Convent of the Sacred Heart is New York City’s oldest independent school for girls, educating students in grades Pre-K through 12. As a part of an international network, we are committed to a set of principles shared by all Sacred Heart schools. Known as the “Goals and Criteria,” these principles articulate the core components of a Sacred Heart education, and charge our community with a uniﬁed educational mission.
At the heart of our philosophy is the belief that each child possesses unique gifts. Our job is to unearth those gifts, nurture them, and empower each child of the Sacred Heart to share those gifts with the global community.
Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to:
GOAL I A personal and active faith in God
GOAL II A deep respect for intellectual values
GOAL III A social awareness which impels to action
GOAL IV The building of community as a Christian value
GOAL V Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom
CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART | 2022 – 2023
The school admits students of any race, religion, color or national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school-administered programs.
The Lower School STREAM curriculum (science, technology, research, engineering, art, and math) builds on a child’s natural curiosity. Each STREAM subject is an access point for guiding student inquiry and problem solving with handson, project-based learning.
Students develop a deeper understanding of a topic by working on each STREAM project in multiple disciplines weekly, which enriches the learning process. The projects are strategically integrated into various subject areas to develop knowledge and skills over an extended period of time.
STREAM positions students as the intellectual authorities; encouraging them to challenge certain frameworks through a process of questioning, investigating, problem solving, and creating. Teachers choose projects according to the developmental age of students, and the challenges grow more complex with each year.
Children in the Pre-Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten classes learn through guided play. Teachers emphasize independence and self-motivation, and encourage students to choose and complete developmentally appropriate activities. The program supports the emotional and intellectual needs of each child, and fosters her growth in selfawareness and empathy. Group activities are designed to help the child see herself as a member of the school community.
A major goal of the early childhood program is to develop a child’s socio-emotional skills, so she can express herself and communicate with adults and peers. Students also begin to understand how to construct positive personal and social self-identities. Students develop language skills as they listen to stories, perform plays, recite poetry, sing, and participate in daily discussions.
During daily meeting times, students practice speaking in front of the class to develop oral language skills. Role-playing helps children to practice their newly emerging social skills and to develop their imaginations. Pre-Kindergarten classrooms are equipped with reading and mathematics readiness materials geared to a range of developmental levels. A variety of appropriate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities foster letter and number
recognition. Block building, puzzles, games, and art projects emphasize the concepts of space, pattern, size, sequence, and measurement, and encourage the development of fine motor skills. The use of manipulatives promotes a strong number sense, the foundation upon which our Singapore Math curriculum is based. Daily art activities include easel painting, watercolor, collage, clay modeling, and drawing. Hands-on activities in science encourage the skills of observation, prediction, and classification. During their weekly visit to the library, students explore themes through stories, songs, flannel-boards, and crafts to encourage early literacy skills. Each week, students participate in creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, religion, and science. Students also engage in read alouds, conversation, and activities that aim to increase awareness and develop in their basic understanding of identity and diversity. Students take part in daily outdoor play, and our learn-to-swim program is held weekly at our Athletics and Wellness Center. At this level, students receive pool instruction on respect for and safety around the water. Basic survival skills are taught, including entering/exiting the water and floating. If students choose the full day program, they will have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities in the afternoon, including sports, dance, arts & crafts, drama, legos, etc.
Junior Kindergarten seamlessly integrates learning and play. When children engage in pretend play, building, and creating, they are developing many important skills that build a strong foundation for future success in school. Peerto-peer conversations build expressive and receptive oral language and communication skills, and children learn how to share and cooperate with materials in a meaningful way. Students develop their fine motor skills throughout the year while they play with putty, and bead pipe cleaners, as well as sort other small objects by color, shape, and size. The Junior Kindergarten teachers thoughtfully prepare weekly thematic units, which tie together all of the academic learning centers, read alouds, and dramatic play that happens throughout that week.
Reading readiness is taught from Wilson’s Fundations literacy program. Students practice recognition of letters A-Z, including the letter names, keywords, and sounds (lettersound correspondence). Students make visual connections between the letter name, its sound, and its grapheme (or written representation). In the second half of the year, students focus on the physical aspects of writing and letter
formation using the Handwriting Without Tears program. Students work on implementing proper writing habits, such as pencil/crayon grip, top-to-bottom habits, capital letter formation, and body awareness. Number sense and recognizing math in the world around us are skills that students practice throughout the school day in daily activities, such as recognizing shapes and patterns in our environment, identifying the numbers on the calendar, counting out snacks, and sorting classroom materials. During their weekly visit to the library, students develop their comprehension and early literacy skills through stories, songs, flannel-boards, and crafts. Each week, students participate in creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, religion, and science. Students also engage in read alouds, conversation, and activities that aim to increase awareness and help them to develop their basic understanding of identity and diversity, as well as to begin to develop a shared language when discussing similarities and differences. Students engage in outdoor play every day, and our learn-to-swim program is held weekly at our Athletics and Wellness Center. In Junior Kindergarten, swim instructors expand on safety and survival skills in the pool to include basic propulsion through the water. In the afternoons, students will have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities, including sports, dance, arts & crafts, drama, legos, etc.
The Kindergarten program develops a child’s sense of confidence as an active learner and member of the school community. Each child learns to assume responsibility, master skills, and solve problems. The classroom environment stimulates students’ natural sense of wonder and curiosity through opportunities for fun, friendship, vigorous activity, adventure, and quiet reflection. A rich and varied curriculum—including language arts, mathematics, and social studies—supports and promotes students’ intellectual development. Students also participate in weekly classes in art, creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, Positively Me!, religion, science, and technology.
Kindergarteners build their early literacy skills in an environment rich with opportunities for direct instruction, individual practice, and exposure to a diversity of texts from authors such as Lois Elhert and Grace Lin. Students participate daily in lessons from Wilson’s Fundations program for instruction in phonics, as well as read 1:1 with their teacher
each week for individualized instruction. Students also listen to stories and learn poems to strengthen their ability to empathize, to express their feelings, and to use their imaginations. Students regularly sing and rhyme to hone their word patterning skills. By the end of Kindergarten, children are exposed to blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds; tapping out and spelling three-sound short vowel words; and decoding words in texts designed for beginning readers.
Students start the year in writer’s workshop by learning that when they write, they are telling a story. They then learn to draw pictures and label their pictures using inventive spelling. This leads to a study of sentence writing with the understanding that a sentence is a complete thought. In Kindergarten, that thought grows from a couple of words on a page to sentences that include details and extenders, such as ‘because.’ Students learn proper capitalization and punctuation. Throughout the course of the year, students also participate in shared letter writing in which the teacher models sentence structure and introduces new vocabulary. In addition, students practice D’Nealian handwriting.
Using Singapore Math strategies, students develop mathematical understanding in stages, beginning with the concrete (using hands-on manipulatives), then moving to the pictorial (solving problems with pictures), and finally working into a greater understanding of the abstract (the most efficient “traditional” methods of using symbols). Through this process, students learn a variety of strategies to deepen their understanding of numbers. They build number sense through part-part-whole thinking and begin to understand place value. They also begin basic computation skills in addition and subtraction, as well as learn concepts in time, measurement, and money. The math program is supplemented with the Kindergarten Math in Focus workbook and other supporting materials.
The Kindergarten social studies program focuses on the child as an individual, her family, and her class at school. At the beginning of the year, students celebrate their individual “personality bags” by sharing with their peers what makes them unique. The goal of this unit is for students to continue to grow their sense of self, as well as continue to develop a shared language when discussing similarities and differences. Lessons are supplemented with curricula about identity and diversity adopted from Learning for Justice. Throughout the course of the year, a thematic, interdisciplinary family study includes literature, writing, art, and
individual class visits from each family. Students begin to understand that all families are different, while recognizing their class as being a unique family as well. Service learning is also incorporated throughout the year.
Kindergarten students work in the mediums of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed media. They explore the basic skills of constructing with paper, clay, recycled materials, fabric, and a variety of other media. They practice fine motor skills through the use of drawing media, paint brushes, scissors, and other art tools. Students understand and use the elements of art—line, shape, color, value, space, and texture—through projects and class discussions. Students develop their visual voice through discussions and projects centered on a variety of artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. Experimentation and creative thinking are encouraged as students learn to explore their imagination in an atmosphere that is comfortable for each child. The Kindergarten art program is designed to develop students’ confidence and skills in making art.
In drama, our students embrace their imaginations and creativity through vocal, physical, and emotional expression. Kindergarteners work to develop confident public speaking skills and they practice speaking in front of the class in a variety of ways. Students participate in units on ensemble building, creative movement, storytelling, puppetry, story drama, and musical theater.
French and Spanish
Students choose to study either French or Spanish. They are exposed to and explore the language through visual aids, songs, stories, games, and various kinesthetic activities. Instruction emphasizes oral expression, aural comprehension, and pronunciation. The Kindergarten French and Spanish curricula establish foundations for successful language acquisition as well as a positive attitude towards world languages and cultures.
In library, students focus on different units of study throughout the year. Kindergarten lays the foundation for students to become lifelong library users and recognize the library’s centrality to the community. Initially, students learn about different sections of the library and become familiar with library procedures. Students begin to examine what types of stories they personally connect to and learn how to review literature. They learn that each person has unique reading interests, interprets books in their own way,
and—most importantly that we are all individual readers. Students then go on to learn about the oral tradition of folktales and finally culminate the year learning about children from around the world—a study rooted in the understanding that we all share the same night sky.
Music appreciation in Kindergarten emphasizes the exploration of folk songs, musical storytelling, listening activities, and games. Students are introduced to pitch exploration (high and low), simple songs, song stories (with verses), rhythm (beat and counts), as well as the concept of same/different in music. Students listen with their ears and eyes and make note of rhythms with different patterns.
The Kindergarten physical education program emphasizes the acquisition of fundamental motor patterns and manipulative skills, as well as the development of social skills. Simple organizational games and fitness concepts help students develop agility, coordination, strength, and endurance. Students learn tossing and catching techniques as well as other foot-eye and hand-eye ball handling skills. In swim class, students work in small groups with instructors to learn safe water behavior, basic water safety rules, and introductory propulsion skills on both one’s stomach and back. Students are also introduced to basic water safety skills (treading water and floating). Students learn specific behaviors and attitudes about competition, teamwork, good sportsmanship, game play, and safety.
Positively Me! is a program of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, leadership, study skills, healthy habits, executive functioning skills, and character development. This program connects to our mission of focusing on the whole child and nurturing each child’s gifts. The goal of the program is to promote self-esteem and the social skills that are foundations for all healthy behavior. In Kindergarten, students practice breathwork techniques, self-soothing skills, navigating relationships, and teamwork.
The Kindergarten religion program is designed to support students as they develop a positive self-image. It emphasizes the uniqueness of each child and celebrates the natural joy and wonder of childhood within the embrace of God’s love. Students explore and celebrate the five senses as well as the importance of thought and imagination. Students give careful consideration to belonging in various communities: family, school, parish, neighborhood as well
as the world of nature. Lessons utilize children’s literature, songs, and art projects.
In Kindergarten science, students take on the role of scientist by learning to explain their observations and predictions through investigations of a variety of phenomena. In the first unit, students build on their ideas of properties of matter by developing vocabulary and exploring what it means to be a solid or liquid, as well as investigating how temperature impacts state of matter. In the second unit, students begin working with forces, and ultimately design and engineer their own systems of pushes and pulls. In the third unit, students explore the relationships that organisms have with their environments. The year culminates in a unit on weather, in which students use weather data they have collected throughout the year to analyze patterns and make predictions. Each unit is centered around a problem that students use their understandings throughout the unit to solve. Throughout each year of the Lower School science program, students learn about various STREAM careers, with a particular focus on women in STEM. During each Heritage month (and in between), students learn about women scientists from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Kindergarten students know they are scientists!
The technology curriculum consists of three main strands scaffolded in grades K-12: digital citizenship, operational use, and computational thinking. In the Kindergarten technology curriculum, students learn the importance of balancing their time and being safe, kind, and respectful when using different devices and technologies. In Kindergarten operational use of technology focuses on identifying key vocabulary related to their Chromebooks as well as practicing the basic functions of powering on and off, using the stylus pen, and exploring different digital educational programs. At the end of the year, students are introduced to a pre-keyboarding unit to prepare for first grade. The final strand, computational thinking, is applied in various “Coding Unplugged” activities where students practice problemsolving by identifying the correct sequences and steps to solve the problem. Students complete the year with a group project focusing on sequencing and programming “BeeBots.”
The first grade program provides a strong academic and social foundation that supports the development of the whole child. An emphasis is placed on developing resilience,
empathy, flexibility, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills. Students also develop an even stronger sense of community as teachers strive to create a safe and fun environment where each child feels a sense of belonging and acceptance. Students continue to grow in their understanding of identity and diversity, as well as how to act for justice. The first grade classroom is set up for each student to explore, express themselves, and learn. A rich and varied curriculum—including language arts, mathematics, and social studies—supports and promotes students’ intellectual development. Students also participate in weekly classes in art, creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, Positively Me!, religion, science, and technology.
Students learn reading, writing, spelling, listening, and oral expression using multi-sensory instruction. A balanced literacy approach emphasizes recognizing basic trick (sight) words, using decoding strategies, building fluency and expression, expanding vocabulary and developing strong comprehension skills. Students participate daily in lessons from Wilson’s Fundations program for direct instruction in phonics as well as engage in a set of evidenced-based mini-lessons, interactive and shared read alouds, and small guided reading groups rooted in the Fountas and Pinnell curriculum. The first grade reading program also emphasizes independent reading, and students begin to learn the tools necessary to make book choices appropriate to their individual reading levels.
In writer’s workshop, as students more formally learn the writing process, they work on elaborating their sentences by adding details and descriptive words. They learn how to use the CHOPS (check: capitalization, handwriting, organization, punctuation, and spelling) proofreading tool to independently check and edit their work. Writing assignments include personal narratives, opinion writing, a series of realistic fiction stories, monthly autobiographies, poetry, and community books. Students learn the writing process of brainstorming, planning, drafting, conferencing, revising, editing, and publishing. Students use D’Nealian manuscript handwriting.
The Singapore Math approach fosters continuing development of each student’s number sense through part-partwhole thinking, concentrating on place value as well as a concrete, pictorial, and abstract understanding of all concepts. Students learn to decompose numbers into parts
or “friendlier numbers” to encourage mental math strategies. They learn to recognize, write, compare, build, break apart, and order numbers up to 120, as well as how to add and subtract double-digit numbers up to 100. Students also learn to use a variety of strategies to solve addition and subtraction word problems, including model drawing as a tool for problem solving. Units on picture graphs, tally charts, and bar graphs, time to the hour and the half hour, and money up to $1.00 are included through real-world applications.
Social studies activities help students develop an awareness of community, appreciate diversity, and better understand themselves in relation to others. As a result, students understand that they can make connections with people who are seemingly different and that every person, including themselves, plays a special role in the many communities to which they belong: their class, their grade, the Lower School, 91st Street, the greater local community, and the Sacred Heart network. Social studies lessons, supplemented with curricula adapted from Kelso’s Choice, Learning for Justice and Connected & Respected, emphasize friendship, problem solving, respect, listening skills, and cooperation. Service learning is incorporated throughout the year.
The school community study is the central focus of the spring social studies curriculum. Beginning with a walking tour of the school, students conduct weekly interviews of a diverse group of Sacred Heart faculty and staff from across the school. Students make connections and summarize what they have learned about each community member’s role in the school and publish individual community books. Each student also creates a self-portrait each month to pair with her monthly autobiography.
Students work in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed media to develop their skills with art tools while experimenting with color mixing and the beginning of color analysis. They draw and paint from imagination and learn to observe nature and the work of artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to broaden their creative view. Coordinated projects include a mixed-media project inspired by a study of illustrator Eric Carle and a STREAM unit about birds. Students focus on further developing their understanding of line, shape, color, texture, and value. The elements of form and space are studied in more depth. Students continue to learn the joy of exploring and experimenting as well as following more complex sequential
directions. Learning and sharing continue through art exhibits and class discussions.
Through movement, imagination, and guided imagery, students further develop their ability to think creatively, speak clearly, and use their bodies effectively when acting out scenes and communicating ideas and information in the classroom and in performances. Students explore movement’s relationship to character, emotion, and story through mask work. This helps to teach how stories are structured, how to explore and invent characters, and how to embrace new experiences.
French and Spanish
The first grade French and Spanish curricula expand on students’ language skill set. Students refine their oral and aural skills through music, stories, games, and kinesthetic activities, and begin to communicate in the target language. Students develop an appreciation for different cultures throughout the French and Spanish speaking worlds. They also begin familiarizing themselves with the written word through various reading and writing exercises.
Weekly visits to the library expose students to literature and promote enthusiasm for reading. Regular read alouds during library class strengthen a child’s language and literacy skills and expand her vocabulary and comprehension skills. Students learn how to find books on the library shelves and how to choose books based on personal interest and reading level to promote effective independent reading habits. Students engage in a comprehensive introduction to research that focuses on learning how to use nonfiction text features to find information. In an integrated unit, students investigate birds by using both digital and print resources, and use this information for their combined science, art, technology, and library STREAM project. Children end the year with a study of folktales from around the world that focuses on finding the “truth” in these stories and verifying this information.
Students begin to develop a deeper understanding of music through listening activities that distinguish beats from rhythms and identify differences in pitch, dynamics, and tempo. Students continue to explore rhythmic and melodic notation by practicing various strategies and playing games together. They also utilize healthy vocal practice and learn to sing as part of an ensemble.
The aim of the physical education program for first grade is to establish a basic foundation in motor skills, water safety, and physical fitness. Students develop gross motor skills, body awareness, and coordination through movement games and activities by using small apparatus, such as balls, hoops, and jump ropes. Students develop sportspecific skills in soccer and volleyball, as well as throwing/ catching mechanics with a focus on cooperation and spatial awareness. In the pool, students reinforce proper pool etiquette and develop basic water safety skills through treading, floating, and propulsion. Specific behaviors and attitudes about competition, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and safety are discussed, developed, and emphasized along with game play.
Positively Me! is a program of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, leadership, study skills, healthy habits, executive functioning skills, and character development. This program connects to our mission of focusing on the whole child and nurturing each child’s gifts. The goal of the program is to promote self-esteem, executive functioning skills, and the social skills that are foundations for all healthy behavior. In first grade, students practice leadership by identifying and expressing their feelings appropriately, engaging in positive self-talk, and using “I” statements to communicate with their peers.
The religion program in first grade focuses on the theme of God’s love. Children listen to and reflect upon Scripture stories about God and creation. The Scripture readings of the liturgical year serve the dual purpose of introducing the children to the narrative of Jesus’ life and exposing them to the rhythms of the liturgical calendar. A rich foundation is created in preparation for the Sacrament of the Eucharist in second grade.
First grade science helps students to fill in the details about objects we see or use every day. Students begin the year by exploring light and solar patterns. They learn about the properties of light, make observations about the relationship between light and our ability to see, and conduct investigations to deepen their understanding of transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective properties. Next, students observe structures and behaviors in living things by looking specifically at birds. Students learn about the parts of birds in order to compare and contrast the various behaviors of different species. The research conducted during
this unit supports the cross-curricular first grade STREAM project. Students end the year with a study of sound. Using our study of light as a foundation, students understand the similarities and differences between light and sound waves and conduct investigations to amplify or muffle sound using a variety of materials. Each unit ends with a design thinking project where students use what they have learned to solve a problem. Throughout each year of the Lower School science program, students learn about various STREAM careers, with a particular focus on women in STEM. During each Heritage Month (and in between), we celebrate by learning about women scientists from a variety of cultural backgrounds. First grade students know they are scientists!
