Sandia Prep Curriculum Guide 2018 - 2019


Middle School and Upper School curriculum guide for the 2018 - 2019 school year

Curriculum Guide

Middle School & Upper School

2018 - 2019

532 Osuna Road NE • Albuquerque, NM 87113

505.338.3000 • 505.338.3099 (fax) •



The joy of learning and living is at the center of all we do.

Sandia Preparatory School provides remarkable opportunities for intellectual and

personal growth within a challenging and balanced program.

As an extension of our families, Sandia Prep’s diverse community inspires

students to find their academic focus, talents and creativity.


At Sandia Prep, we will inspire our students to discover their

purposes in the world by:

Developing essential skills and intellectual potential

through challenging academics;

Cultivating a socially responsible environment

of innovation and creativity; and

Engaging as a vibrant community for the betterment of society.


The Sandia Prep Program .................................................................................... 1

Sandia Prep Faculty ............................................................................................ 2

Programs Unique to Prep

Odyssey Scholars Program ..................................................................... 3

Distinguished Scholar ............................................................................ 3

Senior Capstone .................................................................................... 3

Independent Study ................................................................................. 4

Heritage Language Program ................................................................... 4

Engineering & Coding ............................................................................ 4

Interdisciplinary Studies ...................................................................................... 5

Middle School Course Requirements .................................................................. 6

6th & 7th Grade Rotations ..................................................................... 7

Upper School Course Requirements .................................................................. 8

English ................................................................................................................11

Mathematics ....................................................................................................... 14

Science ................................................................................................................19

History .............................................................................................................. 24

Modern Language ............................................................................................... 27

Performing Arts .................................................................................................. 30

Visual Arts .......................................................................................................... 33

Digital Media & Communications ...................................................................... 35

Physical Fitness ................................................................................................... 38


A Curriculum Guide Written by Teachers with Students in Mind

Open the doors to our classrooms and you will find lively discussion and debate about

books and ideas, students working together to solve problems and interpret lab data,

presentations on research projects, building with 3D printers or dismantling machines

in the SPACE, painting, sculpting, singing, and acting. We know our students learn best

when they are engaged so our teaching is geared toward active learning, critical thinking,

and collaboration. Our courses are challenging and our expectations high, and we are

passionate about seeing all of our students succeed.

The Sandia Prep curriculum is designed to prepare our students with a first-rate academic

foundation, one that is skill solid and knowledge rich. But our classes are also designed to

give our students wings, to encourage them to discover an intellectual passion and soar.

Every department at Sandia Prep offers advanced classes, as well as the chance to take

multiple classes in the same discipline in one year. In Upper School Science, for example,

students may choose to take Physics 2 along with Environmental Science. In Math, Calculus

2 might be paired with Mechatronics, and in History, Critical Issues with Global Studies.

A Sandia Prep education positions our students well for admission to college. Each year,

one hundred percent of our seniors are accepted into a four-year college or university.

Most importantly, Prep graduates are well-prepared for the challenges of college work. We

know this because we ask. Our alumni surveys, as well as the colleges they attend, tell us

our students have the skills, the knowledge, the social skills, and the discipline to succeed

at the collegiate level. When a professor assigns a critical essay or a research paper, Prep

students know exactly what to do. They write sophisticated lab reports easily and ace college


Several of our students are headed to medical school. Another has just discovered through

her work in Mock Trial that she wants to become a lawyer. One of our students is interested

in organic farming. We have aspiring nuclear physicists, politicians, and inventors. We take

very seriously our responsibility to teach and prepare each student for college and the world.



The Prep faculty is varied, experienced, and talented, with rich interests and backgrounds.

Among this group are accomplished individuals who have worked for the Associated Press,

Reuters, United Press International, engineering firms, and museums. Some have owned their

own business, practiced law, served in the military and as police officers and firefighters.

The Prep faculty boasts several published authors, award-winning musicians, professional

performers, and celebrated artists.

Our faculty has lived, studied, and worked in all regions of the United States, from East Coast

to West Coast, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, England, France, Germany,

Ghana, the Haute Savoie, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nepal, Poland, Puerto

Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Our teachers feel passionately about giving our students a global awareness. They have taken

students on trips to the border fence at Juarez, Mexico, on humanitarian service trips to the

Dominican Republic and Haiti, Guatemala, Oaxaca, Bhutan, and post-Katrina affected areas.

They also lead educational trips to Cuba, China, Japan, Butan, France, Spain, Central America,

New York, and Washington, DC.

The Prep faculty knows that the respect, trust, and rapport they develop with their students

encourage advanced learning. Students reach higher than they ever believed they could

because they know they have support and help from their teachers. The Prep faculty is not

only talented, it is caring; not only connected to their passions, but also to the needs of their




The Odyssey Scholars Program

As with Homer’s Odysseus, our Odyssey Scholars set out on an epic journey of learning and

discovery developed around an area of study which they are passionate about. Odyssey Scholars

will challenge themselves academically, intellectually, and creatively by designing a two-year

course of study that will culminate in a major public presentation. This program combines the

elements of Independent Study, Senior Experience, and research (capstone) projects. Students

may apply for the program at the end of Sophomore year.

Distinguished Scholar (Certificate of Distinction)

The Distinguished Scholar Certificate is centered around classes offered at Sandia Prep. Students

choose to take additional classes in a specific area of study. Students must maintain a 3.5 grade

point average throughout their time in upper school. With these additional classes students will

graduate with a 28+ credit hours and a Certificate of Distinction.

Senior Capstone

The final month of the senior year is devoted to allowing students to pursue their particular

passion. Each senior chooses a project to complete or a topic to research, and under the

guidance of a faculty mentor, works independently off campus.

Senior Capstone culminates with a night of student presentations for the School, parents, and

anyone from the community. We gather to listen to the seniors share the lessons they learned, the

music or book they wrote, the connections they made, and the new awareness and insights they

gained. As teachers, we often think back to these same students as sixth graders and marvel at

their skill, knowledge, and maturity.

Some topics from years past include:

• Conquering Code

• Oral Surgery

• Photographic Marketing

• Property Law

• Exploring Asia

• Speech Pathology

• Tiwa Language Program

• Support of Salmon Restoration/Marine Biology


Independent Study for Seniors

Seniors wishing to explore an area of study more deeply may do so one year or one semester

through independent study. To register for independent study students must:

1. Choose a faculty mentor.

2. Submit a proposal outlining the purpose of the course, the materials used, assignments,

assessments, and a schedule of meetings with a faculty advisor.

3. Complete a registration form (pick up from Upper School Head.)

A student must take six courses in addition to the independent study.

Past topics have included:

• Advanced Computer Programming

• History Through Film

Reminder: One year of independent study equals 1/2 credit; one semester equal 1/4 credit.

Heritage Language Program

Heritage Spanish is offered to 6th - 9th grade students with a strong proficiency in Spanish. This

advanced language instruction is typically for students who speak Spanish at home or come from

dual language programs. Students explore themes such as Latina women in history and the idea

of the hero in reading, conversation, essays, and multimedia presentations. While this is a course

based in conversation, students also receive supplemental lessons in grammar. The focus is to

produce articulate and well-rounded speakers and writers in Spanish.

Engineering & Coding

Sandia Prep’s Engineering & Coding classes begin in the 8th grade and continue through senior

year. Students build on a foundation of engineering concepts and basic coding taught in 8th

grade and progress to Mechatronics and longer, more complex strings of code. Courses begin

with a focus on the engineering process and allow students to get an introduction to engineering,

programming, and robotics. Students receive an introduction to the design, fabrication, and

testing process followed by all engineers. Students gain these engineering skills by completing

a variety of projects like building bridges, remote-controlled cars, and other projects. The

upper levels of engineering and coding provide an integration of computer programming and

engineering with a focus on the use of engineering principles as a guide.



DareDevil Design - NEW CLASS

Grades 6-7

DareDevil Design is a workshop environment conducted in Sandia Prep’s Autonomous Creative

Environment (SPACE) where students engage in creative, critical, and constructive processes to

develop products, ideas, and projects to help communities. Daredevil Design will participate in

nation-wide challenges such as the Future City Competition, in nonprofits such as the Lantern

Project, and endeavors with local organizations. The DareDevil Design Exhibition Night at the

end of the year showcases the student’s work. Students conduct a “Presentation of Learning” to

demonstrate their skills, understanding, and growth.

