The Education for Excellence curriculum includes the following:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics
  • 4 years of theology
  • 3 or 4 years of social studies
  • 3 years of Spanish
  • 4 years of science
  • 4 years of physical education
  • 1 year of health education
  • 1 year of visual and performing arts

2018-2019 Curriculum

The Cristo Rey Newark High School curriculum provides a well-balanced foundation to continue your education at a competitive college or university. Read on to learn more:


English 9

Ninth grade English is an introduction to fundamental concepts and processes that will be essential in high school and beyond, including the writing process, research skills, reading comprehension strategies, critical analysis, oral presentation and a meaningful exchange of ideas. The course emphasizes many texts from a variety of literary traditions and times. To meet the needs of the 21st century, students develop a global perspective. Students read, write and analyze narrative and expository texts to gain an understanding of the world and themselves and to communicate effectively with others. Ninth graders integrate content and thinking skills, and use various media and formats to communicate effectively with different audiences. This course will be taught in the historical and social context of selected literature in order to further students’ understanding of themselves, their community and the world. 

English 10

Tenth grade English students continue to strengthen and further develop fundamental concepts and processes that were introduced in ninth grade. Students will be exposed to a variety of authors from various literary traditions. Tenth grade students will practice increasingly sophisticated reading, writing and analytical strategies. Using narrative and expository texts, students will broaden their understanding of viewpoints beyond their own. They are expected to apply strategies for developing vocabulary, using appropriate Standard English and thinking critically while engaged in the writing process, research process and communication skills. This course will be taught in the historical and social context of selected literature in order to further students’ understanding of themselves, their community and the world. 

English 11

The Junior English course builds upon the skills introduced in the first two years of high school English. In this course, students read, write and analyze both literary and expository texts with increasing independence. They will demonstrate competency in using the writing process to think through and then write about increasingly complex topics for different audiences, purposes and formats, employ multimedia to formally and informally present information, actively use sophisticated reading strategies to encounter new literary texts and connect with previously studied material, and make choices for effective listening and speaking using learned strategies. This course will be taught in the historical and social context of selected American literature in order to further students’ understanding of themselves, their community and the world. 

English 12

The Senior English course refines and deepens the speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking skills practiced in the junior year. In this course, 12th grade students read, write, analyze and synthesize both literary and expository texts. Students will refine their competency in the writing process by independently selecting and manipulating writing strategies to create polished work. Additionally, 12th grade students will use their reading, critical thinking, listening and speaking skills to achieve college readiness by actively engaging in various types of academic discourse. This course anticipates and practices the skills necessary to read and write across disciplines at the college level. It will be taught in the historical and social context of selected British literature in order to further students’ understanding of themselves, their community and the world. 


JA Finance Park is a semester-long, pass/fail economics education program that introduces personal planning and career exploration. It is designed to be taught to the freshman class by classroom teachers. At the culmination of this program, students visit JA Finance Park to put into practice what they have learned about economic options and the principles of budgeting. Assisted by their teachers and a staff of trained volunteers, they have the opportunity to actually develop and commit to a personal budget.



The goals of the course are to help students gain an understanding of the concept of total health. This includes the mental, emotional and social aspects of wellness. In addition, this course will help students demonstrate an understanding of how motivation and commitment can lead to wanted behavioral change, and to understand self-image and its effect on one’s health.

Physical Education

Students exercise with the basic set of calisthenics and short runs in order to improve their health and physical well-being. During the physical education period, classes participate in full-scale games such as dodge ball and kickball. Students also have the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, indoor football and indoor soccer. All students should be active participants in the physical education activities.

S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)


Biology/Biology Laboratory

This course is designed as both a high school requirement and for possible further study into a college-related science major. The basic units of biology and more in-depth areas of biology are covered. The course content outline is comprised of several basic areas of biology including cell biology, genetics, DNA, botany, human structure and biochemistry. Course content will also include the use of classroom lectures and note taking, textbook reading assignments, electronic media presentations and internet research. A complement of weekly laboratory exercises is part of the lesson, including laboratory safety and use of equipment, laboratory practices and hands-on projects.

Chemistry/Chemistry Laboratory

Chemistry studies the structure, properties and reactions of matter, especially at the atomic and molecular levels. Both conceptual and mathematical approaches are used. Laboratory experience and reporting are required.