The technology curriculum consists of three main strands scaffolded in grades K-12: digital citizenship, operational use, and computational thinking. In first grade, students learn the operational use of their Chromebook devices. They review the essential vocabulary words, functions, and proper care of their Chromebooks. First grade students work on their fine motor skills through typing, which is scaffolded and integrated into technology classes in Grades 14. The digital citizenship curriculum focuses on identifying and regulating their emotions when using devices, as well as implementing strategies to practice safe, responsible, and respectful behavior online or when using an electronic device. For the computational thinking unit, students practice “technology unplugged” through various Engineering Design Process activities. First Grade students use curated STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Bins in the Lower School Makerspace to promote creative problemsolving, design thinking, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. Following the Engineering Design Process, first grade students build and create birdhouses using recycled materials as a part of a larger integrated STREAM project about birds.
The second grade program provides a strong bridge between the early and later Lower School grade levels. The program offers both academic and social-emotional support for building independence and confidence as students continue to develop their sense of self, both as individuals and as learners. Students become more socially aware as they study how their actions affect the greater world they live in, and more spiritually aware as they prepare for their First Holy Communion. A rich and varied curriculum—including language arts, mathematics, and social studies—supports
and promotes students’ intellectual development. Students also participate in weekly classes in art, creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, Positively Me!, religion, science, and technology.
Through the use of a wide variety of literature, the second grade reading program emphasizes the refinement of decoding skills, the expansion of students’ sight word vocabularies, the development of reading comprehension skills, the application of reading strategies, and the ability to read aloud with fluency and expression. Students continue their phonics instruction using Wilson’s Fundations curriculum, placing a greater focus on the increasing complexities of phonemic awareness in multisyllabic words. In addition, students engage in evidenced-based mini-lessons, interactive and shared read alouds, and small guided reading groups rooted in the Fountas and Pinnell curriculum. Students learn about a variety of genres, and they continue to grow the tools needed to make book choices appropriate to their individual reading levels.
The writing program provides opportunities for students to explore a variety of writing styles, including persuasive, informative, narrative, and creative compositions. In writer’s workshop, students continue to use the writing process of brainstorming, planning, drafting, conferencing, revising, editing, and publishing. In addition, grammar instruction emphasizes how to properly expand on and enrich one’s writing. Over the course of the year, print and cursive handwriting skills are applied in class assignments and practiced by using D’Nealian handwriting books.
The Singapore Math approach continues to foster the development of each child’s number sense through an understanding of place value and the relationships between parts and their whole, as well as a concrete, pictorial, and abstract understanding of addition and subtraction with numbers up to 1,000. Students are also introduced to basic multiplication and division. The helpful tool of bar model drawing, a pictorial tool to solve word problems, is studied in depth as students continue to develop their problem-solving abilities. Units on money, shapes, length, mass, and time are also studied through real-world applications.
The second grade social studies curriculum starts with lessons that continue to build personal identity, as well as social identity with a growing awareness of our greater community. Students learn about their school from a
historical perspective, exploring the history and the architecture of the Otto Kahn and James Burden mansions, in which our school resides. In connection with the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, students then explore the architectural elements of other buildings in our school’s neighborhood. The immigration unit focuses on the rich cultural diversity of current-day New York City, as well as immigration into New York through Ellis Island during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. We also study modern immigration stories through research and interviews from the Tenement Museum. Adults in the Sacred Heart community share their more recent immigration stories and experiences with the students. A brief study of mapping skills precedes the explanation of public transportation in the city. In the culminating unit, students explore the five boroughs and focus on specific landmarks in each borough. To end their boroughs study, students work in teams to recreate important landmarks with recycled materials. Lessons are supplemented with curricula adapted from Learning for Justice, which focuses on identity, diversity, justice, and action. Experiential class trips to key New York City sites include visits to Ellis Island and The New York Hall of Science in Queens.
Students continue to explore drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and mixed media to develop the skills required to use a wide variety of art tools. Students create art from their imaginations and observation, in which color mixing and analysis are a strong focus. Integrated art projects emerge from their studies in science and social studies. The final STREAM project focuses on creating a 3D diorama of an animal and its habitat. Students further develop their understanding of the element of space with an emphasis on composition. Throughout the year, students study and learn about works by artists from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. Learning and sharing continue through art exhibits, reflections, and class discussions.
As the students mature and start to have greater control of movement and voice, they begin activities that enhance comfort, confidence, and performance skills through musical theater. Students also begin to collaborate with their peers to create original work. They improvise, create scenes, and share their efforts and talents both in class and in fully staged performances. The spring semester culminates in an informal demonstration of their musical theater unit.
French and Spanish
Second grade students continue exploring their target language and respective cultures. Students improve their oral language skills and aural comprehension through the use of music, kinesthetic activities, interactive technology, stories, games, and celebrations, as well as spend more time developing their reading and writing skills.
The second grade library curriculum promotes students’ independence in using the library and locating different types of library materials. Many hands-on activities enable students to discover how libraries are organized and how materials can be found. Students learn to use print and digital forms of reference materials, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, which act as a foundation in the research process. Students further their research skills through an integrated STREAM project about animals. The students participate in a unit on folktale types, focusing on trickster tales, and use this knowledge during writer’s workshop to write pourquoi tales based on their specific animal for their STREAM project. At the end of the year, students learn to analyze books by writing “Itty Bitty Booktalks.”
Second grade students begin to learn to formally read music. The award-winning computer program MusicAce is used to reinforce theory, reading, and aural skills. Students develop healthy and natural vocal production, which culminates in Christmas and spring performances. Musical preparation for First Communion is an important part of the spring curriculum.
Students in second grade work toward greater mastery of basic motor skills, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, ball handling, dance concepts, and swimming techniques. During team sports, the students work on soccer, volleyball, and throwing/catching a softball. They become aware of the fundamental skills of all three sports and the vocabulary/terminology associated with each one. Students primarily work on individual and partner skills in order to gain confidence and develop their ability. Dance education is focused on introducing students to a variety of dance styles, including modern, ballet, kathak, and musical theater. In each unit, students explore different lenses for creating dance, including inspiration from nature, storytelling, and visual arts. In the pool, students learn basic water safety skills (treading water and floating) as well as the long axis swimming strokes of freestyle and backstroke. Through an interdisciplinary mermaid unit, students learn surface
dives, dolphin kicks, and the foundations of synchronized swimming. Students also learn how the body works in relation to the particular sport. Safety in physical education is emphasized throughout the year, and students discuss and develop specific behaviors and attitudes about competition, teamwork, and good sportsmanship along with game play.
Positively Me! is a program of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, leadership, study skills, healthy habits, executive functioning skills, and character development. This program connects to our mission of focusing on the whole child and nurturing each child’s gifts. The goal of the program is to promote self-esteem and the social skills that are foundations for all healthy behavior. In second grade, students continue to grow in self-awareness and practice grounding themselves, so they can feel empowered to advocate for their academic, social, and emotional needs. Focus is also placed on executive functioning skills, such as planning, organizing, and staying on task, each of which will better prepare the students for the future.
Students in second grade learn about and discuss the stories of Jesus in the Bible. Through reflection, literature, discussion, art projects, and drama activities, the values of Jesus feel more immediate to everyday life. The religious studies program also prepares the students for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. They develop a sense of belonging to God’s family by exploring their relationship with Jesus and the Christian community. For eight weeks leading up to First Communion, parents, teachers, and students collaborate in preparation for the celebration. Students of all faith traditions are invited to participate in the ceremony as non-communicants, even if they choose not to receive the sacrament.
Second grade science supports students in building models that help us to explain and predict about different natural phenomena. Our first unit kicks off with a study of local water through deepening our understanding of how hurricanes (like Hurricanes Sandy and Ida) can cause flooding. Students describe where our water comes from, how flooding can be measured, and how landforms might impact flooding. In our second unit, students discuss interactions between plants and animals and learn about the different biomes. Students develop models of a variety of ecosystems to show how living and non-living things interact. This unit leads to a STREAM project during which students create models of their own biomes by conducting research about
animals. Our final unit returns to concepts learned about flooding, and students explore the impact of water on various landforms by investigating the earth’s materials and erosion. Throughout each year of the Lower School science program, students learn about various STREAM careers, with a particular focus on women in STEM. During each Heritage Month (and in between), students learn about women scientists from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Second grade students know they are scientists!
The technology curriculum consists of three main strands scaffolded in grades K-12: digital citizenship, operational use, and computational thinking. As part of the operational use of their devices, second grade learners continue to practice their typing skills and review how to safely carry and take care of their devices. Students are introduced to Google Slides and learn how to input both photos and information. Second grade students use curated STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Bins in the Lower School Makerspace to promote creative problem-solving, design thinking, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. They also practice organizing and sorting the items in the bins as a precursor to the digital organization unit introduced in third grade. In second grade, students continue their digital citizenship lessons, which focus on balancing their time online, being kind and respectful to others, and the importance of keeping private information safe. In addition, they continue to work on recognizing and regulating their emotions when online. Second grade students are introduced to the foundations of computer science for their computational thinking unit. They learn essential vocabulary and begin to understand concepts, such as decomposition, algorithmic design, design thinking, pattern recognition, and abstraction. Students program Ozobots using color codes before moving on to the Scratch block-language coding program at the end of the year.
The third grade program is designed to support students as they develop into more independent thinkers and learners. Having mastered the fundamentals in earlier grades, students develop more complex skills as they read longer texts about varied topics in language arts, social studies, and across their specialty subjects. Students write longer, more expressive stories and essays, and they engage in higher-level problem solving. The third grade curriculum places focus on giving students more opportunities to engage in critical thinking and to express those thoughts
in discussions. Students also participate in weekly classes in art, creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, religion, science, and technology.
Students learn reading in a variety of ways, through largeand small group differentiated instruction, as well as oneto-one instruction within group lessons. Students focus on learning comprehension strategies that help to build understanding within, beyond, and about the text. Students utilize these comprehension strategies as they read and reflect upon their own independent reading books, whole-class read alouds, as well as shared novels. The third grade reading curriculum encourages students to read fluently with appropriate expression, develop critical thinking and comprehension skills through discussion, and foster an appreciation for various genres of literature. Students transition from Wilson’s Fundations program to Megawords, a study of how to use syllabication rules to aid reading and spelling.
In writer’s workshop, teachers emphasize expository writing. As students learn how to organize their ideas in a structured paragraph that grows throughout the course of the year from one to three paragraphs. This paragraph writing is closely linked to the research strand taught in library classes. In addition, students continue to develop various techniques as they compose narrative, descriptive, and creative writing pieces. Students also continue to learn strategies to both revise and edit their own writing and in conference with peers. Students learn to publish their writing at first with a handwritten copy and then in Google Ddocs on their individual Chromebooks.
As students continue their study of the Singapore Math approach, they further develop their number sense by exploring the relationships between parts and the whole, concentrating on place value as well as a conceptual, pictorial, and abstract understanding of addition and subtraction up to 10,000. Students complete a comprehensive study of multiplication, studying arrays and area models, so they can truly understand these concepts before learning the standard algorithms. Students learn strategies to reinforce number sense and mental math computation, and the now familiar tool of model drawing (introduced in second grade) is integrated into every new concept. In addition, students build upon their background knowledge of angles and lines, area and perimeter, fractions, graphs, and time.
The initial lessons in the third grade social studies curriculum are rooted in personal identity, as students continue to develop an understanding of their multicultural selves. Lessons are curated from the Learning for Justice curricula, and an overarching important understanding for the year is that our identities, and others’ identities, are not based on one thing alone. Students learn about the Lenape, the original inhabitants of New York City, and how the landscape has changed over 400 years. They learn about the Lenape of the past, as well as the Lenape of the present who work hard to keep their culture and traditions alive, and invite us to join with them in that effort. Then, students learn about communities around the globe and about world citizenship. Students’ understanding continues to grow concentrically from the self, family, and community, to greater New York City, our nation, and the global community. Students make comparisons across time and space, examining different world communities, their geography, natural resources, industries, and economies, as well as their respective cultures. Students begin to understand how world communities interact with one another through trade and how they can do their part in creating a more sustainable world using resources from the United Nations and National Geographic. Teachers also connect these world communities to our greater Sacred Heart Network.
Using their imaginations and life observations, students further develop their skills in the areas of drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, printmaking, and mixed media. Students develop their understanding of color analysis and design in two and three-dimensional art projects. Students’ observations, drawings, and paintings reinforce the concepts of scale and spatial relationships. Students use clay to create a STREAM project exploring solutions to climate change problems facing specific countries. The final project is a study of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Throughout the year, art projects are coordinated with other areas of study and highlight artists from cultures celebrated during Heritage Months. Learning and sharing continue through art exhibits, class discussions, and self-evaluations.
As their understanding of movement and voice develops, students learn more advanced techniques in creative drama classes. Students use improvisation, tableaux, and stage movement to exercise creativity and imagination when creating their own original scenes and monologues. In preparation for these presentations, students use im-
ages and music as inspiration to generate their ideas. As actors, students further develop effective skills of clarity and communication, which add dramatic flair to their performances throughout the year.
French and Spanish
The French and Spanish program in third grade emphasizes pronunciation, oral comprehension, and a continued awareness about the many cultures that exist in the French and Spanish-speaking communities. Students learn basic grammar, and units are aligned with the language arts curriculum whenever possible. In third grade, students complete homework assignments regularly and begin taking short written and oral assessments.
Students continue to navigate the complex organization of the library and learn how to use the patron’s catalog to search for materials for their reading pleasure. An American Library Book Award unit emphasizes the importance of having representation in visual images in books and allows students to practice discussing children’s literature. In connection with the social studies curriculum, students use research tools, such as the encyclopedia, databases, and web-based databases to find and analyze research about different countries. The year ends with a unit on the purpose of storytelling throughout history and a look at the different formats used to share stories with others. Students use their knowledge to create book talks.
Students use Orff instruments and Boomwhackers to explore song form, melody, and notation as well as to have the experience of performing in an ensemble. Through using instruments and voice, students explore improvisation and music composition. Students compose songs through the use of meaningful lyrics and create melodies using the piano keyboard. They practice harmony and ear training while singing and playing partner songs and rounds. Students begin to formulate and delve into researching musicians of various music genres.
The third grade physical education program continues to develop motor skills, coordination, agility, strength, and endurance. During team sports, students work on soccer, basketball, and volleyball. They build upon previous knowledge and develop more intricate skills, which culminates in small group drills and activities. These progressions help students develop their spatial awareness, communication skills, and teamwork. Understanding of
the game fundamentals and decision-making skills are a continuous focus.
Third grade dance education is taught through a creative and collaborative method with foundations in the elements of dance and dance notation. Students use these understandings to create dances inspired by poetry and social dances working in solos, duets, and groups. Students also learn basic health-related fitness concepts, including how to take one’s pulse, understand one’s target heart rate, and to develop cardiovascular endurance. Building on the swimming skills learned in second grade, third grade students develop more advanced swimming skills. Students begin to learn short axis strokes of butterfly and breaststroke, flip turns, and diving. Specific games and activities emphasize safety, sportsmanship, and teamwork, as well as behaviors and attitudes about competition.
What does it mean to be loved by God? Students in the third grade reflect on the experience of being called by God into a personal relationship, and how this relates to being Christian. The stories in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament further interpret the faith experience. The curriculum emphasizes the intersection of grace and the divine call to action. An introduction to some of the traditional prayers and devotional practices of the Church enhances the students’ appreciation of Church heritage.
Third grade science revolves around how organisms and environments can change and the catalytic factors. Students begin the year by learning about inheritance and variation in organisms. Students explore biological traits and how they are passed on to offspring over generations, investigating how traits might shift in an animal population when a new predator arrives or based on other environmental factors. Next, students discover the relationships that abound in ecosystems by investigating interdependence. Using our understanding of predator/prey relationships from the first unit, students explore what would happen to an ecosystem if any one organism were to go missing. In the third unit, students learn about how environments change over time by using fossil records to make inferences about past climate and resiliency for the future. Students discuss New York’s aquatic past during the Cambrian period and make connections with the challenges of sea level rise that we currently face. The unit ends with students researching global solutions to sea level rise and making recommendations to city officials. This unit connects to the Third Grade STREAM project by providing understandings of how com-
munities’ natural resources and environmental needs can change over time. At the end of the year, students analyze interacting forces, both balanced and unbalanced. Students also observe the effects of magnetic and electrical forces and devise ways these forces can be harnessed to solve problems. Throughout each year of the Lower School science program, students learn about various STREAM careers, with a particular focus on women in STEM. During each Heritage Month (and in between), students learn about women scientists from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Third grade students know they are scientists!
The technology curriculum consists of three main strands scaffolded in grades K-12: digital citizenship, operational use, and computational thinking. As part of the operational use of their devices, third grade learners continue to practice their typing skills. Third grade students gain a deeper understanding of how to use Google Slides, Docs, and Google Drive, and a digital organization unit is introduced. In third grade, students continue their digital citizenship lessons, focusing on their digital footprint, online identities, assumptions, and stereotyping. Students learn how to create strong usernames and passwords and the importance of identifying legitimate information online. As in earlier grades, students learn about device-free moments, balancing their time online, being kind and respectful to others, and the importance of keeping private information safe. For their STREAM project, students use the GlowForge 3D laser printers to cut out the outline of their assigned country, make insulating playdough to mold a topographical map, and create a circuit to light up an LED light to signify the country’s capital city. This project implements strategies students have learned about sketching plans, creative problem-solving, circuitry, and design thinking. As an end-of-the-year project, third grade students continue using computational thinking concepts, such as decomposition, algorithmic design, design thinking, pattern recognition, and abstraction to code a project on Scratch, an interactive, game-based coding program.
Health is integrated throughout the third grade curriculum with the goal of developing knowledge and skills for making responsible decisions regarding personal safety, conflict resolution, and other important health issues. The socialemotional curriculum emphasizes positive social interactions. During the second semester, classes led by the Lower School psychologist are devoted to a discussion of the physical and emotional changes that occur in young girls at this age.
The fourth grade program is aimed to develop confidence, independence, resilience, and leadership as these students are now role models for the Lower School community. Students grow in responsibility with specific charges they carry out throughout the course of the school year, and they grow their care for our community as they develop a relationship with their Kindergarten Buddies. They also receive mentorship from their senior Prayer Partners, and they mature spiritually as they prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Academically, students continue to develop the ability to self-monitor and self-advocate while acquiring study skills. The classroom environment encourages students to enhance their critical thinking skills through discussions and collaborative work with their peers. A rich and varied curriculum— including language arts, mathematics, and social studies— supports and prepares students for Middle School. Students also participate in weekly classes in art, creative drama, French or Spanish, library, music, physical education, religion, science, and technology.
The goal of the fourth grade language arts program is to develop reading, writing, vocabulary, and analytical thinking skills. During reader’s workshop, teachers select texts to model and apply higher-order thinking skills, such as synthesis, interpretation, and critical thinking. Students then practice and demonstrate their understanding of these skills through independent reading, guided reading groups and book clubs, student-teacher conferences, literary discussions, and written journal responses. In addition, several shared novels throughout the year provide the opportunity for students to share ideas, discuss text connections, and dig deeper into themes with one another.
During writer’s workshop, students learn to write across a variety of genres, including narrative, creative, persuasive, and a research-based five-paragraph essay. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling instruction further enhance students’ writing. Graphic organizers and individualized conferences with teachers help students to further develop their brainstorming and organizational skills. Students are also taught and encouraged to use their unique voice in all of their writing assignments. Teachers work closely with specialists to integrate reading, writing, research, and study skills across the curriculum, and students develop public speaking skills through class projects and presentations.
As students continue their study of the Singapore Math approach, they further develop their number sense through an understanding of place value up to one million, as well as a conceptual, pictorial, and abstract understanding of multiplication and division. Students continue their deep dive into these concepts using a series of approaches, from the area model, to partial products and quotients, and ultimately to the standard algorithms. Students continue to learn strategies to reinforce number theory and mental math strategies, and model drawing is applied with skill and accuracy. The students’ study of numbers continues with improper fractions and mixed numbers. Additionally, fourth graders begin their exploration of higher level concepts, such as decimals and geometry. The fourth grade math curriculum also includes units on tables and line graphs, perpendicular and parallel lines, angles, squares and rectangles, and area and perimeter. Each unit provides opportunities for real-world applications.
