High School Academics

Credit Requirements

Credit Requirements

27 credits needed for graduation

English – 4 credits

Theological Studies – 4 credits

Social Studies – 4 credits

World Language – completion of level III

Mathematics – 4 credits

Science – 4 credits

Fine Arts – 2 credits (Performing Arts and/or Visual Arts)

Physical Education – 2 credits (0.5 each year)

English

About The English Program

Four credits in English are required for graduation. St. Mary’s Academy English department provides an academically rigorous curriculum that allows students to further their knowledge of and appreciation for the English language and literature in general.In the Loretto tradition, all English courses include women writers and writers of varying backgrounds as well as many of the canon authors.The 9th grade curriculum exposes students to a broad array of genres and intensive instruction on organization in writing.The 10th grade English course centers on world literature, with cross-curriculum bridges to history and religion.Students in grades 11 and 12 may choose from a range of classes spanning African literature to Modernism—in this way, the English department mirrors the curriculum of many universities and caters to the interests of our students.

9th Grade Literature

Grade 9
The freshman curriculum is designed to expose students to a variety of literary perspectives. As such, the texts we will study are contemporary voices from around the globe. While most of the works, and all of the novels, will be relatively contemporary, we will also study some of the older literary traditions that help inform the worldviews of our authors. Therefore, this class will take a thematic approach to course instruction as opposed to a chronological study of literature. In addition to the literature curriculum, we will also focus heavily on analytical writing as a starting point for literary analysis.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

British Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
British Literature deals with a broad range of English and Irish literature—from Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf. It is not a survey course but does address the strength and merit of the accepted canon. Each work will, in essence, be considered contextually. It is the job of the course to investigate and discuss the important themes of these works. It is the job of each student to write in-depth essays expressing the ideas and themes brought up in British Literature. It should be noted that this is a course wherein strength in academic writing is stressed to a great degree.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

African Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
In this course we will look at a number of African authors and their works from around the continent. The students will learn about the different regions and cultures that generated the works as well as the general themes which are common to all African literature. These themes include but are not limited to: the individual versus the community, the issue of education, postcolonial African on African oppression, and the legacy of European colonialism on the continent. All students within the course will be required to write a number of academic essays and demonstrate knowledge of the texts read.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Science Fiction

Open to grades 11 and 12
Within this course we will read, discuss and write about some of the best science fiction short stories, novels and movies that have been created. Science fiction provides us a storytelling medium that enables many thought experiments and encourages a deeper understanding of the human condition. Students within the course will be expected to approach the material with a strong “willingness to contemplate,” involve themselves in the discussions related to the course, and write critical responses and essays about the topics. This course is held every other year alternately with African Literature.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Shakespeare

Open to grades 11 and 12
This course will be dedicated to examining the work of one of the greatest playwrights in history. Through a sampling of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, tragedies, and sonnets, we will explore the Bard’s most complex, revolutionary, and eloquent expressions of the human condition. Students should be prepared to consistently challenge themselves to think critically through reading, discussion, and analytical essays.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Contemporary Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
Contemporary Literature investigates and examines a selection of literature from the second half of the Twentieth Century to the Present. Students in this course discuss and write about literary devices and themes particular to Postmodern and Contemporary poems, short stories, plays, novels, and films contextualized by history, psychology, philosophy, and culture. Students will write to explore through journals and to analyze through critical responses and essays.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Multicultural Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
Multicultural Literature explores the work of American writers whose cultural heritage originates in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The immigrant experience, as well as themes of self/identity, other, place, race and gender, will be examined. The course will extend students’ knowledge about parallel cultures by exposing them to the differences and similarities between their culture and that of other groups. Multicultural lit will present students with clear contrasts in perspectives that can help them better understand their own cultural heritages and as well those of other groups. Our reading will include the fiction and nonfiction of authors such as Amy Tan, Malcolm X, John Okada, Sandra Cisneros, and Toni Morison. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Southern Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
Southern Literature investigates and examines a selection of literature from the Twentieth Century American South. In particular, we study Southern writers in context with history, so that students will analyze not only literary devices and themes, but also their connection to race, class, and gender in a particular time and place. Students will write to explore through journals and to analyze through critical responses and essays. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Nature in the Literary Imagination

Open to grades 11 and 12
Nature in the Literary Imagination explores how humans have imagined and interacted with nature across centuries. This course includes experiential learning in tandem with readings, using texts from a variety of literary movements and cultural traditions such as Transcendentalism, Romanticism, Indigenous authors, contemporary nature and eco-writers, and religious texts. Students write analytical essays on texts as well as creative non-fiction based on their experiences in the natural world, and they journal each day in order to learn how to observe and be more present in nature. Field trips to explore writing about nature include the following possibilities: The Botanical Gardens, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, hikes in a variety of conditions and habitats such as the foothills, the Rocky Mountains, the Platte River, Red Rocks, Prairie at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, and the Audubon Center.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Women in Film: A Heroine’s Journey

Open to grade 12 (grade 11 with permission)
This course is an examination of the female heroine and gender issues within the genre of popular films, fairytales, current events, and popular culture. Students will be asked to demonstrate the ability to make connections through both written and oral discussions.(1 credit; full block, one semester; elective credit only)

AP Language and Composition

Grades 11 and 12
Advanced Placement English Language and Composition focuses on rhetorical analysis of predominantly nonfiction works, including expository, argumentative, analytical, and personal texts from diverse authors and time periods. The two primary goals for AP English Language are developing critical literacy and facilitating informed citizenship, so that students may become more responsibly engaged in social justice issues and civic life through their command of language. To that end, we will examine how authors utilize both writing and images to articulate their personal experiences and to persuade an audience. Students should be prepared for intensive reading and writing, in order to learn how to apply rhetorical strategies, analyze information from source texts, and explore new types of written expression.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Literature and Composition

Grade 12
Advanced Placement English is reserved for the stronger English students in the grade 12. The first semester requires students to delve into serious and complex literature that spans 2400 years of literary tradition and history. In the second semester the focus is on preparation for the exam. Students complete a challenging study of poetry and write on AP English prompts every week. The spring session of the course is titled AP English II.(1.5 credits; full block fall, half block spring)

