Sacred Heart Preparatory (Atherton, California)

Sacred Heart Preparatory
"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
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Society of the Sacred Heart
Established 1898
CEEB code 051955
Principal Jennifer Anne Whitcomb, Ph.D.
Faculty 63
Grades 9-12
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 615 (2015)
  Grade 9 160
  Grade 10 153
  Grade 11 157
  Grade 12 145
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
Rivals Menlo School
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Newspaper The Heart Beat, SHP Quad
Asst Principal of Academic Life Anna McDonald
Dean of Faculty Isolina Martinez
Dean of Students Lamont Quattlebaum
Admissions Director Wendy Quattlebaum
Asst Principal of Athletics Frank Rodriguez
Asst Principal of Student Life Brian Bell

Sacred Heart Preparatory 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[2] among others. Sacred Heart graduates 100% of the students with 100% of the student body being accepted and attending four year universities.[2] 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 World 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, 3 years of Religion, and altered elective structure in the History department.

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

Starting in 2014, most 9th grade students take Computer Science 1: Exploring Computer Science as a semester-long introduction to Computer Science. The Computer Science Department also offers 2 other classes: Computer Science 2: Programming, and AP Computer Science.

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, Environmental Science, 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.[3]

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' baseball, basketball, soccer and football, girls' soccer, girls' volleyball, boys' and girls' water polo, tennis, and swimming.

The 1993-1996 girls basketball teams won four straight NorCal state championships which included a three-year record of 113-1.

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

Fine Arts

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.[3]


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, associated student body (ASB) officers, and the Student Executive Council (SEC). ASB focuses on spirit while the SEC works on the school's policies.

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.[3]

Programs for Students


Among the sustainable programs featured on campus are the gardens located within "Dioli Circle," maintained by students who 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. Recently, the school added a 10,000 square foot organic garden on the edge of campus which is overseen by Dr. Stewart Slafter. Sacred Heart Preparatory is the first school in San Mateo County to be approved by the Department of Environmental Health Services Division to use fruits and vegetables grown in its own organic garden for preparation in its school cafeteria.[4]

Center For Student Success (CSS)

The Center for Student Success is staffed with five full-time teachers and a Board Certified Educational Therapist and provides academic support for all students in grades 9-12. The Center also coordinates on-campus and College Board accommodations for students with verified learning differences.

Student radio (KSHS) and TV (SHP TV) stations

An FM and internet-streaming broadcast radio station and a TV station are run by the school's student body.

Relationship with Other Schools of the Sacred Heart

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


  1. WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  2. 1 2 , 31/10/2014.
  3. 1 2 3 , December 8, 2012.
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