Academic Departments

COURSES OFFERED

  • English 9
  • English 9 Honors
  • American Literature
  • American Literature Honors
  • British Literature
  • AP Language and Composition
  • English 12
  • AP Language and Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Advanced Creative Writing
  • Literary Magazine
  • ESL and Culture
  • Advanced ESL

STUDENTS WILL…

  • read and think critically and creatively about literature and language from a wide variety of genres
  • write clearly and effectively in a variety of formats, from expository, to analytical, to creative
  • explicate literary texts from a diverse range of novels, shorts stories, poetry, and non-fiction texts
  • research appropriate materials and synthesize those materials for persuasive writing
  • speak convincingly and with poise

    Alverno’s Reading curriculum is Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, a rigorous and highly effective program that explicitly teaches reading skills while growing students into independent and life-long readers. Additionally, we will also be reading several core literature books throughout the year. There is a strong focus on reading and writing in Middle School.  The writing curriculum parallels reading as it is also Units of Study. Throughout the year, students learn the craft of writing through specific genres within narrative, opinion, and persuasive themes. As is such in reading, student choice is vital to learning. Students learn to use their voice – that what they have to say matters and that it’s their story to tell. Additionally, we use Daily Grammar Practice and Word Study to enhance our knowledge of grammar and spelling rules. Alverno’s Reading curriculum is Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, a rigorous and highly effective program that explicitly teaches reading skills while growing students into independent and life-long readers. Additionally, we will also be reading several core literature books throughout the year. 

COURSES OFFERED

  • Algebra I ABC
  • Algebra I
  • Algebra I Honors (semester summer course)
  • Geometry Fundamentals
  • Geometry
  • Geometry Honors
  • Algebra II
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry II Honors
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Pre-Calculus Honors
  • Statistics
  • Advanced Placement Calculus AB
  • Advanced Placement Calculus BC
  • Multivariable Calculus Honors
  • Business Math
  • College Prep Math

STUDENTS WILL…

  • analyze complex problems and persevere to solve them
  • use models and technology to represent and solve real world problems
  • communicate thinking in precise and clear language
  • realize inherent beauty of mathematics
  • pursue further studies of mathematics in college

Chair: Lisa Primero-Solano, M.Ed., Loyola Marymount University

 

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Algebra I A/B/C:  Pre‐Algebra topics are reviewed during the first semester of this course completed over the summer prior to the start of freshman year. Standard Algebra I is covered during the following two semesters. Algebra I provides work with linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, systems of equations, graphing, rational and irrational expressions, polynomials, and exponents. Geometry and statistics are integrated within the course.  Algebra I will have an emphasis on reading, speaking, and writing about mathematics, problem solving, and real world applications. Use of scientific calculators will be required and the use of graphing calculators will be introduced.  Prerequisites: Department Approval

Algebra I:  This is a standard two-semester course. Algebra I provides work with linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, systems of equations, graphing, rational and irrational expressions, polynomials, and exponents. Geometry and statistics are integrated within the course.  Algebra I will have an emphasis on reading, speaking, and writing about mathematics, problem solving, and real world applications. Use of scientific calculators will be required and the use of graphing calculators will be introduced.  Prerequisites: Successful performance on High School Placement Test (HSPT), Alverno Math Placement Exam, and Department Approval

Geometry Fundamentals A/B/C:  This course will cover geometric terms and the mathematical study of two-dimensional shapes and objects. Students learn basic theorems and proofs to develop an understanding of Geometry. The following topics will be covered: lines and angles, triangles, polygons, perimeter and area, ratio and proportion, parts of circles, chords, secants, tangents, slope and equations of lines. The course is taken over an entire calendar year, two semesters and a summer course.  Prerequisites: Qualifying grade in Algebra I or Algebra I ABC and Department Approval.

