Communication is an essential human function, touching all parts of an individual’s world. Our goal is to refine our students’ skills in using their language as a communications tool. We see English language arts skills not only as both prerequisite and corequisite to all other learning areas, but also to the overall growth and development of the whole individual.
Class lessons vary to include the entire class or to promote small group work. Individual student-teacher conferences are encouraged. Students may use their laptops for note taking, researching, writing, test taking, and internet enrichment of class lessons. Homework assignments and assessments are varied; they include regular reading and analysis, grammar drills, vocabulary exercises, short writing tasks, longer essays and term papers, and oral presentations.
Our literature curriculum is theme based and sequentially developed. Ninth and tenth grade students learn fundamentals. In the junior and senior years, electives are offered. At every level, students are encouraged to read, even during the summer months.
Students are encouraged to consider writing as a process with many steps, beginning with thinking and leading to a purposeful and articulate composition. Standards for scholarly writing, as well as opportunities for creative writing, are provided. The department sponsors numerous ways for students to write for publications, many of them actively promoted by the Writing Center.
English is a required course every year. At every level, we want to instill in our students a love for language. We want them to develop positive attitudes about reading and writing, to incorporate those activities in their daily lives, and to experience pleasure when engaging in them.
All students are required to take one English course each semester, for a total of four years of English. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for AP courses.
Foundations and Development of Literature – 11th grade
In this course, 11th grade students trace the roots of American Literature from the 16th century to the present. A major project involves them in putting a noteworthy but somewhat controversial literary work “on trial.” Public performances by the winning teams are viewed by the entire school and invited guests. Academic research is extended to secondary sources. Students also read and write about news articles on current events that connect to curriculum as well as poetry that connects to texts. Vocabulary is culled from works studied and incorporated into writing. Supplementary poetry, short fiction and non-fiction essays are also addressed. In this year, students are encouraged both to explore special interests in reading and writing and to address any deficits in their English language skills. An accelerated section will highlight rhetorical strategies and stylistic techniques that authors use in order to create their messages. Students who choose to do so will be prepared to take the AP English Language and Composition exam in May. A skills section will also be available to those students who will benefit from assistance with writing tasks and reading comprehension. Placement will be based on department approval with input from administration.
Our students are citizens of the world. To educate our Jewish students to become informed, thoughtful, and active citizens, we foster an understanding of government: how it works, how one participates in government, and how one can bring about a better world by using this knowledge.
We also familiarize our students with our economic system and the economic systems across the globe. We try to encourage our students to appreciate the legacy of Western civilization and its impact on American culture. They need to be aware of diverse cultures within the United States as well as in the world at large. We hope to instill in them the openness to appreciate and understand other cultures and religions.
The History and Social Sciences Department incorporates many disciplines—history, sociology, geography, political science, economics, psychology, and law. Classes are taught using developmental lessons, which begins with a stated aim or topic. The latest technology is used to augment our explorations. Homework assignments are checked in various ways: class discussion, collection and grading, peer review. They are always integrated into the daily lesson.
As a department, we strive to promote critical thinking, the development of important skills and premises, such as analytical reading and writing, and a sense of civic duty. To that end, each course seeks to integrate current events into the curriculum to encourage students to make important connections between the past and today. Students are assessed by regular testing, quizzes, graded homework and various essay assignments.
All students take a minimum of four years of history and social studies. We aim to graduate students with a comprehensive knowledge base and a well-developed ability to analyze and think critically–essential skills they need to take their places in their futures.
All juniors are required to take U.S. History. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for the AP course. You may take an additional course as an elective.
Advanced Placement United States History
A course in United States History is required for all juniors. Students may take Advanced Placement United States History. The Advanced Placement Program is designed to allow high school students the opportunity to pursue college-level studies while attending high school. While the course covers the same periods of history as the regular U.S. history course, emphasis will be placed on reading original sources and analyzing differing interpretations of historical events.
United States History
All eleventh grade students who do not take AP U.S. History are required to take this course. It covers the political, economic, and social conditions in the United States from the beginning of our history to present times. The Constitution and the historical setting in which it was written will be studied. Students will understand the great historical developments that led to the U.S. becoming the democratic super-power of the world today. They will read textbooks, original sources, and current affairs articles in order to learn how to draw conclusions and become informed citizens and voters. Based on teacher and administrative input, students may be placed in sections that are specialized in order to address their needs for enrichment and/or remediation.
The goal of the Mathematics Department is to develop students’ abilities to think purposefully and analytically. The skills to absorb information, process and analyze it, and prepare an intelligent response applicable in all life situations are enhanced through the study of mathematics. Not all mathematics students go on to become engineers or physicists, but all students will grow up to encounter situations in which the ability to think analytically is critical.
