Specialized Studies


In Specialized Studies, we know that learning is not compartmentalized, but spans across fields of knowledge and areas of study.  Additionally, to be successful in today’s technology-based, global society, students must be able to collaborate, engage diverse perspectives, and approach problems with a positive mindset.  To address this, the Specialized Studies Dept. offers courses in applied mathematics, computer science, business, philosophy, engineering, and other academic fields.  We offer students the opportunity to advance their critical thinking skills, immerse themselves in complex issues, and engage in broader themes and applied problem-solving.
As a graduation requirement, each student must earn at least ½ credits in Specialized Studies.



List of 10 items.


    This course provides an opportunity to explore the field of computer science, understand the impact of computers on our global society, and build a foundation in the basics of computer programming. Topics will include computer hardware, network architecture, cloud-based computing, cyber-security, web page design, and an introduction to programming. Software used in this course is free and can be downloaded onto any Windows or iOS computer.

    10th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite: Internet access is highly recommended. 
  • AP COMPUTER SCIENCE A – 4151 and 4152

    This course will teach computer programming using JAVA, an object-oriented programming language. It is equivalent to a first-semester college level course and will cover programming methodology, algorithm design, testing methods, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Topics include data structures, conditional statements, iteration, arrays, inheritance, recursion, and object-oriented design. The course follows the syllabus recommended by the College Board. Students who successfully complete the AP Computer Science A exam may receive credit for a one-semester introductory college computing course. 

    *** From the students *** AP Computer Science is not just for the math genius or the aspiring engineer. AP Computer Science is for the student who wants to be challenged in their thought process and wants to better understand the world around them. I can confidently say taking AP Computer Science was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made at DSHA because it ignited a passion for coding that I did not know I had. Additionally, I was able to apply the skills I learned in the class, such as problem-solving, into real life situations and other academic classes. - Mary Kaupp, Class of 2020

    10-12th grades, 2 semesters, AP preparation materials and exam fees
    Prerequisite for sophomores: concurrent enrollment in Algebra II
    Prerequisite for junior and seniors: Algebra II 
    Access to a computer outside of school (with administrative privileges) is highly recommended. A very limited number of laptops are available for check-out from the library.
  • STATISTICS – 4030

    This course gives students an overview of the fundamentals for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. Topics covered include data representation, probability, probability distributions, sampling, and statistical inference. Statistics is important in understanding current events and media analysis and is applicable to a wide variety of careers and college majors.

    1 semester
    Prerequisite: TI-84 + Silver Edition or TI-84 + CE calculator required 
  • AP STATISTICS – 4021 and 4022

    AP Statistics is intended for students who wish to complete studies equivalent to a one semester, introductory, non-Calculus based, college course in statistics. This course will introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Broad conceptual themes treated in this course include exploring data by describing patterns and departures from patterns, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns using probability and simulation, and statistical inference. Students who successfully complete this course and the AP exam may receive credit for a one-semester introductory college statistics course. All students are expected to take the AP Statistics exam. 

    10-12th grades, 2 semesters, AP preparation material and exam fees
    Prerequisite: Algebra II OR concurrent enrollment in Algebra II | TI-84 + Silver Edition or the TI-84 + CE calculator required. 
  • ACCOUNTING I – 4010

    Accounting is the key to opening the door to the business world, which is why it is often called the "language of business." Accounting I introduces students to basic accounting concepts, principles, and practices used in completing an accounting cycle. Understanding how accounting data are accumulated through the double-entry procedure and how to use such data are important outcomes of the course. Accounting careers and becoming a CPA will also be discussed. This course is a must for any student considering a business career. Work time will be given in class to complete course assignments, end of chapter activities, and the final simulation. Work outside of class may be needed to study for chapter tests and/or if extra time is needed for assignments beyond that given in class.

    1 semester

    Credit card or debit card? Buy a car or lease one? Cash value insurance, term insurance, renters insurance or none at all? Which mutual fund for a 401(k)…what is a mutual fund? Tax liability, risk management, fraud, on-line banking, student loans, cost-benefit analysis, time value of money? Overwhelmed? Personal Finance can help you learn the skills that will lead you to financial success. You can manage your own money using a budget and checkbook; make smart decisions about credit, investing, filing taxes, insurance, and much more. Learn how to be financially independent. Financial success – is it in your future? Work time will be given in class to complete course assignments/projects. Work outside of class may be needed for small homework assignments, research and/or if extra time is needed beyond that given in class.  

    10-12th grades, 1 semester, $15 fee

    This course is designed for students interested in problem solving and real-world applications of engineering principles and serves as a basis for students that may consider engineering as a career. In this project-based course, students will become familiar with the engineering process as they consider the distinct phases of engineering and problem solving. Projects involve structural design, data analysis, computer programming, reverse engineering, and more. Students will meet female engineers from a variety of disciplines. Course fee covers consumables used for project work. 

    10-12th grades, 1 semester, $30 fee

    In this course, students will seek answers to various ethical questions and will learn to appreciate the complexity of ethics. Questions like these will be examined: What constitutes a good life? What is the relationship between individual and communal goods? How can we become better people through our examination of ethical issues? Essentially, this course will introduce students to the philosophical study of morality. Morality is our human concern about the rightness or wrongness of actions which involve the rights of all humans to fair and just treatment. We will begin by establishing a common or shared understanding of the philosophical terms and distinctions needed for comprehending and deciding ethical issues. This vocabulary will then be used to examine and critique the various philosophical views (more conservative, less conservative, and moderating) about ethical or moral behavior.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    This course will be offered in 2020-2021 school year, but will not be offered in 2021-2022. 
    **Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here

    This course will introduce students to the moral recognitions and choices involved in freely creating an authentic personal identity. The ethical implications of this basic human responsibility and the unconscious factors that can impede its successful outcome will be examined. We will begin by clearly establishing the philosophical vocabulary needed for our task. This vocabulary will enable us to grasp the essential steps involved in identity formation and our moral responsibility for guiding this process to its rationally desired outcome (and the genuine happiness that will follow). This course will specifically look at how identity plays into the ethical decision-making of women by studying the nature and vocation of women as articulated by women philosophers. Attention will also be paid to cultural, ethnic, and religious identity as they intersect with gender identity.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    This course will not be offered in the 2020-2021 school year, but will be offered in 2021-2022. 
    **Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here

    Speech Communications is designed to prepare students for the speaking tasks they will face in future academic coursework and in professional experiences beyond high school and college. The course will primarily focus on developing and enhancing students’ public speaking skills and individual speaking style. Students will learn to organize, research, and select language for effective speech writing, and will work with a variety of technologies including various visual and audio presentation software. To this end, students will write and deliver a variety of formal and impromptu speeches. Students will also evaluate professional public speakers and in doing so will gain an understanding of speech communication theory and rhetorical analysis. Students will demonstrate this analysis and evaluation through formal written analyses.

    10th-12th grade, 1 semester
**Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here
Discover some extended and related opportunities outside of the Specialized Studies classroom:

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