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Academics
Preparatory (9-12)
Departments

SHP Courses by Department

To learn more about each department's requirements and philosophy, please visit the SHP Departments page.

Fine Arts

  • Drama

    This course teaches the basic principles of acting technique and performance.  It explores script analysis, character development, improvisation, and the audition. Students will be given exercises involving scene objectives, inner monologues, voice and movement.  Class culminates in a rehearsed, self-produced ensemble piece. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC ”F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
    * This class is available as a semester-long course for freshmen.
  • Drama - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  This course teaches the basic principles of acting technique and performance.  It explores script analysis, character development, improvisation, and the audition. Students will be given exercises involving scene objectives, inner monologues, voice and movement.  Class culminates in a rehearsed, self-produced ensemble piece. Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Actors Showcase

    This semester-long course is designed for students who wish to continue acting studies with a focus on performance techniques.  Students will learn intensive studio work in movement, voice, speech, and singing, as well as acting for the camera. Showcase also provides an exploration of the theatre industry, and the final stages of this course will be selection and preparation of audition material for college and beyond. Students who enroll in this course will have the opportunity to work with industry professionals and guest speakers. This course receives the .5 UC “F” requirement per semester and can be repeated.

    Prerequisite:
    Drama 1 or consent of instructor. 
  • Technical Theater - Page to the Stage

    In this course, students will experience the world of Technical Theatre and all aspects of the design process of a production from “page to stage”. The course will cover production organization and management, set design, construction, scenic painting, theatrical lighting, sound, costume and prop design, as well as theatrical make-up. Students will have the opportunity of working hands-on in the scene shop, lighting, and sound booth, in addition to guest lectures and demonstrations from professional theater designers. Students will also have the opportunity to be technicians and designers for theatrical productions, concerts, and events on campus throughout the Spring semester. This course is only offered in the Spring semester.
  • Dance

    This course is an introduction to contemporary Western styles of dance: jazz, musical theater, modern, and hip-hop. The focus of the class is basic development in rhythmic understanding/musicality, coordination, flexibility and strength, retention and artistic expression. Each class may include: a series of warm-up exercises to develop body placement and muscles; movements across the floor and applied technique through movement combinations and choreography. Students will learn as well as create their own choreography. Semester finals consist of participation in a school performance showcase in the fall and in the spring. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed. There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • Dance - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  This course is an introduction to contemporary Western styles of dance: jazz, musical theater, modern, and hip-hop. The focus of the class is basic development in rhythmic understanding/musicality, coordination, flexibility and strength, retention and artistic expression. Each class may include: a series of warm-up exercises to develop body placement and muscles; movements across the floor and applied technique through movement combinations and choreography. Students will learn as well as create their own choreography. Semester finals consist of participation in a school performance showcase in the fall and in the spring. Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Intermediate Dance

    (Urban Styles) This year-long course will focus on different forms and qualities of urban dance styles. Hip-Hop techniques such as Popping, Locking, Gliding, Isolations, House, Hip-Hop party dances, and popular choreographic forms will be emphasized.  This course will introduce and develop the foundations of Hip-Hop dance techniques at an intermediate level. Students will gain a foundational understanding of the Performing Arts, from classical to the contemporary forms, through the lens of hip-hop culture. Students will also develop awareness in both the technical and conceptual aspects of their craft while working individually and collaboratively. Semester finals consist of participation in a school performance showcase in the fall and in the spring. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full yearlong course must be completed. Prerequisites for this course include Dance 1 and/or placement audition.
  • Intermediate/Advanced Dance

    (All Styles) This year-long course is designed for intermediate to advanced level students. The course focuses on improving technical skills, strength and flexibility, learning and executing more complex movement sequence.  Student will explore traditional and contemporary dance forms. Students will also develop their capacity to reflect, analyze and interpret movement composition. Students will explore and develop skill in movement improvisation, choreography and artistic expression/conception. Each class may include: warm-up exercises; movement combinations across the floor; and choreography. Semester finals consist of participation in a school performance showcase in the fall and in the spring. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the yearlong UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed. Prerequisites for this course include Beginning or Intermediate Dance with teacher recommendation and/or placement audition.
  • Advanced Dance

    (Performance-based, All Styles) This year-long performance based course is for dancers who are demonstrably advanced in their dance skills and committed to our school performance team. Students in this class will participate in a variety of school events and activities, including but not limited to, athletic games, fundraisers and assemblies in addition to the holiday and spring concerts. Students in this course will work on advanced technical skills; challenging, complex movement sequences; sophisticated artistry; increased exposure to improvisation; and in-depth analysis of compositional development for choreography. Choreography is a central part of this class; students will learn as well as create their own choreography. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed. Enrollment in this class is by audition only.
  • Chorus

