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Academics

College Preparatory Curriculum

Notre Dame High School offers a college preparatory curriculum designed to assist all students to achieve at their highest level.  We recognize that students have varying strengths, interests and abilities, and we strive to address these differences to maximize student success.  We have developed a variety of college preparatory courses that encourage mastery across a wide range of disciplines and within the requirements of most American universities and colleges, especially those of the University of California and California State University systems.  

Notre Dame’s religion curriculum is designed with the standards of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Congregation on Catholic Education.  Notre Dame’s curriculum represents a planned course of studies deliberately intended to produce a young person who is ready academically, spiritually, and emotionally, to succeed in college and in a life of generous, competent service.  

College Preparatory Courses

College preparatory courses at Notre Dame meet the University of California A to G requirements.  These courses prepare students across many disciplines for college admission and provide a superior foundation for the successful completion of college course work.  

Honors Courses

Honors courses are college preparatory courses designed for students with a specific aptitude in a particular content area.  Courses approach content at a faster pace and greater depth than traditional college preparatory courses.  Students are typically recommended for admission based on academic performance, but they may also petition a counselor or administrator for placement.  Decisions are based on the student’s potential for succeeding in the desired course.  

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

Advanced Placement courses are instructed on a college level, and students, after successfully passing the standardized AP exam, receive college credit upon admission to participating universities.  The students must meet course entrance requirements and successfully complete summer work.  It is advised that students check with the colleges for AP course acceptance policies.  Acceptance of AP coursework for college credit varies among colleges and universities.  

ISO’s

Faith

Conscience-Driven Young People Dedicated to Living by Catholic Gospel Values:

  • Who Possess a Sense of Personal Responsibility
  • Who Practice Moral and Ethical Behavior
  • Who Remain True to the Church’s Tradition of Supporting Faith with Reason and Reason with Faith
  • Who Respect the Role of God in the Lives of All His Creation

Scholarship

Academically Prepared Young Adults

  • Who Set, Manage, and Achieve Goals
  • Who Develop the Skills Needed to Thrive in a 21st Century World
  • Who Apply Problem-Solving Skills and Knowledge in a Wide Variety of Contexts
  • Who Recognize the Necessity to Continue Education Well Beyond the Classroom

Community

Socially Responsible Young Men and Women Who Seek Justice for All:

  • Who Demonstrate Positive and Productive Citizenship and Servant-Leadership Qualities in All Aspects of Their Lives
  • Who Contribute Time, Talent, and Resources to the Improvement of Their Communities
  • Who Can Work Productively with a Variety of People to Achieve Common Goals
  • Who Recognize and Respect the Roles of Their Leaders and Their Peers to Form a Strong Society

Summer Session

Advancement Courses

Notre Dame High School’s Summer Session is designed for returning students who wish to take courses in order to move ahead during the regular school year.  There are several course advancement offerings and they may vary each year according to student/school requirements.  
Credit Recovery

Online courses are offered for students in need of credit recovery or mastery of previously attempted coursework.  Online courses are supplemented by scheduled meetings and assessments and are supervised by a designated moderator.  All credit recovery summer online courses must be completed before the start of the first semester (first day of Fall classes).  If course work is not completed, student will remain on academic probation.

Summer Bridge

The Summer Bridge program for incoming freshmen introduces students to the culture of Notre Dame High School (“Survey of High School”) and provides them with some additional review of Algebra (“Algebra Review” or “Algebra I Survey”) depending on their previous exposure and mastery of the subject.  “Algebra I Survey” may be used to demonstrate the skill and knowledge of a student petitioning to enter Algebra I Honors or Geometry.  

Partner School Programs

Notre Dame collaborates with her partner schools to offer courses to 6th and 7th grade students for the purposes of enhancing their academic progress during the formative middle school years while introducing them to high school with an emphasis on preparing to enter a college preparatory environment.  Summer coursework is offered alongside summer programs such as sports camps and summer student activities.

Learning Modalities

In order to realize our vision of classrooms which are student-centered, technology-enhanced, academically-strong, innovative learning environments, Notre Dame employs the following learning modalities throughout the academic environment:

Active Lecture

Instructor-led presentation of course content will begin with a specific stated objective and will be accompanied by integration of the iPad learning platform and the Notability App for structured note taking.  Presentations will be accompanied by effective use of multi-media including keynote, Apple TV, video presentations and web content.  Integration of the iPad learning platform and Notability App is required. Students will be instructed on how to use specific note taking strategies and will follow each Active Lecture with rewriting and collaborative revisions of notes.  Following lecture and note taking, students will apply lecture content to an assignment or activity to reinforce the materials.  

