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.
Religion I: Scripture and the Revelation of Jesus Christ
Global Patterns of Civilization I: Ancient Peoples
Algebra I or Accelerated Geometry or Accelerated Math I
French I or Spanish I
Physical Education and Wellness
Intro to Art History
Intro to Technology
Physical Education & Wellness I
Learning Support & Strategies (by recommendation)
Religion II: The Mission of Jesus Christ and its Continuation in the Church
Global Patterns of Civilization II: Rise of the Modern World
or Honors World History
Geometry or Honors Elementary Functions or Algebra II
or Accelerated Math II
French II or Spanish II
Physical Education and Wellness
Academically eligible students may qualify for admission to honors courses.
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.
- World Languages
- History & Social Sciences
- Physical Education & Wellness
- Technology & Innovation
- Student Support
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 young women's sense of wonder, awakens students' 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 in both speech and writing.
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.
Through an introduction to the literary genres short story, epic, drama, and novel, students learn to read for literal as well as figurative meaning. Class discussions encourage sharing of ideas and impressions based on evidence from the text. Students work with literature-based vocabulary to enable and foster clear communication and enhance reading comprehension skills. The course includes formal sequential instruction for writing paragraphs and short essays and augments the students’ fundamental understanding of grammar. Based on a solid grasp of the structure of language, students learn to elevate oral and written communication. Extensive writing practice occurs throughout the year to foster the ability to write strong essays, developing clear theses with logical topic development and clearly analyzed textual evidence.
English II presents a genre study of literary forms: short fiction, drama, novel, poetry. Grammar, vocabulary, and literary terms enhance and enrich the student’s communication and reading skills. Such assignments as comparative essays, poetry explications, and literary analyses challenge students as they continue to develop clear, fluid writing skills. Students learn and develop research skills to enrich their understanding of literature in context as well as to prepare them to evaluate the style and reliability of various sources and types of writing.
More rigorous than English II, this course encourages students to take risks with their thinking and writing as they study works from all genres - short story, novel, drama, and poetry. In addition, students engage in daily grammar practice and continue to learn new vocabulary. This Honors course also includes an introduction to the rudiments of classical rhetoric and debate, through which they will get a glimpse of the AP Language course offered junior year. In addition to core reading selections for all sophomores, including Oedipus, Antigone, Macbeth, and A Tale of Two Cities, students analyze speeches and satire and a wide variety of poetry and prose.
English III traces the chronological development of American literature from the 19th century Transcendentalist works through 20th century modernism. Students will consider distinct literary periods and recurrent themes peculiar to American literature. In addition, juniors will refine critical writing and research skills culminating in the composition of a major research paper. Short story and poetry study will familiarize students with many authors and allow us to reinforce literary terms and devices.
More intensive than English III, Honors English III offers a thorough exploration of American literature. Working at a rigorous pace, students will hone critical writing skills by drafting a variety of essays, including a comprehensive research paper, which will adhere to Modern Language Association guidelines. In addition, honors students will study collegiate-level vocabulary. To sharpen their critical reading skills, students in this course will delve into diverse works of American literature, including novels, nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. While studying these various genres, students will explore prominent thematic topics in American literature and society such as race, wealth, religion, and gender.
With a focus on both rhetoric and American Literature, AP English Language challenges students to read closely, recognizing nuances and underlying meanings, as well as to write cogently, employing a concise and sophisticated style. Different from the English courses in the freshman and sophomore years, AP Language explores the rhetorical strategies writers use to convey their messages effectively through rhetorical and stylistic devices, also expecting students to use those strategies in their own writing. Students write an interdisciplinary research paper inspired by their summer reading assignment, and they write numerous shorter essays, both timed in class and at home. Besides the study of rhetoric, students read fiction to examine the artists’ critique of American society and its ever-present moral conflict between the individual and conformity. Students confront the real-life challenges of American life and history as reflected in both fiction and non-fiction. Students should enter the course with strong critical reading skills and well-developed writing skills, ready for the rigor of a college-level course. All students will take the College Board’s A.P. English Language exam in May.
Through close reading of both classic and contemporary fiction, the English IV course examines how virtue affects the pursuit of a good and happy life, how we define such a life, and how that definition relates to our own humanity. We also continue to work on skill development –both oral and written—focusing on elevating vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical skills. The works selected focus on developing sharp critical reading and clear fluid-writing skills to prepare students for the demands of college.
Honors English IV engages students in a rigorous study of master works of British Literature and contemporary nonfiction. Coming into the course with sound reading comprehension skills as well as a strong foundation in mature, scholarly analysis of prose, poetry, and drama, students will be challenged to develop more nuanced thinking and writing, as they explore the nature of happiness and questions of how our desires and pursuits shape who we are. This course is best suited to those who desire to hone their critical reading and analytical writing skills while making important connections to their own lives, current events, and the world in which they live.