Entrepreneurial Studies: The Ecosystem of Innovation - NEW CLASS

Grade 12

Entrepreneurial Studies is a senior capstone course. It develops an entrepreneurial mindset and

teaches problem-solving skills that are essential to a student’s success later in life, through a

semester-long course based in Sandia Prep’s Autonomous Creative Environment (SPACE). The

course provides students an opportunity to work with Albuquerque entrepreneurs, who present

real-world business problems outlined in a scope of work, complete with hard deliverables

and deadlines. Over the course of a semester, students work in small teams on three different

consulting projects with real start-up companies. Having done research, conducted customer

interviews, and worked as a team to devise a solution, the students pitch their solutions directly

to the business CEOs. In the fourth and final project, students work together to devise a concept

for a business and pitch it “Shark Tank”-style to real investors.



We believe it is important for middle

school students to learn skills in context.

In particular, we teach critical thinking

and study skills in each discipline rather

than teaching them individually. At Sandia

Prep, we want our students to discover the

connections between subjects and to use

these discoveries to explore and understand

the world around them.

Our middle school is a lively place where

students develop close relationships with

teachers and with their fellow students. We

believe this web of relationships makes it

possible for our students to take risks in a

variety of areas. They can learn where their

talents lie and develop the skills they need

to grow intellectually and academically.

Subject Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

English English 6

English 7

English 8


Foundation of



Algebra 1


General Science

Life Science

Physical Science


World Cultures &


New Mexico History

and the West

U.S. History

Art & Media


Rotation: Art, Music,


and Drama

Rotation: Art, Drama,

Photography, and


No rotation

Full year-long electives

(See below)

Modern Language

French or Spanish

French 1A or

Spanish 1A

French 1B or

Spanish 1B

Physical Education/


6th Grade PE

7th Grade PE

8th Grade PE


Chorus, Guitar,

Strings, Jazz Band,

Study Hall or

DareDevil Design

Chorus, Guitar,

Strings, Jazz Band,

Study Hall or

DareDevil Design

Chorus, Guitar, Strings,

Jazz Band, Study Hall,

Digital Media &

Filmmaking, Theater, or



Sixth and Seventh Grade Rotations

The Sandia Prep rotation cycle allows students to sample many courses in one year to begin

knowing their own talents and interests, or find new ones. Sixth and seventh grade rotates every

quarter. There are no rotation courses for 8th grade.

Sixth-Grade Rotation Courses

Seventh-Grade Rotation Courses

Art - Sixth Grade Art includes sculpting

a pinch pot creature, creating an African

mask, throwing a bowl on the pottery wheel,

painting a self-portrait, and using charcoal

and chalk pastels to create an abstract


Computer/Keyboarding - After familiarizing

the class with the technology available at

Sandia Prep, students learn typing, word

processing, multimedia presentations, and

internet research.

Drama - Improvisations, theater games,

creative dramatic presentations, videos, and

the basics of ballet and jazz give students the

chance to acquire confidence as speakers and


Music - The music rotation includes the

fundamentals of voice and instruments, music

literacy, and reading a score.

Art – Seventh Grade Art includes drawing a

still life, creating a landscape collage, using

a microscope to create an abstract painting,

and designing an animal-inspired flower

pot in clay.

Photography - Introduction to black

and white photography, use of a 35 mm

camera, working in a darkroom, pinhole

cameras, and enlargements give seventh

grade students a hands-on experience.

Drama – In seventh grade, drama students

choose the play and make it happen, from

costumes and lighting, to rehearsals and

final performances.

Computer/Coding - A variety of

computer skills are introduced including

spreadsheets, databases, graphics,

animation, and computer programming.

Additionally, students will spend time

learning the inner workings of the

computer, how data gets processed and

stored, and get introduced to coding.



Curriculum Overview

Our upper school curriculum is designed to provide students with the opportunity to test

their talents and to develop their skills in a variety of academic disciplines. We require

students to take courses in English, mathematics, science, history, modern language, arts,

communications, and physical education. We also offer students the opportunity to pursue

their academic interests in depth, either in elective courses in the various disciplines, in an

independent study program, or in special academic programs.

Class Load and Promotion

The required class load is six courses per year. While the School makes no guarantee that

additional classes may be scheduled, exceptions may be made. A 2.00 grade point average

(GPA) is the cutoff grade for promotion. A student must have a 2.00 GPA at the end of each

marking period and a cumulative 2.00 GPA at the end of each school year to be asked to


Graduation Requirements

Students Entering Grade 9 - 11 in 2018-19 School Year

Students must have 23.5 upper school credits and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to

graduate. Of the 23.5 credits, 18½ are to be distributed as described on the following page

and taken during upper school years; 5 additional credits taken from any department.

Students Entering Grades 12 in 2018-19 School Year

Students must have 23 upper school credits and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to

graduate. Of the 23 credits, 18 are to be distributed as described on the following page and

taken during Upper School years; 5 additional credits taken from any department.

Please see charts on following pages for specific requirements.


Students Entering Grade 9 - 11 in 2018-19 School Year



Number of Credits

Required Courses


4 credits

English 9 (1 credit)

English 10 (1 credit)

English 11 (1 credit)

English 12 - 2 semester-length English courses

(1/2 credit each)

Math 220 - Algebra 2 (1 credit)


3 credits

Math 320 - Geometry (1 credit)

1 year-long math course (Credit must be from the

following list: Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Statistics,

Calculus 1, or Calculus 2) (1 credit)


3 credits

Geology (1 credit)

Biology (1 credit)

A third year of laboratory science (1 credit)


3 credits

World History 1 (1 credit)

World History 2 (1 credit)

American History (1 credit)

Modern Language

2 credits

2 years of 1 language in Upper School (1 credit each)

Arts 1 credit 1 year of Visual or Performing Arts (1 credit)

Physical Education

Digital Media &


Additional Arts/


1 credit

1/2 credit

1 credit

At least 1 year-long course in any grade (1 credit)

1 semester of Communication (1/2 credit)

1 additional year of Visual, Performing OR

Communications (1 credit)



5 credits

From any department

Successful Completion of Senior Capstone


Students Entering Grades 12 in 2018-19 School Year



Number of Credits

Required Courses


4 credits

English 9 (1 credit)

English 10 (1 credit)

English 11 (1 credit)

English 12 - 2 semester-length English courses

(1/2 credit each)

Math 220 - Algebra 2 (1 credit)


3 credits

Math 320 - Geometry (1 credit)

1 year-long math course (Credit must be from the

following list: Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Statistics,

Calculus 1, or Calculus 2) (1 credit)


3 credits

Geology (1 credit)

Biology (1 credit)

A third year of laboratory science (1 credit)


3 credits

World History 1 (1 credit)

World History 2 (1 credit)

American History (1 credit)

Modern Language

2 credits

2 years of 1 language in Upper School (1 credit each)

Arts and


2 credits

1 year of Visual or Performing Arts (1 credit)

1 year additional Arts OR Communications (1 credit)

Physical Education

1 credit

At least 1 year-long course in any grade (1 credit)



5 credits

From any department

Successful Completion of Senior Capstone





Critical reading, logical thinking, and

dynamic writing compose the heart

of the English Department’s mission.

We are dedicated to instilling in our

students an appreciation for great

literature and to sharpening their

written expression across genres.

Employing a wide selection of literary

works, we teach our learners to

discover the depth and influence

inherent in language that is elegant and

precise, enterprising and expressive.

With writing an essential component of

our curriculum, we expect, teach, and

encourage our students to gain skill and

power in their own written expression

through exploring both creative and

analytical forms.

Drop into our classrooms and you

might witness students engaged

in dissecting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s

symbolism in “The Great Gatsby” or

reciting Shel Silverstein’s “Forgotten

Language” while participating in a

poetry cafe; gathering evidence for a

literary analysis on Hamlet’s anguish

or revising a personal narrative culled

from a childhood memory; applying

Latin roots to study vocabulary or

practicing comma placement using

lively, original sentences.

English 6

From S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” to

Shakespeare’s “The Fairies’ Lullaby,”

sixth-graders read extensively and deeply

as they’re introduced to literary genres

through a wide selection of current and

classic readings. Writing is an ever-present

instruction in the sixth-grade classroom,

with students beginning the process of

literary analysis and practicing formal

essays, journals, narratives, and creative

writing. Students’ written expression takes

imaginative forms; they might, for example,

analyze the mystery story and write their

own mystery/detective tales using devices

they discovered in the genre. In sixth-grade

English, students develop their ideas and

individual voice while cultivating clear

expression through syntax, vocabulary, and


English 7

Seventh-grade English deepens the study of

reading, writing, and grammar begun the

previous year. Students dive into a mix of

novels, short stories, plays, and poetry--all

chosen to encourage some independence

in discovering meaning. Through class

discussion, students discern literary threads

and connections, which they further

explore in their writing. English 7 requires

both creative and analytical writing, with

an emphasis on clear, concise expression.

