Science

Our Science Department combines scientific inquiry and critical thinking to help students pose good questions, design experiments to address them, and interpret the data collected in order to extract meaningful results.

Our course offerings emphasize collaborative and project-based work, regular hands-on laboratory work, and rigorous analytical thinking to take students beyond traditional rote memorization of concepts. Our goal is to produce scientifically literate, life-long learners with a deep and rich appreciation of their world.

Small class sizes and modern, computerized laboratories provide ready-access to state-of-the-art equipment. Our faculty provide an appropriate balance of motivation and support to further students’ understanding, by connecting the scientific concepts explored in their coursework to real-world applications.

Coursework and Requirements

Coursework and Requirements
Freshmen and sophomore students take an introductory sequence: physics, chemistry and biology that exposes them to core science disciplines. Juniors and Seniors select from an array of advanced courses that emphasize an interdisciplinary approach and mastery of material that is meaningful beyond the classroom. Many students take more than one science course concurrently during their junior and senior years.

Unique Offerings

Thacher’s Horse Program and 427-acre campus nestled in the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest provide opportunities that students won’t find anywhere else. The veterinary medicine class benefits from hands-on care of our own horses and pigs right here on site, while our environmental science and other courses make classrooms of outdoor spaces, from creek beds to beehives, solar fields to composting facilities.

The dark night skies in Ojai also provide excellent opportunities for hands-on learning in our 
astronomy courses. The Thacher Observatory, which underwent a major renovation during the Fall of 2016, is now a state-of-the-art research-grade facility. It offers students in our astronomy and data science courses significant opportunities for applied learning and represents one of the finest such facilities at any high school in the nation. 
 
The Observatory also supports NASA-funded research on eclipsing binary stars and transiting exoplanets led by one of our own faculty members in partnership with Harvard University and Boston University.  You can learn more about our astronomy program, and the ways that it intersects with and complements our robotics and computer programming offerings, here.

- Leo

In Advanced Topics in Environmental Science, Mr. Pidduck made sure the things we learned in the classroom were grounded in our interactions with the surrounding environment. I came away a changed person, both more aware of my natural surroundings and passionate about protecting them.”

East Hampton, New York

Science Department News