Departments & Courses

At Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, we design challenging curricula to engage the whole student. 

From thoughtful core classes to rigorous honors and Advanced Placement courses, SHC’s learning infrastructure and integrated cocurriculars support educational excellence and individualized learning. A dynamic blend of liberal arts, scientific inquiry, and 21st-century pedagogy develops resourceful, independent thinkers. Our 75-minute block schedule facilitates project-based, collaborative learning as well as college and career habits of mind. Continuing the Lasallian Vincentian tradition of transformative education, SHC’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers and staff nurture a life-long commitment to learning through compassionate service to others.

Current Courses

This course’s study of archetypal literature provides a basic understanding of the writer’s craft. English 1,2 teaches vocabulary and grammar through context and application. Students compose creative writing inspired by the literature as well as practice the composition of timed essays and the process method for basic three-part explanatory, contrast and problem-solving essays. Throughout the course, students employ literary terminology in text-centered verbal and written discourse. Note: students in the DePaul Scholar and I2 Programs will have a summer assignment in this course.

Incorporating service learning and highlighting the immigrant experience, students build upon their skills from English 1,2 with a greater focus on poetry and drama. Students will engage with a variety of perspectives surrounding the themes of epiphany, adolescence, morality, and ethnicity as they strengthen their critical literacy and writing abilities.  

This course explores all the topics covered in 10th grade English, but in greater depth and intensity. Students read more and at a more rapid pace; students write more challenging and more frequent essays. This course is designed to prepare underclassmen for the English advanced placement program.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Writing sample 2) Either an A in English 1 or a PSAT 8/9 score in or above the 80th percentile. 

This rigorous course is the study of rhetoric, the art of verbal expression. This course examines the cultural contexts for critical thinking and writing, focusing on the myths that dominate American Culture. Reading widely from both fiction and nonfiction, students learn to identify stylistic strategies rooted in voice, tone, diction, punctuation and structure. In this writing intensive course, students become more accomplished writers by consistently applying what they have learned to their own compositions. Students must take the Advanced Placement exam.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Either a cumulative 3.5 GPA in all previous English courses or AP Potential Score and 2) Writing Sample

Surveying world literature, this writing-intensive course focuses on college-level literary analysis. Taught like a college class, the course includes close reading of sophisticated texts, an examination of narrative style and structure, and an extensive review of poetic technique. Each semester, the course culminates in the composition of a college-level literary paper. Students must take the Advanced Placement exam.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Either a cumulative 3.5 GPA in all previous English courses or AP Potential Score and 2) Writing Sample

Journalism is the systematic gathering, interpreting, processing and disseminating of information, opinion and entertainment for publication. This course is an academic subject requiring substantial reading and writing. Legal, ethical and sociological aspects of journalism come under intense scrutiny. Students learn many aspects of newspaper and magazine journalism, including reporting, interviewing, feature and investigative writing, new journalism techniques, editing, computer layout and design. Prerequisites: Students must be 10th, 11th, or 12th graders with a cumulative 2.5 GPA in all previous English courses. Note: As an elective, this course does not count toward the English graduation requirements. The course is offered outside the regular school day as a blended course, with both in-person class meetings and online learning.

The word “modernism” implies a self-conscious break from the past. In the United States and Europe, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the ache of modernism was so fervent in literature, art, philosophy and architecture that the era took this “modern” name. While engaging with the era's poets and authors, students will examine this break from the past and the impact it has had on literature as a whole. Students will then examine modernism as a specific era of history and analyze the wave of modernism in other branches of expression. Prerequisites: English 1-4.

What does it mean to be human? How much control do we humans have over our physical and mental capacities, or over our external world? Does technology allow us to play God? Literature and Science seeks to define what it means to be human by examining classic and contemporary literature that explores bioethical issues. Based in texts such as Shelly’s Frankenstein, Hawthorne’s "The Birthmark", Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, students explore and debate some of the most provocative political and moral issues of our time.  As young adults, as emergent voters in the biotech hub Bay Area, as students at a Catholic school, and ultimately as human beings, our students will be asked to understand and to decide an array of bioethical issues. Though it will not manufacture answers, this course will stimulate ethical inquiry through narrative as well as hone literary and writing skills.

Prerequisites:  English 1-4.

The “Golden Age of Athens” has a rightful claim as the basis of western civilization; architecture, sculpture, art, politics, philosophy, and drama flowered in this brief period of history. This course will try to form a picture of life in the “Golden Age” of the Greeks from the fragments we have left. How can imagination fill in missing pieces of this historical puzzle? Students will study the dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes in context of the Festival for Dionysius as well as the chronologies of Herodotus (“the Father of History”) and Thucydides. Students will also take a look at the major characters that shaped this protean period of time: Pericles, Socrates (via Plato), Themistocles, and Phidias among others. Students will then finally contemplate a new question: why does this classic era still influence today’s postmodern world? 

Prerequisites: English 1-4.

The completion of this course will develop the student’s Shakespearean eye and ear through poetry and drama, and the study of William Shakespeare, the person within his historical context. Since even a year-long university course would have difficulty examining the entirety of Shakespeare’s works (38 plays, 154 sonnets and other long poems), this semester course does not aim to digest the whole of Shakespeare at once or promise the mastery of Shakespeare, but rather provides an in-depth sampling of each of the three categories of plays (history, comedy and tragedy) originally presented in the First Folio, along with a tasting of some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Shakespearean drama was meant to be seen and heard; while our postmodern world offers us the convenience of Shakespeare’s works in text format, participation as both an audience member and as an actor will be essential to the completion of this course. Putting drama into action will also help students imagine the motivation of the playwright, actor and audience member during Shakespeare’s time. 

Prerequisites: English 1-4.

This course takes a scholarly approach to the appreciation and understanding of classic science fiction. Far from the light sabers and scaly monsters of pop/genre fiction, this course presents an argument for speculative literature as one of the most cogent, serious and exciting literary forms in modern times. The course examines the history and evolution of speculative literature from its origins in ancient folklore through its golden age and onward to its contemporary forms, with special attention to such enduring sci-fi motifs as technological innovation, robotics, alien contact, time and space travel, human evolution and apocalypse. Prerequisites:  English 1-4.

