CURRICULUM

It's not just about the classes here at FSHA. In addition to a full slate of class offerings, including 24 Advanced Placement classes and electives that cover all disciplines, learning extends throughout and beyond the classroom.

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Mathematics Program Overview

The mathematics department prepares each student for further study by providing a solid foundation in mathematical skills while encouraging organized critical thinking. By providing a caring learning environment, the department helps students become independent problem solvers. The department integrates technology in all of its courses helping students to focus on reasoning skills and visualize mathematical concepts. The department uses many different teaching strategies in its pursuit of providing students with the best possible mathematics education. 

The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of a very diverse student body. Every member of the department is sensitive to the varying levels of skills and enthusiasm. We offer daily tutoring, summer math review courses, as well as an advanced math curriculum that provides both rigorous instruction and builds personal confidence.

Mathematics Courses

List of 24 frequently asked questions.

  • Advanced Algebra I

    Prerequisite: Department approval.

    Advanced Algebra, a full-year course, is a more rigorous approach to the study of algebra. Students will be involved in: exploring and discovering math concepts, connecting algebra to the real world and to other subjects and math topics, building understanding of the concepts that provide a strong foundation for future courses and careers.
  • Algebra II / Trigonometry - Honors

    Prerequisite: B for two semesters in Honors Geometry and department approval.

    Honors Algebra II with Trigonometry is a preparatory course for work in higher mathematics. Those who expect to go into Calculus are expected to take this course together with Honors Precalculus. Emphasis is placed on a functional, graphic approach, problem-solving, development of abstract thinking skills and student interaction. The course includes quadratic, logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric function, the binomial theorem, and the complex number system. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • Algebra I

    Algebra I is a full-year course that focuses on the basic language of mathematics. An understanding of algebra is required for further work in mathematics and many other disciplines. The student will learn to deal with abstract concepts and apply them in a logical way, as well as to manipulate algebraic symbols in order to represent situations when solving problems.
  • Algebra II

    Prerequisite: C- for two semesters in Geometry or Honors Geometry; if below C-, then successful completion of summer Geometry course; and/or placement test and/or department approval.

    Algebra II is a full-year course that integrates the previous courses of Algebra I and Geometry. Emphasis will be placed on graphing, and understanding the relationship between graphs and equations. Functions will be used as a unifying theme in the course, and connections from algebra to geometry, data analysis, probability, and discrete mathematics will be made. Technology will be used as a problem-solving tool. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • Algebra Review

    Prerequisites: Department Approval.
    Course Offered in Summer Only

    Algebra Review is a one-semester summer course that is designed for students who need to review the concepts learned in Algebra I in preparation for their Algebra II or Honors Algebra II class. This course will review the basics of Algebra I and introduce students to the difficult algebraic concepts used in Algebra II. It is strongly recommended for students going into Algebra II or Honors Algebra II that need reinforcement of their algebra skills. This course does not receive credit toward graduation.
  • Analytic Geometry

    Prerequisite: Department Approval.
    Online Course Offered Only in the Summer.

    This one-semester online course covers these topics: Coordinates and graphs in the plane, relations, functions and their graphs and inverses, geometric transformations, review of transcendental functions and their graphs, continuity and discontinuity of graphs, finite and infinite limits of functions and their graphs, three dimensional graphing, areas and volumes of three dimensional solids, and conic sections. The TI-84 graphing calculator required.  This is a mandatory prep course for AP Calculus.
  • AP Calculus AB

    Prerequisite: Afor two semester in Honors Precalculus, department approval and successful completion of the online summer course, Analytic Geometry.


    Students taking this course will take the Advanced Placement examination in Calculus-AB. A passing score on that test can result in college credit. Topics covered include: limits, differential calculus, application of the derivative, integral calculus, applications of integration, and the calculus of transcendental functions. This course is an excellent preparation for those students intending to focus on the sciences, pre-medicine, or any college degree which requires Calculus. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • AP Calculus BC

    Prerequisite: A- or higher in AP Calculus AB and department approval.