Conceptual Physics/Conceptual Physics Laboratory

Conceptual Physics is a high school level physics course with lab exercises. This course includes fundamental concepts of physics, such as force and motion, energy, properties of matter, heat, thermodynamics, vibration and waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, light, atomic and nuclear physics, and relativity. Conceptual Physics will enable students to see the practical applications of their mathematics skills and understand the basic principles and ideas of science. In this course, students will expand the boundaries of scientific knowledge and apply that knowledge through laboratory work, collaborative learning and discussion of critical thinking questions.

Mathematical Physics

Physics is the study of the laws of nature including the areas of scientific methods, scientific application of mathematics, science and society, communicating in science, physical and chemical properties of matter, atomic structure and bonding, motion and forces, energy, heat and thermodynamics, waves and electricity and magnetism. Students will be engaged in activities that promote analytical thinking, scientific inquiry and development of higher-level cognitive skills while working to improve their organization, use of technology and communication skills. The course will include laboratory experiences that focus on the variables in each area and the relationship they have with each other.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science is a course designed for students to explore and study the natural world around them. Students will analyze the interrelatedness of all components of the environment, the living and nonliving factors that influence nature, different types of natural ecosystems and resource usage among different organisms. Current issues in environmental science will also be researched and discussed including pollution, habitat destruction, deforestation, sustainability and overall depletion of natural resources. In addition to classroom studies, students will participate in hands-on laboratory exercises that are designed to strengthen lessons taught in the classroom and develop their process of scientific learning and exploration.

Forensic Science

In Forensic Science, we will explain the science used in forensic science techniques. We will be learning the scientific concepts, processes and thinking that are the basis of each area of science study. Some of the topics include crime scene investigation; the collection, handling and examination of trace evidence such as hair, fibers, soil, pollen and glass; fingerprint, blood and blood spatter examination; DNA, drug, handwriting and tool mark analysis; impressions; ballistics; forensic anthropology; and the determination of the cause and time of death. 

Anatomy and Physiology

This is an introductory course in human anatomy and physiology. We study the structure and relationship between body parts, along with the function of body parts and the body as a whole. These studies include the structure and function of cells, tissues and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. During the end of the course, we will introduce the common human disease processes. 


Intro to Computer Applications Course

This class is designed to introduce computer applications used in the business office. Students will use the Microsoft Office package, which includes the following applications: Word (word processing), Excel (spreadsheet), Access (database), Power Point (presentations) and Outlook. Workbooks with teacher facilitation are also incorporated into the class. Preparing documents such as reports in MLA style, cover letters and resumes will also be covered.

Method of Evaluation: Students will be graded on tests, daily work and their ability to use the software effectively and efficiently.

Hardware: Google Chromebook 


Intro to Computer Science in Python

Introduction to Python teaches the fundamentals of computer programming, as well as some advanced features of the Python language. Students use what they learn in this course to build simple console-based games. This course is equivalent to a semester-long introductory Python course at the college level.

Who is it for?
This course does not assume any prior programming experience. Learn the basics of programming and gradually harness the power of some of Python’s more advanced features to make games and solve real-world problems.

Students can take this course as their first introduction to computer science.

What do you learn?
In this course, students learn the fundamental concepts of programming — concepts that can be applied in the study of any programming language. Students also dive into specific features of the Python programming language. 


Alegbra 1

Algebra 1 is the study of algebraic concepts such as solving one- and two-variable equations, system of equations, graphic lines, determining slope, simplifying and factoring polynomials and their applications with emphasis on skill development. Students are encouraged to develop precise and accurate habits of mathematical expression.

Alegbra 2

Algebra 2 is the second year required course in mathematics. The course is designed to expand the students’ knowledge of algebra and give them the solid function in mathematics necessary for pre-calculus and calculus. Students will use technology such as scientific and graphing calculators, as well as computers, to solve real-life problems through critical thinking, modeling and group activities. The course content involves performing operations with rational, irrational and complex numbers, simplifying all types of algebraic expressions, solutions of systems of linear equations, applications of matrices and determinants, using graphs and logarithmic and operations with polynomials. 

Intermediate Algebra

Intermediate Algebra is a two-semester course in which students will develop various concepts of algebra. This course is designed to serve as preparation for the study of college algebra, statistics, trigonometry and other college mathematics courses. The course will cover algebra topics including problem solving, linear equations, systems of equations, polynomials and factoring techniques, rational expressions, radicals and exponents, and quadratic equations. 


