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JLA Upper School Curriculum Overview

Upper School at a Glance

Upper school students will be enrolled in eight periods daily Monday through Thursday, including Judaic Studies, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science.  They will also be required to take a language course in Hebrew and a Judaic Studies elective two days a week.  Additional requirements include a daily workout (physical conditioning), Art, STEM, and the option to enroll in a ninth period class for enrichment and exploration. The Friday schedule is unique and will include an advisory period, Soul Center, community service, leadership seminars and an independent research project. 

Graduation Requirements

Credits required for graduation: 44


9th Grade

  • English – Students may choose from a selection of paired semester courses
  • Math – Placement determined by previous coursework
  • Science-Biology, Chemistry
  • Social Science- World History
  • Judaic Studies
  • Elective Judaic Studies (Twice weekly)
  • Hebrew (Twice weekly)
  • Physical Conditioning and Health
  • Stem (Twice weekly)
  • Art (Twice weekly)

(11 Credits)

10th Grade 

  • English –¬† Students may choose from a selection of paired semester courses
  • Math – Placement determined by previous coursework
  • Science – Chemistry, Physics
  • Social Science – History of the United States
  • Judaic Studies
  • Elective Judaic Studies (Twice weekly)
  • Hebrew (Twice weekly)
  • Physical Conditioning
  • .5 Elective (By Semester)
  • .5 Elective (By Semester)

(11 Credits)

11th Grade 

  • English –¬† Students may choose from a selection of paired semester courses
  • Math – Placement determined by previous coursework
  • Science – Physics (If Physics has been previously taken then students may choose an alternative course from the Science curriculum)¬†
  • 1 Elective (Yearly/By Semester)
  • Judaic Studies
  • Elective Judaic Studies (Twice weekly)
  • Hebrew (Twice weekly)¬†
  • Physical Conditioning
  • .5 Elective
  • .5 Elective

(11 Credits)

12th Grade 

  • English –¬† Students may choose from a selection of paired semester courses
  • Math – Placement determined by previous coursework
  • Science-Elective Choice
  • Social Science-American Government/Economics
  • Judaic Studies
  • Elective Judaic Studies (Twice weekly)
  • Elective Course
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Senior Project (One semester)

(11 Credits)


9th-12 Grades

  • Soul Center
  • Morning Joe
  • Nesher Project
  • Advisory
  • Judaic Studies
  • Community Service/Leadership

Distinctive Upper School Experiences

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.     Golda Meir

9th Grade – Ninth grade students will participate in a health and wellness seminar for one semester as a part of their weekly advisory class. This seminar will focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, disease and injury prevention, drug and  alcohol abuse in addition to appropriate social behavior. Students in grade nine will also benefit from Navigating True North, a program designed to encourage them to think critically about their values, goals and future endeavors.

10th Grade Tenth grade students will have the option to participate in the highly regarded Outward Bound Program. This experiential, outdoor education program will foster personal growth and social skills by challenging students with expeditions in the outdoors. 

11th Grade – Eleventh grade students will have the opportunity to participate in JLA organized college visits to the Boston area, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles. In addition, during the second semester every junior will spend considerable time writing and editing their college essay with oversight from the English Department and Guidance.

12th Grade Seniors will participate in first semester college guidance seminars and representative visits held on campus. During the second semester seniors will propose, create and present a senior project as part of JLA’s graduation requirements, and they will also have the opportunity to lead Morning Joe seminars throughout the year. Moreover, seniors have the option of taking advanced classes for credit through the Global Online Academy.

Distinctive Upper School Programs:

August In Israel : High School students will spend the first 3.5 weeks of school every year studying Hebrew, Jewish History, Tanach, and contemporary Israel in an immersive, real world setting in Israel.  This annual study abroad experience will not only serve as a catalyst for student bonding to each other and to the State of Israel, but will allow for a greater focus on the school‚Äôs General Studies curriculum throughout the remainder of the year.  

JLA Wilderness Expedition:  Sophomores will participate in the JLA Wilderness Adventure, a program which employs the beauty and challenges offered by nature to promote self-advocacy, personal growth and teamwork through ‚ÄúTorah and the wisdom of the wilderness.‚ÄĚ Rabbi Tani

Global Online Academy: Global Online Academy is renowned for offering courses that allow students to take deep dives into areas such as Abnormal Psychology, Entrepreneurship in a Global Context, International Relations, and Problem Solving with Engineering and Design. GOA courses earn graduation credits and are included on transcripts. 

Center for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins CTY is focused on challenging the very brightest minds, and as such JLA has established a relationship with John Hopkins in order to offer our students the equivalent of college level courses while in high school. Admission to the program is highly selective, and grades earned will be factored into the overall GPA.

