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High School

The focus is to develop and enrich serious habits of mind through a college preparatory curriculum that includes four years of English, Spanish or French, four years of mathematics (algebra, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus and calculus), religion, science (physics and chemistry), economics and history.

Additionally, students choose electives in all major subject areas. Students with accelerated math skills are able to enroll in double math classes and may take AP Calculus during their senior year. Other Advanced Placement courses are offered in US history, physics and English. A wide variety of courses in the related arts are offered; including art, photography, choir, band, and drum line.

Art Department

ART FUNDAMENTALS:  Art fundamentals provides an introduction to the basic techniques and processes of design, incorporating both two-dimensional and three-dimensional concepts. Through meaningful and challenging studio projects, as well as the study of art history, criticism and aesthetics, students will begin to develop the creative thinking and problem-solving skills demanded in our global society.  (No Prerequisite – Semester elective)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY:  This is an introductory course in the essentials of black & white film photography and darkroom processes. Students will learn how to find, compose, and capture compelling images using 35mm SLR cameras while emphasizing the manipulation of camera controls, lighting and darkroom techniques.  Topics include composition, communication and lighting with an emphasis on the elements and principles of art.  A $30 fee covers the cost of film and other materials. (Prerequisite: Art Fundamentals – Semester elective)

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY:  This course is an introduction to the basic principles and applications of digital photography as a medium, a skill-set, and an integral part of today’s digital literacy needs. Students will learn how to find, compose, and capture compelling images using digital cameras while emphasizing the manipulation of camera controls, lighting, and digital imaging software for photo correction and output. Students must have an approved digital camera with manual functions (preferably a DSLR) and a memory card.  (No Prerequisite – Semester elective)

INTERMEDIATE ART: This course allows students who have successfully completed Art Fundamentals to further develop their skills while learning more advanced techniques and processes. Through meaningful and challenging studio art lessons, students will deepen their understanding of the historical and cultural contexts in which art is created, while visually expressing their own views about their place in the world today. (Prerequisite: Art Fundamentals – Semester elective)

ADVANCED ART:  Advanced Art is a continuation of skill development through in-depth studio projects. Emphasis will be on individual style, techniques and quality of work. Media and processes will vary from year to year.  (Prerequisite:  Intermediate Art)

English Department

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE:  This course is a complete examination of basic grammar, usage, sentence structure, and essay composition studied through the works of various genres, with a focus on reading comprehension vocabulary and critical analysis.

HONORS INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE:  The honors class is tailored for advanced students familiar with the basics of grammar, reading comprehension and essay composition. This course incorporates critical analysis and pre-AP skills through the study of works of various genres.  (Permission of teacher required)

WORLD LITERATURE:  World Literature provides a thorough review of standard grammar, usage, sentence structure, and essay composition, with an emphasis on organization, clarity and persuasive thesis. Readings focus on critical analysis of world literature and drama.

HONORS WORLD LITERATURE:  The honors class is tailored for advanced students familiar with standard grammar, usage, sentence structure and essay composition with an emphasis on organization, clarity and persuasive thesis. This course maintains a focus on pre-AP skills through the study of world literature. (Permission of teacher required)

AMERICAN LITERATURE:  This course offers a complete study of standard grammar, usage, vocabulary, sentence structure, and essay composition with persuasive thesis is integrated with the study of exemplary American literature. A focus on writing is a vital component of this class. Critical analysis of fiction and nonfiction is required.

HONORS AMERICAN LITERATURE: This is a complete study of standard grammar, usage, vocabulary, and sentence structure is integrated with the study of exemplary American Literature. A focus on writing is a vital component of this class. Analytical essays and longer critical essays with research will be required. There is a focus on pre-AP skills and analysis. (Permission of teacher required)

ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION:  This course offers a thorough review of grammar, usage, vocabulary, and sentence structure are combined with critical analysis of works of literary merit. Research skills, critical analysis skills and effective argumentation and writing skills will be required to complete the capstone Senior Paper.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION:  This is a college-level course integrating the analysis of works of literary merit and critical writing skills gears students for college credit through the AP Literature Exam in the spring. Rigorous analysis, writing and class discussion skills are required for success in the course. Research skills, critical analysis skills and effective argumentation and writing skills will be required to complete the capstone Senior Paper.  (Permission of the teacher required)

CREATIVE WRITING:  Creative Writing is a semester course that introduces original composition of poetry, short fiction, and memoir through the reading and study of published classic and contemporary works of literature.

