World Language

We challenge students to think logically, critically, creatively and reflectively. 
We provide a challenging, college preparatory World Language Program with communication as its main goal. The department’s standards and philosophy encompass those of the National Standard for Foreign Language and the proficiency guidelines set out by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

We place students at the center of the learning process by using instructional methods that focus on creative projects, role-playing, presentations, individual online work, dialogues and discussions. Students develop their individual voices in the language and gain an understanding and appreciation of the culture in a creative and stimulating atmosphere.
The World Language Department’s mission is to see each student develop the ability to:

  • Establish linguistic awareness
  • Gain an understanding of how to study language
  • Express themselves creatively in their speaking and writing
  • Explore the target culture and authentic interactions with native speakers
  • Connect with the target culture and develop a love of learning the language
  • Prepare for university language and literature courses
  • Identify areas of interest for further study
Click on any course name below to learn more.

Hebrew Core Courses

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Hebrew I - VIII

    Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Students are assigned to the correct level based on the Hebrew course matching assessment or their last Hebrew program text book.

    These courses introduce English-speaking students to Modern Hebrew and develop their proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Our goal is to have each student achieve mastery of these skills as they explore the richness of the language that has kept Jews together for thousands of years. Lessons include such class activities as listening to conversations and songs, role-playing, creative writing (skits, stories, greeting cards, and advertisements), oral presentations, and debates.

    Levels one through three are a general introduction to Hebrew grammar and basic vocabulary. Levels four through seven explore themes thoroughly and expand vocabulary and grammar within that theme.

    To learn more about the curriculum, 
    click here.
  • Hebrew I, II and III (Ulpan)

    Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Approval from Director of Educational Support based on documented diagnosis

    Hebrew Ulpan introduces English speaking students to Modern Hebrew in a course structure that takes into consideration different styles of processing new material. Classes are smaller and individualized for the student and their needs.  Lessons will include classroom activities such as listening to conversations and songs, practicing comprehension, watching movies, role-playing and writing in Hebrew. This course is designed for students who possess language processing challenges and as such it is restricted to those who have professional documentation indicating such a diagnosis.
  • Hebrew Literature and Culture (not offered 2019-20)

    Open to: 9 (by course matching assessment), 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Hebrew VI
    Last Offered: 2018-19 (bi-yearly course)

    This course will introduce students to contemporary Israeli literature. Students will explore a variety of themes, language structure, and the influence of traditional Jewish texts (from the Bible through the Talmud and later Jewish writings) on contemporary literature. A thematic approach will be used. Students will study poems and short stories by various writers. Students will be reading a number of novels throughout the year.

Spanish Core Courses

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Spanish I

    Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

    This course is designed to teach the foundation of the Spanish language. Students will learn the building blocks of Spanish: the basic verbs, the present, past and future tenses, as well as commands. Emphasis is placed on communicating in authentic situations, such as: how to meet and greet people, describe one’s family, home, courses in school, order in a restaurant, ask for directions, make purchases, etc. The culture of the Spanish–speaking world is interwoven into the structure of the course.
  • Spanish II

    Open to: 9 (by course matching assessment), 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Spanish I

    This course will build upon the basic skills learned in Spanish I. Students will review and expand on structures already learned. In addition, more complex grammatical structures and idiomatic vocabulary will be introduced. Once again, emphasis will be placed on communication in authentic situations, such as ordering food for a meal, asking for directions, and speaking to a doctor about an illness. Classroom activities include skits and role-playing, developing vocabulary lists, group games, and oral presentations. Units in this course will be comprised of mini projects which will be assessed for understanding and proficiency.
  • Spanish III

    Open to: 9 (by course matching assessment), 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Spanish II

    Spanish III is an intermediate level course. The main goal of the course is to strengthen students’ ability to communicate authentically in Spanish. Every class is conducted entirely in Spanish with activities such as reading short stories and newspaper articles, listening to songs and podcasts, and watching TV and film. Vocabulary reinforcement, conversational exercises and writing assignments will follow in order to give students opportunities to develop their communication skills. In addition, students will further their study of verb tenses and grammatical structures begun in Spanish I and II. Each thematic unit will conclude with a formal written assessment or an oral presentation.
  • Spanish IV

    Open to: 9 (by course matching assessment), 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Spanish III

    This course is open to students who have a strong foundation in the Spanish language. The course will provide students the necessary tools and opportunities to communicate authentically and properly in Spanish. Students will review and strengthen grammatical concepts, broaden their vocabulary and develop their reading and writing skills. Class discussions and presentations will be based on a variety of articles, stories, news clips and films related to the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture

    Prerequisite(s): Spanish III and Department Approval

    This course is open to advanced students of Spanish. Intensive work on all four language skills is developed around topics of cultural, historical, and literary relevance to the Spanish-speaking world. The goal of the AP Language class is to communicate fluently in Spanish and demonstrate an understanding of the cultures of the Spanish speaking world.  This is achieved through daily conversation, regular writing, and exposure to authentic readings, audio and films.
  • Post AP Spanish (not offered 2019-20)

    Prerequisite(s): AP Spanish Language & Culture

    This course will introduce students to the literature of the Spanish-speaking world. Through novels, short stories, plays and poems, students will gain an appreciation for literature, while exploring and discussing the historical context, main themes and language structure of each text. In addition, students will strengthen their grammatical accuracy through the process of editing and revising their writing.

Elective Courses

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Arabic I  (not offered 2019-20)

    Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12
    This course introduces students to Modern Standard Arabic, the written and formal spoken language of more than 200 million native speakers around the world. It is the official language of a broad swath of countries that stretch from Morocco to Iraq, and until recently, Arabic was also the written language of the ancestors of nearly half of the Jewish people in the world. By the end of this course, students will have a strong knowledge of the Arabic alphabet and sounds, be able to write at a basic level, and talk about themselves and their family, friends, and daily life. Students will also understand some basic cultural aspects of Arab society and some of the differences between formal and spoken Arabic with focus on the dialect of Levantine Arabic, which is spoken in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

    Please Note: This course is an elective and does not count toward the World Language graduation requirement.
  • Arabic II

    Open to: 9 (by course matching assessment), 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Arabic I

    This second-year course emphasizes the functional usage of Modern Standard Arabic in the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, with special focus on the development of students’ interactional competence to communicate and interact with Arabic speakers. Students will learn how to narrate events, describe places, and express and defend their opinions. They will also learn how to express themselves in the present, past and future tenses both orally and in writing, and will develop an understanding of the root system of Arabic language. Using research, presentations, and in-class activities, students will continue their exploration of Arabic music, movies, and literature in order to deepen their understanding of the contemporary Arab world. Further, students will continue to be familiarized with the dialect of Levantine Arabic, which is spoken in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

World Language Faculty

Elizabeth Abbott
415.694.5772 x206 
Click here to see the complete Curriculum Map.
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
JCHS is grateful for generous operational, programmatic, and financial support from:
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.