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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 essential elements of photography. Students will learn the proper use of a 35mm camera, as well as film and paper development. A $30 fee covers the cost of film and other materials. (Prerequisite: Art Fundamentals – Semester elective)

INTERMEDIATE ART

This Intermediate Art course will allow 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.

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.

A class 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.

A class 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.

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.

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.

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 and Project.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITI0N.

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 and Project. (Permission of the teacher required)

CREATIVE WRITING.

A semester course which introduces original composition of poetry, short fiction, and memoir through the reading and study of published classic and contemporary works of literature.

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY.

Students will be introduced to an overview of philosophical movements ranging from ancient Greece to the modern world. Students will hone skills in logic, critical analysis, and persistent inquiry – fundamental tools for all types of learning. Students will be required to complete daily homework, research, and essays, as well as presentations. (Grades 11,12)

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. (Application process and teacher approval required)

COMMUNICATIONS.

A semester course 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, including extemporaneous speeches. 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. (Grades 11,12)

Guidance Department

GUIDANCE I:

Freshman Study Skills. This quarter-long course is required of all first semester freshmen. This course is designed to provide strategies for success, including note-taking skills, organizational techniques, public-speaking experience, basic writing skills and leadership techniques.

GUIDANCE II:

Test Prep I. 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.

GUIDANCE III:

Test Prep II. 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.

GUIDANCE IV:

College Preparation. This course includes the following requirements for all seniors: financial aid applications, multiple college applications, ACT test preparation, and college/scholarship essays.

Integrated Technology Department

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS.

This is a semester course with a pre-requisite of Keyboarding/Basic Computing. The course will cover: intermediate/advanced uses of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and Microsoft PowerPoint. Students will complete integrated software projects to demonstrate their mastery of the applications and their uses.

COMPUTER CONCEPTS.

This course will 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 internet applications, blogs, podcasts, academic networking, and teleconferencing. This course will also teach digital editing, and desktop publishing. The student will be expected to apply these concepts through class assignments, projects and presentations.

COMPUTER AND NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIES.

This course will teach the student basic technical skills which are needed to understand the function and operation of the major elements of personal computer systems, operating systems, and internetworking technologies. In addition, this course will prepare the student to take the CompTIA A+ Certification exam, an industry standard certification. Prior to being approved for this class, the student will need to pass an assessment test by the school’s Director of Technology.

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.

ALGEBRA I HONORS.

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.

ADVANCED MATHEMATICS.

This is a rigorous course, which provides an in-depth study of trig, functions and probability/statistics. There is attention to development of theory and proof of concepts.

PRE-CALCULUS (HONORS).

A higher math course 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.

CALCULUS AP.

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.

SURVEY OF ENGINEERING.

Survey of Engineering is designed to answer the question “What is Engineering?” Students will learn about the early history of the three major disciplines and how the field has developed over time. They will learn of current technological trends and the roles they play in today’s global economy. Students will use their math background to complete several hands-on activities geared to learn “How things work.” (Semester 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 all important grammatical concepts taught in context, as well as TPR, role play and a strong emphasis on conversation in the target language. (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 student who has not been a member of a PSM band or choir for at least one year, and desires to expand his/her 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 performances each year. (Year-long course)

CONCERT CHOIR.

Concert Choir is an intermediate performing ensemble for any female student who has successfully completed a year in any PSM choir. Students in this ensemble will master vocal works which vary in style and level of difficulty. The 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 mixed choir challenges itself to be a college-level performance ensemble with motivated and musically literate students. Emphasis is placed on individual vocal development. Members are encouraged to take private piano and/or voice lessons. 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, jazz harmony, and jazz style. Three performances per year are required. Jazz Band meets after school two times/week. 100 Service/Membership points are awarded per quarter for participation. Attendance is mandatory. This course requires additional fees for equipment rental.

DRUM LINE.

Drum Line is designed for the intermediate to advanced percussionist interested in skill development in a marching band type of setting. Marching instruments are used. Emphasis is placed on discipline, rudiments, cadence study, and precision. Three performances per year are required. Drum Line meets after school two times/week. 100 Service/Membership points are awarded per quarter for participation. Attendance is mandatory. This course requires additional fees for instruction.

ORCHESTRA.

Orchestra is designed for the beginning/intermediate string players in grades 3-12. Emphasis is placed on the beginning skills of musical performance, with study of grade one and two repertoire. There are at least two performances per year. Solo contest opportunities are offered. Attendance is mandatory, since it meets outside of the school day. This course requires additional fees for instrument rental and lessons.

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 historical periods of music history. (Open to students new to PSM)

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; composition and analysis. We will learn these concepts through a variety of ways including dictation, sight singing, score reading and composition. There is a $70 fee to cover materials. (Offered alternate years)

Physical Education I, II, and III

This class involves conditioning exercises, instruction and participation in various sports and yoga. Health education is a major component and covers such topics as nutrition, STD, maintaining wellness and human physiology.

Religion Department

JESUS OF HISTORY.

This course introduces the student to the concept of God with particular emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus.

SCRIPTURE.

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the God of the Old and New Testaments.

WORLD RELIGIONS.

This course will cover the major world religions from pre-Christian times to the present. Important Christian issues will also be understood from their genesis.

MORALITY/PSYCHOLOGY/PHILOSOPHY.

This course is designed to give the student an understanding of basic moral, religious, and ethical issues during quarter 3; there will be a focus on psychology and philosophical issues during quarter 4.

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.

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 hand 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.

HONORS BIOLOGY.

An advanced study of biology geared towards a deeper understanding of living organisms, their molecular make-up, and molecular biology. This course prepares students for a college-level class.

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.

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.

HONORS PHYSICS.

Honors Physics in the in-depth mathematical and motion-orientated study of matter and energy. It provides an understanding of the physical principles and laws dealing with mechanics, heat, light, electromagnetism, and nuclear energy. Students are provided various laboratory experiences that are designed to enhance and reinforce concepts and principles in physics.

AP BIOLOGY.

This is a year course which aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology. The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process. Pre-requisites for this course include biology and chemistry.

Social Studies Department

GEOGRAPHY.

A basic course designed to give the student the tools necessary for further investigation in social studies, including basic map and research skills. (One semester)

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.

US HISTORY.

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

US HISTORY AP.

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, 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. Special emphasis is given to biographies of importance and common myths perpetuated by Eurocentric versions of history. (One semester)