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Our Curriculum

Happy Students in Class

Visitation students are confident thinkers, excellent writers, and fearless problem-solvers. Rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, our well-rounded college-preparatory curriculum nurtures these qualities and gives girls glimpses into subjects and fields that pique their curiosity and drive them to explore their passions.

We provide engaging electives that proactively enhance our traditional core subjects. Our classes are laboratories for questioning, where girls are challenged to grow and pushed to stretch their own boundaries. All classes emphasize hands-on lessons, real-world scenarios, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Many courses take advantage of our location in the nation’s capital, which allows students to relate their studies to the world.

Guided by experienced and passionate faculty, students feel comfortable and confident challenging, answering, discussing, learning, and laughing. Through group projects and constructive feedback, girls build relationships with their peers and teachers. Beyond simply learning dates and memorizing theories, classroom discussion inspires girls to tirelessly question and learn from one another.

Visi girls are analytical collaborators, eloquent speakers, and energetic self-advocates. In every discipline, students deepen their faith and knowledge and discover what they are capable of, all while having fun.


Our Program Includes

Curriculum By Grade

FRESHMAN YEAR
Religion I: Scripture and the Revelation of Jesus Christ
English I
Global Patterns of Civilization I: Ancient Peoples
Algebra I or Accelerated Geometry or Accelerated Math I
French I or Spanish I
Conceptual Physics
Physical Education and Wellness
Aesthetics of Music and Art
Physical Education & Wellness
Learning Support & Strategies (by recommendation)

SOPHOMORE YEAR
Religion II: The Mission of Jesus Christ and its Continuation in the Church
English II
Global Patterns of Civilization II: Rise of the Modern World
or Honor European History
Geometry or Honors Elementary Functions or Algebra II
or Accelerated Math II
French II or Spanish II
Chemistry
Physical Education and Wellness
Speech

JUNIOR YEAR
Religion III: Sacraments as Privileged Encounters with Christ and Catholic Social Teaching
English III
U.S. History
Algebra II or Honors Elementary Functions or Precalculus or Accelerated Algebra II/Trigonometry
French III or Spanish III
Biology

SENIOR YEAR
Religion IV: Bioethics and Moral Decision Making
English IV
4 Academic Electives

AP Courses

Academically eligible students may qualify for admission to Advanced Placement courses.

AP American Government
AP Art History
AP Biology
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP Comparative Politics
AP Environmental Science
AP French
AP Language and Composition
AP Literature and Composition
AP Physics C
AP Psychology
AP Spanish
AP Statistics
AP Studio Art
AP U.S. History

Honors Courses

Academically eligible students may qualify for admission to honors courses.

Chemistry
Elementary Functions
English II/English III/English IV
European History
French III/IV
Precalculus
Spanish III/IV

Electives

Accelerated Algebra II/Trigonometry
Calculus
Chorus
Creative Writing
French IV/Spanish IV
Genetics
Human Anatomy
Latin I/II
Macroeconomics
Neuroscience
Orchestra
Precalculus
Studio Art I/II/III
Trigonometry/Advanced Math Topics

Bridge Program with Georgetown University

Qualified members of the senior class may participate in our Bridge Program with Georgetown University, which enables them to take college courses for a nominal fee. Classes taken by previous participants include: Multivariable Calculus, Microeconomics Principles, Intro to Philosophy, Intro to Proof/Problem Solving, Principles of Accounting, Intro to Cultural Anthropology, and Intro to Sociology.

Online School for Girls via One Schoolhouse

Our students have dozens more courses to choose from through Online School for Girls, a program offered by the organization One Schoolhouse. In recent years, Visitation girls have been most interested in the AP Computer Science courses.

Learn About Our Departments

English

Our English classes develop students' close reading, writing, and discussion skills to be sure—but they also go well beyond this. Our four-year, vertically integrated curriculum nurtures girls' sense of wonder, awakens their appreciation for literature's expression of the human experience, and builds their confidence in their abilities. Our students learn how to read with both a critical eye and compassionate heart and how to communicate effectively verbally and through a wide range of written forms.

Featured Project:
One of the most notable moments in our English program is the junior-year research paper, which helps girls learn to create a strong thesis statement and argument, conduct research, identify proper sources and cite them correctly, and write an in-depth research paper. In the process, juniors are taught and expected to use resources in Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library.

Foreign Language

Our Foreign Language Department aims to give students the linguistic and cultural tools necessary to appreciate the richness of global diversity and embrace the challenges of living in a morally complex world. As a Salesian school, Visitation gives students opportunities to practice another language, while also practicing and cultivating respect, patience, curiosity, and gratitude for the many cultures and peoples around the globe. Freshmen can choose to study French or Spanish and must continue their language studies for at least three years, although most girls take four. Juniors and seniors may take Latin.

Extracurricular Opportunity

Through our chapter of the National Spanish Honor Society, nearly 20 students have won either the Bertie Green Travel Award (an all-expense-paid trip to a Spanish-speaking country) or a $1,000 college scholarship. More than 30 students have been published in the National Spanish Honor Society’s literary magazine, “Albricias.”

