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Explore. Design. Discover. Innovate.

Welcome to the Vista High School’s Science Department:

●       The VHS Science Department believes in the power of inquiry, exploration, and discovery. Our mission is to ignite curiosity and inspire a deep understanding of the natural world through rigorous, engaging, hands-on learning experiences. We encourage students to think critically, solve problems, and make connections between science and the real world. Whether you're dissecting a pig, designing catapults, studying the stars, or experimenting with chemical reactions, you'll find a welcoming and supportive environment here.


What We Offer:

●       Comprehensive Curriculum: From Biological & Physical Sciences to Earth & Environmental Science, our diverse course offerings provide a solid foundation in all major scientific disciplines.

●       State-of-the-Art Facilities: Our brand new modern labs and technology-equipped classrooms offer students the tools they need to conduct experiments, analyze data, and bring scientific concepts to life.

●       Passionate Educators: Our dedicated and experienced teachers are committed to nurturing students' curiosity and helping them achieve their academic and personal goals.

●       Extracurricular Opportunities: Join our science clubs, participate in competitions, and take part in exciting field trips to expand your learning beyond the classroom.

Science Courses:


Science Requirements

Please keep in mind the following information about the science courses available at VHS:

●       Minimum VUSD Graduation Requirement:

          ○       One year of life science (10 credits) and one year of physical science (10 credits).

●       Minimum UC & CSU science requirements:

          ○       Two years (although three years is highly recommended) of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry and physics.

■       Note: Credit in these courses must receive a grade of “C” or better to meet the UC admission standards.

●       Students interested in Physical and Life Sciences or Engineering Majors:

          ○       Four years highly recommended for STEM majors.

●       Core courses follow Next Generation Science Standards. (NGSS)

●       All Advanced Placement courses follow the College Board objectives to prepare students for the AP exam.

●       All International Baccalaureate courses follow the IB Essential Ideas to prepare for the IB papers and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

          ○       All International Baccalaureate courses require an internal assessment (research project). Timing of IB assessments is determined by International Baccalaureate.

●       Some courses may have limited space. Please see your counselor or your science teacher.

Science Dept. Faculty

■      Ms. Bechtold
          (IB Environmental Systems & Societies, Chemistry, Chemistry Honors)

■      Mr. Darling
           (Honors Biology and IB Biology HL Year 2)


■      Mrs. Kunz
           (Biology, AP Bio/IB Biology HL Year 1)


■      Ms. Magnuson
           (Honors Chemistry, AP Chemistry)


■      Ms. Mahmoudi
           (Earth & Space Science, IB Environmental Systems & Societies)


■      Mr. O’Neill
          (Engineering, AP Physics 1/2, IB Physics SL/HL, IB Design Tech)


■      Mr. Regina
          (Biology, IB Sports Exercise and Health Science)


■      Mrs. Switzler
          (Science Inquiry, Biology)


■      Mrs. Witman
          (Biology, IB Sports Exercise and Health Science, & Anatomy & Physiology)

■      Ms. Benner


Helpful Science Links

●       Next Generation Science Standards

●       College Board Advanced Placement

●       International Baccalaureate Diploma