Curriculum Overview

The Center School's course offering is intentionally narrower than those of large comprehensive high schools, reflecting best practices based on current educational research within an arts-integrated, college preparatory-focused curriculum.  Our small school size offers a stimulating educational environment, including a rigorous, standards-based core academic program in the humanities, math, science, and Spanish.  As part of our commitment to college preparedness for all of our students, The Center School offers AP courses and requires a full 22 credits to graduate.  This is the current standard for applying to most four year universities, so even if a graduating senior isn't sure college is the next immediate step, the door has been opened for that option.

Graduation Requirements

The Center School's specific course and credit requirements for graduation are:

Language Arts 4 credits
Social Studies 4 credits
Math 3 credits (with Math III)
Science 3 credits (with Chemistry)
World Language 2 credits
Arts/Electives 2.5 credits
Physical Education (ALC) 1.5 credits (225 hours)
Health 0.5 credits
CTE (Career and Tech Ed) 1.5 credits
Total for TCS Diploma
22 credits
Additional Requirements:
High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) Must pass (reading, writing, math)
Community Service 60 hours
Junior Research Paper yes
QSR Portfolio yes
Culminating Project yes
High School and Beyond Plan yes

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Language Arts, Social Studies, and Civics are integrated within The Center School's four-year Humanities curriculum.  We offer a combined 9th and 10th grade program in which freshmen receive special support in one of two courses taught during alternate years:

  • Grades 9 and 10:
    • The Americas
    • Europe, Asia, & Africa
  • Grade 11:
    • American Government and Social Studies
  • Grade 12:
    • Contemporary Issues/World Literature (AP option)

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The Center School math program combines the theoretical and practical in the Core Plus curriculum, developed by the National Science Foundation.  Teachers balance their pedagogy with supplementary materials designed to strengthen foundational math skills.

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Algebra 2
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus (Option)

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9th and 10th grade students at The Center School move through a combined inquiry-based introduction to biology, chemistry, ecology, health, and physics over the course of two years. As for the humanities

  • Grades 9 and 10: "Integrated Science" teaches environmental and physical sciences alternate years
  • Grade 11: "Chemistry"
  • Grade 12: "Advanced Biology" (AP option)


Seattle Schools students are required to take a minimum of two years of a world language for graduation.  The Center School offers three levels of Spanish:

  • Spanish I
  • Spanish II
  • Spanish III

The Arts

We offer specialty classes in the following areas: Theater, Film, Visual Arts, and Literary Arts. Students choose classes - beginning, intermediate, or advanced - based on their level of ability and experience. Internships with partner organizations in and around Seattle Center provide more in-depth immersion. Some examples of the arts classes include: drama, stage design and production, film, creative writing, poetry, literary journal, drawing/painting, and Advanced/AP Art. These offerings will continue to expand as the school continues to develop partnerships with other arts organizations.

Physical Education (PE)

Students are required to complete 225 hours of P.E. to graduate from TCS. Students are expected to complete the majority of the hours outside of TCS. P.E. activities must be pre-approved and tied to the state standards in P.E. There is a contract on the wall by the counselor's office that needs to be completed in order to log and submit P.E. hours. A reliable adult involved in the activity must sign off to verify the hours completed. Completed contracts should be submitted to the main office as soon as they are completed rather than waiting until the last semester of the senior year. The hours will be logged and a .5 credit will be given to every 75 hours completed. Keep a copy of your contract - while we are very efficient and organized - you never know!!!!

Examples of P.E. activities that students have done in the past include yoga, martial arts, running, horseback riding, fencing, gymnastics and dance.

TCS offers some opportunities to meet the P.E. requirements. During workshops, we have offered yoga, dance and running opportunities. Some students join ski club or our Ultimate Frisbee and soccer teams. Students have also joined fitness centers and worked with a trainer to get in shape. The P.E. activity must have goals and students must write a reflection on whether or not they achieved those goals.

If you need more information on getting P.E. hours, don't hesitate to ask!

Community Service Learning Hours

Students must complete 60 hours of community service learning hours. There is a form to fill out located on the wall by the counselor. Service learning activities must be pre-approved by a staff member. There are questions on the back of the form that must be completed in order to have the service learning hours logged. Turn in completed forms to the front desk. And remember to keep a copy!

The Center School 2011-12 Course Catalog

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