We have a very strong program in the fundamentals of mathematics. Word problems are emphasized throughout the curriculum to enhance the students’ abilities to apply mathematical concepts to real world situations. Modern technologies including graphing calculators, Promethean boards, and many of their features are used to allow for multiple presentations of material. Students are encouraged to build on their arithmetic abilities and to develop the understanding of the underlying concepts behind the rules of operations.
Students are encouraged to immerse themselves in extracurricular mathematics activities, which involve exploration of concepts beyond the normal scope of the curriculum. These include but are not limited to participation in the Nassau County Interscholastic Math League, and the Long Island Math Fair.
Class lessons are student driven. Teachers are constantly modifying their presentations based on student feedback. Lessons may involve lecture, question and answer, demonstration by both teacher and student, and frequent assessment. Regular homework is a feature of each class. It is an important part of the learning process. Homework is collected after a thorough review so that students have every opportunity to learn from their mistakes and correct their work. We assess the achievement of the students by exams, projects, quizzes, homework, and classwork.
We aim to prepare students fully for the experiences they will have in college mathematics courses; we recognize that many of the professional fields our students will eventually pursue are math driven.
Students are required to take one math course in their junior year. Placements are determined by the mathematics department.
This course is designed for juniors who have successfully completed Algebra and Math 10 (Geometry). Students enhance their algebraic skills and develop an understanding and mastery of a variety of topics in Algebra, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. Topics include polynomials, set theory, trigonometry, matrices and linear algebra, functions, conic sections and game theory. Students are encouraged to develop skills and work habits that will last throughout their academic and future careers.
Algebra II with Trigonometry
This course is given to eleventh grade students who have completed geometry. Students enhance their algebraic skills and develop an understanding and mastery of trigonometric concepts. Students extend their study of real numbers, equations and inequalities, functions, systems of equations, polynomials, rational expressions, complex numbers, quadratic equations, transformations, second degree equations, polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, an in depth study of trigonometric functions, graphs, identities, and equations, probability, and statistics. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required.
This course is given to eleventh grade students who have completed Algebra II with Trigonometry. Students further develop the algebraic and trigonometric skills that are necessary for success in AP Calculus AB. Students study linear and quadratic functions, polynomial functions, inequalities, functions, exponents and logarithms, analytic geometry and conic sections, trigonometric functions, trigonometric equations, triangle trigonometry, trigonometric addition formulas, and introduction to limits.
This course is given to eleventh grade students who have completed Algebra II with Trigonometry. Students further develop the algebraic and trigonometric skills that are necessary for success in AP Calculus BC. Students study linear and quadratic functions, polynomial functions, inequalities, functions, exponents and logarithms, analytic geometry and conic sections, trigonometric functions, trigonometric equations, triangle trigonometry, trigonometric addition formulas, polar coordinates and complex numbers, vectors and determinants, sequences and series, matrices, limits, continuity, techniques of differentiation, and related rates. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required.
There is no more important time to be learning science. Spurred by breakthroughs, media, and seemingly boundless technology, science is poised to become one, if not the most fertile and exciting areas of study. The challenge is to transmit this excitement, to provide a solid science foundation for students to build upon and to convey to students that “science is a way of knowing and a way of seeing the world.” Our goal is for science to be a part of students’ everyday lives. The scientific worldview that we teach, model, and espouse will prompt our students to see science in context with everyday events and to integrate scientific methodology and explanation into other areas of their academic studies.
The department seeks to develop students’ science literacy. This involves the learning of a finite number of important general principles and theories that will serve as scaffolding on which they will be able to build further scientific knowledge. We encourage students to develop a work ethic to pursue these principles and theories so that they become part of their nature. Third, we encourage students to apply learned principles and skills in the process of inquiry. In experimentation, students learn how to effectively use cutting-edge scientific technology, including lab sensors interfaced to computers, and the internet as an informational research tool.
Critical thinking skills to foster creative problem solving in real-world situations are promoted. Students ultimately recognize that science is fundamentally about order. Our students will infuse the order, methodology and causality of science into their own lives to become organized, articulate decision makers and effective problem solvers.
All science courses include a laboratory/activity component, and students are required to submit formal lab reports for grading. Homework assignments include reading textbooks for preview and/or review, reading articles on current topics, completing worksheets both on paper and on-line, and gathering and processing information and data through internet activities. Levels of achievement in all science courses are assessed through regular term testing and the grading of completed lab reports, projects, quizzes, and homework assignments.
Alongside the Science Department, the Science Research Program reinforces these goals by teaching disciplined research skills and inviting students to engage in guided and independent experimental research projects. The Science Society is a less formal assembly which openly invites students to participate in after school science activities and supervised outings of a scientific nature. It is student led and student motivated, but all science faculty contribute to its supervision. Each year the department also participates in an inter-scholastic Science Olympiad, open to all.
