Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1960 as part of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.  The school derives its name from Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, a Catholic nun, French saint, and founder of the first houses of the Society of the Sacred Heart in America.  Duchesne is an all-girls school and began its enrollment in 1960 with 52 students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.  Today, the school educates over 600 girls from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade.  Duchesne is a part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

10202 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77024                                              Ms. Jan Dunn, RSCJ, Headmistress

713-468-8211                                                                                            Ms. Beth Speck, Director of Admissions


Religious Affiliation

Duchesne is a Catholic, college preparatory school, which incorporates the Catholic faith into its curriculum.  The Society of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1800 in France by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and allows membership only to women.  The Society emphasizes women’s education, and Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne brought that emphasis to the USA in 1818.  All schools in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools are required to adhere to the Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart Education to commit themselves to educate to:

  1. A personal and active faith in God.
  2. Deep respect for intellectual values.
  3. Social awareness which impels to action.
  4. The building of community as a Christian value.
  5. Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

Location and Facilities

Duchesne is located off of I-10 at the corner of Memorial Drive and Chimney Rock.  The campus originally covered the 15-acre Bering family estate in 1960, but was reduced by the eventual enlargement of Chimney Rock road.  The campus boasts many pine trees and a feeling of seclusion from the Memorial area.  Duchesne’s facilities include two main classroom buildings, tennis courts, gymnasium, athletics field, and a chapel.  The “White House” contains the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools, as well as the School Libraries.  The Fine Arts Building contains an atrium for art shows, a theater room, a dance studio, and several art rooms.  The chapel is large enough for 300 people and received multiple awards in 1999 from various religious programs.


Students who wish to attend Duchesne must complete their Candidate Profile.  The Candidate Profile includes filling out the online application form (available in September 2011), Admissions testing results, Teacher Evaluation forms, all educational records (transcripts & report cards), standardized tests scores, and interviews & visits.  Admissions testing for Pre-K to grade 4 students are individualized evaluations, while grades 5 to 12 must submit ISEE test scores.  Teacher Evaluation forms for grades 6 to 8 must be from their Math and English teachers, while students in grades 9 to 12 must also include a Teacher Evaluation form from their current principal.   Once spaces are filled, Duchesne offers a Wait Pool in which students are not ranked and are reevaluated once a space opens up in enrollment.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

Duchesne incorporates its Catholic faith and background into all aspects of its curriculum.  The school features three tracks: On Track, Advanced Track, and the AP Track.  Duchesne requires that students take 4 years of English, Math, Science, History, and Religious Studies in order to graduate.  AP courses are listed as electives, but count towards achieving these requirements for each section.  As part of the Religious Studies requirements, students must participate in Social Awareness in which they must complete four community service projects each year of their Upper School career.  Students may take Robotics and Engineering, World Religions, Creative Writing, Shakespeare, History of Film, Environmental Science, Spanish Literature, and more.

Students must earn 27.5 credits to graduate: English (4), History (4), Math (4), Science (4), Foreign Language (3), Physical Education/Health (2), Religious Studies (4), Fine Arts (1), Speech (.5), Computer Studies (.5), Laptop Integration (.5), and Social Awareness (no credit).

Special Needs

No information provided.

Foreign Languages

Per graduation requirements, students must take 3 years of a Foreign Language.  Duchesne offers French, Spanish, and Latin to satisfy this requirement.  The school’s history stems from France, and, as such, Duchesne takes pride in its French Language program.  Students interested in French may take up to French V, AP French Language, and AP French Literature.  Duchesne also offers a comprehensive Spanish Language program, where students may take up to Spanish V, AP Spanish Language, and AP Spanish Literature.  Latin I introduces students to the literature and history of Roman culture, and an understanding of the language from which the English language finds many of its roots.


Students are required to complete 1 credit in Fine Arts courses (most are worth .5 credits) and Duchesne offers a wide selection.  Students interested in music may join the Music Ensemble, Sacred Ensemble, Music Theory and Application, Orchestra, and Band, the latter combining with St. Thomas High School for rehearsals performances.  Students wishing to get creative with visual media can take courses in Photography, Drawing, Ceramics, and Painting.  Theatre Arts courses are also offered for students who wish to develop their acting abilities as well as be exposed to the process of production.  Duchesne offers AP Art History and three AP courses in Studio Art (Drawing, 2D Design, and 3D Design).


