Overall Program FAQs

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • What do we mean by “Interdisciplinary Studies”?

    Interdisciplinary Studies literally means studies that involve more than one discipline, like English and History. Our Interdisciplinary Studies program is an integrative, inquiry-based learning experience encouraging intrinsically-motivated thinkers.

    Integrative 
    A systematic effort to integrate multiple perspectives into a more complete framework of analysis, thus accomplishing a new understanding that could not have been created by drawing from a single discipline.
     
    Inquiry-Based
    Rather than having a teacher telling information to students, we will have students and teachers asking each other relevant questions about complex issues and collaborating with each other to locate varied sources of knowledge, information, and perspectives on those issues.

    Intrinsically-Motivated
    A focus on the students rather than the teacher will help students to honor, to learn, to engage, to innovate, to serve, and to thrive.
  • What will be educationally unique about the program?

    This program will seek to draw on and honor the School’s long tradition and commitment to academic excellence. Indeed, much of the work we’ve undertaken around this program that aligns with our Strategic Academic Plan has been to reflect on and renew our commitment to honing strong pedagogical practices that have always been productive for student learning: deep discussion, projects, writing, presentations, and strong teacher-student relationships.
     
    At the same time, theories of education have changed significantly in the past 50 years, and the ways we teach and assess learning must reflect these changes. Rote memorization is shifting to learning that is more collaborative, experiential, authentic, and interdisciplinary — with an increased focus on critical thinking and complex problem-solving.

    Students will be provided opportunities to engage in “situated learning” within local contexts that will include project-and-problem-based learning that will combine the development of high-order thinking skills with real-world abilities. Through this program, Casady students will participate in more authentic and relevant coursework that will connect them to our larger Oklahoma City community and allow them to pursue inquiry-based questions and perform original, locally relevant research and analysis. This course will culminate in a public presentation of student learning to the Casady and greater Oklahoma City community.

  • How will the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course work?

    We anticipate six sections of the Interdisciplinary Studies course. Each section will enroll 13-14 students. Each section will include both an eleventh grade English teacher and an eleventh grade History teacher.

    In the first iteration, eleventh grade English teachers, Dr. Janet Hubbell and Mrs. Whitney Finley, and eleventh grade History teachers, Dr. Emily Wardrop and Dr. Will Bishop, will be in class together with students and will model for students how to collaborate to design lesson plans, facilitate Harkness discussions, provide direct instructions, and create/grade assessments. The small class sizes in this team-teaching model will ensure that every student will receive close guidance and support through their final project.
  • How will the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course fit in the new schedule?

    Eleventh grade students will have class five out of the six-day cycle, using both the X-25 and X-55 class periods for the Interdisciplinary Studies course (as opposed to normally only having class four out of the six-day cycle, and only using the X-25). The open class period in each student’s schedule will allow students additional time to work on their final projects.

    In addition, the open class period will allow Casady to further enhance one of our other signature programs, the College Seminar. The enhanced “College Seminar 2.0” will become curricular and required by all eleventh grade students. This new required course will include designated time for students to meet in small cohorts with their college counselor to do ACT and SAT test prep, cover topics related to college lists, resumes, interviews, essays, applications, and introduce wellness topics that overlap with “Adulting 101” life skills.
  • How many credits will students receive in each new course?

    Students will receive two credits for the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course: one credit for English; one credit for History/Social Sciences.
  • How will Casady ensure that two credits for one course will not dilute the high quality of rigor that has always been the hallmark of a Casady education?

    Casady is committed to balancing innovation with tradition to do what’s best for student learning. This course will seek to embody that balancing act. Part of this course will involve traditional “seat time.” Students can anticipate meeting five times out of the six-day cycle, using both the X-25 and X-55 class periods, as opposed to having two classes rotating through the six-day cycle and having the teacher of both classes using either the X-25 or the X-55 in every six-day cycle.

    As in the past, classroom time will involve proven teaching methods that promote positive student learning: mini-lectures, Harkness discussions, paper writing, quizzes, tests, student presentations, etc. At the same time, this course will include opportunities for students to extend learning beyond the classroom to perform field research, collaborate on and manage projects, conduct interviews (physically or virtually), design prototypes, etc. As a result, students can anticipate actually spending more time devoted to deeper-level learning than they would in two separate courses.
  • What weight will the Interdisciplinary Studies course receive?

    The eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course will be weighted +.33. The +.33 weight will align with the current +.33 weight of the eleventh grade English course. The +.33 weight rewards students for the high-level of cognitive demand and will signal to colleges that the Interdisciplinary Studies course is our most rigorous course in both the English and History/Social Sciences curriculum.
  • How will the Interdisciplinary Studies course be reflected on the transcript?

    The transcript will reflect the same grade twice: one grade/credit (with a +.33 weight) for English and one grade/credit (with a +.33 weight) for History/Social Sciences.
  • How will major assessments be graded in the team-taught structure?

