Sacred Heart Preparatory (Atherton, California)

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Sacred Heart Preparatory

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton Logo

"For the sake of one child..."
150 Valparaiso Avenue
Atherton, California, (San Mateo County), 94027
United States
Coordinates 37°26′55″N 122°11′48″W / 37.44861°N 122.19667°W / 37.44861; -122.19667Coordinates: 37°26′55″N 122°11′48″W / 37.44861°N 122.19667°W / 37.44861; -122.19667
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Society of the Sacred Heart
Established 1898
CEEB Code 051955
Principal James B. Everitt, Ed.D.
Faculty 63
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 550 (2009)
Average class size 15
Campus size 64 acres (260,000 m2)
Color(s) Cardinal, Black and White             
Song "Coeur de Jesus"
Athletics Cross country running, Water polo, Football, Tennis, Volleyball, Golf, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, and Lacrosse
Athletics conference West Catholic Athletic League, West Bay Athletic League, Peninsula Athletic League
Mascot Gators
Nickname SHP
Rival Menlo School
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Newspaper 'The Heart Beat'
Asst Principal of Academic Life Karen Filice
Dean of Faculty Isolina Martinez
Dean of Students Brian Bell
Admissions Director Wendy Quattlebaum
Asst Principal of Athletics Frank Rodriguez
Asst Principal of Student Life Shanterra McBride

Sacred Heart Preparatory or more colloquially, SHP, is an independent private, Society of the Sacred Heart affiliated college preparatory school in Atherton, California, USA. It was established in 1898 and is located at 150 Valparaiso Avenue across the street from Menlo Park. It is one of very few coeducational schools of the Sacred Heart in the United States and abroad. Most schools of the Sacred Heart are all-female.

It has a student population of approximately 550 in Grades 9 through 12. There are currently about 100 faculty and staff with the vast majority of staff holding advanced degrees.


Sacred Heart Schools Atherton was founded in 1898 as a Roman Catholic women's boarding school in the tradition of the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) in Menlo Park, CA. Construction of what is now known as the "Main Building" began in the same year.

The Main Building in its original size before the 1906 Earthquake

The School went co-educational in the 1970s and became one of only three Sacred Heart Schools in the country to educate in this fashion. The school continued to grow, and now the ratio between male and females is nearly equal. The school also ended its boarding program in earlier years, and has evolved into the present Sacred Heart Schools Atherton.


Sacred Heart holds a reputation for very strong academics, especially on the West Coast, and graduates consistently go on to attend top-tier universities, most notably Ivy League colleges, The University of California, Berkeley, The University of Notre Dame, Stanford University, The University of California, Los Angeles, Duke University, Loyola University Maryland, Santa Clara University, and Northwestern University among others. Sacred Heart graduates 100% of the students with 100% of the student body being accepted and attending four year universities. Small class sizes, averaging 15 students lead to high levels of interaction between students and faculty.

Graduation Ceremony 2011

Students through the class of 2016 are required to take a minimum of 4 years of English; 3.5 years of History and Religious studies; 3 years of Mathematics, Science, and Foreign language; and 1.5 years of Fine arts. For classes including and after the class of 2017, the requirements have been adjusted to allow greater flexibility, with 2 years (or three years if remedial algebra is required) of Mathematics, 2 years of Science, 2 years of Foreign language, 4 years of Religion, and altered elective structure in the History department.

SHP offers the following Foreign Languages: French, Latin, Greek, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.

Beyond their freshman year, qualified students can take honors courses in most subject areas. Furthermore, 21 Advanced Placement courses are offered including Calculus AB and BC, Physics B and C (Mechanics and E&M), Chemistry, Biology, Literature, Language, Music Theory, Spanish, Latin, French, US History, and World History among others. Typically, the overall national AP exam passing rate is about 80%. In 2008, there was a 98% pass rate of students taking the AP Exam for AP US History. Likewise, there was a 93% pass rate for AP World History in 2010.


Sacred Heart offers a total of 22 varsity sports programs; 12 for boys and 10 for girls. Approximately 75% of students attending Sacred Heart participate in the sports program, many on multiple teams. Boys and girls compete in soccer, basketball, water polo, tennis, swimming, track, golf, cross country, volleyball and lacrosse, while boys have football and baseball programs.[2]

Many Sacred Heart teams have demonstrated excellence by winning league and sectional championships (Central Coast Section, CCS). Recent CCS titles have been won by boys' basketball and soccer and football, girls' soccer, girls' volleyball, boys' and girls' waterpolo, tennis, and swimming.

The 1993-1996 girls basketball teams won four straight NorCal state championships which included a three year record of 113-1. Many of the girls went on to play for Division 1 colleges including Alexis Felts (Colorado), Kobié Kenon (Cal), Jenny Circle (USC/Colorado) and Renee Robinson (Virginia). It was an unprecedented run of success that has yet to be matched by a Northern California school.[2]

Sacred Heart recognizes exceptional contributions of former athletes, coaches, teams and administrators via the Sacred Heart Schools Hall of Fame.

