Academics & Curriculum Guide
Our General Studies faculty nurture students’ curiosity and creativity while challenging them to develop critical thinking, logical reasoning, and intellectual rigor. To provide for students’ differing academic backgrounds, Kohelet offers multiple levels, including Honors classes, in each of the core subject areas. Advanced Placement courses include American History, Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science, English Composition, English Literature, Psychology, Physics, and World History. Upon graduation from Kohelet, our students are well prepared for the demands of university coursework.
Our English curriculum fosters critical thinking, a writer’s voice, and a lifelong love of literature. An inquiry-based approach of embedding skill development in meaningful context enables students to hone writing craft, strengthen reading skills, and become confident in the articulation of their thoughts. Qualified eleventh graders have the option of taking our innovative Tikvah AP English course. This rigorous course, developed by a team of Kohelet faculty members, and taught by an English teacher and Rabbi, combines classic texts from both the Western and Jewish canons and is a national model for a fully integrated Jewish humanities program.
- Grade 9 Portraits of Power in Relationships, Domestic and Social
- Grade 10 Perspective in Action
- Grade 11 American Literature: Slavery and Freedom or Tikvah AP English
- Grade 12 British Literature: The Evolution of Text or AP English: Journey to Identity
Kohelet history teachers use the content of their World and US History courses to develop the critical thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Our student-centered inquiry approach draws on literature, art, and a variety of video and audio technology. The world history classes teach the history of the world from a truly global stance. This approach places emphasis on worldwide historical processes and connections among the whole gamut of human societies. For U.S. history, students will be able to describe the major events, personalities, diverse and changing social life and political trends of the nation. Jewish history classes cover ancient Israel until the present day and include the First and Second Temple periods, Jewish life under Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages, the stories of both Sephardic and Ashkenaz Jews, modern Israel and Zionism and American Jewish history.
- Grade 9 World History, Part 1
- Grade 10 World History, Part 2 or AP World History
- Grade 11 US History, Part 1, Jewish History (Semester 1) or AP US History, Part 1, Jewish History (Semester 1)
- Grade 12 US History, Part 2 or AP US History, Part 2
Our mathematics program promotes thoughtful problem-solving and the development of inductive and deductive reasoning skills. Students are taught to understand mathematics as a language that is communicated visually through symbols, graphs, tables, charts and diagrams. Using this language, students learn to connect math with science, technology, philosophy, music, and art. The three standard math sequences are shown below. Within each sequence, multiple levels are available. Each sequence is organized on a four year cycle:
- Sequence One: Algebra 1 (Part 1 and/ or Part 2) → Geometry → Algebra 2 → Statistics
- Sequence Two: Geometry → Algebra 2 → Precalculus → Introduction to Calculus or AP Calculus
- Sequence Three: Algebra 2 → Precalculus → AP AB Calculus → Multivariable Calculus/AP BC Calculus Elective
Our science curriculum utilizes hands-on, inquiry-based, and traditional approaches to engage students in the crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas that are essential to learning science. Students are taught to observe phenomena in the world around them, make hypotheses, analyze data, draw and evaluate conclusions, and problem-solve. Our goal is to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful in understanding and studying current concepts in science and to be ready to engage in future technologies as they emerge. Students and teachers are provided with the materials they need, including the latest technologies, to explore the world at both the molecular and observable levels.
- Grade 9 Biology and Coding
- Grade 10 Chemistry and Coding
- Grades 11 AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, Engineering, or AP Psychology
- Grades 12 Physics or AP Physics
Kohelet students take courses in the Arts each year. In their freshman and sophomore years, students take one semester of art and one semester of music. Our visual and performing arts program introduces students to different media and techniques, and relies on in class discussions, demonstrations, and peer and teacher reviews. Our music program is designed to cultivate an appreciation of music, and accommodates all students, from those who have no formal background in music, to those with a very strong background.
- Grade 9 Semester of Studio Art: Drawing (charcoal, pencil, pen, ink and brush); Collage and Image Transfer Semester of Music: Music Theory & Composition 1
- Grade 10 Semester of Studio Art: Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking; or semester of Music Theory & Composition 2
- Grade 11 Studio Art: Ceramics, Glass Tile Mosaic, Oil Painting, Woodworking or Music Theory & Composition 3
- Grade 12 Studio Art or Music Theory & Composition 4
JUDAIC STUDIES CURRICULUM
Our Limudei Kodesh faculty, courses, and additional programming support the development of Jewish men and women who are committed to Torah, Mitzvot, Ahavat Yisrael, and the State of Israel. Our teachers impart the skills necessary for students to become independent, lifelong learners who seek to understand and integrate the foundational texts of our people into their daily lives. Equally important, our teachers are role models for menschlichkeit, compassion, respect for others, integrity, and chesed.
