Courses and Curriculum
How will we prepare you for college?
The curriculum at St. Margaret’s is designed to prepare students for success in college and beyond. Because we are a small school, we are able to meet the specific needs and interests of each student. The strength of our academic program is rooted in its flexibility, as it is based on skills rather than grade level. Outstanding students are presented with opportunities for more advanced study, while all students are given the support they need to acquire mastery and receive assistance in the academic resource program. This kind of support helps girls become active participants in their education. Each year, the Director of Studies meets with each individual student to monitor her progress and select her academic program.
St. Margaret’s English curriculum gives students a deeper appreciation and greater command of the written and spoken word—which are absolutely critical for success in college and career. Our course of study allows students to gain a solid foundation in reading, writing, critical thinking and oral expression. Literature in a variety of genres by both traditional and contemporary writers invites students to explore universal themes. At each level, the curriculum also incorporates a formal study of grammar and correct usage. All of our English courses encourage interdisciplinary learning by making connections with other subjects, such as history and art. Library research, SAT vocabulary review and timed SAT essay writing, and the use of computer technology ensure that students are well prepared for college.
Advanced Placement Literature
Introduction to Journalism
Introduction to Literature and Composition
Reading and Writing for College
World Literature and Composition
English as a Second Language (ESL) Curriculum
St. Margaret’s has one of the oldest and best-established English as a Second Language programs among American boarding schools, sending graduates to a variety of competitive universities Our program serves the ESL student by offering intensive courses covering writing, grammar, reading, conversation and computer skills, ESL History and ESL Science. All new students are required to take American Culture in their first trimester. Those enrolled in introductory courses are required to remain in American Culture for second and third trimester as well. This course incorporates information about American Culture with study skills and technology. Advanced students enroll in mainstream classes and the Advanced ESL course that includes writing, TOEFL preparation and support for other courses. Students take a placement test to determine which ESL level is appropriate.
Advanced ESL (includes TOEFL preparation)
Intermediate ESL Fluency
Intermediate ESL Literature & Composition
Introduction to ESL Fluency
Introduction to ESL Literature & Composition
ESL US History
Foreign Language Curriculum
Understanding other languages and cultures gives students an edge in our increasingly global society. St. Margaret’s modern and ancient language courses offer students the opportunity to study literature, explore the past, and write and speak the language of another time or place. To complement their studies, students may participate in one of the school’s educational trips abroad or take part in one of our international exchange programs. All students complete three years of one language or two years of two languages.
Latin I, II, III
Boarding schools like St. Margaret’s have a unique responsibility—and opportunity—to help students develop lifelong healthy habits. The Healt Curriculum is taught as an intregal part of our Co-curricular Program, which includes Class Meetings, Residential Meetings and guest speakers. In grades 8-12, students earn physical education credit through participation on sports teams and afternoon activities. Health class is required for graduation.
The St. Margaret’s history curriculum challenges students not only to learn from the past, but also to apply those lessons to the future as active participants in our democratic society. Each student develops a solid background in US History and Government, a broad understanding of world history and an appreciation for diverse cultures. By giving our students content and context for world events, we help them become clearer, more critical thinkers. Students take three courses in grades 9 through 12; one year of World History and US History and Government are required.
Advanced Placement European History*
Advanced Placement US History*
The 20th Century*
US History and Government
World History I, II
*offered every other year
St. Margaret’s trains and supports current and potential student leaders with courses that combine theory and practice. The Introduction to Leadership class, open to students in grades 9-11, focuses on life skills topics and leadership development. The Women’s Leadership course is open to seniors in leadership positions. These students serve as role models for others, direct the peer leader program for 8th and 9th graders and guide community programs, such as Peer Lunches and service projects.
St. Margaret’sstudents do math with confidence. Small classes, personal attention and a collaborative approach to learning ensure that every student masters fundamental concepts before moving on to the next level. Each year, our math teams perform well at—and often win—the regional competitions sponsored by a local college. Algebra I, II and Geometry are required for graduation. Seniors must take a full year of mathematics.
Advanced Placement Calculus (AB)
Advanced Placement Calculus (BC)
Algebra I, II, III
Economics and Finance
Religious Studies Curriculum
St. Margaret’s religion classes foster the spiritual and intellectual development of our students as they contemplate life’s larger questions. Courses examine biblical themes of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which play a significant role in Western history, literature and the arts. Students also study the world’s major religions, which are essential to understanding the geopolitical forces shaping current events. Students take three trimester religion courses; many girls find that the process of examining what they and others believe helps them strengthen values and develop a moral compass.
Comparative World Religions
Introduction to the New Testament and Christianity
Introduction to the Old Testament
Studies show that students at girls’ schools are more likely to pursue careers in science and technology than their counterparts at coed schools. That’s because schools like St. Margaret’s prepare young women for success in college-level science courses by emphasizing problem-solving and research skills in the classroom, laboratory and field (where we take full advantage of our riverfront location). Our Science Curriculum follows the “Physics First” model, which provides students with a unifying concept of science on which they can base their subsequent studies. All students are required to take three lab courses in grades 9 through 12; one year of Biology and and one year of Chemistry or Chemistry in the Community.
Anatomy and Physiology
Chemistry in the Community
Visual and Fine Art Curriculum
At St. Margaret’s we require every student to take art classes because we believe the arts play a critical role in both education and contemporary society. The arts integrate and solidify an individual’s personality, stimulate creative thinking processes that can be transferred to other areas of inquiry, and provide a healthy forum for personal expression. Our students present art shows and concerts throughout the school year. Highlights have included two choir tours of Britain and annually, a fully costumed and choreographed Musical Revue. Our graduates become culturally literate adults who appreciate the unique ability that the arts have to inspire what is best in the human spirit.
Black & White Graphics
Drawing I, II, III
Painting I, II, III
*offered every other year
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