Introduction to College Writing

Grade 12
Introduction to College Writing is a workshop course in which students will develop the skills necessary to excel in writing for college classes. Each paper assigned is designed to provide students with the opportunity to structure and compose a variety of papers including, but not limited to, personal narratives (suitable for use as a college essay), journal article reviews, in-class essays, and research papers. Students will also create a portfolio of their work at the end of the semester.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Creative Writing

Open to grades 9-12
The goal of this course is to introduce students to the three central genres of creative writing: fiction, theatre, and poetry. We will read a variety of work in each of the genres as a springboard to doing our own work as writers. We will also do some work with personal essays, or “creative nonfiction,” and will read several works by other authors about their craft. This course is only for those students who are truly interested in writing; you will be creating your own creative work on a daily basis, and you will be expected to be willing to challenge yourself and be a participating member of a group of serious writers. You will also develop your critical skills through reading and critiquing the work of your peers and are expected to be mature about the constructive criticism you provide.(1 credit; full block, one semester; elective credit only)

Literary Magazine Production

Open to grades 9-12
Students in this course partake in the production process of the annual SMA literary magazine, The Burning Page. Students execute most of the production aspects of the magazine, which include working with art and literature. Students gain excellent technical skills and knowledge about the production process.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)

Poetry in Focus: Madness and Mental Illness

Open to grades 11 and 12
This class will explore the history of treating mental illness, the mythology of madness and artistic genius, the gendered responses to madness (especially of artists), and the way artists navigate and explore issues of mental health in their work.  A desire to explore issues of mental health in both the study and creation of poetry is required. Students should be prepared for challenging ideas, honest discussion, and a class that values sensitivity and exploration. Students will read and write poetry in every class, and workshops will be scheduled weekly to share and discuss our work.(1 credit; full block, one semester)  

Magical Realism

Open to grades 11 and 12
Magical Realism, lo real maravilloso, not to be confused with fantasy or science fiction, is a literary mode characterized by two conflicting perspectives: the real and the fantastic– the rational view of reality vs. the acceptance of the supernatural. As in all great literature, the fiction of Magical Realism exudes energy and vitality, joy and misery. We will consider the ways in which it transgresses boundaries and mingles the realistic with the fantastic and the ordinary with the awesome. Magical Realism is primarily rooted in the Latin American literary tradition; we will read novels by such authors as Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Laura Esquivel. (1 credit; full block, one semester)
 

Gothic Literature

Open to grades 11 and 12
Throughout human history, countless civilizations have been fascinated by the sources of fear in human life, and have sought to conceptualize our relationship to the supernatural. This course examines literature that specifically engages with these themes, beginning with the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto, and continuing chronologically through to contemporary Gothic works by writers like Angela Carter and Toni Morrison. Students will analyze these short stories and novels to explore the commentary they provide on the development of society and culture, including such elements as collective fears, the role of women, repression of subconscious desires, colonialism, the primitive, and the exotic. Students should be prepared to consistently challenge themselves to think critically through reading, discussion, journals, and analytical essays.
(1 credit; full block, one semester)

 

Social Studies

About The Social Studies Program

Students are required to take four credits in social studies before they graduate. The social studies courses at St. Mary’s Academy teach students the fundamental concepts of geography, history, and political science, as well as the critical thinking skills associated with writing, reading, researching, analyzing, and evaluating evidence. Students take Global Citizenship in 9th grade and World Visions in 10th grade. Junior and senior year credit requirements can be met through a variety of electives offered by the social studies department. The electives will alternate each year so that students have the option of taking them either year.

Global Citizenship

required

Grade 9
A foundational course designed to provide students the skills to partake in our globalized world. The first quarter emphasizes geography, civic knowledge, and academic skills that will benefit students beyond the classroom. Students will learn about the diversity and interdependence of the global environment and government systems. The second quarter emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving through the use of case studies. Students will examine historical debates to provide insights into the origin of the topic, echo modern discussion, and explore viable solutions. With privilege comes great responsibility and Global Citizenship will equip students with the tools necessary to bring the Loretto Values into our civic life.(Required, 1 credit, full block, 1 semester)

World Geography: The Earth and its Cultures Inside and Out

Open to all grades
This course is designed to introduce students to the universals, tools, and techniques of World Geography. Students will examine the composition of the physical earth and its relationship to the sun, the theory of plate tectonics, as well as landforms, water, and climate. Students will also analyze the complexities of human culture and its relationship with the Earth, and assess impacts on the environment. World Geography also provides a general overview of the cultural, socioeconomic, political, and ecological issues unique to different geographical regions of the world. Inquiry and research, lecture notes and discussion, projects and presentations are all designed to encourage students to contemplate our responsibility to the future of the planet.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Human Geography

Open to grades 11 and 12 (grade 10 with permission). Department approval required.
The purpose of Advanced Placement Human Geography is to develop in students an understanding of how humans interact with the Earth; it is to learn the equivalent of a college introductory-level Geography course. Main themes and concepts covered are spatial relationships, human socioeconomics and its connection to environment, map skills, relationships of human processes and their interconnectedness, the peoples and cultures of the planet, and regional difference. The goal of this course is to instill in students a curiosity about their world and its people and give them the tools needed to think critically about being a modern world citizen. All enrolled students are expected to take the AP Exam in May.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP United States History

Open to grades 11 and 12. Department approval required.
The purpose of Advanced Placement United States History is to develop in students a substantial knowledge of the social, political, cultural, economic, and military history of the United States. Students will analyze and interpret the past through class discussions, essays, presentations, and reflection. This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam in May. Every student enrolled in the AP course is expected to take the AP Exam.(1 block fall semester, 45 minutes spring semester, 1.5 credits)

AP US Government and Politics

Prerequisite: US History; Open to grades 11 and 12. Department approval required.
AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. The five units of study include Foundations of American Democracy, Interaction Among Branches of Government, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, American Political Ideologies and Beliefs, and Political Participation. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Current World Issues

Open to grades 11 and 12
Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation, this class covers global issues including, but not limited to the international refugee crisis, hunger, conflict, and water.  Students will gain awareness of the struggles of humanity and their effects, a responsibility to stay informed, and a realization of the capacity for change. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Women's Studies

Open to grades 11 and 12
This course presents a broad introduction to the evolving field of women’s studies, preparing students for success in undergraduate-­level coursework in sociology and gender studies. We will spend the semester examining a variety of historical and contemporary issues in an effort to better understand the experience of intersectional women navigating modern America.(1 credit; full block, one semester) 

