The goal of the English department is to implement an instructional program that highlights interrelationships among the different domains of language arts: reading, writing, written and oral English-language conventions, and speaking and listening. The aim is to prepare students to be critical thinkers and writers and to academically prepare them for post-secondary education. Students apply the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier grades yet in more refined and sophisticated ways as they analyze literature and other informational materials. Creativity and originality are encouraged as students strive to foster an appreciation for the subject.
AP Literature and AP Language classes also are offered as options.
The Languages Department is inspired to provide a learning environment where students are able to learn the foundation of an additional language, while also gaining cultural exploration of that language. Students are encouraged to use the language in their daily lives, while keeping awareness of where languages are used globally. Beginning students are provided with the tools to communicate basic introductions and needs, while intermediate students are taught to communicate in an array of daily situations. Opportunities exist for students to pursue advanced levels of the language to further explore their skills.
The Physical Education Department aims to develop the whole student. It is strongly believed that the lessons learned outside of the classroom are equally important as those within. Games and activities are designed to encourage cooperation, compromise and teamwork. Exercises that focus on strength, flexibility and endurance will help to develop and maintain physical well being. The goal is for each student to continually pursue their own positive health and fitness beyond graduation from Southwestern Academy.
Visual and Performing Arts
Creative expression and innovation are the foundation of the mission for the Visual and Performing Arts Department. A nurturing atmosphere with small class sizes is conducive to all levels of creativity and exploration. Whether a student is new to the arts, or is preparing for a career in the arts, the department will assist in the achievement of those goals.
In the visual arts, students learn traditional skills in art and photography, explore three dimensional design using a 3D printer, and acquire various applications from the Adobe Creative Suite. In the performing arts, musicians practice and perform together in small ensembles showcasing musical genres including jazz, classic rock, and pop. Drama students have the opportunity to perform various theatrical works. Each spring, all VPA students participate in the annual Arts Festival to showcase their achievements.
Students who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts are regularly accepted to colleges such as Pasadena ArtCenter College of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, SVA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Otis and CCA and Berklee College of Music.