Graduation Requirements and Grading

Graduation Requirements:

In order to qualify for the Saint Mary’s School diploma, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a total of 22 units with a cumulative weighted grade point average (GPA) of not less than 2.000
  • Complete 20 hours of community service as a 9th grade student
  • Within 22 units, have the following distribution of subject matter:
    • English | 4 units 
      Includes English I, II, III, and IV
    • Social Studies | 4 units*  
      One unit of World History I, one unit of World History II, one unit of U.S. History, one-half unit of Religion/Philosophy, and one-half unit of choice.
    • Science | 3 units 
      Includes one unit of biology and one unit of a physical science 
    • Mathematics | 3 units**
      Includes Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or the equivalent, plus one unit beyond Algebra II 
    • World Languages | 3 units / 1 language*** | 2 units / 2 languages***
    • Visual and Performing Arts | 2 units **** 
    • Electives | 3 units

*Students entering after 9th grade are required to have completed 4 units of Humanities and Social Sciences; specific named courses will be determined based on transcript.

**Mathematics units must be taken in a high school or college program.  A student who enters the 9th grade with math credits for Algebra I or beyond will need 3 units beginning at the next level.

***For students interested in attending a selective college or university, Saint Mary’s School recommends 4 units of the same World Language. However, completing level 3 of a language meets the requirement, no matter what year that happens.

****Students entering in the 11th or 12th grade without Visual and Performing Arts credits will be required to take one-half unit of Visual and Performing Arts.

Main Updates to Curriculum

1. Please note that Summer 2023 is the last summer that World Religions will be offered as an asynchronous, online course. Synchronous summer courses may be offered in the future.

2. Students must still take 4 units of History Social Studies but are no longer required to take a government course.

3. Students will take either Literature and Rhetoric or AP Language at the Junior level. Juniors may take English electives in addition to one of these required courses.

4. We have developed some additional tracks for students in certain subjects. The courses are accelerated versions of courses that currently exist. These courses will cover all the content of the Honors level class, but they will have increased depth to challenge our more interested and capable learners. The accelerated classes will allow students to see topics that will increase their experience with high level problem solving heading into AP and college courses.

a. Accelerated Chemistry
b. Accelerated Geometry
c. Accelerated Algebra II
d. Accelerated Spanish III: Spanish Grammar and Conversation
e. Accelerated French III: French Grammar and Conversation

These courses are still considered at the Honors level and will receive a weighted Honors GPA.

5. New Courses: Principles of Engineering, Speech and Communication, Film Production, Literature and Rhetoric.

6. Returning Courses: Economics, Astronomy, Introduction to Programming, Human Body Systems.

7. Independent Study
Independent study is an application-based program that gives students the opportunity to engage in academic study beyond the formal academic courses offered. In collaboration with the faculty moderator of the program the student will develop a rigorous course of study that may include deep research, hands-on creation, experimentation, and investigation, and/or collaboration with external organizations. Students must document and demonstrate how their work has impacted both themselves and others. This type of learning is challenging and requires a high level of self-motivation, intellectual curiosity, and discipline. This program is open to 11th and first-semester 12th grade students.
Credit: one half unit.

All academic work will be evaluated according to the following grading system:











The learner consistently demonstrates complete mastery of both the content and skills of the course. The work produced by the student often exceeds the requirements of the course.








The learner demonstrates a strong command of content and skills of the course.  The work that the student produces meets the primary requirements of the course.








The learner demonstrates an adequate command of content and skills of the course. This learner creates a foundation to build on to master more complex content and develop deeper skills.  The work that the student produces shows evidence of accurately focused and consistent effort even if it does not meet all the requirements of the course.




The learner demonstrates an unreliable or weak grasp of the content and skills of the course.  She does not have a strong foundation and though credit is earned, she may not be prepared or recommended for further work in the discipline.  Remedial work or intervention may be required by the school for a student with a grade of D.  The work that the student produces shows some evidence of effort even if it does not meet the requirements of the course. 




The learner does not demonstrate a grasp of the content and skills of the course.  The work that the student produces may show some evidence of effort yet fails to meet the requirements of the course.  No credit is issued.  Remedial work or intervention may be required by the school for a student with a grade of F. 

WP      Withdrawal from a course while passing
WF      Withdrawal from a course while failing
WM     Withdrawal from a course for medical reasons
INC*   Incomplete – Indicates that some part of the class work has not been completed

* The time permitted to erase an incomplete is negotiable between teacher and student, in coordination with the Dean of Teaching and Learning. Any incompletes after the second semester must be resolved by July 1.

Academic Policies 

Policies concerning academic matters such as classes, class schedules, grading, academic expectations, and academic support may be found in the Academics section of the Student-Parent Handbook.