Seattle’s Jesuit College Prep School Since 1891


Department Mission Statement

Science is a method of coming to know; the process itself teaches the need for exploration. The science classes at Seattle Prep teach the importance of making connections through exploration in an attempt to instill a spirit of adventure and wonder in every student. This philosophy stresses a scientific process for exploration of the world as God reveals it to us.

As we guide students down this path, their experiences within the classroom help them become scientifically literate. To do this, we emphasize the processes, content, and skills embedded within science. Our students gain an understanding and appreciation of the workings of the physical world, and an openness to growth that leads to the desire for life-long learning. Students also learn to recognize the appropriate uses of technology and, in this way, the importance of ethical decision-making becomes significant.

Click here for a visual flowchart of the Prep science curriculum.

Freshman Science Placements

My name is Heather Murphy and I have the privilege of serving as the Science Department Chair. First let me welcome you to Seattle Preparatory School and let you know how glad we are that you have chosen to join us.

Seattle Prep offers two freshman science possibilities: Biology and Honors Biology. Our goal is to place students in the class where they will be appropriately challenged, and also highly successful. We use the High School Placement Test (HSPT) scores in all categories, as well as the math placement test, to identify students who are highly prepared for high school level science and likely to be successful in Honors Biology. Years of data have shown us that our placement process for incoming freshmen is highly accurate. The majority of incoming freshmen will take Biology and find it to be an appropriately challenging course. Even those students who are strong science learners, including those students who have had some biology previously, tend to find that they are appropriately challenged by the Biology curriculum, due to the depth and breadth of the class. You will also find that there are lots of opportunities for students to move up into the Honors classes in subsequent years, with students who start in Biology having a very solid foundation on which to build with those classes. A student starting in Biology has access to all of the same classes as a student starting in Honors Biology. Here is a link to the progression of science classes at Seattle Prep.

Following a review of HSPT and math placement test scores, the student and parents will be notified of the student’s science placement for freshman year via email. As with all levels of science, an appeal process will be in place for students who wish to be considered for a class other than what has been assigned.

Again, welcome to Seattle Prep, and I hope that we can work together to make next year a great year for all of our incoming freshmen.

Heather M. Murphy
Chemistry Teacher
Science Department Chair

meet the department chair

Heather Murphy
is a chemistry teacher at Seattle Preparatory School. She is the Science Department Chair and teaches Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and AP Chemistry. She has been a faculty member at Prep since 2006. Mrs. Murphy has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puget Sound and a Masters in Teaching (MIT) from Seattle University. In addition, she has completed all of the classes (but not the research) for a Chemistry PhD from Cornell University. Mrs. Murphy holds a WA State Professional Teaching Certificate with endorsements in Chemistry, Science, and Math. Prior to teaching chemistry, she worked as an environmental chemist doing EPA testing and compliance work. Mrs. Murphy lives in Seattle with her husband, Mike, their two children, Sam (Prep '16) and Michael (Prep '17), their cat, Theodore, and their Corgi, Spartacus.