JOURNALISM:  This course is designed to familiarize students with the fundamental principles of journalism, including copy, layout, interviewing, and photojournalism. Expressions of student efforts will include production of the school newspaper and yearbook. Course requirements involve extensive computer work.  (Permission of teacher required)

COMMUNICATIONS:  This semester course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills to become confident and successful public speakers. Students will learn how to format and properly execute a speech, spend time learning the logistics of public speaking, and give approximately six speeches throughout the semester. Students will be required to conduct research, write speeches, and present them to the class.  The semester will end by the application of persuasive and public speaking skills in a debate.

Guidance Department

TEST PREP I:  This is an eight-week class designed to help students develop test-taking skills and reasoning strategies with a focus on the format of the PSAT/SAT tests.

TEST PREP II:  This is an eight-week class designed to help students develop test-taking skills and reasoning strategies with a focus on the format of the ACT test.

COLLEGE PREPARATION:  This course provides instruction to seniors to enable them to successfully complete the college/financial aid/scholarship application process.

Integrated Technology Department

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS: Computer Applications is a semester course.  The course will cover intermediate/advanced uses of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft PowerPoint.  Students will also learn to use the related applications that are available through Google Drive.  Students will complete integrated software projects to demonstrate their mastery of the applications and their uses.

COMPUTER CONCEPTS:  This is a semester course designed to introduce and provide opportunities for the application of a broad range of computer and current technology concepts. The course includes the fundamental use of hardware and software as well as trouble-shooting, internet applications, HTML code, blogs, podcasts, and networking. Students will explore the history of computers, technology careers, operating systems, ethics of technology, and internet protection. The student will be expected to apply these concepts through class assignments, projects, and presentations.

Mathematics Department

ALGEBRA I:  A study of numerical and algebraic relations using writing, sketching and solving equations, factoring quadratic equations, solving systems of linear equations, and algebra problems in the coordinate plane.

HONORS ALGEBRA I: This course contains the standard topics of Algebra I: real numbers; solving, graphing and analyzing linear equalities and inequalities; and solving, graphing and exploring polynomials. The course also integrates introductory geometry, trigonometry and statistics/probability. The topics are presented through connecting math to the real world, applying math to solve real world problems and integrating several concepts of mathematics to show that mathematics is a spiraling progression and each concept is not isolated from the others. These topics will be covered in greater depth with more challenging problems and a greater emphasis on problem solving. This will include ACT and PSAT practice as well as problems of the week, which students work on independently. In addition, students will complete quarter projects.

GEOMETRY:  This course is a study of points, lines, angles, and geometric figures. It includes a brief review of Algebra I and a study of proofs.

ALGEBRA II/TRIGONOMETRY:  A continuation of Algebra I and geometry, this course focuses on rational expressions, real and complex numbers, quadratic expressions and equations, analytic geometry, functions, conics, exponents and logarithms, trigonometry and matrices.

COLLEGE ALGEBRA/ALGEBRA III:  This course is designed to address the fundamental math concepts that students will need to be successful in their freshman college math course. It begins with a rigorous ACT math review of each content area within the ACT math test prior to the senior ACT testing. The remainder of the year will focus on mastering the concepts of algebra 1 and 2, including trigonometry, and focus on applications and extensions included in college content. As a part of the college preparation experience, students will complete classroom activities using a variety of computer software programs. Students will also complete many homework assignments online, in a manner similar to what they will do in college.

HONORS PRE-CALCULUS:  This higher math course is designed to provide students with a mathematical background adequate for success in college level mathematics. This class integrates technology with traditional approaches to teach students about functions, limits, approximations, and topics from discrete mathematics. Students learn to make and support conjectures graphically, symbolically, and numerically.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS:  Calculus is a higher math course concentrating on differentiation, integration, and the application of the theoretical work of calculus to concrete situations. College credit via the AP exam is the primary goal of the course.

