Academics

High School

High School

The Leffell High School offers a structured yet flexible, integrated, concept-oriented curriculum. Our secular and Judaic academics are rigorous, and they are supported and enhanced by our values and ethics, our vibrant communal life outside the classroom, and the strong and lasting connections that are formed between students and staff throughout the high school years. All these components provide our students with the courage and confidence to self-advocate, persuade, and present their ideas and opinions in cogent and compelling ways as they prepare for college and beyond.

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  • Small School, Big Options

    For a school our size, we offer a remarkable array of academic options. Beyond the core disciplines, our course catalogue highlights an ever-expanding list of elective classes in such areas as engineering and entrepreneurship, computer science, visual and performing arts, world languages, and physical education. And our partnership with the Virtual High School provides our students with access to hundreds of online course options.

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  • Accelerated Courses and Individualized Program

    No two students at Leffell High School share the same academic schedule. Many students are drawn to our intensive honors courses, in such areas as the sciences, mathematics, and Judaic Studies. Our double-accelerated calculus program, for example, enables students to take the college-level Advanced Placement exam at the end of 11th grade. We also offer a rich network of support that prepare learners with a variety of academic needs to thrive. Most importantly, we are a single academic community, ensuring that the schedule provides opportunities for all students to learn with and from one another.

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  • Individual Identity Formation

    High School is the time of life when students solidify the personal identities that will characterize them in their adult lives. In our classrooms, students are expected to define and articulate their own perspectives on the critical issues of our time, while being open to learning from viewpoints beyond their own. Judaic Studies courses in particular are built around this critical life skill of defining one’s own set of core ideologies while building community with others who may think differently. This ability, perhaps more than any other, prepares Leffell School students to thrive as leaders in the modern world.

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  • Unique Senior Year

    The culminating experience of a Leffell School education is the transformative Lev v’Nefesh trip to Poland and Israel. Twelfth-grade students spend eight weeks walking in the footsteps of Jewish history, getting a taste of independent living, and learning from extraordinary guides and madrichim (counselors). Upon their return, under the guidance of a faculty member, seniors participate in either a student-designed capstone project or in an internship which provides them with work experience in an industry or field of their choosing.

Student Services

Our High School is proud to provide an enriching environment for students with a wide range of academic skill sets, strengths, and challenges. The Center for Academic Support (CAS) is designed to serve students who need extra guidance or structured support in order to thrive. Students enrolled in CAS are assigned a case manager who is trained in special education, and they attend a dedicated class with that teacher three times per week. The CAS specialist also manages individual learning plans, accommodations, regular consultations with each student's classroom teachers, and communication with families.

High School Guidance and Counseling

The Counseling Department at The Leffell School is dedicated to meeting the educational, social, and emotional needs of students at each grade level. We recognize that developmentally, the adolescent years are filled with transitions and challenges; the task of the dean (counselor) is to provide ongoing support, guidance, and advocacy. A dean functions as an advisor, an educator, a listener, and a primary support person who works with students and families, both separately and together, on developmental issues, course planning, and problem solving. Deans provide a safe space for students and their families to share personal and sensitive information. We aim to promote self-awareness, wellness, independence, and advocacy as our students navigate their way through our rigorous dual curriculum.

As they are future leaders of the Jewish community, our objective is for our students to feel proud of their heritage and to live their lives infused with Jewish values and traditions. Essential to our approach is the belief that collaboration between deans, psychologists, teachers, and families ensures that the needs and goals of every student are addressed, making the Leffell School experience rich and rewarding.

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  • High School Deans

    In grades 9-11, each class has its own dean — a school counselor — who works with students, parents, and teachers. As a grade leader, the dean gets a holistic view of each student’s overall progress as it develops throughout high school. Students are encouraged to meet with their dean to raise issues and concerns, to share a success, or even just to chat with a supportive adult. Deans welcome students to drop in, and parents are invited to phone or schedule appointments to discuss any matters of concern. In addition, we serve as an important source of information, resources, and referrals.

