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 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.

Curriculum Requirements (beginning with the Class of 2024)

  • 4 credits of Theology

  • 4 credits of English (speech is no longer a stand alone course, but rather incorporated into the English curriculum)

  • 4 credits of Mathematics (must include a minimum of 3 math courses; max 1 credit from PLTW or Business allowed)

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

  • 3 credits of Social Studies (must include: Geography/World History, American History (or APUSH), and American Government); 4 credits strongly recommended

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

  • 1 credit of World Language (2 credits are recommended; 2 credits are required for the honors diploma)

  • 0.5 credit of Fine Arts (art, music, creative writing, drama)

  • 4.5 Additional elective credits (student choice - to include additional core options)

  • 2 credits Community Service (0.5 each year)

PLTW (CE) electives may fulfill a maximum of 2 credits in Math and/or Science.

Students are allowed only one study hall per semester.

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

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

SMHS Freshmen & Sophomores: MUST TAKE a minimum of 6.5 Credits each year toward the 28.0 SMHS graduation credits.
SMHS Juniors & Seniors:  MUST TAKE a minimum of 6 Credits each year toward the 28.0 SMHS graduation credits.

Dropping/Adding Courses: Students may request to drop a class during the first two weeks of each semester. The course change form must be completed 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. Students requesting to add a course will be placed on a first come, first served basis so long as space allows.

Beginning with the Class of 2025, St. Mary's will have two (2) diploma offerings:

College Prep Diploma
St. Mary’s traditional diploma.

Honors Diploma
The requirements for an honors diploma are a GPA of at least 3.85 after eight (8) semesters of work and the completion of a minimum of 10 honors and/or AP courses over the course of four years. There is no AP score requirement to earn the honors diploma. All honors and AP courses are weighted courses. 

To earn an honors diploma, the student must earn all As and Bs in all courses but can earn one (1) C in a weighted course.

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. If you have questions, please contact the Math Department Chair, Mr. Paul Hartman (phartman@smhscs.org).

Writing Mentoring Center
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. The Writing Center will be available during Zero Hour. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Mary Anne Kavanaugh (mkavanaugh@smhscs.org).