The College Board suggests the following guidelines for an AP English course: “An AP course in Literature and Composition is a course emphasizing the skills in critical reading of imaginative and discursive literature and in writing about literature and related ideas. It is for students capable of doing college level work in high school. Students must be willing to devote the energy necessary to complete a course more rigorous and demanding than other English courses for the college-bound student.”
This AP course provides students the opportunity for in-depth study of selected masters of English literature and of World literature. The selections should present a challenge to the student who reads with knowledge, sensitivity, and skill. This course also encourages independent study in areas related to the course. Students read full-length works of fiction, both novel and drama. Furthermore, they engage in an in-depth study of poetry from a variety of literary eras.
Our World Languages 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.
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.”
This course presents basic grammatical structures in an integrated program aimed at developing the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are also introduced to French geography, culture, traditions, and customs.
This course continues the work of French I with increasing emphasis on communication in the target language. The parallel development of the four language skills is stressed. The course includes a review of French I structures, an introduction to an application of second-year grammar, and the expansion of active and passive vocabulary. Students will also gain knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the Francophone world.
During the year, all grammatical structures and verb tenses introduced in French I and II are reviewed, and new structures are learned. The student learns to use a wide range of vocabulary and, at the end of the course, should be able to communicate in French in a variety of situations. The student continues to build on her knowledge of French culture through readings, videos and project research. The student is required to write paragraphs and short compositions and to make oral presentations in French. The course is conducted primarily in French.
This is a rigorous course intended to prepare a highly motivated student for a fourth-year Honors course in French culture and literature or the Advanced Placement course in French language and culture. To that end, the grammar of French I and II is reviewed while remaining intermediate-level structures are acquired. The student improves pronunciation, intonation and rhythm of speech in reading and free expression, and she works to perfect spelling and composition. The student expands her active vocabulary and learns to paraphrase in order to avoid the use of English. The class is conducted entirely in French.
This is an elective course designed for self-motivated students who wish to work at the college level. Students will take an active role in the learning process as they continue to develop in all skill areas: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Emphasis is placed on mastery of grammar and expansion of vocabulary and their application to original expression. Students will gain further insights into French-speaking cultures by engaging with authentic language materials from a variety of sources. There are opportunities for both individual and collaborative work. The class is conducted primarily in French.
This course is designed for the highly-motivated student who wishes to prepare herself to do work at an advanced level. The course is an introduction to the highlights of French history and francophone literature. The student reads to understand and appreciate the literature, writes on literary as well as non-literary topics, and works toward oral fluency in class discussions and formal presentations. Grammar structures from French II and III are reviewed and more advanced points of grammar learned. The class is conducted entirely in French.
This course presents basic grammatical structures in an integrated program aimed at developing the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course is intended to develop the ability to communicate in the Spanish language as well as an understanding of the various Spanish-speaking cultures. The student is expected to learn to pronounce all the sounds correctly, to use and write the forms of simple verb tenses in sentences and short paragraphs, and to develop fundamental speaking skills needed to communicate with a native speaker.
This course continues the work of Spanish I with increasing emphasis on oral and written communication in Spanish. The parallel development of the four language skills is stressed as is the continued study of Hispanic culture. The course includes a review of Spanish I structures, the presentation of new verb tenses and other structures of grammar, and the expansion of active and passive vocabulary.
During the year, all grammatical structures and verb tenses introduced in Spanish I and II are reviewed; and new structures are learned. The student learns to use a wide range of vocabulary and, whenever possible, she learns synonyms and antonyms for the vocabulary listed in the texts. The student continues to build on her knowledge of Spanish culture through readings, listening exercises, videos, and project research. Students will create video speaking samples on their iPads each trimester. At the end of the course, the student should be able to communicate in Spanish in a variety of situations. The course is conducted in Spanish.
This rigorous course is meant to prepare the highly-motivated student for a fourth-year Honors course or the Advanced Placement course in Spanish language and culture. To that end, the grammar of Spanish I and II is reviewed while remaining intermediate structures are acquired. The student expands her active vocabulary and learns to paraphrase in Spanish. She furthers her knowledge of Hispanic culture through readings, short films, videos and songs in Spanish. IPads will be used for virtual visits to museums and cities and for video speaking samples. Students will make individual oral presentations to the class each semester. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish.
This is an elective course designed for the self-motivated student who plans to continue her study of Spanish at the college level. Students will take an active role in the learning process as they continue to develop in all skill areas– listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will gain further insight into Spanish-speaking cultures by engaging with authentic language materials from a variety of sources. This course is conducted primarily in Spanish and is not designed for native speakers of Spanish.
This course is intended for the highly motivated student who wishes to work at an advanced level. The course presents an overview of major topics in Spanish literature and culture, both Peninsular and Latin American. This includes poetry, short stories, films, and excerpts from novels, and plays. The students will review grammatical structures and learn more advanced points of grammar as well as more advanced vocabulary. Students work toward oral and written fluency in class discussions and by writing on literary as well as non-literary topics. The class is conducted in Spanish.
