What are the curricular requirements for freshmen?
Freshmen are required to take seven full credits (there are seven periods in Brophy’s schedule), though many freshmen take summer school before they begin 9th grade, which allows them either to get ahead in credits or take a study hall if they’d like a reduced load. But a typical freshman will take
- A year of English I or Honors English I
- A year of Algebra I, Honors Algebra I, or an appropriate math course after placement testing out of Algebra.
- A year of a World Language. Spanish and Latin are offered at Brophy, and there are a limited number of spaces in French and Chinese next door at Xavier for Brophy boys.
- A year of Biology or Honors Biology, unless a student takes SHEP, in which case he may place into a higher science course pending his achievement in the summer course.
- A year of Scripture, the first of four years of Religious Studies courses.
- A semester of Introduction to Fine Arts, unless a student opts to take a band or choir class for his fine arts requirement. (if a student decides to take a full year of band or choir, he will need to either defer Physical Education until later, or have taken summer school previous to 9th grade)
- A semester of Health.
- A semester of World History.
- A semester of Physical Education.
Should incoming freshmen take summer school before they begin 9th grade?
While it’s not necessary to take summer school, and many kids don’t for a variety of reasons, the majority of incoming freshmen do, and those who do take summer school come to school in August having met some new friends and experienced a little of what the Brophy classroom feels like. They also have created some options for themselves during that freshman year, and potentially into their future years. By taking summer school, an incoming freshman can create room in his schedule to take a full year of choir or band without having to defer PE, or take a study hall and a lighter load of academic classes, or take extra fine arts or PE/Weights courses that will fulfill graduation requirements and create options for extra electives down the line. But there is certainly no pressure to take summer school, and a student can make it through four years of required courses without it.
What summer courses are available to incoming freshmen?
There are a variety of courses offered. Students who are accepted with Honors or Distinction are invited into SHEP (Summer Honors Enrichment Program) and can select either an Honors Biology or an Honors Humanities focus. Honors Biology students tend to then move to a higher science course during their freshman year, and Honors Humanities students have some options in how they want to schedule themselves during their freshman year. Other admitted students can select to take World History (half credit), Health, (half credit), or Biology (full credit). All of these courses fulfill graduation requirements. A student can enroll in World History and Health simultaneously (one from 8am-10:15am, the other from 10:45am-1pm), or select just to take one. Or a student can opt to take Biology, which runs 8am-12:30pm. All courses run June 3-July 3, 2013. Students who take the regular Biology class will not be scheduled into a science course during the year. Thus, students taking summer school create options for themselves during that freshman year.
What if I want to be in the band, or want to try choir?
Freshmen are required to take a half credit of Intro to Fine Arts (IFA), unless they opt into choir or band, which then counts as their Fine Arts credit. If they opt into choir or band and want to do so for a full year, they either need to take summer school to create room or defer their PE class to a later year (two semesters of Physical Education are required to graduate). Students who plan on taking choir or band over four years need to plan ahead, as they will go above and beyond the 2.5 credit fine art requirement. But plenty of students do this, so it’s nothing to worry about; rather, it’s just something to plan for.
What if I plan on playing varsity sports, now or later?
Many varsity sports meet during 7th period in season as “Advanced PE” classes, and a student who plans on playing a varsity sport numerous years needs to plan accordingly. While it’s not essential that a student-athlete takes summer school each year, if he plans on playing a varsity sport with a 7th period Advanced PE class multiple years, and particularly if he plans on taking a 4th year of Science or World Language, summer school may be a requirement along the way.
How does Honors and Advanced Placement course selection work at Brophy?
For incoming freshmen, placement into Honors courses is determined via students’ admissions materials, including entrance exam score, grades, teacher recommendations, and writing sample, as well as any placement testing that students pursue in Math or World Language. However, each year there is a comprehensive student application process for Honors and AP courses in 10th-12th grades, and students from any courses are welcome to apply. If not originally placed into Honors courses, freshmen have every opportunity to demonstrate understanding, skill, and mastery in their first-year courses, and students who do can then enter into appropriate Honors or AP classes as they move through the Brophy curriculum. Conversely, students who originally are placed into Honors courses as freshmen and who don’t exhibit those qualities can find that they lose the privilege of continuing in those courses. The bottom line is that students need to be vigilant in their studies and hard work, and placement will be appropriate
Is there someone I can talk to about looking ahead and planning accordingly?
Each freshman is assigned a guidance counselor who will work with him for the first two and a half years on scheduling, socialization, etc. Midway through junior year, students migrate to a college counselor, who adds to that agenda a more comprehensive examination and direction of the college application and admissions process. So a student and parents will always have someone to talk to regarding Brophy’s curriculum, the scheduling process, etc.