Students are required to take one science course in the junior year. Physics as a third year of science is strongly recommended. Placement is determined by the department in consultation with the administration. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for enrollment in an AP course.
Foundational Physics considers topics related to energy and matter, and the principles that govern the motion of particles and waves. Mathematics is introduced as a "language" for describing physical phenomena and students are encouraged to solve problems using mathematics throughout the course. For students who struggle with math, this course shows them real world applications without the complexity of multi-step equations. The laboratory is used to teach the concepts of physics and make connections to basic math. In this way, students will experience physics in a way that is meaningful and directly applicable to their lives. The topics covered in this course include mechanics, work-energy theory, spring systems, optics, electricity and magnetism.
Introductory Physics considers topics related to energy and matter, the principles that govern motion of particles and waves, and the interaction of particles. The use of mathematics as a "language" for describing physical phenomena and solving problems is emphasized throughout the course. For this reason, we delay enrollment into the course until eleventh grade when students have achieved a high level of skills in mathematics (algebra and trigonometry). The laboratory is used to derive and illustrate major concepts of physics. Students need to become skilled at performing laboratories and at analyzing data and formulating broad principles that account for the physical phenomena being studied. Students will be taught how to use spreadsheets to organize and graph data and to use sensors to record data electronically. The major topics covered in this course include mechanics, work energy theory, spring systems, wave phenomena and electricity and magnetism.
AP Physics I
AP Physics I is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. The course focuses on Newtonian mechanics and dynamics; Circular motion and Gravitation; Work, Power and Energy; Linear Momentum, Simple Harmonic Motion; and Torque and Rotational motion. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through classroom study, demonstrations, in-class activity, and hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory work as they explore concepts like systems, fields, force interactions, change, conservation, and waves. AP Physics 1 students will keep and are encouraged to retain their physics laboratory notebooks, reports, and other materials as colleges may require students to present their laboratory materials from the course before granting college credit for laboratory.
AP Biology is offered as an introductory college-level biology course spanning the breadth of the life sciences offered to highly motivated students of strong academic quality. The curriculum which has undergone recent redesigning and College Board approval now stresses critical thinking and application of biological concepts in the context of 4 ‘big ideas.’ The thematic approach makes study areas more meaningful as students make connections across the syllabus. Ultimately, students will develop a conceptual understanding of modern biology emphasizing applications of biological knowledge, scientific methodology, techniques, and critical thinking. These tools will help students understand themselves and the living world around them and better prepare them for the scientific, environmental, and social changes that will be a prominent part of their future. It is important to note that the conceptual framework of this course is based on the current ideals of evolution as the underlying foundation for all biological principles. AP Biology includes rewritten crucial laboratory exercises suggested by the College Board as well as several other labs deemed both important and helpful. After-school laboratory and classroom sessions are often scheduled to meet course requirements. In addition to work using the assigned textbook, students are required to study and master many forms of text supplementation, including on-line sources and current scientific literature. All students are expected to take the AP Biology Exam. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for enrollment.
AP Chemistry is designed to offer a rigorous and challenging course that covers the chemical principles typical of college and university general chemistry courses and is offered to highly motivated students of strong academic quality. AP Chemistry students will be expected to reinforce classroom-taught principles through consistent regular review, practice assignments and on-line activities. All are expected to take the AP Chemistry Exam and maintain a laboratory notebook. The topic areas covered in this course are atomic structure and properties, molecular and ionic bonding, intermolecular forces, reactions and stoichiometry, kinetics and equilibria, solution chemistry, acid-base theories and redox and electrochemistry. These topics have been reworked to emphasize the major themes and concepts of advanced chemistry in compliance with the redesign mandated by the College Board. There are several required laboratories, several of which are inquiry-based, and students must submit detailed, college-level reports for each. After-school laboratory and classroom sessions are often a required part of the course. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for enrollment.
Environmental Science is an elective science course intended to cover the principles and methodologies used to study the interrelationships between organisms and their physical surroundings and the impact of humans on the natural world. This course is necessarily interdisciplinary and depends on the successful integration of science with political, sociological, and economic issues. The underlying themes developed in the course are: energy conversions are involved in all ecological processes, matter must be recycled in ecological systems, ecological systems are all interconnected, humans alter ecological systems, ecological problems occur in a political, cultural, and economic context, and human survival depends on developing practices that allow for sustainable ecosystems. This course includes a laboratory component that allows students to apply and reinforce course concepts as well as an engaging field component centering upon environmental monitoring. Field trips to local nature centers and municipal utilities are also integral to the curriculum. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required for enrollment.
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