Summer at Renaissance

At Renaissance School we are committed to a love of lifelong learning! While regular classes break for the summer, learning opportunities continue. You may register using this Google Form.

Summer Classes & Workshops

Our summer classes are open to the Charlottesville community, and we have been happy to welcome students from the majority of area middle and high schools, both public and independent. The summer is a great time to focus on an area of interest, get ahead, or catch up in a more relaxed setting. You may register using this Google Form.

In 2021, the following courses are being offered (click for more information):

You may register using this Google Form. We are directly across the street from the Albemarle Courthouse on historic Court Square in downtown Charlottesville. 

Questions? Please feel free to call us on 434-984-1952 and ask for the Registrar, or email her on

Schoolwide Summer Reading

Each year, the whole RS community - students, parents, and faculty - pick from a small selection of books to read together over the summer. This informs work we do in the fall. It's a favorite tradition! This information will be updated for summer 2021. The following is the information for summer 2020.  

You are welcome to read one or two, or all three books! Audiobooks are also a great choice. All students should indicate their selection(s) at this form
Please consider ordering the following titles from New Dominion Bookshop, which is offering both curbside pick-up and delivery. All you have to do is email Our summer options for 2020 were:

Stamped (Remix)
by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
A remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Ibram X. Kendi. 
“This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.”
More info at Little Brown & Co

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
The book that grew from the NPR Fresh Air documentary of the same name. 
“In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust.” 
More info at Bloomsbury

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award
Coretta Scott King Honor (Author)
Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee (Mystery Writers of America)
Michael L. Printz Honor Book
National Book Award Longlist
William C. Morris Award
New York Times #1 Best-Seller
And Award-Winning Film
More info at Harper Collins.

Grade Level Reading Assignments

These exciting texts are picked by Ms. Goodbar and Mr. Harrison, and it is expected that all students will have read their grade-level books over the summer to be prepared for work that starts right at the start of school! Please consider ordering from New Dominion Bookshop on - they offer curbside pick up, and delivery. All students should indicate that they have a plan to read their grade-level books at this form

12th Grade

12th Grade

Jorge Luis Borges

Rising 12 Required Reading:
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (returning students only) 
2. Selections from Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges:  ISBN-10: 0811216993, ISBN-13: 978-0811216999
Required Selections from Labyrinths: 

  • “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” or  “The Immortal” 
  • “The House of Asterion”
  • Ten other stories of your choosing


  • “The Wall and the Books”
  • “The Fearful Sphere of Pascal”
  • “Valéry as Symbol”


  • “Inferno 1, 32”
  • “Ragnarök”
  • “Borges and I”
11th Grade

11th Grade

Book 1 of 2
The Oxford World's Classics Bible

Rising 11 Required Reading (2 books):
1. Selections from The Oxford World’s Classics Bible: ISBN-10: 9780199535941, ISBN-13: 978-0199535941. (Note: The introduction  is part of the required reading: It is essential that you purchase the correct edition using the ISBN number.) Required selections: 

  • Introduction

Old Testament:

  • Genesis 
  • Exodus (chapters 1-3 only) 
  • Job 
  • Song of Solomon

New Testament:

  • The Gospel According to St. Luke
11th Grade

11th Grade

Book 2a of 2
Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Dover Thrift) ISBN-10: 9780486284996,  ISBN-13: 978-0486284996

11th Grade

11th Grade

Book 2b of 2
Life of Black Hawk, or Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak

Life of Black Hawk, or Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak: Dictated by Himself (Penguin Classics, 98 pages) ISBN-10: 0143105396,  ISBN-13: 978-0143105398

10th Grade

10th Grade

The Arabian Nights
Intro b M. J. Al-Musawi

Rising 10 Required Reading: Selections from The Arabian Nights (Barnes & Noble Classics) with an Introduction by Muhsin J. Al-Musawi: ISBN-10: 1593082819,  ISBN-13: 978-1593082819. (Note: There are dozens of versions of the Arabian Nights containing different selections of stories. It is essential that you purchase the correct edition using the ISBN number.) Required selections:

  • Introduction (Scheherazade and the Sultan) and Parts 1, 2, & 3: pp. 5-91
  • Part 7 (Sinbad the Sailor) and the Appendix (Aladdin and Ali Baba):  pp. 475-653
9th Grade

9th Grade

The Alchemist
Paul Coelho

Rising 9 Required Reading:
The Alchemist — Paulo Coehlo

Additional Reading
The Life of Pi —Yann Martel
Night—Elie Wiesel

Summer Workbook

For Seniors, the summer workbook consists of:

  • Finalizing your list of 5+ books for your topic
  • Posting MLA style notes on 2+ books on the research site 

For grades 9-11, please choose three of the menu options at this form. We've added some new options, and kept some old favorites! 

