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English Language Arts
Our goal is to introduce our students to the joys of classic and contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Our teachers will challenge and inspire students to express themselves in response to these great works of literature in numerous ways. In the classroom, our students will engage in debates, student-driven discussions, and dramatic performances. Via a vigorous writing program, our students will learn to forge and articulate their own original, perceptive, incisive ideas on the page.
Teachers will empower students to understand and independently implement the writing process. Students build on that strong foundation as they explore a variety of creative assignments, ranging from poetry to pastiche to fiction to analytical essay. With each year, the assignments will grow in complexity, frequency, and length. Our approach aims to help students internalize the understanding that good writing results from a process of brainstorming, outlining, composing, and revising.
History and Social Studies
Our goal is to foster students’ curiosity about the forces that shaped our past and continue to influence the world we live in today. Students will develop reading, writing, interpretation, and Internet literacy skills that provide them with the self-confidence they need to express themselves with clarity and purpose, for college and beyond. Students will learn to analyze historical sources, assess secondary scholarship, and address history as an ever-evolving process rather than a static body of facts and dates. By studying historical problem-solving, we aspire to create engaged world citizens who can respect diverse opinions, and argue their own convictions with civility and grace.
Problem solving (investigating, conjecturing, predicting, analyzing, and verifying), followed by a well-reasoned presentation of results, is central to the process of learning mathematics, and that this learning happens most effectively in a cooperative, student-centered classroom.
Our intention is to have students assume responsibility for the mathematics they explore — to understand theorems that are developed, be able to use techniques appropriately, know how to test results for reasonability, learn to use technology appropriately, and welcome new challenges whose outcomes are unknown.
Put simply, we see our role as analyzers of student learning, and that goes beyond mathematical equations or algorithms. We hope our students develop skills that will serve them well outside of the math classroom, and ultimately we want our students, not the teacher or textbook, to be the source of mathematical knowledge.
At its core, the Science department values and cultivates the development of scientific knowledge and the acquisition of intellectual and practical skills for all students; that is, students who understand the discoveries and principles of science and their significance and application within a scientific and technologically-based society. There are three primary goals of the science program: To promote scientific literacy for all students; to develop critical thinking and inquiry skills that help students understand the basic nature of science; and to teach students how to apply their knowledge to solve scientific problems, and how these apply to the world around them.
Students will conduct hands-on investigations as integral components of each unit, with an emphasis on prediction alongside qualitative and quantitative analysis. Writing skills, mathematics, and technology are organically embedded within the laboratory program.
Our goal is to graduate students with fluency in a range of science disciplines that will allow them to make informed decisions, critically analyze data, and draw appropriate conclusions. It is our mission to develop scientific thinkers: Students who ask questions, know how to develop ways to test those questions, and then remain resilient should the first attempt require refinement.
This will provide the opportunity for students to study Hebrew. With the exploration of these languages, students develop language competencies through grammar, speech, and cultural understanding. The primary purpose of language is communication, and our program emphasizes the four skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Participation in the program leads the student to greater insights into the structure of English and carries over to other academic areas.
A people’s language is the cornerstone of their culture. The study of world languages prepares students with the appropriate language background needed for entrance to, and success in, college in a multicultural world. The student is prepared for entering a world full of diversity. The study of world languages also prepares students for future endeavors in various careers, as there is a high demand for bilingual individuals in the global economy.
Business and Economics (Upper Grades)
This elective course for Juniors will investigate the basic principles of the science of economics and its practical applications in business and personal finance. The course will investigate central principles of economics (incentives, trade-offs, supply and demand, time value of money) and apply them in considering public policy (tax expenditures, inflation rates, monopolies and trade wars), business decisions (why restaurants stay open for lunch, or whether a business should rent or buy), and personal decisions (picking stocks, consumer debt). The course will also consider the Jewish perspective on these questions, including the prohibition of usury ribit, fair treatment of workers, and Jewish concepts of intellectual property and hasagat gevul.
The course will feature a portfolio-based assessment, and students will produce class artifacts, preparing position papers and budgets as an economist or businessman would. It is only open to students who have completed 10th grade math.
Psychology (grade 12)
In the first semester, students will survey all aspects of basic psychology: from the neurons of the brain to the memory of the mind; from the developmental psychology that relates to children, to the social psychology that is crucial to teenagers, to the psychopathologies that afflict the old. In the second semester, the class will give more time to in-depth discussion and consideration of issues in psychology that are of special interest to the students, including topics like the psychology of religion, psychology of happiness, and freedom of choice.
The Wellness Program is designed to meet the physical, social, and emotional-developmental needs of students in their Upper School years and to provide them with current, functional health information that will help them develop the essential skills to practice health-enhancing behaviors. Emphasis will be placed on the student’s acquiring knowledge and assuming responsibility for one’s own health.
Students will practice, develop, and refine individual motor skills while touching upon involved game strategies in a variety of different team sports during two periods each week. Regular exercise in a positive environment is important for healthy development. In the gym setting, students are expected to understand and practice cooperation, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Students will have the opportunity to work on physical training and conditioning, important lifetime activities.