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Departments & Courses

Departments

At Dominican Academy, we place a high priority on intellectual curiosity and advancement. To that end, all courses are either Honors or Advanced Placement level.

REQUIRED COURSEWORK:

Theology, 4 years
English, 4 years
History & Social Sciences, 4 years
Language, 5 years (2 years minimum of Latin, 2 years minimum of a Modern Language--French, Spanish, or Mandarin--and a 5th year of either Latin or a Modern Language)
Math, 3 years minimum
Science, 3 years minimum
Library Research & Technology, 2 years
Health, 1 year
Dance, 4 years
Music, 2 years
Drama, 2 years
Guidance, 4 years

Dance

Dance Overview

Dance courses take place over 4 years and emphasize fundamental modern dance technique with an overview on body awareness. Class structure is geared towards warming up and strengthening the body, muscular coordination, and rhythmic use of music. Special emphasis is placed on proper stretching for all around sports activity, breathing and relaxation exercises, good posture and positive attitude. Creative, as well as technical movement exploration, advances as the years progress. Included is an overview of the muscular and skeletal structure of the human anatomy, and an introduction to Yoga.

A repertory of dance on video (modern, ballet and cultural dance), and a study of folk dance styles is included to further enhance the students’ response to and critical understanding of dance as a cultural contribution.

English

4 Year English Overview

Grade 9

Honors English

This course includes a study of the literary genres of poetry, short story, biography, essay, and the novel. Students will review and study basic grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, while developing their writing skills. An examination of various literary devices and techniques is also included.

Grade 10

Honors Survey of Western Literature

This course provides an introduction to the great books of Western Literature from Classical Greece and Rome through the 20th Century. Students will explore the Greek epic and drama, Roman epic, Dante's Inferno, and Renaissance drama, illustrated by the plays of William Shakespeare. Students will continue to improve their vocabulary and critical writing skills.

Grade 11

Honors American Literature

This survey course examines the development of American literature from 1607 to the present. Students are acquainted with various genres including the novel, essays, short stories, and poetry. The written explication of the literature is the focus of the course. In addition, grammar study, as well as spelling and vocabulary enrichment, supplement composition skills. Introduction to the writing of major term papers, and preparation for the SAT/ACT are included.

Grade 12

Survey of British English Literature

This course presents a survey of English literature from 700 AD. to the 1970s. The curriculum includes study of the development of British poetry from Beowulf to T.S. Eliot, of British drama from its beginnings through Shakespeare and up to Shaw, of British essays from Bacon to Huxley, and of the British novel from its beginnings to Hardy and Joyce.

A.P. English Literature and Composition

The alternative to British English Literature, A.P. English concentrates on the analysis and criticism of novels, poetry, plays, and short stories. A major research paper is required for this course. Objectives of the course are:

  • To develop the student's ability to read, enjoy, analyze, and interpret literature.
  • To provide a wide scope of literature dealing with a variety of genres, centuries, themes and styles.
  • To write expository composition with clearly defined thesis, adequately supported with critical evidence, and composed with unity, coherence and emphasis.
  • To prepare the students to participate in the AP Examination in English Literature and Composition.

History & Social Sciences

4 Year History Overview

Grade 9

Honors Global History

This is a two-year program for students in the ninth and tenth grades. Students will demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history.

Honors Global History - Year 1

Topics include the Ancient Civilization of Egypt, the Middle East, India and China, the rise of Classical Civilization (Greece and Rome), the Middle Ages in Western Europe, Byzantine and Islamic Civilizations, the Golden Ages and Religious Belief Systems of Africa, the Americas, India, China and Japan, the Renaissance and Reformation in Western Europe, Exploration and Expansion 1400 to 1750, Absolutism and the Rise of the Western European State.

Grade 10

Honors Global History - Year II (or Advanced Placement Global History and European Studies)

This course embraces the history of the major civilizations of the world since ca. 1600. It will treat the actions and reactions of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and will follow their evolution in areas such as modern science, political revolution, nationalism, imperialism, totalitarianism, democracy, and war. Students will be taught to think conceptually, and to speak and write effectively about this history.