Geometry:  The study of geometry will provide a visual application of mathematics to the world around us. In this context, the student will develop reasoning skills and the concept of proof, which will be applicable in all aspects of life. The course will emphasize reading, speaking, and writing about mathematics, problem solving, real world applications and traditional constructions with compass and straightedge. The student will be expected to use a graphing calculator to investigate concepts and solve problems.  Prerequisites: Qualifying grade in Algebra I and Department  Approval.

Honors Geometry:  Course content is the same as Geometry but will work at an accelerated pace, enabling deeper investigation into topics such as formal proofs, secants, tangent lines, loci, and dilations.  Prerequisites:  Department Approval.

Algebra II:  Algebra II is designed for a second year course in algebra. The course presents a variety of topics including linear and quadratic equations, radical, exponential and logarithmic functions. The properties of numbers, graphs, expressions, equations, inequalities, and functions are ideas that run throughout the course. The course will emphasize problem-solving, reading, speaking, and writing about mathematics and real world applications. Students will be expected to use a graphing calculator (TI-Nspire) to further enhance the study of algebraic concepts.  Prerequisites: Department Approval

Algebra II/Trigonometry: This course emphasizes the real-world applications of mathematics using appropriate technology throughout the course. Topics covered include: the analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, radical, and trigonometric functions and relations. Graphing skills are developed in these areas using graphing utilities. Students will work with polynomial and rational algebraic expressions, binomial expansions, radicals, irrational and imaginary numbers, exponents, trigonometric identities and formulas, and circular functions. The analysis and solution of word problems is stressed throughout the course.  Prerequisites: “C+” or better in Algebra I and Geometry and Department Approval

Algebra II/Trigonometry (Honors):  This course is recommended for students who seriously wish to further their study in mathematics or science. This course emphasizes the real-world applications of mathematics using appropriate technology throughout the course. Topics covered include: the analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, radical, and trigonometric functions and relations. Graphing skills are developed in these areas using graphing utilities. Students will work with polynomial and rational algebraic expressions, binomial expansions, radicals, irrational and imaginary numbers, exponents, trigonometric identities and formulas, and circular functions. Students are challenged to use their developing mathematical skills to generate creative and elegant solutions to a wide range of problems.  Prerequisites: “B-” or higher in Algebra I Honors and Geometry Honors or an “A-” in Algebra I and Geometry and Department Approval.

Pre-Calculus (Standard/Honors):  Pre-Calculus is designed for the advanced mathematics student. The course comprises an intense review of topics from algebra and analytic geometry that are necessary for success in calculus and subsequent mathematics courses. The topics covered will be functions, trigonometry, series, sequences and conics, if time permits. Students are expected to read the language of an advanced mathematics course and use it in classroom discussion. Students will be expected to model real world application in both individual and group settings. Students will use the graphing calculator (TI-Nspire) to investigate concepts and solve problems.  Prerequisites: Department Approval

AP Calculus AB:  This is a college-level calculus course intended only for the most accomplished and motivated mathematics students. All students must sit for the Advanced Placement Calculus AB Examination in May. In order to cover all of the material necessary to succeed on the examination, the course has additional class time scheduled outside of the normal school day. The course begins with a comprehensive review of algebra, trigonometry, and analytic geometry. Then, coverage of limits of functions, the derivative and its applications, and the integral and its applications is provided. Students complete a review of previous AP Calculus Examinations at the end of the course in preparation for the AP Examination.  Prerequisites: “B-” or higher in Pre-Calculus Honors and Department Approval. Students must attend an AP Workshop during the summer before the course and attend extra sessions before the AP Exam in May.

AP Calculus BC:  This is a college-level calculus course intended only for the most accomplished and motivated mathematics students. The course includes all topics covered in the AP Calculus AB course and also presents intensive study of vectors, sequences and series, and advanced integration topics. All students must sit for the Advanced Placement Calculus BC Examination in May. In order to cover all of the material necessary to succeed on the examination, the course has additional class time scheduled outside of the normal school day.  Prerequisites: Qualifying Grade in AP Calculus AB and Teacher Recommendation.  Students must attend an AP Workshop during the summer before the course (if offered) and attend extra sessions before the AP Exam in May.