English 8

With discovery the focus of eighth-grade

English, students explore texts that are

varied both in genre and period. Writing

of all forms is extensive. Students learn to


think through a text, forming ideas about

meaning, sharing them in class discussions,

and further developing them in their

written expression. In their analysis papers,

students become adept at proposing

a thesis and supporting it with textual


English 9

In freshman English, students engage with

literature through deep expository writing

and rich classroom discussions, both aimed

at enhancing their critical thinking skills.

Ninth graders dive into the classics, reading

both Homer and Shakespeare as well as

contemporary authors such as Hemingway

and Salinger. They embark on creating

cohesion among complex ideas, learning

how to strengthen their skills as writers of

both formal literary criticism and personal

expression. Hallmarks of the class also

include informal in-class writing, grammar

lessons, and regular vocabulary study.

English 10

Sophomore English looks at works chosen

from many cultures, studied with an eye

to their points of view and to the narrators’

cultural contexts. Furthermore, students

are encouraged to find connections to

their own lives through these disparate

characters. English 10 emphasizes the

student’s growth and development in

writing and interpretive skills, as well as in

the greater craft of structuring an argument

and using precise language in presenting

that argument.

English 10 - Writing Workshop


It is a globally connected world, and

effective writing plays a valuable role in a

student’s success, yet not every student’s

strength lies in his or her writing skills.

To that end, Sandia Prep offers a full-year

writing workshop to sophomores. Every

Prep graduate learns to be a confident

writer. In this workshop, students develop

skills from grammar and punctuation to

style and clarity. The Writing Workshop

includes lessons on written expression

across disciplines, supplementing the

instruction students receive in other classes

and focusing on how to write effectively

in science, history, and literature, among

other fields. Note: This English elective does

not count towards the 4 English credits

required for graduation, but does count as

a general elective.

English 11 - American Literature

Students explore selected works from the

American canon that reflect the diversity

and complexity of the evolving American

experience. Beginning with selections

from the Native American oral tradition,

the American Literature survey course then

traces the evolution of literature from the

early Colonial Period to the modern era.

Students study works of fiction, nonfiction,

and poetry as they become familiar with

key themes in American literature and their

corresponding historical, political, and

economic contexts.



During each semester, seniors choose

an English course that most appeals to

them. Literary writing and discussion are

hallmarks of each semester-long elective.

Students work on writing sophisticated

analyses that offer a clear, in-depth

discussion of a focused thesis. Seniors are

required to take an English elective both

semesters of the year.

Fall Semester Options:

Global Literature

Global Literature students expand

their cultural awareness as they study

masterworks of fiction and poetry from

around the world. By examining the texts’

literary, historical, and cultural contexts,

students gain an understanding of the

enduring themes that unite traditions in


Nonfiction Literature

Nonfiction Literature explores the works

of authors whose literary techniques

and artistic visions portray real people

struggling with real conflicts. As students

examine personal essays, memoirs,

and literary journalism, among other

subgenres, they analyze how writers use

style and structure to captivate readers

and, in many cases, offer commentary on

the human condition.

Spring Semester Options:

Short Stories

Some of the finest writing of the 20th

and 21st centuries can be found in short

stories. This course studies the genre with

an eye toward what exactly constitutes a

short story and to the variety that exists in

the form. In both writing and discourse,

students analyze several stories for style,

structure, and voice, and they have the

opportunity to write their own short stories.

Urban Literature

Since people began living in bustling

urban areas, the city has become a symbol

of wealth and opportunity. Nowhere has

that been truer than in America, where

the city has been perceived as the place

where free men and women can start over,

can make their fortunes, can earn fame,

and can do better than just survive. In the

Urban Literature course, students examine

the ways in which American writers have

directly influenced our perceptions of

the city, envisioning it as a stronghold

of artistic expression, tolerance, and

sophistication, or as a sinkhole of poverty,

anonymity, and despair.



Math is about more than simple

manipulation of numbers, formulas, and

theorems. It is, instead, about imagining,

predicting, verifying, analyzing, solving,

and discovering. We encourage an

appreciation for the beauty of the

mathematical process as well as an

understanding of the need for these

skills and the proficiency necessary

for success in academic and real-life


At each grade, whether Algebra 1 or

Calculus 2, students apply skills through

projects such as building bridges,

predicting distance and speed of windup

cars, and creating fractals. Our

classes are energetic, busy spaces where

you will find students:

• Developing an appreciation of the

breadth and depth of mathematics

• Integrating different methods of

problem-solving with confidence

and tenacity

• Investigating effective applications

of technology

• Developing a desire to discover

• Communicating using the language

of mathematics, informally and


• Collaborating about projects

• Questioning, more than finding

answers - exactly what we hope for

Foundations of Mathematics

Grade 6

Prerequisite: 5th Grade Math

In this course, students develop skills in

basic calculations with whole numbers,

decimals, and fractions while deepening

their understanding of number systems

and problem-solving techniques.

The curriculum includes a variety of

mathematical experiences and projects

incorporating engineering, science,

and art. Whenever possible, students

apply the mathematical concepts they

have studied, to real-life situations and

examples. Students investigate additional

topics, including ratios and percents,

measurement, number theory, and

statistics and probability.

Sequential course: Pre-Algebra


Grade 7

Prerequisite: Foundations of Mathematics

with teacher recommendation

This course strengthens students’

mathematical skills through practical

problem-solving application and

thoroughly develops the abstract

foundations necessary for the study of

Algebra. Students investigate integers,

graphs, variables, open equations and

inequalities, basic geometry, statistics,

word problems, formulas, rational

numbers, and measurement. The

concepts and procedures of mathematics

are studied and developed through

defining and solving problems, critical

thinking and reasoning, communication


of knowledge and understanding, and the

connection of mathematical ideas to other

disciplines with real-life applications.

Sequential course: Math 120 - Algebra 1

Programming and Engineering


Grade 8

This is an elective class.

Programming and Engineering, at

this introductory level, will focus on

the design process. Students will be

engaged in a variety of activities within

the broad disciplines of programming,

engineering, and robotics. NetLogo will

introduce students to computer science

by developing the knowledge to create

programs capable of doing complex

calculations and simulations. Students

will fabricate and explore mechanical

systems to better understand what

engineering entails. Students will use

LEGO Mindstorms and Parallax Robots

to better understand the correlation and

connections between computer science

and engineering. Problem solving and

logical thinking will be cornerstones

of the course and will be improved

throughout the year.

Sequential course: Introduction to

Engineering or Computer Science 1

Math 120 - Algebra 1

Grade 8 and 9

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra

(An 8th grade class and also for new 9th

graders who have not taken Algebra 1)

This course develops facility in the use

of mathematical concepts and provides

a thorough foundation in basic algebra

essential to the study of advanced

mathematics. Topics covered include (but

are not limited to): operations involving

integers, fractions, and polynomials;

solving equations and inequalities; use of

formulas; factoring polynomials; graphing

linear equations; rational expressions and

equations; quadratic equations; linear

systems; word problems; and radical

expressions and equations. Projects

include Wind-up Cars (applying linear

equations to predict distance and speed)

and the Figurate Number Project where

students build a display using square

numbers, triangular numbers, pentagonal

numbers, and the sequence patterns that

are associated with them.

Sequential course: Math 220 - Algebra 2

Math 220 - Algebra 2

Prerequisite: Math 120 - Algebra 1

We apply and extend the concepts studied

in Algebra 120. We study the concepts

of real and complex number systems,

factoring, function notation, exponents,

radicals, quadratic equations, radical

equations, conics, and matrices. Graphing

and conic sections are explored using


Sequential course: Math 320 - Geometry

Math 320 - Geometry

Prerequisite: Math 220 - Algebra 2

This course investigates Euclidean (plane)

geometry with the emphasis on intuitive

approaches and problem-solving. With

the increasing demand on how we as

people interact in face to face situations


the class is taught with the emphasis that

everyone tackles the topics discussed

together. A theme of cooperation and a

functioning awareness of small group

interaction is at the heart of the program.

Any technology implemented through the

curriculum is geared to create not only

individual investigation but also partner

development. Programs such as The

Geometer’s Sketchpad, Desmos, Symbolab,

and Khan Academy are weaved into the

exploration of the following topics: formal

proofs along with considerable work with

constructions, logical reasoning, and rightangle

trigonometry. Computer generated

and handmade 3D fractals and tessellations

are used to investigate transformations. The

final challenge of the year is to create a

solid vehicle that moves along a specified

path, using the Euclidean (plane) geometry

as the underlying connecting tool.

