High School

GOA is not just a school. It’s a tight-knit community that focuses on the exploration of education and values through a Jewish lens. This community supported my continuous development by encouraging and enabling my participation in the arts, sports, literature and Jewish leadership. These experiences enriched my life at Cornell University.
— Kineret B. '14
    • Golda Och Academy Upper School is where students are seen, celebrated and elevated! Hear directly from our students about how a Golda Och Academy education is uniquely different from other school options, and why we are the #1 Jewish Day School in NJ!

The Golda Och Academy High School program prepares students to navigate college and their early adult experiences. We promote partnership between families and teachers to create a positive, rigorous learning environment while emphasizing each student’s social and emotional well-being.

List of 4 items.

  • #1

    Ranked Jewish Day School in New Jersey
  • 1:7

    Teacher-to-Student Ratio
  • 11

    Average Class Size
  • 80%

    of Seniors Attend their First Choice College/University

List of 4 items.

  • #12

    in SAT Scores Among All New Jersey Private Schools
  • 20+

    Clubs and Activities Across Grades 9 through 12
  • $4M+

    Million Awarded Annually for Tuition Reduction and Scholarships
  • 1965

    Founded 50+ Years Ago, A Rich History Educating Jewish Leaders
    • Watch this video to hear more from our recent graduates about how GOA equips our students to be Jewish leaders on campus and beyond.


List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Eytan Apter

    Dr. Eytan Apter 

    Principal, Upper School
    University of Pennsylvania - BA
    Fordham University - MST, PhD in Education

Academic Philosophies

List of 10 items.

  • Art

    Whether exploring their passion or introducing themselves to new art forms, High School students at GOA have opportunities to study visual arts, performing arts, digital media and music in student-centered courses that combine studio work and academic investigation. Students in the 9th grade may elect to take arts courses designed to enhance their understanding and appreciation for art design and for theater. Each of these semester courses includes design work and exploration of the history that has led to modern movements in visual art and theater.  10th and 11th grade students will each have one semester of an arts requirement in which they may choose from a variety of different classes, including 2D and 3D visual arts, photography, musical theater, music theory and movement. 12th grade students may elect to take a Senior Studio course during which they explore their artistic passion and delve deeply into their senior project.
  • Foreign Language

    At GOA, students learn Spanish language and culture through a variety of pathways. Students engage with the language through three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. Students are encouraged to make cultural comparisons as they explore thematic topics and authentic resources. Courses are conducted in the target language except when a grammar explanation is required. 
    Students in the 9th grade may elect to take Spanish (but are not required to take the class). The 9th grade curriculum builds on foundational concepts explored in the Spanish I course taken in 8th grade. 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. Students in the 10th grade continue to build upon their skills and develop more complex writing skills.

    Students in the 11th grade may opt to take the AP Spanish Language and Culture course which is founded on three modes of communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational. The course is taught exclusively in Spanish and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in each of the three modes, and gives them the tools to succeed on the AP Exam in May. The course is structured around six themes: global challenges, beauty and aesthetics, families and communities, personal and public identities, contemporary life and science and technology. Students also may choose to continue with advanced Spanish courses in their Senior Year that explore language, culture and history.
  • Hebrew

    The Hebrew program at Golda Och Academy is driven by the belief that mastery of modern Hebrew promotes students’ understanding of their history, culture and tradition, excites them about lifelong Jewish learning, fosters a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and cultivates strong ties with Am Yisrael (the Jewish people) and Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel). Our program seeks to create a community of Hebrew speakers who can participate comfortably in a casual conversation,a sophisticated discussion,  and compose a thoughtful analysis of themes and literature specific to Israel and general topics. 

    In order to achieve these goals, Golda Och Academy utilizes the Bishvil Ha-Ivrit program that is rooted in the Communicative Approach. It offers students multiple opportunities to develop their communication skills – listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing . Students develop critical thinking skills through sequential linguistic progression (vocabulary and grammar) embedded in socially relevant themes, resources and learning experiences. As students gradually develop their Hebrew language proficiency by exploring vocabulary themes such as social action, community awareness, global warming and general topics of interest to teenagers. Additionally, students master grammar topics such as the active, past, conditional and future tenses while extending their vocabulary and complex syntax. The program introduces students to Hebrew from all historical periods: biblical, rabbinic, medieval, enlightenment and modern through authentic and adapted texts from a wide variety of genres. 

    Our robust program offers different levels of courses to accommodate students’ level of ability.  For students who have not yet studied Hebrew, GOA offers a special GO Connect program that introduces the language to students and develops an appreciation for the language of the Jewish people.
  • Judaic Studies

    The Golda Och Academy Judaic Studies program is geared towards helping Jewish adolescents find their passion, deepen their intellectual curiosity, and understand their place in the larger Jewish community.  Judaic Studies courses in the High School allow students to explore the ways in which ancient, medieval and modern texts inform the Jewish people as a whole and in their own Jewish identity today. 

