Upper School (All-girls, 7-12)

Grades 9-12

Preparing Our High School Girls with a Rigorous Academic Curriculum

Our All-Girls College Prep High School Program
Oak Knoll offers a comprehensive college preparatory program, meeting the demands for admission to the most selective colleges and universities. As a single-sex school for young women, the program is sensitive not only to issues of gender in the curriculum and the classroom, but also to issues of leadership both in school and in the wider world.
  • Offerings in the humanities focus particular attention on the need to think, speak, and write clearly.
  • Stress on logical analysis in mathematics and science complements these skills.
  • The creative arts provide a finely drawn balance between knowledge and performance.
  • Life skills are the focus in physical education and health courses.
A Rich Curriculum that Prepares Our Students for Today's World
At the beginning of the 21st century, it is increasingly apparent that the tasks of schools are fluid and evolving. Tenets about good teaching remain firm, yet in many cases the content and methodology of classroom instruction must adapt to new needs, new knowledge, and new technology. One of the guiding principles of all Holy Child schools, as noted in our school's philosophy, is that the schools should be fashioned in such a way as to "meet the wants of the age."

Oak Knoll's faculty take seriously the idea that "learning never ends," and through continued graduate coursework, independent study, and professional enrichment opportunities, endeavor to keep abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines as well as new ways to present elements of a classic education.
 
Because of our extensive curricular offerings in our all-girls high school program and the many demands of extracurricular life, we offer additional information about our honors and advanced placement courses, as well as guidelines for planning a program.

Our Top College Prep Program

Holy Child schools believe in a curriculum designed to engage intellectual curiosity and challenge abilities. This highly demanding college preparatory program often parallels honors and advanced placement work in other schools. Additionally, the school offers honors and Advanced Placement work to stimulate the highly motivated and academically gifted student.

Honors and AP courses require work much above the college preparatory courses, and students must be aware of this in the intelligent use of their time and energies. Teachers expect that students in honors and Advanced Pplacement courses are capable of a great deal of independent learning and are committed to completing these challenges.

Eligibility for Honors Courses

Previous academic achievement and teacher recommendations are the basis for enrollment in honors courses in the rigorous high school program at Oak Knoll. It designates a student who grasps new concepts quickly, reads with comprehension, expresses herself clearly in writing, and shares ideas through class participation.

Depending upon the department and the course, an honors student may be in an accelerated class or may complete independent readings and/or project work within a class. These courses carry additional weight in the grade point average. Department approval is necessary for placement in honors courses. Each department reviews grades from previous course work and standardized testing. Additional assignments and independent study is expected in all honors sections.

Our Advanced Placement Program

Many departments offer Advanced Placement work to juniors and seniors capable of college freshman study and achievement. One AP course is offered to students in their sophomore year. Successful honors or accelerated course work in prior years is part of the selection process. The AP student:
  • Is capable of independent analysis
  • Writes with style
  • Reads extensively in the subject
  • Leads class discussions
  • Has an intense interest in a particular subject
AP courses carry additional weight when computing grade point. To receive AP credit at Oak Knoll, students must sit for the the AP exam in May. The college of her choice may reward her test results with Advanced Placement, college credit for a semester or a year, or both.

AP courses require prerequisite grades/courses and summer study. Department approval is required for all AP study. AP courses will meet six (or more) class meetings per cycle and, in most cases, will require additional class meetings in the morning, evening, or on weekends. Students are encouraged to meet with the appropriate department chair and the director of guidance to discuss placement in these courses.

Oak Knoll offers AP work in biology, calculus AB, calculus BC, English language, English literature, U.S history, world history, european history, French, Latin, Spanish, computer science A, chemistry, physics, and studio art. Individual department listings provide information about honors and advanced placement programs.

Planning an Honors or AP Program

As a college preparatory school, Oak Knoll offers a challenging and diversified curriculum, including opportunities for honors and AP work in many disciplines. Students, particularly in the junior and senior years, must make thoughtful choices in planning a well-rounded program with appropriate balance. Students should consider carefully their areas of particular academic interest and talent, as well as their extracurricular involvements in volunteer opportunities, student government, athletics and the arts. In the process of registering for classes, students have the opportunity to seek individual guidance with members of the faculty and administration.

Graduation Requirements

  • Theology: 4 years
  • English: 4 years
  • Foreign Language: 3 years
  • Laboratory Science: 3 years
  • Mathematics: 3 years
  • World History: 2 years
  • U.S. History: 1 year
  • Computer Concepts and Digital Media: 1 year
  • Driver Education: 1 year
  • Health: 2 years
  • Physical Education: 3 years
  • Creative Arts: 2 years
  • Electives: 3 years

Grade 9 Courses

List of 10 items.

  • Creative Arts

    Dance I: Contemporary Dance/Introduction to Choreography
    In this course, both beginning and advanced students explore various dance techniques such as modern, jazz, and lyrical.  Performance viewing, discussion, cultural awareness, an introduction to choreography and occasional in-class writings create a total dance experience. The study of dance helps to form a positive sense of self.

    Introduction to Photography
    This course introduces students to the history of photography and camera anatomy, using pinhole and 35mm cameras. Emphasis is placed on the manual control of focusing, the creative use of aperture and shutter speed, and printing skills. Projects are integrated with visual art processes such as collage.

