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Academics
Preparatory (9-12)

Departments

SHP Courses by Department

Computer Science

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    To be prepared for the demands of the 21st century — and to take advantage of its opportunities — it is essential that more of our students today learn basic computer programming skills, no matter what field of work they want to pursue. —Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer

    Not all students will go on to be computer scientists or programmers; but all fields have been impacted by the use of technology, computers, and software. We believe that exposure to the ideas of computer science and the power of computing is critical to success in our hyper-connected world. We aim to demystify technology and equip students with the tools and knowledge needed to be more than just passive consumers of devices. In this rapidly changing field, any specific application can quickly become obsolete. We therefore emphasize that computer science is ultimately about problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. We want our students to leave with the skills to make a webpage, write a program, or build a robot that can change the world.

    Enduring Understandings of the Computer Science Program
    • Computer Science developments have implications for individuals, communities, and the world; students will study computing concepts and be able to identify their impact on people, connections to people, and connections to other computing concepts.
    • Computer Science is a creative discipline; students will create artifacts to serve practical, personal, and societal needs.
    • Computational thinking requires the application of abstraction in modeling, simulation, and analysis; students will explain how data, information, and knowledge are used for computing, identify abstractions, and describe computational modeling.
    • Computer Science results in solutions, models, and artifacts; students will propose solutions to problems, locate and correct errors, and describe the artifacts that they create.
    • Computer Science involves collaboration; students will learn to collaborate effectively with peers, draw from diverse perspectives, and think interdependently when solving complex and open-ended problems.
    • Computer Science requires persistence and accuracy; students will set high standards, check their findings, and remain focused on tasks through completion.
  • Instructional Methods

    In the Computer Science courses, several methods are used, such as hands-on instruction, abstract modeling, simulation, and analysis, collaboration with peers, and discussions surrounding topics in ethics, privacy, security, etc.

    All students are exposed to computer science through a program called Computer Science Integration (CSI).  In this interdisciplinary program, students will complete projects in various courses outside the Computer Science department.  These projects will align with the academic content of that course, while at the same time introducing computer science concepts.  For example, a student in a Social Science class might create an app, a student in a Math class might write a program involving a formula, or a student in a Science class might write some code to simulate a lab.  This program is overseen by the CSI Coordinator, who will support the CSI projects alongside the course teacher.  The goal is to show that "computer science is everywhere", and can be used as a tool to solve real, interesting problems across the curriculum.
  • Placement, Honors & AP

    Currently, SHP offers the following Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Computer Science:
    • AP Computer Science Principles
    • AP Computer Science A
    • Advanced Topics in Computer Science, Honors
    • Machine Learning, Honors
    Course
    Prerequisite
    AP Computer Science Principles
    Completion of Geometry/Geometry Honors and grade of B or higher in both semesters of previous math course. 
    AP Computer Science A
    This course requires advanced problem solving skills.  While there is no specific prerequisite, these skills are similar to skills used in honors math courses or in other computer science courses.

    If the most recent math course is Precalculus BC Honors or AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC, a grade of B or higher is strongly recommended.

    If the most recent math course is any other honors math course, a grade of A- or higher is strongly recommended.

    Students who do not meet the above recommendations will need permission from the department head.
    Advanced Topics in Computer Science, Honors
    Completion of AP Computer Science A
    Machine Learning, Honors
    Completion of a previous programming course: either
    AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A or Programming;
    Grade of B or higher in Precalculus AB Honors,
    or completion of Precalculus BC Honors; Concurrent enrollment in or completion of Calculus.
  • Graduation Requirements

    Students are required to complete all interdisciplinary computer science projects in the  Computer Science Integration (CSI) program. See instructional methods above.

    We recognize that some students may have acquired relevant knowledge outside of school, and we are excited to work with such students to plan a course of study appropriate for their specific situations and interests.

Creative Inquiry

List of 3 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    Sacred Heart’s Creative Inquiry Department seeks to develop in students the mind-sets, dispositions, and qualities of character that define a creative, collaborative person. To achieve this end, the Lab supports and facilitates creative action in in whatever form it may take.
    Students can, for example, construct a material craft such as an engine or a piece of furniture; a digital craft such as a website or an app; or a piece of media such as a newspaper, a video, or a radio broadcast. They can produce a piece of fine art like a play, a film, or a symphony, create an organization that promotes a cause they believe in, or stage an event that raises awareness around an issue of social justice. The direction or end of creative action matters less than the experience of taking genuine responsibility for a meaningful endeavor. This experience, we believe, will serve as the greatest teacher.
  • Instructional Methods

    Instructional Methods
    When exploring literature, English classes primarily provide class discussion and group work experiences with occasional lectures. The instruction of skills is accomplished largely through reading and writing assignments; we believe that a student will most readily achieve mastery of communication skills through constant practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • Graduation Requirements

    Currently, Creative Inquiry is offered as an elective, geared toward upperclassmen.

English

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    Overview of Program
    The English Department offers a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum rooted in the Goals and Criteria of a Sacred Heart education. Students are encouraged to consider literature and culture as unique forms of inquiry, based in the lived experience, and to look for ways in which the imaginary might complement historical, scientific, or philosophical approaches to truth. Throughout the four-year curriculum, students develop strong reading skills, critical and creative thinking skills, and cogent writing skills through their study of literature drawn from a wide variety of genres, cultures, ethnicities, and historic periods. Small class sizes, student-centered activities, and daily class discussions are the cornerstones of learning; this seminar approach encourages oral fluency and develops the student’s ability to engage others in meaningful conversations about literature, its relevance to one’s own experience, and its connection to the diverse experience of others.

