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Academic Departments

Academics at Soquel High are rigorous, fun and varied. Soquel High School offers many choices to students, from AP classes that get students ready for college, to CTE classes which give students hands-on work experience, and everything in between.

Students who seek admission to elite universities will find that Soquel High offers challenging courses taught by talented teachers, and students who are looking for vocational studies will find a variety of opportunities at Soquel.


AVID is a yearlong ELECTIVE course for students who are determined to attend a four-year university. In the AVID class we focus on study skills, time management, and strategies for success in school to  make sure that all our students can achieve their goal of attending college.


We have UCSC tutors come  to our class twice a week so students can get extra help in all their academic classes. We also go on  fun and motivational field trips to universities throughout California. AVID is a great class for students  who have the drive to attend college!  


Avid Students should:

  • Have appropriate classroom behavior

  • Have good work habits

  • Have a GPA between 2.5 and 3.5*

  • Have regular attendance.

  • Have average to above average test scores.


Additionally, AVID students nationwide fit into ONE or more of these criteria:

  1.  First person in family to go to a four-year university OR

  2.  Member of an underserved group at universities OR

  3.  Low socio-economic status OR

  4.  Special circumstances 

Advanced Placement (AP)

Advance Placement Courses are an intensive college-prep and college-level College Board-endorsed course for the highly academically motivated student. American colleges often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores above a certain number on the examinations.  See the Course Catalog for Advanced Placement requirements, expectations, and student responsibilities


The Agriculture Department offers students the opportunity to complete a two year,  comprehensive program in sustainable agriculture.  Classes combine preparation for continued college education as well as training for today's jobs. A "learn-by-doing" approach provides students with a unique experience that combines the traditional classroom with outdoor laboratory and community activities.


The over two-acre facility includes vegetable/flower gardens, an extensive fruit orchard, landscape displays, commercial greenhouses, retail landscape plant nursery, retail flower shop, and livestock production areas.  Students gain extensive experience in leadership, public speaking, job search skills and tools, and event planning as well as post-secondary school advice and scholarship opportunities.


Digital Media

Course: Graphic Design

Fulfills Requirements: Applied or Fine Arts for SHS; for UC/CSU, f
Prerequisite: None

Course Description: Computer Graphics is a course that explores the drawing techniques and tools used in computer art and graphics. Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of commercial art and how this art is used in design and illustration, photography, multimedia presentation, and desktop publishing. A systematic and structured approach is used to complete a wide range of projects. The career opportunities in computer graphics and video effects are explored. This course is for those interested in the applications of art and careers in the art field, as well as those interested in the creative and artistic aspects of computers.

Course: E Literacy

Fulfills Requirements: Applied Arts for SHS
Prerequisite: None

Course Description: During the first six-weeks, students will be introduced to the touch-type system on the computer keyboard. During the remainder of the semester, students will become familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, and Internet research. This course is a beginning level class. There is a challenge test available to test out of this requirement. See your counselor for details.



Introduction: High school graduation requires a minimum of 40 units (four years) of English. Throughout all courses, students work on the required English Language Arts Portfolios to demonstrate their ability to meet or exceed California state standards.

Intensive College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9 English 1 Intensive

  • Grade 10 English 2 Honors

  • Grade 11 AP Language and Composition

  • Grade 12 AP English Literature and Composition

College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9 English 1 or English 1 Intensive

  • Grade 10 English 2 or English 2 Honors

  • Grade 11 English 3 or AP Language and Composition

  • Grade 12 CSU Expository Reading & Writing or AP English Literature & Composition

High School Graduation Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9 English 1

  • Grade 10 English 2

  • Grade 11 English 3

  • Grade 12 CSU Expository Reading & Writing



A Culture & Community of Learning

Honors classes offer a unique opportunity for academically motivated students to experience many of the benefits of a small college preparatory high school while still taking advantage of all that a large public school has to offer.