Statistics:  Statistics will develop in the student the ability to analyze and solve real world problems, to think critically and communicate in writing clearly and effectively. Students will learn to develop hypotheses and construct convincing arguments using widely accepted methods for collection of data and mathematical tools for analysis. They will learn that a rigorous adherence to accepted statistical methods will validate an argument and ensure the conclusion drawn is compelling. Students will also gain a thorough understanding of probability and will be able to model real world situations using advanced probability. While Statistics supplies the student with mathematical tools to deal with many fields of study, it also prepares students to reason clearly throughout their lives.   Prerequisites: Department Approval

Business Math/College Preparatory Math (1 semester each, full year):  Business Mathematics is a one semester course where students learn to use mathematics for personal finance as well as for business. Students will review and apply mathematical operations with whole numbers, decimals, fractions, ratios, and percents. They will understand the mathematics of being a small business owner/entrepreneur and learn the terminology relating to personal and business mathematics applications.  College Preparatory Math is a one semester course designed to prepare students for the university placement exam as well as enrollment in college mathematics. This course includes math study skills, arithmetic skills, problem-solving, algebra and geometry.

COURSES OFFERED

  • Physics 9
  • Physics 9 Honors
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry Honors
  • AP Chemistry
  • Biology
  • AP Biology
  • Physics 12 Honors
  • AP Physics
  • AP Environmental Science
  • Forensics
  • Anatomy/Womens’ Health
  • Public Health
  • History of Medicine
  • Honors Independent Research in Science (1,2,3,4)
  • STUDENTS WILL…

    • engage in authentic scientific research in collaboration with local universities such as Caltech while using cutting edge methods for science learning for girls
    • gain the necessary intellectual tools to become the world’s finest microbiologists, physicists, forensic scientists, astrophysicists, aeronautic engineers, biochemists, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and engineers
    • express themselves through science while forming their own scientific identity
    • be given opportunities to travel to engage in real world scientific research and applications including a trip to Costa Rica which will educate students through valuable first-hand experience by observing one of the most naturally gorgeous countries in the world and participating in international science competitions such as iGEM, the world’s foremost synthetic biology research competition

    Chair: Lisa Primero-Solano

COURSES OFFERED

  • AP European History
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP US Government
  • AP US History
  • US History
  • World History and Geography
  • Geography

STUDENTS WILL…

  • acquire a sound knowledge of geography and its role in the creation of cultures and civilizations
  • demonstrate the skills required to write research papers in social studies
  • conduct informed discussions on issues in the social studies
  • analyze primary and secondary reference sources
  • identify the role each individual plays in political and social systems and the contributions that they can make to these systems

Chair: Kari Irvin, M.A

COURSES OFFERED

  • Spanish 1, 2, 2 Honors, 3, 3 Honors, and AP
  • Sign Language 1
  • Online (Middlebury) students are currently taken Spanish and French but they could take other languages such as German. Chinese, Japanese, Latin, amongst others.

STUDENTS WILL…

  • discover, respect, and appreciate other cultures
  • acquire proficiency in world languages at all levels
  • communicate and participate successfully in our global society

Chair: Giselle Grams, M. Arch.

The Theology Department is a central and integral part of Alverno High School. We believe that people encounter God in their everyday activities; it is our goal as religious educators to promote the awareness of God’s presence and encourage the interaction of God’s grace and our free response. The Theology Department prepares the students to go forth as living examples of service, community building and faith. There is an ecumenical spirit in our Catholic school which serves those of different Christian denominations, Orthodox traditions, Islamic and other faiths.

