Academics Overview

Finding God in all things calls us to community in diversity, strength of character, academic excellence, kinship with creation, social justice, and joy.

Help Your Teen Be Less Stressed–Workshop January 15


Learn some easy ways to help your teen thrive in spite of today’s challenges.

Natasha Shapiro, LCSW and Zemeira Singer, MFT, will lead an interactive discussion at Bishop O’Dowd High School on January 15 in Dominican Hall Lounge from 7-9 p.m.

Many teens struggle with stress related to:

*Academic performance
*Social pressures
*Body image
*Self–confidence
*Family relationships
*Substance use
*Media and technology

Zemeira Singer, MFT & Natasha Shapiro, LCSW have over 17 years collective experience helping teens and families with a variety of concerns. Both have psychotherapy offices in Berkeley and Oakland. For more info check them out at: new-narratives.com and natashashapiro.com

Qualifying Seniors Can Now Apply for CSF Life Membership

Life Membership (Sealbearer status) is achieved by qualifying for chapter membership for four or more semesters in the last three years of high school, and earns the CSF Gold Seal on diplomas and transcripts. One semester must be in the senior year. Fifty-three seniors will qualify for Life Membership by meeting the requirements this semester and applying within the first ten school days in January. Applications (and service hours, if applicable), and $5 membership fee are due on January 23. Students going on the Washington DC trip must apply before departing.

CSF Membership Info
CSF Application
Hours Log and Guidelines
CSF Life Membership Application

Not Receiving Important Emails?

Last semester, Bishop O’Dowd High School began using School Messenger to communicate with parents and students by email and phone. You might find some of these email in your SPAM or Junk folders. To receive these important emails i your inbox, please add “noreply@bishopodowd.org” to your address book.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact Gene Yang at gyang@bishopodowd.org.

National Honor Society Forms and Information

Students with junior or senior standing are eligible for appointment to the National Honor Society. National Honor Society information and activity forms are below and are accepted the first ten days of each semester. The deadline for this spring is Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

NHS History and Qualif
Student Selection Materials Packet

Graduation Requirements

In the course of a normal four-year program, a student is required to complete satisfactorily the departmental requirements outlined below.

  • English (40 units) - English 1, 2, 3, and two semesters of senior electives
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts (10 units)
  • Foreign Language (20 units) -2 years of the same language
  • Mathematics (30 units) - Algebra (2 years), Geometry
  • Physical Education (20 units) - Freshman Physical Education, Sophomore Physical Education/Health, Upper Division Physical Education
  • Religious Studies (40 units) A religion course must be taken each semester - Christian Sexuality and Hebrew Scriptures freshman year, Christian Scripture and The Catholic Experience sophomore year, Christian Morality and an elective or Peace and Justice junior year. Senior year, Peace and Justice and an elective are required or two electives if Peace and Justice was taken in the junior year.
  • Science (20 units) - Biology, 1 year of physical science
  • Social Studies (30 units) - Geo-History, United States History, American Government and Economics/Foreign Affairs

Students must enroll in a minimum of 30 units per semester. Requirements for graduation must be fulfilled during the regular school year. Courses taken elsewhere at the high school or college level must have prior approval of the Counselor and the Assistant Principal for Academics. Students must earn a minimum of 240 semester units of credit in order to graduate.

Honors Courses

Honors level coursework is available in geo-history, English 1, English 2, English 3, Latin 3, Spanish 3, French 3, Italian 3, Italian 4, geometry, algebra 2/trigonometry, pre-calculus, chemistry, and physics. Placement is determined by departmental standards.

Advanced Placement

The College Board offers advanced placement curricula and exams in numerous academic disciplines. These curricula are college level and students often receive some college credit or advanced standing once entering college. Students take AP exams in mid-May. Performance is evaluated on the basis of 1 (no recommendation) to 5 (extremely well-qualified).