    Music and Drama:  Musicals and Theatre Appreciation
    This course explores the unique characteristics and historical developments in American musical theatre history while encouraging theatrical introspection and expression. Engagement in self-expression is encouraged through drama warm ups, improvisation and class projects.  Inter-active classes in drama and scene study invite the student’s exploration into the actor’s tools and mind.
  • English

    Ninth grade English enriches students with literature of the past and the present. Texts such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and examples of the Elizabethan and Italian sonnet, bring the world of long ago to life. Students focus on the epic form, dramatic conventions, and the literary elements that writers employ in their works. For an exploration of the contemporary world, students delve into texts such as Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and modern poetry selections.  Throughout the year, literary analysis is encouraged through ample discussions and activities.  The writing process is developed through weekly assignments and through several major essays which are revised and rewritten with long-term growth of the writer as a goal. Grammar and vocabulary are emphasized throughout the year.
  • Foreign Language

    The Foreign Language Department offers courses in French, Latin, and Spanish to accommodate students with or without prior foreign language experience. All students new to Oak Knoll with experience in French, Latin, or Spanish take a placement test to determine their appropriate course (usually Level I or Level II).  Placement for new and returning students is based on grades in prior courses, student motivation and is always at the discretion of the department.  The Foreign Language requirement is three consecutive years of the same language.  The department also offers an accelerated Italian elective in senior year.  This class is taught as a college level course and therefore only students who have completed the three year language requirement with an A- average are eligible to enroll.

    French I or Spanish I
    This course offers beginning students the fundamentals of writing, reading, listening and speaking. Grammar and vocabulary are introduced in the context of real world language experiences and students are immersed in the language.  Students gain confidence and proficiency in expressing themselves in French or Spanish as they assimilate structures crucial for real-world communication.

    Latin I
    In Latin I students begin to understand basic structural and lexical patterns of the language through reading.  Declensions, conjugations, roots, and affixes are introduced as a means to translating texts.  Abridged versions of some of Ovid’s Metamorphoses serve as supplementary reading. Students also discover Roman culture and civilization.

    French II or Spanish II
    While continuing to emphasize listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, this course introduces more complex grammatical structures and continues to build vocabulary. Students review all the elementary topics as they move into the intermediate level of language study.  Authentic materials enliven the course and encourage students to imitate and formulate important communicative patterns.

    Latin II
    This course continues its emphasis on the rich texts of ancient Rome.  Students learn grammar and vocabulary as a means for appreciating the readings and gain increased sophistication in understanding the syntax and literary devices of Roman authors. Modified and original versions of primary texts strengthen students’ translation skills and help them explore various aspects of Roman culture. 
  • Health

    This course focuses on life skills for health and information concerning current health topics relevant to teens. Topics include nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, decision-making, and the reproductive system. This course also offers an in-depth study of the danger of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
  • History

    World History I
    Ancient and Early Modern World History (Pre-History to 1500 C.E.)
    Through primary documents, research, oral presentations, and essay writing, students examine people, technology, and events involved in the development of early cross-cultural and trade connections that are the foundations of our modern world. In addition, students develop both the form and content of a formal research paper, a tool that serves them in History and other disciplines.
  • Math

    Algebra I
    Algebra I is designed to give students the requisite skills that provide a foundation for all future mathematics courses. This course addresses and reinforces topics already covered in pre-algebra courses while introducing new skills to the learner’s repertoire.  Students learn to solve both linear and quadratic equations and to use these equations in applications and modeling settings.  Emphasized skills include factoring, laws of exponents and radicals, and operations with rational expressions.  Systems of equations and inequalities are investigated in various ways, including graphing and modeling. 

    Geometry (Grades 9 and 10)
    Euclidean geometry is the basis for this course which begins with points, lines, planes, and space, all of which are the building blocks of geometry. Students analyze congruency of triangles, polygons, the Pythagorean Theorem, similar polygons, circles, areas, parallel lines, and volumes. Various algebraic skills and concepts are integrated into the study of coordinate geometry.  Formal proofs are an emphasis throughout the year.
    Prerequisites for ninth graders:  C in Algebra I
    Placement test for students new to Oak Knoll
    Prerequisite for tenth graders: Successful completion of Algebra I

    Geometry Honors
    Geometry Honors is a comprehensive geometry course which offers a more rigorous and in-depth approach to topics covered in Geometry (see Geometry 9 and 10) with emphasis on formal proof.  Computer software complements selected topics.
    Prerequisites: A in Algebra I
    Departmental evaluation of placement test for students new to Oak Knoll
    Departmental approval for students already at Oak Knoll
  • Physical Education

    The physical education program follows the national standards set forth by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) and promotes the development of the physical, social and mental well-being of the student. The department promotes a physically active lifestyle, providing opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.  Each semester, students participate in a variety of movement experiences integrated into health-fitness concepts. After an introduction to fitness through supervised sessions of strength and body conditioning, students practice movement experiences which rotate each year; these may include ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, flag football, yoga, tae bo, and tennis. Students tap into their critical thinking skills throughout various activities. The eleventh grade physical education curriculum includes a unit in self-defense.   Eleventh grade students may fulfill the physical education requirement either by participating in a varsity/junior varsity sports team or by enrolling in two semesters of the dance major program.

    Body Conditioning
    Each semester, one quarter of the physical education class may participate in a body conditioning class. Using techniques borrowed from dance, the course is designed to help the student condition and tone her entire body. The program incorporates floor work, yoga, stretching, and Pilates theories, including extensive abdominal work and breath and posture alignment exercises.

    Morning Yoga – Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to basic yoga poses as they incorporate the body, mind, spirit connection to lifestyle fitness choices.

    Morning Strength and Conditioning — Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., thus fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to strength and conditioning fitness concepts and then design their own plan to meet their personal strength training goals.
  • Science

    Physics
    This course follows the logical, sequential development of the introductory concepts of physics. Techniques include hands-on exploration, concept development, and real world application. Topics include motion in one-dimension, forces, momentum, energy, work, waves, light, electricity, and atomic and nuclear physics. The laboratory program reinforces the topics and gives students practical experience.  Students use laptop-based detectors and other audio-visual resources for labs as they gain facility with Excel for data analysis. A TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator is required for this course.