The College Board suggests the following guidelines for an Advanced Placement course in French/Spanish language: “The students who enroll should already have a strong command of grammar and vocabulary and have competence in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Most will be in the final stages of their secondary school training.” The course emphasizes the use of language for active communication through the study of six overarching themes and has as its objectives the development of:
- The ability to understand the spoken language in a variety of contexts;
- A vocabulary sufficiently ample for reading newspaper and magazine articles, literary texts, and other non-technical writings; and
- The ability to express oneself coherently, resourcefully, and with reasonable fluency and accuracy in both writing and speaking.
The AP French/Spanish Language and Culture courses are designed to achieve proficiency at the high intermediate level.
Students in all levels of history engage in academic debates that are formal and respectful exchanges of ideas. The goal is for students to explore multiple sides of a historical issue through a series of points and counterpoints, backed up by historical evidence. Over their four years at Visitation, students examine topics from the effects of World War I and the Russian Revolution in Honors Modern World to questioning voter ID laws and campaign finance reform in AP American Government. Students learn to skillfully argue their positions while considering alternative perspectives in each of our history and social science courses.
This course offers students the ability to reflect upon and refine their own moral and political values and assumptions by introducing them to key philosophers and ethical decision making models. Students will build strong critical thinking skills and sharpen their moral reasoning by engaging with ethical dilemmas.
Evidence of attempts to treat mental illness dates to prehistoric times, however throughout human history, the theoretical cause of mental illness and the resulting proposed treatments have been constantly shifting and evolving. From Plato & Hippocrates to Freud & Skinner, this course traces the historical roots of the ever-changing theories and perspectives on mental illness.
Students in this introductory-level course will trace the historical circumstances that provided the foundation for contemporary global issues. A thematic approach enables students to compare how diverse societies interact with the environment, navigate religious diversity, participate in global exchange, and evaluate models of citizenship and government. By studying the enduring legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, students will examine the significance of race and structural racism in the Americas and explore efforts to build pluralistic democracies. Students will also consider the impact of urbanization and governmental policies on the environment in Brazil, China, and Nigeria. Throughout the year, students will analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources, construct and support historical arguments, and develop information literacy skills.
This sophomore-level course examines key developments in modern history from a global perspective. Major topics include the Atlantic revolutions of the late eighteenth century, the industrialization of Europe and Asia, nineteenth-century imperialism and its legacies, the twentieth-century rise of fascism and communism, and the consequences of globalization. Skills development focuses on evaluating data and diverse sources of information, identifying recurring themes and patterns, and constructing evidence-based arguments. By exploring connections between current events and their historical roots, students are prepared for the demands of global citizenship.
This college-level course examines key developments in modern history from a global perspective. Major topics include the Atlantic revolutions of the late eighteenth century, the industrialization of Europe and Asia, nineteenth-century imperialism and its legacies, the twentieth-century rise of fascism and communism, and the consequences of globalization. This course entails a high volume of reading and requires students to grapple independently with a college-level textbook. Strong reading comprehension skills and a well-developed vocabulary are essential. Students who have mastered the synthesis required in the ninth-grade document-based essay will be pressed to examine more complex documents and to raise their analytical thinking skills to the next level. Considerable attention is given to developing the ability to construct historical arguments in oral discussion and presentation and to write thorough, well-organized and well-informed essays. Primary sources are used extensively. By exploring connections between current events and their historical roots, students are prepared for the demands of global citizenship.
This required junior-level survey course is organized chronologically, from the arrival of European explorers and settlers through the Trump Administration. Its main themes include American exceptionalism, the role of religion and race in American life, regional differences, and the idea of the frontier in shaping American identity and self-image. Students develop an understanding of key constitutional provisions and economic factors that have influenced American history. The course considers the impact of demographic, social, and geographic forces and analyzes the effects of watershed events and laws. In addition to the textbook, students use primary sources, databases, and independent research in their studies and in writing a springtime research paper. Students begin to analyze the current character of America, based on their studies of the events, trends, and personalities in her past.
This College Board designed course provides a survey of American history from the pre-Columbian period to the present in preparation for the required Advanced Placement exam. In addition to exploring key topics in government, economics, culture, and foreign relations, students will trace the “peopling” of the North American continent, Americans’ interactions with their environment, the evolution of a unique American identity, and the consequences of technological change. This course entails a high volume of reading and requires students to grapple independently with a college-level textbook. Strong reading comprehension skills and a well-developed vocabulary are essential, as is the ability to think conceptually in order to construct the “big picture.” Students who have excelled at composing the traditional five-paragraph essay will be challenged to master more complex writing formats. Primary and secondary sources are used extensively.