Grade 11

Honors U.S. History (or Advanced Placement U.S. History)

This course provides the student with a comprehensive history of the United States from colonial days to the present. The course places special emphasis on the experiences of different social classes and minority groups, the growth of industrialization, and the shaping of American foreign policy. Students will be challenged to develop the skills needed to conceptualize as they read, and will be trained to write an organized, precise, and imaginative essay.

Grade 12

Government & Economics

Students who do not take either A.P. Government or A.P. Economics are required to take either Honors Government and/or Honors Economics, for a semester each (½ credit).

Government or A.P. Government

Government is the culminating course in the social studies curriculum. It provides an in-depth study of the workings of the American government past and present with the stated goal of building a culture of political participation. The study of the daily workings of government at the federal and state levels builds an increased awareness of individual’s rights and responsibilities as an American citizen. Student will monitor current events at the national and local level in order to better understand the system of federalism, the three branches of government, and the evolution of power in the American system.

Economics or A.P. Economics

This senior course opens the study of economics with the concept of scarcity which states that people have unlimited needs or wants but have to face that there are limited resources to satisfy them. The course ensures full coverage of fundamentals that cross over from “microeconomics” (individual behavior of households and firms) on to the broader field of “macroeconomics” (overall market behavior). The course also covers “financial literacy” through personal finance activities that teach wise money management such as creating a budget and managing a checking account. It includes an up-to-date review of the current job market, employee benefits, pensions, 401k’s, social security, Medicare, taxes, insurance, and credit card debt as well as ways to save or invest that include savings accounts, time deposits, common stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate.

Languages

Students are required to take a total of 5 years of language--2 years minimum of Latin and 2 years minimum of a modern language.

4 Year Latin Overview

Grade 9

Honors Latin I

Latin I covers the fundamentals of Latin grammar and vocabulary. Students learn to translate basic sentences and stories. Attention is given to the study of word derivations. Some aspects of Roman life and culture are introduced. Students are also prepared to take the National Latin Exam.

Grade 10

Honors Latin II

Latin II completes the fundamental course in Latin grammar and gives a selection of challenging passages for translation. Vocabulary building is stressed, and the basic uses of the subjunctive mood are studied. Additional aspects of Roman life and culture are introduced. Students are also prepared to take the National Latin Exam.

Grade 11

Honors Latin III

This course concentrates on reading selections from Apuleius and other prose authors including Cicero. The course includes the study of advanced grammatical structures and various figures of speech. Students should have achieved a solid grasp of the Latin language in order to take this course. Prerequisite: A 1st semester average of at least 85% in Latin II.


Grade 12

Honors Latin IV (or Advanced Placement Latin)

This advanced course in Latin poetry reading focuses on selections from Virgil’s Aeneid. Students who take this course study Latin meter, advanced methods of translation and basic literary criticism. Latin III is a prerequisite for this course. Prerequisite: A consistent average of at least 85% in Latin III.

Modern Languages

French

Honors French I (Grade 10)

Early emphasis is placed on oral comprehension and communication. Students are guided through both highly-structured as well as open-ended activities that develop their speaking and listening skills. The basics of French grammar are introduced, with reinforcement constantly provided. Geography and topics in French civilization are gradually introduced, setting the study of language in a cultural context. A video and language lab program, coordinated with the text, provides supplementary material.

Honors French II (Grade 11)

The students continue to develop their aural/oral skills, extend their vocabulary, and review and expand their knowledge of grammar. Emphasis on correct pronunciation continues as well. French is spoken the classroom as much as possible. Knowledge of geography and culture is reviewed and broadened. A video and language lab program, coordinated with the text, provides supplementary material.

Honors French III (Grade 12)

Grammar is completely reviewed in order to enable students to develop facility in the use of French structures in guided and free conversations and compositions. The study of French culture and civilization continues. The readings selected for this course are primarily literary works in the original French. Classic French films are the subject of discussion and composition.

Spanish

Honors Spanish I (Grade 10)

Students begin to achieve a basic mastery of the four language skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through guided conversations, skits, listening selections, and group presentations, students work toward the goal of mastering oral and written communication. The language lab is used to aid correct pronunciation and reinforce vocabulary and grammatical structures.

