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Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida

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General Studies

 

The goal of General Studies at KYHS is to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of the best that the world of knowledge has to offer while developing their skills and passion for lifelong learning. Our extensive program consists of carefully tailored courses designed to challenge students at their appropriate levels. We offer Advanced Placement, Honors, Accelerated, Grade Level, and Principles tracks.

The faculty members in each department coordinate their teaching so that similar themes are reinforced in all classes. Students take a core course in English, History, Math, and Science each year, as well as an elective. Ultimately, students graduate from KYHS fully prepared for success in postsecondary education.

ENGLISH

In English classes, students become proficient writers and critical readers. Through survey courses and genre-specific studies, students experience the top classical and modern texts of the world, expanding their worldviews as they learn to appreciate and analyze a diverse array of literature while learning about themselves. Courses simultaneously and heavily emphasize grammar and composition skills as students prepare for writing success throughout high school and college. Students in grades 9-11 receive supplemental instruction in leveled vocabulary. 

Grade 9

The first year of high school English is a survey of literature in which students will read and discuss diverse texts of various genres, including short stories, poems, novels, and plays. Annotating, identifying literary devices, and analyzing texts to unearth meaning “between the lines” will improve students’ reading comprehension and foster their understanding and appreciation of the value of literature. Regular instruction in essential grammar and composition skills, as well as regular formal and informal writing assignments, will not only equip students for future success on the college entrance examinations but also enable them to write with confidence, clarity, and style. Students will also spend significant time developing their vocabulary and incorporating the words they learn into their written work and daily lexicon. Finally, students will learn the fundamentals of academic research and MLA documentation as they compose a short research paper.

Grade 10 

Sophomores survey the trajectory of American literature from its origins to the present. In addition to honing their analytical skills and developing an appreciation for the rich diversity of our nation’s literary collection, students will explore the many ways in which concepts such as “Americanness” and the American Dream have evolved since the 17th century. Continuing instruction in composition, grammar, and vocabulary skills is designed to equip students for future success on the college entrance examinations and enable them to produce exemplary academic writing. A major research paper on a topic pertinent to American literature will demonstrate student improvement in academic research and writing, argumentative analysis, and MLA documentation. 

Grade 11

 Juniors survey British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present, engaging in close examination of selected works of poetry, short fiction, drama, novels, and film, recognizing their value as sources of practical wisdom and insight into British history and the broader human experience. Students will further develop their critical thinking and reading comprehension skills by carefully analyzing primary works of historical fiction through the lens of secondary literary criticism and conflicting interpretations and perspectives drawn from contemporary companion texts. Continuing instruction in composition, grammar, and vocabulary skills is designed to equip students for future success on the major college entrance examinations, develop their personal writing voice, and—most importantly—prepare them to write at the college level. Juniors may opt to take a full year of AP English (Language or Literature, whichever is offered that school year) instead.

Grade 12

Senior Seminars are semester-long courses that introduce students to the collegiate English experience by exposing them to specialized content, emphasizing independent reading, and engaging them in collaborative critical analysis. The composition component requires students to complete multiple major writing assignments (GL: 3, Accelerated: 4, and Honors: 5) evaluated on the following skills developed throughout their previous three years at KYHS: effectiveness, organization, clarity, and coherence, as well as the grammar, punctuation, and usage of standard written English. As teachers craft each class based on their personal passions and expertise, the course offerings vary from year to year. Sample courses offered include Children's Literature & Fairy Tales, Poetry Appreciation, Science Fiction, and Speech & The Art of Communication. Seniors may opt to take a full year of AP English (Language or Literature, whichever is offered that school year) instead.

AP English

Language & Composition

This rigorous college-level course, which prepares students to sit for the AP exam in May and to achieve success in continuing college English courses, is designed to promote the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills necessary to develop clear, effective prose for academic, professional, and personal purposes. Over the course of the year, students will explore the dynamics of language, its ability to convey and manipulate meaning, and the relationship between speaker/writer, audience, and purpose. Students will compose rhetorical analysis essays, argumentative essays, and synthesis essays in line with the AP exam; however, other writing and analysis will go beyond the AP exam to explore rhetoric and argument in real-life situations as well as academic ones. 

