ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

ST. MARY’S COMMITMENT TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

An excellent Catholic school is guided and driven by a clearly communicated mission that embraces a Catholic identity rooted in Gospel values, centered on the Eucharist, and committed to faith formation, academic excellence and service.

The St. Mary's High School curriculum joins together the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) with rigorous content-based learning objectives to provide an excellent academic program within a faith-filled environment.

The St. Mary's curriculum is:

  • Aligned with the National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic Schools (NSBECS)

  • Infused with Church Teaching

  • Focused on Developing 21st Century Skills

  • Differentiated and Individualized

  • Continuously Assessed and Improved

The benchmarks were developed to articulate nationally defined characteristics and performance goals. The NSBECS acknowledge Catholic identity and culture as vital to the mission of Catholic education. For more information, please visit their website HERE.

SMHS ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

St. Mary's High School requires 28.0 units of SMHS credit for graduation. These credits are explained below and include 20 core credits in theology, English, math, science, and social studies, 1 cumulative credit in health and P.E., 1 credit in world language, 0.5 credit in fine arts, and 2 credits of community service. The remaining 3.5 credits may be selected based on student choice and availability from our list of elective courses. Students may also take additional core classes to fulfill their 28.0 SMHS credits. If a student is interested in additional courses of study not offered at SMHS, they may enroll in dual credit courses through UCCS CU Succeed, or another SMHS-approved institution, for enrichment credits beyond the required 28.0 units.

  • 4 credits of Theology OR 1 credit for each year spent at St. Mary's High School

  • 4 credits of English

  • 4 credits of Mathematics (must include Geometry and 2nd year of Algebra; max 1 credit from PLTW allowed)

  • 4 credits of science (must include Biology, Chemistry, and two science choice electives; max 1 credit from PLTW allowed)

  • 4 credits of Social Studies for Class of 2026 and later (must include World History; American History (or AP US History); and American Government (or AP US Government & Politics)

  • 3 credits of Social Studies for Class of 2024 and 2025 (must include World History & Geography; American History (or AP US History); and American Government (or AP US Government & Politics)

  • 1 cumulative credit of Health (0.5) and Physical Education (0.5) -- recommended 9th or 10th grade

  • 1 credit of World Language (1 credit required minimum; 2-4 credits are recommended)

  • 0.5 credit of Fine Arts (Art, Music, Theater)

  • 4 Additional elective credits (student choice - can include additional core options)

  • 2 credits Community Service (0.5 each year)

St. Mary’s High School will continue to require a minimum of 28.0 units of SMHS credit for graduation for all students. 

Project Lead The Way (CE) electives may fulfill a maximum of 1 credit in Math and Science.

Students are allowed only one study hall per semester, as credits permit.

Only seniors are eligible to be a Teacher Assistant (TA) in place of a Study Hall. Only one TA position is allowed per semester (0.5 credit/per semester). Seniors must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher to be eligible.

AP Courses: All students taking an AP class are required to take the AP exam in May and complete the SMHS's culminating activity for each AP course.

Credit for dual enrollment courses taken through an outside agency (UCCS CU Succeed or other approved institution) are in addition to the 28.0 SMHS credits required for graduation. Please see the AP/Dual Enrollment page on our website for more information.

Freshmen & Sophomores: Must take a minimum of 6.5 SMHS credits each year toward the 28.0 graduation credits.

Juniors & Seniors:  Must take a minimum of 6.0 SMHS credits each year toward the 28.0 graduation credits.

Dropping/Adding Courses: Students may request to drop a class during the first five (5) days of each semester. The course change form must be completed and signed prior to that deadline. The student is responsible for all of the work that was previously assigned in the new course. Dropping a course after the deadline will result in a Withdraw/Fail on the student transcript. Students requesting to add a course will be placed on a first come, first served basis as classroom space allows.

ACADEMIC HONOR ROLL AND LETTERS

Each student (9 –12) can earn the Principal’s Honor Roll award if he/she earns a weighted semester GPA of 3.5 to 3.7499. Students will receive a certificate from the principal and acknowledgement at our semester Academic Awards Assembly.

Each student who achieves a weighted GPA of 3.75 or higher for the semester will receive an Academic Letter award. The purpose of the Academic letter is to recognize students who have excelled academically while attending St. Mary's High School. Any SMHS student who is enrolled in at least six courses of study (three of which must be core academic classes) and earning a 3.75 grade point for that semester is eligible. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total points earned by the total number of credits. Students will receive a SMHS Academic Letter for the first time of 3.75 or higher in a semester, and they will receive a certificate for each time thereafter.

Upon graduation, students will be recognized for their academic achievements using set criteria. Using their cumulative weighted GPAs, students may receive the following honors:

SUMMA CUM LAUDE GPA (Highest Honors) 4.50 and above

MAGNA CUM LAUDE GPA 4.20-4.49 

CUM LAUDE GPA 3.75-4.19 

ACADEMIC MENTORING
Staffed by Teachers and Assisted by National Honor Society Students

Math Mentoring Center
To further assist students, free math tutoring will be available during Zero Hour. Peer tutoring will be offered through the Math Department by members of the National Honor Society. For more information, please contact the Math Department Chair, Mr. Paul Hartman (phartman@smhscs.org).

Writing Mentoring Center
Free access to the Writing Center will be available during Zero Hour. The Writing Center will provide instruction, resources, and support for all students to improve as writers. Peer consultants conduct sessions to help their fellow students improve as writers, becoming more competent and, as a result, more confident. For more information, please contact Mrs. Mary Anne Kavanaugh (mkavanaugh@smhscs.org).