Honors Spanish II (Grade 11)

Students' linguistic proficiency is expanded. Students practice various skills in pairs and groups, for example, expressing feelings, exchanging opinions, obtaining information, and telling anecdotes. Advanced grammar and specialized vocabulary is studied in order to be able to express more complex ideas. The language lab continues to be used to build fluency and confidence in speaking.

Honors Spanish III (Grade 12)

In Spanish III, students read full length works. As important pieces of world literature, the chosen works give insight into the universality of our human existence and all that connects us to each other. Finer points of advanced grammar are incorporated into the literature notes and discussions in order to facilitate a more advance writing style.

Mandarin

Honors Mandarin I (Grade 10)

Students will learn to conduct simple daily conversations, write over 150 characters and understand pinyin—the Chinese alphabet. Topics will include greetings, numbers, ordering in a restaurant, family, clothing, etc. Proper pronunciation is developed through a focus on all four language components---reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition, students will become familiar with Chinese holidays and festivals. There will also be a strong cultural emphasis in class that includes learning and appreciating Chinese poetry.

Honors Mandarin II (Grade 11)

The student will expand her vocabulary for basic conversation and her knowledge of characters which correspond to the new vocabulary. She will become familiar with new conversational topics relevant to everyday life. The student will also become acquainted with more complex grammatical structures which will permit her to express more intricate ideas, in speech and in writing. There will continue to be an emphasis on learning about Chinese culture.

Honors Mandarin III (Grade 12)

The student will expand her vocabulary and will become familiar with new conversational topics relevant to everyday life. The student will also become acquainted with more complex grammatical structures which will permit her to express more intricate ideas, in speech and in writing. There will continue to be an emphasis on learning about Chinese culture, and an increased focus on reading, pronunciation, and conversation.


Library Research & Technology

Research Technology Overview

Research TechnologyThis bi-weekly class aims:

  • to enable the student to discover the kinds of information available in the library and on the Internet,
  • to learn how to retrieve that information, both in print and in non-print forms,
  • to become acquainted with general and specialized references and indexes,
  • to organize and produce a research paper (second semester).

Students are taught the use of computer access systems and student folders, e-mail files and attachments, online databases, links, search methods and evaluation of information on the Internet. Students will attain/improve typing skills and master the use of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Mathematics

4 Year Math Overview

Grade 9

Honors Algebra

The course is designed to give the students a solid foundation in algebraic concepts and skills. It also covers the key areas of the rectangular coordinate systems introductory probability and statistics, introductory geometry, basic logic and right angle trigonometry.

OR

Honors Geometry (entrance based on placement exam)

This course covers geometric relationships, coordinate geometry, transformational geometry, geometric solids, construction and locus and right angle trigonometry. The writing of formal and informal proofs is an application used throughout the course.

Grade 10

Honors Geometry (Grades 9 & 10)

This course covers geometric relationships, coordinate geometry, transformational geometry, geometric solids, construction and locus and right angle trigonometry. The writing of formal and informal proofs is an application used throughout the course.

Grade 11

Honors Algebra II & Trigonometry (Grades 10 & 11)

This course covers complex numbers, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and circular functions. Trigonometry, an integral part of this course, is studied in depth. Transformations, probability and statistics, and linear regression are also covered.

Grade 12

No Math Class Required - Optional Courses Listed Below


Pre-Calculus (Grades 11 & 12)

Functions and their graphs are studied in the first semester and trigonometry, sequences and series matrices and determinants and limits are covered in the second semester.

Calculus (or Advanced Placement Calculus)

This course includes the study of elementary functions, limits and continuities and differentiation and integration of algebraic and transcendental functions and their applications. Students taking this course must have the approval of the junior year math teacher, an average of 85% in Algebra II/Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus.


Music & Drama

Music & Drama Overview

Music I & II (Grades 9 & 10)

The object of this course is to help students appreciate and understand music’s many styles through listening, analysis, and performance. Studies and activities include basic theory, movement, and singing, conducting, composing and exploring a variety of musical genres taking examples from musical comedies, popular and western classical music. Students will engage in research, presentation and performance of the artists, styles and compositions studied in class.