    This course is designed for students who enjoy singing or are interested in learning more about singing in an upbeat, positive and stress-free environment.  No experience is necessary.  In this course, students will explore music from many historical periods and cultures through performance, listening activities and observation. While public performance is not the focus of this ensemble, students may perform for one another in the classroom and will perform as an ensemble at the winter and spring Fine Arts shows.  For those who want a break from the rigors of the regular school day, this is an excellent choice.  This course is a year-long UC-approved Fine Arts course that does fulfill that aspect of the SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement.  However, students who have already completed part or all of the SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement are also welcome.  This course may be repeated for credit as often as desired.  Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
  • Chorus - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  This course is designed for students who enjoy singing or are interested in learning more about singing in an upbeat, positive and stress-free environment.  No experience is necessary.  In this course, students will explore music from many historical periods and cultures through performance, listening activities and observation. While public performance is not the focus of this ensemble, students may perform for one another in the classroom and will perform as an ensemble at the winter and spring Fine Arts shows.  For those who want a break from the rigors of the regular school day, this is an excellent choice.  Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Advanced Chorus

    Advanced Chorus is the premiere group and requires an audition or consent from the instructor to join. The group tours nationally at least every other year. Past trips include Carnegie Hall in New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. The Advanced Chorus has earned excellent and superior ratings at many choir competitions and festivals throughout the country. Performance commitments range from on-campus school liturgies/Espacios, singing for our RSCJ community at Oakwood, to annual Winter and Spring concerts.
    Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
  • Instrumental Music - Concert Band

    Concert Band is designed for students with beginner or intermediate beginner musical experience, or students with musical experience who wish to learn a band instrument.  No audition is required.  Traditional band instrumentation of woodwind, brass and percussion are offered.  Through the study of appropriate wind ensemble literature, as well as all musical styles and genres, students will develop skills in reading, writing and performing music.  There will be required performances outside of the school day, including, but not limited to one formal evening concert, school events, participation at educational music festivals and informal performances to be determined throughout the school year.  A limited number of instruments are available to rent, free of charge.  See the instructor for availability. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
  • Instrumental Music - Concert Band - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  Concert Band is designed for students with beginner or intermediate beginner musical experience, or students with musical experience who wish to learn a band instrument.  No audition is required.  Traditional band instrumentation of woodwind, brass and percussion are offered.  Through the study of appropriate wind ensemble literature, as well as all musical styles and genres, students will develop skills in reading, writing and performing music.  There will be required performances outside of the school day, including, but not limited to one formal evening concert, school events, participation at educational music festivals and informal performances to be determined throughout the school year.  A limited number of instruments are available to rent, free of charge.  See the instructor for availability. Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Advanced Instrumental Music - Symphony

    Symphony is designed for students with intermediate to advanced levels of training on their chosen wind, brass, percussion, or string instrument. A survey of important symphonic literature, as well as all musical styles and genres, will be covered to further develop music reading, writing, history and performance skills.  There will be several required performances outside of the school day, including but not limited totwo formal evening concerts, school events, sporting events, participation at educational music festivals, ensemble trips, and informal performances to be determined throughout the school year.  There will be many additional opportunities for performances.  A limited number of instruments are available to rent, free of charge.  See instructor for availability.  This course may be repeated for credit as often as desired.  Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
     
    An audition is required for appropriate placement in Symphony.  Students auditioning for this class should have at least two years' playing experience on the instrument they wish to play in the ensemble.
     
  • Ceramics

    Ceramics is an introduction to 3-D modeling and conceptual design.  Students will learn a variety of building methods, such as pinch pots, coiling, slab building, wheel throwing and glazing.  Through these hand buildings exercises students will develop their design skills, hone their conceptual thinking, and learn about the historical and cultural significance of ceramics.  Students will examine images of contemporary and historical art work so that they can develop the concepts and visual awareness necessary to create important works.  Students will be encouraged to investigate new design possibilities, push the boundaries of contemporary understandings, and express their own unique voices.  Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual and Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
     
