DeSales Academics

Last Updated: 10/17/2018 5:38 AM

Details on graduation Requirements, grading and more can be found in the DeSales Student-Parent Handbook


Departments & Courses at DeSales


Students of English at DeSales High School will utilize language skills that foster an appreciation of literature and ensure proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  This competence serves as a foundation for a more far-reaching aim:  the study of English will enhance the DeSales graduate's success in future endeavors that require a solid understanding of the English language.  Furthermore, the literature that students read will help them to empathize with their fellow man while the language skills they learn will allow them to communicate successfully with one another.  In a time where compassion for and interaction with others is sorely compromised, these important tools will undeniably create an individual more prepared to live as Christ has taught.

Freshman English

Students will study literature, grammar, composition, and vocabulary.   They will write a series of essays after reading and analyzing a number of short stories. Furthermore, after reading a list of books and plays, they will discuss the themes, literary devices, and relevancy to Christian life experience.

Sophomore English

Students will continue to study literature, grammar, composition, and vocabulary.  They will write a series of essays after reading and analyzing a number of non-fiction works.  As in Freshman English, students will read novels and plays, as well as many poetic works.  All will culminate in discussions and essays regarding the deeper meaning of the work.

Junior English

Students will study American literature through representative writers, e.g., Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck.  Students will continue to hone their composition skills with an emphasis upon writing critical essays and a research paper, both of which will follow the M.L.A. format. Vocabulary building will continue.

Senior English

Students will read the literature of Great Britain from Celtic times to the present.  The course will include the study of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, and Jonathan Swift.  Following M.L.A. guidelines, students will write critical essays in response to the literature they read as well as a research paper.  Vocabulary building will continue. 

A.P. English Language and Literature

Offered at the senior-high level to those students who wish to fulfill college requirements while in high school.  Along with the senior English curriculum, students will read additional literature as well as meet weekly to prepare for the A.P. exam, which is administered in May.  Students who qualify will receive college credit in English.

Below is a list of core titles for each English class offered:


Freshman English


  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Sophomore English

  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  • Antigone by Sophocles
  • Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  • Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Junior English

  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Senior English

  • Beowulf
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  •  Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel T. Colridge
  •  Excerpts from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson

History & Social Studies

DeSales High School students, through Social Studies classes, participate in a mock trial, a mock debate of bills in the House of Representatives and in their Economics class participate in a project where they are "married," develop a budget to live on and adjust when given "emergencies."  Special activities are also made available for students to take part in including trips to Washington D.C./Williamsburg and Europe.

Classes Offered Include


  • Pacific Northwest History


  • World History
  • AP European History


  • United States History


  • Government
  • Economics


  • Sociology





Students will receive hands-on experience in all areas of the yearbook process: Writing, headlines/typography, editing, layout designs/graphics, publishing, and photography techniques.  In addition to compiling the yearbook, students will also learn how to be an effective journalist.  This will include, but not be limited to: Interviewing techniques, interviewing projects, on camera reporting, filming an interview, radio interviews and other journalism techniques that can be used in a variety of ways in everyday settings. Students will develop an overall understanding of the variety of job positions offered in journalism. Students will be able to understand and experience the ways in which journalism enriches life.

Journalism: Offered mod SIX  to juniors and seniors, satisfying the occupational education requirement (1 year) for graduation.  


Preparing Our Students for the Future

The definition of a "basic education" changes as society changes.  A "basic education" in the past meant a "grade-school" education, followed either by "college-prep" courses, or the learning of a trade.  However, most trades are now better served by students that have a good background in mathematics.

We are convinced that with the current state of our society, students (and our society) are best served when they take four years of mathematics.  What used to be called "college-prep" can now easily be called "a basic education".  Every student that graduates from a high school should at least have the option to attend college.  And if they choose to attend a trade school, having four years of mathematics will make them better at their trade.


The DeSales One-Track System


                                                                   Statistics              AP Statistics

                                                                       ↑                        ↑

Algebra → Geometry → Algebra II → Pre-Calculus → AP Calculus   →


                                                                   Algebra II


We recommend basically one track, with a couple options depending on the ability of the students.  The following are four possible avenues through the one-track:



Regular 1

Regular 2

Regular 3










Algebra w/credit


for pre-algebra



Algebra II







Algebra II


Algebra II w/credit for Transition math



Calculus or

Pre-Calculus or

Algebra II

Algebra II

AP Statistics

AP Statistics



Physical Education  


The Religion Department is split into three parts and is Curriculum, Community Service, and Campus Ministry.  The Religion Curriculum is as follows:

Freshman Year

  • Church History - focuses on the Early Church and the development of Catholic Christianity through various stages of history including the Middle Ages, the Reformation & Renaissance, and Modern Times.                 
  • Introduction to Catholicism - focuses on Faith, spirituality, the sacraments, Mass, and an introduction to the Bible.