This College Board designed curriculum encompasses the study of the founding, institutions and political processes of American government along with the basic concepts of the discipline of political science. The founding and principles of American government will be examined and analyzed using primary source documents such as the Federalist Papers. Issues of civil liberties and civil rights will be examined in the context of the U.S. Constitution, as well as in the current context of minorities and gender. Key institutions of American government—Congress, the President, the Judicial branch and the Bureaucracy—will be examined in the context of checks and balances and separation of powers. Students will evaluate the role of the citizens in the political process, including elections, political parties, the political culture and the role of public opinion and they will study the complexity of the policy process especially with regard to economic and foreign policy. Throughout the year, students will learn to accurately identify, define and apply political terms in preparation for the mandatory AP exam. Finally, the issue of American democracy or “Who rules to what ends?” will serve as a theme throughout the course. Beyond preparation for a successful national exam result, the student will become an astute observer of the American political system and elections. Two college texts and a reading of daily news stories are required.
Economic issues have taken center stage in our political debates, and books like Freakonomics apply economic perspectives to all aspects of human behavior. This course will familiarize students with economic principles ranging from the behavior of national markets to individual cost-benefit decisions. After an introduction to basic economic principles (such as supply-and-demand and the multiplier), the course moves to macroeconomic ideas like inflation, unemployment, capital markets, taxes, and currency movements. The course then moves beyond a basic macroeconomics curriculum to explore questions including the role of Bitcoin, behavioral economics, recent structural changes in our economy, and international and developmental economics. Unlike Macroeconomics courses in college, no specialized mathematics skills (or even calculators) are required.
Prerequisite: Completion of U.S. History or AP U.S. History
This College Board designed curriculum encompasses the study of government and politics of United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, China, Nigeria, and Iran. General political science concepts will be used to interpret the key political, social, and economic relationships found in virtually all nation-states. Students engage in the comparative method to formulate ideas, test theories, and evaluate the dynamics of public policy. Particular attention is devoted to the application of political reality, thus daily and/or weekly readings of The Economist, The Washington Post, and/or The New York Times are assigned. The impact of globalization is studied through the domestic and foreign affairs policies of each nation. The ever increasing role and impact of supranational organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the European Union upon nation-states is studied. The AP exam is mandatory for all students. Beyond preparation for a successful national exam result, the student establishes herself as an astute observer of various regimes systems and global politics.
This College Board designed curriculum introduces students to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. Students will learn to critically evaluate research relevant to each content area and to explore how research design drives the reasonable conclusions that can be drawn in each field. Projects that allow students to apply content first hand will be assigned each quarter, allowing each student to take an active part in forming her own questions and analysis in preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May.
Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra II
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.Please note that Visitation offers three different calculus classes; students may take one or more of their choosing as they are not sequential.
Real World Applications
In Algebra II, girls pull all the functions they learn together by mimicking a drawing with pieces of the various functions. This gives them a touch for the shape of each graph and writing the equations helps them see how the background knowledge can be incarnated on the page. This is a similar process to the background work that computer animators do!
In Honors Pre-Calculus, students take their Religion Social Justice topic from their Praxis project and analyze mathematical data behind the issue. Then they research and propose a STEM based solution to help alleviate the social justice issue. They use function analysis to show how to measure the impact of their solution over time.
This course is a study of algebraic concepts and their applications with emphasis on skill development and problem solving. Students are encouraged to develop precise and accurate habits of mathematical expression.
This course begins with a review of algebraic concepts, with emphasis on complete mastery of skills and understanding of relevant applications. The Accelerated Math I course concentrates on Algebra I topics and concepts generally studied during the first semester of Algebra II. This is the first of a two-year sequence of courses in which Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II will be covered.
Prerequisite: Math department recommendation
Note: A student with a final grade lower than a B- will be placed in Geometry sophomore year.
The first trimester of this course emphasizes concepts and skills in the following algebraic topics needed for successful completion of higher level mathematics: factoring polynomials, rational expressions, solving quadratic equations, and graphs of linear equations. Plane Euclidean Geometry is studied for the remainder of the year with emphasis placed upon deductive reasoning, the logical nature of math, formal proof, and measurement.
Prerequisite: Math department recommendation
Postulates and theorems are studied in the context of formal proof. Applications of postulates and theorems in problem solving involving points, lines, planes, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, and 3-dimensional shapes are emphasized. Statistics topics such as data analysis and basic probability will be studied as well.
This is the second year of the Accelerated Math I-II sequence. The topics of Euclidean Geometry with emphasis on deductive reasoning are first covered, followed by the remaining topics of Algebra II. With successful completion, students will be eligible to enroll in Pre-Calculus as the next course in their study of Mathematics.
Prerequisite: A grade of B or higher in Accelerated Math I
This course covers a full year of geometry topics in the first two trimesters. The third trimester studies functions, systems of equations, inequalities, and polynomials.
Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation from Algebra; a grade of B+ or higher in Algebra
Note: A student with a final grade lower than a B- will be placed in Algebra II junior year.
This course is a comprehensive program preparing students to use advanced algebra skills and concepts that will be required for Pre-Calculus/Calculus. It includes a study of functions, systems of equations, inequalities, polynomials, rational expressions, radicals, logarithms, complex numbers, and matrix operations.
This is the first course in the Math Honors Program. It treats the elementary functions which are differentiated and integrated in Calculus. These include the polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, rational, irrational, and algebraic functions. The course also covers systems, higher degree functions, complex numbers, and sequences and series. There is an emphasis on using the functions as mathematical models for real-world applications.
Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation from Accelerated Geometry; A placement test is required as part of the advising process for this course.
This is the second course in the Accelerated Geometry & Algebra II - Accelerated Functions/Trig sequence. First and second trimesters will complete the concentrated study of algebraic, exponential, and logorithmic functions. Second and third trimesters will study trigonometry, emphasizing the advanced concepts required for success in calculus.
Prerequisite: A grade of B or higher in Accelerated Geometry and Algebra II
The first trimester continues the work of the Algebra II sequence; the emphasis is the study of trigonometry. Understanding is enhanced through the extensive use of the graphing calculator. The second and third trimesters include a review of exponential and logarithmic functions, graphing techniques, a study of conic sections, and sequences and series.
Prerequisite: A grade of B or higher in Algebra II
This is the second course in the Honors Program sequence. Its objective is to provide the student with a thorough grounding in pre-calculus mathematics, as well as to introduce the student to other topics which are pursued in non-calculus college mathematics courses. The first trimester is devoted to trigonometry. The second and third trimester topics include advanced function theory, polar and parametric functions, analytic geometry, probability, sequences and series, and an introduction to calculus.
Prerequisite: A grade of B or higher in Honors Elementary Functions or teacher recommendation from Accelerated Math II. A placement test is required as part of the advising process for this course.
AP Calculus is the third course in the Honors Program sequence for those highly motivated students who have completed Pre-Calculus in their junior year. The AP Calculus AB course covers topics from limits and continuity of functions through derivatives and integrals, both with applications.
Prerequisite: A grade of A or higher in Pre-Calculus with teacher approval or a grade of B+ or higher in Honors Pre-Calculus
Note: Visitation offers three different calculus classes; students may take any one for which they have completed the appropriate prerequisites since the courses are not sequential.
This covers all the same material from AP Calculus AB and goes further with methods of integration, infinite sequences and series, and parametric, vector, and polar functions. Both courses emphasize a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, problems and results being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally.
Prerequisite: A teacher recommendation in Honors Pre-Calculus
Note: Visitation offers three different calculus classes; students may take any one for which they have completed the appropriate prerequisites since the courses are not sequential.
This course is offered to seniors who completed Pre-Calculus or Algebra II/Trigonometry in their junior year. The course includes a brief review of elementary functions and an introduction to limits. The study of differential calculus includes techniques of differentiation, analysis of functions, and applications of the derivative. In integral calculus, the course covers techniques of integration and applications of area and volume.
Prerequisite: A grade of B- or higher in Pre-Calculus or Accelerated Functions/Trig
Note: Visitation offers three different calculus classes; students may take any one for which they have completed the appropriate prerequisites since the courses are not sequential.
AP Statistics is an honors course for students who have completed or are concurrently taking a course that includes trigonometry. The course involves extensive use of graphing calculators to analyze data with histograms, regression lines, and statistical procedures. Computer web applications will be used to simulate long-run probabilities and distributions. Solutions to statistics problems include numerical computations as well as thorough verbal explanations. Several units of study include cooperative learning and labs/projects.
Prerequisite: Passing Accelerated Functions and Trig, passing Honors Pre-Calculus, or Calculus; earning a grade of B+ or higher in Pre-Calculus or Algebra II; or teacher recommendation. A version of Pre-Calculus is required to be taken before or concurrently with this course.
Multivariable Calculus is a first course in a collegiate sequence. The focus will be on functions of two and three variables and on using calculus to analyze the geometry of curves and surfaces in three-dimensional space. Topics covered include: Parametric equations and polar coordinates, Vectors in 2- and 3-dimensional Euclidean spaces, Partial derivatives, Multiple integrals, Vector Calculus, Green’s and Stoke’s Theorems, and Divergence Theorem. The course is weighted as an honors course, with and additional 0.7.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of AP Calculus BC
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.
This freshmen curriculum offers students an introduction to Salvation History as it is revealed in Sacred Scripture. Through their study of the Scripture students encounter the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. Students pay particular attention to the Gospels, They are introduced to what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what life as a disciple entails. In this course, students are first introduced to our Salesian heritage through a study of our founders, St. Jane de Chantal and St. Francis de Sales and an exploration of the Little Virtues and the Universal Call to Holiness.