AP English

Literature & Composition

This rigorous college-level course, which prepares students to sit for the three-hour AP exam in May and to achieve success in continuing college English courses, focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama) from various periods. Students engage in close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as its use of figurative language, imagery, and symbolism. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works. 

HISTORY

In History classes, students learn to think, read, and write analytically as they develop understandings that explain and account for the past and present alike. Students become proficient at analyzing documents, images, and other primary and secondary sources, including scholarly sources, while developing the skills necessary to interpret historical trends and important world issues.

 

With an emphasis on evidence-based analytical work and critical thinking, students work to study the past through the lenses of causality, change, and continuity over time, comparative analysis, and contextualization. Scholarly lenses of analysis, including spatial analysis, transnationalism, syncretism, and post-colonialism, among many others, equip students to evaluate diverse sources of evidence from a range of perspectives while focusing on the intersections of social, economic, political, cultural, and intellectual history.

 

 

The sequence of our History curriculum follows a narrowing scope in which students build upon and refine their understanding from one year to the next, including World, European, and American histories, as well as a rotating and diverse range of college-preparatory senior seminars on timely, specialized subjects, including Jewish history, the history of women, foreign policy and terrorism, political unrest, ideology, and cultural history.

 

Grade 9

Freshmen begin their History curriculum through the study of either World History or Advanced Placement Human Geography. In World History, students chart the emergence and development of diverse world civilizations, as well as the socio-economic patterns and cultural trends that have shaped the human experience from prehistoric times to the early modern period. Beginning with a primer on historical methodologies and theoretical frameworks of analysis, detailed study and primary source engagement provides students extensive opportunities to build and apply their analytical toolkit across a diverse range of case studies.

With a curriculum ranging from the classical Mediterranean to Mesoamerica, and from Genghis Khan to Mansa Musa and the Mughal Empire, students work comparatively and analytically to understand diverse societies through the lenses of context and causality, identifying and explaining commonalities in different societies while also accounting for the unique developments of world civilizations. Students build key source-analysis skills and capstone their year with independent research projects.

In their study of Human Geography, AP students consider the physical geography, distribution, processes, and influences of geospatial factors on human history, while also exploring the effects of human interaction with the environment in social, political, economic, and cultural terms. Students are exposed to numerous economies, political systems, and social traditions from all world regions while adopting an explicitly spatial lens of analysis. Students become familiar with and apply analytical lenses including globalization, colonialism, and climate change, and engage with data-driven problems and case studies at scales ranging from the local to the global.

With a particular emphasis on questions of demography, migration, economic and political development, cultural transformation, communication, ethnic and gender inequality, geography, and environment, AP Human Geography students work proactively to build analytical frameworks that can be applied to unfamiliar scenarios. Source and data analysis features prominently in this class, as students learn how to use and interpret maps, textual sources, statistical data, and images in support of analytical conclusions.

Grade 10

Sophomores build on and apply the skills they have developed in World History to new time periods and peoples through the study of European History. Classes are offered from the Principles level to AP European History. In the study of European History from the year 1450 to the present, students analyze the significance of the cultural, economic, political, and social developments that have shaped today’s world while deepening their repertoire of analytical skills and frameworks. Students make use of causal, comparative, contextual, and chronological lenses of analysis in order to account for the contours of the modern world as they explore the origin and endurance of European socio-economic, political, intellectual, and cultural patterns.

Key areas of study include the Renaissance; Reformation; origins of European exploration, colonialism, and empire; the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment; agricultural and industrial transformation; state centralization, politicization, and revolution; modern theories of economy and government; and the rise of mass society. An emphasis on analytical writing helps students further develop their ability to mobilize evidence in support of interpretive conclusions as they focus on the "whys" and "hows" of history. Additionally, through the analysis of primary and scholarly sources, ranging from Martin Luther’s 95 Theses to the writing of the Enlightenment, and on to the political and economic theorists of the 19th and 20th centuries and the artifacts of everyday life, students further strengthen their critical-thinking skills. An explicitly global lens of analysis also encourages students to understand the multilateral influence of world regions upon one another.

