Online Course Catalog
- To learn deeply and think critically.
- To be resilient and resourceful.
- To be creative problem-solvers with an understanding of the importance of inquiry.
- To develop intellectual self-confidence and curiosity.
- To communicate and listen effectively.
- To operate with integrity and honesty.
- To develop necessary skills to live in a diverse community and global world.
- To develop healthy habits of mind, body, and spirit.
The St. Mark’s curriculum is built on several pillars of pedagogy and learning designed to challenge and support our students:
- College Preparation
- Diverse Curricular Offerings
- Collaborative Learning
- Spiritual Center
- Exploring the World Beyond Campus
- Advanced Course Offerings
- Computer Science and Robotics
- History and Social Sciences
- Lion Term and Lions Roam
- Modern Languages
- St. Mark's Saturdays
At St. Mark’s, the arts are integral to age-appropriate development of the creative self in adolescents. In addition to traditional arts ideals such as the pursuit of truth and beauty or the raising of social commentary, art study builds a sense of self and self-identification as a creative person. Whether through drawing, acting, sculpting, singing, or playing music, art study guides students toward the discovery of their own creative process; this, in turn, leads to enhanced higher-level, formal, critical, and abstract thinking and access to the expressive self. These are transferable skills, as relevant to the studio as they are to a genetics laboratory or business incubator.
Successful completion of a full-year course (two years for music ensembles) fulfills the arts graduation requirement. Placement in upper-level or advanced art courses is by permission of the instructor. Previous art experience prior to arriving at St. Mark’s does not guarantee enrollment in upper-level courses. Students who enter St. Mark’s in the V Form have a one-semester minimum arts requirement.
Robotics is a fascinating new world that combines mechanical building, electrical know-how, and computer science skills to create machines that can perform tasks autonomously and at times seemingly “think” for themselves. Our computer science and robotics courses have been designed to provide a firm grounding for a broad range of students: For those students who will go on to do in depth study in one or more of these disciplines, the St. Mark’s courses in computer science and robotics will provide them with the skills to get a head start. For students who will progress to other disciplines, the computer science and robotics courses will provide insight into using computational and digital solutions in their chosen field.
Our offerings are designed to be as open as possible while still allowing deeper exploration in computer science and robotics. Students can investigate these disciplines in different course combinations. Possible CS/Robotics course progression include the following:
- Java I followed by Java II. Followed by Advanced Computer Science (Department permission or placement test)
- Topics in Robotics and DIY Circuits Engineering either CS I/II or Java I/II
- CS I followed by Java I. Followed by Topics in Robotics and DIY Engineering
- Advanced Topics in Computer Science
Central to the department’s approach to writing is a shared emphasis on the composing process. Students learn the basic skills in moving from the sentence to the paragraph to the critical essay. As these skills develop, we encourage each student to develop his or her personal writing voice, to take intellectual risks, and to understand the intended audience. We place special emphasis on revision. Frequent conferences and written comments on papers assure both discussion of student work and mentoring through the process of drafting and revision.
Standard department policies:
- We balance uniform goals with a diversity of offerings and teaching styles.
- Grammar is taught at the lower levels. Students are frequently graded.
- Common writing requirements are set at each level.
- Vocabulary study is stressed through vocabulary books, word lists from required readings, and regular assessments.
- We emphasize listening and speaking skills through class discussion, dramatic reading, and oral reports.
The process of historical research begins early and continues throughout the curriculum. In the Global Seminar course, students progress from smaller research projects closely directed by their teachers to the more complex and independent research papers that students produce by the end of the year. In the United States History survey courses, students present a significant, researched historical essay on a subject of their choice. This project is prepared over a period of weeks during which the student and teacher work together in the library on the paper’s research and preparation. The Global Seminar and the United States History survey courses are the departmental graduation requirements. All other courses are elective, with continuing study of history recommended for students as they progress between the two required courses.
Suggested Pathway for Historical Studies at St. Mark’s School:
- The Global Seminar (This is a year-long required course in the III Form year)
- The Atlantic World, 1300–1800 (spring)
- Advanced World History (year)
- United States History (year)
- Advanced United States History (year)
- (One of the two courses is required for graduation)
- Advanced United States Government (year)
- Microeconomics (fall semester ) and/or Macroeconomics (spring semester)
- Psychology I (fall semester) and/or Psychology II (spring semester)
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (fall semester)
- Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship (year)
- History Research Fellowship (fall semester)
- Conflict and Reconciliation in the American South and Israel/Palestine since 1945 (spring semester)
R.G. Collingwood, a British philosopher, suggested that history is an inquiry that helps humans understand who we are by instructing us about what we have done.
Completion of Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, usually taken in that order, satisfies the diploma requirement. However, the study of the subject through this level represents a minimum and not a goal for anyone interested in continued work in the sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and many other fields. Many students are able to complete a year of calculus and/or statistics. Each year, there are students that study topics beyond statistics and calculus.
Throughout our curriculum, emphasis is placed on each student doing mathematics. We believe it is essential students actively write and speak their mathematics in order to learn to develop sound mathematical reasoning and communication skills. Graphing calculators and computers are integrated into our teaching as they have become useful in exploring and illustrating mathematical content. TI-83 or TI-84 calculators are required for most classes. Placement is contingent upon departmental approval in consultation with the dean of academics. Advanced courses may be taken with departmental permission following completion of the appropriate prerequisites.
The Mathematics Department adheres to the following policies for placement of students in courses and in regards to summer or alternative courses:
Every new student completes a placement test. A student is placed in a course based on the score on this test, their SSAT score, the student’s prior course work, and the teacher recommendation.
Placement for returning students is based on their performance in their current courses and the recommendation of their teachers. Students recommended for Honors Algebra II or Honors Precalculus take an honors placement test.
While students are allowed, and at times, encouraged to do summer work in math, the St. Mark’s Math Department will only grant credit for summer or alternative course in geometry. Credit will be earned, only if the student satisfactorily completes the course and passes the St. Mark’s departmental final exam. It is our belief that when studying specific mathematics topics for the first time, students should not expect that a summer course or alternative course will provide them with the necessary depth of understanding of the material. Students who have performed poorly in a course, who wish to preview a topic, or who want enrichment are encouraged to do summer or alternative courses.
Learning a new language involves learning grammar, vocabulary, and the cultural structure behind them. In order to accomplish this goal, students must develop their aural, oral, reading, and writing skills from the first day. In more advanced levels, students also develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Placement in Modern Language courses is contingent upon departmental approval in consultation with the Dean of Academics. Promotion from one level to the next requires a demonstration of proficiency based on the ACTFL standards as well as a passing classroom grade. Students who do not demonstrate the target level of proficiency by the end of the school year will be required to do summer work as set by the department. Students who still do not demonstrate the target level of proficiency upon return to school in the fall will be required to repeat the prior level. Exemptions from this will be approved on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the classroom teacher, the department head and the Dean of Academics. Advanced courses may be taken with departmental permission following completion of the appropriate prerequisites.
Because the countries whose languages we offer have a rich history that encompasses different races, ethnicities, religious, and political views, as well as multiple opinions about the role of men and women in society, our courses incorporate topics of discussion around these areas that are age and level appropriate for the students. Ultimately, the aim of the Modern Language Department is to give St. Mark’s students thought- provoking instruction in the language or languages they have decided to learn, and to make them stronger students as well as more aware and appreciative of the cultural backgrounds and values of the people whose language they are studying.
In order to accomplish these goals, the Modern Language Department uses very diverse, interactive, and dynamic modern language pedagogy. The Modern Language Department encourages students to travel abroad and to take advantage of our exchange program in Germany, our summer programs in Spain and Chile, School Year Abroad, and the different trips to a wide variety of countries.
The St. Mark’s science curriculum builds from a physical science foundation. Entering III Form students begin with Physics. Physics provides an introduction to numerous science-specific skills that serve as a foundation for the subsequent study of chemistry and biology. In Physics the students uncover the behavior of matter and energy while developing their scientific, mathematical, and academic skills within a structured and developmentally appropriate environment. Incoming IV Formers are placed either in Physics or Chemistry based upon their concurrent math course and previous science experience.
Completion of two yearlong laboratory science courses is required for graduation; however, it is encouraged that students take physics, chemistry, and biology to achieve greater scientific literacy. Elective science courses may be taken following the completion of the graduation requirement. Electives allow students the opportunity to delve deeper into specific sub-disciplines and to acquire significant firsthand experience in the laboratory, in the field, with scientific design, and literature.
Advanced Science courses may be taken following the appropriate prerequisites and receiving Departmental permission. Advanced Science courses in physics, chemistry, environmental science (not offered in 2020-2021) and biology are reflective of a first-year college course. The science program at St. Mark’s is structured in order to provide those students for whom science is a passion the flexibility within their academic program to design their own unique pathway of study within the science curriculum.
To view a printable .PDF of the 2020-2021 Course Catalog, select this link.
All III Form students are required to take six courses each semester. All other Forms are required to take a minimum of five courses per semester, but with permission of the dean of academics, students on honors may take six courses.
A student who receives a cumulative grade average of B+ or higher in a cumulative Window (quarter) with no C range grades or below, will have an honors designation for that marking period. A student who receives a grade average of A or higher in a cumulative Window (quarter) with no C range grades or below will have a high honors designation for that marking period.