Upper School Academics
The teenage years of a girl’s life are a time for learning about herself and the world around her. In the Upper School at Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr we truly educate the whole girl providing an environment where she grows academically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and aesthetically. We offer opportunities for service learning, student leadership and personal growth. We challenge her to be her best self and to use her gifts to become an influential contributor to the world. A Sacred Heart Education allows a girl to express herself freely and to develop her own interests. She graduates with a self-confidence that grows from lively, informed discussions in an all-girls classroom, numerous opportunities to take the lead, and involvement in sports, theater and clubs. A Sacred Heart Education emphasizes the academic and personal qualities that lead to long-term success and fulfillment in her future. At graduation when she exits through the Red Doors for the last time, a Sacred Heart graduate is fully prepared for life.
- Upper School English
- Upper School Social Studies
- Upper School Mathematics
- Upper School Science
- Upper School Theology
- Upper School World Language
- Upper School Digital Media
- Upper School Health
- Upper School Physical Education
- Upper School Music
The Sacred Heart Upper School English Department seeks to develop a life-long love of reading and to foster an appreciation of literature as a gateway to understanding the human condition. As part of the school’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Program, courses in ninth through twelfth grades are paired with corresponding history classes in order to teach literature in the context in which it was written. This approach fosters a deep and long lasting understanding of the material. Within the program, English teachers coordinate lessons and projects with the history department to choose texts that are challenging and relevant at each grade level.
At Sacred Heart Academy, the process of writing is given equal weight with the study of literature. Teachers promote good writing as something that does not happen in a single draft, but rather is achieved through pre-writing, drafting, peer and teacher review, and revision. While teachers assign a variety of types of writing, students in every grade are required to complete at least one major research project that prepares them for the kind of inquiry, evidence gathering, argumentation and revision that will be expected of them at the college level.
- Ninth-Grade Honors Literary Genres
- Tenth-Grade British Literature
- Tenth-Grade Honors British Literature
- Eleventh-Grade College Prep American Literature
- Eleventh-Grade AP Language/Honors American Literature
- Twelfth-Grade World Literature
- Twelfth-Grade World Literature
- Twelfth Grade Honors World Literature/AP Literature and Composition
- Twelfth-Grade 20th-Century American Art History
- Twelfth-Grade Advanced Creative Writing
Upper School Social Studies
The social studies curriculum in the upper school continues to build and expands on the foundations that middle school has provided. Additional emphasis is placed on primary resources documents, the development of critical thinking skills and more rigorous assignments including Document Based Questions. Throughout grades nine through twelve, humanities- based research papers are assigned that require students to combine both their language and history skills to develop thesis-driven research papers of historical, cultural or social significance.
- World History
- Tenth-Grade European History
- AP Tenth-Grade European History
- Eleventh-Grade American History
- AP Eleventh-Grade American History
- Twelfth-Grade Comparative Government
- AP Comparative Government
- History Through Film
The upper school mathematics curriculum follows a predetermined program from ninth through eleventh grades based on the course that a freshman studies. Senior year culminates with Precalculus, Calculus, Honors or AP, and Statistics. Upon graduation, students are well prepared to continue their mathematics studies in college and have the skills necessary for future success.
- Ninth Grade College Prep Algebra I
- Ninth Grade Advanced Algebra
- Ninth Grade Honors Geometry
- Tenth Grade College Preparatory Geometry
- Tenth Grade Grade Advanced Geometry
- Tenth Grade Algebra 2/Trigonometry
- Eleventh Grade College Prep Algebra II
- Eleventh Grade Algebra 2/Trigonometry
- Eleventh Grade Honors Precalculus
- Twelfth-Grade Statistics
- Twelfth-Grade Precalculus
- Twelfth-Grade Honors Calculus
- Twelfth-Grade AP Calculus
The primary goal of the science department is to cultivate scientifically literate women through engaging and experiential classes. Department faculty members tailor their curricula based not only on pedagogical research, but also on research in their individual disciplines in order to provide high quality instruction to our students. After being probed to elucidate their prior knowledge, students confront their misconceptions as well construct and reconstruct explanations of scientific phenomena through collaboration with their peers. This approach fosters students’ ability to think critically, expand their knowledge base, and prepare for success in college and beyond.
At Sacred Heart Academy, we encourage our students to accept the challenge of doing her best work. We emphasize the importance of personal responsibility in learning. Through guided inquiry, cooperative learning and computer simulations, students stay active and engaged in their learning. In the laboratory, students gather, analyze, and interpret quantitative data to generate a scientific argument that is support by evidence, just as scientists do in the real world. In our science classes, students are motivated by the faculty’s ability to illustrate connections between physical, chemical, and biological principles that impact and affect our everyday lives, particularly by discussing current intriguing scientific findings.
