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 primary goals of the foreign language program are to teach students to communicate confidently in a foreign language and to appreciate the cultures in which the language is spoken. Students may study Spanish or French during their High School years to fulfill their foreign language requirement. Since students vary in their language skills, the program strives to individualize instruction to address strengths and weaknesses. The four central pillars of any language program – listening, speaking, reading and writing – are all emphasized. Many opportunities to develop each are included in the program. Student writings, class presentations, challenging readings and exposure to foreign language visual media combine to strengthen all dimensions of students’ language acquisition. Frequent sojourns into Spanish/French culture, customs, cuisine, literature, arts and history bring language study alive and engender an enthusiasm for the language that contributes to its successful acquisition. Practical aspects of the value of learning an additional language are stressed – for example, the need for another language in an expanding world. The Foreign Language Department sponsors a Foreign Language Week and participates in the annual National Spanish/French Contests.
- SPANISH III/FRENCH III
The level centers around the refinement of grammar, development of conversational and emphasis on spontaneous verbal expression. Increased reading, writing and speaking prepares students for the continuation of language learning.
* Honors components are offered depending on enrollment.
- SPANISH IV/FRENCH IV
This level develops greater proficiency in language skills: listening, comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Greater emphasis is placed on cultural aspects. A series of reading selections are integrated into the course to reinforce and expand vocabulary and reading and speaking skills. Prepared and spontaneous conversation is stressed. The foreign language will be used exclusively.
* Honors components are offered depending on enrollment.
- SPANISH IV – ADVANCED PLACEMENT
The Foreign Language Department offers an AP Spanish IV course to qualified students, which includes all skills for foreign language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course will focus on the development of advanced reading and listening comprehension, oral proficiency and written expression, as well as integration of Hispanic culture and customs. These skills will be achieved through the use of media, selected literature and textbooks geared to AP vocabulary and grammar development. AP Spanish IV is a fast-paced course, dedicated to highly motivated and responsible students willing to meet its academic challenges.
* The AP exam is given in May and students enrolled in this course must take the exam.
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.
Eleventh grade health meets once a week or a semester and is required of all students. Main topics of discussion are: mental health with a focus on stress and stress management; pregnancy and contraceptive methods; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, dating and domestic violence, and substance use, misuse and abuse.HEBREW
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, friends and Israeli peers in Modern Hebrew. The Hebrew language curriculum in the High School aims to create a love for and knowledge of Modern Hebrew in its linguistic, cultural and spiritual context. Students continue to develop and practice their competencies in Hebrew and as Hebrew language abilities increase greater emphasis is placed on literature and literary analysis. We empower our students to express themselves creatively and intellectually in Hebrew and to use Hebrew during their High School Israel Experiences. While the language skills of speaking, writing, reading and oral comprehension are core to the curriculum, the study of Israel and its society serves as a central focus.
The NETA Hebrew Language Program is the core curriculum for the Hebrew Department. This curriculum was specifically designed for Jewish Day Schools, grades 6-12, thereby creating a coherent and consistent curriculum for our students.
Our curriculum integrates content and linguistics with critical thinking. Through the development of its units, the reading of various genres of literature and interactive learning activities, the curriculum develops students’ abilities to understand, read, write and speak Hebrew on a wide variety of topics, such as: sports, ecology, pop culture as well as freedom and responsibility. These skills will be transferable on any given topic, appropriate to the student’s Hebrew level. The NETA curriculum is comprised of four levels: Pre-Neta, beginners, intermediate and advanced.
The students are placed in the appropriate level after placement tests and teachers’ recommendations. The aim of the curriculum is to develop language competencies by building upon the skills, grammatical structures and vocabulary of the previous unit or level. The curriculum is designed to help students develop an extensive repertoire of vocabulary and language skills. Vocabulary and grammatical structures that are taught in each unit are spiraled throughout the curriculum. The curriculum is graduated and the students’ achievements are measured via the length of texts, richness of vocabulary, grammatical and text complexity. The inclusion of creative thinking and development of linguistic skills will foster an innovative learning environment for Hebrew students. Class sessions are enriched through the use of multimedia, dialogue, songs and drama.LANGUAGE ARTS
The eleventh grade curriculum explores works of British literature from medieval times until the present. The course includes the reading and analysis of novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and drama. The formal reading list may include: summer reading selections, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Jane Eyre, Heart of Darkness, The Turn of the Screw, Brave New World, Macbeth, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gulliver’s Travels, The Importance of Being Earnest, Waiting for Godot, 1984, Pride and Prejudice, and selections of prose and poetry from an anthology. Works are often studied in relation to the life and times of the writers. Writing skills are developed in a number of ways: expository, descriptive, persuasive, argumentative, and comparative. Creative writing is also encouraged. All students work towards the creation of a writing portfolio, which encourages individual growth. Students are also required to complete a literary research paper, using MLA format, on a subject encompassed by British literature.
Various formal and informal assignments focus on public speaking and developing students’ ability to present material clearly and effectively. Students are offered the opportunity to expand their vocabularies and practice for the S.A.T. exam. Grammar and vocabulary instruction are approached through students’ own writing and the literature. The preparation for the college application essay is also an important element of this course. This course is offered at two levels: honors, and college-prep.
