Network of Sacred Heart Schools
Academics
Preparatory

Departments

Computer Science/Creative Inquiry (CSCI)

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    COMPUTER SCIENCE
    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.

    CREATIVE INQUIRY
    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

    COMPUTER SCIENCE
    Among several methods used, such as hands-on instruction, abstract modeling, simulation, and analysis, collaboration with peers, and discussions surrounding topics in ethics, privacy, security, etc.

    CREATIVE INQUIRY
    The students themselves and the experiences they undertake will serve as primary instructors in the Lab. The role of teachers will be that of moderator, sounding board, and cheerleader. The teacher will be with the student every step of the way, but will not direct. Students will be allowed to make their own decisions and their own mistakes, so that their ultimate success or failure will be completely their own. The pedagogical basis for this approach comes from an active synthesis of:
    (1) the design thinking methodology developed at the Stanford d.school;
    (2) Seymour Papert’s Constructionist philosophy (the forbearer of The Maker’s Movement);
    (3) Carl Roger’s “nondirective” approach to teaching; 
    (4) the Catholic educational tradition of Sacred Heart Schools.

    Find out more about the Creative Inquiry Lab
  • AP

    Currently SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) course in CSCI:
    • AP Computer Science
  • Graduation Requirements

    All students are required to take one semester of CS1: Exploring Computer Science except those freshmen who take a year-long Chorus or Instrumental Music course, which allows them to be exempt from this computer science graduation requirement.

    All computer science classes are electives, although almost all freshmen take the Exploring Computer Science course. After this freshman course, some advanced courses have prerequisites. 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 situation and interests.

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

English

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The English curriculum develops in each student the ability to articulate thoughts and ideas orally and in writing as well as to develop a lifelong appreciation of literature. The English faculty commits itself to an inclusive curriculum and to an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

    The specific performance objectives at each level are:
    • Freshman -  Development of reading skills (vocabulary, comprehension, and genre identification); development of writing skills (spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, development of paragraph form, and thesis essay composition); development of related study skills (note-taking, outlining, vocabulary building, library & media use, listening, and oral presentation); and the ability to recognize various literary genres and terms.
    • Sophomore - Improvement of grammar and writing skills through development of a satisfactory expository writing style; vocabulary development; analysis of literary themes; practice in literary criticism and discussion techniques; and introduction to research techniques in conjunction with the Religious Studies and Social Science Departments, and the Lucas Family Library staff.
    • Junior - Greater fluency in English composition and an intelligent familiarity with themes in world literature are the ultimate goals of the junior program. Writing skills are developed through practice in expository, persuasive, and creative writing in longer papers. Listening and speaking skills are developed through close analysis of literature in class discussions as well as formal explications. This AP level course is designed to prepare students for the AP Language and Composition exam in the spring.
    • Senior - The senior program affords greater independence and student-directed learning as students chose to enroll in English 4, English 4 Honors, or AP Literature electives. Graduating seniors will emerge with the ability to evaluate both the form and the content of literature and to understand form as a component of a work's meaning. Moreover, students will gain an understanding and appreciation of literature from a variety of nations, eras, and cultures. Students will continue to build their mastery of writing and critical thinking through frequent critical and creative writing assignments, class discussions and independent projects.
  • Instructional Methods

    When exploring literature, the 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 and writing. However, The Little, Brown Handbook will supplement the program at all levels (9-12) in order to provide a reference for students to consult on grammar and composition questions.
  • AP

    Currently, SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) courses:
    • AP English Language: Themes in World Literature (fall)
    • AP English Language: British Classics (spring)
    • AP English Literature: Semester Electives (theme offerings vary)
  • Graduation Requirements

    SHP requires four years of English for graduation. 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

    At Sacred Heart we believe all students carry the gifts of artistic expression. Through exposure to and practice of the arts, students develop their own unique talent and skills. As students investigate their relation to the arts, they also heighten self-awareness, honor individuality, and nourish self-esteem.

