Putting Our Humanity Front and Center
The Humanities, aptly named, allow us to examine what it means to be human. At Geffen Academy, our study of history, English, world languages and the visual arts give students the tools to better explore, understand and document the human experience.
Students at Geffen Academy will appreciate and recognize that history is an ongoing dialogue between the past and present. Our studies will center around meaningful historical inquiries and interpretations. Our history curriculum will include social, cultural, intellectual, environmental and political history, and integrate a variety of voices and perspectives to promote an expanded view of humanity.
Students will engage in and practice behaviors that characterize active participation in a democratic society using skills that include working with primary sources, listening, engaging in discussions grounded in evidence, deliberating over the common good and promoting reasoned judgment.
Possible History Electives Include:
CONTEMPORARY WORLD ISSUES • MAJOR SUPREME COURT CASES • WORLD RELIGIONS
“The art of asking questions is at the very heart of learning History… particularly those big, ethical questions that highlight enduring human dilemmas.”
LARISA SHOWALTER, M.A., History Department Chair
The Geffen Academy views the language arts — reading, writing, speaking and listening — as the activity of a lifetime. The discoveries students make during literary study — about themselves, about others and about the structure of language — can be harnessed to develop eloquent speech, stylish writing and artful listening which are among the essential communication skills required of a global citizen. Through our language arts program, we aim to produce students who use their command of the language arts to exercise brave
thinking in a wide-ranging exploration of the world’s cultural resources.
Possible English Electives Include:
INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING LITERATURE AND IDENTITY • ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES • SHAKESPEARE
“A literary education helps students tolerate ambiguity, make reasoned judgments in the face of partial evidence and infer motives that aren’t fully disclosed.”
JACK CAUGHEY, PH.D., English Department Chair
Exploring World Views Through Language and Culture
Los Angeles is a global city that offers myriad opportunities to engage with and study world languages and cultures within our local landscape.
At Geffen Academy, we will use a communicative/ sociocultural approach to deepen the study of languages and build on L.A.’s local language resources. The foundational languages of the department will be Spanish and Mandarin. We will partner with UCLA’s distinguished language departments to expand our language offerings based on student interest. We also will work closely with institutes at UCLA that support language learning for heritage and non-heritage language learners, including the National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA’s Confucius Institute and the Center for World Languages.
Students will be placed in Mandarin or Spanish classes according to language proficiency. Additional languages may be supported if there is student interest.
Geffen Academy students will strive for a superior understanding of languages and cultures by taking deep-dive classes largely shaped by student interest. Students may also opt to take an additional language. Language offerings will be supported by partnerships with UCLA’s distinguished language departments. UCLA currently offers over 40 languages.
“The world language and cultures department
invites students to take on different perspectives
through the study of languages and cultures.”
KARLA C. PÉREZ-MENDOZA, PH.D., World Languages Department Chair
The Visual Arts at Geffen Academy, which includes film and video, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, metal works, animation and photography, allows students to develop the ability to think visually, explore ideas, express themselves and examine the world around them. The habits of mind and action required in the Visual Arts — which can be applied across disciplines — include a commitment to engage and persist through exceptional works, attention to craftsmanship and the use of evidence to create understanding.
We will create an environment in our classrooms and art studio that is inclusive and non-judgmental, that values curiosity and embraces rigor, and that allows students to learn from one another as much as from individual instruction. The curriculum will initially expose students to numerous mediums, with the opportunity to eventually explore a chosen medium in depth through sequential and interdisciplinary courses.
Possible Visual Arts Electives Include:
FILM & VIDEO • DRAWING • PAINTING • PRINTMAKING • SCULPTURE • CERAMICS • METAL WORKS • ANIMATION • PHOTOGRAPHY
“I think Art can help adolescents build a narrative to understand their inner and outer worlds, and mediate their experiences.”
REBECA PUGA, M.F.A., Visual Arts Department Chair
Humanities Foundations Clusters
Strategically placed in 6th, 9th and 12th grades — at entry points of middle and high schools and just before college — these courses will draw on the multiple forms of inquiry found in the humanities and provide a grounding in essential skills and analytical perspectives.