In fourth grade social studies, the focus of the year is on a theme: “In Search of Freedom & A Call For Change.” Students learn about moments in American history spanning the Revolutionary War and establishment of government, the Civil War and slavery, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The curriculum, enriched with primary source documents from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, Facing History, and the Museum of the American Revolution, considers a variety of perspectives and examines essential questions, including those on ethical judgment and racial justice. Lessons are supplemented with curricula adopted from Learning for Justice which focuses on identity, diversity, justice, and action. This curriculum was also designed with "Herstory" in mind, the fourth grade culminating unit in which every student researches and embodies a notable woman in history. By the end of the school year, students have a wider range of knowledge and deeper appreciation for these incredible women, what they endured, and why their legacy is so important in history. Students also have a greater understanding of activism, even at a young age, and how each of us has a responsibility to advocate for freedom for everyone. “Herstory” is an interdisciplinary unit, which includes research, writing, art, creative drama, and public speaking.
While continuing to use the media and tools introduced in previous grades, students discover new media such as acrylic paint and paper collage. Students grow in their understanding
of perspective and 2-D design as they experiment with different techniques and concepts. Art projects are often integrated with social studies, language arts, and technology. Students begin to write about their art as well as the art of others, and through class discussions students begin to interpret a piece of art. Students are given a sketchbook in which to record their ideas. Throughout the year, students are introduced to artists and art movements from a diverse group of cultures. The year culminates in an integrated unit with a collage portrait of a notable woman for the “Herstory” project. Learning and sharing continue through class discussions, art exhibits, and self-evaluations.
Students benefit from the practice of good communication habits and purposeful movement, and they continue to develop comfort and ease in solo public speaking performances. As a result, students become more self-aware and feel ownership over their work. The entire second semester is spent studying and performing the works of William Shakespeare, culminating in a staged production in the spring. As students approach Middle School, they possess a clear understanding of what an ensemble is and how to support one another.
French and Spanish
The fourth grade French and Spanish program emphasizes pronunciation, reading, aural comprehension, and writing. Students learn about essential structures, expressions, and vocabulary through oral practice, written exercises, roleplaying, and games. Regularly scheduled homework assignments, projects, and short assessments supplement these activities. Cultural awareness remains an integral part of the program.
Library work in fourth grade is closely coordinated with the classroom language arts and social studies curricula. Following a review of general library skills, including the use of the online catalog and locating materials on the shelves, students are exposed to a comprehensive study of literary terms that highlight genre, mood, pace, and characterization. In connection with their persuasive letter writing unit in writer’s workshop, students review the steps of the research process and learn to use databases. In a culminating integrated research project, aptly named “Herstory,” students conduct an in-depth study of a notable woman in history using books, reference sources, and websites. They learn how to create a works-cited document using Noodletools, an online research platform. Students end the year with a study of fables.
In fourth grade music, students consolidate the musical skills they gained throughout the previous years. The award winning computer program MusicAce is used to reinforce these theoretical and aural skills. Students work in ensembles with hand chimes and rhythm band and learn harmony through part-singing and rounds. In the spring, students study orchestral instruments. End-of-semester performances, like the Christmas performance and the Shakespeare show, form important parts of the year.
The fourth grade physical education program emphasizes team sports, primarily soccer, basketball, and volleyball since these three sports are the first team sports the students will encounter as Middle School athletes. Team concepts, decision making, communication skills, and learning to be a good teammate are stressed. Each unit closes with a mini tournament: the World Cup, the NBA Finals, or the Olympics. Understanding winning, losing, and supporting each other helps the students before they move into more focused/organized teams in Middle School. Fourth grade dance education focuses on dances of many cultures around the world. Students learn about the partner dances of Latin America and Europe, American social dances with a focus on the contributions of the Black community, and end the year with dances on stage that range from Japanese Kabuki to the post-modern dance movement founded in New York City.
Fourth grade students learn more advanced swimming skills to build on the swimming skills they learned in prior years. By the end of fourth grade, students are able to swim all four strokes, dive, and do flip turns. Game play and lessons throughout the year emphasize competition rules, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and safety.
The formation of conscience is emphasized in fourth grade. Our study of Gospel stories focuses on Jesus’ message of forgiveness. Since preparation for the solemn celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a central part of the year’s instruction, religion classes are designed to foster moral discernment in a Christian context. There is particular emphasis on the extravagance of God’s love, which is God’s acceptance of our shortcomings. Students receive the sacrament in the fall. After Reconciliation, the lessons follow the trajectory of the Sunday Gospels, as they lead us through Jesus’ life to Death and Resurrection, and finally to the birth of the Christian Church through the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Fourth grade science focuses on energy. In the first unit, students develop models and investigate how the structures within organisms provide them with the energy required for sustaining life. The second unit centers around the conservation and transformation of energy. By exploring renewable energies, students examine a variety of energy types and sources and design a device that converts energy from one type to another. In the third unit, students look more specifically at what happens to energy when objects collide. They design solutions that relate the speed of objects to the energy of those objects. In the final two units, students examine how energy is at the root of changes in the earth’s surface. In the fourth unit, students explain how natural forces like wind and water use energy to cause natural hazards like mudslides. They explore weathering and erosion through experimentation with small scale models. In the final unit, fourth graders consider and design solutions to help humans mitigate the effects of natural processes, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, using what they know about energy. Throughout each year of the Lower School science program, students learn about various STREAM careers, with a particular focus on women in STEM. During each Heritage month (and in between), students learn about women scientists from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Fourth grade students know they are scientists!
The technology curriculum consists of three main strands scaffolded in grades K-12: digital citizenship, operational use, and computational thinking. As part of the operational use of their devices, fourth grade learners continue to practice their typing skills. As part of the digital organization unit, students continue to learn to organize and manage the slideshows and documents within their Google Drive to prepare for Middle School. In fourth grade, students continue their digital citizenship lessons, focusing on their digital footprint, online identities, user and creator rights and responsibilities, and the importance of identifying the motives of those who post false or inaccurate information online. Additionally, students continue to practice devicefree moments, balancing their time online, being kind and respectful to others, and the importance of keeping private information safe. In fourth grade, students learn about computer programming and pioneering computer programmers, such as Ada Lovelace. Students use key vocabulary and review computational thinking concepts, such as decomposition, algorithmic design, design thinking, pattern recognition, iteration, abstraction, and collaboration. Utilizing their knowledge of creative problem-solving and design-thinking, students use Scratch to code a game about making wise choices online to share with third graders. As leaders of the Lower School, fourth graders model how to use the Internet safely, responsibly, and with kindness towards others while preparing to apply these skills in Middle School.
Students continue to develop the skills to positively resolve conflicts as well as to make informed decisions regarding their personal well-being. During the first semester, two classes focus on self-advocacy related to academic needs and social situations, including opportunities for students to practice appropriate self-advocacy and conflict-resolution skills. In the second semester, three classes are devoted to a discussion of the physical and emotional changes in young girls, as well as boundaries and body safety. The Lower School psychologist plans and leads these sessions.
Beginning in Kindergarten, Lower School students learn the rudiments of oral presentation: eye contact, expression, volume, posture, and poise. Students develop sequencing and organizational skills, and grow in confidence through a series of oral presentations. Since public speaking is integrated into academic curricula and interdisciplinary projects, students improve their ability to identify and recall essential facts and to present this information to various audiences as they progress through the Lower School.
The Support Services program is a resource that offers a variety of services to children, parents, and teachers, both individually and in groups. The reading and mathematics specialists provide remediation and enrichment, both in the classroom and with small groups outside of the classroom. The Lower School psychologist is available to teachers and parents to consult about individual children, to offer workshops on developmental issues, and to support students through short-term individual or group counseling, as needed.
EXTRACURRICULAR PROGRAMS After-School Program
Beginning in Kindergarten, children may choose from a wide variety of after-school activities that take place both at school and off-campus. The after-school program includes activities in sports, dance, art, drama, chess, STEAM/Coding, sewing, stock market, and robotics. There is a fee for each class.
An extended day option is offered for children in Junior Kindergarten through fourth grade. The program runs Monday through Thursday until 5:30 pm and Friday until 4:30 pm when school is in session.
Financial aid is available for both the after-school and extended day programs.
GRADE 5 English
The grade 5 English program develops the language skills students need in order to excel in the Middle School: literary analysis; the mechanics of writing, grammar, and usage; and spelling and vocabulary. Exploring protagonists from diverse cultural backgrounds helps to develop students’ understanding of and compassion for others while exposing them to perspectives different from their own. Students read a variety of novels, short stories, and poems with an emphasis on reading critically for main idea, analyzing plot structure, and identifying theme. Integral to the study of the literature is expository and creative writing that deepens the students' understanding of sentence and paragraph structure and offers students the opportunity to consider connections between texts and their own experiences. Texts may include: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon; Esperanza Rising; The End of the Wild; Hello, Universe; Home of the Brave; Lucky Broken Girl; A Single Shard; as well as selected short stories and poetry.
French and Spanish
In the fifth grade, students are formally introduced to the four essential language skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. To develop these skills, students are taught fundamental grammatical structures, which are reinforced with traditional and project-based learning activities such as skits, presentations, and writing projects. A variety of instructional modalities, including web-based applications and peer-to-peer interactions, create a fun learning environment designed to promote the students’ curiosity about the connection between language and culture, and to develop a passion for languages. Cultural aspects and daily-life themes are also explored and compared to improve the students’ cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Following the Singapore Math approach, the grade 5 mathematics program introduces students to new concepts in whole number theory, fractions, decimals, and percents. Students develop proficiency in determining reasonable answers using various estimation techniques, and in model drawing as a means of contextualizing number relationships. They also develop a mastery of computational skills through varied and challenging problem-solving exercises and activities. Puzzles are incorporated throughout the year to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Other topics covered include metric measurement, conversions between metric units, and plane geometry concepts. Computational speed and accuracy are expected.
The major theme explored in the grade 5 program is God’s saving action depicted in the lives of the people in the Hebrew Scriptures. The course is designed to help students understand the Hebrew Scripture narratives as the sacred history of God’s revelation to the people of Israel, and His faithful commitment to the Covenant. As students explore the scriptures, they are asked to consider the ethical choices made by the prophets and kings. During class discussions and activities, they reflect on how the choices made and the moral dilemmas presented relate to their own lives. Students are also introduced to the history of Convent of the Sacred Heart, including the foundresses and the network, as well as God’s call to care for the gift of creation.
The fifth grade science curriculum introduces students to life science through laboratory investigation. In the first semester, students begin their laboratory survey of the natural world and its diverse life forms by learning about the fundamental characteristics and needs of living organisms. Students also gain a historical understanding of major ideas, tools, and discoveries in life science. Laboratory dissections of worms, seastar and sponge, as well as the reconstruction of owl pallets help enhance students’ understanding of the relationship between body structures and functions. In the second semester, students continue exploring the anatomical similarities and differences of organisms and look at the biological relationships between organisms in different ecosystems. Throughout the year, students also deepen their understanding of the interdependence of living things on Earth.
Social Studies: Foundations of Civilization
The grade 5 social studies curriculum introduces students to the method of inquiry that investigates artifacts and ancient texts in order to reconstruct the past. It builds the critical-thinking skills necessary for an ongoing study of history. Students develop their understanding of historical decision-making and concepts in the study of geography, urban planning, kingship and social hierarchies, religion, and trade through a year-long comparison study of three ancient civilizations: Bronze Age Sumer, Ancient Egypt, and the Indus River Valley. For each civilization, students delve into map reading and landform identification, with an emphasis on water systems. Not only do students have the opportunity to examine primary sources from these civilizations, they use two-column note-taking from secondary sources to develop their reading and critical-thinking skills as they interpret life 5000 years ago. Students synthesize
and integrate geographical knowledge, mythology, art, and archaeology as they discuss, analyze, debate, and build an understanding of these earliest civilizations. Students explore topics with an eye to both critical thinking and ethical problem solving. Throughout the year, students participate in a variety of activities designed to enrich the curriculum, including hands-on activities, projects, research writing, and museum visits.
Embracing the concept of stories as windows and mirrors into the lives and cultures of others, the librarian regularly presents book talks introducing new acquisitions and thematically related titles. Students learn to identify different types and elements of literature in order to select books for independent reading that suit their interests. Discussions include intellectual property, plagiarism, and copyright laws. Skills reviewed include searching for print resources in the library, using keywords to find articles in online subscription databases, and practice with bibliographic citation. The library complements the grade 5 curriculum by curating both print and electronic resources needed for specific research projects, as well as providing contextual information and resources in advance of literature studies. In addition, note-taking and paraphrasing skills are reinforced. Students hone their library skills through use of the patron catalog, recognizing call numbers, and locating materials on the shelves.
Students reflect on what it means to be an artist and are encouraged to investigate the role of art in culture. As they study and prepare for projects, students begin with an examination of art and artifacts. They explore topics such as how the art was made, what information the artist might have been trying to convey in the art, and what a specific culture’s use of certain materials might suggest. Through work in clay, painting, and drawing, students develop their visual vocabulary and learn how to use a variety of different media and artistic processes. Students are encouraged to use imagination, to trust their intuition, and to grow in patience and discipline as they work with new media and tools in more complex projects. Projects support the 5th grade social studies curriculum.
Fifth grade drama aims to create an ensemble experience for the students as young actors, working on listening, collaborating, and practicing different “team” roles. Students learn improvisational skills through unscripted process drama and partner scenes. They work together to remain in
character while solving problems under fictional circumstances. Fifth graders also study physical theater, examining how Rudolf Laban and 1930s cartoon animation communicate through movement. Students are asked to interpret a cultural story or event, and express it entirely through movement. They learn how physical actions and facial expressions can communicate character objectives and emotions. As students work together on scenes and developing characters, they grow in their understanding of different perspectives and develop compassion for others.
Music in grade 5 develops choral singing, musical skills and literacy. Units in American folk music and musical theater develop group choral technique, part-singing and solo singing. Through singing songs, students explore the backgrounds, traditions and values of American communities throughout history. Chorus, violin and flute are offered once a week as an elective.
The goals of the Middle School physical education program are overall physical fitness, growth in motor abilities and coordination, increased understanding of game rules and basic game strategies. Units in volleyball, soccer, basketball, badminton, track, softball, lacrosse and swimming will be offered as electives to all Middle School students. Classes in dance, fitness and yoga concepts are also integrated into the program. Students will have the additional opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports teams.
GRADE 6 English
The English curriculum in grade 6 continues to emphasize the development of critical reading and writing skills, and encourages students to read and think on a more analytical and abstract level. Literature, including novels, short stories and poems, is the core of the curriculum. The literary works revolve around a central theme of voice with a focus on those voices that go unheard. Complemented by the social studies curriculum, students ground their understanding of what it means to have a voice within a historical framework as they study slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Holocaust. Students study the evolution of voice, both welcomed and suppressed, as they discover their own voice through class discussion and in writing. Building on their grade 5 language skills foundation, grade 6 students learn how to use textual analysis to support their ideas. Written assignments include both expository essays and creative projects, all of which are developed through
successive drafts. The grade 6 English program also continues to emphasize the study of language mechanics, grammar, and vocabulary development. Texts include the novels Chains, The Devil’s Arithmetic, White Bird, Walk Two Moons, and The War I Finally Won as well as selected poems and short stories.
French and Spanish
In grade 6, students continue to focus on the four essential language skills introduced in the fifth grade: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. The students are also introduced to progressively more complex grammatical structures in order to help them develop more sophisticated oral expression. Students strengthen their reading and comprehension skills through authentic primary texts, and regular listening exercises help students improve their ability to understand the spoken language. Students learn the vocabulary needed to talk about daily life at home, with friends, and at school. Directed cultural studies are integrated throughout the year to foster global citizenry.
The grade 6 mathematics program includes an intensive review and extension of whole and rational numbers. Concepts previously covered are now applied to a higher level of skill mastery, and applications in real world situations are emphasized. Students explore different ways of expressing numerical data and are introduced to integers, variable expressions, equations and inequalities, and the coordinate plane. Problem-solving skills are honed throughout the program as students build toward stronger mathematical reasoning and abstract thinking. Other concepts include statistics and solid geometry.
In addition to the grade 6 mathematics curriculum, students deepen their foundational knowledge of algebra by solving multi-step equations and inequalities. The honors program stresses the real life application of math and emphasizes abstract thinking as students learn to apply newly acquired skills in novel problem solving situations.
The grade 6 program begins with the study of God’s continuing covenant with human beings as realized in Jesus Christ and the Church. Through discussions and activities, students examine how Jesus’s message is applicable and can help them when facing challenges or making moral decisions. Students also explore the different religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism,
and Islam by comparing prayers, beliefs, and expressions of love to Catholic traditions. As students research and learn about other faiths, they grow in empathy and gain understanding of common themes, including a love for humanity and the dignity of all people.
The grade 6 science program examines foundational concepts of Earth and space. In the first semester, students focus on the study of space. Motion of astronomical bodies, along with the concept of gravity, are examined. Recent advances in the ongoing search for understanding of the complexities of the universe are integrated into this part of the course. In the second semester, students start with an introduction to chemistry. Their studies of atomic structure, elements, and the Periodic Table culminate in an Element Project, where they research and model chemical elements and present them to the class. Following this, students focus on the study of the Earth and its dynamic processes. Topics include rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Hands-on experiences coupled with experimental procedures and techniques are provided through laboratory explorations and classroom demonstrations. Ethical considerations involving pertinent and timely topics such as climate change and conflict resources are discussed and addressed throughout the academic year. A field trip to the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History serves to reinforce understanding of the composition of stars and galaxies, the life cycles of stars, and the history and vastness of the universe.
Social Studies: Progress? Or Progress! Evaluating change
The grade 6 social studies curriculum continues to advance students in the method of inquiry and introduces the skill of evaluating change. In the fall, students create a personal history, interviewing relatives and reflecting on what makes for significant turning points, as they function as historians of their own lives. Students then spend the year investigating three major patterns behind why and how change happens in history: trade, slavery, and leadership. The first unit examines the Silk Road, including its resources and its role in East Asia. Students draw conclusions about the extent to which trade fosters cultural exchange and benefits societies They build on their analysis of trade routes by examining the history of slavery in West Africa. Students explore the extent to which slavery changed over time in the TransSaharan and Atlantic trade routes, and they think critically about who did and did not benefit from these trade systems. Finally, students evaluate whether individuals can advance
change. They research a famous speech, perform a selection of it to the class, and analyze the extent to which the historical figure who authored the speech had an impact on history. Throughout the year, students participate in a variety of activities designed to enrich the curriculum, including map making, debates, and creative as well as research writing. Within each unit, students explore topics with an eye to both critical thinking and ethical problem solving.
Continuing to enforce the concept of stories as windows and mirrors into the lives and cultures of others, the librarian regularly presents book talks introducing new acquisitions and thematically related titles. Students select books for independent reading based on their interests, with encouragement from the librarian to read a wide variety of genres. Discussions continue to focus on intellectual property, plagiarism, and copyright laws. Skills reinforced include searching for print resources in the library, using keywords to find articles in online subscription databases, and citing primary and secondary sources in NoodleTools. The library complements the grade 6 curriculum by curating both print and electronic resources needed for specific research projects, as well as demonstrating how to closely examine online sources for reliable information. Students hone their library skills through use of the patron catalog, recognizing call numbers, and locating materials on the shelves.
The focus of the 6th grade art program is two- and threedimensional design. Students begin the year with a study of how patterns and textures are revealed in nature. They examine repeating patterns in vegetation and wildlife, examining objects such as snake skin and zebra skins. Working from an “inspiration sheet” of images they compiled, students create their own creature that features unique patterns and textures using oil pastels. The 3D unit has students use paper to create a maquette. Students learn the importance of precise measurement, and how shapes come together to create the 3D object. Once the project is completed, students use the same maquette and process to design a 3D original bag using clay. As they create the bag they learn the importance of precision and planning as well as how to problem solve. The final project, a linoleum reduction print, has the students illustrate an image that expresses a personal challenge and includes a depiction of how to overcome the challenge. Students create a first draft of line illustration before they carve and print.
