Departments & Course Descriptions

Students working on a chemistry lab.


Humanities I: Self and Place

Humanities I is an interdisciplinary course that meets the English and social studies state standards for 9th graders. Students in this course learn about place and its power to shape their communities and themselves. Students explore and study places in the community, both familiar and unknown while focusing on the essential questions of what does it mean to come from a particular place? And how do place and people change each other?

Humanities II: American Studies

Humanities II is an interdisciplinary course that meets the English and social studies state standards for 10th graders. Students examine important thematic threads of Power, Independence, Society, Culture, and Progress, as they attempt to respond to essential questions such as how does the past influence the present? And  what does it mean to be an American?

Culture and Composition

Students engage deeply with the writing process through a series of writing projects designed to teach the importance of revision, the value of clarity, and the critical elements of editing and style. Students will be exposed to a number of genres and will write a full-length research paper on an issue/topic of their choice.


Students explore democracy, its origins, development, use and abuse here and around the world and understand democracy and the political process through hands-on experiences and by contrasting it with other systems of government.  Students explore the relationship between democracy and various economic systems as well as political and economic history in order to better understand our current state of affairs locally, nationally and globally.

Senior English

This course consists of four mini-courses that will be taught much like college classes; they will be intense, focused studies of a particular genre of writing.  Past mini courses have included: The Art of the Essay, George Orwell’s 1984, Shakespeare, and Gender Studies 101. Students also work intensely on their college application essays during first semester.


Math I: Algebra

Students will understand the fundamentals of algebra, beginning with how to write and solve single variable equations. Students also study: linear equations, exponential equations, functions, probability, data analysis. The course includes a review of the properties of real numbers. Emphasis is placed on the development of the basic math skills needed to solve algebra equations.

Math II: Geometry

Students will understand lines and curves in relationship to one another, in plane and in space. Topics include: properties of circles, triangles, polygons, lines, and angles, area and volume, transformations and tessellations, inductive and deductive reasoning.

Math III: Algebra 2/Trigonometry

Students continue their study of math concepts, including linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, relations, functions, radicals, imaginary and complex numbers. Emphasis is placed upon development of math skills through study of exponential and logarithmic functions, probability, statistics and elements of trigonometry.


This course completes the formal study of the elementary functions begun in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. Students focus on the use of technology, modeling, and problem solving involving data analysis, trigonometric and circular functions, their inverses, polar coordinates, complex numbers and quadratic relations. Discrete topics include the Principles of Mathematical Induction, the Binomial Theorem, and sequences and series.


Integrated Science

Students study the natural history of the Sonoran Desert as they explore issues surrounding water, land, and space all through the lens of sustainability. Students participate in multiple fieldwork experiences throughout the year as they gain a deep understanding of their natural surroundings in the Southwest.


The nature of science embodies the habits of inquiry and evidence, and in this course students learn how to ask questions, how to find answers, and how to analyze those answers.  Throughout the year, students develop a strong foundation in general biology and the scientific process.  This course is designed to teach the application of scientific investigations, and to promote a life-long interest in science.

Chemistry in the Community

Students grapple with important questions, such as can we get sufficiently pure water? Where do we find mineral resources and how are they processed? Students learn the chemical knowledge that relates to day-to-day life such as the chemistry of color and how the brain works from a chemical standpoint. Students engage in laboratory investigations, computer laboratories, and group discussions throughout the year.


All students are required to complete two years of a world language in order to graduate from City High School. For the majority of our students, this language is Spanish. Students in the Spanish program are in multilevel classes, learning through a combination of instructor-led activities and projects, and an integrated self-paced online program.

All students in the Spanish program, regardless of skill level, engage with variety of community resources as they strive to improve in the areas of conversation and writing skills.

Students who have already studied a world language other than Spanish may elect to continue their studies at Pima Community College, schedule allowing.


City High School offers a range of arts-based electives with an emphasis on documentary and media arts. Our award-winning radio and video programs teach students the basic skills of audio and video editing, writing stories, interviewing, and publication. Student videos have appeared at the Loft Cinema and the Screening Room. Radio projects have been aired on KXCI, AZPM, and on other radio stations around the country. Other visual/media arts electives include yearbook, graphic design, and photography.

City High also offers several performance-based arts electives. Students in the drama production class perform a full-length show each semester at the ZUZI! Theatre. The student production involves students in all areas of theater, including acting, set design, scoring, and directing.  Other performance-based electives at City High School currently include chorus and classical guitar.


City High students have the opportunity to participate in a number of different fitness-based electives. Our yoga, cycling and karate instructors are accomplished practitioners from within the school and the greater community. Students who are interested in a self-paced, more personalized fitness plan may choose to join the downtown YMCA (at a highly discounted student rate) and work out with peers while being coached by an instructor. The complete list of fitness electives vary somewhat each year; prior offerings have included fencing, urban walking, and dance.