    Philosophy
    The English faculty is committed to offering an inclusive curriculum with an interdisciplinary approach to learning designed around the following enduring understandings:
    • Great literature addresses universal themes and truths about the human experience that can help us better understand and interact in the world around us;
    • Literature offers opportunities for empathy by revealing experiences and values that have relevance to our own lives and experiences, helping to shape and elucidate our own understanding and values in relation to those of others;
    • Literature is a reflection of the cultural, political, and biographical context in which it is written;
    • Language is power; understanding how language and rhetoric function in literature is a means to unlocking the subtleties of that power;
    • Literature is an important tool for developing critical thinking skills; and, 
    • Literature has aesthetic value as an art form and should be appreciated for the beauty, insight, and enjoyment it has to offer.
  • Instructional Methods

    When exploring literature, English classes primarily provide class discussion and group work experiences with occasional lectures. The instruction of skills is accomplished largely through reading and writing assignments; we believe that a student will most readily achieve mastery of communication skills through constant practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • Placement, Honors & AP

    Placement, Honors & AP
    Currently, SHP offers the following Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in English:

    10th grade: US Literature, Honors
    An Honors option is offered each semester of US Literature to those sophomores able and willing to explore literature in greater depth and in an independent manner.
    Prerequisite for fall semester of Honors:
    Students will take a benchmark exam that assesses the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills necessary to be successful in US Literature Honors. Those who excelled on the benchmark exam and earned an “A” in English 1 in the fall will be invited to enroll in the course. 
    Prerequisite for spring semester of Honors:
    Students will take a benchmark exam that assesses the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills necessary to be successful in US Literature Honors. Those who excelled on the benchmark exam and earned an “A” in US Literature in the fall will be invited to enroll in the course. Students enrolled in the fall Honors program must meet the prerequisite for the spring. 

    11th grade: AP English Language & Composition
    No prerequisite. All students will be enrolled in this course.

    12th Grade: AP English Literature & Composition
    Students choose between two options at the senior level: English 4 or AP English Literature & Composition.

    The English 4 courses serve the needs of students who desire more direct instruction in reading and writing skills. In the interest of preparing students for reading and writing across disciplines, the English 4 electives will include instruction in grammar, mechanics, and reading comprehension, as needed. These electives will also include a broader range of writing approaches than the AP curriculum. English 4 classes often assign alternative assessments in lieu of written final exams.

    The AP English Literature & Composition courses offer students an experience of college-level literary study. The program requires a year-long commitment. AP English Literature electives are designed to expose students to literature from the 16th to 21st centuries in a wide variety of genres. Reading will be demanding, sometimes in length, and often in language or style. Students will have numerous opportunities to write and revise analytical essays. Writing in AP Literature sections will be academic, discipline-specific writing, building the skills necessary to be successful in the college English classroom. Every student will be expected to participate actively in conversation about the reading, and all members of the class will lead discussions periodically. Impromptu essays and practice multiple-choice questions are administered to ensure familiarity with and preparation for the AP exam. All students who take this course are expected to take the AP English Literature exam with seriousness of purpose.

    The AP English program at the senior level meets the needs of students who want to engage in advanced literary study and can commit the time to do so. Rising seniors should think carefully before electing to take AP English Literature & Composition, especially if they plan to pursue the most advanced courses in other departments. English 4 may be more appropriate for students who plan to concentrate their senior academic efforts elsewhere.

    Prerequisite for AP English Literature:
    Students who earn an A- or better in both semesters of their junior year are automatically eligible for AP English Literature. Students who wish to take AP English Literature, but earn a B+ in one or both semesters of their junior year, must petition the Department. The Department will carefully review the petition and make a determination. The Department’s decision is final. Students who earn a B or below in one or both semesters of junior English will take English 4 - Topics in Literature.

    ENGLISH COURSE PREREQUISITES


  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP English Graduation Requirement (4 years) 
    Successful completion of the required freshman and sophomore English courses or their equivalent is necessary before taking junior and senior English courses.

Fine Arts

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The Fine Arts Department offers courses with concentrations in Performing Arts: Chorus, Dance, Drama, Music and Technical Theater; as well as, Visual Arts: Ceramics, Digital Art & Design, Filmmaking, Photography, Stained Glass and Studio Art. The faculty and staff are committed to providing coursework, activities, and viewings/productions that acknowledge and study the arts’ role as an agent of creative and social transformation. We strive to achieve academic and artistic excellence in the classroom, on stage, and in the community while working towards a more humane and just society. Fine Arts are a vehicle for developing key habits of mind that work towards the Sacred Heart Mission: cultivating in our students a personal and active faith in God and laying the foundation for a meaningful life.

    In these classes, students are engaging in the practices of mindfulness and community building through daily check-ins and reflections. The uniqueness of these classes is that its outcomes do not happen in isolation, but rather they often happen in community with others. We work together to develop habits of mind that will not only aid us in our creative process, but that we can also apply to other areas of our lives. We will become familiar with the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) framework, developed by Harvard’s educational research team, Project Zero. The SHoM consists of 8 habits: Develop Craft, Express, Engage and Persist, Stretch and Explore, Envision, Observe, Reflect, and Understand the Art World.
  • Instructional Methods

    The core of the Fine Arts educational mission is to ensure students develop habits of mind that will serve them through life:
    • Activating one’s curiosity
    • Using tools, techniques, and materials to discover new ways of making
    • Envisioning marvelous possibilities, for themselves and for others
    • Expressing ideas, feelings, and personal meanings in uniquely creative ways with the potential to impact or move others
    • Engagement in creative challenges and persistence through one’s dynamic effort
    • Observing the world around them with greater nuance, sensitivity, and complexity
    • Reflecting on and articulating the mysterious dimensions of creative experience
    • Stretching oneself to push beyond what is conventional/expected in order to discover the new
    • Understanding the history and current practices in the arts, including interactions with other artists and the broader arts community
  • Placement & AP

    Currently, SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the Fine Arts Department:
      • AP Music Theory
      • AP Studio Art & 2D Design (Digital Art)
      • AP Studio Art & 2D Design (Photography)
      • AP Studio Art & 2D Design (Drawing)