Sixth grade drama compliments the English and Social Studies curriculum with a focus on how dramas, speeches, and poems have been used to affect change. Students read and perform scenes from The Diary of Anne Frank, and examine how Anne and other characters use their voice to convey the human condition and experience during the Holocaust. They also learn about how tone, word choice, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures can impact a message in drama and speech. Students watch and analyze several important historical speeches, and listen to poets who discuss change. The Famous Speech project has students choose a famous speech excerpt that they have researched and studied in Social studies class which they perform for the class.
Music in grade 6 continues work on vocal skills, with the added focus on part singing, composition and improvisation. Musical content examines and explores World Music. Units covered include African drumming, Japanese folk songs, and traditional instrumental music from India. Students devote significant time to improvisation through drumming and singing. In addition, students research and present projects that examine a song’s historical background and connection to geography. Violin and flute are offered as an after school elective.
The goals of the Middle School physical education program are overall physical fitness, growth in motor abilities and coordination, increased understanding of game rules and basic game strategies. Units in volleyball, soccer, basketball, badminton, track, softball, lacrosse and swimming will be offered as electives to all Middle School students. Classes in dance, fitness and yoga concepts are also integrated into the program. Students will have the additional opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports teams.
GRADE 7 English
Students in grade 7 explore issues of social justice as they examine literature in which characters are faced with moral or ethical dilemmas. Students investigate how gender, race, social class, and heritage impact the decisions and the moral development of characters. They develop an understanding of how language is used to convey meaning, imagery, and tone as they analyze poetry and literature. During their study of literary devices, students examine the author’s intent, point of view, style, and technique.
Students continue to learn vocabulary, build on their knowledge of grammar, and hone their expository writing skills. Writing instruction focuses on developing arguments with strong thesis statements and strong textual evidence. Students learn to cultivate brevity, unity, and precision in their writing, and to develop effective strategies for prewriting, drafting, and revision. Texts, chosen to complement the social studies curriculum, include excerpts from Greek mythology, Antigone, The House on Mango Street, Brown Girl Dreaming, Flying Lessons, and Nowhere Boy, as well as selected poems and short stories.
This course includes an extensive study of numerical operations within the set of integers and rational numbers. Students apply mathematical principles to simplify algebraic expressions, solve algebraic equations and inequalities, and graph linear functions. Problem solving is an essential skill emphasized throughout the year. Other concepts include probability, proportions, percent, geometry, and irrational numbers. Students collaborate and develop their analytical and critical-thinking skills through projects. Project-based learning supplements the textbook for visualizing and applying mathematical concepts. Additionally, students build rules to represent functions as they learn to make higher level abstractions from computational patterns, and develop a greater awareness of number sense in preparation for the formal study of algebra.
Mathematics, Pre-Algebra (Honors)
This course is accelerated and includes all topics covered in the pre-algebra course and select topics in algebra. In addition to the pre-algebra topics, students graph linear inequalities and solve systems of equations, they also work with trigonometric ratios, radical expressions, and polynomial expressions. This course is driven by content, and smaller projects are designed to enhance learning. The challenge in this course is to move quickly toward an inquiry-based style of learning that lays the groundwork for and develops students' algebraic thinking.
Algebra I (Honors)
This course covers a full year of algebra, which prepares students for Geometry in grade 8 and Algebra II in grade 9. It provides a challenge for students who wish to pursue a more rigorous study of the material. Students in this section must demonstrate strong algebraic thinking skills and must possess a solid understanding of rational numbers, operations with rational numbers, and linear equations. Topics covered include recognizing and developing patterns using tables, graphs, and equations. In addition, students
explore operations on algebraic expressions—including polynomial, rational, and radical expressions. Students solve equations and inequalities of various sorts, such as linear, absolute-value, quadratic, rational, and radical. They also use equations, graphs, and tables to model linear and quadratic relationships through real-life word problem situations.
Religion: Church History, Tradition and Social Justice
The grade 7 religion course explores the origin and growth of the Church from the earliest apostolic community to the modern Church. As students learn about the Church community of the past, they examine the presence of God and how their daily life today celebrates His presence. Using the principles of Catholic social teaching, students learn to create a more just world as they read church documents, watch videos, and discuss current events. Student discussions focus on the moral dilemmas presented in situations and our responsibility to help. The course focuses on Convent of the Sacred Heart's Goal III: Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to a social awareness which impels to action.
The grade 7 science course focuses on the study of human biology. Students become familiar with the organization of the human body, from cells and tissues to the major systems of the body. The course emphasizes a number of areas of biology, including human growth and development, nutrition, health and fitness. Body systems and functions including respiration, circulation, digestion, reproduction and excretion are examined in depth. In addition, students are introduced to a wide range of current topics in medicine and health through an online research project. Classroom discussions around ethical issues pertaining to technological advances in biology and medicine, along with a focus on current events in science, enliven debate among students about science, technology, and climate change, and their impact on humanity and life on earth.
Social Studies: History and Place
The grade 7 social studies curriculum is designed to investigate the concept of place, using the critical thinking and observational skills of historians to understand how a locality functions and evolves over time. The course begins by helping students identify how locations shape who they are, what they believe, and how they behave. Then, building on this understanding, students spend the rest of the year studying Ancient Athens and New York City by asking the same essential questions of both places. These questions
include: How did these cities originate? How did their political systems evolve over time? What monuments, visual statements, and physical sites were important to the people who lived and visited these cities, and why? How did these cities rely on infrastructure to uphold a certain quality of life? To what extent did these cities wrestle with the ideals of democracy and the realities of inequality? How did the citizens of each city uphold and debate core values in a famous trial? The course then investigates the history of our school on 91st street and situates the building within the context of New York City’s history. The class culminates in an oral history interview project, in which students interview alumnae, faculty, staff, and parents associated with CSH to build and archive a history of our school and its community members. This course is designed to build on the historical thinking skills developed in the 5th and 6th grade, while also preparing students for the civics themes that will be more thoroughly examined in 8th grade.
In grade 7, students begin their high school modern language sequence. These courses count toward one-half of the first year of modern language as required in Upper School. Upon completion of grade 8 French or Spanish, students receive one high school language credit and may proceed to the second-year course.
French and Spanish, Standard
In grade 7, students complete the first half of high school level 1 in their chosen language. The cornerstone of learning continues to be the four essential language skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are expected to become proficient in the use of grammatical structures and expand their knowledge of vocabulary terms. Daily conversational practice helps students learn how to communicate accurately and effectively. Comprehension and reading skills are strengthened by primary readings. Cultural topics include the family, school, pastimes, and demographic issues in French and Spanish speaking countries.
French and Spanish, Honors
In grade 7, students complete the first half of high school level 1 in their chosen language. The foundation of learning continues to be the four essential language skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. The classroom is language immersive; therefore students are expected to speak in the target language throughout class. This Honors level course is designed to serve those students who are self-starters, can work independently, have excellent
organizational skills, and can proceed at an accelerated pace. Students in this course are expected to learn a greater amount of advanced grammatical structures and vocabulary terms with precision. In addition, students develop more sophisticated writing, speaking, and comprehension skills to achieve a higher level of fluency, which is reinforced by daily conversational practice and primary readings.
Introduction to Latin
In grade 7, students are introduced to Latin through a readingbased approach. As a result, they develop solid translation, comprehension, and reading skills. In this approach, students focus on learning vocabulary and only the grammar essential to making sense of the Latin readings. Inflections of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns are gradually introduced throughout the year. To foster the students’ awareness of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of languages, special attention is paid to the contribution of Latin to French and Spanish as well as the origins of English terms. Students learn about Roman culture and history and make connections to modern society through STEAM-based projects, debates, and creative writing exercises. This course serves as a foundation for students interested in continuing their study of Latin in grade 8.
Although the librarian continues to present book talks introducing new acquisitions and thematically related titles, students often lead these presentations. They outline, create, and present book talks, and produce dynamic book trailers that advertise the books they have read. Students discuss ethical and integrity issues that center on intellectual property, plagiarism, and copyright laws. Skills reviewed include searching for print resources in the library, using keywords to find articles in online subscription databases, and citing primary and secondary sources, as well as using the note cards feature in Noodle Tools for note-taking and paraphrasing. The library complements the grade 7 curriculum by curating both print and electronic resources needed for specific research projects, and it integrates research skills learned in previous grades across all disciplines. Students use their library skills and knowledge of the patron catalog to locate fiction and nonfiction materials on the shelves.
In grade 7, students explore new compositional strategies through a series of two- and three-dimensional works that incorporate a variety of materials. Students are taught observation skills such as perspective, measurement and grid systems, and they create compositions that are visually
interesting and balanced. As students learn different techniques, they study contemporary artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Jennifer Angus, and Claes Oldenburg. Assignments encourage students to develop their own voice and expressions in their artwork. Students experiment with a variety of mediums, such as drawing, painting and threedimensional fabrication.
Performing arts in grade 7 consists of units in music and drama. Music class focuses on the development of popular music in the 20th and 21st centuries through the study of a variety of genres. The year is dedicated to the practice of more advanced vocal technique, and includes improvisation, arranging and composition. Rudimentary ukulele and mallet percussion technique is introduced to explore the harmonic structure of popular music. Lyrical content is examined and analyzed in discussion, and students work diligently for in-class performances. Violin and flute are offered once a cycle as an elective.
The seventh grade drama units examine archetypes presented in tragedies and melodramas. Students study the tragic hero, the role of the chorus, power dynamics and how women are portrayed in Greek tragedies, Shakespearean tragedies, and contemporary musicals. As they learn about each genre, students perform a variety of partner scenes and monologues, applying acting and movement techniques they have learned to more sophisticated works.
The goals of the Middle School physical education program are overall physical fitness, growth in motor abilities and coordination, increased understanding of game rules and basic game strategies. Units in volleyball, soccer, basketball, badminton, track, softball, lacrosse and swimming will be offered as electives to all Middle School students. Classes in dance, fitness and yoga concepts are also integrated into the program. Students will have the additional opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports teams.
GRADE 8 English
In grade 8, students explore the relationship between gender and power through the study of literary genres, including the short story, novel, poetry, and drama. By empathizing with protagonists from diverse backgrounds, students develop an understanding of gender as a social construct and learn to question power dynamics in their own society. In addition to their study of literature, students apply critical
thinking skills to examine visual media. Major writing projects include a series of persuasive essays supported by close reading and textual analysis. Students hone expository writing skills with an emphasis on developing strong thesis statements, creating clear arguments, and supporting their claims with appropriate evidence. Students also learn effective strategies for the stages of pre-writing, drafting, revision, and editing. Regular grammar and vocabulary lessons cultivate concision and precision in both their verbal and written work. Texts may include Short Story Classics to Inspire Readers; Pride and Prejudice; Of Mice and Men; Poetry; Silent Spring; and The Taming of the Shrew.
This course covers a full year of algebra which prepares students for Geometry and Algebra II. Topics include recognizing and developing patterns using tables, graphs, and equations. In addition, students explore operations on algebraic expressions, including polynomial, rational, and radical expressions. Students solve equations of various sorts such as linear, absolute value, quadratic, rational, and radical. They use equations, graphs, and tables to model linear and quadratic relationships through real-life word problem situations.
Algebra I (Honors)
This course covers a full year of algebra, preparing students for Geometry and Algebra II, and offers a challenge for students who wish to pursue a more rigorous study of the material. Students must demonstrate strong algebraic thinking skills and possess a solid understanding of rational numbers, operations with rational numbers, and linear equations. Topics include recognizing and developing patterns using tables, graphs, and equations. In addition, students explore operations on algebraic expressions including polynomial, rational, and radical expressions. Students will solve equations and inequalities of various sorts, such as linear, absolute-value, quadratic, rational, and radical. They will also use equations, graphs, and tables to model linear and quadratic relationships through real-life word problem situations.
This is a full-year course in Euclidean geometry that emphasizes the writing of proofs and offers a challenge for students who wish to pursue a more rigorous study of the material. Topics include angle pairs, angles in perpendicular and parallel lines, triangle congruence theorems, properties of quadrilaterals, similarity within polygons, segment and angle relationships within triangles, and right triangle trigonometry. Trigonometric applications such as the Law
of Sines and Law of Cosines, circles, coordinate geometry, and transformations are also covered.
Religion: Morality and The Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The grade 8 religion course engages students in reflecting on the lived dimension of the Christian faith, with particular focus on moral decision-making at the personal and communal level. Students regularly apply principles for moral decision-making to scenarios and cases drawn from daily life. During the spring semester, the course explores the presence of God in our community and considers how sacramental life celebrates His presence. Special attention is paid to the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing, Marriage and Holy Orders. Additionally, students connect their classroom discussions, their reflections on the gifts from the Holy Spirit as discovered during their class retreat, and their participation in service activities at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Healthcare Center to prepare for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
This course provides a foundation in the basic principles and skills of physical science by introducing concepts in chemistry and physics. The first semester begins with the application of the scientific method. Students will explore concepts of matter, density, and classification of matter. This is followed by a study of chemistry, as students deepen their understanding of the properties of atoms, the Periodic Table of Elements, and chemical bonding. The second semester commences with an investigation into the laws of physics, including interactions of matter and energy, forces and motion, speed, velocity and acceleration. In addition, students are introduced to waves, light and optics experiments in the laboratory. Overall, this fundamental course emphasizes the integration of technology as a means of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It also requires students to apply mathematical problem-solving to understand concepts in both chemistry and physics.
Social Studies: We the People and US History
This course takes as its foundation the first three words of the US Constitution, “We the People,” and investigates how the conception of “the People” has changed over time. It examines some of the great debates in US history to evaluate how federalism has been understood as well as how the definitions of citizenship and equality have evolved. The course begins by thinking about national identity and historical memory before moving into an examination of the American Revolution and the founding documents of our government. Next, the various dilemmas facing the
young nation during the 19th century are explored, which include the opportunity to develop a research paper on the Civil War. Subsequently, Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency and the Civil Rights movements after WWII will be investigated as case studies for when the Constitution was challenged in the conditions of the 20th century. In the spring, the class embarks on a trip to Washington D.C. to examine how monuments remember “the People” and our US History. The class will conclude with an examination of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students to understand that the concept of “the People” continues to be debated and defined. Throughout the year, students will consider how the existence of multiple perspectives relates to what is considered ethical, while continuing to develop their own abilities to think critically and ethically about events and issues.
A continuation of grade 7 French, this is a basic course designed to meet the requirements of a first-year French high school course. French is the language of the classroom. The course emphasizes developing students’ basic skills of listening and speaking competence, and precision in reading and writing. Work at this level includes the study of grammar, vocabulary, and French culture.
French I Honors
This course, a continuation of grade 7 French Honors, adopts a rigorous pace. Foundational language skills and culture are taught both from the textbook and outside reading. Students are introduced to advanced grammatical structures, verb tenses, and vocabulary so they may develop a more sophisticated understanding of the language and greater fluency. Audio files and videos provide reinforcement and support.
Latin I and Latin I Honors
Latin I follows the completion of the grade 7 Latin class, and is a high school level I class. The forms and vocabulary of basic Latin are introduced with written exercises to ensure the mastery of grammar. Considerable sight-reading acquaints students with the patterns and constructions of Latin prose and develops their translation skills. Ancient Roman mythology, history, and culture are also presented. In addition, students further develop their translation skills by studying extended passages of Latin prose to reinforce their knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary. Latin prose composition exercises serve to strengthen their comprehension and reading skills by requiring them to apply the grammatical constructions and vocabulary learned in 27
each unit. Ancient Roman mythology, history, and culture are also presented in both primary and secondary readings.
This course is a continuation of grade 7 Spanish. Spanish is the language of the classroom. There is a consistent emphasis on the development of basic skills of listening and speaking competence, and precision in reading and writing. Work at this level includes the study of culture and geography.
Spanish I Honors
This course, a continuation of grade 7 Spanish Honors, adopts a rigorous pace. Foundational language skills and culture are taught both from the textbook and outside reading. Students are introduced to advanced grammatical structures, verb tenses, and vocabulary so they may develop a more sophisticated understanding of the language and greater fluency. Students are introduced to the regional cultures of Spain and Latin America through a variety of means, which include reading the novel El Misterio de la Llave, watching videos, and listening to audio files.
Visual Foundations 8
The course surveys a wide variety of historical and contemporary art forms through lecture and discussion, sketchbook entries, field trips and visiting artists, critiques, and creation of studio work in all mediums. Visual literacy consists of familiarity with visual forms not only for the purpose of making art, but also to be able to articulate why one is doing it, what historical influences it synthesizes, and to describe what one sees. The sketchbook will provide an opportunity for students to create a reservoir of inspiration through visual note taking and idea gathering. The course seeks to reveal to students, through their own practice, the process all artists engage in when creating visual art forms.
Performing Arts Foundation I
Performing arts classes in Grade 8 seek to expand students’ performance skills through a variety of disciplines. Emphasis is placed on performance practice. Students continue to study Shakesphere and contemporary, American drama. The course compliments the content covered in English class with a focus on the relationships between gender, socioeconomics, and power. Students analyze a character’s past, their motivations and personality traits, as well as conflicts that character encounters. When asked to work on a scene, students independently and in small groups reread, direct and act out scenes. They make decisions about the physical behaviors and vocal tones and characteristics that will most effectively portray a character while remaining true to the playwright’s intention. Plays studied include Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, and Twelve Angry Men.
Music classes examine and perform music of The Beatles era and create original vocal and instrumental arrangements. Proper vocal technique and learning to read a musical score are key elements that inform music study in grade 8.
Physical Education 8
The goals of the Middle School physical education program are overall physical fitness, growth in motor abilities and coordination, increased understanding of game rules and basic game strategies. Units in volleyball, soccer, basketball, badminton, track, softball, lacrosse and swimming will be offered as electives to all Middle School students. Classes in dance, fitness and yoga concepts are integrated into the program to offer students the experience of alternative wellness activities. Students have the additional opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports teams.
Students may elect to take study skills, technology, or Latin. The Study Skills Course meets four days per week to provide support in general study skills, English, math, and foreign language. Students will have the opportunity to work each week with a teacher from each of these disciplines to review content-specific course work and study skills. The grade 8 curriculum supplements the skills reviewed in the course, and lesson plans are designed to teach strategies to organize student research projects, time management, note taking, and test preparation. Additionally, the English, math and foreign language study skills sections address content specific inquiries such as approaches to studying, outlining papers, and reviewing math concepts.
The Middle School Learning Specialist teaches Language Workshop to small groups of students in grades 5 through 8. The goal of the course is to strengthen organization and reading and writing skills by scaffolding classroom assignments and reviewing vocabulary and grammar. Integral to the Language Workshop curriculum are activities that encourage students to further hone organizational skills, and to read, write and think critically and creatively. Study and test taking strategies are taught, and students are introduced to specific strategies and techniques designed to support their learning style. The Middle School Learning Specialist also meets with students individually to further address specific skill development and assist with assignments.
TECHNOLOGY for GRADES 5 THROUGH 8
The Middle School and the Upper School share a brand new makerspace complete with a variety of technologies such as the 3D printers, laser cutter, sewing machine, embroidery machine, arduinos, and micro:bits. The new space also has three soldering stations and an array of tools necessary for building and engineering.
All of the technology courses take place in the labs and focus on the three main strands of technology: digital citizenship, computational thinking, and operational use. Students examine digital citizenship and social responsibility through class discussions and activities that posit real-life and created situations that have students explore ethical dilemmas and decision-making with technology. The objective of this approach is that students develop a responsible digital footprint and facility and understanding of the technology they use in their academic courses. Technology acts as the central hub that connects disciplines and enriches the learning experience in all Middle School classes. Technology is integrated into the 5th and 6th grade library classes and the skills reviewed are designed to support the academic course work.
In Grade 5, the first semester begins by focusing on using technology safely and appropriately as the students transition into the Middle School. They learn how to use Gmail and exercise proper email etiquette. They also become proficient at other Google apps such as Docs, Slides, Sites, Sheets, and Forms. Students learn and use programs such as Tinkercad for 3D modeling, Code Monkey, Canva and other course-appropriate applications. Students in 5th grade also learn how to find and discern credible sources online to support their research and cite them appropriately.
