Salpointe Catholic High School

Salpointe Catholic High School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Salpointe Catholic High School

type = Private co-educational secondary
grades = 9–12
affiliations = Catholic, Carmelite
city = Tucson
state = Arizona
country = USA
established = 1950
students = ~1,275
faculty = ~139
accreditation = North Central Association
free_label_1=Head of School
free_1 = Fr. Frederick Tillotson, O.Carm.
mascot = Lancers
free_label_3 = Newsmagazine
free_3 = "The Crusader"
free_label_2 = Literary magazine
free_2 = "Reflections"
Yearbook = Horizons
website = []

Salpointe Catholic High School is a co-ed Catholic high school in Tucson, Arizona, run by the Carmelite Order. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.


Founding and early development

Salpointe was founded in 1950 as a school for 100 pupils, and is named for Arizona's first Bishop, Jean-Baptiste Salpointe, who worked as a missionary in the Arizona Territory from 1866 to 1885. Much of Salpointe's early development was headed by Helena S. Corcoran, who donated $8-$10 million for construction of the Salpointe infrastructure ($10M, in 1963 dollars, is $61,080,225 in 2005 dollars). Under her sponsorship, the school grew from 400 to 1,000 pupils, and the physical infrastructure that forms today's campus was established.

In the late 1940's, Tucson's parochial grammar schools had nine grades. The desire to build a Catholic high school for these graduates prompted the Diocese of Tucson to purchase the 40 acre Florence Addition. Salpointe Catholic High School began in 1950 as a modest school consisting of what is now the Farr Patio and cafeteria. On the first day of school Salpointe opened its doors to 100 students. At this time Tucson High School and Amphitheater High School were the only other high schools in Tucson.) There were nine classrooms, a library and administrative offices. A back room in the cafeteria housed a locker room and showers for students taking physical education. The first principal was Rev. Victor Stoner. He was followed by Rev. Edward Carscallen and Rev. George Dyke.

Mission and core values

Salpointe Catholic High School is a co-educational college-preparatory institution serving the diverse student/parent population of Southern Arizona. Working in concert with parents, we offer our students a holistic education which inspires the pursuit of excellence, affirms the dignity of individuals, encourages faith and commitment to service and develops an awareness of the world community in the Carmelite tradition.

"Lancer" Values:"
* Love for Justice and Peace
* Academic Excellence
* Nurturing the Whole Person
* Community
* Evangelization
* Responsibility and Respect
* Solidarity


Policies and procedures

Admission to Salpointe is by competitive application. Although admissions decisions are made without regard to ethnicity, race, or economic background, applicants should note that it is difficult to gain admission to Salpointe if one has a history of disciplinary problems at past schools. In addition, while Salpointe works to make provision for those students who have additional learning needs, Salpointe caters to students from "average" to "exceptional" ability, and often will not accept students with "very low" academic capability. [ [ Salpointe Catholic High School ] ]

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of information provided on several application forms, recommendations, transcripts, and an optional personal interview. [ [ Admissions Procedures for Salpointe Catholic High School ] ]

The admissions process starts quite early in the semester BEFORE a student intends to enroll at Salpointe. During the Christmas vacation, several important admissions-related events are held at Salpointe.

Administrative structure

"Leadership Team" model

Following a 5-year experiment with a "president-principal" model of school administration, the Salpointe board opted to implement a more hierarchical administrative structure on an experimental basis. Under the new plan, the office of the school President was elevated to "Head of School," whereby the occupant would be explicitly and directly involved with the day-to-day operations of the school, while ultimately responsible for accomplishing the school's overarching development initiatives. [ [ History and General Information About Salpointe Catholic High School ] ]

The current administrative structure consists of a "leadership team." The power held by members of this team falls into two classes. The first class, occupied by the Chief Executive Officer and Head of School, Fr. Frederick Tillotson, O.Carm. retains supervening authority over all matters of the school administration. The second administrative class is occupied by 7 "leadership team members", heading departments of the school, and reporting directly to the Head of School.