Chair: Katharine Guerrero, M.Ed., Whittier College

COURSES OFFERED IN THE THEOLOGY DEPARTMENT:

Scripture (Ninth Grade): The purpose of this course is to give students a general knowledge and appreciation of the Sacred Scriptures. Through their study of the Bible they will learn its value to people throughout the world. This course introduces students to the Catholic Christian method of interpreting scripture. Students examine the sacred texts in the light of faith, history, literary style, and revelation. In so doing, students discover the beautiful story of the unfolding covenantal relationship between God and humankind, culminating in Jesus.

Christology (Ninth Grade): The purpose of this course is to continue a study of the person, ministry, and message of Jesus as it is disclosed in the Gospels. Emphasis will also be placed on the social implications and challenges of the Gospel as they relate to the Christian in modern society. We will examine some of the great theologians throughout Church history and how they viewed Jesus.

Spiritual Life (Tenth Grade): In this class, students examine the nature and practices of the Catholic Church and the importance of community in one’s faith development. Students encounter spiritual practices that will help them develop their faith and spirituality. This course introduces the art and science of Theology, particularly through an examination of women’s experience and relationship with God.

Ecclesiology (Tenth Grade):  We examine the way Jesus’ mission continues in the Church, and what it means to be a person of faith in the contemporary world. This class examines the structure of the Church and considers the lives of great people of faith in modern history.

Sacramental Theology (Eleventh/Twelfth Grade):  Students explore the theology and praxis of the Sacraments, especially the history of the Mass. This class includes an examination of the role of symbol and meaning and how sacred rituals are celebrated.

Morality and Social Justice (Eleventh Grade):  This course begins with a review of the basic concepts of Christian morality. Students then move on to a study of the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church, with an emphasis on recent church documents. Social justice teachings of other religions are also considered, in view of their role in solving current social issues. The Church’s role in providing moral leadership in society will be examined, both historically and in the present day.

Christian Lifestyles (Twelfth Grade):  This course challenges students to go forth in the world and make a difference by viewing contemporary life through various spiritual, philosophical, theological and psychological perspectives. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of relationships in the continuing development of the healthy human being.

World Religions (Eleventh/Twelfth Grade):  This study of the major World Religions focuses on developing a knowledge base and sense of understanding, leading to an appreciation for the diversity present in the world community. Approached from the Catholic perspective, which encourages dialogue with other faiths, we attempt to see how understandings of God, creation, good and evil, spirituality, and religious practice shape our perspectives and those of our neighbors. This course also focuses on an appreciation of religious art forms and the cultures they represent.

Campus Ministry (Elective):  Designed to increase student appreciation of Catholic faith and to help the student body have meaningful worship experiences, this course makes students responsible for planning and implementing school liturgies, prayer and reconciliation services, and community service projects. Students are trained in lectoring and proclaiming scripture through words and action. Students who have already been confirmed may be trained as Eucharistic ministers.  Prerequisites:  Application and Department Approval.

Christian Service (Elective):  This class is designed for students who are passionate about social justice issues and seek to serve others. Members of the class also organize service projects that the entire student body participates in and provides opportunities for off campus service as well. Prerequisites:  Application and Department Approval.

In order to graduate from Alverno Heights Academy, students must have completed 10 units of physical education. This may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  • Dance I and II
  • Two seasons of a sport at Alverno
  • Four semesters of physical education electives

Chair: Ken Berry, B.S., California State University at Northridge

COURSES OFFERED IN THE PHYSICAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT:

Physical Conditioning:  This course improves strength and flexibility. Activities include: running, stretching, abdominal work, push‐ups, lunges, squats, calisthenics, and jumping rope. Students have fun, gain confidence, achieve results, and track their improvement.

Pilates:  Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, this program focuses on core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential in supporting the spine. Pilates exercises help align the spine, promote awareness of breath and aim to strengthen deep torso muscles.