    In 9th grade, Judaic Studies is divided between two foundational courses: Tanakh (Bible) and Rabbinics (Jewish Thought). The Tanakh course focuses on the foundational text of the Jewish people and introduces students to the biblical themes and narratives upon which Jewish tradition was founded. Students will  investigate various portions of the 5 books of the Torah and engage with the text on a deeper level through the themes of Israel, covenant and peoplehood. The Rabbinics course focuses on Judaism’s transformation to a rabbinic model in a post-Temple world through  Talmudic texts that reveal the struggles of the rabbinic community in the centuries following the Temple’s destruction. Students begin to explore modern day issues such as the kashrut of lab grown meat, self driving vehicles on Shabbat, Zoom minyanim and other modern technologies to consider how  ancient sources are still used to inform modern day decision-making in the Jewish community.
    Recognizing that each human being is uniquely created in the image of God and has different needs and interests, students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade have exciting opportunities to select their Judaic Studies path. Courses are offered in three main concentrations: Tanakh (Bible studies), Rabbinic Literature/Jewish Thought (Talmud, Jewish Law and Midrash) and Jewish Humanities (Philosophy, Literature and History). Courses are developed to engage students in meaningful text study in a variety of areas within the Jewish canon. Many of these courses are models of interdisciplinary education which give historical context to the texts and traditions of a particular time period. Others will give students background in ethics, theology, halakhah, (Jewish law) Jewish literature, and in specific books of the Tanakh.   
  • Language Arts

    The Golda Och Academy Language Arts program equips students with skills that enable them to read analytically, write effectively, and think critically. Through the instruction of and exposure to literature, GOA’s Language Arts department strives to: inspire a love of literature and create lifelong readers; expose students to diverse literature; and teach students that language can be ambiguous, can communicate on a variety of levels, and features implicit and explicit messages. Teachers provide opportunities for students to experiment with their voices and take intellectual risks in a safe environment. Students learn life lessons vicariously through the study of characters’ challenges, conflicts, and choices.

    As they transition from middle school to high school, the 9th grade students consider that “words matter” and examine the significance of diction and syntax. Along with reviewing foundational reading and writing skills, students are introduced to more rigorous requirements of close reading and precise writing. Students consider how language contributes to an understanding of what it means to be human, how it may be used to lead, manipulate, and/or influence, and how a close reading of an author’s language can yield an original argument. 

    Students in 10th and 11th grade explore foundational and contemporary works of American and British literature, respectively, in increasingly collegiate-level settings. Close reading skills are reinforced and developed and students begin to think more abstractly when considering the farther-reaching implications of the literature. Literary criticism is introduced, and students continue to analyze and evaluate overarching themes that serve to link the various texts, despite their varying time periods and plots. 12th grade students choose from among electives that explore both traditional and non-traditional texts and film. In each of the grades, students experiment with their writing, learn new techniques and master skills that enable them to enter college and the working world with a strong foundation in writing. 
  • Mathematics

    The goal of the Golda Och Academy Mathematics program is to provide a strong foundation in number sense, unlock curiosity, and prepare students for advanced math study and for its use in other fields. The High School curriculum prepares students to meet college admission requirements and develops analytical thinking to prepare future generations of Jewish leaders in a variety of math-related fields.

    Values such as appreciation of the importance and beauty of mathematics are integrated in the mathematics classroom along with the discovery that learning can be challenging and enjoyable. Students develop a willingness to try, persevere and gain self-confidence, self-satisfaction and motivation in the process. Since math is all around us, it naturally connects to other departments. The Mathematics program teaches students quantitative reasoning, problem solving, logic, symbolic representation, and expression. 

    The High School Math Curriculum provides opportunities for students to be challenged in different levels: college prep, accelerated, advanced, honors, and AP.  The program meets the needs of the students in the different grades by providing a rich selection of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, and Calculus. Faculty in the Math Department work with students and families to properly place each student in the most appropriate class that provides the academic rigor and academic support to allow each student to thrive.
  • Physical Education and Health

    The Golda Och Academy High School health curriculum is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and to assist students in achieving and 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.

    Topics discussed in 9th grade include nutrition, and illness related to nutrition and diet; appropriate dating behaviors & Jewish perspectives on sexuality; HIV awareness and substance abuse. The 10th grade High School health curriculum covers responsible decision making and problem solving as it relates to driver education theory. This course is mandatory for all tenth graders regardless of where they live (NY or NJ) and whether or not they have their permit to drive. The 11th grade health curriculum includes topics such as 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. As students prepare to leave Golda Och Academy, the 12th grade health curriculum focuses on  preparing graduates for life after High School. The major topics emphasized during the senior year are: the theories and principles in developing and maintaining total fitness and wellness; substance abuse with emphasis on living in a college environment, including alcohol and drug use on campus; preparing for adulthood, including consent, independent living and healthy relationships in all aspects of life.