True North: Students will participate in a one semester course during the advisory period that will encourage students to think critically about their values, goals and future endeavors. Areas of study will include high school success planning, self discovery, financial and community literacy, personal branding, and career exploration. 

Option 9: An optional block of time in the daily schedule dedicated to additional learning choices that will provide students with the opportunity to pursue study in an area of interest. 

Nesher Project: An hour of time each week devoted to project and inquiry based activities designed to encourage students to problem solve and think critically. Students will select a passion of their choice related to a school discipline. During this period, students will question, research, and develop a personal area of interest that encourages imagination, innovation and independence. 

Morning Joe: A student directed seminar held each Friday that encourages students to participate in robust discussions focused on local and global issues of importance. 

Service Entrepreneurship:  


The meaning of life is to find your gift.

The purpose of life is to give it away.   Pablo Picasso


Each Friday at JLA, as part of our Service Entrepreneurship program, students will dedicate time towards growing their experience, skills and commitment to making an impact in their world. Through a blend of training, mentorship and real-world involvement with meaningful causes, JLA students will be immersed in an environment that will encourage their ambitions to shape their world through the eventual creation of their own 501c3s.

Sixth through Eighth grades will focus primarily on exploring the discipline of Design Thinking, an approach to problem solving initially created by Stanford University’s D-School and employed by some of the most innovative companies across the globe to produce products that meet authentic customer needs. Central to Design Thinking is the deeply Jewish idea of empathy, the ability to genuinely walk in someone else’s shoes.  Instead of using this method to design products, however, our students will learn to apply it toward identifying and solving real-world societal challenges  first within the JLA community and then expanding outward to the  Miami community and beyond. 

Ninth and Tenth grade students will hone their Design Thinking skills by focusing on other areas of service entrepreneurship including gaining substantive experience with a non-profit of their choice. Students in these grades will also begin the work of becoming more self aware, and improving their leadership skills through personality assessments and teamwork challenges.

Students in Eleventh and Twelfth grade will be given the tools to build their own 501c3, including mentorship from and exposure to accomplished leaders and successful non-profit professionals.

The goal of JLA’s Service Entrepreneurship Program is to imbue our students with a genuine desire to do chesed, acts of kindness, as well as the skills and confidence to harness that desire into changing the world.


JLA Leadership Training: 


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.   Margaret Mead


The overarching theme prevalent in each aspect of a JLA education is leadership. Whether one is in the classroom, on the field, or serving the community through one of the various programs, every student is actively working at developing and exercising their leadership skills. Moreover, students participate weekly in leadership training, where compassion, communication, inspiration, reasoning, cooperation, and self-evaluation are taught as the stepping stones to becoming a respected leader. Developing these skills takes place through role-playing activities, group programs, exercises in character development, and additional opportunities embedded in the JLA curriculum. Among these opportunities, our JLA Speaker Series is focused on granting students in-person access to real-world leaders from various fields and disciplines.


Elective courses are offered in Art, English, Spanish, Social Science, STEM, and Physical Conditioning. Some classes are offered during the school day, and many more are available after school during OPTION 9. 


Creative Writing-The Novel

Creative Writing-Screenplays

Newspaper Journalism 

Broadcast Journalism 

US Yearbook  

Debate 1 & 2

Competitive Debate 

The Arts

2D Art

3D Art

Digital Art and Design Intermediate

Digital Art and Design Advanced

Drama 1 & 2

Jazz Band 

Music Production and Sound Design

Instrumental Workshop

Vocal Workshop

Video Production 

Digital Photography

Modern Movement 

Physical Conditioning



Martial Arts




Weight Training & Cardio


Health and Wellness

Social Science

Psychology (one year)

History of the Middle East

Ancestry: My People

Machine Learning

Human Geography 

International Business

Micro/Macro Economics

Destruction and Rebirth: Modern Jewish History (From Sovereignty to Exile: Rabbinic Jewish History)

Ashkenaz and Sephard: Medieval Jewish History 

Mystics and Mavericks: Early Modern Jewish History 


History of the Americas




Number Theory

Game Theory Advanced


Math and Music


Botany Advanced

Health Science and Medicine Advanced

Anatomy – Head to Toe

Marine Science – A World of Blue

Environmental Science and Sustainability-Greening the Planet

Geology – Rock and Roll


Genetics & Ancestry

Hydroponics & Aquaculture

Meteorology & Weather Science



Coding 2, 3

Programming (Python/Java) 

Video Game Design 

IOS App Design 

Virtual Reality(VR) & Augmented Reality

Data Science

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence



Introduction to Engineering

Principles of Engineering

Engineering Design and Development

Robotics 1 & 2

World Languages

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Espanol 1

Espanol 2 

Conversational Hebrew 4