    The Fine Arts Department is firmly committed to a strong foundation in the arts and we strongly encourage students to explore a wide variety of creative experiences during their high school education, very often enrolling in classes above and beyond the basic fine arts requirement.
  • Instructional Methods

    Active participation in the creative disciplines is emphasized for successful completion of the various courses offered. Students learn best when they are challenged and are asked to make intelligent and thoughtful choices toward solving complex problems. The creative arts give the student opportunities to express his/herself in an alternative fashion and encourages the student to flex his or her personal voice and conceptual abilities. While engaging in the creative process, students are perceiving, deducing, inducing, feeling, intuiting, remembering, and judging, all of which are basic to art and essential to life.

    The various arts disciplines share the fundamental components of aesthetic perception, creative expression, arts heritage, and aesthetic valuing. M
    ethods used to attain the goals inherent in these components vary according to each discipline while promising fulfilling experiences for the student of art.
  • AP

    SHP offers the following Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the Fine Arts Department:
    • AP Music Theory
    • AP Studio Art: 2D Design and/or Drawing 
    • AP 2D Design in Photography
  • Graduation Requirements

    In order to fulfill the SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement, a student must take:
    • Survey of the Arts and one year-long UC-approved Fine Arts course* OR
    • One year-long Chorus or Instrumental Music course as a freshman and one additional semester of any UC-approved Fine Arts course*

    All incoming freshmen are required to enroll in either the year-long Survey of the Arts course or a year-long Chorus or Instrumental Music course. In subsequent years, students are encouraged to go above and beyond the minimum requirements and enjoy the opportunities offered in our varied, in-depth arts courses. Grades earned in fine arts courses are incorporated into the student‘s SHP GPA. 

    * 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). Please consult the SHP Course Descriptions to see which courses meet the UC Visual & Performing Arts requirement.  Meeting the UC Visual & Performing Arts requirement fulfills one year of the 1 ½ year SHP Fine Arts graduation requirement.

    For a complete listing of departmental policies, please consult the SHP Course Descriptions.

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, Algebra 2, or Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Honors is dependent upon a satisfactory 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 AP courses in math:
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP Calculus BC
    • AP Statistics
  • Graduation Requirements

    All students are required to take and pass two-three years of math, 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-Christian 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. Some courses include fine arts and art history components.
  • 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 internships and/or field trips. 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 requires the completion of eight semesters of religious studies for graduation. All offerings are semester courses, in the following recommended sequence: 

    • Freshman Year: Introduction to Catholic Christianity and Personal Morality
    • Sophomore Year: Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures  
    • Junior Year: Social Ethics and World Religions
    • Senior Year: Two semesters of Religious Studies electives

Science

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The Science Department commits itself to:
    • Teach a solid and basic foundation of scientific principles and process skills in order to help students draw connections through laboratory and lecture components among the different disciplines within the Science Department. This will enable the students to do well in college science courses and help them reach a level of scientific literacy that will allow them to understand the social and philosophical consequences arising from the influence of science on the society of today and tomorrow.
    • Help students learn to think independently, to reason, and to be able to use the data available to them to solve the problem encountered. When accomplished, this goal will not be limited to the scientific fields, but will allow the students to solve problems in any discipline as well as in their own lives.
  • Instructional Methods

    To achieve our articulated goals, 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:
    • verification and open-ended laboratory experimentation
    • written and/or verbal analysis of data
    • short and long-term scientific investigations requiring quantitative and qualitative analysis
    • library/computer research
    • computer simulations, field trips
    • lectures
    • group analyses of given problems
  • Placement, Honors & AP

    PLACEMENT
    The department uses previous science grades, as well as math enrollment and math grades, as prerequisites to determine appropriate course placement.

    HONORS
    Honors courses are available in biology, chemistry, and some upper division electives.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP)
    Currently, SHP offers the following AP courses in science:
    • AP Biology
    • AP Chemistry
    • AP Environmental Science
    • AP Physics 1
    • AP Physics C
  • Graduation Requirements

    A minimum of two years of science courses is required for graduation: a course in biology and a course in chemistry. However, students are strongly encouraged to take four years of laboratory science, and most students opt to complete four or five science courses during their time at SHP. 

