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Courses & 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 strive 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, in conjunction with the Director of College Counseling, the Director of Studies meets with each individual student to monitor her progress and select her academic program.

English Curriculum

English Curriculum

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, art and science. Library research, SAT vocabulary review and timed SAT essay writing, and the use of technology ensure that students are well prepared for college.


English 8

Introduction to Literature and Composition

World Literature

Reading and Writing for College

American Literature

British Literature

Honors English

Advance Placement English

indicates a class eligible for dual enrollment

indicates a weighed course

English as a Second Language Curriculum

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 U.S. Culture in their first trimester. Those enrolled in introductory courses are required to remain in U.S. 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.


Introduction to ESL Literature and Composition

Introduction to ESL Fluency

Intermediate ESL Literature and Composition

Intermediate ESL Fluency

Advanced ESL

ESL Science / River Studies

ESL U.S. Culture

ESL U.S. History

History Curriculum

History Curriculum

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.


History 8


World History I

World History II

U.S. History

Advanced Placement U.S. History (every other year)

Advanced Placement European History (every other year)


Current Events (1st trimester)

Great Books (2nd trimester)

20th Century (3rd trimester; every other year)

Foreign Policy (3rd trimester; every other year)

indicates a class eligible for dual enrollment

indicates a weighted course

Leadership Curriculum

Leadership Curriculum

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 in 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.


Introduction to Leadership (3rd trimester)

Women in Leadership* (1st and 2nd trimester)

* open to seniors in leadership positions

Mathematics Curriculum

Mathematics Curriculum

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.



Algebra I

Algebra II


Math Analysis



Advanced Placement Calculus (AB)

Advanced Placement Calculus (BC)


Algebra III (1st trimester)

Introduction to Probability and Statistics (2nd and 3rd trimesters)

Finance and Economics (3rd trimester)

indicates a class eligible for dual enrollment

indicates a weighted course

Religious Studies Curriculum

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.


Introduction to New Testament (all trimesters)

Moral Ethics (all trimesters)

World Religion (2nd and 3rd trimesters)

Science Curriculum

Science Curriculum

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 one year of Chemistry or Chemistry in the Community; and an additional year of a lab science.


Science 8 / River Studies

Conceptual Physics / River Studies

Chemistry in the Community



Advanced Placement Biology

Honors Physics


Human Anatomy (1st and 2nd trimesters)

Comparative Anatomy

Marine Anatomy (3rd trimester)

River Studies (1st trimester)

Environmental Issues (2nd trimester)

Bay Studies (3rd trimester)

Computer Science (3rd trimester)

Robotics (2nd trimester)

Women’s Health (all trimesters)

indicates a class eligible for dual enrollment

indicates a weighted course

Visual and Fine Art Curriculum

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 performance. Our graduates become culturally literate adults who appreciate the unique ability that the arts have to inspire what is best in the human spirit.


Full Year Courses

Advanced Art

Senior Portfolio


1st Trimester 2nd Trimster 3rd Trimester
Treble Choir Treble Choir Treble Choir
Voice Voice Voice
Piano Piano Piano
Drama HistoryTechnical TheaterMusic History
Art HistoryFashion DesignBlack and White
Graphic Design
Drawing I, II, III
Drawing I, II, IIIDrawing I, II, III
Painting I, II, III
Painting I, II, IIIPainting I, II, III
Ceramics I, II, III

Mixed Media I, II, IIIWatercolors I, II, III
Digital Photography I, II, IIIDigital Photography I, II, III

World Language Curriculum

World 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

Latin II

Latin III

Latin IV *

Latin V *

Latin VI *

Spanish I

Spanish II

Spanish III

Spanish IV*

Spanish V*

indicates a class eligible for dual enrollment

indicates a weighted course

* indicates Honors level couse

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