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Signature Programs

Unparalleled opportunities for academic and personal growth.

Signature Programs

San Domenico seeks to develop unique, signature programming that addresses the personal development needs of students, encourages their academics and creative growth, and responds to the changing needs and demands of our 21st century world.


Grades 9-12

Every student wants to be successful. But somewhere along the way, many find themselves disconnected from their learning. This lack of connection can show in many of the challenges we see in today’s schools: decreased academic achievement, declining mental health and wellness, and the lack of preparedness for the demands in and out of the classroom. Since 2019, San Domenico has partnered with Project Wayfinder, developed at Stanford University, to equip students with the tools and skills to create purposeful lives. The curriculum utilizes a wayfinding metaphor to help students connect their academics with who they are and what’s important to them. This collaboration has brought forth another layer of learning, as well, as the Wayfinder curriculum has been integrated into our Ninth Grade Human Development and Tenth Grade Myth and Meaning curriculum, further providing students with opportunities to develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their academics and in their lives.

Global Education

Global Education

Grades K-12

As a global community of lifelong learners, San Domenico inspires students to joyfully discover their passions; develop the skills and knowledge to lead with courage, wisdom, and kindness; and make a positive impact in the world. Identifying as a global citizen and developing the skills to work cooperatively to affect positive change begins with building first-hand knowledge of and relationships with people from diverse communities, cultures, and backgrounds. This starts on campus with our international boarding community that brings perspectives from more than 20 countries into the classroom, enlivening discourse and enriching the student experience for our entire community. Curriculum choices also emphasize a global perspective, such as our Upper School Contemporary Global History Honors course. Traveling beyond campus is also a key component to a global education, with service opportunities and curriculum-based trips introducing our students of all ages to communities near and far. In Lower School, these experiences start with trips to local communities, cultural museums, and historic landmarks. In Middle School, the program expands regionally and nationally with trips across California and to Washington, D.C. In Upper School, students visit national parks, join Habitat for Humanity projects, and travel as far as Taiwan and Peru during our annual Spring Discovery week.

STEAM programs

Integrated STEAM Learning

Grades K-12

Rather than operating in siloed spaces, it is not uncommon in today’s modern workplaces to see engineers, designers, writers, artists, and technologists collaborating in a dynamic, shared environment. In these settings, members bring their own perspectives to the process of “design thinking,” resulting in ideas, products, and solutions that otherwise may not have occurred to any one contributor. SD is thrilled to be officially launching this integrated model as applied to the learning environment in the fall semester of the 2024-25 academic year, with a prototype offering currently being tested in 2023-24. This first-of-its-kind model in the entire country includes SD educators from a variety of departments collaborating to offer academically adjacent courses at the same time, in the same space, and with the same instructors. Our leading-edge integrated learning program is formed around three fundamentals: cluster courses that share common tools, resources, and project work; self-directed learning that empowers students to pursue their interests; and time to play, giving students enough opportunity for the collision of ideas and purposes. When introduced in the fall of 2024, this integrated classroom experience will enable students to produce graduate-school-level work while in high school, an opportunity that will only be available at San Domenico.

Service Learning

Service-Learning Capstones / ROSE Program

Grades 6-12

Service learning is deeply embedded in the K-12 San Domenico student experience, from course curriculum, to student clubs and field trips. In the eighth grade, the program is formalized with individual capstone service-learning projects, in which each student identifies an area of service that has meaning for them, develops a proposal to fulfill the community service requirement, and formally presents their Capstone Presentations to our community of faculty, staff, parents, and guardians in the spring. As Upper School students, this personal reflection and engagement with service continues with the ROSE (Real Opportunities for Service Education) Program. Students are introduced to the purpose and obligations of this graduation requirement in their sophomore year. As juniors, students fulfill a Social Justice course requirement, in which they learn the necessary skills to be scholars for justice and explore how service can empower and motivate others. Lastly, students are asked to practice being change-agents by identifying their access points and realistic resources to complete a service project of their design or choosing. Students present their journey through this process to the SD community at the Spring Senior Showcase.

RECENT Service-Learning PROJECTS

Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions: Holi Celebration

Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions

Grades K-12

At San Domenico, we believe that knowledge itself is not most important, but rather what one does with that knowledge to make the world a better place. In our Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions courses, students learn about cultural thought and belief systems, historical events, and theological concepts. They also dive deeply into philosophical questions, ethical dilemmas, and social justice issues. Throughout the program, students explore principles of decision-making; inquire into the spiritual dimensions of life; develop their understanding of what it means to be truly connected with themselves and others; and gain a sense of agency, as well as practical skills, so they can have a positive impact both locally and globally.

Studying in the Garden

Ecoliteracy in the Garden of Hope

Grades K-12

Ecoliteracy at San Domenico extends beyond traditional reading and writing; it's about understanding the intricate web of life on Earth and our role in preserving it. The Garden of Hope—our one-acre garden tucked along a quiet creekside in the back of our 515-acre campus—is an educational haven where students not only gain insights into the environment, but also learn how to become its conscientious stewards. Through various subjects such as math, science, comparative religions, history, art, and virtually all aspects of the educational curriculum, the garden program strives to offer students a profound understanding of a fundamental natural process: interconnectedness. This educational approach emphasizes that nothing exists in isolation; every entity is intricately linked to others. From this perspective, we understand that each individual system is an integrated whole and, at the same time, part of a larger system. Our seed-to-table curriculum offers students practical knowledge about plant life cycles, sustainable gardening practices, and the cultivation and preservation of food. Through hands-on activities—including gardening, composting, and nature exploration—students develop an intimate understanding and appreciation of these ecological systems. By understanding and emulating the wisdom of nature, students not only deepen their ecoliteracy but also gain the tools to live harmoniously with the environment and promote a sustainable future for all.

Learn more about sustainability at SD

The Virtuoso Program at SD

Virtuoso Program

Grades 9-12

The internationally recognized Virtuoso Program (VP) is designed for Upper School students who are exploring their potential as professional string musicians and wish to dedicate themselves to a rigorous academic and musical curriculum. San Domenico is the only upper school in the nation that offers an integrated and intensive music program, combined with college preparatory academics, that prepares students for music careers. Our VP students consistently matriculate to—and receive merit scholarships from—the best-rated colleges and conservatories in the nation, a testament to the particular combination of instruction and experience they receive in the Virtuoso Whether or not they pursue a career in music, Virtuoso Program graduates contribute to the community as professional and amateur performers, music educators, music therapists, and active patrons of the arts. Limited enrollment guarantees personal attention for every student. Students accepted to the Virtuoso Program may be eligible to receive merit scholarship funding. This remarkable opportunity not only provides an education of excellence for all deserving students, it also preserves the impeccable quality of the Virtuoso Program by freeing it to only consider students who demonstrate abundant talent and a vigorous commitment to their education and music.
Learn More about VP