Street Law

Open to grades 11 and 12
Street Law is an introductory course to the law and legal systems in the United States and around the world. Students will touch on broad and specific legal topics for a better understanding of law and how it affects people in real life. We will use case studies, individual research, group discussion/debate, and mock trials throughout the course in order to reach our goal.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Positive Psychology

Open to grades 11 and 12
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.  The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.” Positive Psychology Center. This course will first provide students with an overview of the major psychological theories.  Students will then have the opportunity to explore the history of positive psychology, and gain insight into the benefits positive psychology offers in terms of allowing us to lead from our strengths in order to find purpose and happiness. (0.5 credit, 45 min block, Spring Semester)

AP Art History

Open to grades 11 and 12 (grade 10 with permission). Department approval required
AP Art History is a chronological survey course studying world history through the examination of the visual arts, including sculpture, painting, and architecture. Students will experience the breadth of creative output from 35,000 B.C.E. to the present and gain skills in the appreciation and analysis of art in a historical context. The course will prepare students for the AP Art History exam which is given each May.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

 

Mathematics

About The Mathematics Program

Four credits in math are required for graduation. Knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry is considered necessary for success in college and work. Every student is thus required to complete Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry. In the spring, the math department issues each continuing student a formal notice of course(s) she is qualified to take in the following year.

Algebra I

This is a required course taken prior to Geometry. It is focused on establishing fluency with variables in writing, solving, graphing and understanding equations. Students refine and practice operational skills. They study linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, polynomials, and exponential functions. Throughout, they become familiar with the vocabulary and patterns of reasoning used in mathematics and its applications. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Accelerated Algebra

Prerequisite: Math Department approval at placement
This course encompasses the fundamental concepts of Algebra while proceeding at a faster pace than Algebra 1. From the start, the focus will be on the later chapters and will cover more advanced and rigorous problem sets.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Geometry

Prerequisite: Algebra I or Math Department approval at placement
The course exposes students to Euclidean geometry, covering the essentials for further work in high school and for success on the SAT/ACT tests. Students examine lines, angles, triangles, polygons, and circles while learning concepts such as congruence, similarity, trigonometric ratios, area, and volume. Students use definitions, postulates, theorems, proof techniques, and geometry software to prove conjectures, solve problems, and illustrate results. Students apply principles and skills of algebra throughout. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Note: This course is required prior to Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry.

Honors Geometry

Prerequisite: Math Department recommendation or approval at placement
This rigorous course proceeds at a faster pace and delves deeper into topics than the regular Geometry course. Students will engage more intensively with proofs, take their study of triangles and circles further, and face more challenging assignments and assessments. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry

Prerequisite: Geometry or Honors Geometry
This year-long course allows students to learn and practice advanced algebra skills at a moderate pace. After completion, students will have been exposed to all the material covered in the math sections of the SAT and ACT.  Students study linear and quadratic functions, radicals and rational exponents, systems of equations, inequalities, polynomials, and plane trigonometry. They are introduced to logarithmic, exponential, and circular functions and will become versed in the evaluation, inverses, graphs, and applications of these functions.(2 credits; full block, two semesters)

Note: Students must enroll for both semesters of the course.

Honors Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry

Prerequisite: Geometry or Honors Geometry and Math Department Approval
This course is for students with a very strong background in Algebra who are able to work at a significantly faster pace.  This class focuses on seven types of functions: linear, quadratic, polynomial, radical, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric. Students will become versed in the evaluation, inverses, graphs, transformation, and application of these functions.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Business Math: Economics

Prerequisite: Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry (Regular or Honors)
This course addresses real-world mathematical topics that are applicable to students’ lives. It is particularly recommended for 12th graders. The course explores the economic decisions young adults will encounter in college and beyond. Students learn about investing, saving, borrowing, and credit.  They practice skills through the Stock Market Game, budgeting exercises, and other hands-on activities. Students will also learn general economic principles through current events with a global perspective. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Statistics

Prerequisite: Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry (Regular or Honors)
This course is designed to expose students to the fundamental ideas and methods of probability and statistics. Students collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data with statistical methods widely used in the social sciences, engineering, and medicine. They will use spreadsheets and analysis software to build models and draw informed conclusions while developing the vocabulary of statistics.  (1 credit; full block, one semester)

College Algebra

Prerequisite: Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry (Regular or Honors)
This course is designed for students who wish to deepen their understanding of the mathematical concepts necessary for college work.  Students will strengthen their algebraic and analytical skills while preparing for success in pre-calculus courses and on college placement tests. Students extend their knowledge and understanding of algebraic expressions, equations, inequalities, and functions, including inverse, exponential, and logarithmic. They will apply these concepts and associated skills to real-world applications. (1 credit, full block, one semester)

Pre-AP Calculus

Prerequisite: Honors Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry or College Algebra
This course is for students with a demonstrated aptitude for advanced high school mathematics as it is significantly more demanding than the prerequisite courses. Students further their knowledge of the essential foundations of calculus: piecewise, exponential, logarithmic, power, sinusoidal, inverse trigonometric, polynomial, and rational functions.  Students will become fluent in the composition, transformation, and inverses of these functions while developing the graphing calculator skills needed for success on standardized tests.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Calculus

Prerequisite: Pre-AP Calculus and Math Department Approval
This course is for students eager and able to continue their mathematical education beyond pre-calculus without the pace and pressure of the AP curriculum. It is designed as an introduction to the concepts and applications of both integral and differential calculus. Students will thoughtfully apply their pre-calculus knowledge of functions and graphing in studying limits, derivatives, continuity, antiderivatives, and the definite integral. (1 credit; full block)

AP Calculus AB

Prerequisite: Pre-AP Calculus and Math Department Approval
This demanding, college-level course emphasizes conceptual understanding and contextual applications of single variable calculus in preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May.  After a brief review of pre-calculus topics, students study limits, derivatives, and the beginning of integration theory. They will refine their skills with the graphing calculator and other mathematical software as needed for computation and analysis on the AP exam.(1 credit; full block, fall semester)

Note: This class must be followed by either AP Calc AB II or AP Calc BC.

