected it. Topics covered include magnetism, electricity, electromagnetic waves, climate, energy changes, chemistry, rocks and minerals and astronomy. The ultimate objective is to create a learning community that embraces the joy of discovery and interdisciplinary connections.

Enhanced learning is achieved through student inquiry and hands-on laboratory experiences. Textbook lessons are supplemented by applications to current events and studies whenever possible. Students engage in various problem-solving activities, strengthening their investigative skills, enhancing their ability to process information and helping them make rational decisions.

The course is based on Physical Science with Earth Science (2006), published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.


Foreign Language Course Offerings (2018)

frenchFrench I

This introductory French course puts the student on a path to fluency. Beginning conversational topics are stressed as well as reading, writing, grammar, listening, and culture. Various French-speaking countries and cultures are explored, illuminating insights into our own culture. A wide range of learning styles is applied, including activities and assignments such as songs, games, workbooks, writing and art-influenced projects. Assessments are made through daily work, open-book quizzes, and closed-book tests. Tools include individually made flashcards. There are no prerequisites for this class.

French II

This course is a continuation of French I. Conversational topics and cultural similarities/differences continue to be explored. Fluency, reading, writing, and listening are further developed. The conversation becomes more sophisticated as vocabulary and comprehension increase. Learning activities are varied and presented as games, songs, workbooks, writing and art-influenced projects. Assessments are made through daily work, open-book quizzes, and closed-book tests. Tools include individually made flashcards. French I is a prerequisite for this course.

French levels III, IV and V are offered as the need arises.

Spanish I:

spanishThe Level I language course focuses on the development of communicative competence in the target language and understanding of the culture(s) of the people who speak the language. The major means of communication between students and instructors will be in the target language. Through consistent and comprehensible exposure to the grammatically-correct language, students develop an “ear” for language. By allowing students to proceed with natural language acquisition, fluency is promoted. Students no longer think about grammar rules–the main reason language production in traditional classes is typically low. The focus will be on the four areas of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The achievement will be measured in these areas by the use of performance-based assessments. These show us what the student can “do” using the language.

Spanish II:

The Spanish II language course focuses on the continued development of communicative competence in the target language and further study of the culture(s) of the people who speak the language. The major means of communication between students and instructors will be in the target language. Through consistent and comprehensible exposure to the grammatically-correct language, students will fine-tune and further develop their “ear” for language. By allowing students to proceed with natural language acquisition, fluency is promoted. Students no longer think about grammar rules–the main reason language production in traditional classes is typically low. The focus will be on the four areas of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The achievement will be measured in these areas by the use of performance-based assessments. These show us what the student can “do” using the language.

Spanish III:

The Spanish III language course focuses on the continued development of communicative competence in the target language and further study of the culture(s) of the people who speak the language. The major means of communication between students and instructors will be in the target language. Through consistent and comprehensible exposure to the grammatically-correct language, students will fine-tune and further develop their “ear” for language. By allowing students to proceed with natural language acquisition, fluency is promoted. Students no longer think about grammar rules–the main reason language production in traditional classes is typically low. The focus will be on the four areas of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The achievement will be measured in these areas by the use of performance-based assessments. These show us what the student can “do” using the language.


englishEnglish Course Offerings (2018)

General Notes:

Because students at Chrysalis come from around the world, the texts listed here are subject to change based on individual students’ needs for the semester. For example, if students in English Explorations have already read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”, the teacher will select a different novel.

All students at Chrysalis School will participate in “Poetry Out Loud,” a nation-wide poetry recitation contest. Students select their own poem, memorize it, and recite it in front of the school and selected judges. Top students move on to compete at Regionals in Missoula, and if they do well, they have the opportunity to go to State in Helena and possibly Nationals, which takes place in Washington, D.C.

English Explorations

English Explorations is designed to introduce students to High-School level reading, writing, and speaking expectations. Students will learn about general topics such as plagiarism (and how to avoid it) and how to write in MLA format. We will read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie and use his award-winning novel to discuss what it means to feel marginalized, how we find motivation in our lives, and how humor plays a role in our lives. Students will also explore current events such as the ongoing DAPL controversy and whether or not civil rights are a current or historical topic. Students will then move on to reading “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan and use her novel as the springboard to write a few short essays while exploring their own relationships with maternal figures. Toward the end of the year, the class shifts focus to novels with more challenging vocabulary and more controversial political themes, such as “Fahrenheit 451” and “1984”, to introduce students to integrating Language Arts and Social Studies themes while broadening and deepening their understanding of their own personal views.

Standards-Based English

A course unlike any other, Standards-Based English puts students in the driver’s seat and lets them control their own curriculum. It’s designed to be particularly engaging for students who have found it difficult to follow directions for the sake of following directions. The teacher helps students understand the Common Core State Standards so students can design their own projects and meet the standards under their own terms and focus on their own strengths. Students select which order they want to meet the standards in and what topics they want to explore.

Literary Theory

Literary Theory is designed to be the most challenging English course offered at Chrysalis. Over the course of the first semester, students learn about the various Literary Theories that have developed over the millennia, beginning with Plato and Aristotle and moving through New Criticism, Russian Formalism (with focuses on Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida in particular), and Psychoanalytic Criticism. To supplement the main textbook (“Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice” by Charles E. Bressler, second edition) we will add literary novels such as “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse and at least one Shakespearean play. The second semester lets us delve into Marxism, Feminism, and at least one other theory selected by the students (including but not limited to New Historicism, Post-colonialism, and Queer Theory). Supplemental texts for this semester include “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn and at least one other novel such as “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne or “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

College & Career Readiness

This Senior-level, one-semester class is a semi-structured time for students to determine their plan for the year following High School Graduation. To begin the semester, students must discuss, with their therapist and guardian, what their life should look like after graduating from high school. As a group, students consider therapeutic, financial, and academic needs to determine what would set them up for success. Many students use this time to research and apply to four-year universities. Some students pursue gap-year programs or post-graduate programs, while others explore community colleges close to their hometown. During this class, students can explore different schools, set up final SAT/ACT tests, call and email academic counselors, get in touch with college admissions departments, apply for schools and scholarships, and eventually support one another as the decisions roll in. In the past, 88% of 11th and 12th-grade students who applied for college were accepted. 97% of students who left Chrysalis before their Senior year were on track to graduate on time or earn their GED.

Creative Journalism & Minor Genres

Students create the school yearbook in this second-semester class. Students are in charge of choosing layouts, writing copy, editing pages, selecting content, and gathering and taking photos all by the deadline to make sure we have our yearbooks by the end of the school year. The yearbook is professionally printed and bound in a hardcover book. Once the yearbook is completed, the class shifts focus to Science Fiction literature and film where students continue to hone their reading and writing skills in a less traditional avenue. Class texts include Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, among others.