Increased independence, freedom, and exploration are the hallmarks of the junior year. Every day, juniors demonstrate their ability to thrive academically, athletically, in the performing arts and community service.
These experiences define the eleventh grade year at Sun Valley Community School:
- Opportunities to lead clubs, take on more prominent roles in plays and musicals, run for student government, and start on varsity teams;
- Leadership roles, alongside faculty, on Outdoor Program trips, guiding their younger peers and learning additional outdoor skills;
- Classroom time defined by inquiry and challenge, where skills built in the ninth and tenth grades provide the foundation for growth and learning;
- One of the most iconic Sun Valley Community School Outdoor Program trips, the Junior Solo in Canyonlands National Park.
Academically, juniors continue to complete their graduation requirements in english, math, science, language, and history, paving the way for a truly individually designed senior year. A typical course of study includes college prep classes American Literature, U.S. History, mathematics, science, world language, and additional electives.
Juniors also complete an independently created and researched thesis in the Research Methodology and Thesis course. This project emphasizes the skills of researching and writing in multiple subject areas and allows students to deliver a polished piece of scholarship on a topic of their choosing.
In the Outdoor Program, juniors spend a week in the fall climbing, hiking, working on forest service facilities, and studying local history in Idaho's Sawtooth Range; in the winter, they can elect to lead the ninth and tenth grade trips, or camp in a yurt polishing their backcountry skills. The defining outdoor experience of eleventh grade is the Junior Solo, a backpacking trip in Canyonlands NP that includes a two-day solo experience.
The junior year is the most important academically, as it presents potential colleges with the final year-long academic record for students who apply early. It offers a chance to improve and expand on the foundation laid in ninth and tenth grade, and to finish well in the core courses required for graduation.
Juniors have a second chance to take the PSAT in October. Exceptional scores on this test allow students to qualify as National Merit Scholars. The test also provides a benchmark for further improvement before the SAT and ACT in the spring. Test-prep sessions are offered during the winter term. Students who have taken Honors courses can take Advanced Placement tests in Literature & Composition, Language & Composition, World History, U.S. History, Calculus, Statistics, Spanish, and French.
Eleventh grade also begins the college search process in earnest. The College Counseling office hosts a college application overview meeting in September, and students are encouraged to attend as many presentations as possible by college representatives visiting the school. Additionally, students are encouraged to attend informational sessions as colleges and universities visit campus.