    Elisha Andron - eandron@leffellschool.org, ext. 8008 - Director of Student Services, 12th Grade Dean
    Joel Davidson - jdavidson@leffellschool.org, ext. 8011 - Grade-level Dean
    Samantha Mazo - smazo@leffellschool.org, ext. 8009 - Dean of Students Grade-level Dean
    Rina Schulberg - rschulberg@leffellschool.org, ext. 8012 -Grade-level Dean
    Josh Ull - jull@leffellschool.org, ext. 8139 - HS Director of Student Life
    Bill Blank - bblank@leffellschool.org, ext. 8010 - HS Psychologist
  • Student Support and Relations

    • Facilitate a smooth transition into high school for all students
    • Serve as primary liaison between students, parents, and teachers
    • Build and maintain individual relationships with our students
    • Lead student support team (SST) meetings in order to monitor and develop plans to address individual student needs
    • Provide academic, social, and emotional support to students and families
    • Collaborate with school psychologist and Center for Academic Support (CAS) to develop behavioral and/or academic plans.
    • Lead Advisory and seminar sessions in collaboration with school psychologist
    • Work with students to develop appropriate sense of responsibility and encourage self-advocacy
    • Create and facilitate support groups for students (divorce, stress management, etc.)
    • Provide academic support and advisement: goal setting, course selection, and post-high school planning
  • Faculty Support

    • Ongoing collaboration and problem-solving with faculty to monitor individual student progress
    • Facilitate communication with parents
    • Work closely with the College Counseling Department
  • High School Programming

    • Create sense of community by working closely with the Director of Student Life to develop and lead grade-wide programs and trips
    • Work with students to develop leadership initiatives
    • Monitor and address concerns of student kehilah (community)
    • Participate in school wide and community events
    • Work with logistics and coordination to plan high school activities
  • Family Support and Relations

    • Provide support to families as students transition into high school and throughout the high school experience
    • Partner with families to address concerns about students
    • Facilitate meetings between faculty, students, and parents
  • The Advisory Program

    The Advisory Program is designed to cultivate and enhance positive relationships among peers, as well as allow students to develop a supportive relationship with an adult. Groups consist of approximately ten students and a leader who is either a faculty or administrative member of our school community.

    Advisory groups seek to provide students with an opportunity to learn and talk about the rapid physical, emotional, social, and cognitive changes that they are experiencing. These groups also enable students, who tend to keep their concerns private, a chance to gain reassurance that they are not alone in their perceptions or experience as they listen to other group members voice concerns that they may be too shy to talk about. The advisors’ role is to assist their students’ growth process in a non-judgmental way.

    The goals of the advisory program are focused on the belief that increased self-awareness leads to personal growth. With that in mind, these goals include:
    • Helping students develop positive behaviors such as self-discipline, sound judgment, responsibility, and social skills
    • Teaching students decision-making skills
    • Helping students develop non-judgmental listening skills
    • Helping students develop the ability to provide and receive feedback
    • Enabling students to broaden self-awareness
    • Promoting questioning and identification of personal values

    Topics covered in advisory groups are student-driven as well as leader-directed and cover a broad spectrum of topics, such as peer pressure, drugs and alcohol abuse, internet safety, academic pressure, time management, health-related concerns, and self-advocacy. A portion of the sophomore advisory program is dedicated to preparing students for the Sophomore Chesed Trip to Washington, D.C. We focus on issues such as poverty, homelessness, political advocacy, and the difference between being a bystander and an “upstander.”

    Ninth- and tenth-grade advisory groups meet once a week with a faculty advisor. They may also meet individually with their faculty advisors to review and discuss academic, extracurricular, and social issues.
  • Junior Seminar

    During junior year, students meet weekly to discuss topics that lay the groundwork for college decision-making. Juniors will engage in activities that help them identify career interests and personal values that may lead to specific areas of study. Through reflection, self-assessment, and discussion, they begin to turn their focus toward post-secondary education. From January through March, our College Counseling Department works with
    juniors to help them as they begin the college search process.
  • Senior Seminar

    In the fall of senior year, students meet weekly in small groups to plan and prepare for the Lev v’Nefesh experience and the Wise Individualized Senior Experience (WISE program).
  • Support Groups

    Over the past few years, the Counseling Department has run successful support groups for students who have experienced or are experiencing divorce and students dealing with stress.
    Future group topics may include:

    Divorce and Separation – for students whose parents are divorced/separated. Topics may include: parent dating and balancing living in two households.

