We are a school with a strong academic commitment to our students. We provide a caring yet structured environment. To meet the diverse needs of high school students, we have a comprehensive curriculum and offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities.
AP Courses offered at Aquinas High School
Aquinas offers twelve courses for upperclassmen that have been certified to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Examination. The AP Exams are administered each May and are graded by The College Board.
The Advanced Placement courses offered at Aquinas are:
The purpose of this one-year AP course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes:
- Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns.
- Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting study.
- Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability and simulation.
- Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses.
AP CALCULUS AB
Topics to be covered will include: I. Functions, Graphs and Limits - Analysis of graphs, Limits of functions (including one-sided limits), Asymptotic and unbounded behavior, Continuity as a property of functions II, Derivatives- Concept of the derivative, Derivative at a point, Derivative as a function, Second derivatives, Applications of derivatives, Computation of derivatives III. Integrals–Interpretations and properties of definite integrals, Applications of integrals, Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, Techniques of anti-differentiation, Applications of anti-differentiation, Numerical approximations to definite integrals and slope fields. Students are required to have a graphing calculator. Students may apply for Saint Mary’s Calculus I credit and/or may opt to take the Advanced Placement Exam for possibly attaining college credit for this course.
AP CALCULUS BC
AP Calculus BC is a course in a single variable calculus that would be equivalent to a first and second semester of calculus at most colleges and universities. This course will provide a deeper understanding of the concepts of limit, continuity, derivatives, and integrals which are covered in AP Calculus AB. In addition, topics covered in AP Calculus BC are parametric , polar, and vector functions, slope fields, Euler's Method, L'Hopital's Rule, Improper Integrals, Logistic differentiable equations, Polynomial approximations and Series, Maclaurin and Taylor Series. Students may opt to take the AP Exam for a possible college credits.
AP ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
This senior-level course is intended for students who have proven to excel in close-reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing. The class mirrors a college-level literature course; successful students accept responsibility for their own learning and are comfortable with advanced or adult themes. This AP English Literature and Composition incorporates a blend of British and American Literature and pulls noted writers from over 1000 years of literary history. It is not, however, a survey course, that follows a strict time-line. The AP English course in Literature and Composition engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature in the form of analytical arguments. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language. Readers also consider the social, artistic, and political context of specific works. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, theme, and tone as well as the use of figurative language, symbolism, and imagery. This course includes an intensive study of representative works from various genres and periods, concentrating on works of recognized literary merit.
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION
At the completion of English Language and Composition, the student will be able to: • Make warranted and reasonable assertions about an author’s arguments, using the Rhetorical Triangle and SOAPs; • Recognize and use rhetorical and literary terms; • Apply rhetorical and literary terminology to non-fiction, speeches, letters, reviews, and essays; • Annotate a literary text; • Read literary texts closely; • Read, understand, and answer timed analytical literary essays; • Recognize and assess the elements of different literary genres; • Read, draft, edit, and format analytic and research essays; • Answer multiple-choice questions similar to those on the Language and Composition exam, and • Use computer technology and the Internet to complement an understanding of language, composition and research.
Consistent participation in classroom discussion is mandatory and imperative to student learning. Students are highly encouraged to take the AP Language and Composition exam in May to earn college credit. Summer reading and companion writing assignments are required.
AP Biology is a challenging, introductory college level course. AP Biology is a laboratory component class, which covers all aspects of biology in great detail with a strong emphasis on problem solving, laboratory investigation and writing. Concepts to be explored include: Chemistry of Life; Cells; Heredity; Molecular Genetics; Diversity of Organisms; Structure and Function of Plants and Animals; and Ecology. This course offers an opportunity to take the National AP Biology Exam in which the student may earn college credit.