    Download or see below for FINE ARTS COURSE OPTIONS WITH PREREQUISITES



    Course Name
    Prerequisite
    Performing Arts
    Advanced Drama
    Completion of one full year of Drama or previous performative experience with audition and consent of instructor
    Intermediate Dance
    Completion of one full year of Dance or previous dance experience with audition and consent of instructor
    Intermediate/Advanced Dance
    Completion of one full year of Intermediate Dance or previous dance experience with audition, AND consent of instructor
    Advanced Dance
    Audition with AND consent of instructor
    AP Music Theory
    Completion of full year of Advanced Chorus or Instrumental Music AND consent of instructor
    Advanced Chorus
    Completion of one full year of Chorus or previous choral experience with audition AND consent of instructor
    Advanced Instrumental Music - Symphony
    Completion of one full year of Beginner/Intermediate Instrumental Music OR previous ensemble experience with audition AND consent of instructor
    Advanced Creative Topics
    Completion of at least one semester of an advanced-level Fine Arts course
    Visual Arts
    Advanced Ceramics
    Completion of one full year of Ceramics
    Advanced Filmmaking
    Completion of one full year of Filmmaking or  consent of instructor based on review of a 10-minute “reel”
    Advanced Digital Art & Design
    Completion of one full year of Digital Art & Design
    AP 2D Art & Design (Digital Art)
    Completion of one full year of Digital Art & Design, and consent of instructor
    Advanced Photography
    Completion of one full year of photography or evidence of experience in analog photography via  portfolio review with the instructor
    AP 2D Art & Design (Photography)
    Completion of one full year of photography, and consent of instructor
    Advanced Studio Art
    Completion of one full year of Studio Art
    AP 2D Art & Design (Studio Art)
    Completion of one full year of studio art, and consent of instructor
    Advanced Creative Topics
    Completion of at least one semester of an advanced-level Fine Arts course
     
  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP Fine Arts Graduation Requirement (1 1/2 years)
    In order to fulfill the SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement, a student must take:
    One year-long UC-approved Fine Arts course AND one semester of a .5 Fine Arts elective.

    Guidelines for Enrollment in Fine Arts Courses:
    All incoming Freshmen will be enrolled in either Survey of the Arts (SOTA) or Beginner/Intermediate Instrumental Music for their spring semester. SOTA is a survey course that introduces freshmen to the major components of Sacred Heart Prep’s Fine Arts program including Visual Arts, Music, Dance, and Drama. In SOTA, students will rotate through diverse artistic disciplines in the performing and visual arts while building upon Health and Wellness concepts. This course will provide students with a foundational understanding of art practices that include studio habits of mind, critique/feedback practices, and a variety of methods for creative expression. 
     
    Students with significant experience in the Performing Arts are encouraged to audition for advanced-level courses in Chorus, Dance, or Band. Upon auditioning, students may be eligible to enroll in an advanced year-long course. Upon enrollment, Health & Wellness is suggested to be taken in the summer before the start of freshman year. If students successfully audition into an ensemble, they are encouraged to stay engaged with their chosen ensemble for subsequent years. The 1.5 year requirement can otherwise be fulfilled from a substantial selection of offerings in the Fine Arts Department.

    Year-long fine arts options are typically taken at the start of Sophomore year and include Performing Arts: Chorus, Dance, Drama, Technical Theater, and instrumental Music and Visual Arts: Ceramics, Stained Glass, Digital Art & Design, Filmmaking, Photography, and Studio Art.

    For juniors and seniors, advanced-level fine arts courses are available across a variety of disciplines including music, drama, chorus, dance and studio art, photography, digital art and design, filmmaking, and ceramics. Students engaged in their given disciplines as sophomores are encouraged to dive deep and take Advanced or AP-level courses in their chosen disciplines as juniors or seniors. After students have completed one or more semesters of an advanced-level course, they may enroll in  Advanced Creative Topics (ACT) to develop independent creative projects in an interdisciplinary context, or alternatively they may pursue an additional semester elective in the arts.

    Grades earned in Fine Arts courses are incorporated into the student’s SHP GPA. Grading policies vary slightly from course to course but are clearly articulated in the Course Instructional Policies at the beginning of each year.
     
    Meeting the University of California Visual & Performing Arts "F" Requirement The University of California Visual & Performing Arts requirement (called the UC - F requirement) is satisfied by completing a single course of study in a year-long sequence (i.e., the second semester must be the continuation of the first semester). All of the year-long Fine Arts courses fulfill that requirement. Meeting the UC Visual & Performing Arts requirement fulfills one year of the 1.5 year SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement. SHP strongly suggests meeting this requirement by enrolling in a year-long UC-approved course during one academic year. In rare circumstances, students may be allowed to take the two semesters of the year-long course in two different academic years (e.g., one semester of Photography as a sophomore and the second semester as a junior). However, this requires prior approval of the student‘s Counselor, the Fine Arts Department Head, and the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Academics.

Health & Wellness

List of 1 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The emphasis of the program is to promote balance, safety, self-reflection, and the skills to navigate various situations and decisions that students may encounter throughout their teenage years.

Interdisciplinary Courses

List of 2 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    Sacred Heart Schools interdisciplinary courses are designed to highlight principles, methods, and skills that cross disciplinary boundaries.  Team taught by teachers from different disciplines, these courses are intended to challenge the tendency for academic institutions to silo leaning by discipline, to allow for creative collaboration between teachers and students and to provide an option for students whose interests do not conform to standard academic programs. The overarching goal of the interdisciplinary courses is to create students with a passion for understanding the human experience while developing the capabilities to analyze and become life-long learners.
  • Content & Skills

    We offer the following Interdisciplinary courses co-taught with instructors from multiple departments. Students can earn credit in both departments for successful completion of one of the courses.
    • Bioethics (Religion and Science)
    • Making Justice (Creative Inquiry and Religious Studies)

Mathematics

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The mathematics curriculum is designed to develop mathematical power in each and every student, and to help students understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics in our rapidly changing world. Mathematically powerful students are able to think and communicate, drawing on mathematical ideas and using mathematical tools and techniques (Mathematics Framework for California).