Geometry is a systematic study of the nature of deductive and inductive reasoning as applied to the basic concept of size, shape and relative position of points and sets of points in the plane and three-dimensional space within the framework of Euclidian geometry. The course starts with basic geometry concepts, such as lines and angles and properties of triangles, and proceeds to a more in-depth look at topics such as areas of polygons and circles, quadrilaterals and circles, and right triangles and trigonometry. Computers will be introduced as an aid to geometric problem solving. 


Pre-calculus students will explore, in depth, the topics of radicals and rational exponents, polynomial and rational functions, graphs and their transformations, logarithmic and exponential functions and their applications, and trigonometry. Students will discover how their algebraic foundation supports much of what they encounter in pre-calculus (e.g. factoring polynomials and solving equations are necessary in order to graph higher order polynomial functions). Students will be able to solve a variety of equations and apply mathematical concepts and formulas to real-life applications (e.g. population growth and compound interest).


This accelerated fourth-year course is designed to introduce the students to the fundamental principles of differential calculus.  Topics covered include a detailed study of the first and second derivative of a polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions with applications to curve-tracing, maxima-minima related-rate problems and the anti-derivative.  The course will also include a thorough survey of trigonometry. 


World History

This course explores the rich fabric of world history from the beginnings of human society through the Age of Exploration/pre-Columbian America. The course has three main thrusts: learning essential historical content, fostering the ability to think historically including identifying themes, patterns and trends of historical change, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking and research abilities to convey this knowledge competently. The course uses the RESPECT acronym as an organizing principle, a set of seven lenses through which we will examine each historical era and make comparisons across historical eras. RESPECT stands for Religious, Economic, Social, Political, Educational, Cultural and Technological. Each era in the World History course is a discrete measurement topic. There is also a benchmark representing each letter from the RESPECT acronym to be taught as part of each measurement topic. The content that is part of the curriculum does not preclude a teacher from teaching additional content or time periods.

U.S. History

This course begins with the Imperial Crisis of the 1760s and explores the history of the United States through the present. The course has three main thrusts: learning essential historical content, fostering the ability to think historically including identifying themes, patterns and trends of historical change, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking and research abilities to convey this knowledge competently. The course uses the RESPECT acronym as an organizing principle, a set of seven lenses through which we will examine each historical era and make comparisons across historical eras. RESPECT stands for Religious, Economic, Social, Political, Educational, Cultural and Technological. Each era in the U.S. History course is a discrete measurement topic. There is also a benchmark representing each letter from the RESPECT acronym to be taught as part of each measurement topic. The content that is part of the curriculum does not preclude a teacher from teaching additional content or time periods.

AP U.S. History

AP U.S. History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university U.S. history course. In AP U.S. History students investigate significant events, individuals, developments and processes in nine historical periods from approximately 1491 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources, developing historical arguments, making historical comparisons, and utilizing reasoning about contextualization, causation and continuity and change over time. The course also provides seven themes that students explore in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: American and national identity; migration and settlement; politics and power; work, exchange, and technology; America in the world; geography and the environment; and culture and society. 

U.S. Government/Civics

Government/Civics for the 21st Century is a semester social studies course that focuses on the foundations of government and responsible participatory citizenship. A deeper understanding of government will be achieved through analyzing the political process, political ideologies, the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the three branches of government, as well as the rights and responsibilities of individuals in our government system. Throughout this course, students will consistently be asked to analyze the various roles of individual citizens and groups in the political process, as well as how America’s founding ideals (democracy, opportunity, liberty, equality and rights) as outlined by the framers have shaped and continue to shape American government. As with the other social studies courses, this course will include learning essential content, fostering the ability to think analytically including identifying themes, patterns and trends of change, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking and research abilities to competently convey this knowledge.


The goal of Economics in the 21st Century is to enable students to become economically literate and effective decision-makers, as well as responsible and productive citizens in an increasingly globalized economy. This course begins by building the foundations of economic understanding by introducing students to the fundamental microeconomic concepts necessary to analyze macroeconomic and global concepts. Throughout this course, students will consistently be asked to analyze the role of the consumer in micro, macro and global economic systems, and analyze how changes in the economy affect individuals, households, businesses, the government and the environment. The final component of Economics in the 21st Century requires students to apply their knowledge by investigating and articulating economic solutions through practical application of real world problems.  As with the other social studies courses, this course will include learning essential content, fostering the ability to think analytically, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking and research abilities to competently convey this knowledge.


