Academy Program

 Overview: Developed with a specialist in gifted education, the Academy Program transforms Middle School students from passive recipients of knowledge to self-directed and proactive inquirers. The trimester-long elective classes are interdisciplinary and exploratory in nature and emphasize critical skills in creativity, planning, researching, decision-making, organizing, and cooperative learning. Middle School girls choose from options such as backpacking, financial literacy, environmental studies, and musical theater.

  • Developed by several members of the Middle School faculty in conjunction with Dr. Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, the Academy Program transforms students from passive recipients of knowledge to self-directed and proactive inquirers. It is an approach to learning that shatters many common misconceptions about middle school students and provides girls with a springboard to self-discovery.

  • The 23 semester-long elective classes comprising the Academy Program are interdisciplinary and exploratory in nature and emphasize the development of the critical skills in planning, researching, decision-making, organizing and cooperative learning that form the basis of lifelong learning. 

  • All seventh and eighth grade students at HB attend the Academy of their choice for 80 minutes every six days. The first part of each course is devoted to exploratory and skill-building activities designed to encourage students to identify specific areas of interest for further study. Next, students work individually or in small self-directed groups to design and complete projects of value to the larger community. Final projects have included starting a Middle School-wide paper recycling club, developing an online book discussion group, designing a voter education brochure for juniors and seniors about to enter the polls for the first time and creating a digital video to teach basic moves to beginning skiers. 

  • At HB, girls in the Academy Program learn that their growth as learners involves much more than simply demonstrating an ability to successfully navigate the demands of their classes. It also enables them to develop a sense of achievement that is not dependent upon grades.


Backpacking Broadcasting Chinese
Climate Leaders Diversity Fashion Design
Fitness and Wellness Food, Culture and Society Hathaway GREEN
Hiking Locavores Makeup, Costumes, and Props
Media Literacy Photography Poetry
Pop Rocks Programming Speech and Debate
StorE-Telling Things Every Girl Should Know Uke-Ladies
Ultimate Frisbee Get VEGUCATED  



The Backpacking Academy is designed to help students feel comfortable and safe in an outdoor environment, to teach compassion and respect for their environment, and to instill a sense of confidence in their ability to sustain themselves with only the equipment they can carry. Students are expected to come to class prepared to participate in all outdoor activities including hiking, setting up tents, cooking on a backpacking stove, filtering water, packing and carrying an outdoor backpack, etc.  Considering the goal of the Academy, all students are encouraged to participate in an optional overnight backpacking trip in a recognized local recreational park toward the end of the trimester.

Ennovations Broadcasting

Be a part of MyHBTV! This Academy will provide students with the opportunity to write and produce a semi-monthly video news show and stream it to the world through Hathaway Brown School’s web site. The news show will cover issues and events of interest to Middle School students, focusing on life at Hathaway Brown School. Students involved in this Academy would have the opportunity to be in front of the camera or work behind the scenes. We would have directors, camera operators, newscasters, interviewers, and more! The course will be offered in the Worldwide Communication Center. Note: When enrolling in Ennovations academies, priority will be given to those students who are taking their first Ennovations class.


Chinese Academy classes are designed as multiple levels of listening and speaking in accordance with children’s different aspects of interest, personality, understanding, and reception. The teacher will not only teach students the basic techniques of linguistics, but more importantly, cultivate ways of creative and higher order thinking from Chinese graphic characters. Along with language instruction, Chinese culture, food, art, calligraphy and movies will be introduced in the class. To enhance classroom study, field trips will be organized. Ultimately, the aim of this Chinese course is to provide students with opportunities to reach their language potential. Students will acquire skills that are vital for success in the contemporary global environment and the challenges of the 21st century.

Climate Leaders

Do you care about the future?  Do you want to be a force for good in the world?  Do you like the idea of taking on a leadership role, but aren’t sure where or how?  If you answered yes to these questions, then this Academy might be right for you.  Climate Leaders will develop your leadership skills by putting you to work designing and leading workshops for your peers as part of a larger program at HB focused on climate change.  Creativity, curiosity and commitment required.

Not Your Average Diversity Academy

HB’s motto asserts that we graduate young women who are to be global citizens, which requires an education in awareness, understanding and tolerance.  While such topics frequently imply heavy conversations around uncomfortable topics, it doesn’t have to be this way!  Come be a part of a class of self-discovery as we explore the fun side of culture and identity.   We will delve head- and hands-on into various themes - such as race, social class and ability - that will teach us about ourselves and the people around us.  This activities-based class will include time for us to sample foods, have fun on a playground, and go shopping…although not all at the same time!  You will need to bring your iPad to each class as we will make frequent use of social media and technology. So come fully “charged” and ready to learn.

HB Academy of Fashion Design

Are you ready to dive into the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of fashion design? In this academy, HB designers will explore the emerging trends of the three main areas of fashion design work: High Street Fashion, Ready-to-Wear, and Haute Couture.  Designers will get to choose an area of focus such as sportswear, childrenswear, footwear, accessories, etc., and will gain real world experiences, designing both by hand and using CAD (computer-aided design), to create their own personal or collaborative line.

Fitness and Wellness

The Fitness & Wellness academy focuses on helping students develop lifelong habits for healthy minds and bodies. Students explore nutrition and healthy habits, reflecting upon how choices affect their daily lives.  Throughout the academy, students examine the new USDA food plate/guidelines and read and discuss current health news.  They investigate different forms of exercise including Zumba, strength training, and  water aerobics, as well as discover various ways to lead a balanced life. Finally, students examine their own eating patterns and lifestyles and conduct personal health assessments to establish long-term healthy habits.