Zumba:  Zumba is a fun, high energy workout; a Zumba workout burns calories and helps keep you in shape. It fuses Latin music with contemporary dance beats to make exercise fun. The great thing about Zumba is that the whole body is engaged throughout the session. Music is the main ingredient to Zumba because it helps to move the workout from one toning, strengthening or cardio move to another, targeting every major muscle group in the body. The goal of the class is to make students want to work out and to love working out because it is fun and easy to do. Dance styles including Salsa, Flamenco, Cha-cha-cha, Hip Hop, Tango, and many more will be incorporated to motivate students throughout the workout. At the conclusion of the semester, the students will be asked to create their own Zumba routine showcasing what they have learned.

Boot Camp:  This course helps students get fit, look and feel their best, and increase strength, speed, endurance, and energy. Students don’t have to be in perfect shape to come to Boot Camp. Beginning workouts start slow, so everyone has a chance to improve. Flexibility and physical fitness increase self‐esteem and intellect.

Kinesiology in Action:  Kinesiology in Action explores the broad spectrum of kinesiology as an academic discipline.  Fundamental concepts and meaning of movement/physical activity, professional/career options and current issues. Physical labs will include: biomechanics/exercise physiology; skill building; psychological/sociological factors involved in movement. 

Technology is an integral part of the high school experience. At Alverno Heights Academy, our mission is to prepare our students for 21st century learning by mastering skills of locating, analyzing, and creatively communicating information effectively. Our technology courses focus on preparing students to become independent users of technology, for academic and artistic purposes.

Technology is all about change; building confidence allows our students to adapt and grow with the software over time, preparing them for lifelong learning.

 

COURSES OFFERED IN THE TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT:

Computer Science: This introductory computer science course will teach students the fundamental concepts of computer programming in a more user-friendly and gentle format than the AP-level course.  Students will learn about traditional programming concepts such as variables, loops, conditionals, procedures, lists, algorithms, complexity, concurrency, recursion, object-oriented design, classes, and inheritance.  In addition, the course will cover the history of computing, the future of computing, and the relevance of computing to society. This course is geared towards any student with an interest in computers and requires no prior coursework or experience.  Prerequisite: “B” or higher in Algebra.

Yearbook:  Students become publishers of the Troubadour, Alverno’s yearbook.  Students are trained in copy writing, photography, and design.  Students work to produce a professional product while learning cooperation and teamwork.   Prerequisites: “B” in English and Department Approval.

COURSES OFFERED

ART:

  • Advanced Art
  • Advanced Placement Art
  • Ceramics and Sculpture
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Design and Printmaking
  • Open Studio Art
  • Photography

DANCE:

  • Dance 1 & 2
  • Advanced Dance /Choreography
  • Musical Theater

DRAMA:

  • Acting 1 & 2
  • Advanced Theater
  • Improvisation for Theater
  • Stagecraft

CHOIR:

  • Choir
  • Alverno Singers
  • Music/Glee Class

CLUBS:

  • Art Club
  • Photography Club
  • Drama Club
  • Dance Club
  • National Arts Honors Society
  • Comedy Sports /Improvisation Club

ACTIVITIES:

  • Fall Play
  • Fall Choral Concert
  • Candle Light Celebration
  • Spring Musical
  • Spring Concert
  • A.P. Art Exhibit
  • Arts at Lunch

STUDENTS WILL…

  • gain knowledge and appreciation for the many different art forms and practices of art in cultures throughout the world
  • analyze and think critically about the visual and performing arts
  • communicate with a strong and passionate voice
  • research and acquire experience in the various career opportunities found in the visual and performing arts fields
  • develop a strong foundation in technique and discipline

AP Practice Exam Schedule

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 1-5PM 

AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 

AP SPANISH 

AP CALCULUS AB 

SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 8am-12pm 

AP LANGUAGE

AP LITERATURE

AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

AP CALCULUS BC

SUNDAY APRIL 28, 1pm-5pm 

AP U.S. HISTORY 

AP WORLD HISTORY 

AP GOVERNMENT 

SATURDAY MAY 4, 8am-12pm 

AP BIOLOGY

AP COMP GOVERNMENT