Modern Language Department

SPANISH I:  Spanish I is a comprehensive coverage of basic language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course incorporates TPR, role play, grammar exercises and practical vocabulary building to help lay a strong foundation for the student’s study of a second language.

SPANISH II:  The second year of Spanish study provides advanced work in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.  Level II work includes the production and use of all important grammatical concepts along with a broadened Spanish lexicon used in authentic contexts.  Students will gain conversational competence in Level II using a variety of valuable grammar and vocabulary.  (Prerequisite:  Spanish I)

SPANISH III:  This course provides advanced practice in oral and aural skill building as well as in reading and writing. Emphasis is placed on advanced grammar and conversation. The history and culture of Spanish-speaking people and original writings are studied. This course is intended for the student who has exhibited interest and ability in the language learning process and in Spanish in particular.  (Prerequisite:  Recommendation of Spanish II teacher)

SPANISH IV:  This is an advanced Spanish course that provides further practice and mastery of speaking, writing, listening and reading in the target language. Advanced skills, such as spontaneous discourse and literary analysis, are emphasized. During semester 1, students read, interpret, and analyze Latin American fiction and cultures; students also comprehensively review advanced Spanish grammar. During semester 2, students read and analyze selections from a novella and excerpts from a novel. This is a full-immersion language course.  (Prerequisite: Recommendation of Spanish III teacher)

Music Department

PREP CHOIR:  Prep Choir is a performing vocal ensemble for any high school student who has not been a member of a PSM band or choir for at least one year, and desires to expand their skills as a singer and musician. Students rehearse and perform music in a variety of styles and in the process develop music reading skills and an appreciation of music. This choir will be required to perform in at least four performance each year. (Year-long course)

CONCERT CHOIR:  Concert Choir is an intermediate performing ensemble for any high school student who has successfully completed a year in any PSM choir or band (or can test at our second level of music skills). Students in this ensemble will master vocal works which vary in style and level of difficulty. This choir will be required to perform approximately six times per year. (Year-long course.  Prerequisite:  Audition or permission of the teacher)

CHAMBER CHOIR:  Chamber Choir is the vocal ambassador for Providence St. Mel School. This choir challenges itself to be a college-level performance ensemble with motivated and musically literate students. These high school students must have successfully completed two years in a PSM choir or band (or can test out of the second level of musical skills). Emphasis is placed on individual vocal development.  Students will master advanced works in a variety of styles. The choir will be required to perform approximately eight to ten times per year. (Year-long course. Prerequisite: Audition or permission of the teacher)

BEGINNING BAND:  Beginning Band is designed for the high school student with little or no instrumental experience.  Emphasis is placed on fundamental skills of instrumental performance, with study and performance of grade one repertoire from various styles and periods of history. Basic music theory is introduced. Two performances each year are required. This course requires additional fees for equipment rental.

CONCERT BAND:  Concert Band is designed for the instrumentalist with at least one year of experience in performing ensemble and/or private lessons. Emphasis is placed on the intermediate skills of instrumental performance, with study and performance of grade two repertoire from various styles and periods of history. The class will include intermediate music theory and harmony. Four performances and one adjudicated contest per year are required. This course requires additional fees for equipment rental.

SYMPHONIC BAND:  Symphonic Band is designed for the advanced instrumentalist; entry is by audition or instructor recommendation. Emphasis is placed on the advanced skills of musical performance, with study and performance of grade three repertoire and above from various styles and periods of history. The class will include the study of advanced music theory and harmony. Four performances, one adjudicated contest and one clinic per year are required. This course requires additional fees for equipment rental.

JAZZ BAND:  Jazz Band is designed for the intermediate to advanced instrumentalist interested in the study and performance of Jazz music.  Emphasis is placed on improvisation and Jazz style.  Five performances per year are required.  100 service Membership Points are awarded for participation each quarter.  Jazz Band meets 3 periods per week after school and attendance is mandatory.

