Private Schools Guide 2012: Academic Perks

How students are making the grade up and down the Main Line.

Academy of Notre Dame de Namur.• At Barrack Hebrew Academy, the only pluralistic Jewish day school in the Tri-State area, seniors can enroll in an engineering course to engage in advanced projects like building and designing bridges and other structures, launching rockets, and formulating cosmetics. Upperclassmen serve as mentors to students in middle-school science courses.

• At St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, students have an impressive number of unique course offerings, including “Literature of Northern Ireland,” “20th Century African-American Literature” and “Ignatian Way (Jesuit Spirituality).”

• The Baldwin School goes beyond AP testing with its innovative Capstone Courses, which explore areas of intensive study.

• Upper-school students at the Agnes Irwin School can partake in Transitions, an enrichment seminar that addresses such topics as self-defense, financial literacy, study skills, computer safety, the college admission process, nutrition and more.

• Juniors and seniors at the Shipley School can decide their own course of independent study in areas outside the normal curriculum. Recent subjects have included Buddhism, marine biology, climate change and sustainability.

• The Westtown School utilizes its rural 600-acre campus as a living laboratory for classes in biology and research ecology.

• At Villa Maria Academy, 10 faculty members lead students in five different ensembles and offer instruction in more than 20 instruments. So it’s no surprise that students routinely do well in regional and all-state competitions.

Merion Mercy Academy students don’t have to wait until college to opt for online classes. AP micro-economics, AP macroeconomics, AP psychology and Mandarin Chinese are just a few of the courses offered on the Web.

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