See also: Academics
St. Rita of Cascia High School is a 100% College Preparatory curriculum. All students are placed in an academic program that is tailored to meet their needs. Our course of studies will challenge each student to fully develop his intellectual talents.
The Honors Program allows qualified students the opportunity of accelerated course work. The College Prep Program provides students all the essential tools for success at the college level. Students may take classes in any level, and are not grouped into "tracks." If a student excels in one subject, he can take an Honors or Advanced Placement class for the subject, but may take the regular college prep level for other subjects if he is not as strong in them. This flexibility allows students more freedom in their studies. All students, regardless of their academic program, may avail themselves of the services offered by the Student Success Center. This room is open during lunch periods and after school and is staffed by a member of the Counseling Department or a faculty member. There, students have the chance to receive tutoring and homework help through the counselors there, and also members of the St. Rita chapter of the National Honor Society. Additional after-school tutoring can be arranged through the Guidance Department as well.
St. Rita’s 2019 graduating class of 153 seniors earned just over $20 million in college scholarships (an average of $130,000 per graduate) with 91% of that dollar amount awarded for academic-based scholarships. 98% of the 2019 graduates are attending over 65 different colleges. Over the last five years, St. Rita graduates have earned $86 million in college scholarships. In the last two graduating classes alone, St. Rita graduates have earned over $37 million in college scholarships.
Recent St. Rita graduates are attending (or have recently graduated from) prestigious universities and colleges such as: Dartmouth, Penn, Yale, Cornell, Notre Dame, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Saint Louis University, Pepperdine, Villanova, Clemson, Duke, Marquette, and many others. Since 2010, St. Rita has sent 140 graduates to schools in the Big Ten Conference and 14 to Villanova University. St. Rita’s average ACT score is 23, while students in the honors program average over 28 on the ACT. The average class size is 21 students, while the Advanced Placement program has an average class size of 15.
Students may take a variety of electives, beginning in their sophomore year, such as Forensic Science, Engineering, Chicago Authors, Irish-American Literature, Sports Journalism, STEM, African American Literature, Sports Medicine, Introduction to Guitar, Beginner Band, Digital Photography, British Literature, Computer Science Principles, 2D/3D Animation, Graphic Design, Computer Web Design, Apple App. Design, and others. Students may take one of our 15 Advanced Placement classes and can earn college credit by scoring high enough on the placement test. All 15 of St. Rita High School's Advanced Placement classes are 100% certified by the College Board.
In 2017-18, St. Rita launched a new program called minimester, a 30-hour course that takes place outside the walls of St. Rita High School. Students in the freshmen year attend, and then go again as either a sophomore or a junior. They may go all three years if they desire. Some take place in and around Chicago, others require significant travel to different parts of the United States, and there are even overseas minimesters. Minimester trips have included the following: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Colorado, Texas, the Smokey Mountains, Alaska, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New Mexico, Poland/Germany, France/Italy, Australia, college football spring practice tour to Northwestern, University of Illinois, Purdue and Northern Illinois and Chicago trips including Water Travel, Chicago Media/Technology, Chicago History and Architecture, Astrology, Genealogy, Baking/Cooking, and many more. St. Rita believes there are some things that can not be taught in a classroom, but rather by seeing, touching and smelling, and we hope to expose our students to areas of the state and country outside their comfort zones.
St. Rita High School is in its 6th year as a 1:1 iPad school, as students and teachers alike are benefiting from the wide range of uses this technology offers. Students have their books on their iPads, taking away the need for individual books for their many classes (saving money along the way). Homework is often submitted through various apps or through e-mail to teachers. The goal of the 1:1 iPad Program is not to make students merely good iPad users--as nothing will ever replace our student-to-teacher interaction--but to make the students smart, ethical, users of the important device and to see it as a learning tool.
St. Rita also offers dual-credit opportunities for its students, currently partnering with Saint Xavier University to offer courses in Business that students can take advantage of. We are working with other programs at different colleges and universities as well to expand our dual-credit opportunities. St. Rita will launch its STEM program initiative in the 2019-20 school year and will provide students at St. Rita with even more exciting learning opportunities.
Students may take online classes in their junior and senior years. Online class offerings have expanded to include courses such as: Business, Engineering, Marine Science, Astronomy, French, and several others. Students who take an online class will get a free period off in which to complete them, either in the first or last period of the day. Parents, the student, and the St. Rita Counseling Department will receive a weekly status report for each students’ progress. 15% of eligible students take advantage of this program currently during the 2019-20 school year.
An important aspect concerning academics is the Counseling Center at St. Rita. Each student has their own counselor and will meet with him/her to discuss what classes they should take, what clubs/activities they are involved in, how their experiences are going, etc. When sophomores/juniors/seniors meet, their counselor will discuss college planning, such as what schools to apply to, how to pursue financial aid for college, and other key aspects. The counseling center will also work hand-in-hand with all teachers if students' grades slip and extra tutoring is required. Students know they should make a strong one-on-one relationship with their counselor to get the most out of them. During the school day at lunch time (and after school), students can drop-in to our Student Success Center to meet with a counselor, do homework, or study in the quiet environment, distraction-free.
Finally, St. Rita has instituted a rotating schedule for its students. The new bell schedule means that students do not take the same class at the same time every day. Students learn differently at different times of the day, and our new bell schedule allows them a chance to learn at their peak performance for all classes. Students take seven classes in total, and six classes will meet every day, meaning there is often one class each day a student does not take. Our new bell schedule also has a built-in Activities period in the day. A 19-minute break is given to students after second period, where they can meet with Clubs/Activities, get a jump-start on homework, review for a test or quiz, or seek the help of a teacher to ask questions. Study/Review sessions can take place during this time as well for various classes and teachers. We also allow our students to "decompress" and use the facilities of our school for recreation. A six-minute break is at the end of the school day, before the final period, to use the washroom, re-hydrate, or talk to friends. A 32-minute lunch period for our students allows them time to socialize and affords them time to enjoy a full lunch with relaxation. Our school day begins at 8:30 a.m. and dismissal is at 2:35 p.m. Some classes meet for 55 minutes, while others meet for 52 or 42 minutes, depending on the rotation that day.