    The department encourages all students to experience the full breadth of course offerings and course levels. As the number of department offerings has increased over the past years, the complexity of meeting the needs and desires of every student has also grown. As a result, the department offers year-long and single-semester courses designed to meet the many needs of SHP students, including two levels of first-year foundational courses in biology and chemistry, and several options for advanced coursework in physics, chemistry, and biology.

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


    CONTENT

    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.

    Sophomore Year: United States History or Advanced Placement (AP) United States 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 or Advanced Placement (AP) World History
    The SHP Social Sciences seminar program offers 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.  AP World History is a year-long course which emphasizes greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts in different types of human societies.  

    SKILLS
    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
  • Honors & AP

    HONORS
    For 2016-17, the SHP Social Science Department will offer the following Honors History Seminars:
    • History of Modern China
    • Advanced Topics in Women’s History and World Religions
    • Economics of Globalization
    • Women’s History of the United States
    • History of Science and Technology
    • Race and American Identity
     
    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP)
    The SHP Social Science Department offers the following Advanced Placement courses:
    • AP United States History
    • AP World History
     
  • Graduation Requirements

    The Social Sciences graduation requirement is 3 years.
    During their first two years at SHP, students study history from a global perspective in World History (freshman year), and United States History or Advanced Placement 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 World History.  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 will vary from semester-to-semester and year-to-year.
     


World Languages

List of 4 items.

  • Philosophy & Goals

    The World Languages curriculum is designed to develop in our students the ability to communicate in a world language and to instill in them a lifelong appreciation and love for the cultures studied. The major goals of the World Languages Department at Sacred Heart Preparatory are:

    • to introduce students to French, Latin, Mandarin and/or Spanish;
    • to develop skills necessary to communicate in oral and written work;
    • to help students understand how a world language functions;
    • to provide students with a broad cultural awareness of the people whose language they are learning.

    All French, Mandarin, and Spanish courses are conducted in the target language. Students are, therefore, required to use the target language in developing their oral skills.
  • Instructional Methods

    FRENCH, MADARIN, SPANISH

    To aid in the development of a solid foundation in listening, speaking, reading and writing, students:
    • listen to the language
    • acquire new vocabulary
    • develop proper grammar usage
    • participate in oral activities through singing, paired work, conversations, oral reports, theatrical productions, and literary discussions
    • hone written expression through dialogues, short answer pieces, journals, compositions and essays.
    • explore the cultures of French-, Mandarin- and Spanish-speaking countries through the study of literature, history, art and films.
    To consult our language curricula, see samples of student work, read student comments about their language classes, find out more about SHP language clubs, etc., please consult the following websites:

    LATIN

    Latin is a reading-based course of study. Students learn Latin by reading Latin, acquiring Latin 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 found in levels 3, 4, and Advanced Latin Literature. Ancient Roman and Greek cultural and historical topics are also studied.
  • Placement, Honors & AP

    FRESHMAN PLACEMENT
    Incoming students interested in taking a Spanish, French, or Mandarin course beyond level 1 as freshmen must take the SHP Language Placement Tests in May, prior to their fall enrollment. Students interested in taking a Latin course beyond level 1 as freshmen will be placed by the World Languages Department based on their 8th grade Latin teachers’ recommendations.

    HONORS 
    Honors and AP courses are offered for those students who demonstrate outstanding ability in subject matter.

    Honors options begin at the second level of instruction for French, Spanish, and Latin, and at the third level for Mandarin. Placement is determined in consultation with faculty by a variety of factors including academic performance and records in the subject matter to-date and placement test results, in the case of freshmen. Enrollment in second semester honors courses must be preceded by a first semester grade of B- or better.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP)
    Currently, SHP offers the following AP courses in world languages:
    • AP French Language & Culture 
    • AP Spanish Language & Culture 
    • AP Spanish Literature & Culture
    • AP Chinese Language & Culture
    • AP Latin
  • Graduation Requirements & Guidelines

    The World Languages graduation requirement is either two or three years of the same language, depending on the student’s 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 fluency. 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.

    For a complete explanation of department and academic policies, please consult the SHP Course Description Book.

Department Heads

List of 8 members.

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