The sophomore curriculum expands upon students’ introduction to Christology, focusing on how the Church was established by Christ to continue His saving work on earth. Students receive an overview of salvation history. This study culminates in an exploration of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection and ascension and its implications for the life of a believer. The course continues with a study of Ecclesiology, focusing on how the Church was established by Christ. Ecclesiology topics and doctrinal teachings are contextualized in their historical emergence over time. Students are introduced to the foundational elements of the Church’s identity: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The course explores the role of the Church in the world, and how it evaluates “signs of the times,” with significant attention paid to dialogue within the Church, with the state, and with other religions.
Sophomores contextualize Salesian spirituality in the larger narrative of the history of the Church. Students explore the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal as well as the charisms of other Catholic religious orders and their founders throughout our study of Church History.
The junior curriculum focuses on encountering Christ in the sacraments, and in service and advocacy for others. There is an emphasis on sacramental theology and the social doctrine of the Church. Students examine the scriptural foundations for justice, followed by an historical overview of the Church’s social teaching, with a special emphasis on surveying the social encyclicals of the last 100 years and the recent pastoral letters of the U. S. bishops. Domestic and global issues of justice are then examined in light of Catholic social teaching. Using St. Jane de Chantal as a model, students connect the Universal Call to Holiness and the Salesian call to live in the present moment to their own lives, as they explore ways to use their gifts in service to others.
The senior curriculum focuses on ethics and moral decision-making. There is a primary emphasis on bioethics, which introduces students to the ethical and social implications of recent scientific advances in the fields of biology, medicine, and technology. Students are challenged to confront conventional attitudes on freedom, suffering, personhood, and dignity from a Catholic perspective. Students are given the opportunity to examine bioethical issues in the framework of the Gospels, philosophical ethical systems, Salesian spirituality, and the social sciences. They examine moral decision-making and explore their own values and responsibilities as they grow as women in the Church.
Exploring the Chesapeake Bay, slingshotting 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.
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.
This course is designed to provide an engaging and hands-on introduction to physics. Emphasis will be on understanding physics concepts rather than on mathematical computations. Topics covered will include classical mechanics, energy, heat, sound and light, electricity and magnetism, and properties of matter. The scientific method, problem solving strategies, and use of technology will be reinforced in the laboratories. Students will develop skills in taking, recording, and analyzing data. This course will provide a foundation for the continued study of science in chemistry and biology.
The aim of this general biology course is to understand life and the life processes by learning the unifying principles and concepts applicable to all life forms. Areas of study will include biochemistry, genetics, physiology, evolution and ecology. In a laboratory setting, the student is encouraged to independently set up her investigations and draw conclusions.
Honors Biology is an accelerated survey course for the dedicated science student. Students are expected to read, take notes, and be prepared to ask questions in advance of in-class lecture presentations on material. They must be willing to guide their own learning; class time is used to expand on topics from assigned reading. Students will study topics in-depth at all levels of biological organization, beginning with the molecule and progressing to the world biome. Lab work is a major component of the class requiring students to apply classroom and textbook knowledge with problem-solving skills. Additionally, students will use their acquired skills and knowledge to complete a student-led research project.
Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and a grade of B+ or higher in current non-Honors/non-AP science course or B or higher in current Honors/AP science course
This course is designed to highlight an area of special interest to all who have taken the Biology I course, the human body. The study of human anatomy and physiology is made coherent and logical by the use of three integrating themes. These are: the interrelationships of body organ systems for regulatory purposes; homeostasis, which involves the normal and most desirable condition of body functioning; and the prerequisite study of an organ, tissue, or cell followed by the comprehension of its function. The course will also explore many current issues that impact the body’s functions.
Genetics is a rapidly advancing field which has become increasingly important in medicine and everyday life. Through this course, students learn how diseases and traits are inherited and how DNA controls life processes. In the part of the course dealing with inheritance, students will learn how the probability of having children with specific traits or diseases depends on the parent’s genetic composition. In the DNA section of the course, students will gain insight into how these genes work at the molecular level. This section will emphasize the various lab techniques used to manipulate DNA in order to clone or isolate genes. The role of mutations in causing disease will be used to show how DNA directly affects our health and characteristics. The internet will play an integral part of the course, in addition to the class notes and the text. This course is recommended for students considering a career in the health services.
This course is designed as an introduction to the concepts of chemistry, including atomic structure and bonding, states of matter, stoichiometry, the periodic table, kinetics and equilibrium, redox and electrochemistry, acids and bases, and nuclear chemistry. It is experimentally oriented and emphasizes the use of theory acquired in lecture to draw valid conclusions in lab.
Prerequisite: Conceptual Physics
This course covers the same concepts as Chemistry, but it is more mathematically challenging and moves at a faster pace. In addition, there is an introduction to organic chemistry. The course emphasizes quantitative laboratory experimentation and discovery methods.