    Students taking the course will take the Advanced Placement Examination in Calculus BC. A passing score on that test may result in college credit. This course is not a continuation of Calculus AB, but rather a separate course which covers more of the college curriculum than is covered in Calculus AB. Calculus AB covers one semester of the college Calculus curriculum, while Calculus BC covers the first two semesters. Topics covered include all of those covered in Calculus AB as well as the following: L'Hospital's rule, improper integrals, partial fractions, infinite series, and parametric, vector, and polar functions. This course is an excellent preparation for those students intending to focus on the sciences, pre-medicine, or any college degree which requires Calculus. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • AP Calculus BC (Online School for Girls)

    Prerequisite: For considertaion, a student must attain a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Caluclus AB exam and receive department approval.  This course is offered through Online School for Girls, see more detailed OSG requirements below.

    The AP Calculus BC course is a standard course in the calculus of a single variable. The goal is to teach conceptual reasoning, enabling students to present a solution algebraically, geometrically, numerically or verbally. Emphasis is placed not only on a clear understanding of the concepts, but also on their applicability in real world situations. All of the topics in the Advanced Placement BC syllabi are covered, as well as additional topics as time permits. Major topics include limits, continuity, derivatives and applications, integrals and applications, first order linear differential equations, inverse trigonometric functions, transcendental functions, infinite series, Taylor polynomials, vectors, parametrically defined functions, and polar coordinates. This student-centered course will feature discussions, reflections, and projects that will help students to master the course material in an engaging way. Students enrolled in this course will be thoroughly prepared to take the Advanced Placement exam in the spring.

    OSG also requires the following prerequisite: Pre-Calculus (including study of natural logarithms, series and sequences, parametric and polar functions, vectors, and limit), or regular Pre-Calculus and OSG summer course, “Transition to AP Calculus BC,” which covers those topics.
  • AP Computer Science A (Online School for Girls)

    The AP Computer Science course will introduce the key concepts and techniques of object-oriented programming in Java.  The analytic, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills developed in this course will transfer to programming in other languages on a variety of platforms.  This course is designed with the idea that programming should be fun, engaging, and intuitive.  Students will work creatively and collaboratively with their classmates and develop a solid foundation from which to launch into a wide range of computer science areas.  In today’s world, having an understanding of programming concepts as well as the ability to approach problems with a “programmer’s eye” have become essential skills for students and professionals.  Students taking this course will be well-prepared for the AP Computer Science A Exam in May.

    Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra II, and any of the following: OSG’s Introduction to Computer Programming, OSG’s Preparing for AP Computer Science, or previous programming experience and instructor permission.  This course is offered through the Online School for Girls (OSG).
  • AP Computer Science Principles (Online School for Girls)

    Prerequisites: Students must have an understanding of basic computer programming. Students may fulfill this requirement through any of the following: OSG’s Introduction to Computer Science, Programming I Summer Intensive, Programming I (Programming for Beginners), Programming II, or previous programming experience and instructor permission.  This course is offered through the Online School for Girls (OSG).

    Computer science and computing technologies are everywhere, and used in just about every imaginable occupation. This course investigates the “big ideas” found in our digital world such as the creativity in finding solutions to authentic problems, how data and information are used to forecast events and predict behaviors, and the global impacts of technology and the Internet. Using Python, students create computer programs that serve useful functions, explore the different means of
    representing information digitally, and discover new knowledge through the use of large data sets. Students discuss the current state of technology and its role in our everyday lives, and develop their skills in computational thinking, logical reasoning, and describing processes through algorithms. Finally, students demonstrate their learning by creating a portfolio for submission to the College Board and are prepared for the AP® Computer Science Principles exam in May.  This class meets UC “G” elective requirement.
  • AP Statistics

    Prerequisite: A- for two semesters in Precalculus or B for two semesters in Honors Precalculus and department approval.

    Students taking this course will take the Advanced Placement examination in AP Statistics. A passing score on that test can result in college credit. Topics covered include: experimental design, exploring and analyzing data, producing models using probability and simulation, and statistical inference . This course is an excellent preparation for those students intending to focus on the social sciences, business, or any college degree which requires Statistics. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • Calculus

    Prerequisite: B- or better for two semesters in Precalculus or C or better in Honors Precalculus; and/or placement exam; and/or department approval.  