More than a form of communication for the Irish people, language is often a means for playing a verbal game and for creating an identity. As anyone who has attempted it will no doubt attest, mundane conversation with an Irish person is virtually impossible. Irish writers are renowned for their satirical accounts of life in a war-torn, impoverished nation. This course will examine several classic Irish works, with a particular eye toward the use of humor as a means for coping with oppression and depression. Prerequisites:  English 1-4.

This course explores the literary, geographical, political, and cultural influence of setting and authorial background on narrative, content and style. What happens to narrative voice when we cross oceans? How can stories honor our ancestors and ourselves? What do we do when our hearts belong to two or even three countries? This course surveys short stories, poetry, memoirs, and brief nonfiction writings by Asian American authors, as well as writing by authors from China, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Besides enjoying vibrant prose, students will refine their college level skills in oral and written discourse, as well as closely examine the issue of narrative perspective.

Prerequisites: English 1-4.

This semester length course will examine several classic African American writers, with a particular eye towards the use of writing to address social change, oppression, and the examination of the self as an individual. We will begin by positioning African American literature within an American literary history. Specifically, we will consider models of storytelling that shape African American narratives. We will consider African Americans’ understandings of themselves in narratives, as well as the ways in which they have historically been understood in the American popular imagination. Finally we will dissect not only the historical and political contexts of the works, but also the ways in which issues of gender, sexuality, and class  inform the works.

Prerequisites: English 1-4.

Revolutionary Women's Literature takes a scholarly approach to the appreciation and understanding of the impact American female writers have made on American literature and social history. The course examines the challenges these literary pioneers overcame through analysis of the intersection of their personal lives and the social issues that inspired their work. While disparate in style and subject matter, Dickinson, Chopin, Hurston and Hellman all flouted convention to promote the causes of not only women but also other disempowered Americans.

Prerequisites: English 1-4.

Before humankind invented written language, we told stories with pictures, evidenced by the crude drawings found on caves walls in southern France and Spain. As written language evolved and became the preferred medium for storytelling, visual storytelling persisted through church windows, tapestries, oil paintings and comic texts, maintaining an important role in the transmission of the stories of the people by whom and for whom they were created. Ours is an era of increasingly complex visualization with the use of digital technologies and the proliferation of these images via the Internet.How well do we understanding the medium of visuals for storytelling? In this course, students will learn the vocabulary of graphic novels and examine how graphic novels build the interpretive skills students already know about works of fiction and non-fiction. Readings will include texts that showcase the possibilities of graphic novels to tell a story, convey historical knowledge, offer commentary on the human condition and more. While the majority of assessments will be written in text-only language, students will have an opportunity to create their own short-length graphic stories.Prerequisites: English 1-4.

This course is an introduction to French language and culture. Its goal is for students to communicate effectively in French at a mid-novice level in the four basic skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing (with an emphasis on listening comprehension and speaking), and to begin learning about francophone culture. Areas of study include greeting, food, family, school, time, weather, clothing and popular culture. Points of grammar include subject pronouns; the present, passé composé, and immediate future tenses of regular and irregular verbs; gender; agreement; question formation; and the syntax of simple, compound and some complex sentences. Students develop an appreciation for global cultures in the the francophone world including the cultures of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Caribbean and Africa. Class work includes paired and group activities, dialogues and conversation, and is reinforced with online resources.

This course builds on the language competencies achieved in French 1,2 in the four basic language skill areas. Its goal include communicating effectively in French at an intermediate level and learning more about francophone culture. Areas of study include transportation, travel, professions, geography, grooming, sports, and leisure. Points of grammar include all personal pronouns, reflexive verbs, the imperative, the imperfect and conditional tenses, and relative clauses. The francophone cultural focus includes Paris, the Loire Valley, the Caribbean, Quebec, and the Maghreb countries of North Africa. Class work includes the consistent use of French in written work, paired and group activities, dialogues and conversations, and is reinforced with online resources. 

Prerequisites: French 1,2 or placement based on exam.

This course is designed to prepare students for the French AP course in subsequent years. Students develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication, as well as sophisticated listening, speaking, writing and reading skills. Dialogues, songs, poems, and news program expose students to a variety of vocabulary and a range of accents used in the French-speaking world. Students acquire a command of fluent, automatic and authentic contemporary French by performing skits, dialogues and oral presentations, and by participating in discussions and debates on issues such as the influence of media, global warming, science and ethics, immigration and tolerance. They express original ideas in writing, using practical and abstract vocabulary and complex grammatical structures and verb tenses (including all personal pronouns, reflexive verbs, the imperative, the imperfect and conditional tenses, and relative clauses.) They read and understand a variety of documents, especially those referencing current events in the French speaking world.

French 3,4 Honors is an accelerated course; however, because the UC system requires two years of a language course prior to granting honors credit, French 3,4 Honors does not confer a weighted grade. 

Notes: this course includes a summer assignment. 

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.0 GPA in French 1,2 2) Placement test.

Expanding on communication skills practiced in previous levels of French study, students will learn to express themselves at a novice high/intermediate low level. They will use French language more completely and fluidly by acquiring a broader vocabulary, complex grammatical structures, and idiomatic expressions as well as by expanding their knowledge of verb tenses. They will continue to improve their ability to read materials from newspaper articles to short stories, and they will strengthen their writing skills as they learn how to write compositions, give detailed explanations, narrate stories using pictures, and compare and contrast ideas. They will become acquainted with important figures who contributed to history, art, science, music, movies and environment in the French-speaking world. Students will interact in small pairs or small groups as they apply their knowledge in situations typical of those one might encounter when communicating with French speakers. They will watch and listen to news programs in French and discuss various current events.

Prerequisites: French 3,4. 

