Curriculum Details


Ursuline Academy’s Upper School English Department curriculum prepares you to read, think, discuss, and write critically in a world of continuously emerging and revolutionizing communications. Our literature-based curriculum uses American, British, and World literary novels, poetry, drama, short stories, and expository essays to illustrate classical and emerging writing techniques, exposing you to new historical and cultural concepts and expanding your critical thinking skills in both reading and writing. With our teachers’ guidance, you form and refine arguments about the texts you read, develop the skills necessary to write clearly and persuasively, incorporate feedback and revise your writing, and use writing as a means of creative expression. You graduate from our program with an advanced skill set that allows you to excel in literary and historical studies and communicate complex ideas to a variety of audiences with your writing and public speaking abilities.

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Ursuline’s Upper School course offerings in Mathematics give you the technical skill set and advanced aptitude to graduate from our program and enter college as an exceptionally articulate student of mathematics in theory and practice. Our cohesive curriculum design meets your individual needs and helps you progress from one course to the next while building your confidence and fostering your enthusiasm for mathematics. By delivering our instruction in a hands-on atmosphere that integrates technology and activity, our teachers illustrate high level theory and method in concrete and practical ways that encourage your interest in math- and science- related fields.

Our curriculum offers three different levels of study to meet your individual learning needs and desire for advanced challenges in mathematics – College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement. At every level, you meet and master advanced concepts, developing strong communication skills in mathematics using its signs, symbols, and vocabulary in reading, writing, and discussion of the material. Our curriculum emphasizes problem solving, especially the importance of logical thinking and the organization of one’s work, and teaches an awareness of the applications of mathematics to real world situations.

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World Language

Ursuline Academy’s Upper School World Language Programs help you develop a broader awareness and understanding of people from various countries and cultures while also bringing you closer to your peers at Ursuline Schools throughout the world. Our Program offers language immersion in Mandarin, French, and Spanish and teaches listening, reading, writing, and speaking with an advanced study of communication, culture, connections, and communities. By using authentic contemporary media and enriching the experience with field trips and foreign travel, you emerge from our curriculum with a strong communicative competency and a multi-lingual skill set immensely valuable in today’s global society.

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Social Studies

The Upper School Social Studies curriculum at Ursuline Academy provides a foundation of active citizenship in our global community through an understanding of the past, awareness of the present, and application for the future. By incorporating critical thinking, emerging technology, creative problem solving, and communication skills, our teachers focus not only on the study of historical facts and events but also on the development of ideas and themes that transcend academic disciplines.

Focused on developing young women as leaders who possess the intellectual and critical thinking skills to serve our school, community, and the world, our Social Studies department uses the critical examination and discussion of primary and secondary sources to approach real world problems in light of historical antecedents. Through our interdisciplinary approach to our Social Studies curriculum, you have access to courses ranging from World History and Human Geography to AP Government and Psychology. Our course offerings allow you to pursue a variety of academic interests in Social Studies and History while you expand your world view to study not just what people have done in the past but why and in what political and social climates they have done it.

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At Ursuline Academy, Science courses prepare you not only for a variety of science-oriented professions but also for becoming well-informed, responsible citizen in our 21st century technological society. Our science curriculum features laboratory- and activity- based classes that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills while necessitates the use of your laptop to collect and analyze data. Our teachers encourage collaboration with your classmates in self-directed or inquiry-based projects, which enhances your analytical skills and fosters academic-related partnerships with your classmates. Our curriculum design also ensures all students are introduced to the core sciences and have the opportunity to take one or more AP Science Classes.

Each science facility has its own dedicated classroom/lab combination, allowing for instruction flexibility. Throughout the day, you may find Biology students examining microorganisms, extracting DNA from plants, writing dichotomous keys, or testing for proteins and carbohydrates in different substances; Chemistry students examining properties of different compounds and elements, separating substances, studying chemical reactions, and modeling chemicals and chemical behavior; or Physics students measuring the acceleration of a falling object, investigating mass and velocity relationships during collisions, determining the focal length of a lens, or studying  the motion of a charge within an electric field or magnetic field.