Drama I & II (Grades 9 & 10)


This course is designed to introduce students to the theater through a study of its elements. Students will learn public speaking techniques, theater games, scene study, monologues, dialogues and plays. The course culminates in a competitive performance of a one-act play or scene from a musical comedy.

Sciences

4 Year Science Overview

Grade 9

Health

A two-semester study of topics pertaining to an individual's health. Exercise, nutrition, sexuality, mental health and social health and disease comprise the major portion of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to discuss relevant personal experiences and develop personal health and fitness plans.

Honors Biology

This course concentrates on the topics of biochemistry, cell theory, anatomy and physiology of genetics, reproduction and development of living things, evolution and ecology. Laboratory investigations are an integral part of the course as they aid in concept clarification and help relate concepts to reality through scientific inquiry.

Grade 10

Honors Chemistry

This course covers the topics of: atomic structure, periodic properties and bonding, formulas and equations, the physical behavior of matter, solutions, kinetics and equilibrium, acid-base chemistry, thermodynamics, redox reactions and electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry and the IUPAC naming system for organic compounds. Students perform laboratory experiments as a regular part of the course.

Grade 11

Honors Physics

An inquiry into aspects of the natural world using laboratory experiments, reasoning, imagination and mathematical tools. The course begins with an extensive study of mechanics: forces, motion and energy. This is followed by investigations of wave phenomena, heat, light and electricity, sound, optics, nuclear physics and relativity. The mathematics needed to illustrate these concepts is reviewed or introduced as needed. Students perform laboratory experiments as a regular part of the course.

A.P. Chemistry (Elective)

AP Chemistry is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory AP exam in May. Included topics are: 1) The Structure of Matter, 2) The States of Matter, 3) Reactions and 4) Descriptive Chemistry. There will be extensive reading assignments and problem solving. Laboratory investigations will include physical manipulations, a variety of processes and procedures, an emphasis on observation and data manipulation as well as communication, group collaboration, and laboratory record keeping. Independent research and laboratory work is also required. Prerequisites: This course is open to juniors with a strong science and mathematics background: a minimum of 90% average in the sciences. Admission to the class is at the discretion of the instructor following an interview. Class size is limited. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture & will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

Grade 12

No Required Science--Optional A.P. Biology, A.P. Environmental Science, Forensics, Introduction to Computer Programming, A.P. Physics, and Psychology.


A.P. Biology

AP Biology is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory Advanced Placement exam in May. Included topics are: 1) Molecules and Cells, 2) Genetics and Evolution, 3) Organisms and Populations, 4) Ecology. There will be extensive reading assignments, in class essays and detailed quizzes about assigned reading. Laboratory investigations will include the following topics: 1) diffusion and osmosis, 2) enzymes, 3) plant pigments and photosynthesis, 4) physiology, 5) genetics, 6) cell structure, respiration and reproduction, 7) cat dissection. Prerequisites: A grade of 95% or higher in Honors Biology, and 90% in Chemistry and Physics. Teacher approval is required. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture & will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

A.P. Environmental Science

The goal of the A.P. Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Students will study: ecology, biogeochemical systems, humans' effect on the environment, and the cultural and social effects of environmental change.

Forensic Science

Criminalistics is a branch of forensic science that involves the recognition, identification, individualization, evaluation and reconstruction of “physical evidence.” The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the philosophy and methodology of dealing with physical evidence in a general way. This course is an introduction to investigative techniques which includes an examination of questioned documents, fingerprint techniques, polygraph examinations, firearms identifications, pathology, toxicology, ballistics and clandestine operations. No attempt will be made to provide the student with all the techniques she will need to know to work in a forensic science laboratory. Instead, the general approach is designed to give the student a sound fundamental base upon which to build. The laboratory aspect of this course will consist mainly of work on unknowns designed to stimulate physical evidence problems and to stimulate thinking about them. The lecture part of the course will provide theoretical knowledge required to complete lab exercises.