Sequential course: Math 420 - Pre-Calculus

or Math 410 - Trigonometry

Math 420 - Pre-Calculus

Prerequisite: Math 320 - Geometry The

course aims to develop a foundation for the

continuing study of advanced mathematics

through a focus on the central concepts

of trigonometry and functions. Topics

include trigonometric functions and their

applications, vectors, graphing techniques,

and various functional equations and

inequalities (i.e., polynomial, rational,

exponential, inverse, and logarithmic

functions). Students investigate how

to create a function cat, analyze how

composite trigonometric functions work,

and explore the manipulation of vectors.

The use of computer-based graphing

programs, primarily Desmos, is used

to explore the relationship between

computational mathematics and the graphs

that functions create. This course provides

the basic mathematical building blocks,

conceptual as well as computational,

to further mathematical studies in the

following areas: calculus, physics, and other

sciences, and/or engineering in college.

Sequential course: Math 525 - Calculus

Math 410 - Trigonometry

Prerequisite: Math 320 - Geometry

This year-long course investigates the

fundamental concepts of trigonometry.

Topics include functions, identities,

equations, graphs, and vectors. The course

emphasizes real-life applications. Students

utilize technology to manipulate graphs of

trigonometric functions to gain a deeper

understanding of how the functions

behave. Students plot real-world data

and create functions to model it and use

a trigonometric approach to solving realworld

physics problems.

Sequential course: Math 415 - Statistics or

Math 420 - Pre-Calculus

Math 415 - Statistics

Prerequisite: Math 320 - Geometry or

Math 410 - Trigonometry or departmental


In this year-long course, students acquire

the skills and tools needed to collect,


analyze and draw reasoned conclusions

from data. By the end of the course,

students are well-prepared for collegelevel

statistics, which is currently a

requisite for most college majors. More

importantly, perhaps, students are able

to critically analyze and understand the

myriad numbers that bombard them on

a daily basis. Students enjoy the handson

exploration of the laws of probability

through simulation exercises and games of

chance. Projects on random sampling and

experimentation help make the sometimes

elusive background theory of statistics

come to life.

Math 525 - Calculus 1

Prerequisite: Math 420 - Pre-Calculus

Students study and develop facility

in applying fundamental concepts of

calculus including functions, limits,

continuities, derivatives, and integrals.

In addition, time is allotted to investigate

graphing, applications of derivatives and

integrals, volumes, fluid forces, moments,

and centers of mass. Students demonstrate

the application of calculus concepts

to real-world applications including

optimization, artificial intelligence, and

Netflix and Amazons’ recommendations

systems; emphasize the power of

calculus to connect position, speed, and

acceleration to answer questions about

rockets and other moving bodies; and use

word problems so that students apply the

knowledge they have gained.

Sequential course: Math 530 - Calculus 2

Math 530 - Calculus 2

Prerequisite: Math 525 - Calculus

Students review the following fundamental

concepts of calculus: functions, limits,

continuities, derivatives, and integrals.

The course then covers infinite sequences

and series, polar coordinates and

conics, vectors, motion in space, partial

derivatives, and multiple integrals.

Group learning is emphasized with an

intentionally small class size and the use of

technology is encouraged on the multiple

collaborative projects.

Computer Science 1

Grades 9-12

This year-long course introduces students

to the basic components of programming

in Java and gives students the tools

to write computer programs of their

own. Computer Science 1 begins with

instruction in logical reasoning, clarity,

and organization of thought. The computer

programming assignments emphasize

mastery of variables, types, conditionals,

loops, functions, arrays, and more.

Readability, debugging, formatting, and

organization are emphasized throughout

the course. Students write a program to

generate MadLib-style stories; create textbased

games such as Hangman, Choose

Your Own Adventure, and Tic-tac-toe;

learn to break down complex problems

into simple pieces, write a typing-tutor that

calculates words per minute and accuracy;

and learn to manage more complex

projects such as a graphical computer

game. It is assumed that the students have little

or no knowledge of computer programming.


However, a solid foundation in Algebra,

particularly, comfort with the abstractions

therein, is an important component necessary

for success in this course. There are frequent

homework assignments and regular quizzes in

this course.

Computer Science 2

Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Computer Science 1

In this year-long class, Computer Science

2 students immerse themselves in more

challenging problems and learn more

complex programming constructs in

the Java Programming Language. CS

2 begins with a study of control flow,

followed by principles of Object Oriented

Programming. Students design larger

programs than they have before. This

necessitates organization, clarity of

thought, and a renewed emphasis on

clear commenting. CS 2 students are

also introduced to more advanced data

structures and a small amount of theory of


Intro to Engineering

Grades 8-12

This class provides an introduction to the

design, fabrication, and testing process

followed by all engineers. Students gain

these engineering skills by completing a

variety of projects like building bridges,

remote controlled cars, a trebuchet, and

other projects. These projects introduce

basic mechanical construction techniques

necessary to be a successful engineer.

Students use computer-aided design

programs (AutoCAD) to design each piece

needed for their designs. Students then

fabricate prototypes and final designs using


AutoCAM, 3D printers, CNC routers, and

printed circuit board makers. The final step

is to assemble and test their designs. The

course is meant to instill the engineering

design process and the need for iterative

design. Students are expected to create

prototypes, then make and document

design decisions based on testing of those


Sequential course: Mechatronics or

Computer Science 1


Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Computer Science 1

Mechatronics provides an integration of

computer programming and engineering

with a focus on the use of engineering

principles as a guide. Projects such as

building a maze running robot and making

a Heads-Up Display, allow students to

learn how to create mechanical electrical

systems that use computer programming to

adapt and react to surroundings. Students

further develop concepts of 3D modeling

and printing to create more substantial

models and to better understand the

application of the engineering process.

Students improve upon manufacturing

techniques and use more sophisticated

tools to create more complicated and

intricate systems that intertwine mechanical

and electrical systems to solve real-world

engineering problems. Completion of

projects should reinforce and develop

students abilities to make informed design

decisions. This course reinforces ideas

behind documentation of work using an

engineering notebook and other report


Sequential course: Collaborative Capstone


Sandia Prep endeavors to introduce

students, through comprehensive course

work, to the many facets of science. In

both middle and upper school, science

classes are taught using tradition principles

coupled with innovation and questionbased

thinking to prepare students to be

leaders in the 21st century.

In middle school, students begin their

journey gathering a fundamental

understanding of what science is

through the exploration of physical,

life, and Earth science. This foundation

emphasizes scientific theory and proper

lab techniques, as well as providing them

with hands-on experience through data

collection and analysis. Upper school

students are excited about moving

into specific areas of science, starting

with geology in 9th grade, where they

are provided a window into the past

through the vast geology of New Mexico.

Biology students study genetics, bacteria,

microscopy, photosynthesis, respiration,

and ecosystems. They are lead through a

variety of complex labs in chemistry class.

The physics curriculum allows students

the opportunity to not only learn how

something works, but physically apply

the theories that are studied in lecture. By

graduation, students are equipped to be

competitive in any science program at any



Science 6 - General Lab Science

In this lab based foundation class, students

study a wide variety of topics in various

disciplines of science. Using examples

of work done by real-world scientists,

students model, question, interpret,

and analyze data sets and experiments

throughout the year. Practicing proper

lab techniques and scientific methods,

students acquire new laboratory skills and

increase confidence in their understanding

of science concepts, both locally and

globally. Projects include LEAP (Learning

the Ecosystems of Albuquerque Project),

which requires students to research a

specific species, its ecosystem, and how

environmental factors can affect things

such as behavior and migration; and

involvement in national and international

oceanic research project, which allows

students to work on current research

being conducted by international research

teams. At the end of the sixth grade year,

students have a strong foundation of skills

and content knowledge necessary for the

advanced science courses in upper school.

Science 7 - Life Science

The primary objective of the 7th grade

science program is for students to explore

biological communities and the roles of

living organisms. The class begins in the

school garden, with inquiry-driven field

ecology experiments on plants, pollinators,

ants, or soil. Students delve into botany by

germinating seeds, studying plant growth

and plant anatomy. With this foundation

students transition into ecosystem studies

of diverse microscopic pond life and the

intricate structures inside cells. The class

expands to explore biomes and their

respective climates and biota. In the

spring, the focus shifts to reproduction,

genetics, and the human body, and the

factors that keep it healthy. Seventh grade

students organize a community-wide

blood drive as part of this effort.

Science 8 - Physical Science

Physical science focuses on the

fundamentals of both chemistry and

physics. In the chemistry section, students

examine the properties of matter, atomic

structure, the periodic table, chemical

bonding, and chemical reactions.

These concepts are then applied during

numerous labs, including but not limited

to, observing periodic trends within

elements and how new chemicals are

formed during chemical reactions. In the

physics section, students examine forces,

motion, energy, simple machines, and

waves, including sound and light. Students

perform a variety of labs utilizing speed

as a predictive tool, observing how work

and force change through various simple

machines, and studying pressure through

the creation of “shoes” to walk on eggs. At

the end of the year, students are prepared

to move into high school science classes.

Geology 1

Grade 9

It would be unforgivable to not teach

geology in New Mexico. This is a year-long

lab science class focusing on the study of

the Earth’s dynamic processes and systems

through topics including plate tectonics,

the rock cycle, minerals, volcanology,


seismology, geologic time, paleontology,

and mapping. Students are immersed in

both global and New Mexico geology,

including fieldwork at the Albuquerque

volcanoes (Rio Grande Rift – the third

largest rift in the world) and the Ojito

Wilderness. Students are actively involved

in understanding the application scientific

methods, through lab work, activities,

research, notes, and group projects.

Students focus on detailed observations,

accuracy, analyzing, and problem-solving.

Molecular Biology

Grade 10

Molecular Biology introduces students to

the fundamental processes that apply to

all living organisms. Hands-on laboratory

work is the focus of this class, examining

enzyme reactions, cell structure, cell

mitosis and meiosis, cell respiration and

fermentation, genetics, and heredity,

along with an introduction to organic and

biochemistry. Extensive use of technology

includes microscopy, data-collection

technology with Vernier LabPro, and TI-

83 graphing calculators. Students learn

the basics of biology while concentrating

on the scientific method, proper lab

technique, data analysis, and critical

thinking skills.

Ecological Biology

Grade 10

Ecological Biology introduces students

to the broad spectrum of macrobiology

topics as they seek to answer the question

of “What is life?” This is explored through

the study of the fundamental concepts

of life and life processes, including

fundamentals of ecology (energy flow

and natural cycles, levels of organization,

environmental succession, ecosystems,

the ecology of early Earth and New

Mexico, biodiversity, climate and climate

change); biochemistry (photosynthesis,

cellular respiration, enzyme catalysis); and

genetics and evolution (cell reproduction,

DNA-RNA-protein synthesis, Mendelian

and population genetics, classification/

taxonomy). Using scientific methods of

data gathering and interpretation, students

not only consider current systems of

diverse life forms, but also look ahead

to anticipate the consequences of

environmental changes and decisions.

Biology 2

Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Biology with a grade of “B“

overall and/or permission of the instructor

This highly challenging class provides

students with an opportunity for in-depth

study of microbiology, genetics, and

biotechnology. During the first semester,

students focus on genetics as it relates

to heredity, health, and social issues.

Students conduct experiments breeding

fruit flies and growing genetic corn, which

incorporates not only scientific principles,

but mathematical analysis as well. The

second semester focuses on microbiology

and biotechnology. Students learn to

culture and identify bacteria. The semester

culminates with students working on a

four-week “bacterial unknown” project.

Along with the bacteria studies, students

learn to develop an understanding of

biotechnology, including the use of gel

electrophoresis for DNA analysis. Upon


completion of this course, students have a

solid foundation that serves them in college

science classes.

Chemistry 1

Grade 11

Strongly advise concurrent with Pre-Calculus

or Calculus 1

In this foundational chemistry class, students

study a broad spectrum of related topics,

including modern atomic theory, chemical

bonding, chemical reactions, phase changes,

nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and

stoichiometry. Students perform labs to

illustrate a variety of chemical interactions

and principles with the emphasis on

learning proper lab techniques with more

advanced equipment. Experiments include:

separating and identifying the dyes in candy

coatings, synthesizing esters, determining

the empirical formula of a compound, and

finding the concentration of an acid through

titration. Students also perform their own

experiment on a science topic of their

choice during the year.

Chemistry 2

Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Chemistry 1 with a grade of

“B-“ overall and a grade of “C-“ on the

mid-term exam, or better, Algebra 2, and/or

permission of the instructor

Chemistry 2 provides students with the

opportunity to investigate chemical topics in

more detail and to apply chemical principles

to a variety of thematic content areas. Topics

include polymer chemistry, chemistry in art,

forensics, Redox reactions, thermochemistry,

chemical equilibrium and kinetics, and

environmental chemistry. In the lab,

emphasis is placed on experimental

design, keeping a lab notebook, identifying

unknowns, and chemical engineering.

Experiments include: building and using

a hydrometer, creating and modifying

a bioplastic, making a plant dye, and

isolating and identifying the compounds in

polluted water. The course also includes

field trips and/or guest speakers to help

students understand the careers that

extensively use chemistry.

Physics 1

Grades 11-12

In physics, students are introduced

to the essential principles of physics

such as dynamics, energy, waves, and

electromagnetism that describe the

interaction of matter and energy. Students

develop both a mathematical and

conceptual understanding of the subject

through experimental design in order to

illustrate and predict outcomes. Physics is

a hands-on course where students use their

existing knowledge of the world to deepen

and solidify their understanding of the

principles of physics. Lab work includes

activities such as hitting a moving target

with one try using only the equations of


Physics 2

Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Physics 1 with a grade of

“B-“ overall and a grade of “C-“, or better,

on the mid-term exam, Algebra 2, and/or

permission of the instructor

This challenging class builds upon several


of the topics from Physics 1 by advancing

students’ understanding of fundamental

concepts. These concepts include;

mechanics as it pertains to rotating objects

along with electricity and magnetism by

introducing capacitors and capacitance.

Advanced physics students also study

select modern physics subjects such as

relativity and quantum mechanics. Inquirybased

laboratory work, student-directed

collaborative projects, problem-solving,

and critical thinking are essential elements

of the work in this class.

Environmental Science 1:

Ecosystems and Climate

Grades 11-12

Offered every other year

Prerequisite: Molecular or Ecological


Ecosystems and Climate focuses on the

interactions between living organisms and

their environments, including biotic factors

such as population growth, biodiversity,

competition, predator-prey interactions,

epidemiology, and the abiotic factors that

control Earth’s climatic systems and the

ecosystem patterns that result. This course

involves independent research, field trips,

and inquiry-based experiences in the lab

and in the field.

Environmental Science 1: Resource

Consumption, Pollution, Water,

and Energy

Grades 11-12

Offered every other year

Prerequisite: Molecular or Ecological


This course emphasizes the influence of

humans on Earth’s natural resources and

the sustainable use of ecological services

on which our civilization depends. The

class begins studying human population

patterns and fundamental principles

of resource economics. Students map

their own ecological footprints and

ways to mitigate individual impacts on

the environment. The focus of the class

then turns from the causes, effects, and

solutions, to challenges of pollution,

water resource scarcity, and sustainable

energy generation. The course involves

independent research, simulations in the

lab, and several field trips.

Comparative Anatomy & Evolution

Grades 11-12

Offered every other year

Prerequisite: Molecular or Ecological


In Comparative Anatomy and Evolution

students study the origins of life and

the evolution and diversity of animal

phyla. The course emphasizes laboratory

dissection and live observations of

representative species. Students examine

the taxonomic methods biologists use to

determine how organisms are related,

investigate the genetic basis of evolution,

and study the principles and statistical

methods of population genetics and

cladistics (quantifying genetic similarity

between different species). Independent

research focuses on major evolutionary

milestones and characteristics of the

different animal phyla. The course explores

the fundamental principles and drivers of

evolution, such as environmental change,


predator/prey interactions, disease, and


Anatomy & Physiology

Grades 11-12

May be taken as separate semester courses

or as a full-year course

Human anatomy and physiology provides

students with the opportunity to study the

structure, chemical processes, injuries,

and illnesses within each organ system.

The class begins with an introduction to

common terms, basic biochemistry, and

the general organization of the body. Next,

all 12 body systems are examined and

students gain a basic understanding. In

addition to learning the content, students

apply their knowledge during various

labs, including comparing and analyzing

distribution and concentration of sweat

glands throughout the body during the

section focused on the skin. This course

includes field trips and/or guest speakers

to introduce students to various medical

careers and procedures they might

encounter in their life.


To teach History is to inspire vision –

a global, expansive understanding of

the complexities of human interaction

from the distant past to the present.

In our classrooms, we trace threads

of experience and knowledge across

time and help students understand the

decisions that brought us to where we

are at this moment.

Our curriculum brings together global

and regional studies, as our students

actively and consistently engage

in conversation over why and how

events unfolded the way they did.

Further, we offer opportunities for

deep study, engaging in research and

writing in such a way that students

come away with knowledge and

insights unique to their particular area

of study.

Through a variety of classroom

modalities, we offer students the

chance to grow into both active

learners and budding scholars. These

approaches give our students the

chance to translate new ideas and

insights into a powerful language

of learning that leads to a complex

understanding of the people, places,

and events in our world.