- Honors Biology
- Honors Chemistry
- Honors Physics
- Conceptual Physics
- Honors Anatomy and Physiology
- Honors Organic Chemistry and Nanotechnology
- Environmental Science
Educating to a personal and active faith in God, Goal I of the Goals and Criteria of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, provides the foundation for the theology curriculum. We teach from a framework that is Catholic-Christian, with a commitment to inclusivity, ecumenism and interfaith dialogue. In the upper school, courses in sacred scriptures, church history, morality, social justice and world religions enable students to examine aspects of faith and truth in a spirit of thoughtful freedom and academic rigor. Campus ministry offers opportunities for individual and communal prayer, espacio, chapel services, retreats and liturgies. Theology, at its best, connects with everyday life. Above all, we strive to help students speak credibly about their faith and understand and interact with the world in the 21st century.
- Growing in Faith
- Old Testament
- New Testament
- Church History
- Christian Lifestyles
- Social Justice
- World Religions
The World Language Department offers upper school students the opportunity to study French, Latin or Spanish. There is a three level requirement in the language of their choosing. The goal of the language department is to enable student to obtain proficiency in the language to facilitate confident communication. Speaking, listening, writing, reading and cultural competence skills are reinforced through the use of technology and level appropriate authentic resources. We hold to the belief that to be truly proficient in a second language, it is necessary to understand and embrace the culture of those who speak the language. Therefore, culture is intricately ingrained in the fabric of daily vocabulary and grammar lessons.
Language is a skill that’s meant to be used beyond the classroom. The world language department extends extra curricular opportunities to its students to practice and hone their communication skills. International trips to France, Italy and Spain are offered on a yearly rotation. Students also have the ability to study abroad as part of our Sacred Heart Network Exchange Program. In addition to travel and exchange opportunities, our students participate in the National French, Latin and Spanish Contests and have been awarded for their high achievement.
At the beginning of upper school each student is equipped with her own iPad. Upper School students have access to a PC lab and a Mac lab. The school’s commitment to technology education ensures that students receive instruction through a variety of avenues. Students explore the use of digital media through various techniques, apps and websites they may use to produce multi-media presentations for co-curricular projects throughout the year and are introduced to coding. In addition, students learn the basics of public speaking, with emphasis placed on the integration of SMART Boards and Apple TVs as complementary visual aids. The technology department works closely with core subject teachers in order to support a curriculum that encourages each student’s development as an academic, social and well-rounded individual. Teachers utilize web 2.0 tools in order to assist students in becoming media literate.
- Ninth-Grade iPad Integration
- Tenth-Grade Digital Media
- Twelfth-Grade Advanced Digital Media
Grade Nine Health
.25 credit value
The students meet for health 2x a cycle for 40 minute periods during the fall semester.
Freshmen study health with a nutrition and healthy lifestyle course. Time is spent educating the student on the dangers of alcohol both physically and legally. Students are exposed to real life situations of how alcohol can negatively affect young lives. Additionally, students are exposed to the food plate, learning to read and understand the components of a food label, and the importance of vitamins and minerals in the diet. These concepts are put together to give students a better idea how to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle. Students engage in a hands-on fast food project to analyze various restaurants to better understand the nutrition behind many of these establishments. This class meets for one semester in the fall, two times per cycle.
Grade Twelve Health
.25 credit value
The students meet for health 3x a cycle for 40 minute periods during the fall semester.
During senior year students will take the American Red Cross CPR, AED, and first aid certification course. The purpose of the American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED for the lay responder is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to help sustain life and reduce the consequences of injury or sudden illness until more advanced medical help arrives. This course includes real life practical practice sessions as well as written testing. Upon successful completion of this course, students will become Red Cross certified in the content areas.
Grades Nine -Twelve Gym
.25 credit value
The students meet for physical education 2x a cycle for 40 minute periods.
Lifetime team and individual sports are an important part of the curriculum. Meeting 2x a cycle every year aids the student in alleviating the stress from the academic rigors in their daily classroom environment. The girls learn to adapt to different social situations with the combing of some classes throughout the four years. These activities promote leadership skills, team building concepts, and a general positive attitude to create a holistic health style in their adult years.
In addition to the traditional activities and sports, the fitness room is introduced to students. Students learn how to utilize both strength and cardiovascular equipment to promote a total body workout. The goal of the upper school curriculum is to promote skills that will last a lifetime.
Concert choir is open to all high school students. There is a sign-up at the beginning of the year, and each student has an audition to make sure they are familiar with basic sight-reading and vocal technique. The choir meets once a cycle to prepare music to be performed at the Christmas and spring concerts, and during First Friday liturgies each month. In addition, the choir has various opportunities to sing outside school and collaborate with other schools.
This small choir of students is selected from within the concert choir to collaborate on more challenging and advanced choral music. All participants must be able to sight read, and should have a clear understanding of vocal technique.
Upper School Instrumental Ensemble
Ensemble is comprised of a collection of upper school instrumentalist, currently including piano, flute, violin, saxophone, and guitar. The students meet several times throughout the year to collaborate on music for liturgies, and a variety of other events inside and outside school.
Private music lessons are offered to students of all ages. Lessons are offered in voice, piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, drums, music theory, and song writing. Lessons are generally scheduled with one of our instructors after school. Lessons are scheduled for a half hour, once a week, and the cost is $35 per lesson.