Academic Paths and Programs

Academic Paths and Programs

AP Capstone Program

SBA is one of only a few select schools worldwide receiving AP Capstone™ distinction. AP Capstone™ is an innovative diploma program that allows students to develop the skills that matter most for college success: research, collaboration, and communication.  Many colleges, both public and private, now recognize AP Capstone™ in the admissions process and it has recently been added to the Common Application.

The program allows students to select at least 4 AP courses during their high school tenure in addition to the AP Seminar and the AP Research course.

If a student earns a 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exams and on 4 additional AP exams of their choice, they will earn the Capstone Diploma. If a student earns a 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research exam, they will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

Honors Path

Students wishing to experience a more rigorous and challenging environment may select to enroll in honors courses at SBA. Choosing from honors classes in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and Fine Arts, our students have the oportunity to learn in a faster-pace, smaller student to teacher ratio class environments.

Incoming freshmen have the opportunity to graduate with honors. In addition to meeting graduation requirements, those in the Honors Program must take 4 years of Social Studies or Science, 3 years of Foreign Language, at least 2 honors classes during the freshman and sophomore years and 3 honors courses during junior and senior years.  They may also complete 3 AP courses that can replace 3 of their honors level requirements.

Traditional Path

Housed in 56 classrooms, our 8 academic departments offer a variety of courses to meet our students where they are in their pathway of learning and challenge them at all levels. Based in the philosophy that no two students learn the same way, our teachers utilize engaging and dynamic curriculum to prepare our students for extraordinary futures.

PLUS Program

The PLUS Program is a part of the St. Benedict college prep curriculum.  The program serves students with a diagnosed learning difference with an average to above average intelligence in preparation for college. 

Acceptance to the PLUS Program is based on a psychological evaluation that is no more than three years old, previous school records, the high school placement test and interviews with the student and parents.  The evaluation team reviews these documents, and recommendations are presented to the applicant’s parent.  Placement in other special education programs does not guarantee acceptance in St. Benedict’s PLUS Program.

Students in SBA’s PLUS Program must follow and pass the curriculum mandated by the state of Tennessee in order to receive a high school diploma from St. Benedict.  No IEP is written; however, a profile is developed from the psychological testing that consists of the student’s strengths, weaknesses, accommodations and learning difference.

The small teacher/pupil ratio, individual and classroom accommodations, parental support and positive teaching result in a strong work ethic and academic growth which instills confidence and builds self-esteem in our students.   Accommodations recommended in the diagnostic testing which hinder the preparation for higher education may not be offered.

Students enrolled in the PLUS Program may take some traditional or honors classes and schedules are reviewed yearly in order to meet individual needs. 

The PLUS Program has helped many students graduate from high school by giving them the ability and skills to continue their education.   However, it is a rigorous college prep program.  Parents and the students must be committed to the high standards of the college prep curriculum.

For the forms required to complete and submit an application, please refer to the Admissions Process section.  Please note the two additional items required for application to the PLUS Program.

For more information, contact Terri Dickens, Director of the PLUS Program or email

FOR ONE Program

The Complete High School Experience

St. Benedict‘s FOR ONE Program offers an individualized and highly-tailored path through a traditional, grounded high school experience — designed for students who succeed best with intensive teacher focus and academic guidance through a program designed just for one student.

It begins with a four-year curricula that features a four-to-one student-teacher ratio for most subjects. While the range of special circumstances and learning challenges can be broad, this program is reserved for teens that will most thrive with a customized approach to high school.

Built on a foundation of faith and a commitment to the benefits of the social skills developed in the high school years, FOR ONE adds specialized and highly trained academic attention, encouragement, and structure. It means four students for every educator, four years of a meaningful high school achievement, and a valued St. Benedict diploma through a program designed just for one student.

STEM Program

SBA has made a long term and vigorous commitment to the interdisciplinary program known as STEM – the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into an inquiry based learning strategy. Students are presented with a problem and must work together to identify the issues, brainstorm solutions, build a prototype, test and reevaluate, solve the problem, and communicate the findings.

SBA has partnered with Project Lead the Way in offering both an Introduction to Engineering and a Principles of Engineering course. The Principles of Engineering course has an honors class option. These courses are being taught in our state of the art STEM lab which includes 3D printing capability and student work and computer stations. SBA partners with the University of Memphis in offering Engineering classes as Dual Enrollment/Honors courses. AP Computer Science is offered under the STEM Program and is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science. We also offer a very unique course called Introduction to Drones which is the 1stclass offered by WozU. SBA was selected as the only school in the country to offer this class.

STEM Curriculum

Introduction to Engineering Design

Course Description: This is a STEM introductory course where students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hand-on projects. The students work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3D modeling software and use an engineering notebook to document their work.

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation Grade 9, 10 

Engineering Essentials 

Course Description: STEM Engineering Essentials offers a multidisciplinary approach to learning foundational concepts of general engineering practice, providing students opportunities to explore the breadth of engineering career opportunities and experiences and solve engaging and challenging real-world problems. By inspiring and empowering students with an understanding of engineering and career opportunities, Engineering Essentials encourages further participation in STEM engineering education and the engineering profession. (1 credit)

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation Grade 9, 10 

Principles of Engineering Honors

Course Description: This course is intended to be a follow-on course to Introduction to Engineering Design but can also be taken independently. Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms,
the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Student develop skills in problem solving, research and design while learning strategies for design process
documentation, collaboration, and presentation. For the honors course, the classes will be involved in several advanced engineering projects that will require the use of basic and advanced Algebra. Students must be already enrolled in honors mathematics courses or be eligible to be in an honors mathematics course.
Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation Grades 10, 11 

Advanced Engineering Dual Enrollment Honors

Course Description: The University of Memphis has partnered with SBA to offer a college level course that introduces students to multiple fields of engineering including civil, mechanical and electrical. Application of mathematics to engineering will also be emphasized.
Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation Grades 11, 12 

Introduction to Drones

Course Description: The SBA Aerial Drone Course is the first of its’ kind anywhere in the United States. It provides an exciting exploration of modern flight through the construction and use of radio-controlled aerial drones. The one semester course consists of first learning basic electric circuitry, followed by creation of drone electrical subcomponents and then final assembly of an aerial drone. After the student aerial drones are completed, students will learn the basics of drone flight and the practical capabilities of aerial drones. Students will also be able to apply for drone licensure. This STEM course is taught in conjunction with Mid-South Aerials and with the assistance of a grant from Woz U Educational Foundation.

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation Grades 10, 11, 12 

AP Computer Science

AP Computer Science A is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science. The course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design using Java language. These techniques represent proven approaches for developing solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems. The AP Computer Science A course curriculum is compatible with many CS1 courses in colleges and universities.