Intro to Computer Programming

This introductory Computer Science course introduces students to the basic principles of programming using JavaScript programming language. This course will include the critical thinking and communication skills that students need for postsecondary success and citizenship in a world fueled by innovations in science and technology. Upon completion of this course, students will know how to create JavaScript applications. They will also have the basic foundation that will make subsequent learning of other scripting languages or object oriented languages easier.

A.P. Physics B

A.P. Physics is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory AP exam in May. Included topics are: 1) Newtonian Mechanics, 2) Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics, 3) Electricity and Magnetism, 4) Waves and Optics, and 5) Atomic and Nuclear Physics. There will be extensive reading assignments and problem solving. Laboratory investigations will include the design of experiments, observation and measurement of real phenomena, data analysis, recognition of the source of errors, drawing of inferences, and communication of results including skilled laboratory record keeping. Prerequisites: Teacher approval is required. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture and will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

Intro to Psychology

This is an overview course that touches on the fundamental concepts of Psychology. Theories to be explored include: Behavior, cognition, perception and learning, personality and motivation. The course will examine several theorists whose ideas have had a significant impact on how we understand and define personality.

Theology

4 Year Theology Overview

Grade 9

Theology I: Sacred Scripture

Students will examine the Sacred Scripture through the following statement: our God is a God of liberation, not enslavement. In the first half of the year, students will study the Old Testament and the Jewish tradition. The second half of the year is devoted to the New Testament with a focus on the person of Jesus and the new Kingdom of God. In addition to an introduction to Biblical criticism, students are also challenged to make connections to issues of enslavement and liberation occurring today through a variety of projects, films, music and personal reflection. Throughout the course, a special emphasis is placed on the role of women within the Bible and the Catholic faith. During the second semester, freshmen will attend the urban plunge, an opportunity to put faith into action by serving others in the greater community.

Grade 10

Theology II: Church History, Sacraments, and the Church Today

The second year course of studies examines the manner in which the Church helped shape society in the past, so as to determine how the Church continues to shape society in the present. The course highlights God’s action in human history and more specifically examines the means by which God empowers individuals, and the impact this empowerment has on society. The sacraments of the Church will be studied during the time period(s) in which they originated or later evolved. The historic nature of this study is emphasized and the students are encouraged to appreciate and use their knowledge of history as they revisit areas of study with a new emphasis. For example, knowledge of the historic lessons of the fall of the Roman Empire will help when studying the rise of the Church during the Dark Ages and knowledge of the chaos in the world during the early 1960s will help in the appreciation of the Second Vatican Council. All documents and films are approached critically as the students are reminded that the lessons of the past can often be applied critically to the present. The continuity between the first and second year religious studies will be emphasized as students are challenged to determine and identify God’s liberating action in the life of the Church and her members.

Grade 11

Theology III: Christian Ethics

Morality in the Christian tradition begins with a reflection on the nature of the human person created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ. Right moral decision-making entails acting in a manner that accords with the dignity of the person so created and redeemed. In this course, students will look within the Christian tradition for answers to the questions of who we are, who we are called to become, and how we ought to act in order to fulfill that call. Students will come to a deeper understanding of Church teaching on these questions and of the reasoning behind her teachings. The first half of the course is dedicated to examining prayerfully the Scriptural, theological, and philosophical roots of Christian moral teaching, while the second half of the course is given to applying the principles to particular moral issues, especially with regard to sexual ethics, respect for human life, peace and violence, and justice.

Grade 12

Theology IV: Catholic Social Teaching & World Religions

The emphasis in the course is to ensure that Catholic Christian values which students have embraced within a Catholic school remain with the students as they leave its confines and enter into the larger secular society. The emphasis during the first semester is to examine the larger issue of social justice in light of Catholic Social Teachings. The task is to take the values and principles espoused in the Church’s teaching and extend them into a world where the issues of social justice/injustice is lived and experienced. Further, students will learn that one principled individual can make a difference in facilitating the development of a just society for all.