GEMARA AND HALACHA
The Gemara curriculum teaches students the skills to read and translate text independently and to understand the place of the Talmud in the Halachic process. Students learn to analyze the Talmudic discussion while also tracing the Halachic process from the Torah through the Gemara to the Shulchan Aruch and beyond. Halachic Judaism begins with understanding the meaning and messages of these texts, which students learn in class and in Beit Midrash chavruta. Standard, Honors, and Advanced levels are available in most grades.
Halacha Mini Courses are designed to create an environment in which the study of halacha becomes meaningful and engaging as students focus on various topics for week-long, intensive mini-courses. During each of the Halacha Mini-Course weeks students will choose a course that has a topic and a level of interest to them within a designated category. The courses fall into the categories of Shabbat and Yom Tov, Daily Life, Contemporary Halachic Issues, and Bein Adam Lechavero. Every year the student will choose a different course in each of the four categories.
• Grade 9 & 10 Gemara Year A: Tractate Sukkah Gemara Year B: Tractate Berachot Commentaries: Rashi (all levels), Tosafot and select rishonim (Honors and Advanced levels), full range of rishonim and acharonim (Advanced)
• Grades 11 &12 Gemara Year A: Tractate Sanhedrin Gemara Year B: Tractate Kiddushin Commentaries: Rashi, Tosafot and Rambam (all levels), Rif and select rishonim (Honors), full range of rishonim and acharonim (Advanced)
The Tanach program emphasizes study of our foundational texts for their multiple and layered meanings. Midrash and classic commentaries are learned for their different interpretations and to develop understanding of the larger methodologies of each exegete. Class discussions center around understanding the narrative and analyzing the characters, theme, and structure so as to develop an advanced and sophisticated approach to learning tanach. The content is organized on a four year cycle. Year A: Sefer Bereishit, Yehoshua, Shoftim Year B: Sefer Shemot, Shmuel, Melachim Year C: Bamidbar, 5 Megillot Year D: Devarim, Nevuot Churban
The Ivrit curriculum at Kohelet Yeshiva builds on a student’s current level of Hebrew by offering a range of reading, writing and speaking experiences through an interactive platform, iHebrew™, by Ulpan-Or from Israel. This program is innovative and research-based, developed using 21st century technology from Israel. iHebrew™ utilizes a different approach to teach Hebrew in that it is an experiential conversational program that builds a student’s skills for two-way communication in Hebrew. The program includes video clips, audio recordings, built-in structured exercises, virtual flashcards, music, and much more. The program creates a sense of confidence for each student in his/her ability to converse in Hebrew. The student body is divided into three academic levels for Ivrit, which are then tracked accordingly with iHebrew’s learning model. Tracking standards are defined by the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), a program that helps distinguish which tracks our students will be placed. Ninth and tenth grade students learn together, as do eleventh and twelfth grade students.
During junior and senior year, students can choose from one of the following elective classes: Art, Beit Midrash, Biotechnology, Digital Film Editing, Economics, MATLAB, History of Music, or Music.
Kohelet students take physical education courses every year. The courses are designed to teach physical fitness as well as important life skills, which include teamwork, collaboration, sportsmanship, and critical thinking.
SENIOR CAPSTONE PROJECT
In the winter and spring of their senior year, students develop individual culminating projects. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students explore topics of interest or contribute to the school or broader community in interesting and meaningful ways. Projects combine hands-on work and academic research.
STEM RESEARCH INITIATIVE
Under the direction of our STEM coordinator, Diane Weintraub, close to 20 students have participated in STEM research in university settings in recent summers. Students have done research in fields such as chemistry, neuroscience, volcanology, molecular biology, genetics, computer science, and biomedical engineering. Over this same time frame, one student placed within the top 300 applicants in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the premier international science competitions for high school students; a student received the High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) grant through the US Army Education Outreach Program; one student was chosen for the competitive high school internship in the GRASP lab at UPenn; and one student was chosen for the #include fellowship program by she++ at Stanford University.
All students participate in a weekly, faculty-led Foundations Course. These grade groups form mini-communities of trust, leadership, and guidance within the larger Kohelet community. The course integrates health education, social and emotional learning, and building 21st century skills and resilience through the use of projects and hands-on experiences. The curriculum reinforces Kohelet’s code of conduct which emphasizes honesty, empathy, respect and responsibility. In 12th grade, students focus on Israel and college guidance, which allows them ample time to work towards getting their requirements completed. Each grade has a number of teachers who work closely with the students. For the 2018-2019 school year those teachers are:
- 9th Grade: Mrs. Sara Kalish, Rabbi Adam Mayer and Ms. Karyn Spero
- 10th Grade: Mrs. Sara Kalish, Rabbi Jonny Gordon and Mrs. Jessie Rothstein
- 11th Grade: Mr. Lenny Nicoletti and Mr. Pat Shields
- 12th Grade: Ms. Rebecca Damsker