Academics & Departments

Our curriculum prepares young men for college. Our education prepares them for life.

From digital media to Latin, and from business classes to college credit forensics, our academic program offers young men a diverse and robust curriculum designed to challenge a broad range of student abilities.

Our talented teachers maintain a rigorous, college-prep learning environment for each student, while also sharing their passion and knowledge for courses that range from STEM classes like 3D Printing and robotics and creative pursuits such as Improv Theater and music production.

Our Academic Program

College Prep

At our academic core, we are a college prep school. More than 98% of our students go on to four-year colleges—many of them with college credit already earned while in high school—and 77% of our seniors earn at least one scholarship.

We have aligned our curriculum to teach not just the academic content, but also college readiness skills, and Spartans score an average of 25.7 on the ACT, 5 points higher than Missouri’s average. More telling than this statistic, however is that our students improve their ACT scores by an average of 5.7 points from sophomore year—more than twice the national average of 2.3.

Your son will graduate prepared for college. He’ll know how to study, how to do homework, how to manage his time, how to collaborate with classmates, and when to turn to teachers or other resources for help.

Our alumni attend colleges and universities throughout Missouri and top universities ranging from the Ivy League to military academies. De Smet Jesuit is consistently one of the top feeder high schools to Jesuit universities across the country.


Our 8:30 a.m. start time was established for a reason. So was our modified 8-period block schedule. We want our students to be rested, healthy, and ready to enjoy the energy of a high school experience.

Students have seven classes plus a study period per semester, attending four classes per day on a rotating basis. This schedule has resulted in calmer transitions in the hallways, lowered stress levels, and enhanced quality class time.

De Smet Jesuit’s balanced approach to academics, religious formation, community service, athletics and clubs helps us form well-rounded graduates.


Your son will receive individualized attention and encouragement at De Smet Jesuit. He will not be a statistic in a school district’s files.

One of our guiding characteristics is cura personalis, a Latin term that means “care for the whole person.” Not every student comes from the same background or shares the same interests. Not every student learns at the same pace or through the same teaching method.

Our average class size is 20 students, and the student to teacher ratio is 10:1. We value meaningful relationships, and each student is assigned a Personal/Academic Counselor, a College Counselor, and a homeroom teacher for their four years at De Smet Jesuit, ensuring consistency and connection.

For course workloads, we challenge each student at his level and adapt accordingly each semester. We offer advanced honors classes, peer tutors, and creative electives.

Our course offerings also include traditional college preparatory courses and courses for students who need more focus on the fundamentals. We have a full-service learning center for students who have mild to moderate learning differences but are also college bound.

We are committed to meeting each student where he is academically and helping him strive to his best potential.

Global and Innovative

We know the future work environment for our current students will demand men who can collaborate with others, incorporate technology, and adapt to an ever-changing landscape.

On a daily basis our students work on personal tablets, organize assignments via an online course management system, and have access to our Innovation Center and classrooms equipped for modern engagement.

Programs like our Global Education Certificate and our signature four-year service plan empower students to expand their world view of global issues and impact the future for all of us.

Jesuit Education

A Jesuit-educated student develops a perspective well-suited for today’s evolving challenges and opportunities. Jesuits believe that prayer is complemented by actions of love. Called “God’s Marines,” they are pragmatists and problem solvers.

Your son will become a “man for and with others” by learning the value of giving back to his fellow man. Students are taught to understand that talents are gifts to be developed, not for self-satisfaction or self-gain, but rather, with the help of God and for the good of the human community. De Smet Jesuit offers a four-year, comprehensive service program which encourages students to become centered on others.


Our Curriculum

Course Showcase

Meets graduation requirement | one-half credit | one semester

Superheroes began a world-wide phenomenon from their early inception as funny pages to the more modern graphic novel. They have been vilified, suppressed, banned, and raised to an art form. The class will attempt to define the nature of superheroes and why they receive such positivity in today’s world as opposed to the history of their banishment and how they have been adapted into some of the top grossing films of all time. An analysis of the types of superheroes will begin the class that will culminate in the discussion of the cultural impact of the genre. Literary analysis will be applied in all facets of discussing these American cultural inventions that reflect their time of creation as well as the modern era. 

Elective | one-half credit | one semester

Digital electronics surround us. Gaming systems, DVRs, and smart phones are just a few items that students use every day that contain digital circuits. This course provides a foundation for students who are interested in electronics. Students learn about topics such as combinational and sequential logic, logic gates, integrated circuits, and programmable logic devices by designing and building digital electronic devices.

Meets graduation requirement | one-half credit | one semester

This course provides the students with an exposure to the various forms of acting, improv, and drama, thereby helping the student develop a more creative and flexible approach to solving performance problems and critical thinking. This is a very active class that challenges the imagination of the actor and gives him a chance to explore a variety of experiences on stage. The ensemble will play improv and theater games, and perform scenes in order to communicate better with one another and the community at large. Through a series of exercises, the student will obtain a basic understanding of one of the fundamentals of acting—improvisation. 

The course is also designed to provide students with an introduction to the theatre and acting in theory and performance. Emphasis will be on the use of imagination, the senses, an introduction to stage movement, and script analysis. Students will perform a monologue and/or scene from a comedic or dramatic script, and attend one live theatre performance at De Smet Jesuit.

Elective | one credit | full year

This course teaches the fundamentals of digital photography and videography and how they relate to 21st century media consumption. Topics covered include operation of 35mm and video cameras, the exposure triangle, visual composition, storytelling with photos and video, computer editing programs (Adobe Photoshop and Premiere), and media law and ethics. Assignments will be geared toward use in one of the school publications: The Mirror (newspaper), (website), Spartan Olympiad (yearbook), and De Smet Student Network-DSN (broadcast).

This course will serve as an alternate prerequisite for News Writing and Yearbook.

Elective | one-half credit | one semester

In this course students will study how to use CAD/CAM software to develop 2D and 3D files, as well as different techniques to prepare these design files for printing or machining on a 3D printer or CNC machine. Students will also learn about several different styles of 3D printing technology and other additive manufacturing techniques. This course will also serve as an introduction to engineering, architecture, or product design.

Elective | one credit | full year

Forensic science is the application of science to the law and involves various scientific disciplines. This course introduces the various methodologies and applications used in forensics. The objectives of the course are to introduce various disciplines and methodologies of forensic sciences, understand the roles of various disciplines in crime investigation, and demonstrate the use of forensic science in actual cases. Problem solving and critical thinking skills will be utilized through the application of science concepts to solve real world problems. Laboratory work that demonstrates the use of forensic science is an integral part of the course. Students may register for 3 hours of ACC credit.  

Meets graduation requirement | one credit | full year

This class is open to juniors and seniors who have an interest in studying music theory, composition, MIDI sequencing, and music production. Students will learn how to: read and notate music; listen to, analyze, evaluate, and describe music; compose and arrange music; sequence music using MIDI programs; and mix, arrange, and produce music using studio software. Students will become familiar with and utilize various programs including Finale (for notation), Ear Master (for ear training), Pro Tools (for recording, mixing and mastering), and Reason (for studio and audio production).

Elective | one-half credit | one semester

This course expands on basic lessons from Introduction to Business as students work to generate actual monetary profits by working in business. Students will spend time developing a physical product to sell, offering a service for the school, and reselling a variety of items for a profit. Students must have already demonstrated the ability to understand dynamic markets, profitability, supply and demand, as well as creative thinking and strong effort.

Meets graduation requirement | one credit | full year

This course will continue to expand on Chinese 1 and focus on improving proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students will refine their speaking and listening skills as well as increase their vocabulary. Study will include making appointments, studying, school life, shopping and transportation. Students will also develop further appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture.

Meets graduation requirement | one-half credit | one semester

This course uses Jesuit history and spirituality as a springboard for discussion and reflection on issues facing students as they finish four years of Jesuit education and prepare for their future. The content of this course, while maintaining a focus on Jesuit history and spirituality, is fairly flexible and adjusts to student interest and discussion. 

Learn More: How Our Academics Benefit Our Students

School Profile Stats

Student body: 700

Number of zip codes our students come from: 60

Number of doctorates on faculty: 7

Student-teacher ratio: 10:1

Percentage of graduates who go on the higher education: 98%

Percentage of graduates who go on to a 4-year college: 98%


College Prep Stats

Average ACT score: 26 (5 points higher than Missouri average)

Honors students' average ACT score: 31

College credit hours offered: More than 130

Percentage of 2019 grads who earned a scholarship: 78

Total number of scholarships awarded to the Class of 2019: 655

Total value of scholarships awarded to Class of 2019: $23.7 million