In Grade 6, students develop their design thinking skills as they apply their coding knowledge to program micro:bits, mini robots, and Ozobots. Students also use WeVideo, a video editing software, to create book trailers. They create three-dimensional models through Tinkercad as part of a science application project to develop an innovation that will help them survive life on Mars. Students use the graphic design program Marvel to create an app that will better themselves or the community. Past projects have included: a sleep app, a time management app, and a female empowerment app. Throughout the year, engineering challenges are presented and students are asked to apply what they have learned to novel situations. Other technologies that students are exposed to in 6th grade are drones, virtual reality, and the laser cutter.
The CSH Fabrication Laboratory is an after school technology elective offered to grade 6 students. In this club, students develop several projects involving the 3D Printer, laser cutter, micro:bits, Ozobots, and more!
The Convent of the Sacred Heart Robotics Team is open to students in grades 7-12. The team uses FIRST Lego to design, program, and build a robot that they use in competitions hosted by First Robotics. Each year the FIRST Robotics league poses a problem that students design a robot to solve. Public and private schools in the metro area then compete to determine which robot best solves the problem. The team also annually participates at Spence’s Robo Expo!
In addition to the regular curriculum, all Middle School students are encouraged to choose at least one weekly enrichment elective per trimester. These activities enable students to pursue their interests in a relaxed atmosphere and to develop friendships with students in other Middle School grades. Each elective meets once a week after school from 3:30 to 4:15 pm, Monday to Friday, with the exception of sports teams, which meet two to three times weekly. The electives offered may include world languages, coding, calligraphy, newspaper, dance, yoga, robotics, creative writing, painting and drawing, and math games.
In the fall term, electives include a full musical production, open to students in grades 5 through 8. Rehearsals take place three times a week after school. These productions promote teamwork and increased confidence, forge friendships across grades, and give participants a highly rewarding and exciting experience.
Sports activities and teams include basketball, soccer, cross country, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, and volleyball, according to the season.
Students in grades 5 through 8 have the opportunity to participate in Chorus. Musical and rhythmic sensitivity and group participation are the fundamentals for members of the Chorus, who rehearse weekly.
Model Congress Club
The legislative process and skills used by students in Model Congress are similar to the founding congressional model, and the topics researched are student-generated. Model Congress provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about politics and government, as they research and develop a sound persuasive case for a bill that reflects their individual interests. Participants analyze current events, research precedents, substantiate their arguments, and develop their negotiation strategies. The participating students present and debate their proposed bills to the Middle School and the bills are passed in a voting sytem modeled after the House of Representatives. The club is open to students in grades 7 and 8.
The Middle School leadership program is committed to increasing students’ awareness of the importance of responsibility and compassion for others while offering opportunities to develop their voice. Student leadership and citizenship is encouraged at all grade levels. Two class representatives are elected to serve in the Student Council, led by the Executive Council, which is comprised of 8th graders elected by the entire student body in the roles of President, Vice President and Service Captain. The Executive Council meets weekly to plan and run morning meetings, special events, and activities. They often spearhead initiatives, request special privileges for the Middle School, and have a voice in determining the focus and activities for Middle School events. In addition, a leadership team, composed of elected students from all grades, have special responsibilities and lead school initiatives such as Uganda Spirit Week, Heritage Week, and Kindness to the Earth Week. As they prepare, research important topics, present speeches, fundraise and run activities, they develop a deeper understanding of important issues and the powerful and positive impact that they can have in both the school community and the greater community.
Middle School students develop the rudiments of oral presentation: eye contact, expression, volume, posture, and poise. Students regularly serve as readers for chapel services and present reflections in Middle School assemblies. Because public speaking is integrated into academic curricula, projects range from dramatic reading to informative address. Students learn how to effectively organize their ideas and write with expression for public address, and they grow in confidence through oral assessments and presentations at each grade level.
Wellness, broadly defined as being healthy in mind and body, is an essential component of the Sacred Heart curriculum. Goal Five states: “Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom” and Criterion 2 asserts: “All members of the school community take personal responsibility for health and balance in their lives supported by a school culture that promotes spiritual, intellectual, physical and social-emotional well-being.” Sacred Heart seeks to educate the whole child; we are ever-mindful that students benefit from a rigorous academic environment
only when their physical and social emotional needs have been met. Developing balance is a lifelong challenge. Our goal is to enable students to develop personal wellness practices that will serve them as they enter adolescence and form the foundation of healthy adult habits.
Middle School is a time of rapid change in girls’ physical, social, and cognitive development. As we work in tandem with parents to educate and support girls through these transitions, some programs have been put in place.
The goals of these programs include:
• Providing students with pertinent information necessary for safe social decision making
• Empowering students to make choices that are good for them
• Teaching students communication skills so they can let others know what they think, even when they disagree or feel upset or angry
• Encouraging students to take good care of their bodies
Wellness Days are an important component of our wellness initiative. On Wellness Days, classes are canceled and students spend the day attending a series of workshops. Expert speakers present on nutrition, sexuality education, and personal safety. In addition to Wellness Days, grade 6 has a wellness course that meets once a cycle for the year. Topics include the relationship between behaviors and personal health, the role environmental influences (family, culture, peers, media) play in personal health, and tools for evaluating health information. Additionally, meta-cognitive strategies such as group learning techniques and conflict resolution skills are covered.
CAMPUS MINISTRY and RETREAT PROGRAM
Campus Ministry, in conjunction with the student activities and community service programs at Sacred Heart, aims to enrich the Middle School academic program by providing students with a range of spiritual experiences to enhance their Middle School years.
The campus ministry team, composed of students, religion faculty and the school priest, coordinates weekly liturgies, sacramental opportunities, retreats and celebrations of Sacred Heart traditions and feast days. Weekly prayer, meditation, and reflection time are provided to the entire school
community during Chapels and morning meetings. Students’ personal faith reflections and/or prayers are showcased at the opening of each morning meeting. Additionally, every Middle School student, regardless of religious background, will be chosen at least once a year to participate in a liturgy as a reader, cantor or offertory gift bearer.
The Middle School has two special family masses each year: The Christmas Liturgy and The Family Mass. In addition, all Families are invited to celebrate the All School Mass of the Holy Spirit and The all School Mass of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat.
The carefully planned retreat program in the Middle School complements the religion curriculum and offers one offcampus opportunity each year for students to explore their relationship with God, self and others. The grade 5 experiential retreat emphasizes God’s gift of creation and instills in students a responsibility to care for it. The grade 6 retreat examines God’s love and compassion for others. The morning activities focus on developing an appreciation for each other’s gifts and embracing each other’s differences.
The Grade 7 retreat examines, “Responding to God’s Love.” The retreat is grounded in God’s unconditional love for all people and invites students to engage in a variety of selfreflective activities to help them identify their individual gifts, talents, and areas of growth. Team-building activities are designed to foster a strong understanding of the special qualities of each person and bring students closer together as a community. Adult reflections focus on the challenges that they faced while embracing their unique talents, and how they developed confidence and responded to God’s love. Students also celebrate Mass and are offered the opportunity to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.
As students learn about Catholic Social Justice they are guided to develop a sense of service and responsibility for people in their community, city, country and world. In grade 8 the retreat supports and prepares students for the sacrament of Confirmation. Students examine the gifts of the Holy Spirit and identify which of the Holy Spirit qualities most align with their strengths and how to incorporate their unique gifts in service work. Grade 8 students have an active role in preparing and running the retreat. Students are the leaders of the retreat activities and give witness to their faith through the activities and discussion with classmates.
In the Middle School, each student’s spirituality continues to be nurtured in the vision of Saint Madeleine Sophie: “If
we are faithful and generous, nothing can harm us; we shall be strong with the strength of Jesus Christ.” Students leave Middle School empowered with an active faith in God and are prepared and open to further exploration of their faith in the Upper School.
The Middle School’s active service program is committed to increasing students’ awareness of issues of justice that involve the larger community of our city and the world. The service team, which consists of a faculty advisor, an elected grade 8 service captain, and elected class service representatives, plan activities for the Middle School community. Recent events have included Thanksgiving baskets for families, clothing, book and food drives, as well as fundraising for our sister schools in Uganda, India and other locations.
The Upper School consists of grades 9 through 12. Upper School students through grade 11 take a minimum of six academic subjects. Students in grade 12 take six academic subjects, with a maximum of seven if one is an Advanced Visual or Performing Arts class. Additionally, a number of courses offered in the Upper School are done so at the honors or advanced levels. Entrance to these courses requires departmental approval and Upper School administrative approval. To graduate, students must take the following courses between grades 9 and 12:
English required each year
Mathematics three years, including precalculus
Science three years, including physics
Social Studies three years, including American history
Theology required each year
World Languages completion of third level in one language
Physical Education required each year
One year additional study in Performing Arts, Visual Arts, or Computer Science beyond grade 9 foundation courses.
Advising in grades 11 and 12: Students must obtain departmental approval and have taken the proper prerequisites for certain courses. The College Counselors, Dean of Studies, and Division Head will review individual schedules for overall course load and appropriateness of choices. Major extracurricular commitments (tri-season athletes, Student Council President, yearbook and newspaper editors) are also considered when reviewing students’ course loads.
Required for advanced courses and honors courses.
Course Prerequisites: Prerequisites may be waived only with the permission of the Department Head and the Head of Upper School. Students should note that a certain level of performance is required to enter the honors or advanced level.
HONORS and ADVANCED OPTIONS
Departments with Honors Options
• World Language
• Calculus AB
• Calculus BC
• French Language
• Latin Literature
• Spanish Language
• Literature of the Spanish Speaking World
• Studio Art
• Music Theory
Advanced Calculus Honors Precalculus in grade 11 or departmental approval
Advanced Statistics Precalculus grade 11
Appropriate foundation course and department approval
Advanced French Language French III Honors/French IV
French V Honors French IV/Advanced French Language
Advanced Latin Latin IV
Advanced Spanish Language Spanish III Honors/Spanish IV
Advanced Literature of the Advanced Spanish Language/ Spanish Speaking World Spanish III Honors/ Spanish IV
Advanced Studio Art
Appropriate portfolio course in grade 11
Advanced Music Theory Music Theory or permission of instructor
• Foundations in Literature
• Mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II/Trig Honors, Geometry, Geometry Honors)
• World Literature
• Mathematics (Algebra II and Trigonometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors, Algebra II/Trigonometry & Precalculus Honors)
• American Literature
• Mathematics (Advanced Calculus AB, Advanced Calculus BC, Precalculus, Honors Precalculus)
• Honors Physics, Physics, Advanced Biology, Advanced Chemistry
• English (Electives)
• Philosophy and Ethics
• Physical Education
• College Counseling
• Independent Capstone Project
4 other full credit courses from among the following:
• Advanced Calculus AB
• Advanced Calculus BC
• Advanced Statistics
• Linear Algebra
• Multivariable Calculus
• Advanced Biology
• World History I
• World Languages (French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish)
• Physical Education
• Foundations courses in Visual Arts and Performing Arts
• Life Skills
• Study and Tech Skills
• Second language
• Performing Arts (chorus, orchestral ensemble)
• Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
• World History II
• World Religions
• World Languages (French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish)
• Physical Education
• Life Skills
• Engineering & Creative Inquiry I
• Second language
• Performing Arts (chorus, drama, orchestral ensemble, Introduction to music theory )
• Visual Arts (ceramics, film/video, painting and drawing, photography, sculpture)
• US History
• Interdisciplinary Theological Research
• World Languages (French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish)
• Physical Education
• College Counseling
• Engineering & Creative Inquiry I/II
• Second language
• Performing Arts (chorus, drama, orchestral ensemble, music theory)
• Visual Arts (portfolio in ceramics, painting and drawing, photography, and sculpture )
• Film/Video II
• Environmental Science
• Advanced Chemistry
• Advanced Computer Science & Entrepreneurship
• Advanced Physics
• Engineering & Creative Inquiry I/II
• Environmental Science
• Human Anatomy & Physiology
• 21st Century Citizenship
• Economics (Macroeconomics, Entrepreneurial Microeconomics)
• History (History of New York City, Human Rights in the Modern World,
The Global 1930’s, Immigrants in American History and Life)
• Advanced French Language and Culture
• French IV
• French V
• French V Honors
• Advanced Latin
• Mandarin IV
• Advanced Spanish Language and Culture
• Advanced Literature of the Spanish-Speaking World
• Spanish IV
• Spanish V
• Art History
• Advanced Music Theory
• Advanced Photography
• Advanced Drawing & Painting
• Advanced Sculpture
• Performing Arts (chorus, drama, orchestral ensemble)
• Visual Arts (photography, ceramics, painting and drawing or Film/Video III
The guiding beliefs of the English Department rest upon the expectation that each student learns to function effectively with balanced concentration on all areas of language: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. A strong focus on writing and analytical skills facilitates a student’s emerging self-awareness and her ability to think critically and to articulate her thoughts. The English program seeks to balance respect for a student’s ideas with the development of structures and skills that will help her to express herself with precision. Reading selected works from varied genres and geographies connects the student’s own concerns with the larger world, especially through the lens of Goal III: “educating to a social awareness which impels to action.” The four-year writing program provides intensive instruction in narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository writing. In the process, students are well prepared for college writing and the verbal portions of standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT.
English 9: Foundations in Literature
English 9 focuses on foundational skills and texts to prepare students for their study of literature in the Upper School. As students read and discuss increasingly challenging texts, they work to sharpen their analytical skills as well as the expression of those skills in speaking and in writing. Formal grammar and usage study complements the emphasis on clear, organized writing. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, personal, and more creative models, and throughout the year all stages of the writing process are practiced and reinforced. Regular vocabulary study helps to enrich students’ diction and the varied expression of their ideas. Texts include Alcott’s Little Women, FajardoAnstine’s Sabrina & Corina, Homer’s The Odyssey, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, as well as selected poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
English 10: World Literature
The writing program in grade 10 emphasizes the process of drafting in the instruction of expository writing. Students write a range of essays to understand the different purposes (persuasive, informative, comparative, analytic) a writer must identify when trying to reach her audience. The ability to read texts closely and in context is developed through critical reading of novels, plays, and poetry; representative selections from around the world serve as the core of the study in literature. Grammar and usage lessons build upon the foundation from English 9 and address issues as they emerge in the revision process. Texts include Esquivel’s Like
Water for Chocolate, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Shakespeare’s
The Tempest, Satrapi’s Persepolis, Murata’s Convenience
Store Woman, as well as selected poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
This course stresses a student’s ability to write cogent, nuanced arguments about literature and the larger world. Students continue to practice expository writing, with an emphasis on literary analysis and, later in the year, personal narratives. Representative selections from the multicultural texts of America serve as the core of the study in literature. Students explore what it means to be “American” and how that definition has changed from the founding of our nation to today. Additionally, this course hones critical reading, grammar, and vocabulary skills in preparation for the verbal portions of the SAT and ACT. Texts include Diaz’s Trust, Morrison’s Beloved, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, as well as selected poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
English 12: The Craft of the Confession: Confessional American Poets
The critic M. L. Rosenthal first applied the term “confessional” to the poetry of Robert Lowell, and the term has since expanded to include a mode of highly personal and revealing poetry associated with Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, and others. In this class we will closely read the work of American poets whose work is said to be confessional, while also questioning the very idea of confessionalism in poetry. For example, we will explore what makes a poem confessional, whether poetry can ever be non-confessional, and how confessional poetry relates to other modes of confession. Moreover, we will question the long-held notion that the confessional poet lacks artistic skill, and instead relies on biography and emotional wounds; that the mode is therefore a therapeutic tool rather than art. Poets may include Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and John Berryman.
English 12: Dystopias
Dystopian literature presents an imagined future that gives us a mirror into modern society. These fictional worlds under-line very real fears of the moment: authoritarian governments, overreliance on technology, lack of privacy. Although these stories rarely have happy endings, their vivid details often present a nuanced and thoughtful perspective on what makes us human. Through stories of loss, we’re invited to reflect on that which is vital to humanity —and worth fighting for. We will begin exploring the genre through short stories. Later, we will turn our attention to
novels: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and in the final weeks of the course, Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. The course will end with a creative writing project that asks students to write their own dystopian short story.
English 12: Elements of the Grotesque
“Like fairy tales, the art of the grotesque and horror renders us children again, evoking something primal in the soul.”—Joyce Carol Oates, “Reflections on the Grotesque”
In this course, we will explore the uses and functions of the grotesque in the short fiction of two great American writers, Flannery O’Connor and Shirley Jackson. We will examine how both of these writers use horror and the grotesque to “evoke something primal in the soul”—both the soul of America, as they address issues such as religion, gender, race, slavery, and historical memory—and the individual soul, as they delve deeply into the individual’s guilt and loneliness. Together, we will attempt to define the grotesque and how it functions in the Gothic short fiction of O’Connor and Jackson. The course will begin with Jackson’s often overlooked early novel Hangsaman; we will then move to the short stories of both writers, as well as excerpts of their letters, essays and journal entries.
English 12: Friendship in Literature
Before Regina George of the cult classic film Mean Girls ostracized Cady Heron for liking math more than makeup, Caroline Bingley of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice criticized Elizabeth Bennet for dirtying her ankles on her strenuous walk to see her sick sister—how so not fetch (Regina would say), how unladylike (Caroline would cry)! However, viewers and readers alike might be baffled—or not—to discover that these two sets of women appear to be friends--or at least friendly at times—which begs the question: why are female relationships—especially female friendships—so complicated? Even before Austen’s satirical novels about social circles, Aristotle characterized friendship according to utility, pleasure, and truth; not surprisingly, the latter kind of friendship is rare because a genuine relationship depends on mutual trust, recognition, and affection. In this spring elective, we will evaluate the complexity of female friendship by reading Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. To enrich our understanding of friendship, we will then consider the male friendship at the heart of John Knowles’s A Separate Peace. Finally, we will investigate loneliness and a character’s quest to befriend others in Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Through close readings, focused discussions, and creative written responses, we will deconstruct the definitions of friendship to determine what
a constructive relationship looks like in literature and life. This course will present an opportunity to reflect on the meaningful relationships you have cultivated here, within the halls of 91st Street.
English 12: The Modern Rom-Com through Shakespeare and Austen
She’s the Man, Notting Hill, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. These texts have their roots in classic literature. In this course, we will explore how Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Austen’s Emma established the essential elements of a romantic comedy: misunderstandings, word play, deception, and, ultimately, love. By examining these texts in context, we will develop a picture of how Shakespeare’s and Austen’s works reflect their own society’s views on love and marriage, and by tracing the essential elements of these texts through their modern day equivalent—by examining popular romantic comedies and sit-coms—we will ask ourselves how our ideas about love have evolved over time, and whose love stories have been sidelined or ignored. Additionally, we will consider the age-old question of what makes something funny. How do authors write to invite laughter and humor, and how can this laughter illuminate something about what it means to be human?
English 12: Narrating Childhood
Novels that focus on childhood or present stories from the point of view of a young person often require authors to find a proper balance between closeness and distance to personal memory. Closeness is what allows us to feel the energy, delights, and traumas of childhood as a child might; the distance enables the writer and readers to understand those experiences as only adults can understand them. In this class, we will read fiction featuring a child or young adult protagonist. A central discussion will focus on the idea of the reliable narrator. Is a child more or less likely to provide a truthful narration? We will be looking at the work of Carol Rifka Brunt, Heather O’Neill, and Jesmyn Ward. Students will also be creating their own childhood narratives.
English 12: Toni Morrison’s Novels
In her forward to Sula, Toni Morrison writes, “Outlaw women are fascinating-not always for their behavior, but because historically women are seen as naturally disruptive and their status is an illegal one from birth if it is not under the rule of men. In much literature a woman’s escape from male rule led to regret, misery, if not complete disaster. In Sula I wanted to explore the consequences of what that escape might be, on not only a conventional black society, but on female friendship.” In this course, we will examine how two of Morrison’s “outlaw” characters, Sula and Pilate,
from Sula and Song of Solomon, respectively, escape the expectations that their communities and families foist on them and how they intentionally seek to construct their own sense of identity. We will look at the consequences of their choices on their friendships, relationships with family and lovers, and their communities. Through close reading, discussion, and writing responses, we will consider ideas about identity as fixed versus as in flux, the motivations that drive people to self-identify in certain ways, the challenges of encountering certain aspects of oneself, and that despite how seemingly self-aware one can be, there are always facets of identity that remain hidden until “discovered.” The course will present an opportunity for you to reflect on the aspects of your own identity—those which you have assumed from your own communities as well as those that you have deliberately cultivated and crafted—as you prepare to venture into your new communities next year.