Students who complete this course will be well-prepared for the rigors of French AP the following year. Students develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication, as well as sophisticated listening, speaking, writing and reading skills. Dialogues, songs, poems, and news program expose students to a variety of vocabulary and a range of accents used in the French-speaking world. Students acquire a command of fluent, automatic and authentic contemporary French by performing skits, dialogues and oral presentations, and by participating in discussions and debates on issues such as the influence of media, global warming, science and ethics, immigration and tolerance. They express original ideas in writing, using practical and abstract vocabulary and complex grammatical structures and verb tenses (including all personal pronouns, reflexive verbs, the imperative, the imperfect and conditional tenses, and relative clauses.) They read and understand a variety of documents, especially those referencing current events in the French speaking world. Students read Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. All activities will be conducted in French.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A 3.5 GPA in French 3,4 2) Placement test

This advanced French course addresses themes of Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics. Daily activities immerse students in college-level French in preparation for the AP French Language and Culture exam in May. Instruction facilitates active listening, writing, speaking and reading, as well as practice in interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communication in real-life settings. The course includes extensive practice in the writing of compositions and the use of podcasts, digital articles, videos, news clips, and songs from an array of francophone sources. Classes will be conducted entirely in French. 

Note: this course will have a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 GPA in French 5,6 Honors or French 5,6 2) Placement test.

This course continues the emphasis on spoken French while exposing students to a greater knowledge of French culture and society. Students will participate in debates and discussions, perform skits and dialogues, and present oral projects. Short stories, French novels, and shorter pieces of literature will be read and discussed. Students will expand on their writing skills, and will draft and revise complex essays and compositions. Students will watch French movies and news programs, and listen to French songs. All activities will be conducted in French. 

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 2.0 GPA in French 5,6.

This course in beginning Spanish provides an introduction to understanding, listening to, speaking, reading, and writing modern Spanish. Students learn to speak with correct pronunciation and intonation, and develop their speaking, reading, and writing skills in the present, preterit, present progressive, and future tense. Students discover an understanding and appreciation of the Spanish language and the array of Spanish-speaking cultures through informal and formal oral presentations, projects, readings, writing, and digital resources. Students are encouraged to speak in Spanish as consistently as possible.

This course is for Spanish-speaking students in the 9th and 10th grade. The course will focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to develop effective communication in standard Spanish. This course incorporates the first and second-year Spanish curriculum but with more in-depth study and more extensive expectations of student performance.  Additional activities will include multimedia formal and informal presentations, and reading short literary works in the context of the Spanish speaking world. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish. Students who successfully complete the course will progress to third year level Spanish 5,6 or 5,6 Honors. 

Prerequisites:  Being able to understand and to speak conversational Spanish.

Este curso es para estudiantes de nivel 9° y 10° que ya hablan español. El curso se concentra en mejorar las habilidades en expresión oral, escritura, lectura, y desarrollo en conocimientos gramaticales.

Requisitos:  Comprender y hablar español.

This class is a continuation of Spanish 1,2. It continues the emphasis on the spoken language with correct pronunciation, intonation and grammar usage. Speaking, listening, reading and writing are expanded through longer reading selections and more complex applications. Students will explore specific linguistic, cultural, geographical and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world through multimedia. Students strengthen their use of the spoken language in the tenses learned in the first year as well as the imperfect tense and introduction to the subjunctive mood. Students will be assessed through projects, compositions, formal and informal presentations. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish. 

Prerequisites: Cumulative 2.0 GPA in Spanish 1,2, or placement based on exam.

This course incorporates the second-year Spanish curriculum, with more in-depth study and more extensive expectations of student performance in language acquisition skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Students explore specific linguistic, cultural, geographical, and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world multimedia resources. Students strengthen their use of the tenses learned in the first year as well as of the imperfect tense and introduction to the subjunctive mood. Research projects, essays, and formal and informal presentations in the target language allow students to demonstrate both skills and an appreciation of Spanish-speaking language and cultures. This course is conducted predominantly in Spanish. 

Spanish 3,4 Honors is an accelerated course; however, because the UC system requires two years of a language course prior to granting honors credit, Spanish 3,4 Honors does not confer a weighted grade.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA in Spanish 1,2 2) Placement test.

This course builds on the skills of Spanish 3,4 or 3,4 Honors, developing Spanish-language conversational ability, vocabulary and literary knowledge. Students are required to use all tenses in writing and speaking; they deliver formal oral presentations, conduct research, and draft essays in Spanish using all grammatical structures. Hispanic literature, art, current events, and multimedia resources are analyzed for cultural enrichment and to develop skills. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish.

Prerequisites:  Spanish 3,4

This course builds on the skills of Spanish 3,4 or 3,4 Honors, developing Spanish-language conversational ability, vocabulary, and literary knowledge at a fast pace to prepare students for the Spanish AP course the following year. Students are required to use all tenses in writing and speaking; they deliver formal oral presentations, conduct research, and draft essays in Spanish using all grammatical structures. Hispanic literature, art, current events, and multimedia resources are analyzed for cultural enrichment and to develop skills. This course will be conducted predominantly in Spanish.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA in Spanish 3,4 H or Spanish 3,4  2) Placement test.

This college-level Spanish course prepares students for the AP Spanish exam and develops their daily proficiency in interpersonal (interactive), interpretive (receptive) and presentational (productive) communication in Spanish. By studying the communication, cultures, and communities of the Spanish-speaking world and making connections and comparisons to students' own language communities, the course develops language skills that are broadly useful and can be applied to a range of disciplines. The course incorporates extensive practice in the writing of compositions, and is conducted entirely in Spanish.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA in Spanish 5,6 or Spanish 5,6 Honors 2) Placement test.

This course continues to develop the ability to speak, understand, read and write Spanish in academic and real-world contexts. The content expands knowledge of the culture and history of Spanish-speaking countries and prepares the student to use Spanish in daily conversation. Students use print and multimedia resources to learn about the geography, economics, political institutions, literature, music, and architecture of Spain and Latin America.

Prerequisites:  Spanish 5,6 or 5,6 Honors

This course is designed for students with no prior Japanese language experience. Students begin to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of Japan. Initially students will learn the elements of the Japanese alphabet and how to speak, read, and write basic statements necessary for everyday, elementary conversation. Students will learn how to convey and ask for basic information as they begin to explore Japanese culture.

This course is a continuation of Japanese 1,2. Students expand their ability to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as their ability to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of the Japanese culture. This course is designed to facilitate the understanding and articulation of abstract ideas, event sequencing, and expression of opinions as students deepen their exploration of the Japanese culture.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: Japanese 1,2. 