Grade 11

Juniors narrow their focus to evaluate how the patterns shaping World and European histories helped produce the distinct features of American history. Classes in American History are offered at levels ranging from the Principles level to AP United States History, with AP US Government offered as an elective when possible. Through these courses, students work to build a nuanced understanding of how America’s past, beginning in pre-colonial times, directly affects its present. Students expand their methodological and theoretical repertoires and ability to engage with scholarly sources by grappling with both recent and historical scholarly perspectives, including the frontier thesis, emancipatory internationalism, globalization, and 19th century notions of American exceptionalism. Now-familiar approaches to historical analysis are applied to demythologize and contextualize American history and the histories with which it intersects, and students are called upon to develop multivalent analyses of American social, economic, political, demographic, and cultural history.

Key areas of thematic focus include geospatial and environmental analysis, the development and consolidation of political power and theories of government, economic development and transformation and its social effects, imperialism and theories of ethno-cultural supremacy, sectional and ethnic tension, work and consumption, foreign policy, expanding democratization, and diverse movements for socio-economic and political equity and justice. Throughout their coursework, students analyze scholarly works, as well as documents, speeches, court cases, political satire, maps, data, and oral testimony to inform their developing understanding of American history.


 Grade 12

Seniors capstone their studies by selecting from a range of narrowly-focused semester-long elective seminars—thematic offerings designed to prepare students for the rigors and methodologies of collegiate studies in History. Taught and designed by experts in their fields, senior seminar courses trade breadth for depth, and offer students the opportunity to deepen their understanding in areas of personal interest. With a continued emphasis on written analysis and engagement with primary and scholarly sources, senior seminars challenge students by introducing new theoretical lenses and novel, challenging case studies in which to apply them.

Seminar topics are determined by teacher availability and student interest, and may include (but are not limited to) Modern Jewish History, the History of Women, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Context, Urban History and Domestic Unrest, Antisemitism, History through Music, the History and Theory of Religion, and the History and Theory of Nationalism.

MATH

The mathematics department focuses on critical thinking, data analysis, computation skills, and interpreting and modeling graphical representations of complex figures. Students benefit from a wide spectrum of classes that encourage them to appreciate the value and relevance of math skills in their academic lives and beyond. The curriculum emphasizes the integration of technology, including the use of graphing calculators and online tools to better prepare our students for high school, college, and their careers.

Grade 9

Freshmen begin with the spatial-visual studies of Geometry. Geometry is offered on multiple levels, catering to each student’s algebra background and skill set. While all of the Geometry classes focus on deductive reasoning and justification, the Honors and Accelerated courses are proof based. Algebra I is offered for students who will benefit from solidifying their algebraic skills prior to geometry. Those students will take geometry during their sophomore year.

Grade 10

Sophomore Algebra I and Algebra II courses hone students’ algebra skills, the foundation on which all future math classes build. Algebra I students explore linear relationships; simplifying expressions, polynomial operations, solving equations, solving inequalities and graphing lines. The Algebra II courses build on the Algebra I skills to include quadratic and exponential equations and relationships. Algebra II students see absolute value graphs, equations and inequalities. They also explore the complex number system and imaginary numbers. The Honors Algebra II course includes a unit on Trigonometry.


Grade 11

Junior year sets the stage for more advanced levels of mathematics through Algebra II and Pre-Calculus courses. Pre-Calculus students explore various different types of functions including polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric. Students spend time learning about the properties of each of these functions and how they can be modeled in real-world scenarios. The most advanced students study AP Calculus AB, the equivalent of a first-semester college calculus course.

Grade 12

Senior year offerings include a variety of courses that prepare students for the next phase of their mathematics education. Courses include AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Statistics, Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Data Science, and Math for College Readiness. The AP Calculus and Statistics courses follow the curriculum provided by the College Board to prepare students for the AP Exam. Our non-AP Calculus students spend time exploring the major topics in calculus and receive a foundation to support their experience in a college calculus course. Data Science is a course focused on exposing students to the way statistics is used in our society to help inform decision making. Students spend time learning tools and techniques to help them analyze data and think critically—skills they will use in all their future endeavors.

SCIENCE
 

Our science curriculum offers students the opportunity to explore a variety of science disciplines. In the classroom, science is brought to life with hands-on lab experiences complemented by access to a wide range of virtual laboratory experiments. Students learn to interpret data, use formulas, and conduct research protocols as they progress through their science courses.