AP Calculus AB II

Prerequisite: AP Calculus AB
This course is the continuation of AP Calculus AB and prepares students for the AP Calculus AB Exam.  Students will extend their knowledge and understanding of calculus through applications of integration and elementary differential equations. (0.5 credit; half block, spring semester)

Note: Juniors enrolled in this class may take AP Calculus BC their senior year.

AP Calculus BC

Prerequisite: AP Calculus AB and Math Department Approval
This college-level course builds upon the AP Calculus AB program and prepares students for the AP Calculus BC exam. Students extend their knowledge of calculus through advanced applications and techniques of integration, differential equations, and power series. They also study the calculus of polar and parametrized curves. Students continue to develop their fluency with the graphing calculator and mathematical software to calculate, solve problems, and visualize results as needed for the AP exam.(1 credit; full block, spring semester)

 

Science

About The Science Program

A total of four science credits are required for graduation. The St. Mary’s Academy science curriculum develops in students the ability to read scientific material and to communicate scientific work with clarity, cohesiveness, and meaning. Students will learn to plan and conduct scientific investigations, understand and utilize technology, develop an awareness of ethical issues in science, and recognize the role of science in the global community.

Biology I

Grade 9
This is a required course for all ninth graders and a prerequisite for all other science courses. Biology I covers the principles of biology from the biological building blocks of life through genetics. This course is lab-based and will prepare students to continue in higher science courses.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

Honors Environmental Science

This course will be a lab and project based class that focuses on problems and solutions to environmental issues related to ecosystems human population growth; water, land and food resources and waste; renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, and air pollution/climate change. We will use the textbook Scientific American Environmental Science for a Changing World by Susan Carr, Anne Houtman and Jeneeen Interlandl.  This textbook includes real world stories and uses an engaging, journalistic approach to show how science works and how to think critically about environmental issues. Reading and analyzing case studies will be a primary focus of this course in addition to the hands on activities and laboratory experiments.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Biology

Prerequisite: Biology I, Chemistry I, and one of the following electives: Biology II, Anatomy & Physiology, or APES (AP Environmental Science)
This AP Biology course is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course. The emphasis is on science practices, a way to coordinate knowledge and skills in order to accomplish a goal or task. It is organized around four big ideas, underlying principles which encompass the core scientific principles, theories and processes governing living organisms and biological systems. Those big ideas are evolution, cellular processes, energy and communication, genetics and information transfer, and biological system interactions.(2.0 credits; full block, both semesters)

Chemistry I

Prerequisite: Biology I and Algebra I; Open to grades 10-12
Chemistry I covers the history of chemistry, explores the uses of chemistry in various careers, and gives students the ability to cope with chemical questions and problems related to social issues. Topics will include structure and function of matter, atoms and the periodic table, chemical bonding, and chemical reactions. This is a lab-based course and fulfills the physical science course requirement.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Chemistry

Prerequisite: A in Chemistry I or permission of the instructor
This is an advanced placement course designed to prepare the student for the AP Chemistry exam. The course covers the equivalent of one full year of college level General Chemistry. The course is a rigorous math-based course, with a strong laboratory component. It is intended for students who have demonstrated a willingness to commit considerable time to studying and completing assignments outside of class. The course will develop the student’s ability to incorporate mathematical skills in the solution of chemistry problems, both through the use of textbook problems and laboratory activities. Significant emphasis will be placed on developing the student’s ability to solve problems through dimensional analysis and estimation. Students will be required to do extensive writing, and to keep a thorough and accurate ongoing laboratory notebook.(1.5 credits, 45 min block Fall semester, full block Spring semester)

Physics

Prerequisite: Biology I and Algebra I
This course introduces basic topics of physics with emphasis on conceptual understanding and scientific thinking skills. The content includes core topics in mechanics (description of motion, analysis of interactions using Newton’s Laws, use of momentum and energy concepts), and fundamental forces and field forces (gravitational, electric, and magnetic). This is a lab-based course and fulfills the physical science course requirement.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Physics C Mechanics

Prerequisite: A Calculus course or co-enrollment
This course will be designed to prepare students for the AP Physics C Mechanics exam, equivalent to a semester-long, calculus-based introductory college course. The course will designed to emphasize precise and thorough laboratory work, advanced problem-solving skills and professional communication of results. This is a lab based course. (1.5 credits, full block Fall semester, 45 min block Spring semester)

Anatomy and Physiology

Prerequisite: Biology I and Chemistry I
This course is a study of the form and function of the human body. Topics include an in-depth study of the major body systems: body tissues, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, immune system and reproductive system. This is a lab-based course that includes several dissections.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

AP Environmental Science

Prerequisite: Biology I and Chemistry I
This course will be a study of the living and nonliving factors that make up the environment, the interactions between organisms, and the human impact on these various components. Topics covered will include: earth systems and resources, ecology and biodiversity, population growth, land and water use, energy resources and consumption, pollution, and global change. This is a lab based course.(1.5 credits, 45 min block Fall semester, full block Spring semester)

AP Computer Science A

Grades 9-12 

Students will learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today’s society, including art, media, and engineering. AP Computer Science A teaches object-oriented programming using the Java language and is meant to be the equivalent of a first semester, college-level course in computer science. It will emphasize problem solving and algorithm development, and use hands-on experiences and examples so that students can apply programming tools and solve complex problems.

Introduction to Computer Science and Design Thinking

Grades 9 - 12
This course will introduce you to beginning and advanced skills in various technology topics (especially coding) that you will be expected to master in your various SMA core classes and beyond.  The course is split into two sections, the first (and shorter) will cover general software tools such as:  Google Slides, Docs, Sheets, Drive, Forms, various presentation tools including Sutori and Adobe Spark, basic audio and video recording, and basic document management.  The second section will teach students the core concepts of coding in Python using fun and engaging project-based lessons that utilize elements of Design Thinking. (.5 credit, half block, Spring semester, elective credit only)

Interdisciplinary

  • World Visions: World Literature

    Grade 10
    This course will cover the entire span of written communication from the ancient epic of Gilgamesh to Ursula K. LeGuin’s science fiction masterpiece, The Left Hand of Darkness. The titles read and the analysis taken on will coincide with the progression of humanity from prehistory to the present day. We will not study any one genre or time period for any length of time, but rather we will study the nature of written and spoken communication as it documented and changed our lives and the lives of our ancestors—as well as how it will affect those to come. Academic writing skills will be worked on extensively throughout the semester.(1 credit; part of two-block, one semester World Visions course)
  • World Religions