Honors English and Honors World History are enriched curricula of English and Social Studies. Although the programs emphasize college preparatory skills, they also encourage creativity and enrichment. Students attend field trips, experience a variety of guest speakers; and present creative, unique individual and group projects. Honors classes host special events outside of school to encourage a culture and community of learning. 

Parent involvement is encouraged and vital. Regular parent meetings are scheduled, as parents take on critical roles in the many special events sponsored by the Academy. Meetings also allow parents to be apprised of their students' activities, progress, and curriculum.


The Soquel Mathematics Department brings all learners up to meet high expectations. The standards of the various disciplines we teach to in math can be downloaded below:


High school graduation requires a minimum of 20 units of Math, and must include passing Algebra 1 or its equivalent. The paths below are models to be used as guidelines only in creating your own unique program. Consult your SHS Course Catalog for ideas and ask your parents, teachers and counselor for suggestions in developing a meaningful four-year plan which will best prepare you for your particular post-graduation plans. The future is yours; plan for it!

Paths for Graduating:

Mock Trial

Mock trial is part of the Law Related Education and Prevention Programs, and part of the Student Support Services Department at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE), it provides students throughout the county with opportunities to engage in law and justice education.

Mock Trial is a trial simulation where students form defense and prosecuting teams and compete against each other before a judge in a courtroom. Participants develop critical thinking skills, confidence in public speaking, and knowledge of legal practices and procedures. After receiving the case in early fall, Mock Trial students dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort preparing for the February competition.

Mock Trial is coordinated by Law Related Education Programs in collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, Superior Court of California Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Trial Lawyers Association. February 2011 marked the 22st Annual Santa Cruz County Mock Trial.

Nearly 8,000 students throughout the state of California participate in local Mock Trial competitions. Through performance-based education, these students further their knowledge of our judicial system, history, content and conduct of our legal system, analytical abilities, communication skills, and team cooperation. Mock Trial teams receive guidance in courtroom procedures and trial preparation from volunteer attorney coaches.

Locally, over 20 attorneys volunteer as competition scorers and are given specific scoring criteria. The students are scored on team sportsmanship, presentation skills, analytic ability, and team cooperation. Approximately 10 local judges and commissioners volunteer to preside over the competition, making decisions regarding the running of the trial, rulings on pretrial arguments, competition violations, and announcing the verdict.

The Santa Cruz Mock Trial competition proceeds over the course of three days. Throughout the first two days, each team participates in two scored rounds. On the third day, the top four highest scored teams compete in the semi-finals. The top two teams then advanced to the finals. The award ceremony immediately follows the final round and recognizes students' outstanding work.

The Santa Cruz Mock Trial winner will compete at the state level against the winning teams from participating counties. Forty-four states, U.S. territories, and South Korea will participate in the two-day national competition.

Soquel High School is looking for students for next year's team. Contact David Kline at: if you are interested in learning more about the program. In addition, students earn 2.5 elective credits per semester toward their graduation requirements!

Starting in September, students meet Monday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the library.

Physical Education

P.E at Soquel

Grade 9: Physical Education 9

Grade 10: PE Elective

Grade 11: No PE

Grade 12: No PE



A minimum of two years (20 credits) of PE is required for high school graduation--one year must be PE 9 and one year an elective. (There is a maximum of 40 PE credits that may be used toward graduation.) Physical Education at Soquel High School stresses participation and instruction in a wide range of games and fitness activities. The results are skill development, an improved fitness level, socialization and cooperation among our diverse population of students and a realistic attitude on the body's capabilities. The goal of the PE Department is for each and every student to leave Soquel with a base knowledge in a variety of lifetime activities and the desire and the means to maintain a physically active and healthy life. All students are required to pass both the Fall and Spring semesters of PE 9 before continuing on to PE Electives.


The purpose of this information is to acquaint you with the procedures and regulations that will help you be successful in your Physical Education Classes. In our curriculum we teach a wide variety of physical activities, a high intensity fitness unit and wellness classes that emphasize the relationship that regular exercise and good nutrition have with disease prevention and a healthful life.


  • It is the goal of the PE Department that the student achieves a passing mark on each component of the California Physical Performance test.