When completing course registration, students should sign-up for the Advanced Placement courses in which they are interested in enrolling. While the criteria for placement in AP courses may vary slightly by department, general criteria include honors grades, strong teacher recommendation, a previous record of timely and successful completion of assignments and above-average standardized test scores. Due to the rigorous nature of AP course work, it is imperative that students meet minimum placement standards and be committed to completing comprehensive reading and writing at the college level with success.

Enrollment in AP courses includes the commitment to write the AP examination for that course in May as well as the commitment to pay the established fee for that examination. Students enrolling in more than two AP courses must have parental approval.

Independent Study

Bishop O'Dowd offers the option of independent study to serious, motivated students who wish to pursue in-depth study of a specific subject area in which the student is deeply interested, working outside the regular classroom routine in conjunction with a faculty member. Independent study may not duplicate a course contained in the regular curricular offerings and must be at least an additional course on the student's roster. Independent studies may not be used to fulfill graduation requirements. The student, in cooperation with the faculty member, must design specific guidelines, goals, and criteria for the course. All independent study options must be approved by the department chairperson.

Course of Study by Grade Level 2014-15

Grade 9

Credit/Units

Christian Sexuality/Hebrew Scriptures*

1 year / 10

English 1/Honors English 1

1 year / 10

Mathematics (options vary according to placement)

1 year / 10

Geo-History/Honors Geo-History

1 year / 10

Study or Physical Ed/Integrated Science or Biology (based upon placement)

1 year / 10

Fine or Performing Arts Elective

1 year / 10

World Language course or College Prep Language Skills (based upon placement)

1 year / 10

Grade 10

Credit/Units

Christian Scriptures/The Catholic Experience**

1 year / 10

English 2/Honors English 2

1 year / 10

Mathematics (options vary according to placement)

1 year / 10

Biology, Chemistry, Honors Chemistry or Earth Science

1 year / 10

World Language course

1 year / 10

Physical Education/Health

1 year / 10

Elective

1 year / 0-10

Grade 11

Credit/Units

Christian Morality/Peace & Justice* or Religion Elective

1 year / 10

English 3/Honors English 3

1 year / 10

U. S. History/AP U.S. History

1 year / 10

Mathematics (options vary according to placement)

1 year / 10

AP Biology, Chemistry, Engineering Physics, Honors Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Earth Science or science elective

1 year / 10

World Language course

1 year / 10

Physical Education/Electives

1 year / 0-10

Grade 12

Credit/Units

Peace & Justice*/Religion Elective or 2 Religion Electives

2 semesters/20

English Electives/AP English

2 semesters/20

Two courses to fulfill the American Government/Econ requirement: Amer

Govt, Amer Govt/Close-Up, and Economics or AP Macroeconomics, or

AP Govt & Pol U.S./Govt Comparative

1 year / 10

Physical Education (if two-year graduation requirement not completed)

1 semester or 1 year/5 or 10

Electives from any department of interest (concurrently)

6-7 semesters/25-30

*Service Learning - Ancestor's Project (min. 10 hr.)

**Service Learning - Friends Project (min. 25 hr.) and St. Anthony Justice Education Day (1 day/5 hr.)

***Service Learning - Anawim Project (min. 60 hr.) To be completed with Peace & Justice in junior or senior year.

Honors & AP Course Placement

Placement in honors and AP (Advanced Placement) courses is determined by individual academic departments. Student who wish to enroll in these courses must fulfill a variety of requirements in order to be eligible.

In general, students may be required to:

  • Complete a detailed application and/or submit copies of previous graded work (January)
  • Maintain a specified GPA (grade point average)
  • Maintain a specified grade in prerequisites to the course
  • Interview with the teacher or department chairperson

Once a student has been accepted into a course, he/she must:

  • Maintain the required GPA and grades
  • Complete all summer work and projects

For more information, please contact the Department Chairperson of the academic department or consult the Course Catalog.


Finding God in All Things

9500 Stearns Ave | Oakland, CA 94605 | Phone: (510) 577-9100 | Fax: (510) 638-3259