Upper School (Grades 9 - 12)
Our Upper School curriculum is designed to provide students with the opportunity to test their talents and to develop their skills in a variety of academic disciplines. We require students to take courses in English, Fine Arts or Communications, HIstory, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Physical Education, and Science. We also offer students the opportunity to pursue their academic interests in depth either in elective courses in the various disciplines or in an independent study program. Students may elect to take advanced courses at the University of New Mexico through our concurrent enrollment program.
- Class Load and Promotion
- Graduation Requirements
- The Odyssey Scholars Program
- The Distinguished Scholars Program
- Senior Experience
- Sample Course Descriptions
- Curriculum Guide
- Suggested Reading Lists
- Saunders Library
A typical class load is 5 core courses with 2 additional elective courses totaling 7 classes, with 1 free period. While the school makes no guarantee that additional classes may be scheduled, exceptions may be made. A 2.00 grade point average (GPA) is the cutoff grade for promotion. A student must have a 2.00 GPA at the end of each marking period and a cumulative 2.00 at the end of each school year to be asked to continue.
For the 2016 -17 school year, students entering grades 10 - 12 must have 23 high school credits and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to graduate. Students entering grade 9 must have 23.5 high school credits and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to graduate. View details regarding required classes and electives.
The Odyssey Scholars Program
As with Homer's Odysseus, our Odyssey Scholars set out on an epic journey of learning and discovery developed around an area of study which they are passionate about. Odyssey Scholars will challenge themselves academically, intellectually, and creatively by designing a two-year course of study that will culminate in a major public presentation. This program combines the elements of Independent Study, Senior Experience, and research (capstone) projects. Students may apply for the program at the end of Sophomore year.
Meet an Odyssey Scholar - Madison Hochrein '18
"This particular project is focused on understanding how science and engineering inform and influence medicine and medical diagnostics. The reason I chose to do this as my thesis is to learn about the collaboration between research and medicine and how together they can create new technology and medical advances that would benefit our society. I am also interested in understanding the similarities and differences in these fields. I plan to do this by either shadowing or working at Sandia National Labs this semester to learn about research being done in engineering, biochemistry and biology and to learn how these fields can influence and advance the medical field. For example, a recent technological advancement are robots that are programmed to do surgery, which are being used by UNMH. Another advance that is currently taking place is a project on Microneedle Lactate Sensors which are small, wearable needles that can extract fluid from the body and monitor stress, fatigue, and possibly harmful chemicals that would affect soldiers who are in warfare. Next semester I plan to shadow several doctors to see if and how these advances can make a difference for them and their patients. I also want to get the doctor's perspective on engineering and research to see if they have any ideas that have not yet been thought of. My main goal while doing this program is to learn about and experience both research and medicine and to find out which I would prefer to pursue as a career after high school."
Distinguished Scholars Program
Distinguished Scholars are students who have chosen to take additional classes during their time at Sandia Prep while maintaining a 3.5 GPA. These students graduate with 28+ credits. While some may focus specifically in a given area (math, science, arts, etc.) others may have branched out and accumlated the credits in a variety of areas.
Prior to enrollment in college, Sandia Prep seniors have the opportunity to participate in a senior experience during the last month of the school year. The program may take the form of academic research, community service, exposure to a vocational or professional role, or any other idea approved by the Senior Experience Committee. Students work with an outside supervisor and receive an evaluation of their performance. Click here for the 2016-2017 Senior Experience Packet.
|Past SPS Senior Experiences||
|The Fundamentals of Property Law/Women in Business||Mathematics in Mechanics|
|Conquering Code||Speech Pathology|
|Oral Surgery||Photographic Marketing|
|Air Traffic Control||Tiwa Language Program|
|Exploring Asia||Computer Engineering at Intel|
|High Intensity Sports Medicine||Support of Salmon Restoration/Marine Biology|
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.
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.
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.
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.