Girls Secular Studies Curriculum


9th Grade English

Introducing the high school English curriculum, students will be introduced to the significant genres of Western literature including the novella, the epic, classical tragedy, Shakespearean tragedy, the novel, the short story, and the sonnet. These texts will be examined using the methodology of formal literary criticism in order to learn close reading skills to find a text’s meaning and aesthetic value.

Writing assignments will focus on using selections of details to develop extended explanations and interpretations. In addition to writing about literature, we will use the texts as prompts for writing in a variety of modalities including narration, description, cause-effect, definition, causal analysis, compare/contrast, and argumentation. This, too, will help students become critical readers, and critical thinkers.

Continuing English

Valley Torah offers multiple levels of English at each grade level. For those wishing to proceed to AP English courses, preparation begins in 10th grade. Filled with rigorous, high-interest literature, poetry, drama, non-fiction, and visual texts, this course is designed to support and challenge.

Every student is provided the opportunity to apply knowledge of literary elements to better understand works of literature. Students will be subjected to appropriate grammatical conventions through daily warmups and students will explore new vocabulary weekly.

AP English Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition is an introductory college-level composition course. Students will cultivate their understandings of writing rhetorical arguments through reading, annotating and writing about texts as they explore topics like the rhetorical situation, claims and evidence, reasoning and organization, and style.

Students will think deeply about language as a persuasive tool, and about the dynamic relationships between writer, context, audience, and argument..

AP English Literature and Composition

AP English Literature and Composition focuses on building skills that are necessary for college level reading and writing. The texts include works from a variety of imaginative genres and time periods including epics, tragedies, poetry, novels, and short stories. Our aim is to analyze the major elements of literature, such as character, plot, setting, and irony, as well as for literary style, i.e., syntax, diction, and tone. Through close reading of texts, students will annotate for meaning, and find nuanced and complex ideas that reveal authorial purpose and universal themes, and appreciate masterful literary techniques.


9th World History

This course will be a survey of World History beginning with Prehistory and ending with the Middle Ages. As students work toward a deeper understanding of historical concepts, we will especially emphasize the development of critical thinking and analytical skills in order to lay a strong foundation for future honors and AP courses in History. This course will utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources in order to challenge and expand discussion and analysis on a deeper level.

10th World History

This course will be a survey of World History beginning with the end of the Medieval Period and ending with the Modern World History. As we work through and study the content, various themes such as social interactions, political conquest, and expansion of empires will guide students toward a deeper understanding of historical concepts as well as help develop critical thinking and analytical skills. This course will utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources in order to challenge and expand discussion and analysis on a deeper level.

AP World History

AP World History: Modern is an introductory college-level modern world history course. Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation.

US History

American History is a survey of important events in American history from the earliest discovery of the Americas to the American Civil War through modern times. Students will study major events and people that have shaped the United States as we know it today. Events such as colonization, the American Revolution, the formation of a constitutional government, slavery and the Civil War will be highlighted as will important figures in the settlement, founding, and developing of the United States. Following the Civil War, students will study Reconstruction, the Industrialization of America, the Progressive Movement, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, and events of the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. Students will use a variety of resources to complete the study of American History. These resources include the textbook, activities within the textbook, instructional and entertaining video resources, research, and discussions. Assessment of student learning occurs through multiple choice exams, essays, & writing projects.

AP US History

AP U.S. History is a rigorous, college level survey course that examines U.S. History through nine time periods spanning from 1491 to the present.  Throughout the course students will be introduced to major themes in U.S. History including, America and National Identity, Politics and Power, Work, Exchange and Technology, Culture and Society, Migration and Settlement, Geography and Environment and America and the World. AP U.S. History develops and hones students’ critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills through primary and secondary source analysis, class discussion, and essay writing.  In AP U.S. History, students will be exposed to a variety of lessons and activities including multiple choice practice and tests, short answer writing, Document Based Question (DBQ) writing, and long essay writing.  All assessments will prepare students to succeed on the AP U.S. History Exam in May.

12th Government

This course will be a survey of Government. This will include topics such as the origin, role, and purpose of government, in addition to the specific functions and operations of the US government. Content will be studied in a variety of ways, using projects, debates, discussion, and written analysis to encourage a strong understanding of government in theory and practice. The course will guide students toward a deeper understanding of historical concepts as well as help develop critical thinking and analytical skills. We will utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources in order to challenge and expand discussion and analysis on a deeper level.

AP Government & Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behaviors. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, they will complete a political science research or applied civics project.


Algebra I

This first course in algebra includes a review of basic arithmetic skills, solving equations, factoring, fractions, linear and quadratic equations, functions, inequalities, word problems, and rational and irrational numbers. Emphasis is placed on problem solving and application principles.


This standard first course in geometry covers the required concepts of Euclidean geometry including definitions, postulates, and theorems. Areas of study include angles, parallel lines, congruent and similar triangles, rectilinear figures, polygons, circles and arc, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Special topics covered include coordinate and spatial geometry, introductory trigonometry, and constructions and loci. In addition to including problems which serve to review algebra, the process of “proving” theorems is introduced.

Algebra II

This course is designed to build on previously learned algebraic and geometric concepts. Students in the class will be provided with instruction in the study of functions, families of functions, equations, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, polynomials, rational and radical equations, complex numbers, logarithmic functions, and sequences and series. Emphasis will be placed on practical applications and modeling throughout the course of study.


A comprehensive honors course that weaves together previous study of algebra, geometry, and functions into a preparatory course for calculus. The course focuses on the mastery of critical skills and exposure to new skills necessary for success in subsequent math courses. Topics include the study of linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, radical, polynomial, and rational functions; systems of equations; and conic sections, trigonometric ratios and functions; inverse trigonometric functions; applications of trigonometry, including vectors and laws of cosine and sine; polar functions and notation; and arithmetic of complex numbers.