English 12: Women in Literature
The course will examine recurring images of women in literature and at the social contexts and constructions of identity. We will explore how identity is gendered in relation to a range of contexts and will examine stereotypes of “the madwoman in the attic” and the derivation of hysteria as an exclusively female phenomenon. We will also discuss stereotypes of feminine sexuality and the consequences of deviating from constructed norms. In addition to examining gender and sexuality, we will also look at how ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, and ability affect identity. Texts include A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
English 12: Women Writing Horror
On the surface, horror novels appear to depict violence, malevolence, or destruction. But when we dig deeper, we find the genre is often about survival. In childhood, girls are frequently told the world is a dangerous place. In this class, we will be looking at the works of women writers who claim space in a genre most often associated with men. However, Kirsty Logan, author of Things We Say in the Dark, believes women are “uniquely situated to understand the world is often a site of horror…but it can be survived and [one] can come out on the other side.” Authors include Shirley Jackson, Helen Oyeyemi, Jennifer McMahon, and Susan Hill.
The Upper School program offers French, Latin, Mandarin and Spanish. The curriculum is planned to help students acquire an ease of expression both in writing and in speaking, a knowledge of the respective countries and cultures, and an understanding of literature.
This course is designed for students who have had little or no previous training in French. The work is necessarily intensive, and equal emphasis is placed on aural and oral skills, reading and writing. The study of French culture and geography is introduced. At the successful completion of this course students are eligible for French II or French II Honors.
This course continues the development of aural and oral skills, reading and writing. Vocabulary and grammar are important elements of the curriculum, which is designed to ensure the development of aural comprehension and culturally authentic speech. The program also encourages cultural awareness. At the completion of this course, students are eligible for French III.
French II Honors
This is an advanced and enriched course. Equal emphasis is placed on high achievement in oral/aural competency and reading and writing skills. Development of thematic vocabulary, mastery of grammar, and verb forms are the focus of this level. The cultural element of the program focuses on geography and the understanding of the economy as well as social life in France. At the completion of this course, students are eligible for French III or French III Honors.
This course stresses aural and oral competency as well as reading and writing. A review of grammar and vocabulary is conducted in order to increase students’ proficiency. Emphasis is placed on developing the ability to communicate ideas through oral and written expression. Aspects of French and francophone cultures are studied.
French III Honors
This is an accelerated course that prepares students for the Advanced French language class the following year. A comprehensive and meticulous review of grammar is integrated with the examination of various topics of modern daily life. Equal emphasis is placed on high oral and aural competence and advanced aptitude in reading and writing.
French IV is designed for those students who would like to continue the study of French. This course emphasizes oral and written communication as well as an introduction to literature. Hands-on language learning and authentic, activity-based situations will not only enhance language skills but also encourage cultural exploration. Upon completion of this course, students may be eligible for Advanced French Language.
French V is a continuation of French IV. French V is a program designed for those students who would like to continue the study of French. This course emphasizes oral and aural skills. Hands-on language learning and authentic, activitybased situations will not only enhance language skills but also encourage cultural exploration. This course emphasizes active usage and interaction, using art, music, literature, film and other cultural references to translate theoretical foundation into communicative output.
Advanced French Language
This course emphasizes the use of language for active communication. Equal emphasis is placed on advanced oral and aural competence, as well as advanced aptitude in reading and writing. A systematic study of vocabulary and cultural content will be conducted in order to speak and write accurately and logically. Some attention is given to literature but emphasis is placed on customs, current events, sociology, technology and politics. This is an intensive curriculum and includes much reading, essay writing, research and oral presentations.
French V Honors
This course is designed for students who have previously taken Advanced French Language. Divided into three parts, the course will explore Francophone literature by century, business, and films. The reading of a novel and a play will be the center of the literary aspect of the course. Study of current events will lead to advanced conversation and a sophisticated understanding of the French economy and politics. This part of the course will allow students to further their knowledge of French trade and international markets. Lastly, students will explore the language through cinema.
The first-year course introduces students to the basics of Latin grammar and syntax, including all of the indicative verb tenses and noun declensions. Considerable attention is paid to developing translation skills, both of seen and sight passages, and to Latin composition. Elements of
Roman history and culture figure prominently in the readings and in class discussions.
Through this course, students continue their study of the basic forms of the Latin language and begin to explore more advanced grammatical constructions. Emphasis is placed on translating passages of increasing complexity, with a focus on episodes from Roman history and mythology. Students also deepen their understanding of Roman civilization and hone their ability to translate from English to Latin.
This course will strengthen and refine students’ grasp of grammar before embarking on the study of Latin literature. In the fall, students conclude their study of advanced grammatical topics, including subordinate clauses and irregular verbs. In the spring, the course will focus on The Metamorphoses of Ovid, with the Apollo and Daphne episode as a starting point. Through Ovid, students will develop their literary critical skills, learn the basics of poetic meter, and become familiar with a large number of rhetorical terms.
This course will deepen students’ literary critical skills and provide broader exposure to Latin literature. In the first half of the year, the course focuses on the poems of Catullus, with special attention paid to Alexandrian poetry and its influence on neoteric poets in Rome. In the spring semester, the focus shifts to the Odes of Horace, with special emphasis on how Greek lyric poetry and contemporary political events influenced Horace’s poetic craft.
Advanced Latin Literature
This course focuses on Latin poetry and prose from the late Republic and early Empire. In addition to translating and analyzing extended passages from Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Vergil’s Aeneid, students will explore key themes found in each author's work.
This introductory course focuses on the fundamentals of listening, speaking, reading, and writing; moreover, it is designed to develop students’ confidence and interest in learning Chinese. Students will learn the Chinese phonetic system of Pinyin and the Chinese writing system through a systematic introduction. They will also be able to recognize and reproduce three hundred characters in simplified form by the end of the second semester.
This intermediate course is a natural continuation of what was introduced and mastered in Mandarin I. It aims not only to solidify but also to advance students’ overall skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The words and sentences are built on their previous knowledge and students will learn to combine different grammar structures into longer and more complex sentences. Students will be able to recognize and reproduce more characters in simplified form.
This course is designed for students who completed Mandarin II. It aims to further develop students’ overall linguistic command of modern Chinese. The goals of this course include a beginning mastery of reading, writing, oral comprehension, oral communication and knowledge of Chinese culture. Students are assessed on these skills through written homework, classroom participation and regular quizzes and tests.
This course is meant for students who have successfully completed Mandarin III. The main goal of this course is to assist students in developing more advanced Mandarin language skills. In addition to expanding upon their vocabulary, students will be expected to sustain increasingly complex conversation and to write with greater coherence and accuracy. Students will also continue to develop a rich in-depth appreciation for Chinese literature. By the end of the course, students should be able to read and write approximately 1500 characters and demonstrate strong intermediate to advanced level conversational fluency.
This course is designed for students who have little to no previous training in Spanish. The work is necessarily intensive, and equal emphasis is placed on aural and oral skills, reading and writing. At the completion of this course, students are eligible for Spanish II or Spanish II Honors.
The study of grammar is continued by means of a communicative-based approach. Authentic materials that include simple texts, situational dialogues and listening and speaking exercises are used to improve skills in all areas of the language. The geography, history and culture of Latin America and Spain are studied. Upon completion of this course, students are eligible for Spanish III.
Spanish II Honors
This is an advanced and enriched course in which equal emphasis is placed on high achievement in oral/aural competency, as well as reading and writing skills. Development of thematic vocabulary, mastery of grammar, and verb forms are the focus of this level. The cultural element of the program focuses on various aspects such as history, customs and literature of different countries of the Spanish -speaking world. At the completion of this course, students are eligible for Spanish III or Spanish III Honors.
Grammar is reviewed and reinforced by using a more intercultural approach, which includes oral and aural exercises as well as the reading of short cultural summaries. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ ability to communicate ideas orally and in writing. Study of Spanish and SpanishAmerican cultures continues.
Spanish III Honors
This is an advanced course preparing students for the Advanced Spanish Language class the following year. Spanish grammar and significant reading and writing assignments are the focus of this course. Students are expected to use Spanish in class. Study of Spanish and Spanish-American art and cultures continues to be an important part of the curriculum. At the completion of this course, students are eligible for Spanish IV or Advanced Spanish Language.
Spanish IV is designed for those students who would like to continue the study of Spanish. This course emphasizes oral and written communication as well as an introduction to literature. Hands-on language learning and authentic, activity-based situations will not only enhance language skills but also encourage cultural exploration. Upon completion of this course, students are be eligible for Spanish V and may be eligible for Advanced Spanish Language.
This class will take us through a historical and cultural look at the Spanish-speaking world through its rich artistic heritage. This course aims to expose students to the history and culture of the Spanish-speaking world as described by several carefully selected works of art, short stories, books, and movies. We will read the book Cuando Era Puertorriqueña to consider the influence of identity on belonging. Later we will watch the film La Misma Luna to reflect on the role that immigration has played, and we will analyze street art's ability to express culture, politics, and creativity. These examples are just a few of the topics we will cover.
Each unit will study the historical, social, cultural, and economic factors present in the different countries we study at a particular point in time. The purpose of this course is to awaken intellectual interest in the Spanish-speaking world, its past, present, and future.
Advanced Spanish Language
This course emphasizes the use of language for active communication. Equal emphasis is placed on advanced oral and aural competence, as well as advanced aptitude in reading and writing. A systematic study of vocabulary and cultural content will be conducted in order to speak and write accurately and logically. Some attention is given to literature, but emphasis is placed on, but not limited to topics such as customs, current events, sociology, technology and world challenges. This is an intensive curriculum and includes much reading, essay writing, research, as well as oral presentations and debates.
Advanced Literature of the Spanish Speaking World
This survey course is taught in Spanish and is intended to introduce students to Peninsular and Latin American literatures. Through a chronological approach that spans from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, students will analyze exemplary literary texts as products of their time. All literary genres will be introduced with a focus on how literature evolves and how each author, no matter how innovative, is influenced by his/her predecessors. Jorge Luis Borges said it best when he said, “I am not sure that I exist actually, I am the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities that I have visited.” Questions regarding society, gender, love, courage, perseverance, and cultural identity, among others, will also be examined. Continuities and discontinuities will be underlined with an eye to an internal cohesiveness among them based on overarching themes. The use of music, the fine arts, and film will provide students with many opportunities to make connections with and find resonance in other courses as well as draw connections to their own lives.
The goals of the Mathematics Department are to develop the ability to reason mathematical concepts, to develop proficiency with skills and to provide students with a solid foundation for advanced mathematical studies and for the use of mathematics in their daily lives. Upper School students are required to take mathematics through grade 11 and to successfully complete Precalculus, and are strongly
encouraged to maintain mathematics in senior year. Students in grades 9 through 12 use graphing calculators for class, homework and tests.
Algebra I with Summer Geometry (Grade 9)
This course covers a full year of algebra in preparation for summer Geometry, Algebra II & Trigonometry in 10th grade, PreCalculus in 11th grade and Calculus during senior year. Topics include the solution of linear equations and applications to problem solving, the graph and equation of a line, solution of systems of linear equations, operations with polynomials, factoring, solution of quadratic equations by factoring and formula, properties of the graph of a quadratic function, properties of exponents, probability and statistics, operations with rational functions, solution of rational equations and properties of and operations with radicals. Summer Geometry typically runs through the middle of July and covers all the topics covered in the 9th grade standard Geometry class.
Geometry (Grade 9)
This is a full-year course in Euclidean geometry with an emphasis on the writing of proofs. Topics include properties of segments and angles, perpendicular and parallel lines, triangle congruence, properties of quadrilaterals, triangle inequalities, similarity, right triangles, right triangle trigonometry, circles, metric geometry, coordinate geometry and transformation. Algebraic concepts, specifically radicals, quadratics, and systems of linear equations, are reinforced and applied throughout the course. Students will build on their problem solving skills as they develop the ability to reason through problems using postulates, theorems, and inductive and deductive reasoning.
Geometry Honors (Grade 9)
This is a full-year course in Euclidean geometry that emphasizes the writing of proofs and is taught in a way that will offer a challenge for students who wish to pursue a more rigorous study of the material. Extra work will be required of all honors students. Students learn to use TINspire software to formulate conjectures. Topics include properties of segments and angles, perpendicular and parallel lines, triangle congruence, properties of quadrilaterals, triangle inequalities, similarity, right triangles, right triangle trigonometry, circles, metric geometry, coordinate geometry and transformations. This course will develop each student’s ability to engage in inductive and deductive reasoning to produce mathematical proofs. Students will provide mathematical justifications for their observations, calculations, and conclusions, building their own analytic skills. Students will explore the relationships between
geometric figures and the applications of these relationships in the real world. Students will think analytically and logically in order to make connections between geometrical relationships.
Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors (Grades 9 and 10)
This course is designed to build on the concepts learned in Algebra I. This course focuses not only on procedural and conceptual skills, but also the heart of problem solving at a rigorous level as well. The material includes a brief review of linear equations and solutions of systems of equations, followed by solutions of linear equations using matrices and determinants, rational functions and equations, exponential and logarithmic functions, conic sections, and complex numbers. The study of trigonometry includes the study of right triangle trigonometry, solving triangles, and introduction to sine and cosine as circular functions, including working with identities as well as solving equations. The content of this course is particularly important for standardized exams.
Algebra II & Trigonometry with Precalculus Honors (Grade 10)
This course is an accelerated study of Algebra II, Trigonometry, and Precalculus that extends past other courses into the faculty planning weeks and emphasizes both the breadth of Algebra II & Trigonometry and the depth of Precalculus. The course begins with a general study of algebraic skills, functions, and graphs. Students will explore quadratic, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, logistic, and trigonometric functions, focusing on properties, equations, inequalities, graphs, and applications of each type of function. Students will then study probability, statistics, conics, and matrices. The course culminates with a study of continuity and limits, the first key topics of calculus.
Precalculus (Grade 11)
This class is a grade 11 mathematics option that begins with the in-depth study of key precalculus concepts of function and trigonometry. Statistics and discrete mathematics topics are included to prepare students for grade 12 electives. The graphing calculator is used extensively throughout the course. Students develop mathematical models for realworld applications from a wide range of fields, including business and science. The end of the second semester is devoted to the study of the beginning of basic differential and integral calculus.
Honors Precalculus (Grades 10 and 11)
This course begins with a rigorous precalculus program focusing on the properties of trigonometric, logarithmic, exponential and polynomial functions; appropriate integration of graphing calculator technology and algebra are emphasized. The end of the second semester is devoted to the study of the beginning of basic differential and integral calculus using the syllabus of the Advanced Calculus course.
Calculus (Grade 12)
This course continues the study of basic differential and integral calculus started in the Precalculus course. It begins with a rigorous study of limits in calculus. Students will then study the main branches of college Calculus; derivatives and integrals. Students will use derivatives in applications that include business applications, optimization, and related rates, as well as applications of integration to find the area under a curve. Students will apply differentiation and integration to polynomials, radical and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, as well as trigonometric functions. A strong background in precalculus is a requirement.
Advanced Calculus AB (Grades 11 and 12)
This course is a continuation of the Precalculus class in grade 11 and continues the study of basic differential and integral calculus. Advanced Calculus AB will focus on the four major concepts of college Calculus: functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals. Students will not only learn the skills and concepts associated with the four major concepts of calculus, but they will apply them to real world phenomena. Their processing, decision-making, and other problemsolving skills will develop throughout the course. Students will become comfortable with multiple representations of functions (numeric, graphic, algebraic, verbal) and solve problems using each representation. Students will also use technology to deepen their understanding of how various representations of problems are related to each other. The graphing calculator is essential to this course and the student’s ability to create and share mathematical representations of problems and solutions.
Advanced Calculus BC (Grades 11 and 12)
Students will not only learn the skills and concepts associated with the four major concepts of calculus, but they will apply them to real world phenomena. Their processing, decision making, and other problem-solving skills will develop throughout the course. Students will become comfortable with multiple representations of functions (numeric, graphic, algebraic, verbal) and solve problems using each representation. Students will also use technology to
deepen their understanding of how various representations of problems are related to each other. The graphing calculator is essential to this course and the student’s ability to create and share mathematical representations of problems and solutions.
Advanced Statistics (Grade 12)
This course follows the syllabus set by the Advanced Placement program of the College Board, but is designed to be accessible to a wider range of students than calculus. Students are introduced to major concepts and tools for collecting, organizing, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Topics include univariate and bivariate data distributions, measures of center, measures of spread, developing models and correlation and residual plots, among others. Both graphing calculators and computers are used extensively, and students do substantial independent project work.
Multivariable Calculus (Grade 12)
Students will build upon the concepts introduced in Advanced Calculus BC and extend their knowledge of functions to include more than two dimensions. Focus will be placed on parametric equations and vector functions. Vectors will be graphed in three dimensions, to allow students to analyze quadratic surfaces and cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Students will use a wide variety of techniques to maximize and minimize functions. Arc length, speed, rectilinear motion, and other topics introduced in Advanced Calculus BC are extended to the third dimension. Limits, continuity, derivatives, and integrals are analyzed with multivariate functions. The course includes numerous applications to physics.
Linear Algebra (Grade 12)
Students will build upon their prior knowledge of linear equations to discuss the linear dependence/independence of vectors and to analyze vector spaces and subspaces. Students will use matrices to solve systems of linear equations using inverses, matrix multiplication, and Gaussian elimination. Determinants of matrices will be used to explore the properties of matrices, such as eigenvalues, eigenvectors, and eigenspaces. This course will involve computations, proofs, and applications in its study of solving linear equations.
The academic study of theology is at the heart of the curriculum for all Sacred Heart students during each year of their Upper School education. The curriculum is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and explores Catholic sacraments, ethics and philosophy, as well as the quest for life’s meaning in other world religions. The church’s teaching regarding social and moral issues is emphasized as a call to faith that expresses itself in charity and service. Students are encouraged to reflect on what they learn in light of their faith experience. In light of the framework of the Catholic Church, a Christo-centric approach is used in all courses.
Scripture (Grade 9)
During the course of this year, students explore the Bible and the revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture. They learn how to read the Bible and become familiar with the major sections of the Bible and the books included in each section. They learn about divine and natural revelation and how the Scriptures are authored by God through inspiration. Students become familiar with the role of tradition and the importance of interpretation. They pay particular attention to Jesus Christ Incarnate as the ultimate Revelation to us from God. In analyzing who Jesus is, the living Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the students will also learn who he calls them to be.
World Religions (Grade 10)
The course examines the nature of religious experience and expression in the symbols, rituals and stories of the world’s religions. In addition to studying many of the world’s major religious beliefs and practices, students will also spend time visiting religious sites and watching videos or reading stories from members of various traditions. By reading and exploring the religious experiences of others, students will gain a better understanding of the world’s religious diversity and will build greater appreciation for how religious traditions are variously lived by their adherents. The study of world religions will also serve to develop in students an empathetic appreciation for diverse peoples and the practices and beliefs they hold dear. Ideally, this empathy and understanding will lead to a deepening of the students’ own religious self-understanding and awareness. This course will also pay special attention to the Catholic Church’s Vatican II emphasis on dialogue and cooperation with nonChristian traditions, and we will revisit aspects of Christian theology and Christology as the touchstone and axis point for the study of comparative religions.
Interdisciplinary Theological Research (Grade 11)
This course focuses on the person of Jesus Christ, reflecting on the place of Christ in the New Testament, in subsequent theological, ethical, and sacramental reflection and in the visual arts. Students learn to do exegetical work and to use the historical-critical method in their interpretation of biblical texts. Each student proposes a research project on a specific Christological theme and shares her research with the class in a 40-minute presentation at the end of the year. Additionally, a select group of students is encouraged to share their work with the Upper School student body at a spring chapel service.