Board of Directors

Salpointe's ultimate governance falls to its Board of Directors, which constitute the leadership of the Salpointe Catholic High School corporation. The Head of School is responsible to this group. The Board of Directors crafts long-term strategy for the School, and - along with the Carmelites - retains ultimate authority over its direction. Members of the Board are selected from the Salpointe community.



Salpointe has maintained robust academic standards throughout its history, particularly given its mission to serve the entire Tucson community. Despite the lure of specializing as a purely college preparatory institution, Salpointe has also worked hard to offer a meaningful educational experience to those students who require assistance with learning difficulties. Also, consistent with Salpointe's Carmelite identity, Salpointe seeks to attract students of all economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

"College Preparatory" education

In 1987, Salpointe became the first school in southern Arizona and the third school in the state to be accredited "college preparatory" by the North Central Association. Although Salpointe was a relative latecomer to the effort to create Advanced Placement classes, its students have benefited from close relationships with nearby community colleges and universities. Salpointe's early development was guided by the principle that vocational development was crucial, which caused difficulties in the 1970-80s as the vestiges of vocational training restrained the school's development into a college preparatory institution. Today, due to reform efforts in the late 1980s, as well as the efforts of Ruth Jenson and Jeff Mounts, the failure to implement AP courses has been rectified, and Salpointe boasts a high-school-to-college conversion rate of 98%. Many instructors hold advanced degrees, and a recent push to develop infrastructure in the sciences has greatly enriched the college preparatory curriculum. The school-wide learning outcomes Salpointe currently seeks are enumerated on its website. [ [ School-Wide Learning Outcomes ] ]

Academic departments

*English Department
*Applied Sciences Department
*Fine Arts Department
*Humanities Department
*Mathematics Department
*Modern Language Department
*Science Department
*Social Studies Department
*Theology Department

Humanities program

Salpointe offers a unique educational opportunity to its most motivated students with its Humanities program. During the first two years at Salpointe, the academic options that are available to students roughly mirror those available at public schools (with the notable exception of the religion curriculum). Freshmen and Sophomores are able to take "regular" or "honors" versions of the standard courses in world history, English, mathematics, the arts, et cetera. However, in their junior year, students may opt to avail themselves of the "humanities experience," which collapses traditional disciplinary distinctions between departments to form a set of intensive courses in the mold of the liberal arts. Many of the school's most effective students and teachers are brought together in an integrated, fast-paced, and rewarding educational environment that cross-culturally examines the human experience from literary, religious, artistic, and historical perspectives.

In recent years, the Humanities program has adapted its courses so that students studying at the highest level will also be prepared for Advanced Placement tests in American History, History of Art, World Literature, and English Literature & Language. []

ummer Institute

The Salpointe Summer Institute is a recent development at Salpointe. The institute operates separately from the regular Salpointe curriculum, and the institute's head reports directly to the Head of School. The institute offers educational experiences that transcend what one might consider the typical high school experience, particularly since it reaches out to adult learners and those who might be interested summer school or Princeton Review SAT preparation in the Tucson community. [ [ SC ] ]


Salpointe offers 23 varsity sports to its students, and many of these have achieved state-wide success. Salpointe athletes have earned more Arizona Interscholastic Association scholar-athlete awards than any other school in Arizona. The Lancers' primary in-town rivals are the Bluedevils from Sunnyside High School. The Lancers' previous rival was the Dorados of Canyon del Oro High School, but they do not currently play them, as the Dorados moved to a different division. Salpointe's cross country, soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, swimming, and golf teams (the men's golf team has produced five college players in the past two years, including Jonathan Khan at Arizona, Alex Johnson at Pacific, Scott Tunnell at Newman, Ryan Sheffer at Notre Dame de Namur, and Robert Perrott at Pacific) are perennially strong; each usually wins top regional honors, and several teams have become State Champions. Individual State Champions include Tommy McGeorge (Tennis), Whitney Dosty (Track), and Bryce Livingston (Track). Salpointe athletes are frequently recruited to play NCAA athletics. Some well-known recent NCAA athletes of the school include Tommy McGeorge, (University of Iowa, Tennis), Whitney Dosty, (University of Arizona, Women's Volleyball),Bryce Livingston, (West Point/Army, Track and Cross Country) Tyler Graunke, (Hawaii, Football) Jack Darlington, (Nevada, Football), Joshua Williams, (Columbia University, Football), Kristofer O'Dowd (USC/Football), Max Fritz (San Diego/Football), Noelle Lopez (Santa Clara/ Cross Country and Track), Matt Ransom, (Princeton/Football), Chris Ciarvella (Cornell/Football), Evan LeBlanc (Santa Clara/Baseball)

