Independent College Preparatory

Grades 6 -12

Advanced Curriculum


Sandia Prep has always stood apart by offering a unique array of rigorous courses that challenge students and motivate learning. Our advanced curriculum is tailored to our students, not a standardized test. We are a founding member of the Independent Curriculum Group, as we prize our independence and innovation too highly to ask our teachers to use a nationally standardized curriculum.

Our independent curriculum promotes deep, student-centered learning within and beyond the classroom. English students can explore indepth electives such as Philosophies of the East, which samples works such as Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, and Contemporary Apocalyptic Scene, which examines the struggles of characters in works such as Life of Pi and Peace Like a River. Another elective, Literature of the American West, examines works such as A River Runs Through It, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, and Reservation Blues. Popular history electives include American History Through Film, Eastern Philosophy, and Global Studies, the latter in which students examine current events within a historical perspective.

All upper school courses at Sandia Prep are honors level. Newsweekprofiled the school in its 2005 "America's Best High Schools" issue. The article, entitled "Other Winning Equations," profiled one of our seniors who completed an internship at NPR's "All Things Considered" during the school's Senior Experience program. Sandia Prep's academic program has also been featured in education articles in theWashington Post and other national publications. Our innovative curriculum distinguishes our 100% college bound seniors as among the best prepared in the nation.

Biology 2

This course offers in-depth study of microbiology, genetics and biotechnology. During the first semester, students breed fruit flies and follow various characteristics through several generations. In the spring, students culture bacteria and study staining techniques, physiological characteristics and control of microorganisms. During the final four weeks, students analyze bacterial cultures and attempt to identify an unknown strain. Throughout the course, students cover the basics of biology through topics of molecular structure, microscopy, cellular structures and processes, and heredity.

French 5 (The Commune to the Present Day)

This course allows students to review advanced grammar while studying topics in the literature, politics, art and immigration of nineteenth and twentieth century France. Students analyze and compare the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus; trace the evolution of French political culture through the Third, Fourth and Fifth Republics; study the works of early 20th century artist Marcel Duchamp; and explore the impact of postwar immigration patterns on modern France.

Contemporary American History Though Film

Recipient of the Beveridge Family Teaching Award

This year-long class provides a chronological narrative history of the contemporary American experience using Hollywood films as a primary source through which to examine the formation of American values and ideology. Students learn how to “read” a film, mastering techniques of visual literacy and analysis. Students deal with myth, abstraction, and symbolism as they seek to place film within historical and cultural context. Thus, students might examine a classic film such as High Noon as a reflection of the values of the Cold War and McCarthyism rather than as a historical examination of the West Major topics considered in the class are: World War II, Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, and Watergate era. Students investigate these topics through film screenings, discussion, document analysis, historical research, readings, and compositions. This class is taught by Mr. Ron Briley, Assistant Head of School and history teacher, who recently received the National Council for History Education’s Paul Gagnon Prize, the highest national history teaching award.

Photography 3

Photography 3 is an advanced photography studio course that continues the techniques and concepts of the previous photo classes. Work may include anything from the perfection of traditional black and white prints to the deconstruction of the photographic image by tearing, gluing, staining, painting, or by any number of other processes. Students will work towards creating small bodies of work by sticking with an idea and allowing it to grow and alter over a semester or an entire year.

Society & Self: A Study in Alienation

Much of modern literature deals with human efforts to reconcile being a separate self with being part of a social group. This conflict can result in an individual’s disconnecting him or herself from society, from family, and even from sanity. This course looks closely at alienation in a variety of fiction and poetry. Authors include Conrad, Salinger, Vonnegut, T. S. Eliot, Kesey, and Dostoevsky.

Environmental Science 1 & 2

Explore the science of ecology, how organisms interact with each other and with their changing environments. Explore how human activities alter ecosystems. This course focuses on biodiversity and extinction, climate change, urbanization and desertification. Emphasis is on the Southwest. The course includes several field trips. Examine the sources of environmental pollution and understand the technologies used to prevent or clean up pollution. Understand relationships between consumerism, consumption, waste generation, and waste management. Explore issues surrounding energy generation and use, and learn about technologies that will make consumption sustainable. Field trips to power plants, mining facilities, and recycling plants will make this an exciting experience.

Calculus 2

This course is a continuation of the study of calculus. Topics include hyperbolic functions, integration by parts, improper integrals, infinite series, Taylor series, McLaurin series, calculus of parametric curves, integration in polar coordinates, and more. Graphing calculators and computers are used to help complement the course.

I was worried about coming to college without any AP credits, but my science and writing classes at Sandia Prep have clearly prepared me more than the AP curriculum did for some other students here. I just wanted to say thank you for all the support. I don't think we realize the tools we acquire during our four years at SPS until we're in a mad dash for survival in college. ALICE L. HALTER '13, EMORY UNIVERSITY STUDENT



Powered by Finalsite