A graduate of Pacifica will exhibit mastery of a four-year, liberal arts, college-preparatory curriculum, which includes not only intellectual excellence but also Christian character and service.
The liberal arts are the foundation of this curriculum. A leading thinker in the field of Christian education describes the liberal arts as “that broad course of study which includes history, English, literature, art, music, pure mathematics, pure science, and foreign languages, the goal of which is to teach students to read, write, calculate, and think.” (Riesen, 2002)
Therefore, at the time of graduation, the Pacifica student will:
- Demonstrate the ability to think critically, act creatively, analyze and solve problems in a variety of disciplines, and apply these skills in everyday life.
- Demonstrate effective written, oral, technical, and collaborative communication skills necessary for successfully pursuing an advanced education.
- Demonstrate the ability to analyze and synthesize information from a variety of sources and to apply that information when evaluating issues of contemporary life.
- Demonstrate time management skills and a work ethic through challenging academic programs and rigorous co-curricular participation.
- Demonstrate an appreciation for and value of original authorship and academic integrity.
- Recognize the universal nature of many social problems and the responsibility to address these problems for the benefit of humanity.
- Meet or exceed all requirements to enter the University of California system.
We understand that many universal themes need to be considered across disciplines. Accordingly, Pacifica aims for an interdisciplinary curriculum, where these themes can be examined at a deeper level. For example, a freshman humanities course would include western civilization, world literature, and art and music history, so that students can begin to make connections between historical events and the literature, art, and music that shapes and is shaped by those historical events.
Each academic department at Pacifica is closely aligned with other departments in the school. Our interdisciplinary approach deepens each student’s familiarity with the material and creates a broad context for learning. In addition, it brings faculty together in a collaborative process whereby teachers understand and know the breadth and depth of a student’s education.
The capstone project, completed during the senior year, is a research project and class presentation that requires students to integrate their research from multiple disciplines. Students are asked to demonstrate mastery from all four years of high school.
Click on each department below to learn more:
Believing that literature is one of the most profound expressions of the human experience, Pacifica’s English Department introduces students to literature from a variety of historical and artistic traditions. This approach gives students a sense of the diversity of the human experience and of their own place in the world. Students learn of the impact upon culture made by people of faith throughout history. This close work with literature can give students special insight into the shared resource that is our language and can make them more confident about their ability to express themselves and to evaluate the written expression of others. Moreover, this close work gives students the practice in critical reading and writing that prepares them for college and beyond.
We believe students must develop strong reading and writing skills. Pacifica reinforces these skills by introducing students to increasingly sophisticated forms of writing in the works they read and by requiring progressively more advanced writing in the students’ own works. This flows from our conviction that expression through language is fundamental to young adults’ development. Our curriculum, therefore, first introduces students to the joys of reading and writing. Then it invites them to both develop their own voices and to better appreciate other’s voices, by refining their reading and writing skills.
The Pacifica history department maintains a commitment to the enduring universal principles that have provided the foundation for Western culture. This approach is based on the belief that students must develop a solid grasp of the historical, spiritual, and philosophical underpinnings of our society as they seek to become responsible, literate, and fair-minded citizens within it. Having a solid foundation in the best aspects of our common heritage allows students both to preserve and critique our culture and prepares them to interact well with the unique qualities of other world cultures.
We believe that history not only enlightens students but is a useful tool in the development of written and oral expression, analytical thought, character, and leadership skills. Students will be given the tools necessary to become independent learners of history in the years to come. They will also become familiar with primary sources, historiography, and research.
We believe in order for students to think and live well they need to know history. With that in mind, classroom instruction is tied to assigned readings and real-world application. Students are expected to come to class prepared to participate in discussion, interpretation, analysis, and debate surrounding the events, personalities, ideas, and themes of history. Pacifica teachers engage students through lecture, the Socratic Method, and group projects.
The Pacifica history curriculum is closely aligned and integrated with the English and Theology curricula. All courses are taught sequentially (Ancient 9th, Medieval 10th, Modern 11th, Contemporary 12th). It is the sequential integration of these subjects that gives literature and theology a contextual backdrop and history additional sources for understanding various expressions of the human spirit throughout time.
Mathematics is a creative, dynamic system that we use to model and understand our environment. Pacifica teaches its math students to appreciate the aesthetics and beauty of mathematics and gives them a deep understanding of how it enriches their lives. We challenge them to gain not only a conceptual understanding of mathematical skills and principles, but also knowledge of, and experience with, pure reasoning. This logical reasoning will prepare the students for a broad range of situations in which answers to real life problems can be found with accuracy. The students will see the interdependence of mathematics to music, art, architecture, science, and philosophy and are encouraged to be lifelong students of mathematics regardless of the career they pursue.
Physical Education & Athletics
Physical Education is a study of the whole person, which includes the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It is a character-shaping program focused on developing a positive attitude about oneself and providing challenging experiences. The program encourages students to discover active pursuits that are fun and stimulating enough to become regular practice of their lives. Students are asked to set and achieve realistic goals and challenged to improve performance. Often the best route to these goals is with the cooperation and assistance of classmates.
The total program involves more than physical activity. Each student must raise his or her fitness level and understand its relationship to lifetime physical and mental wellness. Some will choose to participate in interscholastic sports. Others will choose to fulfill their requirement through physical education classes.
The focus of science education must not merely focus on the development of future scientists. It must be equally concerned with the development of citizens who are scientifically literate and who understand science in multidimensional and multidisciplinary ways. By doing so, students will be able to participate intelligently in critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making about how we should use science and technology for future growth and development of society.
Thus, the Pacifica Science Department endeavors to provide students with opportunities to develop an inquiring mind and a systematic approach to problem-solving. To this end, the department seeks to provide students with a solid scientific foundation. It does so by guiding students to master scientific concepts, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. We believe that developing this foundation will inspire them to continue their study of science beyond high school. The department further endeavors to enable students to become informed citizens in matters concerning science and society.
The Theology program at Pacifica will expose students to the Christian faith and Scriptures, and through them to the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The Bible and Christian theology are central to the Pacifica curriculum. The major themes from the Bible and Church History will help provide a framework and a backdrop that students will use as they engage in the study of history, English, math, the arts, science, physical education, and foreign languages. The school’s task is to impart biblical and theological knowledge through rigorous study, engaging students in open and intelligent dialogue about the claims of the church, and to equip students for lives of character and service through the application of these truths. This learning and dialogue will encompass the great breadth of perspectives in the Christian faith. When students leave our school, we want them to understand the major tenets of the Christian faith as well as the influence of those tenets on all forms of thought throughout history.
Visual & Performing Arts
The visual and performing arts are a vital part of Pacifica. We center our arts curriculum on our belief that students need a basic understanding of the arts through classroom instruction and the ability to express their knowledge and creativity through production work. This two-fold approach provides a balanced arts education.
The course of study at Pacifica includes a minimum of two semesters of UC approved Visual and Performing arts classes. We require students to complete two sequential semesters in one discipline.
Language students at Pacifica may study either Spanish or Latin. Through language study, students not only acquire linguistic fluency, but also encounter the language within the context of its respective culture. For example, students of Latin learn to hear, speak, read, and write Latin and also to understand, enjoy, and evaluate contributions to civilization made by Latin-using cultures and institutions. Thus the program creates opportunities for students to experience and acknowledge a variety of patterns of thought and value systems. Through the department’s interdisciplinary approach, students better understand their own languages and cultures, while developing a sense of responsibility and commitment as world citizens.
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