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Environmental Studies Academy (ESA)

Specialty Centers:
Environmental Studies Academy (ESA)
at Western Albemarle High School​​​​​

Environmental studies is the interdisciplinary academic field that studies human interaction with the natural environment in the interest of solving complex problems. The Environmental Studies Academy is a “fun and challenging”, high school option for students to consider. This program stresses collaboration, project based learning, and engagement through labs and hands-on learning. All ESA students will develop a comprehensive digital portfolio including work samples and a capstone project.

The ESA is a four-year academic program designed to prepare students for a variety of college and career options. Curricular focus includes three broad concentrations that are integrated throughout the course offerings. The curricular concentrations include, but are not limited to: 

  • Agricultural: Career pathway in Agricultural sciences, Horticulture, green materials, and sustainability. May include industry certifications. 
  • Conservation: Career or educational pathway in resource management, including fisheries, wildlife, forestry, land use, natural resources, Ecology, and alternative energy. 
  • Research Focus: Educational pathway preparing students to pursue careers in Environmental Science, Research, Health, Policy, Law, and Physical and Earth Sciences.

This program is offered at Western Albemarle High School, but is available to all Albemarle County Public Schools students. Applications should be submitted to your school counseling office by the deadline.

  
ESA BIO of Environment / BIO 107
PVCC

Presents the basic concepts of environmental science through a topical approach. Includes the scientific method, population growth and migration, use of natural resources and waste management, ecosystem simplification recovery, evolution, biogeochemical cycles, photosynthesis and global warming, geological formations, atmosphere and climate, and ozone depletion and acid deposition.​

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1; 4 dual enrollment college credits with PVCC
Honors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4219DE
Grades: 11
ESA Biosystems: Biology/Ecology, Honors

​This course combines the curriculum of Biology and Ecology and is analyzed through an environmentally-based lens. Students will earn 2 science credits and take the end of year SOL in Biology. ESA Biology offers a foundation in the study of the living processes that shape our world. Cell structure, function, genetics, adaptations, and importance are emphasized. This course combines the physical abiotic factors of our Ecosphere with the living biotic organisms to study the interconnectivity of the Biosphere. Ecological concepts such as energy flow, bio-geochemical cycles, and ecosystem dynamics all are studied. The primary objectives are to enhance the student’s understanding of the complexity and diversity of the dynamic living Earth. Laboratory experiments are used to teach conceptual themes.

Prerequisite(s): ESA Geosystems
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 2
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4108
Grades: 10
ESA Biosystems: Botany/Horticulture I, Honors

​This course combines an introduction to plant systems, ecological systems, basic horticulture, and greenhouse management. Our concentration is on the plant growth, identification, classification, genetics, and reproduction of various plant families.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4324
Grades: 10
ESA Botany/Horticulture II, Honors

​Building on the skills and knowledge obtained in Horticulture I, students will develop competencies in each of the major areas of the Plant Systems career pathway including applied botany, plant propagation, plant care and selection. Curriculum focuses on the horticulture plant production industry through the lens of sustainability, including the science of plant production as well as marketing and business management.

Prerequisite(s): ESA Biosystems: Botany/Horticulture I, Honors
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4328
Grades: 11
ESA Chemistry I, Honors
Standards of Learning

​Students are introduced to basic chemical concepts including composition of matter, atomic structure, periodic table, chemical bonding, formulas and equations, reacting quantities, gas laws, and acid base theory. The investigative skills used by practicing scientists are emphasized.

Prerequisite(s): Algebra II
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4412
Grades: 11
ESA Environmental Science, Advanced Placement

​AP Environmental Science is offered to students who are interested in taking the AP Environmental Science exam for college credit. The AP content outline (available from College Board) is closely followed in this course. Topics covered in the course include: interrelationships with the natural world, global changes and their consequences, human population dynamics, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and environmental ethics.

Prerequisite(s): Biology I; Algebra I
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4270
Grades: 11
ESA Geosystems: Geology / Earth Science, Honors

​This course combines the curriculum of Geology and Earth Science. Students will earn 2 science credits and take the end of year SOL in Earth Science.

ESA Geology offers a foundation in the study of the geologic processes that have formed our world and the scientific skills used to observe and interpret it. In this laboratory course, students will learn about Earth’s structure, plate tectonics, minerals, rocks, Virginia’s geologic provinces, natural resources, weathering, erosion, soils and natural resources, and comparative planetary geology.

ESA Earth Science expands three of the four major concepts of Earth science stressing Oceanography, Astronomy, and Meteorology. The primary objectives are to enhance the student’s understanding and appreciation of Earth’s systems and, through this knowledge, to encourage students to become responsible citizens. Students will learn about the physical environment and environmental issues facing the world in these disciplines. Laboratory experiments are used to teach conceptual themes.

Prerequisite(s): ESA Acceptance
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 2
Honors Geology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4242
Honors Earth Science. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4251
Grades: 9
ESA Geosystems: World Geography: Physical and Human, Honors

​World Geography provides a rigorous curriculum that introduces students to the study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. The content and perspectives of the course are centered on the world’s peoples and their cultural characteristics, landforms, climates, economic development, migration, and settlement patterns. Spatial concepts of geography will be used as a framework for studying interactions between humans and their environments. The skills of analytical reading, writing, and research will be key components of this course and will be practiced daily. This course is designed to expand academy students understanding of culture, environmental impact, natural resources, and global citizenship.

Prerequisite(s): ESA Acceptance
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2209
Grades: 9
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