The second semester challenges the students to commit themselves to their Catholic Christian identity as they enter a world of non-Christian believers by presenting a survey of world religions based on the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council. The course begins with an examination of the documents of the Council, which encourages Catholics to engage other religions in dialogue, confident that the truths of Catholic Christianity will emerge intact from such dialogue. The course emphasizes appreciation for the way in which God’s will is made known to all humanity, as well as tolerance for those who live their lives in a manner that is different from the students’. A service project during the second semester will emphasize that service is an integral part of living out Catholic social teaching in the world.

Electives

The Arts

Advanced Drama

In this course, students will further develop their acting skills by building on what we have learned in freshmen and sophomore-year drama, but in an intimate workshop setting. This course will include activities or “games” to develop the body, voice and imagination of an actor; studying and performing monologues and scenes; and strategies for successful auditions. This course will culminate in a class performance of a one-act play or original production on D.A.’s auditorium stage.

Honors Art History

A study of great masterpieces of painting, sculpture and architecture through the use of slides, lectures discussion and museum visits. This study encompasses art from prehistoric times through the early Twentieth Century. The purpose of the course is to instill a life-long appreciation of art and so enable students to discover universal principles of aesthetics that will help them to understand art in their own time.

Body-Mind Conditioning

This course focuses on the practice of the Pilates technique and Hatha Yoga as a means of strengthening, toning and stretching the body. Both techniques center on the use of breath to create focus of mind, as well as precision and fluidity of movement. Remember: it is never the number of reps that is important, but rather the quality of the work. Why risk injury, or waste time! An introduction to meditation and various relaxation techniques is included.

Introduction to Music Theory

This is a music knowledge course designed as a review of the rudiments of musicianship (rhythm, audiation, melody, harmony) and a study of the elemental concepts of music theory (tonality, key signatures, chords, intervals, scales, etc.). Ear-training and use of the solfege concept will be an integral part of the course. The students will develop and expand upon a vocabulary that will equip them to communicate in the language of musical notation in order to prepare them for more advanced work in harmonic and compositional techniques later in the year and in college. Grading is based upon assignments, projects, tests, compositions, and class participation. This course is required for those who wish to enroll in additional music theory courses.

English

Creative Writing

This course teaches students to write effectively. Through analysis of the works of successful writers, present and past, students absorb the principles of meaningful discourse. Reading, discussion and writing is the method that enables novice writers to develop their own style, or unique voice.

Shakespeare's Plays

The plays to be studied are The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night. The emphasis in the class will be an analysis of the texts and critical essays.

Sciences

Intro to Computer Programming

This introductory Computer Science course introduces students to the basic principles of programming using JavaScript programming language. This course will include the critical thinking and communication skills that students need for postsecondary success and citizenship in a world fueled by innovations in science and technology. Upon completion of this course, students will know how to create JavaScript applications. They will also have the basic foundation that will make subsequent learning of other scripting languages or object oriented languages easier.

Forensic Science

Criminalistics is a branch of forensic science that involves the recognition, identification, individualization, evaluation and reconstruction of “physical evidence.” The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the philosophy and methodology of dealing with physical evidence in a general way. This course is an introduction to investigative techniques which includes an examination of questioned documents, fingerprint techniques, polygraph examinations, firearms identifications, pathology, toxicology, ballistics and clandestine operations. No attempt will be made to provide the student with all the techniques she will need to know to work in a forensic science laboratory. Instead, the general approach is designed to give the student a sound fundamental base upon which to build. The laboratory aspect of this course will consist mainly of work on unknowns designed to stimulate physical evidence problems and to stimulate thinking about them. The lecture part of the course will provide theoretical knowledge required to complete lab exercises

Intro to Psychology

This is an overview course that touches on the fundamental concepts of Psychology. Theories to be explored include: Behavior, cognition, perception and learning, personality and motivation. The course will examine several theorists whose ideas have had a significant impact on how we understand and define personality.

Statistics

Students will work with probability, data collection, descriptive and inferential statistics, and technological tools to analyze statistics. Students will work with statistical measures of centrality and spread, methods of data collection, methods of determining probability, binomial and normal distributions, hypothesis testing, and confidence intervals.

Social Sciences

Debate

This course seeks to teach students to construct an argument (logic) and to deliver it by speaking effectively (rhetoric). Topics debated will usually involve matters of public policy, e.g., should the U.S. adopt a plan of universal health care? Or should this country increase its social services to persons living in poverty? Or should the U.S. stop the practice of plea bargaining? Students will debate as members of teams, at other times individually, and in competitive contexts with other schools. The course will offer frequent practice in public speaking. Enrollment is limited; teacher approval required.

Law & Society

Law and Society is a yearlong course designed for students interested in law, government, and politics. The course covers a wide range of contemporary issues that are subject to constitutional interpretation. Students will examine the constitution and the fundamental concepts of constitutional law. There will be a great focus on the role of the courts and the key players of the justice system. Students discuss and analyze major legal topics. They are exposed to current constitutional challenges and are given the opportunity to explore the relationship between law and society. Students will develop skills that enable them to read and interpret Supreme Court decisions, which serve as the basis for class discussion. Students will learn how to develop persuasive arguments in defense of their positions. Students are also given to opportunity to apply the basic concepts learned throughout the course in the New York City Mock Trial competition in February and March.


Theology

The Civil Rights Movement

This course explores the evolving concept of race and membership in the United States, beginning with origins of racialized ideas of human differentiation and continuing to modern day. The class will consider how the ideas of race and racism developed in scientific, academic and political spheres, and will examine the consequences of dividing a society by race. Students will study resistance to the ideas of racism and segregation, highlighting the events of the Civil Rights movement as a case study. We will pay particular attention to the “upstanders” of this era, and explore how we can continue to be “upstanders” to racial injustice today. The course will rely heavily on documentary films, primary source documents and music.

Prophets of Nonviolence

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the theory and praxis of nonviolence as a creative force throughout history. During the year, special focus will be given to the following prophets and the revolutionary movements they led: Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, Oscar Romero and the four US churchwomen killed in El Salvador, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, the Berrigan brothers, and Sister Helen Prejean. The course will view nonviolence through a variety of media such as plays, film, music and readings.

Advanced Placements

D.A. offers 12 Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses - more than any other New York City Catholic Girls High School.

A.P. English

A.P. English Literature and Composition (Grade 12)

The alternative to British English Literature, A.P. English concentrates on the analysis and criticism of novels, poetry, plays, and short stories. A major research paper is required for this course. Objectives of the course are:

  • To develop the student's ability to read, enjoy, analyze, and interpret literature.
  • To provide a wide scope of literature dealing with a variety of genres, centuries, themes and styles.
  • To write expository composition with clearly defined thesis, adequately supported with critical evidence, and composed with unity, coherence and emphasis.
  • To prepare the students to participate in the AP Examination in English Literature and Composition.

A.P. Math

A.P. Calculus (Grade 12)

The course includes all topics required by the College Board to the general areas of functions, graphs, and limits, derivatives, and integrals. It requires more depth in coverage, demands a faster pace, and requires a lot of extra input from the students to prepare them for the AP test in May, for which they commit themselves when they sign up for the course. Students will be asked to attend extra sessions after school. Students taking this course must have the approval of the junior year math teacher and an average of 93% in Algebra II and Trigonometry with an accompanying passing grade on the Algebra II/Trigonometry Regents. Pre-requisite: Precalculus course taken at DA or a pre-approved summer course.

A.P. History and Social Sciences

A.P. European History & Global Studies (Grade 10)

A.P. European History prepares students to analyze critically European history or the development of Western civilization from around AD 1450 to the present day. The course aims to emphasize relevant factual knowledge about European history from the fifteenth century to present day in order to highlight intellectual, cultural, political, diplomatic, social, and economic developments within that time frame.

A.P. United States History (Grade 11)

These sessions are designed to give students experience in debating, analyzing documents, and AP testing. Demands are made upon the students which are equivalent to those in a college level course. Students will be expected to complete additional homework assignments and outside reading based on the topic currently under consideration in the classroom. There will be additional assessment based on AP questions. The Regents exam is taken in June. Prerequisites: A grade of 90% in previous history courses, teacher recommendations and History Department approval.