    Physics Honors
    This course provides a rigorous study of physics principles and their mathematical foundation.  The learning cycle approach of exploration, concept development, application, and problem solving requires proficiency in algebra.  Additional topics to those covered in Physics include two-dimensional motion, optics and electric fields. The laboratory program reinforces the topics and gives students practical experience.  Students use laptop-based detectors and other audio-visual resources for labs and gain facility with Excel for data analysis. A TI-83 Plus or TI-84 graphing calculator is required for this course.
    Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in Geometry Honors or permission from the Science Department chairperson
    Departmental approval
  • Technology

    Computer Skills
    This course responds to the varying technology needs that students encounter in other classes.  The class supports interdisciplinary work, reinforces basic computer skills and adds new skills to a student’s repertoire.  Students will not receive a grade for this course.

    Introduction to Programming and Robotics
    This quarter-long course introduces students to computer programming fundamentals.  Students will design and code programs and will gain familiarity with programming concepts such as conditionals, loops and events.  Students will be exposed to robotics and will include robotics in programs that they code.  Learning how to test and debug a program will also be part of this course.
  • Theology

    As an introduction to the Theology program, students explore the core beliefs and rituals of the Catholic tradition as it is lived and celebrated at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child.  Students are also introduced to the mission and history of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and its American founder, Cornelia Connelly. 
     
    Following this introduction, students examine the relationship between tradition and scripture by studying an overview of the Old Testament. Major themes include: creation, covenant, monarchy, prophets and Wisdom literature.  Building on their study of tradition and scripture, students then conclude their course by exploring the basic principles of Christian morality.

Grade 10 Courses

List of 10 items.

  • Creative Arts

    Calligraphy and Lettering Design
    This course explores calligraphy and lettering design and examines their function in the communication arts. Students learn lettering styles, techniques, and tools, initially with the Chancery Cursive alphabet as the focus. After mastering this calligraphic style, they learn how commercial art employs type and graphic design collaboratively.  At the conclusion of the course, exceptional calligraphers may join Oak Knoll’s calligraphy club, “Scribes,” which serves the school community by lettering signs, certificates, and posters.

    Dance II: Contemporary Dance /Choreography
    The tenth grade program, open to new or continuing students, relies on the various forms, styles, and techniques of dance to foster appreciation for this art. Improvisation and creative exercises help students understand the choreographic process. Discussion, performance videos, and oral critique round out the course of study. Dance conditioning, intended to promote proper body alignment and concentration, is practiced through Pilates, yoga, and other methods. Lastly, in-class writings generate curiosity about the field of dance and its relationship to other aspects of life.

    Darkroom Photography
    Darkroom Photography continues to teach students about camera functions, darkroom techniques, and the art of seeing via theme assignments. Further explorations include the use of different ISO films, alternative light metering, darkroom printing on different paper surfaces and sizes, the use of tripods, and composition.

    Foundation Drawing
    Drawing is a simple and direct means of visual expression, serving as a method of notation and analysis and a way of learning to see. Accordingly, students enrolled in this course concentrate on mark making and basic drafting skills using a limited range of traditional and invented drawing tools. The program emphasizes anatomy of form and proportion and the control of contrast, measurement, and placement.  Additionally, the use of tone and line, foreshortening, and perspective enhances the student’s ability to represent the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. This course is a pre-requisite for the Art Major program.

    Intro to Computer Graphics
    This course merges traditional and technological arts, providing the student with the means of visual creation using digital art tools. Equipped with the Corel Painter software program and a tablet laptop and stylus, the student learns the fundamentals of drawing and painting techniques as she explores the fascinating world of computer graphics. “Painter” allows the student to work in various digital media and apply a combination of diverse effects and methods. By the conclusion of this course, each student has a good understanding of the basics of drawing and digital imaging. This course is a pre-requisite for the Art Major program.

    Music and Drama: Operantics and Theatre Production
    Operantics and Theatre Production breaks down the stereotypes of opera by exploring important musical periods, musical styles, composers, language and important works. Among the course’s topics are the libretto, aria, recitative, and the common vocal ranges of opera singers. Students learn to listen to and appreciate major operatic works. A drama component educates the students in production approach and scene study. Through Oak Knoll’s connection with the Metropolitan Opera Company, students may have the opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal at the Met.  
  • Driver Education

    This course focuses on driver safety skills and rules, driver privileges and penalties, the development of suitable attitudes towards driving, defensive driving techniques, and an understanding of the effects of drugs and alcohol on driving. Students take the New Jersey State Knowledge Test.
  • English

    Through the study of various genres such as the novel, short story, poetry, and drama, tenth grade students explore formal elements of diction, style, and structure.  Students then consider how these forms are vehicles for conveying theme, character, setting, mood, and tone. Students complete frequent writing projects related to the readings which may include Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, selected short stories and poems. Listening, speaking, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skill development are an integral part of each literature unit. The tenth grade honors student is responsible for completing independent and analytical reading assignments, essays, and projects.
  • Foreign Language

    The Foreign Language Department offers courses in French, Latin, and Spanish to accommodate students with or without prior foreign language experience. All students new to Oak Knoll with experience in French, Latin, or Spanish take a placement test to determine their appropriate course (usually Level I or Level II).  Placement for new and returning students is based on grades in prior courses, student motivation and is always at the discretion of the department.  The Foreign Language requirement is three consecutive years of the same language.  The department also offers an accelerated Italian elective in senior year.  This class is taught as a college level course and therefore only students who have completed the three year language requirement with an A- average are eligible to enroll.

    French II or Spanish II
    While continuing to emphasize listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, this course introduces more complex grammatical structures and continues to build vocabulary. Students review all the elementary topics as they move into the intermediate level of language study.  Authentic materials enliven the course and encourage students to imitate and formulate important communicative patterns.

