Course descriptions

Life Science


Marine Biology
Recommended Prerequisites: None
Graduation requirement:  Life Science

From the smallest plankton to the largest whales, embark upon a journey to the world of marine biology by exploring the environments of the deep ocean, open ocean, kelp forests, coral reefs, tide pools, rocky shores, sandy beaches and salt water marshes.  Learn about the organisms living in them.  What makes them tick?  What adaptations make them so successful?  What impacts them and what can we learn from them?  Throughout this class, you will explore the nature of Science, what it is, how it works and why it is important to you.  Come join in the discovery!  The following topics will be explored:

  • Nature of Science, Earth's Oceans, Marine Invertabrates, Marine Plankton, Cells and Genetics, Marine Algae and Plants, Bony Fish and Sharks, Marine Reptiles and Birds, Marine Mammals, Evolution, Marine Ecosystems

Biology P
Recommended Prerequisites: strong organization and study skills, experience with algebraic techniques.

Graduation requirement: Life Science
A-G: lab/Biological Science (D)

A laboratory course in life science, which satisfies one year of the two years of science required for high school graduation Biology is an action packed course in life.  Biology studies the processes and functions of all living things.  We perform many labs.   This course moves quickly, and it covers a lot of material that is entirely new to the students. Students' grades are a reflection of their performance on tests, projects, presentations, laboratories, and written work.

AP Biology
Recommended Prerequisites: “B” grade in Biology and "B" in Chemistry.  And the ability and academic backgroung to complete college level work.
Graduation requirement: Life Science
A-G: Lab Science (D)

In this college-level course you will be exposed to the wide range of topics that comprise contemporary biology. The study of biology is pertinent to many aspects of our day-to-day existence, it is an adventure for the mind, and nourishment for the intellectual spirit.  AP Biology is an internationally recognized program that provides high school students the opportunity to pursue and receive credit for college-level course work.  It is designed to develop a deep understanding of the major concepts that run through the discipline and an appreciation of science as an exciting and ongoing process.  Focus is on understanding important relationships, processes, mechanisms, potential extensions and applications of concepts. Less important is the memorization of specialized terminology and technical details. For example, understanding how protein structure affects enzyme action is more important than memorizing a list of enzyme names. The course is intended to be equivalent to an introductory biology course found at the freshman university level, and reflects the outline provided by the College Board.  Upon completing this course students will be well prepared for succeeding college science courses.  Students should be aware that this is a demanding and rigorous course.  Be advised that due to time limitations this course can not cover all the content material of the AP Biology Exam so it is HIGHLY recommended that students take the AP Environmental course in addition.  Students are expected to assume the responsibility for filling in the gaps with their own reading program. AP COLLEGE BOARD GUIDELINES --

Anatomy and Physiology P
Recommended Prerequisites: Biology.
Graduation requirement: Life Science
A-G: Lab Science (D)

This course is designed to expand the students' knowledge of the structure and function of the human body.  The course will explore anatomical structures in various body systems as they relate to the physiology, or inner workings, of that system.  Emphasis will be placed on the interactions of organs as they work together to maintain balance or homeostasis.  During class students will participate in lecture/discussions, conduct laboratory investigations including dissection, microscopy and human performance, and gather information on a variety of medical and health related topics.  Topics include: Body organization and tissues, muscles, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urinary, endocrine, nervous, reproductive system and the senses.  Instruction and materials are at a college preparatory level.  Students will explore these topics through discussions,  laboratory investigations, teacher demonstrations, and in-class assignments.

Introduction to Biotechnology P
Recommended Prerequisites: Completion  or concurrent enrollment in Biology or Marine Biology required. Strong organization and study skills, experiodnce with algebraic techniques.
Graduation requirement: Life Science
A-G: Lab Science (D)

To meet the need of the fastest-growing industry in San Diego County, San Dieguito Academy is implementing a multi-tiered program in biotechnology. The study of biotechnology is inherently interesting to today's students, focusing on such exciting topics as genetic engineering, cloning, and forensics. Our program offers skills-based courses which are accessible to all academic and skill levels and provides every student with the opportunity for success in this field. Along with exposure to both the business and scientific sides of biotechnology, this Career Technical Education course provides students with the opportunity to learn responsibility, organization, self-reliance, and workplace etiquette. The program is articulated with the middle school, community college, and California State system. Students have the opportunity to earn UC approval for courses in both G elective, and D science credits in future ensuing classes (must complete biology or be concurrently/same year enrolled to receive the D lab credit).

Biotechnology Applications P
Recommended Prerequisites: Bio/Chem completed.
Graduation requirement: Life Science
A-G: Lab/Biological Science (D)

What is Biotechnology?  It is an expanding field devoted to improving human health through the research, development, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of products related to the biomedical and agricultural industries.  Biotechnology Applications will take students deep into the world of research, developments, and investigative biological science.  Students will experience unique opportunities not readily available in other life science courses, including the use of sophisticated laboratory equipment such as the biological safety cabinets for tissue culture, advanced techniques such as plant cloning, as well as field trips to local biotechnology companies.

