Notre Dame Prep's Grades 9-12

It's all about college—and life—prep!

A focus on creativity, collaboration, and communication prepares our students for 21st-century global citizenship.

The liberal arts, namely those courses essential for solid college preparation, anchor a Notre Dame Prep high school education. English, science, math, history, religion, language, and other foundational subjects combine to provide the skills to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve problems creatively. From this core, students delve into personal interests through focused programs such as STEAM, Humanities, and fine and performing arts. NDP offers more than 190 core courses and electives, including 24 AP courses, and a multi-phased approach to learning combine into a rigorous program that engages students and builds confidence. 

Academics are complemented by an active social justice program for all grades, broad and deep co-curricular offerings, age-appropriate exploration of spirituality, and extensive athletic opportunities. 

Notre Dame remains one of Maryland’s top independent schools as it continues its mission of educating and empowering girls to become women who transform the world. 

Notre Dame Prep sponsors 14 academic honor societies, including membership into the Cum Laude Society, which recognizes overall academic excellence.

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  • Honor Societies at NDP

    • Cum Laude Society 
    • Chinese Language Honor Society 
    • Computer Science Honor Society 
    • International Thespian Society  
    • La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, Spanish Honor Society  
    • La Société Honoraire de Français, French Honor Society 
    • National Art Honor Society  
    • National Forensics League  
    • National Honor Society in Dance Arts  
    • Mu Alpha Theta, the National Mathematics Honor Society  
    • Rho Kappa Social Studies National Honor Society 
    • Science National Honor Society  
    • Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society  
    • Tri-M National Music Honor Society 

Meet the Upper Level Team

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Christine Szala

    Ms. Christine Szala 

    Principal
    (410) 825-6202 ext. 1005
  • Photo of Victor  Pellechia

    Dr. Victor  "Vic" Pellechia 

    Upper Level Director
    410-825-6202 ext. 1026
  • Photo of Jennifer Casey

    Ms. Jennifer Casey 

    Academic Dean
    (410) 825-6202 x1502
  • Photo of Christine Kaiser

    Mrs. Christine "Chris" Kaiser 

    Dean of Students
    (410) 825-6202 ext. 1003

Phasing System

Notre Dame's phasing system ensures that each student learns at the level and pace that is right for her in core subjects (math, science, social studies, English, and foreign language). Phase 2 courses strengthen skills required in a college prep program. Phases 3 and 4 provide progressively greater challenges and more in-depth study. Phase 5 is for students with exceptional ability and a desire to work above the college prep level. A student can move up or down a phase if necessary, and she can be in different phases in different subjects. 

The phasing system at NDP is unique in that it is designed to meet the needs of all our students. It allows the girls the opportunity to achieve their highest academic potential in numerous courses of study. 

Our Curriculum

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  • NDP Offers 24 AP Courses

    • AP Art History 
    • AP Biology 
    • AP Calculus AB 
    • AP Calculus BC 
    • AP Chemistry 
    • AP Chinese Language and Culture 
    • AP Computer Science Principles 
    • AP Computer Science A 
    • AP English Language and Composition 
    • AP English Literature and Composition 
    • AP Environmental Science Statistics 
    • AP French Language and Culture 
    • AP Human Geography* 
    • AP Microeconomics 
    • AP Music Theory 
    • AP Physics I 
    • AP Spanish Language and Culture 
    • AP Spanish Literature and Culture 
    • AP Statistics 
    • AP Studio Art: Art and Design* 
    • AP Studio Art: Drawing* 
    • AP U.S. Government and Politics 
    • AP U.S. History 
    • AP World History: Modern 
     
    * Service-learning eligible 
  • English

    Offering college-preparatory, honors, and Advanced Placement courses, the English Department strives to challenge and advance our students appropriately as 21st-century learners within a common context of study. Infused into the 6-12 curriculum is a writing program that ranges from fundamental sentence structures to sophisticated college-level research assignments. While effective expository writing is the primary focus, the curriculum also offers opportunities for creative writing. The literature program, which includes genre, survey, thematic, and author courses, challenges our students to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary works. Grammar and vocabulary are taught in the service of effective writing and speaking. The department offers two Advanced Placement courses, electives in speech, theater, and writing, two publications, and a strong drama program.
  • Humanities

    The Bette Ellis O’Conor Humanities Program is an exciting alternative course of study offered to Upper Level students at Notre Dame Preparatory School. It is intended for curious and creative students who want to engage with the curriculum in an interdisciplinary style. Courses are team-taught and encourage creativity and collaboration in the exploration of all fields of study. Art, history, literature, music, and religion provide the core of the program, but connections are pursued across all disciplines. Students who enroll in the program will take courses in the sophomore, junior, and senior years. 
  • Languages

    Notre Dame is convinced of the value of second languages as an essential element of the student’s preparation for college and life. The acquisition of second languages not only makes the student a better global citizen but also broadens her global perspective. Included in the language curriculum are courses in French, Spanish, and Chinese. All modern language students work in the school's new state-of-the-art Language Center that contains 41 internet-connected computers, and a listening and speaking area.
  • Mathematics

