Upper School

GRADES 9 - 12

The Upper School consists of 243 young women who are fully engaged in an atmosphere that values intellectual curiosity, spiritual growth, honor, trust, and a respect for diversity. ~ Dr. Carrie Steakley, Upper School Head

Dr. Carrie Steakley

In keeping with the mission of St. Mary's, the Upper School strives to provide a superior educational experience for our girls while encouraging and enabling each girl to reach her individual potential. Our dedicated faculty recognizes and respects the unique ways in which girls learn best, teaching an academically rigorous curriculum while simultaneously going beyond the classroom walls to provide "real life" experiences. As they become lifelong learners, the students are encouraged to think critically, creatively, and independently.

As a result of the extensive academic, athletic, artistic, musical, and community-service opportunities that are available, our students become confident leaders who have a positive influence on their community.

General Information

Students in the Upper School consult with her parents, advisor, and the Director of Studies as she makes decisions concerning her courses throughout her Upper School career. While there are certain required courses that must be part of the program of studies each year, a broad selection of elective courses exist at every grade level, with more offerings in the 11th and 12th grades

Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

Because St. Mary’s is a college preparatory school, all of our courses are designed to prepare students for college. Although these courses reflect the rigorous curricular requirements for students entering college today, they are taught at appropriate developmental levels for high school students.

The Honors and Advanced Placement courses offered by St. Mary’s are challenging and demanding enough to merit a weighted grade. Honors courses receive one half of an additional point and Advanced Placement courses receive one additional point each semester when grade point averages are calculated. Students in Honors courses are expected to use higher order thinking skills in the reading, writing, and content analysis at the entry level of the course. Honors courses are taught using a multi-source option. Advanced Placement courses are designed to contain college level material and to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exams offered in the spring. Students can earn college credit or advanced placement from the many colleges participating in the program. Motivation, preparation, and a strong academic record are three keys to success in an Advanced Placement course.

Program of Studies

All students must enroll in five academic* classes each semester. If a student wishes to enroll in a sixth course, she should submit the request signed by one of her parents or guardian to the Director of Studies. Approval for six courses is based upon academic standing, the number of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in which the student is involved, and the nature of the course requested by the student. The following program of studies lists the required courses for each grade. Students must take the requirements for each grade and may also choose elective courses when possible to complete the program of studies for the year.

* Non-academic courses are P.E., Performance Arts 1 & 2, Beginning Guitar, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, and Choir.

Download the Upper School Course Guide