Fine Arts[edit]

Along with athletics, Sacred Heart offers a wide variety of programs in the arts. In the Music department, students are invited to take Chorus, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and AP Music Theory. In the Visual Arts department, Drawing & Painting, Ceramics, AP Studio Art, Photography, Intro to Documentary Film, and Images in Motion are all offered. Finally, Drama, Rehearsal & Performance, Student Directing Projects, Technical Theater Production, and Dance are all available.[2]


The school offers over 40 clubs, both student-led and faculty-sponsored. Some sports themed ones are: Scuba Club, Squash Club, Bowling Club, Dance Team, Football Club, Hacky Sack Club, Ski Club, Surfing Club, and Ultimate Frisbee. Other more academic clubs include: the Debate team, National Honor Society, and Quiz Bowl Club; and few multicultural clubs are: French Club, Model United Nations, Multicultural Club, and the Italian Club.

Sacred Heart Preparatory Main Building

The most popular clubs are the Harry Potter club, the barbecue club, the Women's Group, the skateboard club, the Guitar Hero club, the "Bocci Ball Club", the library gamer's club, the Rocky Horror Picture Show Club, The Young Democrats' Club, and The Young Republicans' Club. Recently, the popular and specialized Robotics Club was converted to a certified class, still participating in statewide and national competitions.

Sacred Heart has an active Student Government consisting of both class officers and associated student body (ASB) officers.

One of the most predominant and established club institutions at Sacred Heart is Journalism. The Journalism Club Course enrolls students to its staff every semester and consistently has between 40 and 60 members (over 10% of the entire school population). The Journalism team produces a tri-weekly (as of the 2008-2009 school year) newspaper known as The Heart Beat. The structure of the journalism staff includes: staff writers, staff photographers, section editors, senior editors, editors-in-chief, and a faculty moderator.

SHP also has a Yearbook committee.[2]

Student Life[edit]

Sacred Heart offers a diverse array of activities through which students can develop their intellectual, social, political, and cultural interests. Stressing the importance of a commitment to the broader community, students are required to do 25 independent hours of community service, a justice project, and a charity project, each requiring 25 hours of community service.

Every year in February, an interclass competition week titled "Spirit Week" is held. It is a staple of student life in the academic year. Traditionally, each class is associated with a color: The Freshmen given green, the Sophomores, yellow, the Juniors, blue, and the Seniors are traditionally red. Once assigned a color, each class is given the task of finding a theme that pertains to this color. Then they will decorate various lobbies, sections in the assembly hall, and other areas of campus according to their theme. Class competitions are held daily during the week, with especially heightened intensity between Juniors and Seniors. Despite the Seniors almost inevitably winning, the heat of the competition still exists. Events include, Quiz Bowl, Inflatable Olympics, Scavenger Hunts, Rock n' Jock, Secret Event, Ping Pong, and Mario Kart. The winning class of Spirit Week is announced on the final day of events and is tallied based on a point-per-event system.

100% of students attend a four year college after attending Sacred Heart Preparatory. The College Counseling office begins working with students in their sophomore year and then beginning their Junior year, students receive a specific college counselor who will guide them through the college process during the fall of Senior year.

Programs for Students[edit]

Dr. Slafter's Garden

Among the sustainable programs featured on the Sacred Heart Preparatory campus are the gardens located within "Dioli Circle," beside faculty parking, and along the perimeter of the Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center, a LEED certified Platinum building. These gardens are known colloquially as "Slafter's Gardens" in honor of the popular history and gardening teacher, Dr. Stewart Slafter, who actively maintains the crops with the help of students from courses in Environmental Science, Human Geography, Global Studies, and World History. They work, study and harvest the gardens throughout the year. The on-campus agricultural and sustainability programs also include harvesting the campus grown crops for use in the school's cafeteria: extensive composting of cafeteria's organic waste, animal husbandry, and harvesting olives from the numerous olive groves on campus, which are then pressed and extracted oil, bottled.

Center For Student Success (CSS)

Sacred Heart Schools endeavors to create a culture that promotes self-esteem, a positive attitude toward learning and the optimal attainment of the educational goals of every student in our community. Seeking to assist students to realize their potential in an environment that promotes self-awareness, self-motivation and self-advocacy in a comprehensively accessible environment, SHP created the Center for Student Success or CSS. The CSS is staffed with two full-time teachers and a Board Certified Educational Therapist. The CSS provides academic support for all students in grades 9-12. Faculty and learning resource specialists provide assistance to students with subject tutoring, study skills, time management and test-taking strategies. The Center also coordinates on-campus and College Board accommodations for students with verified learning differences.

Student Radio Station (KSHS)

An FM and internet-streaming broadcast radio station run by Sacred Heart Prep's student body. It rotates between 8 host shifts a week, one for the morning and one for the afternoon, each assigned to a specific day. The station focuses on a blend of school issues, student talk and popular music, airing from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays during the academic year.

Relationship with Other Schools of the Sacred Heart[edit]

Sacred Heart Preparatory maintains a relationship with other Schools of the Sacred Heart around the world and across the United States. There is an extensive "international exchange" program that brings students from one of the many Schools of the Sacred Heart around the world and sets them up with a host family. The idea then is that host family's child will then stay with their exchange student's family when they also study abroad. It has proven valuable for many students who typically go on to study in Nantes, France; Zaragoza, Spain; Montreal, Canada; Viña del Mar, Chile; Newcastle upon Tyne, England; Kyamunsansala, Uganda; and other locations around the world.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d [1], December 8, 2012.