    The Mathematics Department is committed to helping students develop appropriate skills in and understanding of mathematics as the language of science and research. All classes, from 6th grade math through calculus, solve problems by applying math to real-world situations. Math teachers incorporate current technologies such as graphing calculators, computers and specialized software throughout the curriculum as needed to support skill development and understanding of concepts. The department also seeks to encourage students to appreciate the beauty and fun of mathematics through participation in activities such as the Maryland Mathematics League. All students in grades 9-12 must have a Texas Instrument graphing calculator for use in math and sciences classes. The preferred models are TI-83, TI-83+, TI-84 or TI-84+.
  • Music/Performing Arts

    Whether a student is seriously pursuing a career in the performing arts or wants to expand her enjoyment of the discipline, the Upper Level performing arts program at Notre Dame Prep offers a four-year program with a wide variety of opportunities. Designed for the student to continue her pursuit of and to expand and raise her skill level of musicianship, credited courses in Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Piano Lab, Guitar Class, Dance, and AP Music Theory are offered. Students wanting to enhance and fine-tune their musicianship may participate in the extracurricular program for private lessons. All students are encouraged to audition for the Maryland All-State Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. NDP’s Dance Company finds students performing in the community.
  • Physical Education and Health

    Notre Dame’s Physical Education program reflects the school philosophy that students must develop not only academically but also physically and creatively. The physical education classes and intramural program allow students to learn self-discipline and control, the value of teamwork and mutual respect, and an appreciation of a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Religion

    NDP’s Religion Department’s philosophy is rooted in Gospel values, grounded in the tradition of the Catholic Social Teachings, and inspired by the charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

    Throughout the department’s three branches—Academics, Campus Ministry, and Social Service—the emphasis is on the development of academic insight, personal, and communal spirituality, an informed conscience, a social consciousness, and a commitment to service. The department strives to balance and integrate the traditions of the past, the realities of the present, and the challenges of the future.
  • Science

    In an age of exponential growth in scientific information, the Science Department’s dual goal is to provide a solid foundation in science principles and to foster active scientific thinking and problem-solving abilities in our students. The department accomplishes this by modeling the scientific method, implementing cooperative and inquiry learning strategies, integrating technology, and utilizing numerous hands-on lab experiences.  The curriculum provides all students with appropriate challenges and opportunities for success preparing them for further study at the college level.
     
    Additionally, the department wholeheartedly embraces the importance of encouraging and supporting the participation of women in science studies and careers. Through varied course offerings and numerous beyond-the classroom science opportunities, students discover a genuine interest in and a solid ability to master a variety of science disciplines.
     
    The Science Department aspires to instill in students both a deep understanding of and appreciation for their world, awareness of the interdependence of all aspects of creation, and a sense of responsibility for its stewardship.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM)

    NDP’s STEAM program develops students’ creativity, problem-solving and entrepreneurial leadership skills through the integration of cutting-edge technology, innovative instructional approaches, and real-world learning experiences. Students accepted into NDP’s STEAM program have the unique opportunity to elect a course pathway that best meets their career interests. They may choose to follow a general pathway that encourages the exploration of courses in each of the STEAM disciplines, or they may choose to concentrate and focus their studies in Architecture & Design, Computer Science, Engineering & Manufacturing, or Medicine.
     
    NDP’s STEAM program resides in the newly opened Jane Kroh Satterfield Innovation Wing, which includes a Cyber Center for Computer Science and a Design Center for Architecture. In addition, a two-story Fabrication Lab is home to the Engineering program and houses state-of-the-art CAD/CAM Design Stations, CNC Router, 3D Printers, Laser cutter, and various shop tools. A new Medical Suite which houses a full-size Anatomage Table, the most technologically advanced anatomy visualization system, with a virtual library and clinical diagnostic tools to study the human body. As they progress through the program and pursue their STEAM Certificate, students cultivate their confidence and 21st-century career skills as they engage in interdisciplinary, experiential learning opportunities; receive mentorship from professionals in STEAM fields; serve local and global communities to address real-world problems; and intern with one of NDP’s many partner organizations.
  • Social Studies

    The Social Studies Department encourages lively classroom discussion and enhances lectures with research projects and independent study. Strongly believing that students are ultimately responsible for their own education, the department utilizes a wide variety of activities to challenge its students. The department sponsors a Youth in Government Club, which allows students to participate in mock legislative assemblies, and Mock Trial, in which students compete in mock judicial events.
  • Visual and Media Arts

    Notre Dame Prep’s Visual and Media Arts program focuses on 21st-century learning through individual expression, creative problem solving, collaborative learning opportunities, and building skill sets for effective visual communication. By offering a range of media from traditional drawing and painting to digital media art and design, Notre Dame offers students the opportunity to participate in a range of experiences.

    The Visual and Media Arts Department strives to empower students to strengthen critical thinking skills through art, to use their unique visual expression to communicate ideas, and to become contributing members of the global community.

    Upper Level students may choose art as an elective course. They may follow a sequential program of study or explore elective choices individually, such as traditional media (drawing and painting), digital media, art history, architecture, interior design, or medical illustration. A materials fee is assessed for art electives. 

Notre Dame Preparatory School

An Independent, Catholic Girls School, Grades 6-12, Sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame