The curriculum at St. Patrick Academy is designed to be college-preparatory and reflects the same excellent academic program of most other Catholic high schools, though with fewer elective courses than those larger schools.
Our Guidance Office tracks the expectations of area colleges to make sure that our academic program provides our students with the educational breadth and depth that colleges expect and desire. Together with the rigorous expectations of quality (any grade below a C- is a failing grade) and quantity (all students must earn at least 25.5 credits to graduate), this gives each of our students advantages in the college admissions process that have resulted in 100% of our graduates being accepted to two- and/or four-year colleges.
The Religion curriculum is designed to help students study the teachings of the Catholic Church while encouraging them to develop their relationship with God and His people. Attending Mass frequently, participating in devotions, and performing six hours of community service each academic quarter helps our students live out what they learn in class. Our program follows a revised version of the framework established and adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Grade 9 — Salvation History / Christology I
In the Fall, students explore the nature of God as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures through Moses and the Prophets, in the New Testament through Jesus Christ, and in man’s relationship with God. In the Spring, students begin an in-depth study of the person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament, especially the Gospels, and in the Tradition of the Catholic Church.
Grade 10 — Christology II / Church
In the Fall, students continue their study of the person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament, especially the Gospels, and in the Tradition of the Catholic Church. In the Spring, students explore how their relationship with God is grounded in the Church and Sacraments, with the recognition that the Church is itself a sacrament.
Grade 11 — Morality / Christian Commitment
In the Fall, students explore how God’s love for man, expressed through the life, teachings, and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, is the measure of all moral actions and judgements. Students are confronted with the ideas of right & wrong and good & evil, and challenged to learn how to make good, conscious, moral decisions. In the Spring, students examine what it means to live as Jesus taught us — to live in a loving relationship with God and others. Among the themes examined, they study acceptance, inclusion, forgiveness, reconciliation, and friendship.
Grade 12 — Social Justice / World Religions
In the Fall, students study the summary teachings of the Church regarding the meaning of justice and what that means for the community of man. In the Spring, students study, compare and contrast the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam.
ENGLISH / LANGUAGE ARTS
The English curriculum is designed to help students become critical readers and eloquent writers so that they can better communicate with others in the world. Students are exposed to different genres of American and World Literature, giving them the experience of reading excellent writing. Vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills are also integral to preparing students to writing well-constructed essays and papers.
Students engage in expository writing that will develop competence for high school academic writing. Nonfiction and fiction literature selections are used to connect with student’s current knowledge, to develop literary analysis skills, and to broaden students’ views of the human experience. Students also expand their vocabulary to make reading more efficient and enjoyable.
Students focus on the Five Steps of the Writing Process (Pre-Write, Draft, Revise, Edit, and Publish) as students write for varied purposes and audiences. Students also read, analyze, and write on a variety of literature, including short stories, novels, poems, and articles.
Students continue to demonstrate their understanding of the Writing Process by writing for varied purposes and audiences. Students begin reading a wide variety of literature with increasingly complex language and themes, including a number of longer, classic texts.
English 11 - Honors
Students study and engage in the same elemental writing process and literature as the English 11 course, but the complexity and expectations are set at a higher level.
Students continue to demonstrate their understanding of the Writing Process by writing a research paper and an essay for their college application. Students continue reading a wide variety of literature with increasingly complex language and themes, including a number of longer, classic texts.
English 12 - Honors
Students study and engage in the same elemental writing process and literature as the English 12 course, but the complexity and expectations are set at a higher level.
The Mathematics curriculum is designed to help students respond to the problems of daily life that require well-learned facts, strategies, and creative solutions. Students become familiar with the language of numbers and operations so that mathematics will not be a hindrance to daily life, but a tool to efficiently solve problems, predict outcomes, and determine reasonable answers to various issues they will face in life.
Grade 9 — Algebra I
Students learn and apply the basic concepts of Algebra including integer operations, rules of exponents, solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, operations with polynomials, greatest common factor, least common multiple, slope and intercept in graphing, factoring, solving systems of equations, performing operations with radicals, and solving quadratic equations. Numerous opportunities are presented for application of concepts in problem solving.
Grade 10 — Geometry
Students study the major topics of Euclidean Geometry, including congruency, similarity, symmetry, area, volume, circles, and parallel lines. Students demonstrate their knowledge by problem-solving and construction of models.
Grade 11 — Algebra II
Students develop mastery of skills studied in Algebra I, exploring them in greater depth. Additional topics include exponential and logarithmic functions, simplifications involving complex radicals, and complex numbers.
Grade 12 — Statistics & Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus
Seniors are required to take a fourth year of mathematics. Stats & Trig is a course that extends the math concepts learned in Algebra II; Pre-Calculus offers a more complex set of concepts and skills that prepare students for college Calculus.
The Science curriculum is designed to teach students about the construction and workings of the universe in order to make them more conscious of the processes and functions that impact life. Through the study of science in its various disciplines, students learn to observe, investigate, hypothesize, and develop means of adaptation to optimize the health, safety, and preservation of life on Earth.
Grades 9 — Biology
Students study living organisms, genetics, anatomy, and physiology. This class is primarily conducted as a laboratory course, providing students with hands-on investigation of various topics.
Grade 10 — Chemistry
Students study matter and the changes that it undergoes in various contexts as evidenced by daily life. Topics include: chemical equilibrium, acids, bases, compounds, and the periodic table. Laboratory investigations and creations of models are emphasized to give students a hands-on investigation of various topics.
