Who is wise? One who learns from all persons (Pirke Avot 4:1). We believe that all learning is ause
(sacred) and strive to instill in our students a true love of learning. We want our students to be actively engaged in the world around them and we seek to graduate students fully confident in their ability to be life-long learners.
High School is a time for consolidation and mastery of knowledge. This is a time for students both to gain competence in individual disciplines and to synthesize content and skills across those disciplines. The very same logical thinking that serves a student in discussion in Talmud class can be applied to solving proofs in geometry. Similarly, electives help our students to see the world around them from a different perspective and to encourage them to apply creative ideas and concepts to all aspects of the curriculum. These years move our students toward independence. The academic goal is to fine-tune the students’ analytical skills and thinking processes so that they can approach a biblical text, a social studies primary document or a physics problem independently.
Our students know when they graduate that they are members of the Jewish community, people of the book and lifelong learners.ELECTIVES
High school students choose from an array of electives, including fine arts, digital photography, music, drama, public speaking, yearbook, computers and creative writing. Electives generally meet twice during each academic block and offer students the opportunity to develop skills, explore new areas of interest and work individual and group projects. Courses encourage creativity and the application of skills and knowledge to problem-solving. Class sizes tend to be small and allow for individualized attention.FOREIGN LANGUAGE
The mission of the Foreign Language Department in the Upper School at GOA is to immerse students in language study that will enable them to communicate confidently in a foreign language. Students are exposed to a variety of accents and perspectives, and develop an appreciation for the variety of cultures in which the target language is spoken. The four central pillars of language learning: listening, speaking, reading, and writing – are equally emphasized though a dynamic curriculum that incorporates authentic sources from beginning levels to advanced placement. Student writings, class presentations, challenging readings and exposure to foreign language visual media combine to strengthen all dimensions of students’ language acquisition. GOA students learn to communicate purposely both in written and spoken modes. Classes are taught in the target language with some English used to clarify grammatical concepts.
- SPANISH I
Students will be able to communicate in Spanish on a basic level in a variety of everyday situations. The first half of the Avancemos 1 textbook includes topics such as basic conversation skills, geography and nationalities, hobbies and activities, school life and family. Students are introduced to cultures and customs in countries and states in which Spanish is spoken. The department uses ancillary materials such as the Avancemos 1 workbook, videos and CDs.
- SPANISH II
The curriculum for this level builds on the foundation established in Spanish I, and students complete the Avancemos 1 textbook. Students expand their vocabulary and begin to incorporate more complex grammatical structures. The past tense is introduced, and students develop the ability to communicate about additional topics such as health, entertainment, sports and technology. The department uses ancillary materials such as the Avancemos 1 workbook, videos and CDs.
Comparable to Middle School, the High School health curriculum is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and to assist students in maintaining one’s personal level of health and wellness. Emphasis is placed on the individual’s responsibility to make appropriate choices to meet these goals. Responsible decision making, problem solving, appropriate forms of communication, coping and enhancing relationships are skills taught in the High School. These skills are essential to creating a healthy, responsible adult.
The ninth grade course is designed to help students examine their lifestyles, select goals, and make plans to achieve and maintain optimum health. The health education classroom serves as a laboratory where students focus on personal health, health issues of others and environmental issues. Major topics discussed in ninth grade include nutrition, and illness related to nutrition and diet; appropriate dating behaviors & Jewish perspective on sexuality; AIDS awareness and substance abuse (with an emphasis on marijuana use & abuse).
Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people and the heart of the Jewish soul. The Hebrew language unites us as Jews to the land of Israel, its past, present and future. Through the study of Modern Hebrew, students identify with their Jewish heritage and gain access to the study of classical Jewish texts, as well as being able to converse with their family and friends in Modern Hebrew.LANGUAGE ARTS
Students in High School study Hebrew from the Books Bishvil Ha’ivrit 3-5, and from advanced NETA ( נוער לטובת העברית, No'ar leTovat ha'Ivrit) books 21-25 according to their class level. In addition to the NETA books students read original literature in modified Hebrew.
Through the development of our Hebrew curriculum in High school we present our students with the reading of various genres of literature and undergo interactive learning activities. Our main goal is to expand the student’s vocabulary knowledge, further develop students’ abilities to understand, read, write and speak Hebrew on a wide variety of topics, such as: sports, ecology, pop culture as well as leadership, freedom and responsibility.