This course represents a continuation of Japanese 3,4. Students expand their ability to speak, understand, read, and write Japanese as well as their ability to appreciate the attitudes, values, and customs of the Japanese culture. The course includes extensive use of oral and written activities with short story readings and writing exercises, and incorporates some preparation for the AP Japanese exam. Students build on knowledge from prior courses to converse, to convey and elicit more complex information necessary for everyday life among native Japanese speakers, and to broaden their knowledge of the Japanese culture. As they progress, students gain the ability to express their opinions and beliefs in sophisticated ways.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  Japanese 3,4. 

This course represents a continuation of Japanese 5,6. Students develop sophisticated communication skills by listening and reading in a variety of styles, practicing oral conversation in class, and engaging in frequent written exercises. Students will expand their study of Japanese culture and society as they learn the Japanese language. 

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  Japanese 5,6. 

This course is an intense continuation of Japanese 5,6, intended to prepare students for the AP Japanese exam in May. Students practice extensive oral conversation in class; conduct presentations and debates; complete numerous written exercises including journal entries, essays and research reports; and read a variety of literature and non-fiction including letters, short stories, and journal articles. Students are more deeply exposed to Japanese culture as they learn the language at a college-level. This is the most advanced course offered in Japanese, and requires daily engagement with both the basic and more complex aspects of the Japanese language. Note: this course includes a summer assignment

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  Cumulative 4.0 GPA in Japanese 5,6. 

American Sign Language 1,2, a first-year ASL course, introduces students to five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition planned for the coming four years. These areas are Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings.

ASL 1,2 students will be introduced to basic grammar and syntax of ASL, vocabulary, and Deaf History. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into another, as well as focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. In addition, students will be introduced to basic conversational skills. Students will learn about Deaf History as they explore the origins of American Sign Language.

American Sign Language 3,4 is a second year ASL course designed to build on the foundation of ASL 1,2. Students will continue to focus on five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will build on their basic grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and will continue to learn more about Deaf Culture. 

Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into another. We will focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. In addition, students will continue to build and refine their basic conversational skills. Students will learn more about Deaf History/Culture as they explore the origins of ASL in various settings.

Prerequisites: ASL 1,2.

American Sign Language 5,6, a third year ASL course, continues to expose students to five areas of language and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will continue to use and build grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and will learn how to interpret in various subject areas, specifically in a K-12 setting. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into a source language and from a source language into a target language. Lessons will continue focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build ASL technique and knowledge. ASL 5,6 students will be introduced to basic interpreting skills, along with the role and responsibilities of being an interpreter for the deaf.

Note: Participation in this course requires attendance at two functions outside the daily schedule.

Prerequisites: ASL 3,4. 

American Sign Language 7,8, a fourth year ASL course, deepens student engagement with the five areas of linguistic and cultural acquisition: Content, Communication, Cultures, Structures, and Settings. Students will continue to use and build grammar/ASL syntax, vocabulary, and learn how to interpret in various subject areas, specifically in a 9-12 setting. Students will produce project pieces that demonstrate their understanding of ASL syntax, glossing from one target language into a source language and from a source language into a target language. In addition, students will focus on developing and retaining vocabulary, fingerspelling development, sentence formation, and use of ASL syntax to build their ASL technique and knowledge. ASL 7,8 students will continue to further their interpreting skills, along with their understanding of the role and responsibilities of being an interpreter for the deaf.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in American Sign Language 5,6. Please see note on advanced study in LOTE.

This course is designed for students with limited or no foundation in the Mandarin language. The course emphasizes students’ ability to speak, understand, read, and write Chinese and develops an appreciation for the attitudes, values, and customs of the Chinese culture.  Initially students will learn the elements of the Chinese Pinyin, partial radicals, and approximately 500 words which they will use to speak, read and write at the elementary conversational level.

This course is designed for students who have completed one year of Mandarin or its equivalent. The curriculum emphasizes students’ ability to speak, understand, read, and write Chinese and develops an appreciation of the attitudes, values, and customs of the Chinese culture.  Composition exercises ensure competence in various modes of real-world communication, from formal essays to emails, letters, diary entries and videos.  Students develop skills to collaborate, to share information, and to express feelings and opinions.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Mandarin 1,2 or placement exam.

This course is designed for students who have completed two years of Mandarin or its equivalent. It emphasizes students’ ability to speak, understand, read, and write Chinese and deepens their appreciation of the attitudes, values, and customs of the Chinese culture. Class immersion in the language will reinforce the ability to express independent ideas and to communicate persuasively. The Mandarin 5,6 curriculum draws on the many resources and opportunities available in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Chinese Language competitions.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Mandarin 3,4

This level is tailored for students who demonstrate an intermediate mastery of Chinese. The primary goal of Mandarin 7,8 is to deepen students’ immersion into the language and the culture of the Chinese-speaking world. This course continues to emphasize fluency with the spoken language while exposing students to a greater breadth of Chinese culture and society, including studying the major political figures and pop culture. Students participate in discussions of literature and videos, perform skits and dialogues, present oral projects, and research real-life situations such as planning a trip to China. All activities, including the online reader, iChinese, will be conducted in Mandarin.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Mandarin 5,6

The primary goal of Mandarin 7/8 / Chinese AP is to help students establish a solid foundation of vocabulary, grammar, knowledge of Chinese culture, and communication skills through listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course is designed to help students develop skills to communicate in Chinese in authentic contexts and express their viewpoints appropriately, precisely, logically and coherently. This course develops language skills that are broadly useful and that can be applied to a range of disciplines while preparing students for the AP Exam. Classes are conducted entirely in Mandarin.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 3.5 GPA in Mandarin 5,6 

Algebra 1,2 prepares students to solve, graph, and interpret the solutions to real world problems using linear equations and inequalities, exponential functions, and quadratic equations. Students will develop fluency with mathematical vocabulary as they frame real world problems within a mathematical context, develop strategies to address the problem, and interpret the solution(s).