Discussion/Group Analysis

Through the use of Socratic Method, students will be presented with a topic for discussion which relates to course content with specific objectives.  Methods will be used to solicit maximum participation from each student.  Use of the iPad learning platform should include active discussion threads and active note taking utilizing Notability.  Classroom discussions will be followed by a summary assignment analyzing and synthesizing the discussion content, such as op-ed piece or short position essay.  

Collaborative Learning/Small Group Activities

Collaborative learning involves grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of achieving an academic goal.  Students at various performance levels will work together in small groups toward a common goal prescribed in the learning objective.  The students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own, such that the success of one student helps other students be successful.  Culminating assignments can be group projects, individual projects, or both.

Individual Learning Activities

Individual Learning Activities will be used to reinforce course content and to meet specific learning objectives.  Traditional assignments such as research papers, essays, problem solving, reading assignments, and review questions will be complemented by iPad platform assignments such as electronic publishing, video productions, and Keynote presentations.  The iPad learning platform will be used to complement all individual learning assignments.

Projects/Project-Based Learning

Traditional projects follow the instructional process and are used to analyze and synthesize the content related to the stated objectives.  Projects can be individual or of a group nature.  Projects are often used as alternative assessments to determine student mastery of the specified learning objectives.

Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges.  With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.  Students utilize questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking skills in order to solve real-world problems.  Instructors use problem-based learning to teach through the project, not as a culminating assignment that follows instruction.  With project-based learning, the inquiry process starts with a guiding question and lends itself to collaborative projects that integrate various subjects within the curriculum.  Questions are asked that direct students to encounter the major elements and principles of a discipline.  

Modality Ratios

In order for Notre Dame Learning Environments to be student-centered, technology-enhanced, academically-strong, innovative learning environments, the five Preferred Learning Modalities will be present in every classroom in proportions appropriate to each class level.  Just as students have different learning styles, those styles develop and evolve as students mature.  Therefore adjusting the ratio of the learning modalities is necessary to meet the developmental needs of each learner in each grade level.

Monitoring Student Progress

Renweb

Renweb is Notre Dame’s Student Information System (SIS).  It is the school-wide platform for registering new families, scheduling classes, recording grades, generating transcripts, marking attendance, managing student information, posting parent resources and maintaining the school calendar.  Notre Dame provides parents with log in access to track student progress and to keep student information current.

Teachers will use Renweb to record key classroom information such as course syllabi, course outlines, course grades and student attendance.  Report cards will be issued by email through RenWeb.  Notre Dame teachers maintain an open grade book allowing parents the real-time opportunity to monitor student progress.  Teachers will post assignment grades within one week of the due date, unless the assignment is one that requires extra attention.  For long term assignments, teachers will post updates or grades representing completion of stages of a project according to required due dates.

iTunesU

iTunesU is a powerful platform that allows a seamless integration of the iPad, iBooks, Apps, websites and other classroom resources.  All courses employ iTunes U as a reference tool for students to stay on top of their course work.  Teachers will be posting updates and information on this platform which acts as a content delivery system between the teacher and the student.  Parents may use the student login protocols to access the classroom content on iTunes U course pages.

Students with Disabilities

Otherwise qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable accommodation within the school’s resources.  Reasonable accommodations that exceed school resources can be provided at the expense of the parent.  Modifications to the curriculum that will alter the school’s mission as a Catholic, college-preparatory school cannot be offered.  Students with learning disabilities will be assisted in obtaining the appropriate Individualized Education Program so the student’s progress will not be compromised, and so that every possible effort is made to maximize the student’s potential.  

Community Service

All students are required to document participation in the required minimum community service hours defined by class level:

Service activities must be with a recognized non-profit organization and service activities may not result in monetary reward, an academic letter grade, or graduation credits.  Activities may occur on the school campus for those students who are too young to drive; however, all students are expected to include service hours from the secular and parish communities.  

Detailed guidelines for satisfying community service requirements and a list of suggested services can be obtained from the Campus Minister who moderates the Community Service Program. Services not listed may be approved by written petition that includes justification and rationale acceptable to the Campus Minister. Communicants’ service hours within the parish may be applicable to school service credit with the approval of the Campus Minister.

Freshman

15 hours

Sophomore 20 hours
Junior 30 hours
Senior 35 hours

Graduation Requirements

The minimum requirement for graduation from Notre Dame High School is 240 units and 100 community service hours:

Religion 40 units
English 40 units
Mathematics 30 units
Social Studies 30 units*
Science 20 units
Fine Arts  10 units
Physical Education 20 units**
Speech 10 units
Media Literacy 10 units (beginning w/ class of 2018)
Electives 30 units
Community Service Hours 100 hours

*Must include 10 units of World History, 10 units of U.S. History, 5 units of Government, and 5 units of Economics or the A.P. course equivalent of either Government or Economics.

**Sophomore P.E. requirements may be satisfied by participation in Varsity Interscholastic sports and by meeting designated criteria established by each sport.