    Latin II
    This course continues its emphasis on the rich texts of ancient Rome.  Students learn grammar and vocabulary as a means for appreciating the readings and gain increased sophistication in understanding the syntax and literary devices of Roman authors. Modified and original versions of primary texts strengthen students’ translation skills and help them explore various aspects of Roman culture. 

    French III or Spanish III
    These courses prepare the student to communicate effectively with a native speaker using appropriate vocabulary and correct grammar and accurate pronunciation.  Students continue to develop their reading and writing skills using complex language and they have fun watching, listening to and reading authentic materials.  Focus on Francophone and Hispanic cultures throughout the world enriches students’ global awareness.

    Latin III
    Students complete their knowledge of the structure of the verb systems and begin to focus more intensely on literary style and rhetorical devices in poetry and prose.  Complex and close reading of the classics help students uncover the historical and cultural traditions of Ancient Rome.
  • History

    World History II CP or Honors
    Modern World History (1500 C.E. to Present): Transformations — Grade 10
    This course introduces students to the history of the modern era. Some of the major themes addressed are world trade, geographic expansion, political and social change, industrialization, and international relations. Focus also includes the use and analysis of appropriate primary sources through document-based questions, chronological analysis, and a research paper.
    Students may apply for honors standing in this class.

    AP World History
    Modern World History (1500 C.E. to Present) — Grade 10
    Through the interpretation and analysis of primary and secondary sources, students take a global approach to the study of world history by tracing the evolution of several major themes: world trade, geographic expansion, political and social change, industrialization, and globalization. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking research projects and essays. Students will sit for the national AP exam in May.
    Prerequisite: World History I 
  • Math

    Geometry (Grades 9 and 10)
    Euclidean geometry is the basis for this course which begins with points, lines, planes, and space, all of which are the building blocks of geometry. Students analyze congruency of triangles, polygons, the Pythagorean Theorem, similar polygons, circles, areas, parallel lines, and volumes. Various algebraic skills and concepts are integrated into the study of coordinate geometry.  Formal proofs are an emphasis throughout the year.
    Prerequisites for ninth graders:  C in Algebra I
    Placement test for students new to Oak Knoll
    Prerequisite for tenth graders: Successful completion of Algebra I

    Algebra II (Grades 10 or 11)
    The Algebra II course logically builds upon the algebraic functions developed in the Algebra I course. The topics explored in Algebra II include an in-depth study of quadratics, radicals, and rational expressions. Focus is on methodology and the reasons behind the steps used to solve various types of equations and inequalities. Students also learn about conic sections, exponential and logarithmic functions, polynomials and complex numbers with an emphasis on application and word problems.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry.

    Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors
    Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors is a comprehensive second-year Algebra course with a more rigorous approach to topics covered in Algebra II (see above). Additionally, course work includes an introduction to trigonometry, including radian measurement of angles, the unit circle, right triangle trigonometry and basic trigonometric graphing. A graphing calculator is required. Upon completion of this course, students may take the SAT Subject Test, Math Level I.
    Prerequisites: B in Geometry Honors and A in Algebra I
    Strong A with teacher recommendation in Geometry and an A in Algebra I
    Departmental approval
  • Physical Education

    The physical education program follows the national standards set forth by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) and promotes the development of the physical, social and mental well-being of the student. The department promotes a physically active lifestyle, providing opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.  Each semester, students participate in a variety of movement experiences integrated into health-fitness concepts. After an introduction to fitness through supervised sessions of strength and body conditioning, students practice movement experiences which rotate each year; these may include ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, flag football, yoga, tae bo, and tennis. Students tap into their critical thinking skills throughout various activities. The eleventh grade physical education curriculum includes a unit in self-defense.   Eleventh grade students may fulfill the physical education requirement either by participating in a varsity/junior varsity sports team or by enrolling in two semesters of the dance major program.

    Body Conditioning
    Each semester, one quarter of the physical education class may participate in a body conditioning class. Using techniques borrowed from dance, the course is designed to help the student condition and tone her entire body. The program incorporates floor work, yoga, stretching, and Pilates theories, including extensive abdominal work and breath and posture alignment exercises.

    Morning Yoga – Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to basic yoga poses as they incorporate the body, mind, spirit connection to lifestyle fitness choices.

    Morning Strength and Conditioning — Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., thus fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to strength and conditioning fitness concepts and then design their own plan to meet their personal strength training goals.
  • Science

    Chemistry
    The framework of this course is based on the application of chemistry in everyday life.  It follows a logical, sequential development of the major principles of chemistry and leverages the foundation laid in Physics. Areas of focus include the study of matter and atomic structure, the elements, the periodic table, compound formation, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gas laws, solution chemistry, acid-base chemistry, and an introduction to organic chemistry. A unit on biological chemistry prepares students for subsequent courses in biology. Emphasis is on inquiry, critical thinking and problem-solving. All laboratory work supports theory gained in the classroom and students learn important techniques of chemical safety, use of laboratory equipment and instruments as they record and report scientific data.  Calculators and laptop computers are essential for homework, laboratory data collection, data analysis, and graphing results.