Algebra 1,2Honors prepares students to solve, graph, and interpret the solutions to real world problems using linear equations and inequalities, exponential functions, and quadratic equations. Students will develop fluency with mathematical vocabulary as they frame real world problems within a mathematical context, develop strategies to address the problem, and interpret the solution(s). 

Algebra 1,2Honors covers additional topics and in greater depth than preparatory Algebra 1,2. Because the UC system does not accord honors credit to ninth grade courses, however, Algebra 1,2 Honors does not confer a weighted grade.

Students completing this course will have mastered the fundamental concepts of plane geometry, properties of similarity, congruence, transformations, triangles, polygons, and circles. Studies will focus on application of these concepts to real life situations and assessed using project based presentations. Prerequisites: Algebra 1,2

By the end of this course, students will be able to solve algebra problems using rational, irrational and complex numbers. They will also be able to manipulate algebraic expressions and solve problems including polynomials, rational functions, logarithm expressions and conics. Finally, they will be able to solve basic trigonometric problems involving the six trigonometric functions and they will examine, prove, and use trigonometric identities to solve problems.

Prerequisites:  Rising sophomores must have a 3.5 GPA in Honors Algebra or a 4.0 GPA in Algebra; rising juniors must have a 3.0 GPA in Algebra Honors or Algebra.

Students who complete this course will have mastered topics introduced during their first year of Algebra. They will also be able to solve problems involving linear equations, rational numbers, complex numbers and polynomials. Topics will also include conic sections, rational expressions and equations, inverse functions, radical expressions and equations, logarithms and inverse variation. Prerequisites: Geometry 1,2

Students completing this course will have the ability to write and solve problems using the six trigonometric functions. Students will also to be able to create and use the unit circle and all of its trigonometric components for problem solving.  Students will have the ability to read and graph periodic trigonometric functions. Students will also examine and prove trigonometric identities. This course will be necessary for any student wishing to take Pre-Calculus in college. Please note:  Students who have completed Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry may NOT enroll in this course. Exceptions may be granted to students whose performance in the trigonometry portion of the course resulted in a deficient grade. Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Advanced Algebra 1,2.

This semester course provides a foundation in elementary statistics for students who might take a statistics course in college. Topics include data collection and experiment design, exploratory data analysis and probability. Students will learn how to use computer software and technology to interpret statistical data. Prerequisites:  A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Advanced Algebra 1,2.

This course is designed for students who wish to expand their knowledge of trigonometric functions. Students will use trigonometry in a variety of applications and word problems. Students completing this course will have an in-depth grasp of how trigonometric equations and functions relate to an xy-coordinate plane graph. Topics include: elementary functions and their graphs, analytic trigonometry, plane analytic geometry, sequences and series. Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Advanced Algebra/Trig 1,2.
Note: Students will not be eligible to enter Calculus AB Advanced Placement from this course.

Students completing this course will have an in-depth grasp of elementary functions and their graphs, analytic trigonometry, plane analytic geometry, sequences, series and limits.  The course also includes an introduction to differential calculus. Note: Summer courses in Advanced Algebra/Trig will not facilitate placement into Advanced Pre-Calculus.

Prerequisites: A cumulative 3.5 GPA in Advanced Algebra/Trig 1,2 with a score of 80% or better on the spring final exam.

This course is designed for students who wish to continue to study the concepts of Pre-Calculus through an introduction to differential and integral calculus. Emphasis will be placed on limits, continuity, differential, and integrals of algebraic and trigonometric functions with one variable.


Prerequisites: A cumulative 3.0 GPA in preparatory Pre-Calculus or a cumulative 2.0 GPA in Advanced Pre-Calculus.

This yearlong course covers one semester of a college-level elementary statistics class. Topics include data collection and experiment design, exploratory data analysis (graphical and numerical techniques), probability and statistical inference. Students will have the opportunity to take the AP Statistics exam but they are not required to do so. Prerequisites: A cumulative 2.0 GPA in Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry 1,2.

This year-long course covers two semesters of a college-level elementary statistics class. Topics include data collection and experiment design, exploratory data analysis (graphical and numerical techniques), probability and statistical inference. 

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.0 GPA in Advanced Pre-Calculus  2) A cumulative 3.5 GPA in Statistics 1,2 or preparatory Pre-Calculus  3) AP Potential Score.

At the end of this course, students will be able to solve problems involving conic sections, derivatives, integrals and their applications.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites:  1) A cumulative 3.0 GPA in Advanced Pre-Calculus or preparatory Calculus 2) 80% or better on the spring final in Advanced Pre-Calculus or preparatory Calculus 3) AP Potential Score

Students who complete this course will be able to solve problems involving sequences, series, power series, Taylor series, parametric equations, polar coordinates, analytic geometry, vectors, vector applications and matrices.

Prerequisites:  1) A cumulative 3.0 GPA in Calculus AB 1,2   2) An 80% or better on the spring final in Calculus AB 2

This course begins with an introductory unit on Roman Catholicism and on critical literacy strategies for reading religious texts before surveying the history of the Hebrew people and the development of their faith. Students examine how the Hebrew people discovered the natures of God and of humans through the successes and failures of patriarchs, prophets, priests and kings. Students are asked to read critically to discern the authors’ original intents and to read reflectively and prayerfully to discern the workings of God in human history. They are challenged to compare the historical religious experience of the Hebrews with their own experiences. Building on these historical and critical foundations, students then explore the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the development of the early church as witnessed by the writers of the four Gospels and the Epistles. Here too, students are challenged to make a critical application to their own lives of the teachings of Christ as understood by the faith experiences of his followers and the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Note: this course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

This course begins with the New Testament infancy of the church and traces the church’s development through the centuries to the present day. Students examine church governance, images and models as they evolved over the years, and learn how the church understood itself and its mission in the world from the Patristic period to the Second Vatican Council. Students will further study the church as a historical and religious institution partly conditioned by and conditioning the course of Western Civilization, and will reflect on the church’s global role in the contemporary world. Note: this class meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

This course satisfies graduation requirements for both Religious Studies and Visual & Performing Arts. The course explores the timeline and events in the rise of Christianity, while developing critical skills and aesthetic vocabulary in order to understand how art was (and is) a vehicle for religious expression. Students will study important historical works of art and will create art in a variety of mediums as they respond to the methods, materials, and styles of those works. As they deepen their ability to perceive and to analyze art, students will be expected to articulate their own artistic opinions.

