Academics
Academic Program

Academic Departments

Each academic department has a faculty chair who serves as the academic leader responsible for promoting excellence in teaching and learning. As a subject area specialist, the chair leads the department in curricular reviews to vertically and horizontally align curriculum in grades 4 through 12. Department chairs are responsible for developing new courses and staying on the leading edge of content and pedagogy within the discipline. As lead teachers, department chairs guide department faculty in department goals, planning, and discussions, and provide professional development opportunities that reflect promising practices in instruction within each discipline. All student assessment data, both local and nationally normed, is reviewed by the department chairs in an effort to ameliorate weaknesses and celebrate strengths. Decisions about acceleration, typically in the form of honors and Advanced Placement courses, are made by department chairs.

List of 9 items.

  • Computer Science

    The Computer Science Department is leveraging emerging and current technologies to transcend traditional approaches to teaching and learning. By integrating technology into established disciplines and campus life, in addition to a comprehensive offering of computer science classes, students engage in a technology rich environment throughout their time at St. Margaret’s. Formal coding instruction begins as early as grade 2 and by grade 9 many students are choosing Advanced Placement computer science classes. Early experiences with robotics classes and clubs make way for higher level engineering programs and global robotics competitions in the Upper School. Students will develop a greater capacity for problem solving, expand competencies to translate and communicate ideas through a variety of electronic tools, and engage in research and scholarship which will be applied to lifelong pursuits and participation in the global community.
  • English

    The English Department seeks to develop in each student the ability to write clear and persuasive prose, the skills required to read and interpret literature, and the power to make full use of written and spoken language. We are consistent in our use of the process approach to writing. We help students put their written work through a thoughtful and often time-consuming process of drafting and revision. Through repeated emphasis on critical thinking and writing, students encounter both themselves and differing voices in small group environments that encourage discussion. Through the study of literature, students experience diversity in voice and develop empathy for the alternative narratives of the human experience. In the end, the study of literature invites the ongoing questions: who am I in the world, and what does it mean to be human?
  • Arts

    The Arts Department believes that everyone is on an artistic journey. Through experiences in dance, music, theater, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography, students discover and nurture the artist within. Arts education at St. Margaret’s is intentionally designed to provide a rich and deep experience for all of our students, from the very youngest to the accomplished senior. Because we believe that arts education is an essential and integral part of a St. Margaret’s education, the arts are not treated as an optional experience for a talented few, but rather as an integrated element of every student’s life. We focus on teaching our students the lessons that arts teach best: creativity, innovation, collaboration, synthesis, empathy and global understanding. All of these skills are essential to success in the 21stcentury world.
  • World Languages

    The World Languages Department understands that an educated individual is enriched by the study of language and culture and the development of proficiency or fluency in a non-native language. Our vision is to invite students to a world previously unknown through the study of language and culture. Students embrace diversity and similarity and come to appreciate various cultures and histories. Through the study of language and culture, students become more involved and sensitive to the world outside their own familiar sphere, giving them a balanced perspective and a deeper understanding of humanity. In modern languages, we aim to develop cultural competencies as students progress in their acquisition of the target language. We seek to develop proficiency, with equal emphasis on reading, writing, speaking and listening. In the classical languages, the emphasis is placed on reading and speaking. The study of language, both classical and modern, heightens an individual’s awareness of their responsibilities and commitments as global citizens.
  • History

    The History Department believes that knowledge of the past is necessary to comprehend the present and to forge the future thoughtfully and deliberately. We foster the sheer enjoyment of the adventure of historical discovery and study, seeing ourselves in the present as interconnected with people of the past – our families, fellow citizens and humanity around the globe. Through the study of history, students will learn foundational content, think carefully and precisely, interpret bias, and articulate thinking in oral and written form. Research of primary documents will foster critical readers who are able to analyze and synthesize data in order to develop and prove a thesis. Small discussion groups and writing workshops help our students to develop an awareness of oneself with the ability to respect, understand, and appreciate differences. In our work as historians, we develop the requisite skills to embrace purposefully life’s journey and challenges as we learn to understand ourselves and humanity.
  • Mathematics

    It is the belief of the Mathematics Department at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School that mathematics is not an isolated discipline, but rather a necessary tool for understanding many other fields in a rapidly evolving world. While we value the mastery of skills and computational techniques, we stress the understanding of concepts and the significance of results. Our instructors create a supportive learning community that encourages collaboration both in and out of the classroom. We motivate our students to persevere through the challenges inherent in a vigorous study of mathematics. We offer an innovative and dynamic environment for the development of mathematics, which is essential for success in an increasingly technological world.
  • Physical Education

    The Physical Education Department believes that an individual’s physical and social development is as important as their academic growth. The department encourages students to learn skills for participation in a variety of aerobic and anaerobic activities, to gain an understanding of movement and spatial awareness, and to improve personal strength and endurance in order to develop an appreciation for a healthy, active lifestyle. Students will develop sportsmanship, teamwork, and leadership abilities through developmentally appropriate competition. Classes on health and human development will help our students establish habits for life long healthy behavior and well-being. Through the physical education department offerings, students will develop character and have the opportunity to challenge personal limits and express care and appreciation for others. Our motto is play fair, play hard and play together.
  • Religion and Philosophy

    The Religion and Philosophy Department believes that all people are made in the image of God. Our goal as an Episcopal School is to nurture the spiritual development of each person, to welcome everyone into our community, and to seek Jesus Christ in all people, loving our neighbors as ourselves. We seek to live examined lives and explore faith by asking questions, encouraging spirited debate, and instilling a sense of wonder. Through religion classes we develop a deeper understanding of the basic tenants of Christian faith and how course material can help us in everyday life. Exploration of other world religions and philosophies encourages students to understand similarities and differences and the role that faith and religion plays in other countries and cultures.
  • Science

    The Science Department believes that science is a process rooted in curiosity, awe, understanding and respect for the natural world in which we live. Students are encouraged to become autonomous learners in a collaborative environment. We teach students to be critical thinkers who use logic, experimental design, and problem solving as vehicles for discovery. Through a carefully constructed curriculum, our students develop scientific literacy, understand the research process, and hone effective communication skills. We apply the scientific method throughout a student’s experience at St. Margaret’s and empower budding scientists to formulate interesting questions, develop a hypothesis, design an experiment, analyze results, and report a thoughtful conclusion. Our students learn to think logically and critically and to transfer scientific knowledge and skills to other disciplines. It is our hope that students will mature into responsible stewards of the Earth and build lifelong interest in science.

Department Chairs

List of 10 members.

An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
949.661.0108