    Chemistry Honors
    Chemistry Honors follows the Chemistry curriculum in greater mathematical rigor and depth while adding topics as appropriate throughout the year.  This fast-paced course requires independent work and significant problem-solving capabilities.  Students will be expected to extend what they learn in class to solve more difficult problems outside of class. All laboratory work supports theory gained in the classroom and students learn important techniques of chemical safety, use of laboratory equipment and instruments as they record and report scientific data.  Students use scientific calculators and computers for homework, laboratory data collection, data analysis, and graphing results.
    Prerequisites: B+ in Physics Honors or A in Physics
    Departmental approval
  • Technology

    Computer Skills across the Curriculum (Grades 10, 11 and 12)

    Computer Skills across the Curriculum, although not a scheduled class, provides the time for students and teachers to work collaboratively with the computer science teachers on particular projects or skills needed for classes across the curriculum.  This individualized work allows the student to develop her competency in many sectors of computer science while seeing its practical application in various ways.  Students have the unique opportunity to learn new tech information of interest to them and hone skills they have already begun to develop.
  • Theology

    Theology 10 provides an introductory treatment of the New Testament, focusing on the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline letters.  Students learn basic background information about the growth of the Christian Scriptures, their historical context, and methods of exegesis.  Students examine each book in terms of authorship, details of composition, and major theological themes.  They then apply the information they learn to the biblical texts themselves.  Students examine the birth and early development of the church as recorded in the New Testament. The course continues with a survey of the history of the Roman Catholic Church from the Apostolic Age through the Reformation. Students focus on important individuals who made significant contributions to the Church, as well as events and theological developments in each period.

Courses for Grades 11 & 12

List of 10 items.

  • Creative Arts

    Ballet, Contemporary and Conditioning — Grades 11 and 12
    This course is designed to integrate contemporary style movements into the classic form of ballet. Initial emphasis on proper Russian Vaganova  and Italian Cecchetti classical techniques to promote correct usage of turn-out, alignment and épaulement. Classical movements are broken down, analyzed and incorporated with contemporary techniques to encourage freedom of expression and artistic growth. Conditioning, including floor work, yoga, Pilates and stretching, encourages the student to create a healthy workout routine and understand of the importance of cross-training as a way to avoid injury. Exercise balls, hand weights, jump ropes, and thera-bands are among the devices used in this course segment.

    Modern, Contemporary and Conditioning — Grades 11 and 12
    This course, designed for both the experienced and non-experienced dancer, helps students master dance techniques that explore the expression of the human spirit. With a focus on modern techniques (especially those of Horton and Limon) and contemporary styles (jazz, lyrical, and ballet), the process of creative expression is filled with endless possibilities. Breathing, gesture, fall and recovery, suspension of the body in space, dynamics, and improvisational movements teach the student to move creatively, using the body as a uniquely expressive instrument. Conditioning rounds out the course with the use of exercise balls, hand weights, jump ropes, and thera-bands.

    Art Major I — Grade 11
    The Art Major course is an elective offering for those students who have a special talent in art and interest in pursuing a career in the visual arts. Accordingly, students pursue an in-depth study of drawing, painting, mixed media, and design. Though this is a studio art course, students also hear lectures on artists, concepts, and styles and view demonstrations on art techniques. Periodic critiques, exhibition opportunities, and portfolio development are also part of the program. Throughout the course, students must keep a drawing journal that contains specific homework assignments and independent work.
    Pre-requisites: Either Foundation Drawing or Computer Graphics or Permission of the Instructor

    Art Major II — Grade 12
    This elective course gives seniors the chance to focus on individual areas of creative interest. It also allows them the opportunity to study art history and theory. At the beginning of each term, every student receives an assignment choice of five to ten advanced art projects from which she selects two for class work and one for homework. The student researches, plans, and executes the projects for the remainder of the term. Initial research might involve reading about an art movement or studying the works and techniques of a particular artist or art form. Assignments explore a wide variety of styles, topics, and media, including computer graphics. In the first term, as part of her class work, each student assembles a college art supplement. During the third trimester, some classes are devoted to the study of art criticism. This phase of the program helps students learn to define their own experiences in confronting a work of art.  Students complete one written assignment.
    Prerequisite: Art Major I or permission of instructor

    Art Portfolio Honors — Grade 12
    Senior Art Portfolio is an honors-level course designed especially for the student who plans to pursue the study of art at the college level.  In the first trimester, the focus is portfolio development; the student learns the essentials of this process, using class time to produce and select works that will create a strong visual presentation for her college applications. An initial evaluation of each student’s work is followed by a customized plan that will enable her to broaden the range of her art in terms of subject matter, style, and media. If necessary, a student may devote time to completing home exams requested by some art schools. During the rest of the year, each student selects a concentration theme as a work focus. After preliminary research and consultation with the instructor, each student plans and produces a series of works centered on a particular subject. A short but concise description of her theme project accompanies the collection of work. Additionally, this course provides the opportunity for students to actively engage in the critique process. They learn terminology and the methodology of analyzing and evaluating art works in an informed way.  Reading selections on specific artists, art history, and art philosophy form the basis of class discussion and enable each student to prepare the formal statement about her work. One analytical paper about a famous work of art is also required.
    Prerequisite: Art Major I

    Digital Photography I — Grades 11 and 12
    Digital Photography I is the transition point from darkroom photography into digital imaging. Students learn how the digital camera works, applying the same principles as 35mm cameras, and they master all DSLR shooting modes. Students use Adobe Photoshop and Bridge to upload and perform “digital darkroom” enhancement and editing processes. A variety of shooting assignments emphasize subject matter, technical skill mastery, use of light and personal style development. Additionally students learn inkjet printing skills. Periodic class critiques round out the learning.
    Prerequisite: Darkroom Photography or permission of instructor

    Digital Photography II — Grades 11 and 12
    Digital Photography II focuses on learning Photoshop’s use of layers, tools, and Camera Raw to enhance, edit, and print images. Projects include the study of master photographers and their techniques. In the spring, students work on theme/concentration projects that enable them to project a personal vision.
    Prerequisite: Digital Photography I or permission of instructor.