  • To develop an awareness of the importance of personal fitness and acquaint students with programs for maintaining fitness in adult life.

  • To expose students to a wide variety of activities in an effort to allow them to find areas of enjoyment as well as benefit.

  • To emphasize the relationship that regular exercise and good nutrition have with disease prevention and a healthy life.



  • Attendance is very important and excessive absences will adversely effect a student’s grade. Any classes missed for any reason must be made up in order to receive full credit.

  • Students are expected to be on time and in correct PE attire.

  • Attention to personal hygiene procedures is expected.

  • Sportsmanship and sincere effort is asked of all.


Medical Excuses
Parents and /or the school nurse may excuse you from participating for up to three consecutive days by writing the instructor a note. Students with excuses are still required to dress in their PE clothes. A doctor’s note is required for periods longer than 3 days. If your child has a preexisting medical condition that you feel the staff should know about please attach an explanation to the signature portion of the guidelines.

Physical Education Attire
Soquel High School students enrolled in Physical Education courses are required to wear appropriate attire. The attire consists of the following:

  • Shirts: Blue Soquel High PE shirt-$10

  • Shorts: Blue Soquel High PE shorts-$15

  • Shoes: Shoes appropriate for Physical Education activities


Students can wear sweatshirts or sweat pants over their PE uniforms if they choose.


Lost and Found
Items left or lost in the locker room will be placed in the lost and found in the coaches’ office. To claim an item from the lost and found it must have your name on it.

Students are warned:

  • Not to let his or her locker combination be known to anyone else.

  • To be careful that they are not observed using their combination.

  • To check that their locker is locked before leaving the locker room.

  • Not to leave money or other valuables in their locker.


There is no food, candy or beverages allowed during PE classes. This includes the locker room, gym, weight room or any other PE facility. Violators will lose their locker room privileges.

All athletes are required to dress and participate in class on game days.

Grading Policy
Grading policies will vary slightly between teachers and units; however these standards are a good benchmark for determining minimum standards for attaining PE grades.

  • ‘A’-No markdowns or absences

  • ‘B’-No more than 2 absences or markdowns

  • ‘C’-No more than 3 absences or markdowns

  • ‘D’-No more than 4 absences or markdowns

  • Markdowns include but are not limited to suit cuts, tardies, unsportsmanlike behavior, abuse of equipment.


Make-ups for absences and markdowns are arranged with the individual instructors. Non-dress (suit cut) along with absences are the main reasons for failing PE. All suit cuts and absences must be made up to assure a passing grade.



Introduction: A minimum of two years of science is required for high school graduation--one year must be a life science and one a physical science. Courses described under the Agribusiness department also meet the requirement for graduation. The four-year plans below are models to be used as guidelines only in creating your own unique program. Courses:

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Life Science

AP Biology
Environmental Sci.

AP Environmental Sci.

Biotechnology honors

Biotechnology 2


Physical Science

AP Chemistry
AP Physics

Environmental Sci.

AP Environmental Sci.

Biotechnology honors

Biotechnology 2

Intensive College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9:   Biology

  • Grade 10: Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics 

  • Grade 11:  Chemistry, Physics, AP Chemistry or AP Biology, Biotechnology honors 

  • Grade 12: AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics or Biotechnology 2

College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9:   Biology 

  • Grade 10: Chemistry

  • Grade 11: Physics

  • Grade 12: Elective

Social Studies

Social Studies Graduation Requirements are listed in the tables below. HA as listed in the table refers to the Humanities Academy courses, and AP refers to Advanced Placement courses.

Intensive College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9: Health / Elective

  • Grade 10: World History Honors

  • Grade 11: AP U.S. History

  • Grade 12: AP Gov't / Economics Honors

College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9: Health / Elective

  • Grade 10: World History 

  • Grade 11: U.S. History (or AP)

  • Grade 12: Government / Economics (or AP)

High School Graduation Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9: Health / Elective

  • Grade 10: World History

  • Grade 11: U.S. History

  • Grade 12: Government / Economics

Special Education



There are a number of Special Education Programs at Soquel High which serve many individuals with a wide range of skills and abilities. A primary goal of these programs is to support students in the least restrictive environment. Special Education Programs are available to students who meet state and federal criteria for special education services. All special education programs require and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as defined by IDEA. Only students with an active IEP may receive Special Education Services.


