Honors Programs

Our remarkable curriculum offers a unique opportunity for students to complete a rigorous course of study in various honors programs. We believe in challenging and forming our students to prepare them for collegiate studies and successful careers. As with all our courses, we also seek to form our students in a Catholic Christian worldview, develop their characters, foster critical and creative thinking, and bring about deeper understanding in all subjects. Within our Honor Programs, we offer an Honors STEM program through Project Lead the Way; AP Capstone Diplomas and Certificates; and a wide array of Advanced Placement and honors courses. Please see below for more details concerning each particular program.

Project Lead the Way

Why STEM Curriculum?
Selection Criteria


Project Lead the Way is a nationally recognized STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program, which offers students the opportunity to take classes in 3 particular STEM pathways: biomedical science, computer science, or engineering. Students who complete one of the pathways will receive special recognition at graduation and on official transcripts. This recognition demonstrates to colleges and employers that the student is ready for advanced course work and interested in careers in this discipline.

Participating students following one of the Project Lead the Way curriculum will complete a prescribed course of study in one of the three pathways. As a culmination of their studies, Project Lead the Way students may complete an individualized capstone project in which they will write a research paper or collaborate with local businesses and community organizations to address real world challenges.


Peoria Notre Dame is the only school in the area to offer all 3 Project Lead the Way pathways.

  • Computer Science: Computer Science empowers students to become creators, instead of merely consumers, of the technology all around them. The program’s interdisciplinary courses engage students in compelling, real-world challenges, teaching them to design solutions, learn computational thinking, and become better thinkers and communicators.
  • Biomedical Sciences: Whether discovering new cancer treatments or teaching healthy lifestyle choices to their communities, today’s biomedical science professionals are tackling big challenges to make the world a better place. Working with the same tools used by professionals in hospitals and labs, students engage in compelling, hands-on activities and work together to find solutions to problems.
  • Engineering: Each Engineering course engages students in interdisciplinary activities like working with a client to design a home, programming electronic devices or robotic arms, or exploring algae as a biofuel source. Our courses not only build knowledge and skills in engineering, but also empower students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance.

Why STEM Curriculum?

  • Growing Interest
    • 41% of ACT tested students in Illinois expressed an interest in STEM
  • College Readiness
    • “Students with an interest in STEM continue to show higher levels of college readiness than ACT tested students as a whole.”
  • Career Readiness
    • According to U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Best Jobs list, 79 of the top 100 jobs are STEM related
    • STEM jobs are expected to grow 13% between 2017 and 2027
    • STEM earnings are high. The average median hourly wage for STEM jobs is $38.85, compared to the median wage of $19.30 for all other types of jobs in the US.



Selection Criteria

  • Course Requirements:
    • Biomedical: Must place into Biology I (H)
    • Engineering: Must place into Geometry (H)
  • Grades 6-8 Standardized Test Scores and MAPS Scores
  • Grades 6-8 School Report Cards
  • Teacher/Administrator Recommendations


Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program

AP Seminar
AP Capstone Diploma
AP Capstone Certificate


Peoria Notre Dame High School’s AP Capstone program goes above and beyond to challenge students with analytical real world skills. Through in-depth research, teamwork, and public speaking, Capstone students stand out from other students entering college. The AP Capstone program is a rigorous diploma program from the internationally recognized College Board. All students in the program take both AP Seminar and AP Research. The rigorous course load and real life research skills will set Peoria Notre Dame students apart as they enter college and beyond. One participating student said, “AP Capstone is more than a course that makes us stand out to colleges. We learn to research, to present resolutions, to work as a team, and to build new relationships. This program goes beyond other high school courses, making us into accomplished students and successful people.”

AP Seminar and Research

  • AP Seminar – is a 3 trimester course designed to prepare students to analyze and synthesize a variety of texts.
  • AP Research – is a 2 trimester course designed to prepare students to continue to analyze and synthesize a variety of texts and to conduct research and partner with mentors in the community.
  • The AP Capstone courses allow students to investigate real-world topics of their choosing from multiple perspectives, which often are different or competing, and learn to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision, develop arguments based on facts, and effectively communicate the results.

AP Capstone Diploma

Besides taking both the AP Seminar and AP Research course, students can also take and pass (with a 3 or higher) an additional 4 AP exams in other content areas in order to earn the recognition of an AP Capstone Diploma.





AP Capstone Certificate

Students who take both of the AP Capstone courses (Seminar and Research) and pass those successive AP exams will be awarded the nationally recognized AP Capstone Certificate.





Peoria Notre Dame High School Advanced Placement Classes

AP Courses


  • Currently, Peoria Notre Dame offers a total of 22 Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses are not only honors courses, but they allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. After completing an AP course, students have the opportunity to take an College Board AP test in that subject; a passing grade of 3 or higher (out of 5) will allow them to earn college credit at most universities.
  • In addition to AP Courses, PND also offers 29 additional Honors courses across all grade levels and subjects. Overall, our teachers seek to offer challenging and rigorous coursework, in order to prepare them for higher education and career readiness.


AP Courses

AP Art and Design
AP Computer Science Principles
AP Computer Science A
AP Seminar
AP English Literature and Composition
AP Research
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP Physics
AP Biology
AP Environmental Science
AP United States History
AP Psychology
AP European History
AP French Language & Culture
AP German Language & Culture
AP Latin Language & Culture
AP Spanish Literature & Culture


In order to qualify for AP and Honors courses initially, students must have the required MAP scores and qualifying grades from middle school. As students continue in their high school path, they must maintain the necessary grades in their honors courses in order to continue on the honors pathway.