Upper School Summer Work

Summer Math 2019

Please click on the links below for the appropriate summer math assignment. Math course placement for 2019-20 is listed on your report card in the math comment.  If you are still unsure which math class you are enrolled in, email Mrs. Menzie at

Algebra 1


Advanced Geometry

Algebra 2

Advanced Algebra 2

Precalculus and Integrated Math

Advanced Precalculus A
Update: All summer math assignments for this course are now available.

Advanced Precalculus AA
Update: All summer math assignments for this course are now available.


Advanced Placement Calculus AB

Advanced Placement Calculus BC

Advanced Placement Statistics

There are no summer assignments for Multivariable Calculus, Introduction to Statistics, and the Mathematics of Finance.


Summer Reading 2019

We require students to do summer reading to help them maintain their reading skills over the summer, engage their imaginations, and provide a common learning experience for students in the opening days of school. All Upper School students must select one title from this list to read over the summer. Book discussion groups will meet in September. Additional required texts for each grade are linked thematically to the courses and help students and teachers establish a conceptual framework for the school year. 

Ninth Grade Reading

You are required to read two books:
  1. Upper School Choice Read 
  2. Swing, by Kwame Alexander
  • Read and annotate Kwame Alexander’s Swing. As you read, complete the tasks below.
  • Your work will be submitted in hard copy (a printed version) and in Google doc (a digital version). Please bring a printed copy of your work to class on the first day of school. When you arrive in class on the first day, you will share the document with your teacher and submit it to TurnItIn, a plagiarism checking software.


  • Annotation: While reading Kwame Alexander’s novel, Swing, track your responses, thoughts, feelings, and questions as you read. This “tracking” is called ANNOTATION. Annotation is a method used to help you engage directly and deeply with a text. Use a pencil and/or highlighter to underline, comment, and take notes in the book itself. You will be expected to annotate all texts read in English IX. Ultimately, this will help you move from being a passive reader to an active reader.

In a Google Doc, do the following:

  1. Noah’s Character Development: Choose a poem from each of the six sections of the text. The poems you select should help the reader to understand Noah’s character growth and development. Show how he changes/develops through the poems that you have chosen. Below, write the title of the poem you have chosen and what it shows about Noah. Then, write a short summary describing how Noah has changed, developed, grown. *You will have a total of six poems.
  2. Poem Selection: Choose two poems from anywhere in the book. Analyze these poems by discussing the context (what is happening in the novel when this poem appears). Also answer: What is the tone/mood? What language is being used to help convey the mood? Why is this piece important to the overall text? What figurative language is used? What does this piece tell us about the character or plot? Why did you choose this poem? Why is important to you? (You do not need to answer all of these questions; consider them as a guideline for your writing).


10th Grade Reading

You are required to read two books:

  1. Upper School Choice Read 
  2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • You will take a test (potentially including multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and quote analysis) on this book, and you should expect to discuss it and write about it during the first weeks of school. It is recommended that you annotate the text, including notes on each chapter. You should pay particular attention to Chris McCandless and his motivations.

11th Grade Reading

English XI Students

You are required to read two books:

1. Upper School choice read

2. One of the following: An American Marriage, Educated, Exit West, or Little Fires Everywhere

​​​​​​Rising English XI students have a choice of four different books for summer reading. Set in different places and presenting diverse lives, these books reflect aspects of the wide diversity of the American experience, as well as the unifying experiences and aspirations that we share. Please refer to the descriptions and questions below as you choose and then as you read your book this summer.

An American Marriage, Tayani Jones
Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is [...] an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward- with hope and pain- into the future. –

Educated,  Tara Westover
Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it. –from the publisher

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
When an artist mother and her teenage daughter move to Shaker Heights, Ohio, they struggle to understand the explicit and unspoken “rules” of this perfectly ordered community. Pearl’s  attempts to belong are limited by her mother’s disregard for conventionality. When both mother and daughter develop a complex relationship with the picture perfect Richardson family, tension builds and secrets are revealed that expose the danger of privilege.

Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
Set in the Middle East, Europe, and finally the American West, Hamid’s novel focuses on a central relationship between two characters and depicts the real and often devastating effects that local and global conflicts have on their lives. This book balances realistic depictions of daily life, family, and love with elements of magical realism or fantasy. As the story goes on, Hamid opens a series of doors that lead to new destinations, challenging us to question what we know and how we see the world around us.

As you read, consider the following questions:

How does setting affect the way that the authors explore what it means to be American?

How does the book explore and develop ideas of family, home, and sense of place?

How do the characters respond to transitions, separations, and movement? How do these changes affect the characters and how they understand their identities?

How are success, purpose, and happiness defined and pursued in these texts?

How do characters’ aspirations and the promise of America exist in relation to the challenges and tensions of the worlds in which they live?

Who has power in the book and who has agency to affect change in their own lives and the lives of others? How does the book portray the structures and systems that maintain this power?

How does this book answer the question: What does it mean to be an American?

American Studies Students

You are required to read three books:

  1. Upper School Choice Read
  2. Disgruntled: A Novel by Asali Solomon
  3. Parts of Difficult Conversations

American Studies details here.