Activity - Your Name
e.g., Conduct an Interview - Sammy Jones
e.g., Write a Creative Work - Cris Smith

We look forward to your submissions! When completed, you may email your summer work to before the first day of school (8/26/20).

Honoring and respecting any restrictions in place, you can modify the following to fit your circumstances.

Conduct an interview with a person who lived in a different country, referencing some of the cultural attributes of the country in which the person lived. 

Participate in a class or workshop that may be held online or at a camp, public library, YMCA, school, youth organization, etc. and write a two-paragraph summary of the experience, including what was learned.

Write a piece of creative writing that could be a collection of poetry, a short play or screenplay, a graphic novel, or work of fiction.

Attend a full (virtual) performance and create a poster advertising the event, or write a two-paragraph review of the event.

Cook 3 different dishes from 3 different countries and draft a food blog entry for each dish including photos and/or videos, reviews, and descriptions.

6. COVID-19 Response / Reflections
Huge life moments, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can inspire great art or new methods of expression. Create a piece or series inspired by your experiences this year. This could be visual or performing art, journal or writing, or another medium of your choice. Consider how this is a uniting moment for the whole world. 

Propose an experiment to relevant faculty. This experiment can be applied to any discipline. Please email your proposal to

Identify a goal involving a sport or physical activity (example: greater flexibility, faster swim times, etc).  Track the methods used to reach that goal for one month at least 4 days/week. Cite relevant examples with statistical measurements. Present your data in table or graph form.  

Design a non-profit that meets a need that you see in our community. What would the mission be? What would volunteers do during a 3-hour shift? 

Find a news article about a recent (within the last 6 months) experiment that has been conducted by professional scientists. The research can be performed in any discipline. Analyze the ethics behind the study. Communicate the ethics behind the experiment either via paragraphs or in another media.

Research state or local legislation and determine an area where legislation could be improved upon. Compose a mock bill of the legislation that could be taken to city council or the General Assembly. Discuss your legislation and get feedback from at least 3 people. Record reaction to your legislation and your thought on if the proposed legislation would pass.

Plant a garden or volunteer to help someone else with their garden (see UAC - Urban Agriculture Charlottesville).  Pick 5 - 8 plants of the same kind to measure over the course of the summer. Measure at least 2 variables at least 3 times; you decide what you want to measure (plant height, number of leaves, fruit yield, number of flowers etc.) and how often you make measurements. Present your data in the form of both tables and graphs. Research where the plants are from and report on how they got to Virginia. 

13. DESIGN A (Virtual) MUSEUM
Consider 8 - 10 pieces that interest you and design a gallery that would contain these pieces. You are the curator of this new exhibit; consider how you would display them and design a floorplan of the gallery. Include a curator's statement (at least one paragraph) with your design. Why did you choose these pieces of art or artifacts? What would you call this exhibit? What theme(s) unite the works in the gallery?

Return to the exhibits, presentations, challenges and performances from Portfolio Season (many are at this link -  Create (or complete) a project inspired by those exhibitions (including 6th Day Challenges). Explore one of the themes in a creative and in-depth way. 

Set quantifiable strength, speed, and/or stamina goals for the summer, or set a target exercise schedule as the goal itself. This could include taking a class, training for a particular event (e.g., a race), or be independent. Create a log to track your progress. Be careful and hydrated. Track your progress, including observations about how you feel before and after exercise, and how you feel on days you do not exercise. 

Grades 9-11, please indicate your three choices at this form

Activity - Your Name
e.g., Conduct an Interview - Sammy Jones
e.g., Write a Creative Work - Cris Smith

We look forward to your submissions! When completed, you may email your summer work to before the first day of school (8/26/20).