Theology 9: Foundations of Catholic Christianity

The Catholic Church has been a world presence throughout two millennia. From humble beginnings in the early Christian movement, today the Catholic Church is the spiritual home of more than one billion faithful worldwide. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the foundations of our great faith, with special focus on the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. In this course, students will understand that Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation to us from God. In learning about who He is, the students will also learn who He calls them to be. They will also understand foundational concepts about the Bible, the Paschal Mystery, the sacraments, tradition and morality. 

Theology 10: Foundations of Scripture

The purpose of this course is to give students a general knowledge and appreciation of the sacred scriptures. Over two semesters they will examine both Hebrew and Christian scriptures, through which they will come to encounter the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ. During their study of the New Testament, students will pay particular attention to the Gospels, through which they will have the opportunity to grow to know and love Jesus Christ more personally. In the course, they will learn about the Bible, authored by God through inspiration, and its value to people throughout the world. 

Theology 11: Christian Morality

The purpose of this course is to help students understand how they can live out God’s plan for their lives in Christ. God created every person with an internal moral sense — some internal movement which helps us make quick decisions. Our decisions reflect who we are and who we are becoming. By making good choices, we become better people and more human. By making poor choices, we become less human. Our capacity for ethical behavior is what makes us human. During this course, we will examine different moral systems and concepts, understand the importance of conscience in the Catholic Church, establish frameworks for good decision-making and understand the wider effects of moral choices in contemporary issues centered on Christ. 

Theology 12: Catholic Social Teaching/World Religions

Theology 12 is designed in two parts. Social Justice is the fall semester course. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to living as Christian disciples in society. Through their study of Catholic social teaching, they will learn about Christ’s preferential option for the poor and neglected as the model for personal application. Students will explore the major social justice issues of contemporary society in light of the seven themes of modern Catholic social teaching, with the possibility of finding just solutions.

In the spring semester, World Religions is the focus. This course is a cross-cultural study designed to allow students to acquire a better understanding of religion in general and of some of the world’s “great religions” in particular. Its rich array of religious cultures, sociology, philosophy and history is explored to gain a better respect of all people and nations. 



In this course, students discover and cultivate their musical talents as members of a performing arts ensemble. Choir members learn basic singing skills, as well as playing and reading music, developing song repertoire, broadening listening skills and experiencing other cultures through music.

Advanced Choir

Students in the advanced choir perfect and master their musical skills as part of the school’s performing ensemble. They continue to perfect the basic skills of singing, playing and reading music, while expanding their song repertoire, broadening their listening skills and experiencing other cultures through music.

Music Appreciation

This course provides students with a better understanding of music, its various traditions, roots and cultures from which the music comes. To achieve this goal, students study the history of music, the different genres and music theory. They’ll discuss and analyze the causes and effects of music on society and vise versa. Various musicians from different eras and cultural experiences, as well as those they have influenced, are studied. Through listening labs, the students listen to, experience and analyze various types of music and artists. Students also learn about the different instruments, the basics of singing and write and record their own music. Most importantly, they gain a love and appreciation of music.


Spanish I

Spanish I introduces the essentials of the Spanish language, basic vocabulary, grammar, syntax of the language, proper pronunciation and aspects of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. Students acquire this basic knowledge through a balanced implementation of the four aspects of language: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

Spanish II

Spanish II is a continuation of Spanish I and is a requirement for graduation. In this course, students will continue to develop their communication skills in Spanish through partner and group activities, individual exercises within and outside the classroom, projects and real-life practice outside the school setting. Students will also learn various cultural aspects of and current events in the Spanish-speaking world. At the end of this course, students will be able to communicate with native speakers in short conversations, use emerging literacy skills and be ready for study in Spanish III.

Prerequisite:  Spanish I 

Spanish III

Spanish III provides an opportunity to master the target language. Students at this level understand the culture of countries where the language is spoken. They are also capable of engaging in conversations about a wide variety of topics in many different settings, reading authentic fiction and non-fiction texts and producing a broad range of written texts. Students who demonstrate proficiency in Spanish III will be ready to proceed to an Advanced Placement course and to continue independent study of the target language. 