Grade 9

In Biology, freshmen are introduced to the fundamentals of cellular life, with an emphasis on cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and the cell cycle. During the second half of the year, students explore the nature of heredity through molecular and Mendelian genetics. The entire curriculum emphasizes the use of scientific methodology, and students develop advanced reasoning and inquiry techniques as they formulate predictions, actively participate in experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions from their findings. 

Grade 10

In Chemistry, sophomores begin with a review of the scientific method and the mathematical skills necessary to analyze chemistry concepts. Students then explore the structure and states of matter, organization of the periodic table, and chemical bonding. Benefiting from an active lab schedule, students perform chemical reactions and use the inquiry process to explain chemical phenomena. 

Grade 11

In Physics, juniors survey topics such as Newtonian mechanics, friction, work, energy, power, kinematics, mechanical waves, and sound. Working collaboratively, students learn to conceptualize and analyze the laws of physics. Diverse laboratory experiences explore physics concepts and encourage students to build critical-thinking skills. Juniors may opt to study Physics on the AP level. Alternatively, students may elect to take AP Biology or AP Chemistry instead of Physics, while conceptual students take Physics and Marine Science. 

Grade 12
 

Seniors diversify their science studies by choosing a course in which they are specifically interested. Subject to student vote, the science department offers a wide array of leveled courses, including AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP Physics, AP Psychology, Forensic Science, and Human Anatomy & Physiology.

ELECTIVES

Arabic and Hebrew are “sister languages.” They share the origin of the Semitic languages, the same verb form, many similar words, roots and meanings, and grammatical structure. These similarities assist the students in the language acquisition process. Learning Arabic benefits the students not only by improving their Hebrew language skills, but also by helping them understand the Arabic culture, as well as the history and mentality of the Middle East and the Muslim world.

In Art and Design at KYHS, students develop and strengthen their skills in drawing and painting by hand, but also add an element of technology by using iPads and drawing applications. The focus is on using both methods to create beautiful, professional finished products. Honors and AP Art students can build personal portfolios to submit as supplements for college applications and art programs.

Engineering & Coding I, II, III—Using curriculum from our partnerships with the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE), Project Lead The Way, and VEX Robotics, our students engage in a multi-year journey to master electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science (through the blended CodeHS platform). Students learn how to utilize the Arduino microcontroller to pursue innovative capstone projects that solve real-world problems, hone their conflict resolution skills through building drones and competing in VEX robotics, and sharpen their ability to code in JavaScript, Python, SQL, HTML, and CSS.

Photography and Videography I & II are arguably the most applicable electives KYHS offers. Everyone takes pictures and videos! Through collaboration, technical skills, and attention to detail, students will learn to think creatively and see the world from a different perspective. Through the art of photography and videography, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the technology available at their fingertips, students will truly learn what it means to "capture the moment."

Our Physical Education program offers various types of physical activities with student-driven curricula. Three times a week, the students get to actively participate in intense physical outlets of their choice. Choices of sport include but are not limited to flag football, basketball, soccer, and weight training.  Students will rotate choices throughout the year with an emphasis on individual skill development as well as team competitions.

The goal of the Spanish course is to increase each student’s ability to communicate in Spanish. Students will gain a better understanding of how to converse with local Spanish-speaking community members and be able to communicate effectively when visiting a Spanish-speaking country. The course concentrates on both grammar and verbal communication.

Test Prep is a two-session elective course that helps students prepare for both the SAT and ACT. One session includes mathematics instruction and problem solving. The other session provides instruction related to the English language sections, wherein students learn grammatical concepts, develop reading comprehension skills, and write analytical essays.

Politics is all around us. We hear daily of the President’s doings, read about Supreme Court rulings, and discuss pressing issues with friends and family. Exposure, however, is not comprehension. We can too often confuse familiarity with our government for an understanding of how it functions. AP United States Government and Politics is designed to fix this problem. Our course offers KYHS students the chance to explore in greater depth the foundations of American democracy, the evolution of its institutions, and the boundaries of our political discourse. Using contemporary issues as a wedge to pry open the complexities of the American system of government, AP Government is an exciting course on a vital topic. The goal of the course, therefore, is to produce not only successful AP Exam test takers, but informed citizens as well.