World Cultures & Geography

Grade 6

Students in this course develop a

geographic and cultural literacy as they

explore their world. They acquire the

concepts and vocabulary necessary to

analyze the elements of any culture and to

understand the inter-relationship of cultures

and the physical spaces they occupy. A

variety of projects, research opportunities,

and discussions provide the framework for

student engagement and collaboration.

New Mexico History

Grade 7

This course promotes appreciation for, and

understanding of the factors that led to

New Mexico being such a culturally and

environmentally diverse area. Beginning

with the prehistory of the region and its

original inhabitants, students examine

the history of conquest and adaptation

by multiple groups as they acquired a

common identity as New Mexicans. In

addition, students are introduced to New

Mexico’s role in contemporary issues

beginning with events at Los Alamos and

White Sands. From the outset, the course

supports students developing research,

writing and critical thinking skills.

U.S. History

Grade 8

The 8th grade course traces the origins

of American society from settlement

through the Civil War. Students examine

the founding of the republic and examine

the creation of American government

through the Constitution and the Bill of


Rights in historical and philosophical

perspective as it applies to issues, cases,

and controversies. Reading, discussion,

writing, debate, presentation, and roleplaying

help us synthesize information

from primary and secondary sources to

prepare students for further historical and

social inquiry.

Ancient World History

Grade 9

This course traces human history from the

Neolithic Revolution through the Middle

Ages to discover how early cultures shaped

our world. Students study the beginnings

and characteristics of civilizations in

Africa, Asia, and Europe and examine

the development of world religions,

politics, and philosophy. Students write

independent research papers and learn the

fundamentals of historical research and


Modern World History

Grade 10

The Modern World course examines

history beginning with the era of the

Renaissance in Europe and continuing

to the present day. Students examine

colonialism, nationalism, world conflicts,

and the place of individuals in society.

Using discussion-based learning, and

problem-based approaches, students use

critical thinking skills to engage theories,

perspectives, and philosophies as they

work to understand historical patterns and


United States History

Grade 11

The course offers students a wide

historical sweep of American history from

the colonial period to the current day.

Students learn not only the major events

and decisions that formed American

culture, but also the complex context often

surrounding those events. Students are

encouraged to use the knowledge they gain

to form their own opinions and perspective

and to express those opinions in class

discussion. Literature, film, presentations,

and research projects are an essential part

of the class.


American Political Theory

In this senior elective, students in the

Political Theory class seek to understand

the theory and ideology of the Framing and

Ratification of the American Constitution,

and how that Constitution has been put

into practice over the history of the United

States. Students study the philosophical

ideas behind the Founding Fathers, as

well as Supreme Court decisions, current

events, and literature and other media

having to do with self-government.

Students engage in reading and discussion

about current and historical issues, and

what it means to be a citizen of this

community and country.


Globalization & Global Studies

Looking at the world from a modern

global perspective, students examine the

development of interconnections between

people and societies in the 21st century.

The course investigates the economic

development and integration between

and among people, private companies,

and nation-states. Students explore the

effects on the environment, labor, culture

and political systems. Finally, students

produce a capstone project that examines

one problem in the world based on

globalization and propose ways to address

the issue using research methodologies

taught in the course.

United States Social History: An

Examination of Social Movements

The course is an examination of 20th

century American history using readings,

music, documentaries, lectures, discussions

and primary sources as students travel

through the century decade by decade. The

class focuses closely and comparatively

on the 1920s,1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Students examine how the themes of

freedom and social movement intertwine

with race, gender, class, sub-culture and

popular musical culture. The overarching

themes of the class are freedom, race,

and gender. Students are required to

think historically and critically in their

understanding of American history and

culture in the 20th century.

Oppression, Resistance, and

Transformation - NEW CLASS

This course in social, political, economic,

and racial history is an effort to prepare

students to be full participants in a

democracy, educating them about many

issues related to power, privilege, and

identity. Students will be prepared for

diverse environments and understand the

dynamics of oppression, as well as, the

history of struggle and resistance. Students

will dive deeply into the perspectives

of marginalized people, suppressed

histories, and social movements in order

to understand the world today. In terms of

assessment, students can expect a series

of writing assignments, journaling, and

presentations on specific topics.

Western Civilization II: History

1102 - NEW CLASS

Dual-Credit Course (CNM)

This course examines the transformation of

the western world beginning in 1648, and

moving through the Age of Revolutions,

Industrialization, Imperialism and

Expansion, as well as the wars of the 20th

and 21st centuries. Students will read from

texts and primary sources as well as write

analytical essays that discuss, explain,

and analyze major problems in human

societies of the recent past.




That our students learn a second

language well is evident all over

campus - mid-schoolers jumping

from their cars at morning drop-off

to proclaim “Buenos dias” to their

Spanish teacher who happens to be

on duty; upper schoolers sitting on

the grass having lunch, practicing

the poetry recitation due in French.

Advanced students are comfortable

discussing novels and giving

presentations in their second language.

We want every one of our students to

go into life comfortable with the global

perspective speaking another language

offers. But this study is more than just

about the language. To truly become

global citizens, our students must also

be comfortable with other cultures, to

not only know, but also appreciate the

ways other cultures are different from

ours. In language classes, students

study that aspect of language just as

closely. Our language classes create a

new awareness, an expansive vision,

that includes not only what it means

to be different, but what it means to be

the same.

Heritage Spanish (Grades 6-7)

This class is offered to 6th and 7th grade

students with a strong proficiency in

Spanish. This advanced language instruction

is typically for students who speak Spanish

at home or come from dual language

programs. Students explore themes such as

Latina women in history and the idea of the

hero in reading, conversation, essays, and

multimedia presentations. While this is a

course based in conversation, students also

receive supplemental lessons in grammar.

The focus is to produce articulate and wellrounded

speakers and writers in Spanish.

Middle School Spanish

Middle School French

Grades 6-8

Students learn Spanish and French

through songs, games, and role-play in an

environment where the focus is on creating

community and enjoying the learning

process. The focus is on verbal practice

and building confidence as we begin the

process of creating passionate, engaged,

life-long language learners. In French,

students collaborate in an immersion

atmosphere to build objects from Rube

Goldberg machines to Parisian Monuments.

In Spanish students explore the culture

and ecology of Costa Rica as a means of

preparing for the opportunity to travel to

Costa Rica in the 8th grade.


Heritage Spanish (Grades 8-9)


This course is for students that have been

raised in a Spanish speaking community or

have several years of experience in a dual

language program in elementary school

and have completed Heritage Language

for 6th and 7th graders. Thematic units

will explore Latino Identity in a variety

of contexts. Class activities will involve

exploring and researching primary sources

from different genres such as literature,

popular music, poetry, visual culture, and

performance arts. This class will extend

students’ abilities in speaking, listening,

reading, and writing. The students will

interview and showcase the lives of

local Latino leaders. Activities will

include poetry writing, essay writing, and

performing self-created skits.


French 1-5

Grades 9-12

From the beginning level of study, learning

basic vocabulary and verb conjugations,

to our advanced classes that include

the study of French literature, each level

of instruction offers a continued, everdeepening

study of the language and

culture of francophone countries. Students

work together to write dialogue and

stories, build fictional cities, and cook

French meals. French is primarily spoken

in an immersion environment, even in the

beginning levels, so our students’ listening

proficiency is highly developed. In addition

to the language and culture, students also

examine important aspects of French

history, art, and music.

Spanish 1-3

Grades 9-12

Students learn Spanish through speaking;

through conversations about food, sports,

vacations, movies, and any other topics

students want to engage in. Each level of

Spanish instruction builds on the previous

year, both deepening and broadening

the students’ understanding of grammar,

vocabulary, and culture. Latin American

history, music, art, and food are everpresent

topics. Students develop the

unique skill of understanding spoken

Spanish, and they also become strong,

proficient speakers and capable writers.

Spanish 4 - Advanced Grammar

through Latin American Film

Grade 11

Using Latin American films and

documentaries as a point of departure,

students research and discuss issues

in Latin American history and politics.

Students explore idioms and new

vocabulary connected to films such

as “Maria Full of Grace,” “El Norte,”

and “Motorcycle Diaries.” Students are

introduced to complex issues of grammar

which they apply in writing critical essays

and preparing oral presentations on

contemporary social, cultural, and political

issues such as immigration, the impact of

the economy on different social classes,

and gender differences in Latin American

culture. Students learn critical thinking

skills and deepen their verbal and written


expression in Spanish.

Spanish 5 - Border Studies and

Special Topics in Latin American


Grade 12

This class explores the concept of creating

and negotiating borders between countries,

cultures, and languages. Students engage

in a series of readings related to the history

and politics of immigration between

Latin America and the United States.

Students interview an immigrant, prepare

a transcript, and then present it to the

class. Students travel to the border at El

Paso, where they have the opportunity to

speak with advocates for the immigrant

community, immigration agents, and

hear powerful testimony from people

who have been deported back to Mexico.

Students develop a broader understanding

of all of the social, cultural, economic,

and political complexities immigration

presents. Students also participate in

Modelo Naciones Unidas Version en

Español (Spanish Model United Nations).

This is one of the first of its kind conducted

in the United States and includes a diverse

group of schools in a conference hosted

at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Students learn the language of diplomacy

to advocate for countries and policies with

Spanish speakers.

previous years of studying Chinese. The

course aims to help students to develop

independent and confident skills as a

learner and user of Chinese in a Chinese

speaking environment. Students will read

authentic texts covering various aspects of

Chinese society, culture, politics, literature,

and history. This course will strengthen

students’ knowledge of grammar and

vocabulary and will develop skills in both

written and spoken Chinese.

Mandarin 4

Prerequisite: Mandarin Chinese III or

equivalent experience

Mandarin Chinese 4 builds on the

knowledge students have gained over the


Performing/Visual Art Rotation for

Grades 6 and 7 on page 7



Walk into our Performing Arts

Center and you will hear a glorious

cacophony - saxophones rifting

Sammy Nestico; the chorus singing

an African folk song; actors learning

lines; the harmony of a cello and a

violin working out Pacobel’s Canon;

dancers calling out the 5-6-7 beat;

groups of guitarists concentrating on

complicated chord progressions; and

student directors giving orders to the

student tech crew.

Our Performing Arts students work

hard and put in long hours to reach

the high bar of excellence their

teachers set, but the final product

is always stunning. “Worth it,” the

students say. The audience, usually on

their feet applauding thunderously,

would certainly agree.

Whether it’s music in the Quad for

a Prep event or a full house in the

auditorium for the spring musical,

each Sandia Prep performance

resonates with energy, quality, and



Intro to Theater

Grade 8

This one-year course provides a solid

introduction to the performing arts

focusing primarily on acting and

touching base on theatrical production.

Included in this curriculum are workshop

segments covering auditioning, character

development, vocal work, monologues,

scenes, improvisation, musical theater

history, and performance (including

singing and dancing.) Students also

explore the technical tools that enhance

an actor’s process. This includes make-up

design, costuming, prop manipulation and

construction, and a general overview of

all the technical and production elements

that are needed to produce a “show.”

Students have multiple opportunities to

perform individually as well as with other

classmates. Ideally, this course provides a

solid foundation of information that gives

the student a better understanding of our

theatrical process, prepare them for upper

school classes and productions, develop

confidence within themselves when it

comes to public presentation, pique the

student’s interest in multiple areas of the

performing arts, and of course have fun!

Fundamentals of Dance

Grades 9-12

This course is an introduction to the

fundamentals of ballet technique. Ballet

elements include beginning ballet

movements, positions, vocabulary, and

arre work. Students explore other genres

of dance such as jazz, hip hop, and lyrical/

contemporary. In each class students are

expected to participate in warm ups, across

the floor progressions, choreography and

review. Dance classes require students

to be dressed appropriately in dance

attire, and participation is essential to the

fulfillment and completion of this course.

Explorations of Dance


Grades 9-12

This course is designed for students with

previous dance training. Students build

on their ballet and jazz technique as

well as the elements of performance,

choreography, production, and teamwork.

During each class students are expected

to participate in stretch and strength

exercises, across the floor progressions,

and collaborative choreography projects.

Students focus on increasing flexibility,

stamina, and muscle tone. Students

must be dressed appropriately in dance

attire, and participation is essential to the

fulfillment and completion of this course.


Middle School Chorus: Grades 6-7

Upper School Chorus: Grades 8-12

A year-long class

Students in Choir learn to develop proper

vocal technique with posture, breath

management, diction, and expression,

as well as the skills of score study, sight

reading, and analysis of musical forms.

The repertoire of songs includes diverse

cultures and historical periods. Students

perform regularly and have the opportunity

to audition for the Solo and Ensemble

Festival and All-State.

Jazz Band

Beginning Jazz

Intermediate Jazz

Advanced Jazz

A year-long class

Our Jazz Bands embody a passion,

energy, and enthusiasm for music. Even

our beginning players stand up with

confidence to play an improvised solo

in true jazz tradition. Students learn to

interpret different styles and rhythms, to

perform as an ensemble, to develop the

skills of sight reading and improvisation,

and to make music come alive through the

subtleties of dynamics and phrasing.

Student must provide instrument.


Middle School Strings: Grades 6-8

Upper School Strings: Grades 8-12

A year-long class

Students who have an interest in playing

strings, whether cello, violin, viola, or bass,

come together in this orchestral ensemble.

Picolo is also welcome. The Strings

groups perform often at school events,

as well as in collaboration with other

performing ensembles. Preparation focuses

on blending of intonation, articulation,

dynamics, and expression. Music theory is

covered, as well as historical context of the

music. Student must provide instrument.

(A few are available for loan.)



Beginning Guitar: Grades 6-8

Intermediate Guitar: Grades 6-8

Advanced Guitar: Grades 8-12

A year-long class

The Sandia Prep Guitar program is open

to any middle or upper school student

who has an interest in learning guitar. All

three class levels learn and practice proper

techniques of playing and strumming,

music reading, and music theory. These

classes perform often at Sandia Prep

events. Students must provide their own

nylon string guitar. A few are available for


Triple Threat

Grade 9

The one year Triple Threat class allows

students to experience the three performing

arts disciplines: acting, singing, and

dancing. The emphasis in this class is

to strengthen EACH of the elements

and create a well-rounded “triple threat

performer.” Students rotate through all

three areas of performance learning

the tools and techniques needed for

performance as well as having additional

time to further focus and develop their

chosen “threat.” Students are encouraged

to take this Triple Threat course prior to

splitting off into the individual performance

electives offered in upper school.

Tech Theater

Grades 9-12

A year-long class Prerequisite: Each level

must be successfully completed before

moving on to the next


Each level of Technical Theater teaches

through doing. Students study the many

facets of theater stagecraft as they design,

build, sew, and paint for Prep stage

productions, learning lighting, rigging,

props and sound, scenery construction,

and costume design. In level 4, senior

students, proficient and able in the

technical aspects of theater, step into

leadership roles and manage one or more

departments for a main stage production.

Acting Intensive 1-2

Grades 10-12

A year-long class

These semester classes offer students an indepth

look at the art of acting that explores

both stage and film performance. Students

learn to discern a character’s objectives,

actions, and intentions, with an emphasis

on “physicalizing” the character. Specific

units include the art of makeup, musical

theater, techniques of auditioning, and

acting for comedy.

Extreme Theater

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

This advanced theater arts course involves

producing upper school plays in the

fall and spring semesters. All aspects of

production will be covered including

acting, directing, stage management,

technical elements, marketing, and front

of house. In addition to the mainstage

productions, possible projects will

include film acting with Prep’s Advanced

Digital Film class, the Annual One Act

Play Festival, and a children’s theater

touring production to elementary schools.

Performing/Visual Art Rotation for

Grades 6 and 7 on page 7


At Prep, art hangs from the trees in

the Quad and from the rafters in the

Concourse. Paintings bold with color

line the walls of our Student Center.

Sensitive and compelling self-portraits,

in black and white photography or

clay, fill the gallery. Ceramic totem

poles peep from the plants along the

walkways. Interesting items find their

way out of our recycle bins to become

plastic bottle and tire sculptures.

The Prep art students ensure that art

surrounds the school, offering up

a spirit and energy that carries us

through every day. Our art classes

encourage students to nourish their

creativity and to believe in themselves

as artists.

We encourage students to build strong

portfolios, and, through participation

in group critiques, develop a language

for speaking about art. Even as we

teach our students the fundamentals

of good design, we encourage them to

take artistic risks and to discover new

inspirations and aesthetic awareness.


Grade 8 Art

From drawing lessons in the garden

to building chairs entirely from paper,

students explore both traditional and

contemporary approaches to design,

drawing, printmaking, and sculpture in a

class that keeps the “fun” in fundamentals.

Clay & Sculpture 1-3

Grades 9-12

Year-long class

Students learn to create with confidence

and imagination as they explore the threedimensional

world of sculpture using

clay, glass, cardboard, and mixed media.

The class functions as a collaborative

community, offering both critique and


Drawing & Painting 1-3

Grades 9-12

Year-long class

As they explore advanced techniques in

drawing and painting, students also engage

in new processes of making art, using a

variety of materials such as canvas, wood,

and silk. Students keep a sketchbook and

participate in group critiques.

Photography 1-3

Grades 9-12

Year-long class

In a fully equipped traditional darkroom,

students begin by learning the materials,

processes, and aesthetics of black and

white photography. Advanced Photo

classes introduce students to more

complex processes including the

traditional silver process, cliche-verre,

cyanotype, and hand-coloring.


Digital Media & Communications

Rotation for Grades 6 and 7 on

page 7



Because the ever-expanding world

of communication is one without

boundaries, today’s students must

be prepared to adapt to all emerging

forms of media. The Digital Media

& Communications (DMC) program

teaches fundamental skills and concepts

required in that rapidly evolving and

highly stimulating media environment.

DMC courses allow students the

freedom and creative space to design,

problem solve, and confidently

maneuver the world of global

communication. They create effective

visual presentations, write clearly

for a specific audience, and create,

manipulate, and analyze digital images.

From traditional reporting, writing and

photography to cutting-edge computer

design and programming, students

explore the capabilities of professional

tools and platforms. All courses in this

department are project- and productbased,

challenging students to apply

their skills and knowledge to real-world


Digital Multimedia and Filmmaking

Grade 8

This class is an introduction to digital

filmmaking techniques and processes, from

scripting and storyboarding to shooting

and editing. Students who enroll in this

class must pass filmmaking “boot camp”

with lessons covering equipment, lighting,

audio, camera shots, and editing. Students

use state-of-the-art cameras and software

in the digital media lab to create many

interesting video projects, such as movie

trailers, commercials, music videos, and

short stories. This course prepares students

for 21st century graphic design, digital

imaging, animation, desktop publishing,

and web page design. Students learn to

harness the power of Adobe’s Creative

Suite which includes PhotoShop, Illustrator,

LightRoom, Animate, InDesign, Audition,

DreamWeaver, and Muse.

Graphic Design

Grade 9-12

A one-semester elective

Students with an interest in Photoshop

and Illustrator develop skills using Adobe’s

powerful applications in graphic design

projects including movie posters, magazine

covers, and photo colorization. Units

include digital photography, scanning,

advanced layer applications, and masking

techniques, as well as mastery of the pen

tool and the shape builder tool.


Computer Animation

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

This class introduces the basics of

computer animation, starting with simple

GIF animations in Adobe Photoshop and

progressing to Adobe Animate, where the

foundations of keyframes, shape tweens,

motion-tweens, and the bone tool are

presented. The class culminates with

Blender, a state-of-the-art 3D animation

software suite. Students’ animation projects

are uploaded onto personal websites.

Video Editing & Special Effects

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

Students learn to edit video and do postproduction

special effects work using

high-end software such as Adobe Premiere

Pro and After Effects. The main objective is

trimming clips and constructing well-paced

and visually exciting video sequences. The

course emphasizes the fine arts of color

correction and audio editing to give films

a professional appearance and balanced

sound. Additionally, students learn basic

keyframing and color keying with a green


Access Prep: Broadcasting 1

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

This course prepares students to produce

a monthly multimedia news broadcast for

the Sandia Prep community via YouTube.

Course topics include developing a

basic working knowledge of digital

video cameras, sound and video editing,

interviewing techniques, lighting effects,

creating news and feature stories, and

honing public speaking and presentation

skills for modern media applications.

Student roles include cameraman, reporter,

editor, and web host. Students use high-end

cameras, audio and lighting equipment, as

well as professional video and audio editing

software, such as Adobe Creative Cloud

Suite 2017: Premiere, PhotoShop, Audition,

and After Effects.

Access Prep: Broadcasting 2

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

This course builds on the various techniques

and programs that are introduced in Access

Prep: Broadcasting 1.

Webpage Design

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

Students combine creative vision

with technical knowledge to produce

informative, appealing, and easy-touse

websites. In this hands-on course,

students explore strategies to effectively

communicate using the internet. Students

learn about internet structure, site

layout, style and content, and use web

development tools and languages such as

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to achieve their

design objectives. Websites created are

uploaded to a live web server.


Applied Digital Design 1

Grades 10-12

A year-long class

Each student in this hands-on digital

marketing lab works with designated

athletic teams, clubs, organizations, and

Prep’s Marketing and Communications

Department to create content for Sandia

Prep’s external website and other Prep

communications. Students shoot video,

take photographs, and develop their skills

with the Adobe Creative Suite to produce

multimedia and desktop publishing

projects. Students produce and manage

the multiple aspects of modern marketing

while incorporating digital design.

Applied Digital Design 2

Grades 11-12

A year-long class

Applied Digital Design 2 builds on the

various techniques and programs that are

introduced in the Applied Digital Design


Digital Film 1-4

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

Those students who love film explore all

the elements of writing, directing, and

producing a film of their own. Students

create short movies, work in collaborative

groups to brainstorm, write, shoot, plan

camera techniques, and edit. The class

also participates in the several annual

film festivals, contests, and showcases,

including Prep’s own Captured Sparks



Grades 9-12

A year-long class

For students interested in producing the

monthly school newspaper, the “Sandia

Prep Times”, this is the class. In this

student-managed course, staff members are

responsible for planning the content of the

newspaper; conducting interviews; writing

news stories, features, editorials, columns,

and reviews; editing stories; writing

headlines; taking and editing photographs;

and designing the newspaper using Adobe

InDesign and Photoshop.


Grades 9-12

A year-long class

This journalism class is primarily

concerned with the production of the

school’s yearbook, the “Sandglass.” In this

class, students work together to complete a

200 page all digital, full color publication

for distribution at the end of the school

year. Students use Adobe InDesign, Adobe

Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop to design

layouts and headlines, digitally crop and

prepare photos for placement, and write

captions and yearbook copy to capture the

events and highlights of the school year.

In addition, staff members are responsible

for taking photos, conducting interviews,

organizing and helping with senior pages,

and working with parents on the senior ad

section. Staff members work cooperatively

with editors and the advisor to make sure

that all deadlines are met on time.



The Physical Education program

strives to educate students about

their bodies, to teach them lifelong

habits of fitness, and to create

enthusiasm for physical activities.

By emphasizing the development

and maintenance of an active and

physically fit body, we encourage

students to build good health habits

that carry over into adulthood.

6th Grade Physical Education

In 6th Grade Physical Education, students

learn basic movement and sports-related

skills, such as ball handling, agility,

balance, and hand-eye coordination so

they may compete in, understand, and

enjoy as many activities as possible. The

class also focuses on lifelong fitness and

wellness, and assesses physical fitness

throughout the course of the student’s

physical education. Among the activities

are basketball, field hockey, soccer,

volleyball, and track and field events.

7th Grade Physical Education

This course stresses improving and refining

individual skills and game strategies.

Students are also introduced to new and

more complex skills, thus enabling them to

develop confidence and a sense of mastery

in the activities pursued.

8th Grade Physical Education

In this course, students continue to focus

on improving and refining individual skills

and game strategies, while participating in

nontraditional team sports, such as team

handball, korfball, and Ultimate Frisbee.

High School Physical Education

Grades 9-12

This advanced physical education course

is based on a health-related approach that

stresses the importance of lifetime physical

fitness and wellness. In this course students

focus on activities such as tennis, pickle

ball, golf, archery, and fitness training.


Classes meet four of the six days in the

cycle, with the fifth day encompassing

health topics taught in a classroom setting.

Outside speakers are brought in to provide

information to students on topics such as

Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Sexuality

via this health addition.

Fitness for Life

Grades 9-12

Fitness for Life is an Upper School Physical

Education elective course designed to

introduce the student to different aspects

of physical fitness that are applicable

to daily life, for the rest of their lives.

Through a variety of activities, the student

is exposed to the main components

of physical fitness, including agility,

muscular strength, muscular endurance,

flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.

Activities include, but are not limited

to weight training, yoga, pilates, speed

training, plyometrics, and aerobics, which

occur in specific time frames. Students

demonstrate capabilities of analyzing fitness

components, goal-setting, and applying

classroom activities to their general wellbeing.

Classes meet four of the six days in

the cycle, with the fifth day encompassing

health topics taught in a classroom setting.

Outside speakers are brought in to provide

information to students on topics such as

Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Sexuality

via this health addition.

Students must participate for two

semesters in one year or one semester

over two years to receive credit for PE.

For students participating in athletics

outside of Sandia Prep, they must have

the Athletic Participation Form signed by

their parent(s) and coach(es). All athletic

activities must be approved by the Athletic

Director/PE Department Chair to receive

PE credit. This does not apply to eighth

grade students who are participating at the

upper school level.

Sandia Prep offers one PE credit for any

high school student who participates in an

athletic activity. Athletic activity is defined

by competing against an opponent(s).


532 Osuna Road NE • Albuquerque, NM 87113

505.338.3000 • 505.338.3099 (fax) •

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