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Upper School Curriculum

Question and Explore

In pursuit of excellence and in support of academic curiosity, we encourage students to consider how diverse academic subjects offer distinct perspectives on our interconnectedness. Through study, reflection, community, and service; through big questions, healthy debate, and thought-provoking conversations, San Domenico students graduate as confident scholars of the world, able to identify their purpose, and passion, thereby meeting and exceeding the academic competencies required for success in college and beyond. Check out our Portrait of a Graduate.

SD offers a diverse and comprehensive college preparatory curriculum, including Advanced Placement, Honors, and college preparatory courses designed to engage and challenge a diverse student body, with developmentally appropriate rigor and progressive pedagogy. 

SD provides an in-depth, purposeful, and meaningful educational experience which guides students to imagine and build a better world!

Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors Courses

As a college preparatory school that values innovation, excellence in education, and the social and emotional well being of our students,  our San Domenico leadership team has carefully considered both the potential advantages and drawbacks of AP classes. We also maintain a commitment to redefining the metrics of achievement to include purpose and meaning, not just college placement. We have concluded that AP and Honors coursework can be a valuable addition to the academic course of study for many of our students. We hope that the following information will help to answer your questions so you find the right educational path for you, your learning style, your goals, and your family.

Mention AP and Honors classes to students, parents, and educators and you’re bound to get a passionate response. We hope that the following information will help to answer your questions so you find the right educational path for you, your learning style, your goals, and your family.

Read more about Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors Courses.

English

The curriculum of the English Department reflects two fundamental assumptions:

  • That the ability to express oneself clearly in writing and speaking is an essential skill, and
  • That reading a wide range of literature expands a person’s understanding of the world and of oneself.

To this end, English classes are intended to help each student develop skills in thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and listening through the study of works with literary integrity from a variety of British, American, and World Literature. In developing these skills, students are prepared to meet the demands of college work.

English Required Courses

  • English 9
  • English 10
  • English 11
  • English 12

English AP Courses

  • Advanced Placement English Language and Composition
  • English (AP): Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

English Electives

  • Reading and Writing Mystery and Crime
  • World Literature
  • Existential Literature (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Modern and Contemporary Literature: The Journey Ahead (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Senior Composition: Writing into the World
  • Creative Writing 1
  • Human Condition
  • Political Literature: Politics, Language, and Truth
  • Ethics of Community and Otherness: Inclusion and Exclusion (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Ethics: Consumerism, Materialism and Ecocide (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Women in Literature (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Utopias & Dystopias: Literature on the Future (not offered 2019-2020)
  • Philosophy (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • American Drama: The Dream Defined (not offered 2019-2020)
  • Non-Fiction Reading and Writing/Media Literacy (not offered 2019-2020)
  • Asian/Asian-American Literature (not offered 2019-2020)
  • Introduction to Journalism

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

English Language Learners (ELL)

The English Language Learners (ELL) program’s focus is on developing students’ linguistic, cultural, and academic competence — the skills and knowledge necessary for success not only at San Domenico, but also in American academic environments in general. First year international students who place into the program will receive comprehensive language and academic skills instruction in preparation for full immersion in the college preparatory curriculum the subsequent year.

English Language Learners (ELL) Courses

  • Literature and Composition
  • Language Arts 1
  • Language Arts 2

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Mathematics

The Mathematics Department seeks to encourage students to learn and apply concepts of mathematics through interesting and challenging course work provided at each level of instruction. The major goal of teaching mathematics is for each student to gain knowledge and skill in the field in accordance with her ability. Students should continue in upper division courses beyond the three-year requirement in order to prepare themselves for any major for which mathematics is a prerequisite.

Mathematics Courses

  • Algebra 1
  • Geometry
  • Algebra 2
  • Algebra 2 Honors
  • Precalculus
  • Precalculus Honors
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Multivariable Calculus

Mathematics AP Courses

  • AP Calculus (AB)
  • AP Calculus (BC)
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Computer Science A

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Performing Arts

Music Courses

  • Music Appreciation and Performance
  • San Domenico Singers
  • San Domenico Camerata (Not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Band Workshop
  • Digital Music Composition & Theory
  • Conservatory Private Lessons
  • Ensemble: Chamber Music, Piano Ensemble, Flute Choir or Classical Guitar Ensemble
  • Sinfonia
  • VP Chamber Music
  • Orchestra da Camera
  • Advanced Vocal Ensemble
  • Raise Your Voice!

Music AP Courses

  • AP Music Theory

Theatre Arts Courses

  • Theatre Arts 1: Freshman Theatre
  • Theatre Arts 2: Contemporary Acting
  • Theatre Arts 3: Advanced Acting
  • Theatre Honors
  • Theatre Arts 4: Directing (Not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Technical Theatre
  • Performance Workshop

Dance Courses

  • Dance 1
  • Dance 2
  • Dance 3
  • Dance 4

After School Dance Classes

  • Beginning Pointe
  • Hip Hop
  • Intermediate Ballet
  • Dance Ensemble

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions

The Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions courses study cultural thought and belief systems, historical events, theological concepts, and philosophical issues and movements. Students explore principles of decision-making, inquire into the spiritual dimensions of life, and develop their understanding of the meaning of interconnections with self, with others, with God, and with the universe. Course offerings honor the diversity of beliefs within the context of the Dominican tradition.