Grade Prerequisite: B+ in Conceptual Physics and B+ in Algebra I or B in Accelerated Math I/Accelerated Geometry
The AP Physics C course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory physics course for science and engineering students. Students will become familiar with the content and the process of the scientific method through laboratory experiments, hands-on activities, problems, and demonstrations. The general area of study covered will be Newtonian Mechanics. Students will take the AP Physics C exam.
Grade Prerequisite: B+ in non-Honors Science course or B in Honors/AP Science course; B+ in Pre-Calculus or B in Honors Elementary Functions or B in Honors Pre-Calculus
The College Board-designed curriculum is a rapidly paced, intensive course designed for students who are self-motivated independent learners with excellent reading comprehension skills and a keen interest in biology. Students with strong analytical skills and a desire to learn complex details of scientific processes are encouraged to apply. Three areas of study will be covered: molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations. The lab component uses an inquiry-based approach and students will be expected to use reasoning skills to collect and analyze data, apply mathematical formulas and integrate learned concepts. Students will take the AP Biology exam.
Grade Prerequisite: A grade of B+ or higher in current non-Honors/non-AP science course or B or higher in current Honors/AP science course
This course is equivalent to a college-level General Chemistry course. The following topics will be stressed: descriptive inorganic chemistry, atomic and molecular structure, acid-base reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, chemical bonding, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, and states of matter. An introduction to organic and nuclear chemistry will be given. Students will take the AP Chemistry Exam.
Grade Prerequisite: B+ in Chemistry or B in Honors Chemistry; B+ in Pre-Calculus or B in Honors Elementary Functions
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the inner workings of our nervous system. Beginning with a molecular and cellular perspective, we will examine the development and complex operations of cellular components of our nervous system, from the molecules within specialized cells, synaptic connections and communication within neural circuits and the physiological and behavioral outcomes of these interactions. Also discussed is the concept of neuroplasticity and its influence on the expression of our unique individual differences. In addition, we will explore how genetic and environmental influences contribute to diversity as a human species.
Environmental Science is the interdisciplinary study of how humanity interacts with the natural world – Earth’s life support systems. This AP course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college-level course in environmental science with a regular investigative component. Students will employ scientific concepts and methodologies to understand the natural world; analyze complex environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective; and examine innovative solutions to environmental problems that promote sustainability. Topics include ecology, earth systems, food and agriculture, population dynamics, energy, urbanization, consumer society, global climate change, natural resources (e.g. water, air, soil, land, minerals), biodiversity, pollution, wastes, health and toxicology. Students will take the AP Environmental Science exam.
Prerequisite: Biology or concurrent course in AP Biology (seniors)
Grade Prerequisite: B+ in current non-Honors/AP science course or B in current Honors/AP science course
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.
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.
Wellness I is a program designed to enable the student to develop an understanding of how health relates to her physical, mental, social, spiritual and intellectual well-being. She will increase her understanding and knowledge of nutrition, wellness and body systems. The student will also be able to describe how eating disorders affect ones total wellness. By the conclusion of the course, each student will have demonstrated and applied the data presented in the course outline to everyday life.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION I
This course is designed to develop the student’s understanding of the basic skills needed to participate in various activities, sports and lifetime fitness. The student will demonstrate a proficiency of skills in relation to the class activities and have an understanding of the rules and strategies for each of the activity components. As well, she will have an opportunity to apply different skills to design new games and activities that can be pursued on her own or with others.
Personal Development II is a program designed to enable the student to continue her understanding of how health relates to her everyday life. She will have an in depth look at the immediate and long-term effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs on the mind and body. The student will also develop a basic understanding of the male and female reproductive systems, sexually transmitted infections, and fetal growth and development.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION II
The second phase of physical education is designed to guide each student towards attaining a balanced level of physical fitness and health. She will be able to identify ways to maintain life-long fitness through individual activities and cardiovascular conditioning. With an emphasis on lifetime fitness, the student will learn a variety of individual sports and activities to help maintain a level of fitness after high school. They will develop an understanding that wellness is more than being physically fit. In addition, students will receive instruction on responding to emergencies and emergency preparedness.
The Technology & Innovation Department fosters the essential technical and practical skills needed to be a responsible, effective, and efficient student of the 21st century. Students learn how to use technology effectively and appropriately in and out of the classroom. Additionally, students gain an invaluable understanding of how to approach problems with creativity and perseverance.
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 to create relevant, authentic and interactive learning experiences.
The AP Computer Science Principles course is designed to be equivalent to a first semester introductory college computing course. In this course, students will develop computational thinking skills vital for success across all disciplines, such as using computational tools to analyze and study data and working with large data sets to analyze, visualize, and draw conclusions from trends. Students will also develop effective communication and collaboration skills by working individually and collaboratively to solve problems, and will discuss and write about the impacts these solutions could have on their community, society, and the world.