Note: this course meets UC Visual and Performing Arts criteria ("f") and satisfies SHC's Religious Studies graduation requirement.

This course examines general ethical principles and their application in real world situations, the formation of a personal conscience, and stages of moral reasoning. In the light of Catholic Christian teachings and their own lived experience, students are challenged to examine individual and societal values and practices. Individually and in collaboration, students analyze the ethical implications of topics including poverty, racism, capital punishment, abortion, technology, warfare and environmental stewardship. As they develop their understanding of human vocation, students reflect on how their values might shape their future life choices and commitments to God, self, family and society.

Note: This course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

This course is designed to educate students about human sexuality emphasizing the Catholic Christian perspective. Topics include anatomy, sexual awareness, self-concept, sexual orientation, reproduction, dating, sexual decision-making, teen pregnancy, contraception, disease control and sexual abuse. Note: this course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

This experiential course is designed to directly assist students in discovering how to create a life worth living — a life that is insightful, learned, creative, caring, ethical, resilient, engaged, and deeply well. What does it mean for a person to flourish, rather than to simply survive, or to discover God's plan unfolding in life? What practices help one embrace and cultivate focus, compassion, courage, wisdom, and inclusion, or manage anxiety while being productive? Each student will have an opportunity to engage in evidence-based practices that are selected to cultivate a sense of purpose and skills to facilitate a meaningful life.

Note: this class meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

Comparative Religions examines the major world religions amid their cultural and historical settings. Eastern faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and Zoroastrianism are compared and contrasted to Islam, Judaism, and Eastern and Western Christianity. Students examine the major themes and texts of each religion, the experiences of the founders, principal beliefs and branches, and each faith’s festivals and rituals. Christian and non-Christian religious traditions are studied for their common elements as well as for their unique contributions to human self-understanding and the human search for the divine. Note: this course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g").

The Lasallian/Vincentian Leadership class is for seniors interested in learning more about our school charisms and founders, the role of youth in lay ministry, and leadership methodology. This course is also for students interested in practicing these concepts through service learning projects. Students will examine critically their own call to leadership in our community, and develop the leadership skills necessary to positively influence their communities in the future. As part of the summative assessment for this course, students are required to lead both the frosh and sophomore retreats during the school year. In addition, students may be asked to represent the school at off-campus events and, while not a course requirement, are strongly encouraged to attend a Kairos retreat.

This elective will provide opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of prayer, spirituality, relationships with God and others, and to study the emerging science of mindfulness. The course explores the prosocial practices of mindfulness, gratitude and compassion, integrating traditional contemplative practices from various wisdom traditions with contemporary psychology and scientific research. Students will engage in evidence-based practices to cultivate mindfulness and well-being; they will develop resources for their individual and communal search for God and understanding of the self. Note: this course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria (“g”).

Starting from beliefs in the sacramental nature of life and the metaphorical nature of art, this course will examine various theological ideas as expressed in fiction, poetry and film. Topics include good and evil, sin and grace, suffering and redemption, faith and revelation, and incarnation and sacrament. Students will analyze works of art through the lens of faith and of critical thought, and explore how to apply the lessons learned to their own lives.

Students will explore the meaning and practice of justice and service by examining contemporary, philosophical and religious theories of justice with emphasis on Catholic social teaching. Each week, students will spend a portion of class time at a service internship site located near SHC; these community service internships augment a reflective understanding of service and a critical analysis of social justice. Prerequisites: Application packets (distributed at the Academic Fair) including a self-reflection, and a brief letter of recommendation from a previous Religious Studies teacher.

This interdisciplinary seminar, incorporating selected writings from classical and contemporary theologians, philosophers, economists, artists and historians, invites students to converse about and with the Great Works. The seminar format requires rigorous and intense reading, reflection, and writing about primary texts, as well as highly engaged class and online discussions. As students begin to see themselves as responsible for the pursuit of ideas and of the common good, they strengthen their critical literacy and partake in a long humanistic tradition, a vibrant Catholic intellectual heritage, and a rich Lasallian Vincentian educational legacy. A major independent project (“Jan Project”) is required and classes may be held outside of the regular school day. Note: This course meets UC college preparatory elective criteria ("g"). Seniors participating in the De Paul Scholar Program are given preference in course placement. Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Through student-centered activities such as laboratory experiments and group work, as well as some lecture presentation and reading, biology students explore and analyze the natural world. Students formulate and investigate questions about living things and classify living things according to the organisms’ characteristics. Students explain the principles of genetics, cell biology and DNA replication, the function of major cell organelles, energy utilization and interrelationships of living things. Students also discuss biological aspects of various societal issues.

The AP Biology course is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology course taken by biology majors during their first year. The topics covered are biochemistry, heredity and evolution, ecology and the structure of cells. This class prepares students for the AP Biology exam.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 GPA in Science or AP Potential Score 2) Completion of Biology 1,2 or Biology 1,2 Honors.

Chemistry students investigate the properties of matter; the ways in which substances interact, combine, and change; and the use of processes to form new substances. Students learn through student-centered activities such as laboratory experiments and group work, as well as some lecture presentation and problem solving. Students observe the characteristics of various types of matter and learn to distinguish between them. They also execute, classify, predict and quantify the products of chemical reactions. In addition, students perform calculations involving mass, moles and concentration of types of matter.  Students also describe the model of the atom and the placement of elements in the periodic table. 

In this course, students achieve all of the outcomes of Chemistry 1,2 but do so with a higher level of conceptualization and with more complex mathematical problem solving. This higher level of expectation is particularly evident in laboratory investigations, collaborative problem solving sessions and various classroom assessments. Students also explain, apply and quantify the thermodynamics of chemical and physical changes, and apply their knowledge of covalent bonding and molecular geometry to basic reactions in the field of organic chemistry.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) An A in the first semester of Physics 1.