Duchesne began the Learning with Laptops program in 1998 and currently offers a 1:1 ratio of computers to students in the Middle and Upper Schools.  Students may bring their own laptops or be supplied with a school owned laptop.  As of 2010, Duchesne began integrating Tablet PCs into every classroom in grades 5 through 12.  DASHBoard (Moodle) is used by students to connect with faculty on matters of homework, tests, and online resources.  DASHConnect is the communications portal used to connect parents, Duchesne alum, faculty, and staff.  Students may also participate in the CAVE (Computer Audio/Visual Emergencies) Helpdesk, which acts as an internship rather than a traditional class.  CAVE Helpdesk students help in the repair of a number of computer and technical issues, from laptops to printers to projection devices.  The CAVE staff is certified in the COMPTia A+ curriculum and in Toshiba, IBM, and HP Portables.

Extracurricular Activities

Students in the Upper School have access to a large number of extracurricular activities, such as clubs and opportunities for community service.  As for clubs, students may choose one A club, one B club, and one or two Independent clubs, though clubs vary from year to year.  A clubs might feature French, Spanish, Tolkien, and St. Thomas Spirit, while B clubs might feature Face AIDS, Shakespeare, and Anime.  Independent clubs might include Fishers of Women, Cycling, Campus Ministry, STAND, Robotics, and Yoga.  As part of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, students have access to the Sacred Heart Exchange Program.  This program gives students the opportunity to spend several weeks at another Sacred Heart School in the US or Sprout Creek Farm, a working farm in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Students may also attend the Sacred Heart School in Australia during the summer.


As early as 7th grade, students can participate in a variety of sports throughout the year and 8th grade students compete in the Houston Junior Preparatory Conference.  7th and 8th grade students may participate in Basketball, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Track, and Volleyball.  Upper School students (grades 9-12) compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools league against schools such as St. Agnes and St. Pius.  Upper School students may participate in Golf, Basketball, Tennis, Softball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Soccer, Track, Swimming, and Volleyball.  During the summer, Middle and Upper School students may join the Field Hockey and Volleyball camps.

Parent Involvement

The primary goal of Duchesne’s Parents’ Association (PA) lies in encouraging the building of community as a Christian value. The PA sponsors events such as the Mothers’ and Fathers’ Welcome Coffee, the Book Fair, the Mother-Daughter Luncheon, the Extravaganza Benefit Auction, and more.  Parent volunteers also staff the school’s bookstore, facilitate uniform resale, and take part in family outreach programs.

Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart Fast Facts

School Type Religious, Girls
Religious Affiliation Roman Catholic
Uniforms Yes
Date Founded 1960
Endowment (June 30, 2010) $6.3 million
Grades Served Pre-K to 12th
Enrollment 714
     Grade 12 67
     Grade 11 62
     Grade 10 69
     Grade 9 66
     Grade 8 56
     Grade 7 43
     Grade 6 62
     Grade 5 48
     Grade 4 40
     Grade 3 41
     Grade 2 40
     Grade 1 36
     Kindergarten 40
     Pre-Kindergarten 44
Student to Teacher Ratio 9:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 40/73%
Minorities in Student Body 38%
Academic Tracks Offered On Track, Advanced Track, AP Track
Advanced Placement Courses Offered 16
Languages Offered French, Spanish, Latin
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 10
Graduating Seniors  
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) 3/4%
Average SAT Scores (Class of 2010) 1830
     Mathematics 595
     Critical Reading 604
     Writing 631
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University N/A
Prime Entry Points Pre-K, K, 1, 5, 9
Pre-K (Half days)

Pre-K (Full days)



Grades K-4 $17,036
Grades 5-8 $18,856
Grades 9-12 $20,646
New Student Fee (Facilities Fund Fee) $750
PC Tablet Package Fee ~$2,300
Students on Financial Aid N/A


Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”

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