Upon completion of the units students are able to Listen to short lectures and read non-fiction texts, present a personal point of view in the related topics and discuss moral issues, read and listen to conversations and monologues, act out similar conversations ,talk about the emotional implications stem from these topics, read modern stories and poems , listen to songs, read Jewish texts from the Bible from Rabbinic midrashim ,Write semi-formal letters ,Conjugate verbs in regular and irregular verbs form in all three tenses - past, present, and future – incorporated in speech and in writing, act out everyday conversations about different topics as ordering a cab in the city, buying shoes, and setting the Table for a meal with many participants.
The curriculum is graduated and the students’ achievements are being measured via the length of texts, richness of vocabulary, grammatical and text complexity. The inclusion of creative thinking, contented with linguistic skills enriched class sessions with the use of multi-media, dialogues, songs and drama fosters an innovative learning environment for learning Hebrew.
As the transition year from middle school to high school, ninth grade offers review and skills support while introducing students to the more rigorous requirements of analytical reading, critical thinking, and precise writing. The course emphasizes genre: the short story, the novel, drama, the essay and the poem. Selections are drawn from varied time periods and settings. Some works are studied in close detail; others are treated more broadly, but all are focused to help students understand, through characters and situations in literature, more about themselves, their lives, and the world in which they live. The following works may be included: summer reading selections, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, Night, Antigone, Julius Caesar, The Day of the Triffids, Fahrenheit 451
, and a variety of short stories and poetry. Students write frequently: informal prewriting, focused journal entries, expository, comparative, narrative, and analytical essays. Students study the formal research paper and prepare a paper following MLA format. They also study grammar and vocabulary regularly. This course is offered at two levels: accelerated and college-prep.MATHEMATICS
Our High School courses are aimed at preparing students for advanced math study and for its use in other fields. The curriculum prepares students to meet college admission requirements as well. Another important goal is to develop analytical and independent thinking. As a department we keep abreast of current changes in instruction and technology. In the math department we look at the student as a total person. With this in mind our teachers encourage our students to grow intellectually and into well-rounded adults who have the ability to learn. Overall Goals:
- Develop a mastery of the basic skills needed for High School math topics:
- properties of real numbers
- language of sets
- operations with real numbers and variables
- Develop an understanding of functions and relations
- Develop higher order thinking skills
- Develop proper study skills
- Expose students to technology through the use of calculators (including graphing), SmartBoards, computers, and math software and Apps
- Motivate students to extend themselves to their fullest ability
This course introduces points, lines and planes and proceeds to the study of parallel lines and planes, congruence, congruent triangles, similar polygons, right triangles, circles and area, surface area and volume. Students develop their deductive reasoning skills throughout this course, by providing informal justifications and arguments as well as by writing formal two-column proofs. Principles of logical reasoning are introduced early, before the study of proof. Algebra concepts and metric geometry skills are interwoven with the geometry and the interplay among the various branches of mathematics helps strengthen students’ understanding of geometry and increase their abilities to solve problems. Students use GeoGebra, a dynamic and interactive geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus application, intended for learning mathematics at all levels of education.
Physical Education is required of all students. Ninth grade students are scheduled for health and physical education twice a week. One entire marking period will be spent studying health and three marking periods will be spent in physical education classes. One of the three marking periods of physical education will be spent in the study and participation in rhythms, aerobics, dance, full body workout routines, and/or circuit training. The other two marking periods of physical education will be spent learning new and improving previously learned sport skills. During all three marking periods of physical education, the students will continue to work on improving and maintaining individual fitness levels.
Emphasis is placed on development of lifetime fitness skills and positive attitudes towards the importance of physical activity. Positive group attitudes are encouraged so that the sportsmanship, group, cohesiveness and effort occur simultaneously. Activities could include soccer, field hockey, football, tennis, volleyball, basketball, badminton football, tennis, volleyball, team handball and ultimate Frisbee. Students will also spend several weeks in the weight room learning proper lifting techniques.