Unlike AP Computer Science A, which is taught in Java, the AP Computer Science Principles course does not have a designated programming language. Teachers select the programming language(s) that is most appropriate for their students.
Prerequisites: It is recommended that a student in the AP Computer Science Principles course should have successfully completed a first year high school algebra course with a strong foundation on basic linear functions and composition of functions, and problem solving strategies that require multiple approaches and collaborative efforts. In addition, students should be able to use a Cartesian (x, y) coordinate system to represent points in a plane. It is important that students and their advisers understand that any significant computer science course builds upon a foundation of mathematical and computational reasoning that will be applied throughout the study of the course.
Every student explores the arts as freshmen in Intro to Art History. 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.
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.
Introduction to Art History is a course that teaches the basic elements of art. It is designed to develop the visual skills of the student. It includes exploring various mediums from several art movements. This is achieved by viewing works of art through slides, videos, movies and film clips, the internet, and a field trip to The National Gallery.
In Studio Art I, students explore a variety of techniques used by artists and designers in many areas of art and design. Important principles and concepts are discussed, and projects are assigned to give the students experiences using these principles and concepts. Various media are explored as the course progresses. Basic techniques of drawing, painting, ceramics, and other techniques are demonstrated and then practiced by each student. Emphasis is on good design, creative imagery, and skillful technique.
Basic concepts and techniques covered in Studio Art I are further developed. Some new media is explored. Emphasis is put on originality, creativity, quality, and special interest projects. Preparation for a portfolio is discussed and organized.
This course is ideal for artists who want to build a body of work and have it catalogued and ready for review for art schools. The class will meet four days a week and is a year-long course. Using the latest technology, students will photograph their works digitally and make slides as well as photographs. Students will meet with 2-3 representatives from art schools.
The AP program in Studio Art is intended for highly motivated students who are seriously interested in the study of art. The AP work involves significantly more commitment and accomplishment than the typical high school course and is not for the casually interested. The primary objective of this course is the completion of a portfolio of student work which can be used for college admission and Advanced Placement credit. In addition to the portfolio, students will develop a visual journal, recording their thoughts about art, both in and out of the classroom. Homework and the ability to work outside of class time are crucial to the success of this course.
The foundation and prerequisite for this course is Aesthetics of Art, which is a one semester course taken freshman year. This course will cover various art movements and themes spanning from the Stone Age to 20th century. This is a one-year course that will develop critical thinking skills, build a strong art vocabulary and develop a visual perception. It is expected that students take various trips to local museums at least twice a semester.
This course requires a prerequisite of musical studies in voice or orchestral instrument. The basic understanding of music note reading must be established and a pre-test maybe required to enroll in this course. The syllabus includes the study of the structure of music, form and analysis as well as aural skills training.
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.
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.
The counseling program begins during Freshman Orientation, which provides activities designed to initiate them into the traditions and expectations of the school. The freshmen participate in group counseling sessions, once every seven day cycle throughout their first year. The groups focus on issues pertaining to social and academic adjustment, friendships, peer pressure and making responsible choices. In the freshman year, particular emphasis is given to transitioning to high school and navigating the sometimes rocky terrain of adolescence.
Students meet once every seven day cycle in small counseling groups to focus on the needs of increased academic expectations, time management and strategies for taking standardized tests. Students begin initial career exploration facilitated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The Inventory provides feedback regarding interests and preferences which can be helpful in choosing a college major and future career. The counselor scores the inventory and gives each student their individual results. Other topics specific to sophomores concern driving safety, decision making in all aspects of their lives, and healthy relationships.
This course is designed to assist freshman students in meeting the demands of their curriculum. Students learn to assess how they learn best and to develop effective strategies for success. Topics of the course include: time management, organizational techniques, study skills, outlining, note-taking, efficient study methods, reading for comprehension and mastery, text annotation, test preparation, lengthening concentration, strengthening memory, and self-advocacy. Students also learn how to use technology responsibly to support their academic performance. The instructor presents and the students practice each skill or strategy in the context of the student’s curriculum. Additional instruction is also offered in math and foreign language as needed.
College Counseling classes begin in December of junior year. The classes focus on teaching students how to search for a college match that best suits their needs – academic, personal, and social. Topics include self-assessment, standardized testing, research tools, interview skills, understanding financial aid, essay writing, resumes, and the application process.
We are empowering the next generation of female leaders. The women who will lead us forward must have a strong moral foundation and know how to effectively collaborate and communicate to address and solve the problems facing our world today.
Our counselors work individually with each student to help her find the college that is the best fit.
As a Catholic school, faith is our cornerstone. Our optimistic, holistic approach to spiritual life is rooted in the gentle and practical Salesian Spirituality of Saints Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.