Critical Thinking Through Academic Challenge
High school at Rancho Solano provides a sound, rigorous education and thorough college preparation for every student.
A wide range of course offerings, including a growing list of electives, allows students to create individual plans of study to meet their academic goals and interests. An integrated, cumulative study of the humanities provides students with cultural touchstones; shared experiences; and the reading, writing and research skills required to excel in college. Our community is enriched by individuals who are highly accomplished in a diverse range of disciplines, sharing a commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence.
As one of the best private high schools in Arizona, our college preparatory curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and is brought to life in a student-centered environment. Students engage daily with other students and teachers via this challenging and inquiry-based curriculum that prepares them for this ever-changing world.
Rancho Solano is the only private high school in the greater Phoenix area to receive International Baccalaureate (IB) authorization. The IB Diploma Programme is recognized worldwide for excelling at preparing students for success at the university level and beyond and supports Rancho Solano’s long-term commitment to developing global citizens.
Through small classes and an integrated college-prep curriculum, Rancho Solano’s individualized academic approach develops students’ passions and interests, emphasizes critical thinking, and encourages personal growth and fulfillment.
Our college preparatory curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, academic challenge, and deeper levels of thinking that are brought to life in a student-centered environment. We use the Education Research Bureau CTP4 assessments to measure essential standards and learning domains in English language arts and mathematics. These rigorous Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning tests are utilized to assess progress in key areas of student learning.
Upper School Curriculum
Ninth Through Twelfth Grade
The grade nine and ten English curriculum prepares students for the rigorous IB program they will undertake as juniors and seniors. The curriculum also builds the writing, research and critical thinking skills students need to be successful in college and beyond.
Reading assignments, written work and class discussions stimulate critical thinking skills. Students will develop excellent research and presentation skills while gaining a deeper understanding of cultural studies, literature and the written word. Coursework promotes appreciation for the interplay between culture, art, mathematics, science and music while building language arts skills.
Core Courses include:
- English I: American Literature and Composition
- English II: British Literature and Composition
- English III: World Literature
- English IV: Non Fiction/Contemporary Literature
- IB English Language & Literature – offered at the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL)
Students in grades nine and ten will develop the conceptual skills needed for success in the IB Programme offered to grades eleven and twelve. Class placement is based upon skill level, academic readiness, and future scholastic goals.
At every level, students learn math vocabulary, solve contextual problems, and develop critical thinking skills. Through rigorous coursework, students learn to communicate mathematical ideas clearly and demonstrate their understanding of mathematical topics.
Core Courses include:
- High School Math: Integrated 1
- High School Math: Integrated 2
- High School Math: Integrated 3
- Probability and Statistics
- IB Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations – Standard Level (SL)
- IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches – Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL)
Rancho Prep follows an innovative and research based approach to science education. Students typically complete Chemistry during grade nine followed by Physics in grade ten with the opportunity for additional science electives at every grade level. Students are able to pursue advanced coursework in physics, chemistry and biology in the IB programme.
Science courses at Rancho Prep are conceptually based and aimed at fostering critical thinking skills. The primary focus is building students’ understanding of the underlying concepts and processes rather than simple memorization of content. All courses combine classroom instruction with hands-on laboratory, research and in-depth projects.
Core Courses include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Earth Science
- IB Biology- offered at the Standard Level and Higher Level.
- IB Chemistry- offered at the Standard Level and Higher Level.
- IB Physics- offered at the Standard Level and Higher Level.
The Social Sciences offer a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for the IB Programme. Students learn not only how to read, write and think, but also to work collaboratively, research, and assess and apply information in new ways.
Our coursework promotes global awareness and understanding of the relationships between culture, history, politics and economics, both in the past and the present.
Core Courses include:
- World History
- United States History
- American Government
- IB Psychology- IB Psychology is offered only at SL.
- IB Economics- IB Economics is offered at both SL and HL.
- IB History- IB History is offered at both SL and HL.
Students learn to embrace the study of world languages through activities that integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening with cultural awareness.
As students move toward the IB World Language curriculum, they learn to engage in critical thinking, reflection, observation and critique in the target language. The Prep curriculum stimulates internalization and application of the material rather than rote memorization.
Core Courses include:
- French I
- French II
- French III
- French IV
- French V
- IB French Language B – offered at SL and HL.
- IB French Ab Initio – offered only at SL.
- Mandarin I
- Mandarin II
- Mandarin III
- Mandarin AB Initio – offered only at SL.
- Spanish I
- Spanish II
- Spanish III
- Spanish IV
- Spanish V
- IB Spanish – offered at SL and HL.
- IB Spanish Ab Initio – offered only at SL.
Our Upper School Performing Arts Department offers both performance and theoretical based classes:
- Jazz Band
- Chamber Orchestra
Our visual art curriculum incorporates drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and more, providing a strong foundation for students who pursue IB-level art. Students develop an understanding of the role of art in our increasingly visual and international world.