Throughout the year, students will also participate in GOA’s physical fitness test and will be monitored regularly for improvement.TANAKH AND RABBINICS
Students in 9th grade will complete a core curriculum in Tanakh and Rabbinics, as well as prepare for a competency exam in both areas. The core curriculum in Tanakh is an overview of the Humash, to familiarize students with various genres of biblical literature, including law, poetry, genealogy, and narrative. The theme of the course centers on Brit (covenant), the ancestral family, and the Promised land. Students will study selected passages from each section of the Humash, along with summaries of some traditional and modern commentaries. Students gain text skills, working on translation of the biblical text and greater familiarity with biblical grammar.
The Rabbinics class is an overview of the period from the destruction of the Second Temple through the editing of the Mishnah in 212 C.E. The class will focus on Judaism’s transformation to a rabbinic model in a post-Temple world, and will look at the pressures and difficulties associated with the destruction of the Temple and the rabbis’ assumption of authority. Some of the issues students explore include how the rabbis made legal decisions, how Judaism survived the destruction of the 2nd Temple, the Judean and Bar Kochba revolts, how the Mishnah served as a stabilizing factor, and how the rabbis grappled with early Christianity.SCIENCE
The primary mission of the Golda Och Academy High School Science Department is to provide our students with a strong foundation in science. Our goal is to prepare the students to be decision making adults in a time of increasing technological and social complexity. Our students will develop universal critical and creative thinking skills that have application in all intellectual endeavors. Students will have the opportunity to reach the highest academic standards in the scientific disciplines, consistent with their abilities. Through the use of hands-on learning and the integration of technology into the curriculum, we teach our students observational techniques, quantitative skills, and analytical thinking. In High School, our students take the sequence of biology, chemistry and physics, as preparation for college.
The Social Studies curriculum is based on the concept that the past provides a vital key to understanding and appreciating the complexity of the contemporary world. The department introduces students to the paradigms, lexicons and methodologies of the various disciplines within social studies: history, economics, sociology, geography and culture. Students are encouraged to integrate content knowledge and to analyze a variety of issues. They are exposed to ancient, medieval and modern periods, to Eastern and Western cultures and to Muslim, Jewish and Christian societies. Discussions and readings examine political, social and ethical issues. The study of Jewish History, in particular, is an important component of all social studies courses. The goal of social studies is not only to prepare the students for success in higher education but also to help them to become independent thinkers, capable of making informed decision as citizens and leaders of the Jewish community in a pluralistic society.
- ORIGINS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD
European History traces the development of Western Civilization from the late Roman period to the early nineteenth century utilizing a chronological and thematic approach. This course discusses the development of Western religious traditions including the Jewish experience in the Mediterranean world and Europe. Concentration is placed on the ideas and institutions that influenced the growth of nation-states, capitalism and democracy. The role of individual leaders, the growth of democratic institutions and contributions in the arts and sciences are also examined. A variety of supplementary sources and special projects are used to deepen an understanding of past and present events, develop independent research skills and promote analytical thinking. A mid-term and a final exam are required.
An advanced course is offered to eligible students who want a greater challenge. This advanced course emphasizes more utilization of primary sources and independent study than the regular history course. A mid-term and final exam are required.
At Golda Och Academy, we teach students how to learn. Various courses have different sets of skills that need to be mastered in order for students to become successful learners. For example, there are specific strategies for reading textbooks in science or history and others for reading literature. When students gain competencies in study and organizational skills they become more effective and independent as learners. While some students master these skills through trial and error, others require more systematic instruction.
Selected students have a structured study/support group in lieu of taking a romance language (i.e., Spanish or French). The structured study/support group has two goals: first to provide academic support and second to develop more effective learning/study strategies for students with different learning needs. Daily topics and activities of study skills are reflective of the needs of individual or groups of students, as communicated to the teacher by the students and their other teachers. For example, if a social studies teacher will be assigning a “compare and contrast” essay assignment, the students will practice using pre-planning strategies for a “compare and contrast” essay. Visual learners might use a graphic organizer with color-coding. Auditory learners might devise different rhythms or tunes to recite similarities and differences. The kinesthetic learner might design flashcards or charts.In addition to learning and practicing study and organizational skills that complement individual learning needs, students learn and practice self-advocacy skills (e.g. I need; Would it be possible for me to…). We expect students to be able to describe their unique learning styles and needs and advocate for themselves when they leave Golda Och Academy and enter college.