    Mathematical thinking refers to:
    • logical reasoning, by which students can make and test conjectures, develop counter-examples, understand logical arguments, determine the validity of arguments, and devise logical arguments of their own;
    • problem solving, through which students can attack mathematical situations with a variety of approaches and techniques, and through which they can formulate and test mathematical models of real-world situations;
    • making connections among mathematical topics, and between mathematics and other disciplines
    Mathematical communication refers to:
    • expressing one‘s mathematical ideas with precision and clarity, both orally and in writing, which involve either the use of mathematical language and symbolism, the English language, or both.
    Mathematical ideas refer to:
    • specific mathematical topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, statistics, probability, etc.;
    • unifying ideas, which cut across specific topics, such as identifying and describing patterns, developing and using algorithms, mathematical modeling, mathematical justification of ideas, etc.
    Mathematical tools and techniques refer to:
    • literal tools such as calculators, computers, and manipulatives;
    • figurative tools such as computational algorithms, graph, tables, charts, etc.
  • Instructional Methods

    A variety of different instructional methods are used, depending on the course.  Many teachers use a combination of direct instruction, with group/partner/individual classroom work, with extensive use of discovery and inquiry which places responsibility on the students to be active in the learning process.  Others “flip” their classrooms, with new material presented on videos for students to watch and take notes on at home, with class time spent working the problems that would have been traditional homework assignments.

  • Placement, Honors & AP

    PLACEMENT
    Freshman admission into Geometry, Geometry Honors, or Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Honors is dependent upon middle school course grades, teacher recommendation, and placement test score. 

    HONORS
    Honors courses are offered at each level except for Algebra 1. Specific prerequisites for honors courses are indicated in the course description, and may be found in the SHP course catalog.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP)
    Currently, SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Math:
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Calculus BC
    • AP Statistics

    Download the pdf or SHP Math Course Options with Prerequisites below:


    Course
    Grade Prerequisite from Current Course
     Geometry
     C- or higher in Algebra  1
     Algebra 2
     C- or higher in Geometry or Geometry Honors
     Algebra 2 Trigonometry Honors
    B- or higher in Geometry Honors OR
    A in Geometry with departmental approval and placement test
    Application of Advanced Algebra
    C- or higher in Algebra 2
     Precalculus
     C- or higher in Algebra 2
     Precalculus AB Honors
     A- or higher in Algebra 2 with departmental approval and placement test OR
    C- or higher in Algebra 2 Trig Honors
     Precalculus BC Honors
     B+ or higher in Algebra 2 Trig Honors
     Statistics
     C- or higher in Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Trig Honors (juniors only) OR
    C- or higher in Precalculus or Precalculus AB Honors
     AP Statistics
     A- or higher in Algebra 2 (juniors only) OR
    B- or higher in Algebra 2 Trig Honors (juniors only) OR
    A- or higher in Precalculus OR
    B- or higher in Precalculus AB Honors OR
    C- or higher in Precalculus BC Honors, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC
    OR
    Juniors in Algebra 2 by Department Approval only
     Calculus
     B or higher in Precalculus  OR
     C or higher in Precalculus AB Honors
     AP Calculus AB
     B+ or higher in Precalculus AB Honors  OR
     C- or higher in Precalculus BC Honors
     AP Calculus BC
     B+ or higher in Precalculus BC Honors  OR
     C+ or higher in AP Calculus AB
     Advanced Topics in Math  Honors
     B+ or higher in AP Calculus AB  OR
     C- or higher in AP Calculus BC
  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP Math Graduation Requirement (2-3 years, depending on entry point)
    This requirement can be met in one of several ways:

    • Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 (if Algebra 1 is taken as a freshman), or
    • Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus (if Geometry is taken as a freshman), or
    • Algebra 2 and Precalculus (if Algebra 2 is taken as a freshman).

Religious Studies

List of 3 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The human spirit must be cultivated in such a way that there results a growth in its ability to wonder, to understand, to contemplate, to make personal judgments, and to develop a religious, moral, and social sense.  —Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, No. 59

    During their years at SHP, students study religion from the perspective of the Goals and Criteria of a Sacred Heart education, which provide the philosophical base for the curriculum. We teach from a framework that is distinctively Catholic in the charism of the RSCJ with a commitment to an inclusive curriculum: all courses are ecumenical and interfaith in content and perspective. Students are given the opportunity to explore their own religious traditions, to understand and appreciate diversity in other traditions, and to examine the importance of religion in a rapidly changing world. The department is also committed to an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum as an instructional principle, as well as a value in our complex world. Skills objectives, writing and research assignments coordinate with the standards of the school. 
  • Instructional Methods

    A variety of teaching methods and styles are used by our faculty, including:
    • seminar discussion,
    • small group projects,
    • student presentations,
    • lectures, and
    • library research projects
    Some courses may include field trips and/or service components. In each course, students are evaluated on the basis of their mastery of objective content. Students engage in the more affective issues of personal faith primarily through in-class prayer experiences, journal writing, and discussion.
  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP Religious Studies Graduation Requirement (7 semesters)
    All offerings are semester courses, in the following recommended sequence: 

    Classes of 2026, 2025, 2024:
    • Freshman Year: Introduction to Catholic Christianity / Personal Morality
    • Sophomore Year: Hebrew Scriptures / Christian Scriptures  
    • Junior Year: Social Ethics / World Religions
    • Senior Year: One semester of Religious Studies - Senior Seminar
    Class of 2027 and beyond:
    • Freshman Year: Introduction to Religious Studies / Introduction to World Religions
    • Sophomore Year: Sacred Scriptures / Morality & Relationships
    • Junior Year: Social Ethics / One semester elective
    • Senior Year: One semester elective