    Grade 10
    This component of the World Visions course seeks to examine the various sacred traditions, particularly of the five major world religions. The primitive religions and the contemporary religious ideologies of today will also be studied in a brief overview as well as other divisions of the five major religions. Students will be introduced to the founders, creeds, sacred texts, and beliefs of each of these religions. This course will culminate in a field trip to several of the places of worship of the religions examined in this course.(0.5 credit; part of two-block, one semester World Visions course)
  • World History

    Grade 10
    The history component of the World Visions course explores the story of human societal development from the earliest humans through the 20th Century. Using an assortment of resources, along with The Big History Project online course, the major thresholds of increasing social complexity are used to better understand how we have gotten to where we are today. The student will gain an understanding that the process and reasons for historical cultural change can and should influence our choices about the future.(1 credit; part of two-block, one semester World Visions course)
  • Astronomy 101: From Hydrogen to Humans

    Open to grades 9 through 12
    This is an introductory Astronomy class that is geared toward students who have an affinity for the subject, but may not possess extensive knowledge. The focus of the class will be twofold: students will develop and demonstrate a solid understanding of the science of astronomy, which will require them to come to a limited understanding of optics, chemistry and physics as they apply to the discipline—students will also study the history of astronomy and how that history has profoundly affected our understanding of the cosmos and our place within it. Objective tests, terminology quizzes and written assignments will be the main forms of assessment for the class.(1 credit; full block, one semester; elective credit only)
  • Robotics

    Open to grades 9 through 12
    Robotics develops abilities to fully integrate software and hardware using the FIRST robotics platform (www. firstinspires.org/robotics/frc), culminating in the creation of a completely unique robot that will participate in two Regional FIRST robotics competitions in March. Skills in design (AutoCAD), fabrication, programming (java), and team/business management will be developed. This class is requisite for participation on SMAbotics FIRST robotics team. There are no prerequisites.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

World Languages

About The World Languages Program

The primary objective of a foreign language classroom is to teach students to know how, when, and why to say what to whom.Through thematic and cultural based lessons, students work on reading, writing, listening, and speaking in order to develop presentational, interpretive and interpersonal communication skills.

  • ASL 1: American Sign Language

    An introduction to American Sign Language conversational skills at the low-level Novice Range, and to developing culturally appropriate behaviors in Deaf culture.This course is an introduction to American Sign Language, the language used by Deaf people in the United States and most of Canada. This course will also provide introductory information on Deaf culture, since a language cannot be separated from its culture. Introduces students to the language and culture of Deaf people in the United States. The course will focus on specific language and cultural behaviors, as well as introduce students to the grammar of ASL. Both expressive and receptive skills of students will be the focus of the course, with a major emphasis placed on receptive skills. Students will participate extensively in interactive classroom activities using the “Voices Off” Policy to ensure ASL immersion.
  • ASL 2: American Sign Language

    An introduction to American Sign Language conversational skills at the mid-level Novice Range, and to developing culturally appropriate behaviors in Deaf culture.Continues the teaching of ASL, moving from signing concrete concepts to abstract concepts. Additional vocabulary, grammar and culture is covered to build on the core knowledge of the language. Both expressive and receptive skills of students will be the focus of the course, with an equal emphasis. Students will participate extensively in interactive classroom activities using the “Voices Off” Policy to ensure ASL immersion. In this course students will continue to examine the sign lexicon and basic concepts about the structure and use of American Sign Language. Grammatical features will be stressed along with syntax and structure. The course will also have a focus on Deaf culture, history, values, social norms and how they play an important role in the Deaf community. To appreciate and respect Deaf culture, you must understand the signed language. Students will learn appropriate cultural behaviors such as directing and maintaining attention, and a way of talking that keeps others informed. This course is appropriate for students who have basic knowledge of Sign Language to the point where they can function comfortably in a wide variety of situations in the Deaf Community
  • Chinese I

    Open to grades 9-12
    In Chinese One, students will be introduced to the Pinyin system and simplified characters. By the end of the year, students will be able to recognize 300 characters and express thoughts about their daily life, family, pets, food, weather, and preferences in words, phrases and sometimes memorized sentences which can be somewhat understood by native speakers.(1 credit; half block, both semesters)
  • Chinese II

    In Chinese Two, Original Chinese novels will be provided to expand students’ vocabulary to approximately 700 characters. Students are pushed to create detailed extended sentences to describe, support opinions and narrate as well as to ask original questions. Chinese Two students can be understood by native speakers without much difficulties.(1 credit; half block, both semesters)
  • Chinese III

    Prerequisite: Levels I and II or teacher recommendationIn
    Chinese III, students are exposed to more complex grammatical structures in reading and listening. They are challenged to use the language to communicate, make comparisons, relate cultures and acquire information.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Chinese IV

    Prerequisite: Level III or teacher recommendation
    Chinese IV is an advanced course. It is designed to not only further develop students’ four language skills, but also deepen their insight into various aspects of Chinese culture. In addition to a structured textbook, students will learn through Chinese TV shows, movies, music, and novels. Class will be discussion based.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • AP Chinese

    Prerequisite: Chinese IV or recommendation from current teacher
    AP Chinese Language and Culture course is designed to be comparable to fourth semester of college course in Mandarin Chinese. Throughout the course, students will develop the awareness and appreciation of the culture of Chinese-speaking people, and view it in an international context, influencing and being influenced by the global community. Students can apply their growing knowledge through three communicative modes: Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • French I

    Open to grades 9-12
    In French One, students communicate short messages on highly predictable, everyday topics that affect them directly. They do so primarily through the use of isolated words and phrases that have been encountered, memorized, and recalled. French One students may be difficult to understand even by the most sympathetic interlocutors, but yet are able to communicate in highly familiar situations.(1 credit; half block, both semesters)
  • French II

    Prerequisite: One year of High School French or two years of Middle School French
    In French Two, students are pushed to reach Intermediate Levels of communication. They are pushed to create detailed extended sentences to describe, support opinions and narrate as well as to ask original questions. French Two students can be understood by a native speaker unaccustomed to language learners.(1 credit; half block, both semesters)
  • French III

    Prerequisite: Levels I and II or teacher recommendation
    In French Three, students continue to work towards Intermediate Levels of communication. They are pushed to create detailed extended sentences to describe, support opinions and narrate in paragraph-length discourse as well as to ask original questions. French Three students can be understood by a native speaker unaccustomed to language learners.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • French IV