Philosophy and Ethics (Grade 12)
The course examines the western tradition of philosophical thought and its influence on the Church and Christianity. Students will be exposed to the great thinkers and debates of western culture and become familiar with philosophical methodology and terminology. In the second semester, the course will more narrowly focus on ethical schools of thought and applied ethics. Students will master different ethical systems and apply them to specific issues and case studies, as they more fully form and inform their own conscience.
The focus of the Upper School science program is the development of scientific literacy to enable the student to function in a technological society. Science courses provide students with experience in problem solving, competency in laboratory work and facility in critical thinking. Three years of science are required including physics. Electives are offered to juniors and seniors interested in taking more advanced science courses.
Biology (Grade 9)
Grade 9 Biology is designed to introduce students to ways of knowing and understanding the living world at various levels of complexity. The course includes consideration of the chemical nature of cells and an examination of both the unity and diversity of life. Students learn to use scientific inquiry to answer questions about the natural world. They will have the opportunity to acquire analytical writing, experimental, and processing skills, and to respect the primacy of evidence in the advancement of the biological sciences. Relevant laboratory experiences reinforce the key concepts of this life science course.
Chemistry (Grade 10)
This course introduces students to fundamental chemical principles and concepts through inductive laboratory experiences and reasoning. Topics explored include atomic and molecular structure, periodicity, bonding, gases and thermodynamics. The course integrates laboratory activities, classroom demonstrations and problem-solving activities and fosters an understanding of chemical processes and phenomena. Throughout the course, mathematical relationships are utilized and explored when appropriate and meaningful in scientific investigations.
Honors Chemistry (Grade 10)
Honors Chemistry is an accelerated introductory-level chemistry course intended for motivated students who possess a strong background and skill in math. Students explore fundamental chemical principles and challenging concepts via an in-depth analytical and experimental approach. In addition to introductory materials, advanced topics such as thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, solutions, and redox reactions are explored. An emphasis on problem-solving using various mathematical skills, coupled with lab experiments, further solidify and enhance students’ learning and understanding of these concepts and processes.
Physics (Grade 11)
Physics introduces the quantitative study of the most fundamental behavior of natural systems through the topics of dynamical motion, electricity and magnetism, and waves. These topics are applied to understand everyday phenomena, the Solar System and Universe, the quantum structure of the atom, and technology. This course requires mathematical problem solving as an essential basis for understanding the concepts but also explores the historical context of the hallmark discoveries of physics.
Honors Physics (Grade 11)
Honors Physics introduces the same topics as covered in Physics, but delves deeper into the mathematical problem -solving and quantitative reasoning skills necessary to understand more advanced treatments of the discipline. This course is a required prerequisite for Advanced Physics and is intended for highly driven students who demonstrate strong mathematical proficiency.
Biochemistry (Grades 11 and 12)
Introductory Biochemistry is an entry-level course students interested in the processes that provide the basic essentials for cellular function. The course will include nomenclature and reactions in organic chemistry, nutritional testing and
cellular measurements, and the energy aspects of metabolism. Additionally, proteins, genetics, and virology will be introduced from an experimental perspective. Laboratory based, the course provides opportunities for student research during the second semester. These individual research projects will correspond to student interests and easily fulfill the Capstone requirement. There is an honors option in this course.
Environmental Science (Grades 11 and 12)
The course explores the many factors involved in decisionmaking in the context of environmental studies. The specific topics will be student generated, but grounded in the “sciences” with connections to any other disciplines. An initial exploration of what science is, and is not, will form the foundation for the remainder of the course. The course is modeled as a “college-type” seminar format with debates, peer-reviewed presentations, independent study, readings from the course text, selected articles, scientific journals and the popular press. This course challenges students to understand all sides of controversial issues. Since the dynamics in the science lab can only model approximate conditions in the real world, field work and experiential learning will be utilized as much as possible. There is an honors option in this course.
Human Anatomy and Physiology (Grade 12)
Anatomy and Physiology explores the biological processes underlying the structure and function of the human body. Through dissections, group discussions, and engaging with the primary literature, students will better understand the body's systems and how they work together to maintain homeostasis. In addition, students will explore the complexity of the human body, from the cellular level to the tissues and organs, and how they are affected by disease and injury. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, the digestive, cardiovascular, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. One of the highlights of this course is the use of the Anatomage Table, a state-of-the-art virtual dissection tool that allows students to explore the human body in 3D. Using the Anatomage Table, students will manipulate and explore digital models of natural human specimens, providing detail and interactivity beyond traditional textbook readings and dissection methods. There is an honors option in this course.
Advanced Biology (Grades 11 and 12)
Advanced Biology is a rigorous introduction to college-level biology. The concepts focus on cellular and molecular biology, heredity, and the evolution of organisms and populations. This course is intended for highly motivated students who
are willing to devote considerable time and focused attention to learning biology at the first-year college level. Laboratory experiments teach students to develop a sophisticated approach to data collection and analysis, reinforcing the concepts and mathematical relationships of biology.
Advanced Chemistry (Grades 11 and 12)
Advanced Chemistry is a fast-paced and rigorous course intended for highly-driven students interested in developing an advanced understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry. This class is designed with the equivalency of a firstyear general chemistry college course. Topics such as rates of reactions, acids and bases, the application of thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and spectroscopy are explored. The lab component engages students to develop sophisticated approaches to data collection and analysis, and reinforces the various concepts of chemistry taught throughout the course. Students are expected to bring a focused attention to class and devote considerable time to learning chemistry.
Advanced Physics (Grade 12)
Advanced Physics is a calculus-based treatment of physics similar to a college-level physics course for physical scientists and engineers. It is intended for highly motivated and mathematically inclined students who wish to investigate the most fascinating topics from Honors Physics at a higher level of rigor. Highlights of the Advanced Physics course will include the study of Newton’s Gravitation, Special Relativity, Electrostatics through Gauss’ Law, Magnetism through the Biot-Savart Law, and Quantum Mechanics. Essential math and computer programming concepts will be taught when necessary. Potential course projects include computer simulations of the dynamical behavior of a system of the student’s choosing.
The Upper School History and Social Science department hopes to foster the curiosity, empathy, respectful debate, and courage required by our increasingly pluralistic society and globalized world. Classes attempt to achieve this by developing the historical skills of close reading, analysis, evaluation, and research. We also practice grappling with multiple points of view and conflicting interpretations in order to reach nuanced and balanced understandings of the past and of the present. We study previous and contemporary dilemmas in order to develop the intellectual and emotional skills that are required to apply the Goals and
Criteria of the Sacred Heart network in our local, national, and international civic life. In the process, students are prepared for college writing and standardized tests.
World History I: Prehistory through 15th Century (Grade
The course begins with building the foundations for the study of history (historiography) with an analysis of the summer reading, The Epic of Gilgamesh. Using this epic poem, we not only practice how to evaluate sources, but also how to develop and organize the rich historical interpretations of the Neolithic Revolution. Then we dive into comparative study of other early civilizations in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Next, the development of Classical Civilizations is explored, along with an examination of their interactions with pastoralists. Finally, the year ends with the study of the Post-Classical Period and the acceleration of global contact that led to the Modern Era. Thematic connections between literature and its historical context are emphasized through the reading of The Odyssey, Julius Caesar and Antigone in English 9. Library research is introduced through projects that focus on information evaluation skills and proper citation formatting. Students also develop their digital literacy and civic skills by evaluating news sources in a running current events project.
World History II: 15th Century through the Present (Grade
In this second half of the Sacred Heart world history sequence, students bring their studies of the global past up to the present, as they continue to grapple with the thorny question of whether world history represents a story of progress. The year begins with a discussion of the summer reading assignment, Tom Standage’s History of the World in Six Glasses, which serves as a bridge between the ninth and tenth grade courses. We then continue through a series of thematic units as we explore the variety of forces that have knit the world ever more closely together over the past five centuries. The course emphasizes historical analysis, communication skills, and ethical judgment, and assessments will take many forms, including in-class discussions and debates, independent research, primary source analysis, written essays, and creative projects.
United States History (Grade 11)
This course investigates the major themes and events in American history since colonial times that have helped to shape the American character. The course of study is guided by the central questions: What does it mean to be “American”? How has the meaning of American identity changed, and not changed, over time? Students will trace the origins,
essence, and significance of American identity across time by closely examining key turning points in American history. Students will be challenged to critically analyze a wide variety of primary and secondary sources and to develop organized, well-substantiated, and precise analytical essays. During the third quarter, students embark on a focused research unit in which they formulate a historically specific question, conduct independent research using primary and secondary sources, and complete a formal history research paper. Active class participation is an integral part of the course.
Macroeconomics (Grade 12)
In keeping with the Sacred Heart goal of preparing students “to be active, informed, and responsible citizens locally, nationally, and globally,” this course invites students to embrace the individual and communal responsibility of informed economic decision-making. This policy-oriented course will explore macroeconomic topics including the causes of booms, recessions, and crises; the effects of fiscal and monetary policies; the state’s role in managing and regulating markets; and the challenges of globalization, inequality, and international development. Students will approach these problems from a theoretical and practical perspective, becoming proficient in a wide range of economic concepts while also applying them to understand historical and contemporary issues. The course will make frequent use of reporting on current events, including articles and analysis from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Financial Times. At the end of the semester, students will develop a detailed analysis of a piece of economic policy recently enacted or under consideration in New York City, assessing the policy for its impact on a broad range of communities within the city.
21st Century Citizenship (Grade 12)
This semester-long course will emphasize ways students can participate in civic life beyond voting. The course introduces students to the structures and access points to the federal and New York City government, the formation of political identities, and the ways in which interest groups attempt to influence the policymaking process. Students will use case studies from contemporary politics, including the evolution of the Democratic and Republican parties in the 21st century and the roles that interest groups have played in shaping party agendas. The course will also examine recent innovations, such as ranked-choice voting, to increase third-party participation in the electoral process. The course will culminate in students developing and executing a “lobbying day” meeting with a local elected official on an issue of concern to them.
History of New York City (Grade 12)
An exploration of the forces and people who have shaped the history of our city, from the Lenape people who traded on the island of Mannahatta, through the Dutch and English colonists who seized and reshaped it, to the 8.4 million people who call it home today. Homework assignments will primarily consist of reading from the assigned text, supplemental articles, and primary sources. Assessments will include graded discussions, historical essays, and review essays.
Social Sciences for Social Problems
This course offers a practical and justice-oriented introduction to three key fields of social science: sociology, psychology, and history. In the sociology module, students will learn how sociologists define “structures” and “systems” through an investigation of systemic racism. The psychology module explores the human desire for community and the consequences of loneliness. The history portion of the course examines how xenophobia in American history has shaped public policy.
History of Public Health
Through this course, students will explore the ways in which communicable disease has shaped American society. We will take a case study approach to look at how Americans responded to five different epidemics: Yellow Fever in the 1790s, Cholera in the 1830s-1860s, Typhoid Fever in the 1900s, Polio in the 1940s, and HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. In each case study, we will ask: how did Americans understand the causes, effects, and treatment of disease? What role were social and/or political institutions expected to take in combating disease? What were the long-term effects of the epidemic on our public health structures? The class will conclude with a brief examination of Covid-19 from a historical perspective. Students will be expected to actively participate in class discussions and complete historicallyinformed creative projects.
HISTORY/SOCIAL SCIENCE EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Mock Trial
The mock trial program is a competition that has two purposes. The first is to teach high school students basic trial practice skills. Students learn the dynamics of a courtroom, how to conduct direct and cross-examinations, how to present opening and closing statements and how to think on their feet. Students will also learn to analyze legal issues and apply the law to the facts of the case. The second, and most important, purpose of the competition is to teach
professionalism. Students learn ethics, civility and how to be zealous but courteous advocates for their clients. Good sportsmanship and respect for all participants are central to this competition. The program is open to students in grades 9 through 12.
Model United Nations
The goal of the Model UN is to simulate real United Nations and international bodies. Each participant will represent a country, a person or organization and advocate their policy and interests on a committee. Model UN hopes to facilitate greater understanding of international issues and promote a sense of international responsibility between participants. Ultimately, delegates should come away with a better understanding of the processes of international politics and negotiation and recognize the importance of multilateral cooperation. Model UN helps students better understand the international system, along with the numerous problems it faces. The program is open to students in grades 9 through 12.
VISITING STUDENTS PROGRAM
Students have the exciting opportunity during grade 10 to participate in an exchange program with other Sacred Heart schools, either nationally or internationally. The visiting students program offers a unique opportunity for students to broaden their horizons socially, academically and culturally by experiencing the life of Sacred Heart students in different parts of the world and the country. In the past several years, students have studied in Australia, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Austria, California, Florida, Louisiana, Washington and Nebraska.
Sacred Heart recognizes the impact of technology on society today and the far-reaching effects it will continue to have on our future. Interested students are encouraged to take additional elective computer science courses in grades 10 through 12. Elective courses are “hands-on” experiences in which students use their creativity, imagination and understanding of the software to produce projects that utilize the capabilities of the software they are using. Computer science is a rapidly changing field and our courses emphasize the computational thinking and digital literacy skills that will help our students think critically and make informed decisions about the digital world around them. We emphasize that computer science is ultimately about problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Students will work with a
range of applications and gain the skills to think critically about the role that technology plays in their lives, make a webpage, write a program, or build a robot.
Upper School students have a range of technical resources to support their coursework. All students use a laptop throughout the year. Students use G Suite to store and back up their work, access e-mail for academic purposes and have access to the Internet through a high-speed T-1 connection.
Engineering & Creative I (Grades 10 & 11)
Students will learn the steps of the engineering design process and apply the concepts of physics to solve student generated problems. Tech and practical skills will be developed to meet these ends.
Engineering & Creative II (Grades 11 & 12)
Students will utilize the tools in the makerspace to develop their own products and expertise on different technologies. By the end of the course, students will have built a selfidentified project that benefits the community in some way.
Physical Computing (Grades 10, 11 & 12)
Students will delve into the fundamentals of computational thinking while leveraging the tools available in our makerspace. Through hands-on projects, they will develop their own wearable technologies using Arduino and other physical computing tools. Students will explore a range of technologies, including traditional techniques like hand-sewing and sewing machines, as well as cutting-edge methods such as lasercutting and soldering. By integrating these technologies, they will bring their wearable designs to life. This multidisciplinary course fosters collaboration and innovation, encouraging students to explore the creative potential of wearable technologies while also developing pattern recognition and problem-solving.
Advanced Computer Science & Entrepreneurship (Grade 12)
The Visual Arts program is designed to meet the needs of Upper School students for creative visual expression and literacy through disciplined work to develop individual gifts. Effective and affective learning that incorporates historical perspective and theory, in addition to studio practice, offers students opportunities for growth in imaginative, intellectual, emotional and sensory abilities in each art medium. All students take Visual Foundations in grade 9. Older students may elect courses in photography, ceramics, sculpture, painting/drawing and film/video. Advanced courses are offered in all media, including in 2-Dimensional Design (including photography), 3-Dimensional Design (ceramics) and Painting, Drawing, PrintMaking and Mixed-Media. Student work is exhibited in IRIS, the visual arts publication, and submitted to the Scholastic Art Awards competition.
Visual Foundations 9
This course introduces students to visual issues including line, color, texture, value, perspective and composition. Through problem-solving assignments and critiques, students acquire a wide range of perceptual, technical and critical skills with 2D (painting, drawing and photography, both digital and darkroom) and 3D art forms (ceramics and textiles). Film History is explored with class lectures and the viewing of film clips supplemented with the text Understanding Movies by Louis Ginannetti. Students keep a sketchbook and receive weekly homework. Their work is exhibited throughout the school year. Assignments build sequentially from skill building exercises, to projects that place greater emphasis on individual expression. Visual concepts and correct use of visual vocabulary are emphasized through critiques that provide the opportunity for students to practice analytical skills in an atmosphere that is both intellectually critical and emotionally supportive. Exposure to historical and contemporary works of art through various media such as art history textbooks and field trips contextualize each assignment.
Ceramics (Grades 10 through 12)
This course emphasizes development of skills with wheel, hand building (slab, molds and extruder) and glazing techniques. Projects are assigned to challenge students to explore creative possibilities with construction of form, keeping in mind function, sculptural concepts, color, and texture. Students are exposed to a variety of clays and glazes, both low fire and high fire. Raku and saggar firing field trips are scheduled during the year. Glaze science is explored as students learn about the fundamentals of raw materials
culminating in the creation of unique clays and glazes that are tested and shared with colleagues. Field trips to galleries and museums, visiting artists and exposure to other forms of historical media support the development of expression in this medium. Student work is exhibited throughout the school year and entered in Scholastic Art competition and included in the school art publication, IRIS.
Art Portfolio Ceramics
Students develop skill with the wheel and hand building techniques. They create clays and glazes with raw materials that explore creative possibilities as they express various themes in their work. Field trips to galleries and museums supplement critique and class lectures of domestic and international, historical and current ceramic art. Students learn about slip casting, use of porcelain clay, raku and saggar field trips provide other firing experiences beyond the school oxidation kilns. Projects are designed to expose a variety of techniques to guide students in their individual expression in this medium.
Advanced Ceramics (Grade 12)
Advanced Ceramics in grade 12 may culminate with the submission of twenty ceramic works of art to the College Board in May. Senior year offers a challenging and rigorous exploration of individualistic expression in clay and glaze supported with advanced skill of acquired technique. Students explore a theme grounded in research of either classical or current ceramic art. Field trips, outside firing opportunities and visiting artists support this in-depth creation of personal work. Open studio time allows students to work independently.
Painting and Drawing (Grades 10 through 12)
Students explore contemporary and historic styles, techniques and approaches to image-making, combining new and traditional media in painting, drawing and printmaking. With emphasis on a personal relationship to materials and subject matter, students are challenged to transform ideas from imagination and observation into meaningful, complex visual statements. Trips to museums and galleries, research and class critiques build skills of visual analysis enabling students to interpret, understand and utilize what they see. This course can be repeated in Grades 10 through 12 with students working at individual skill levels.
Art Portfolio Drawing
In Art Portfolio Drawing, grade 11 students have an opportunity to work with a broad range of media and conceptual approaches. This course emphasizes experimentation with
design elements and principles and drawing, painting, printmaking and mixed media. Students learn critical skills in visual analysis, developing an awareness of art history and critical theory through critiques, readings and trips to museums and galleries in addition to studio experience.
Advanced Painting & Drawing (Grade 12)
The Advanced Portfolio course in grade 12 emphasizes painting, drawing or printmaking and may culminate with the submission to the College Board in May of an AP portfolio in either Drawing or 2D Design. For students who have invested time and effort in visual expression throughout Upper School, this course offers a challenging and rigorous environment for both structured and independent work.
Sculpture (Grades 10 through 12)
In Sculpture, students explore the principles and elements of three-dimensional art and the idea that all sculptures are forms, but not all forms are sculpture. Students learn techniques such as mold making and carving, creating sculpture through addition and subtraction with a variety of materials such as wire, wood, and textiles.
Art Portfolio Sculpture (Grade 11)
In this course, students continue to develop their established knowledge base of materials and techniques with more advanced mediums such as stone and plaster. Using a wide breadth of media through projects and prompts, students learn how to create three-dimensional forms while developing and strengthening their individual voices. Students will explore contemporary, modern, and historically important artists and their works to inspire and inform their own art. Encouraged to make bold choices with their art practice, students explore all possibilities of threedimensional art making.
Advanced Sculpture (Grade 12)
This class is centered on a “sustained investigation.” Students use a combination of their technical knowledge, risk-taking, ideas, exploration, and their own observations. The concept of a body of work will be introduced. Using a variety of approaches, students develop their concentration through themes, concepts and or translating a single medium. With class and open studio time, students are guided while working independently. Group discussion and critiques offer students different perspectives. New York is used as a resource and students are encouraged to visit the many world-class museums and galleries to see examples of art in person. Discovery of different mediums and individualized concepts are used to visualize the form.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM/VIDEO
In the courses that make up the Photography and Film/Video curricula, students are introduced to the history of both media with library and internet materials, periodicals, DVDs, guest speakers and field trips. Students experience the creative process in the photo/art medium and are encouraged in their engagement with personal creative expression through class discussion, group critiques and research utilizing the photo/film library materials. Learning to use both traditional darkroom methods and digital applications, students have access to school equipment for shooting and editing. Student work is displayed throughout the year and during the school’s film festival and is entered in the New York State Scholastic Art Awards competition.