    Grief and Loss– for students who have suffered any type of loss (death, loss of pet). Topics may include: navigating the stages of grief and finding ways to honor a loved one.

    Issues in the Family – for students who need support in coping with having family members with illness or a disability. Topics may include: feelings relating to your role in the family and managing added responsibilities.

    Stress Management – to help students explore healthy ways to deal with stressors in their lives. Topics may include: coping mechanisms and learning relaxation techniques.

Beyond the Classroom

    • What truly distinguishes the Leffell High School is the seamless integration of a rigorous academic program with a robust student life outside the classroom.

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  • Activities and Clubs

    So much of the vibrancy of High School life takes place outside the classroom, in student-led clubs and organizations. Our ever expanding array of clubs provide students with abundant opportunities to pursue passions, develop new interests, and exercise leadership. And each year, student leaders begin new clubs! Longstanding student groups include the Culture Club, which sponsors regular arts-related trips to NYC and elsewhere; the Garden Club, which operates its own organic garden; Midnight Run, which distributes clothing and supplies to people living on the streets; and the computer-programming and robotics teams.

    Click here for a listing of current club options.
  • Community Service

    The values of chesed (kindness) and gemilut chasadim (loving acts toward the community) are central to the Jewish tradition, and they lie at the heart of the mission of The Leffell School. Both the study and the performance of acts of chesed are included in the curriculum in each of our divisions, and High School students in particular are required to perform at least 40 hours of community service each year—with many performing dozens or even hundreds more than this. Many of our students have been honored by local organizations for being among their most dedicated volunteers. Click here to check out one of our sophomore chesed projects.
  • Shabbatonim and Class Trips

    Our alumni report that some of their most enduring memories from school come from the times that they spent together off-campus. Each grade spends joins together for one Shabbaton (Shabbat retreat) each year, celebrating joyously at a camp, at a hotel, or in Manhattan. And each year features a themed, multi-day class trip: the ninth grade goes on an overnight outdoor adventure for a dynamic group experience, the tenth grade goes to Washington, DC to work with the homeless population and lobby in Congress, and eleventh graders tour college campuses in a major northeastern city.
  • Athletics

    Our varsity and junior varsity athletics teams compete in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Click here to visit our athletics page.
  • Visual & Performing Arts

    In addition to our courses in studio art, theater, and instrumental music, our High School offers students numerous extracurricular opportunities to get involved in the arts. Each year students both perform and work backstage in our professionally-directed musical and a student-directed play. We are also very proud of our school band, string quartet, and award-winning a cappella ensemble. And student writers and artists produce an annual literary/art magazine, as well as a STEAM journal.
  • Are fearless and take on challenges with confidence, possess the creativity and critical thinking skills necessary to solve them, and the collaborative abilities needed to build highly functioning teams
  • Understand that academic excellence, intellectual seriousness, and full participation in the broader world can coexist harmoniously with wholehearted engagement with Judaism
  • Cultivate a strong, individualized identity and learn to interact comfortably and respectfully with people whose beliefs, perspectives, and worldviews are different from their own
  • Master cutting-edge academic skills and content that will serve them well in college and beyond

Leffell Graduates...

  • Gain crucial leadership talents that are sorely needed by the Jewish community and the broader world
  • Demonstrate a keen sense of responsibility to serve the community, to conduct oneself with respect at all times, and to maintain the ethical core of Judaism
  • Develop the historical knowledge, confidence, and nuanced understanding of multiple perspectives that are necessary to become strong advocates for Israel, on campus and beyond
  • Build meaningful, lifelong relationships with peers and establish enduring connections with caring adults who serve as transformative mentors, both during school and after graduation
Lower School Campus (K-5)
30 Dellwood Road
White Plains, NY 10605
914-948-3111
Upper School Campus (6-12)
555 West Hartsdale Avenue
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-948-8333