    The Golda Och Academy Physical Education program emphasizes the development of lifetime fitness skills and positive attitudes towards the importance of physical activity. Positive group attitudes are encouraged so that sportsmanship, group cohesiveness, and perseverance occur simultaneously. Activities could include soccer, field hockey,, tennis, volleyball, basketball, badminton,touch football, tennis, yoga, fitness walking/ cross country running, volleyball, team handball and ultimate Frisbee. 
  • Science

    The primary mission of the Golda Och Academy High School Science program is to prepare the students to be decision making adults in a time of increasing technological and social complexity. Students 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. 

    9th grade students explore Biology where they study the major concepts of modern biology, including the cell, DNA and genetics, and the interdependent energetics of cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Students are also exposed to laboratory techniques, including microscope usage, chromatography, and DNA extraction. 10th grade students explore the fundamental, theoretical and experimental principles of Chemistry, including chemical reactions, stoichiometry, kinetic molecular theory, periodicity, bonding, acid-base theories and oxidation-reduction if time allows. 11th grade students are introduced to the basic concepts, principles and methods of classical physics. Students 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. 

    In their Senior Year of High School, students at GOA may elect to advance their knowledge in specific science disciplines or be introduced to new areas of science. Science electives prepare students for college-level study and provide real-world application.
  • Social Studies

    The Golda Och Academy 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. Students are introduced to the paradigms, lexicons and methodologies of the various disciplines within social studies: history, economics, sociology, geography and culture. 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 decisions as citizens and leaders of the Jewish community in a pluralistic society.

    The focus of the 9th grade course is European history from the 18th Century through World War II, laying the foundation of the modern world. Topics include new ideologies, and social and economic developments so students can analyze how mankind’s thinking evolved and shaped modern society . The 10th and 11th grade courses focus on American history. Students evaluate the changing role of government and the evolution of the United States in world affairs  from the Constitution to modern day. 12th grade students can choose from a variety of Social Studies elective classes that provide deeper and richer understanding of history, sociology, civics or economics. Students in the 11th and 12th grade explore the American Jewish experience and the History of Israel in semester-long Jewish History classes.

    Classes in Social Studies focus on building students’ skills including: utilizing and analyzing primary sources, essay writing, independent research, active listening, debating, respecting differing perspectives, verbalizing ideas, public speaking, role playing, and testing strategies/techniques.  
  • STEM

    The Dr. Lynne B Harrison High School STEM program is a three-and-a-half-year sequence of courses that students can elect to take in addition to the required science and mathematics coursework. Through collaborative group work and hands-on, project-based learning, students develop important problem-solving skills. They use the engineering design process to become innovative thinkers and self-confident in their ability to be independent learners. Students have access to the state-of-the-art tools and technology in our STEM center, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and a CNC router, and are encouraged to use every tool at their disposal to bring their ideas to life.

    In the STEM program, students will focus on the application of science, technology, engineering and math to everyday life, employment and the surrounding environment. Through collaborative, group work and hands-on activities students will learn important problem-solving skills, use the engineering process to become innovative thinkers and become self confident in their ability to research, design and implement creative solutions to real-world engineering problems. Throughout the course, students will also focus on teamwork, developing their presentation skills and exploring STEM-related subjects in current events.

    Learn more >
    • Hear from recent graduates about their extraordinary GOA Upper School experience.

The Senior Year

Golda Och Academy students complete our rigorous and challenging High School curriculum in seven semesters. By the end of their seventh semester they have submitted their college applications, completed their academic requirements for graduation and chosen a last semester program.

Students choose between two programs—Neshama or Internships—for the second half of the senior year after the college applications are submitted.


This extremely meaningful semester-long educational program in Israel begins with a week in Poland, where students realize their strong responsibility for telling about what they have witnessed in Poland after learning about the Jewish life lost during the Holocaust. In Israel, our students experience first-hand living in the modern state of Israel, while learning about the complexity of Israeli society. They celebrate Shabbat and holidays the Israeli way, volunteer with Israeli teens, participate in a desert-ecology seminar at a field school in the Negev, experience the high school military service training of Gadna, engage in seminars on political advocacy, and visit major historical, religious, and cultural sites. The Neshama program enables students to perfect their Hebrew skills, witness and learn about current political issues, and study Jewish history using the land as their classroom.


A kaleidoscope of options awaits those who choose to participate in the Internship program, a real-world work experience. Individual programs vary but may include job training in a field of the student's choice (such as medical research, state or national government, non-profit work, law, advertising, communication, design, etc). Students who choose this option meet on a regular basis with their fellow students and faculty advisers to discuss their experiences, attend field trips and maintain social contact.