Photography (Grades 10 through 12)
Students are introduced to the fundamentals of darkroom procedures, camera function and digital applications through a series of assigned projects with historical references to past and current photo art. Basic principles of design are explored along with the introduction of mixed media materials, which present opportunities to explore creative expression. An extensive library of periodicals and other materials encourages students to develop skills of visual analysis, critical thinking and visual interpretation of content. Students have access to 35mm, medium format, 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 view cameras and open darkroom studio time for developing black and white prints. Color imagery is produced by scanning color negatives, importing digital work and then printing on Epson 3880 printers. Field trips to galleries and museums are scheduled along with visiting artists who share and discuss work. Photo art is submitted to the Scholastic Art Competition and exhibited in school throughout the year.
Art Portfolio Photography
Students become more independent and self-directed at this stage of learning. Having developed skills in the earlier prerequisite photography course, they are capable of a higher level of accomplishment and exploration, utilizing more creative techniques and procedures with digital applications and 2D and 3D materials. Each student presents a statement of interest, a photographer whose work inspires her, and a statement of the equipment and material needed to explore her objective. Visits from artists and trips to galleries and museums with subsequent written critiques are assigned to all students. A portfolio for finished work is provided for each student to assemble past and present
work that can be submitted to the AP application in grade 12. Work is exhibited throughout the year and submitted to the Scholastic Art Competition.
Advanced Photography (Grade 12)
This class may culminate with the submission of twentyfour original photo art work to the College Board. These compositions convey skill with photography supported by advanced technique and the ability to communicate content through visual imagery. The Concentration Portfolio presents twelve images that illustrate the development of a singular theme conceived and actualized throughout senior year. Students work both independently and on assignments that present new techniques and procedures to support the development of the arc of creativity of the thesis. Class critiques, entry to Scholastic Art Competition and exhibition throughout the year bring constructive evaluation of this body of work. Additional studio time with the darkroom and digital facilities is encouraged. Students are able to borrow equipment for outside use.
Film/Video I, II and III
Students are challenged to create a broad range of films ranging from documentary, realistic, and classic, to formalist/ avant-garde visual narratives. Short films and animations are designed to initiate students into the technical and creative aspects of this medium, using a range of recording equipment and professional editing software. Film history and theory are introduced throughout the year to provide a contextual background for course projects in the form of screening, discussion, and readings. AV equipment is available for student use, along with access to an extensive library of films and film literature. Student work will be shown to the greater community at our Film Festivals.
Art History (Fall)
This course emphasizes a deep understanding of art historical concepts. Students will examine works of art from diverse cultures developing an understanding of global artistic traditions. Students analyze works of art in their contexts, considering issues of patronage, gender, politics, religion, and ethnicity. The interpretation of the work of art is based upon its intended use, audience, and the role of the artist and the work of art in its particular society. Students are introduced to key concepts and vocabulary for the historical study of art through lectures, discussion, museum/gallery visits, and assigned work.
Art History: A Focus on Women Artists (Spring)
This course will examine the career and artistic production of Women artists historically and internationally. We will explore works of art from diverse culture developing an understanding of global artistic traditions. Students will consider the relationship between art and feminism, looking at texts by feminist art historians and theorists such as Linda Nochlin, Judith Butler and bell hooks. Topics of discussion will include history of art education which has been unique for women, artistic media (ex. miniature paintings or quilting), the role of the gaze, gender expectations and self -portraiture. Students are introduced to key concepts and vocabulary for the historical study of art through lectures, discussion, museum/gallery visits and assigned work.
Upper School Chorus
This ensemble, open to students in grades 9 through 12, meets twice a week. Vocal development is emphasized through ensemble singing, technical study and sight singing. Choral works from the standard classical choral repertoire as well as from jazz, contemporary music and musical theater are studied and performed. Students have the opportunity to perform solos and to work in small ensembles. The Chorus performs throughout the year at various events and presents major performances at Christmas and in the spring. The Chorus also presents a studentdirected Broadway review and collaborates on major works with other independent schools.
Upper School Orchestral Ensemble
The Orchestral Ensemble is open to students in grades 9 through 12 and meets once a week for an hour. Students are eligible to elect this course if they have a minimum of two years of private study experience with their instrument of choice. The ensemble will explore orchestral music from the wide range of “classical” repertoire. Students may have the experience of playing in small chamber groups as well. Study will culminate in performances at Christmas and in the spring. There will also be opportunities throughout the school year for orchestral students to perform at various sacred and secular school functions.
Madrigals is a select group of singers chosen from the ranks of the Upper School Chorus. This is a small ensemble that meets for one hour a week and performs in a variety of styles. Students are selected for their vocal excellence as well as their musicianship skills. The Madrigals perform along with the Chorus at the Christmas and spring concerts.
In addition, the Madrigals are invited to perform at various other functions both at school and in the greater metropolitan area.
Performing Arts Foundations (Grade 9)
This course offers an overview of various styles and genres and the history of the performing arts. Research projects and discrete units in music, drama, and public speaking provide hands-on approaches to the performing art disciplines. By exploring a variety of practice styles and creative roles, students grow in self-confidence and build collaboration, problem solving, and public speaking skills. Students are exposed to a wide range of genres and learn to make connections between performing arts and events in history.
Acting (Grades 10, 11 & 12)
Acting is open to all students interested in the foundations/ basic principles of acting onstage and on camera. Skills learned include physical and vocal behavior/actions, basic movement, voice and speech work, character development, improvisation, and personalization. Through contemporary and classical plays including dramas and comedies, students will begin to develop their own acting technique. They will also explore how the fundamentals of acting on camera can be applied to films, sitcoms, soap operas, and commercials. Students who take this course will be asked to conduct some research and are advised to attend performances outside of Sacred Heart.
Introduction to Music Theory (Grade 10)
Introduction to Music Theory is a comprehensive course designed to acquaint the basic music theory concepts. Students explore the fundamentals of music notations, such as musical terms, basic rhythm, and pitch recognition. By using the solfége system and the rhythmic patterns, students develop aural skills to become more effective and literate musicians. This is the introductory course in a three-year sequence leading to the Advanced Music Theory course in grade 12.
Music Theory (Grade 11)
This course reviews the principles of music theory and emphasizes building sight-singing and dictation skills. Students gain a firm understanding of notations in various clefs, intervals, major and minor scales, chord identification and progression, rhythmic patterns, and using the keyboard. Through listening exercises and reading and writing musical notation, students develop the necessary skills for advanced materials in anticipation of the Advanced Music Theory course. Admission by permission of the instructor is required.
Advanced Music Theory (Grade 12)
This is an advanced theory and tonal harmony course designed to equip music students with the necessary skills to recognize, understand and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. The course proceeds with integrated approaches to the student’s further development of sight-singing, dictation, analysis, and composition. More sophisticated and creative tasks are included: composition of a bass line, realization of a figured bass, realization of Roman numeral progressions and analysis of repertoire including study of motive treatment, examination of rhythmic and melodic interaction of individual voices of a composition and harmonic analysis of functional tonal passages. Music Theory is a prerequisite.
PERFORMING ARTS: EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
The Performing Arts Department sponsors two major productions a year: a fall drama production and a winter musical. Being collaborative in nature, these programs encourage teamwork and personal growth and help to develop a sense of community.
The cast of the musical is chosen by audition open to all Upper School students. Rehearsals take place three afternoons a week after school. They culminate in a matinee and two evening performances during the winter. The choice of musical is taken from the wide range of American musical theater repertoire.
The cast of the drama production is chosen by audition and is open to all students in the Upper School. Rehearsals take place on Mondays and Wednesdays after school and result in two evening performances during the fall term. Plays are chosen to introduce students to the major works of playwrights that encompass a variety of theater styles.
The forensics team competes annually in local, regional and national speech and debate tournaments. Upper School students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible and there are no prerequisites. Students must be available one free period per week and must compete in a minimum of five tournaments annually. The local competition season is October through March. Opportunities abound to improve stage presence, self-confidence, expression and public speaking skills, as well as to compete and socialize with students from other schools and regions.
In keeping with the Sacred Heart’s mission to educate the whole child and to encourage students to take responsibility for their health and well-being, the Upper School has developed a comprehensive wellness program. Multifaceted, the program seeks to cultivate in students the understanding that their overall sense of well-being is informed by several factors—physical, psychological, social, and emotional—and the choices that they make in their lives. The wellness program encourages students to take a stake in their personal growth by helping them identify and choose options that promote their overall integrity and well-being.
Several departments collaborate to deliver the wellness program which continually builds on the foundation established in the earlier high school grades. In 9th and 10th grades, the program seeks to promote the understanding of the range of factors encompassed by wellness, to help students identify personal strengths and vulnerabilities in their own sense of wellness, and to provide mentors and models in helping students cultivate resilience and healthy decision-making in their lives in and outside of school. In 11th and 12th grades, the program seeks to strengthen the student’s sense of using “wise freedom” in taking responsibility for her own well-being. In encouraging students to use their self-knowledge to make choices that promote health and wellness, the program seeks to cement the foundation for healthy decision-making that the students can continually turn to as young adults when they leave Sacred Heart.
Components of the Upper School Wellness Program include but are not limited to Life Skills classes (grades 9 & 10), Physical Education (grades 9-12), Advisory Program (grades 9-12), College Counseling program (grades 9-12), Peer Support (grade 9), Campus Ministry and Retreat Program (grades 9-12).
Biological, socio-emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human development are explored in life skills classes in grades 9 and 10 and through lectures and workshops led by leading clinicians in various fields. Students discuss decision-making, peer pressure, sexuality, individuality, families, friendships, community, nutrition, online media, depression and anxiety, drug/alcohol education and other aspects of students’ health. Units are led by the Upper School Social Worker as well as guest lecturers, all experts in their fields.
Although students in grades 11 and 12 do not have Life Skills classes, they continue to discuss topics related to
their physical, psychological, social and emotional health through lectures, workshops, retreats designed in collaboration by the support team and other departments.
The physical education program for grade 9 is a safety based curriculum to develop confidence and provide real-world skills. Students will complete classes in 4 core subject areas. These include water safety and swim development where students will be required to pass a swim test; CPR/First Aid; self defense; and an orientation to the weight room and workout principles.
In grades 10-12, students are asked to satisfy a designated number of credits at their own discretion before the end of the year. They can do so as part of an athletic team, weight room workouts, various courses offered throughout the school year (CPR, lifeguarding, swim instruction, sailing etc.), or at-home workouts/physical activity. Students are required to electronically log and document their work. This programming offers students a series of physical activities which complement the extensive interscholastic athletic teams and introduce wellness programs that foster student interest in lifelong activities.
As a member of the Athletic Association of Independent Schools of New York City (AAIS), Sacred Heart competes in a variety of sports with other AAIS and NYSAIS schools with a focus on high performance and excellence. Students are expected to commit to 4-5 days a week of practice and/or competition depending on the sport. We offer varsity teams in soccer, volleyball, cross country and tennis in the fall; basketball, swimming, indoor track and squash in the winter; and badminton, lacrosse, softball, golf and outdoor track in the spring. Junior varsity teams are offered in volleyball (fall) and basketball (winter).
STUDENT SUCCESS CENTER
This program is designed to support the academic program at Sacred Heart and offers assistance to students who are having difficulty with writing, reading comprehension, organization and/or study skills. The particular needs of individual students are addressed through one-on-one or small group instruction. The purpose of the program is to provide students with the support they need to meet the requirements of their various academic courses as they
improve their skills and grow toward greater independence in their educational endeavors.
The college counseling program is a comprehensive fouryear process that begins with informal counseling in grades 9 and 10 for students and their parents. In junior year, students are introduced to the college search process through weekly classes. The classes continue to meet weekly throughout the first semester of the senior year, exposing students to topics relevant at that stage of the college application process.
The mission of the library program, guided by the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Schools in the United States, is to support the curricular needs of all students, to integrate the effective use of library and information resources in the curriculum, to provide an environment conducive to learning, study and research, to foster a lifelong appreciation of literature and reading for pleasure, to help students critically select and evaluate information in all formats and to support the faculty’s development of curricula and teaching strategies.
Upper School library services are centered in two landmark rooms overlooking Central Park. Library staffing, hours, instruction and collections are designed to serve the needs of the whole Upper School community. Two librarians are available during and after school hours. Library research classes in grades 9, 10 and 11 are an integral part of the curriculum. Information literacy instruction, reader’s advisory and research assistance are available for all students on request. Librarians also assist faculty with research and the use of online information resources. Hundreds of new library resources are added annually to enrich learning for both students and faculty.
The resources of a virtual library are available both in school and at home. The Library webpage provides access to the patron’s catalog and to numerous specialized subscription databases and eBooks, which contain the full text of thousands of periodicals, including The New York Times, encyclopedias and dictionaries.
The library program is dedicated to maintaining the highest quality of instructional services, acquiring the best materials in all formats and keeping pace with the latest information technologies.
The student activities program promotes activities and events that contribute to the overall improvement of student life in the Upper School and serves as a bridge to the curriculum and service program. Through clubs and organizations whose reach extends to the school, city, national and global communities and whose work ranges from spiritbuilding activities to activism for social justice issues, every member of the student body has the opportunity to explore her interests and apply her talents. Individual clubs collaborate with student government and faculty to plan weekly assemblies that creatively bring their work to the larger Upper School community and provide the opportunity for school-wide reflection.
The goal of the student activities program is to provide an opportunity for students to establish relationships with peers and faculty outside the classroom, to foster awareness of the connection between learning spaces in daily life and the classroom and to introduce students to the skills and challenges extracurricular activities have to offer.
Upper School students learn the rudiments of compelling oral presentation: concise organization of content, performance technique, and audience interaction. Because public speaking is integrated into curricula, oral assessments foster communication and technology skills, and encourage students to demonstrate a nuanced and personal mastery of academic material. Oral presentations range in length from three to forty minutes, and range in style from persuasive orations to public address.
“Genuine love always takes the form of service. In a world plagued by injustice, torn by violence and fear, you must stand by the most wounded and needy. At a school of the Sacred Heart, you will learn to take little steps and big steps to set God’s Kingdom right.”
—Life at the Sacred Heart, 1982
Sacred Heart is committed to be agents of constructive change.
• We are dedicated to delving deeper to understand the underlying causes of injustices and move our faith towards action.
• We strive to act for justice in the areas of: Health, Hunger, Housing, Environment, and Education.
• We strive to develop ways to share our resources that are not readily available to many local and international organizations.
• We strive to collaborate with organizations that seek the same common purpose.
Our hearts are open to these challenges and we strive to live out the mission of our school through our 3 tier servicelearning program.
In the 9th grade, students begin a unique two-year Social Justice sequence that prepares them to look within by exploring their personal values and ways to become active citizens in our local community through YPI (Youth and Philanthropy Initiative). In addition to looking inward, they look outward by exploring social issues that impact NYC. The skills learned through the YPI curriculum prepare our students to move into Sacred Heart’s 10th grade Social Action program, where they commit to volunteering at one agency through their sophomore year to address the needs of the most needy. Through personal and group reflection, students enter their final two years of high school with a firm foundation, which allows them to lead social action initiatives.
In grades 11 and 12, students participate in leading myriad service-oriented clubs and have the opportunity to participate in domestic and international service-learning immersions. We strive to build individual student character and foster interdependent student and adult relationships in and beyond the walls of our school. The service work completed by Sacred Heart students is explicitly beneficial to the participants through deep reflection on what is learned from each experience.
As students prepare to graduate from Sacred Heart they have the opportunity to intern in our school’s H.E.A.R.T. program, which addresses the needs of families living in under-resourced communities in NYC. Health Education And Responsible Tools provides children and their families with the tools to develop lifelong habits and routines to foster wellness, health, self-esteem and academic achievement. By providing fitness opportunities, access to affordable & nutritious food, and techniques for healthy food preparation, the goals of H.E.A.R.T. will be to educate, support and empower the families to extend these outcomes into their daily lives. Many of our college alumnae will then return to teach classes at H.E.A.R.T., which includes participating in
a teacher training institute run by our present and retired faculty.
The service-learning program in the Upper School is organized through the office of the Director of Community Outreach in collaboration with faculty, staff, parents and administrative offices and often with other divisions.
CAMPUS MINISTRY and RETREAT PROGRAM
Campus Ministry, in conjunction with the student activities and community service programs at Sacred Heart, aims to enrich the Upper School academic program by providing students with a range of spiritual practices and experiences to enhance their Upper School years. The campus ministry team, comprised of students, theology faculty and the school priest, coordinates liturgies, sacramental opportunities, prayer services, retreats and celebrations of Sacred Heart traditions and feasts. All students and faculty, regardless of religious background, are encouraged to participate or to help with the planning of campus ministry events. They act as lectors, cantors and Eucharistic ministers and share their gifts of song and dance at Eucharistic celebrations.
The carefully planned retreat program in the Upper School complements the religion curriculum and offers an opportunity each year for students to explore their relationship with God, self, and others. Students of each grade are chosen to be retreat leaders to give the retreats structure and content. They meet with the religion faculty a few times before any given retreat. Seniors meet weekly over the course of several months to prepare the Kairos retreat for the juniors. Faculty volunteers participate in the grade level retreats and actively engage in the discussions or give witness to their faith.
The Grade 9 retreat inducts the students into the Sacred Heart family as a new and unique freshman class. They reflect on the meaning of being part of a new class community and how they can bring their individual gifts to strengthen the group. Special attention is given to team building and discovering unity within plurality.
The Grade 10 retreat emphasizes student reflection on how they can be their best selves, loving God, neighbor, and self evermore fully. What are the experiences and relationships that help them thrive and allow them to share their gifts with the community and beyond through service?
Grade 11 goes on a Kairos retreat. This retreat has been designed and adapted for juniors. Students leave on a Wednesday after school and return by Friday afternoon, usually the week after Christmas vacation. It is an overnight retreat outside Manhattan. It builds from one day to the next. Six to eight student leaders (from the senior class) with two members of the religion department and different faculty who have been selected prepare this retreat over a period of several months. These leaders and faculty members then share their stories and connect Jesus to their own story of growing in faith during the actual retreat. Besides faith sharing, there are a variety of activities included and occasions of prayer and reflection provided. A few of the themes addressed are Lifeline, Knowing Yourself, God’s Friendship, Results of and Obstacles to God’s Friendship, and Love in Action.
Grade 12 is a time of transition. As a continuation of Kairos, the senior retreat’s focus is on Life Directions. Students discuss values, options and ideals. What choices are lifegiving? What is the right direction? How to leave high school? How to cope with the risks of leaving family and friends? What do they regret in their past but what can they learn from it to move on? Is this the end, the beginning, or the continuation of a spiritual life after CSH? What role does God play in their choices?
EQUITY, JUSTICE and MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION VISION
It is the essence of a Sacred Heart education to cultivate the formation of the whole person to be an active, informed and responsible citizen locally, nationally and globally. Rooted in our faith, the school promotes a safe and welcoming environment in which each person is aﬃrmed, respected and cared for both inside and outside of the classroom. We intend to empower all members of our community—students, parents, employees, trustees and alumnae—with the tools to recognize and value the distinct perspectives, experiences and skills of others.
We seek to uphold the mission of our foundress, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, whose vision was to transform the world through the love of the Heart of Jesus, by calling our community to model inclusion, empathy and respect. We commit ourselves to fostering an awareness that impels us to act because of our belief in the dignity of each person.
We view pluralism as the woven fabric of our community, creating opportunity for dialogue, learning and activism. It is expected that all members of the Sacred Heart community value diﬀerences that include, but are not limited to, ability, age, beliefs, ethnicity, family structure, gender, learning style, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.
The Sacred Heart community at 91st Street is committed to maintaining an ongoing and respectful dialogue in all matters of equity, justice and multicultural education, and to providing a safe and constructive forum for reﬂection upon our actions.