    Prerequisite: Level III or teacher recommendation
    This course is offered for intermediate level students who seek to enhance their language skills through the study of six real world units based off of the AP themes. Particular emphasis will be placed on the ability to narrate, describe and explain in paragraph length when speaking and writing. Students will also practice speaking about hypothetical situations.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • AP French Language

    Prerequisite: French IV or recommendation from current teacher
    The goal of this undergraduate-level course is to prepare students for the AP French Exam while exploring the history, culture, and literature of the French-speaking world. Students will study the use of the French Language in the Antilles, Asia, Africa, and North America. There is a heavy emphasis on reading, speaking, and writing in this immersion course.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Spanish I

    Open to grades 9-12

    Spanish I provides students with a general introduction to the language. Emphasis is on functional vocabulary related to every life, basic grammatical structures, and exposure to the cultures and geography of the Spanish-speaking world. At this level, students practice asking and answering simple questions, describing people and their immediate surroundings, expressing likes and dislikes, and narrating short sequences in present tense. Activities focus on listening comprehension, speaking and (limited) writing tasks, and meaningful interaction with authentic materials to promote basic proficiency.(1 credit; full block, Fall semester only)

  • Spanish II


    Prerequisite: Level I or teacher recommendation
    Spanish II builds on the concepts covered in Spanish I, and continues the development of all four learning modalities (speaking, writing, listening, and reading). At this level, students continue to increase their practical vocabulary and become more comfortable speaking and writing in present tense. They create detailed, extended sentences to describe, support opinions, and narrate short sequences as well as ask original questions. By the end of the course, students have begun to study past tense. As in Spanish I, Spanish II students are provided context and conversational examples from authentic language materials for all concepts and themes covered.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

  • Spanish III


    Prerequisite: Level II or teacher recommendation
    Building upon the foundational concepts and vocabulary in the first two years, Spanish III students work with progressively more complex vocabulary, reading, and listening materials, produce more detailed, paragraph-length writing, and participate in extended conversations and in-class discussions. At this level, there is an emphasis on grammar tenses beyond the present tense, including past tenses (imperfect and preterite) and future, as well as an introduction to the subjunctive mood. Students can expect regular out-of-class assignments such as reading news articles and short novellas and viewing target-language short films and videos to supplement the textbook. All print, audio- and audiovisual materials are designed for native speakers, thus reinforcing the importance of using authentic source material to build proficiency. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

  • Spanish IV


    Prerequisite: Level III or teacher recommendation
    Spanish IV includes a review and in-depth study of all verb tenses through contextualized activities and using materials created for native speakers. At this level, listening, reading, writing and speaking skills are rigorously honed through essay-length writing, vocabulary building, and extended in-class discussions and oral presentations, thus helping students build their communicative proficiency and prepare for the AP Language and Culture course or other advanced-level courses. Spanish IV students explore Spanish-speaking cultures through a wide array of authentic materials, including music, essays, literature, visual art, theater, film and current events. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

  • Spanish Culture and Conversation

    Prerequisite: Spanish III or teacher recommendation
    This course is designed to elevate students' interpersonal and presentational speaking skills in Spanish and to deepen their understanding of Spanish and Latin American cultures. This course strives not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. Rather, emphasis is on building oral proficiency and vocabulary expansion; grammar review is limited and on an "as needed" basis. Given the focus on oral proficiency in this course, students can expect frequent in-class oral presentations and daily participation in pair and group discussions.(1 credit; full block, one semester)

  • Spanish for Heritage Speakers


This course is for students raised in homes where Spanish is spoken but who have had little or no formal classroom training in the language. These students are not viewed as using an “improper” form of Spanish that is incorrect or needs to be eliminated. Rather, their language is viewed as a rich and valid means of oral communication that is a foundation for further development. One purpose of this course is to develop writing and reading skills, vocabulary, and basic composition principles such as paragraph structure, accents, punctuation, etc.  Another important purpose is to allow students to explore, via cultural and community activities, the wide variety of Hispanic cultures in both the United States and abroad. By doing so, they gain awareness and a better understanding of their unique history and the significant advantages of being bi-cultural.(1 credit; full block, one semester)*Alternates with Spanish and Latin American Film every other year

  • AP Spanish Language


    Prerequisite: Level IV or teacher recommendation
    In this college-level class, students continue to master their skills in Spanish by applying the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication in real-life situations. This course emphasizes building vocabulary, reading advanced-level texts, and developing more sophistication and accuracy in speaking and writing, while developing an awareness of and appreciation for the products, practices and perspectives of the Spanish-speaking world. Students use a variety of resources to explore the history, geography, arts, current events, science, and technology related to six global thematic units. AP students can expect to participate in class discussions and project-based activities, write persuasive essays, give presentations, and practice AP exam tasks. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP exam. (1 credit; full block, one semester)

Spanish Language and Latin American Film


Open only to grades 11-12. Prerequisite: Level IV, AP or teacher recommendation

This course offers a unique vision of language learning and use. Through the discussion and analysis of critically acclaimed, feature-length films in Spanish, students engage in thought provoking cultural and linguistic examination while simulaneously developing their speaking and writing skills. In addition, students significantly improve their listening comprehension through exposure to a variety of regional accents and culture-specific vernacular features of native speech. Films serve as a catalyst for the exploration of complex issues related to contemporary Spanish-speaking cultures. (1 credit; full block, one semester) *Alternates with Spanish for Heritage Speakers every other year

Theological Studies

About The Theological Studies Program

As a school in the Catholic tradition, the curriculum reflects a broad range of topics for students to study within a framework that includes essential elements of Catholic teaching set out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Additionally, as individuals committed to being agents of change, students in each grade perform community service hours (9th-10 hours, 10th-20 hours, 11th-30 hours, 12th-40 hours) and reflect theologically on this service in written form, discussion and presentations.

