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Upper School Curriculum

At Sacred Heart, we prepare you to lead a purposeful life, to pursue your dreams and adapt to life's challenges, to reach out to those less fortunate and live by the tenets of your faith, and to stand up for your principles and make a difference in the world.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements
The Upper School operates on a semester basis and utilizes flexible scheduling providing for small group instruction, independent study, and the possibility of taking college courses on nearby campuses or online. To meet graduation requirements, the student is expected to earn a minimum of 28 units of credit. Each student must also:

  • participate in at least one service project per year
  • complete at least 50 hours of volunteer work during her junior year
  • attend yearly retreats
  • senior project

Students must take a minimum of:

  • 7 credits per year
  • 7 courses per semester
  • 5 of which must be courses in English, math, science, foreign language or social studies

Any exceptions are only granted by special written permission from the Head of the Upper School.

Required Courses


• 4 units English
• 4 units Science (including Biology, Physics and Chemistry)
• 4 units Religious Studies
• 4 units Mathematics (including Algebra I, II and Geometry)
• ½ unit Computer Applications
• 4 units Social Studies (including World Geography, World History, U.S. History and Government)
• 1 unit Fine Arts
• 3 units (through the third level) of the same Foreign Language
• ½-4½ units electives
• 2 units Physical Education (4 semesters)



  • English II, III, IV
  • French II, III, IV, V
  • Spanish II, III, IV, V
  • Geometry, Algebra, Algebra II, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Statistics
  • Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Environmental
  • World History, U.S. History, U.S.Government
  • Computer Science
  • Studio Art



A cumulative grade point average is computed for every student at the end of each academic year. All subjects, including independent study, are averaged, with the exception of physical education, financial literacy math, pass/fail courses, eighth grade courses, and college courses taken for college credit.

Students in honors and Advanced Placement courses receive a weighting of +1 for grades of C+ or better in determining their grade point average (no extra weighting for grades below C+).

The GPA is based on all courses except PE and some electives.

Honor Roll is determined by the student's grade point average at the end of the first semester and at the end of the year as follows:

  • Highest Honors: 4.00
  • High Honors: 3.70
  • Honors: 3.40

Honors at graduation is determined by the student's cumulative grade point average on a scale as follows:

  • Highest Honors: 4.00
  • High Honors: 3.70
  • Honors: 3.40

For a student to be on the Honor Roll, no single academic grade may be below B-, except in honors courses where no grade may be below C+. A student must also have a B- or better in Physical Education to be on the Honor Roll. A student may not graduate with Honors, High Honors or Highest Honors if she has an F or more than one D as a final average in a course.


Students take the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT9, SAT, SAT Subject tests, ACT and AP tests. Students have the option of requesting that their PSAT9, SAT and ACT scores be included on the transcript. AP scores are always sent separately and typically only to the college they will attend.

NOCCA Friendly

This introductory course exposes students to a semester of French and a semester of Spanish as they transition from the Lower School into the Middle School language program. Fundamental grammatical structures are introduced with an increased emphasis on linguistic skills (listening, comprehension, speaking, and writing). Students develop basic communication skills and build vocabulary through the kinesthetic Accelerated Integrated Methodology (AIM). Culture and family life are also explored and compared.

In sixth grade, students choose between either French or Spanish and continue with this language for two years. This yearlong course develops the student’s ability to communicate in a language other than English and gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures. Equal emphasis is placed on aural and oral skills, reading, and writing. Students continue to learn through the kinesthetic Accelerated Integrated Methodology (AIM).

The emphasis is on developing conversational skills and building a repertoire of vocabulary to augment writing and aural fluency. Students learn idiomatic expressions, conjugate regular and irregular verbs, read and translate text, and participate in collaborative activities to hone their conversational skills.

Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to receive an Upper School Carnegie Unit. This in-depth course continues the development of the concepts taught in the introductory courses. The instruction is student-centered and provides a balanced focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. A deeper study of the grammatical elements of the language, an expansion of vocabulary, and an exploration of literature in the target language complete the level I course. 

Special Programs


Religious Education:
Daily chapel, weekly liturgies, celebrations of special feasts, reconciliation services, one and two day retreats, and campus ministry are included in the Religious Education program.

Students may compete in 10 varsity sports: volleyball, basketball, swimming, soccer, tennis, softball, cross country, golf, cheerleading, and track and field.

Community Service:
50 hours are required for all Juniors. Clubs have service projects for the benefit of those in need in this city and beyond. Each student participates in a yearly service project. Students may apply for service programs with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Mission trips to Nicaragua and Mexico are also available to students.

Peer Support Group:
Students in the upper level grades participate in a peer counseling program with students in Grade 8 to assist them in dealing with questions and issues that arise during adolescence.

Sacred Heart Global Exchange:
Exchange is available with other Sacred Heart schools in the U.S. and with other Sacred Heart schools abroad.

The school sponsors a number of foreign travel and/or programs in Europe, Mexico, and Canada during the school year or during the summer.

Online Courses


  • Abnormal Psychology
  • AP Art History
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Chinese
  • AP Computer Science
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP French
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Latin
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Music Theory
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Statistics
  • AP US Government and Politics & AP Comparative Government and Politics
  • AP World History
  • Art History
  • Chinese V
  • French V
  • Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Computer Programming
  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Latin III and Latin IV
  • Linear Algebra
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Science
  • Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations
  • Statistics

Sophie Connect Online

The Upper School is a NOCCA-friendly school with multiple students participating in both the half day and after school programs at NOCCA. Students participating in the half day program schedule all core class in the morning and leave Sacred Heart before lunch.

To learn morem contact:
Julie Boyd, Upper School Division Head