The AP Physics C, Mechanics course develops students’ knowledge of physics, with topics including phenomenology, theories and techniques, concepts and generalizing principles, rotational kinematics and dynamics, Kepler’s Laws, Universal Gravitation, statics, and simple harmonic motion. The course engages students in sophisticated mathematical problem solving, verbal articulation, and graphical analysis of physical phenomena. The course will cover the material prescribed by the College Board for an AP Physics C, Mechanics course only, and will incorporate a large number of AP type problems and practice exams to prepare students for that exam.

Note: This course is open only to 11th and 12th graders, with preference given to 12th graders; students receive credit in the UC "d" lab science area.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 in Science 2) Completion of Physics 1,2 2) A 2.0 GPA or better in completed or concurrent Calculus or Calculus AB.

Through student-centered activities such as experimentation, research, field trips, and investigation, as well as some lecture presentation and reading, Marine Biology students survey marine environments and their biotic communities with an emphasis on the natural history of marine organisms.  This course will touch on a number of different branches of biology (including biochemistry, physiology, zoology, botany, and ecology) within the context of the ocean environment. Students will start by learning about the ocean itself and its physical properties, as these properties influence the abundance, distribution, diversity, physiology, and behavior of marine organisms.  Students will also learn about the specific environmental challenges facing marine life as well as the physiological and behavioral adaptations that have resulted from these challenges.  Students will then learn about the life cycles of marine organisms—what they eat and how they reproduce—before examining in some depth a number of the most common taxa of marine species.  Once students have a sense of the biodiversity of oceanic life, they will examine the interrelationships between species in different marine communities.  The course will conclude with a look at the impact of humans on the ocean environment both directly and indirectly. The course will prepare students for further study within the field of marine biology and environmental science.

Prerequisites: Physics.

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course that is taken during the first year of college. Students in the course will attain a depth of understanding of the fundamentals of chemical problem solving and analysis. AP Chemistry is designed to contribute to students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their hypotheses with clarity and logic. As a course designed to prepare students to succeed on the AP Chemistry exam, emphasis will be placed on both qualitative and quantitative laboratory investigations. The course will be similar to the honors chemistry course in its sophisticated approach to mathematical problem solving, verbal articulation, and graphical analysis of chemical phenomena. The course will differ from Chemistry or Honors Chemistry in that it will move at a much faster pace, and will utilize the materials and practice problems suggested by the College Board for an AP Chemistry course.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 GPA in Science or AP Potential Score 2) Completion of Chemistry 1,2 or Chemistry 1,2Honors.

The World History course offers a general survey focused on the patterns of interaction and themes that define our world. The content of the course begins with the dawn of the modern era in the 1400s. Students explore how societies around the world began to converge during this period, sowing the seeds of the globalization we see today. These early encounters lead to the end of some societies, the dominance of others, and the remaking of entire ecosystems. Students analyze the evolving roles of religion, economics, science, forms of government, and social structures to understand the interplay of forces of continuity and drivers of change. Teachers facilitate learning through lectures, discussions, primary source documents, and audio and visual media. Students develop historical thinking skills through critical reading, historical research and writing, collaborative learning, and the creation of multimedia content. Assessments include class work, homework, group projects, papers, quizzes, and exams.

This course is designed as a broad introduction to the six major chronological periods of World History, from prehistory to the present, prompting students to make connections across broad historical trends and global processes. Students will build upon the historical skills developed in other Social Studies curriculums, i.e. developing historical arguments, chronological reasoning, comparison, contextualization, and historical interpretation and synthesis, while preparing for the Advanced Placement Exam. The course is open to 10th to 12th graders.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) AP Potential score.

AP European History offers a yearlong survey of European history from the Renaissance to the present, teaching students analytical, research and study skills. Its purposes are to prepare students for the AP exam, to provide a challenging learning experience, and to prepare students for the rigors of an introductory college history course. Students learn social science concepts in history, political science, geography, and economics as well as major interpretive trends and basic factual knowledge. The course facilitates a student’s ability to employ research, critical thinking and decision-making. This course is open to 10th -12th graders with successful completion of World History 1,2.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) AP Potential Score.

This preparatory course surveys United States history from pre-colonial beginnings through the twentieth century. Students will explore the foundations of the United States and its emergence as a world power. Students develop skills in the five interconnected dimensions of historical thinking: chronological thinking; historical comprehension; historical analysis and interpretation; historical research capabilities; and historical issues, analysis, and decision making.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

This course is designed to be an intensive survey of United States history beginning with the age of European colonization and culminating with the role of the United States as a world power. Emphasis will be placed on primary and secondary source analysis, the structure and preparation of critical-thinking essays, and the practice of argumentation. 

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) A writing test 3) AP Potential Score.

This course is designed to provide students with analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the problems and developments of American history. It is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement test in United States History. The overall pace of the class and demands upon the students will be equivalent to those of an introductory college course on American History, including analysis of complex primary source materials.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) A writing test 3) AP Potential Score.

Civics is the study of American government with emphasis on the Constitution, the three major branches of the federal government, civil rights and civil liberties, and the roles and responsibilities of an American citizen in a representative democracy. As time and interest permit, we will investigate political parties, the election process, public opinion and pressure groups, and/or domestic and foreign policy.

This one-semester course in economics examines how individuals and groups confront and solve economic choices in relationship to scarcity and surplus, with particular attention to global economic issues. Topics include economic systems, microeconomics, business cycles, the role of government in economics, and personal finance. Group and individual projects, including the senior service learning project on microfinance and a stock market investment simulation, allow students to explore these topics in greater depth.

AP U.S. Government and Politics is a college-level, year-long course that seeks not only to prepare students for success on the AP exam in May, but also to provide students with the political knowledge and reasoning processes to participate meaningfully and thoughtfully in the discussion and debates that shape American politics and society. It is important to note that this course is not a history course; it is a political science course that studies the interconnectedness of the different parts of the American political system and the behaviors and attitudes that both shape this system and are byproducts of this system. 

AP U.S. Government and Politics accomplishes these goals by framing the acquisition of political knowledge around enduring understandings and big ideas about American government and politics. Through development of political knowledge, disciplinary practices, and reasoning processes, students will be able to analyze current and historical political events like a political scientist. They will develop factually accurate, well-reasoned, thoughtful arguments and opinions that acknowledge and grapple with alternative political perspectives. 