AP Chemistry is a challenging college level presentation of Chemistry flowing at a college pace with college rigor. This course overviews all aspects of beginning Chemistry with a strong emphasis on organic and biochemistry examples and applications within the confines of Chemistry. Concepts include: periodic table modeling, nomenclature, reaction, prediction, organic chemistry, organic reaction, acid/base chemistry, equilibrium and catalyst, and nuclear chemistry. AP Chemistry focuses on strong problem-solving skills and offers an opportunity to take the National AP Chemistry Exam in which the student may earn college credit.
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
AP Environmental Science (AP ES) is the equivalent of an introductory college course in environmental science. The goal of the course is to provide students with the conceptual foundation necessary to understand complex relationships in the natural world, to develop the skills required to identify and analyze environmental problems, and to examine alternate solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary study that draws from the biological, physical, chemical, earth sciences, and economics. Critical thinking and problem solving application are emphasized.
This course is a challenging college level presentation of Physics which flows at a college pace, with college rigor. All aspects of Physics, from motion to energy, from waves to electricity will be studied. A strong emphasis is placed on problem solving and math skills. This course offers the opportunity for student to take the National AP Physics Exam in which the student may earn college credit.
AP U.S. HISTORY
AP U.S. History is a survey of the history of this country and will cover events beginning with pre-Columbian America to modern events of the 21st century. The course will culminate with the AP national exam. Students will focus on historical themes including: American diversity, American identity, culture, demographic changes, economic transformation, the environment, globalization, politics and citizenship, reform, religion, slavery and its legacies in North America, and war and diplomacy. The course will continually examine these themes throughout the year, and focus on how these themes have helped shape the history of the United States.
AP U.S. GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
AP U.S. Government & Politics is to give students an in depth knowledge of the roots of governments and the current institutions that make up different governments around the world. This course contains information that will be valuable when preparing to take the AP US Government & Politics Exam. This course is best suited to students that have a strong understanding of American and an interest in U.S. Politics. This course also replaces US Government for Seniors.
The U.S. Government & Politics portion of the course will focus on the following themes in of U.S. Government: Constitutional underpinnings of democracy; political beliefs and behaviors of individuals, political parties, interest groups and the media; institutions of national government; public policy; civil rights and civil liberties.
Time will be built into the schedule to review the information and prepare for the AP exams in May. A premium will be placed upon studying current events in order to gain a better understanding of how the citizens interact with and influence their government. The goal is to help foment a desire to become active, engaged citizens of the United States and the world.
Ultimately, this course is designed to prepare every student to take and pass the national exam. In order to reach this goal, students will be expected to do college-level work. Reading, writing and communicating at a high level will be essential. A premium will be placed on not only mastering a significant amount of factual information, but also interpreting, analyzing and evaluating reading materials. Even if students do not reach the goal of passing the exam, they will be well-prepared to do college-level work from the skills they have gained in this course.
AP Psychology will provide students an opportunity to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students will be exposed to psychological facts, principles and phenomena associated with many of the major sub-fields within psychology. Students will learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in research and practice. Content will include, but not be limited to, methods, biological basis of behavior, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, cognition, motivation and emotion, developmental psychology, personality, testing for intelligence and personality, abnormal psychology, treatment of disorders, and social psychology. The course outline will adhere to the guidelines of the College Board. In this year long course, students will be expected to understand objective, empirical methods of collecting and interpreting data, make meaningful interconnection between disparate concepts and analyze, evaluate and critique thematic perspectives. A goal of this course is to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in most college introductory psychology courses, in addition to preparing the students for the AP exam.
Honors Courses offered at Aquinas High School
Aquinas offers twelve honors courses for students who desire greater challenge in their coursework and would like to better prepare themselves for college-level work.
The honors level courses currently offered include:
Prerequisites: AB or better in Band, Chamber, or Choir and approval of their current music instructor.
Must be taken concurrently with Concert Band, Chamber Ensemble or Robed Choir.
The purpose of this course is to inspire music participation, create enthusiasm, stimulate a desire to render service, and promote leadership in the music students at Aquinas High School.
