High School

Upper school students working on math
Quote from Dr. Cheryl McMillan
Throughout our high school (known as "upper school") honors-level courses, higher-level cognitive skills are developed with a curriculum that emphasizes design-thinking and innovation. Prep students aren’t just preparing for college, but for life.
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.

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 accumulated the credits in a variety of areas.

As a senior capstone course, our Entrepreneurial Studies class teaches problem-solving skills essential to a student’s success later in life, through a semester-long course based in Sandia Prep’s Autonomous Creative Environment (SPACE). See how students develop their entrepreneurial mindset.

Senior Capstone is required of all seniors providing them the opportunity to design and complete an independent research project during the course of their senior year. The program fosters skills in multifaceted research, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and presentation. Capstone culminates in either an academic paper or a hands-on project of equal weight and gravity, as well as a public presentation.

Past Sandia Prep Senior Capstone Projects
  • Building a Prototype Prosthetic
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Musical Composition
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Sea Turtle Conservation in Grenada
  • Pediatrics
  • Cold Atom Technology
  • Speech Pathology
  • Fencing
  • Exploring Education
  • Computer Engineering
  • Therapy Animals


The required class load is seven courses per year for 9th and 10th grades and six courses per year for 11th and 12th grades. 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.


Students must have 23.5 upper school credits and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to graduate. 
Click here to view a breakdown of graduation requirements. 

Rigorous courses and college counseling beginning in 9th grade translates to 100% of our seniors being accepted to four-year colleges. View Sandia Prep Alumni Stories here.


Cheryl McMillan
Assistant Head of School for Upper School