Food, Culture and Society

This academy will teach students to cook some foods that are interesting to them. Students will also learn about some issues surrounding food in our society today including how food is impacting the environment, how food is part of globalization, and health and energy issues surrounding food. Students will select recipes that they would like to prepare and then learn about a key ingredient’s connection to culture and society.

Hathaway GREEN

Be involved! Make a difference! Let's work together to explore ways to improve our local environment through action.

Hiking and Outdoor Academy

The hiking and outdoor academy will venture out to explore a variety of trails and parks in the surrounding area. Along the way we will explore and enjoy flora, fauna, birds, and other wildlife, discuss environmentally responsible practices and learn outdoor skills such as orienteering and geocaching. We will be active and outside for most of our meeting time, therefore, appropriate clothing, footwear and outerwear will be necessary.

HB Locavores

You have probably heard about a new breed of eater…not the carnivore, herbivore or omnivore, but the LOCAVORE.  In the HB Locavores we will explore local food production on field trips and by working in HB’s vegetable garden.  We’ll cook using only local ingredients found at farmer’s markets, from the garden and from Community-Supported Agriculture.  And, at the end of the trimester, you’ll plan a Cleveland locavore’s Thanksgiving dinner, from picking recipes to finding the farms and artisan food producers to supply the ingredients to making a budget for the whole event.

Makeup, Costumes, and Props

If you have ever wanted to learn how to do character makeup for the stage, design costumes, or select and make props, this is the Academy for you!   We'll work with makeup to create flesh wounds, to contour the face with highlights and shadows, and to age a person.  Costume Design will show you how a designer and director work together to select the right costume, color, and fabric for each character in a play. Then you will design something on your own.  Props are always fun to gather or make.  You'll get to do both!

Media Literacy

Media Literacy is a discussion-based course that gives students an opportunity to take our popular culture seriously. We analyze a variety of cultural artifacts from movies to advertisements and unpack their implicit messages about consumerism and gender. We’ll also address issues that arise with social networking sites and other ways we make our own media. The goal of the course is to examine why we get what we get from our popular culture as well as its potential effects on us. 

NOTE… This Academy is required for all 7th grade students. You will be assigned to one of the three trimesters.

Ennovations PHOTO

The Ennovations PHOTO course focuses on digital still photography. In addition to becoming proficient in the use of digital cameras, students learn how to upload files and edit photos using software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. Students are taught basic principles of photography and design such as the rule of thirds and brightness and contrast. They apply several of these skills to an independent theme-based project. Additional opportunities to practice newly introduced skills include a study of famous photographers, diptychs, and ordinary objects. This academy will equip students with photography, design, and software skills which has practical application to projects in their other classes. Depending on enrollment, students taking Ennovations PHOTO may not be eligible to take other Ennovations courses.

Notorious P.O.E.T.

Alliterate, punctuate, and articulate.  Spin it, shout it, and be all about it.  Create and perform your original works to release your inner slam poet!

Pop Rocks

Are you ready to ROCK (classroom instruments style)?  Students and teacher will collaborate in arranging various pop tunes using classroom instruments.  Try a new instrument you have never played before or play your orchestral instrument in a new way!  We will be experimenting with xylophones, drums, recorders, singing, and many other classroom instruments.  Come rock the day away in POP ROCKS!

Ennovations Programming

Students in the Ennovations Programming Academy will learn how to make awesome interactive animations and games using programming apps on the iPad such as HopScotch and GamePress. Make a cat dance, tell a story with pictures and words, create an arcade game - the possibilities are endless! This academy will focus on the basic building blocks of all computer programming languages, so it's a great stepping stone to learning another computer programming language. Students will also have the opportunity to display their creations to the world via online sharing tools. Prior experience with programming is NOT required. Create, animate… ennovate! Note: When enrolling in Ennovations academies, priority will be given to those students who are taking their first Ennovations class.

Speech and Debate

Speech and debate focuses on rudimentary debate technique and public speaking. This academy involves some research and policy paper writing, but most of all it is about learning to debate.  Most of the class time is spent doing various speech activities and staging mock debates as class members learn to shape and pursue a persuasive argument while rebutting the views of the opposition.  Speech and debate is designed to appeal to those girls with a true desire to develop their public speaking skills and who enjoy the give and take of a good argument.   Students may have the opportunity to compete against other students in a Saturday speech and debate tournament as a culminating activity.


The 1st century meets the 21st century. Storytelling has been part of the human experience since the beginning of time, but will it survive the digital age?  Ensure that it does and learn to tell your story digitall-E.

Things Every Girl Should Know

This academy is about things you should know, but do not learn in school. Everything from learning the 'anatomy' of a car, to how to take a compliment, to how to sew on a button, to basic house fixes and much, much more. You will learn all you need to know to be a competent woman in today's world.


Learn to strum along with the great Ukulele players – Jake Shimabukuro, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, even Barack Obama has played the ukulele!!   If you have never played before, this is your chance to learn. If you already play and you just want to get better and learn new songs, this is your chance, too.  We will also be playing dulcimers.  Come join the fun.

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is a non-stop passing and running game played with a frisbee. It's fun to play and will teach offense, defense, and frisbee skills.


Yes, you are often told to “eat your vegetables,” but do you really listen to this advice?  Do you eat a variety of colors each day at lunch or does your plate suffer from color blindness?  Are you curious about veganism?  Join this academy to explore the world of a healthy, plant-based lifestyle where you will learn more about its health and ethical benefits while creating and sampling a variety of great-tasting foods from around the world and around the clock.

Shaker Heights, Ohio Girls K-12 Coed Early Childhood

19600 North Park Boulevard Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122 P: 216.932.4214
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