Philosophy, Ethics,and World Religions Required Courses

  • Global Studies
  • Myth and Meaning
  • Social Justice

Philosophy, Ethics,and World Religions Electives

  • The Wisdom of Chaos
  • Zen Buddhism (Not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Ethics and Theater as a Way to Engage in Civil Discourse
  • Ethics in Science and Medicine
  • Project Wayfinder
  • Ethics of Community and Otherness
  • International Relations I: Politics & Religion in the Modern Middle East
  • Ethics: Consumerism, Materialism and Ecocide (Not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Existentialism (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Stoicism (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • The Bible as Literature: Hebrew Scriptures (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • The Bible as Literature: Christian Scriptures (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Philosophy (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • History of Christianity (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Human Condition
  • Political Literature: Politics, Language, and Truth

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Physical Education & Human Development

The Physical Education & Human Development program is designed to promote within students a sense of respect and responsibility towards themselves and their bodies and an appreciation of individual and group achievement. It provides students the opportunity to participate and develop skills and knowledge in team, individual, and lifelong activities that may be an ongoing lifelong interest. It is also designed to help students appreciate the value of fitness throughout their lives.

Physical Education & Human Development Requirements

All students are required to earn twelve (12) Physical Education credits. Participation in one season of a San Domenico sports team is equivalent to three (3) PE credits. Three (3) PE credits can also be earned with participation in one semester of Strength & Conditioning (after school class) and a PE-designated San Domenico dance class. A student may earn one (1) credit for participation in a semester-length Co-Curricular PE-designated activity. An off-campus independent study can also earn PE credit with prior approval of the Athletic Director and Dean of Academics.

Physical Education & Human Development Courses

  • Human Development

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Science

The Science Department offers a challenging array of college-preparatory laboratory classes, all of which stress observation, laboratory skills, and problem solving. Classes involve analysis and discussion of scientific phenomena, and prepare students to make informed decisions on environmental issues and technological advances.

Science Courses

  • Conceptual Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry Honors
  • Application of Physics in Engineering
  • Human Biology
  • Teacher Assistant in the Sciences
  • Ecology and Field Studies

Science AP Courses

  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics
  • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (not offered in 2019-20)

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Social Studies

The Social Studies Department curriculum is based on the belief that to understand the complexities of modern society it is necessary to understand our cultural and historical roots. Further, as citizens of the world, we must know and appreciate a variety of cultures and national backgrounds. Through their history coursework, students learn to express historical ideas clearly (verbally or in writing), understand cause and effect relationships, and develop the research skills they will use in college.

Social Studies Required Courses

  • Global Studies
  • Modern Word History
  • US History

Social Studies AP Courses

  • AP US History
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Macroeconomics

Social Studies Electives

  • International Relations I: Politics & Religion in the Modern Middle East
  • Issues in American Democracy
  • Women’s Rights in the Modern Age (1900-present) (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Civil Rights Era (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Botany of Desire (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Freakonomics (not offered in 2019-2020)
  • Economic and Financial Literacy (not offered in 2019-2020)

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Visual Arts & Digital Media

The Visual Arts & Digital Media Department curriculum is designed to introduce students to a variety of media and new ways of problem solving, and to use the art vocabulary fluently, in both verbal and written forms. The courses emphasize authentic studio practices, which involve the development of both creative and analytical skills, as well as personal integrity, originality, thoughtfulness, and work ethic. The upper level classes promote an elevated skill level and original, high-quality art production. Small studio classes and personalized attention are central components of our philosophy and instruction.

Visual Arts Courses

  • Art 1
  • Art 2
  • Art 3
  • Ceramics 1/2
  • Ceramics 3
  • Ceramics 4
  • Art History: From Cave Paintings to Graffiti (not offered in 2019-2020)

Visual Arts Courses

  • Advanced Placement 2-D Art & Design
  • AP 3-D Art & Design

Digital Media Courses

  • Photography 1/2
  • Graphic Design
  • Film/Video Production 1
  • Film/Video Production 2
  • Film/Video Production 3
  • Broadcast Journalism

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

World Languages

San Domenico Upper School’s World Language Department requires completion of a world language through level 3 for graduation. The curriculum has three objectives:

  • Students will achieve an advanced level of oral and written language proficiency.
  • Students will learn about the people, customs and histories of the target culture in order to successfully communicate with native speakers.
  • Students will challenge themselves to tolerate the ambiguity and imperfection inherent in the study of a second language.

To meet our objectives, students learn through immersion, regular practice, and continued work with authentic resources and materials. Teachers emphasize communication over explicit grammar instruction. Language lessons are meaningful, personalized and engaging. Course levels reflect the guidelines outlined by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language. (ACTFL)

World Language Courses

  • Mandarin 1
  • Mandarin 2
  • Mandarin 3
  • Mandarin 4
  • Spanish 1
  • Spanish 2
  • Spanish 3
  • Spanish 4
  • Advanced Seminar in Spanish

World Language AP Courses

  • AP Chinese Language and Culture
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture

For more information, view the SD Course Catalog

Please note: Any course listed is subject to cancellation or change at the school’s discretion.

Notable Courses and Programs

  • Graphic Design
  • Music Composition and Theory
  • Film Studies
  • Project Wayfinder
  • 24 Advanced Placement classes
  • Myth and Meaning
  • AP Chinese Language and Culture
  • AP Computer Science A and B
  • AP 3-D Art and Design

2019-20 Course Catalog