DRUM LINE:   Drum Line is designed for any musician who wishes to learn percussion in a marching band type setting.  Marching instruments are used.  Emphasis is placed on discipline, rudiments, cadence study and precision.  3 performances per year are required.  Drum line meets after school once per week.  100 Service Membership Points are awarded each quarter.  Attendance is mandatory.  This course requires an additional fee for instruction.

ORCHESTRA:  Orchestra is designed for beginning/intermediate string player in Grades 3-12.  Emphasis is placed on the performance skills with the study of grade 1-3 repertoire.  There are approximately 5 performances each year.  Solo opportunities are also offered.  Attendance is mandatory.  Orchestra meets one afternoon after school and on Saturday morning.  This course requires additional fees for instrument rental and instruction.

MUSIC APPRECIATION:   This is a semester course designed for the student interested in an eclectic study of music. A variety of topics are explored including world music, composers, acoustics, and music history. (Not intended for students in band or choir)

MUSIC THEORY:  This is a semester course with a pre-requisite of one full year in either Symphonic Band, Concert Choir or Chamber Choir. The class will be a survey of concepts in music theory: melodic, rhythmic and harmonic materials; musical structure and form; and composition and analysis. Students will learn these concepts through a variety of ways including dictation, sight singing, score reading, and composition.  There is an $80 fee to cover materials.  (Offered alternate years)

Physical Education I, II, and III

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to learn fitness and conditioning techniques used for obtaining optimal physical fitness. Students will learn the basic fundamentals of overall fitness training and conditioning. This course includes both lecture on the history and rules of specific sports and activity sessions. Health education is a major component and covers the following topics:  nutrition, sexually transmitted infections, wellness, and human physiology. Students will be empowered to make wise choices, meet challenges, and develop positive behaviors in fitness and wellness for a lifetime.

Religion Department

JESUS OF HISTORY:  This course introduces the student to the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as issues raised by those, and also helps students explore what it means for a person to follow Jesus.

SCRIPTURE:  This course introduces students to the Go of the Bible, as well as the major stories and themes of the Bible, and issues raised by those.  It also helps students explore what the stories and teachings of the Bible can mean for a person’s life.

WORLD RELIGIONS:  This course will cover a number of the major world religions, also helps students explore a Christian perspective on this pluralistic world and what it means for someone to follow Jesus.

CHRISTIAN MORALITY:  This course is designed to give the student an understanding of basic moral, religious, and ethical issues we are faced with as members of society; each student will have the opportunity to evaluate his/her stance on these same issues.

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY:   Philosophy introduces students to the history of Western Philosophy, some basic concepts in academic philosophy, logic and critical thinking, how ideas influence society, integration of faith and reason, and Christian apologetics. The course seeks not only to introduce these ideas but to help students personally use them to consider basic question of life and to become a more effective critical thinker in all of their studies and life.  (Grades 11,12)

Science Department

PHYSICAL SCIENCE:  This course provides students with a foundational understanding of physical science fundamental to future chemistry and physics studies. Proper laboratory and math computational skills are emphasized throughout the year.

BIOLOGY:  This is an introductory course in the biological sciences. Students are exposed to basic concepts pertaining to Ecology, Cytology, Reproduction, Genetics, Metabolic Processes (photosynthesis and cellular respiration), and selected Human Body systems (digestion and the immune system).

LIFE SCIENCE:  This course is offered for students interested in a survey of biological principles. It will increase scientific reasoning abilities and also provide the foundation for college biology. The course will also promote an understanding among science, technology, and society through the use of the text, experiments, and hands-on work in our greenhouse. A focus on higher-order thinking skills will be emphasized while students work both independently and in group settings. Topics covered include the Animal Kingdom, Human Biology, Bacteria, Protists, Fungi, and Plants.

ANATOMY:  The anatomy course is intended for students with an interest in medicine or health-related fields. Students study the anatomy and physiology of selected body systems while learning how to dissect related organs.  (One semester)

ECOLOGY:  The ecology course is a further exploration of the relationships between organisms and their environment through analysis of ecological data. A secondary emphasis is placed on Illinois biomes data.  (One semester elective)

CHEMISTRY:  This course focuses on chemical reactions; introduces fundamentals of the atomic theory: the mole concept; kinetic theory of matter; atomic structure and chemical bonding. Laboratory work is devoted to a study of chemical reactions, the similar properties of chemical families of elements, and qualitative analysis of unknowns.

