Academic Requirements

St. Mary’s Commitment to Academic Excellence

An excellent Catholic school is guided and driven by a clearly communicated mission that embraces a Catholic identity rooted in Gospel values, centered on the Eucharist, and committed to faith formation, academic excellence and service.

The St. Mary's curriculum joins together the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) with rigorous content-based learning objectives to provide an excellent academic program within a faith-filled environment.

The St. Mary's curriculum is

  • Aligned with the National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic Schools (NSBECS)

  • Infused with Church Teaching

  • Focused on Developing 21st Century Skills

  • Differentiated and Individualized

  • Continuously Assessed and Improved

The benchmarks were developed to articulate nationally defined characteristics and performance goals. The NSBECS acknowledge Catholic identity and culture as vital to the mission of Catholic education. For more information, please visit their website here.

Curriculum Requirements

St. Mary's High School requires 28.0 units of SMHS credit for graduation. These credits are explained below and include 19 core credits in theology, English, math, science, and social studies, 1 cumulative credit in health and P.E., 1 credit in world languages, 1 credit in fine arts, and 2 credits of community service. The remaining 4.0 credits may be selected based on student choice and availability from our list of additional electives. Students may also take additional core classes to fulfill their 28.0 SMHS credits. If a student is interested in additional courses of study not offered at SMHS, they may enroll in dual credit courses through UCCS CU Succeed, or another SMHS-approved institution, for enrichment credits beyond the required 28.0 units.

  • 4 credits of Theology

  • 4 credits of English (speech is no longer a stand alone course, but rather incorporated into the English curriculum)

  • 4 credits of Mathematics (must include a minimum of 3 math courses; max 1 credit from PLTW or Business allowed)

  • 4 credits of Science (must include Biology, Chemistry, and two science choice electives; 1 credit from PLTW is allowed)

  • 3 credits of Social Studies (must include: Geography/World History, American History (or APUSH), and American Government; 4 credits strongly recommended)

  • 1 cumulative credit of Health (0.5) and Physical Education (0.5) (recommended 9th or 10th grade)

  • 1 credit of World Language (1 credit required minimum; 2 credits are recommended)

  • 1 credit of Fine Arts (art, music, creative writing, drama)

  • 4 Additional elective credits (student choice - can include additional core options)

  • 2 credits Community Service (0.5 each year)

PLTW (CE) electives may fulfill a maximum of 2 credits in math and/or science.

Students are allowed only one study hall per semester.

Only seniors are eligible to be a Teacher Assistant (TA). Only one TA position is allowed per semester (0.5 credit/per semester). Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher to be eligible.

Credit for dual enrollment courses taken through an outside agency (UCCS CU Succeed or other approved institution) are in addition to the 28.0 SMHS credits required for graduation. Please see the AP/Dual Enrollment page on our website for more information.

St. Mary’s High School will continue to require a minimum of 28.0 units of SMHS high school credit for graduation for all students. 

Freshmen & Sophomores: Must take a minimum of 6.5 SMHS credits each year toward the 28.0 graduation credits.
Juniors & Seniors:  Must take a minimum of 6 SMHS credits each year toward the 28.0 graduation credits.

Dropping/Adding Courses: Students may request to drop a class during the first two weeks of each semester. The course change form must be completed prior to that deadline. The student is responsible for all of the work that was previously assigned in the new course. Dropping a course after the deadline will result in a Withdraw/Fail. Students requesting to add a course will be placed on a first come, first served basis so long as space allows.

Academic Honor Roll and Letters

Each student (9 –12) earns Principal’s Honor Roll - recognition through the academic year if he/she earns a weighted semester GPA of 3.5 to 3.7499. Students will receive a certificate from the principal and acknowledgement at our Academic Awards Assembly.

Upon graduation, students will be recognized for their academic achievements using set criteria. Using their cumulative weighted GPAs, students may receive the following honors:

SUMMA CUM LAUDE GPA (Highest Honors) 4.50 and above

MAGNA CUM LAUDE GPA 4.20-4.49 

CUM LAUDE GPA 3.75-4.19 

Each student who achieves a weighted GPA of 3.75 or higher for the semester will also receive an Academic Letter. The purpose of the Academic letter is to recognize students who have excelled academically while attending St. Mary's High School. Any SMHS student who is enrolled in at least six courses of study (three of which must be core academic classes) and earning a 3.75 grade point for that semester is eligible. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total points earned by the total number of credits.

Academic letters will be awarded the first time that a student earns a 3.75 grade point average.  The student will receive an SMHS Letter  and a torch of knowledge.  Additional bars will be awarded to that student for every time he/she earns a 3.75 or above grade point average.  

Academic Mentoring
Staffed by Teachers and Assisted by National Honor Society Students

Math Mentoring Center
To further assist students, free math tutoring will be available during Zero Hour. Peer tutoring will be offered through the Math Department by members of the National Honor Society. If you have questions, please contact the Math Department Chair, Mr. Paul Hartman (phartman@smhscs.org).

Writing Mentoring Center
The Writing Center will provide instruction, resources, and support for all students to improve as writers. Peer consultants conduct sessions to help their fellow students improve as writers, becoming more competent and, as a result, more confident. The Writing Center will be available during Zero Hour. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Mary Anne Kavanaugh (mkavanaugh@smhscs.org).