A.P. Art History (Grade 12)

A study of the great masterpieces of painting, sculpture and architecture through the use of slides, lectures, discussion and museum visits. This study encompasses art from prehistoric times through the 20th Century. The purpose of the course is to instill a life-long appreciation of art and to enable students to discover universal principles of aesthetics that will help them to understand art in their own time. Students are prepared to take the AP exam in Art History. Signature of the Art History teacher is required. There will be Saturday classes the second semester.

A.P. Economics (Grade 12)

This course prepares students for the AP Macroeconomics exam that asks how an economy can be controlled by changes in its fiscal and/or monetary policy.

The course aims to provide a thorough understanding of economic principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. It is a broad survey of major content areas covered by the AP macroeconomics exam, to wit: basic economic concepts, the measurement of economic performance national income and price-level determination, the financial sector and control of the money supply, stabilization policies for inflation and unemployment, economic growth and productivity and international trade in an open economy.

A.P. U.S. Government & Politics (Grade 12)

This course prepares the students for the AP exam in US government and Politics in May. The course examines the Constitutional underpinnings of the American system, the evolving political culture, the development and influence of parties, interest groups, and media, the three branches of national government, public policy, and civil rights. Students will analyze and interpret data in each component of the course. Additional readings in current and classic political theory will augment and update text readings. Students are expected to be fully aware of current events. Daily discussion and analysis of current events is an integral party of understanding the American political system.

A.P. Sciences

A.P. Chemistry (Grade 11)

AP Chemistry is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory AP exam in May. Included topics are: 1) The Structure of Matter, 2) The States of Matter, 3) Reactions and 4) Descriptive Chemistry. There will be extensive reading assignments and problem solving. Laboratory investigations will include physical manipulations, a variety of processes and procedures, an emphasis on observation and data manipulation as well as communication, group collaboration, and laboratory record keeping. Independent research and laboratory work is also required. Prerequisites: This course is open to juniors with a strong science and mathematics background: a minimum of 90% average in the sciences. Admission to the class is at the discretion of the instructor following an interview. Class size is limited. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture & will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

A.P. Biology (Grade 12)

AP Biology is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory Advanced Placement exam in May. Included topics are: 1) Molecules and Cells, 2) Genetics and Evolution, 3) Organisms and Populations, 4) Ecology. There will be extensive reading assignments, in class essays and detailed quizzes about assigned reading. Laboratory investigations will include the following topics: 1) diffusion and osmosis, 2) enzymes, 3) plant pigments and photosynthesis, 4) physiology, 5) genetics, 6) cell structure, respiration and reproduction, 7) cat dissection. Prerequisites: A grade of 95% or higher in Honors Biology, and 90% in Chemistry and Physics. Teacher approval is required. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture & will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

A.P. Environmental Science (Grade 12)

The goal of the A.P. Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Students will study: ecology, biogeochemical systems, humans' effect on the environment, and the cultural and social effects of environmental change.

A.P. Physics B (Grade 12)

AP Physics is a college-level course designed for students to take the mandatory AP exam in May. Included topics are: 1) Newtonian Mechanics, 2) Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics, 3) Electricity and Magnetism, 4) Waves and Optics, and 5) Atomic and Nuclear Physics. There will be extensive reading assignments and problem solving. Laboratory investigations will include the design of experiments, observation and measurement of real phenomena, data analysis, recognition of the source of errors, drawing of inferences, and communication of results including skilled laboratory record keeping. Prerequisites: Teacher approval is required. This course requires extra periods for lab and lecture and will extend beyond the school day one day a week.

A.P. Latin

A.P. Latin (Grade 12)

This course will prepare the student to take the AP exam on Virgil’s Aeneid. Students who take this course must be prepared to commit themselves to intensive study and translation. Admission to this course is by permission of the teacher only. Prerequisites: A consistent average of at least 90% in Latin III. Since writing skills are necessary English grades and PSAT Verbal scores will be considered also. (When this course is not offered, students may elect to take Latin IV and prepare for AP exam independently with the help of the teacher.) An extra time commitment of 30 minutes per week is required for this course.)

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