    This one year-course will cover these topics: functions and their graphs, differentiation using limits and continuity, average rates of change, instantaneous rates of change, high order derivatives, applications of differentiation to find relative maximum and minimum and their graphs, absolute maximum and minimum problems, exponential and logarithmic functions and their graphs as well as their derivatives, integration, integration over an interval, finding the area using integration as well as the area between curves and the various integration techniques, applications of integral using economic applications, application of models, improper integrals, probability and volume. TI-84 graphing calculator is required.
  • Calculus - Honors

    Prerequisite: B for two semesters in Honors Precalculus and department approval.  

    The one-year course will cover differential and integral calculus including: limits, slopes, tangent lines, velocity, rates of change, transcendental functions, and the chain rule. These topics will be used to solve real world problems involving related rates, maxima, minima, area and volume. TI-82 or 83 graphing calculator is required.
  • Creating Tomorrow: Computer Science by Design (Online School for Girls)

    The importance of communication in the digital world can’t be underestimated. In this course, students will develop their digital communication skills by using the design process to create products relevant to the digital age in which we live. Combining programming, design and entrepreneurship, students will work both individually and in teams to create digital products in a variety of formats using a variety of tools and computer languages, and learn about how to brand and market these products. Production of products will require study in research, conceptual design, schedule and budget, concept development, testing, and implementation of products and/or designs. Example projects might include games, web sites, film, graphics and infographics, and/or mobile application design. Students will have choice in selecting projects of interest and be able to pursue interests in depth. By the end of the course, students will have developed a portfolio of their work.

    Pre-requisite: Students must have an understanding of basic computer programming. Students may fulfill this requirement through any of the following: OSG’s Introduction to Computer Programming, OSG’s Preparing for AP Computer Science, or previous programming experience and instructor permission.  This course is offered through the Online School for Girls (OSG).
  • Geometry

    Prerequisite: C- for the two semesters in Algebra I or Advanced Algebra I; if below C-, then successful completion of summer Algebra I course and/or placement test; and department approval.

    Geometry supports the development of patterns of logical thought utilizing the principles of inductive and deductive reasoning. This one-year course is normally taught between Algebra I and II, since its concepts comprise one-third of the PSAT and SAT exam. Topics include: geometric figures, proofs, parallelism, congruence, constructions, polygons, similarity, and right triangles. Algebra skills are reviewed on a regular basis. TI-83 graphing calculator required.
  • Geometry - Honors

    Prerequisite: B for two semesters in Advanced Algebra I or A for two semesters in Algebra I or placement exam (incoming 9th graders) and department approval.

    Honors Geometry is a rigorous approach to plane and solid geometry for students who are accelerated in math. It is a preparatory course for work in higher mathematics. Deductive and inductive reasoning are stressed with challenging proof writing. Topics include: geometric plane and solid figures, SAT formulas, parallelism, congruence, similarity, polygons, circles, right triangles, and an integration of algebra through coordinate and analytical geometry.
  • Introduction to Computer Science (Online School for Girls)

    Prerequisite: C or higher in Algebra I.  This course is offered through the Online School for Girls  

    The goal of this course is to create an environment where students develop the skills to express their creativity in various programming languages. The course starts by introducing students to basic programming constructs and techniques using a simple but powerful drag-and-drop programming language in an animated environment. Students learn to create simple apps, explore a Java-like language that incorporates an electronic sketchbook with graphics and animation, and finally move on to object-oriented programming with 3D graphics. Students will learn to program in languages such as Scratch, App Inventor, HTML, JavaScript, and Processing. Throughout the course, students conduct research and collaboratively investigate current issues surrounding computer science, specifically focusing on recent events involving computer science and the issues surrounding women in technology. By the end of the course, students understand how relevant and important computer
    programming is in the world around them. This course prepares students for all advanced One Schoolhouse computer science courses.  It meets the UC “G” elective requirement.
  • Linear Algebra (Online School for Girls)

    Linear algebra is the study of vectors, the spaces in which they live, and linear mappings between those spaces. It gives us a powerful new way to think mathematically, and it has many applications in science, engineering, economics, and any field in which multiple variables interact in ways that can be modeled by systems of linear equations. It’s therefore a required and very useful subject in college for many science and engineering majors. This yearlong course will cover a typical one-semester college linear algebra curriculum, with topics including matrix algebra, vector spaces, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and applications to differential equations. In the sequence of standard math courses, linear algebra can be studied either before or after multivariable calculus. It’s a great fit for the student who has completed AP Calculus AB or BC, who is passionate about challenging herself to think in new ways, and who wants to increase her ability to tackle problems in the real world.

