Curriculum Guide 2020-2021 as of 02.02.20

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Sandia Prep Curriculum Guide: 2020 - 2021

Curriculum Guide

Middle School & Upper School

2020 - 2021

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 ....................................................................................................... 13

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

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

Modern Language ............................................................................................... 28

Performing Arts .................................................................................................. 31

Visual Arts .......................................................................................................... 34

Digital Media & Communications ...................................................................... 36

Physical Fitness ................................................................................................... 40


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

our makerspace, 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 also are designed to

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



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, as well as around the world: 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, France, Spain, Central America,

Ireland, Scotland, 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


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.

1 2


The Odyssey Scholars Program

Odyssey Scholars is a special academic program offered at Sandia Prep designed to challenge

and inspire our highest level students. The ideal Odyssey Scholar is one who is highly motivated,

responsible, independent, innovative, and curious. The program is a two-year Capstone

program, and it targets students who desire in-depth study in a particular academic or artistic

area--science, mathematics, literature, history, performing and visual arts-- and it challenges

them academically, intellectually, and creatively. Scholars design a two year course of study

for themselves that will include various forms of research, writing, observation, and hands-on

activity, and will culminate in a major public presentation at the end of their senior 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 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 supervisor, works independently off campus.

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

• A Day in the Life: CSI

• Playwrighting/Directing

• The Montessori Method (Educational

• Building a Prototype Prosthetic Arm


• Law and Engineering in the

• Writing, Recording, and Producing an Album Community

• Epilepsy (Pediatric Neurology)

• Natural Resources on Native Lands


Independent Study for Seniors

Seniors wishing to explore an area of study more deeply may do so for 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- through 10th-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 such themes as Latina women in

history and the idea of the hero through reading, as well as 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 of


Engineering & Coding

Sandia Prep’s Engineering & Coding classes begin in middle school 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

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 participates in

nationwide engineering 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 students’ work. Students conduct a “Presentation of Learning”

to demonstrate their skills, understanding, and growth.

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.

Entrepreneurial Studies

Grade 12

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

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

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

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

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.


Subject Grade 6

Grade 7 Grade 8

English English 6




Art & Media


Foundation of


General Science

World Cultures &


Rotation: Art, Music,


and Drama

English 7 English 8

Pre-Algebra Algebra 1

Life Science

New Mexico History

and the West

Rotation: Art, Drama,

Photography, and

Engineering & Technology

Physical Science

U.S. History

No rotation

Full year-long electives

(See Electives 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,

8th Grade Art,

or Intro to Theater



Sixth and Seventh Grade Rotations

The sixth and seventh grade rotation cycle allows students to sample many courses in one year to

begin knowing their own talents and interests, or to find new ones. Classes rotate every quarter.

Sixth-Grade Rotation Courses

Seventh-Grade Rotation Courses

Art - Students create sculptures, pottery, Art - Students continue to build on techniques

drawings, and paintings in the art rotation. covered in 6th grade while getting a more indepth

experience in clay. They explore basic

They have the chance to work with a

variety of materials and methods, including hand building methods like the pinch pot

clay, graphite, charcoal, chalk, and paint. technique, coil method, and slab work, and

The focus is on exploring creativity while work on the pottery wheel learning how to

learning the technical aspects of different center clay and make simple vessels.

artistic processes.

Photography - Introduction to black and

Computer/Keyboarding - After

white photography, use of a 35 mm camera,

familiarizing the class with the technology working in a darkroom, pinhole cameras, and

available at Sandia Prep, students learn enlargements give seventh-grade students a

typing, word processing, multimedia

hands-on experience.

presentations, and internet research, as

well as digital awareness and citizenship. Drama - In seventh grade, drama students

choose the play and make it happen, from

Drama - Improvisations, theater games, costumes and lighting to rehearsals and final

creative dramatic presentations, videos, performances.

and the basics of ballet and jazz give

students the chance to acquire confidence Engineering & Technology - In this nine week

as speakers and performers.

course, students design, build, market, and

advertise a toy vehicle in the engineering lab.

Music - The music rotation includes the They chart performance data in a spreadsheet,

fundamentals of voice and instruments, use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create

music literacy, and reading a score.

advertisements and logos, and learn HTML to

create websites to market the toy. This course

introduces students to the engineering design

process and the world of computing.


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 seven courses per year for 9th and 10th grades and six courses

per year for 11th and 12th grades. 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 continue.

Graduation Requirements

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 may be taken from any


Please see following page for a breakdown of requirements.



Graduation Requirements



Number of Credits

Required Courses


4 credits

English 9 (1 credit)

English 10 (1 credit)

English/History 11 - American Studies (1 credit)

English 12 (1 credit)

Geometry (1 credit)



3 credits

3 credits

Algebra 2 (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)

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)

English/History 11 - American Studies (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 Communications (1/2 credit)

1 additional year of Visual, Performing OR

Communications (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


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

by exploring both creative and analytical


Drop into our classrooms, and you might

witness students engaged in dissecting

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s symbolism in “The

Great Gatsby” or reciting Langston

Hughes’s “Dreams” 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


English 6

From S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” to

Shakespeare’s sonnets, sixth-graders

read extensively and deeply as they are

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/History 11 - American


The American Studies program connects

history and literature, offering a

multidisciplinary approach to exploring the

diversity and complexity of the evolving

American narrative. Students learn about

the major events and decisions that formed

American culture and the complex context

surrounding those events. They study literary

works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as

they become familiar with key themes in

American literature and their corresponding

historical, political, and economic contexts.

Essays, research projects, discussions, and

presentations are essential components of

the American Studies class. The doubleperiod

course, required of all juniors, is

taught by instructors from the English and

History departments and meets the credit

requirements in both disciplines.

English 12

Literary writing, reading, and discussion are

hallmarks of the senior English class. The

course challenges students to use skills from

previous grades with new purposes and

new sophistication. Students write analyses

that offer a clear, in-depth discussion of a

focused thesis and concentrate on analyzing

with thorough explanation, demonstrating a

mind at work in revealing the complexities

within a particular image. Moreover, they

advance their abilities to recognize and

interpret significant threads of metaphor and

symbol, and to recognize aspects of style

and theme unique to particular authors.

11 12


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

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 science and art. Whenever

possible, students apply the mathematical

concepts they have studied to reallife

situations and examples. Students

investigate additional topics, including

ratios, proportion, percent, measurement,

number theory, and statistics.

Sequential course: Pre-Algebra


Grade 7

Prerequisite: Foundations of Mathematics

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: Algebra 1

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. The course also provides

students the opportunity to learn about

mathematics in human history and its

place in the evolution of human thought

and civilization. Students will work in

various settings to further develop a

variety of problem-solving skills via a

variety of traditional and nontraditional

problems. 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.

Sequential course: Geometry


Prerequisite: Algebra 1

This course investigates Euclidean (plane)

geometry with an emphasis on intuitive

approaches and problem-solving. To meet

the demand for collaboration and strong

face-to-face interactions in today’s world,

students are encouraged to tackle topics

together. Cooperation and a functioning

awareness -- why students are doing what

they’re doing -- are 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,

and Khan Academy are weaved into the

exploration of the following topics: formal

proofs along with considerable work with

constructions, logical reasoning, and right

angle trigonometry.

Sequential courses:

- For those who have completed Algebra 2:

Pre-Calculus or Trigonometry

- For those who have not completed

Algebra 2: Algebra 2

Algebra 2

Prerequisite: Algebra 1

We apply and extend the concepts

studied in Algebra 1. Further, we study

the real and complex number systems,

factoring, functions and function notation,

exponents, radicals, quadratic functions,

radical functions, rational functions,

solving polynomial equations, conics, and

matrices. Graphing and conic sections are

explored using graphing utilities. Algebra

2 teachers strive to create a positive

learning environment in which students

not only strengthen their individual basic

math and critical thinking skills but also

are encouraged to problem solve in small

group settings by grappling with real-life


Sequential course:

- For those who have completed

Geometry: Pre-Calculus or Trigonometry

- For those who have not completed

Geometry: Geometry




Prerequisites: Geometry and Algebra 2

This course aims to develop a foundation

for the continued 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. Computerbased

graphing utilities are used to explore

the relationship between computational

mathematics and the graphs that represent

functions. This course provides the basic

mathematical building blocks, conceptual

as well as computational, to further

mathematical studies in calculus, physics,

and other sciences, and/or engineering in


Sequential course: Calculus 1


Prerequisite: 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 the

data. Students also employ a trigonometric

approach to solve real-world physics


Sequential courses: Statistics or Pre-Calculus


Prerequisite: Geometry or Trigonometry or

departmental approval

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. Perhaps

more importantly, 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.

Calculus 1

Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus

Students study and develop facility in

applying fundamental concepts of calculus

including limits, derivatives, and integrals.

Additionally, students investigate graphing,

velocity, optimization, complex volumes,

and other applications of derivatives and

integrals. Students will learn the application

of calculus concepts to machine learning

artificial intelligence. Throughout the

course, the power of calculus to establish a

connecting link between position, speed,

and acceleration; between secant and

tangent slope; between rate of change and

area under a curve, is emphasized.

Sequential course: Calculus 2

Calculus 2

Prerequisite: Calculus 1

Students review the following

fundamental concepts of calculus:

functions, limits, continuities, derivatives,

and integrals. The course then covers

advanced integration techniques,

hyperbolic trigonometric functions,

differential equations, 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.


Engineering & Programming

Grade 8

Engineering and Programming, 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

Intro to Engineering

Grades 9-12

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



Mechatronics 1

Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering

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 writing.

Sequential course: Mechatronics 2

Mechatronics 2

Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering

Mechatronics 2 builds on the foundation

developed in Mechatronics 1 and

Introduction to Engineering. Projects will

push students to integrate skills they have

learned into more complex and larger

scale products. Projects will require

students to use 3D printing, woodworking

and electronics to create products that

are interactive and responsive to the

environment. Students will learn to use

PCB (Printed Circuit Board) software and

produce circuit boards to simplify wiring.

Students will learn how to solder integrated

circuits on PCBs and to organize wiring to

improve efficiency. Students will improve

coding skills in order to include the use of

functions and arrays.

Sequential course: Engineering Capstone

Engineering Capstone

Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Must be a senior who has

completed Mechatronics 1

As a culmination of the engineering

program, students work alongside a mentor

to participate and immerse themselves in

the world of engineering. Students can

work on designing a car with the UNM

FSAE program, work in a lab at UNM

with Biomechanical engineers, or explore

another area of their own interest. This

course is designed so that students can

get access to more advanced topics and

to experience what engineering looks like

in the real world. Students are expected

to work outside of the school day at the

location of the mentor.

Computer Science 1

Grades 9-12

This year-long course introduces students

to the basic components of programming in

Python 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, conditions, loops,

functions, arrays, and more. Readability,

debugging, formatting, and organization

are emphasized throughout the course.

Students write programs to generate Mad

Lib-style stories; create text-based games

such as Hangman, Choose Your Own

Adventure, and Tic-Tac-Toe; create simple

games like Flappy Bird; and learn to

manage more complex projects by breaking

down problems into simpler pieces. 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.

Sequential course: Computer Science 2

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 Python 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 theory of computation.

Computer Science 3

Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Computer Science 2

Computer Science 3 gives students the

opportunity to continue their studies in

computer programming and the concepts

covered in Computer Science 2.

Artificial Intelligence

Grades 12

Prerequisite: Algebra 2

How do Siri and Alexa understand my

requests, and should I be worried about my

privacy? How do self-driving cars work? Is

AI different from machine learning? What is

a neural network? Will AI take away jobs?

Will AI make the world a better place? How

can an algorithm be biased? Should robots

have rights? This course will answer these

questions and many more as AI is examined

from all sides, including the personal,

social, economic, philosophical, and

technical. Students will have opportunities

to do independent projects, speak with

experts at Sandia Labs, train their own

AIs, and debate vital questions about the

future. This course will provide students

with a clear picture of what AI is, how it

works, and where it is going. Students will

also steer the course with their questions

and the answers they discover. Course

work will include discussion, reading,

writing, calculation and data analysis, and

training an AI to recognize visual or audio





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 traditional

principles coupled with innovation

and question-based thinking to prepare

students to be leaders in the 21st century.

In middle school, students begin their

journey gathering a fundamental

understanding of science 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 learn not only 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 seventh-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, and soil. Students delve into botany

by germinating seeds and 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 upper school science classes.

Earth/Planetary Science

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 of scientific methods, through

lab work, activities, research, notes, and

group projects. Students focus on detailed

observations, accuracy, analyzing, and


Molecular Biology

Grade 10

Grade 9 with teacher recommendation

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, and data-collection technology

with Vernier LabQuest. 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

Grade 9 with teacher recommendation

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: Genetics

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.

Biology 2: Anatomy & Physiology

Grades 12

May be taken as separate semester courses or

as a full-year course

Anatomy & 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 for 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

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 an emphasis on learning

proper lab techniques using 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


Physics 1

Grades 11-12

Physics 1 is a lab based course that teaches

the essential concepts of physics: kinematics,

dynamics, energy, momentum, waves,

optics, electricity, and magnetism. As

physics is a discipline that relies heavily on

mathematical analysis, two Physics 1

courses are offered: Physics 1 with

Trigonometry and Physics 1 with Calculus.

The physics content of both courses will

be the same – the only difference will be

the level of mathematics used for problem

solving. Students who have taken Algebra

2 or higher level math courses can take

Physics 1 with Trigonometry (essential trig

concepts will be taught in class). Students

who want to take Physics 1 with Calculus

must have completed Calculus 1 as the

course will routinely use methods of

differential and integral calculus in problem

solving. Both courses will provide an

adequate background for taking Physics 2

and introductory physics in college.

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 Sciences &


Grades 11-12

Offered every other year

Prerequisite: Molecular or Ecological


An exploration of impacts of human

economic development, population growth,

and technology on the environment,

starting with fundamentals of economics

-- types of resources; opportunity costs;

supply and demand in free markets; effects

of regulation, taxation, and externalities;

macroeconomic measures of productivity

and growth and “The Tragedy of the

Commons”. Students calculate ecological

footprints and compare industrialized,

developing, and underdeveloped nations;

and study the major environmental issues

facing our region, country, and planet

-- Climate Change, Energy and Food

Production, Biodiversity Loss, and Pollution.

Throughout the course, students engage

in a long-term project as environmental

consultants to the school, developing a

Sustainability Plan for Sandia Prep that

measures various effects of our school

community on the environment and

proposes changes to mitigate our impacts,

with different teams that focus on one of

the following -- Energy Demand, Water

Consumption, Traffic and Transportation

Impacts, Food Sustainability, and Campus



Comparative Anatomy & Evolution

Grades 11-12

Offered every other year

Prerequisite: Molecular or Ecological Biology

In Comparative Anatomy & 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


Astronomy & Cosmology

Grades 12

This team taught course combines observation

using Sandia Prep’s own observatory and other

local telescopes with a study of the physics

behind the astronomical objects surrounding

us, from planets and stars to the cosmic

filaments, from galaxies such as our own Milky

Way to large galaxy clusters. Students learn

the role played by gravity in astrophysics,

including gravitational lensing, and how

matter and radiation interact. As well, students

learn the basic methods of observational

astronomy, the tools available to astronomers

today, and the physical explanations behind

what we observe.


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

This 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 role-playing 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 writing.

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 events.

History/English 11 - American


The American Studies program connects

history and literature, offering a

multidisciplinary approach to exploring the

diversity and complexity of the evolving

American narrative. Students learn about

the major events and decisions that formed

American culture and the complex context

surrounding those events. They study literary

works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as

they become familiar with key themes in

American literature and their corresponding

historical, political, and economic contexts.

Essays, research projects, discussions, and

presentations are essential components of

the American Studies class. The doubleperiod

course, required of all juniors, is

taught by instructors from the English and

History departments and meets the credit

requirements in both disciplines.


Oppression, Resistance, and


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 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 I: Origins of

Western Civilizations to 1648

Dual-Credit Course (CNM)

Offered in Fall Semester

From the ancient Greek world and the

philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

to the creation of Rome and the later

European states, this course covers the

religious, philosophical, and historical

trends in Western Civilization. Students will

read texts concerned with central ideas in

the West and engage in conversation, both

written and verbal, on these topics.

Western Civilization II: 1648 to

Present (History 1102)

Dual-Credit Course (CNM)

Offered in Spring Semester

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.

United States History I & II

Dual-Credit Course (CNM)

The course surveys economic, political,

intellectual, and social developments in

North America, 1492 - present. The first

semester begins with discussing the contact

between groups in America with Europe

and Africa, examining the societies and

cultures each developed; and ends with

the complexity of Reconstruction. Students

will examine the rise and fall of empires, the

clash and engagement of cultures, religious

fervor, along with political and social

intrigue and war. In the second semester,

students learn about topics such as western

settlement and the frontier, industrialization,

immigration, American imperialism, the

Progressive movement, World War I, the

Roaring Twenties, the Depression, the

new Deal, World War II, the Cold War

and Nuclear Age, the 1950s, Civil Rights,

the 1960s, Vietnam, and the resurgence

of conservatism in the 1980s. In addition,

students will study de-industrialization and

the emergence of a services-based economy

in the latter part of the 20th century, the

growing polarization of political parties

and the role of the media in the political

process, and the critical role of the United

States as a global leader in the politically

volatile climate of the early 21st century.

Latin America I: From Indigenous to

Spanish Empires

Offered in Fall Semester

This course takes a broad overview of Latin

American history from the rise of indigenous

empires in the 14th century, such as the

Inca and Aztec, through the 18th century

and the political and social changes that led

to independence movements throughout

the region. A primary focus of this course

will be to discuss Spanish/indigenous

interactions that led to a complex cultural

makeup in Latin America that challenges

certain myths about conquest and its

aftermath. Students will start with an

analysis of major indigenous empires to

understand not only their lasting impact but



also specifically answer why they determined

the successes and failures of Spanish

governance in different regions. Through all

of this, race and gender will form a key part

of the analysis. The course ends by looking

at the major political changes in the early

nineteenth century that not only curbed the

rights of women and indigenous groups but

also led to independence movements.

Latin America II: Society and

Development in Modern Latin


Offered in Spring Semester

This course covers the independence

movements in Latin America through

modern-day efforts to reshape notions

of citizenship and belonging in different

countries. Students begin by placing Latin

America in a broader regional context to

understand how independence movements

were both similar and different to the

American Revolution. This course will

examine the different social movements that

emerged after independence ranging from

Caudillismo, to Indigenismo, to the popular

revolutions like the Mexican Revolution, to

ask what spawned these movements and

what they meant in terms of race, class, and

gender. The bulk of this course will focus on

the impact of the Cold War in Latin America

and the rise of military dictatorships. The

course will end by examining what the

lasting impact of women’s, indigenous, and

human rights movements have been on

notions of citizenship throughout different

countries. Students will read books, watch

films, and listen to music to better understand

these historical processes.


That our students learn a second

language well is evident all over

campus: middle schoolers jumping

from their cars at morning drop-off

to proclaim “Buenos días” 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.

27 28

The mission of the Language Department is

to provide experiences that cultivate a love

for language learning through a rigorous

and dynamic program. Students improve

their communication skills in Spanish or

French in a developmental process. Our

faculty dedicates themselves to nurturing

students’ progress in the following four

skill areas: reading, writing, speaking,

and listening comprehension. Upon the

completion of 8th-grade Spanish or French,

teachers will make a recommendation as to

the best placement for each student in 9th

grade language. There will be two options:

• Spanish 2 or French 2 - These courses

are more accelerated and challenging,

and dependent on retention of material

from the middle school program.

• Spanish 1 or French 1 - The focus is on

reviewing foundational concepts and

is more accommodating to support any

gaps in previous learning

The department highly recommends

abiding by this process to ensure student

success and achievement in developing

their language proficiency.


Heritage Spanish (Grades 6-7)

This class is offered to 6th- and 7th-grade

students with strong proficiency in Spanish.

This advanced language instruction is

typically for students who speak Spanish

at home or who come from dual language

programs. Students explore such themes 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 of 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. Verbal practice and confidence

building 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 8th grade.

Heritage Spanish 2

Grades 8-9

This course is for students that have been

raised in a Spanish-speaking community

or who 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. Students

will interview and showcase the lives

of local Latino leaders. Activities will

include poetry writing, essay writing, and

performing self-created skits.

Heritage Spanish 3

Grade 10-12

The primary purpose of this course is to

develop all four language skills: listening,

reading, writing, and speaking. This class

is designed for learners who have been

exposed to Spanish in their homes, schools,

or communities from a young age. This

course provides intensive composition

and conversation practice in Spanish. We

will use a variety of readings, films, and

documentaries from Latin American authors

and filmmakers. The goal is to continue

to expand the command of Spanish

grammar and vocabulary and develop

communicative and rhetorical skills,

fluency, and pronunciation.


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, ever-deepening 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

in which students want to engage. 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 ever-present 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 Spanish and 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 (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






Walk into our Performing Arts

Center and you will hear a glorious

cacophony - saxophones riffing

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



Performing/Visual Art Rotation for

Grades 6 and 7 on page 7

Intro to Theater

Grade 8

A year-long class

This 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

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 opportunities to perform individually

as well as with others. Ideally, this course

provides a solid foundation of information

that gives the student a better understanding

of our theatrical process, prepares them for

upper school classes and productions, helps

develop confidence within themselves when

it comes to public presentation, piques the

student’s interest in multiple areas of the

performing arts, and of course, is fun!

Fundamentals of Dance

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

This course is an introduction to the

fundamentals of ballet technique. Ballet

elements include beginning ballet

movements, positions, vocabulary, and

barre 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, acrossthe-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

A year-long class

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



Middle School Chorus: Grades 6-7

Upper School Chorus: Grades 8-12

A year-long class

Students 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.


Prep Performers

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

Prep Performers is a unique ensemble

that performs at school, admission, and

public events, and showcases our school’s

outstanding talent and spirit in the rich

tradition of the Performing Arts. Performers

from ALL disciplines are encouraged to

join—the group’s diversity is one of its

greatest strengths. Prep Performers do not

meet during a daily class slot. Instead, they

rehearse twice a week in the morning,

before the start of school. A love of

performance is the only requirement.

Jazz Band

Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced

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.

Piccolo 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 loan.)

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.

Curtain Up! Theater I, II, III

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

Students will continue to develop their skills

in all facets of live theatrical production:

Acting (exercises, games, improv, pantomime,

mime, scene work, storytelling, auditioning,

method, and monologues.) Large units in tech

theater, including set construction, costume

and make-up design, props, and lighting.

Students build on the lessons touched on

in the Intro to Theater class but spend more

focused time on each block and attach it to

plays and scenes that could be produced. This

is a strong choice for students who want to

build and further develop their theatrical skills

and knowledge. The class can be repeated at

different levels for added skills development.

Performing Arts Intensive

Grades 11-12

Semester-long - Offered Spring and Fall

This advanced performing arts course involves

a student driven “intensive” that includes

large-scale involvement with an outside

performing arts group. Areas of focus can

include acting, dancing, teching, singing or

playing an instrument with a community or

professional organization outside of Sandia

Prep. The instructor, with the student, will

outline the requirements to meet time,

activity, and development goals set for the

advanced performing arts student. This class

is designed for those excelling students within

the Performing Arts field who are ready to

take that next step in their development. In

addition to project time, the student will meet

with their Prep supervisor each week for a

minimum of 45 minutes to track progress.


At Prep, art hangs from the trees in

the Quad and from the rafters in the

theater 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


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.

Performing/Visual Art Rotation

for Grades 6 and 7 on page 7

8th Grade Art

A year-long class

From drawing lessons in the garden

to building chairs entirely from paper,

students explore both traditional and

contemporary approaches to design,

drawing, painting, printmaking, and

sculpture in a class that keeps the ‘fun’ in


Form & Function Pottery

Grades 9-12

Semester-long - Offered Spring and Fall

Students learn how to make ceramic

functional ware using a range of

techniques such as the potter’s wheel,

slab roller, and plaster molds. Students

also explore the aesthetic values of

a vessel and the cultural history of

ceramics by exploring how a vessel is

made, what makes it beautiful, and how

we use it in our daily practices.

Sculptures in Clay

Grades 9-12

Semester-long - Offered Spring and Fall

Students create ceramic sculptures

that will be figurative, abstract, and

expressive. Students learn multiple

techniques in the fabrication of ceramic

sculptures, such as the coil method,

slabs, relief carving, and the hollow-core

method, and will explore a brief history

of ceramics and its unique material




Architectural Studies

Grades 9-12

Semester-long - Offered Spring and Fall

This class is based around the three main

principles of architecture- form, function,

and material. Students will explore a brief

history of architecture and how it impacts

our lives on a daily basis, and how we

can use architecture to improve our lives

with minimal environmental impact.

Students will design, sketch, render, and

fabricate an architectural structure that

shows aesthetics in its form, serves its

function, and considers what materials

would be ideal to support their ideas and


Product Design

Grades 9-12

Semester-long - Offered Spring and Fall

In this class, students investigate the

functionality and aesthetics of common

objects and challenge themselves to

improve them using design thinking

and craftsmanship. Students explore the

function, form, and materiality of certain

objects and products, and learn through

brainstorming, sketching, and creating

prototypes as well as innovating real-life

solutions and using the design process to

demonstrate problem-solving, and artistic


Drawing & Painting 1-3

Grades 9-12

A year-long class

Exploring advanced techniques in

drawing and painting with pencil,

charcoal, and acrylic paint, students

work on a variety of surfaces including

stretched canvas, wood, and silk. Quarterly

sketchbook assignments and group

critiques encourage personal practice and

develop visual literacy.

Photography 1-3

Grades 10-12

A 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




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 Media & Communications

Rotation for Grades 6 and 7 on

page 7

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 webpage 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

Grades 9-12

A year-long 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: Premiere, PhotoShop, Audition, and

After Effects.

Access Prep: Broadcasting 2

A year-long class

This course expands on the topics and

skills taught in Broadcasting 1 as students

independently produce multimedia news

broadcast. Students further develop the use

of digital video cameras, sound and video

editing, interviewing techniques, lighting

effects, creating news and feature stories,

and public speaking. Students use high-end

cameras, audio and lighting equipment, as

well as professional video and audio editing


Webpage Design

Grades 9-12

A one-semester class

Students combine creative vision with

technical knowledge to produce informative,

appealing, and easy-to-use 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

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 and internal

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.

Advanced Applied Digital Design

Grades 11-12

A year-long class

Advanced Applied Digital Design builds

on the various techniques and programs

introduced in the Applied Digital Design


Digital Film

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


Advanced Digital Film

Grades 10-12

A year-long class

Prerequisite: Digital Film

This filmmaking course will emphasize

many of the core technical skills learned

in prior film classes. Students will explore

developing story and character in more

depth as well as learn to produce in a

variety of genres. Special emphasis will be

placed on writing, shooting, and editing

dialogue. As students progress, they

will gain more experience as directors,

production designers, cinematographers,

and editors. Additionally, students will

learn a variety of film crew jobs, from

sound and lighting to building a camera for

a shoot. Serious film students may take this

course for three consecutive years.


Grades 9-12

A year-long class

Students produce the monthly school

newspaper, the “Sandia Prep Times.” 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,

Illustrator, and 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, floor 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.



Upper 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 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, goalsetting,

and applying classroom activities

to their general well-being. 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


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 eighthgrade

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). Students must participate for

two semesters in one year or one semester



532 Osuna Road NE • Albuquerque, NM 87113

505.338.3000 • 505.338.3099 (fax) •

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