Science

List of 5 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The Science curriculum fosters each student’s scientific understanding by helping them develop skills and literacy in science. The curriculum emphasizes the three core sciences (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) yet offers students the opportunity for students to extend their learning, and inquiry beyond these topics. The department is committed to emphasizing skills over rote knowledge and teaching students that science is a process of inquiry. The department commits itself to:
    • Working in conjunction with the Next Generation Science Standards we aim to develop enduring scientific understanding, develop and strengthen science skills and student understanding of cross cutting science themes. 
    • We help students learn to think independently, to reason, and to be able to use the data available to them to solve problems, and to apply these skills in other academic and non-academic settings. 
    • We develop student’s numerical abilities including their skills at measuring natural phenomenon, manipulating data and using data to evaluate support for models and theories. 
    • We aim to help student develop proper skills and understanding to prepare them for success in college science courses. 
    • We strive to give students a level of scientific literacy that will allow them to understand the social and philosophical impact science has on society.
  • Instructional Methods

    To achieve the goals articulated above, a variety of methods will be implemented, all aimed at helping the student be an active learner in the science classroom. These include, but are not limited to: open-ended laboratory experimentation, written and/or verbal analysis of data, short and long term independent scientific investigations requiring quantitative and qualitative analysis, research, computer simulations and animation, field trips, lectures, modeling and group analyses of given problems. Students also take part in project based learning where they apply their knowledge to solve problems to help the community.

    COURSE SEQUENCE IN SCIENCE AT SHP 
    1st Year 
    2nd Year
    3rd & 4th Years
    Biology or
    Biology Honors
    Chemistry or
    Chemistry Honors
    Anatomy & Physiology
    Marine Biology
    Physics
    Physics Honors
    AP Biology
    AP Chemistry
    AP Environmental Science
    AP Physics 1
    AP Physics C

  • Placement, Honors & AP

    Placement into classes is based on recommendations from previous teachers as well as diagnostic assessments.

    Currently, SHP offers the following Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Science:
    • Biology Honors
    • Chemistry Honors
    • Physics Honors
    • AP Biology
    • AP Chemistry
    • AP Environmental Science
    • AP Physics 1
    • AP Physics C
    Download the pdf or see below for SHP Science Course Options with Prerequisites

    Science Course
    Placement Diagnostics
    Math Prerequisites
    Biology
    Diagnostic assessment and 8th grade performance
    None
    Biology Honors
    Diagnostic assessment and 8th grade performance
    None
    Chemistry
    Biology or Biology Honors
    Diagnostic assessment
    Concurrently taking Geometry or higher
    Chemistry Honors
    Biology or Biology Honors
    Diagnostic assessment
    Concurrently taking Geometry Honors or higher
    AP Chemistry
    Chemistry Honors
    Recommendation from Chemistry teacher
    Concurrently taking Precalculus (BC preferred) or higher
    AP Environmental Science
    Biology and Chemistry
    None
    AP Biology
    Biology and Chemistry
    None
    Physics
    Biology and Chemistry
    Concurrently taking Algebra 2 or higher
            Science Course
    Placement Diagnostics
    Math Prerequisites
    Physics Honors
    Biology and Chemistry
    Diagnostic assessment
    Algebra 2
    AP Physics 1
    Chemistry or Chemistry Honors
    Diagnostic assessment
    Concurrently taking any level of Calculus
    AP Physics C



    AP Physics 1
    Concurrent taking AP Calculus BC or higher

    Anatomy & Physiology

    Chemistry or Chemistry Honors

    None
    Marine Biology
    Biology and Chemistry
    None
  • Enrichment Elective Courses

    Students may wish to explore other science topics according to their interest.  Currently our (non AP) junior/ senior elective courses include:  Marine Biology and Anatomy and Physiology.
  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP Science Graduation Requirement (minimum of 2 years, including Biology and Chemistry)
    The Science Department requires completion of Biology and Chemistry for graduation. However, most students complete four science courses during their years at SHP and some complete five over that same time. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their school counselor when making course selections, as university requirements will vary among institutions.

Senior Honors Independent Study

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    Guided by our Goals & Criteria to meet each individual where they are, to work in an atmosphere of wise freedom, and to provide opportunities to continue to foster and share our gifts and talents toward the pursuit of individual passions, Sacred Heart Prep offer opportunities for independent study. The Senior Honors Independent Study Program serves a highly motivated group of students who wish to pursue an area of special academic interest during a semester of their senior year.
  • Instructional Methods

    Students collaborate with off-campus experts in their intended field of study and with an on-campus mentor in the sponsoring department who oversees progress, meets regularly with the student, and grades all assessments. At the end of the semester, students offer a 30- to 45-minute presentation, during which they discuss their research and conclusions and provide a question and answer session. These presentations are open to students, faculty, staff, trustees and parents.
  • Placement & Honors

    Participants must qualify for the program by taking the most rigorous courses (i.e., honors and AP) in the relevant subject area over their preceding three years at SHP and, subsequently, earning an A average in all courses in this subject area. They must also submit an application that includes a statement of purpose, a detailed bibliography, letters of recommendation, and letters of support from three off-campus mentors (university professors or professionals with expertise in the selected subject area) who agree to work with the student. Applications are officially approved by a review committee that comprises the SHP Department Heads, the SHIS Coordinator, and the Assistant Principal for Curriculum & Academics.

    "Subject Credit: Depending on the main subject area for the independent study (i.e., Religious Studies, Fine Arts, Social Sciences, etc.), this experience will take the place of a semester-long course in that subject area, so long as the minimum A - G UC requirements have been met in that subject area."