Math Applications

Math Application is a course that will introduce students to subjects that will have practical applications beyond a core math curriculum. The first semester of the course will focus on learning statistics. The topics covered include data collection and design of experiments, statistical graph creation and interpretation, measuring central tendency and variation, probability distributions, normal curves, and confidence intervals. The second semester will focus on learning how to utilize spreadsheets via Google Docs. Students will learn how to navigate spreadsheets, enter and format data, perform basic math calculations, data analysis via sorting and filtering. We will close the year with finance and/or statistics related projects where student will utilize the spreadsheet skills to perform a real-life analysis.

AP calculus

The objectives of the course are to provide students with a fundamental understanding of differential and integral calculus, to prepare students to do well on the AP Exam and to prepare students for further courses in mathematics that they will take in college. In order to meet these objectives a balance will be met between understanding and interpreting mathematical theory, developing and practicing skills in calculus, and using technology to solve problems including interpretation of those results.



 Science is a way of observing, thinking, and experimenting to increase our understanding of nature. This course’s focus will be an examination of morphological, functional, and environmental issues that influence biodiversity. We will begin with the building blocks of biology (cells) all the way to population genetics. An underlying theme is the central role of evolutionary processes – descent with heritable modification – in generating and maintaining biological diversity.


Chemistry Regular covers the scope and sequence of an introductory general chemistry course and offers students a lens into the microscopic world of atoms, ions, and molecules. This class is taught using a number of different modalities, allowing students with various learning styles to internalize the information, think critically and apply the material creatively. Labs are incorporated as often as possible to give the students a rich, hands-on experience that not only reinforces the material, but also teaches them experimental techniques and encourages both analytical thinking and teamwork.

Chemistry – Honors

Honors Chemistry is a one-year, college-preparatory course, meeting all University of California laboratory science requirements. Honors Chemistry is a problem-solving and critical thinking approach to the topics of density, atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonding, molecular geometry, nomenclature & formula writing, the diversity of chemical reactions, mole chemistry, stoichiometry, gases, the chemistry of gases, the chemistry of solutions, rates of chemical reactions, general and solubility equilibria, and acid-base chemistry.  Approximately 20% of instructional time is dedicated to laboratory experimentation.

Anatomy & Physiology

The purpose of this course is to understand the structure and function of the human body.  Structure and function can never completely be separated within the body, so both will be studied simultaneously.  Students will learn which structures perform specific functions and how the structure of a part often determines its function.  By the end of this year students should have an understanding of all of the major systems in the body and how they work.

Ecology – Honors

Ecology Honors is a course dedicated to understanding the interactions between earth’s natural systems and its organisms. This course examines the scientific principles behind biogeochemical cycles, energy flow, population dynamics, communities, biodiversity, and disruptions to ecosystems. The course also requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. The course includes elements of life science, physical science, and social science and focuses on breadth and interrelatedness of relevant current events. Concepts are also explored through inquiry-based laboratory exercises, environmental health assessment techniques, student presentations and projects.


This course provides an in-depth exploration of the high school physics curriculum, and is designed for students who have demonstrated strong mastery of Algebra I & II. Students will be introduced to the laws of motion, forces, energy, momentum, thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism. Students will learn how to use the laws of physics, vectors, and trigonometry, along with many of the mathematical skills learned in Algebra I & II, to identify, frame, and find solutions to real-world physics problems. In addition to a rigorous analysis of the above topics, this course will also place emphasis on a mature development of scientific reasoning and analysis skills.

Sci-tech I

Sci Tech I is a STEM course intended to introduce students to the development of new products with a focus on electrical labs. The course is hands-on and will include the following topics: Design Thinking, Electricity Lab, Electrical Circuits, C+ Programming, Using Arduino to build prototypes and Entrepreneurship.

At the end of the course each student will participate in CIJE Innovation Day where they will present a Capstone project built with the Arduino.

Sci-tech II

Sci-Tech II is the second-year STEM course at Valley Torah.  This course expands on the use of sensors and microprocessors, to interpret the world around us, and to use that knowledge to build “SMART” prototypes addressing some of the problems in society.  We also build on the entrepreneurial skills and teamwork skills developed in the first year course.  Students will be required to propose a Capstone Project, write the code for the operation of the prototype model, build the prototype, and display and present the Capstone project at the Southern California Young Engineer’s Conference at the end of the year. Paper Roller Coaster planning and building are also a highlight of the second-year course.



 This course will provide an overview of the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include history, methodology, biopsychology, sensation, perception, learning, motivation, cognition, abnormal behavior, personality theory, social psychology, and other relevant topics. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the science of psychology.

AP Psychology

The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Psychology There are 14 units, and over 80 lessons within those units. The course follows the curriculum established by both the College Board and the American Psychological Association’s (APA) National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology. The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. Students also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

Physical Education

The course is designed to educate the students on the importance of physical education and health and to incorporate these elements into daily living. This Physical Education (PE) curriculum will concentrate on all areas of physical development. Classes will stress the importance of student participation and sportsmanship while learning to perform various skills – along with educating students about nutritional needs.

Fine Art

Valley Torah’s Art course is designed to give students the tools for further art exploration, the desire to pursue their artistic talents, and the techniques to enhance and learn new skills. It will explore the art elements of line, space, shape, form and texture, value and color and composition. The development of techniques, vocabulary and skills used in appreciating and creating art will be emphasized. Developing observation skills by the students will enhance their creativity.  Projects utilizing various techniques and tools such as calligraphic letterforms with a calligraphy nib, painting with a brush, sketching, proficiency in using an X-acto knife, and other art media will lead to finished assignments suitable for framing.

%d bloggers like this: