ACADEMICS & PROGRAMS
Our school day is built as an academic experience designed to create forward-thinking innovators who are creative problem solvers. It features two intensive pathways, a unique schedule, and intentional supporting programs. The rigorous academics and personal formation will prepare them for spots in the top STEM universities and careers.
Learn more about the JPstem difference.
All students will choose a specialized pathway of either Engineering or Design and Media Arts. Heavily involving industry experts and mentors, JPSTEM students will experience real world methods and applications. Problem Based Learning and Design Thinking, two proven educational methods supporting the intellectual and practical development of resilient critical thinkers, will be integrated throughout the academic curriculum. Cutting edge technology and integrated computer science and coding will provide the backbone of the pathways.
In order to support our model, our academic day will feature a 4×4 block schedule. Students will take four semester-length courses at a time, arranged in a block schedule. This allows for two additional classes each year compared to an average high school schedule, and the longer periods facilitate in-depth student-directed research and projects. Fridays will be flexible schedules, featuring blended learning, internships and special programs.
Inspired by the example of St. John Paul II, our academic courses will feature rich interdisciplinary connection between the humanities and the sciences. Students will make connections about how history, literature, theology and philosophy inspire and humanize technology. Through a high level Tech Ethics course taken throughout their four years, they will be prepared to analyze the impact of technology in their own lives, its effects on society and culture, and how it can be used for the common good of humanity.
In order to graduate, all seniors will complete a Capstone Project, where they will show their mastery of the foundations of their pathway. In the spirit of Christian solidarity, it will provide a solution for a concrete need within the community.
See our sample academic schedule and Frequently Asked Questions about our academic model.
St. John Paul II STEM Academy aims to instill a deep understanding that all persons are beloved children of God. This vision of life is at the core of the self-confidence and solidarity with others which will enable each student to flourish.
All students at St. John Paul II STEM Academy will receive instruction in the Catholic Faith from experienced Religion teachers. Our goal is to send graduates into the world prepared not only to live their faith, but to defend it as well. Consequently, JP STEM students learn the teachings of the Catholic Church handed on by the magisterium, along with the logic and rich history that underlies them. Of course, the most effective teacher is the witness of the faculty. The end result is a young person who freely embraces the Catholic faith of his or her own accord with good reason for doing so.
John Paul II STEM students have access to a rich sacramental life. We are firm believers in our students’ freedom, but we also believe in the efficacy of grace and the importance of the Sacraments. We start every day with prayer, and Mass is offered frequently during the school schedule. Confession is regularly available. Opportunities for spiritual retreats and student Faith leadership are important parts of our school year.
Non-Catholic students are welcomed and very much at home at St. John Paul II STEM; they are welcome to attend Mass and talk to our chaplains when life’s circumstances present challenges, as often happens during one’s youth. Non-Catholic parents find in JP STEM an ally in the quest to raise strong and virtuous adults. Ultimately, our shared understanding of an absolute truth and the importance of living the virtuous life allow us to very effectively cooperate in pursuit of the good of each student despite theological differences.
Integral Personal Formation
Inspired by the Catholic understanding of the whole person, at St. John Paul II our program is designed to develop the mind, body and spirit in ways that prepare students to meet their present circumstances and future endeavors with joy, integrity, fortitude and a spirit of service.
We use a co-institutional classroom model in the STEM disciplines. Designed to discourage stereotyping and fully capacitate each student to take on leadership within STEM careers, these courses will be split by gender through junior year. This model will allow for a more individualized approach, taking into account the developmental differences that span high school.
Our program is designed to take advantage of the exceptional community partnerships accessible to us through our location in Burbank, an entertainment and tech/engineering industry hub. Through industry internships, professional mentorships, dual enrollment in local colleges, service opportunities, guest speakers, expert consultants and a community advisory board, St. John Paul II STEM Academy will rely on and give back to the Burbank community.
A key part of our program are the Travel Learning Opportunities, intentionally designed on the principle that great learning also happens outside the classroom. The travel experiences are offered both domestically and abroad, and include nature experiences which challenge their everyday routines, service experiences which open their eyes to other realities, and college experiences which broaden their horizons. All students will participate in the beginning of year California experience, and students in good standing will be eligible for participation in winter and spring experiences.
The sports program and student clubs at JP STEM feature many opportunities for student leadership and initiative. Our freshman athletics will include basketball, volleyball and track. Our clubs will grow out of student interest, and the Student Government Association will have a decisive role in forming the culture and traditions of the school.
A core piece is our one-on-one advising program. We connect each student with a personal advisor to help them grow academically and personally. In addition to the faculty and administrators of the school, our advisors are carefully selected parents and professionals who dedicate their time to be mentors and role models for the students. They help them navigate the resources and opportunities of the school to become self-advocators, and to form personal growth goals to fulfill their unique potential.
Read more about our vision for supporting girls in STEM.