 Healthcare Essentials
Recommended Prerequisites: None.
Graduation requirement: Practical Arts/Elective

This is an elective course that is designed to provide a foundation for 9th-12th grade students considering a career in the medical field.  In addition to a review of human anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and first aid, this course will explore career pathways, nutrition, ethics, workplace skills, and the social and economic factors that influence health care policy.  Scripps Hospital Encinitas and local medical professionals frequently visit the class to deliver hands-on lessons and share their medical expertise.  Projects, CPR certification, hands-on activities such as suturing and injections, job-shadowing opportunities, and field trips will be incorporated to foster a meaningful and relevant curriculum.


Physical Science


Chemistry P
Recommended Prerequisites: Biology completed, organizational and study skills, and strong skills in algebraic techniques.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

Chemistry P is an introductory college preparatory course that provides an exciting hands-on look into the discipline of Chemistry, and which satisfies one year of the required science laboratory courses for high school graduation. This course also satisfies one year of the University of California admissions requirements. The lab oriented method of instruction includes development of critical thinking skills, data collection and analysis, and the development of a general scientific vocabulary in the chemical sciences. This course involves the study of matter and energy and centers on the development of problem solving skills. In addition the general survey course will enrich your understanding of the complex issues and choices you face in a scientific and technological society. The emphasis on problem solving dictates the need for strong skills with algebraic techniques.

AP Chemistry
Recommended Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry completed.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

Offered only in the spring term.  AP chemistry is an enriched experience in chemistry, including approximately 50% laboratory, seminars and research projects. This class is a second year chemistry course for students who are interested in a more in-depth study of chemistry.  the central theme of the course is problem solving within chemistry.  The content is extremely rigorous, and taught like a first year of college chemistry course. Upon completion of this course, many students gain credit for one year of college chemistry by passing the AP chemistry examination.  See for further explanation. AP COLLEGE BOARD GUIDELINES--

Physics P
Recommended Prerequisites: Students should have confidence in creating and reading graphs and be comfortable with their math skills.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

Traditional Physics is a lab science course designed for the college-bound student who is not specifically planning a major in the sciences. This course provides the opportunity to explore the physics of the surrounding world by studying concepts involved with collisions, free fall, energy, momentum, thermodynamics, sound, light, optics and electricity.  There are lots of hands on activities and projects to explore and develop your creative design and problem solving skills. 

 AP Physics 1
Recommended Prerequisites: Students need to be confident with their mathematics skills because there is a very strong math component to this course.  Students should also have the ability to acquire information independently through multiple sources.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

AP Physics 1 is a lab science course designed for the college-bound student with an interst in science.  It is equivalent to Physics P (described above) but covers the content in more depth and moves at a faster pace.  Students need to be confident with their mathematics skills because there is a very strong math component to this course.

 AP Physics 2
Recommended Prerequisites: Students in this course should have alredy taken either Physics P or AP Physics 1. This course assumes previous knowledge of mechanics, dynamics, energy and momentum.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

AP Physics 2 is the equivalent to a second-semester college course in algebra-based physics.  The course covers fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism, optics and aton/muclear physics.  It is assumed that students taking this course have already learned all of the material covered in AP Physics 1.  The conceps covered in this course are extensions of those dealt with in AP Physics 1 (Students who have taken just Physics P and feel confident with the material can also be successful in this class.)  http;//

 AP Physics C
Recommended Prerequisites: Students will have a better chance at success in this if they have already completed at least on year of Physics and be at least concurrently enrolled in AP Calculus.
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

AP Physics C is a "second year" calculus based course.  Students entering it are expected to have had previous knowledge of high school physics (Preferably AP Physics 1).  It covers the following material:  rotational motion, simple harmonic motion, electro-magnetism and relativity.  It is recommended for students who are planning on majoring in physical sciences or engineering in college. AP COLLEGE BOARD GUIDELINES--

 AP Environmental Science
Recommended Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D)

The topics covered include Interdependence of Earth Systems, Human Population Dynamics, Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources, Scientific Analysis, Energy, Environmental Quality, Global Changes and Their Consequences, Environment and Society and Choices for the Future.

 Earth and Space P
Recommended Prerequisites: None
Graduation requirement: Physical Science
A-G: Lab/Physical Science (D) for CSU only, College Prep Elective G

This course is a college preparatory course. It satisfies the physical science requirement for high school graduation as well as a college preparatory elective and as a college preparatory Lab (D) class for the CSU system only.  During this course, students will embark upon a journey exploring this planet’s place in the universe, learn about the dynamics that control its atmosphere, study the workings of its interior and formation of its surface, and investigate the physical world of its oceans. Throughout this class, students will explore the nature of Science, what it is, how it works and why it is important.  The following are the topics this course will cover:

  • Astronomy, Meteorology, Geology, and Oceanography

Course offerings

Raymond Bryson - The Chemistry of Inversion

Life Science

  • Marine Biology
  • Introduction to Biotechnology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biology
  • AP Biology
  •  Biotechnology Applications
  • Health Care Essentials (Elective)

Physical Science

  • Earth and Space
  • Chemistry
  • AP Chemistry
  • Physics
  • AP Physics 1
  • AP Physics 2
  • AP Physics C
  • AP Environmental