Upper School

The Upper School meets St. Catherine’s Mission of providing a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Preparing each girl for leadership and service in a global community entails a breadth of curricular and co-curricular choices and a flexible program that allows each girl to pursue her own interests in depth. A strong advising program, close relationships with teachers both in and out of the classroom, engagement in the community, and self-reflection are central to personal growth. While Upper School students are introduced to the major academic disciplines, the curriculum emphasizes skills that help students synthesize learning across disciplines and that prepare students for success: critical thinking, advanced research, problem solving, collaboration, and written and oral communication. In addition, the rich offerings in the visual and performing arts nurture creative thinking and expression. X-Term focuses on experiential learning. The Intensive Studies Program (ISP) in the Arts, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, or STEM allows motivated students a deep personalized learning program, combining coursework, community service, and a capstone project.

Central to the philosophy of the Upper School is the increased independence of our students. With this independence comes the responsibility each girl has to live with integrity, contribute to a positive community, and use her unique gifts to make the world a better place.

Academic Opportunities in Upper School

List of 5 items.

  • AP and Honors Level Classes

    St. Catherine's offers extensive honors level and Advanced Placement (AP) courses across all disciplines which provides our students with many options for exploration and mastery. With this wide array of academic offerings, each girl develops a class schedule that is uniquely tailored to her interests and passions. 
  • Independent Research

    Within the Armfield Science Center resides a state-of-the-art Independent Research Lab which allows girls to conduct year-round, college-level projects such as harnessing the wind energy from industrial air conditioning units, discovering the effects of biodegradable soap on the freshwater environment or using 3D printing to build mold-inhibiting food containers.
  • The Internship Program

    In the summer before her senior year, each girl has the opportunity to experience potential careers by working with professionals at places such as VCU Medical Center, Richmond CenterStage and CapTech. The internship placements are as unique as every student. 
  • X-Term

    X-Term is a unique year-long cohort with St. Christopher’s School. Students select topics that range from a story of jazz in New Orleans to a cultural exchange in Costa Rica, to community service at Boaz & Ruth. 
  • Saints4Life

    The Upper School Saints for Life Program is a co-curricular program that offers students 12 different grade-level experiences each year in topics such as Health & Wellness, Diversity & Inclusion, Local & Global Citizenship and Leadership & Empowerment.
"The diversity of outlooks and interests of our students creates a lively atmosphere where learning both inside and outside the classroom are valued. We seek to celebrate each girl, to cultivate a love of learning that will last a lifetime, and to prepare our students to thrive in our complex global world."

— Dr. Lara Wulff
    Director of Upper School


List of 17 items.

  • Art

    Art Foundation
    Mixed Media
    Advanced Art I
    Honors Advanced Art II
    AP Art History
    Ceramics I
    Ceramics II
    Advanced Ceramics
    Photography I: Dark Room
    Digital Photography
    Digital Photography II
    Digital Video
    Intro to Photoshop
    Film Photography II
    Advanced Photography
    Dark Room
    Digital Design: CAD
    Intro to Three-Dimensional Art
    Spanish Art and Architecture
  • Computer Science

    Introduction to Programming
    Creating Tomorrow: Computer Science by Design
    (OSG Course)
    Introduction to Computer Science (OSG Course)
    AP Computer Science Principles (OSG Course)
    AP Computer Science
    Honors Imagine, Code, Create: Principals of Computer Science
    Honors Advanced Programming Topics
    Digital Design: CAD Make/Build
  • English

    English 9/Honors English 9
    English 10/Honors English 10
    English 11/Honors English 11
    English 12/Honors English 12
    AP English 12
  • First Semester Senior English Electives

    Creative Writing
    Fallen Greatness: A Study of Classic Drama
    Finding Your Voice
    Literary Hauntings
    Nature Writing
    Reading and Writing the Memoir
    Literature of War
    Shakespeare’s Muse of Fire
    Wicked Literature: Evil and Morality in Literature
    Russian Literature of the 20th Century
  • History and Social Studies

    The Ancient World
    The Modern World
    AP World History
    U.S. History
    AP U.S. History
    AP Microeconomics
    AP Macroeconomics
    AP U.S. Government and Politics
    AP Psychology (OSG course)
  • Mathematics

    Algebra I, Part II
    Algebra II/Honors Algebra II
    Geometry/Honors Geometry
    College Algebra
    Precalculus/Honors Precalculus
    AP AB Calculus
    AP BC Calculus
    Honors Calculus III
    AP Statistics
  • Music

    Joni/Chorale Dual Enrollment
    Jazz Band
    Rock Band /Jazz Band
    Rhythm Sections
    Saints Chamber Orchestra
    Applied Music
    Senior Recitals
    Music Theory Fundamentls
    AP Music Theory
    Songwriting Workshop
    History of American
    Popular Music
  • Non-Credit Course

    Driver Education
    Yearbook Journalism: Quair
    News Journalism: Arcadian / Forum

    Leadership Organizations and Clubs
    Arcadian/Forum (Newspaper)
    Art Club
    Atelier (Literary Magazine)
    Battle of the Brains
    Chinese Club
    Feminism Club
    Gay-Straight Alliance
    Honor Council
    Math Club
    Model Judiciary
    Model UN
    Operation Smile
    Peer Advisors
    Politics Awareness Club
    Student Environmental Action Club (SEA)
    Service League
    Student Ambassadors
    Student Council
    International Thespian Society
    Quair (yearbook)
  • Other Options for Credit

    Independent Study
    News Journalism: Arcadian/Forum
  • Performance Groups

    Jazz Band
    Chamber Orchestra
    Saints Singers
    Censations (A cappella group)
    Joni Rodman Dance
    Senior Dance Recital (SDR)
    Ampersand (theatre)
  • Physical Education Fitness

    Yoga II
    Joni Rodman Dance Theatre
    Waterman Outdoor Education
  • Religion and Philosophy

    World Religions
    Ethics: Bioethics
    Philosophy: Introduction to Moral Philosophy
    Theology: The Bible and Christian Theology
    Ethics in Theater and Film
  • Science

    Physics I/Honors Physics I
    AP Physics
    AP Physics C
    Chemistry/Honors Chemistry
    AP Chemistry
    Biology/Honors Biology
    AP Biology
    AP Environmental Science/Honors Environmental Science
    Human Anatomy and Physiology
    Honors Independent Science Research
    AP Psychology
    Sports Medicine
  • Second Semester Senior English Electives

    American Literature and the Visual Arts
    Archetypal Patterns in Film
    Contemporary American Playwrights
    Creative Writing: The Art of Poetry and Song
    Discovering Milton and Paradise Lost
    Modernist Literature
    The Heart of the Whale: A Study of Moby Dick
    I Tiresias: A Study of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”
    Sport in Society
    World Literature: Studies in Short Fiction
    Stranger than Fiction: The Transition from Journalism to Novel-Non-Fiction
  • Senior Semester History Electives

    9/11 to Now
    The American Soldier
    AP Art History
    Economics: Entrepreneurship
    History of American
    Popular Music
    History of Theatre
  • Theatre and Dance

    Joni Rodman Dance Theatre
    Fundamentals of Acting
    Fundamentals of Directing
    Honors Advanced Topics in Theatre
    History of Theatre
    The Actor’s Tool Kit
    The Techie’s Tool Kit
    Ampersand Practicum
    Advanced Performance Studies
    Senior Dance Recital - Honors
    Intro to Three-Dimensional Art
  • World Languages

    Mandarin Chinese I
    Honors Mandarin Chinese
    Honors Mandarin Chinese II
    Honors Mandarin Chinese III
    Honors Mandarin Chinese IV
    Honors Mandarin Chinese V
    AP Chinese Language and Culture
    French I
    French II/Honors French II
    French III/Honors French III
    French IV/Honors French IV
    French Humanities
    AP French Language
    Spanish I
    Spanish II/Honors Spanish II
    Spanish II Intensive
    Spanish III/Honors Spanish III
    Spanish IV
    Accelerated Spanish IV
    Spanish V
    AP Spanish Literature
    AP Spanish Language
    Latin I
    Latin II/Honors Latin II
    Latin III-IV
    Honors Latin III
    Honors Latin IV/V
    AP Latin IV
    Honors Advanced Topics in Classical Languages and Literatures

Graduation Requirements

To graduate, a student must earn twenty academic credits in Upper School. Many of our students far exceed these requirements, taking full advantage of the many AP and Honors courses.
  • English - 4 credits
  • Mathematics - 4 credits
  • Science - 3 credits (2 with labs)
  • World Languages - 3 credits
  • History - 3 credits
  • Religion and Philosophy - 1 credit
  • Fine Arts - 1 credit
  • Electives - 1 credit
  • Physical Education - 4 units (1 unit in fitness, 3 electives)
  • Health - 2 units
  • Service Learning - 25 hours of service required each year with a total of 100 hours by graduation

First Citizens Bank Merit Scholarship

Made possible by the Robert P. Holding Foundation, St. Catherine’s offers one merit scholarship opportunity annually to new students who apply to St. Catherine’s School in grades 9, 10 or 11. A separate scholarship application process is required. The Scholarship Application process will open in November 2023 for 2024-2025 Enrollment consideration. For more information click here or contact Jennifer Cullinan at jcullinan@st.catherines.org

Let's Get Started

The best way to get started is to come to St. Catherine’s for a campus tour, to catch a glimpse of School life, to meet our teachers and to see teaching and learning up close.

    • Private Girls Elementary School: St. Catherine's School
6001 Grove Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23226 | 804-288-2804
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