    Photo Portfolio Honors — Grade 12
    This advanced yearlong class is designed for the experienced photographer. Each student creates a supplemental college portfolio and prepares photos for advance project work and exhibition. Traditional and digital camera printing techniques are explored.  Assigned projects, such as self-portraiture, are balanced with personally directed projects; and students end the year by publishing an original photo book. Aesthetics, craftsmanship, the development of a personal vision are the topics of classroom discussion.
    Prerequisite: Digital Photography I and II (Shooting assignments and gallery or museum visits are required during the summer prior to this course.)
  • English

    In grades 11 and 12, students select from a range of elective courses based on student interest as indicated during the course selection process. Students may apply for advanced placement (AP) status in each elective.All AP students are responsible for completing additional independent and analytical reading assignments, essays, and projects. 
  • Foreign Language

    The Foreign Language Department offers courses in French, Latin, and Spanish to accommodate students with or without prior foreign language experience. All students new to Oak Knoll with experience in French, Latin, or Spanish take a placement test to determine their appropriate course (usually Level I or Level II).  Placement for new and returning students is based on grades in prior courses, student motivation and is always at the discretion of the department.  The Foreign Language requirement is three consecutive years of the same language.  The department also offers an accelerated Italian elective in senior year.  This class is taught as a college level course and therefore only students who have completed the three year language requirement with an A- average are eligible to enroll.

    French III or Spanish III
    These courses prepare the student to communicate effectively with a native speaker using appropriate vocabulary and correct grammar and accurate pronunciation.  Students continue to develop their reading and writing skills using complex language and they have fun watching, listening to and reading authentic materials.  Focus on Francophone and Hispanic cultures throughout the world enriches students’ global awareness.

    Latin III
    Students complete their knowledge of the structure of the verb systems and begin to focus more intensely on literary style and rhetorical devices in poetry and prose.  Complex and close reading of the classics help students uncover the historical and cultural traditions of Ancient Rome.

    French IV or Spanish IV
    At this level students are able to understand, on a deep level, television programs, print media, and other authentic resources. In addition, students begin speaking and writing with automaticity and fluency.  Through thoughtful and natural exposure to real language, proficiency rises in all linguistic skills.  Culture study in the various countries where French and Spanish are spoken reinforces linguistic and global awareness.

    Latin IV
    Text-based translation and textual analysis are the focus of this advanced course.  Although many Roman authors are encountered, emphasis on one prose writer and one poet will help the student gain a thorough knowledge of literary devices. This approach is intended to introduce the students to the type of linguistic and literary analysis required in the AP exam and in college courses.  The choice of authors will vary by year.  Students also continue their study of the cultural and historical roots of Latin.

    French V or Spanish V
    In this advanced course, students discover the richness of Francophone and Hispanic literature, culture, and society.  Authentic materials such as news articles, novels, t.v., radio programs and targeted websites enhance linguistic and cultural proficiency.  Throughout this course, discussions are lively, thinking is deep and exploration is wide.  Curiosity and a good sense of adventure are qualities that will make the material meaningful for the student. This course is available as enrollment permits.

    Latin V Honors: Readings in Poetry and Prose
    Students in this advanced reading course will delve into the works of major Roman poets and writers who have helped to shape literary sensibilities in the western world.  Through the various works, students will grow in their appreciation and knowledge of Roman culture, mores and history and will develop an understanding of the Roman authors themselves.

    French or Spanish Language — Advanced Placement
    This demanding program is for students who have completed four levels of language study and who are very passionate about linguistic and cultural proficiency. In-depth study and practice of all language skills and a focus on culture awareness are the hallmarks of AP Language classes and students must commit to going beyond the minimum requirements of assignments to attain the full benefit of the course.  AP students take the College Board Advanced Placement exam.

    AP Latin
    In this highly advanced course, available as enrollment permits, intensive training in classical literature is accompanied by linguistic analysis of Latin. Students train for the AP exam by translating selected passages as literally as possible, learning to explicate specific words and phrases, discussing the author’s modes of expression and general themes. Students also write critical interpretations of the works translated and scan verse. The AP Latin exam covers selected passages from Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Virgil’s Aeneid and various sight readings. AP Latin is available as enrollment permits.
  • Health

    Health - Grade 11
    This course focuses on health issues important to young adults. Topics include current health concerns, motor vehicle safety, drug education, stress management, and making responsible decisions about your health. In addition, students will learn the fundamentals of First Aid and CPR. This course will also teach students to access, research, and evaluate reputable health sites on the Internet.
  • History

    Survey of United States History — Grades 11/12 CP or Honors
    By highlighting basic themes of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, this survey course focuses on twentieth century United States history.  Examination of primary sources and of interpretive readings enhances the analysis of key developments from 1900 to 1990. The course emphasizes research and essay writing as primary skills.
     
    Advanced Placement United States History — Grades 11/12
    The Advanced Placement United States History course offers those students who show strong aptitude and interest in history an opportunity to address in depth the problems and artefacts in American history.  Advanced placement students become adept at evaluating historical events in order to provide their own interpretations and conclusions.  Students must show a willingness to read voluminously, think creatively, and participate actively. This course also meets the requirement for Survey of United States History.
    Prerequisite: World History II or HONORS World History II or AP World History 

    Advanced Placement European History — Grade 12
    This course treats the major political, social, economic, and cultural developments in Western Europe from the Renaissance to the present.  As with all advanced courses, students taking AP European History learn to think historically, a skill which involves the ability to create arguments and draw conclusions from historical evidence, to understand cause and effect and correlative relationships, continuity and change over time, and to recognize diverse interpretations of the past.
    Prerequisite: Survey of U.S. History or AP United States History
  • Math

    Algebra II — Grades 10 or 11
    The Algebra II course logically builds upon the algebraic functions developed in the Algebra I course. The topics explored in Algebra II include an in-depth study of quadratics, radicals, and rational expressions. Focus is on methodology and the reasons behind the steps used to solve various types of equations and inequalities. Students also learn about conic sections, exponential and logarithmic functions, polynomials and complex numbers with an emphasis on application and word problems.
    Prerequisite:  Successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry.