Sophomore Year


  • Old Testament - focuses on Biblical interpretation, the structure of the Bible, and an in-depth reading and discussion of various books in the Old Testament.  Special activities include a Seder Meal and a Prophets project.
  • New Testament - takes over where Old Testament leaves off and focuses on the Jewish world at the time of Jesus, the structure of the New Testament, and an in-depth reading and discussion of the New Testament. 

Junior Year


  • Social Ethics - focuses on Catholic Social teaching, Church Authority, Just War, Respect for life, and other various ethical issues.  Special activities include a Just War Debate.
  • Morality - focuses on Free Will, Sin, Responsibility, the Ten Commandments, and begins a discussion of Social teachings.

Senior Year

  • Christian Justice - focuses on a review of the first three years of religion and Social Justice, which leads into the Senior Project.
  • Senior Service Project - focuses on serving the poor, aged, and the needy.  Thirty-two hours of community service are served in lieu of class time.  Class continues to meet once or twice weekly to journal and discuss experiences.


The Science department at DeSales High School is committed to providing students with the strong traditional core of classes.  Our goal is for students to have a broad background that will enable them to proceed into any field that they wish following high school. 

In order to be successful beyond high school, our students need to be scientifically literate.  This includes not only doing science, but reading and writing science.  We provide a good blend of practical experience, study and discussion within our classes.

The high school curriculum follows up from the middle school introductory Life Science and Earth Science with:


Freshman: Physical Science

Physical Science is the traditional course taught at the freshman level which gives a preparation for Chemistry and Physics. 

Sophomore: Biology

Biology is the study of the wonder of life and all of its grandeur. It includes everything from the extraordinary design of the cell to the marvels of the human body.


Junior: Chemistry

Chemistry is the science that systematically studies the composition, properties, and activity of organic and inorganic substances and various elementary forms of matter.


Senior: Physics & AP Physics

Physics is the science that studies the fundamental laws that govern matter, energy space and time - and explains them utilizing various tools, especially mathematics.  Physics and AP Physics are taught concurrently. AP Physics is the equivalent of "College Physics".



The Drama course will help students develop an understanding and awareness of the theatre as a whole. Class will be both dramatic history and project based. Projects will include, but not be limited to: History of the theatre (Greek to modern day), stagecraft, lighting techniques, play production techniques, directing/acting a one act, acting techniques, improvisation, monologues and other theatrical techniques that can be applied to everyday situations.

Course work will include, but not limited to:

  • Play analysis: Our TownDeath of a Salesman, Into the WoodsThe Nerd, etc...
  • Stagecraft
  • Stage Makeup
  • Stage Combat
  • Monologues
  • Student Directed One acts
  • and much more!


Computer I

Technological literacy is the ability to responsibly apply appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century.  Students will learn and apply computer techniques such as, but not limited to: Basic operations and concepts, identifying file types, multimedia, Powerpoint, Word, Excel, keyboarding (ability to type 25 WPM full keyboard with 6 errors or less), technology productivity tools, and technology communication tools. Using the resources available, students will use these tools for technology problem-solving and decision-making that can apply to everyday situations.

*Computer I  offered ZERO mod for all students and mod SEVEN for freshmen and sophomores.  These courses satisfy the occupational education (1 year) requirement for graduation, and taking one semester of either course satisfies the DeSales High School Computer requirement. 

Computer II

Advanced computers will incorporate materials learned from Beginning Computers course.  Projects will include, but are not limited to: Photoshop, video editing/iMovie, website building & concepts, website editing, digital video production, getting the most from photos and how to edit them, social media, creation of brochures/printed media and other technology based projects that utilize not just computers but other technologies and digital platforms.

*Computer II  mod SEVEN for sophomores.  These courses satisfy the occupational education (1 year) requirement for graduation, and taking one semester of either course satisfies the DeSales High School Computer requirement.