AP English Students

You are required to read three books:

  1. Upper School choice read
  2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  3. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Begin by reading The Grapes of Wrath, paying particular attention to how Steinbeck depicts the migrant experience. Note the images and symbols associated with migrants and those used to describe characters with power. Question how characters react when they encounter systems of power and violence. When you read Exit West, compare and contrast Hamid's depictions of migrants with Steinbeck's by considering the following questions: How do characters in both texts define "home"? How is the "other" or "outsider" depicted? How are characters' relationships similarly or differently affected by leaving home in search of a better life?

Next year, we will focus on how an author's use of literary techniques furthers his or her meaning. In preparation for this study, please note how Steinbeck and Hamid use literary strategies to accomplish their narrative and thematic goals. Pay particular attention to their use of narrative structure and motif.

AP U.S. History Students

Your APUSH summer reading is in two parts:

Historiography Assignment

Before you read, brainstorm (write it down!):

  • What do you know about George Washington?
  • What do you know about the founding of our nation?
  • Where did you get this information?
  • What is historiography? (If you aren’t sure, look it up in one of our Gummere databases!)


1. Read the lecture, “The Genius of George Washington” by Edmund S. Morgan. (You are free to read the letters from Washington the follow, but not required.) You can find it on Amazon.

Take notes to address the following:

  • What does Morgan say about George Washington? How does he describe him?
  • What does Morgan focus on in his evaluation of Washington?

You may also wish to annotate in the book to facilitate discussion.

2. Read Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. You can also find it on Amazon.

This short book details the story of Ona Judge, an enslaved woman who escaped from the Washingtons while living in Philadelphia.

Take notes to address the following:

  • What surprised you about Judge’s story?
  • How does this add to/take away from what you know about the founding of the United States? Of George Washington?
  • Whose stories get told in history? Why?
  • What does this sort of work say about the role of the historian?

*These notes should be prepared in a notebook you will use for class, handwritten (unless you have a laptop accomodation outlined in a PC learning plan).

You will be asked to complete a timed, in-class writing prompt on the summer reading in class when you return that focuses on the themes for these two readings. You may bring in any handwritten notes to assist you, but not the book itself.

Textbook Assignment

Read and take notes on the first two chapters of your textbook, American Histories. You must handwrite these using the Cornell method.* Then, answer the following questions from your reading:**

*Unless you have a laptop accomodation outlined in a PC learning plan.

**Please use MBS to order your textbook so you are sure it’s the correct edition.

Chapter 1

  1. Describe the various Native American societies prior to the Columbian exchange.
  2. Pick out the two most significant changes in Europe that led to the encounter with North America after the Renaissance.  What were they and why did you choose them?
  3. What dynamics led to the eventual development of race-based slavery?  Why do you say that?
  4. Who were the winners and losers in the Columbian Exchange?  Why do you say that?
  5. Was European dominance of North America inevitable?  Why or why not?
  6. Which country had dominance of the “New World” prior to 1550? Why?

Chapter 2

  1. Which European country more likely to have success building colonies in North America post 1550?  Why?
  2. What class, religious, and racial conflicts emerged during this time in Europe?  Where do you see these dynamics today?
  3. Which European powers begin to emerge on the North and South American continents? Describe their approaches to colonization.
  4. Describe the evolution of English colonization of Virginia.
  5. What is the significance of Bacon’s Rebellion?
  6. Describe the Puritan worldview. How does it influence their motives for coming to the English colonies? Their interactions with Native Americans? How they treat dissenters?

Note: Chapter 3 will be due fairly soon after we start, so feel free to tackle that!

Remember:  We will be covering about 1-2 chapters a week in class, plus outside readings. Use this assignment as a chance to consider how you will tackle the APUSH workload in the coming year.

12th Grade Reading

Students in English XII,  you are required to read two books and, where stipulated, write:

1. Upper School choice read

2. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

  • You will take a short, fact-based reading test on the book; the test may include 25 factual/objective questions and several quotes you must identify, explain and analyze.  

    • To prepare for the test, read with a pen in hand; as you read, underline and annotate key passages, ideas, and character developments. Review your notes before the assessment in September.

  • Additionally, you will discuss this book in class, and you will write an essay about it.

  • To prepare for discussion and the essay, select one of the following ideas below and track it as you read. In doing so, collect (and type up) two quotations per major character – Henry, Mike, Pella, Owen, Guert (10 quotations total that will be collected the first day of class) – that relate to your chosen idea:  

    • the good life/meaning of life

    • relationships: friendship/platonic/love/lust

    • the pursuit of perfection

    • to what extent does each character’s definition of what’s important/success change?

    • the individual quest for truth or happiness

    • the idea of “thoughtless being”

    • what do we owe ourselves and what do we owe other people?

    • the outward self/inward self and seems vs. is

Students in Advanced English XII, you are required to read four books and, where stipulated, write:

  1. Upper School choice read
  2. Camus, The Stranger [ISBN: 9780679720201]
  3. Kafka, The Metamorphosis [ISBN: 0553213695]
  4. Sartre, No Exit [ISBN: 9780679725169]

Please note the ISBN numbers and get the correct versions; this is important as these are works in translation. 

As you read, be sure to annotate your texts carefully, as you will be assessed on your textual notes. In addition to your standard annotations, be sure to track the following in detail:

  • Questioning existence
  • Time
  • The individual vs. being part of a whole of humanity
  • Importance of setting
  • Notions of regret and remorse