  • Theological Studies 1: God, Revelation and Faith

    Grade 9
    This class is designed to help students explore, deepen, and enhance the relationships they have with themselves, others, and God. The Judeo-Christian tradition, the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and understanding the student’s own spiritual journey is the basis for this course, with an emphasis on the Catholic perspective. Other elements of this course include understanding the power of prayer, examining morality in today’s society and skills for making good decisions.(1 credit; half block, two semesters)
     
  • Theological Studies 2: God’s Presence in the World

    Grade 10
    Students come to understand God’s work through Christ, the Church, and all who work to make the world reflective of Godly ways of being in relationship with the human community. Students will be introduced to the idea that Godly work is holy work enlivened by God’s Spirit and though there is a cost for doing this work, the work is what brings a person to spiritual fulfillment and oneness with God.(1 credit; half block, two semesters)
  • Theological Studies 3: Living the Ways of Love and Justice

    For grades 11 and 12 only
    Students will study the Judeo-Christian view of the human person, the process for the formation of conscience and elements of good decision-making. In the second part of the course, students will study and apply principles of justice articulated in the Scriptures and taught in faith traditions, particularly in the social teachings of the Catholic tradition. Strategies for making change will be examined and applied in students’ analyses of contemporary justice issues. (1 credit; 1 semester)
     
  • Theological Studies 4: Sacraments and Prayer

    For grades 11 and 12 only
    Students come to understand that the Divine can be encountered in a full and real way in and through the sacraments and through building a relationship with God through prayer. Students will explore the sacramental nature of the Church itself, and learn about the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation), the Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Holy Orders and Marriage). The study of a sacramental worldview, the power of ritual and the grace of the sacraments will be understood as pathways to becoming aware of the Divine in ourselves and in the world.(.5 credit; one semester)

Fine Arts

About The Fine Arts Program

Students are required to complete a minimum of 2 credits of Fine Arts over the course of their high school career. These credits can be completed in visual and/or performing arts courses.The Visual Arts program offers students the opportunity to explore drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, metalworks, sculpture, the visual book and theory of aesthetics. Our Performing Arts program offers students the opportunity to explore dance, music, theatre performance and technical theatre. As students achieve new levels of competency in the technique of a given discipline, the confidence they gain becomes the foundation necessary for genuine creative expression. In all of the Fine Arts course offerings, there is an emphasis on technique building, risk taking and developing a personal vision.

  • Acting

    This course is designed for students in grades 9-12 who are interested in developing their acting skills and a basic understanding of the theatre. Units and activities will revolve around theatre history, audition techniques, comprehension of vocal strength, stage movement, body flexibility, and character development. The semester will culminate in a staged production.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Academy Singers

    This course is open to all students who are interested in singing. No audition or previous experience is required. Students sing a variety of choral repertoire representing diverse eras and genres. Students improve their singing skills by focusing on intonation, breath support, diction, blend, and tone quality. Music theory and history are taught in context with the songs students prepare for performance. Members of Academy Singers will perform two concerts per year.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Orchestra

    Prerequisite: At least one year of experience playing a string, brass, woodwind or percussion instrument
    Students explore different genres of music, in both string orchestra and full orchestra repertoire. The orchestra will perform in a formal setting four times over the course of the year. Orchestra students are highly encouraged, but not required, to take private lessons and to take this course both semesters.(0.5 credit; each semester)
  • SAIMARAC

    (Advanced Choir A and B) Prerequisite: By audition only (previous participation in Academy Singers or foundations in Performing Arts is encouraged)
    This choir is a highly demanding, select vocal ensemble that meets for both fall and spring semester. Students sing a variety of difficult choral selections with an emphasis on vocal jazz and a’cappella music. SAIMARAC performs several times each semester both within the St. Mary’s Academy community and as an outreach group from SMA to the greater Denver metropolitan area. Students are expected to have good tonal memory and possess strong vocal skills as well as a strong work ethic and commitment to practicing outside of class on ear training and theory skills. SAIMARAC students are highly encouraged, but not required, to take private voice lessons.(0.5 credit; half block each semester)
  • Jazz Band

    This course is open to all students who are interested in playing in a casual band setting. No audition or previous experience is required. Students will learn note reading, counting and basic band notation. Additional music theory is taught in context with the performance music learned in course. The jazz band will play at the on-campus concerts during the semester.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Ceramics I

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of ceramics. Through the handbuilding techniques of surface and decorative treatment, students will create forms from clay that are functional, non ­functional, expressive, and sculptural. Students will also have the opportunity to practice throwing on the potter’s wheel to further their experience in working with clay.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Ceramics II

    Prerequisite: Ceramics I
    Ceramics II is designed to enhance the throwing and handbuilding skills of serious art students. This course will introduce large scale construction methods, glaze chemistry, figurative sculpture, and portfolio development. (1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Jewelry I

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of jewelry work. Students will learn how to cut, emboss, enamel, texture, solder, file and polish a variety of jewelry metals. In addition, they will learn how to make a ring and learn how to set a stone.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Advanced Metals

    Prerequisite: Jewelry 1
    In Advanced Metals students will continue their exploration of jewelry as an art form. They will learn how to sculpt using the lost-wax casting process and will use this method to create a ring, a pendant and an earring set. Students will also be exposed to stained glass as an art form and will make one framed piece.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Developing Multimedia Skills for the Real World

Open to grades 10-12 (grade 9 with permission)

This course is designed to develop future leaders while providing enrollees with entry-level skills required for careers in the multimedia and design field. Through a hands-on, project-based curriculum students will apply skills as they learn principles of graphic design, app development, video and audio production, drone and aero-technology, multimedia, tips on how to begin a technology-based startup company, virtual reality, and web design. This course will include field trips and guest speakers that align with the topics and problem-solution activities presented. Although offered year-long, students can opt to take one semester; part one will be offered in the fall and part two in the spring. (0.5 credit; half block, one semester or full year)

  • Drawing and Painting I

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of drawing and painting. Through a series of skill­-building exercises, students learn the techniques of observational drawing. Additionally, students are given a series of sketchbook prompts throughout the semester that explores the conceptual aspects of visual metaphor, challenging students to contemplate the content of their creative ideas. An introduction to color theory concludes the course with a series of watercolor painting exercises.(0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Drawing and Painting II

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting 1 or permission from the instructor
    Drawing and Painting II is an advanced class that is focused on project-centered work, completing finished artworks that form the foundation of a strong portfolio. Both technical and conceptual concerns are addressed through the coursework, challenging students to advance their formal skills while expanding their ideas of what art can be, do and say.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • The Illustrated Book: Concept, Design, and Publication

