• Cushing
July 1 - August 3
Afternoon Activities

Afternoon Academic Courses

Expanding learning opportunities

Afternoon Academic Courses are offered for enrichment only; thus, your work is assessed on a pass/fail basis. You choose two electives from any three categories: academic, performing and visual arts, and athletics. Students enrolled in the College Prep Program only choose one elective but may enroll in a second if they wish.

NOTE: Electives may vary from one summer to the next as insufficient enrollment may cause an elective or activity to be canceled. Conversely, an interest in a particular topic or discipline may lead to the creation of a new elective.

Afternoon Academic Courses

List of 13 items.

  • Advanced Math Review (Algebra and Precalculus)

    This course is for students who can use basic arithmetical concepts. Topics include first- and second degree equations, graphing, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, word problems and rational expressions.
  • Beginning Mandarin

    If you are a beginner, this introduction to Mandarin allows you to build a basic vocabulary and syntax in order to engage in short conversations about daily routines. You will:
    • write basic Chinese characters as well as their Romanized forms (pinyin),
    • pronounce newly learned vocabulary in the correct tone,
    • engage in short dialogues in Chinese,
    • understand and respond to basic questions and commands in Mandarin
    • become familiar with select aspects of Chinese culture
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Short Fiction

    As the popular TV host asks, “What would you do” (if you were in a similar situation)?  Would you act or react as the character does?  If not, how would you respond?  Why? 
    For fifty minutes four days per week throughout the five-week session, you and your classmates will read, analyze, and discuss short fiction (and occasionally excerpts from longer works) in an effort to identify the values that underpin the decisions that a variety of fictional characters make.  Through active listening, careful reflection, and journal-keeping, you will clarify and articulate your beliefs as well as distinguish them from your feelings.  In the process you will gain a clearer understanding of yourself and, we hope, become more empathetic with those whose values differ from your own.
  • Intro to Computer Programming

    This fifty-minute course meets four days per week and is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of coding in popular languages that may include Java, Python, and JavaScript, among others. Topics include data types, variables, simple algorithms, methods, conditional statements, iterations (loops), and may include more advanced topics such as an introduction to arrays and object-oriented concepts. Coding assignments include drawing programs (graphics), data processing, and interactive input/output conversion. Activities will increase in complexity throughout the five-week period.
  • Introduction to Engineering

    The Introduction to Engineering class will explore the concepts of iterative design, collaboration, and problem solving. Students will work together in small groups to solve design challenges such as building marshmallow and index card towers, constructing protective devices to save falling eggs, and solving many riddles. Once students find a possible solution to the problem, they will be challenged to demonstrate how they can improve upon their creation to build a second, improved prototype. 
  • Investing 101

    This course is designed to guide students through the complexities of the stock market. In this process, each student researches various types of investments, ranging from asset protection to maximum return. Drawing upon hypothetical examples, as well as those from real life, each lesson is designed to give students the clarity needed to understand investments and to make appropriate choices in their virtual transactions (in an online game). At the end of this course, students acquire a better understanding of the basic functions of the stock
  • Public Speaking

    This fifty-minute elective meets four days per week and will provide useful tips and daily practice to improve your public speaking skills.  In addition to viewing, reading, and reciting excerpts of famous speeches, you will write and deliver your own.  Warm-up activities will help you to improve your enunciation, volume, rate, tone, and eye contact.  Short demonstrations and daily “pointers” will help participants to avoid distracting fillers (“ums,” “like,” and “ok?”)  and to calm their jitters.  At the conclusion of the five-week course, you will speak more clearly, confidently, and professionally.
  • SAT Preparation

    Focus on the verbal and mathematical skills and the test-taking techniques required for your success on the SAT. You take three or four diagnostic tests to determine progress over the summer and are given a plan for follow-up tests and additional study.
  • Spanish (Beginning and Intermediate)

    You will learn basic vocabulary and grammar of the Spanish language. Role playing enables you to practice day-to-day living situations encountered in countries where Spanish is spoken.
  • SSAT Preparation

    If you are interested in applying to independent secondary schools, performance on the SSAT, a standardized test, is often required and plays a crucial role in your admission. In this course, you will familiarize yourself with the test and focus on question preparation and test-taking strategies. The course also helps you with other features of the admission process, from personal interviews to writing application essays.
  • TOEFL Preparation

    The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for entrance into most American colleges and universities. This course provides you a thorough review of the types of questions that appear on the TOEFL examination, including the Internet Based Test (iBT). Intensive grammar review, as well as vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension exercises, is integrated with practice tests. Your errors are analyzed, and your teacher helps you to learn strategies to improve your areas of weakness. Unofficial pre-TOEFL and TOEFL exams are offered to provide you with feedback about your progress.
  • Writing Workshop

    The goal of this course is to help you improve your writing skills, develop your style and find your voice. You learn to organize and to revise compositions carefully, to use original and secondary materials, to write research pieces in a clear, concise manner and to express yourself in a variety of creative styles.
  • Word Power - Vocabulary Development for ESL

    Through short readings, videos, cartoons, discussions, role-plays, skits, and online resources you will add 200 or more words to your working vocabulary in just five weeks.  In each fifty-minute class, you will not only engage in conversations, games, and activities on topics of interest, but you will also practice the vocabulary necessary to express your ideas and opinions.  Your teacher will provide you with a variety of techniques to improve your retention of vocabulary and will give you daily feedback about your progress through quizzes and other types of assessments.

Cushing Academy Summer Session

39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430-8000

Tel: 978.827.7700
Fax: 978.827.7087
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Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.