Grade 11 — Physics
Students study matter and energy. The main topics include motion, energy, and force. Specific emphasis is given to how the principles of Physics apply to technology, the environment, and daily life.
Grade 12 — Environmental Science (elective; semester)
Students gain an understanding of the relationship between the natural world and human interactions. The course will be divided into four main units: air, land, water, and energy.
Grade 12 — Anatomy (elective; semester)
Students learn about the human body’s major systems and organs in a variety of labs and classroom-based activities, including dissection.
HISTORY / SOCIAL STUDIES
The History & Social Studies curriculum is designed to educate our students in the history of the United States and the world so that they might better appreciate our heritage and become educated citizens. Students are encouraged to identify, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate past and current events that influence people, places, and organizations. The curriculum also includes more specialized topics including Psychology, Consumer Finance and The Holocaust.
Grade 9 — World History
Students study history from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, providing students a look into the culture and development of Europe. Scientific development, art, culture, government, and prominent leaders will be emphasized as students are challenged to make connections between the past and present.
Grade 10 — United States History I
Students survey the history of the United States from the Colonial Era to Reconstruction. Particular emphasis is given to first-order concepts (ex: revolution, civil war, independence, nationalism), second-order concepts (ex: continuity and change, cause and effect, chronology, empathic understanding, the use of evidence) and learning skills (ex: organizing knowledge and ideas about history, making generalizations, recognizing similarities and differences, finding patterns, establishing connections).
Grade 11 — United States History II
Students survey the history of the United States from Reconstruction to modern times. Particular emphasis is given to first-order concepts (ex: revolution, civil war, independence, nationalism), second-order concepts (ex: continuity and change, cause and effect, chronology, empathic understanding, the use of evidence) and learning skills (ex: organizing knowledge and ideas about history, making generalizations, recognizing similarities and differences, finding patterns, establishing connections).
Grade 11 — United States History II - Honors
Students study and engage in the same elemental process and concepts as the United States History II course, but the complexity and expectations are set at a higher level.
Grade 11 and 12 – The Holocaust (elective; semester, alternates each year with Psychology)
In this semester elective course, students study the events leading up to and culminating in the massive attempt by Hitler’s Third Reich to eliminate the Jewish race and other “undesirable” groups as part of his plan for world domination.
Grade 11 and 12 — Psychology (elective; semester; alternates each year with The Holocaust)
Students learn, assess and compare the theories of mental processes and human behavior in order to better understand themselves and others.
Grade 12 — American Government
Students learn about the origins, purpose, goals, structure and operations of America’s democratic form of government. Other topics include federalism, the system of party politics, the electoral system, and a comparison to other democratic and non-democratic forms of government.
Grade 12 — Consumer Finance (elective; semester)
Students learn the basics of banking including savings, checking, credit cards, and taxes. They also learn the basics of financing including home loans, car loans, and student loans, as well as the basics of investing including bonds, stocks, annuities, and mutual funds.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE / SPANISH
The Foreign Language curriculum is designed to help our students better communicate in our multilingual world. The program emphasizes proficiency in the four basic language skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
Grade 9 — Spanish I
Students are introduced to the Four Basic Language Skills, which are developed throughout the year. Students are required to participate orally every day in class, allowing students to improve pronunciation and increase aural comprehension through the use of authentic vocabulary and grammatical structures. The class is structured through a thematic approach, introducing ideas and concepts as applicable to everyday situations.
Grade 10 — Spanish II
Students continue to develop and refine the Four Basic Language Skills introduced in Spanish I. A major emphasis is placed on the continued development of vocabulary and grammatical structure. Students are also introduced to important elements of Spanish culture. The course is structured in thematic units that are rooted in context and used meaningfully.
Grade 11 — Spanish III
Students strive to more easily and effectively communicate with people for whom Spanish is their primary language. Connections are made to the variety of cultures in which Spanish is spoken so that students gain an understanding for how Spanish is used in today’s world. Practice is highly encouraged. The course is organized by important, intriguing questions for which there may not be simple or quick answers. In essence, this course attempts to take students beyond talking about themselves and instead help students communicate in Spanish about ideas that affect them, society, and the world.
Grade 12 — Spanish IV Honors (elective; semester)
Students become fluent in writing and oral presentation, as well as becoming immersed in the Spanish and Hispanic cultures of the world.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH
The Physical Education curriculum in grades 9-12 is designed to nurture the health and fitness of adolescents while developing life-long skills and the habits of a healthy lifestyle. Although competition is a natural element of the various games and skill-building exercises, students learn to embrace the ethics of sportsmanship and fair play.
The Fine Arts curriculum is designed to help foster students’ talents, encourage students to appreciate the fine arts, and give them an opportunity to artistically and creatively express themselves. The Music curriculum is geared towards developing student mastery of music theory and performance. The Art curriculum is geared towards developing student creativity and ingenuity using various forms of media.
The semester courses are offered in no particular order, but introductory courses are offered regularly to make sure all students receive basic instruction in either art or music. These courses include:
Introduction to Art
Art: 3-D Exploration
Black & White Photography
History of Popular Music
The Technology curriculum is designed to prepare our students to communicate, work, and live in an increasingly technological world. Each semester course is structured to give students the basic skills necessary to use technology efficiently and appropriately. These courses include:
Introduction to Technology