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Curriculum

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Curriculum

PBA's values-based curriculum emphasizes rigorous academics, universal Buddhist values, and the development of students' courage to nurture peace. PBA’s core academic graduation requirements – students must earn four full credits of language arts, four of social studies, three of science, three of math (including the requirement to complete Algebra 2), and three of foreign language – serve as a baseline to qualify PBA graduates for admission to most colleges and universities.

In 2013-14, the school changed from a traditional six-period school day of five core classes across two semesters to a modified block schedule of two daily core classes meeting five days weekly for six weeks, or in the school’s idiom, a “cycle.” There are six cycles in a school year, three per semester. Students switch to new core classes each cycle; they have two cycles a year in each academic discipline – language arts, social studies, science, math and foreign language. All core classes meet in the first two blocks of the day; students take semester-long electives in the afternoons. The innovation permits the school to schedule students for 6.0 academic credits per school year rather than 5.0 academic credits, and for the creation of the new line of courses for grades 9 - 11 that the school called the “Peace Cores.”

While the school does not divide strictly along departmental lines, the academic course structure can be divided along the following areas:

Curriculum Areas Classes

Language Arts

Theme-based courses in:

  • Writing and Communication
  • World Literature
  • American Literature
  • Genre Studies
  • Peace Core classes
Social Studies

Theme-based courses in:

  • World History
  • American Studies
  • Postcolonialism and Globalization
  • Social Science Methodologies
  • Peace Core classes
Mathematics

Coursework in:

  • Math Foundations
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Advanced Algebra / Algebra 2
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometric Functions / Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
  • Economics
  • Peace Core classes
Science

Coursework in:

  • Conceptual Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Advanced Physics / Calculus
  • Astronomy
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Peace Core classes
World Languages

Coursework in:

  • Japanese Language and Communication
    • 3 years available
    • Japanese Videoconferencing
  • German Language and Communication 
    • Introductory and Intermediate German available as electives
  • Language Construction
Virtues Practice Classes

Required coursework for grade levels:

  • Grade 9
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Compassion
    • Buddhist Basics
  • Grade 10
    • Human Sexuality
    • Interdependence
    • Courage
  • Grade 11
    • Conflict
    • Creativity
    • Gratitude
College and Career Counseling Classes

Required coursework for grade levels:

  • Grade 11
    • College Explorations
  • Grade 12
    • College Readiness
    • Career Explorations
    • Internships
Dō and Performing Arts

Required coursework for grade level:

  • Grade 9
    • Taiko
    • Chadō
  • Electives
    • Celtic Music
    • Music Theory
    • Rock Band
    • Intermediate and Performance Taiko
    • Choral Ensemble
Storytelling

Electives courses in:

  • Hawaiian Cultural Arts
  • Karma Chronicle (student newspaper)
  • Visual Storytelling
  • Filmmaking
  • Yearbook
Visual Arts

Required coursework for grade level:

  • Grade 9
    • Drawing 1 and 2
    • Beginning Filmmaking

Electives courses in:

  • Photography & Filmmaking
  • Watercolor
  • Pastels
  • Acrylics
  • Mural Art
  • Art through the Ages
Sustainability, Programming and Design

Electives courses in:

  • Urban Gardening
  • Video game programming