- AP LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
Students will develop analytical reading and writing skills that will prepare them for the advanced placement exam in literature offered each May by the Educational Testing Service. Beyond this specific goal, this course, in a manner similar to our honors program, will enable students to consider how great writers throughout the centuries have played with or performed with language to create rich imaginative, intellectual, and emotional experiences for their readers, and how, in this pursuit, writers play to language’s ambiguity, creating meanings on a variety of levels. They will have an opportunity, as well, to recognize that while writers create their works in the context of particular times and places, their works are a response to or reaction against the texts that preceded their own. The central distinctions between this course and the honors English program are ones of scope and intensity rather than intention. This course considers the relationships between English and American texts. The formal reading list may include: The Sun Also Rises, Washington Square, Wuthering Heights, Emma, Macbeth, Heart of Darkness, All The Pretty Horses, Leaving The Atocha Station, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Writing skills are developed in a number of ways: expository, descriptive, persuasive, argumentative, and comparative. All students work towards the creation of a writing portfolio, which encourages individual growth. Students are offered the opportunity to expand their vocabularies and practice for the S.A.T. exam. Grammar and vocabulary instruction are approached through students’ own writing and the literature. The preparation for the college application essay is also an important element of this course.
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
- ALGEBRA II
This course includes a review of real number equations and inequalities, linear equations and functions, systems of equations, polynomial and rational expressions. The teacher introduces radical expressions, complex numbers, quadratic and polynomial equations. When student population permits, there is an Honors class at this level.
This course includes a review of trigonometry of the right triangle, and then proceeds to explore trigonometric identities and equations, trigonometry as a function of the unit circle, graphing, exponents, logarithms, conic sections, sequences and series.
- ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS
The objective of this course is to prepare students for the Advance Placement Calculus AB Test. Passing this test gives college credit for Calculus I. Topics covered include: Limits continuity derivatives, differentiability, integration, methods of integrations, methods of differentiation and the application of all topics. It delves into trigonometric functions and logarithmic applications. Students will be expected to sit the AP Calculus exam (AB) at the end of their Junior year. In advanced situations, students may be prepared to take the BC Calculus Test. Passing this test will give students college credit for Calculus I and II.
After years of diversified curriculum where students are exposed to many different sports and fitness activities, the tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders elect most of the activities in the physical education classes. Students are given the opportunity to select an activity for approximately 4-6 weeks. Activities could include but are not limited to: team sports, individual sports, fitness walking/cross country running; aerobics/ dance/pilates; or weght room.
Students will have the opportunity to master and perfect previously learned skills. However, the main focus of the curriculum is to continue to develop positive attitudes towards lifetime fitness and to develop a love for lifetime fitness sports.
Throughout the year, students will also participate in GOA’s physical fitness test and will be monitored regularly for improvement.RABBINICS AND TANAKH
Once having passed the competency exam, students in grades 10 – 12 take two Judaics courses per semester (4 per year)—one in Tanakh and one in Jewish Thought and Tradition.
The Tanakh and Jewish Thought and Tradition courses are multi-grade, with students at various Hebrew levels. They arerelatively small and rely on careful planning and differentiation to maintain rigor while allowing for a range of learners.We offer some advanced courses for students interested in high-level, traditional text study. There are also honors components in most courses, where students who do more advanced work earn an honors designation for the course on their transcripts.
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.
This course introduces the basic concepts, principles and methods of classical physics. Topics included in this course are Newton’s laws, momentum and energy. The students will analyze a broad range of applications of the physical laws in numerous natural phenomena, technological processes and engineering devices. Students will be exposed to a variety of methods used in physics by doing both analytical problem solving and laboratory experimentation. Students will apply their mathematical knowledge in analyzing scientific problems.
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.
- AMERICAN HISTORY
Using a chronological and conceptual approach, this course begins by focusing on the rising sectionalism of the antebellum period and how political and social conflicts led to the Civil War. The course continues with Reconstruction and its aftermath, the emergence of modern, industrial America and the concomitant economic, political and social issues that arose: rapid industrialization, the plight of the farmer, the rise of labor and the accompanying reform movements. In addition, the students study the emergence of the United States from isolation to its rise as a world power during the 20th century: World War I, World War II and the Holocaust, the American Century. Integrated into the course content is the role the American Jewish community played in the emergence of modern America of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Current events are included to update present American policy based on the historical events of the 20th century. This multidisciplinary approach utilizes primary and secondary sources to foster class discussion, research and problem solving. Field trips and guest speakers supplement the curriculum when applicable. A mid-term and a final exam are required.
An honors course is offered to eligible students who want a greater challenge. This honors course emphasizes more utilization of primary sources and independent study than the regular history course. A mid-term and a final exam are required.
Advanced Placement in American History is offered to eligible students who want to take the AP American History Exam. The course content is more concentrated with heavy emphasis on primary sources, independent research and preparation for the AP American History exam. Students are required to take the AP American History exam in May.
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.