Upper School Departments

Classics - Paulina Faraj, Department Chair

The Classics program at Holy Spirit Preparatory School is designed around an awareness of the historical significance of the Greek and Latin languages as foundations for the Western intellectual tradition and the history of the Catholic Church.  To that end, students begin their formal study of Latin in the seventh grade.  Students who complete four years of Latin before their senior year may take the Advanced Placement course in Latin.  These students will have acquired the ability to read both classical and liturgical Latin texts.

Holy Spirit Prep is one of the few high schools also offering a full program in ancient Greek.  Students may begin Greek I as early as the eighth grade and continue with four years of Greek studies in their high school years.  The Greek program prepares students to read the New Testament as well as Classical Greek writers of literary, philosophical, and historical interest.

In each Greek and Latin class, students not only work on mastering their language skills but also study the wider Greek and Roman cultural contexts, incorporating mythology, art, history, archaeology, and social life. Upper School students are afforded experiential opportunities through a biennial trip to Greece and a senior capstone trip to Rome.

Overall, the Classics Department attempts to engage students in the cultivation of the intellect by emphasizing a genuine love of learning and an excitement of discovery.

English - Jamie Reger, Department Chair

The Holy Spirit Prep English department focuses on developing skills that will help students to achieve both academic success and personal success. We study classical and contemporary literature in order to strike a balance between reverence and appreciation for past literary influences, as well as excitement for and participation in current and future literary achievements.

We believe knowledge of the fundamental elements of literature, drama, and poetry is necessary for an appreciation of the more complex issues that these works can address. We encourage students to read a variety of literature; this includes department selected books as well as student selected books. Giving students an opportunity to choose their own reading is a crucial step in ensuring that they develop a lifelong appreciation for literature.

In addition to literary study, we also believe that repeated practice of the steps of the writing process from conception to completion is essential. Each year students complete several writing projects. Our writing places a heavy emphasis on analysis and research so that these skills can be practiced and perfected. In addition to traditional writing projects, we also use several alternative projects in order to encourage students to express themselves through their own unique strengths.

Class discussions compliment the student’s reading and writing skills to complete the range of self-expression. Both formal and informal discussions enable student to develop the ability to formulate and express ideas orally. They also give students an avenue to refine their ideas, especially in relation to their view of the world as a Catholic.

Mathematics - Jocelyn Sotomayor, Department Chair

The Mathematics Department seeks to develop each student’s reasoning and problem solving through the study mathematics.  Underlying both these areas is a continually deepening understanding of rules and structure of mathematics.  Students will learn to verify mathematical statements and derive additional knowledge through application of mathematical rules, along with logic and reasoning, to new situations.  In a similar way, application problems are used throughout the department to problem solving skills and abilities.  Thus, the procedural and conceptual aspects of mathematics are both covered.  Technology is integrated to varying degrees at every level to allow for multiple instructional approaches and equip students with additional tools for doing mathematics.

Modern Languages - Jessica Askins, Department Chair

The field of foreign language pedagogy focuses on communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.  The Spanish Language department engages the students in a variety of ways to integrate this framework into the everyday classroom.  Students at all levels engage in conversation in the target language, discuss literary selections, study grammatical usage, and use realia to connect students to life in different Spanish-speaking countries using various media.  Various teaching techniques and methodologies are used to pique the interest of all learning styles.

Science - Matthew Reger, Department Chair

Holy Spirit Preparatory School ensures that graduates are well rounded individuals with a broad education covering many disciplines, including the three major branches of science: biology, chemistry, and physics. Students use scientific laws, theories, and principles to interpret and organize data and to understand the natural world. An appreciation of the scientific way of thinking is developed by asking questions, formulating and testing hypotheses through experimentation and observation, and then drawing conclusions and revising previous hypotheses and theories based on new data. Students will become independent learners with well-developed critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Social  Science - David Rosenzweig, Department Chair

The Social Sciences Department places an emphasis on building historical skills, content mastery and the ability to communicate ones thoughts both verbally and in writing.   A full well rounded curriculum that covers each corner of the globe is offered.  This includes the core classes of World Cultures, Geography, World Civilizations, Western Civilizations, United States History, Economics and Government.  Our wide selection of AP courses offers higher achieving students the ability to engage in college level classes to better prepare them for their advanced studies.  Students will learn the skill of “Point of View” to truly understand the materials that are presented to them in all formats.  A particular emphasis is placed on understanding the importance of thesis writing including the historical five paragraph essay style.  Our main goal is to promote to our students that being well rounded, highly informed and open minded is the best path to a truly Liberal Arts education.

Theology - Thomas Cole, Department Chair

Theology is the science that investigates the content of belief by means of reason enlightened by faith. Further, as St. Anselm defines: theology is “faith seeking understanding.” Accordingly, faith and reason are wholly compatible, with each enhancing the other.  Theological study fundamentally maintains the intimate and complementary relationship between faith and reason because both the inquiries of reason and the doctrines of faith share as an end the same truth. Faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, theology classes seek to hand on Divine Truth as revealed through Sacred Tradition and Holy Scripture, but at the same time, instruction provides the rationale for belief. In other words, students not only learn the “what” of faith but the “why” to believe.

Yet, “faith without works is dead” writes St. James. Moreover, “if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” writes the Apostle Paul. Thus, theology classes provide formative opportunies and foster growth in personal holiness and a life of service. Students at differing levels of spiritual growth meet on the common ground of seeking God’s truth, and learn individually and together to establish and strengthen a relationship with Him. Further, love of God informs and facilitates love of neighbor, so that students serve God in their service of one another, in imitation of Jesus Christ who came “to serve and not to be served.” 

Religious formation is fundamental to the core curriculum at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, and, therefore, students are required to take theology courses every year. Various courses in the areas of dogmatic and natural theology are offered, with each course emphasizing reading, writing, and discussion. Study emphasizes primary sources, Holy Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church documents, and writings of the early Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas.

Visual and Performing Arts - Rochelle Rondeau, Department Chair

The Upper School at Holy Spirit Prep offers a comprehensive program in the three main areas of the fine arts: Music, Theater and Visual Arts. The fine arts serve as a pillar in the mission of the school to offer each child the opportunity to develop in their own interests and experience a complete education.

Exceptional Learning - Michelle Bertany, Department Chair

The Pope Benedict XVI Learning Center provides support to students in grades 8-10 who have been diagnosed with language-based learning exceptionalities and/or organizational challenges. The objective of the Benedict Center is to equip students with the skills necessary to maximize their potential within a college preparatory environment. The Center provides faculty who are experienced in working with students with learning differences, and who are dedicated to providing individualized support to students.

The Benedict Center offers two tiers of learning support, and placement is based upon the diagnosed needs of the student. Enrollment in the Center requires current psycho-educational testing, as well as supplemental tuition. For additional information regarding the programs offered through the Benedict Learning Center, please contact Michelle Bertany at or at 678.904.2811..