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The Theology Program fosters and develops the student’s response to faith. The curriculum is a means of leading students to a deepening discovery of God by providing appropriate affective and cognitive learning situations. Through study, reflection, and discussion, the student explores the Christian heritage. In the atmosphere of a community of faith characterized by loving relationships, apostolic involvement, and liturgical worship, the student experiences the Christian heritage.  Our Theology curriculum progresses from studying the Old and New Testaments to Morality and Sacraments and culminates in a variety of course offerings, including Death and Dying, Faith and Justice, and World Religions. Prayer and reflection are essential components of life at Ursuline Academy, playing an especially important role in our Theology courses, class retreats, and Mass celebrations. The religious foundation you develop at Ursuline Academy serves as your lifelong spiritual guide, inspiring endless acts of benevolence and faith to the benefit of the world around you.

The Theology Department sees the student’s Christian growth as part of a total community endeavor, involving not only the Theology Department, but also the entire school environment, the local community, the parish, and especially the home. The effort to build Christian community is essential to the effectiveness of the total program of the school. Students are required to attend underclassmen retreat days. The extended overnight senior Kairos retreat is required for graduation.

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Visual Arts

Ursuline Academy’s visual arts program promotes visual awareness and imaginative expression in non-verbal media. Students are exposed to both traditional and contemporary techniques and concepts from both Western and non-Western sources. Drawing is emphasized as both a “thinking” tool and as a means of developing sophisticated observational skills. The critically important elements and principles of art are integrated throughout all the courses. These courses cover, but are not limited to, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics, digital art, video, and graphic design.

Performing Arts

Ursuline Academy’s Performing Arts Department encompasses all aspects of Theater and Music study. From the staged plays and musicals to the lively performances of the chorus and ensembles, excellence is held out to students as a goal, and then the process of reaching that excellence is taught. One of the strengths of Ursuline’s Performing Arts program lies in the notion that anyone can perform. Each year students take a risk, commit themselves to disciplined study, and enjoy the fun and camaraderie that results from working towards a shared vision.

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Focused on educating the whole student, Ursuilne’s wellness curriculum focuses on enriching your physical and emotional health through activities both in and out of the classroom. Our Physical Education courses help you work on improving your existing kinesthetic abilities and instilling a lifelong appreciation for physical fitness. Our Health curriculum addresses issues and topics of interest to you and reviews the scientific components of wellness and human anatomy.

Our Physical Education classes are designed to meet your individual fitness needs whether you are moderately active or compete on a Varsity level sports team. Our teachers work to instill the athletic skill set needed for lifetime activities and sports, including golf, yoga, kickboxing, tennis, weight training, and conditioning, while also teaching a variety of team sports to encourage interest in our athletic programs.

Our Health curriculum focuses on relevant topics for today’s adolescent woman: time and stress management, Drug and Alcohol education, body image and eating disorders, communication with peers and parents, relationships, gender issues, mental illness, stress management, and safety/awareness. The class is discussion centered, focusing on student participation.

Leadership Curriculum

Our students are required to participate in classes that focus on developing leadership skills. The instruction
is comprehensive and helps each student develop a pathway to leadership using her own unique gifts and talents. Topics are varied and include essential concepts such as ethics, financial literacy, and communications skills.

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Salesianum Exchange Courses

Ursuline Academy partners with Salesianum School to offer you broader curriculum choices and diversify your academic experience during the first period of the school day. Students who participate in the Exchange Program must abide by the rules of conduct of both schools and travel by the designated bus to and from the Exchange school. Exchange courses are available to Juniors and Seniors unless otherwise noted.

Courses currently offered at Ursuline as part of the Exchange Program are:

  • AP Literature and Composition
  • Honors Human Origins and Archeology
  • Innovation

Courses currently offered at Salesianum as part of the Exchange Program are:

  • AP Environmental Science
  • Business Law
  • Drafting
  • Marketing
  • Wind Ensemble (available to all grades)