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) AP Potential Score.

This year-long elective course exams various theoretical models of the structures and functions of political systems. It aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes. It focuses on an in-depth study of six specific countries: Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Iran and Nigeria. By making comparisons between countries, students will acquire the conceptual tools necessary to develop an understanding of complex and diverse political systems. The course is open to students in 10th to 12th grade.

Note: AP Comparative Government and Politics does not fulfill SHC's graduation requirement, which must be filled by enrolling in Civics/Econ or AP United States Government and Politics.

Prerequisites: 1) A cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) AP Potential Score

This one semester course examines a mid-twentieth century American society that had been transformed by the Second World War. To create a more accurate image of America and to enrich the students’ learning experience, this interdisciplinary course will incorporate components of literature, science, music and film in addition to historical developments between 1941 and 1945. Topics will include the Great Depression, FDR and the New Deal, America’s isolationism, Pearl Harbor, wartime rationing and shortages, propaganda, the relocation of Japanese-Americans, and the scientific and technological developments brought about by the war.

 

This year-long course examines the history of California and San Francisco. We study geography, natural resources, and the impact of immigration on the state. One significant focus of the course will be the challenges and contributions of all of the people who have made California their home. We will analyze the economic, social, and cultural history of the state through primary sources, historical writing, film and personal histories. We will explore the recurring theme of San Francisco and California as unique places of escape, invention, and a counterculture to the rest of the country, looking closely at the recent past, present day issues, and the future of our state and city.

 

This interdisciplinary course will examine the United States beginning with the post-World War II era. The focus will be on the Cold War and its impact on modern and domestic developments in the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the following topics: the Truman administration, the nuclear arms race, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights Movement, the emergence of television, the Eisenhower administration, the race for space, Kennedy and confrontation, and Johnson’s Great Society versus the Vietnam War.

This course is for those interested in the study of human behavior and mental processes. Students will be introduced to the major approaches within Psychology, becoming familiar with concepts including learning and cognition, social and cognitive development, personality, motivation, consciousness, memory, and the connectedness and relationship between the body and mind. Students will explore research methods and design, and how psychological research and theory contribute to the study of other sciences and the humanities while improving the lives of individuals and society.

This course is specifically designed to prepare the student with the skills necessary to pass the Advanced Placement Exam in Psychology. It will survey psychology from its earliest foundations to its most recent theories. The vocabulary level and workload will be consistent with that of an introductory college level course in psychology. Outside readings and research, in addition to term projects, are an integral part of this course.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) Cumulative 3.5 GPA 2) PSAT Score.

Sociological concepts are used to examine daily life in contemporary society. This course will include an overview of the causes, characteristics, and responses to social problems in the United States. Topics such as American culture, the dimensions of social inequality, the American family, and the criminal justice system will be studied through the sociological framework.

This course will offer an in-depth look at societal issues as they affect racial and ethnic groups in the United States, a nation of many peoples. Students will study cultural differences among groups in our community in an attempt to increase awareness of and appreciation for diversity. Topics will include education, gender, media and employment as they relate to multiculturalism.

The course is an examination of the criminal justice system, including criminal law, crime, the police and their roles, and policing topics such as profiling, use of force, police discretion, and arrests for criminal offenses. Criminal Justice will also examine the court system, differences between a felony and a misdemeanor, and how the system deals with these. Students will explore issues such as sentencing, plea bargaining, amicability of evidence, and the role of the prosecution and defense attorneys. The final portion of the Criminal Justice triangle is corrections, conventional prison and jails as well as alternatives to incarceration. Students will research the merits and shortcomings of community service, drug and alcohol diversion, domestic violence school, and probation. Lastly, the course will highlight street law particularly as it relates to teens, including an examination of the rights that teens have when dealing with the police.

AP Human Geography introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social, cultural, political and economic organization and its environmental consequences. Students also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. Topics include: population demographics, migration, folk and popular culture, languages, religions, ethnicities, political geography, economic development, food and agriculture, industry and manufacturing, services and settlements, and urban patterns.

Note: this course includes a summer assignment.

Prerequisites: 1) 3.5 GPA  2) AP Potential Score OR PSAT 8/9 score 

This course introduces students to various media and projects to build a foundation for creating visual art. Students will explore both traditional and contemporary art through drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, graphics, collage, and mixed media. Course work includes museum visits, written reflection and critique, and projects.

Design 1 introduces students to 2-dimensional design elements, principles and techniques.  Students utilize a range of media such as charcoal, ink, acrylic, pastel, paper, and print materials to explore and combine design elements such as line, shape, texture, motion, value, and hue. A series of individual and collaborative assignments focusing on key design principles such as unity, focus, scale, balance, rhythm, and abstraction provide a vocabulary for creative expression and the foundation for the development of a personal style.  In Design 1, students gain exposure to various design techniques including, but not limited to, drawing, collage, typography, print-making, screen-printing, and digital graphic design.  Cultural and historical references accompany each assignment to give students a contextual understanding of design and inform students’ conceptual development of projects. Design 2 progresses to an investigation of 3-dimensional design.  Students deepen and expand their understanding of design elements and principles by applying them to more complex assignments focused on industrial, furniture and architectural design.  Utilizing sketching, sculpting, prototyping, finished model-making, graphic installations, site interventions and 3-d digital imaging techniques, students build visual communication skills through conceptual assignments and projects based on real-world design challenges. In conjunction with projects in assorted media, students take part in critiques of designers’ works to understand historical precedents and trends in contemporary design.

Music Appreciation is designed to be an introduction to various musical genres, both western and non-western, including classical, jazz, rock, world music, and popular styles.  There are no prerequisites, and the course is open to musicians and non-musicians alike.  Topics include how music affects culture around the world; how music is used in myriad situations, from communication to mood setting; the role and process of scoring music for entertainment such as movies and live theater; the influence of globalization on music; and how music is conveyed by written and aural means.  This class will survey music of the past and the present, delving into music’s vast history to inform the modern ear and mind.  The Music Appreciation class will also build basic musicianship skills through sight singing and fundamental music theory concepts.

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