The Lancer Fight Song

(Sung to the melody of the Notre Dame Victory March) [ [ Salpointe Athletics ] ]

:: We're going to tell you something tonight, :: About the team that you're going to fight, :: We're the Lancers, Salpointe High,:: If we don't win we're willing to try! :: Out on the field we're ready to fight, (FIGHT!):: We're going to fight with full force and might, (MIGHT!):: Win or lose we'll stick together, :: Onward to victory!:: Lancers, Lancers, Let's take State!

Pastoral care

Campus ministry

Under the guidance of the Carmelites, Salpointe has developed an active campus ministry. Students are encouraged to attend a number of retreats throughout their time at Salpointe, culminating in the Kairos experience during their junior or senior year. [ [ Salpointe Catholic High School Campus Ministry Main Menu ] ]

Counseling services

Associate Head of School for Student Services Mr. Mike Urbanski heads Salpointe's counseling services. In addition to routine student counseling and schedule management, Salpointe's counseling department has undertaken a number of novel initiatives in recent years. Urbanski brought the [ "Community of Concern"] program to Salpointe, which requires parents to attend informational forums about substance abuse and to pledge to prevent illegal parties from taking place in their homes.

Notable alumni

* H Darr Beiser, award winning professional photographer, USA Today
* Antonio Nagore, international operatic tenor and recitalist [ [ Home Web Page for Antonio Nagore, tenor] ]
* Patricia Preciado Martin, award winning writer on Mexican-American culture [ [ Patricia Preciado Martin talks about her work based on her Mexican-American family] ]
* John Huppenthal Arizona State Senator
* Tairia Mims, Softball Olympic Gold Medalist and NCAA Softball Champion at UCLA [ [ Player Bio: Tairia Mims] , "Official athletic site of the UCLA Bruins"]
* John Fina, NFL Buffalo Bills Offensive Tackle
* Robert Mac (attended as Robert Matz), professional comedian [ [ Robert Mac MySpace page] ] , Grand Prize winner of Comedy Central's 2001 Laugh Riot Stand-up Competition.


Mandatory drug testing for all students

Salpointe has announced mandatory drug-testing for all students beginning in fall 2007. Hair samples will be taken at random from all enrolled students, which will be sent to Psychemedics Corp., an external testing company, to test for any drug usage within the prior 90 days. [] Announcement of the program sparked polemical discussion on the local newspaper's online discussion boards, some of which came from former alumni upset with the announcement. Subsequent on-campus fora were less animated, with Head of School Tillotson arguing, "We don't need, in a private school, to have to go to parents to implement our values and our mission." [ [ Parents seem to support new random drug tests at Salpointe ] ]

Allegations of sexual misconduct, March 2007

On March 15th, 2007 high school administrators became aware that an 24 year old female English teacher was having a 'physical relationship' with one of her 17 year old male students, . [ [ Salpointe sex scandal draws administrators, parents' opinions] , "Fox 11 AZ"] The teacher has since resigned. [ Salpointe immediately reported sex allegation] , "Arizona Daily Star"] Police response was delayed to the incident because of a 'misclassification' of the incident. When confronted by police at the school, the teacher first denied the charges, then later confirmed them. [ Ex-Salpointe teacher under investigation] , "Tucson Citizen"] The ex-teacher is still under investigation. On Friday April 13th, 2007 it was revealed that the ex-teacher under investigation is Rebecca Lee Kelley, 24. [ Ex-Salpointe teacher indicted on charges of sexual conduct with minor] , "Fox 11 AZ"] It was revealed in an unsealed indictment that she faces four counts of sexual conduct with a minor under 18.

ee also

*List of high schools in Arizona


External links

* [ Salpointe Catholic High School website]

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