    Functions and Trigonometry — Grades 11 and 12
    This course continues the study of algebraic and geometric topics as preparation for the pre-calculus course. The class includes analysis of various types of equations and inequalities (linear, quadratic, radical, rational, exponential, and logarithmic) as well as systems of these equations and inequalities and the algebraic and graphic approaches to solving them. The introduction to trigonometry begins with the six trigonometric ratios in right triangles and expands these concepts to the six trigonometric functions using the unit circle. Basic graphing of the sine and cosine functions is included.
    Prerequisites: Algebra II

    Pre-Calculus — Grades 11 and 12
    In Pre-Calculus, students begin by exploring the transformation of graphs of functions and examine in detail polynomial functions of higher degree and their graphs. A comprehensive study of trigonometry follows which includes discussion of trigonometric equations, law of sines, law of cosines, solutions of oblique triangles, sum/difference/double/half-angle formulas, identities, and trigonometric transformations. The course also explores exponential and logarithmic functions and series and sequences. A graphing calculator is required. Upon completion of this course, students may take the SAT Subject Test, Math Level I or Level II. Consult the department for further information.
    Prerequisites: C in Algebra II
    Departmental approval

    Pre-Calculus Honors — Grade 11
    This course prepares students who would like to take the AP Calculus or Calculus Honors courses. Key topics are functions (including their properties, graphs, inverses, and applications), inequalities, analytical geometry, graphs of rational functions, sequences, and series.  This course includes a comprehensive study of trigonometry and its application. An introduction to limits completes this course. A graphing calculator is required. Upon completion of this course, students may take the SAT Subject Test, Math Level II.  Please consult the Department Chair for further information about the subject tests.
    Prerequisites: B in Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors or
    Strong A with teacher recommendation in Algebra II, A in Geometry, supplemental work
    Departmental approval

    Calculus Honors — Grade 12
    This course covers the basic concepts of differential and integral calculus and some of its applications. Beginning with a brief review of analytic geometry, functions and their properties, and trigonometry, the course continues with the concepts of limits and continuity which lead to the study of derivatives and integrals.  Students must have a graphing calculator.
    Prerequisites: B in Pre-Calculus or B- in Pre-Calculus Honors
    Departmental approval

    AP Calculus AB — Grade 12
    This course is equivalent to a one-semester college calculus course. Students who enter this course must possess a solid understanding of all Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus topics. The course begins with a summer packet which reviews various concepts from prior courses. The study of limits and continuity from both a graphic and algebraic vantage point follows. An in-depth analysis of differential and integral calculus techniques with an emphasis on interpretation and applications completes this course. Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam in early May and should expect to spend an average of one hour daily on homework and review in preparation for class.  A graphing calculator is required.
    Prerequisites: B in Pre-Calculus Honors
    Departmental approval is required

    AP Calculus BC — Grade 12
    This course is equivalent to one full year of college calculus.  Students who enter this course must possess a strong background and understanding of all of the concepts covered in Algebra I, Geometry Honors, Algebra II and Trigonometry Honors, and Honors Pre-Calculus, as well as good mathematical insight. The course begins with a summer packet which reviews many of the topics from prior courses and requires the student to read new material and answer appropriate questions. The school year starts with an in-depth study of limits and continuity and then proceeds directly to differential calculus.  Topics are analyzed in both an algebraic and graphical approach.  Concepts in integral calculus, including those dealing with polar coordinates, parametric equations and series and sequences, will round out the year. In all areas of study, the emphasis is on interpretation and applications of the concepts. Students must take the Advanced Placement Exam in early May and should expect to spend an average of at least one hour daily on homework and review in preparation for class. Students must have and know how to use graphing calculators.
    Prerequisites: A- in Honors Pre-Calculus
    Recommendation of Honors Pre-Calculus teacher required Departmental approval is required.
  • Physical Education

    The physical education program follows the national standards set forth by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) and promotes the development of the physical, social and mental well-being of the student. The department promotes a physically active lifestyle, providing opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.  Each semester, students participate in a variety of movement experiences integrated into health-fitness concepts. After an introduction to fitness through supervised sessions of strength and body conditioning, students practice movement experiences which rotate each year; these may include ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, flag football, yoga, tae bo, and tennis. Students tap into their critical thinking skills throughout various activities. The eleventh grade physical education curriculum includes a unit in self-defense.   Eleventh grade students may fulfill the physical education requirement either by participating in a varsity/junior varsity sports team or by enrolling in two semesters of the dance major program.

    Body Conditioning
    Each semester, one quarter of the physical education class may participate in a body conditioning class. Using techniques borrowed from dance, the course is designed to help the student condition and tone her entire body. The program incorporates floor work, yoga, stretching, and Pilates theories, including extensive abdominal work and breath and posture alignment exercises.

    Morning Yoga – Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to basic yoga poses as they incorporate the body, mind, spirit connection to lifestyle fitness choices.

    Morning Strength and Conditioning — Grade 9, 10, 11
    An alternative to Physical Education 9, 10 or 11, this semester course meets two mornings each cycle at 7:30 a.m., thus fulfilling the PE requirement for the semester. Students are introduced to strength and conditioning fitness concepts and then design their own plan to meet their personal strength training goals.
  • Science

    Biology — Grades 11 or 12
    Biology helps us understand the science of living things. By focusing on specific, real-world examples, this class connects students in practical ways to various levels of biological study:  from the molecule and cell to the organism and ecosystems.  Topics include characteristics of life, cell organelles, cellular transport, cell reproduction, DNA synthesis, ecology, taxonomy, evolution and organisms.  Laboratory activities provide opportunities to explore the material and to develop a genuine appreciation for the scientific method as it is applied to biological questions.