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting 1
    This course explores the world of illustrated books, from children’s picture books to graphic novels to fine art conceptual books. This class allows serious art students to explore a variety of media, while exploring content that reflects each student’s personal interests and ideas. The course allows for a semester-long project in which each student designs, illustrates and self­-publishes her own illustrated art book.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Photography I

    Open to grades 10-12
    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of traditional black and white photography. Camera mechanics, the chemical processes required for developing both film and photographic paper and basic darkroom techniques form the core of this course. The aesthetic of photography is also addressed, both historically and currently, helping students to place their own work in a larger cultural context.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Photography 2

    Prerequisite: Photography I
    This 90­ minute course is for students who have completed Photo 1. Students will work to further their technical mastery of the medium while more rigorously exploring the content and ideas that inform their work. Photo 2 moves from film-based media to digital capture, using PhotoShop for editing and professional-grade inkjet output for printing. The purpose of this course is to allow serious photography students to build an accomplished portfolio, including a semester-long project culminating in a self-published photography book.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Theory of Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art)

    Open to grades 11 and 12
    Aesthetics, simply defined, is that branch of philosophy that attempts to define and understand the nature of beauty. As such, the study of aesthetics is critical to understanding and appreciating art. This course investigates a range of aesthetic stances, starting with Platonic metaphysics and ending with a postmodern understanding of art and culture. This course provides a wonderful opportunity for students wishing to investigate art through the lens of aesthetic philosophy and is highly recommended for students who are interested in taking AP Art History.(0.5 credits; half block, one semester)
  • AP Art History

    Open to grades 11 and 12 (grade 10 with permission)
    AP Art History is a chronological survey course studying world history through the examination of the visual arts, including sculpture, painting, and architecture. Students will experience the breadth of creative output from 35,000 B.C.E. to the present and gain skills in the appreciation and analysis of art in a historical context. The course will prepare students for the AP Art History exam which is given each May.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • AP Studio Art/Drawing Portfolio

    Prerequisites: Drawing and Painting 2 or Illustrated Book for the Drawing Portfolio; Photo 2 for the 2D Design Portfolio. 12th grade only
    AP Studio Art addresses three distinct areas of portfolio development: (1) twelve artworks that show a breadth of stylistic approaches through a diversity of media and ideas, (2) twelve artworks that reflect a highly-focused concentration exploring a specific concept, and (3) five artworks that the student feels best represent the highest quality work she has produced. Together, these 29 artworks represent the highest level of creative rigor, a capstone for Seniors committed to their practice as young artists.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • AP Studio Art: 3D Design

    Prerequisites: Ceramics II and/or Advanced Metals. 12th grade only.AP Studio Art
    3D Design addresses three distinct areas of portfolio development: (1) sixteen artworks that show a breadth of stylistic approaches through a diversity of media and ideas, (2) twelve artworks that reflect a highly-focused concentration exploring a specific concept, and (3) ten artworks that the student feels best represent the highest quality work she has produced. Together, these artworks represent the highest level of creative rigor, a capstone for Seniors committed to their practice as young artists.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  • Independent Study Portfolio Development

    Prerequisite: completion of Level I course and teacher approval
    This course is for the serious art student who is committed to developing a portfolio for scholastics or AP Studio Art submission. Students applying for this Independent Study should be motivated, focused, and capable of working independently. This is a tremendous opportunity for students for a number of reasons: competing in the Scholas­tics art competition, submitting a portfolio to art departments and/or art schools at the undergraduate level, and building a strong and diverse resume for college applications in general.(Fall term suggested for Scholastics competition and college application; credits vary)

Physical Education

About The Physical Education Program

Each student is required to complete 0.5 credits of physical education per year at St. Mary’s Academy. Physical education credit may be earned by completing a semester course, successfully completing one season of a sport, or receiving approval for independent study.

  • Introduction to Dance Studies

    Open to grades 9-12
    This course is designed to encourage the individual student to achieve a high standard of excellence in the practical and academic aspect of dance as an art form. Students will develop knowledge through the study of the central concepts of dance: Choreography, Performance and Appreciation. (0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Physical Education and Wellness

    Open to grades 9-12
    This course will include activities that can be enjoyed throughout one’s lifetime, as well as an introduction to various team sports. Students will learn about the various dimensions of personal health and wellness such as physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. A variety of training methods and activities to increase overall fitness levels will be introduced, and students will acquire the tools to design a personal workout. (0.5 credit; half block, one semester)
  • Interscholastic Athletics

    Sports practices and competitions are held outside of school hours before or after school daily. The majority of teams practice from 4pm–6pm with competitions in the afternoon and evenings. Students who complete one season from the following sports offered at St. Mary’s Academy will receive physical education credit. Sports marked with an asterisk are done with teams at other schools but receive credit at St. Mary’s Academy. (0.5 credit; one season) Fall Sports:⠂Cross country⠂Field hockey⠂Softball*⠂Volleyball; Winter Sports:⠂Basketball⠂Dance⠂Swimming and Diving; Spring Sports:⠂Golf⠂Tennis⠂Soccer⠂Lacrosse⠂Track*
  • Independent Study

    Prerequisite: Athletic Director’s approval
    Prior approval must be granted by the high school principal and certain requirements must be met in order for credit to be received for independent study. In general, this option is designed for students who participate regularly in a physical activity that is not offered here at SMA. Some examples of this might be ice skating or horseback riding. Valid activities must have a qualified instructor and meet certain requirements. Occasional recreational pursuits do not qualify. (0.5 credit; one semester)

Electives

  • Publications (A & B)

    Open to grades all students
    Students publish the High School Yearbook. They conduct interviews, write copy and captions, take pictures, and prepare all of these for publication. Students gain excellent working knowledge of HJ-edesign. This course can also provide leadership opportunities as students assume editorial roles. The fall course is Publications A, the spring course Publications B. The course may be taken in both semesters.(0.5 credit; half block, offered both semesters)
  • Women’s Studies

    Open to grades 11 and 12
    This course presents a broad introduction to the evolving field of women’s studies, preparing students for success in undergraduate-­level coursework in sociology and gender studies. We will spend the semester examining challenges faced by modern American women, including recent debates over “having it all,” the changing nature of marriage and family roles, and the body image crisis of recent decades. Ownership of body and self is the central theme of the course.(1 credit; full block, one semester)
  •