    Prerequisite: Successful completion of AP Calculus BC. This course is offered through the Online School for Girls (OSG).
  • Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations (Online School for Girls)

    Advanced Mathematics: Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations will cover a number of other topics beyond the AP Calculus BC curriculum, including: calculating volumes by using shells, surfaces of revolution, and centers of mass and centroids. The course also explores topics that are studied in a typical college level third semester calculus course, including vectors and vector valued functions, differentiation in several variables, optimization in several variables, multiple integration, and line and surface integrals. Advanced Mathematics concludes with an introduction to Differential Equations. Topics include solving exact first-order equations, solving second order homogeneous and nonhomogeneous linear equation, and exploring applications to various scientific fields. This course will feature discussions, projects, and other activities that will help students to develop their advanced math skills in a collaborative and creative way.

    Prerequisite: Successful completion of AP Calculus BC. This course is offered through the Online School for Girls (OSG).
  • Precalculus

    Prerequisite: C in Algebra II or C- in Honors Algebra II/Trig and department approval.

    Precalculus is a one-year course that blends together the concepts and skills that must be mastered prior to enrollment in a college-level calculus course. This course includes college algebra, trigonometry, logs, analytic geometry and exponential functions. The foundation of calculus will be stressed throughout the materials. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • Precalculus - Honors

    Prerequisite: B in Honors Algebra II/Trig and department approval.

    Honors Precalculus is a one-year course that blends together all of the concepts and skills that must be mastered prior to enrollment in a college-level calculus course. This course includes college algebra, trigonometry, logs, analytic geometry and mathematical analysis. The foundation of calculus will be stressed throughout the materials. TI-84 graphing calculator required.
  • Programming I - Online

    Prerequisite: None

    In this single semester online class, students will learn about basic computer science concepts using drag and drop programming and basic programming languages.  In this self-paced class, students will play coding games, make games, create simple animations, and other programs while learning to think like a programmer.  It is recommended for students without any programming experience. It is an option available to students who want to learn more about coding without committing to a full year course. The grade for this course is not included in UC GPA calculation.
  • Programming II - Online

    In this single semester online class, students will use their knowledge of basic programming with a programming language called Processing and then transfer that knowledge near the end of the semester to a physical computing environment with an Arduino Board.  In this blended course, students will write short programs, create simple computational art, and create simple animations through coding. They will extend this knowledge to program interactions with electronic devices.  This course is an optional precursor to AP Computer Science  or Designing for Tomorrow through the Online School for Girls.  Students are required to have basic programming experience.  This course is an elective. It does not fulfill UC academic requirements.

    Prerequisites:  Programming I (Programming for Beginners), Robotics I, or instructor approval
"FSHA always challenged me to be a better student. The classes pushed me to expand my thinking and work hard. I'm ready for college because of the education I received here." —Kayla Grahn '15

Mathematics Faculty

List of 5 members.

  • Simone Butera 

    Mathematics Teacher
    626-685-8328
    National University - M.F.A.
    University of Turin - M.S.
  • Carol Jones 

    Mathematics Teacher
    626-685-8300
    MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY - BSc (Hons)
  • Jim Lau 

    Mathematics Teacher
    626-685-8342
    California State University of Los Angeles - BS
  • Kirk Nishiyama 

    Mathematics Teacher; Cross-Country Coach
    626-685-8324
    Occidental College - B.A.
  • John Robb 

    Mathematics Teacher
    626-685-8322
    California State University, Northridge - B.S.
    National University - M.S.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is an all girls' Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory day and boarding high school in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. Overlooking Pasadena, FSHA educates girls from Los Angeles, Southern California and around the world for a life of faith, integrity and truth. 

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

440 St. Katherine Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Phone: 626-685-8300

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