Heritage I (Spanish for Native Speakers)

Heritage I is designed for native speakers of Spanish and can accommodate students from a wide range of backgrounds. This course focuses on the development of communicative competence in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as on understanding Hispanic cultures and issues of identity of native Spanish speakers in the United States. During this course, students will gain confidence using Spanish to express their own thoughts on academic themes, interact with other speakers of the language, understand oral and written messages, make oral and written presentations and evaluate media resources. By the end of the Heritage I course, students should obtain an intermediate level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

Heritage II (Spanish for Native Speakers)

In Heritage II Spanish, students who have successfully completed the Heritage I course will continue to develop their cultural awareness of Hispanic cultures and their own communicative, literary and writing skills through interactive group and partner activities.  Greater focus is placed on advanced grammatical usage (compound tenses, present and imperfect subjunctive). Greater emphasis will also be placed on writing activities to ensure a real-world use of structures taught in class. As assessments to individualize their writing needs, students will be given themed topics and open-ended questions based on selections read in class. This class will require the constant use of the Spanish language. 

AP Spanish

AP Spanish Language and Culture is a college-level course open to the most advanced students of the Heritage II/Spanish III Honors classes. This course follows the guidelines set forth by the AP College Board. The focus is on authentic articles, videos, audios and reading selections of the following themes: personal and public identities, contemporary life, families and communities, beauty and aesthetics, science and technology and global challenges. Students are required to have accurate grammatical skills in order to express their views and reactions to and understanding of readings and audio activities through group discussions, essay writing and oral projects and presentations. All activity is conducted in Spanish. 


Academic Readiness

Academic Readiness is a course designed to prepare students for the rigor involved with Cristo Rey Newark’s academic curriculum, utilizing various research-based learning strategies to develop the whole student. It focuses on the development of strategies such as developing S.M.A.R.T. goals, time management skills, public speaking and writing. Proficiency in these areas has proven to help students become engaged, fluent, and excellent critical thinkers. We will learn what “good” students do to comprehend text, and how to have metacognitive (thinking) conversations about learning processes, as proven by their academic excellence in their various content areas. 

Supervised Homework Center

Students have an extra period at the end of the day. If they need tutoring, it is arranged with the regular teachers or special tutors who assist our students in their individual needs. Supervised homework is also provided. Computer labs are open. Occasional club meetings and student council can meet during this time. 


Honors level courses are offered in the major disciplines. Students are expected to do more rigorous work and higher level thinking. Honors classes receive an additional weighting of .5 on the student’s GPA. Advance Placement (AP) courses are college level courses and receive an additional weighting of .7.


ACT/SAT Prep classes are offered to both sophomores and juniors. The course seeks to improve student test-taking skills through the use of testing strategies and practice problems. The course is integrated closely with Cristo Rey Newark High School’s math and English curricula in order to ensure maximum efficiency and alignment of the skills being developed in those courses.


Service learning enables students to establish connections to the community and solve real-world problems by applying knowledge acquired in the classroom. Accompanying the poor, the sick and the marginalized, and working together to improve our communities, fosters great intellectual, interpersonal and spiritual growth. Through service learning, students understand the issues that threaten the God-given dignity of all people. Service learning embodies the “head, heart and hands” model of Catholic education by integrating Catholic social teaching, firsthand experience and personal challenges. Authentic service learning asks students not only to give of themselves, but also, to develop a faith-based view of the call to justice.

At Cristo Rey Newark High School, students are required to earn a half credit for service learning activities each semester during the academic year. Students can complete their service hours in a variety of ways. They can volunteer on weekend mornings and afternoons at their local parishes or places of worship. Students can also assist at their local community centers, approved tutoring programs, libraries, hospitals, assisted living communities, etc. In addition, they can contact potential service placements on their own.


Cristo Rey Newark High School offers an array of summer enrichment programs. Whether you want to delve deeper into philosophy or strengthen your math and reading skills, there’s a summer program for you.

"The Corporate Work Study Program has provided me with the exposure to various aspects of the medical field with jobs at Holy Name Medical Center, Sanofi and Liberty Science Center. I plan to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon."

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Vince Polidor, Class of 2018

"The rigorous curriculum here at Cristo Rey Newark has helped me to become more than college-ready."

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—Jennifer Rodriguez, Class of 2018

"Cristo Rey Newark definitely prepares you for life in the real world - helping to build character and challenging us academically. This school teaches us respect for ourselves and respect for others."

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—Eldulfo Nyeor, Class of 2020

"The Cristo Rey work study program has helped me to step out of my comfort zone and helped to build my communication and social skills."

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—Uchechi Desouza, Class of 2018

"Cristo Rey Newark has exposed me to all sorts of programs that help to build my resume and career portfolio before I even leave for college."

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—Christopher Maycock Smith, Class of 2018


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