  • Advanced Ceramics

    This one-semester course is designed for students interested in continuing their exploration in clay and gaining a deeper understanding of Ceramics and 3D-modeling.  Students will be required to work much more independently; therefore, this course is best suited for highly self-motivated students.  Students may choose to continue their explorations across a variety of methods and concepts, or spend the semester focused on one larger project.  This course will feature regular demonstrations, films, critiques, and student lead presentations. This course may be repeated for credit as often as desired.  Students earn UC elective credit for this course.
  • Digital Art & Design

    In this class, students will explore the breadth and depth of possibilities in digital art and design, including an introduction to animation.  Students will create forceful, communicative designs that employ photographic images, vector graphics, digital painting/drawing, typography, as well as time-based animations.  Students receive a strong foundation in use of Adobe Photoshop, with introductions to After Effects. The larger objective of the course is to lead students through two major fields of exploration: 1) what qualities or concepts allow visual works to communicate with meaning and force; and 2) what techniques enable designers to create such works.  In the first semester students learn how to use Photoshop while exploring design as visual communication, with fine and graphic arts applications.  In the second semester, students extend their practice of design while broadening conceptual range for communicative force.  Additionally they will also learn how to optimize images for web-publication, make digital animations, and develop more intricate vector-based graphics.  Students must have a good working knowledge of computers.  Students earn UC credit for this course, which satisfies the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts.
  • Digital Art & Design - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  In this class, students will explore the breadth and depth of possibilities in digital art and design, including an introduction to animation and filmmaking.  Students will create forceful, communicative designs that employ photographic images, vector graphics, digital painting/drawing, typography, as well as time-based animations.  Students receive a strong foundation in using Adobe Photoshop, with introductions to After Effects. Students who take this class must have a basic working knowledge of computers.  Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Advanced Digital Art & Design

    In this semester-long course, students will build upon techniques and concepts acquired through prior experience as digital artists and designers.  Engagement with several large-scale projects will help to extend technical controls, while strengthening students’ abilities to conceive, plan, and execute design projects that communicate forcefully. Close consideration of work by other artists and designers will assist in this growth. Students will engage in extended projects like: creation of a short storybook through collage techniques; development of a poster campaign for a topic of public or social importance; branding for a fictional company or non-profit; and development of a website for displaying a portfolio of work.  Student initiative and a degree of independent work will be expected. This course will be scheduled in conjunction with Fundamentals of Digital Art & Design.  Students of both groups will share in critiques. Students do not earn UC credit for this course.
  • AP 2D Art & Design (Digital Art)

    This year-long course welcomes the commitment of juniors and seniors who wish to mature as young artists, pursuing an in-depth, sustained investigation of materials, processes, and ideas through 2D art-making. Creative work will engage primarily with digital media processes, but there will also be hands-on projects like developing an artistic journal, collage, photography and mixed media. The course framework focuses on concepts, skills and cultivating a creative practice that will help students become inquisitive, thoughtful artists and designers able to articulate meaningful information about their work. The course enables students to acquire distinct skills allowing them to think and act like artists. Students are expected to engage in a discipline of continual discovery whereby they practice, experiment and revise. Skills for effective communication and constructive reflection will be developed by means of class presentations, regular discussions and critiques of works in progress, visits to galleries/museums, written reflections and practice crafting artist statements. The course culminates in production of an AP Art portfolio for submission to the College Board for review and final evaluation, plus exhibition for the Sacred Heart community. This course satisfies the UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts.
     
  • Filmmaking

    This class is for students who are curious about the filmmaking process. Students will gain hands-on experience in the many aspects of making a film, including storyboarding, lighting, sound, camera operation, pre-production, and digital editing with Adobe Premiere (or Final Cut Pro).  The documentary component requires the student to observe, engage and capture the heart of a story on film.  Students practice interview techniques and develop sensitivity and discernment for the potential stories around them.  Students consider a variety of documentary films, both historical and contemporary.  They will evaluate these works for their narrative, conceptual, and technical qualities.  Students employ various techniques in the telling of stories through the creation of several films and sound events.  Students will also produce narrative and experimental films - the former with a focus on character and story creation, the latter focusing on how the video medium can be employed for personal, abstract, or experimental expressions.  This course is for sophomores, juniors and seniors.  While there are no prerequisites, students will benefit from an interest in photographic composition and creative writing.  A good working knowledge of computers will be important.  Students earn UC credit for this course, which satisfies the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts. 
  • Advanced Filmmaking

