Minimester Courses

The course selection for Minimester 2019 includes the following sessions:

A3+Art, Architecture, and Animation

Session organizers: Konstantinov, Brincefield, and Davenport

A3+Art, Architecture, and Animation is equally suited for core, intermediate, and advanced-level learners. Based on students’ desires, it reflects a teaching philosophy that students learn best when immersed in creative freedom and personal artistic development.

A3+ begins by exploring the intuitive artistry and architectural wonders of contemporary American folk artists. Visionary and self-taught artists create architecture of powerful inner vision and ingenuity that are an important part of the human artistic legacy.

A3+ will present imaginative structures for students to explore such as Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village in Simi Valley, CA, Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens in Summerville, GA, Watts Tower in Los Angeles, Coral Castle in Homestead, FL, Forevertron in Sumpter, WI, and other examples of outsider art and fanciful roadside architecture.

The A3+ journey will continue with a visit to a creative hive, Interface Media Group in Washington, DC, where we will tour an animation production facility and see some of the country’s most highly-trained digital artists and 3D animators at work.

Our next destination will be the Smithsonian American Art Museum, one of the country’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, which houses a renowned folk and self-taught art collection. On our departure from the city, we will take a driving tour around the Mall where students will see a wide range of architectural styles juxtaposed on the city landscape.

Further exploring the creative possibilities, A3+ students will learn how animation is used today in architectural design, walking through the process of creating virtual 3D models that visualize structural design in full detail to create a realistic experience that sparks the imagination before a space is built.

Session fee: $100

Back to the Future: Depictions of the Future in Film

Session organizers: Lloyd, Hapgood, McNulty, and Velletri

An examination of visual media, focusing on film with a Photoshop component. Students will learn basic Photoshop, and interpreting and analyzing film. The theme of the course will be the future. As Ed Wood said in Plan 9 from Outer Space, "The future is where we all will live one day."

Planned activities include a trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, dinner and a movie in Richmond, watching and discussing movies, and designing a movie poster using Photoshop.

Session fee: $100

Be All You Can Become

Session organizer: Hicks

BAYCB introduces students to activities they may not normally have the opportunity to participate in, and helps them gain an appreciation for an active lifestyle, sports, and athleticism. Past activities include rugby, roller derby, paintball, go-karting, a ropes course, climbing, and ballroom dancing. Students also do research on sports and nutrition. Some activities may take place during the evening and on weekends.

Session fee: $300. A $150 deposit is due by November 16, and the remainder is due on December 19, 2018.

Behind-the-Wheel Driver’s Education

Session organizer: Wilkinson

  • Four hours of classroom instruction each day
  • One and one-half hours of behind-the-wheel instruction each day per two students
  • Car maintenance workshop
  • Field trip
  • Movies about cars with food appropriate for car consumption
  • Car and Driver safety workshop
  • Open to Virginia residents. Also open to International students over 18 years old
  • To participate in behind-the-wheel, students must have logged 45 hours driving with an adult.

Students will have completed all requirements to receive their Temporary Driver’s License until they have reached 16 years 3 months and have had a Learner’s Permit for nine months. Temporary License is valid for six months.

Session fee: $525. A $250 deposit is due by November 16, and the remainder is due on December 19, 2018.

CSI Forensic Science

Session organizer: Kelly

Learn the fundamentals of investigating crime scenes and using forensic science principles. Collaborating as teams to document crime scenes with measurements and diagrams, students use advanced digital photography techniques to record both visible and invisible evidence. Additionally, teams learn to collect and process physical evidence, including fingerprint processing, trace evidence collection, blood spatter analysis, and firearm trajectory. Students will utilize science and math skills while having a fun experience. Special presentations by Officer Travis Martin, Essex County Sheriff's office.

Planned activities include visiting a science museum an escape room, and a spy museum, plus self-defense instruction, spy museum, participating in a Smithsonian forensic science activity, attending the FBI experience, visiting a courthouse and sheriff’s office, and completing scavenger hunts.

Session fee: $350. A $200 deposit is due by November 16, and the remainder is due on December 19, 2018.

Junky to Funky

Session organizers: Papanicolaou and J. Sanders

Have you heard the word, “repurpose”? If you haven't, then this is the two-week minimester course of your dreams. Repurposing is taking something old, perhaps something you find in a thrift store or in the attic, and giving it a new life and purpose by making it funky and cool.

All girls should know the power of a tool belt to be able to fix and repair things they want around them. We will explore thrift stores, buy interesting things like chairs, frames, lamps, and anything else you fancy that is within your allotted budget. Learn from each other and come up with unique ideas to make each project yours. We will participate in a group project repurposing something to auction off at Spring Family Weekend.

As a highlight, we will visit the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, where we will participate in a class activity designed to expand how you think about things we all discard on a regular basis. This class is designed for students to learn a lot while having loads of fun!

Session fee: $100

Next Steps

Session organizer: Director of College Counseling

Next Steps is the feature opportunity of the college advising program at SMS where students can experience colleges and the application process up close and personal. Travel with your peers to tour college campuses in the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia. Spend time learning from professionals in admissions offices about how to prepare your application. Work with SMS faculty to write your first college essay, prepare your resume, and create your Common Application. Work with a top-rated test prep company to prepare for your SAT exam. Have fun exploring all of your opportunities as you take your Next Steps!

Session fee: $700. A $400 deposit is due by November 16, and the remainder is due by December 19, 2018.

On the Road Again

Session organizers: Dickinson, D. Sanders, and Newman

That’s right; it is time to be “back on the road again, making MEMORIES with our girls”! Adventure will be the name of the game as we explore the National Parks, and so much more in the "Grand Canyon State".

We will fly into Las Vegas, Nevada to pick up our chariots and head off into the sunset, exploring places like Organ Pipe National Park, The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, and of course the Grand Canyon. Science will not be overlooked as we will spend a day exploring Biosphere 2 at the University of Arizona in Oracle, AZ.

In order to better see and learn from our surroundings, we will take to bicycles and explore the many bike trails in Arizona. There will be climbing adventures deep into slot canyons and a kayaking trip on the waters of the Colorado River just below the Hoover Dam. Can you imagine the view looking up at that structure from the seat of your kayak?

All of this will happen as we roll along through The Grand Canyon State in the comfort of our Cruise America RVs. We will wrap the trip up with one night spent in the lap of luxury in Las Vegas before flying home.

The trip will depart Tuesday, February 19, 2019 and return to campus Friday, March 1, 2019. We are ready to roll and can't wait to show the girls the wonders of the open road.

Session fee: includes airline tickets, RV rentals, gas, campsites, tour fees, most meals, and transportation. The total cost for 1 RV with 5 students and 1 chaperone will be $1900.00 per student. the following deposits are required:

November 9, 2018: $500 non-refundable deposit due to secure your commitment
December 7, 2018: $500 payment due
January 7, 2019: $500 payment due
February 4, 2019: $400 final payment due

Minimester Registration: Students will sign up by grade for Minimester sessions via a Google form. All grades will have an opportunity to pick a session by mid-November.