    **For Capstone Project Credit - In order for your Independent Study to qualify for Capstone credit, your project must investigate a specific justice issue and work to produce a tangible good for the community. You will need to submit additional work to Service Learning and through x2Vol.com, including your Capstone Project Proposal Form, academic research, 25 hours of proximity to the issue, and 2 – 3 pages of reflection & analysis (you can use your final project write-up).**
  • Program Document Requirements

    Students must submit their “Senior Honors Independent Study Application” to the SHIS Coordinator by the end-of-April noon (12 pm) deadline. If the SHIS application includes the use of interview questions, surveys, questionnaires or human participants for research or experiments, a student must have completed AP Statistics, or enroll in AP Statistics in their senior year, or complete an approved Statistics course over the summer, in order to be able to analyze the data collected for the experiment. A student must also complete the two addenda (“Research Experiment Plan” and “Human Informed Consent Form”) below in addition to the SHIS application, and submit all of these documents together by the above deadline.
    The SHIS application documents can be found on this page.

Social Science

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    As stewards of a tremendous RSCJ tradition, we are determined to remain true to the RSCJ’s vision to prepare students to make the world better than they received it. As such, we are not merely interested in the past events and how they have led to the present situation – we actively and provocatively encourage students to examine present realities and to imagine a brighter future. We are passionate about creating students who can read effectively and critically, analyze and argue persuasively with depth and accuracy, and collaborate and converse with peers and adults in an intellectually sophisticated manner. In short, we teach critical analysis through mastery of content and skills, neither of which can be left out of the experience of scholarship. The interdisciplinary nature of the learning process is reinforced through the use of literature, art and writing assignments, examination of moral and ethical issues, and exploration of social justice and environmental stewardship in concert with our colleagues in other departments. We are committed to preserving the benefits of an education steeped in SHP’s Goals and Criteria and Catholic Social  teaching.
     
    Our overarching departmental goal is to create students with a passion for understanding the human experience while developing the capabilities to analyze and become life-long learners. We strive to help students understand how the past impacts the present and to appreciate history as a process rather than an unrelated list of names, dates, places and events. Our endeavor is to help students recognize that all social science disciplines are an integral part of this process. We work to help students develop the ability to think logically and to reach reasoned conclusions based on sound evidence. To that end, we are committed to help students develop the ability to listen critically, hear accurately what is said, understand what is implied, and know the difference. Intentionally, we help students develop their abilities to express themselves clearly and effectively as they grow as writers and public speakers. These skills will aid them on an individual basis as well as put them in a position to have a wider and greater impact locally, nationally, and globally as citizens of a diverse and interdependent world.
     
    Enduring Understandings of the Four-Year Program
    • The social practices, political institutions, and economic dynamics of a culture or nation-state evolve over time and this development contains similarities and differences to other cultures and nation-states.  Understanding these similarities and differences affords us the opportunity to examine patterns of change and continuity of the past, analyze the realities of the present, and positively direct the future. 
    • The history of a people or a period is an amalgam and reflection of how individuals and groups acted in and reacted to the circumstances in which they found themselves. This tells us that we all have the ability to impact the world around us and can act as catalysts of change.
    • In order to interpret the past with fullness and fairness, one must critically assess the documentary evidence that was left behind by the individuals who participated in or witnessed the historical events.  What becomes “history” is a result of the lens through which one looks and is therefore a competition of differing narratives.  We must look broadly and critically at a variety of perspectives to build an understanding of the past. 
    • Processes of cultural exchange and appropriation, cultural conflict, and cultural subordination are complex manifestations of particular world views and frameworks, as well as power differentials between individuals and groups.  Understanding the mechanisms that support and degrade these power differentials can inform current realities of and potentialities for living with civility toward others and help to ensure and protect human rights and dignity.  
  • Content & Skills

    Freshman Year: Modern World History
    Areas of study will include some of the following regions: Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The geography component of the course teaches the mastery of place names and locations, knowledge of geography vocabulary, the importance of geography as an historical determinant and environmental stewardship. Students enjoy participating actively and regularly in the SHP gardens.

    Classes of 2027, 2026, 2025:
    Sophomore Year: US History or AP US History
    These survey courses emphasize the social, political, and economic events and trends that have shaped our nation from 1600 to the present.

    Junior and Senior Year: Seminars 
    The SHP Social Science seminar courses offer students the opportunity to study in a small class setting with an emphasis on discussion and presentation of research. The nature of our seminars presents the possibility to study a specific region of the world, a certain period of time, or a discipline within the social sciences.  The department offers both honors and non-honors courses, which may vary from year to year. Honors courses are rigorous, one-semester, college-level courses that earn students an additional incremental increase in their SHP GPA. 

    Junior and Senior Year: AP Courses
    The SHP Social Science Department also offers an array of Advanced Placement courses in history, political science, and economics. As articulated by the College Board, AP courses enable willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. These courses serve as in-depth foundational courses within a discipline, in a course comparable to a college level course. All AP courses earn students an additional incremental increase in their SHP GPA. 

    The thinking and writing skills that the Social Science Department advances are how to:
    • categorize effectively
    • chronologically order events
    • paraphrase  and to summarize clearly and concisely what others have said or written
    • critically analyze events and individuals, issues and trends
    • differentiate between facts, inferences and judgments -- their own and those of others -- and to synthesize these in a thoughtful and effective way
    • compare and contrast
    • examine cause-and-effect relationships

    Class of 2028 and forward:
    Sophomore Year: Ethnic Studies and Civics
    Sophomore students will explore the diverse histories, cultures, and experiences of people of color within the United States through Ethnic Studies, and they will examine their role and power as participants in American democratic society through Civics.

    Junior Year: US History or AP US History
    These survey courses emphasize the social, political, and economic events and trends that have shaped our nation from 1600 to the present.

    *Juniors may also enroll in Seminars or AP courses alongside their US History or AP US History course.  

    Junior and Senior Year: Seminars
    The SHP Social Science seminar courses offer students the opportunity to study in a small class setting with an emphasis on discussion and presentation of research. The nature of our seminars presents the possibility to study a specific region of the world, a certain period of time, or a discipline within the social sciences.  The department offers both honors and non-honors courses, which may vary from year to year. Honors courses are rigorous, one-semester, college-level courses that earn students an additional incremental increase in their SHP GPA. 

