High School Curriculum

Welcome to our high school class at Beit Sefer Shalom! Your child will attend school on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30pm. Like all of our classrooms, the high school curriculum is customized for grades 9 through 12.

General Goals for Upper School Program

  1. Develop a sense of pride in being Jewish in the students and their families.
  2. Develop community among the students in the program.
  3. Develop a sense of community between the high school students and other members of the community (e.g., seniors, younger children, clergy, other parents, etc.)
  4. Inspire students to take Jewish study seriously by offering a variety of subjects of study – Hebrew, Jewish history, Jewish ethics, Jewish arts and cooking,
  5. Engage the students through active, experiential learning.
  6. Include and integrate lay leaders in the community to teach in the curriculum.
  7. Provide networking and mentoring opportunities for Jewish teenagers.
  8. Provide opportunities to gain valuable experiences to enhance college applications.

Program Learning Objectives

By the end of the program (four years), students will be able to:

  1. Name at least three core Jewish values and articulate their meaning.
  2. Highlight increased participation in the Jewish community.
  3. Articulate a sense of Jewish identity and its importance in their lives.

Four-Year Rotation Theme

A core aspect of successful supplemental Jewish school programs is to align the goals of specific programs with larger school goals. In order to achieve this, we offer a four-year high school curriculum based on the core values of the Jewish Federation and Community School – L’Dor V’Dor, Community, Hatikvah, Social Justice. Specifically, each year will revolve around exploring one or more related values.

  • Year 1: Community
  • Year 2: Lovingkindness
  • Year 3: Integrity
  • Year 4: L’Dor V’Dor and Hatikvah

General Calendar for Year 1 (Community)

Community Service Senior Life Center (or another Jewish organization)

Current Events and Issues in the Jewish Community (led by clergy, experts in the community on specific topics, teachers, etc.) and Wednesday night Hebrew

Have community member or lay leader lead an activity with the students and Wednesday night Hebrew. Some possible activities:

  • Cooking
  • Dancing
  • Jewish Martial Arts/Krav Maga lesson
  • Historical Society
  • Art

Field Trip to sites in the Jewish Community/Community Building Social Activity somewhere in Des Moines

  • 20-minute session with program director during the Hebrew school day
  • 30 minutes of conversational Hebrew lessons at noon

Other Aspects of the Program

  • To encourage increased community involvement, create a point system of rewards for every involvement the student does. For example, 100 points potential choices are:
    • Attend service
    • Participate in services
    • Extra community service at a Jewish organization
    • Participation in youth group activity at synagogue
    • Attendance at Wednesday night class
    • Participation in two Hebrew classes
    • Taking a trip to a Jewish place or activity (like a Bar Mitzvah or wedding)
  • Provide rewards once students complete they get different rewards
  • Overnights to Jewish communities in Omaha, Kansas City, and Minneapolis
  • Trips to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC (different in different years) for those who attend at least 70% of Wednesday classes

Madrichim Program

High school students are invited to join our Madrichim program and Student to Student (STS) program. As a Senior Madrich, your teen will become a student mentor and develop leadership skills for their next step into young adulthood. STS offers the opportunity to increase cultural awareness about Judaism in the larger community.