    Biology Honors — Grades 11 or 12
    This course takes a rigorous approach to the study of the organization of all living things from the molecular and cellular level to the organismal and ecological level.  The class covers the various areas of life sequentially, moving from the micro to the macro-scale.  Topics covered include water, biological macro-molecules, diffusion, cellular organization, mitosis, meiosis, DNA synthesis, transcription, translation, molecular biology, genomics, comparative anatomy and physiology, taxonomy, evolution, and both population and community ecology. Laboratory activities complement the coursework and help students cultivate a working understanding of the material.  This course helps prepare students for the SAT II examination.
    Prerequisites: B+ in Chemistry Honors or A- in Chemistry
    Departmental approval
  • Technology

    Computer Skills across the Curriculum — Grades 10, 11 and 12
    Computer Skills across the Curriculum, although not a scheduled class, provides the time for students and teachers to work collaboratively with the computer science teachers on particular projects or skills needed for classes across the curriculum.  This individualized work allows the student to develop her competency in many sectors of computer science while seeing its practical application in various ways.  Students have the unique opportunity to learn new tech information of interest to them and hone skills they have already begun to develop.

    Honors and Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles — Grades 11 and 12
    Computer Science Principles develops computing concepts and an understanding of the impact of technology in our lives. The content of this course follows the College Board requirements and is offered as an Honors or Advanced Placement elective. While sharpening their computational thinking and problem-solving techniques, students develop programming skills and gain an appreciation for the impact of technology within economic, social and cultural contexts. In order to help students abstract programming concepts, they learn to code through multiple programming languages including Snap! and Javascript. Advanced Placement students will complete the College Board Performance Assessment as well as take the AP exam.  Those students who enroll in the Honors Computer Science Principles in junior year will not be eligible to take the AP Computer Science Principles in senior year.  Students self-select placement into the AP level.  Either level of this course serves as a pre-requisite to AP Computer Science A.

    Advanced Placement Computer Science A — Grade 12
    The Advanced Placement course outlined by the College Board provides the foundation for this class whose emphasis is on programming methodology and algorithms using a variety of data types and structures. The object-oriented programming language Java provides the context for treating these subjects. Applications develop student knowledge of algorithms, data types, and structures and provide topics for programming assignments in which students apply this knowledge. The instructor is available for an additional period per cycle to assist students individually. To do well on the AP exam, students should expect to program at least three hours per week in addition to time spent during scheduled class periods.
    Prerequisites:A in Computer Science Principles or A- in Computer Science Principles HO or completion of a department-approved summer course
    Completion of summer work
    Commitment to additional class periods each cycle
    Departmental approval
  • Theology

    Grade 11
    Semester 1: The Foundations of the Moral Life
    Students examine the fundamental sources upon which the Christian moral life is built: scripture and tradition. Students explore moral teachings in divine revelation including God’s covenant, the commandments, the beatitudes, the Golden Rule, and all aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. Personal and communal sin and the consequences of sin are investigated. Each student addresses her moral decision-making process in light of current Roman Catholic Church teaching and documents.

    Semester 2: Morality for the 21st Century
    Responding to the complexities and religious diversity of the 21st century, and the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate, students investigate two non-Christian monotheistic religions: Judaism and Islam. While seeking to understand the beliefs and practices of these traditions, special attention is given to moral and ethical values and teachings of each religion. Recognizing the uniqueness and differences of each, students are challenged to identify common threads among Judaism, Islam, and Christianity especially in the area of morality and virtues.
    Building on the foundational principles of morality included in semester one, students investigate moral and ethical issues confronted today and examine the virtue of justice and its implications on both personal and global levels and apply Catholic moral principles to these issues.

    Grade 12
    Church in the 21st Century
    Seniors have the opportunity to explore the spiritual wisdom of Cornelia Connelly, founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. They learn about and discuss Cornelia’s life and personal faith journey and relate their learning to their own lives as young women of faith. These opportunities are integrated into the senior Theology courses at appropriate times during the year.

    Semester 1: Catholic Identity
    An exploration of the papacy of Pope Francis, including his teachings and his role in the church and world, introduces students to an understanding of the Church in the 21st century. Special emphasis is placed on the call of Pope Francis to create a church of mercy, a theme that is woven through the entire twelfth grade curriculum. Students study the Second Vatican Council within its historical context. They consider the significance of the council documents, in particular Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, and relate them to the church today. Finally, students explore the relationship of Mary and the church and Mary as a role model of faith, mercy, and justice in their own lives.

    Semester 2: Call to Justice
    Students continue to focus on the call to mercy and justice during the second semester. The course includes an examination of the contributions of religious orders of women in America. Certain individual sisters as well as laywomen will be featured. Among the many contributions of these women is their commitment to works of justice. Students explore the themes of Catholic Social Teaching within the context of the church and world today and are challenged to relate the principles of Catholic Social Teaching to their own lives. The semester concludes with independent work and the completion of a major project which focuses especially on Catholic Social Teaching. A significant part of the project will be to design an educational and action-based program that could be applied on a college campus.  Each senior produces and presents her final Theology project which integrates key dimensions of the Theology program and her own personal journey of faith and work for justice and mercy.
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is a Catholic independent school coeducational from kindergarten to grade 6 and all girls in grades 7 to 12. Oak Knoll was founded in 1924 and is one of 10 schools in the Holy Child Network of Schools that provides independent Catholic education across the United States.

OAK KNOLL SCHOOL OF THE HOLY CHILD

44 Blackburn Road
Summit, NJ 07901
Phone: (908) 522-8100
CONTACT US

© Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child 2014