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Upper School

Upper School

Grades 9-12

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.

AP Courses

Course offerings may vary each school year and are announced in early spring.

SHA AP Courses

AP American History
AP Biology
AP Calculus AB
AP Comparative Government
AP English Language
AP English Literature
AP European History
AP United States History

Digital Media

Upper school students bring their own devices to campus. 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. Juniors and seniors have the option to take a Coding elective. 

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.


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.


  • Literary Genres
  • Honors Literary Genres


  • British Literature
  • Honors British Literature


  • American Literature
  • AP Language/Honors American Literature


  • World Literature
  • Honors World Literature/AP Literature and Composition
  • 20th-Century American Art History
  • Advanced Creative Writing

Twelfth Grade Electives

  • Creative Writing
  • Criminology
  • Crime & Media Studies
  • Modern Short Story
  • Literature & Film

Current Independent Studies

  • Great Books
  • Journalism


The history curriculum in the upper school continues to build and expand on the foundations that middle school has provided. Additional emphasis is placed on primary resource documents, the development of critical thinking skills and more rigorous assignments including Document Based Questions. Throughout ninth through twelfth grades, 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.

Ninth Grade

  • Ancient World History
  • Honors Ancient World History

Tenth Grade

  • European History
  • AP European History

Eleventh Grade

  • U.S. History 
  • AP U.S. History

Twelfth Grade Electives (subject to change each year)

  • AP Comparative Government
  • U.S. Government
  • Global Affairs 



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. Your daughter could be enrolled in the following courses based on her abilities to study higher mathematics. Students also have the opportunity to take two math courses following their sophomore year. 


  • Algebra I
  • Honors Algebra I
  • Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry 


  • Geometry/Probability & Statistics
  • Honors Geometry/Probability & Statistics
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry
  • Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry 


  • Geometry/Probability & Statistics 
  • Honors Geometry/Probability & Statistics 
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry
  • Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry
  • Honors Precalculus


  • Statistics
  • Honors Statistics 
  • Precalculus
  • Honors Precalculus
  • Honors Calculus
  • AP Calculus AB


Concert Choir

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.

Select Choir

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 Lessons

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.


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.


  • Biology
  • Honors Biology


  • Chemistry
  • Honors Chemistry


  • Physics
  • Honors Physics


  • AP Biology
  • Honors Organic Chemistry and Nanotechnology
  • Environmental Science

SophieConnect Online

SophieConnect is an on-line learning program offered through our Network of Sacred Heart Schools. The mission of the program is to expand opportunities for students to pursue online educational experiences in order to foster success in higher education. The mission is supported by a faith-based educational philosophy of respect for intellectual values, social awareness that impels to action, building of community and personal growth.

Sophie Connect AP Classes 

AP Art History
AP Studio Art
AP Computer Science A
AP Macroeconomics
AP Microeconomics
AP Music Theory
AP Psychology

Sophie Connect Non-AP Classes

General Psychology

Learn more about our online courses through SophieConnect.


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
  • Morality
  • Christian Lifestyles
  • Social Justice
  • World Religions


Freshmen and sophomores study wellness for one semester each year with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing. These concepts are put together to give students a better idea of how to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle. Students engage in hands-on projects and activities that promote leadership skills. They learn team building concepts and develop a general positive attitude to create a holistic lifestyle in their adult years.

World Languages

The World Languages Department offers upper school students the opportunity to study French, Latin or Spanish. There is a three consecutive year requirement in the language of their choosing. The goal of the language department is to enable students 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.