Resource Specialist Program
There are a number of Special Education Programs at Soquel High which serve many individuals with a wide range of skills and abilities. A primary goal of these programs is to support students in the least restrictive environment. Special Education Programs are available to students who meet state and federal criteria for special education services. All special education programs require and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as defined by IDEA. Only students with an active IEP may receive Special Education Services.


Special Day Class
The Special Day Class offers courses in English, Math, Social Studies, Science and Tutorial. Students may participate in regular classes (including electives) as determined by IEPs and skill levels (with the student spending the majority of the school day in courses offered through this plan). Obtaining work experience is emphasized, with the ultimate goal of completing the high school experience by obtaining a Certificate of Completion and then being ready for fulltime employment.


Other Services
Depending upon the student’s IEP, there may be additional programs and services offered in support of the student.


Special Education Local Plan Area - SELPA

A SELPA is a state-mandated association that provides for all the special education service needs of children residing within the regional boundaries. There are approximately 120 SELPAs in California. Each SELPA develops a local plan describing how it provides special education services. Go to for more information.

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee of North Santa Cruz County is composed of volunteer parents of children with special needs, special educators, and other interested community members who seek to support children with special needs education. The CAC hold a meeting once a month. General business meetings are held every two months. On the alternate month, the CAC offers workshops regarding special education topics which often include guest speakers. All meeting and workshops are free of charge and are open to everyone, including parents of children with and without disabilities, educators and agency representatives. For current scheduling information visit the SELPA website at and follow the link to the CAC. Also available in Spanish.

Visual & Performing Arts

Through education in the Performing Arts, it is our hope that the student will develop professional skills, or will learn a means of recreation, pleasure, and worthy use of leisure time. The student will develop skills of reading and listening to music and learn to value music as a means of expression. The student is provided an opportunity for performance, creative expression, and an understanding of the relationships existing between the performing arts and other areas of human endeavor. These classes would be a logical preparation for community and/or college Performing Arts programs and for performance careers.

World Languages

High school graduation does not require courses in a World Language. Entrance requirements for most colleges include a minimum of 20 units (two years) in the same language, but three years is recommended. The four-year plans below are models to be used as guidelines only in creating your own unique program.

Seal of Biliteracy


A special seal on the High School Diploma is given for Biliteracy! Students are eligible if they have:

  • Passed the AP exam in a language other than English or taken 4 years of target-language classes with a 3.0 GPA or higher

  • Received a 2.0 or better in all your English classes

  • Scored proficient or better on the English CST in 11th grade


Think you may be eligible? Contact your counselor or World Language teacher to learn more!

Intensive College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9:   Spanish 1 or Spanish Speakers 3

  • Grade 10: Spanish 2 or Spanish Speakers 4

  • Grade 11: Spanish 3

  • Grade 12: AP Spanish

College Prep Recommended Courses

  • Grade 9:   Spanish 1 or Spanish Speakers 3

  • Grade 10: Spanish 2 or Spanish Speakers 4

  • Grade 11:  Spanish 3

  • Grade 12: Elective

Note: You can go to AP Spanish straight from Spanish

Speaker 4

Career Technical Education

At Soquel High, we believe education should aim higher than graduation. Our students have access to a wealth of hands-on, technical career coursework to explore options, hone skills and aim high:


Biotechnology / Sustainable Agriculture / 

Graphic Design / Welding / IT Essentials / 

Floral Design / Woodworking / Bike Technology / 

Culinary Arts / Fire Science / Auto Technology / 

Sports Medicine / Construction / Photography / 

Healthcare / Music Production

Digital Media
Mock Trial
Social Studies
Special Ed
Visual & Performing Arts
World Languages
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