    Best practices in a team-taught structure recommend that teachers work together to assess student work. Flexibility, transparency, and consistency are the keys that Casady teachers will aspire to foster in evaluating student work. Therefore, at times, one teacher may take the primary lead on an assessment. At other times, both teachers will discuss and assess student work.
  • Will the new Interdisciplinary Studies course continue to offer the “Papers of Distinction” program?

    The “Papers of Distinction” program will continue in a new iteration within the Interdisciplinary Studies course. Notably, the Class of 2023 students will be the inaugural participants in the “Projects of Distinction” program. Eleventh grade students can receive this distinction for extraordinary work. Both English and History/Social Sciences department members will evaluate and select recipients of the “Project of Distinction” award.
  • What can you tell me at this point about the Capstone program?

    The Capstone program will launch in Fall 2022. Rising, qualified seniors will apply for admission into the program. Students will either apply to extend their research from the Interdisciplinary Studies course or apply to pursue a new line of scholarly inquiry. Admitted seniors will work with a faculty advisor and/or an industry-based mentor for the duration of the Capstone. More information to follow.
  • How will you inform colleges of the curriculum changes?

    In anticipation of these programmatic and curriculum changes, Casady’s College Counselors have already been pro-actively communicating to colleges the upcoming changes. The long established relationships and strong rapport that the College Counselors have with colleges has made it easy to communicate the upcoming changes. The response from colleges about the curriculum changes have been positively endorsed as consistent with what strong, forward-thinking independent schools like Casady are doing to distinguish their curriculum from other schools. Going forward, the College Counselors will notify colleges of upcoming curricular changes through the School’s profile.
  • How will Casady measure the efficacy of this new signature program?

    Casady will measure the strength and success of this signature program in a number of ways. Traditional metrics will include ACT/SAT scores, college admissions results, student performance (e.g. grade distribution), and college performance data (e.g. freshman college GPA). In addition, Casady will incorporate more non-traditional metrics that include student surveys, college admissions surveys, and industry-based feedback. Finally, Casady plans to partner with an organization that includes other top independent schools to validate our advanced-level curriculum standards.
  • What peer Independent Schools and reputable organizations did Casady research and consult with to inform their design thinking around the curriculum and programmatic changes?

    Casady has spent the past year researching and engaging with peer institutions and organizations who have gone through similar curricula and programmatic changes. Our goal has been to ensure that we are adhering to best practices. Significant contributors that informed our thinking include, but are not limited to, the following schools and organization: Holland Hall School (OK),  The Hockaday School (TX), Lawrenceville Academy (NJ), Harvard-Westlake School (CA), Phillips Academy - Andover (MA), Riverdale Country Day School (NY), The University Liggett School (MI), Rowland Hall (UT), and Independent School Management.

History | Social Sciences | English FAQs

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • Will there be any changes to the History/Social Sciences curriculum?

    Yes. The creation of this new Interdisciplinary Studies Program has afforded the History/Social Sciences department the opportunity to make curricular adaptations to support the goals of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Curriculum changes will take place incrementally through 2023.

    Click here to read the new ninth grade Global History profile.

    Click here to read the new tenth grade United States History profile.
  • How will the high quality of academic rigor be maintained with the changes to the History/Social Sciences curriculum?

    Our History/Social Sciences program will advance beyond the AP curriculum by 2023. This will not diminish the academic rigor for which Casady is known, locally, regionally, and nationally. In fact, the changes are designed to double down on that commitment. Notably, as a School, we have a long and established record of success equipping students with foundational skills and knowledge for college through a rigorous curriculum.



    Casady’s English program advanced beyond the AP curriculum in the early 80s, driving a stake in the ground to unequivocally emphasize depth over breadth. Since then, Casady students have performed successfully on English, Reading, and Writing portions of the ACT, SAT, and on the English Language and English Literature APs, along with garnering praise from college admissions for the distinctiveness of our program.

    What Casady believed almost 40 years ago and what we still believe today is that we have exceptional faculty, and by leveraging the talents and interests of our superb teachers, all of whom have advanced or terminal degrees, students will be offered more engaging courses that are truly student-centered and learner-directed, allowing students to explore subjects of personal interest and passion in greater depth, enhancing the strength of our programs, and delivering on our Portrait of a Graduate to produce students that “honor, learn, engage, innovate, serve, and thrive.”

    Consequently, in the early 80s, Casady was one of only a handful of forward-thinking independent schools that advanced beyond the AP designation in their humanities program. Today there are 70+ schools nationally that have moved beyond the AP curriculum, including many prestigious boarding schools, along with ISAS peer schools like Holland Hall, Hockaday, Greenhill, and St. Stephen’s Episcopal, who have embraced this change to their curriculum, and, like our students in our English program, have seen students thrive and teachers flourish without any negative impact on college placement.

    Click here to read a Washington Post article on eight elite Washington D.C. independent schools advancing together beyond the AP curriculum.
  • Aren’t AP courses important for our students to have on their transcript to compete for admission at highly selective colleges?