    In this semester-long course, students will build upon techniques and concepts acquired through prior experience making films.  Through a combination of discussions, research, production, and critiques, students will gain a greater sense for and development of personal vision or style.  Regular screenings of movies by a range of influential filmmakers will assist in this growth.  Various creative and critical approaches to subject matter - and to the medium of filmmaking itself - will be explored, including documentary, narrative, animation, and experimental approaches.  By the end of the semester, students will produce three to four longer-form works that demonstrate a firm grasp of fundamental techniques, as well as a maturing sense of concept/story development.  This course will be scheduled in conjunction with Intro Filmmaking class, and students of both groups will share in critiques. Students earn UC credit for this course, which satisfies the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts.
  • Photography

    This course is designed to provide students with an overall knowledge of both the aesthetic and technical aspects of black and white photography.  Students learn the processes and techniques of shooting and developing 35mm film, printing contact sheets and making photographic enlargements. Throughout the course students study a variety of photographic styles and traditions including surrealism, photomontage, social documentary, portraiture, and alternative processes.  During the first semester, students work on short assignments, followed by in-class critiques wherein the intellectual, emotional, and narrative ideas of the assignment are explored and discussed. For the second semester, students work on one long term photographic investigation of their choosing in addition to short term assignments. During the second semester, students are also introduced to digital photography tools and techniques and Photoshop. All students participate in the preparation and presentation of two annual end-of-semester exhibitions and 1 final portfolio. Field trips to local museums and presentations by visiting artists are also a component of this class. Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
  • Photography - Art of Living

    In this Freshman-only, semester-long, dynamic, fun, experiment-driven class, students will learn both the aesthetic and technical aspects of black and white photography and beyond. The course will teach students to shoot and develop 35mm film, print contact sheets and make photographic enlargements in our new, state-of-the-art darkroom. Throughout the course, students will explore a variety of photographic and non-photographic artistic methods, including surrealism, portraiture, collage, graffiti, and alternative processes. After exploring analog methods, students will move into digital media, and learn to scan and alter their film in Photoshop, print large-scale digital prints, and create short music videos using iMovie. The course is designed to help young artists develop diverse artistic skills to express what they find most meaningful. Throughout the semester, students engage in visual and photographic explorations on topics related to health, social psychology, identity, and adolescent development while honing their individual voices and visions.  Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Advanced Photography

    Advanced Photography is a one semester-long course designed to provide students the time and focus to build upon the skills that they have developed in previous photography courses.  Throughout this course, students focus on developing new techniques and work to develop a truly personal style and vision.  Lectures, presentations, discussions, darkroom time, experimentation and class critiques are used to help students further develop their individual photographic vision and skills.  Advanced Photography and AP students are often scheduled into the same class period, and generally have the same assignments, though Advanced Photography students have fewer requirements than those for the AP Students.  Each student maintains as on-going artist journal, used as a place to reflect, muse and gather ideas.  Field trips to local museums and presentations by visiting artists are also a component of this class.  This course may be repeated as often as desired.  Students earn UC elective credit for this course.
  • AP 2D Art & Design (Photography)

    This is an intensive, year-long course designed for serious, committed students who are prepared to work extensively on their photography both in and out of class.  Throughout the year, students will work on one, long-term sustained photographic investigation of their choosing. During their yearlong photographic investigation, students will participate in regular critiques to help synthesize ideas, while allowing for experimentation and revision. Students will also write regular reflections about their process to best equip them for the written prompts that will be part of their AP Studio Art submissionIn addition to their sustained investigations, students will also submit “selected work” composed of a variety of media, photographic techniques, and styles. These two bodies of work - Sustained Investigation and Selected Work  are submitted to the AP board in May for grading in the form of 15 digital files and 5 original works. Beyond meeting the AP portfolio requirements, each AP student maintains an on-going artist journal, used as a place to reflect, muse and gather ideas.  Bi-weekly journal techniques are taught as a component of the course.  Field trips to local museums, research on historical and contemporary photographers, and presentations by visiting artists are also a component of this class.  Students earn credit for this course, which satisfies the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts.
  • V.I.A. (Vision in Art)

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen. V.I.A. (Vision in Art) is a dynamic class that will explore a variety of contemporary artists and their techniques, including digital arts, photography, collage, printmaking and more!  The class will include lively presentations, visiting artists, and field trips followed by hands-on projects that explore the methods and materials of those artists. This is a great class if you are interested in exploring the power of art as a means to articulate your voice and vision. Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Studio Art (Drawing & Painting)

    In the first semester of this course, students explore various mediums and projects including line quality/drawing; tonality/value/shading; composition; color.  Projects are both individual and large format collaborative group projects.  Initially, process is more important than product as artistic ability is strengthened and celebrated.  Many of the assignments have a cultural or social justice context wherein subject matter reflects topics our school is exploring in our world.  Observation, interpretation and critical thinking are an integral part of the learning process. The second semester exploration includes: study of perspective theory and its application; the printing processes of collograph and/or lino block; painting with tempera and acrylic; and collage.  Journals are provided and ongoing journal assignments are an integral part of the class.  Emphasis will be on personal artistic growth, and learning through observation, interpretation and self-expression.  Students earn UC credit for this course; however, if this course is being taken to satisfy the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts, the full year-long course must be completed.
  • Advanced Studio Art

    This is a one or two semester course for students interested in continuing their love of studio art.  The course emphasizes a personal focus and depth, while increasing students’ artistic skills and confidence.  Students continue to explore color, light, space and various painting techniques within their subject matter.  While there are a number of specific assignments, Advanced Studio Art students are also encouraged to plan their own projects with the teacher’s guidance.  Students finish the semester with a strong portfolio of both classroom and personal projects.  Journals are provided and ongoing journal assignments are an integral part of the class.  Field trips to local museums and galleries are an important and inspirational component to this class.  This course may be repeated for credit as often as desired.  Students earn UC elective credit for this course.
  • AP 2D Art & Design (Studio Art)

    This intensive studio art course prepares students to submit an original art portfolio in early May to the AP Board.  This class is for advanced, motivated students, as the pace is demanding.  Students create a large portfolio of work (15 images minimum) over the year based on a sustained investigation of their choosing. Students will focus in-depth on a skillful synthesis of materials, processes and ideas through practice, experimentation and revision, while also using writing prompts to document their artistic investigation. Students will spend a significant amount of time outside of the regularly scheduled class time each week on their artwork. Beyond meeting the AP portfolio requirements, each AP student maintains an on-going artist journal, used as a place to reflect, muse and gather ideas.  Bi-monthly journal techniques are taught as a component of the course. Student field trips to local museums and art exhibits are an essential component of this class.  All students participate in the preparation and presentation of two annual end-of-semester exhibitions.  Students earn UC credit for this course, which satisfies the year-long UC “F” requirement for Visual & Performing Arts.
     
     

  • Stained Glass - Art of Living

    This is a semester-long course for freshmen.  This introductory  course is designed to give students have hands-on instruction in creating stained glass art as a mode for artistic expression. Students will learn the basic technical skills required for the production of a glass panel window using various specialized tools and equipment.  This course introduces students to the elements of pattern design concepts, execution in glass selection, cutting, grinding, foiling, soldering, applying patina and polishing glass to construct a finish work using the principles of a copper foil technique.  A strong emphasis is placed on design and originality.  Glass studio procedures, including safety, operation and maintenance of tools and equipment are all covered in detail.  Students earn UC credit for this course.
  • Stained Glass Workshop

    This introductory semester-long course is designed to enable junior/senior students to have hands-on instruction in creating stained glass art as a mode for artistic expression. Students will learn the basic technical skills required for the production of a glass panel window using various specialized tools and equipment.  This course introduces students to the elements of pattern design concepts, execution in glass selection, cutting, grinding, foiling, soldering, applying patina and polishing glass to construct a finish work using the principles of a copper foil technique.  A strong emphasis is placed on design and originality.  Glass studio procedures, including safety, operation and maintenance of tools and equipment are all covered in detail.  This course earns one semester UC credit in the “F” requirement.
  • Advanced Creative Topics

    This course offers select advanced students the chance to develop independent art projects in a new, interdisciplinary context.  Each student would come to the class with significant experience in their discipline.  This class offers a new kind of community where mature students can benefit from diverse perspectives coming from multiple disciplines.  They will share in conversations, creative process, and critical inquiry benefiting from diverse perspectives as they each ACT on their independent projects.  Facilitated by the teacher(s), students engage with critical writings, diverse art disciplines, visiting artists, SHP faculty experts, field trips, and a series of advanced critiques to help clarify the direction and impact of their own artistic voices.  

    Prerequisite:
    Competion of one semester of advanced level coursework in the FIne Arts.

    Note: this course is cross-listed with Fine Arts and Creative Inquiry.

    For Capstone Project Credit
    In order for your class project to qualify for Capstone credit, it must include investigation into 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, at least five hours of proximity with a local organization in addition to your class project, and a 2-3 page reflection and analysis in x2Vol.

Where Scholarship and Values Matter
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12