An Independent, Coed Junior Boarding (5-9) and Day School (K-9) in Washington, CT

Summer Session Course Descriptions

English Literature

The Summer Session literature class focuses on using the short story as a model for reading with purpose, while also honing the skills necessary to analyze written work. Students develop a solid understanding of how writers use figurative language, plot devices, and other literary terms to help control tone and theme. The following themes have been examined in the past: survival, the danger of random social persecution, the dilemmas of using technology in the future, and various racial, economic, and gender themes. Student grades are based on class participation, essays, quizzes, tests and in-class journal responses.

Creative Writing

“Writing is a process, a journey into memory and the soul.” —Isabelle Allende

In this course students address writing all sort of pieces, from the standards, such as poetry, stories, and plays, to more inventive ideas, such as recipes, teen fiction, and comedy monologues. A writer’s notebook is used throughout the course. To improve the craft of creative writing, students consult work by such figures as Roald Dahl, Rick Riordan, and Annie Dillard. The 6 + 1 Traits program is used to help emphasize voice, ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions, as tools for evaluation and revision.



Summer Session students are placed in the appropriate math level based on their placement test results. For pre-algebra, students focus on algebra and geometry skills learning how to solve single-variable algebraic equations. Practical application problems include calculating tips and investment interest. Students explore geometry by calculating area and volume and measuring angles for various 2 and 3 dimensional figures as they draw plans for physical structures and measure materials. Participation in the classroom is expected, and there is a balance of traditional instruction and student led lessons.

Algebra I
Summer Session students are placed in the appropriate math level based on their placement test results, either Algebra I Part I or Algebra II Part II. This course begins by studying quadratic functions and equations. Students evaluate quadratic graphs, their properties and characteristics that include vertex calculations. A catapult experiment incorporates knowledge and application of velocity equations, factoring techniques, zero product property and estimation of distance. Additionally, students study data analysis and probability. Students play dice games in class to compare experimental probability outcomes to theoretical ones. They also compare quantitative and categorical data sets, measure central tendencies, and produce frequency charts and histograms. Finally, depending on mastery of skills, students study trigonometry, learning the Pythagoras Theorem. They apply it to solve real world scenarios. Emphasis is placed on justification of steps, inference, and deductive reasoning as a means to orchestrate cooperative discourse in the classroom. Conic sections – Graphing parabolas, circles, ellipses and hyperbolas. Identifying the equation of a specific conic section.

Environmental Science

Three, two, one…blast off! Students build and launch individual rockets, learning about environmental impact and design. Additionally, they investigate current practices and future ideas to conserve natural resources. For example, students study various forms of renewable and non-renewable energy sources concluding their research with building a solar cooker and roasting either hot dogs or marshmallows with only the energy of the sun. The surrounding ecosystem provides the ingredients (subject matter?) for many projects. Students learn about mountain top mining and its devastating effects by mining the chips out of a cookie and then attempting to restore the cookie to its original condition with only a toothpick.

English as a Second Language (ESL) I and II

Students are placed in the appropriate class depending on test results. Each class covers a wide range of vocabulary on main topics, including, but not limited to: travel, sea life, zoo animals, sports, restaurants, and holidays. Students learn 25 to 30 vocabulary words when studying each topic. After mastery of these words, they learn grammar and proper sentence structure. Reading skills are taught and practiced using the Popcorn Reading Method. The comprehension of reading assignments serves as a platform for various writing prompts and final end products. For example, students create a boarding pass to a destination anywhere in the world, write about the reasons for their choice and teach the class about their favorite holiday at this place.

Language Skills

Language Skills offers individualized programs designed to meet the needs of students with a moderate degree of dyslexia or learning difference. Scheduled during the academic day, the program offers one-on-one instruction five times a week. Tutoring by teachers trained in the Orton-Gillingham method is directed toward each student’s needs. The mechanics of reading, reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, organizational and study skills are stressed. A variety of texts, the majority issued by Educators Publishing Service, is used.



The Robotics program uses Lego EV3 kits and MINDSTORMS software to introduce the students to basic programming and problem solving strategies. Students investigate principles of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Topics covered include: motor control, gear ratios, torque, friction, sensors, timing, program loops, timing sequences and propulsion systems. The students work hands-on in small groups to design, build and program their own robots to complete a range of tasks.


Students learn the basic principles and qualities of clay, glazes, and the firing process as they use the wheel and practice hand building to create expressive pieces.


This is a comprehensive SSAT review course offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m. taught by an industry insider who has worked with Rumsey's Summer Session for five years. The main objective of the course is to teach test taking strategies for each section with a comprehensive review of vocabulary and math. The tuition for the five week session is $500.00. There are no refunds for missed classes.