Visual Arts Courses:
- Drawing I
- Drawing II
- Introduction to Painting
- Foundations of Sculpture
- Digital Art
- IB Visual Arts- Visual Art is offered at both SL and HL.
Students choose from our elective offerings to pursue their individual interests and fulfill graduation requirements. These courses offer opportunities like learning about leading a healthy lifestyle, strengthening writing skills, perfecting the playing of an instrument, or learning about the business world through hands-on, experiential coursework.
- Creative Writing
- Introduction to Sports Medicine
- Introduction to Sports Management
- Sports Nutrition
- Introduction to Marketing
- Introduction to Business
- Personal Finance
- Ukulele and Guitar
*Electives may change slightly from one school year to the next.
Our Technology and Media Arts classes equip students with expertise in both software and hardware applications, ensuring they are well-prepared for the rapidly evolving landscape of digital media.
Core Courses include:
- Robotics – Introduction & Advanced
- Principles of Applied Technology
- Podcasting & Content Streaming
- Yearbook and Social Media
- Topics in Media Game Design
- Screen Writing
Physical Education promotes activity and fitness in the context of healthy living and decision-making. Students participate in a wide range of PE units – from yoga to floor hockey to weightlifting –to develop their interests and gain exposure to new sports and activities.
Our highly trained staff encourages students to understand and appreciate a healthy lifestyle. Students are able to develop individual interests rather than follow an approach of one size fits all.
Core Courses include:
- Physical Education
- Sports Conditioning
- Fitness and Strength Training
- Advanced Athletic Training
- Rancho Solano Sports Academy
College Acceptances and Matriculations
*Matriculations in bold
- Academy of Art University
- Allegheny College
- American University
- Arizona State University
- Auburn University
- Augustana College
- Babson College
- Ball State University
- Barrett, The Honors College
- Baylor University
- Binghamton University
- Boston University
- Bradley University
- Brandeis University
- Brown University
- Buffalo State College of SUNY
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
- California State University, Fresno
- California State University, Los Angeles
- California State University, Northridge
- Chapman University
- Claremont McKenna College
- College of Saint Benedict
- Colorado State University
- Cornell University
- Denison University
- DePaul University
- Dickinson College
- Drexel University
- Earlham College
- Eckerd College
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Emerson College
- Fordham University
- Fort Lewis College
- George Washington University
- Georiga Institute of Technology
- Grand Canyon University
- Hampshire College
- Harvard University
- Hofstra University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Illinois Wesleyan University
- Indiana University at Bloomington
- Indiana University, South Bend
- Iowa State University
- Juniata College
- Kalamazoo College
- Kendall College
- Knox College
- Lake Forest College
- Lawrence University
- Lewis & Clark College
- Loyola Marymount University
- Loyola University of Chicago
- Lynn University
- Menlo College
- Miami University, Oxford
- Michigan State University
- Mississippi State University
- Mount Holyoke College
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- New York University
- Northeastern University
- Northern Arizona University
- Nova Southeastern University
- Occidental College
- Ohio Wesleyan University
- Ohio University
- Oregon State University
- Paradise Valley Community College
- Pennsylvania State University, Abington
- Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg
- Pennsylvania State University, University Park
- Pepperdine University
- Pine Manor College
- Point Loma Nazarene University
- Pomona College
- Princeton University
- Purdue University
- Regis University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Rollins College
- Rutgers University – New Brunswick
- Saint Louis University
- San Diego State University
- San Jose State University
- Santa Clara University
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Scripps College
- Seattle University
- Seton Hall University
- Simmons College
- Southern Methodist University
- Southwestern University
- St. Lawrence University
- St. Olaf College
- Stony Brook University
- SUNY Albany
- Temple University
- Texas A&M
- Texas Christian University
- The College of Wooster
- The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
- The George Washington University
- The University of Alabama
- The University of Arizona
- The University of Iowa
- The University of Montana, Missoula
- University at Buffalo The State University of New York
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Irvine
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, Riverside
- University of California, San Diego
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- University of California, Santa Cruz
- University of Chicago
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Colorado at Boulder
- University of Colorado at Denver
- University of Connecticut
- University of Denver
- University of Florida
- University of Idaho
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Kentucky
- University of La Verne
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- University of Massachusetts, Boston
- University of Massachusetts, Lowell
- University of Miami
- University of Michigan, Dearborn
- University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
- University of Missouri, Kansas City
- University of Nevada, Reno
- University of New Hampshire
- University of New Mexico
- University of North Carolina, Charlotte
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Redlands
- University of Rochester
- University of San Diego
- University of San Francisco
- University of Southern California
- University of Vermont
- University of Washington
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- University of Wyoming
- Washington State University
- Whittier College
- Xavier University