History & Social Sciences

History and social science classes cultivate a lively curiosity about the past so that students may better understand the present. Girls develop an appreciation for the power of the individual in history, and learn how to exercise responsible citizenship, construct evidence-based arguments, and evaluate the consequences of historical events and their impact on today’s world.

Distinctive Experience

As a culminating project in the sophomore-level Honors European History, students examine the European refugee crisis from multiple perspectives to gain knowledge of modern Europe. By studying historic events, conducting research and original interviews, reviewing national and international news, and producing a final presentation for the class, girls come to understand the political, economic, and national security issues involved in the crisis and how historical events have shaped the present situation.

Mathematics

Not only do girls gain a competency in all foundational math functions and operations, students develop a creative, analytical problem solving ability and the confidence to tackle hard problems. Through classes in the Math Department, students connect abstract theory with real world application. These skills open the door to success in any future STEAM field. No matter what a girl’s first math class here is, she can reach Calculus, if that is the right path for her. View our math course map.

Real World Applications

In Algebra, girls simulate businesses and consumers to learn about markup and profits. As businesses, half the class tries to sell more goods than their competitor-classmates, while still making the most profit possible. The other half of the class plays consumers trying to find the best deal. This provides girls with a fun way to learn about percent, markups, discounts, and budgets.

Religion

Religion classes contemplate the relationship between faith and reason and examine the world from a Catholic perspective. Classes prioritize meaningful time of silence and stillness, quieting the noise of our busy lives, in order to listen to and converse with God in prayer. Above all, religion teachers encourage students to develop a personal relationship with God and to Live Jesus by reflecting God’s gentle strength in their interactions with others. The Religion Department follows the U.S. Bishop’s curriculum framework in the context of Salesian Spirituality and works in tandem with Campus Ministry and Christian Service.

Distinctive Experience

The Praxis Project allows all juniors to be servant leaders and explore social justice through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching. In small groups, they research and advocate for a social justice they are passionate about. Read our magazine story about the Praxis Project.

Science

Exploring the Chesapeake Bay, slighshoting a water balloon at your Physics teacher, and dissecting a fetal pig are only three of the interactive labs that instill a love of science in Visi girls. Our Science Department fosters scientific curiosity in and out of the classroom that ignites and enhances students interest in STEAM fields. Many students discover an enjoyment of science in freshman and sophomore year and enroll in more science classes than required.


Distinctive Experience

Physics First is the foundation of our science program. All freshmen take Conceptual Physics because physics gives girls a strong foundation for chemistry and biology and has a symbiotic relationship with Algebra, which freshmen also take. Girls love the class because it hands-on and fun! Read our magazine story on Physics First.

Physical Education & Wellness

In addition to learning a variety of sports and fitness activities, students learn to work together and respect each individual’s role in reaching a common goal through Physical Education lessons and activities. In their Wellness classes, girls develop an understanding of how health is an essential element of physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being. P.E. and Wellness are required classes in freshman and sophomore year.

Life Lesson

Throughout all units, classes emphasize positive body image. We believe and teach that self worth does not come from a number on a scale. Everyone is unique, beautiful and made in the likeness of God.

Technology

The Technology Department supports students and faculty individually and with curricular needs. Students come to understand how technology impacts their lives both in and out of school in positive and negative ways. Girls learn to find balance in using technology effectively and appropriately.

Special Program

Our 1:1 iPad program teaches students how to successfully integrate technology into their schoolwork and to become responsible digital citizens. Students especially love the note-taking apps and organizational tools. Many teachers use iPads and specific apps to enhance the classroom experience and advance research.

Arts

Every student explores the arts as freshmen in Aesthetics of Art and Music. Through this class and other electives, the Art Department (encompassing Visual and Performing Arts) fosters an open and respectful attitude toward people and ideas, an experimental and creative approach to the world, and an awareness of the joy of learning, thinking, and creating.

Some Highlights

Arts classes are supported by many co-curriculars. Our annual student art show, judged by external arts experts and alumnae artists, features pieces from art students and non-art students. Our Chorus annually sings at diverse public venues, such as the National Cathedral, and is invited to private celebrations, including at the Capitol and Vice President's residence in recent years.

Library

The Saint Bernard Library responds to the rapidly changing face of information -- the many avenues available to access it, the skills required to evaluate it, and the intentionality of using it ethically and responsibly. Through a wide variety of projects and experiences, a Visi student is well prepared for college-level research. She expects questions for which there are various answers and opinions and is critical yet open minded in her pursuit of knowledge.

Special Features

Whether she is searching for background information for a student government speech or gathering data for an economics presentation, a student has access to an outstanding electronic and print collection: 13,000 volumes, periodicals, and DVDs, 2 daily newspapers, and multiple English, Spanish, and French language magazines. She is also only a few blocks away from Georgetown University's Lauinger Library should she want or need more resources.

Download a PDF of our Program of Studies.

Clubs

Over 50 student-led clubs provide opportunities for girls to explore interests and build leadership skills.

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All-Girls Advantage

Girls thrive in our classrooms because we understand how girls learn.

Learn More

Campus Spirituality

Our Campus Ministry and Christian Service programs help girls deepen their faith and put it into action.

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