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, including engineering and coding, or in an independent study program. Students may elect to take advanced courses at the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College through our concurrent enrollment program.

Class Load and Promotion

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.

Graduation Requirements

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

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 our Odyssey Scholars and visit their blogs to learn more about their journeys.

The Distinguished Scholars Program

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.

Engineering & Coding

Sandia Prep's Engineering & Coding classes begin in the 8th grade and continue through senior year. Students build on a foundation of engineering concepts and basic coding taught in 8th grade and progress to Mechatronics and longer, more complex strings of code. Learn more about Sandia Prep's engineering and coding classes

Senior Experience

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.

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 MedicineSupport of Salmon Restoration/Marine Biology

Sample Course Descriptions

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.

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.

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.

Curriculum Guide

Suggested Reading Lists

Saunders Library

Sandia Prep's Saunders Library gives students access to all the resources they need for classes, research, and exploration. More than just books.

Cheryl McMillan
Upper School Head

Debi Kierst
Director of Special Academic Programs