    It is not uncommon for families who visit top colleges and universities to hear a presentation by someone from the admissions office relay the message: “If you would like to attend our fine and very competitive institution, it is extremely important that you take all of the AP courses you can.” While that is what college admissions people say, it is not actually what they mean. What they mean is that it is very important that you take an appropriate number of the most challenging courses your school has to offer. The most recent national college admissions survey reinforces this fact. The three top metrics of “considerable or moderate importance” for college admission include “grades in all courses”, “grades in college prep courses”, and “strength of curriculum.” Noteworthy, “AP scores” (not courses) scored #12 on the metric scale with only 24% of college admissions reporting that AP scores were of “considerable or moderate importance.” That 24% needs a qualifier: AP scores only matter as a “measurable” if the school offers and the student enrolls in an AP course.


    The good news is that a majority of Casady students have performed successfully in all four top metrics, and why 90%+ of Casady students have consistently reported gaining admission into one of their top choice colleges. Notably, every Casady Upper Division course is college prep. It is what has distinguished Casady as a nationally reputable academic institution since 1947. Distinctively, Casady has and will continue to aspire to benchmark the efficacy of our curriculum against top regional and national independent schools with a goal to offer a mission-driven, richly diverse, and innovative blend of Honors, AP, and Post-AP courses that both engage students in the learning and distinguish students in college admissions.
  • Does Casady have future plans to move beyond the AP curriculum in all subjects?

    While Casady has no immediate plans to move entirely beyond the AP curriculum, Casady also understands that great Independent Schools are constantly challenging their curriculum and pedagogy and are therefore not afraid to evolve and adapt their curriculum and pedagogy to prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed for success. Notably, Casady has and will continue to benchmark the quality and efficacy of its advanced-level curriculum with other regional and national independent schools to ensure that we are competing with and upholding the highest standards of academic excellence.
  • Will students still have the opportunity to take the Advanced Placement exams (i.e. U.S. History, Government, etc.)?

    Yes. Qualified, self-selecting students in the tenth grade U.S. History course will have the option to prepare for and sit for the AP U.S. History exam. Teachers will use some X-55 periods to provide AP test prep. Qualified, self-selecting students in twelfth grade will have the option to prepare for and sit for other History/Social Sciences AP exams (e.g. U.S. Government, European History, Art History) through a Self-Directed Learning Study.

    Students that have ambition to earn additional college credit while at Casady should contact the College Counseling office for guidance and information.
  • What are the new History/Social Studies graduation requirements?

    The History/Social Studies graduation requirements will not change for now. Class of 2023 students will continue to be required to earn three credits for graduation. US History Foundations (10th) and the Interdisciplinary Studies course (11th) will be required. In twelfth grade, Class of 2023 students will have the option to take Advanced Topic (AT) seminars, an MSON course (if qualified), Capstone (if accepted), and/or a Student-Directed Learning Study.

    As a member of the Malone Schools Foundation, Casady participates in the Malone Schools Online Network to offer courses beyond our curriculum. Students participate in an interactive online classroom with students from other Malone schools across the country.
  • What weight will each new History/Social Sciences course receive?

    Ninth and tenth grade History/Social Sciences courses will remain weighted at +.25. Both the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course and twelfth grade Advanced Topic (AT) seminars will be weighted +.33.
  • How many credits will students receive in each new History/Social Sciences course?

    Students will receive the same credit as before: one credit for ninth and tenth grade History/Social Sciences courses. Students will receive two credits for the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course: one credit for English; one credit for History/Social Sciences . All twelfth grade Advanced Topic (AT) seminars will receive the same credit as before: one-third credit per trimester.
  • Why is U.S. History moving to the tenth grade?

    The main reason for shifting U.S. History to tenth grade is so that our students will have a strong historical knowledge base and framework to do well in the Interdisciplinary Studies course.
  • What changes can students expect in the English Department?

    English course titles will remain the same for ninth and tenth grade. However, the English Department will work in close concert with the History/Social Sciences Department to scaffold skills and knowledge that will prepare students for the eleventh grade Interdisciplinary Studies course. Starting in 2023, senior English seminars will add the Advanced Topic (AT) moniker on the transcript to all college-level seminars. By 2023, all senior English and History/Social Sciences seminars will include the AT moniker and receive a +.33 weight. In the future, the English Department aspires to work with the History/Social Social Sciences Department to extend the interdisciplinary, team-taught, dual credit model to senior seminars.
  • What is an Advanced Topic (AT) seminar?

    An Advanced Topic (AT) seminar is a college level course. AT seminars are the academic equivalent of AP or Post-AP courses. AT seminars will be reserved mostly for twelfth grade students due to the level of cognitive demand and sophisticated thinking. Distinctively, the hallmark of Casady’s AT seminars will involve opportunities for students  to do deep dives into academic topics of personal interest. Most AT seminars will be small in terms of teacher-student ratio, which allows teachers to truly customize the course to meet the needs of their students and teach to the top of each student. Most AT seminars will involve intensive reading, writing, and discussions, and hone collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Casady School welcomes a student body that reflects the diversity of the world around us and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics, and other school-administered programs generally accorded or made available to students at the School.
Casady School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory, Episcopal day school serving students in pre-k-12. Educating Mind, Body, and Spirit.