JUNIOR HONORS ENGLISH: AMERICAN LITERATURE
Intended for students who excel in analytical and writing skills, this course is a survey of American Literature from Native American Literature to the present. Critical thinking and writing with attention to the nuances of tone, form, stylistic distinction, theme, and symbolism will be the backbone of the course. Consistent participation in classroom discussion and completion of a major research paper are mandatory.
SENIOR HONORS ENGLISH: WORLD LITERATURE
Eligible students may apply for Saint Mary’s University college credit, which is transferable to other colleges and universities (See school counselors for information). This course is a discussion and essay-based class that examines World Literature. Critical thinking with attention to the nuances of tone, form, stylistic distinction, theme, and symbolism will be the backbone of the course. Consistent participation in classroom discussion and completion of projects, essays, and other papers is mandatory.
COLLEGE PREP WRITING I
University writing involves critical reading, writing, and thinking as students practice the types of academic writing they may expect in their college careers. Students will utilize steps in the writing process such as invention, research, organization, drafting, revision, and editing. This course is designed to help students develop a clear thesis in a written paper and support that thesis with appropriate evidence, sources, and documentation. The main goal of this course is to focus on improving writing skills through practice, analysis, and assessment. Students will use the skills they have developed in their English classes, but they will be asked to explore topics more critically and to express themselves more fluently.
COLLEGE PREP WRITING II
This course is a continuation of College Prep Writing I. Students will be asked to focus more on revision with a stronger emphasis on grammar and vocabulary. Students will also work on timed essay writing, producing well-developed and well-organized responses using effective language and voice appropriate for audience and purpose.
FRENCH V HONORS
Honors French V Honors is an advanced course designed to prepare students for advanced placement and/or entry into 300 level college French courses. Weekly readings lead up to the reading of a novel. Conversation, composition and internet communication with the French-speaking world are required. Students are also expected to take the National French Exam, Level V and/or the AP French Exam.
SPANISH V HONORS
This yearlong course will build upon the skills learned in Spanish III and IV. It will provide the students with additional opportunities to use the language in many oral and written situations. The students will study vocabulary used extensively in various cultural settings. The students will gain a deeper appreciation of the Hispanic cultures of Central and South America. Students will practice the requirements of the National Spanish Exam, and they will have the option to take the National Spanish Exam and / or the AP exam.
This full year course includes all topics in the course description for Geometry. Topics to be extended include: proofs, graphing, trigonometry and three-dimensional space.
ALGEBRA II & TRIGONOMETRY HONORS
This course extends the topics from Algebra I and Geometry. Topics studied include: simplifying algebraic expressions, solving equations, algebraic transformations, inequalities and systems, linear programming, operations on polynomial equations, real and complex numbers, exponential and logarithmic functions, an introduction to analytic geometry, trigonometry and trigonometric identities. Algebra II topics are covered in depth, applied Math skills are emphasized and graphic calculators are used. This course is required of students intending to study Calculus and AP Physics. Students successfully completing this course are eligible for Pre-Calculus.
PSYCHOLOGY II HONORS
Students will study mental health and Abnormal Psychology. They will also gain experience of psychological research, testing and experimentation. Students will discuss adolescent emotional health issues and problem solving techniques based on techniques of Reality Therapy.
CHRISTIAN VOCATIONS HONORS
This course supplements the basic outline of the regular Christian Vocations course with a greater level of informed classroom discussion, additional readings, and writing assignments.
CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS HONORS
An adult Catholic needs a solid foundation in which to live and defend his or her faith. This course answers the practical questions of our faith that need to be answered before heading off to college and the rest of the world. More in-depth reading and discussion distinguishes Honors students within this course.
WORLD RELIGIONS HONORS
This course studies other Christian and world religions in depth, such as other major Christian denominations, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It prepares students to interact with other religions they may encounter once they graduate. More in-depth reading and discussion distinguishes Honors students within this course.