    Junior and Senior Year: AP Courses
    The SHP Social Science Department also offers an array of Advanced Placement courses in history, political science, and economics. As articulated by the College Board, AP courses enable willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. These courses serve as in-depth foundational courses within a discipline, in a course comparable to a college level course. All AP courses earn students an additional incremental increase in their SHP GPA. 

    The thinking and writing skills that the Social Science Department advances are how to:
    • categorize effectively
    • chronologically order events
    • paraphrase  and to summarize clearly and concisely what others have said or written
    • critically analyze events and individuals, issues and trends
    • differentiate between facts, inferences and judgments -- their own and those of others -- and to synthesize these in a thoughtful and effective way
    • compare and contrast
    • examine cause-and-effect relationships
  • Placement, Honors & AP

    Currently, SHP offers the following Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Social Science: 
    • History Seminar Honors - Bill of Rights
    • History Seminar Honors - Environmental History
    • History Seminar Honors - History of US Immigration
    • History Seminar Honors - History of Modern China
    • History Seminar Honors - Russian History
    • Social & Environmental Economics, Honors
    • Ethnic Studies, Honors
    • AP Comparative Government
    • AP Economics
    • AP US Government & Politics
    • AP US History
    • AP World History
    • AP Psychology
    Classes of 2027, 2026, 2025
    AP US History for Sophomores
    • All sophomores may choose to enroll in AP US History. However, students should consider very carefully whether they are ready for a major acceleration of rigor.  
    • Teachers will provide level recommendations for each student, and these recommendations should be taken seriously. 
    • Freshman teachers will also provide sample experiences of AP-level pacing and assignments to acquaint students with the very rigorous demands of AP US History.  
    AP and Honors Courses for Juniors and Seniors
    • All juniors and seniors may choose to enroll in Honors or AP-level courses. 
    • Teachers will provide recommendations for each student, indicating whether the student is well-prepared for advanced coursework. Students should consult with their teachers and counselors in selecting an appropriate level of challenge.
    Class of 2028 and forward
    AP US History for Juniors
    • All juniors may choose to enroll in AP US History. However, students should consider very carefully whether they are ready for a major acceleration of rigor.  
    • Teachers will provide level recommendations for each student, and these recommendations should be taken seriously. 
    • Teachers will also provide sample experiences of AP-level pacing and assignments to acquaint students with the very rigorous demands of AP US History.  
    AP and Honors Courses for Juniors and Seniors
    • Juniors may also enroll in Honors or AP courses alongside their US History or AP US History course.  
    • All juniors and seniors may choose to enroll in Honors or AP-level courses. 
    • Teachers will provide recommendations for each student, indicating whether the student is well-prepared for advanced coursework.  Students should consult with their teachers and counselors in selecting an appropriate level of challenge.




    • Graduation Requirements

      SHP Social Sciences Graduation Requirement (3 years)

      Classes of 2027, 2026, 2025
      During their first two years at SHP, students study history from a global perspective in World History (freshman year), and United States History or AP United States History (sophomore year). Students fulfill the third year requirement by taking a minimum of two semester-long seminars over the course of their junior and senior year or a year-long course in AP Comparative Government, AP Economics, AP US Government & Politics, AP World History, or AP Psychology. We encourage students to take as many as their schedule and interests might allow. Our intent in offering these courses is to provide the greatest breadth and depth of learning for our student body. The specific courses offered may vary from semester-to-semester and year-to-year.

      Class of 2028 and forward
      During their first three years at SHP, students study history from a global perspective in World History (freshman year), Ethnic Studies and Civics (sophomore year) and United States History or AP United States History (junior year) to fulfill the graduation requirement.

    World Languages

    List of 4 items.

    • Philosophy & Goals

      In compliance with the national standards set forth by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the SHP World Languages Department offers world language classes that focus on preparing students to use their language proficiency and intercultural competence to communicate effectively in a global society. The main goals for all SHP language students are thus:
      • to acquire the skills that are necessary to be able to communicate well in at least one world language
      • to develop a lifelong respect and appreciation for other cultures
      • to become well-informed and active global citizens.
      Finally, and as per the 2011 ACTFL 21st Century Skills Map, in their language classes, students also work to acquire other valuable skills, such as critical thinking skills, social and cultural skills, global awareness, media literacy, creativity, clear communication, and collaboration with others.
    • Instructional Methods

      French, Mandarin, and Spanish
      French, Mandarin or Spanish language students gradually develop a solid foundation in the three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. To this end, students engage in a variety of activities and/or performance-based projects which include: reading, listening to and viewing texts and videos in the language; participating in spoken and written conversations such as face-to-face discussions, emails and text messages; and delivering spoken and written presentations such as oral reports, theatrical productions, written compositions and essays; all the while exploring the cultures of French-, Mandarin- and Spanish-speaking countries through the study of literature, history, art, media, and films.

      Latin
      These are reading-based courses of study. Students learn Latin by reading, acquiring vocabulary, and learning grammar in context. In levels 1 and 2, vocabulary is based on the theme of each chapter and is intended to provide students with a solid foundation to read Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Ovid, Vergil and Horace in levels 3, 4 and 5. Students also study Ancient Roman cultural and historical topics.
    • Placement, Honors & AP

      Placement of New Students:
      Incoming new students who have previous experience in the language they will take at SHP must take the SHP Language Placement Test in the spring prior to their fall enrollment. Students will then be placed in the appropriate level as determined by the department according to the students’ performance on the placement test.
       
      For transfer students, the department will review past academic records and performance to determine placement. Transfer students may also be asked to complete a short written assignment or conversation with faculty to assess their proficiency level and to ensure appropriate placement.

      Honors and AP Courses:
      Honors and AP courses are offered for students who demonstrate outstanding ability. Honors options usually begin at the second level of instruction (level 3 for Mandarin).

      Currently, SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) courses in World Languages:
      • AP Chinese Language and Culture
      • AP French Language and Culture
      • AP Latin
      • AP Spanish Language and Culture
      • AP Spanish Literature and Culture
      Enrollment in an Honors or AP course depends on the specific prerequisites indicated in the course description for that particular course.

      Download the pdf or see below for SHP World Languages Course Options with Prerequisites:


      Course
      Semester 2 Grade Prerequisite from Current Course
      French 2
      C- or higher in French 1
      French 2 Honors
      A in French 1
      French 3
      C- or higher in French 2 or French 2 Honors
      French 3 Honors
      A in French 2 OR
      B+ or higher in French 2 Honors
      French 4
      C- or higher in French 3 or French 3 Honors
      French 4 Honors
      A in French 3 OR
      B+ or higher in French 3 Honors
      AP French Language & Culture
      A- or higher in French 4 or Advanced French Conversation OR
      B+ or higher in French 4 Honors  
      Advanced French Conversation (Note: May not be offered every year) 
      B or higher in French 4 or French 4 Honors OR
      B- in AP French Language & Culture
       
      Latin 2
      C- or higher in Latin 1
      Latin 2 Honors
      A in Latin 1
      Latin 3
      C- or higher in Latin 2 or Latin 2 Honors
      Latin 3 Honors
      A in Latin 2 OR
      B+ or higher in Latin 2 Honors
      Latin 4
      C- or higher in Latin 3 or Latin 3 Honors
      Latin 5
      C- or higher in Latin 4 or AP Latin
      AP Latin
      B+ or higher in Latin 3 Honors OR
      A- or higher in Latin 4 or Latin 5
       
      Mandarin 2
      C- or higher in Mandarin 1
      Mandarin 3
      C- or higher in Mandarin 2
      Mandarin 3 Honors
      A in Mandarin 2
      Mandarin 4
      C- or higher in Mandarin 3 or Mandarin 3 Honors
      Mandarin 4 Honors
      A or higher in Mandarin 3 OR
      A- or higher in Mandarin 3 Honors
      Mandarin Conversation (Note: May not be offered every year)
      B or higher in Mandarin 3 or Mandarin 3 Honors
      AP Chinese Language & Culture
      B+ or higher in Mandarin 4 Honors OR
      A- or higher in Mandarin 4
       
      Spanish 2
      C- or higher in Spanish 1
      Spanish 2 Honors
      A in Spanish 1
      Spanish for Heritage Speakers I, Honors
      Student’s self-identification as a heritage speaker of Spanish and the recommendation of the World Languages Department
      Spanish 3
      C- or higher in Spanish 2, Spanish 2 Honors or Spanish for Heritage Speakers I, Honors
      Spanish 3 Honors
      A- or higher in Spanish 2 Honors
      Spanish for Heritage Speakers II,
      Honors
      Completion of Spanish for Heritage Speakers I, Honors
      with a spring semester grade of B or higher
      Spanish 4
      C- or higher in Spanish 3, Spanish 3 Honors or Spanish for Heritage Speakers II, Honors
      Advanced Spanish Conversation
      C- or higher in Spanish 4 or AP Spanish Language & Culture or AP Spanish Literature and Culture
      AP Spanish Language & Culture
      Completion of Spanish 3 Honors, Spanish 4 or Spanish for Heritage Speakers II, Honors with a spring semester grade of A- or higher
      AP Spanish Literature & Culture
      A- or higher in AP Spanish Language & Culture
      Advanced Spanish Seminar: Latin American Studies (Note: This course may not be offered every year)
      B- or higher in Spanish 3 Honors, Spanish 4, or
      AP Spanish Language & Culture
    • Graduation Requirements & Guidelines

      SHP World Languages Graduation Requirement (either two or three years of the same language, depending on the entry point)
      Levels 1, 2, and 3 of the same language (for students who enter at Level 1); OR
      Levels 2 and 3 of the same language (for students who enter at Level 2); OR
      Level 3 and an advanced class in the same language (for students who enter at Level 3)

      The World Languages Department strongly encourages students to continue the study of a language for four years in order to gain maximum proficiency. Juniors and seniors enrolled in advanced classes of their primary world language are encouraged to begin the study of a second world language by taking an additional world language class.
       
       

    Department Contacts

    List of 15 members.

    • Photo of Kevin Morris

      Kevin Morris 

      Computer Science Coordinator & Math/CS Teacher - SHP
    • Photo of Brian Bell

      Brian Bell 

      Director Creative Inquiry Lab, Stained Glass & Marine Biology Teacher - SHP
    • Photo of Margarita Dellamano

      Margarita Dellamano 

      English Co-Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Jake Moffat

      Jake Moffat 

      English Co-Department Head & Creative Inquiry Teacher - SHP
    • Photo of Jeffrey Adams

      Jeffrey Adams 

      Fine Arts Co-Department Head & Drama Teacher - SHP
    • Photo of Vanessa Woods

      Vanessa Woods 

      Fine Arts Co-Department Head & Photographer Teacher - SHP
    • Photo of Monika Nagy

      Monika Nagy 

      Director Health & Wellness - SHP
    • Photo of Virginia Boesen

      Virginia (Mahoney) Boesen 

      Religious Studies Co-Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Scott McDade

      Scott McDade 

      Religious Studies Co-Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Leslie Huang

      Leslie Huang 

      Math Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Diane Sweeney

      Diane Sweeney 

      Science Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Jesús Ramos

      Jesús Ramos 

      Senior Honors Independent Study Coordinator & World Languages Teacher (Spanish) - SHP
    • Photo of Daniel Allari

      Daniel Allari 

      Social Science Co-Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Lindsay Phillips

      Lindsay Phillips 

      Social Science Co-Department Head - SHP
    • Photo of Minghui Anderson

      Minghui Anderson 

      World Languages Department Head & Mandarin Teacher - SHP

    Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

    Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

    150 Valparaiso Ave
    Atherton, CA 94027
    650 322 1866
    Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12