Choir members in the background and a band member playing piano in the foreground.

Academics at JPII, with a focus on college-prep, are taught in an environment that connects subjects to real-world applications, life experiences, and opportunities to serve others outside the classroom. Our faculty guide young people to recognize relationships between what they learn and what they do, facilitating the importance of applying their talents for the greater good.

Teachers guide students toward becoming self-motivated, organized, independent and conscientious scholars. This enables all students to excel at the highest levels possible with many enrolling in Honors and Advanced Placement courses.

While not all students will elect to pursue post-secondary education, our academics are designed within a college-prep curriculum. We direct students toward courses that will consistently challenge their capacity and potential. Every student at JPII is given ample opportunity to meet and explore challenges in the learning process and they will be supported every step of the way.

Download the Student and Parent Handbook or the Course Catalog for more details.

Departments

THE COMMUNITY PERIOD

Philosophy: The purpose of the Community Period is to assist students to reach the goals of a JPII graduate, by educating students to pursue truth, act virtuously and build community. The community formed within each community period will become a small family of learners focused on providing holistic, ongoing support for all students. Some of the topics covered include: Habits of Mind and Resilience, school success skill development, Financial Literacy, class and whole school community building opportunities; Mass/special guest speakers, school-wide assemblies and more.

Two female students laugh during a community building exercise.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass four years of Community Period to successfully complete the graduation requirements of Pope John Paul II High School.  The specific graduation requirements completed in this class are the community service hours and 0.5 physical education credit over four years. Learning about healthy lifestyle choices and having active fun together are part of the CP experience. This is a pass/fail class and must be passed every semester to meet graduation requirements. 

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of English education in the high school, while integrating the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, is to expose students to the beautiful art of expression, through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students use literature in its many forms; short story, poetry, novel, essay, drama, and nonfiction to examine their perceptions of the present, the past, their personal values, and their potential and creativity.  Students will read and respond to the literature studied in class both affectively and evaluatively, use critical skills in reading unfamiliar texts in order to develop an appreciation of the art of expression on many levels.  Department classes also emphasize grammar and compositional skills required for effective communication in any venue.

Beginning in 2023-24, JPII joined in partnership with long-time supporters and colleagues at Saint Martin’s University (SMU) to offer college credit at JPII through the new Arete: College in the High School program. This is college-prep at its finest!

Dr. Wallace with students in her Arete college-prep course.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass four years of English to successfully complete the graduation requirements of Pope John Paul II High School.  Students with a strong aptitude or interest in English are also encouraged to take English electives. In order to meet the needs of all students, JPII HS offers many pathways for students to achieve success in English.  While following a specific course pathway is the standard, movement is possible based upon student needs and teacher recommendation and/or approval.  Students struggling with English may be required to attend extra assistance programs either as an elective or on a regular basis before or after school with the consent of the teacher.

FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of fine arts education in the high school, while integrating the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, is to inform and challenge students’ perceptions of artistic awareness both personally and culturally, and to give students the opportunity to fully participate in the creation of visual and/or auditory forms of art.  Students do not have to have special talents to participate in fine or performing arts. Talent is certainly welcome and nurtured to its full potential, but all students are encouraged to experience the creative utilization of their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical selves regardless of a perception of “talent”. 

Jazz band students performing.

Requirements and Pathways: All students must earn one credit from the fine and performing arts department. Both the student and the music program can benefit from a full four-year commitment to excel in vocal or instrumental music, preparing the student for participation in college level performance classes in the future.

MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of mathematics education in high school, while integrating the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, is to challenge students and provide them with strategies to identify real-world problems, organize information, devise a plan, solve the problem, and analyze the solution to communicate results. Students will be presented with real-world scenarios requiring reasoning, analysis, and the use of equations to model relationships. Fundamental number sense, algebraic processes, and geometric modeling are foundations of strong mathematical understanding. All math classes will be taught with the G.N.A.W. method approach, G-Graphically, N-Numerically, A-Algebraically, and W-Words (Verbally). Mathematics is a thing of beauty, exciting in its logic, elegance and coherence and found everywhere in the world around us. It builds the analytic spirit on which intelligent and precise thinking depends. All students need to have broad, deep and useful knowledge of mathematics in order to stay ahead of our global economic competitors. Students will practice skills and gain understanding needed to demystify mathematics.

A female student does a math equation on the interactive whiteboard.

Requirements and Pathways: The math program offers students the opportunity to take college-level coursework and meet the WA State Standards. The mathematics program at JPII is designed to prepare all students to be college and career ready. Students must pass four years of mathematics to successfully complete the graduation requirements of JPII. Advanced Algebra must be completed as this is a four-year college admission requirement. In order to meet the needs of all students, JPII offers many pathways for students to achieve success in understanding mathematics. While following a specific course pathway is the standard, acceleration/advancement is possible based upon student needs and teacher recommendation and/or approval. Each course has the prerequisite of a C- or higher earned in the previous class.  Graphing calculators are required for all courses. All classes will have assessments with and without calculator technology. 

MODERN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of modern language education in the high school, while integrating the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, is to provide students with a combination of grammatical and communicative skills with a cultural background in the language of choice.  Listening, speaking, reading and writing within the language are the foundation and key components of learning.  Throughout their course of study, students will develop a heightened awareness and appreciation of cultural issues pertaining to all countries who utilize the language being studied.

A female student works on a poster in Spanish.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass three years of foreign language to successfully complete the graduation requirements of Pope John Paul II High School.  Occasionally students come to high school with a previous background in a foreign language.  Students who would like to start at a level beyond first year must take a test to determine placement.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND WELLNESS DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of physical and wellness education classes at Pope John Paul II High School are to provide strategies that promote wellness, and make fitness a lifetime priority while challenging students in a collaborative environment.  Through integration of the above mentioned mission and the values and teachings of the Catholic Church, students are instilled with the attitudes and beliefs that encourage a healthy way of living in the future.  Furthermore, we want to give students the knowledge, experience, and desire essential to carry out a life of fitness and wellness. It is in this framework that the physical education and wellness department join enthusiastically in the mission of helping develop the God-given potential in every student.

Male students playing basketball outside.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass two semesters of physical education and one semester of health to successfully complete the graduation requirements of JPII High School.  The first is taken in the freshmen year and the second is earned through participation in 4 years of the Community Period (.0625 credit per semester).

THEOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: Theological education at JPII begins with the awareness that all members of the school community are religious educators, assisting parents as the primary educators of their children. Theology classes explore the theological background of Christianity and Catholicism in particular. Students of all faith backgrounds will be invited to participate in a variety of personal and communal experiences of God. In these experiences, following the grad at grad, they will be prompted to reflect on their own religious beliefs and to deepen their relationship with God.

The Theology Department emphasizes both an academic and experiential exploration of reason and revelation in Scripture and Tradition. Students will develop a basic academic knowledge of the major doctrines and practices of Catholicism. Class readings of textbook and primary documents, discussions, prayer, and personal reflection are essential. Courses explore how each individual is created and unconditionally loved by God; community is the living out of loving respect each person deserves. The Church’s teaching on morality and social justice emphasize that faith in Jesus as Christ obligates one to live as a person for others.

Five students processing into Mass carrying a crucifix and candles.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass four years of theology to successfully complete the graduation requirements of Pope John Paul II High School. 

SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The mission of the Science Department is to connect Pope John Paul II High School’s goals of academic excellence and the values and teachings of the Catholic Church to our understanding and comprehension of science in today’s world. For this reason, science courses are designed to provide students with an academic opportunity that reflects high standards of performance in the study of various fields of science, the use of inquiry, and critical thinking with an appreciation of God’s divine gift of creation of the universe. The Science department focuses on providing students with a scientist’s approach to science; so that students will understand how an experiment is designed, conducted, and presented. The curriculum provides an understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge in relation to math skills, scientific writing, and computer technology as tools to support scientific inquiry and understanding.

Students hands are visible while squishing fruit into beakers.

Requirements and Pathways: The science program is designed to prepare all students for college and career readiness. The curriculum allows students to take college-level coursework and exceed the WA State Standards. Students must pass three years of science to complete the graduation requirements of JPII High School. In order to meet the needs of all students, JPII High School offers three pathways for students to achieve success in understanding science. While following a specific course pathway is the standard, acceleration/advancement is possible based on student needs and teacher recommendation and/or approval. Each course has the prerequisite of a C- or higher earned in the previous class. Lab skills, inductive reasoning, and quantitative precision will be emphasized in accompanying lab investigations.

SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT

Philosophy: The social studies department at Pope John Paul II is committed to fostering a culture of critical thinking, civic engagement, and global awareness among our students. We believe that the study of history, geography, economics, government, and culture is essential for developing an informed and responsible citizenship that respects human dignity and diversity. Our curriculum is guided by the principles of Catholic social teaching and the standards of the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. We aim to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and values that will enable them to contribute positively to their communities and the world.

Two female students work on an assignment together in US History class.

Requirements and Pathways: Students must pass three years of Social Studies to successfully complete the graduation requirements of Pope John Paul II High School, and many four-year college admission requirements.  In order to meet the needs of all students, JPII HS offers three pathways for students to achieve success in Social Studies.  While following a specific course pathway is the standard, movement is possible based upon student needs and teacher recommendation and/or approval.  Students struggling with Social Studies may be required to attend extra assistance programs either as an elective or on a regular basis before or after school with the consent of the teacher.  Each course has the prerequisite of a C- or higher completion of the previous class.