O'Dea High School

Matteo Ricci Program

O’Dea High School has a longstanding history in partnership with Seattle University to offer College in the Classroom credits. In 1988, the Matteo Ricci Institute extended into other Catholic high schools in the area including O’Dea, Kennedy Catholic, Eastside Catholic, Forest Ridge, and Archbishop Murphy. Matteo Ricci Institute offers three Humanities degrees and a minor, with the purpose of forming more humane persons and to promote justice in our shared world. Students currently have an opportunity to earn up to 15 college credits with an official transcript from Seattle University. These courses are available at the 11-12th grades and taught by O’Dea faculty, with collaboration and oversight from Seattle University faculty. Current courses include Poverty in America Honors, English 12 Honors, and Calculus 1 & 2. To learn more about Matteo Ricci, click here. For questions regarding Matteo Ricci at O’Dea, please contact Lucas Dobbs, Assistant Principal of Academics.

Matteo Ricci Partnership Goals

Offering a model where students can earn credit without taking a high stakes exam at the end will allow teachers to tailor their instruction to meet the needs of our students. The AP model, where students show what they know on a test, is not best practice in teaching, and we are trying to stay ahead of the curve on what we offer for advanced courses at O’Dea. Eventually, we would like to be in a place where all students attending O’Dea High School have an opportunity to earn up to 20 college level courses upon graduation.

In addition to earning college credits in high school at a reduced rate, our students will have opportunities throughout the year to experience college, with guest lecturers coming to O’Dea and our students walking to SU for a lecture or lab. This will further prepare them for their experiences after they leave O’Dea.

Partnership Benefits

This model will help us provide a more responsive education for our students. Teachers will align the objectives of the course with the Seattle University course, working with college professors to choose instructional methods that will provide a high level of rigor while also meeting the needs of individual learning styles.

Transition Process

For many years, we have offered 10 credits through our Poverty in America course and our English 12 Honors course. We are expanding these into more STEM offerings as well as expanded humanities offerings. Starting with the 2022-23 school year, O’Dea will be the first high school to offer STEM credits, beginning with College in the Classroom credits for Calculus 1 and 2 at Seattle University. During the 2022-23 school year, we will look to expand the Seattle University partnership, with guest lectures from professors on our campus and trips to the Seattle University campus to engage their professors. This will allow our juniors and seniors to have a college experience before they graduate, further preparing them for their future. We will also spend this year looking at ways to expand course offerings in humanities and STEM. Our goal in this is to provide equitable access to all of our graduating students, where everyone has an opportunity to earn up to 20 college credits for their work at O’Dea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you removing AP courses?

The AP courses have long been synonymous with rigor in a high school setting. However, research has shown that teaching to a test does not allow educators to be as responsive as they need to be with their students to promote optimal growth. In addition, spending a large portion of the year on test preparation does not allow enough time for educators to go deeper into the content and teach the skills students will need.

How will this impact college acceptance?

The O’Dea Counseling Department has communicated with a number of universities who all note that a dual-enrollment college course with SU will be considered a rigorous course in the review process, just like an AP course.

What is the process for applying for credits from SU?

In the fall, we will send notice to families and students with a link to register and pay for credits from SU. They are firm on their policy that you need to decide early in the process on whether or not you want to purchase credits.

Can I do both AP credits and SU credits for the same course?

Yes, you can do both. However, colleges will not accept both AP test credits as well as SU transfer credits from the same subject, only one or the other. You are welcome to do this, potentially to improve your test outcome but in the end, you may end up spending money you don’t need to spend.

What does O'Dea recommend?

O’Dea recommends students take the SU option, where the credits are guaranteed if you pass the class and not contingent on a test score. The cost for credits is more expensive than the AP test but SU has options available for families who may not be able to pay full price for the credits (do not let money be the deciding factor). The grades on the SU transcript will show up as CR, without a letter grade and without impacting college GPA.