EARTH SCIENCE: This upper level course focuses on the principles of Earth Science that are frequently covered in introductory university courses. Topics include earth forces and resources, chemical cycles, earth history, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. A special emphasis is placed on investigation of career possibilities in the earth sciences such as petroleum exploration, geology, or various branches of engineering. Methods of teaching are employed to ensure the best possible comprehension and retention of science concepts for further study in the sciences.

PHYSICS: This course presents the core of physics study: Energy, mechanics, Newton’s Laws, electromagnetism, wave theory and optics.  The course also relates physics to astronomy, chemistry, applied science and technology. Physics is taught with emphasis on concepts rather than deriving a number, and on critical thinking rather than computation. Equations serve as a guide to thinking, rather than the purpose of a lesson.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT CHEMISTRY: This course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. AP Chemistry meets the objectives of a good general college chemistry course. Students in AP Chemistry should attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course should contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. Topics such as the structure of matter, kinetic theory of gases, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, and the basic concepts of thermodynamics will be presented in considerable depth. AP Chemistry will provide a laboratory experience equivalent to that of a typical college course.  College credit via the AP exam is the primary goal of the course.

Social Studies Department

GEOGRAPHY:  This is a basic course designed to give the student the tools necessary for further investigation in social studies, including basic map and research skills.

WORLD HISTORY:  World History presents a chronological survey of history from prehistory to the present. The focus of this class is on civilizations that have had a global impact and on patterns of cultural diffusion, which have created today’s multicultural world.

HONORS WORLD HISTORY:  This course focuses on a chronological survey of history from prehistory to the present, using the content from World History. In this honors course, students use primary source analysis, thesis creation, and seminar to analyze and evaluate civilizations. Students connect past civilizations and their global impacts to the creation of today’s multicultural world. Several research projects are added to the course load.

US HISTORY:  US History traces the development of our nation’s history before the European arrival to the present day.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT US HISTORY:  An advanced course in the study of the United States,  AP USH focuses on critical analysis of historical accounts and of historical events. The goal is to prepare students to succeed on the AP US History exam in May. College credit is available upon successful completion of the AP exam.  (May be substituted for USH – teacher recommendation required)

CONSUMER ECONOMICS/PERSONAL FINANCE:  This course provides a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of our economic system: production, distribution, marketing, etc. are all studied.  Students are also given instruction and practical demonstrations of such consumer concerns as buying goods/services, credit, employment, insurance, home ownership, bank services, savings, and investment.  (One semester)

 

INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN POLITICS:  This political science course will focus on the study of political structure at the national level in the United States. Emphasis will be placed on the study of Congress, the executive and administrative agencies, and the judiciary. Additionally, students will learn how political parties, interest groups, and formal institutions help shape the American political landscape.  Students will think like political scientists while developing their analytical and writing skills.

LAW AND GOVERNMENT:  This class will explore the structure, function, and role of government and law in our society. By looking at specific federal and state laws, students will examine the process of enacting laws, the executive departments and agencies charged with enforcement of the laws, and the ways the courts have expanded or contracted the original intent of the legislation. Students will study trial cases and may participate in a mock trial.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES:  This course concentrates on the evolution of African Americans in North American society, from their beginnings in western Africa to the realities of modern day. The course focuses on the challenges faced by African Americans and how they have overcome them, as well as the importance of African American history to and influence on larger United States history and culture.  (Semester Elective)

FOUNDING IDEAS OF THE UNITED STATES:  This course will focus on the founding era of the United States and the ideas that helped to shape the country in the late eighteenth century. Emphasis will be placed on the detailed analysis and evaluation of primary source material. All members of this class will be expected to participate in seminar discussion based on primary and secondary source readings. Additionally, this course will look at contemporary applications of the founding ideas and how they have endured over two centuries. (Open only to seniors and juniors who have completed Honors World History)

PSYCHOLOGY:  Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. Topics of study will include the origins of psychology, methods of research, cognitive psychology, personality theories and assessments, abnormal disorders and treatment. (Semester elective)