Integral to the NDP curriculum, the four-year sequential art program provides the stimulation, encouragement and enhancement of the creative, disciplined potential of each student. By offering courses in various media, NDP gives each student the opportunity to have a range of art experiences and to pursue continued study of art in consecutive years. Students have access to a graphics art lab where they can explore technological possibilities in the art field. Aside from the development of the visual and applied skills of the studio experience, students may study art history, architectural fundamentals, and art criticism and aesthetics through museum visits, readings, and a variety of resource media.
Offering college-preparatory, honors, and Advanced Placement courses, the English Department strives to challenge and advance our students appropriately within a common context of study. Infused into the six-through-twelve curriculum is a writing program which ranges from fundamental grammatical construction to sophisticated college-level research assignments. Effective expository writing is the primary focus, but the curriculum also offers opportunities for creative writing. The literature program, which includes both genre and survey courses, challenges students to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary works. Courses include American, British and World literature, as well as senior semester-long seminars in a variety of topics. The English Department also sponsors The Gateway (newspaper) and Esprit (literary magazine), as well as offers electives in journalism, creative writing and drama.
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 and to explore the ways in which the world has been interconnected historically and becomes even more so. Once the student is accepted into the program, she enrolls in classes during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. These courses combine curricula traditionally separated into different classes. Students in the Humanities Program have the chance to study the reciprocal relations between literature and religion in the prevailing historical conditions.
NDP believes second language study is essential to a student's preparation for college life. The acquisition of second languages not only makes the student more of a global citizen, but also gives her better insight into her own language. 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.
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 plays a significant part in the NDP community. Through the Middle Level Performing Arts program, students may participate in their choice of band, orchestra, chorus, introductory piano classes, or general music. In the Upper Level, students may elect to participate in credited music courses in Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Piano, Guitar, Music Technology, and Music Appreciation. Students may also participate in an extra-curricular program for private lessons. Dance is available to students in Middle and Upper Level.
NDP's physical education and athletics programs reflect the school philosophy that students must develop not only academically, but also physically and creatively as well. Our physical education classes, team sports and intramurals allow students to learn self-discipline and control, the value of teamwork and mutual respect, and appreciation of personal accomplishment.
NDP's religious studies department's philosophy is firmly rooted in the innovations and ideals of Vatican II. Throughout the department's three branches-academics, campus ministry and social service-we stress the development of personal and community spirituality and the development of a social consciousness and conscience. In addition to courses in Hebrew and Christian scriptures, students study world religions, social service and church issues. Several community outreach programs have been incorporated into NDP's religious studies program, enabling students to pursue hands-on, social service projects.
The science department aspires to instill in its students a deep understanding and appreciation of their natural world; to create a sense of the interdependence of all life; to encourage contributions to future achievements in scientific fields. Middle Level students study topics in Environmental, Life, Physical and Chemical Sciences. In the Upper Level, students pursue a variety of topics, such as biology and AP biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, Introductory to Engineering, AP Environmental Science, forensic science, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physics. Laboratory experience is an integral part of all science classes. NDP students typically choose to study beyond the required three science courses for graduation, and many have participated in programs such as the NASA Space Camp, the Johns Hopkins Women's Science Consortium and internships at colleges and national science organizations.
NDP’s unique, interdisciplinary approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) provides an age-appropriate, gender-specific program for girls. The purpose of the program is to create awareness, spark interest, and build confidence in girls for STEAM subjects. In addition to our outstanding Science, Mathematics, Art and Technology Departments, NDP offers students the opportunity to discover and pursue engineering studies, during which process and project-based learning is promoted. In the Middle Level, engineering concepts are integrated into math and science classes, and students take a variety of classes in the Innovate & Design Program, including: (Grade 6) Digital Design, Logic & Game Theory, Technology & Information Literacy, World Music; (Grade 7) Computer Coding, Digital Communications & Media, Forensic Science, Architecture & Engineering; (Grade 8) Arts Capstone, 3D Printing & Physical Computing, Hand Bell Ensemble, Robotics. In the Upper Level, Introduction to Engineering is offered to sophomores, and juniors and seniors may study Design/Build Engineering as well as a host of other courses in the related areas of Science, Math, Art and Technology
The Social Studies Department encourages lively classroom discussion and enhances lectures with research activities and independent study. In addition to classroom study, social studies students attend field trips to museums, areas along the Chesapeake Bay, Gettysburg, Williamsburg and Washington, DC. 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. Every four years, the department sponsors a school-wide political campaign to raise political awareness in young "voters." Political campaigns include debates, a pep rally, political cartoon contest and a mock election. The department also offers a wide range of electives.
Most computer instruction is integrated into regular classroom instruction. In 2006, the NDP Upper Level became a fully implemented wireless laptop learning environment. To that end, all incoming grade nine students are required to have a laptop and attend a three-day summer laptop camp. Students take an Introduction to Computer Technology course in ninth grade and have several Computer Programming elective options in subsequent years.